Jill Biden, in visit to UT Health San Antonio, says education can cut cancer rates

First Lady Jill Biden arrived in San Antonio on Wednesday to pursue the same ambitious goal as America’s bid in the 1960s to put astronauts on the moon – to reduce cancer deaths by at least 50 percent over the next quarter century.

Biden visited the Mace Cancer Center in San Antonio UT Health accompanied by Dr. Ned Sharples, director of the National Cancer Institute, and Mayor Ron Nirenberg. At an audition session to address the health care disparity in cancer in the Latin American community, she spoke about the personal impact of cancer on her life.

President Joe Biden’s son, Bo Biden, died of brain cancer in 2015 after a battle that began two years earlier at Anderson’s Medical Center in Houston.

“We were lucky when our son got cancer, we had access to the best health care in the world. We had access to trials, we had access to different therapies, and we tried everything, ”said Jill Biden, his stepmother. “And it’s true, you hear the word ‘cancer’ and just shut up.”

Cancer rates among Hispanics across the country are projected to rise, and work is gaining additional importance in San Antonio, where 64 percent of the population is Hispanic.

First Lady Jill Biden, at the center, appeals to comfort cancer patient Rainey Miller during a visit to the Mace Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio on Wednesday. Biden met with staff and patients and later visited the Child Development Center at the San Antonio Lakeland Joint Base. To the right is San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

Jerry Lara / San Antonio Express-News

The tour was aimed at the Biden administration’s initiative to fight Moonshot Cancer and included a visit to the Mace Center Infusion Center, where patients are being treated as part of clinical trials. Biden also spoke with Janet Sanchez, a UT Health San Antonio health worker, and Rainey Miller, a breast cancer patient at the center.

The audition session was attended by experts from all over the country, moderated by Dr. Amelie Ramirez, Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences and Assistant Director for Public Affairs and Interaction at the Center.

Biden later visited the Child Development Center at the United San Antonio Lachland Base as part of a one-day stop in Alamo City, her fourth trip to Texas since becoming first lady.

Many in San Antonio may think that heart disease and diabetes are the biggest killers among Latinos, but cancer is actually number 1, and Latinos and African Americans are underrepresented in cancer drug trials, researchers say.

First Lady Jill Biden visits with staff and patients the Mace Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio on Wednesday.

First Lady Jill Biden visits with staff and patients the Mace Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio on Wednesday.

Jerry Lara / San Antonio Express-News

The problem has led to the launch of a campaign that hopes to recruit 20 percent of patients at the Mays Cancer Center in San Antonio and the region to conduct various cancer studies – a goal that will double participation in 2020.

UT Health San Antonio is leading a joint national study, Advance Kaminas or Leading Pathways, which will track 3,000 survivors in Alamo City and Miami over six years and explore the social, cultural, behavioral, biological, and medical impacts that affect their quality of life.

The study began here in May and involves Ramirez and Frank J. Peneda of the Sylvester Complex Cancer Center at the University of Miami.

Those wishing to join the study should send an email to caminos@uthscsa.edu or visit the website salud.to/survivorstudy.

Ramirez said Latinos face differences in access to care, screening, clinical trials, risk factors, mortality and quality of life – all exacerbated by COVID-19.

First Lady Jill Biden waves her hand when she arrives for a tour of the Mace Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio on Wednesday.  With her are the director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Ned Sharples (left), San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg (right) and his wife Erica Prosper.  Biden met with staff and patients and later visited the Child Development Center at the San Antonio Lakeland Joint Base.

First Lady Jill Biden waves her hand when she arrives for a tour of the Mace Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio on Wednesday. With her are the director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Ned Sharples (left), San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg (right) and his wife Erica Prosper. Biden met with staff and patients and later visited the Child Development Center at the San Antonio Lakeland Joint Base.

Jerry Lara / San Antonio Express-News

“We conducted research by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the Health Research Center, where we documented that our Hispanic population in South Texas has higher liver cancer rates than the rest of Texas than other Hispanics across the country,” she said. that cannot be explained why.

“We’re investigating that,” Ramirez said. “It could be the causes of obesity and diabetes, it could be (hepatitis C), people are not vaccinated. There are a number of probabilities, but we do not have a clear answer. And usually, when this disease is diagnosed, it is quite deadly.

In the morning, when Biden arrived in the city, Ramirez convened a conference on the development of cancer science in Latin Americans in 2022, an event held here every two years, which began in 2018 and will last until Friday. It is expected to attract 200 researchers, oncologists, doctors, community leaders and students to the downtown Westin Riverwalk.

Thanks to advances in cancer treatment, diagnosis and patient care, and lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic, the Biden administration has stated that its ambitious goals of reducing cancer mortality and improving the lives of survivors are achievable.

The administration noted that the death rate from cancer has decreased by about 25 percent over the first 20 years of this century, which means that more and more people are surviving cancer and living longer after being diagnosed.

Treatments have been developed to target specific mutations in lung and skin cancer as well as leukemia, among others. Innovative treatments are currently using the human immune system to detect and destroy cancer cells, affecting certain types of skin and blood cancers.

Vaccines have been created that prevent the cause of as many as seven cancers.

Biden described Cancer Moonshot as personal. Jill Biden became a supporter of cancer education and prevention in 1993, when four friends were diagnosed with breast cancer. That year, she launched Biden’s Breast Care initiative to teach Delaware high school students about the importance of cancer prevention.

Many years later, Bo Biden contracted glioblastoma, usually a malignant tumor.

Ramirez believes the administration’s goals are realistic, but adds a caveat.

“I think it’s real if we can get people involved in an early survey so we can really help them at that early stage,” she said. “And what we see in Latinos is that they are diagnosed in stage 4 cancer, in the later stages of cancer when we have few therapies available to them.”

Reasons include a lack of culturally adapted information on why it is important to come for the survey, she said.

“You know that our community has some of the lowest health insurance rates compared to other populations, so access to care is another important point.”

First Lady Jill Biden attended an audition session during her visit with staff and patients at the Mace Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio on Wednesday.

First Lady Jill Biden attended an audition session during her visit with staff and patients at the Mace Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio on Wednesday.

Jerry Lara / San Antonio Express-News

One of those who attended the audition session, Dr. Barbara Segara-Vazquez, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico and a two-time cancer survivor, said she has great resources as a patient, including her own family.

Others, however, were not so lucky.

“We will never develop science if we don’t open it up to patients, and I admire that,” she said.

Nirenberg, who sat next to Biden, said that doctors and researchers in San Antonio were doing a “great job”, but added: “The main task is justice, access to hard-to-reach groups.”

Texans and San Antonio residents in particular, he said, have high levels of the uninsured, “so we, as a community, are trying to attack poverty from different angles.”

Biden stressed the need to improve rural coverage and critical work on early detection, which is key to successful intervention in the disease.

“Education plays a big part in this. We need to report that people need to be screened, detected early, and where their cancer centers are and who their patient advocates are, ”Biden continued.“ Our administration works every day because we know it affects everyone Americans. “

Her last visit to Texas was in November to visit a children’s vaccination clinic against COVID-19 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. She traveled to Houston and Dallas in June and visited Houston a year ago with her husband after the winter storm Uri left millions of people in Texas without electricity and water.

Jill Biden’s last visit to San Antonio was in 2019 to perform at a junior league dinner. In 2011, she visited Brooke Medical Center and the nearest Soldiers and Family Support Center.

sigc@express-news.net

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