In 2010, it is estimated that cancer will take over as the leading cause of death in the United States, surpassing heart disease for the first time in 40 years.
This year alone, the American Cancer Society predicts 1.4 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed nationwide - while close to 565,000 Americans will lose their battle with cancer.
Overall, the lifetime risk of developing cancer is estimated at 1:2 for American men and 1:3 for American women.
With a goal to inform audiences about cancer and cancer treatments, while providing a sense of hope for the future of such treatments, the College of the Canyons scholarly presentation "New Hope in the 40 Year Fight Against Cancer" will take place 7 p.m., Wednesday November 11, on the main stage of the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) at College of the Canyons.
Based on findings and experiences gained from completing a cancer research fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), as well as academic research performed while enrolled in the Molecular and Cellular Biology doctoral program at the University of Washington, the scholarly presentation by College of the Canyons Biology instructor Dr. Kelly Cude is also aimed at alleviating fears associated with the disease.
"A lot of people panic when they first receive a cancer diagnosis because they don't have a biological understanding of the disease and thus aren't familiar with the many treatment options available to them," Cude said. "While I will address the biological basis of cancer and its treatments in my presentation, my main goal is to instill a sense of hope and empowerment in the audience.
"Hopefully, they'll leave with enough knowledge about the disease that panic will no longer be their first response," added Cude.
In her presentation, Cude will guide the audience through the process of one renegade cell transforming into an unregulated growth (tumor), while explaining the biological differences between healthy and cancerous cells and covering the wide range of past and current cancer treatments and their shortcomings.
The presentation will conclude with an overview of new cancer treatments, therapies, and medications on the horizon that may present beneficial alternatives to traditional treatment approaches by limiting the damaging side effects of standard chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
"Because this disease is so prevalent people really need to understand what they're up against. There's nothing worse for a person than feeling like they're not in control of their own body," said Cude. "Being knowledgeable gives people the ability to ask their doctors the right questions and stay informed about their health. It helps them feel more in control."
Dr. Cude joined the College of the Canyons Biology department in 2007 and has taught a multitude of courses ranging from general biology to molecular genetics and cancer biology.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Genetics from University of California at Davis, and was awarded a fellowship in cancer research at the NCI in Washington D.C.
While at NCI, Cude researched underlying molecular and genetic causes of cancer and evaluated patients undergoing clinical trials for newly developed cancer therapies.
Following her stint at NCI, Cude enrolled in the Molecular and Cellular Biology doctoral program at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she spent the next five years researching the molecular mechanisms of cell division and evasion of cell death in cancer cells, receiving a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2004.
The scholarly presentation "New Hope in the 40 Year Fight Against Cancer" is being presented by the College of the Canyons Foundation.
Admission to the scholarly presentation is free, however seating may be limited and guests are encouraged to RSVP. A pre-presentation reception including refreshments will be held in the PAC lobby beginning at 6 p.m. The reception is sponsored by the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees.
For more information about the College of the Canyons Scholarly Presentation "New Hope in the 40 Year Fight Against Cancer" or to RSVP please contact the College of the Canyons Foundation at (661) 362-3737.