“First-degree relatives with breast cancer often encounter similar survival rates. In my research we wanted to explore whether this was due to hereditary factors. It was inspiring to be able to investigate this using the largest genetic databank of its kind that is currently in existence. The bank contains data from over 90,000 breast cancer patients. My research demanded quite some perseverance and creative combination analyses. We ended up concluding that the connection between hereditability and survival rates is probably not too high, but we did discover clues pointing towards the potential role in breast cancer survival of hereditary predispositions for other conditions, such as type 2 diabetes. We could investigate this further in the future, when we have an even larger database, to increase the quality of life of breast cancer patients. I greatly enjoyed working on this research with other investigators from all across the world who are all trying to further cancer research together.”
Maria will defend her thesis on December 7.