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News Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer in Texas (CERCIT)

CERCIT News

2016-

Cervical Health Awareness

UTMB's Dr. Ana Rodriguez was interviewed on Univision, January 2016

January was Cervical Health Awareness Month. UTMB's Dr. Ana Rodriguez was interviewed on Houston Spanish-language television station Univision about the need for women to get screened for cervical cancer and for boys and girls to get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) in order to prevent cervical cancer.

Preventing cervical cancer – vaccinations and screenings work

by Ana M. Rodriguez, MD, Jan 2016

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month – a time to focus public attention on the need for women across the country to get screened for cervical cancer and for boys and girls to get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus when they are eligible.

Read More: Cervical Cancer Prevention

 

Survival rates not improving for women under 50 with endometrial cancer

TMC News, Jan 2016

Despite improvements in diagnoses and treatments, survival rates for women younger than 50 with primary, invasive endometrial cancer are not improving according to a study available online in the Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology.

Read more: Endometrial Cancer in Women Under 50

2015-


Study supports close coordination of care to impact unplanned hospitalizations for elderly patients with GI cancer

Mar 2015

A recent study by investigators with the Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer In Texas (CERCIT) project examined the incidence of unplanned hospitalizations in 30,199 elderly Texas patients diagnosed with GI cancer. According to lead author, Dr. Joanna-Grace Manzano, unplanned hospitalizations among elderly patients with GI cancer are common, with some of the top reasons being potentially preventable. Read more.


Paralyzing Cancer before It Paralyzes You. Managing cancer-related spinal cord compression

by Justin E. Bird, MD, 2015

The National Cancer Institute estimated that in 2011 there were over 13 million people living with cancer in the US. More recently, the Institute predicted that 1.6 million people would be newly diagnosed with cancer in 2014. The good news is that through research and medical advances, many cancers can now be successfully treated, resulting in millions of cancer survivors. The not-so-good news is that many cancers spread to other parts of the body, and unless these spreading cancers – known as metastatic cancer – are identified and treated early, they can wreak havoc on the body and greatly diminish quality of life for survivors. Read more.


Study recommends earlier colorectal cancer screenings for young cervical cancer survivors

Galveston Daily News, Jan. 27, 2015

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, a designation made by Congress to raise cervical cancer awareness and education and encourage research into its cause, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment. If you are a cervical cancer survivor younger than 50 who received radiation as part of your treatment, you should be aware of new colorectal cancer screening recommendations based on findings of a recent UTMB study. "Based on our study's findings, a woman who developed cervical cancer and received radiation at a young age should not wait until she is 50 to get her first colonoscopy, said UTMB's Dr. Ana Rodriguez. "These women should ask their primary care providers about starting screening approximately eight years after radiation treatment." The news also appears in the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Hispanic women less likely to survive endometrial uterine cancer

Oncology Nurse Advisor, Jan. 12, 2015

Continuing Coverage: In the largest study to date evaluating outcomes of Hispanic women with endometrial uterine cancer, researchers have found that Hispanic women in the United States were significantly less likely to survive the cancer than non-Hispanic white women. "While the incidence of endometrial cancer is higher in non-Hispanic white women, we found that minority patients tend to be diagnosed with more aggressive cancer. Early detection is vital to improving endometrial cancer survival as most of the disparity was due to the progression of the disease,” said UTMB’s Dr. Ana Rodriguez. "Increased efforts are needed to improve education and increase access to early care for Hispanic women.”

Poor survival rates uncovered for Hispanic women with endometrial cancer

Saludify - Health, Dec. 14, 2014

New research from CERCIT investigator, Ana M. Rodriquez, MD, has shown poor survival rates for Hispanic women diagnosed with endometrial cancer. In an effort to shed light on endometrial cancer among Hispanic women, Rodriguez and her team put together the largest study to date which included 69,000 participants. "Most research has focused on comparisons of white and black women with endometrial cancer," said Dr. Ana M. Rodriguez, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UTMB.  She noted that very few studies have examined the age distribution, disease presentation, and endometrial cancer outcomes among Hispanic women.  The study concludes that the survival disparity seen among Hispanic women with endometrial cancer has much to do with timely treatment. The news also appears in UTMB News, Houston Chronicle and Medical Xpress.

