Norah L. Henry

I am a Breast Oncologist and Clinical and Translational Researcher.

Norah L. Henry, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Every week in clinic I see the struggles that patients with breast cancer face trying to tolerate their life-saving cancer medications. This has inspired me to understand what underlies the difficulties with medication compliance, and to explore interventions to reduce these challenges. I strive to help people keep taking their medications while maintaining their quality of life.

Dr. Henry is a medical oncologist at the Rogel Cancer Center at the University of Michigan. As a clinician caring for patients with breast cancer, she has seen the challenges that patients across the age spectrum face when taking anti-hormone therapies for the recommended 5 to 10 years. This led her to initiate her clinical and translational research program, which focuses on toxicity of breast cancer therapy, including predictors of development of toxicity and interventions to reduce side effects of treatment. Dr. Henry's research has primarily focused on aromatase inhibitor-associated musculoskeletal symptoms (AIMSS). She has conducted numerous studies investigating the etiology of the toxicity, and also led a phase 3 randomized, placebo-controlled trial of duloxetine for treatment of AIMSS (SWOG S1202). In addition, in her role as co-chair of the SWOG Cancer Research Network Symptom Control and Quality of Life Committee, Dr. Henry contributes to studies of treatment toxicity and quality of life across a wide range of malignancies and treatment modalities.

Building on her previous work, Dr. Henry's current study, funded by the NCI, will be a phase 3 randomized trial conducted using the SWOG infrastructure to examine active symptom monitoring versus usual care for young women with breast cancer. She is focusing specifically on patients who are starting treatment with adjuvant endocrine therapy in conjunction with ovarian suppression for breast cancer, because prior studies have demonstrated that ovarian suppression reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence but can increase the likelihood of developing side effects that negatively impact quality of life. In addition, close monitoring of symptoms has been shown to improve cancer outcomes for patients with advanced cancer. Therefore, in this new trial Dr. Henry will examine whether close monitoring of symptoms will positively impact medication persistence and quality of life in women with early-stage breast cancer. The findings could lead to improved breast cancer outcomes, provide support for the use of routine patient-reported outcomes assessment for patients with early-stage cancer on maintenance therapy, and also identify patients likely to benefit from active symptom monitoring.

Grant Listing
Project Title Grant Number Program Director Publication(s)
Active Symptom Monitoring and Endocrine Therapy Persistence in Young Women with Breast Cancer
Bryan Kim

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Last Updated: 03/15/2022 07:43:27