Our multi-disciplinary department conducts innovative research focused on understanding
cancer risk factors and how to improve the quality of life and survival for people
diagnosed with cancer.
The Population Science Department uses the collective expertise of epidemiologists, biostatisticians, behavioral scientists, research analysts, and study management experts to better understand the behavioral, social, physical, environmental, and societal factors that affect cancer prevention, risk, treatment, and survivorship. We do this by comprehensively collecting and evaluating data from surveys and human biological samples, and by employing behavior-change theories. For instance, we:
The department has a long history of conducting seminal research on cancer risk factors, resulting in pivotal or landmark studies and insights that influence the direction of future cancer studies from investigators across the world.
Alpa Patel, PhD, leads the department as the Senior Vice President of Population Science, bringing over 20 years of experience at the American Cancer Society.
If you smoke and have been diagnosed with cancer in the last 24 months, you may be eligible to participate in a research study that will test a smartphone app to help you quit smoking.
Learn more at: Quit2heal.org
We conduct and analyze large-scale population and behavioral intervention studies and maintain a large biospecimen collection.
We study risk factors that increase the chances of developing cancer. After a cancer diagnosis, we study how to improve quality of life and survival. For most of this work, we use our large, on-going prospective cohort studies, called the Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS).
These studies have provided data for hundreds of scientific publications and helped inform clinical and public health guidelines, including the American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity guidelines.
We study how to help people change behaviors (such as quitting smoking or being more active) before and after a cancer diagnosis. Our work includes:
This group supports all other Population Science teams to ensure that we effectively and accurately answer key cancer research questions. The team’s expertise includes:
The American Cancer Society's first prospective cohort, the Hammond-Horn cohort study, provided the first US prospective evidence confirming the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions in men.
Since then, we have invested in additional large prospective studies, which have continued to provide unique and significant contributions to the global scientific community that have increased our understanding about the risk factors of cancer, including tobacco use, obesity, diet, physical activity, hormone use, air pollution, and more.