Thursday, February 26, 2009

NYC - Forum on Anal Cancer - TONIGHT

Gay Men’s Health Crisis and Harlem United to Host Community Forum - TONIGHT

Anal cancer is on the increase among gay and bisexual men, and people living with HIV. Gay men are 20 times more likely than the general population to contract anal cancer. HIV-positive gay men are 40 times more likely than the general population to contract anal cancer.

The same high-risk strains of HPV (human papillomavirus) that cause most cervical cancers in women are also responsible for causing anal cancer. The virus, spread through receptive anal intercourse, is estimated to be present in 65% of gay men without HIV and 95% of those who are HIV positive. A simple and inexpensive anal Pap test detects the virus. Unfortunately, few physicians are performing anal screening exams and offering anal pap smears to gay men, resulting in anal cancer rates as high as those of cervical cancer before the use of routine Pap smears in women.

On Thursday, February 26, GMHC and Harlem United, two local AIDS services organizations, will host a community forum on anal cancer and gay/bisexual men. Liz Margolies, LCSW, Executive Director from the National LGBT Cancer Network, and Dan Bowers, MD, now in private practice, and former senior partner of Pacific Oaks Medical Group, will present on the latest information regarding prevention and treatment.

Event Information

Date: Thursday, February 26

Time: 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Place: GMHC
The Tisch Building
119 West 24th Street – 9th floor
New York City

Subways: F/V to 23rd Street/6th Avenue; 1/9 to 23rd Street/7th Avenue


  1. Gay, Bisexual and Transmen Anal cancer survivors connect with each other in safe and supportive group on Also, more information on LGBT cancer survivorship and on male anal cancer is on

  2. One crucial issue involving the use of anal cytology (anal Pap smears, or some Australian health care workers call "Chap smears") is the failure to have sufficient resources to perform the next level of diagnostic assessment, if the Pap shows abnormal cells. The next test is to have high resolution anoscopy (HRA; the anal equivalent to a colposcopy in women with abnormal cervical Paps), where a biopsy can be performed.

    Second issue: A lot of colorectal surgeons are much more interested in the "colon" part of their specialty than the ano-rectal part, and in some communities, haven't bought into the "hype" of aggressive treatment of anal cancers and dysplasia (precancers). They won't assess because they believe that the outcomes for aggressive treatments are no better than if you wait until the lesions progress to something palpable or more observable. I don't agree with this, but how can colorectal surgeons be re-educated and properly trained to accept this challenge? And if we don't have enough colorectal surgeons to do this formidable task, then can we train non-physician providers, like physician assistants and nurse practitioners to do "what needs to be done"?

    --mark behar


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