Lifestyle Factors and Cancer Risk
Research Area: Cancer Prevention
Graham Colditz, M.D., Dr.P.H., internationally renowned for breast cancer epidemiology and risk modeling, holds a longstanding interest in the causes and prevention of chronic disease. His research has evaluated multiple lifestyle risk factors, developed statistical models for cancer risk classification, and sought to translate scientific advances in cancer prevention to the broader population.
Since 2006, he is located at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, serving as Public Health Sciences division chief, Institute for Public Health deputy director, and associate director of Prevention and Control at the NCI-designated Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center.
Earlier, he spent 25 years at Harvard University where he was principal investigator of the Nurses Health Study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a cohort first begun in 1976. The ongoing study follows nearly 275,000 nurses in the United States to assess the risk of chronic diseases among women, using health, lifestyle, and biomarker data. From 1996 to 2006, he established and was PI of the Growing Up Today Study of 27,000 adolescents, which investigated how diet and exercise influence weight throughout a person’s life.
He led development of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention website, a public resource on lifestyle factors and cancer, and preventative measures for cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis. He guided studies evaluating changes that predict future breast cancer risk based on tissue samples from participants with prior biopsies for benign breast disease. Among other public health activities, he collaborated with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to improve diet assessment and nutrition education in service delivery, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the American Cancer Society to prevent cancer.
Dr. Colditz’s accolades include the American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship Award and the DeWitt S. Goodman Lectureship Award from the American Association for Cancer Research. He is a fellow of the Australian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Royal Australasian College of Physicians. In 2006, he was elected to the U.S. Institute of Medicine, now called the National Academy of Medicine.
To learn more about Dr. Colditz, read his Washington University biography.