What does BOSS stand for?

BOSS stands for Breast and Ovarian Surveillance Service.

Who is the Principal Investigator of this study?

The principal investigator of the study is Dr. Kala Visvanathan, who is a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and a Medical Oncologist that Directs the Clinical Cancer Genetics and Prevention Service at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

What does this study have to do with BRCA or other genetic testing for cancer? Will you test my blood for the BRCA or other genes?

If you have already had genetic testing, we ask for your permission to obtain the result from you (this is optional). We do not perform clinical genetic testing on your blood sample.

Who do I contact at Johns Hopkins if I want to ask about getting BRCA /cancer genetic testing?

You can contact Linda Thompson, Referral Coordinator for the Clinical Cancer Genetics and Prevention Service at (410) 502-7082.

What are you actually looking for? What is the study actually about?

We are trying to identify new factors associated with developing breast and ovarian cancer as well as disease progression – such as lifestyle factors, novel biomarkers for determining who is at high and low risk. (See tab on Projects and News and Publications)

Do I need to give you access to my mammograms/medical records/pathology, etc.?

Having your permission to obtain records related to your breast and/or ovarian health is important for verification of health outcomes and strengthens the validity of our findings. If you are uncomfortable with releasing this specific information to us, you can still join the study. We do however need you to give us a blood sample and agree to complete our questionnaire to the best of your ability.

How long will I be in the study? How long will the study last?

The study is ongoing and will continue indefinitely. Once you join, we will contact you every three years to update your contact information, personal health and family history of cancer.

What if you see something strange on my mammogram/in my blood? Will you contact me?

No. A few reasons:

  1. We are only looking at your films/blood for specific factors. The mammograms are being coded for breast density by our colleague who will have no access to your personal information.
  2. The information we are gathering is for research and is therefore not clinically useful for you or your doctor.
Will I get results?

No. The information we obtain from analyzing your blood or mammogram is not yet proven to be clinically significant since it is only for research.

Do you pay me anything for joining or continuing in the study?

No, unfortunately we are not able to compensate for ongoing participation based on funding rules. For some sub-studies we have been able to provide a free parking voucher for the day of your visit and minimal compensation for time and effort.

Why do you want to follow up with me every 3 years?

By continuing to follow up over time we are able to identify important changes/patterns that occur in your health and lifestyle that may influence biological factors that may lead to development or progression of breast and ovarian cancer. These patterns only become clear after repeated evaluations.

How long has the study been going on?

The study started in January 2005 and will continue indefinitely.

How long are you recruiting participants?

Recruitment of new participants is on hold at this time. It is possible that we may reopen recruitment in the future. You are welcome to call the study line at (443) 287-6144 to inquire.

I had a bilateral mastectomy and/or oophorectomy. Am I still eligible?

Yes. We have already enrolled a number of women who have had these procedures.