Science Meets Community

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Our Commitment

At Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center, our collaborative approach facilitates rapid translation of discoveries between the lab and the clinic, and when appropriate, to the community. We are continually searching for new treatments and ways to transform discoveries into meaningful improvements to patients' lives.

Our commitment extends beyond our patients to our community. As we consider the range of care from prevention to screening to diagnosis to management to survivorship, our research and clinical services are shaped by an intimate knowledge of the cities, towns, neighborhoods and counties that comprise our region. This knowledge guides our work and inspires us to find tomorrow's cures today.

Cancer Control Program is led by Katherine Nathanson, MD and Marilyn Schapira, MD, MPH.

Science Meets Community Report

The Science Meets Community Report highlights the cancer burden in the Greater Delaware Valley and the work that is going on at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center to decrease this burden.

Report Highlights:

Controlling cancer involves a series of steps, including:

  • Appropriate management, including treatment
  • Detecting cancers at an early stage through screening
  • Eliminating cancer risk factors
  • Helping cancer survivors lead full lives
  • Proper diagnosis

Tobacco and Environmental Carcinogenesis Program

The Tobacco and Environmental Carcinogenesis Program is led by Trevor Penning, Ph.D and Robert Schnoll, Ph.D. Investigators within the Cancer Control Program and Tobacco and Environmental Carcinogenesis Program lead community-based research efforts which seek to understand and improve the delivery and outcomes of cancer screening and treatment, with a particular focus on quality of life, quality of treatment and quality of decision making.

  • Quality of life researchers use cancer as a model to study the impact of life-threatening and prolonged illness on patients, families and caregivers.
  • In the area of quality of treatment, investigators focus on determining the processes of cancer care that result in the best outcomes for all patients, with emphasis on reducing racial disparities in outcomes, cost-effectiveness analysis and in translating findings into health policy.
  • For quality of decision-making, program members seek to improve the processes and outcomes of decisions in cancer screening, treatment and survivorship.

Office of Diversity

The Office of Diversity is led by Carmen Guerra, MD, MSCE, FACP. The Office of Diversity supports the Abramson Cancer Center by promoting diversity and inclusion as an integral part of the Center's goals to understand, prevent, treat, and ultimately cure cancer. Through community education, outreach and engagement we aim to:

  • Establish and sustain programs that decrease incidence and mortality of cancer posing the greatest public health burden in our region, reduce cancer disparities and meet the community's unmet needs; and
  • Increase diversity of patients participating in Abramson Cancer Center clinical trials.

Expanding Access to Clinical Trials

The latest innovations in cancer care—the most promising treatments and keenest diagnostic tools—are often available only through clinical trials.

History, culture and language all contribute to low minority participation in clinical trials in the U.S.  Low participation means that minorities are less likely to benefit from the latest scientific discoveries and best hope for cure. The Abramson Cancer Center and its Office of Diversity are committed to increasing minority participation in clinical trials to improve health outcomes for all residents in our region.

Navigating Barriers to Better Health

Preventive screenings can save lives, yet many people put off or avoid screenings altogether. It takes strategic focused efforts such as those developed by the Abramson Cancer Center's Office of Diversity to eliminate barriers and ensure that our community takes advantage of science's best tools for cancer prevention and early diagnosis.

  • Colorectal Cancer Screening Navigation Program

Colon Cancer is the fourth most common cancer in our region and the second leading cause of death. Our Colorectal Cancer Screening Navigation Program helps patients overcome impediments to colonoscopy.

  • The HealthyWoman Program*

Mammograms lead to early diagnosis and better prognosis. The Abramson Cancer Center's HealthyWoman Program offers free breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic evaluations to uninsured and underinsured women ages 40 to 65 who reside in Philadelphia. Funding is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program and a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania contract administered through Access Matters, with navigation supported by the American Cancer Society and the Abramson Cancer Center's Rena Rowan Breast Center Fund. If cancer is diagnosed, the Pennsylvania Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Program will cover treatment.

*The HealthyWoman Program is a breast and cervical cancer screening program of the Pennsylvania Department of Health that provides free mammograms and pap screenings to women ages 40 to 64 with no insurance or limited insurance, who have low to moderate income living in the state of Pennsylvania. HealthyWoman Hotline Number: 800-215-7494. Website: