Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Soak Up the Sun...With Protection

A favorite pastime for many of us during the summer is laying on the beach or splashing in the pool, especially in the heat of July. But while you are having fun soaking up the sun, remember to protect yourself from those harmful UV rays - the ones that can cause skin cancer, wrinkles, brown spots and spider veins.

More than 2 million people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, making it the most common form of cancer in the U.S., according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. About 90 percent of all skin cancers are associated with sun exposure; therefore, you must protect your skin this summer! Remember these helpful tips:

  • Use sunscreen. Apply a minimum of 30 SPF sunscreen or moisturizer that protects against UVB/ UVA rays (look for the term "broad spectrum") and is water resistant.
  • Use the right amount. Apply one ounce of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Reapply every two hours. Even if the label reads "water resistant:" or "waterproof," you still need to reapply every couple of hours to ensure sweat or water did not wash your protection away.
  • Seek shade. Avoid the hottest time of the day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Cover up. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, clothing and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Do not burn.

Enjoy your summer while staying protected! Remember a temporary tan is not worth the consequences of cancer. For more information about skin cancer, visit the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention or the Skin Cancer Foundation.

-Ed Partridge, M.D.

Friday, July 13, 2012

SPORE grants set UAB apart

The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of few institutions to have been awarded three or more SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) grants from the National Cancer Institute. Currently the center holds SPORES in pancreatic and breast cancer and is partnered with John Hopkins University on a cervical cancer SPORE. Additionally, the Cancer Center was the only institution nationwide to receive a SPORE grant in pancreatic cancer in 2010. Why is this grant such a big deal?

It supports projects that will lead to the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human cancers. Each SPORE is focused on a specific organ site, such as breast or pancreatic cancer. "SPOREs are designed to enable the rapid and efficient movement of basic scientific findings into clinical settings, as well as to determine the biological basis for observations made in individuals with cancer or in populations at risk for cancer," according to the National Cancer Institute.

Principal investigator Donald J. Buchsbaum, Ph.D., director of radiation biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, leads the SPORE program in pancreatic cancer. Support from the NCI was granted because of the Cancer Center's expertise in tumor biology, virology/gene therapy, immunobiology and targeted immunotherapy. Current research projects stem from previously established efforts that showed the most promise.

Kirby I. Bland, M.D., chair of the department of surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is the principal investigator of the SPORE program in breast cancer. In order to best accomplish the goal of prevention, detection, prognosis and therapy development, this project assembled many basic and clinical scientists, including molecular/cell biologists, pathologists, medical/surgical oncologists, experts in the development of new technologies, and biostatisticians.

There are currently 62 grants across 23 states in the country. UAB claims Alabama's only SPORE grants. Just another example of what sets the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center apart.

-Ed Partridge, M.D.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Comprehensive Mission

The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center was one of the original eight comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Act in 1971. The bill was enacted on December 23, 1971, and strengthened the National Cancer Institute’s effort against cancer by creating the National Cancer Program. Although the number of NCI-designated comprehensive centers has increased since 1971, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center remains the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Deep South including Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina and Georgia.

As of 2012, the Cancer Center is one of only 41
National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, and is home to more than 330 of the nation’s most recognized physicians and researchers for their expertise and advancement in oncology treatment and research. With our state-of-the-art technology and outstanding staff, we are able to treat approximately 5,000 new patients each year.
For more than 40 years our oncology team has proven to be among the best in the country, and we hope to continue to conduct research and provide unique treatment for our patients. Much of our success depends on the support of our community, for which we are incredibly grateful. We are confident that one day soon we will accomplish our mission of eliminating cancer as a major public health problem.
-Ed Partridge, M.D.