Current projections indicate that the burden of cancer will increase from 10 million new cases globally in 2000, to 15 million in 2020. This public health burden will necessitate further research into the etiology and prevention of cancer. The primary goal of the Cancer Epidemiology Program is to develop new knowledge relevant to cancer etiology, diagnosis, prognosis, and prevention using interdisciplinary and epidemiologic approaches. The cancer epidemiology faculty have developed a rich research program including diverse cancers (breast, prostate, colon, head and neck, childhood, melanoma, esophageal, and bladder) and exposures (lifestyle, diet, genes, tumor biology, occupational and environmental, health care, screening, socioeconomic factors). Research spans etiology, survivorship, comparative effectiveness, and access to health care, with many studies emphasizing health disparities, especially among African-Americans. Several population-based studies in North Carolina have yielded high impact findings and contribute to large international consortia. Students in the cancer epidemiology program receive training in epidemiologic methods, biostatistics, related substantive areas, and cancer biology. Outside the classroom, students obtain an appreciation for interdisciplinary, collaborative research by working with diverse and strong faculty in the department, school, and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
- Understand cancer statistics and the descriptive epidemiology of cancer;
- Understand known risk factors and gaps in knowledge for the major cancers;
- Understand the pathobiology of cancer;
- Apply epidemiologic methods in the design, conduct, and analysis of cancer research studies;
- Apply critical thinking in the review of projects and publications in cancer epidemiology;
- Appreciate the interdisciplinary aspect of cancer including the contributions of basic sciences, clinical medicine, health services research, and the social sciences to the understanding of cancer etiology and progression;
- Appreciate methods for cancer risk assessment and screening;
- Appreciate the role and interdisciplinary methods of cancer control and prevention.
- Appreciate the practical aspects of conducting research in cancer epidemiology
- EPID 770: Cancer Epidemiology and Pathogenesis (Dr. Eboneé Butler)
- EPID 771: Cancer Epidemiology Methods (Hazel Nichols)
- EPID 775: Advanced Cancer Epidemiology (Andy Olshan)
- EPID 772: Cancer Prevention and Control
- PATH 225: Cancer Pathology
- EPID 742: Integrating Biomarkers into Population-Based Research
- EPID 743: Genetic Epidemiology
- EPID 745: Molecular Techniques for Public Health Research
- EPID 785: Environmental Epidemiology
- EPID 815: Diet and Cancer
- EPID 826 Introduction to Social Epidemiology
Core Faculty – Research Projects
Dr. Eboneé Butler: North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Study (PCaP), Carolina Breast Cancer Study.
Dr. Marc Emerson : Carolina Breast Cancer Study, Carolina Head and Neck Cancer Study.
Dr. Lawrence S. Engel: GuLF STUDY, and an international study examining blood levels of organochlorines and aflatoxin adducts in relation to risk of primary liver cancer.
Dr. Jennifer Lund: SEER-Medicare, UNC Integrated Cancer Information and Surveillance System (ICISS), and other health care claims databases.
Dr. Hazel Nichols: Carolina Endometrial Cancer Study, UNC Cancer Survivorship Cohort, Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Horizon Study, AYA Valuing Opinions and Insight from Cancer Experiences (VOICE) Study, SEER-linked data.
Dr. Andrew Olshan: Carolina Head and Neck Cancer Study (CHANCE), Carolina Breast Cancer Study (CBCS), and NENA childhood neuroblastoma study.
Dr. Charles Poole: Epidemiologic methods in cancer epidemiology.
Dr. Jennifer Smith: Cervical Cancer-Free Coalition, international studies of HPV and cervical disease.
Dr. Til Stürmer: SEER-Medicare, UNC Integrated Cancer Information and Surveillance System (ICISS), and other health care claims databases.
Dr. Caroline Thompson : SEER-Medicare, UNC Cancer Information & Population Health Resource (CIPHR), UNC Carolina Data Warehouse for Health (CDW-H), California Teachers Study.
Dr. Melissa Troester: Carolina Breast Cancer Study, Normal Breast Study.
Selected Collaborative Groups at UNC
- Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
- Carolina Population Center
- Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility
- UNC Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease
- Carolina Center for Genome Sciences
- Schools and Departments
Selected Research Projects
- Carolina Breast Cancer Study
- North Carolina Colon Cancer Study
- Genetic Epidemiology of Melanoma Study
- Carolina Mammography Study
- Carolina Head and Neck Cancer Study
- UNC Health Registry
- Neuroblastoma Epidemiology in North America (NENA) study
- North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Study
- Long Island Breast Cancer Study
- The AMBER Consortium
- UNC Breast Cancer SPORE
September 19, 2023 The Gillings School is one of 13 funded partners working with the CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics to establish the Outbreak Analytics and Disease Modeling (ODAM) Network. This funding will support the creation of the Atlantic Coast Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics and Analytics, which will serve as the OADM Coordinating Center and as a Center of Innovation.