Research Programs

Cancer Control Program

Program Leader(s): Katherine Nathanson, MD and Marilyn Schapira, MD, MPH

The Cancer Control and Outcomes Program seeks to understand and improve the delivery and outcomes of cancer screening and treatment, with a tripartite focus on quality of life, quality of treatment and quality of decision making. Although the program is committed to supporting innovative, multidisciplinary approaches to these issues, the Cancer Control and Outcomes Program is grounded in two main disciplines: behavioral sciences and health services research. In the area of quality of life, the program uses cancer as a model for studying the psychological and social impact of life-threatening and prolonged illness on patients, families and caregivers. Efforts in this area are multifaceted, emphasizing the identification of responses to diagnosis, treatment, recovery and survival, as well as the design and evaluation of intervention strategies. In the area of quality of treatment, the program focuses on determining the processes of cancer care that result in optimal outcomes for all patients, with emphasis on reducing racial disparities in cancer outcomes, cost-effectiveness analysis and in translating research findings into health policy. Use of administrative claims databases, such as the SEER-Medicare linked datafiles, is a key component of many of thes e studies. In the area of quality of decision making, the program seeks to improve the processes and outcomes of decisions in cancer screening, treatment and survivorship. Studies in this area range from the development of strategies to increase rates of cancer screening, through decision analysis and decision support of tailored screening and management strategies, to qualitative investigations of cultural factors affecting end-of-life decisions.f