A big, inflatable colon dramatizes the risks of colorectal cancer, just one of the projects by the Florida Regional Cancer Control Collaborative. Photo by UF Health
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of Florida Health Cancer Center Fund Projects Providing Health Information and Screenings to Underserved Communities
MIAMI, FLORIDA (Feb. 6, 2024) – Three leading Florida academic cancer centers – Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Health System, Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of Florida Health Cancer Center – have joined to fund thousands of dollars for four projects statewide to help people detect and treat cancer early.
The grants will support new and ongoing cancer screening and prevention projects across the state this year. They include a health fair to help people quit smoking, free mammograms and a big walk-thru inflatable colon that shows tumor growth, among other initiatives. The recipients are nonprofit groups and part of the Florida Regional Cancer Control Collaborative, which consists of stakeholders in various regions that strive to meet the goals in the Florida Cancer Plan.
The effort is part of an ongoing program by the Florida Department of Health with funds from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida residents bear the second highest cancer burden in the country; between 2019 and 2021, 138,174 Floridians died of cancer, according to the department. About 1.6 million new cancer cases are reported each year in the United States, according to the CDC.
“These partnerships are an effective way to leverage resources and organizations to empower more people to take early action against cancer,” said Erin N. Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate director of Community Outreach and Engagement at Sylvester and co-chair of the Florida Cancer Control and Research Advisory Council. “In particular, many of the programs focus on at-risk populations, including smokers, the elderly and people of color who often lack access to information and medical care that can help them prevent cancer or detect it early.”
“This funding is a unique opportunity for Florida academic cancer centers and the Florida Regional Cancer Control Collaboratives to advance our shared commitment to prevention and early detection to improve the health of Floridians,” said Susan T. Vadaparampil, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate center director of Community Outreach, Engagement and Equity at Moffitt.
“This initiative allows Florida cancer collaboratives to address cancer-related issues that are relevant to the local community and ensures the funds are used to tackle the most pressing needs and challenges faced by the people in that region,” said Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D., associate director for community outreach and engagement at the UF Health Cancer Center. “These funds will be directed toward improving access to cancer prevention and screening services, which is particularly important in areas where individuals may face barriers to health care, such as financial constraints or geographical distance.”
The community grants, each about $16,000, will support the following collaboratives:
1. North Central Florida Cancer Control Collaborative. The star of this show is an inflatable, walk-through colon with tumors called the “Small Town, Giant Colon Experience 2.0.” The device teaches people 40 years and older about colorectal cancer and why screening is important. Three events are scheduled in three locations yet to be determined. The group serves the following counties: Alachua, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Putnam, Suwannee and Union.
2. Northwest Florida Cancer Control Collaborative. The endeavor aims to reduce tobacco use to reduce breast cancer in women, especially in rural areas of the following counties: Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Liberty, Leon, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton and Washington. Programs in development include workshops to help people quit tobacco, a community health fair and public service information on the hazards of smoking.
3. East Central Florida Cancer Control Collaborative. Administered by the Health Council of East Central Florida, the group seeks to promote cancer prevention in seven counties: Brevard, Osceola, Orange, Seminole, Lake, Sumter and Marion. Programs emphasize cancer literacy, screenings for at-risk patients, early disease intervention and survivor support.
4. Southwest Florida Cancer Control Collaborative. This effort focuses on how to protect women against breast and cervical cancer, with focus on Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties. Three community events are in the works, featuring free health screenings, pap testing and mammograms.
About Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – University of Miami Health System and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center in South Florida. We are known as South Florida’s leader in patient-focused cancer research and care and offer the only phase 1 clinical trials in the region. Sylvester is a high performing cancer center among the nation’s top 10% in leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, and in colon, lung, ovarian, prostate and uterine cancer surgeries. With a network of 10 facilities in South Florida and one office in Southwest Florida, Sylvester operates 15 site disease groups including transplant and cellular therapy and skin, thoracic, myeloma, lymphoma, gynecological, genitourinary, gastrointestinal, neuro-oncology, sarcoma, pediatric, endocrine, leukemia/hematology, breast and head and neck cancers. For more information, visit Sylvester.org and follow @SylvesterCancer on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Threads.
About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 56 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 9,000 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.4 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
About University of Florida Health Cancer Center
The University of Florida Health Cancer Center blends comprehensive patient care and innovative research in a collaborative, multidisciplinary environment. In 2023, the center became the 72nd National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center and the only one based at a public university in the state of Florida. It boasts a membership of more than 300 researchers and clinicians from across the University of Florida and UF Health, the Southeast’s most comprehensive academic health center. The Cancer Center and its members are dedicated to providing leading-edge cancer care and conducting original research for the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. For more information, visit cancer.ufl.edu or UFHealth.org/cancer and follow @UFHealthCancer on Facebook, X, LinkedIn and Instagram.