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Arizona Cancer Center researcher Cynthia Thomson, PhD, RD, will present methods to improve data collection to help influence nutritional recommendations for cancer prevention at the World Cancer Congress in Shenzhen, China, Aug. 18 to 21.
Dr. Thomson, an associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Arizona and a member of the Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program, has done extensive research on how diet influences cancer prevention. While food frequency questionnaires allow study participants to record the foods they consume, Dr. Thomson said food intake can often be under reported.
During the session “nutritional risk factors for cancer: research methods and results,” Dr. Thomson will report on one approach she and her collaborators used in the Women’s Health Initiative to correct measurement error among a subset of participants – intake calibration using doubly labeled water, which accurately measures the number of calories consumed by participants.
Dr. Thomson said the goal of her prevention studies is to show the relation between dietary fat calorie intake and breast cancer. Her concern is that measurement errors contribute to inaccurate interpretation of data collected from thousands of study participants and lead to mixed messages about behaviors and association to cancer.
“I’ll be presenting one approach to help correct for this error. I’m hoping to plant the seed that we must get more serious about how to measure diet accurately,” Dr. Thomson said.
Dr. Thomson said participating in this international cancer conference will highlight the diet research work that is being done at the Arizona Cancer Center. It’s also an opportunity to meet others conducting similar research worldwide.
“I hope to build some international linkages,” she said.
Dr. Thomson is also studying the impact of consuming cruciferous vegetables and cancer incidence. Americans eat less than half a serving a week and people in China consume two servings a day, and she is hoping to find opportunities to collaborate with Chinese researchers.
Dr. Thomson has been involved in the national Women’s Health Initiative and other major research efforts at the Arizona Cancer Center since receiving her doctorate from the UA in 1998.