Saturday, December 29, 2012

This type of thing is more common than one might think. Click-on the headline link below to watch the ABC News report or to read all about it:

Cancer Drug Shortage Leads to Less-Effective Substitute Drugs, Study Finds

Abby Alonzo was eight weeks into treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma and doing great when her doctor informed the 9-year-old's parents that one ingredient in the cocktail of chemo drugs she was receiving was no longer available, and they would have to use a substitution.

"It's scary, and I was alarmed but I didn't really have a sense of how critical this drug was," said Katie Alonzo, Abby's mother. "When something like this happens, you have to put your faith in the doctors."
But by 12 weeks into treatment, Abby relapsed. Rather than receiving a planned break from treatment, she was rushed into emergency "salvage therapy," which involved more chemo, a bone marrow transplant and radiation.

The doctors at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., who treated Abby, attribute her relapse to the shortage of the drug mechlorethamine, also known as nitrogen mustard. In today's New England Journal of Medicine, the St. Jude doctors, along with colleagues from the Dana-Farber cancer institute in Boston and the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Stanford, Calif., highlight how the scarcity of this medication has been linked to a higher rate of relapse among children, teenagers and young adults with Hodgkin lymphoma.

The 40 patients in the study who received the substitute drug cyclophosphamide experienced complications at about twice the rate of the 181 patients studied who didn't have to switch drugs. This is the first randomized study to compare the differences in treatment outcomes between the two medications.
None of the patients died, but the authors emphasize that they're only 18 months out from treatment and could still be hit with adverse effects...

Click-on the headline link above to read more.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Indianapolis coach back on sidelines following 3 months of chemotherapy

Pagano Back to Coach Colts After Cancer Treatment

Monday, December 10, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: New combo therapy gives hope to older acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here's the press release announcing data from here in Atlanta at ASH. I have been here since Thursday, mostly focusing on multiple meyloma. But this is an example of the type of incremental progress researchers are making with blood cancers

BOUDRY, SWITZERLAND – (Dec. 10, 2012) – Celgene International Sàrl (NASDAQ: CELG) today announced that results from a study evaluating the combination of REVLIMID (lenalidomide) plus VIDAZA (azacitidine) in patients 60 years or older with untreated acute myeloid leukemia (AML) were presented at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting in Atlanta, GA.

In the phase II investigator-initiated study, patients received azacitidine 75 mg/m2/day, days 1-7 followed by lenalidomide 50 mg/day, days 8-28 of 42-day cycles. Treatment was continued until disease progression, unacceptable adverse event or completion of 12 cycles.

With 42 patients enrolled in the study, the overall response rate was 41%, with 28% of patients achieving a complete response (CR/CRi). The median time to CR and CRi was 12 and 6 weeks, respectively; the median duration of response (CR/CRi/PR) was 28 weeks (range 6 to >104 weeks). Median overall survival for all patients in the study was 20 weeks (range 1 to >121 weeks) and 69 weeks (range 10 to >121 weeks) for patients who responded to therapy. Additionally, median overall survival for responders was superior to non-responders (69 vs. 15 weeks p<0.01).

Most common adverse events were grade 1-2 and gastrointestinal in nature. There was one case each of grade 3 fever, sepsis, hyponatremia, pneumonitis and SIRS syndrome.

A three-arm phase II study in elderly AML patients is currently underway evaluating azacitidine monotherapy, azacitidine followed by lenalidomide (50 mg), and lenalidomide monotherapy.

These data are from an investigational study. REVLIMID® plus VIDAZA® is not approved for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.

Monday, December 3, 2012

This could be big, big news in the world of cancer research...

Supreme Court to decide if human genes patentable

November 30, 2012|Jonathan Stempel | Reuters
(Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether human genes can be patented, a hotly contested issue with broad practical and ethical consequences for the future of gene-based medicine for millions of people worldwide.
  The nation's highest court in a brief order agreed to review a case over whether Myriad Genetics Inc may patent two genes linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

In a 2-1 ruling on August 16, a panel of the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld the biotechnology company's right to patent "isolated" genes that account for most inherited forms of the two cancers.

