We firmly believe that knowledge is power. Education is one of our two core missions, and we hope everyone becomes involved! As a reader, you become one of our educators, learning more about Gastric Cancer, and sharing what you learn with others, including your medical providers.

Our goals include:

  • Helping individuals and families to recognize their risks for Gastric Cancers
  • Supporting medical professionals to identify families at risk, especially for Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer Syndrome (HDGC), in time for preventive actions
  • Sponsoring a National Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, and creating educational programs for people to use in their communities all over the world to promote greater awareness and prevention
  • Stimulating and expanding interest in genetic cancers
  • Promoting family health history efforts
  • Recognizing that HDGC may be under-identified, and therefore encouraging genetic counseling at every early opportunity

Recent and ongoing education efforts

Cindy Chelcun with her family in 2008, including her late husband, Greg, who died of HDGC on 2/8/2009.

Ministry Health Organization of Wisconsin sponsored the first of three physician education programs which specifically included Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer Syndrome (HDGC), on April 20, 2011 at St. Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The program, entitled “Addressing the Myths and Finding Your Patients: Inherited Cancer Syndromes,” was presented by Christina Zalewski, MS, Genetics Counselor at Marshfield Clinic of Marshfield, Wisconsin. The program was well-received by more than 40 physicians and other medical providers in the Ministry system, and was developed as the result of advocacy by Cindy Chelcun, Stevens Point, WI toward expanding education about HDGC.

The physician education programs are scheduled as follows:
04/20/11 St. Michael’s Hospital, Stevens Point, WI
08/05/11 Ministry Health Systems, Rhinelander, WI
08/11/11 Ministry St. Claire’s Hospital, Wausau, WI

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Mike Walsh and Beth Lambert

Mike Walsh and Beth Lambert in 2010

Board Member Beth Lambert teaches English by day and stomach cancer awareness at every opportunity she has. Although much of their teaching is done informally through conversations that come up in various places, whether in doctor’s office or at a social gathering, Beth and her brother Mike Walsh have been busy raising awareness by speaking formally to various groups.

Their education efforts come in various formats. In many cases, it is sharing with others the story of their personal connection to stomach cancer. On other occasions, the focus is on statistical information about stomach cancer. Ultimately, the presentations include opportunities for those in attendance to ask questions about their experience with stomach cancer or about the disease itself.

Here are few of the places at which they have spoken.

Medical Professionals

  • Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
    • Presented at Genetic Counseling Graduate Program Winter Conference, January 15, 2013
    • Presented at Genetic Counseling Graduate Program Winter Conference, January 14, 2011
  • UMASS Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts
    • Presented at Graduate Nursing Program course in genetics, June 25, 2013
    • Presented at Graduate Nursing Program course in genetics, April 17, 2013
    • Presented at Graduate Nursing Program course in genetics, June 28, 2011

General Population

  • Grafton High School, Grafton, Massachusetts
    • Presented for high school health classes during their study of genetic conditions, June 6 and 7, 2011

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Johanna Chelcun

The Quinnipiac University Physician Assistant program in Hamden, Connecticut recently incorporated a Genomics course into the PA training curriculum. The course, taught online using PowerPoint presentations with voice-recorded lectures, teaches students about genetically-inherited diseases and conditions and when to refer patients for genetic counseling based on their risk factors and family history. In the fall of 2008, a lecture on Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer will be presented as part of the gastrointestinal section of the genomics course. This is the first time that HDGC has been incorporated into the PA curriculum at Quinnipiac. The lecture and presentation on HDGC was prepared and presented by Johanna Chelcun, BS, PA Student, who will be a licensed PA in November 2008. Each year approximately 40-50 new graduates will be armed with basic knowledge and awareness of HDGC as they embark on their new careers in the medical field. September 2008

Johanna was fortunate to have the opportunity to lecture live to the QUPA class in 2010.

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