THE SENIOR CORNER - JIM MEADOWS 3/27/2018
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the human papillomavirus (HPV) is so common that most sexually active people are exposed to it at some point in their lives. For the majority of them, being infected with HPV doesn’t cause any long-term problems, but for others it can lead to the growth of cancerous tissue (e.g. cervical cancer in women and anal cancer in men). While there are established protocols for performing cervical cancer screenings, there are no such protocols for anal cancer. Leaders of the nationwide ANCHOR study are seeking to change that.
I recently met with several local healthcare professionals who are helping to implement the study here in New Orleans, including CrescentCare nurse, Jake Rickoll. “We’re starting to see cancers in the HIV geriatric population that are more abundant than in the non-HIV population,” said Rickoll.
“The good news is that these cancers are very treatable, the outcomes of treatment are very good for these cancers but you have to screen for them, and that’s why I think this study is important. Because with proper screening we can find people who could potentially have cancer and treat them before the cancer even comes about, or find the cancer and make sure they’re quickly ushered into treatment.”
Both CrescentCare and LSU Health Sciences Center are seeking local participants for the ANCHOR study. “The easiest thing to do is call and ask for an anal cancer screening.” Call (504)207-2273 to schedule a screening at CrescentCare, or (504)210-3325 to schedule a screening at LSU Health Sciences Center.
What can study participants expect? According to Christiane Geisler, the ANCHOR study’s lead coordinator at CrescentCare, “someone in the study can expect pretty much the same procedures that they would if they were not in the study but just followed by a doctor who does regular endoscopies.” Once approved for participation in the ANCHOR study, all participants will receive $100 in paid compensation each time they come in for an endoscopy.
For more information about HPV, anal cancer, and the ANCHOR study, visit the study’s website at https://anchorstudy.org/.