President and founder, Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé opened the conference today by highlighting the recent public figures who spoke publicly about taking preventative measures and getting screened on cancer prevention and early detection, including Taylor Swift, Angelina Joli-Pitt and Rita Wilson.
Angelina Jolie-Pitt announced a partial hysterectomy because of genetic screening and family history, after having had a double mastectomy as a preventive measure; Taylor Swift spoke about screening following her announcement that her mother has cancer; and actress Rita Wilson spoke about the importance of screenings and talking to your doctor when she underwent a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery because of breast cancer. She asked attendees to amplify their message and make sure everyone understands the importance of prevention and early detection.
Throughout the day, attendees had the opportunity to meet new colleagues, hear about programs that worked in one location and discuss how it may work in their communities. The morning continued with an energizing presentation on “Big Data” from Pat Keran of UnitedHealth Group. He encouraged attendees to use data and emphasized that their employers needed to be conscious of collecting data. If we are going to be able to demonstrate that prevention is paramount to decreasing cancer in the United States and across the world — data will be instrumental.
There was lots of buzz in the poster section of the hotel foyer, as poster presenters spoke to fellow attendees about findings in their communities.
New on the agenda this year were discussions about the connections between viruses and cancer. 50% of women who were diagnosed with cervical cancer were either not screened or not screened yearly, according to Francisco Garcia, from the Pima County Health Department and University of Arizona. Dr. Garcia stressed the importance of HPV screening.
Dr. Andrew Aronsohn of the University of Chicago Medicine shocked the audience with statistics on liver cancer — it’s the 5th most common cancer worldwide and the 3rd most common cause of cancer-related deaths. It is the only cancer in the United States where incidences are rising.
Bringing technology and innovation into Dialogue this year was a highlight among attendees. They heard from Ariel Beery, the developer of the mobile copascope about the power of using cell phones to encourage screenings. Hundreds of women in developing countries now have the ability to be screened for cervical cancer simply by attaching a device to their phone and sending the images back to a physician to read them.
The day also included our annual Laurels Luncheon where we awarded five cancer champions with awards for his or her work in cancer prevention and early detection. Accepting the award for Leadership in Cancer Prevention, Dr. Durado Brooks of the American Cancer Society commented that his goal throughout his work was that at the end of his career people would be able to say to him, “Dr. Brooks, you made a difference.”
Other awardees included New Orleans City Councilmember LaToya Cantrell for the Advocacy Laurel and Lynn F. Butterly, M.D. for the Innovative Programs Laurel,
Two special Laurels were given this year to Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H. for Leadership in Skin Cancer Prevention and to Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., for Innovation in Health Technology.
The polyps came out for our evening reception. All the way from Alaska – five attendees from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Southcentral Foundation and the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Corporation came to socialize and continue conversations with colleagues dressed in polyp costumes. It was a great way to end the day.
For all the latest information on the conference, please visit www.preventcancer.org