Quick Q&A with Dr. Robert Kurman, The Johns Hopkins Hospital

September 5, 2011

By Jessica Kinghorn, Climb4Life Utah Event Coordinator

The HERA Climb4Life Salt Lake City event is looking forward to Dr. Robert Kurman’s presentation on Friday night, September 16 on ovarian cancer research. Dr. Kurman is a Richard TeLinde Distinguished Professor of Gynecologic Pathology Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Director of Gynecologic Pathology The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

What is your specialty/area of research and how long have you been working in this arena?
I’ve been working in the areas of gynecologic pathology and ovarian cancer for 38 years of my 42 years in medicine.

What is the focus of your research at Johns Hopkins?
Elucidating the morphologic and molecular pathogenesis of ovarian cancer.

And, looking toward the future, what are the trends that you see most promising?
Prevention

Why is ovarian cancer often called “the silent killer?”
Because it is relatively asymptomatic so that by the time it is diagnosed it is in an advanced stage (beyond the ovary).

What are some important statistics on ovarian cancer that our participants could share with family and friends?
There are 21,880 new cases of ovarian cancer annually in the U.S. and 13,850 fatalities.  This should be compared to breast cancer – 207,090 new cases and 39,840 fatalities.  From these statistics you can appreciate how ovarian cancer is a much more lethal disease.

What are the next steps for a woman who thinks she may have symptoms of ovarian cancer?
She should see her gynecologist

What can people do today to make a difference in their lives and possibly decrease the likelihood of a cancer diagnosis?
Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done specifically.  If there is a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, particularly occurring at a relatively young age, genetic testing for BRCA would be advisable.  Short of that – a healthy life style, i.e., no smoking, regular exercise and a diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables and limited intake of red meat is a good plan to maintain over all good health.

If you will be in the Salt Lake City area on September 16, please join us for a cocktail hour, ovarian cancer presentation and climbing films. It is sure to be an informative, inspiring and fun evening! The schedule is below.

Huntsman Cancer Institute
Friday, September 16 – 6:00 – 9:30 p.m.

6-7 p.m. — Cocktail hour to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Climb4Life Utah
6:45 – 9:30 p.m. — Presentation from two ovarian cancer survivors, presentation from Dr. Robert Kurman and climbing films donated by the Boulder Adventure Film Festival and the Reel Rock Film Tour.

There will also be great giveaways, like climbing gear, t-shirts, incredible pottery, free massage and a sleeping bag!
Event free for Climb4Life participants and volunteers. $10 suggested donation (at the door) for all others.
We hope to see you there!

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