LAU Medical Center- Rizk Hospital and LAU Medical Center- Saint John’s Hospital announced their pioneering efforts to launch an awareness and vaccination program against the human papillomavirus, which aims to eliminate cancers associated with this virus through a press conference that took place in LAUMC- Rizk Hospital. With an unwavering commitment to public health, the Lebanese American University Medical Centers aim to raise awareness about HPV, educate about the risks associated with it, and launch this vaccination campaign as a preventive measure.

Dr. Georges Ghanem, MD – Clinical Professor, Deputy CEO for Strategy and Development & Division Head of Cardiology/ Department of Internal Medicine declared: “ HPV is a very common viral infection and represents a major global health burden affecting both men and women of all ages including adolescents: 4 in 5 people (80%) will be infected with it at some point in their lives. This infection shows no signs or symptoms and can lead patients to develop cancer later in their lives. Worldwide, it is estimated that HPV causes about 1/20 of human cancers in women and men. It is known to be associated with cervical cancer, vulvar and vaginal cancer, anal cancer, penile cancer, larynx, and other oropharyngeal cancers, as well as genital warts.

Dr. Ghanem also confirmed that: “Cervical cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer among women globally. On a global level, more than 500,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year, with up to 100% of cases linked to HPV, and unfortunately up to 50% of deaths from cervical cancer.”

While HPV may be the primary cause of many cancers in women, men also have their share of these viral infections as about 4 out of every 10 cancers caused by HPV occur among men, according to the Centers for Diseases control and prevention. In the United States, the rate of throat cancer cases caused by HPV in men is higher than the rate of cervical cancer in women, in addition to noting a higher rate of genital warts.

Moreover, Dr. Ghanem highlighted that: “In fact, there is no cure for HPV, and the best way to prevent cancers associated with this virus is to get the vaccine.”

Considering this, multiple global efforts are being implemented to protect against HPV and, in particular, to eliminate cervical cancer. In this context, the World Health Organization announced its global strategy to eliminate cervical cancer by 2030, which relies primarily on the vaccine against human papillomavirus, followed by appropriate examination and treatment of cancer if it is diagnosed.

It is important to emphasize that: “The LAU Medical Center, being a leading healthcare institution, recognizes the importance of addressing this public health problem and taking proactive measures to protect individuals from HPV-related cancers. Through this initiative, the Center aims to:

Step 1: Present a comprehensive awareness and vaccination plan for its employees and crew.

Step 2: Reaching out to LAU students through HPV awareness campaigns on campus.

Step 3: Reach out to the wider community through this initiative.”

Dr. Ghanem concluded: “By undertaking this initiative, the LAU Medical Centers remain committed to its vision of providing excellence in healthcare, promoting preventive measures, and improving the overall health of individuals in the community.” (…) “For the first time ever, we are able to eliminate fatal cancers and we will work on it with a significant impact on saving lives in our community and reducing the burden of disease and potential future cost to the patient. We are fortunate to live in a time when there are means to prevent and even eliminate some malignant types of cancer through proper vaccination and screening. Therefore, we place at your disposal a message from the World Health Organization that encourages you to: “Get the vaccine, get screened and undergo the necessary tests.”

This conference was attended by journalists and specialized doctors in the field within the aim of eliminating cancers associated with HPV. The participants included infectious disease doctors, Dr. Roula Husni Samaha, MD – Clinical Professor of Medicine, Interim Chair Department of Internal Medicine; Dr. Rania Sakr, MD – Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division Head of Family Medicine/ Department of Internal Medicine; the Head of the Hematology/Oncology Division, Dr. Hady Ghanem; Dr. Lena El Hachem, MD – Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Division Head of Minimally Invasive & Robotic Surgery/ Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Maroun Matar, MD – Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Acting Chair Department of Pediatrics; and Christian Sawma RPh, BCSCP.


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