NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
September 21, 2004 • Volume 1 / Number 36 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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5 A Day and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and National 5 A Day for Better Health Month. Go online to learn more about these programs and related awareness activities. For more information on prostate cancer, visit For more information on the national 5 A Day for Better Health Program, visit

Communication Research Centers Discuss Progress
The third meeting of NCI's Centers of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research (CECCR) investigators took place September 2-3 in Madison, Wis., hosted by members of the University of Wisconsin, Madison CECCR and NCI's Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch. Center researchers, NCI staff, and expert consultants discussed research progress and methodological issues. Trans-center working groups also discussed opportunities surrounding collaboration, evaluation, dissemination, and management. Funded in 2003, the P50 CECCR initiative awarded grants to four centers to develop new theories, methods, and interventions for cancer communication to narrow the gap between discovery and application, while focusing efforts on diverse or underserved populations.

Led by Dr. David H. Gustafson, the University of Wisconsin, Madison CECCR is exploring the attributes of a successful, interactive cancer communication Web-based program and the impact such a program can have on patient and caregiver quality of life, as well as caregiver burden. The University of Michigan center, headed by Dr. Victor Strecher, is developing an efficient model for generating tailored health behavior interventions, as well as how these messages can be used in prevention and control materials and how different interventions impact behavior.

Dr. Robert Hornik leads the Effects of Public Information on Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania in its research to investigate the various impacts that information seeking, advertising messages, family history, and targeted cancer information have on health behavior change.

The center at St. Louis University, led by Dr. Matthew Kreuter, aims to enhance cancer communications to African American audiences by making messages compatible with cultural beliefs, norms, and values. The center mixes disciplinary strengths in anthropology, epistemology, and journalism to investigate the effectiveness of narrative story telling and targeted messaging within specialized media.

In April 2005, CECCR investigators will meet in St. Louis, Mo. For more information on the centers and their research, visit

New Web Site Provides Information on Radiation Exposure
The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) recently launched a new Web site for physicians and other health professionals: The site provides scientific information about radiation exposure from iodine 131 (I-131) and is a gateway to additional information and resources about I-131 radiation exposure and related health effects.

NCI served on the ACPM I-131 Education Advisory Committee and provided expert content review of the Web site and other materials. To learn more about NCI's initiatives related to radiation exposure due to nuclear testing fallout, go to

Dr. Michael Quinn Randomized Control Trials in Evaluation Lecture
On Tuesday, September 14, Dr. Michael Quinn Patton presented "The Debate about Randomized Controls as the Gold Standard in Evaluation," reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of randomized experiments in evaluation. Dr. Patton is a nationally recognized expert in the field of utilization-focused evaluation, and focused his lecture on how evaluation is practiced, understood, and utilized to improve programming. He discussed how research and evaluation are different and therefore need to be assessed using unique criteria. He argued that considering randomized control trials (RCT) the gold standard for proving effectiveness distorts the evaluation process itself and dictates that emphasis be placed on adherence to RCT methodology rather than the methodology that is best suited for answering the research questions. Dr. Patton continued by discussing several alternatives to using RCT for evaluation, and provided historical examples where other approaches have been successful in proving effectiveness of programs and interventions. He concluded the lecture by stating that the gold standard should be the method that is most appropriate, not any one methodical orthodoxy or rigidity.

An archive of Dr. Quinn-Patton's talk can be viewed at