Researchers in the Wholeness, Resilience, and Cancer Research program perform comprehensive studies on cancer development. The program explores what happens from the time someone is first exposed to cancer risk factors — such as the environment or genetics — to when cancer is first diagnosed and treatment begins.


Our program focuses on the role that wholeness and modifiable lifestyle choices can play in preventing and delaying cancer — including providing resilience and intercepting its development. 


Prevention involves discovering anything you can do to modify your risk of developing cancer. For example, data shows that maintaining a healthy diet can reduce cancer risk. Our program also researches other lifestyle choices like sleep, exercise, and social factors, and how they affect cancer development.


Since cancer is often an age-related disease, the speed at which we age affects our cancer risk. Therefore, everything you can do to delay aging should also help delay cancer development. Based on this theory, our program explores factors that affect the rate of biological aging, as well as how clinical lifestyle interventions can modify the timing or severity of a cancer diagnosis or its progression.


Not everyone who has an increased risk for cancer will develop cancer. And of those who do develop cancer, some manage cancer's emotional and physical effects better than others. Therefore, we seek to identify factors, especially modifiable factors such as lifestyle choices, that provide an individual with increased resilience, or buffering.


Interception includes our efforts to slow or reverse early cancer development. For example, even after cancer’s initial formation, there may be lifestyle or clinical interventions that can slow or stop its progression.

Research topics

Our researchers manage individual projects to learn what can slow or stop cancer development. Topics may include:

  • Behavioral health and trauma
  • Exercise
  • Pain pathways 
  • Resilience and how people deal with having cancer
  • Thought processes and their effects on bloodstream changes 

Among other resources, this research will build on decades of data from the Adventist Health Studies. This series of long-term medical research projects by Loma Linda University Health focuses on the links between lifestyle, diet, disease, and mortality among Seventh-day Adventists.

Program Members 

DirectorPenelope Duerksen-Hughes, PhD

Fayth Miles

Chi T. Viet

Julio Silvestre

John Shin