Minimizing cancer risks for Hispanics topic of free, public lecture

SAN ANTONIO (August 2, 2011) – Hispanics, who make up 60 percent of Bexar County’s population and almost 40 percent of Texas’, face special cancer risks.

Minimizing those risks is the subject of a free public lecture to be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

“In the Hispanic population, we tend to put off prevention because we don’t think it’s going to happen to us,” said Amelie Ramirez, Dr. P.H., director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the UT Health Science Center. “And cancer’s one of those things we don’t like to talk about.”

For instance, Dr. Ramirez said, about 40 percent of Hispanic women do not have yearly mammograms. And skin cancer is often diagnosed at later stages in Hispanics than in non-Hispanic whites.

Those statistics are often due to socioeconomic factors and access to care, Dr. Ramirez said, but there are other cancer questions that have yet to be resolved. “In Texas, we are noticing a higher rate of liver cancer in the Hispanic population,” she said. “We’re not sure why yet, but there is some possibility of an obesity-diabetes link.”

The best defenses against these illnesses are a good understanding of risks and knowledge of available prevention strategies and treatment options, she said.

Dr. Ramirez will be joined by two other faculty members of the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center: Raul Ramos, M.D., clinical professor of general and laparoendoscopic surgery, and Alfredo A. Santillan-Gomez, M.D., M.P.H., clinical assistant professor of surgical oncology.

The Aug. 11 presentation will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the CTRC, 7979 Wurzbach Road, on the fourth floor of the Grossman Building. Refreshments will be provided. For more information, call 210-450-1152.

This is the ninth in a series of free monthly public lectures on cancer prevention and treatment sponsored by the CTRC. In September, Stephen R. Kraus, M.D., professor and vice chairman of urology in the School of Medicine, will speak on bladder control in cancer patients.

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The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center, and is one of only four in Texas. A leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) conducts one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in development of cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit www.ctrc.net.