Dr. Anne Blaes

Dr. Anne Blaes Named Director of Cancer Survivorship Services and Translational Research for the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota

There are more than 15 million cancer survivors in the world today, each living with the systemic impacts of their cancer treatments. Survivorship research focuses on the myriad of issues cancer treatments cause and seeks to maximize patient quality of life after the therapy.

The Masonic Cancer Center is prioritizing survivorship research by appointing Anne Blaes, MD, Hematologist and Oncologist for the University of Minnesota Health and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Medical School, to be the inaugural Director of Cancer Survivorship Services and Translational Research. In her new role, Blaes will bring multi-disciplinary researchers together to study cancer survivorship and translate the findings into better cancer care and after care.

"As a breast cancer oncologist, I've focused on ensuring that my patients live longer without having to worry about breast cancer again. But as we become more successful at achieving this goal, many people switch from being a cancer fighter to a cancer survivor," said Douglas Yee, MD, Director of the Masonic Cancer Center. "As more people are beating cancer, continuing to research survivorship and finding the best standards and practices is crucial to patient success. Dr. Blaes is the best doctor to lead our efforts."

Cancer survivors may face complications long after cancer, including cardiac issues, chronic illnesses, accelerated aging, obesity, and secondary cancers. Blaes, who currently serves as the Director of the MHealth Adult Long Term Follow-Up Clinic for Cancer Survivors, is researching methods of improving outcomes for cancer survivors and reducing the prevalence of post-treatment complications. In her new role, she’ll engage clinicians and clinical staff in survivorship education and lead their research involvement to improve the lives of current and future patients.

“There are pockets of survivorship research being done at the University of Minnesota, but we need to bring it all together so we can find out where we are at, what we are missing, and how we can fill any gaps,” said Blaes.

Blaes has co-led the Masonic Cancer Center’s annual Cancer Survivorship Conference for the past five years, bringing together cancer survivors and their friends and families from across the state for support and education from clinicians and researchers in the field. The 2019 conference welcomed nearly 400 attendees.

“Our next step is to host a clinician-based survivorship conference,” said Blaes. “This would galvanize the survivorship research at the University of Minnesota and, by bringing in colleagues from across the country, would solidify our role as a national leader in cancer survivorship.”

Blaes received a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Notre Dame, and her MD degree from Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. She came to the University of Minnesota for her residency and was named chief resident. She completed her fellowship and Master’s in Clinical Research in the Division of Hematology and Oncology before joining the faculty. Most recently, Blaes was appointed Section Head of Medical Oncology.

She is the Chairperson of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer Survivorship Committee and serves on the Executive Board of the Global Cardio-Oncology Society. She also serves as the ALLIANCE for cancer clinical trials site PI and leads several national clinical trials to treat metastatic breast cancer. She is an Associate Editor for JACC CardioOncology and serves on the ACC Training in Cardio-Oncology Work Group.

Blaes was named a Top Doctor by both Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and Minnesota Monthly for numerous years and has received many teaching awards. Blaes’s research has been supported by the Minnesota Masonic Charities as an Eastern Star Scholar, a Masonic Scholar, and a BIRCWH Scholar. Her research interests include quality of life, cardiac complications of chemotherapy, and the late effects of cancer therapy in cancer survivors, particularly breast and colorectal cancer survivors.

About the Masonic Cancer Center

The Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota is the Twin Cities’ only Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated ‘Outstanding’ by the National Cancer Institute. For more than 25 years, researchers, educators, and care providers have worked to discover the causes, prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer and cancer-related diseases. Learn more at cancer.umn.edu.