People with a family history of cancer have a higher risk of getting cancer. Whitney Espinel, a genetic counselor at Huntsman Cancer Institute, explains the role of genetic counseling in cancer care. Genetic testing looks for mutations and helps patients know if genes play a role in their personal or family health history.
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Connecting with other cancer patients in a support group can decrease isolation, provide additional support, and help reduce stress, according to Lisa Gauchay, MSW, LCSW, a social worker at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Lisa runs a support group for patients with metastatic breast cancer. The group meets once a month, discussing different topics that include how to cope with grief, bucket list ideas, and the process of dying. Patients who participate in the support group often create lasting friendships by connecting with others who are going through similar experiences.
Clinical trials test the safety and effectiveness of new cancer drugs and treatments. They help us find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat cancer. At any given time, Huntsman Cancer Institute has an average of 200 clinical trials open to cancer patients.
The Center of Excellence in Hematologic Malignancies and Hematology at Huntsman Cancer Institute is a group of more than three dozen doctors and scientists dedicated to hematologic cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Integration and collaboration across disciplines will improve clinical care and advance research in these complicated diseases.
When family and friends wanted to show support for tongue cancer patient Jarem Hallows, they discovered the Huntsman Sports Festival, which includes the Huntsman 5K running and Huntsman 140 cycling events, and created a fundraising team in 2017. #TeamJarem raised more than $26,000, the largest gift of support ever received for the Head and Neck Cancers Disease Center.
HCI patient Clark Stringham felt like he was running out of time with his diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer. He credits a clinical trial and his oncologist, Neeraj Agarwal, MD, with saving his life.
To combat tobacco-related cancer deaths, Huntsman Cancer Institute takes a multifaceted approach: advocating for comprehensive tobacco control policies; informing communities about tobacco risk; and providing tobacco cessation services. On July 1, 2018, the University of Utah was officially designated a tobacco-free campus. The designation supports clean air initiatives, reduces costs associated with health care, and creates a healthier environment for tens of thousands of students, employees, patients, and visitors.
Approximately 500 patients visit the outpatient clinics and infusion center at Huntsman Cancer Institute each day. Our patients rely on our clinical teams and staff to provide safe, efficient, and high quality care during each clinic visit. In this letter from Don Milligan, director of outpatient services, highlights recent efforts to provide the best care possible.
Cornelia Ulrich, PhD, executive director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at HCI, explains how HCI's community of highly motivated and dedicated researchers, staff, and trainees is focused on one thing: eradicating suffering caused by cancer.
When construction is complete in 2020, Huntsman Cancer Institute will implement the latest advance in proton therapy, called intensity-modulated proton therapy. Proton therapy is the favored approach for many tumors in and around vital structures such as the spinal cord and brain stem. It is also the preferred treatment for certain childhood cancers. We are committed to bringing cutting-edge care to our patients, and proton therapy will be the next step in that promise.
In less than three years, HCI researchers have taken an idea from concept to lab to clinical evaluation. Conan Kinsey, MD, PhD, and Martin McMahon, PhD, combined two drugs that had not been used in combination before to treat pancreatic tumors. The results were promising and they were able to move from the lab to clinical trial quickly. A clinical trial to test the safety and effect of this drug combination in pancreatic cancer is now underway at HCI and planned at other sites around the United States.
HPV vaccination rates still lag far behind other recommended vaccines, and Utah has one of the lowest rates in the nation. Only about 34 percent of Utah adolescents have completed the vaccine series, compared to the national average of 50 percent. Huntsman Cancer Institute is joining forces with experts across the country to change those statistics.
Huntsman Cancer Institute launched a new service in the summer of 2018 called Huntsman at Home, which brings HCI-quality care into the homes of patients. The Huntsman at Home team assesses and treats issues caused by cancer or its treatments so patients can leave the hospital sooner or avoid going in at all.
Faculty at Huntsman Cancer Institute cultivate the scientists who will carry our lifesaving work into the future. It’s part of our mission. We offer trainee programs for researchers, public health professionals, and care providers such as physicians and advanced practice clinicians. These are some of the more than 425 students training at HCI.
In summer 2018, Huntsman Cancer Institute established a Community Advisory Board (CAB) to increase community outreach and engagement and address health disparities through collaboration. The 38 CAB members represent government organizations, safety-net health care and health systems, comprehensive cancer programs, community organizations focused on the underserved, business and religious leaders, elected officials, and cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors.
The Precision Exercise Prescription study is a unique collaboration between medical doctors, researchers, physical therapists, and patients. The study looks at how an exercise program tailored for each patient can improve long-term outcomes after lung cancer surgery.
In 2018, a team of researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute received a prestigious National Cancer Institute Cancer Moonshot grant. The grant will fund studies about ways to identify patients who may benefit from genetic counseling and services.
The West is known for its "can-do" spirit, for the willingness of people to work together. At Huntsman Cancer Institute, we strive to push the boundaries of cancer research and care and attain results beyond what we thought was possible. We've made a commitment to advance cutting-edge cancer research and care in the Mountain West region.
Huntsman Cancer Institute has invested in advanced practice clinicians, knowing that this group of talented medical professionals is a critical link in the cancer care continuum.
Huntsman Cancer Institute began in 1995 with an empty lot and a dream full of promise. Twenty-two years later, HCI opened a major expansion that doubled its research capacity.