Lectures For Lifelong Learners!

Chris Hickey

Chris Hickey

Chris Hickey

Cancer Awareness Lectures

Biology & Oncology

Available for in-person lectures in:
South Florida

Available via Zoom?

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Dr. Christopher J. Hickey is a cancer molecular biologist who specializes in cancer experimental therapeutics. Dr. Hickey is originally from Columbus, Ohio and completed his doctoral training at The Ohio State University where his research was focused on leukemia experimental therapeutics. Following his doctoral training, he completed additional training as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow while investigating breast cancer experimental therapeutics at The Mitchell Cancer Institute located in Mobile, Alabama. Currently, Dr. Hickey has an active cancer research laboratory in West Palm Beach and continues his research in developing experimental therapies for the treatment of multiple types of cancer. His award-winning cancer research has been recognized at the international and national levels. Moreover, his laboratory breakthroughs have been published in numerous peer-reviewed scientific journals. Dr. Hickey currently lives in West Palm Beach, Florida and he enjoys scuba diving in his very limited free time.

Lectures include:

The Hallmarks of Cancer: Common Features Among All Cancers

This presentation effectively illustrates how healthy cells become cancer cells. The conversion of a healthy cell to a cancerous cell is a process referred to as transformation. This process involves a series of changes that provides a growth advantage for the transformed cell within a surrounding tissue. These changes have been observed at the cellular and molecular levels for a wide variety of cancers. With these cellular and molecular insights, scientists have been able to characterize and identify common traits displayed by the many cancers. Collectively, the mechanisms providing growth advantages for the transformed cells are commonly known as the Hallmarks of Cancer.

Skin Cancer: The 5 W’s…Who, What, Where, When, and Why

Skin cancer is a disease that impacts many Floridians. This presentation begins with an examination of the anatomy of the skin with a particular focus on the epidermal layer which includes the cells that can serve as the origins of skin cancer. The initiating events from ultraviolet radiation (UV radiation) are discussed to illustrate how skin cancer can begin from a single mutated cell within the epidermal layer. As a result of the UV radiation, these mutations provide the transformed cell with growth advantages that are uncommon to the healthy cells within the surrounding tissue. This uncontrolled growth can populate the surrounding tissue with cancerous cells that can later be observed on the surface of the skin. The presentation concludes with a discussion of the therapeutic options currently available for the treatment of the various types of skin cancer.

Leukemia: There is More to it Than You Think

Generally speaking, leukemia is often thought of as a cancer of the blood and it is a diagnosis that nobody wants to receive. Moreover, leukemia is a type of cancer that is not well understood by many people outside of the medical community. This presentation provides a thorough explanation of leukemia and results in the audience being more knowledgeable about the various types of leukemia. Leukemia is the failure of immune cells to develop in a healthy manner. As a result, this form of cancer negatively impacts the immune system leading to complications within the body’s own defenses to maintain a healthy state. This presentation illustrates the different types of leukemia and how these points of interest impact the body’s ability to provide immunity. Fortunately, recent scientific breakthroughs have provided the medical community with novel therapeutic options that allow for the effective treatment and management of most types of leukemia.

Breast Cancer: A Comprehensive Review

The treatment options for breast cancer management have advanced at an impressive rate due to medical researchers working together to find innovative ways to combat an all too familiar form of cancer. Using medical illustrations (not photos), this presentation begins with the anatomy of the breast at the tissue and cellular levels to describe the origins of cancer cells within the breast. Next, the audience is shown the development of breast cancer and how systems are used to stage the development when describing and monitoring the growth. At the cellular level, various characteristics of breast cancer cells are described which serve as targets for current treatment options. At the molecular level, common genetic mutations are discussed, and the audience is shown how these mutations can contribute to the development of breast cancer. The presentation concludes with how breast cancer treatments target the altered molecular mechanisms that resulted from the common genetic mutations.

Heredity and Cancer: A Family Affair

Sadly, many of us have been there: A cancer diagnosis hits a family member, and after the initial shock and grief, you can’t help but wonder: Is it hereditary? Am I going to get it too? In this hour-long lecture, cancer molecular biologist Chris Hickey will share why certain members of families experience the same type of cancer diagnosis. Additionally, this presentation discusses the ways different cancers can share a common genetic link that can impact multiple generations of a family. Finally, the presentation discusses the prevalence of commonly known cancers among certain populations and ethnic groups. The content is organized by cancer type and identifies specific genes that contribute to the malignancies among these groups of people.

