August is Cancer Research Awareness Month, and the Warriors of Hope Cancer Awareness Committee hosted the 2nd annual Cancer Research Rodeo on Aug. 29 to promote cancer research and resources at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP).
“I think with the transient population in the military, people don’t know that some of these oncology programs exist,” said Melvina Queen, a member of NMCP’s Radiation Oncology Warriors of Hope Cancer Awareness Committee. “Some don’t know that we treat children for cancer and specifically that we have Children Oncology protocols for clinical research here. Same thing for Radiation Oncology. When people think of these things, they think of Sentara, they think of Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD). They are not thinking that innovative research is happening or available at NMCP.”
The committee’s goal for the rodeo was not only to inform NMCP patients about the research, but also to inform staff about how important research is and for them to support. Research at NMCP is made possible through the support of patients who volunteer to participate, and by the physicians presenting the opportunity for enrollment to their patients.
“This is about awareness,” Queen said. “Sometimes doctors, residents and other physician’s first reaction is to refer patients across the water and don’t realize that we can actually do some of this stuff here. So this is not just for our patients and ourselves, it’s also for our colleagues and our shipmates.”
Now in their 2nd year, the rodeo has expanded, involving not only different departments within the medical center, but also different commands that share the same roof with NMCP. The research clinics and commands that participated were Cancer Screening / Population Health Department, Gynecology Oncology, Murtha Cancer Center Biobank, Pediatric Oncology, Tumor Registry/ NMCP Cancer Committee, Radiation Oncology, and Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) EpiData Center DOD Cancer Task Force.
“We have actually expanded,” Queen said. “This year, instead of just focusing on the research coordinators we had last year that involved targeted areas for treatment, we are focusing on the bigger picture by adding our investigative partners; knowing how our incidence numbers fit nationally, knowing what we are seeing in the number of cases and incidence of cancer at the hospital. We are able to provide cancer research because we know some of these answers from data already out there; we know what to expect.”
Queen believes it is important to host this event every year due to annotating any development in recent cancer research as well as presenting to mostly a new audience every year due to constant shuffling in military ranks.
“We are a military population, everybody is rotating every few years,” Queen said. “Cancer is not going away. It’s something that we still need to be concerned about. When we think about ‘Centers of Excellence’, we need to recognize NMCP for being a ‘Center of Excellence’ for cancer research and cancer treatment as a whole.”
As the U.S. Navy's oldest, continuously-operating military hospital since 1830, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth proudly serves past and present military members and their families. The nationally-acclaimed, state-of-the-art medical center, along with the area's 10 branch health and TRICARE Prime Clinics, provide care for the Hampton Roads area. The medical center also supports premier research and teaching programs designed to prepare new doctors, nurses and hospital corpsman for future roles in healing and wellness.
For more news from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, visit www.navy.mil/local/NMCP/