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Issue highlights
Head and neck cancer highly treatable with early detection
Developing strategies for cancer prevention and control
Tell us how you are loving life after cancer
Volunteers needed for the HDL, Inc. Massey Challenge
What's the best way to quit smoking?
Upcoming events

For a full listing of Massey's seminars and events, visit the online events calendar.  
Tuesday, Mar. 26
Palliative care: Easing suffering from serious illness

Massey's Egidio Del Fabbro, M.D., will discuss how palliative care can relieve pain and symptoms and ensure quality of life for individuals and their families facing severe or chronic illness.  


More information


Wednesday, Apr. 3
Date night for Massey at Arcadia!

Dine with friends to benefit the Massey Challenge.


More information


Tuesday, Apr. 9

Flying Squirrels Night for Massey

Go nutz at the Flying Squirrels baseball game to benefit the Massey Challenge.


More information


Saturday, Apr. 13

HDL, Inc. Massey Challenge


Join family, friends and colleagues as they run or walk to raise funds for cancer research at Massey. 


More information


Thursday, Apr. 18

Free Head & Neck Cancer Screening


Get screened at Massey's Dalton Oncology Clinic on the MCV Campus in Richmond.


More information


Friday, Apr. 19

Free Head & Neck Cancer Screening


Get screened at MCV Physicians at Temple Avenue, Prince George, VA


More information


Thursday, May 16

Secret Garden Party


The 4th Annual Secret Garden Party is a progressive cocktail party featuring five gardens in historic downtown Richmond, including Massey's healing garden.


More information


Issue: 3
April 2013

Massey named among the nation's 100 great oncology programs


Becker's Hospital Review recognized VCU Massey Cancer Center in its top 100 list of the nation's greatest oncology programs. Massey was cited for its large offering of innovative clinical trials, Magnet designation for nursing excellence and collaboration among its scientists and physicians to find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Read more.

Goodwin and North Hospital 300x86
VCU Massey ranked among top 100 cancer centers.

Massey physicians listed among Best Doctors in America®


Twelve Massey physicians were included on the 2013 list of the Best Doctors in America®. These physicians are among five percent of the doctors in the U.S. selected by their peers from more than 45,000 physicians. The selection criteria included physician credentials, clinical activity and accessibility to existing or new patients. Read more.



While head and neck cancers account for just three percent of all cancers in the U.S. and incidence and mortality rates overall are decreasing, according to the National Cancer Institute, one type of head and neck cancer - oropharyngeal  (cancer of the middle section of the throat) - is on the rise because of HPV (human papillomavirus), the most common sexually transmitted infection.


Head and Neck diagram  

Head and neck cancers include cancers that begin in the voice box (larynx), lip and mouth, throat (pharynx), sinuses, nasal cavity and salivary gland. These cancers are nearly twice as common among men as they are women, and they are more often diagnosed in people over the age of 50.


Prevention and detection


The good news is that most head and neck cancers can be prevented and, if detected early, successfully treated. The main causes of head and neck cancers are the use of tobacco and alcohol, which can be avoided. HPV is another growing risk factor, and there are several ways to lower the chances of getting HPV.

Currently, there are no recommended screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society or National Cancer Institute, but physical examinations of the neck, oropharynx and mouth have been widely adopted as part of a routine dental examination and may help identify cancer earlier. "If detected early, head and neck cancers are highly treatable and the cure rate is good," says Massey ENT physician Evan Reiter, M.D. Learn more.

Free head and neck cancer screenings 


Massey is offering free head and neck cancer screenings on April 18 and 19. Screenings are especially recommended for adults 18 years and older who smoke and/or drink alcohol or who have a family history of head and neck cancer. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are preferred. Call (804) 828-5465 to schedule your appointment. Please see the event listings at left for details about the screenings.


Preventing and controlling cancer are two key elements in eradicating it. Studies have shown that with the right approaches, a third of the most common cancers could be prevented. Other cancers can be detected early in their development, treated and cured. Even with late-stage cancer, the pain can be reduced, the progression of the cancer slowed and patients and their families helped to cope. The Cancer Prevention and Control (CPC) research program at Massey is currently leading many community- and patient-based initiatives aimed at educating and raising awareness to prevent and control cancer. The following are a few recent examples.

