The University of Iowa

Panelists take a global look at breast cancer, April 24

April 12th, 2018

Join International Programs for a global look at the impact of cultural norms on the choices women make in cancer treatment from 3 to 4:30 p.m., April 24, in 1117 University Capitol Centre. In a panel discussion entitled "Choosing to Die," panelist will discuss details of their recent international, interdisciplinary pilot study focused on the hurdles women across Asia seem to face when diagnosed with breast cancer. The event is free and open to the public.

The panel includes:

Dr. Mikael Hartman 
senior consultant, Division of General Surgery (breast surgery), 
National University Hospital Singapore
head of the Breast Cancer Prevention Program, 
Saw See Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore

Prof. Wong Mee Lian
professor of public health, Saw See Hock School of Public Health 
and Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore

Ms. Jenny Liu
manager of the Breast Cancer Prevention Program, Saw See Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore

Dr. Mariam Zeitzen
anthropologist, modern history, and world cultures, National Museum of Denmark

Prof. Cynthia Chou
professor of anthropology, C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family chair of Asian Studies, University of Iowa

Panel discussion moderated by: 

Dr. Resmiye Oral 
director, Child Protection Program, and clinical professor of pediatrics, Carver College of Medicine

In 2014, Cynthia Chou, then head of Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen, and Dr. Philip Lau and Dr. Mikael Hartman, two senior breast cancer surgeons at the National University of Singapore Hospital, initiated an international and inter-disciplinary project to study the hurdles which women across Asia seem to face in early presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer. It was observed that even in locations where state-of-the-art medical services are available, many more women are dying of the disease -- largely due to later presentation as compared to women in most western countries. This means that in spite of the great strides made in western medical science to treat breast cancer, there are significant socio-cultural considerations and contexts in Asia that limit the efficacy of western-based health care methods. Breast cancer is now the most common cancer among women in most Asian countries and lives are at stake. To promote awareness of this disease, to build collaborations with breast cancer resource centers across Asia, and to raise funds for the research project, the two breast cancer surgeons undertook a three-month transcontinental motorcycle journey from the National University Hospital in Singapore to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. The journey covered a distance of 23,000 kilometers, crossed some 18 countries, and met up with numerous like-minded people and institutions. 
Event sponsored by International Programs, the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization, Center for Asian and Pacific Studies and Department of Anthropology.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events.  If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact  Sarolta Petersen in advance at or 319-335-3862.