Starting the Conversation with Let's Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposures
Encouraging a discussion between Health Professionals and their Patients
Written by Dr. Michael Misialek
As a pathologist I regularly diagnose cancer. It is a tough diagnosis because I know that behind the slide are a patient, a life and a family whose lives will be forever changed. Unfortunately it is a diagnosis that I make far too often. Imagine if I didn't have to make that diagnosis. Most of the current funding in cancer research is directed at early diagnosis and treatment, but what about prevention? Prevention is the ultimate way to stop cancer and many chronic diseases. Prevention is the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition's mission. Out of this passion grew the Let's Talk Prevention program.
We need to bring prevention, exposure reduction, and chemicals of concern to the forefront of our discussions about public health. To help facilitate these discussions and make this important public health topic more palatable, the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition has created a
one-of-a-kind booklet for health professionals and a medical brochure for patients. These materials fill a crucial gap in community outreach and understanding. We must take steps to reduce our exposure to chemicals of concern to improve public health.
The Let's Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposure booklet and the pamphlet are presented in a way that will help us further in our efforts to reduce all environmentally linked diseases, including breast cancer.
The Need for the Let's Talk Prevention Program:
This program is in direct response to several federal reports, from the President's Cancer Panel, the Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee, which recommend increased attention to the link between environmental factors and disease, especially cancer. Additionally, information from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences supports actions to reduce toxic exposures. The burden of environmental linked diseases is often underestimated and not often discussed, even in medical programs.
Importance of the Let's Talk Prevention Program:
The program is very practical. A handy tri-fold brochure is easy enough for patients to take home with them, study the suggestions, and implement the practical steps to reduce their exposure and the exposure of their families. The medical booklet is spiral bound, durable, and easy to keep as a desk resource for medical professionals when speaking with patients. I am excited and pleased to see the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition take the initiative to develop the Let's Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposures program. Having this preventative discussion with patients may help me avoid the tough conversations with patients and help them avoid a painful diagnosis that is life changing. These materials not only provide doctors with a starting point for a critical dialogue between health professionals and their patients, but they also support continued public health education on the importance of reducing daily exposure to chemicals of concern.
The Let's Talk Prevention Tour:
The Let's Talk Prevention tour raises awareness that chemicals of concern are something that we should all be aware of. This is a state-wide initiative. The materials can be easily exhibited and displayed at hospitals, health centers, community centers, libraries, high schools and colleges. It can be tailored to the specific needs of a community and can include: a community outreach table in a lobby or oncology office, exhibition at a health and wellness fair, speaking engagements and lectures, special events, private events, and hospital staff meetings. Educational outreach in our communities is tantamount to the success of reducing toxic exposures. The Let's Talk Prevention patient brochure's availability in English, Spanish, and Korean (and more languages to come) is a wonderful resource for a variety of demographics and different communities through Massachusetts.
Expanding the Reach of the Let's Talk Prevention Program:
If a hospital, health center, community center, library, high school, college, or private group has an interest in exhibiting the Let's Talk Prevention materials, hosting a presentation about toxic exposures reduction, and sharing the materials, please email email@example.com with the subject line: Let's Talk Prevention Tour.
Please join me in supporting the program. For more information about this important public health initiative facilitated by the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and to see when the Let's Talk Prevention tour will be coming to a location near you and to download the
medical booklet for health professionals and the brochure (in Spanish and English) for patients, please click here.
Dr. Michael Misialek is a physician at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, specializing in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and a Board Member of Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition.
MBCC Chairwoman Cheryl Reeve exhibits Let's Talk Prevention materials at the Massachusetts Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Expo