International panels will address breast cancer in Asia

All are invited to two public panels featuring a medical and  anthropology delegation from the National University of Singapore and the National Museum of Denmark, who will speak about an international and inter-disciplinary project to study the hurdles which women across Asia face in early presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Meanings: Journeys across Asia

Monday, April 23 |  3:30 – 5 pm | 1117 University Capitol Centre

Breast cancer is now the most common and fast-growing cancer among women in most Asian countries. This University of Iowa Anthropology Seminar with panelists (see below) will present conversations across Asia with breast cancer patients, their caregivers, traditional healers as well as ordinary people on the subject of breast cancer meanings.

Choosing to Die: A Global Look at the Impact of Cultural Norms on the Choices Women Make in Cancer Treatment

Tuesday, April 24 | 3 – 4:30 pm | 1117 University Capitol Centre

Panelists will discuss details of their recent international, interdisplinary pilot study focused on the hurdles women across Asia seem to face when diagnosed with breast cancer. Moderated by Dr. Resmiye Oral, UI Carver College of Medicine.

Panelists include:

Mikael Hartman
Senior consultant in division of general surgery (breast surgery) at National University Hospital and head of Breast Cancer Prevention Program of the School of Public Health, National University of Singapore

Wong Mee Lian
Professor of public health, School of Public Health and School of Medicine, National University of Singapore

Jenny Liu
Manager of the Breast Cancer Prevention Program, School of Public Health, National University of Singapore

Miriam Koktvedgaard Zeitzen
Anthropologist, modern history and world cultures, National Museum of Denmark

Cynthia Chou
Professor of Anthropology and C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family Chair of Asian Studies, University of Iowa

Sponsored by International Programs, Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, the Department of Anthropology, and the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Sarolta Petersen at (319) 335-3862

Speaker to address maternal mental health disparities

Maternal Mental Health Disparities and Patient Engagement in Research

Karen Tabb Dina, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Illinois School of Social Work

Thursday, April 12
3:30-4:30 pm

Abstract: Women’s mental health during the perinatal period is critically important.  Currently there are no best practices for screening for depression and addressing mental health needs in public health clinics. Clinic staff are often responsible for performing depression screening, however, few studies examine staff perceptions on feasibility and acceptability of using perinatal screening for mood disorders in ethnically diverse public health clinics. We conducted focus group interviews with public health staff (n=25) to learn how a multidisciplinary clinical staff addresses mental health in their clinic. Most participants identified multiple barriers to universal depression screening in a public health clinic, but at the same time found value in the practice of screening low-income women for depression. The findings from the focus group study established the foundation for a university-community partnership to improve maternal health outcomes at the county level in Illinois. The partnership has grown into a local initiative and is now in the early stages of developing a patient centered outcomes research community.

Sponsored by the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy and the Iowa Perinatal Health Research Collaborative

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the College of Public Health in advance at 319-384-1500.


UI research paper awarded the David Liu Prize

A University of Iowa research paper on intimate partner violence during pregnancy and the risk for adverse infant outcomes has been awarded the David Liu Prize by the Royal Academy of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The paper appeared in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG) in 2016.

Researchers analyzed 50 studies into the effects of domestic violence by a partner or ex-partner on risk of preterm birth, low birth weight (less than 2500g) and small-for-gestational-age babies. The combined results evaluated more than 5 million women from 17 countries, 15,000 of whom had experienced domestic violence.

Overall, the results found that domestic violence doubled the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. This risk further increased for women who experienced two or more types of domestic violence during their pregnancy.

The research team included Audrey Saftlas, professor of epidemiology; Brittney Donovan, doctoral student in epidemiology; Kelli Ryckman, associate professor of epidemiology; Cassie Spracklen, doctoral student in epidemiology; and Marin Schweitzer, assistant professor of internal medicine.

Mr. David T. Y. Liu, author of the classic text Labour Ward Manual and pioneer in chorion villus sampling, generously funds this prize to encourage research and publication in obstetrics and prenatal diagnosis.

The award recipient is chosen annually from papers in the field that have been published in BJOG over the previous 12 months. Contending articles are appraised on their validity, the likelihood of the findings being adopted into practice regionally and internationally, whether the paper is explained sufficiently for replication, and the quality of outcomes relevant for patients.

UI study shows rise in primary breast lymphoma cases

A recent study from the University of Iowa shows that cases of primary breast lymphoma (PBL) have increased over the last four decades and continue to increase among younger women and for some subgroups.

According to the researchers, this is the largest contemporary study describing presentation, incidence, initial local therapy, and outcomes for women with PBL. The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, looked at data spanning four decades.

Researchers found that the incidence of PBL increased from 0.66/1,000,000 women in 1975-1977 to 2.96 in 2011-2013. Overall, incidence of PBL has remained relatively stable in recent years, but continues to increase for women under 50 years of age.

Although reasons for this increase remain unclear, the study concedes that the advent of wide-spread breast imaging might have enhanced diagnostic sensitivity for PBL, even though most cases are not diagnosed in this way.

Researchers also note that the use of cosmetic implants increased 294.8% from 1997-2007, fell 21.9% from 2007-2009 (concurrent with the Great Recession), and has remained fairly stable from 2009-2015, generally reflecting the overall trends in PBL cases.

However, Mary Schroeder, assistant professor in the division of Health Services Research at the University of Iowa and the study’s senior author, cautions against correlating implant use with overall PBL trends.

“In 2011, the FDA identified a possible association between breast implants and the development of a particular type of PBL: anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL),” Schroeder says. “Even so, ALCL comprises only a very small percentage of PBL, and thus do not explain the observed increases in PBL incidence overall.”

The study suggests that future work in this area should focus on confirming trends in the data and creating a better understanding of the underlying causes of PBL.

Co-authors include Paul Romitti, professor of epidemiology, and Brian Link, professor of internal medicine, both at the University of Iowa; Alexandra Thomas, formerly with the UI and currently professor of hematology and oncology at Wake Forest University; and Sean Altekruse, formerly with National Cancer Institute and currently with the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute.

This work was supported in part by the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Population Research Core, which is supported in part by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute grant P30 CA086862.