MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A major public health initiative aimed at preventing cervical cancer in at-risk Appalachian families from West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia is underway with support from an $11 million National Cancer Institute grant.
The WVU Cancer Institute is collaborating with 10 health systems throughout Appalachian Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia to conduct this research in close partnership with Ohio State University (the lead institution), the University of Kentucky, and the University of Virginia.
Led by a team of investigators, including WVU’s Stephenie K. Kennedy-Rea, Ed.D., this new initiative builds upon a long history of collaborative research and community partnerships. The effort will focus on reducing the burden of cervical cancer in at-risk Appalachian communities by specifically targeting the primary causes of cervical cancer: tobacco smoking, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and lack of cervical cancer screening.
This new project will test the effectiveness of an integrated cervical cancer prevention program implemented by clinics/health centers consisting of three interventions:
- nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation counseling services,
- a method of at-home HPV screening, and
- a medical practice-based intervention to improve HPV vaccination rates among patients age 11 to 12 and 13 to 26 years of age in Appalachia-based health centers.
There is a tremendous opportunity to reduce the burden of cervical cancer through public education, especially as it relates to the HPV vaccine, Pap testing, and smoking cessation.
“Our state has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer and cervical cancer deaths in the United States. West Virginia also has the highest adult smoking rate in the nation and vaccination rates below the national average, and studies have shown the HPV vaccine and smoking cessation reduce rates of cervical cancer,” Dr. Kennedy-Rea, director of Cancer Prevention at Control at the WVU Cancer Institute, said.
“These health disparities in underserved communities are not new – they are long-standing and must be addressed in a systematic, sustainable way. Coupling cervical cancer screening with HPV vaccination and smoking cessation allows us to address the disparity comprehensively. We will tackle this through intentional community collaboration and multi-level intervention.”
To learn more about cancer control research and services, visit www.wvucancer.org/cancer-prevention-control.
WVU Medicine Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry is named Center of Excellence, receives grant
The Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute has been named a Center of Excellence in Addiction and was awarded a four-year, $2.9 million grant by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR). It is the only addiction program in the state to be recognized as a Center of Excellence by the WV DHHR.
The WVU Cancer Institute Department of Radiation Oncology recently implemented the use of a THOR® photobiomodulation (PBM) device to prevent mucositis in head and neck cancer patients receiving radiation.
WVU Medicine is continuing to offer COVID-19 testing at its outpatient center at University Town Centre in Morgantown. The testing at this location is not free; a provider’s order is required to be tested.