Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fun in the Sun?

With Memorial Day this weekend, thousands of Americans will be taking to the lakes, rivers and beaches for some fun in the sun. Unfortunately, many of them will return with an unwanted souvenir - a severe sunburn.

With May also being Skin Cancer Awareness Month, this is the perfect opportunity for us to educate ourselves on the basics of sun safety. There are several things you can do to avoid getting burned.

  • Use sunscreen - and a lot of it. Sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30 should be liberally applied before going into the sun, and then reapplied every two hours or more often when getting wet. The higher the SPF, the better, and you should ideally use a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun. The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are when the sun is at its most intense. If possible, minimize your time in the sun during that time.
  • Wear protective clothing. While covering up exposed parts of the body works best, that's often extremely uncomfortable during the summer heat. However, a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses can be helpful, and clothing with built-in ultraviolet protection is also available.

We all want to have fun in the sun, but it's important to do it responsibly. A tan simply isn't worth the risk of getting skin cancer. For more information and sun safety tips, visit the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.

-Ed Partridge, M.D.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May is Oncology Nurses Month

During May, in addition to Cancer Research Month, we also celebrate Oncology Nurses Month. Nurses are such an important part of the treatment process, and we couldn't do the work that we do without them.

The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is home to some of the best and most dedicated oncology nurses anywhere. Take, for instance, Faye Williams, who has worked in our inpatient oncology unit since 1997 and makes sure that the unit has everything it needs to provide the best possible care for patients. Or Michael Bowen, in our Hematology-Oncology Clinic, who meets with patients one-on-one to assist with any problems or questions they may have and who also teaches a wilderness life support class in his spare time. I could go on and on, as these are just two examples of the many outstanding nurses we have here at the Cancer Center.

 I hope you will join me in saying to all oncology nurses out there, THANK YOU!

-Ed Partridge, M.D.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cancer Cures Need Cancer Research

May is National Cancer Research Month, and we at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center are taking this opportunity to recognize all of our scientists who work every day toward our goal of eliminating cancer as a major public health problem.

I say "all" of our scientists, because cancer research is truly a team effort. From the basic scientists who nurture the research in its earliest stages to the clinician-scientists who take the lead in translating those laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, cancer research is a long and strenuous process.

Research is critical to finding a cure. Every treatment starts in a lab. Take, for example, a drug called tigatuzumab. This is an antibody that was developed right here at the Cancer Center, and after years of testing in the lab and in preclinical models, we have now launched a nationwide clinical trial to offer the drug to patients with triple negative breast cancer. This is incredibly exciting, and seeing work like this come to fruition is the reward of conducting research.

That's just one example of the Cancer Center's research success, and I encourage you to visit our website to learn more or to make a gift to support research. We have some of the best and brightest minds in the country working around the clock to find the next generation of cancer cures. I salute those in the laboratories and the clinics and everywhere in between for the long hours they put in and the sacrifices they make for their work. I think I speak for everyone who has been touched by cancer when I say: THANK YOU!

-Ed Partridge, M.D.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo for a Cause

Tonight, May 5th, is the 5th annual Fiesta Ball, hosted by the Young Supporters Board of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. This is a fun and festive evening with Mexican food, drinks and live music, and an event that I look forward to every year.

This year, however, our hearts and minds are certainly with all of those in our community affected by last week's devastating tornados. So while we celebrate Cinco de Mayo and our progress in the fight against cancer, we're also taking this opportunity to help tornado victims across Alabama. Tonight we will be collecting toiletries, cleaning supplies and bottled water to be donated to the Salvation Army for their local relief efforts. For those who bring a donation to the Fiesta Ball, they will receive $5 off the ticket price.

I encourage you to join us at Innovation Depot tonight at 6 p.m. for what is truly a great event. The money we raise will benefit young cancer scientists at UAB, and we will also have a silent auction filled with fabulous items to raise money for the board's Patient and Family Services Committee.

I am always amazed and proud of the passion and energy that the Young Supporters Board has for the fight against cancer. These young professionals are leading the way and helping us find a cure. I hope you will join us in celebrating for a cause.

-Ed Partridge, M.D.