Volunteer of the Month
Cancer Education on the Fairway
MCC at the Minnesota State Fair
SERVICE: Irina Stepanov, Ph.D.
Dr. Stepanov is an Associate Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences. Her laboratory studies tobacco carcinogenesis and looks to understand differences in an individual's disease risk due to tobacco use. She has also been influential in applying her research findings to guide decisions on tobacco regulations.

Dr. Stepanov is actively engaged in sharing her research with the community. She has developed an interactive exhibit that provides information on the dangers of tobacco use, with a particular focus on smokeless tobacco products - this has been a valuable tool for educating student groups visiting the Masonic Cancer Center, as well as thousands of fair-goers at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair!
COMMUNITY: Teeing Off with Cancer Education

In partnership with the YMCA, the Masonic Cancer Center sponsored a hole for the Greg Coleman Celebrity Golf Tournament held at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids, MN on Tuesday, August 8, 2016. The Education and Community Engagement team was on site providing educational materials to members of the community, including a number of local celebrities. With a focus on cancer prevention, we also supplied free sunscreen samples for participating golfers!
Masonic Cancer Center and University of Minnesota Health Present: Innovations in Cancer Care & Prevention at the Minnesota State Fair
Cheese curds, corndogs, cows, concerts, and -- cancer education!  Thanks to the combined efforts of the Masonic Cancer Center and University of Minnesota Cancer Care, all of these things could be found on Thursday, September 1, 2016 at the Minnesota State Fair. Fair-goers stopping by the Health Zone at the University of Minnesota Building had the opportunity to attend presentations and take part in interactive exhibits provided by leading cancer center researchers and health care providers. Lines were out the door as visitors of all ages eagerly awaited their turn to view real tissue samples, test their cancer knowledge, and win prizes!

At our "Become a Cutting-Edge Scientist for a Day" exhibit, put on by scientists working with Douglas Yee, MD, participants learned about breast cancer research by getting hands-on training in the use of pipettes and microscopes - important tools used by scientists to test cancer samples in their labs.

Dr. Stepanov's "E-cigs, Snus, and Hookahs: Safer than Cigarettes?" exhibit teamed up with the "Lung Cancer Screening: The facts" exhibit to provide the latest data about the risks of tobacco use, particularly e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. They also provided information about a clinical trial recruiting participants for a lung cancer screening study.

For anyone still looking for that "gross factor", a team of pathologists had dozens of real cancer tissues on display, including samples from the brain, lung and liver. Visitors could view these tissues up close while learning about how the different types of cancer are diagnosed and why certain cancers are more likely to metastasize, or spread throughout the body.

And for those looking to hear a heartwarming story, researchers led by Liz Pluhar, DVM, PhD from our Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences presented their work showing how dogs, who naturally get cancer just like humans, have helped us discover better cancer treatments for both pets and humans.

At our stage presentations, visitors were given lessons in sunscreen safety, getting tips for applying sunscreen and finding out which products and active ingredients are recommended by leading researcher DeAnn Lazovich, PhD, MPH.

Nelson Rhodus, DMD, MPH, explained how the demographics of oral cancer are changing and provided insight into how oral cancer can be prevented and detected.

And for anyone with questions remaining, our "Ask the Experts" panel led by Robert Turesky, PhD and Anne Blaes, MD, held an open Q&A session with the audience.

New this year was our "Survivors' Corner" where cancer survivors could stop by to receive a special gift. Cancer survivors, family members, friends, caregivers, and supporters alike had their pictures taken at our photo booth to express their support for cancer research. Goldy Gopher couldn't pass up the opportunity, posing for a photo-op with Masonic Cancer Center Director Douglas Yee, MD, and members of his research laboratory!
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MCC FACULTY: If you engage in a community/outreach event, please email Allie Ochoa ( and provide her with the details of your engagement. We'd like to have a central repository of these outreach efforts.
COMMUNITY MEMBERS: Please email if you would like to request a speaker or to partner with us for an event.

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Masonic Cancer Center · 425 East River Road · Minneapolis, MN 55455 · USA

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