Studying the Effects of Cancer Treatment
Research Area: Symptom Science
When he started his cancer career at the University of Rochester Medical Center over 40 years ago, Gary Morrow, Ph.D., delved into a research area few others were studying at the time, the often-debilitating side effects of cancer treatment.
Not only did most patients experience severe nausea and fatigue while taking cancer drugs, he found, many slipped into anxiety and depression, undercutting their chances of completing therapy and shortening their chances for long-term survival.
So, Dr. Morrow, trained in clinical psychology, began his lifelong mission into the “human side of the disease,” or as others describe his work, “helping good people live through lousy times.” As part of that, he helped run five large nationwide clinical studies, which established anti-emetics’ role in mitigating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting—a finding cited as one of the top five cancer advances of the past 50 years by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. As one of his colleagues put it, “he went with it,” and a field of research later blossomed around symptom management and quality-of-life in cancer care.
Dr. Morrow is the principal investigator of the University of Rochester Cancer Center Research Base of the NCI Community Oncology Research Program. Diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009, he is follow-ing his own advice and the latest science on treating the symptoms and side effects of his therapy. He said he feels better and has gained insight, “being of a certain age,” into the issues of geriatric oncology.
Among the numerous awards he has received is the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Distinguished Research Mentor Award in 2012.
To learn more about Dr. Morrow, visit the University of Rochester.