Hollings Headlines // February 2023

Sharing her experience

a smiling couple stands in a hospital hallway together

Diane Juitt was shocked when she was diagnosed with lung cancer.

She didn't smoke. She didn't have any reason to believe she might have lung cancer, except for a cough that wouldn't go away for months after a bout with COVID. What she didn't know was that she had a gene mutation that made her more likely to have lung cancer.

Diane's story turned out well. When she wasn't satisfied with the care she was getting elsewhere, she found her way to a multidisciplinary team at Hollings, where she was treated with surgery and a drug targeted to her specific gene mutation. But she and her husband wonder what might have happened if she hadn't decided to look for another doctor.

"It could have been catastrophic," says Alex Juitt.

Now, Diane is giving back by serving as a patient advocate on a Stand Up 2 Cancer grant aimed at helping underserved communities to access lung cancer screenings.

Read Diane's story

Ovarian cancer prevention

a doctor sits on a stool in an exam room and chats with a patient

Should you have your fallopian tubes removed?

An ovarian cancer advocacy and research group wants to raise awareness of this option for some women to reduce their risk of ovarian cancer.

Hollings gynecologic oncologist Brian Orr, M.D., explains when and why you might want to pursue this procedure. 

Read more about this option

Thank you!

collage of people at fundraising events

Thank you to everyone who supports the work of the cancer center! We had two great events this month. Gourmet & Grapes, our signature fundraising event, was held in person again for the first time since 2020. With your support, we raised more than $1.2 million, which will go toward cancer research, pediatric oncology clinical trials, outreach and prevention efforts. Check out our Facebook page for more photos!

We also celebrated a successful LOWVELO22 at the Jerry Zucker Awards Ceremony. Riders raised more than $427,000 for cancer research at Hollings, led by top fundraiser Aron Kuch, who rode in memory of his wife, Heather.

Read more about LOWVELO22

Holistic cancer care

a doctor in surgical scrubs holds a robotic instrument and smiles

Please welcome Alexandra Kejner, M.D., to MUSC!

Dr. Kejner is a head and neck cancer surgeon with a passion for innovative, holistic care and the latest technologies, including robotic sugery.

“One of the things that is really important to me is that when we get people in to treat them for cancer, we're treating the whole person,” she says. “So not just, ‘There's a tumor; we will fix it.’ But also looking at other underlying issues that have come into play and that have gotten us to this point, so looking at things like nutrition, smoking cessation and even genetics.”

Read about Dr. Kejner

Pancreatic cancer research

a woman poses in a science lab

"More effective therapeutics are urgently needed for patients with pancreatic cancer,” says Lu Han, Ph.D. She's a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Michael Ostrowski, Ph.D., and lead author on a paper uncovering the origins of cancer-associated fibroblasts in pancreatic cancer.

"We aimed to learn the basic biology of pancreatic cancer so we can provide information to lead to more effective treatments.”

Read about Dr. Han's work

Close to home

Seismograph with paper in action and earthquake - 3D Rendering

Hollings is an international community, and events across the world often hit close to home. That was the case after a series of earthquakes in Turkey and Syria this month.

Members of the MUSC community with ties to Turkey, including Hollings researchers Besim Ogretmen, Ph.D., and Ozgur Sahin, Ph.D., spoke about their worries for family and friends still in the region and offered suggestions about how to help.

Read more about MUSC's Turkish community

Hollings in the news

WCBD: How Henrietta Lacks’ legacy lives on in the Lowcountry

Post and Courier: Targeting brain tumors in kids could help find better, less toxic drugs

WCSC: New grant to help MUSC improve lung cancer screening

WCBD: How the HPV vaccine can save your life

Post and Courier: How to quit: MUSC, Trident offer ways for smokers to cut back and end tobacco use

SciTechDaily: Startling findings: Midwest and Southeast experience dramatic increase in anal cancer

Coming up ...

Feb. 23 - Cancer Connections lecture series

Kevin Hughes, M.D., director of cancer genetics at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center and the McKoy Rose, Jr. M.D. Endowed Chair in Surgical Oncology, will present on the Hollings Hereditary Cancer Clinic. 

Lecture is at 5 p.m. at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center with a cocktail reception to follow. Complimentary valet parking available in front of the cancer center. RSVP to brownlau@musc.edu.

Feb. 25 - 7th Annual Charleston Head for the Cure 5K Run & Walk

Funds raised from the Charleston event will benefit vital brain cancer research and programs at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, in addition to other national brain cancer research, programs, education and initiatives.


The Charleston 5K event will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, at James Island County Park. Those interested in participating can register at www.headforthecure.org/charleston or by emailing Anna Adelman at anna@headforthecure.org.

March 14 - Blood Cancer Support Group

This support group is a collaboration between MUSC Hollings Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society focused on providing support, education and resources for patients and caregivers with a blood cancer diagnosis throughout their cancer journey. The group meets virtually on the second Tuesday of the month, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

To join, please register through LLS. For additional information, contact Kristin Farris at farriskr@musc.edu.

March 16 - Head and Neck Cancer Survivors Support Group

Meet with other head and neck cancer patients and caregivers in a supportive environment. This group meets in a hybrid format; you may join online or in person. 

The Head and Neck Cancer Support Group meets 5:30–6:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. To attend online, register on Zoom. To attend in person in room 121 of MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, RSVP to whitfis@musc.edu. 

March 21 - Online Breast Cancer Support Group

Join us online for a monthly support group moderated by MUSC Hollings Cancer Center providers with expertise in the psychological experience of people with cancer. You can participate however you feel most comfortable: video on, video off, or call in. All options are available.

The group meets on Zoom the third Tuesday of every month from noon to 1 p.m. Register to receive a link

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