The Cancer Prevention and Control (CPC) program includes a multidisciplinary group of investigators including clinicians, epidemiologists, and health services researchers. The Program aims to identify novel risk factors for cancer including social determinants of health, genetics, molecular and lifestyle factors. Germline genetics and adiposity are two key risk factors associated with multiple cancers.
Screening and early detection are successful approaches to reducing morbidity and mortality from cancer. However, current approaches are not equally successful across all populations. Work in the Program is aimed at developing and evaluating novel interventions to target populations at high risk as well as having a better understanding of the barriers to screening in our populations, and developing and testing interventions that facilitate uptake of screening and prevention strategies. Given the striking patterns in cancer survival outcomes by race/ethnicity, there is an important need to build MCC-based studies to better identify key drivers of these differences to improve cancer survivorship and end-of-life care for all. Work in the Program and feedback from our Community Advisory Board highlights the needs for more culturally competent strategies to address fears, misinformation, and mistrust in our catchment area.
Through inter-programmatic collaborations, the CPC program and members are positioned to make important advances in our ability to prevent and intercept cancer, and improve outcomes among those with cancer. Given the diverse patient population served by the MCC, cross cutting themes central to the Program research aims are addressing health literacy, cultural competency, and health equity across the cancer care continuum.
While advances in DNA sequencing techniques have revolutionized prevention, diagnosis and treatment of various cancers in recent years, non-European minority groups have been significantly underrepresented in cancer research. This imbalance has limited scientists’ understanding of tumor biology, cancer risk and treatment response in these populations, potentially widening health disparities in the United States. Drawing on New York’s diverse population, Members of the Meyer Cancer Center at WCM have been awarded grants from the New York Genome Center (NYGC) to study how several types of cancer differ in patients with different genetic backgrounds and point to precision treatments for groups that have been historically underrepresented in cancer research.