The research program of Debra L. Barton, R.N., Ph.D., centers on symptom management in cancer survivors. Effective management of short- and long-term sequelae of the disease and treatment is the objective of this research.

Focus areas

Dr. Barton's research has focused on the prevention and/or treatment of a variety of symptoms experienced by patients with cancer, including hot flashes, sexual health, fatigue, cognitive function, nausea, peripheral neuropathy and sleep.

In addition, her program of research includes studying herbal remedies and mind-body therapies, such as hypnosis, for these symptoms.

This research is part of the cancer control program of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group, now a part of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, a cooperative group research program funded by the National Cancer Institute that involves more than 20 sites in the U.S. It has also been supported by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Department of Defense.

Significance to patient care

Dr. Barton's research improves the health-related quality of life of people after a diagnosis of cancer. Her research has identified a topical treatment helpful for symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, an antidepressant that improves hot flashes and an herb to decrease fatigue.

Dr. Barton has recently evaluated American ginseng for cancer-related fatigue, and the data demonstrate that it has a role in decreasing the experience of fatigue during cancer treatment.

Professional highlights

  • Editor-in-Chief, Physician Data Query Supportive and Palliative Care Editorial Board, National Cancer Institute, 2011-present (this board develops evidence-based summaries for providers and patients about supportive and palliative care)
  • Vice Chair, Symptom Intervention Committee, Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, 2011-present
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Supportive Oncology, 2009-present
  • Co-Chair, Drug Development Task Force, Symptom Management and Health-Related Quality of Life Steering Committee, National Cancer Institute, 2008-2011
  • Fellow, American Academy of Nursing, 2008



  1. PhD - Nursing Indiana University, Indianapolis
  2. MS - Nursing, Adult Health Program University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  3. AS - Nursing Parkland College
  4. BS - Social Work University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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