Tag Archive | "Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center"

Forum Focuses on Inequities in Women’s Cancers

Tags: ,

Forum Focuses on Inequities in Women’s Cancers

By Maya Bell
UM News

Singer/songwriter Jon Secada, a UM alumnus, is joining Dr. Felicia Knaul’s crusade to improve the care and treatment of women’s cancers in the hemisphere.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (October 7, 2016)—Every minute of every day, three women receive the same devastating diagnosis that Felicia Knaul, the University of Miami’s first lady, received nine years ago while living in Mexico: You have breast cancer.

But if they are literate, documented, white, and happen to live in Florida, they’ll likely be diagnosed early, have access to institutions like Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Miller School of Medicine, and survive. If, however, they live in a resource-poor country, like Bolivia or Guatemala, their chances of surviving even treatable breast cancer are slim. They’re even less likely to survive preventable cervical cancer.

“Hundreds of thousands globally and tens of thousands in our region die every year from preventable cervical cancer or treatable breast cancer,” Knaul, the director of the University of Miami Institute for the Americas, said as she opened a symposium last Wednesday on “Women’s Cancers in the Americas: Strategies for Synergies” with sobering statistics. “The majority of them are poor. The majority of them lack access to care. The majority of them are women in the prime of their lives with children who depend on them.”

Closing that gaping cancer divide brought about 200 clinicians, health systems experts, and women’s cancer and patient advocates from more than 10 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to UM’s Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life to discuss synergies, strategies, and programs that can improve cancer care and outcomes in the region. Although planned for two days, the symposium was squeezed into one, thanks to Hurricane Matthew, which as an ominously fitting backdrop, had just left a trail of death in Haiti and was taking aim for Florida, a state far better equipped to survive such a disaster.

“Welcome to Hurricane Cancer,” Knaul, also a professor of public health sciences at the Miller School, said in thanking the people who had put aside personal preparations to address diseases that, like a hurricane, sweep into the lives of too many with deadly consequences.

Among them was one of the Frost School of Music’s most notable alumni, two-time Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Jon Secada. Known for his soulful pop songs, Secada pledged to lend his voice to educating women in the region to “take that first step” if they notice changes in their bodies, and not to fear the stigma of disease or disfigurement.

“This message has to come from many angles,” Secada said. “Maybe I can start by saying to all women, ‘You are beautiful. No matter what, you are beautiful.”’


From left are Jon Secada, Dean Shelton Berg, Patricia San Pedro, and Felicia Knaul, with San Pedro’s ‘Discover Your Doorway’ exhibit, which was on display during the symposium.

Also joining Secada at the forum was Frost School Dean Shelton Berg, a pianist who, accompanied by Kate Reid, associate professor and program director of Jazz Vocal Performance, provided a healing musical interlude. The Frost School’s director of marketing and communications, Patricia San Pedro, also exhibited the Discover Your Doorway photos she created during her own journey with breast cancer.

Delivering the keynote address, UM President Julio Frenk noted that before Seguro Popular, the program he implemented as Mexico’s minister of health to expand health coverage to more than 55 million uninsured Mexicans, nearly a third of Mexican women diagnosed with breast cancer abandoned their treatment because they could not afford it. Afterward, that number fell to 1 percent.

But as Frenk learned, money alone cannot fix the inequities that perpetuate the cancer divide in the hemisphere. Accompanying his wife on her breast cancer journey, he said he saw health care barriers that are even greater than lack of access. Among them: women who refused to get mammograms for fear their partners would leave them if they were diagnosed with breast cancer.

“What that made me realize is that the fight against women’s cancers, breast and cervical cancer is, of course a pubic health and a medical crusade, but it is most importantly a fight for the dignity of women,” Frenk said. “The other big cancer we have in our society is the cancer of stigma, discrimination, machismo, and the absolute pervasive attempt to reduce women to parts of their body. So this is a fight for the dignity of women.”

It is a fight, Knaul noted, that is making progress on many fronts. Better prevention science, early detection, better treatment, and persistent advocacy from groups like symposium collaborator ULACCAM, (the Union Latinoamerica Contra el Cancer de la Mujer) have led to increased survival rates. The most recent report of the American Cancer Society, she said, showed a 36 percent drop in breast cancer mortality in the U.S. over the past 22 years.

“That translates into 249,000 women’s lives saved in the last 22 years. That means one woman per hour over the last two decades,” she said, noting that globally cervical cancer deaths are declining, too, and it is now overwhelming a disease of the poor. “The vast majority of women, however, continue to lack access to information, intervention and available treatments that could have saved their lives.”

The hope is that, one day, they will have access to institutions like Sylvester, a regional referral center for the most complicated cases which boasts among the best cancer survival rates and strives to provide care organized around the patient, not the provider.

For example, Steven Altschuler, CEO of UHealth—the University of Miami Health System and senior vice president for health affairs, told the audience breast cancer patients should see an oncologist, surgeon, plastic surgeon, social worker, and the person organizing clinical trials all on one visit, not multiple visits.

“It all has to be integrated in the form of one-stop shopping,” Altschuler said. “That is the methodology that is the care model that provides the best results at the most appropriate cost.”

Among the many other speakers were Erin Kobetz, Sylvester’s associate director for Disparities and Community Outreach and the Miler School’s senior associate dean for health disparities, who has implemented the kind of cervical cancer detection and prevention initiatives in South Florida’s immigrant communities that could be exported across the hemisphere.