Colorectal Cancer: Bringing Enlightenment to This Complex Cancer Diagnosis

Colorectal cancer is a common yet complicated disease to understand due to its diverse nature and variety of initiating events. The complexity of colon cancer is attributed to the fact that the colon is divided into several functioning parts that serve the digestive system. This presentation takes a complex disease that is colorectal cancer and breaks down the individual layers by communicating the details in a manner that is easily understood to a general audience. To begin, the colon (large intestine) is explained in a healthy context. Once the healthy features are highlighted, this story continues by detailing the initiating events that can trigger tumor development. These initiating events include genetic factors, dietary routines, and environmental events. Diagnostic techniques are discussed as well as the staging system that is commonly ascribed to characterize colon cancer development. Different stages of colon cancer require different treatments. Therefore, attention is given to treatment options that are considered standard of care for the assigned stage of the tumor development. This presentation concludes with statistical information in regard to the prevalence of colon cancer among different populations and best practices to prevent colon cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer: I Know It Is Bad, but How Bad Is It?

The pancreas is an accessory organ of the digestive and a major contributor to the endocrine system. As a multi-functioning organ, when things go badly, many systems are impacted. This presentation begins with describing the pancreas in a healthy context and the numerous roles it plays while maintaining a healthy bodily state. The function of the pancreas in the digestive system is described followed by its contributions to the more complicated endocrine system. Differentiating these two systems is crucial because it matters which healthy cells are replaced by cancer cells and which system is impacted. The presentation transitions to pancreatic cancer and its origins impacting either the digestive system or endocrine system. The audience is informed on current diagnostic procedures, the significance of each stage used to describe the cancer development, and the treatment options. Furthermore, the presentation provides information on how genetics can contribute to the disease. An emphasis is placed on vigilant monitoring for those at-risk populations. By the end of this lecture, the audience will have a better understanding of why pancreatic cancer is such a notorious disease. Additionally, they are reminded that significant progress has been achieved through scientific breakthroughs that provide hope for those people receiving a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

What is Gastric Cancer? I Think it Involves the Stomach but I’m Not Really Sure

The human body is a beautiful complex system of multiple parts working in harmonious concert to ensure the survival of the person. Among this array of systems is the stomach that functions to break down food into smaller packets of energy and nutrients that can be used by the body to sustain its daily living. When this organ fails to function properly, the body eventually becomes deficient of much needed energy and nutrients. Over time, other bodily systems are impacted and fail to properly function. Although uncommon, stomach cancer is a notable disease because of the broad impact it has on other systems of the body. This presentation conveys the importance of a properly functioning stomach. Significance is given to the origins for the most common types of stomach cancer. The audience is provided with descriptions on how this disease is diagnosed, described using a common staging system, and the therapeutic approaches currently used to treat this malignancy. Moreover, practices for living a healthy lifestyle are included in an effort to reduce the risk of developing stomach cancer. As with any form of cancer, early detection is critical. As such, this presentation educates the audience with information about the signs and symptoms that could indicate the development of cancer of the stomach. At the conclusion of this presentation, the audience will have a greater appreciation for living a healthy lifestyle to avoid developing cancer in one of the most important organs of the human body.

Ovarian Cancer: The Stepchild Cancer of the BRCA Genes

It is common to associate the BRCA (BReast CAncer) genes with breast cancer development. However, these genes also play a significant role in the development of ovarian cancer. This presentation begins by highlighting the ovaries in a healthy context. Given the placement of the ovaries in the body, ovarian cancer can develop with little indication of its development. Therefore, the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer development are described in detail to bring awareness about the noticeable signs and symptoms that might suggest tumor development. Next, information is provided describing the three most common forms of ovarian cancer. Furthermore, the audience is educated on how mutations in the BRCA genes can contribute to tumor development. At the time of diagnosis, the tumor is staged using the standard staging system to describe ovarian cancer. Following the diagnostics, treatment options are explained along with the standard of care. The lecture concludes with statistical information illustrating the prevalence of ovarian cancer across various demographics and ethnic backgrounds. This presentation is essential to both women and men with a family history of cancer and who might be carriers of BRCA mutations.

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