Annual Report - 1996-1997
A dream became reality when the Cancer Prevention Center opened its doors last spring, welcoming healthy individuals to the M. D. Anderson campus.
The new center offers an array of low-fat information and high-tech services under one roof to assist the public in understanding and reducing their cancer risk. With the opening of the Clinic Services Facility, prevention services are centralized under one roof for the first time.
"The center reflects the full integration of prevention services within this important area of M. D. Anderson's mission," explained Dr. Bernard Levin, vice president for cancer prevention. "The resources of the Cancer Prevention Center wi ll bring this institution's expertise to greater prominence and to more people than ever before."
Services range from head-to-toe screenings for healthy individuals to counseling and long-term follow-up for recovering cancer patients.
A $2 million gift from Caroline Wiess Law provided seed money for a variety of research programs while also giving momentum to a state-of-the-art Learning Center providing timely health and cancer information via literature, computers and classes. Between April and August, a steadily increasing stream of individuals visited the new center to find information and services. During the final quarter alone, 1,333 of the year's total 4,391 billable visits were recorded, a 19 percent increase over 1995.
Free prostate screenings were conducted in the new center for nearly 1,500 men.
Prevention services also headed out to the work site as M. D. Anderson's LifeCheq program made 30 visits to corporate locations throughout the year, presenting 337 lectures and providing screening services to more than 6,000 individuals. By summer's en d, M. D. Anderson's first mobile mammography van had hit the road - performing 4,101 mammograms at on-site businesses - through a generous gift from the Houston Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
"The new mammography van is a valuable vehicle for bringing life-saving diagnostic breast x-rays to women in their workplace," Dr. Levin said. "It also is serving as an important symbol of M. D. Anderson's commitment to convenient, quality cancer screening services for all parts of the community."
In the arena of cancer prevention research, new programs were launched to enhance studies in molecular and genetic epidemiology and behavioral science. Significant activities include innovative studies to improve dietary habits for adults and children, a two-year pilot genetics project to evaluate women at high-risk for inherited breast and ovarian cancers, and smoking cessation studies combining the use of anti-depressants and behavior modification.
In early 1996, M. D. Anderson became home for the first comprehensive lung cancer chemoprevention study in the nation through a $6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. The award recognizes the landmark research already undertaken by M. D. Anderson faculty and offers hope for individuals at high risk for developing this formidable disease.
"This has been a truly remarkable year for our activities in cancer prevention," Dr. Levin said. "We anticipate further success in securing competitive research grants and philanthropic gifts to enhance our programs and make cancer prevention a reality for many more persons in the hope that they will never have to experience this disease."