Moffitt Cancer Center doctor one of four from the U.S. to attend Middle East conference

June 22, 2009

Tampa, FL – The universal empathy for the terminally ill that surpassed political, religious and cultural differences at the fifth annual Middle East Cancer Consortium conference inspired Dr. Lodovico Balducci. The program leader for the senior adult oncology program at Moffitt Cancer Center was one of four American doctors chosen to attend the conference in Cyprus.

            “The language of the conference is that of compassion, solidarity and human decency, not of ideological, cultural and religious differences,” Balducci said. “It calls for hope where desperation rules, for the building of bridges to common ground.”

            The MECC was established in 1996 as a unique partnership between the United States and the Ministries of Health of Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey to raise cancer awareness in the Middle East and reduce the burden of cancer in the region. Each year, the health care representatives meet to examine ways to alleviate the suffering of cancer patients. Alternative methods, such as touch therapy and transcendental meditation, are explored.

            “[The conference] stressed the difference between curing, which is disease centered and rarely possible, and healing, which refers to the personal experience of the disease and is always possible,” Balducci said. “I realized the importance of listening and understanding each different patient in order to provide healing.”

            The MECC group realizes it is essential to overcome divisions to fight a common cause that affects people regardless of age, race, religion or culture.

About H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center  is an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - a designation that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 15 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.