Cancer doesn’t simply ruin a person’s health. New research shows that cancer also ruins the health of the American economy.

A recent study, led by University of Arizona College of Pharmacy associate professor and UA Cancer Center member Grant Skrepnek, PhD, RPh, shows that “cancer in U.S. employees results in more than 33 million disability days per year, which amounts to $7.5 billion in lost productivity. Based on data from 2004 to 2008, the researchers estimate that 3.3 million American workers are diagnosed with cancer annually.”

The research was published in this month’s edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Between the medical costs incurred by the employees, the medical benefits employers must pay, and the number of disability days an employee must take when he or she is dealing with treatments, the financial burden is often more than most companies can endure. Small business are often hit the hardest, as nearly 85 percent of the workers in this study were employed by companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Additionally, the study’s authors believe the “true cost in terms of lost productivity is likely even higher than the disability days measured.”

With America’s economy in a constant state of flux, finding cures for these diseases is of the utmost importance. A healthy economy is impossible to build without healthy, happy people.

• Cancer impacts health of American Economy (Yahoo!, via Business News Daily, Dec. 8, 2012)

UPDATE, JAN. 3, 2013: Click “Read more” to view the PDF of the full study.



The University of Arizona Cancer Center is expanding into Phoenix.

Today, The Arizona Board of Regents gave final project approval for construction of The University of Arizona Cancer Center – Phoenix outpatient clinic.

“We are very pleased with this progress,” said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. “Effective partnerships are one example of ways in which we can make our boundaries more permeable and our innovations more effective. The University of Arizona is proud to work with St. Joseph’s Hospital and the City of Phoenix to further cancer research, prevention and treatment.”

Here are the details from the official UACC release:

“Regents also approved a ground lease for 1.56 acres from the City of Phoenix at the Biomedical Campus, and a 20-year facility lease with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center/Dignity Health, which upon finalization of the lease will operate inpatient clinical cancer services at its main hospital campus and outpatient services at the new facility and at its hospital campus. Construction on the new facility will begin later this month.

The six-story, 230,000-square-foot, $100 million cancer clinic will be located at the northwest corner of Fillmore and Seventh streets and will offer comprehensive cancer services, including infusion, radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, endoscopic/interventional radiology, a breast center, specialized cancer clinics, patient wellness and support services, a prevention/executive health clinic, clinical lab space and other related support spaces. The new clinic should be open to patients by early 2015.”

This is very exciting news for us, as the UACC is committed to its goal of preventing and curing cancer for as many people as possible. This facility is projected to treat at least 60,000 patients annually within the first 10 years of opening.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible.

• UA Cancer Center – Phoenix project approved for construction (arizonacancercenter.org, Dec. 6, 2012)



Each year, the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce set out to recognize young community leaders who leave their respective mark on the Tucson area through their professional and charitable work.

This year’s “40 Under 40″ list features some of the area’s most vibrant young minds and strong leaders.

University of Arizona Cancer Center researcher Paloma Beamer, PhD, found her name among such distinguished company on Dec. 2. Dr. Beamer is an assistant professor in the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and a member of the UACC’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program.

Dr. Beamerjoined the College of Public Health in 2007 as an assistant professor in Environmental Health Sciences. The central motivation behind her research is in the development of tools that can help provide more robust exposure and dose estimates and improve the demonstration of a relationship between measured environmental concentrations and resulting health effects, particularly amongst children and underserved populations.”

In November 2011, Dr. Beamer was awarded a $666,000 grantto study how exposures to environmental pollutants may lead to the development of respiratory disease in children, particularly in vulnerable and underserved populations.”

Congratulations to Dr. Beamer and the 39 other fine folks who made the list this year. The ceremony will be held Dec. 13.

• Honorees named for 40 Under 40 (Arizona Daily Star, Dec. 2, 2012)



Derek Neal’s story has brought out the best in everyone.

Since his shocking cancer diagnosis in early September, Derek and his family have been battling the disease with everything they have. He was originally given just four months to live, but he has no intention of adhering to those projections.

Derek, a University of Arizona College of Medicine student, is blessed with a tremendous support system. His wife has consistently updated the Team Derek blog with candid, occasionally heartbreaking, and occasionally uplifting tales of their journey these last few months. His friends and family have given their time, money, and love at every turn, even helping to renovate the Neals’ home.

His College of Medicine classmates helped by organizing a 5K race on Sunday (Dec. 2) that helped to generate nearly $5,000 to benefit Neal and his family.

From the Arizona Daily Wildcat:

“Benjamin Kwittken, one of Neal’s classmates in the College of Medicine, said Neal ‘never smoked a day in his life,’ and that Kwittken and his classmates have done what they can to help Neal’s family.

‘Since his diagnosis, our class and other people in the community have come together and tried to help him and help out his family any way we could,’ Kwittken said.”

If you or someone you know would like to join Team Derek, please follow this link to donate.

• PREVIOUSLY ON UACANCER.ORG: We are all on ‘Team Derek’ (Oct. 3, 2012)
• Run on UA Mall raises nearly $5K for medical student (Arizona Daily Wildcat, Dec. 2, 2012)
• Team Derek blog