How can we reduce the burden of cancer?

Implementing the research agenda of the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics Program


Scientists at the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) work to understand genetic and environmental determinants of cancer. They study many different types of cancer, employ a wide range of study designs, include diverse populations, and collect a broad array of epidemiologic and clinical data, as well as biological and environmental samples.

These complex, multidisciplinary studies need considerable infrastructure and resources for successful conduct, such as clinical staff and experts in the collection and handling of biological and environmental samples. For many of DCEG’s longitudinal cohort studies, expertise is needed in long-term followup methods and linking cohorts to disease and death registries. Most studies require acquiring, editing, merging, and harmonizing data from multiple sources sometimes collected over the course of many years; maintaining the data in secure databases; and preparing analytic datasets.


For the past 40 years, Westat has provided research support services to DCEG investigators. We currently hold 6 contracts supporting 50 to 70 active studies.

Our large and highly skilled workforce has advanced, specialized capabilities in

  • Multimode data collection from individuals and healthcare delivery sources
  • Clinical data collection
  • Genetic counseling
  • Biological and environmental sample collection and management
  • Exposure assessment
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Data linkages
  • Management of complex biomedical data from multiple sources

We successfully manage multiple studies conducted concurrently and respond quickly to address newly emerging scientific questions.


Westat is proud to support research that has made major contributions to our understanding of the causes, progression, prevention, and detection of cancer. Examples include studies that have identified genetic mutations associated with cancer in high-risk individuals, studies to understand the associations of infections with cancer and progression from precancerous lesions, and studies to understand the interrelationships between environmental and genetic factors in cancer.


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