The myth of curing cancer and other trending topics

Augusta University has more than 80 experts on hand to help reporters cover a variety of topics. Here are some trending stories to consider this week:

The myth of ‘curing’ cancer

Doctors can successfully treat cancer. However, there is no cure. Just this month, as the political rhetoric continues ramping up for the 2020 election, former Vice President Joe Biden used cancer as a platform.

“A lot of you understand what loss is and when loss occurs, you know that people come up to you and tell you ‘I understand’ if you lose a husband, a wife, a son, a daughter, a family member,” he said. “That’s why I’ve worked so hard in my career to make sure that — I promise you if I’m elected president, you’re going to see the single most important thing that changes America, we’re gonna cure cancer.” – USA Today, June 12

Cancer is an issue close to Biden after losing his son to brain cancer in 2015. He’s passionate and deeply invested in those who have also lost a loved one to the disease. But his message was not accurate.

Dr. Daniel Albo can speak to the fact that while there are highly successful treatments for a variety of different cancers, there is no “single bullet” that will cure every kind. For some patients, it’s about working with their doctor to manage cancer during the entirety of their lives, similar to high blood pressure or diabetes.

Albo serves as chair of the Department of Surgery at the Medical College of Georgia, surgeon-in-chief for Augusta University Health System and associate director of surgical services at the Georgia Cancer Center.

Keratoconus – ever heard of it?

National Basketball Association and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry have helped make keratoconus, which affects an estimated one in 2,000, a more visible eye condition.

A $2.1 million grant from the National Eye Institute is now helping Dr. Yutao Liu, vision scientist and human geneticist at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, learn more about keratoconus’ causes and identify ways to better diagnose, treat and possibly prevent the progressive disease that typically starts in our teens.

“We want to help patients better understand what is happening to their vision by better understanding how keratoconus happens, and give physicians better points to intervene,” says Liu, a scientist in the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy at the Medical College of Georgia and James and Jean Culver Vision Discovery Institute at Augusta University.

For Curry, his solution was simple – treatment with corrective contact lenses. But keratoconus does progress and some who suffer may eventually require a corneal transplant surgery or corneal collagen cross-linking as treatment. The research by experts at Augusta University will be groundbreaking in helping those affected by this condition.

Stonewall anniversary and gay rights in America

It’s been a half-century since the Stonewall Uprising and the emergence of the gay pride movement. As cities across the world celebrate this month, it might also be time to look at where America stands today when it comes to gay rights.

“From the perspective of veteran activists, the progress has been astounding. In 1969, every state but Illinois outlawed gay sex, psychiatric experts classified homosexuality as a mental disorder, and most gays stayed in the closet for fear of losing jobs and friends. Today, same-sex marriage is the law of the land in the U.S. and at least 25 other countries. LGBT Americans serve as governors, big-city mayors and members of Congress, and one — Pete Buttigieg — is waging a spirited campaign for president.” ABC News, June 17

But there is still a lot of work to do. LGBTQ people not only face discrimination in the workplace, in health care settings and even public restrooms but also suffer threats of violence.

Just last month, the nation was shocked to learn of the chilling attack of an American woman and her partner overseas in London. The lesbian couple was violently assaulted by teens on a bus, leaving one of the women with a broken jaw, after they refused to kiss one another in front of the group of young men who were harassing them.

Todd Powell-Williams, associate professor of Sociology at Augusta University, is an expert in social movements, social control, religion, police science and symbolic interactionism.

Contact our experts directly by clicking on the names above, or call 706-522-3023 to schedule an interview on any of these topics. Also, check out the Augusta University Expert Center to view a complete list of our experts.

See photos of this week’s experts and a video of Steph Curry discussing his condition.

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Heather Henley
Written by
Heather Henley

Heather Henley is Media Relations Manager at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-4706 or hhenley@augusta.edu.

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Heather Henley Written by Heather Henley

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