Explore progress and look ahead – Towards the world

Newswise — New Brunswick, NJ 30. November 2021 – Controlling or reducing the risk of cancer was one of the primary goals of the National Cancer Act, which came into force in 1971. Since we have continued to identify factors that contribute to cancer since the war on cancer began, we are intervening to address those factors.

In a recent article, Rutgers University investigators, including Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Rutgers School of Public Health and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School recently looked at the advancement of behavioral and preventive medicine, as well as the mission and vision of future cancer prevention and control research. Lead author Denalee O’Malley, PhD, and lead author Shawna V. Hudson, PhD, provide insights into the subject as part of a special edition of. has been published Translational behavioral medicine: practice, politics, research (https://doi.org/10.1093/tbm/ibab109)

Why is translational research focused on cancer prevention important?

Adopting evidence-based cancer prevention practices has the potential to reduce the burden of cancer in the United States by 40 to 60 percent. There is a translational lag between what we know of best practices and what is done clinically. Translational research focuses on how best to implement and accelerate the evidence of use in our cancer prevention efforts.

How have cancer prevention efforts contributed to the decline in the overall rate of new cancer over the past decade?

Cancer prevention is central to the decline in cancer cases over the past decade. The decline in smoking and increased early detection are responsible for much of the progress observed. Because of its cancer prevention efforts, the American Cancer Society estimates that 3.2 million deaths have been avoided in the US since the early 1990s. We have used population-based strategies as well as approaches such as recommending checkups and vaccinations to reduce the incidence of cancer. Over the past decade, we have also adopted risk-based approaches that target a subpopulation with a higher risk of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2021 it was estimated that 42 percent of newly diagnosed cancers in the United States (797,000 cases) were preventable. Smoking is the main cause (19 percent of attributed new cases) and a combination of obesity, alcohol consumption, poor diet, and physical activity (18 percent of attributed new cases) for preventable diagnoses of cancer. Certain cancers are caused by infection, some can be prevented with vaccination and others need treatment to prevent subsequent cancers. Despite this advancement, there is a translation delay – it takes too long to put our knowledge of cancer prevention into practice to take advantage of that knowledge.

What are the main messages of this work?

The key message here is that we have evidence-based strategies to prevent many different types of cancer; However, these must be implemented and optimized in the care and in the community. There are major challenges to the infrastructure in the field of care – these systems need the tools to integrate and exchange information in real time. Evidence-based practices need to be developed and redesigned to take into account the real, real clinical limitations that affect their utility. Translational behaviorists stand ready to lead the way in accelerating the use of scientific advances in clinical practice and in the community in the decades to come.

About the authors

Denalee O’Malley, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a member of the Center Advancing Research and Evaluation for Patient-centered Care (CARE-PC). She is a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and a Research Fellow of the Cancer Health Equity Center of Excellence at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the Rutgers School of Public Health. Shawna V. Hudson, PhD, is Head of Research and Henry Rutgers Chair of Family Medicine and Community Health at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She heads CARE-PC and is a member of the Rutgers Cancer Institute. Additionally, Anita Kinney, PhD, Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Rutgers School of Public Health, Director of the Center of Excellence for Cancer Health Justice at the Rutgers Cancer Institute and the Rutgers School of Public Health, and Assistant Director of Population Science and Community Outreach at the Rutgers Cancer Institute. Author of the work. Further authors on the work can be found here.



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