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The Australian National Endometrial Cancer Study (ANECS) is one of the largest studies of endometrial cancer in the world. It will allow us to compare information from 1500 women with endometrial cancer and 750 control women without endometrial cancer to find out which factors are more common in women with endometrial cancer, and are thus may be causing the disease. The information we will compare includes environmental/lifestyle exposures (assessed from detailed questionnaire information), family history of cancers (which estimates the likelihood of genetic effects), and variation in specific genes (assessed by looking at DNA markers). We have also attempted to recruit, where possible, family members of women with a strong family history of cancer, to study the causes of disease in these families.
We have also collected tumour tissue from many women. This is very valuable as it will allow us to assess the molecular changes that occur in endometrial cancers. From this we will develop a better understanding of what cellular changes drive the tumour progression in the different subtypes, and what treatments might be best for each of the different subtypes.
In the new Follow-Up and Quality of Life Study we will collect detailed treatment information and will also ask ANECS participants about their current lifestyle and quality of life. The aim is to identify treatment, genetic and lifestyle factors that may affect how a women responds to treatment and/or affect quality of life after endometrial cancer.
Another new Study will seek to identify genetic variants that are associated with increased risk of endometrial cancer in the general population.