Newcomb’s colon cancer survivorship efforts funded

Cancer prevention researcher aims to decrease cancer mortality risk
Dr. Polly Newcomb
Dr. Polly Newcomb Public Health Sciences Division

Dr. Polly Newcomb of the Public Health Sciences Division was recently granted a five-year $546,000 Established Investigator Award in Cancer Prevention and Control from the National Institutes of Health to research colorectal cancer survivorship.

With her award, Newcomb plans to identify modifiable and genetic factors that will improve quality of life and extend survival after treatment for colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women combined in the United States. Newcomb will also train early investigators in the important but complex area of survivorship research.

Newcomb, head of the Cancer Prevention Program and principal investigator of the Seattle Familial Colorectal Cancer Registry, will research lifestyle factors, such as physical activity and nutrition, that colorectal cancer patients can alter to enhance longevity after diagnosis.  In these studies, trainees and junior faculty will also study genetics, pathological characteristics, molecular markers, and treatment to assess predictors of recurrence and longevity, providing insights into the biology and care for colorectal cancer patients.

“This award will provide the support for me to focus on understanding why some individuals survive after a diagnosis of colon cancer,” said Newcomb, who is also a professor of Epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health. “It also allows trainees to study cancer survivorship with me—I provide the data and they supply the energy and creativity!”

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