The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a pathogen that causes several different cancers, including cancers of the cervix, anus, and head & neck. Many people have heard about the HPV vaccine but may not know that both girls and boys should be vaccinated to prevent cancers. There has been a tremendous increase in the number of HPV-related cancers in men, so more awareness is needed. On Friday, March 8 th , Dr. Lowy Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute, came to the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center, and presented a talk entitled Control of HPV-Associated Cancer by Vaccination and Screening . A cancer researcher for more than 40 years, Dr. Lowy’s research led to the development of HPV vaccine; his laboratory was involved in the initial development, characterization and clinical testing of the HPV vaccines that are now approved in the U.S. In this issue of the ECHO, we wanted to highlight one of our local researchers and a program he has implemented at the WFBH to reduce HPV-related anal cancers. 
HPV & Anal Cancer
HPV, short for human papilloma virus , is a common virus spread through sexual contact infecting over 14 million people a year. HPV infects all people and is transmitted through skin-to-skin sexual contact with the infected area, even if there are no symptoms. Most commonly we see that HPV can lead to cervical cancer. However, HPV can also lead to cancers of the throat, tongue, and tonsils as well as vaginal, vulvar penile and anal cancer.

Anal cancer is a growing problem in the United States as evidenced by the increase in the number of people diagnosed with anal cancer over the last several decades. Anal cancer begins when abnormal cells develop in the anus, the opening at the end of the colon where waste exits the body. Over 90% of anal cancers are caused by HPV. The best way to prevent HPV is by getting vaccinated.
Anyone can get anal cancer, but certain populations have an increased risk for developing the disease including: men who have sex with men, HIV-infected persons and people who are immunosuppressed for reasons other than HIV, including those who have had an organ transplant. But anal cancer may be preventable. In addition to vaccination, a High Resolution Anoscopy (HRA) procedure can be used to diagnose and treat pre-cancerous cells in the anus before they become cancerous. The procedure may be used to help to diagnose anal cancer early, or to lower the risk of anal cancer by removing abnormal cells. 
The Anchor Study
HIV-infected men and women are disproportionally affected by anal cancer. The ANCHOR study is a multicenter clinical trial funded by the National Cancer Institute focused on finding the best way to prevent anal cancer among HIV positive men and women 35 years of age and older. This landmark trial screens this high-risk population for high grade anal dysplasia (HSIL) and randomizes patients with HSIL to receive treatment or active monitoring for their dysplasia. Patients are followed to see if treatment of anal HSIL will prevent development of anal cancer. ANCHOR will be enrolling for approximately two more years and continuing for five years of follow-up.

For more information on the ANCHOR study visit or call 336-716-5685. 

OCHE is partnering with Dr. Barroso’s study team to expand recruitment efforts for the ANCHOR study and to raise awareness for anal cancer screening and prevention in our community. If you can assist with recruitment and outreach efforts, please contact Kelsey Shore, Community Research Coordinator, at 336-713-6910 or
Dr. Barroso & the High Risk Anal (HRA) Clinic

Dr. Luis Barroso oversees the HRA clinic at Wake Forest Baptist Health and is the Primary Investigator for the local site of the ANCHOR study. He trained in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Virginia and came to Wake Forest in 2008. He initially began anal cancer screening as part of the Ryan White HIV Clinic in 2011 and made anal dysplasia screening and treatment his area of academic focus. Dr. Barroso has since expanded anal dysplasia screening to the Veteran’s Administration where he also sees patients.

For more info on the HRA clinic email or call 336-716-WAKE.

Meet our Interns
Brianna Boggan

Brianna Boggan is from rural Anson County, North Carolina. Being from a rural community sparked her interest in Public Health and Biology, which she currently studies at UNC Greensboro. She has developed three years of leadership skills through community involvement with multiple on and off campus non-profit organizations. In addition, she has also begun developing her professional experience within the healthcare realm as an intern in the OCHE. Brianna’s primary role is to construct and implement a project that enhances access to resources and cancer health education in Anson County to improve regional cancer health disparities. Her final products will include an asset map of community resources and local education and outreach on cancer prevention, early detection and survivorship.
Shaunessy Lofton

Shaunessy Lofton, a native of Asheville, NC is a graduating senior at UNC Greensboro studying community health education. She has an interest in tobacco and has spent time researching tobacco related policies, especially in the educational setting. During her internship with the Office of Cancer Health Equity, Shaunessy has contributed to the implementation of a tobacco cessation pilot program for underserved populations in partnership with the Downtown Health Plaza. Shaunessy’s future plans are to obtain her Master’s of Public Health before attending medical school with the ultimate goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist.
Upcoming Events
April 6: Forsyth Fun Fest

Winston Salem State University
Rams Cross Country Track

10 AM-2 PM

Sponsored by Insight Human Services, this family friendly event aims to encourage people in Forsyth county to be healthy and active. Free and open to the pub
Staff Spotlight
OCHE team presents poster at annual T.H.I.N.K Academy Conference

On Friday, February 22, the Office of Cancer Health Equity Team presented a poster at the annual Treating Health Inequities with New Knowledge Conference hosted by the Levine Cancer Institute. The poster featured research on clinical trial knowledge and attitudes of Hispanic and African American patients at WFBCCC and won best poster.

Next Newsletter
Our next newsletter will focus on the unique disparities of cancer in adolescent and young adults. 
If you would like to volunteer with our office please email us at: 

The Office of Cancer Health Equity Team

Director: Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD
Assistant Director: Jimmy Ruiz, MD
Assistant Director: Kathryn Weaver, PhD, MPH
Program Manager: Carla Strom, MLA
Hispanic Patient Navigator: Maria Alejandra Combs, JD, OPN-CG
Rural Patient Navigator: Emily Britt, MSW
Community Health Educator, Aeriel Diaz, BA, CHES
Community Research Coordinator: Kelsey Shore, CCRC
Community Outreach Coordinator: Camry Wilborn, MA
P: 336-713-3665