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Cancer Prevention and Survivorship Research Team

We use our large prospective cohort studies, the Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS), to identify risk factors of cancer and to help improve quality of life and survival after a cancer diagnosis. 

What We Do

The Cancer Prevention and Survivorship team is part of the Population Science Department. We conduct research to identify risk factors associated with developing cancer and to understand how to improve quality of life and survival after a cancer diagnosis. We do much of this work using our large, longitudinal cohorts called the Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS).

Since 1952, when the first of our cohorts was formed, we’ve enrolled over 2.7 million people who routinely answer surveys and have also provided blood and other biological samples such as tumor tissue samples from after a cancer diagnosis.

Our Cancer Prevention Studies have provided data for hundreds of scientific publications by our research staff and researchers across the world.

  • We’ve helped answer key questions about why some people develop cancer and others do not.
  • We’ve published groundbreaking cancer prevention research that’s identified new risk factors for cancer and helped us understand the influence of family medical history and genetics in the development of cancer. 
  • Data from these studies have helped us better identify and understand the role of lifestyle behaviors, medical history, environmental exposures, genetics, metabolomics, and other biological factors on the risk for developing cancer and on survival.

Specifically, we study the influence of:

  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity and sedentary behavior
  • Obesity
  • Health care access and equity
  • Environmental carcinogens
  • Tobacco and tobacco cessation
  • Mental health
  • Social support processes
  • Caregiving and support of caregivers
  • Genomics, metabolomics, and the microbiome

Our CPS studies have provided data for 100s of scientific publications and helped inform clinical and public health guidelines, including the American Cancer Society's Nutrition and Physical Activity guidelines.

Glossary for Nonscientists

Featured Term:
Prospective Cohort Study

A long, on-going (longitudinal) research study that captures and compares years of data from a group of people (cohort) to learn how specific characteristics or risk factors affect the rate of developing diseases such as cancer.

Prospective means data is collected before anyone has developed cancer. Cohort studies are a type of observational study.

Featured Studies