Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) held its second annual Celebrating Survivorship community outreach and educational event June 3 in honor of National Cancer Survivors Day. The event was sponsored by the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso Breast Care Center, the Department of Clinical Affairs and the Cancer Clinical Research Core (CCRC).
More than 100 cancer survivors, caregivers and community members attended the event. Attendees were welcomed with an introduction by Zeina Nahleh, M.D., professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Hematology Oncology. She discussed the various services provided to patients through the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso Breast Care Center survivorship program, from oncology care for the long-term effects of cancer to psychological counseling and nutrition advice. Dr. Nahleh also presented the results of a research project conducted through the Breast Cancer Survivorship Program, which showed decreased anxiety and depression scores and improved quality of life among participants.
Karinn Chambers, M.D., assistant professor of surgery and director of the Breast Care Center, presented on advances in cancer surgeries and dispelled cancer myths. Sandra Terrazas, a fitness expert, spoke about the impact that exercise and healthy eating can have on quality of life for survivors. Terrazas also performed exercise demonstrations with the attendees.
In addition to the various speakers, a video testimonial from cancer patients treated at the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso Breast Care Center highlighted personal stories of cancer and survivorship. Patients featured in the video shared their experiences and feelings about diagnosis and treatment, and talked about their participation in clinical trials to encourage others to participate in cancer research. Although many different stories were shared, the common message was one of hope, perseverance and a greater appreciation for life.
Today in America there are more than 14 million cancer survivors. This number is constantly growing as treatments and research work to expand medical knowledge of the many types of cancer. Education on early detection is also a significant factor for survival rates and as early detection numbers rise, so too do survivorship numbers. The National Cancer Survivors Day started in 1988 and is held the first Sunday in June. It is currently recognized by 26 countries worldwide.
Photos by Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso Breast Care Center.