Cancer Center Programs & Events

The UVA Outreach and Engagement team provides the community with a broad range of cancer education, service programs, and activities that benefit residents of central Virginia and beyond. These programs educate the public about cancer risk, screening, prevention and survivorship. Our health education specialists frequently:

  • Attend health events
  • Give educational presentations
  • Collaborate on community projects
  • Promote community awareness of cancer

We commonly work with community organizations, schools, worksites and faith-based groups to deliver high-quality educational programs as well as attend health events on request based on availability. All our programs are offered free of charge to the public.

C’Ville Walks with Heart

C’Ville Walks with Heart is a community walking program that has been operating in Charlottesville for almost 15 years during the summer months. This program strives to contribute to creating healthy lifestyles in the Charlottesville area

by emphasizing the importance of physical activity as a way to lower one’s risk of cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Walks include:

  • Health talks by community healthcare professionals
  • Monthly weigh-ins
  • Shoe scholarships for qualifying members

The program is year-round with walks occurring throughout Charlottesville from June through August. During the remainder of the year, participants have the opportunity to walk during the week on the UVA Heart Team Indoor Track at the Brooks Family YMCA, earning incentives at different milestones.  

Understanding Cancer

Classes are held throughout the year in Virginia. 

Understanding Cancer is adapted from Appalachian Community Cancer Network to teach community members about:

  • Cancer basics
  • Prevention
  • Early detection
  • Treatment options
  • Survivorship
  • Community resources

Colorectal Cancer Free Zone

The Colorectal Cancer Free Zone aims to educate employees about the different options for colorectal cancer and ways to reduce risk. Local healthcare professionals provide an interactive talk on screening and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and physical activity. 

Topics covered include:

  • Screening options
  • Risk assessment
  • Insurance coverage for screenings
  • Nutrition and physical activity

Screen to Save (S2S) 

This program aims to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among men and women from rural areas. In 2017, the target goal as given by the NCI was to complete 100 pre/post surveys conducted as part of educational CRC community events. In total, 126 community members were surveyed. The program received national recognition by the National Colorectal Cancer Round tables for the collaboration with VCE (Virginia Cooperative Extension). 

CANCER: Thriving and Surviving

Classes are held in the Southwest region of Virginia throughout the year.

Improvements in early detection, diagnosis and treatment mean that people with cancer are living longer and with better quality of life. The program helps participants set personal goals and develop skills to overcome barriers and successfully manage their own care. Some of the topics and skills discussed in the workshop include:

  • Techniques to deal with problems like frustration, fatigue, pain, isolation, poor sleep and uncertainty
  • Appropriate exercise to maintain and regain flexibility and endurance
  • Making decisions about treatment and complementary therapies
  • Communicating with family, friends and health professionals
  • Nutrition
  • Setting priorities
  • Relationships

The workshop runs for 2 ½ hours once a week for seven consecutive weeks; is facilitated by two trained leaders who are cancer survivors or caregivers of cancer survivors.

Great American Smokeout

Each year in November, local high schools in the Thomas Jefferson Health District participate in activities for the Great American Smokeout. Students have the opportunity to pledge to live tobacco-free and speak with health educators about the effects of tobacco in their community.  

Additionally, we collaborate with community organizations in Charlottesville to provide cessation resources at the community Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November every year.  Participants get a chance to build a quit plan and meet with local experts to help them in their journey.   

School-Based Youth Tobacco Prevention

By age 18, 9 out of 10 current cigarette smokers have tried smoking and are likely to continue use into adulthood. From 2011 to 2015, current cigarette smoking declined among middle and high school students. Despite this decline, the Education and Outreach team are seeing an increased use of other emerging tobacco products, such as electronic cigarettes and hookahs. A three-year tobacco prevention program was implemented with two area middle schools. The program uses peer-led materials to deliver tobacco-related messages that tobacco use is not the norm amongst their social group. The surveys have been developed using two national, well-known tools: The CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey and the Communities that Care Risk and Protective Factor Survey. Students are asked questions about tobacco use, knowledge, beliefs and social norms.

The results of the school-based youth tobacco prevention participation have been effective. For SY 17-18, the participation was 674 students. With the surveys conducted by the students, the program team intends to explore the discrepancies in student’s perceptions of social norms regarding tobacco use – especially with respect to electronic cigarette usage. 

Lung Cancer Screening

The UVA Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program is a collaborative effort between the Cancer Center, radiology and primary care that allows UVA to provide patients at high risk for lung cancer with a program dedicated to finding cancer sooner. It brings together experts from multiple specialties and follows patients annually who have negative findings. 

UVA is designated a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance for following evidence-based national guidelines and demonstrating compliance with the comprehensive standards developed by the National Lung Screening Trial. These standards are based on best practices for controlling low-dose CT scan quality, radiation dose and diagnostic procedures and compliance. 

Currently the program has detected 12 lung cancers: 11 early stage and 1 stage 3. The scan volume for 2017 was 321 scans.