University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Global Cancer Program Lecture

October 3, 2017, 4:00 pm

Mission Bay
Mission Hall, 550 16th Street

Danny A. Milner, Jr., MD, MSc(Epi), Chief Medical Officer, American Society for Clinical Pathology   >view speaker profile

"Cancer in Africa: The Challenge and Pathology as the Solution"

This history of malaria in Africa includes a distressing chapter (of nearly 50 years) in which all fevers are assumed to be malaria and treated thusly. This led to the spread of antimalarial resistance as well as many deaths from mistreatment of other diseases. One person with a backpack full of rapid diagnostic tests for malaria and artemisinin combination therapy can walk into a village today and mortality rates will drop from malaria. Cancer, unlike malaria, HIV and TB, and definitely in contrast to other non-communicable diseases, is a problem of very complex identity. Consider the backpack for malaria but imagine three large transport trucks and a bus of medical personnel for each village. Diagnostic pathology must be in place for the physician to provide accurate and beneficial care and to create a population with a true epidemiology of cancer. This epidemiology informs the ministers of health and finance of what they are facing and allows for planning prevention, screening, education, training of new doctors, procurement of medications, establishment of radiation services, and the ability to actually impact mortality. Although pathology is only one the necessary moving parts for cancer treatment, the argument can be made that “tissue is the issue” at the core of cancer care, creating the foundation around which many other moving parts can be installed. 

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Deirdre Olynick

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