Cervical cancer detection in Virginia

Sunday’s story on high cervical cancer rates in this part of Virginia prompted Marilee Ramesh, a professor of biology and department chair at Roanoke College to extend a timely invitation.

The college is recognizing Henrietta Lacks Legacy Week and has invited Lisa Flowers of Emory School of Medicine to speak on Thursday on medical discoveries and medical ethics and on the changes in the medical care and treatment for cervical cancer from Henrietta Lacks to the present.

Lacks, who was born in Roanoke, died in 1951 from cervical cancer in Baltimore. Her cancerous cells were taken without her or her family’s permission and became the first cell line to grow in culture. Known as HeLa cells, they have become the basis for most medical advances since then.

Flowers is a a professor in the Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.

Her lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Wortmann Ballroom of the Colket Center. It is free and open to the public.

Virginia announced a year ago that it would build a biomedical cancer research and treatment center in Halifax County to recognize Lacks.

In case you missed Sunday’s story, it is about a multi-state research project aimed at lowering the rate of cervical cancer in Appalachian counties, including Virginia’s coalfields.

Three things are known to prevent 90% of cervical cancer: vaccinations to prevent HPV infections, routine Pap tests, and stopping smoking.

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Contact Luanne Rife at luanne.rife@roanoke.com or 981-3209. 

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