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Electra D. Paskett, PhD, MSPH
Professor, School of Public Health
Division Chair, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Marion N. Rowley Designated Chair in Cancer
Department of Medicine
Ohio State University
Goal: To improve the quality of life of breast cancer survivors.
Impact: Dr. Paskett is investigating lifestyle interventions, such as diet and exercise, that may enhance the quality of life of those who have survived breast cancer. Her findings may inform new strategies for preventing breast cancer recurrence and improving the mental and physical health of women who are living beyond breast cancer.
What’s next: She and her colleagues will utilize the rich data within the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study to examine the effects of aging in breast cancer survivors compared to women who do not have cancer and assess potential biomarkers of accelerated aging.
Thanks to early detection and advancements in treatment, more women are surviving breast cancer. However, they continue to face many challenges related to their diagnosis and treatment—such as depression, poor memory/concentration, lymphedema, etc.—which can persist for many years following therapy. Dr. Paskett is studying the late effects of treatment in order to identify interventions that could improve quality of life.
Full Research Summary
Research Area: Examining the effects of aging in breast cancers survivors compared to women who do not have cancer.
Impact: Dr. Paskett is building on the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study to examine the effects of aging on cancer survivors versus women who do not have cancer. Her team is studying recurrence and late effects of treatment and hopes to provide information that could improve the lives of breast cancer survivors.
Current investigation: Dr. Paskett’s team has been collaborating with the WHI Survivorship Study, a cohort made up of a large group of breast cancer survivors, to examine the effects of aging in cancer survivors versus women who do not have cancer. They are continuing to grow and retain the current cohort and are conducting analyses on study participants with the goal of improving quality of life after breast cancer.
What she’s learned so far: Her team has made insights from the data collected thus far from the WHI Survivorship Study, including identifying common symptoms and clusters of symptoms reported by cancer survivors, the relationship between body image and psychological health outcomes, and predictors of physical activity among breast cancer patients.
What’s next: Dr. Paskett and her colleagues will obtain performance-based measures of physical function and blood samples to assess potential biomarkers of accelerated aging in the WHI cancer survivors compared to WHI women who do not have cancer, thereby creating the only known standardized, longitudinal assessment of physical function among a large cohort of older female cancer survivors.
Electra Paskett, received her doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Washington and became the Marion N. Rowley Professor of Cancer Research at The Ohio State University in 2002. She is Director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control in the College of Medicine, professor in the Division of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health and Associate Director for Population Sciences and Program Leader of the Cancer Control Program. She is also Director of the Diversity Enhancement Program at the James Cancer Hospital. Dr. Paskett’s publications showcase her work in intervention research directed at cancer prevention, early detection and survivorship issues specifically among underserved populations. She leads an NCI-funded study examining why rates of cervical cancer are high in Appalachia Ohio and is the Principal Investigator of the Ohio Patient Navigator Research Program. She also received funding from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and has two NIH grants to develop to test interventions to promote colorectal cancer screening. She continues to work with the Women’s Health Initiative studies looking at breast cancer prevention and survivorship as well as cardiovascular health in underserved populations. Dr. Paskett is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, past-President of the American Society of Preventive Oncology, Deputy Editor of the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, and Section Editor of the journal, CANCER. She is a member of the NIH EPIC study section and the chair of the Health Disparities Committee of the Alliance for Cooperative Trials in Oncology.