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Critical Difference for Women

CDW grant recipient receives $1.6 million National Cancer Institute grant

Portrait of Babara AndersenBarbara Andersen, a professor of psychology and researcher at Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, has received a $1.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.

The grant funds will be used to train mental health care professionals in a biobehavioral intervention to help cancer patients cope with the stresses of diagnosis and treatment.

Before receiving the NCI grant, Andersen received a 2011-12 Coca-Cola Critical Difference for Women Faculty Research Grant for related research on an intervention tailored for women with breast or ovarian cancer recurrence. Coca-Cola CDW funds will provide for biologic (immune) assays, enabling testing of additional hypotheses regarding the patients' psychological responses and inflammatory processes.

The NCI has designated supportive care and quality of life issues as health priority areas for breast cancer survivors. Until recently, a lack of proven treatments that produce psychosocial and health benefits and a lack of training in these treatments prevented progress. Andersen's biobehavioral intervention developed by her and a group of collaborators culminates more than a decade of research evaluating the benefits of psychological counseling and support for cancer survivors.

Andersen’s NCI grant will fund eight, three-day training sessions at Ohio State for health care professionals, including psychologists, mental health nurses, and clinical social workers who currently provide supportive care to cancer patients, with the curriculum focusing on biobehavioral intervention. Andersen’s work has shown that when this biobehavioral intervention was delivered to breast cancer patients, it reduced their emotional distress, and improved their health behaviors such as diet, their adherence to chemotherapy, and their health and immunity.

For more information, visit The James Comprehensive Cancer Center News Release page.