Dr. Ruby Senie has devoted more than 20 years to research on breast cancer risk and prognostic factors. She has published more than 45 papers and has contributed to several texts that have addressed the hormonal dependency of breast cancer and potential avenues for intervention. Dr. Senie is principal investigator of an NCI funded project titled the Metropolitan New York Registry of families at increased risk of breast cancer; more than 4,500 men and women have donated blood samples and provided personal health information for genetic and environmental research. Numerous studies have been conducted using these resources and many more are underway. The diversity of the families participating has stimulated Dr Senie to address a special interest: documenting and intervening to correct racial/ethnic disparities associated with detection and prognosis of breast and other cancers. Dr Senie is principal investigator of the NY component of the NCI funded Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness Research and Training, which has support outreach to community-based organizations to provide educational programs and opportunities for cancer screening. In addition to mentoring masters and doctoral students, Dr. Senie annually offers a course title Breast Cancer: A Public Health Problem in which the epidemiologic, clinical, and psychosocial aspects are addressed.
PhD, 1984, Yale University
MA, 1978, Teachers College, Columbia University
BS, 1975, Cornell University
BS, 1957, Cornell University
Fellow, American College of Epidemiology
Member, International Epidemiology Association
Member, American Association of Preventive Oncology
Member, American Association for Cancer Research
Areas of Expertise
Cancer, Cancer Breast, Cancer Screening, Social / Cultural Issues, Radiation Exposure, Genetic Susceptibility, Genetics, Ethics, HIV/AIDS, Family Planning, Reproductive Health
Select Urban Health Activities
Metropolitan NY Registry of Breast Cancer Families: The Metropolitan New York Registry of Breast Cancer Families is one of six international sites initially funded by the NCI in 1995 with renewed funding in 2000 to create the Breast Cancer Family Registry, a unique resource for research including data and biosamples from members of families at increased breast cancer risk. The NY Registry has enrolled more than 1,280 families with a history of breast and/or ovarian cancer including 4,465 women and men. First and second degree relatives with and without a history of cancer have provided personal health information and a blood sample. Participants treated for breast or ovarian cancer have given the NY Registry permission to obtained pathology reports and tumor tissue sections. Data and biospecimens from our Registry participants have enabled studies of the interaction of genetic and environmental causes of breast and ovarian cancer. Although several genetic mutations have been linked with risk of breast and ovarian cancer, studies have shown that risk may be increased or decreased by personal health behaviors, environmental exposures and/or additional genetic factors. Confidential genetic counseling and testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are offered to Registry participants. The opportunity of receiving confidential genetic counseling and BRCA test results has enabled many family members to consider currently available avenues for prevention including early onset and frequency screening, chemoprevention, or prophylactic surgery. The educational components of the Registry have stressed the importance of screening modalities among our participants who are at high risk of developing breast, ovarian and other malignancies. To be eligible for participation, a family needs to have a history of one or more of the following: a male relative treated for breast cancer, a female relative treated for breast cancer before the age of 45, a female relative treated for both breast and ovarian cancer, and/or two or more first- or second-degree female relatives treated for breast or ovarian cancer at age 45 or older. Families are very enthusiastic about contributing to our research efforts. This unique, readily available resource of data and DNA samples is provided to an international team of scientists who are studying the impact genetic risk and environmental exposures on breast cancer diagnosis and treatment while searching for avenues for cancer prevention.
Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness Research & Training: The national Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness Research & Training (AANCART) was formed as one of 18 Special Population Networks funded for 5 years in 2000 by the NCI to address disparities in cancer outcomes. The New York component of AANCART, based within the Mailman School of Public Health, is one of four regional sites of the national AANCART project has collaborated with colleagues in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle in developing community partnerships to educate local organization about cancer risks, to provide avenues for early detection, and to sustain interest and awareness in chemoprevention and clinical trials research. The NY AANCART team has developed leadership within and collaboration among community-based organizations addressing the needs of medically under-served Korean, Chinese and Asian Indian populations in Queens and Manhattan. A collaborative effort has been developed to broaden and expand upon community-based cancer control and prevention activities and to encourage greater participation by members of the Asian communities in cancer research initiatives. NY AANCART has accomplished many of the proposed goals to reduce cancer health disparities by: identifying community-based organizations serving the Asian communities in Queens and Manhattan, developing leadership programs, establishing an infrastructure for initiating collaborative projects, and launching cancer control research activities among Asian Americans. The NY team has created the NY Asian American Council, a network of community leaders, clinicians and researchers who guide the NY AANCART team in developing culturally appropriate and linguistically sensitive programs for their communities. Several pilot projects funded by the NCI have enabled targeted research projects to address specific health care needs within the targeted Asian communities. NY AANCART has also mentored NY based Asian American medical, nursing, and public health students. The annual all day health education program with presentations by researchers, clinicians and public health leaders has provided invaluable guidance to community leaders serving the Asian communities in Manhattan, Queens and other metropolitan areas.
Does pregnancy after breast cancer influence survival?: Among young newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, treatment decisions may be impacted by desires for future childbearing. Since many young women have delayed marriage or pregnancy to complete their education or to launch their careers, treatment decisions are often complicated for these patients by potential adverse affects on maintenance of their fertility. Recent modifications in adjuvant chemotherapy protocols to less toxic medications of shorter duration have enabled more women to retain or regain their menstrual cycles enabling them to elect childbearing. Doctors often advise against subsequent childbearing fearing cancer recurrence following the hormonal surges of pregnancy. Among some clinicians these treatment changes have rekindled concerns about the safety of pregnancy and the appropriate interval to delay before conception. To address these major questions concerning the safety of subsequent pregnancy, a case only study based on medical record abstraction has been conducted comparing 105 cases who reported one of more subsequent pregnancies to more than 400 cases without a history of pregnancy after breast cancer diagnosis. The comparison cases were matched on age at diagnosis, stage of cancer at diagnosis and at time of pregnancy, and year of treatment. Matched statistical analyses are being performed to compare the risk of recurrence and death due to breast cancer of women with a positive history of subsequent pregnancy with matched cases who did not have a post-treatment pregnancy. The manuscript is being prepared for publication.