Cancer Communication Research Center

Missouri is unofficially referred to as the Show-Me State. As a native of the nation's 24th state, I was glad to go home to attend the annual Centers of Excellence in Cancer Communication (CECCR) meeting on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on October 10-12. As a (relatively) new Senior Research Assistant at KPCO, I was ready to learn more about each CECCR and to meet many of the people I only knew through e-mails. After two days of posters, presentations, and panels, Washington University and the other four CECCRs really showed me the amazing work that is being done in the field of cancer communication, and made me excited to be a part of it.

The first night was the poster presentation. I was immediately impressed by the quantity of posters that were submitted, not to mention the quality. On the final day of the meeting, the winners of the top three posters were announced. Rui Shi, a 2011 CCRC Doctoral Fellow and a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania, took top prize. I was thrilled for her accomplishment.

The annual CECCR meeting consisted of members of the five centers: The Cancer Research Network-Cancer Communication Research Center (which Kaiser Permanente Colorado is a member), University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, University of Pennsylvania, and Washington University. On the first full day, each CECCR presented the work being conducted at their location. While I was familiar with some of the studies the other CECCRs were doing, it was great to get a more in-depth analysis of the variety of work being done; from smoking cessation and media messages, to evaluating psychosocial factors in elderly cancer patients and using online support with CHESS, to studying referral systems and publishing newspapers with targeted and tailored health messages. Since some of the studies involve more than one CECCR site, I also saw the importance of collaboration. Each CECCR brings something different to the research table, which definitely strengthens a study.

In addition to the CECCR presentations, there were also three panels. Each panel comprised of individuals from different agencies and institutions who discussed topics which directly related to cancer communication, namely policy, cost of care, and challenges. One intriguing panel presentation was from Dr. Christine Berg from the National Cancer Institute. She discussed one study, the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), which compared lung cancer deaths of those who were screened with chest X-rays with those screened with a low-dose helical CT. In sum, they found that current or former heavy smokers screened with the low-dose helical CT scan resulted in 20 percent fewer deaths from lung cancer than those screened with a chest X-ray. This is an important study and a valuable finding for the future of cancer detection. However, as it was noted throughout the meeting, smoking prevention and cessation are key to decreasing lung cancer rates.

Overall, the CECCR meeting was a great success. Though there are some challenges ahead, I'm optimistic about the contributions the great minds within the CECCR have on the future of cancer communication research. I'm looking forward to meeting with everyone again next year in Wisconsin.

Michelle Henton
Senior Research Assistant, CCRC

Written by CCRC at 12:58




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