Mary Platek, PhD, MS
Dr. Platek is an epidemiologist and a Registered Dietitian and has had a diverse career in clinical nutrition, University teaching, and research. Following her PhD in epidemiology and community health, she came to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (Roswell Park) as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control where she examined risk factors and clinical outcomes for upper aero-digestive cancers. She then joined the faculty at New York University (NYU) as a Professor of Clinical Nutrition and an affiliate of the NYU Institute of Cancer where she focused on interventions to prevent cancer-related malnutrition. Dr. Platek has now returned to the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at Roswell Park and will continue to focus on cancer outcomes and prevention of adverse events in cancer survivors.
Dr. Platek’s research focuses on understanding the role of nutritional status, a reflection of how well a person’s physiologic nutritional needs are being met, in preventing adverse health events that impact morbidity and mortality associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment. Specifically, she is interested in factors associated with inadequate nutritional statuses such as cancer-related malnutrition or cachexia, and in factors associated with sarcopenia, the loss of lean body mass in the adult oncology outpatient population.
In general, cancer and cancer treatment impact nutritional status and in turn, nutritional status influences treatment delivery and clinical outcomes, all impacting the short and long-term sequelae encountered throughout survivorship. Poor nutritional status occurs in up to 80% of oncology patients at some point in the continuum of cancer care. Populations at highest risk include those with head and neck, gastrointestinal, lung cancer and any type of advanced cancer.
Dr. Platek’s research objectives are (a) to understand how cancer diagnosis and treatment affects the nutritional status of cancer patients and how cachexia/sarcopenia affects treatment delivery and clinical outcomes throughout survivorship (b) to design, conduct and evaluate innovative diet and exercise interventions to improve the nutritional health and overall fitness of cancer survivors.