University Hospitals joins study to identify genetic mutations in endometrial cancer patients that indicate higher risk for other cancers

Monday, March 04, 2019

North Royalton patient volunteers to shed light on cancer risks

CLEVELAND -- At 40, Maria-Elena Hill was crushing it – working out and walking daily, eating healthy and avoiding fast food, living a sweet life. But on a dream trip to Greece, the occasional monthly symptoms that arose during her menstrual periods grew ominously unusual. Bloated and agonized by shooting pains in her pelvis, she had trouble buttoning her size 4 pants.
“I was in great physical shape, but it’s easy to make excuses when you don’t have any of the warning signs for cancer in your life,” said the Toronto native, who now lives in North Royalton. “When my doctor told me I had cancer, I just kind of shut down.”
Fortunately, she was referred to gynecologic oncologist John Nakayama, MD, at University Hospitals (UH). Her diagnosis of stage 1 endometrial cancer led not only to surgery to remove the cancer but a clinical trial that discovered an underlying condition that can predispose her to other types of cancer.
UH is the second site in Ohio to enroll women with endometrial cancer in a clinical trial to identify inherited genetic mutations that may predispose them, and possibly other family members, to a higher risk of many types of cancer. Ohio Prevention and Treatment of Endometrial Cancer (OPTEC), which began at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), is looking primarily for undiagnosed cases of Lynch syndrome, a hereditary condition that greatly increases risk for colorectal cancer.
To be eligible for the OPTEC study, individuals must be 18 or older with a case of endometrial cancer diagnosed since Oct. 1, 2017. Candidates also must have undergone a hysterectomy or surgery at a participating medical facility such as UH.

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