The overall goal of the Biobehavioral Oncology Program (BOP) is to promote innovative and productive interdisciplinary research focused on the role of mind and brain in cancer with the long-term objective of contributing to reduced risk of cancer development, earlier detection of cancer, improved cancer treatment response, reduced symptom burden, and enhanced survival.
This mission will be accomplished by:
- Elucidating the basic mechanisms of reciprocal biological and behavioral interactions between the activities of the central nervous system and peripheral processes involved in cancer development, progression and patient response to cancer treatment, thus providing a scientific basis for the design of new and/or more effective approaches for prevention and treatment of cancer from a person-oriented perspective.
- Translating results of biobehavioral research into interventions to reduce cancer risk, and to improve patient responses to cancer, cancer treatment and survivorship.
Corresponding to the specific aims, BOP members largely focus their activities within two research areas:
- Biobehavioral analysis of risk behaviors that promote cancer development and progression, with a particular focus on smoking.
- Biobehavioral analysis of patients’ responses to cancer, cancer treatment and survivorship, with a particular focus on symptom experience.
Both include crosscutting research on psychological stress.
Biobehavioral Factors in Clinical Care and Survivorship
A better understanding of biobehavioral factors in the clinical care of cancer patients and during survivorship continues to be a priority of the BOP, with the long term goal of developing interventions that can be used in clinical practice to enhance patients' treatment experiences and outcomes.
Biobehavioral Analysis of Cancer Risk Behaviors
Cigarette smoking continues to be the most preventable cause of cancer world-wide. Therefore, biobehavioral investigations of smoking behavior continue to be a major focus of research in the Program. BOP investigators are engaged in transdisciplinary research necessary to provide the evidence base for effective national-level policy changes and individual-level interventions to reduce exposure to tobacco carcinogens at all three phases of the smoking continuum: initiation, maintenance, and cessation.