That ruling also denied Myriad's effort to patent methods of "comparing" or "analyzing" DNA sequences.
The appeal against Myriad and the University of Utah Research Foundation was being pursued by a variety of medical associations and doctors, led by the Association for Molecular Pathology. Their case is being handled by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Myriad shares fell as much as 9 percent after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal and ended the trading session down $1.13, or 3.8 percent, at $28.72 on the Nasdaq.

Sandra Park, a lawyer for the ACLU Women's Rights Project who worked on the appeal, in a phone interview called Friday's decision to take the case a "huge step" toward ensuring the provision of needed medical care and research and that patients can access their own genetic information.

She estimated that more than 4,000 of the roughly 22,000 genes in the human genome have U.S. patents.
"For many people, understanding their genetic risk of disease is crucial to planning medical care," she said. "People need to understand that risk so they can plan for screening and other major medical decisions with their doctors."

Supporters of Salt Lake City-based Myriad, in contrast, have said denying patent protection could slow advances in personalized medicine, which uses genetic tests to identify specific therapies for individual patients.

Peter Meldrum, Myriad's chief executive, said in a statement that the Supreme Court's ultimate decision could affect the providing of medical treatment to hundreds of millions of people. He said Myriad's own diagnostic test has helped nearly 1 million people learn about their risk of hereditary cancer.

"The discovery and development of pioneering diagnostics and therapeutics require a huge investment and our U.S. patent system is the engine that drives this innovation," he said.

Many outside groups supported the petitioners, including the AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Society of Human Genetics, the March of Dimes Foundation, the National Breast Cancer Foundation and several women's health groups.

"Some critics say it is unjust to give a company a monopoly over something as intrinsic to people's health as their genes," said Josephine Johnston, a research scholar at The Hastings Center, a independent bioethics research institute in Garrison, New York, who is not involved in the Myriad case.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Here's an excerpt from a fun and inspirational article I found on

Orangutan's chemotherapy treatment for cancer ends

In this undated photo provided by Jungle Island, the orangutan named Peanut, one of the star attractions at Jungle Island, is shown in Miami. Peanut had been undergoing chemotherapy since August after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Her doctors said Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 that they decided to stop treatments after three courses of combination chemo-immunotherapy. The team says since the disease was caught early on, they are confident Peanut received "an adequate course of therapy." (AP Photo/Jungle Island) 


Associated Press /  November 13, 2012 

MIAMI (AP) — Peanut, an 8-year-old orangutan with cancer and one of the star attractions at Miami’s Jungle Island, no longer needs chemotherapy, her medical team announced Tuesday. Peanut had been undergoing chemotherapy since August, following a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After three courses of combination chemo-immunotherapy, her doctors decided it was time to wrap up her treatments for the aggressive lymphoma. Although Peanut was not the first great ape to be treated for cancer like a human, experts said it is not common to use chemotherapy among orangutans.

Dr. Jason Chatfield, curator and staff veterinarian for Jungle Island, said the stress of ‘‘multiple immobilizations’’ for the treatment was a factor in a decision to end her chemotherapy. He added she received an adequate amount of chemotherapy.

‘‘What we do know is that without this chemotherapy, Peanut would not survive,’’ Chatfield said...

There's a lot more.  CLICK HERE to access the rest of the article.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat


Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

More bad news for African Americans with cancer

Can't African Americans get a break?  Here is another example of how cancer hits them harder than most...

African-American Women: Breast Cancer More Deadly?

Oct. 28, 2012 -- African-American women may be more likely to die of breast cancer than women of other races, especially in the first few years after the diagnosis, according to new research.

As to why, there are no clear answers yet, but the emphasis on vigilant care is clear for African-American women.

"Black women were almost 50% more likely to die compared to white women within the first three years since breast cancer was diagnosed," says researcher Erica Warner, ScD, MPH, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.

That higher risk of death was driven by African-American women who had estrogen receptor-positive tumors, she found. These tumors are usually more treatable than other types.

Asian women, in comparison to whites or African-Americans, had a lower risk of dying from breast cancer, she found.

