Expert Pitch

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 7, 2019) – January is cervical cancer awareness month, raising awareness of a cancer type that frequently affects women between the ages of 35 and 44, according to the American Cancer Society.  In 2018, the American Cancer Society estimated 13,240 new cases of invasive cervical cancer.  Rutgers experts are available to discuss various topics related to the prevention, detection, and treatment of the disease, including:

  • Theresa Chang, associate professor of microbiology, biochemistry, and molecular genetics at the Public Health Research Institute at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, researches the role of the immune system in sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). She is available to discuss the impact of altered immune responses on cervical cancer development in HIV-infected women whose immune system is compromised.
    • “Cervical cancer is preventable and treatable. Unfortunately, women whose immune systems are not working well, such as those women who are infected with HIV, have a worse chance of cancer and morbidity related to cervical cancer.  By identifying the ways to target improving the immune system, we can potentially improve outcomes in these women.”
  • Mark Einstein, MD, chair and professor of the Department of Obstestrics, Gyencology, and Women’s Health at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and research member in the Clinical Investigations and Precision Therapeutics Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, has research expertise in prevention, development, and treatment of cervical cancer, as well as medical expertise in gynecologic oncology, minimally invasive surgery, and other complex gynecologic problems and diseases. Einstein is a consultant to the World Health Organization on the immune basis for HPV in addition to other leadership roles, and is available for comment on cervical cancer prevention including screening and policies for vaccination against cervical cancer.
    • “With early vaccination and regular screening, we CAN prevent cervical cancer.  I look forward to the day I never have to operate on a woman or give harsh chemotherapies to a woman suffering from cervical cancer again.  We have the tools now, we just need to use them regularly.”
  • Leslie Kantor, chair and professor of the Department of Urban Global Public Health at Rutgers School of Public Health, is a leader in sexual and reproductive health and is focused on increasing health equity. She has studied parental attitudes related to the HPV vaccine and has developed educational approaches to help increase provider, parent, and the general public’s understanding of HPV, which is associated with the majority of cases of cervical cancer.  She can also comment on trends related to cervical cancer and the disparities that exist in diagnosis and treatment.
    • “Most people still don’t understand that the HPV vaccine is a cancer vaccine—and that most cases of cervical cancer are preventable.  Trends for vaccination are moving in the right direction but only half of adolescents in the US have received the complete dosage.  More needs to be done to educate parents and to ensure that HPV vaccine is integrated into healthcare delivery and messaging.” 
  • Ruth Stephenson, DO, gynecologic oncologist at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, has clinical expertise in ovarian, endometrial, cervical, gynecologic, and vulvar cancers as well as minimally invasive surgery and clinical trials. She is available to discuss routine screenings and vaccinations for the prevention of HPV and cervical cancer.

“HPV infection and therefore cervical cancer can be prevented by vaccination. There are now two FDA vaccines approved for males and females between ages nine and 26, and according to the latest recommendations from the CDC, all children between nine and 13 should complete the vaccine series. Children younger than 15 should receive two doses of the vaccine six months apart and those over age 15 should complete a three-dose series.  Keep in mind, for a woman, vaccination does NOT mean she should refrain from receiving a routine gynecological screening known as a Pap smear since the vaccine does not 100 percent guarantee against the development of cervical cancer.” 

If you are interested in speaking with any of these experts, please contact Cait Coyle, caitlin.coyle@rutgers.edu, 848-445-1955.

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