Feb 07, 2020 11:00 AM

Yelena Wu, PhD

Yelena Wu, PhD, Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) researcher and assistant professor in the department of dermatology at the University of Utah, has been awarded a multi-year Research Scholar Grant totaling nearly $800,000. This award, given by the American Cancer Society, will expand Dr. Wu’s work to rigorously test new behavioral interventions to promote implementation of skin cancer prevention behaviors among Utah children and their parents.

“I would like to thank the American Cancer Society and all of their supporters,” Dr. Wu says. “My team and I are immensely grateful for the opportunity to conduct this research, which we hope will benefit many melanoma survivors and their families across the state of Utah and contribute to the prevention of melanoma in children who do not yet regularly receive interventions like this.”

Dr. Wu’s research focuses on fostering optimal health outcomes among children, adolescents, young adults, and families affected by cancer. The FLARE (Family Lifestyles, Actions, and Risk Education) study aims to make it easier for children and families at higher risk for melanoma to take action and protect themselves from ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure and the development of skin cancer. UVR exposure is the most common modifiable risk factor for skin cancer. Utah’s rate of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the highest in the United States.

Families participating in the study will be asked to fill out questionnaires and take part in videoconferencing sessions conducted by a health educator. Participants will learn strategies that could make it easier to carry out skin protection habits to prevent melanoma. Recruitment is ongoing and will continue for the next few years.

The American Cancer Society is the nation’s largest private not-for-profit source of funds for scientists studying cancer. The Research Scholar Grant supports investigator-initiated projects across the cancer research continuum. Currently, the American Cancer Society funds eight grant awards in the state of Utah, totaling over $4.7 million.

Media Contact

Ashlee Harrison
Public Relations – Huntsman Cancer Institute

melanoma skin cancer cancer research sun safety cancer control and population sciences

About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah is the official cancer center of Utah. The cancer campus includes a state-of-the-art cancer specialty hospital as well as two buildings dedicated to cancer research. HCI treats patients with all forms of cancer and is recognized among the best cancer hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report. As the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West, HCI serves the largest geographic region in the country, drawing patients from Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. More genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at HCI than at any other cancer center in the world, including genes responsible for hereditary breast, ovarian, colon, head, and neck cancers, along with melanoma. HCI manages the Utah Population Database, the largest genetic database in the world, with information on more than 11 million people linked to genealogies, health records, and vital statistics. HCI was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.

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