2014-

Poor survival rates uncovered for Hispanic women with endometrial cancer

Saludify - Health, Dec. 14, 2014

New research from CERCIT investigator, Ana M. Rodriquez, MD, has shown poor survival rates for Hispanic women diagnosed with endometrial cancer. In an effort to shed light on endometrial cancer among Hispanic women, Rodriguez and her team put together the largest study to date which included 69,000 participants. "Most research has focused on comparisons of white and black women with endometrial cancer," said Dr. Ana M. Rodriguez, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UTMB.  She noted that very few studies have examined the age distribution, disease presentation, and endometrial cancer outcomes among Hispanic women.  The study concludes that the survival disparity seen among Hispanic women with endometrial cancer has much to do with timely treatment. The news also appears in UTMB News, Houston Chronicle and Medical Xpress.

More Access to health care may lead to unnecessary mammograms

UTMB Newsroom, May 27, 2014

GALVESTON-Researchers have concluded that providing better access to health care may lead to the overuse of mammograms for women who regularly see a primary care physician and who have a limited life expectancy. The cautionary note from researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is that screening women in this category could subject them "to greater risks of physical, emotional and economic suffering."

Radiation therapy for cervical cancer increases risk for colorectal cancer

UTMB Newsroom, May 20, 2014

Texas researchers recommend new early colorectal cancer screening guidelines for young cervical cancer survivors. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are the first to recommend that young women treated with radiation for cervical cancer should begin colorectal cancer screening earlier than traditionally recommended.

Increased risk for colorectal cancer following radiation therapy for cervical cancer

Medical News Today, April 22, 2014

Continuing coverage: Researchers at UTMB are the first to recommend that young women treated with radiation for cervical cancer should begin colorectal cancer screening earlier than traditionally recommended. The new CPRIT-funded study, which was recently posted online on the website for the journal Medical Oncology and featured Dr. Ana M. Rodriguez as lead author along with Dr. Yong-Fang Kuo and Dr. James S. Goodwin, reports a high level of incidence of secondary colorectal cancer diagnoses among survivors of cervical cancer who had been treated with radiation therapy.

10 medical tests to avoid

AARP Bulletin, March 2014

Most people should have screening for colon cancer at 50 and then every five to 10 years after that, if the first test is normal. By age 75 — if you've always had normal colonoscopies — you can stop taking this test altogether. That should be good news, because a colonoscopy can cause serious complications in older people. "Just the preparation for colonoscopy can be exceptionally harsh," says UTMB's Dr. James Goodwin, who studies overuse of colonoscopies. Some patients become incontinent or experience weeks of pain, diarrhea and constipation. In worst cases, the procedure can perforate the colon. Despite such risks, recent studies have found that substantial numbers of people over 75, even over 85, are still getting screening colonoscopies.

CPRIT funds UTMB $3.2 mil in continuing effort to study cancer screening outcomes in TX

BioNews Texas, March 7, 2014

One of the most recent high-profile Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas awards has gone to UTMB, which will receive more than $3.2 million in new funding to continue research efforts to collect comprehensive data relating to population research on cancer treatments and outcomes in Texas. The grant comes as part of a larger collection of research grants awarded to a host of top Texas-based research institutions that will give them the necessary funding to continue previously CPRIT-funded cancer research. The ongoing study spearheaded by UTMB is titled the "Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer in Texas," and will be able to continue for the next two years. The study, which is headed by Dr. James Goodwin, vice president and chief research officer at UTMB, also includes researchers from MD Anderson, Rice University and the Texas Cancer Registry, in addition to a team of UTMB researchers supporting Goodwin's efforts. Over the next two years, the consortium of researchers will continue their look into how breast, colon, and prostate cancer screening is administered throughout Texas — specifically emphasizing any correlation between patient outcomes and patients' access to varying quality levels of cancer treatment care. The news also appears in BioPortfolio, the Bay Area Citizen and Phys.org.

2013-

More than 40 percent of men over 75 undergo PSA screening despite national recommendations

UTMB Newsroom December 23, 2013

Dr. James Goodwin, who has recently been promoted to vice president and chief research officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Principle Investigator for CERCIT, visited with Guidry News Service about a new study by UTMB researchers that shows that one out of four colonoscopies paid for by Medicare is potentially inappropriate under current screening guidelines set forth by the United States Preventive Services Task Force.

