Sarah Cryer '10 Studies Impact of Diet on Cancer Outcomes

Sarah Cryer '10 at Dr. Elizabeth Poynor's office.
Sarah Cryer '10 at Dr. Elizabeth Poynor's office.
This summer, Bristol Scholarship winner Sarah Cryer ’10 gained medical experience with practicing gynecologic oncologist and pelvic surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Poynor. Following her completion of surgical training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Dr. Poynor decided to work exclusively in practices dedicated to the advancement of women’s health issues. Cryer’s collaboration with Dr. Poynor before the start of the academic year fused research-based knowledge with practical, career-related experience.

Cryer obtained her internship through Assistant Professor of Chemistry Camille Jones, who knew Dr. Poynor prior to the arrangement. Cryer’s duties included speaking to patients about appointments and lab results, as well as charting and recording patients’ information. She was also given the privilege of observing cervical surgeries and hysterectomies.

On the side, Cryer investigated the impact of diet on breast cancer reoccurrence through a close examination of several key research studies. These studies have attempted to discover whether or not genetic mutations in breast cancer patients can be prevented or limited by dietary antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. She discovered that the degree to which experts look at this relationship depends on location. ““I found that it’s studied on the West Coast but not necessarily the East,”  Cryer said. She also found that while most of the studies did not indicate a strong relationship between nutrition and cancer, they did imply that there is such a relationship between low body weight and cancer.

Post-graduation, Cryer would like to do clinical research for a year or two and then attend medical school. She is confident that her summer with Dr. Poynor was worthwhile - any experience in the medical field will help a chemistry major like Cryer find her way into the professional sphere. When Cryer is not contemplating her future, she is playing her violin in the Hamilton College Orchestra. As president of the cooking club, she is also attuned to the minute details involved in the mixing of ingredients – whether chemical or culinary.
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