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CT Health Investigative Team Sponsors A Unique Forum On Breast Cancer

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US Rep. Rosa DeLauro and leading breast cancer experts from The Breast Center-Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven and the Hospital of Central Connecticut will be the featured panelists at a unique community forum organized by the Connecticut Health I-Team (www.c-hit.org), a non-profit news service that provides in-depth coverage of health care issues.

The forum – “Beyond The Pink Ribbon: New Frontiers In Screening, Treating and Preventing Cancer” – will focus on the latest inroads and challenges in breast cancer detection and treatment. The event is open to the public, and early registration (at www.c-hit.org) is encouraged. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The Breast Center – Smilow Hospital and C-HIT’s ongoing health journalism.

Speakers include: Dr. Anees Chagpar, director of The Breast Center – Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, who led the effort for Yale to become the first NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Northeast to have a nationally accredited breast center; Dr. Regina Hooley, a radiologist and researcher at the Yale Cancer Center who specializes in ultrasound screening, mammography and breast density; and Dr. Kristen Zarfos, a renowned surgeon and women’s health specialist at the Hospital of Central Connecticut who led a successful grassroots campaign to ban “drive-through” mastectomies in Connecticut.

DeLauro, first elected to Congress in 1990, is an ovarian cancer survivor who has sponsored numerous bills to fund biomedical research, cancer screenings and to improve women’s health policies.

“Quality health care has always been a critical mission for ConnectiCare. We recognize the important role mammograms and other preventive screenings play in keeping Connecticut women healthy, so we are extremely proud to be a sponsor of Beyond the Pink Ribbon. We look forward to working with the Connecticut Health I-Team by encouraging and actively supporting women’s health initiatives,’’ said Dr. John Harper, vice president, chief medical officer, ConnectiCare.

ConnectiCare, based in Farmington, will serve as the forum’s “Pulitzer” sponsor, the only health insurance plan underwriting the conference. West Haven-based Metro Taxi, and its affiliate AdCab, are “Polk” sponsors. Metro Taxi’s Accessible Service has the largest fleet of wheelchair-accessible taxicabs in Connecticut. Covidien, a global healthcare products leader, will serve as the forum’s “Goldsmith” sponsor.

Pink Ribbon Poster Lynne DeLucia and Lisa Chedekel, former journalists at the Hartford Courant who founded the non-profit C-HIT four years ago, said that part of the news service’s mission is to educate and engage the community around topics of interest. With so much conflicting information about the need for cancer screenings, so many new treatments, and concerns about reductions in research funding, C-HIT wanted to bring together some of leading voices in breast cancer research for an open, straightforward discussion, they said.

“Every week, it seems, a new study comes out about mammography or genetic testing or preventative care,” DeLucia said. “As journalists, we try to keep up, highlighting what we think are the most important breakthroughs. But as women, all the information can be overwhelming! The forum is our attempt to bring people together to sort through some of the clutter and look ahead to what’s on the horizon in breast cancer research and treatment.”

C-HIT is the only non-profit news service dedicated to health and safety in New England. Its stories are produced by a team of veteran reporters and are circulated to 16 media partners across the state.

The event runs 5:30-8 p.m. at Gateway Community College, Community Room, 20 Church St., New Haven. Parking is free in the Temple Street Garage. Tickets are $20 (students, $10). To register, please click here

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