Warner presented the study today at the American Association for Cancer Research conference on cancer health disparities in San Diego...

Read more of this WebMD story by CLICKING HERE.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat


Friday, October 12, 2012

Celgene's chemo drug, Abraxane, now FDA approved for non-small cell lung cancer patients

This is far from a cure, but important baby steps nonetheless...

Approval Based on Significantly Improved Overall Response Rates
in all Patients Regardless of Histology

Adds a New Therapeutic Option for Patients with Lung Cancer,
the Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths in the United States

SUMMIT, NJ – (Oct. 11, 2012) – Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ABRAXANE® (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension) (albumin-bound) for the first-line treatment of locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, in combination with carboplatin, in patients who are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation therapy.

“Non-small cell is the most common type of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the United States,” said Dr. Mark A. Socinski, MD, Director, Lung Cancer Section, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Pittsburgh, and lead investigator of ABRAXANE phase II and phase III lung cancer trials. “The FDA approval of ABRAXANE is exciting  for healthcare professionals because it offers an important new treatment option for all types of non-small cell lung cancer patients, in an area that has seen few treatment advancements in recent years.”

The ABRAXANE sNDA approval is based upon the results of CA-031, a phase III, multi-center, randomized open-label study where patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) received either ABRAXANE (100mg/m2) weekly plus carboplatin (AUC=6) every three weeks (n=521) or paclitaxel (200mg/m2) every three weeks plus carboplatin (AUC=6) (n=531). The study met its primary end-point demonstrating a statistically significantly higher overall response rate for patients in the ABRAXANE arm compared to those in the paclitaxel arm (33% vs 25%).
In the phase III study, ABRAXANE demonstrated a higher overall response rate as compared to paclitaxel for squamous cell carcinoma (41%  vs. 24%) and large cell carcinoma (33% vs. 15%).  ABRAXANE achieved a similar overall response rate to paclitaxel in patients with carcinoma/adenocarcinoma (26% vs. 27%).

The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) of ABRAXANE in combination with carboplatin for NSCLC are anemia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, alopecia, peripheral neuropathy, nausea, and fatigue.
Additional regulatory submissions have been filed in Japan, Australia and New Zealand with anticipated decisions in 2013.

This approval marks the second indication for ABRAXANE in the United States. In the United States, ABRAXANE was first approved in 2005 for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer after failure of combination chemotherapy.  

ABRAXANE® for Injectable Suspension (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension) is indicated for the treatment of breast cancer after failure of combination chemotherapy for metastatic disease or relapse within 6 months of adjuvant chemotherapy. Prior therapy should have included an anthracycline unless clinically contraindicated. 

ABRAXANE is indicated for the first-line treatment of locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, in combination with carboplatin, in patients who are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation therapy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Indianapolis Colts Coach diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia

Colts coach Chuck Pagano battling leukemia

BREAKING NEWS: Breast cancer drug, Abraxane, also works in patients with advanced melanoma

A drug company contact I know emailed me this news today:


BOUDRY, Switzerland – (Oct. 2, 2012) – Celgene International Sàrl, a subsidiary of Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) today announced results of its phase III, randomized, international study (CA033) of ABRAXANE® (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension) (albumin-bound) in chemotherapy-naïve patients with metastatic melanoma. In the study, the primary endpoint was met with patients receiving ABRAXANE demonstrating a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival compared to patients receiving dacarbazine (DTIC) chemotherapy.

The safety profile of ABRAXANE observed in the CA033 study is consistent with other ABRAXANE pivotal clinical trials. Data from this study will be presented at the Society for Melanoma Research (SMR) Congress 2012 in Los Angeles in November. Future regulatory and clinical strategies are being reviewed in light of these results.

The CA033 study is a Celgene-sponsored, open-label, controlled, randomized study comparing ABRAXANE to standard chemotherapy, DTIC, in patients with metastatic melanoma. DTIC is the only chemotherapy approved since 1975 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for metastatic melanoma. In the study, 529 chemotherapy-naïve patients were randomized to receive either ABRAXANE (150mg/m2 weekly for 3 out of 4 weeks) or DTIC (1000 mg/m2 every three weeks). The primary study endpoint was independently-assessed progression free survival. Secondary endpoints included overall survival, overall response rate and disease control, safety and tolerability. 