In addition to Sylvester, the Miami Institute for the Americas, and  ULACCAM, other symposium collaborators included the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Women and Health Initiative, and Tómatelo a Pecho, the organization Knaul founded in Mexico to address the inequities in care and treatment for breast cancer.







Posted in News, Priority: Home Page TeaserComments Off

Tags: ,

Kids Can #TackleCancer at Fall Family Fest

Kids and their families are invited to the 2nd Annual Fall Family Fest for family-friendly activities that are fun and help support cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Register to participate at one of two Family Fest Halloween-themed events—on the Coral Gables campus and at Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale—on Saturday, October 29, for a day of fun to support the Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC). Proceeds go to the DCC, which has raised more than $16 million to advance lifesaving cancer research at Sylvester.

The festivals begin at 10 a.m. at both locations and include a kids’ bicycle ride, where children ages 3 to 16 can pedal through a car-free loop to raise awareness about fighting cancer. The kids’ zone also features bounce houses, face painting, an animal exhibit, Dolphins Youth Programs, and a Boo-tacular pumpkin decorating booth and Halloween costume competition at the Sylvester tent.

Food trucks also will be on hand with plenty of culinary offerings. Registration is $15 per child. To register, visit the Fall Family Fest.


Posted in Events, NewsComments Off


Kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with EBeauty’s ‘Yoga in the Park’ on October 1

Kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the EBeauty community’s “Yoga in the Park,” benefitting Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 1. Join in lighting the New World Symphony Soundscape Park, 500 17th Street, in Miami Beach, pink. Learn more at www.ebeauty.com.

Posted in EventsComments Off

Tags: ,

DCC With Me! Registration for Dolphins Cancer Challenge Now Open

Registration is now open for the next Dolphins Cancer Challenge, which over its six-year history has raised more than $16.5 million to support innovative cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Join Team Hurricanes by September 1  and receive a 50 percent discount on the registration fee to run, walk, or ride in DCC VII, which will take place on Saturday, February 11, 2017. Visit DolphinsCancerChallenge.com and use the code UMFightsCancer50 to register today. Be sure to sign up as a member of Team Hurricanes – Sylvester.

For more information on the DCC, visit TeamHurricanes.com.


Posted in EventsComments Off


Dolphins Cancer Challenge Raises a Record $5.06 Million for Cancer Research

DCC presents check for more than $5 million to Sylvester at Cancer Moonshot Summit

Special to UM News

DCC Check Presentation

From left: Michael Mandich, CEO of the Dolphins Cancer Challenge; Jason Jenkins, senior vice president of communications and community affairs for the Miami Dolphins; Eric Feder, vice chairman for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge; Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer; and Adam Carlin, chairman of the Sylvester Board of Governors.

MIAMI, Fla. (July 1, 2016) — Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine hosted a Cancer Moonshot Summit on June 29 as part of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s nationwide effort to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving our ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage. Across the country, hundreds of cancer centers, hospitals, and patient advocacy groups hosted summits – from Miami to Anchorage, Alaska.

“This is the first really full-blown collaboration where all the stakeholders came together, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it,” Vice President Biden said during the Cancer Moonshot live cast. “I want to thank you for your incredible work and your dedication. I am more optimistic than I have ever been since we launched the Moonshot.”

More than 80 cancer patients, survivors, their family members, doctors and researchers attended the two-hour event at Sylvester. The goal of the summit was to educate participants about the progress that has been made in cancer care and research at Sylvester. They learned what is on the horizon with regard to new cancer treatments, discussed individual experiences, and heard from the Vice President about the Cancer Moonshot and its objectives.

As a special surprise, representatives from the Miami Dolphins visited the Sylvester Cancer Moonshot Summit to present a check for more than $5 million for cancer research at Sylvester that was raised during this year’s Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC).

“Cancer impacts us all and we at the Miami Dolphins are committed to fighting this disease at every turn,” Miami Dolphins President & CEO and DCC Chair Tom Garfinkel said. “With the expansion of this year’s Dolphins Cancer Challenge to include two new Fall Family Fests, a concert, and golf tournament, we were able to give Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center our biggest donation yet in our fight against cancer.”

DCC funds are used to support truly innovative research, helping recruit and retain some of the world’s best minds in cancer research and care and investing in cutting-edge technologies to bring the latest in discoveries for detection, diagnosis, and treatment to cancer patients in South Florida and beyond. In just six years, more than $16 million has gone to fund research at Sylvester that leads to more effective targeted therapies for each patient’s cancer.

“We are so grateful to the Dolphins organization and to every rider, walker, runner, and fundraiser for continuing to support groundbreaking cancer research at Sylvester,” Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., said during the check presentation. “On behalf of our team of more than 250 cancer specialists and researchers at Sylvester – and our cancer patients and their families – thank you! It is a truly remarkable achievement as every dollar raised has a tangible impact on cancer research and advancing precision cancer care at Sylvester.”

After the DCC check presentation, summit participants had the opportunity to discuss their own experiences with Sylvester doctors and researchers, and follow up with questions on Vice President Biden’s live cast. Everyone in attendance was energized by the discussion and the Vice President’s remarks, calling for more collaboration to find better treatments and cures for cancer.

You can follow the conversations around the Cancer Moonshot Summit on social media by using the hashtag #CanServe.


Posted in NewsComments Off

  • Features
  • Tags
  • Popular
  • Subscribe
  • Subscribe to the Veritas RSS Feed
    Get updates to all of the latest Veritas posts by clicking the logo at the right.

    You can also subscribe to specific categories by browsing to a particular section on our site and clicking the RSS icon below each section's header.

UM Facebook

UM Twitter