Kalee Bilinovic, Bridget Burke, Rob Morel
The Physical and Psychological Effects of Chemotherapy on Breast Cancer Patients

AwardBlue Ribbon

SchoolTrinity High School

TeacherNancy Barile

Selected Research

"Physiology of Neuromuscular Fatigue in Early Stage Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy," Kathleen Cawley

Selected ArtShattered, Erin Davies

Selected Language"Tori Marie's Diary," Ashly Claar

We chose Kathleen Cawley's research project because we were drawn by "Tori Marie's Diary," written by Ashley Claar. We thought it would be interesting to create a project centered around the physical and psychological toll breast cancer can have on a person. We used this piece as our central focus, coupled it with a science piece, and chose an art piece to complete the trio.

       -Kalee Bilinovic, Bridget Burke, Rob Morel


Imperfect Symmetry of the Human Face

Erin Davies created Shattered, a piece of artwork based on Kathleen Cawley's research. Erin used y-axis symmetry in the creation of the breast cancer patient's face. The woman's nose has y-axis symmetry (shown below). However, her eyes and lips do not have y-axis symmetry (shown below). We believe the distortion in these particular facial features gives the picture a more realistic appearance. The created face resembles an actual human's face because it is not perfectly symmetric in all aspects. Also, Erin added an x3 cubic in the picture to form the woman's neck and shoulder. When we graphed the points that form the facial features, we also graphed the x3 line. We discovered that she transformed this line nine points to the left and approximately 6.5 points down to create the shoulders and neck. To prove the imperfect symmetry, we plotted the drawing onto a graph, with the y-axis down the center of the face and the x-axis across the center of the lips. We chose crucial points on key features of the face (the outermost points on each side of each eye, for example) and compared the points on either side. As we stated above, it was clear that the eyes and lips do not have y-axis symmetry, although the nose did. This enhanced the realism of the art, because humans' faces are not perfectly symmetrical. While examining this piece of art, we also noticed the shape of the right shoulder. It appeared to be a transformation of the function f(x)=x3. To determine the equation of this function, we plotted points along the right shoulder, and entered them into a statistics table in a graphing calculator. We plotted the points, and then calculated the cubic of best fit to determine the approximate equation for the function.


Effect of Activity and Health on Morale in Breast Cancer Patients

Ashly Claar created "Tori Marie's Diary," a memoir of a young woman's struggle with fatigue during chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. While reading this literary work, we were struck by the connection between Tori's daily activity and her morale. We rated her morale and daily activities on a scale of one to twenty-five, with one being the least and twenty-five being the greatest. The results were evident: her morale and overall happiness lowered as her daily activities lowered. Before she was diagnosed, she was a joyful, active girl, but after receiving chemotherapy and being bedridden, her daily activities lowered, thus, lowering her morale. After this discovery, we also found another connection in "Tori Marie's Diary." Her physical health also affected her morale in the same way that her daily activities did. While her physical health and daily activities increased, her morale increased and vice versa. Thus, we concluded there is a direct variation between her physical health and daily activities and her morale. However, the only time period when Tori's actions did not match our discovery is when she is first diagnosed with breast cancer. Tori's morale drastically drops with this horrible news even though her daily activities and actual physical health at that point has not yet changed. We concluded that this drop in morale is due to the devastating effects that being diagnosed with breast cancer can have on any woman.


Predictability of Sustained Contraction in a Breast Cancer Patient

While recreating Kathleen's graph entitled "RMS Amplitude of BB During SC," we noticed something peculiar. We used her exact points and research to reconstruct the graph and our lines did not match hers. Kathleen's graph showed the relationship between both the control group's and the chemotherapy group's sustained contraction (SC). We then graphed four individual lines: control before, control after, chemotherapy before, and chemotherapy after. After this discovery, we used the lines we created to find lines of best fit. To determine the validity of the lines of best fit, we also found the average rate of change in the original lines and the lines of best fit. The average rate of change in the control before and control after lines are both similar to the average rate of change in the lines of best fit. However, the average rate of change in the chemotherapy before and chemotherapy after lines are not closely related to the average rate of change in the lines of best fit. The difference between the average rate of change in the data and the trend line is less than 0.007 in all cases. However, visual inspection of the original data and the superimposed trend lines reveal that (aside from one outlying data point in the Control Before plot) the trend lines follow the data more closely in the Control Patient graphs than in the CT Patient graphs. The relationship between the control group's SC is closely related to their line of best fit because they are normal, healthy women. We speculate that the relationship between the chemotherapy group's SC is more unpredictable because these women are dealing with the fatigue from their breast cancer treatment.

Selected Research

Selected Art

Selected Language

Kathleen Cawley

Physiology of Neuromuscular Fatigue in Early Stage Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy