COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Despite a general increase in research addressing cancer survivorship,
researchers have found that a disproportionate number of studies focus on
specific tumor sites, prevention, early detection and post-treatment effects
impacting cancer survivors.
survivors make up 20 percent of the total cancer survivorship population, but
only 5 percent of current research projects focus specifically on prostate
cancer survivors,” said Electra
D. Paskett, associate director for population sciences at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center –
Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute
(OSUCCC – James). “Breast cancer survivors represent 22 percent of the
survivor population, yet 40 percent of current research focuses on female
breast cancer survivors.
Researchers at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center found
that colorectal, gynecologic and hematological cancers are also
underrepresented in current cancer survivorship studies.
were published in the October issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers &
previous survivorship research and where it has taken us is crucial in moving
forward efficiently and effectively to improve the quality of life for cancer
survivors,” said Paskett, who holds the Marion N. Rowley Designated Chair in
Cancer Research at Ohio State. “We are making progress in the fight against
cancer and it shows in our growing survivor population, but there is a lack of
emphasis on certain tumor sites, prevention and early detection, late effects
and translational research.”
According to Paskett,
findings indicated that “quality of life” as a specific research focus more
than doubles that of prevention, early detection and late effects of treatment.
Most cancer survivorship research focuses on psychological or quality of life
issues, exercise and psychosocial issues. In addition, several topics important
to survivors were found to be the least likely to be studied, including
radiation effects, hot flashes, fertility, complementary and alternative
medicine use and dental issues.
survivorship research has increased in the past three decades, the study found
a recent shift to an observational approach as compared to interventional
research, which is supported by clinical trials. Researchers found a total of
111 ongoing observational studies, including case control and cohort
studies, and 72 interventional studies currently underway nationwide.
“The number of randomized controlled trials has remained relatively
constant in the last decade, which is surprising with the growing emphasis on
evidence-based practice,” said Paskett. “Research on coping and tobacco and alcohol
use has declined, though the problems remain important for survivors."
a literature review and surveyed National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers
about the types of ongoing survivorship studies. Researchers reviewed all
published survivorship studies, which addressed quality of life issues, late
effects of treatment, and prevention and early detection of secondary cancers.
The survey of NCI Cancer
Centers was coupled with a search of an online database, the NIH RePORTER tool,
to obtain information about ongoing research. Studies were categorized by the
study design used, the site of cancer and the focus of the research.
areas will continue to make life better for all survivors, by reducing side
effects from treatments and lessening the risk of new tumors,” said Paskett.
“Pediatric research has been an area of survivorship research that has
flourished, and may serve as a model for adult survivorship research.”
survivorship studies are focusing on prevention of lymphedema, chemoprevention,
diet, exercise, stress reduction and yoga, as well as studies in childhood
Other Ohio State
researchers involved in the study were J. Phil Harrop and Julie A. Dean.
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center –
Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute strives to create a
cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in
education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of
prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 41 National
Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated
Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only seven centers funded by the NCI to
conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials. The NCI recently rated Ohio
State’s cancer program as “exceptional,” the highest rating given by NCI survey
teams. As the cancer program’s 210-bed adult patient-care component, The James
is a “Top Hospital” as named by the Leapfrog Group and one of the top 20 cancer
hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
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