Global Environmental Health

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Global Climate Change and Cancer Care

April 15, 2024


Expert: Leticia Nogueira, Ph.D., American Cancer Society

Photo: Extreme weather can damage medical infrastructure and prevent patients with cancer from receiving necessary treatment.
(Photo by dbvirago, via Adobe Stock)

The causes and effects of climate change are inextricably tied to cancer outcomes. For example, fossil-fuel burning contributes to a warming climate and also produces air pollution associated with several types of cancer. Flooding associated with extreme weather events can disperse cancer-causing contaminants and inhibit patients from accessing proper cancer treatment. Indeed, people with cancer are uniquely vulnerable to climate hazards given the variety of physical, mental, and socioeconomic hardships they encounter.

In this episode, we will hear from Leticia Nogueira, the scientific director of Health Services Research at the American Cancer Society and an inaugural NIH Climate Change and Health Scholar. Nogueira has dedicated her career to studying how health disparities affect cancer outcomes, and how climate change can exacerbate those disparities. She will describe ways that climate change and cancer risk are intertwined and provide insights into how cancer treatment centers can improve resilience against climate impacts.

Leticia Nogueira, Ph.D.

Leticia Nogueira, Ph.D., is a cancer researcher who investigates the influence of policy, social determinants of health, and climate change on cancer care, and how institutional- and policy-level changes can address health disparities. She is the scientific director of Health Services Research in the Surveillance and Health Equity Science Department at the American Cancer Society. She is also one of the inaugural NIH Climate Change and Health Scholars and an adjunct professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Previously, Nogueira worked for the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) as the epidemiology manager at the Texas Cancer Registry, and later as the director of the DSHS Environmental Injury Epidemiology and Toxicology Unit, where she was responsible for five different state health registries.

Nogueira has received several honors, including the Fellows Award for Research Excellence from the NIH and the Women in Cancer Research and Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Awards from the American Association for Cancer Research. She earned her Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was later inducted into the Hall of Honors, and her M.P.H in quantitative methods from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


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