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Asian-American Anti-Cancer Program Reaches Out To Communities

Published on April 25, 2001

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- On Wednesday in California, Ohio State University professor Moon Chen will assemble colleagues from cancer centers at Harvard, UCLA, Columbia, and two other national cancer centers to prepare to wage war on cancer in the Asian Community.

Moon Chen Chen is principal investigator for the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research, and Training (AANCART), a $7.6 million National Cancer Institute project--the first of its kind--to reach into Chinese and Vietnamese communities to reduce their risk of cancer, particularly lung and liver cancer.

AANCART is holding its first cancer control academy April 25 and 26 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, Oakland, California. Chen, professor of health behavior and health promotion at Ohio State University's School of Public Health, will convene the academy.


"The academy will provide insights into how culture affects cancer prevention efforts in Chinese and Vietnamese communities."


"We refer to this meeting as an 'academy' to signify that we are preparing people to work in the community, as opposed to simply increasing their knowledge about the community," said Chen, a researcher with Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center. "We are preparing people to conduct cancer control research and cancer awareness activities in Chinese and Vietnamese communities.

The academy will provide insights into such topics as how culture affects cancer prevention efforts in Chinese and Vietnamese communities. In contrast to the usual conferences, the people attending the academy will be primarily community-based leaders and clinicians, as opposed to academics.

"I think that will be unique," said Chen.

Speakers will present tested models for promoting smoking cessation, Hepatitis-B vaccination, and other forms of cancer prevention in Chinese and Vietnamese communities.

The academy is targeting tobacco use as a way to reduce the burden of lung cancer. It is also promoting Hepatitis-B vaccination as a way of reducing liver cancer, he said.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Asian Americans and Americans generally. Liver cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death among Asian Americans. (Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among Asian Americans and Americans generally.)

Hepatitis-B viral infection is responsible for about 80 percent of liver cancers.

"Hepatitis-B vaccine is actually the world's first anti-cancer vaccine," said Chen, explaining that the vaccine hasn't been appreciated as a way to prevent liver cancer.

On April 26, and coincidentally with the academy, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will hold a press conference there to encourage Hepatitis-B vaccination of Asian-American children ages 8 to 18.

During the press conference, Chen will represent the American Cancer Society's national board and endorse the Hepatitis-B vaccine program.

AANCART's primary mission is to develop strategies to reduce the burden of cancer in America's diverse Asian community, which encompasses more than 30 ethnic groups and 800 languages and dialects.

The other centers are Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Harvard University, Boston), Columbia University (the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, New York City), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (University of Washington, Seattle), University of California, San Francisco (Northern California Cancer Center), and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (University of California, Los Angeles).

Collectively, nearly half of all Asian Americans in the United States live in these cities.

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Contact: Moon Chen, (614) 932-6349; chen.42@osu.edu Written by Darrell E. Ward, (614) 292-8456; Ward.25@osu.edu


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