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Fox Chase Faculty Members Receive Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Grant for Liver Cancer Education

August 23, 2019

Evelyn González, MA, is senior director of the Fox Chase Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach (OCO).Evelyn González, MA, is senior director of the Fox Chase Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach (OCO).PHILADELPHIA (August 23, 2019) — Evelyn González and Shannon Lynch, MPH, PhD, have received a two-year grant for $125,000 from The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to provide liver cancer and hepatitis education to at-risk communities in the Philadelphia area. González is senior director of the Fox Chase Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach (OCO) and Lynch is an assistant professor in the Cancer Prevention and Control program.

The incidence of liver cancer has tripled over the past three decades, and liver cancer is now the fifth most common cause of cancer death in the United States. In Pennsylvania, the incidence and mortality rates of liver cancer have climbed each year since 2003.

Up to 70 percent of liver cancer cases are caused by modifiable factors, including drug or alcohol use, obesity, diabetes, and infection with hepatitis B or C. Despite these risk factors being largely addressable through early detection, vaccination, treatment, and lifestyle intervention, liver cancer rates continue to rise in the United States, particularly among minority populations.

Dr. Shannon Lynch is an assistant professor in the Cancer Prevention and Control program.Dr. Shannon Lynch is an assistant professor in the Cancer Prevention and Control program.Hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) account for 32 percent of liver cancer cases in the country; however, in African American and Asian populations, they account for 40 percent to 50 percent of cases. In a study of Philadelphia residents spanning 2003 through 2012, those with HBV and HCV accounted for nearly 40 percent of liver cancer diagnoses.

“Given the role of HCV and HBV in liver cancer in our area, public health programs to prevent HBV and HCV infection could have a substantial effect on the burden of liver cancer in Philadelphia,” said González.

“And to ensure liver cancer prevention programs are delivered to areas that need it most, we are taking a team approach,” said Lynch. Lynch is working to identify areas with the greatest burden of liver cancer and related risk factors. The OCO will be working with community partners in those areas to deliver bilingual education about hepatitis: who is at risk, how it is contracted, and how it relates to liver cancer. The team then plans to evaluate the education program to determine how to continue to best serve affected communities.

       

The Hospital of Fox Chase Cancer Center and its affiliates (collectively “Fox Chase Cancer Center”), a member of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence five consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.
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