Community forum focuses on cancer prevention

Community forum focuses on cancer prevention

June 13, 2007

South Side residents who want to learn more about the role of family history, healthy behaviors and genetics in cancer prevention, detection and control are invited to attend a series of Cancer Forums sponsored by the University of Chicago Medical Center this summer.

The first forum in the series will be held from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday, June 23, at the DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Place in Chicago. The meeting, hosted by Eric Whitaker, MD, MPH, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, will help people understand cancer risk factors and what it means for underrepresented groups to participate in clinical trials.

Rick Kittles, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and a national authority on race, health disparities and cancer risk, will speak on "Genetics and Cancer in the African American Community." Kittles will provide an overview of how family history and genes impact health, especially risk of prostate cancer.

Charmaine Royal, PhD, a research associate in the Division of Epidemiology and Behavioral Medicine at Howard University Cancer Center, will talk about "Ethical Considerations for Genomics Research in Underserved Communities." Royal, who studies the involvement of African-Americans in human genetics research, will explain what participants need to know before they decide to participate in a study and what they should look for in terms of protection.

Next, a panel, including one clinical trial participant and three leading scientists, will put a human face on "research." The scientists will briefly discuss their current research interests. Next, a former patients and "study subject" will recount his experiences as a research volunteer. Panel members will discuss barriers to participation, distrust of physicians, and the value of the research to the community--as well as to mankind--and then take questions from the audience.

The forum is free and open to the public. Limited free parking is available at the DuSable Museum.