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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The ANN INC. Award

Area(s) of Focus

Graham A. Colditz, MD, Dr.PH

Niess-Gain Professor of Surgery and Professor of Medicine
Chief, Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery
Associate Director Prevention and Control
Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center
Deputy Director, Institute for Public Health
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, Missouri

Current Research

Dr. Colditz specializes in studies on childhood and adolescent lifestyle and growth, combining these with insights on breast development to identify potential prevention strategies to reduce breast cancer risk starting early in life. Over the course of his BCRF funding, his work has increased our understanding of how we might modify risk though lifestyle early in life. His current BCRF project is focused on benign breast lesions as precursors of breast cancer to better understand differences in events leading to premalignant lesions and from premalignant to invasive breast cancer. In the coming year, he will refine predictors of peak height growth velocity (the greatest increase in height a girl experiences in a single year) and use this predictor to estimate growth velocity for women in the Nurses’ Health Study II to assess growth velocity and risk of breast diseases (benign lesions and invasive cancers). His current studies also include assessing blood carotenoid levels in relation to benign breast lesions. Findings from this work could provide new evidence of the importance of adolescent and early adult diet to reduce breast cancer risk. Dr. Colditz continues his research on the risks of weight gain across the life course to further inform and quantify the importance of weight gain and breast cancer burden on society.


Dr. Colditz is an epidemiologist and public health expert with a longstanding interest in the causes and prevention of chronic disease, particularly among women. With a commitment to identifying strategies for prevention of breast cancer, Dr. Colditz studies benign breast disease and other markers for risk of breast cancer. Dr. Colditz described the increase in risk of breast cancer with use of combined estrogen plus progestin therapy and a significant increase in risk with increasing duration of use. Mortality from breast cancer was also elevated among current users (NEJM 1995). These data were confirmed by the WHI. He documented in prospective data the importance of proliferative benign lesions and risk of subsequent breast cancer (JAMA 1992; NEJM 1999) and the potential for childhood and adolescent diet, alcohol, and adiposity to modify risk of premalignant and invasive breast cancers. His research continues to focus on this time period in women’s lives and prevention of breast cancer. He is among the most highly cited medical researchers in the world.

Dr. Colditz developed the award-winning Your Disease Risk website ( which communicates tailored prevention messages to the public. He has published over 900 peer-reviewed publications, six books and contributed to reports for the Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Science.

Dr. Colditz has served in numerous leadership roles. He was the editor-in-chief of the journal Cancer Causes and Control and has contributed to reports of the Surgeon General on Tobacco and Health. In October 2006, on the basis of professional achievement and commitment to public health, Dr. Colditz was elected to membership of the Institute of Medicine, an independent body that advises the U.S. government on issues affecting public health. He received the ACS Medal of Honor in 2011, the AACR-AACS award in 2012, and the ACSO-ACS award in 2014, all recognizing his research in cancer prevention and control.