At The Dartmouth Institute, we are helping people
make decisions about cancer prevention, screening, and treatment that are right for them.
Cancer impacts everyone. The majority of us have had a loved one diagnosed with cancer—or received a cancer diagnosis ourselves. Every year, many of us undergo screening or are exposed to cancer prevention campaigns, treatment center advertising, or are simply worried we will get it. At The Dartmouth Institute, we do the important work of trying to get reliable data, better information, and improve communication, so that all of us can make better decisions about cancer prevention and treatment.
Fortunately, cancer diagnosis and treatment has rapidly improved in the past decade. Millions of lives are saved every year from technology assisted screening, diagnosis, and treatment. At The Dartmouth Institute, our aim is to ensure that these new advances are used as effectively and responsibly as possible. Our researchers investigate—and inform the public about—the collateral harm and challenges that can result from excessive screening, false positives, misdiagnosis, and overdiagnosis. Questions range from which of the options, ultrasound or Breast MRI, is most helpful in a woman’s choice to have a lump or the whole breast removed, to whether a “false alarm” causes women to shy away from future screening.
We also examine risk behaviors and preventative strategies and how best to communicate them:
How does media, our environment, physical activity, nutrition, and sleep habits affect cancer risk behaviors (including tobacco use and obesity)?
Does e-cigarette use, on the rise among teens, lead to cigarette smoking?
What policy and regulatory measures can we put in place towards effective prevention?
Finally, for those of us facing difficult decisions surrounding cancer treatment, we are researching ways to better communicate information about treatment options, and monitoring whether advertising and media reporting about cancer treatment reflects the best scientific evidence available. Working together we can prevent needless cancer deaths and, at the same time, help everyone make decisions about the screenings, diagnostics, and treatments that are right for them.