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Deborah Mayer, Ph.D., R.N., A.O.C.N., F.A.A.N. - UNC-Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC, US

Deborah Mayer, Ph.D., R.N., A.O.C.N., F.A.A.N. Deborah Mayer, Ph.D., R.N., A.O.C.N., F.A.A.N.

Professor, Department of Nursing | UNC-Chapel Hill


Professor Mayer's program of research focuses on the issues facing cancer survivors and improving cancer care.








Deborah K. Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN is an advanced practice oncology nurse who has over 40 years of cancer nursing practice, education, research, and management experience. She earned a PhD from the University of Utah, her MSN from Yale University, her BSN from Excelsior College, her Nurse Practitioner Certificate from the University of Maryland, and her diploma from Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing.

Dr. Mayer is past president of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), was a member of the National Cancer Institute’s National Cancer Advisory Board (a Presidential appointment) and Board of Scientific Advisors. Dr. Mayer was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She is active in ONS and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and is a Past Chair of the ASCO Survivorship Committee. She served as the Editor for the ONS’ Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing (CJON) from 2007-2015 and has published over 200 articles, book chapters and editorials on cancer related issues. She was awarded the ONS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and, in 2016, was appointed as the only nurse to Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel. She became the Interim Director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship at NCI from 2018-2020.

At UNC, she is the coordinator for the oncology focus of the adult and gerotonology nurse practitioner program. Her program of research focuses on the issues facing cancer survivors and improving cancer care. As a nurse who works “frontline” with cancer survivors and as a cancer survivor herself, she brings a unique perspective to her clinical, research and health policy collaborations with cancer survivors, primary care providers, cancer specialists and researchers.

Industry Expertise (5)



Health and Wellness

Health Care - Facilities

Health Care - Services

Areas of Expertise (8)


Cancer Survivorship

eHealth Applications

Information Seeking Behavior


Colon Cancer Survivors

Cancer Nursing

Cancer Care

Accomplishments (7)

Oncology Nursing Society Lifetime Achievement Award (professional)


Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, University of Utah (professional)


Debbra Flomenhoft Humanitarian Award, Oncology Section American Physical Therapy Association (professional)


ONS Excellence in Nursing Informatics Award (professional)


Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (professional)


ONS Distinguished Service Award (professional)


First Quality of Life Lectureship, ONS Fall Institute, Atlanta (professional)


Education (3)

University of Utah: Ph.D., Nursing / Cancer Control 2006

Yale University: M.S.N., Nursing / Oncology 1985

Excelsior College: B.S.N, Nursing 1984

Affiliations (3)

  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) : Member
  • Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) : Past President & Member
  • American Academy of Nursing : Elected Fellow

Media Appearances (1)

70 Percent of Smokers Don't Quit After Cancer Diagnosis

Newsmax Health  online


Deborah Mayer, a professor at the School of Nursing and director of the Cancer Survivorship at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, reviewed the study findings and said "it is heartening to see that a diagnosis of cancer can increase smoking cessation." The researchers aren't sure why smokers quit -- or didn't quit -- because the survey didn't ask. "One possibility is that getting a diagnosis may make smokers think about all the ways they can try to be healthy so they can fight the cancer," Westmaas said. "That might include getting more exercise or changing their diet."...

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Articles (6)

Cancer‐related fatigue


2012 ABSTRACT: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) has been documented as 1 of the most distressing symptoms reported by breast cancer survivors. CRF affects functioning and impacts quality of life. Possible causal factors include physical conditions, affective and cognitive states, proinflammatory cytokines, and metabolic factors. Several common problems are associated with CRF in women with breast cancer, including treatment side effects, obesity, arm/upper quadrant symptoms, sleep disturbances, psychological effects, and comorbid conditions...

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Oncology nurses’ versus cancer patients’ perceptions of nurse caring behaviors: a replication study'

Caring in Nursing Classics: An Essential Resource

2012 BACKGROUND Different authors, most notably Leininger, Watson, and Gaut, have analyzed and defined the various components of caring.“9 These include the attributes of the caregiver and receiver, the caring process, and specific behaviors that convey caring. Watson and associates formulated a model of caring that includes caring interventions both expressive and instrumental in nature. Expressive activities include establishing relationships that are characterized by trust, hope, sensitivity, compassion, warmth, ...