A Visit with Dr. Taylor Riall

Guidry News December 1, 2013

Senior author and CERCIT investigator, Dr. Taylor Riall, discusses the breast biopsy study with Jim Guidry. Many women in Texas who are found to have an abnormality on routine mammogram or discover a lump in one of their breasts end up having an old-fashioned surgical biopsy to find out whether the breast abnormality is malignant. Since 2001, national expert panels have recommended that the first course of action for women with breast lumps or masses should be minimally invasive biopsy. Minimally invasive biopsies are most commonly done under ultrasonographic or X-ray guidance, with either a fine needle or preferably a "core tissue extraction" needle. They do not require surgery or anesthesia and leave little to no scarring. Most importantly, a diagnosis of benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) breast mass can be determined before any decisions about treatment are made.

Breast Cancer Rx Linked to Heart Failure risks in older women:

DailyRx News October 23, 2013

Roughly one in four breast cancers has too much of a protein called HER2, which makes the cancer grow faster. A new study has shown that older breast cancer patients taking Herceptin had higher risks of congestive heart failure than patients who didn't take the medication. Mariana Chavez-MacGregor, MD, MSc, assistant professor of breast medical oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and CERCIT investigator, was the lead investigator of this study that evaluated the rates of and risk factors associated with Herceptin-related congestive heart failure (CHF) in older patients. The authors conclude that "It is possible that among high-risk patients, early cardiology referral, the use of prophylactic cardioprotective agents, and close monitoring may be beneficial."

Many older men still getting PSA test for prostate cancer, against recommendations

CBS News, Oct. 16, 2013

Many doctors still give their patients who are 75 and older prostate-specific antigen tests for prostate cancer, even though many medical groups have recommended against it. A research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Oct. 16 reveals that about 41 percent of men in that age group had the PSA procedure done — and 29 percent had been recommended for the test by their primary care physician. "Our results suggest that a major reason for the continued high PSA rate is decision-making by the physicians," said senior author Dr. James Goodwin, director of UTMB's Sealy Center on Aging. Lead author Dr. Elizabeth Jaramillo said that overtesting can create harms, including overdiagnosis. "The vast majority of prostate cancers are so slow growing that an elderly man is much more likely to die of another condition in his lifetime than from the cancer," she said. The news also appears in UPI.com, MedPage Today, Everyday Health, Drugs.com, HealthDay and U.S. News & World Report, among other outlets.

More Hispanic Texans die from cancer than any other causes

UPI.com, Oct. 1, 2013

More Hispanic Texans die from cancer than any other cause and only 3 percent of Hispanic Texans are age 75 and older, researchers say. The report, published in a special issue of the Texas Public Health Journal, found cancer was the leading cause of death among Hispanic Texans age 76 and younger, but survival after a diagnosis of cancer is superior for Hispanics compared to non-Hispanic whites. Principal investigator Dr. James S. Goodwin of UTMB said even though cancers tend to be more advanced when diagnosed in Hispanics, death rates were lower than in the white population.

CERCIT releases report on Cancer in Texas Hispanic/Latino population

Texas Public Health Journal, September 19, 2013

In response to the growing Texas Hispanic population and their health needs, Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer in Texas (CERCIT) investigators have developed and released 'A Comprehensive Report on Cancer among Hispanics in Texas.' This report, presented as a supplemental issue of the Texas Public Health Journal, provides current cancer incidence, survival, and screening statistics for Hispanics/Latinos in Texas that can be used for planning, program evaluation and policy purposes. If you would like a hard copy of the supplemental TPHJ issue mailed to you, please contact us. For more information about the Texas Public Health Association and its journal, please visit www.texaspha.org.

Early detection key to combating bladder cancer

El Paso Times, July 14, 2013

While most people know that cigarette smoking is the No. 1 risk factor for lung cancer, few realize that it is the single biggest risk factor for bladder cancer as well. Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in Americans and the most common cancer of the urinary tract. But it is largely out of the public eye, even though nearly 71,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.

CERCIT Featured in the Texas Public Health Journal, Summer 2013

Using research to keep Texans informed about cancer care – that is at the heart of CERCIT (Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer in Texas). A description of this project and selected articles from its four research areas are featured in the Spring 2013 issue of the Texas Public Health Journal, a quarterly publication of the Texas Public Health Association (pages 22-55).

