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Next Generation: Rikki Cannioto, leading cancer epidemiologist at Roswell Park

From fledgling biotech startups to massive hospital systems, the health-care industry is deeply woven into the community's economy. The industry employs tens of thousands of physicians, nonprofit workers, life-sciences entrepreneurs, health-insurance administrators and the like. Dozens, if not hundreds, of them are driving innovations in health care delivery. There are too many to list, but this group offers a diverse cross section of local emerging leaders. Here is one; click here to see the rest.

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Rikki Cannioto is a leading cancer epidemiologist at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, but academia initially wasn't in her plans.

After her mother prodded her to apply for a scholarship, Cannioto fell in love with learning and eventually earned a doctorate in exercise science – a natural fit for a college athlete.

While teaching college students, she came across scientific literature on the link between exercise and obesity and cancer risk and survival.

Cannioto decided, around 40, to change careers because she wanted to do something that directly affects patients' lives. She earned a second Ph.D. through Roswell Park and began research there.

Cannioto, now 48, analzyed the data on a long-term, observational study of nearly 6,000 patients and presented the findings in 2018 at a major conference.

Which exercise is best and how much exercise is effective are still open questions. But she and her colleagues are applying their findings to the treatment of cancer patients.

Roswell Park cancer patients help establish link between exercise, longevity

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