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Cancer survivors information seeking behaviors: a comparison of survivors who do and do not seek information about cancer

Patient Education and Counseling

2007 OBJECTIVE: To examine the cancer information seeking behaviors and preferences of cancer survivors...

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Use of a monoclonal antibody directed against the platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor in high-risk coronary angioplasty

New England Journal of Medicine

1994 ABSTRACT: Platelets are believed to play a part in the ischemic complications of coronary angioplasty, such as abrupt closure of the coronary vessel during or soon after the procedure. Accordingly, we evaluated the effect of a chimeric monoclonal-antibody Fab fragment (c7E3 Fab) directed against the platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor, in patients undergoing angioplasty who were at high risk for ischemic complications...

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Effects of monoclonal antibody therapy in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia


1984 A phase I clinical trial was initiated to treat patients with stage IV B-derived chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with the IgG2a murine monoclonal antibody T101. This antibody binds to a 65,000-mol wt (T65) antigen found on normal T lymphocytes, malignant T lymphocytes, and B-derived CLL cells. All of the patients had a histologically confirmed diagnosis of advanced B-derived CLL and were refractory to standard therapy, and more than 50% of their leukemia cells reacted with the T101 antibody in vitro. The patients ...

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Referred Papers and Articles


Mayer, D.K.


Alfano, CM., Jefford, M., Maher, J., Birken, S.A., Mayer, DK. (2019) Building Personalized Cancer Follow-up Care Pathways in the US: Lessons Learned from Implementation in England, Northern Ireland, and Australia. American Society of Clinical Oncology Educational Book.(in press). *†Symes, Y. R., Ribisl, K. M., Boynton, M. H., Westmaas, J. L., Mayer, D. K., Golden, S. D. (2019). Dual cigarette and e-cigarette use in cancer survivors: An analysis using Population Assessment of Tobacco Health (PATH) data, Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 13(2):161-170. Nekhlyudov, L., Molllica, MA., Jacobsen, PB., Mayer, DK., Shulman, LN., Geiger, AM. (2019). Developing a Framework for Measuring Quality of Cancer Survivorship Care:Implications for Clinical Care, Research and Policy. JNCI, in press. ‡Mayer, DK and Alfano, CM (2019). Personalized risk-stratified cancer follow-up care: Its potential for healthier survivors, happier clinicians, and lower costs. JNCI, epub ahead of print January 2019. *‡Sheeran, P., Abraham, C., Jones, K., Villegas, M. E., Avishai, A., Ellinger, H., Miles, E., Gates, K. M., Wright, C. E., Ribisl, K. M., & Mayer, D. K. (2019). Promoting physical activity among cancer survivors: Meta-analysis and Meta-CART analysis of randomized controlled trials. Health Psychology, Apr 11. [Epub ahead of print] Alfano, C., Mayer, DK, Smita Bhatia, S., Maher, J., Scott, JM., Nekhlyudov, L., Merrill, JK., and Henderson, TO. (2019). Implementing Risk-Stratified Cancer Follow-up Care in the United States: Proceedings from an American Cancer Society – American Society of Clinical Oncology Summit. CA” A Journ Clinicians, 69(3):234-247 *† Symes, Y., Westmaas, YJ, Mayer, DK,3 Boynton, MH, Ribisl, KM, Golden, SD. (2018). The impact of psychosocial characteristics in predicting smoking cessation in long-term cancer survivors: A time-to-event analysis. Psycho-Oncology, epub ahead of print 8/18. *Birken, SA, Clary, AS, Berstein, J, Bolton, J, Tardif-Couglin, M, Mayer, DK, Deal, AM, Jacobs, SR. (2018). Strategies for successful survivorship care plan implementation: Results from a qualitative study. J Oncol Practice, 14(8):e462-e483. *†‡Jung A, Nielsen ME, Crandell JL, Palmer MH, Bryant AL, Smith SK, Mayer DK. Quality of Life in Non-Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review. Cancer Nurs. 42(3): E21-E33.