By Anna Fletcher
Courier-Times Staff Writer

A two-person research team from Piedmont Community College has been given $4,300 from the N.C. Space Grant program to examine known cancer data for Person and Caswell Counties, which they hope will increase the understanding of cancer and encourage healthy habits in the community.

Anatomy and Physiology instructor Stephen DeSimone and pre-nursing student Amber Rogers will study the cancer rates in relation to other known data for the region, such as socioeconomics, diet and physical activity.

Using their findings, they hope to identify trends, correlations and variations, which they will analyze in a research paper. If the paper gets published by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, DeSimone and Rogers will present it at the American College of Epidemiology’s annual meeting next spring.

“Basically, we’re looking for broad trends in cancer rates,” DeSimone said. “There’s a lot of data out there. There’s a lot of questions to ask.”

Data sources will include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the N.C. Department of Health, DeSimone says, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Recently, I was thinking about the USDA – their data, and how they regulate food,” he said. “They’ve gone back 67 years and looked at the nutritional content of fruits and vegetables and how that’s changed. And I wonder if the change in nutritional content over the decades has had any kind of impact on cancer rates.”

They’ll also look at economic trends and dietary health, including sugar consumption and obesity – both of which have shot up in recent years, he says.

“Do we have cancer rates that are going up as well?” he asks. “You see young people getting fatter and eating more sugar. Have cancer rates in that segment of the population increased over the decades?”

This concern is especially pertinent in Person County, Rogers says, where dining choices are limited.

“There’s a lot of fast food places and not so many restaurants with good healthy choices, compared to some places like Raleigh or Durham,” she said. “And everything you basically have to drive to. You can’t walk around this town to get anywhere.”

When the county transitioned away from its original position as a farming community, she says, physical activity declined.

“You took out the farming that was physical labor that kept you in shape, and now more people are sitting at desk jobs, and more people are driving to Durham to go to work, or to Research Triangle Park,” she said. “It adds to stress levels too.”

The researchers hope that their findings will encourage local residents to evaluate their health habits and make beneficial changes.

“Maybe it will get people to think more wisely about their choices,” Rogers said. “Whether or not you want that second Whopper.”

Recent Posts

PCC offers short-term training for a variety of Healthcare careers, Veterinary Assisting, and career-boosting certifications; Scholarships available
Aug 16, 2022
Piedmont Community College (PCC) offers many short-term courses throughout its semesters. These courses vary from  Read More
There’s still time to register for PCC’s Fall Semester and start your career and educational journey
Aug 3, 2022
If you are ready to advance your career with a degree, diploma, or nationally recognized  Read More
PCC offers short-term training for career opportunities in IT, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and more; Scholarships available
Jul 19, 2022
Piedmont Community College (PCC) offers many short-term courses throughout its semesters. These courses vary from  Read More
Veterinary Assistant short-term workforce training course begins at PCC on July 12
Jul 6, 2022
A new course is coming to Piedmont Community College (PCC) this summer for those who  Read More
53 graduates simultaneously earn High School Diploma and PCC Associate Degree, Diploma
Jun 28, 2022
Two years of college, free. That’s what 53 high school students in Person, Caswell, and  Read More

News Categories

Recent Comments