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Cancer Prevention and Control

Cancer rates in the US - CDC map for 2015
In 2015, the latest year for which incidence data are available, 1,633,390 new cases of cancer were reported, and 595,919 people died of cancer in the United States. For every 100,000 people, 438 new cancer cases were reported and 159 died of cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease. One of every four deaths in the United States is due to cancer. — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As early as 1926, YSPH’s founder, C.E.-A. Winslow, foresaw the shift in public health priorities toward chronic diseases as a result of success in controlling infectious diseases and the revolution of antibiotics. Today, research in cancer and other chronic diseases encompasses faculty from diverse areas striving to explain:

  • Causation/etiology
  • Prevention
  • Screening/early detention
  • Survival and survivorship

Each cancer site has its own mechanisms and characteristics, necessitating a diverse collection of technologies and approaches for the study of cancer prevention and control, including:

  • Genomics
  • Metabolomics
  • Social and Behavioral effects
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Biostatistical methodology and study design
  • Cancer outcomes research

The school has bio-specimens and data from thousands of study subjects in more than a dozen studies, collaborative involvement with numerous international cancer consortia, and some of the leading experts in clinical trial design and data management, and genomic and metabolic centers.

Practice-based research and initiatives

Paralleling cellular and molecular cancer research, interventional research such as the LEAN (Lifestyle, Exercise and Nutrition) study headed up by Melinda Irwin’s team, investigates the role of exercise and nutrition in the prevention of recurrence of breast and other cancers. Findings from LEAN will have implications for clinical settings to improve cancer care methods/practices and ultimately survivorship.

Additionally, the Yale Griffin Prevention Research Center and the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) utilize a community-based participatory research framework, engaging and partnering directly with local residents affected by health disparities to address health in New Haven and beyond, with an aim of reducing chronic disease risk, including cancer. CARE also provides a training program for community residents who partner with Yale research teams to provide a community perspective to translational research.