Rebecca A. Silliman, MD, PhD



MD – University of Washington
PhD – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

General field of research:

Cancer care in older adults

Affiliations other than medicine:

Department of Epidemiology

Contact information:

Lab & Office
88 East Newton St, Robinson 2
Phone: (617)-638 8383
Fax: (617)-638 8387

Research group information

Jaclyn Bosco, MPH (doctoral student)
Kerri Clough-Gorr, DSc, MPH (post doc)


Aging; Breast Cancer; Treatment; Survivorship

Summary of research interest:

Dr. Rebecca A. Silliman leads a research group that also includes members of the faculty of the Department of Epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health, two recent graduates of the epidemiology and biostatistics doctoral programs, and two epidemiology doctoral students. Together they and colleagues conduct research on breast cancer etiology, disparities in breast cancer therapy, and the consequences of those disparities. They have collected and are analyzing data in three populations and health services data in three others, including two large multi-site projects. Their work has been published in leading epidemiologic journals (e.g., American Journal of Epidemiology and Epidemiology), clinically-oriented journals (e.g., The Journal of Clinical Epidemiology and Medical Care), and cancer journals (e.g. Cancer and the Journal of Clinical Oncology). Contributions include reports of findings, methods papers, and invited commentari es.

Recent publications:

Thwin SS, Clough-Gorr KM, Mc Carty MC, Lash TL, Alford SH, Buist DSM, Enger SM, Field TS, Frost F, Wei F, Silliman RA. 2007. Automated inter-rater reliability assessment and electronic data collection in a multi-center breast cancer study. BMC Med Research Methodol 7:23. PMID: 17577410

Owusu C, Buist DSM, Field TS, Lash TL, Thwin SS, Gieger AM, Quinn VP, Frost F, Prout M, Ulcickas Yood M, Wei F, Silliman RA. 2008. Predictors of tamoxifen discontinuation among older women with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 26:549-55 [Epub December 10, 2007]. PMID: 18071188

Ulcickas Yood M, Owusu C, Buist DSM, Geiger AM, Field TS, Thwin SS, Lash TL, Prout MN, Frost FJ, Wei F, Quinn VP, Silliman RA. 2008. The mortality impact of less than standard therapy in older breast cancer patients. J Am Coll Surg 206:66-75. PMID: 18155570

Field TS, Doubeni C, Fox M, Buist DSM, Wei F, Geiger AM, Quinn VP, Lash TL, Prout MN, Ulcickas Yood M, Frost FJ, Silliman RA. 2008. Lower use of surveillance mammography among older breast cancer survivors at elevated risk of recurrence. J Gen Intern Med 23:158-63 [Epub December 3, 2007]. PMID: 18060463

Clough-Gorr KM, Fink AK, Silliman RA. 2008. Challenges associated with longitudinal survivorship research: Attrition and a novel approach of reenrollment in a six-year follow-up study of older breast cancer survivors. J Cancer Survivorship 2:95-103. PMID: 18648978

Ahern TP, Lash TL, Thwin SS, Silliman RA. 2009. Impact of acquired comorbidities on all-cause mortality rates among older breast cancer survivors. Med Care 47:73-79. PMID: 19106734

Clough-Gorr, Ganz PA, Silliman RA. 2009. Older breast cancer survivors: Factors associated with self-reported symptoms of persistent lymphedema over 7-years of follow-up. Breast J; in press.

Bosco JLF, Silliman RA, Thwin SS, Buist DSM, Prout MN, Ulcickas Yood M, Haque R, Wei F, Lash TL. 2009. A most stubborn bias: No adjustment method fully resolves confounding by indication in observational studies. J Clin Epidemiol; in press {Epub May 19, 2009]. PMID: 19457638