Friday, October 4, 2013

CORI To Host Community Workshop On Cancer

Statistics show breast cancer is the most common cancer among African American and Hispanic/Latina women.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, that hot button issue will be addressed in a community workshop titled, CANCER: Prevention, Detection and Intervention. Presented by California Oncology Research Institute (CORI) in association with Global Wellness Project, the event will take place 9 a.m.-12 noon, Sat., Oct. 5, at First Church of God… Center of Hope, 9550 Crenshaw Blvd. in Inglewood, CA.   A continental breakfast will be served and there is free parking on site.

Actress and breast cancer survivor Vanessa Bell Calloway will moderate a distinguished panel of cancer experts that includes CORI Directors Dr. Ronald Hurst and Dr. Anton Bilchik and urologist, Dr. Dana Scott.  Dr. Hurst, a breast cancer surgeon will lead a discussion on the latest advancements in breast cancer research and treatment options. The panel will make presentations and discuss other cancers including prostate, colon and general oncology.

I caught up with Dr. Hurst to talk about the upcoming workshop.

DD: This workshop is focusing on breast cancer and gynecological cancers - why?

DRH: This workshop will focus on cancers that are prevalent in the African-American and Latino communities.  Specifically breast and prostate cancers.

DD: Talk about the importance of workshops like this.

DRH: Workshops like these offer two unique scenarios: 1) Experts come the community.  The norm is when patients need information from the experts, they must go to the experts. 2) They are able to get great information in their own conform zone. 3) Finally it is free.

DD: Talk about the importance of what CORI is doing in the community.

DRH: CORI’s community outreach purpose is a grass-roots concept.  It is based upon the ideology that in our best efforts as providers of medicine, our best is reactionary.  No matter where a patient is treated it is reactionary.  With patient education through the vehicle of workshops, we at CORI challenge the current landscape of reactionary medicine to precautionary medicine.  Once patients are armed with knowledge, they can become proactive participants in their health care.  If this concept can be adopted uniformly within the United States, we could possibly have a paradigm shift in health care to impact health care economics

DD: What is new in CORI Research?  What progress is being made at CORI?

DRH: Currently CORI is working with the UCLA, United States Military Cancer Institute and several other international medical institutions in a clinical trial addressing ultra-staging of colon cancer using molecular markers to better stage early colon cancer.  The trial is still ongoing and we are not at liberty to disclose at this point in time.

DD: What is the importance of a high-profile person like Vanessa Bell Calloway getting involved and sharing her story?

DRH: No one is immune from the grasp of cancer.  However, seeing influential people affected and conquering cancers serves as an encouragement.

DD: Are there new and innovative treatments we should know about?

DRH: As a discipline we are making strides developing treatments that are tailored toward individual patients based upon the molecular makeup of each individual’s cancer.

DD: CORI has done several workshops in the community. How are you gauging whether the workshops are successful and have an impact in the community?

DRH: By shear community awareness.

DD: What are the statistics surrounding breast and gynecological cancer? 

DRH: The incidence of breast cancer is one in eight.  If we look at ethnic breakdown, the incidence in higher in whites as opposed to blacks. 125 per 100,000 for whites and 115 per 100,000 for blacks.  However, the mortality is higher among blacks at 33 per 100,000 vs. 24 per 100,000 for whites.  Regarding prostate cancer, the incidence is higher in blacks as opposed to whites and the mortality is higher in blacks as well when compared to whites.

DD: What are the statistics as it relates to African American women?

DRH: Uterine cervix cancer incidence is 8 per 100,000 and 11 per 100,000 for whites and blacks, respectively.  The mortality is 2.2 per 100,000 and 4.6 per 100,000 for whites and blacks, respectively.

DD: Are African American women disproportionately inclined to get these cancers? If so, why?

DRH: As a general rule, African American women are more proactive in their health care when compared to African American men.  However, this observation is not unique to African Americans, it is gender influenced.

DD: What is the most important thing you, personally, want to get across at the workshop?

DRH: To inform, encourage, and dispel fears regarding cancer management.  Also address disparities among ethnic groups and access to cancer care.

DD: In your experience, what can women do to take care of themselves regarding breast and gynecological cancer?  What is gynecological cancer?

DRH: Women need to be comfortable and know their bodies.  Women should get their annual pap smears and mammograms.  Gynecological cancers consist of cervical, uterine, and ovarian.

DD:  Should we as women be afraid of breast cancer and gynecologic cancers?

DRH: Never be afraid, only informed!

DD: Who is more susceptible for getting breast and gynecologic cancers?
DRH: All women are susceptible to getting breast and gynecological cancer. 

DD: What's new in medicine regarding prevention of these particular cancers?

DRH:  Screening is the key to early detection and prevention of breast and gynecological cancers

DD: What is the most common treatment these days?

DRH: Treatments involve various combinations of surgery, vaccines, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy.

DD: Are you pro mammograms?  There has been some controversy surrounding mammograms and who should get them and when they should get them. What do you think?

DRH: I am a staunch supporter of mammograms.  It saves lives!  Breast cancer screening should start at age 40 for average risk women with a mammogram.  Women with family history of breast cancer should start screening at age 30 with an ultrasound and mammogram.

DD: What is the best way to observe Breast Cancer Month?

DRH: Support any community event by attending and bringing a friend.  If able donate money to support breast cancer research.

DD: What is cancer and what's the easiest way to explain it?

DRH: Abnormal and uncontrolled growth of normal cells.

CORI, a non-profit, is committed to curing cancer through innovative research, early detection, novel treatments, and education through community outreach efforts.

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