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State of Cancer Care for Nation's Poor and Minorities Is Focus of Conference in Washington

Forum Is Largest Meeting on Disparities in Cancer Care and Survival

WASHINGTON, March 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The state of cancer care for the nation's poor and ethnic minorities will be addressed when the Intercultural Cancer Council (ICC) and Baylor College of Medicine hold the 11th Biennial Symposium on Minorities, The Medically Underserved & Cancer April 3-6 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

The ICC Biennial Symposium is the largest forum in the United States and its associated territories solely designed to confront the disproportionately greater suffering and compromised health from cancer facing the medically underserved, such as racial and ethnic minorities. The conference will feature more than 40 educational sessions, an information exchange forum, and several awards ceremonies, including one to honor Maureen Lichtveld, M.D., M.P.H., a pioneer in the science of gene-environment interaction, especially as it relates to environmentally induced carcinogenesis.

With the theme Charting a New Course Together: Quality Health Care for All, ICC's 11th biennial symposium comes at a time when new reports document disproportionate rates of the incidence, prevalence, mortality, survival, risks and treatment of cancer for racial and ethnic minorities and those living in rural areas. A major topic on the agenda will be mobilizing communities to overcome these disparities by learning about innovative programs to increase cancer screenings and to recruit more cancer patients into clinical trials at the local level. The forum will also focus on best practices in patient navigation for those undergoing cancer treatment and increased access to pain management and palliative care at the end of life, areas where disparities in cancer care are significant.

"As a nation, we have witnessed significant declines in cancer deaths, but not all Americans are benefiting equally from this progress. Cancer is an area where racial and ethnic minorities and the poor continue are more likely to get cancer and die from their disease," said Lovell A. Jones, Ph.D., co-founder of the ICC. "This symposium will shine a light on the unequal burden of cancer faced by ethnic minorities, the elderly and the poor so cancer advocates and policy makers will have the insights to improve the services and programs designed to prevent, detect and treat cancer at its earliest stages and to support the medically underserved through and beyond treatment."

Conference Includes Cancer Survivors' March: National Call to Action

The ICC symposium will launch on April 3 with a cancer survivors' march that is accompanied by a color guard from Howard University. Leading the march will be the Honorary Chairs of the ICC meeting -- Celeste Clark, PhD, Senior Vice President of Global Nutrition and Corporate Affairs for the Kellogg Company and Dr. Dorothy I. Height, Medal of Freedom Recipient, and national civil rights leader.

Focusing on the latest initiatives to address disparities in cancer care, the first day of the conference will feature a plenary session on the EDICT (Eliminating Disparities in Clinical Trials) Initiative, a multi-year project spearheaded by the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Research Center (CDPCRC) at Baylor College of Medicine and the ICC to recruit more women, older people and minorities into clinical trials. Among the speakers will be Garth Graham, MD, MPH, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health; Joyce Hunter, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities; Wanda Jones, DrPH, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women's Health; Tamara I. Miller, JD, Deputy Director of the Office for Civil Rights; Stephen Phurrough, MD, MPA, Director of the Coverage and Analysis Group for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); and Sanya Springfield, PhD, Director of the National Cancer Institute's Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities.

An informative panel on the future of science and service in cancer will be presented on April 4 including updates from John Niederhuber, MD, Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI); Elizabeth Duke, PHD, Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); and Lisa Richardson, MD, Chief of the Science Support and Clinical Translation Team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Other conference highlights include:

-- Opening address by Dorothy I. Height, national civil rights leader -- April 3

-- Remarks on the state of cancer care from the leaders of the American Cancer Society, American Legacy Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and others -- April 4

-- A plenary session designed to connect community-based organizations to national and state agencies to eliminate disparities in cancer care -- April 5

-- A session on spirituality in health care -- April 6

The ICC symposium is expected to attract more than 1,000 cancer advocates, researchers, clinicians, policy makers, and minority health leaders. More information about the symposium is available on the ICC Web site at

The Intercultural Cancer Council is an advocacy organization whose mission is to advance policies, programs, partnerships and research to eliminate the unequal burden of cancer among racial and ethnic minorities and medically underserved populations.

SOURCE Intercultural Cancer Council
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