Preventing Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that almost 200,000 of the more than half-million cancer deaths expected this year could be prevented if people would modify their lifestyles. To help the public understand what they can do, Tulane University is hosting a panel of experts who will discuss, "Fight for Your Life: Cancer Prevention in the Real World" at 5 p.m. Nov. 11 at Newcomb College's Goldenberg Art Center Freeman Auditorium on Tulane's Uptown campus. The discussion, part of the Tulane University Presidential Symposium on Cancer, is free and open to the public.

Panelists include oncologist and epidemiologist Dr. Ernest Terry Hawk of the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute; Geoffrey Greene, a professor at the University of Chicago's Ben May Institute and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; W. Martin Kast of the University of Southern California's Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Alan R. Kristal, associate head of the Cancer Prevention Program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Earlier in the day, the four will deliver presentations on "The Prospect of Preventing Cancer: Scientific Basis and Fond Hope" to the scientific and health care communities. That talk is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon at the Tulane's School of Medicine (1430 Tulane Ave.).

The Secret Life of Genes

Many scientists believe that future cancer treatments will focus on gene mutations and the genetic makeup of individual patients and that most cancers are caused by genetic mutations. To further study how to determine what the mutations are and how to treat them, the National Institutes of Health has awarded Tulane University Health Sciences Center a five-year, almost $10.7 million grant to develop a cancer genetics program.

The grant will fund development of the Cancer Genetics Program at the Tulane Cancer Center (TCC) and the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium, which combines the knowledge and talents of researchers at Tulane and Louisiana State University. The grant also will establish a new Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Cancer Genetics.

Principal investigators for the grant are Prescott Deininger, director of basic research at TCC, and Bronya Keats, chair of genetics at LSU Health Sciences Center. Deininger has studied genetic mutations that might lead to cancer for three decades and discovered a new form of gene regulation that controls mobile elements in the human genome. He is still conducting research to determine the importance of those elements to cancer development.

Gems of Hope

Aucoin Hart Jewelers (1525 Metairie Road, Metairie, 834-9999) is donating jewelry to the Foundation for the LSU Health Sciences Center that will be raffled off to help raise money for women's cancer research. The jewelry store will donate suites of jewelry during several trunk shows it is holding in November and December, then the Foundation will sell $10 raffle tickets through December for chances to win the designer jewelry. The Tickets can be purchases during the trunk shows or through LSU's foundation.

From noon to 8 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 4), designer Penny Preville will display her fall jewelry collections during a trunk show at Aucoin Hart in which a pair of diamond earrings and matching pendant worth $3,720 will be donated for raffle. Mikimoto's Milano Collection will be featured at a trunk show from noon to 8 p.m. Nov. 18, and a pair of pearl studs and an 18-inch pearl necklace valued at $3,790 will be donated. David Yurman's fall collection will be unveiled at a trunk show from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 2, and Aucoin Hart will donate a pink tourmaline bracelet worth $3,400 to the foundation. Aucoin Hart will serve wine and hors d'oeuvres at all its trunk shows, and direct donations to the foundation will be accepted.

Classes for Kids and Adults

With children out of school for election day today, St. Tammany Parish Hospital (SPTH) (1202 S. Tyler St., Covington; is sponsoring events to help them stay safe all year long. At 10 a.m. in the hospital's Parenting Center, Cleco power company will teach youngsters 5 and older how to keep safe around electricity. At 11 a.m. at the same location, children 5 to 8 years old can learn about the dangers of strangers from DARE. Both events are free and open to the public. Call (985) 898-4435 for information or to register.

On Nov. 6, the hospital's New Family Center is hosting an open house from 10 a.m. to noon to introduce the public to its labor, delivery, recovery, post-partum and neonatal facilities and staff.

Screening for Weak Spots

The LSU Healthcare Network and Aneurysm Outreach Inc. are offering a free screening to detect weakening in the abdominal portion of the aorta in older men and women from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday (Nov. 6) at 2020 Gravier St.

Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is only recommended for people 60 and older, unless there is a family history of the condition. AAA is an abnormal ballooning of the abdominal portion of the aorta (the major artery from the heart) and can rupture and cause death if it isn't treated. It is the third leading cause of sudden death in men in the United States. AAA can be detected through ultrasonography and can be treated through surgery or stent grafts.

Those seeking the free screening must pre-qualify and schedule an appointment by calling 412-1110. The screening also includes a blood pressure check and education about AAA.

The Right Equipment

Ochsner Clinic Foundation and its Elmwood Fitness Center recently donated exercise equipment to the nonprofit Fellowship Foundation of New Orleans, a network of local parish schools that provide opportunities for underprivileged children who maintain a 2.5 grade-point average. The donation, which includes treadmills, stair machines, rowing machines, weight machines, free weights and more, will be used at McMain High School.

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