These results are from an investigational study. ABRAXANE® is not approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

ABRAXANE® for Injectable Suspension (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension) is indicated for the treatment of breast cancer after failure of combination chemotherapy for metastatic disease or relapse within 6 months of adjuvant chemotherapy. Prior therapy should have included an anthracycline unless clinically contraindicated. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Australian study notes rise in cancer cases among pregnant women

This doesn't look good.  Here is an excerpt and article link:

Cancers on the rise in pregnant women, study suggests


September 20, 2012 - Reuters

The number of pregnant women diagnosed with cancer has increased over the past couple of decades, a new study from Australia suggests...
Dr. Lloyd Smith, who treats gynecologic cancers at the University of California, Davis, agreed that improved detection likely accounts for some portion of the increase in cases.

The risk of cancer is known to increase with age - and 35-plus women in the study were over three times more likely to get cancer compared to those under 30 in 2007.

But age only accounted for a fraction of the increased cancer risk over time, the researchers found.
Dr. Lloyd Smith, who treats gynecologic cancers at the University of California, Davis, agreed that improved detection likely accounts for some portion of the increase in cases...

Age?  Better detection?  What has really caused this?  The study doesn't come to a conclusion, but if you are interested you can find out a lot more by CLICKING HERE and accessing  the article.

I will try and find out more.  Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: New antibody doubles non-small cell lung cancer survival

Peregrine drug doubles lung cancer survival in trial

(Reuters) - A small trial of Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc's experimental drug, bavituximab, showed that it doubled the length of time lung cancer patients survived, supporting the company's plans to conduct a larger study...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Click-on the healine link below to read N.Y. Times article about Xtandi (MDV3100)

FDA Approves Prostate Cancer Drug

Funny, funny expose' about a serious topic from a testicular cancer patients point of view...

Party of One: Testicular Cancer

Posted: 08/29/2012 - H. Alan Scott - Writer, Comedian, Fresca Enthusiast 

Check-out this excerpt from Mr. Scott's Huffington Post "ramblings"...

Cancer is heavy. Like "buttermilk." It sounds good, but after eating it you're left feeling bloated and ashamed.

 I was sure that based on my general state of good health and high activity level that I couldn't have something extreme like, say, cancer. Just not a likely outcome of my balls hurting. Right? I had no family history of it. 

But knowing my blood had pregnant lady tumor cancer hormones swimming around in it, I thought about how I would handle an actual diagnosis of testicular cancer...

CLICK HERE to access his post.

From one cancer patient/survivor to another, GOOD LUCK!  Love that sense of humor!

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Overweight women run higher risk of developing breast cancer

I'm guessing that these findings won't surprise anyone...

Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk Goes Up With Weight

Even being moderately overweight is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence, finds a new study published Monday in the journal Cancer. 

Despite the best treatment, researchers at Montefiore Medical Center found, the higher a woman's body mass index (BMI), the higher her risk of developing breast cancer again after treatment. Moreover, women who were obese at time of breast cancer diagnosis had approximately a 30 percent higher risk of recurrence and a nearly 50 percent higher risk of death than those who were normal weight at time of diagnosis... 

CLICK HERE to read more. 

Feel good, keep smiling and keep moving, ladies!  Pat


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yes or no. Did Hollywood's Tony Scott have inoperable brain cancer?

Did "Top Gun" Director, Tony Scott, commit suicide because he knew he had brain cancer?  Click-on the ABC News headline link below and check this out:

Tony Scott Brain Cancer Report Appears in Doubt

Entertainment Tonight should have a field day with this!

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat


Saturday, August 11, 2012

I have run posts about this story before, but Newsmax does a good job keeping it simple:

Chemo Can Actually Cause Cancer
August 6th, 2012

Cancer-busting chemotherapy can cause damage to healthy cells which triggers them to secrete a protein that sustains tumor growth and resistance to further treatment, a study said Sunday. 

