LLS Hosts Blood Cancer Conference
Author: Chelsea Alexandra Schafer
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), held its annual Southern California Blood Cancer Conference on Saturday, March 4, 2017. This event brought together researchers, students, blood cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and their families to learn more about the latest treatment options, support issues and emerging therapies. The future of blood cancer research looks promising as projects receive added funding, foraging partnerships with academic institutions, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate the development of new therapies.
Nicole Bell, Executive Director for Field Patient Access, welcomed morning attendees with information on LLS Patient Access. “We believe it is crucial to our mission to provide free education and information to all individuals diagnosed with a blood cancer and those who care for them,” said Nicole. The LLS community strives to be an allinclusive, one-stop shop for patient resources while providing the latest blood cancer news and updates.
Program Presentations featured numerous leading researchers from throughout Southern California. Dr. Jerry Lee, Deputy Director for Cancer Research and Technology for Cancer Moonshot Task Force at the White House spoke on advancing innovation and convergence in cancer research. Dr. Lee brought light to the cancer genome atlas, focusing on three cancers – brain, ovarian and lung cancer. He stated that not every patient matches gnomically. Future researchers will need enhanced data coordinating, sampling and handling techniques, along with reproducible data that can be used to influence public policy. Other notable discussions included Advocating for Blood Cancer Patients by Amanda Steffy, voicing the needs for patient access and connecting people with resources. Primary cancers of interest covered at the conference included Adult Acute Leukemias, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, and NonHodgkin Lymphoma, as well as symptoms and side-effects management regarding Fatigue and Chemo Brain; and Pain and Neuropathy.
With over 4,000 participants and counting, LLS community is poised to become an indispensable cancer toolkit, as it pursues research to cure blood cancer. Continued student support is important in pushing forward encouraging cooperation and enhanced data sharing.
Why should you become a part of LLS Community?
GET SUPPORT - LLS community is an outlet to talk with other people directly affected by blood cancers.
GET INFORMED - Gain access to the latest cancer news and updates through professional blogs, summaries of medical publications, and videos featuring top experts from cancer centers around the world.
MAKE AN IMPACT - LLS community features Questions of the Day and surveys designed to capture what matters most to patients. These insights are actively driving the development of support programs and advocacy since traditional research has excluded the patient voice. This is the voice that matters most.
Students interested in a career conducting chronic disease research should consider joining the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) Society (cllsociety.org). For other information on local blood cancer chapter events, or to get involved with LLC Student Service Learning Opportunities, please visit: https://www.lls.org/california-southland
PROFESSOR SPOTLIGHT: Dr. Kathleen Young Examines Universal Health Care in Havana, Cuba
Author: Jonathan Watts
Dr. Kathleen Young is a professor of health sciences who attended a Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC) sponsored, people-to-people exchange in Havana called Women’s Health in Cuba. From February 26 – March 5, 2017, she and 13 other medical health professionals collaborated with Cuba’s National School of Public Health (ENSAP) to comprise an all-women delegation who visited over ten Cuban medical sites, including multi-service regional hospitals, clinics, neighborhood-level family doctor’s offices, a maternity hospital, dental school, and comprehensive hospitals to observe and assess the Cuban universal health care system, with a focus on women’s health.
The impetus to Young’s 2017 assessment of Havana was the 2013 Research Infrastructure in Minority Institute (RIMI) scholar project by Young, titled “Comprehensive Breast Health Cancer Screening & Wellness Prevention (Pilot) Program Collaborative”. This pilot program focused on the importance of breast health, breast cancer screening, healthy diet/nutrition, and regular physical activity prevention education across a six-week period with two 90-minute class sessions each week. Thirty 40 to 70-year-old highly motivated Latino women who are low-income, uninsured, and overweight were recruited as participants. The study utilized an experimental design in which one group of randomly-assigned participants received the breast health/breast cancer screening and wellness prevention education program while a second, control group did not participate.
Young’s 2013 pilot study proved to be successful with results showing a significant difference between women who did and did not receive the pilot comprehensive breast cancer screening program. This program has since been replicated in countries, including China and Guatamala, with Botswana and, potentially, Havana, Cuba being the next in line.
During her recent Havana visit, Dr. Young specifically examined Cuba’s current practices and services being offered to women for breast cancer screening and prevention. In addition to discussing and co-creating co-collaboratives in cultural competencies for healthcare practitioners, she also initiated a memorandum of understanding between Havana and Los Angeles healthcare professionals in an effort to create best practices in breast cancer prevention education and comprehensive screening.
After witnessing universal health care, for 10 days, being implemented in Cuba, Dr. Young finds it crucial for students, faculty, and other community members to find their collective voice of activism and health advocacy. She urges, “We need to continue the pursuit of providing people with comprehensive health care and quality services.”