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About Cancer Survivors Research Program

Under the direction of Dr. Gary Deimling and Dr. Karen Bowman, the Cancer Survivors Research Program (CSRP) is now in its eleventh year studying the quality of life of older adult long-term cancer survivors. There has been little research on this group of cancer survivors because, historically, survival among older adults was relatively rare. However, advances in cancer treatment along with more general increases in longevity mean that cancer survivorship among older adults will be a significant aspect of later life for more individuals.

The research employs the general stress and coping paradigm that has long been used in research on the effects of illness. The work also combines the perspectives of extreme stress theory and identity theory to examine the effects of cancer on this uniquely vulnerable group of survivors. While only a small proportion of cancer survivors exhibit traumatic stress symptoms, the presence of sub-clinical levels of post-traumatic stress disorder needs to be addressed.

Another major theme of our work has been on how the development of the "survivor identity" buffers the individual from some of the more profound effects of cancer. While identity theory has been adapted to the study of illness, our research will be the first explicit test of identity issues and survivorship as related to long-term psychosocial distress. Other key aspects of the research will address the ways that personal dispositions such as coping style and health beliefs, along with proactive behaviors such as health promotion and marshalling social and health care support, can buffer cancer survivors from chronic stressors associated with cancer survivorship. The project has collected six waves of data from our survivors sample.


Since 1998 the program has obtained three grants from the National Institute of Health - National Cancer Institute:
12/09 - 12/10: Gary Deimling (PI), “Feasibility Research to Inform the Development of a Coping and Communication Support Intervention for Older Adult, Long-Term Cancer Survivors." Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (TDC) $26,000.

8/03 - 6/09: Gary Deimling (PI), “The Quality of Life of Older Adult, Long-term Cancer Survivors”, The National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Aging (TDC) $1,125,000.

8/01 - 9/03: Karen Bowman (PI), “Family Members and the Survivorship Phase of Cancer." The National Cancer Institute (TDC) $100,00.


8/03 - present: Eva Kahana (PI), “Multiple Morbidities in Vulnerable Populations.” The National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Aging (TDC) $1,025,000.

10/98 - 7/03: Gary Deimling (PI), “The Quality of Life of Older Adult, Long-term Cancer Survivors”, The National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Aging (TDC) $924,153.






Awards and Honors

2010 Recognition for Excellence in the Presentation of Research-Based Poster. The American Psychosocial Oncology Society, 7th Annual Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 2010.

2006 American Cancer Society Trish Greene Memorial Award for “Research on Cancer and Quality of Life.”

2004 National Cancer Institute Office of Cancer Survivorship “Outstanding Researcher in the Field of Cancer Survivorship.”

2004 Lance Armstrong Foundation Mentor.

2002 Ohio Research Council “Outstanding Researcher of the Year.”






Recent publications by CSRP staff

2012 / 2011 / 2010 / 2009



Deimling, Gary T.; Kahana, Boaz; Bowman, Karen (2012). "Adaptation and adjustment to cancer in later life: a conecptual model" in Keith M. Bellizzi and Margot Gosney (eds.) Cancer and Aging: Research and Practice, Wiley-Blackwell: 365-384.




Kahana, B.; Kahana, E.; Deimling, G.; Sterns, S.; VanGunten, M. (2011). Determinants of Altered Life Perspectives Among Older-Adult Long-term Cancer Survivors. Cancer Nursing 34(3): 209-218.




Bowman, Karen F.; Rose, Julia, H.; Deimling, Gary T.; Kypriotakis, George; O'Toole, Elizabeth E. (2010). Primary Care Physicians' Involvement in the Cancer Care of Older Long-Term Survivors. Journal of Aging and Health 22(5): 673-686.




Deimling, Gary T.; Arendt, Jacquelyn A.; Kypriotakis, George; Bowman, Karen (2009). Functioning of Older, Long-Term Cancer Survivors: The Role of Cancer and Comorbidities. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 57(s2): S289-S292.





Recent Published Abstracts


January, 2008

Deimling, G.T., Arendt, J.A., Bowman, K.B., Kypriotakis, G. (2008) The Relative Impact of Cancer-related and Age-related actors on the Psycho-social Quality of Life of Older Adult, Long-term Survivors. Psycho-Oncology Vol 17.

January, 2007

Deimling, G.T., Bowman, K. B., Wagner L.J., Arendt, J. A. (2007) The Psychosocial Quality of Life of Older Adults, Long-term Cancer Survivors: Comparing African American and Caucasian Models. Psycho-Oncology. Vol 16.


The Gerontologist

October 2007

Bowman, K. B., Arendt, J. A., Deimling, G. T, Kypriotakis, G, Rose, J. H. (2007) Health care utilization of older, longer cancer survivors. The Gerontologist, 47 (Special Issue 1), p. 605.

Deimling, G. T., Kypriotakis, G., Bowman, K. F., Arendt, J. A. (2007) Trajectories in functioning and psychosocial outcomes among older, adult, long-term cancer survivors. The Gerontologist, 47 (Special Issue 1), p. 605.

October 2006

Bowman, K. , Deimling, G. (2006). Cancer and aging informal IG: Cancer-related symptoms and co-morbidities among older adult survivors. The Gerontologist 46 (Special Issue 1), 8.

Deimling, G.., Bowman, K. (2006). The impact of cancer and co-morbidities in the quality of life of older, long-term survivors. The Gerontologist 46 (Special Issue 1), 9.

Bowman, K., Deimling, G., Rose, J. Wagner, L. (2006). Family members’ cancer-related health worry about older long-term survivors. The Gerontologist 46 (Special Issue 1), 507.



Manuscripts in Review/Works in Progress

Deimling, G.; Brown, S.; Cronin, C.; Renzhofer, H. (In Review). "The Impact of Cancer on Cancer-Related Identity Factors and the Self." Cancer Nursing.


Recent Paper Presentations

G. Deimling, Kypriotakis, G., Bowman, K.B., Arendt, J.A. Trajectories of Effects of Cancer among Older, Long-term Survivors. Presented at the Society for Behavioral Medicine, 28th Annual Meeting. March, 2007.