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National Cancer Institute to support statewide UNC-CH colon cancer study

CHAPEL HILL - The National Cancer Institute has awarded $1.5 million to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers who are trying to prevent and detect earlier an illness once called "the cancer nobody talks about."

The grant was one of six given nationally from about 70 proposals from various U.S. research groups responding to an institute request for studies of health communication and cancer control.

"We're looking at how best to communicate with people about colon cancer so that they will adopt healthier lifestyles by improving their diets, increasing their exercise and seeking regular medical screening," said Dr. Marci K. Campbell, project principal investigator. "Research has shown that better diets and exercise may lower the risk of the colon cancer and that regular screening could save many lives."

Campbell, assistant professor of nutrition at the UNC-CH schools of public health and medicine, said the project will examine strategies for persuading both colon cancer survivors and others not yet affected to change their behaviors. She and most of her colleagues are members of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Others involved in the project will be Drs. Robert Sandler, professor of medicine and co-principal investigator; Brenda M. DeVellis, professor health behavior and health education; Sharon C. Murray, research assistant professor of medicine; Sally C. Stearns, associate professor of health policy and health administration; and Boyd R. Switzer, associate professor of nutrition.

The new project will piggyback on the North Carolina Colon Cancer Study, which Sandler already has started, Campbell said. Investigators are interviewing people in 33 N.C. counties and taking blood samples to examine behavioral and genetic factors that boost the colon cancer risk.

"Dr. Sandler's sample is especially good because it is a well-balanced, racially diverse group o
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Contact: David Williamson
David_Williamson@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
11-Aug-1999


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