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Baylor College of Medicine News

$1.6 million grant awarded to develop cervical cancer screening program for under, uninsured

Baylor College of Medicine has received a $1.6 million award from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to develop a comprehensive cervical cancer screening program for high-risk, uninsured and underinsured women in Harris County.

Dr. Matthew Anderson, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and of pathology & immunology at BCM and a member of the NCI-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at BCM, will serve as principal investigator of the award.

Investigating participation, follow up

Anderson will partner with the Harris County Hospital District to pilot a medical home model for providing cervical cancer screenings and investigate why some women do not participate.

A second key goal for this project will be to figure out how best to get women with abnormal pap test results in for follow up and make sure that any precancerous changes do not become a more serious problem.

Few options available

"There are surprisingly few options for women with an abnormal pap test results to be evaluated if they lack access to adequate health insurance. It's a real roadblock to preventing cervical cancer," said Anderson.

Anderson and Dr. Haleh Sangi-Haghpeykar, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at BCM, will collaborate with Loretta Hanser, HCHD site leader, to establish specialty women’s medical health clinics and streamline the often difficult process of following up on abnormal pap smears. Dr. Lois Ramondetta, professor at The University of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, will serve as assistant program director.

"Support from CPRIT is an enormous boost not only for preventing cervical cancers for individual women in the community, but also for figuring out we can better assemble the health care model to help even large numbers of women in Texas and elsewhere," said Anderson.

The grant was one of 14 awards announced by CPRIT yesterday to Texas institutions and organizations totaling more than $29 million. A majority of those grants (12) focused on cancer prevention.

BCM has received more than $61 million in CPRIT funding since the institute began awarding cancer grants to Texas researchers in January 2010.