Click on the following links to read each article:

  1. CERCIT: Research to Keep Texans Informed About Cancer Care

    The "Cores" of CERCIT: Data, Training, Knowledge

  2. Utilization of BRCA testing in older women with breast and/or ovarian cancer in the state of Texas
  3. Prostate Cancer Treatment Patterns in the State of Texas, 2004-2007
  4. The Current Utilization of Breast and Prostate Cancer Screening in Older Adults in Texas
  5. The Human and Economic Burden of Cervical Cancer in Texas

If you would like a complimentary hard copy of the entire issue mailed to you, please contact us.

More than one third of Texas women still receive unnecessary breast biopsy surgery

UPI, UTMB Newsroom, May. 16, 2013

Many women in Texas who are found to have an abnormality on routine mammogram or discover a lump in one of their breasts end up having an old-fashioned surgical biopsy to find out whether the breast abnormality is malignant. Since 2001, national expert panels have recommended that the first course of action for women with breast lumps or masses should be minimally invasive biopsy.

Do you really need that colonoscopy?

AARP, April 25, 2013

A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that almost a quarter of colonoscopies are either performed too often or given to patients who are too old to benefit. "It looks like some patients are getting screened inappropriately," says UTMB's Kristin Sheffield who led the study. The study didn't fault colonoscopies doctors performed because a patient had a problem or worrisome symptom, such as blood in the stool or abdominal pain. Nor does it address colonoscopies to check patients who previously have had colorectal cancer or precancerous growths.

Seniors Getting Unnecessary Colonoscopies

U.S. News & World Report, March 12, 2013

Older U.S. adults may get too many colonoscopies, costing Medicare an estimated $500 million a year and putting patients at an increased risk of side effects such as bleeding, UTMB researchers found. About one-quarter of colonoscopies in Medicare recipients ages 70 and older may be inappropriate based on screening guidelines, according to analysis of insurance claims data released yesterday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. "Inappropriate colonoscopies involve an unnecessary risk with no added benefit for the older patient," said Kristin Sheffield, the study's lead author. "The harms are greater than the expected benefit." The news appears widely throughout the world, appearing in such outlets as The New York Times, MSN, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Yahoo! News, Houston Business Journal, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune  The Washington Post and Lifescript.

Cancer in Texas: Analyzing the Links

Me and My Doctor blog Mar 9, 2013 By Vivian Ho, PhD

Cancer in Texas Researchers have documented dramatic differences in cancer care and cancer survival rates across the country. Texas is no different, with analysis of Texas Cancer Registry data showing substantial variation in cancer treatment and mortality in different areas of the state. Recent studies by the Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer in Texas (CERCIT) consortium suggest that differences in the local availability of specialists who treat cancer may affect treatment variation across the state. One study found that greater availability of colonoscopists and primary care physicians led to higher rates of colon cancer screening by colonoscopy for whites but not for blacks and Hispanics. Another study found that billings for intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for breast cancer patients were higher in areas with a greater density of radiation oncologists. This advanced form of radiation therapy manipulates beams of radiation to conform to the shape of a tumor.

Overuse of surveillance colonoscopy after resection

Medical Xpress, Feb. 1, 2013

Approximately one-third of patients with normal results on their first and second colonoscopies after undergoing curative resection for colorectal cancer undergo subsequent surveillance colonoscopies within two years, which is earlier than recommended by current guidelines, according to research published in the January issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. CERCIT investigator, Dr. Amanpal Singh and colleagues used data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare linked database for 1992 to 2005 to analyze the timing for the first three colonoscopies after patients underwent curative surgery for colorectal cancer.

Minimally invasive breast biopsy lags in Texas

U.S. News & World Report, March 12, 2013

Older U.S. adults may get too many colonoscopies, costing Medicare an estimated $500 million a year and putting patients at an increased risk of side effects such as bleeding, UTMB researchers found. About one-quarter of colonoscopies in Medicare recipients ages 70 and older may be inappropriate based on screening guidelines, according to analysis of insurance claims data released yesterday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. "Inappropriate colonoscopies involve an unnecessary risk with no added benefit for the older patient," said Kristin Sheffield, the study's lead author. "The harms are greater than the expected benefit." The news appears widely throughout the world, appearing in such outlets as The New York Times, MSN, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Yahoo! News, Houston Business Journal, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune  The Washington Post and Lifescript.

2012-

Avoiding over-diagnosis with PSA screenings

Galveston Daily News, Oct. 15, 2012

In this guest column, UTMB's Dr. Elizabeth Jaramillo writes about the Prostate-Specific Antigen test and decreasing the rate of over-diagnosis, false positives and unneeded biopsies. "Prostate cancer has some aggressive forms, but usually it is a very slow-growing cancer. Especially in older men, the cancer grows so slowly that other diseases will likely cause mortality before the cancer causes symptoms or spreads."

