Bayview hosts Cancer Fair
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 12:27

Visitors to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center’s Cancer Fair learned about cancer prevention and treatment. photo by Nicole Rodman

Event raises awareness, provides information

by Nicole Rodman

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1,660,290 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2013 alone, resulting in 580,350 deaths.
    The second leading cause of death in the United States (behind heart disease), cancer kills nearly 1,600 people each day.
    In an effort to educate local residents about cancer, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center held its fifth annual Cancer Fair on Sept. 26.
    According to Dr. Mark Duncan, chief of surgical oncology at Bayview, the fair is held each year to inform visitors about the cancer services and resources available both at Bayview and across the community.
    As Duncan noted, Bayview treats around 700 cancer patients each year, offering services such as surgery, occupational therapy, palliative care (care designed to relieve symptoms and provide comfort) and hospice care.
    “All of this is here for them,” Duncan noted.
    In addition, last week’s Cancer Fair provided visitors with the chance to learn more about community resources for cancer patients and their families.
    For Duncan, the annual fair is an example of what he sees as Bayview’s commitment to the community.
    “People know this is a Johns Hopkins hospital, but Bayview has always been more community-centered,” he said.
    Though the Cancer Fair provided information helpful for those suffering from cancer, there was important information for all residents at the event.
    Many of the resources at the fair were designed to help visitors learn the risk factors for cancer and what they can do to detect cancer in its early stages.
    As Duncan pointed out, individuals over the age of 50 should have mammograms and colonoscopies to catch breast and colon cancer in its early stages.
    The American Cancer Society recommends digital prostate exams for men over 40, while men over 50 should have a blood test that can detect prostate cancer.
    Duncan also recommended that women conduct breast self-exams to detect lumps and other signs of cancer and receive  pap smears every two years to check for cervical cancer.
    While healthy eating and exercise are vital for overall health, including lowering cancer risk, quitting smoking is one of the most important ways to prevent cancer.
    According to Duncan, smoking is a risk factor for not only lung cancer but colorectal cancer and gastric cancer, among others.
    While the Cancer Fair focused on many different types of cancer, the timing of the event came just before National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
    Each October, the American Cancer Society and other organizations offer information on breast cancer risk and prevention in an effort to raise awareness.
    At last week’s cancer fair, a number of tables were dedicated to providing information and resources about breast cancer.
    One table offered information on detecting and treating breast cancer.
    Information on services such as Johns Hopkins breast cancer survivor retreats and the Johns Hopkins High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic was also available.
    Another organization, All Shades of Pink, was on hand to inform visitors about the services available to those diagnosed with breast cancer.
    According to board member Janet Hall, All Shades of Pink is unique from other breast cancer organizations in that it provides financial assistance for breast cancer patients who are unable to pay their bills during treatment.
    Herself a 30-year survivor of breast cancer, Hall informed Cancer Fair visitors about the importance of early detection of breast cancer, especially for young women who are not yet going for mammograms.
    “I just want young women to understand that they have to have mammograms,” Hall explained.
    For more information on All Shades of Pink, visit www.
allshadesofpink.org or call 301-356-4688.
    Also on hand at last Thursday’s Cancer Fair were representatives from various Bayview departments, including the Clinical Nutrition Department, Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Department and Oncology Research Department.
    Information was also available on various types of cancer such as bladder cancer, leukemia, colorectal cancer, testicular cancer and pancreatic cancer.
    For Duncan, events such as the Cancer Fair are important for all residents, even those who are not cancer patients themselves.
    “Every single family is touched by cancer,” he explained, adding, “It’s not a disease that [just] happens to other people.”