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Fox Chase Cancer Center Awarded Six Million Dollar Grant from Department of Defense: Establishes Nation's First Behavioral Research Center of Excellence for Breast Cancer

PHILADELPHIA (April 25, 2001) -- The Department of Defense has awarded a six million dollar grant to Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA for the development of the nation's first Behavioral Center of Excellence for Breast Cancer Research. The grant covers research in three areas and spans four years.

The Behavioral Center of Excellence is the first program of its kind to comprehensively address unresolved issues relating to the impact of breast cancer on women and their families. The program will focus entirely on the psychosocial needs of women at risk of breast cancer, those undergoing treatment or palliative care, and those recovering from the disease.

Suzanne Miller, Ph.D., a senior member and director of the Behavioral Medicine Program at Fox Chase, directs the Behavioral Center of Excellence. "The decision making process and quality of life issues of women at high-risk of breast cancer is something that is too often ignored and the Behavioral Center of Excellence will address these issues directly," stated Miller.

Dr. Miller will lead a team of Fox Chase researchers in conducting a unique series of studies on the psychological reactions and behaviors of women dealing with different aspects of breast cancer. A key area of concern is the use of screening and risk assessment programs among healthy women, especially those women with a relative who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Researchers also hope to gain an understanding of the high rates of breast cancer mortality among African-American women, and whether it can be attributed to a lower usage of available risk assessment and surveillance technologies.

"We need to find better ways to help women from all segments of our society adjust to risk information and help them follow screening and management guidelines that could save their lives," Miller explained.

Another focus of the Center is to evaluate the effectiveness of counseling interventions that prepare women with early stage disease for the psychological and physical difficulties that arise after they have completed their breast cancer treatment. Finally, the Center is focused on promoting the quality of life of breast cancer patients with advanced disease.

Miller says the Behavioral Center of Excellence has the potential to reduce the rate of breast cancer mortality and morbidity by instituting interventions that would promote successful psychological and physical adaptation to breast cancer. "As the first program of its kind in the nation, we are developing a Behavioral Center of Excellence model for other cancer institutions to follow."

The Behavioral Center of Excellence is supported by the recently funded National Cancer Institute Behavioral Research Core Facility at Fox Chase, also directed by Miller. The mission of the Behavioral Research Core Facility is to facilitate behavioral research in cancer, and is the first core facility of its kind to be established in the nation. "To effectively reduce the burden of cancer, we need to develop programs to help patients make informed decisions, to improve their quality of life, and to engage in recommended health-protective behaviors," Miller states.

The Department of Defense grant is part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), which administers funds for peer reviewed research directed towards specific diseases and supports research that positively impacts the health and wellbeing of all Americans.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at www.fccc.edu.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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