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Prevention Highlights

Annual Report - Winter 2010

Skin cancer screening is one of many services offered by the Cancer Prevention
Center, where experts are constantly reviewing cancer screening guidelines.

Making it personal

One-size-fits-all recommendations aren’t enough when it comes to cancer screening. M. D. Anderson has released new guidelines for colon, cervical and breast cancer screenings that offer more personalized advice to people than was previously available. Guidelines formerly addressed only those at average risk for disease. The new recommendations include advice for people at increased or high risk. They also recommend when a person may stop undergoing screening. Risk-based recommendations for prostate, liver, skin, endometrial and ovarian cancers are being developed. An online risk-assessment tool will launch on
M. D. Anderson’s Web site in 2010.

Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director, Cancer Prevention Center; professor, Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention

U.S. Army combats another enemy: tobacco

In the fight against tobacco use, the U.S. Department of Defense has joined forces with M. D. Anderson’s Department of Behavioral Science with a $3.7 million grant. The pilot program, Project Combat, will feature an interactive, multimedia video game designed to provide intervention and prevention modules, as well as facts about smoking and tobacco to troops stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. The U.S. Army has the highest percentage of tobacco use among military branches. Slightly more than 50% of U.S. Army soldiers smoke or use smokeless tobacco, compared to about 20% of the total U.S. adult population. Project Combat will begin testing in 2010.

Alexander Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D., professor, Department of Behavioral Science

QuitRx makes quitting an option

QuitRx offers options for those wanting to stop smoking. The federally funded, laboratory-based, smoking cessation clinical trial began in 2007. Its goal is to examine emotion-related patterns of brain activity in response to smoking cessation medications and to determine if these patterns have a genetic basis. QuitRx has helped some smokers quit. Results show that their brains respond to smoking cues in the same manner as emotional cues, but that smoking cues are processed by the brain far earlier than the other cues. M. D. Anderson’s first clinical trial using social media to maximize the reach of recruitment efforts, QuitRx featured patient videos on YouTube and iTunes U.

Paul Cinciripini, Ph.D., professor, Department of Behavioral Science

No excuses allowed for no-cost program

The Tobacco Treatment Program, a clinical program aimed at helping patients, employees and family members quit smoking at no cost, reaches more than 600 patients a year. The program provides intensive behavior and motivational therapy plus medications to help people stop smoking. It also provides treatment for emotional and psychiatric disorders as part of the smoking cessation therapy. It is the largest and only program of its kind within a cancer center in the country. In addition to in-person contact, the program provides online- and phone-based support. More than 2,000 smokers throughout M. D. Anderson have been treated.

Paul Cinciripini, Ph.D., professor, Department of Behavioral Science

Vitamin E and selenium ineffective in preventing prostate cancer

Important negative findings from one of the largest chemoprevention trials ever conducted showed that vitamin E and selenium, either alone or in combination, did not prevent prostate cancer. The Phase III trial followed 35,533 healthy participants from the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada for 5 1/2 years and was halted early when an interim data analysis indicates no benefit. The trial was based largely on secondary findings from two earlier large prevention trials for other types of cancer. The results demonstrate that preliminary data suggesting benefits — no matter how promising — cannot reliably result in new clinical recommendations until they have been tested in definitive trials.

Scott Lippman, M.D., professor and chair, Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology

Reported in the Dec. 9, 2008, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association

Educating through prevention and cessation

The Tobacco Outreach Education Program is instrumental in delivering 10 years of highly effective education and training in tobacco control strategies to educators, health care providers and the community. The multifaceted program leads the way with six defining initiatives:

  • Project ASPIRE, an online interactive smoking-cessation program for teens
  • Continuing medical education (CME)
  • Scientific presentations and community outreach
  • Partnerships
  • Postdoctoral fellowship training
  • Diverse research projects

More than 25,000 people have been trained and 2,544 medical professionals were educated with 1,911 CME credits awarded. ASPIRE, alone, generated more than 40,000 users from 66 countries.

Alexander Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D., professor, Department of Behavioral Science

Increasing emphasis is being placed on healthful eating habits as studies at
M. D. Anderson show how obesity puts people at high risk for cancer.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center