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Cancer prevention in Latin America also serves us here

With the proposed federal cutbacks in medical research, global health and diplomacy, it falls to other resources to continue critically needed programs and services that must forge ahead rather than fall backward or be abandoned.

We have been encouraging and writing about forming innovative collaborative partnerships to deal more effectively with health issues for some time now, and on March 29 at Miami Dade College, we will be co-chairing with our friend and colleague, Dr. Jorge Gomez, a Concordia-hosted roundtable discussion on cancer prevention, screening and early detection in Latin America.

Gomez, who spent more than two decades in senior scientific and administrative roles at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), including heading its Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) program, was also responsible for creating the NCI’s first Latin American cancer initiative.

Currently a faculty member and administrator at the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, he is responsible for programs dealing with health disparities and outreach.

In Miami, we will convene a panel of healthcare experts and officials from academic institutions and government agencies in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Puerto Rico and Uruguay, as well as experts from the World Health Organization, to discuss reducing cancer in Latin America through preventive measures including implementation of specific cancer control plans appropriate for respective populations.

 

(We also invited representatives of the Mexican government, who declined because of current tensions; we hope those will be resolved soon.)

According to the Pan American Health Organization, there were 1.2 million cancer deaths in Latin America in 2008, with that number projected to increase to 2.1 million by 2030. It is also estimated that about one-third of cancers can be prevented by avoiding certain risk factors, such as smoking.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the cancer problem. Latin…

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