Thursday, January 29, 2015

BCRFA gives largest donation ever to UAB Cancer Center

On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama (BCRFA) presented its largest donation ever – $650,000 – to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. This year’s gift brings the organization’s cumulative total to more than $5.1 million since 1996.

Since their launch, BCRFA has made an annual donation to the Cancer Center with proceeds from various fundraising efforts over the course of the year, including specially designed car tag sales, special events and from individual donors. Without the generous support of the community, none of these efforts made by BCRFA would have been possible.

“We are extremely thankful for all of the hard work the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama has done for us. Their support has been astounding since their inception and we couldn’t be happier to be their partner in the fight against cancer,” says Edward Partridge, M.D., director of the Cancer Center. “This kind of giving allows for our hard work to continue with hope for an even brighter future.”

BCRFA has continued to strive for success in helping the Cancer Center‘s breast cancer research program, which is now recognized as one of the premier research programs in the United States. This kind of partnership will strengthen not only financial needs, but the work of the community. All donations given by the BCRFA are given exclusively to the Cancer Center and remain in Alabama. BCRFA has generous help from community partners that include: Winn-Dixie, Docupak, Tameron Automotive, Belk, Sirote & Permutt, and The Alabama Power Foundation, along with many others.

BCRFA and UAB provide researchers with the resources to accelerate discovery and translate new knowledge into meaningful therapies for all types of breast cancer. They also provide funding for several key breast cancer projects that have the potential to provide new cures and to prevent DNA repair in breast cancer tumor cells. Much of this work is led by Andres Forero, M.D., a nationally recognized expert in breast cancer research and treatment and Cancer Center senior scientist.

Kate Kiefer, president of BCRFA, gave thanks to all that has helped her staff fund the Cancer Center and continued to advocate breast cancer research at the appreciation luncheon Tuesday. She passionately spoke about the foundation’s vision for the future and what a tremendous help the Birmingham area has been assisting in finding the cure for cancer in Alabama.  

The BCRFA hopes to continue to increase their funding to UAB each year, as the more dollars we raise, the more opportunity UAB has to conduct the amount of research required to find better treatments for all types of breast cancer, if not for the ultimate cure,” says Kiefer.

 Dr. Partridge wrapped up the ceremony by accepting the large donation and ended with a bold statement.
“With this donation, we will not only continue to grow stronger as a leader in the fight against breast cancer, but also grow closer to achieving our vision of eliminating cancer as a major public health problem by 2050,” says Partridge.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

January is National Cervical Health Awareness Month, and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is offering new alternatives to traditional cervical cancer screenings

More than 1 million women across Alabama ages 25 to 29 should be screened by their doctor for cervical cancer. Under the new guidelines, women should be tested using HPV screening alone and not a Pap smear. Pap smear testing will be used as a follow-up if tested HPV positive, as well as remaining the primary testing for women under the age of 25. Clinicians who are caring for these women are seeking out help in order to give their patients the best advice on the health advantages of using the HPV test as the best option for cervical cancer screening.

This was triggered by an FDA approval for the HPV testing method as the primary method for cervical cancer screening. Today’s guidance is being written and led by gynecologic oncologist,  Warner Huh, M.D., and is also being published simultaneously in the journals Gynecologic Oncology, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and the Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease under the title “Use of Primary High Risk Human Papillomavirus Testing for Cervical Cancer Screening: Interim Clinical Guidance.”

“Although FDA approval is critically important for introducing a new screening test or algorithm, providers ultimately rely on guidance or guidelines to help them make the best decisions for their patients and want to understand advantages, disadvantages and unknowns associated with a new screening approach,” said Huh, who is a senior scientist for the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, Director of the UAB Division of Gynecologic Oncology, and is also a board member for both the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and the Society of Gynecologic Oncology. 

Patients’ HPV testing will feel the same compared to the Pap smear but the only difference is how these samples are being examined. Medical personnel will run the samples through an automated machine to look for HPV DNA instead of abnormal cells.

“Pap smears miss a fair number of adenocarcinomas. We don’t want a test that will miss disease,” said Huh.

Remember to stay up to date on your personal testing and to talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you might have with testing or other cervical cancer matters.