National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
April 19, 2011 • Volume 8 / Number 8


NCI Cancer Classroom Webinar Series Kicks Off April 26

NCI’s Office of Communications and Education will present a free, four-part webinar series, Cancer Classroom, for early career public health professionals or those new to the field of oncology. This series provides the educational guidance, tools, and resources necessary for professionals to address cancer as a public health issue. Topics include understanding cancer and the clinical trials process.

Upon completion of the series, participants will be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of cancer etiology, screening, diagnosis, and treatment; learn the risks and benefits of trial participation; understand trial participant protections; and identify barriers to enrollment and unique recruitment challenges and learn strategies to overcome them.

The workshops are free, but pre-registration is required. To register or learn more, visit the NCI Cancer Classroom Series Web site. All workshops will take place on Tuesdays from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT on the following dates:

  • April 26–Understanding Cancer: Cancer Prevention and Screening
    Featured speaker: Linda Parreco, public health advisor, NCI
  • May 17–Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment and Supportive Care
    Featured speaker: Annette Galassi, public health advisor, NCI
  • June 28–Clinical Trials 101
  • July 26–Clinical Trials 102

Breast Cancer Guidelines Proposed for Low- and Middle-Income Countries  

Cover of the April 1 issue of the medical journal The BreastThe April 1 issue of The Breast

The Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI), a global network of organizations dedicated to improving breast health in medically underserved women, published a supplement on challenges to breast cancer screening and treatment in low- and middle-income countries in the April 1 issue of The Breast. The supplement, “Global Breast Health Care: Optimizing Delivery in Low and Middle Resource Countries,” includes three consensus statements and 11 research papers based on projects and proposals presented last June at the BHGI Global Summit on International Breast Health in Chicago. The summit brought together experts from 43 countries.

Dr. Joe Harford and Isabel Otero of NCI’s Office of International Affairs co-authored one of the report’s consensus statements, entitled “Problem solving for breast health care delivery in low- and middle-resource countries (LMCs): consensus statement from the Breast Health Global Initiative.” The statement discusses the strengths and weaknesses of health care systems in those countries in relation to the cancer burden. The authors recommended an evidence-based approach to creating cost-effective cancer control initiatives in poorly studied populations.

The supplement illustrates a growing recognition of noncommunicable diseases, such as breast cancer, as substantial contributors to the disease burden in low- and middle-income countries, which are often not fully prepared to deal with growing incidence rates.

An executive summary of the consensus statements was published simultaneously in the April 1 issue of The Lancet Oncology.

“It is the hope of the authors that this consensus analysis will help scientists, policy-makers, and health care administrators optimize breast health care management in populations with limited resources,” said Ms. Otero. “The guidelines encourage the use of implementation science, qualitative and quantitative research, and cost-benefit analyses to guide the establishment or improvement of breast cancer control programs for the millions of underserved women around the world.”

Two-Year Project Launched to Standardize Cytogenetic Testing in Mexico  

On April 8, NCI’s Office of Latin American Cancer Program Development (OLACPD), in partnership with the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and the Agrupación Mexicana para el Estudio de la Hematología (AMEH), held a workshop in Mexico City to discuss the standardization of cytogenetics laboratory protocols. The workshop served as the official launch of a 2-year initiative designed to improve cytogenetic analysis, which plays a central role in treating patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

AML is the most common form of leukemia in adults and one of the most common forms in children. Cytogenetics identifies abnormal genetic structures in leukemia cells, and a patient’s cytogenetic profile is the most important prognostic factor in AML. High-quality, consistent testing practices increase the likelihood that patients with AML will receive appropriate care.

Four laboratories in Mexico were selected to participate in the 2-year program, which is sponsored and overseen by a team of U.S. and Mexican scientists. A steering committee composed of experts from NCI, ASH, and AMEH will periodically review the laboratories’ data and provide each laboratory with a quarterly summary of its performance, including feedback on operations.

The ultimate goal of this pilot project is that the standardization of cytogenetics testing will improve the quality of the work and allow the laboratories to serve as models for other facilities throughout Mexico.

“Stupid Cancer Show” to Host Program on Clinical Trials Myths

NCI’s Dr. Nita Seibel and Steven Friedman will be among the guests discussing myths about clinical trials on an upcoming episode of the Stupid Cancer Show, a radio webcast program produced by I’m Too Young For This Cancer Foundation. The episode will air on April 25th at 8 p.m. ET. To speak with the host, call (347) 215-6845. You can also listen to archived programs.

The Stupid Cancer Show is an award-winning international talk radio webcast that gives voice to more than 70,000 young adults (aged 15 to 39 years old) who are diagnosed with cancer each year. To learn more about organizations that support young people with cancer, visit NCI’s portal for Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer.