The Mass General Cancer Center Survivorship Program is engaged in research to help better understand the health issues that impact patients after a cancer diagnosis, improve screening for these problems, and develop better treatments.

Our research studies, funded by the National Institute of Health, the American Cancer Society, and other foundations, assess survivors’ ongoing challenges and are focused on identifying and implementing evidence-based treatments for adults and young adults. Specifically, we are examining common and unique challenges, including health behaviors (e.g., sleep, tobacco use), physical symptoms (fatigue, pain), employment and financial issues, and emotional distress (fear of recurrence, stress) associated with survivorship. Proposed work we are hoping to launch will examine health insurance and medical care access, addressing caregiver/partners psychosocial needs, and healthy eating.

Research Projects

  1. Comprehensive Needs Assessment
    Principal Investigator: Peppercorn
    Description: This is a cancer center wide cross-sectional survey intended to explore the health issues and concerns of patients following a cancer diagnosis and interest in health care services.
    Status: Survey completed analysis and publication ongoing.
  2. BOOST: A Multimodal Intervention to Address Sexual Dysfunction in HCT Survivors
    Principal Investigator: El-Jawahri
    Description: This is a study to determine the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a sexual dysfunction intervention for bone marrow transplant survivors.
  3. ENGRAFT- Psychological Distress, Symptom burden, Quality of Life, and Coping in Patients with chronic graft vs. host disease
    Principal Investigator: El-Jawahri
    Description: This is a study that evaluated the relationship between psychological distress, quality of life and symptom burden to improve our understanding of how to help patients cope with chronic graft vs. host disease after a bone marrow transplant.
  4. Promoting Resiliency Amongst Lymphoma Survivors-Transitioning off Treatment
    Principal Investigator: Perez
    Status: Open to enrollment
  5. Individualized Care for Cancer Survivors
    Principal Investigator: Peppercorn
    Description: We are developing a 1 page screening survey to identify common problems that patients may experience after completion of cancer therapy and to focus communication and management on these issues.
    Status: Open to enrollment, Seeking additional funding.
  6. Empowering patients with Advanced Breast Cancer to achieve Individualized Care
    Principal Investigator: Peppercorn
    Description: We are conducting structured interviews to better understand the care and communication preferences for women with advanced breast cancer. We will then develop a tool to foster development of a care plan that matches the patient’s goals and preferences.
    Status: Open to enrollment.
  7. Promoting Exercise for Patients with Cancer
    Principal Investigator: O’Donnell
    Description: We will develop and test a series of instructional exercise videos for patients with a history of cancer to support initiation and maintenance of a home based exercise regimen. This study will evaluate feasibility, health outcomes, and quality of life to support development of a randomized trial.
    Status: Seeking funding.
  8. Improving communication among Primary Care Physicians and Oncology Specialists
    Principal Investigator: Chin and McDonough
    Description: We are developing a survey of primary care physicians and oncologists to evaluate communication needs and preferences to enhance the care of patients with a history of cancer.
    Status: In development, seeking funding.

Recent survivorship related publications by members of the Mass General Cancer Survivorship Program

  1. Park ER, Peppercorn J, El-Jawahri A. Shades of Survivorship. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2018 Oct;16(10):1163-1165.

  2. Post KE, Moy B, Furlani C, Strand E, Flanagan J, Peppercorn J. Development and Implementation of a Patient-Centered, Nurse Practitioner-Led Survivorship Intervention for Breast Cancer. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2016. In Press.

  3. Greenup RA, Blitzblau RC, Houck K, Sosa JA, Peppercorn JM, Taghian AG, Smith BL, Shelley Hwang ES. The cost of adjuvant radiation therapy following lumpectomy for early-stage breast cancer: an analysis from the National Cancer Data Base. J Onc Pract. 2016. In Press

  4. Zafar SY, Peppercorn J, Asabere A, Bastian A. Transparency of industry-sponsored oncology patient financial assistance programs using a patient-centered approach. J Onc Pract. 2016. In Press

  5. Denlinger CS, Ligibel JA, Are M, Baker KS, Demark-Wahnefried W, Friedman DL, Goldman M, Jones LW, King A, Ku GH, Kvale E, Langbaum TS, McCabe MS, Melisko M, Montoya JG, Mooney K, Morgan MA, Moslehi JJ, O'Connor T, Overholser L, Paskett ED, Peppercorn J, Rodriguez MA, Ruddy KJ, Sanft T, Silverman P, Smith S, Syrjala KL, Urba SG, Wakabayashi MT, Zee P, McMillian NR, Freedman-Cass DA. NCCN Guidelines Insights: Survivorship, Version 1.2016. J Natl Compre Canc Netw. 2016 Jun;14 (6): 715-724

  6. Peppercorn J. Financial Toxicity and Societal Costs of Cancer Care: Distinct Problems Require Distinct Solutions. Oncologist. 2016. In Press.

  7. Thomson A, Cardozo E, Dickinson K, Karmon A, Wright DL, Sabatini ME. Ovarian Stimulation and In-vitro Fertilization Outcomes of Cancer Patients Undergoing Fertility Preservation Compared to Age Matched Controls: A 17-year experience. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2015 Apr; 32(4): 587-96.

  8. Hariton E, Bortoletto P, Cardozo EC, Hochberg EP, Sabatini ME. The Role of Oncofertility Clinics in Facilitating Access to Reproductive Specialists. Abstract at Society of Gynecologic Investigation 63rd Annual Meeting, March 2016, Montreal.