As a population scientist and cancer epidemiologist, Dr. Cannioto investigates the associations of modifiable lifestyle factors with cancer etiology and prognosis. Her primary interests involve studying the role of chronic conditions, physical inactivity, obesity, and adipokines in the risk and prognosis of ovarian cancer. In her previous work utilizing data from over 20,000 participants from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium, Dr. Cannioto’s research uncovered significant associations between habitual physical inactivity and ovarian cancer risk and mortality. Specifically, women who reported never engaging in any regular recreational physical activity throughout the decades prior to diagnosis had a 34% increased risk of developing ovarian cancer and between a 22-34% increased risk of dying from their disease.
Currently, Dr. Cannioto is the PI of a Career Enhancement Program grant, funded by the RPCI/UPCI Ovarian Spore, which examines the role of pre-existing comorbidities in ovarian cancer prognosis. Further, because exercise can improve the quality of life and may be an important modifiable prognostic factor for cancer patients, Dr. Cannioto is also currently involved in the development of pilot studies designed to provide targeted exercise interventions for breast and ovarian cancer patients and survivors. Dr. Cannioto’s long-term research goals will be to improve cancer patients’ lives by including evidence-based exercise interventions in the standard-of-care of cancer patients.