American Family Children's Hospital

Scientific Accomplishments

Polly Newcomb, PhD, MPH - Cancer Control Program

Collaborator: Amy Trentham-Dietz, PhD - Cancer Control Program

In 2007, Dr. Newcomb completed a population-based case-control study of breast cancer risk in relation to several commonly-used medications including postmenopausal hormones, oral contraceptives, statins, and antidepressants.  


The Survey Research Shared Resource:

  • Designed a computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) system for the study questionnaire (mean duration=25 minutes),
  • Obtained contact information for breast cancer cases from the Wisconsin tumor registry,
  • Frequency-matched similarly-aged controls from lists of licensed drivers, and
  • Completed interviews of 2,936 (74%) newly-diagnosed breast cancer cases and 2,975 (67%) population controls aged 20-69. 

In one analysis shown in the figure, bisphosphonate medications used to treat osteoporosis were found to be associated with a 33% (odds ratio 0.67, 95% CI 0.51-0.89) reduction in risk of breast cancer. Risk reduction was greatest for longer durations of use and use among women who were not obese. 


Scientific Accomplishments Newcomb 

Br J Cancer. 2010;102(5):799-802. Funded by R01 CA047147.



Whitney Witt, PhD, MPH  - Cancer Control Program

Collaborator: Ronald Gangon, PhD - Cancer Control Program

Using UWCCC pilot grant funds, Dr. Witt conducted a study of children with cancer and their parents to determine if caring for a child with cancer or a brain tumor affects parental physical and mental health, and to examine the extent to which stress mediates the relationship between case status and parental quality of life.


The Survey Research Shared Resource:

  • Advised Dr. Witt regarding the design of the survey instrument (mean duration=1 hour) to assess a range of quality of life issues, and
  • Contacted and interviewed 80 case dyads (children with cancer aged 2-18 and their parents; 58%) and 141 control dyads (children without health problems and their parents from a community sample; 41%).

Based on a conceptual model shown in the figure, Dr. Witt hypothesized that childhood chronic health conditions and functional impairments are major life stressors and can impact the health of all family members. Findings suggested that interventions to alleviate caregiver burden and stress may improve the health and well-being of parents of children with cancer.

Scientific Accomplishments #2


Source: Qual Life Res. 2010;19(7):995-1005.


Amye Tevaarwerk, MD - Experimental Therapeutics Program

Collaborator: Kari Wisinski, MD - Experimental Therapeutics Program

Dr. Tevaarwerk’s study, funded by a UWCCC pilot grant, aims to develop, implement, and evaluate a survivorship care plan as a tool to improve patient-provider communication and coordination of care after diagnosis. 


The Survey Research Shared Resource:

  • Developed and tested a web-enabled data collection tool administered on iPads to evaluate a draft of the care plan among a volunteer group of cancer survivors, and
  • Collected baseline survey data from 38 cancer patients

The SRSR will repeat administration of the data collection tool among the 38 patients in the fall of 2012 to assess the impact of the survivorship care plan intervention. In addition, each participant will be invited to complete a survey assessing their satisfaction with the web portal.