By Michele W. Sequeira

Spurring Action Against Cervical Cancer

Prajakta Adsul, PhD, from UNM Cancer Center attended the White House Cervical Cancer Forum focused on education, prevention, early detection and treatment

During the last days of January, which is Cervical Cancer Awareness month, Prajakta Adsul, MBBS, PhD, MPH, headed for Washington, D.C. Adsul had been invited to participate in the Inaugural White House Cervical Cancer Forum hosted by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, through the Biden Moonshoot Initiative.

Adsul is a global leader in cervical cancer prevention and implementation research. She and her team conducted the largest study of cervical screening among LGBTQIA+ individuals in the United States, and they published their research results last year in Frontiers in Oncology. The team continues to evaluate the study data with several publications planned.

The Forum at the White House began with a public session in which survivors and advocates for cervical cancer shared their experiences.

Thus grounded in priorities, the forum attendees heard remarks from Kimryn Rathmell, Director of the National Cancer Institute, and Danielle Carnival, PhD, Deputy Assistant to the President for the Cancer Moonshot.

Carnival told the attendees, “We are here today united by a commons mission … to get us on a path to virtually eliminate this disease which, today, impacts more than 600,000 people around the globe each year.”

The Forum ended with several sessions aimed at generating new ideas, actions and collaborations to combat cervical cancer worldwide.

In New Mexico, 100 women are expected to receive a diagnosis of cervical cancer in 2024, according to American Cancer Society estimates. The vast majority of cervical cancers — 91% — are caused by Human Papillomaviruses (HPVs). Three vaccines have been approved in the US for use against HPV.


UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center

The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in a 500-mile radius.

Its more than 136 board-certified oncology specialty physicians include cancer surgeons in every specialty (abdominal, thoracic, bone and soft tissue, neurosurgery, genitourinary, gynecology, and head and neck cancers), adult and pediatric hematologists/medical oncologists, gynecologic oncologists, and radiation oncologists. They, along with more than 600 other cancer healthcare professionals (nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, navigators, psychologists and social workers), provide treatment to 65% of New Mexico’s cancer patients from all across the state and partner with community health systems statewide to provide cancer care closer to home. They treated almost 15,000 patients in more than 100,000 ambulatory clinic visits in addition to in-patient hospitalizations at UNM Hospital.

A total of nearly 1,855 patients participated in cancer clinical trials testing new cancer treatments that include tests of novel cancer prevention strategies and cancer genome sequencing.

The more than 123 cancer research scientists affiliated with the UNMCCC were awarded $38.2 million in federal and private grants and contracts for cancer research projects. Since 2015, they have published nearly 1000 manuscripts, and promoting economic development, they filed 136 new patents and launched 10 new biotechnology start-up companies.

Finally, the physicians, scientists and staff have provided education and training experiences to more than 500 high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral fellowship students in cancer research and cancer health care delivery.

Categories: Comprehensive Cancer Center