Elizabeth Cash, PhD

Education:Elizabeth Cash, PhD

MS, Biobehavioral Oncology, University of Louisville, 2008
Clinical Internship, Medical/Health Psychology, University of Florida, 2011-2012
PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of Louisville, 2012

Curriculum Vitae

Current Positions:

Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery & Communicative Disorders, University of Louisville School of Medicine
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Associate Member, Cancer Care & Control Program, James Graham Brown Cancer Center

Contact Information:

Email: liz.cash@louisville.edu

Department Website:


Clinical Focus and Research:

Dr. Cash is a clinical psychologist specializing in helping patients cope with cancer. With a research background centered on cancer biology, Dr. Cash and her team have examined how depressive symptoms impact patients with cancer. Depression not only makes it harder for patients to feel motivated to engage in healthy behaviors like maintain good diet and exercise habits, but it also impacts cancer treatment outcomes through changes in biology (Zimmaro et al., 2018). She has observed that patients who report depression have more difficulty attending all of their treatment appointments and have tumors that are more likely to persist after treatment. Depressed individuals also may have trouble sleeping at night and feel more tired or less interested in being active during the day. These shifts in daily (circadian) rhythms, in turn, can negatively impact treatment outcomes and survival rates (Cash et al., 2018; Eismann et al., 2010). The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine honored scientists who discovered the molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms. Dr. Cash and her team are some of the first researchers to observe these phenomena among patients with head and neck cancer.

To help patients manage some of these challenges, Dr. Cash and her team teach strategies that include how to get good sleep, keeping physically active, talking about pain with physicians, and doing things that they enjoy to brighten their mood. By helping patients implement these strategies near the time of diagnosis, she hopes to help patients achieve a higher quality of life during and after treatment. Her team is working to design effective behavioral interventions that can help alleviate some of these emotional and biological disruptions.

Dr. Cash also is interested in the role of HPV and how it impacts cancer treatment and outcomes (Amsbaugh et al., 2018). She collaborates and consults broadly with medical and research colleagues. She is available to consult with investigators interested in utilizing behavioral, neuroendocrine, and physiological assessment modalities in their research, including:

  • Actigraphy for measurement of circadian rest/activity rhythm disruption as well as sleep variables (total sleep time, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency);
  • Salivary cortisol sampling methods for measurement of physiological stress responses, and circadian endocrine rhythm disruption.

Representative Publications

Circadian Disruption Impacts Cancer Outcomes

  • Zimmaro L, Sephton SE, Siwik C, Phillips K, Rebholz W, Kraemer H, Giese-Davis J, Wilson L, Bumpous J, Cash E.  Depressive symptoms predict head and neck cancer rurvival: Examining plausible behavioral and biological pathways.  Cancer 2018 Mar 1;124(5):1053-60. PMID: 29355901
  • Cash E, Duck CR, Brinkman C, Rebholz W, Albert C, Worthen M, Jusufbegovic M, Wilson L, Bumpous JM.  Depressive symptoms and actigraphy-measured circadian disruption predict head and neck cancer survival. Psycho-Oncology 2018 Aug 16. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 30117225
  • Eismann E, Cash (Lush) E, Sephton SE.  Circadian effects in cancer-relevant psychoneuroendocrine and immune pathways.  Psychoneuroendocrinology 2010 Aug;35(7):763-76. PMID: 20097011
  • Dedert E, Cash (née Lush) E, Chagpar A, Dhabhar FS, Segerstrom SC, Spiegel D, Dayyat E, Daup M, McMasters K, Sephton SE.  Stress, coping, and circadian disruption among women awaiting breast cancer surgery.  Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2012 Aug;44(1):10-20. PMID: 22450856.
  • Sephton SE, Cash (née Lush) E, Dedert EA, Floyd AR, Rebholz WN, Dhabhar FS, Salmon P.  Diurnal cortisol rhythm as a predictor of lung cancer survival.  Brain Behavior and Immunity 2013 Mar;30 Suppl:S163-S70. PMID: 22884416.
  • Cash E, Sephton SE, Chagpar AB, Spiegel D, Rebholz WN, Zimmaro LA, Tille JM, Dhabhar FS.  Circadian disruption and biomarkers of tumor progression in breast cancer patients awaiting surgery.  Brain Behavior and Immunity 2015 Aug;48:102-14. PMID: 25728235.

Outcomes in HPV-Associated and Non-Associated Head and Neck Cancer

  • Amsbaugh M, Yusuf M, Cash E, Silverman C, Potts K, Dunlap N.  The effect of time to simulation and treatment for patients with oropharyngeal cancer receiving definitive radiotherapy in the era of risk stratification using amoking and human papilloma virus status.  Head and Neck 2018 Apr;40(4):687-95. PMID: 29356189
  • Worthen M, Jusufbegovic M, Bumpous J, Vaughn A, Cash E, Yang X, Fichandler C, Tennant P.  Fungal contribution in chondroradionecrosis of the larynx.  Laryngoscope 2017 May;127(5):E159-65. PMID 27666333.
  • Amsbaugh MJ, Yusuf MB, Cash E, Silverman CL, Wilson L, Bumpous J, Potts K, Perez C, Bert R; Redman R, Dunlap N.  Distribution of cervical lymph node metastases from squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx in the era of risk stratification using HPV and smoking status.  International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics 2016 Oct 1;96(2):349-53. PMID: 27598805 

PubMed Information

Additional Information:

Liz Cash on UofL Today