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Health seminar aims to get word out on cancer


Since its inception in Santa Monica in 2008, the California Oncology Research Institute (CORI) has been committed to providing early diagnosis and treatment of cancer and innovative clinical and basic science research focusing on surgical technologies and the molecular biology of tumors.

CORI plans to hold a workshop themed, “A Family Health Day: Focus Cancer,” in partnership with the Global Wellness Project, which will be centered on ways to obtain and maintain good health and well-being within the family.

“June is Men’s Health Month and we’ve asked women to bring a man they love to the workshop,” said Angela de Joseph, Global Wellness Project executive director. “The workshop will not only address cancers that disproportionately affect the African American community, we will also have a special presentation for Black men on prostate and colon cancer. One out of every five African Americans is uninsured, which is one of the primary factors leading to late cancer diagnosis.”

The workshop is the fourth in a series of CORI programs designed and developed by Dr. Ronald Hurst, co-founder and director of clinical research of CORI, to address the various cancers that disproportionately affect African Americans and Latinos (including colon, breast, prostate and general oncology). It will include onsite mammogram screenings at no cost to participants. It is free and open to the public.

Workshop speakers include Hurst and CORI co-founder Dr. Anton Bilchik, who will both lead the panel discussion; as well as Dr. Jenny Ru and Dr. Dana Scott.

Hurst, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, who is also partnered with the United States Military Cancer Institute, emphasized that getting the word out about cancer and how if affects African Americans and Latinos is crucial.

“The African American community should know not to be afraid,” said Hurst. “Everyone should know not to be afraid. Fear becomes our greatest obstacle. Men don’t talk about it or get checked because we think we’re invincible. As doctors, in our best state we provide reactionary medicine.

We need to get ahead of cancer. We’ve got to get to the people before they get cancer.”
Bilchik agrees.

“One of the reasons I started CORI is because I realized that we were presenting our cancer research around the world hoping to improve standards for cancer care. However, this information was not getting to the people that needed it the most–underserved people particularly in the inner city,” said Bilchik, medical director for CORI.”

Bilchik, who has been honored by the American Cancer Society and the American College of Surgeons, added that there are disparities with nearly every cancer.

“The outcomes in African Americans is worse for breast cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic and stomach cancer, to name but a few,” said Bilchik. “This is likely due to socioeconomic differences and lack of access to healthcare.”

Statistics show that minorities experience higher rates of illness and death from not only various cancers, but also health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, asthma, hepatitis B and obesity.

Global Wellness Project  partnered with CORI to produce a series of dynamic cancer-awareness workshops to faith-based organizations throughout the Southern California region.

The Family Health Day workshop is set to take place at 9 a.m.-12 noon, Sat., June 23, in Fellowship Hall at First Church of God Center of Hope, 9550 Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles.