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Massey Lung Summit to include community in cancer conversation

Oct 27, 2022

lung-summit-news-article Santiago Lima, Ph.D. and Maria Thomson, Ph.D.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, VCU Massey Cancer Center will host the inaugural Lung Cancer - Closing the Gap Summit. It will be held at The Grace Center inside 5th Street Baptist Church. Members of the community are encouraged to attend.

“Lung is the biggest cancer killer in the country,” said Santiago Lima, Ph.D., a Massey member, assistant professor of biology at VCU and chair of the lung summit planning committee. “Unfortunately many lung cancers are caught late. Treatments are getting better now with immunotherapy, but lung cancer is still the number one killer.”

While all races and ethnicities are impacted by lung cancer, Black men have both a higher incidence and higher mortality rate than other groups.

"Just as we know advertising campaigns targeting minorities can have a direct link to their decision to start using tobacco, we know programs giving minorities a voice in the dialogue can have a direct link to their decision to stop using tobacco or never start at all,” said Robert A. Winn, M.D., director and Lipman chair in oncology at Massey. “This lung summit, held in an historic Black church, will provide information to the community, in their community.”

Co-chairs of the lung summit planning committee are Erin Alesi, M.D., medical oncologist and member of the Developmental Therapeutics research program at Massey, as well as an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the VCU School of Medicine; and Maria Thomson, Ph.D., director of Community Engagement in Research at Massey and associate professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at the VCU School of Medicine.

“This summit will allow Massey clinicians and researchers to share what they are working on right now,” said Thomson. “But the summit also gives community members an opportunity to speak on a panel and share their perspective. They can let us know what is needed and how we can help. That information will guide our research.”

It is why Massey leaders invite the community to attend.

“This lung summit is about cancer awareness,” said Lima. “Knowing when you should get checked and options for screening. What are clinical trials, and how do they offer tomorrow’s treatments today? Everyone at every level could benefit from attending this summit.”

The lung summit is part of Massey’s Closing the Gap series that launched in 2022; each summit brings community members together with scientific investigators and clinicians as they define and discuss critical issues related to Massey’s four priority cancers: breast, lung, gastrointestinal (GI), and prostate.

Following each summit, attendees are invited to apply for pilot research project funding stemming from event discussions and engagement with the community.

Lung Cancer - Closing the Gap Summit will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. Follow this link to register.

Written by: Amy Lacey

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