Screening for prostate cancer is an exception to the rule

Houston Chronicle, Sept. 7, 2012

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society no longer recommend using the PSA test to screen for prostate cancer. In this guest column, UTMB's Dr. James S. Goodwin writes that, "For most cancers, the rule of thumb is 'earlier is better,' as in the earlier a cancer is caught, the better the outcome. Prostate cancer is an exception to the rule, however. With prostate cancer, looking for it has been found to cause more harm than good."

Pancreatic cancer patients' choices easier with new study

Medical News Today, Aug. 25, 2012

Should patients with pancreatic cancer who know there time is ending soon spend a great amount of that little time undergoing aggressive and difficult treatment that will only add a brief period of additional life? UTMB's Dr. Casey Boyd and colleagues analyzed both hospital and medical care days in pancreatic cancer patients with stage, treatment and survival, which was able to give them a quantitative look at the whole experience of a patient with this disease. She hopes that this paper will help doctors give patients the information they need to make important decisions. The news also appeared in Science Daily and Guidry News.

The controversy over cancer screening

Austin American-Statesman, Aug. 15, 2012

Continuing coverage: The Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer in Texas research group is studying cancer screening patterns in Texas and investigating associated outcomes. UTMB leads this research consortium, which includes the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Texas School of Public Health, Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Cancer Registry. The column also appears in The Galveston Daily News and Houston Chronicle.

Screening for Prostate Cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement

Annals of Internal Medicine, July 17, 2012

The USPSTF recommends against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer (grade D recommendation). This recommendation applies to men in the general U.S. population, regardless of age. This recommendation does not include the use of the PSA test for surveillance after diagnosis or treatment of prostate cancer; the use of the PSA test for this indication is outside the scope of the USPSTF.

Confusion causes rates to lag for colon-cancer screening

Houston Chronicle, March 24, 2012

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month — a good time to remind Texans of the importance of being screened for colorectal cancer, which is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, writes UTMB's Dr. James S. Goodwin in this guest column. "These deaths can largely be prevented with appropriate screening. But our research shows that in Texas, the number of people getting screened varies greatly from region to region and among different age and ethnic groups." 

New Cancer Research Effort to Benefit Texans

UTMB, February 6, 2012

Galveston - A research initiative that will impact clinical cancer care for Texans is underway. But unlike similar initiatives, the results of this one will be shared with a much broader audience and not just researchers and physicians. This research is exploring important questions about screening patients for certain cancers.

Zwelling, Goodwin and Elting: Cancer survivors present unique new challenges

El Paso Times, Jan 29, 2012

There are more than 10 million Americans who have survived a cancer diagnosis. Cancer survivorship is a new, chronic condition that has become ever more common as our cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment options have improved. But cancer survivors have unique medical issues that require special attention, often from primary-care doctors, not cancer specialists.

2011-

More docs no help for racial colonoscopy gap

MedPage Today, Dec. 17, 2011

Communities that have more physicians available to perform colonoscopies actually have bigger — not smaller — disparities in screening rates between minority and white patients, according to a recent study of Texas Medicare claims data. In the study of claims for nearly 975,000 Texas Medicare beneficiaries, colonoscopy use was higher in whites (40.7 percent) than in blacks (35.0 percent) or Hispanics (28.7 percent), reported Dr. Taylor S. Riall and colleagues from UTMB

Some facts to consider in prostate-cancer debate

Houston Chronicle, Oct 25, 2011 by CERCIT Investigators, Drs. Leonard A. Zwelling and James S. Goodwin

There are more than 10 million Americans who have survived a cancer diagnosis. Cancer survivorship is a new, chronic condition that has become ever more common as our cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment options have improved. But cancer survivors have unique medical issues that require special attention, often from primary-care doctors, not cancer specialists.

Site managed by Sealy Center on Aging • Date Updated: February 2017
UTMB MDACC UT Health Science Center Houston UTSW TCR DSHS CPRIT

CERCIT is a multidisciplinary consortium of investigators at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), UT Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas (UTSW), and the Texas Department of State Health Services Texas Cancer Registry. CERCIT is funded by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Manuscript Acknowledgement: This work was supported [in part] by the Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer in Texas (CERCIT) Grant #RP160674, funded by The Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).