Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the United States. It is currently estimated that one of every two American men and one of every three American women will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. In Connecticut, approximately 20,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Age is an important risk factor for many common cancers, so as our population ages we can expect the burden of cancer to increase and further tax our health care system.
It has been recognized for many years that cancer risk is determined by the interaction of lifestyle factors and genetics. Identifying lifestyle factors such as tobacco use and excess body weight that contribute to cancer and intervening appropriately has been proven to significantly impact on the cancer burden.
The Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program strives to conduct cutting-edge research to identify the causes of human cancers, and then use behavioral and other approaches to translate these findings into public health interventions to reduce cancer incidence, cancer morbidity, and mortality.Genetic factors such as BRCA mutations can help identify individuals at high risk of cancer and facilitate development of preventive strategies. However, for many cancers, the causes remain unclear.
Our goal is to lower cancer rates throughout Connecticut, and for cancer survivors, to improve outcomes and quality of life for patients and their families. This has been greatly facilitated by key partnerships throughout the state that have been maintained for nearly three decades. Connecticut is thus a “population laboratory” for cancer prevention and control research, where discovery, implementation, and evaluation are occurring simultaneously.