Interactive audiovisual tool developed to educate communities about cancer screenings

Using interactive media to improve health literacy shows promise.


Massey CPC researcher Arpita Aggarwal, M.D., and her team are exploring the use of advanced interactive media to educate the community about screening guidelines.  

Her team created the Community Engagement Educational Program to test a culturally and linguistically appropriate computer-based tool designed to help patients with limited health literacy and reading or visual problems. The tool is currently being tested with more than 400 participants in 20 towns in two partnering health districts. Learn more.

Project LIFE! puts faith in churches to influence healthy behavior


To help address the high cancer death rates among African-Americans, CPC researcher Maghboeba Mosavel, Ph.D., is harnessing the power and influence of the African-American church.

Life! Coach counseling
A LIFE! coach counsels fellow parishioners on healthy behaviors.

Project LIFE! (Lord, Intimate relationships, Fitness and Early detection) is evaluating the impact on the behaviors of congregants when their church adopts a "health and wholeness" pledge to practice and promote healthy behaviors.


Eleven parishioners have been trained to serve as LIFE! coaches to promote disease prevention and screening, and host tailored activities aimed at increasing healthy behaviors. Learn more.

Instructional videos teach patients about their cancer treatments


Cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy (RT), can be hard to understand and overwhelming to some patients. With that in mind, Massey CPC researcher Robin K. Matsuyama, Ph.D., and Massey Radiation Oncology and Biology researcher Drew Moghanaki, M.P.H., M.D., developed a short video explaining the RT process in simple terms in hopes of making the patients more knowledgeable and, in turn, more comfortable. 


In a pilot study, patient knowledge of cancer and its treatment was assessed before an initial RT consultation and found to be very poor. After viewing the video "Guide to Radiation Therapy," knowledge of, and comfort with, radiation therapy significantly improved. Learn more.



Five years after VCU Massey Cancer Center helped her defeat cancer, Iva Petrosino is embracing a second chance at life. She found love with Joe and married him, and they are now discovering just how sweet life can be with their new daughter, Lucianna.


Meet Iva, cancer survivor
Meet Iva, cancer survivor

Share your story 


Life - a life full of things to love - is still possible following a cancer diagnosis. If you are a cancer survivor - and that includes every cancer patient from the moment of diagnosis - we want to know how you are loving life after cancer. Help inspire and give hope to others facing cancer by sharing your story with us at



Volunteers needed for the 10k


If you are not walking or running in the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k, but want to participate in and/or support the HDL, Inc. Massey Challenge, join us at the Massey Mile.


This 11-block section on Monument Avenue between Chantilly and Hamilton Streets is designated for supporters, volunteers and spirit groups to gather to encourage those taking part in the Massey Challenge. On race day, the Massey Mile will be filled with fun decorations, race fans, cheering activity and water station volunteers. VCU black and gold attire is strongly encouraged on the Massey Mile. The party kicks off at 8 a.m. and volunteers are needed. Sign up to volunteerLearn more.



What is the best way to quit smoking?
Nearly everyone knows that smoking can cause lung cancer, but not everyone realizes tobacco use is also linked to a higher risk for other cancers, including cancers of the head and neck, esophagus, stomach, kidney, bladder and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.

Quitting smoking is both a mental and a physical challenge: it requires breaking a habit and overcoming an addiction. Here are some tips to help with quitting tobacco use:

- Think about why you want to quit.
- Pick a stress-free time to quit.
- Ask for support and encouragement from family, friends and colleagues.
- Begin a daily exercise or activity to relieve stress and improve your health.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Join a smoking cessation program, or other support group.
- Talk to your doctor about nicotine replacement products and other strategies. Learn more.
There's an app for that!
The National Cancer Institute has created NCI QuitPal, a free smartphone app to support smokers working to become smoke-free. This interactive app was developed using proven quit strategies and tools to help change behavior and assist you with giving up smoking. Learn more.

Momentum is published by VCU Massey Cancer Center.

David Raine, Jr.

If you have questions about cancer, cancer treatments or survivorship, please ASK MASSEY.

To learn more about VCU Massey Cancer Center, please visit our Web site at