Getting the message across
way information is presented makes a big difference in the medical decisions
people make. Carol Golin, MD, associate professor of health behavior and health
education, is uncovering the best ways to share information with people to help
them make the best decisions for their own health.
screening is a good example because many men say they don't really know whether
the screenings actually reduce risks and save lives. Although more than half of
all American men, aged 50 or older, have had one or more prostate-specific
antigen (PSA) test, most men correctly answer less than one third of questions
about the benefits of screening and early detection.
examined two different strategies for presenting information about the PSA
test. Results showed that men understood the benefits of PSA tests better if
the information was presented along with information about other men's health
issues than if only PSA tests were discussed.
how patients learn about their health, and correcting misperceptions, are
critical these days as patients assume greater control of their own health care
and need to make informed decisions.
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Curious trends in liver cancer
the incidence of many major cancers has declined over the past 30 years, liver
cancer cases are still on the rise. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the fifth most
common cancer worldwide and the third leading cause of cancer death.
Rusyn, MD, PhD, professor of environmental sciences and engineering, conducts
research to determine how the increase in liver cancer incidence may relate to
(such as hepatitis C), lifestyle factors (including alcohol abuse) and
(such as fungal toxins).
and collaborators at Kansas University Medical Center use animal models to
pathogenesis of human disease. Rusyn says one of the challenges in
understanding the combined effects of chronic viral infection and an
environmental toxin is the lack of animal models, since mice tend to be
resistant to human hepatitis C infection. However, it is possible
create mice that can be studied in this way by inserting viral DNA into the
mouse genome. Rusyn's lab research using these transgenic mice has shown that
exposure to a fungal toxin called aflatoxin B1 has doubled the incidence of
liver tumors. Human studies have shown similar outcomes but these mouse
experiments provide a useful model for understanding how the disease may
develop in the liver.
continues to explore the mechanisms of how cancer causing agents interact so
that researchers may find new ways to prevent and treat cancers.
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for preventing and controlling breast cancer
Troester, PhD, studies why some women are more susceptible than others to
various forms of breast cancer. Her genomic studies are paving the way for
understanding which types of surgeries (e.g. mastectomy or breast conserving
surgery) are needed for different types of tumors. Troester, an assistant
professor of epidemiology, and her multi-center team of researchers perform
microarrays on normal tissue samples from women undergoing various types of
breast surgery. Then, they investigate the relationship between the gene
expression in the normal tissue and that of the adjacent breast tumor. The
researchers also study how other breast cancer risk factors (including
reproductive history, breast density, and age) are associated with specific
genomic changes in normal breast tissue.
early results suggest the normal tissue microenvironment collaborates with the
breast tumor during the progression of cancer, and how they collaborate affects
the prognosis. Now, Troester is identifying biomarkers with improved discriminatory
accuracy in predicting breast cancer risk. "Studying normal breast tissue
represents a unique and understudied yet promising approach for elucidating new
cancer prevention and control strategies," she says.
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for better cancer care
marriages, team sports and building construction, things always seem to work
better when all the people involved communicate well with each other.
same is true with cancer care.
cancer care quality requires clinician and non-clinician scientists to work
collaboratively in multidisciplinary research teams," says Bryan Weiner, PhD, professor of health policy and management.
That's why Weiner, with
funding from the National Cancer Institute, has examined the quality of cancer care
when specialists, primary care physicians and other health care professionals
work together with various groups and
to conduct clinical trials.
shows various organizations involved in cancer care how beneficial strong
communication and cooperation can be - from early detection, screening and
diagnosis, to treatment and care of survivors. He includes not only health care
providers, but also administrators, policy makers and financial officials in
of research." As a result, he has helped groups develop better ways to make
develop protocols, train investigators and set up mentoring systems.
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Last updated July 26, 2011