University of Southern California
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Cancer Control Research Program

The aims of the USC Norris Cancer Control Research Program are to elucidate the etiology of cancer risk behaviors in the general population and develop primary prevention interventions that modify cancer risk behavior and enhance secondary prevention, clinical care, and survivorship. These aims serve the overarching goal of reducing and eliminating cancer health disparities among the populations represented in the USC Norris catchment area, with implications for other populations globally. The Program’s goals align with the USC Norris strategic plan by: a) developing and testing new interventions that impact the cancer burden; b) applying cutting-edge technology and methodology to assess exposures and disseminate interventions; and c) spanning the continuum of care from primary prevention to survivorship. A hallmark of this Program has been the application of innovative theory and methodology to develop integrated lines of research on cancer risk behaviors and preventive interventions. Given that the diverse, vulnerable, and disadvantaged members of the catchment area reached by the Program’s work also reflect the disparities seen at the US population level and the Program makes significant strides in addressing the mission of NCI’s efforts in cancer control and population sciences. Recent achievements of the Program, which is led by two internationally-recognized experts, Mary Ann Pentz (primary prevention) and Anna Wu (secondary prevention and survivorship), include 1) understanding mental health comorbidities with tobacco use to inform more tailored smoking cessation programs for vulnerable smokers who have been unable to quit by other means; 2) promoting cultural values and decreasing perceived cultural discrimination as means to improve tobacco prevention and control efforts with Hispanic youth and adults; and 3) utilizing executive function and mindfulness skills training in primary prevention programs that target diet, physical inactivity, and other cancer risk behaviors in youth and applying such interventions to cancer patients, caregivers, and families to improve treatment outcomes. The 30 members represent five schools and 13 departments at USC, and have $12.7M in total funding (direct costs), 38% of which is from NCI, 21% from other NIH sources, and 36% from other peer-reviewed funding sources. The Program is highly productive with 756 publications of which 17% are inter-programmatic, 23% intra-programmatic and 53% inter-institutional.

Los Angeles County Cancer Surveillance Program