Advancing Cancer Control Science to Improve Public Health
This issue of the NCI Cancer Bulletin highlights and celebrates the research, actions, and partnerships of NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), which this month is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its founding.
Since its creation in 1997, DCCPS has spearheaded NCI's efforts to understand the causes and distribution of cancer in different populations, supported the development and delivery of effective behavioral interventions, and monitored and explained cancer trends in all segments of the population.
Created as a result of a recommendation by a special Cancer Control Program Review Group, DCCPS is truly unique. Thanks to the breadth of the research it conducts and supports, and the transdisciplinary nature of that work - which encompasses genetic, epidemiological, behavioral, social, applied, and surveillance cancer research - over the past decade it has generated important new insights and helped to ensure that the products of cancer control research are effectively applied in communities across the country.
In its 10-year history, DCCPS has funded a large and expanding portfolio of grants and contracts. The current portfolio includes more than 900 grants valued at almost $400 million. This issue of the NCI Cancer Bulletin includes articles on just a handful of DCCPS programs, providing a glimpse of the diverse, integral research the division conducts and supports.
Among the most well-known of DCCPS' programs is the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, the most comprehensive, population-based cancer registry in the world, covering 26 percent of the U.S. population. SEER data provide the foundation for numerous important studies each year, studies that are helping to guide diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Last fall, for example, University of Michigan researchers, using SEER data, closely assessed renal cell carcinoma rates and treatment patterns and found a rise in mortality rates despite increased detection and treatment of smaller tumors, raising the question of effectiveness of the current treatment paradigm.
The DCCPS-supported Cancer Research Network (CRN), a consortium of managed care organizations, leverages its participants' strong data collection systems to identify important trends on the delivery of care in the community setting. Over the last several years, for example, CRN studies have produced important details about mammography, prophylactic mastectomy, and cervical cancer screening.
DCCPS is also home to the Tobacco Control Research Branch, a leader in our nation's battle to continue to reduce rates of tobacco use, and to NCI's Office of Cancer Survivorship, which is supporting the critical efforts to more fully detail the long-term impact of treatment on survivors and develop interventions to help survivors cope with the unique challenges they face. And DCCPS' programs focused on energy balance, molecular epidemiology, and dissemination have also been and will continue to be tremendously valuable.
Importantly, DCCPS has been at the forefront of NCI's efforts to leverage the expertise and resources of other NIH institutes, federal health agencies, and nongovernmental organizations.
DCCPS has come to stand as the nation's model for cancer control science. As NCI plans for the next decade, DCCPS will continue to play a critical role in addressing the Institute's strategic scientific priorities.
Dr. John E. Niederhuber