Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Biobehavioral Oncology Program

Program Leader(s)

Description of the Program

The Biobehavioral Oncology (BBO) program evolved from what was previously known as the Biobehavioral Oncology and Cancer Epidemiology Program. With the recruitment of additional key investigators in health behavior change, symptom management, and family processes, the BBO program emphasizes understanding the effects of cancer risk perception, diagnosis, and treatment-related challenges that can affect preventative health behavior change, decision making, adaptation to diagnosis and treatment, symptom management and survivorship. Program members are conducting research that identifies biological, behavioral and psychosocial processes associated with optimal risk reduction practices, quality of life, and health outcomes. This information is then used to design and test the impact of community- and clinic-based interventions to reduce risk, and optimize quality of life within the context of clinical trials. The research also prioritizes minimizing morbidity of the cancer experience in the multi-ethnic populations in South Florida served by our cancer center. Efforts in the BBO program have lead to the successful funding of individual and multi-investigator NCI-funded grants and multiple team science interdisciplinary publications and intra- and inter-programmatic collaborations among Cancer Center members. Members of the BBO also provide leadership to multi-center, multidisciplinary clinical trials groups including institutional participation from across the United States. Partnership with the Southeastern Collaborative of the Florida Comprehensive Cancer Control initiative, and the NIH-funded Hispanic Community Health Study further expands the program’s outreach strategies to the ethnically and racially diverse populations in southeast Florida and the United States. This positions the BBO to uniquely contribute to a Center-wide emphasis on research that identifies and contributes to reduction in health disparities.

Goals of the Program

The overall goal of the BBO program is to improve quality of life and health outcomes in persons at risk for or affected by cancer by identifying specific biobehavioral processes associated with cancer outcomes; and developing targeted interventions to lessen adverse consequences of cancer and its treatment. The objectives for this goal fall in three areas associated with the continuum of cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship:

1. Preventative Health behavior Change: Developing interventions to modify preventative health behaviors such as cancer risk behaviors and adherence to screening

2. Adaptation to Treatment and Target-Focused Interventions: Identifying how persons affected by cancer adapt to treatment, and intervening to optimize adaptation

3. Reducing Late Effects and Optimizing Survivorship: Preventing delayed and late adverse effects of cancer therapy in children and adults, and optimizing long-term survivorship


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