UM/Sylvester Hosts Town Hall Meeting To Increase Cervical Cancer Awareness
September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, and gynecologist-oncologists at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center are hosting a town hall meeting Wednesday, September 14, to educate South Florida women about treating – and preventing – cervical cancer. “The most preventable cancer that we have in gynecologic oncology is cervical cancer and about half of all the cervical cancers that do occur in this country occur in women who have not had a Pap smear in the last five years, “said Joseph A. Lucci, III, M.D., director, Division of Gynecologic Oncology and director of the Center for Cancer Prevention and Genetics.
The town hall meeting is open to the public and will feature presentations on what cervical cancer is, how it can be prevented through a simple test, a look at how well South Floridians compare with national trends, and sessions on clinical trials, the newest treatment options and coping strategies. The most vital message, by far, is that cervical cancer – which strikes more than 10,000 American women every year – is preventable. A simple test, the Pap smear, can detect the human papillomavirus which causes cervical cancer. But the virus can be detected and treated years before it leads to cancer.
“We believe that the prevalence of cervical cancer in this community is due to several different factors which are related to access to care,” said Lucci, who is also leader of the Gynecologic Cancer Site Disease Group at UM/Sylvester. Patients may not know about the Pap test, or think they can’t afford it. They may not know it’s available in many community clinics and doctors offices. Among immigrants, especially, there may be cultural reservations about having the test. “We just want to do whatever we can to understand what those barriers are overcome them to make Pap smear screening more available to the community.”
Informing our South Florida neighbors is the mission behind this meeting. “Getting out into the community and helping women understand the importance of the screening and educating them about what we can do to prevent these diseases from affecting them is important,” said Lucci.
The town hall meeting will take place in room 259 of the Diagnostic Treatment Center of Jackson Memorial Hospital, 1611 NW 12 Avenue, from 9:30 a.m. through 4 p.m. and features presentations from a variety of faculty members and staff members with the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Presenters will take questions from the audience and lunch will be served. The meeting is free and open to the public. A complete schedule and list of speakers is attached.
UM/Sylvester was founded in 1992 to provide comprehensive cancer services and today serves as the hub for cancer-related research, diagnosis, and treatment at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. UM/Sylvester handles more than 1,300 inpatient admissions annually, performs 2,900 surgical procedures, and treats 3,000 new cancer patients. All UM/Sylvester physicians are on the faculty of the Miller School of Medicine, South Florida’s only academic medical center. In addition, UM/Sylvester physicians and scientists are engaged in more than 150 clinical trials and receive more than $31 million annually in research grants. UM/Sylvester at Deerfield Beach recently opened to better meet the needs of residents of Broward and Palm Beach counties. This 10,000-square-foot facility at I-95 and S.W. 10th Street offers appointments with physicians from six cancer specialties, complementary therapies from the Courtelis Center, and education and outreach events.