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Pathologist Pei Hui, MD, PhD, on Cervical Health Awareness Month

January 12, 2022

1. As we honor Cervical Health Awareness Month, what do you feel is the most important message to share with our community (patients/colleagues/general community)? Cervical cancer is a common gynecological malignancy but quite a preventable disease through very simple measures, including cervical cytology screening, human papillomavirus (HPV) testing, and HPV vaccinations. Well-established cervical cancer screening programs developed by professional societies have really changed the outlook of cervical cancer incidence and mortality in the developed countries. Screening can detect precancerous lesions and early cancers, therefore leading to early intervention to stop the progression. Unfortunately, cervical cancer is still prevalent in developing countries that lack systemic implementation of cervical cytology screening.

2.How do you collaborate with the gynecological oncology team at Smilow Cancer Hospital to care for your patients with cervical cancer?

We (at Gynecologic Pathology) work together daily, not just making histological and cytological diagnoses, but also interacting with our oncology team at Smilow Cancer Hospital on every front in terms of cervical cancer prevention, early detection, and timely therapeutic intervention for our patients.

3.How do you connect with clinicians treating patients with cervical cancer to bridge laboratory research to clinical care?

We work together very closely. We have active translational and clinical research programs in collaboration with our clinicians. More importantly, we are part of the clinical trial programs for patients with cervical cancer at Smilow Cancer Hospital. For example, currently we are part of a comprehensive molecular study on cervical neuroendocrine carcinomas using tumor tissue samples from Smilow and international institutions.

4.Mentorship is an important part of cancer research—what is your favorite way to keep your team engaged and learning from one another?

I believe leading by example with strong academic mentoring is essential for team building and academic growth. I like to see team members working together as a unit with genuine enthusiasm and strong effort that are tied to their academic interests, clinical work, and medical teaching.

5.How can we prioritize cancer prevention in our daily lives?

For many common human diseases, prevention is Number One. Cervical cancer is no exception. Prevention has drastically changed the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer in the United States and in other developed countries because of systemic implementation of well-developed prevention measures, including cervical cytology screening and HPV testing.

Submitted by Terence P. Corcoran on January 12, 2022