Researchers in the United States made the "completely unexpected" finding while seeking to explain why cancer cells are so resilient inside the human body when they are easy to kill in the lab. 

They tested the effects of a type of chemotherapy on tissue collected from men with prostate cancer, and found "evidence of DNA damage" in healthy cells after treatment, the scientists wrote in Nature Medicine.
Chemotherapy works by inhibiting reproduction of fast-dividing cells such as those found in tumors

The scientists found that healthy cells damaged by chemotherapy secreted more of a protein called WNT16B which boosts cancer cell survival...

Want to learn more?  CLICK HERE to read the rest.  

Makes sense, doesn't it?  Docs need to be careful not to piss cancer off!

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Friday, August 10, 2012

More shocking celebrity-related cancer news...

‘Paranormal’ Star Diagnosed With Cancer

                  (Todd Williamson/WireImage/Getty Images)


Ryan Buell, star of A&E’s hit series “Paranormal State,” has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Buell, 30, was released from treatment Wednesday morning, according to a post on his official Facebook page from the staff at his Paranormal Research Society.

“Things are looking positive after complications with his kidneys started a month ago and temporarily knocked him down,” the post says. “Enjoyed some Wendy’s (but keep that a secret) and reported back to work today.”

Buell, who wrote a memoir, “Paranormal State: My Journey Into the Unknown,” in 2010, has been discussing his battle on his official Facebook fan page.

Buell shared a photo of himself on the page with a headline that reads, “Cancer: Even the Greatest of Heroes Have to Take the Fight Within … Soldier On!”  He wrote, “I know there are many of you suffering from illnesses, and not just cancer. I say to all of you: SOLDIER ON!”

He added, “I know the pain that you will feel. And the pain for treatment. I still say SOLDIER ON! Let’s think of one another during those moments, even though we don’t know each other.”

Pancreatic cancer claims the lives of thousands every year, and in recent years Apple CEO Steve Jobs and actor Patrick Swayze lost their battles with the disease.

So young!  I'm sure you will all join me in wishing Mr. Buell good luck with his upcoming therapy.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Possible high profile example of "cancer discrimination"

According to the Wall Street Journal, "former head of Tuesday Morning Corp(Kathleen Mason), filed a complaint alleging the home furnishings closeout retailer fired her because she developed breast cancer."

There's more.  "In a rare example of an ousted chief executive claiming discrimination, the former head of Tuesday Morning Corp. filed a complaint alleging the home furnishings closeout retailer fired her because she developed breast cancer.  Kathleen Mason was dismissed in early June after a 12-year run as CEO that saw the company's stock fall nearly 60%."

This is not an implausible explanation.  Cancer discrimination is real.  Period.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pancreatic cancer claims another famous victim: Rest in peace, Sally Ride

This article is excellent on so many levels. Here' an excerpt:

Sally Ride's death: Why is pancreatic cancer so deadly?

Astronaut Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space, died today from pancreatic cancer at the age of 61, according to news reports.

As a group, pancreatic cancers come with a very low survival rate — 75 percent of patients die less than a year after diagnosis, and 94 percent die within five years, according to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PCAN), an organization in Manhattan Beach, Calif., that champions research and patient and family support...

CLICK HERE to read more.

And once you get there, don't forget to click on this link:

What is it about pancreatic cancer that makes it so lethal?

Cancer is so unfair. Guess it doesn't pay attention to whether someone is a celebrity or not...

Feel good and keep smiling! Pat

Monday, July 16, 2012

Former Deep Purple band member, Jon Lord, dies from pancreatic cancer

It sure seems like a lot of celebrities end-up with pancreatic cancer.  Not sure why.  Here is a link to a story about the insidious cancer's latest well known victim... 

