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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Allison Benner, College Relations Associate – Media, 610-740-3790

CEDAR CREST COLLEGE AND LEHIGH VALLEY HOSPITAL SPONSOR PANEL DISCUSSION TO EDUCATE COMMUNITY ABOUT NEW CERVICAL CANCER VACCINE

Public Program Will Feature Presentations by Local Experts and Audience Q&A 

Allentown, PA (September 12, 2006) – In June 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gardasil, the world's first vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer.  Suddenly, this potentially deadly form of cancer is top of mind for women of all ages and they want to know more.  Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network (LVHHN) and Cedar Crest College invite the public to get the answers to their questions as the institutions partner to present "Countdown to Cervical Cancer Prevention," a panel discussion, on Wednesday, September 27, 2006 at 6:00 p.m. in Lees Hall at Cedar Crest College.

The panel will bring together local experts to give presentations about the facts surrounding cervical cancer and the availability of the new vaccine.  For example, did you know:

  • Most cervical cancers are caused by certain types of a common, sexually transmitted virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV).

  • More than 100 types of HPV exist. Most are harmless. Two of these (known as HPV 16 and 18) are thought to cause 70 percent of all cervical cancers. Two others (HPV 6 and 11) cause 90 percent of genital warts cases. The new vaccine immunizes women against those types of HPV.

  • About 80 percent of women have had some type of genital HPV by age 50.

  • Cervical cancer kills 3,710 U.S. women each year.

  • Half of women diagnosed with cervical cancer are between age 35 and 55, but they probably got the cancer-causing virus during their teens and 20s.

  • It’s easier for sexually active adolescent girls to contract the virus than adults, because the lining of their reproductive tracts are still developing. In fact, many people contract HPV within 2 to 3 years of becoming sexually active.

“Health care professionals throughout the Lehigh Valley will begin offering Gardasil this fall to girls and young women aged 9 to 26. We encourage men and women of all ages to attend and ask every question they have about this vaccine and the virus and cancer that it prevents,” says Richard Boulay, M.D., chief of gynecologic oncology at LVHHN. Boulay will moderate the free panel discussion, which is open to everyone who has questions about this new vaccine and cervical cancer prevention. 

 “What better institutions to spread this important message than Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network--the area’s leading provider of healthcare services--and Cedar Crest College--the area’s leading educational institution for women,” says Carol Pulham, Ph.D., acting president of Cedar Crest College. “At Cedar Crest, we feel we have a special need to educate women about the disease that claimed the life of our past college president, Dorothy Gulbenkian Blaney, earlier this year.”

The panelists include the following LVHHN physician experts:

  • Rochelle Steiner-Friel, M.D, an obstetrician/gynecologist, who will offer insight into HPV, how it leads to cancer, and how it affects women of all ages.

  • Sarah Stevens, M.D., an adolescent medicine specialist, who will explain how the vaccine works, who should get it, and why.

  • Martin Martino, M.D., a gynecologist/oncologist, who will talk about how HPV and cervical cancer has changed the lives of the women he’s treated.

In addition, Nancy Crane-Roberts, C.N.R.P., director of the student health center at Cedar Crest, and special guest Tammy Trenta, representing the Theresa Kathryn Foundation, and also a women’s health advocate who appeared on NBC’s “The Apprentice,” will round out the panel.  During the event, cards will be available for any audience member who wishes to submit a question to the panel.  Merck & Co., Inc., the manufacturer of Gardasil, will also provide literature and information about the new vaccine. 

To register for this free educational event call 610-402-CARE or log on to www.lvh.org.         

For interviews with cervical cancer survivors, or more information about this event, please contact Brian Downs, Director of Media Relations for Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network at 610-402-0825 or brian.downs@lvh.com.

Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network

A premier academic community hospital, Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network includes three hospital facilities – two in Allentown and one in Bethlehem, Pa. – and Lehigh Valley Health Services, providing home health, hospice, pharmaceutical and health management services. In 2006, US News & World Report named Lehigh Valley Hospital one of America’s Best Hospitals for the eleventh straight year. LVHHN’s advanced regional resources include a Level I Trauma Center with added pediatric qualifications, regional Burn Center as well as kidney and pancreas transplant, perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer care, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities. LVHHN hospitals are designated national Magnet hospitals for excellence in nursing. LVH is one of Pennsylvania’s largest teaching hospitals and is a major teaching campus of Penn State's College of Medicine. Additional information is available at www.lvh.org on the Internet.

About Cedar Crest College

A nationally ranked liberal arts college for women, Cedar Crest College offers more than thirty fields of study ranging from cutting-edge programs like genetic engineering, forensic science, neuroscience, nuclear medicine and healthcare administration to traditional offerings like nursing, marketing, education, psychology and communications.  In the evenings and on weekends, men study alongside women and take advantage of the largest and oldest adult (Lifelong Learning) education program in the Lehigh Valley.  In 2004, the College embarked on a mission to combat the failing health of America's college students with its pioneer program, The Health Connection.  Today, the growing program offers lectures, workshops, fitness classes, virtual personal training and more, to promote the health of mind, body and spirit for Cedar Crest students, faculty and staff, as well as the larger community. To discover more, visit www.cedarcrest.edu or call 1-800-360-1222.

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