Cancer claims co-founding Deep Purple keyboard legend Jon Lord



Friday, July 13, 2012

Breast saving surgery can be as affective as mastectomy - just more difficult to complete

The L.A. Times always does such a great job with these stories.  You will find versions of this throughout mainstream media this weekend:

Breast-conserving cancer surgery often needs to be repeated

One in five women who undergo breast-conserving surgery for cancer instead of a mastectomy require a second operation within three months, British researchers reported this week. The survival rates for breast-conserving surgery combined with radiation and for mastectomy are about the same, but the need for a second operation can introduce extra anxiety for the patient, as well as additional cost. The need for a reoperation was most common for women with ductal carcinoma in situ, a form of cancer whose edges are very difficult to define for removal of the tumor.

Read more by CLICKING HERE.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat


Tuesday, July 10, 2012


First Study Targeting Colorectal Cancer Stem Cells to Begin

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Jul 06, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Gateway for Cancer Research(SM) (announces an exciting new Gateway-funded phase II study using ADAPT therapy for treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer based on a 2010 AACR presentation by Dr. Lin and his collaborators.

The clinical trial, being led by Dr. Edward Lin, a medical oncologist at the University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and an accomplished researcher and expert in gastrointestinal cancers, is the first to specifically target colon cancer stem cells.

The study will use a unique combination drug therapy of Capecitabine (a chemotherapy drug) and Celecoxib (an FDA approved arthritis medication) to "wake up" and to "kill" colon cancer stem cells. The treatment works by activating cancer stem cells that hibernate during chemotherapy--a chief cause of treatment failure--so they can be destroyed. The proper sequence is necessary to consistently kill the dormant cells. The ADAPT concept was proposed by Drs. Lin and Linheng Li, a prominent stem cell biologist.

It is a very powerful drug combination with good preliminary results. Pilot studies have shown significantly increased survival rates compared with conventional therapy. Of 124 treated patients, 40% of those treated with this protocol achieved complete remission or near remission with a median survival of 93.7 months and only 1/3 of the patients had surgical removal of the metastasis.

The average length of survival for stage IV colorectal cancer patients on conventional treatment is about 20-24 months and 46 months for complete responders.

"A lot of patients we didn't expect to see live, are living and thriving," says Dr. Lin. It also allows a good quality of life for patients. "The treatment is offering an immediate benefit to today's cancer patients. 95% of participants are out and about in their daily lives, doing what they need to do without skipping a beat." Thomas Oberdorf, a 5-year colorectal cancer survivor who benefitted from Dr.
Lin's treatment protocol is grateful.

"As a stage IV colorectal cancer patient, I hoped to live another two years to see my daughter through to age 11. Thanks to Dr. Lin's treatment protocol, I am healthy and am hoping for another 50 years," said Oberdorf who did not miss a beat as CFO of a large organization during the course of his treatment.
The drug combination allowed a good quality of life for most patients. An independent randomized phase III study also showed that celecoxib reduced capecitabine induced hand foot syndrome that was observed by Dr. Lin.

Tiffany Heigle, a stage IV colon cancer patient when she first met with Dr. Lin, credits him for 10 years of survival and precious time with her family.

"Because of Dr. Lin's new treatment approach, I can enjoy being a mom to my 18-year-old freshman in college and my 15-year-old freshman in high school," says Heigle." I have been allowed to see them grow up due to this research." Colorectal cancer is the number 3 killer and an estimated 1.2 million people around the globe have the disease. More than 70,000 deaths per year in the US alone are attributed to colorectal cancer and for patients with stage IV disease; five year survival is under 10% with current treatments. Surgery remains the only treatment that yielded long term survival and this may be changed by the current study.

The clinical trial is inclusive and invites a broad range of patients and colorectal cancer stages with the goal to duplicate the success observed in the clinic. If successful, this treatment protocol has the potential to save many lives per year world wide.

Dr. Lin notes that The Gateway and he share the philosophy of putting patients at the center of everything that they do. "It is a privilege and pleasure to work with Gateway," said Dr. Lin. "Everyone on the team is passionate about the cause, keenly aware of issues, and working toward solutions." Dr. Lin is excited at the prospect of further testing the treatment protocol with The Gateway's support and expanding the trial to other tumors and making it available globally. "The Gateway has provided seed funding that will help this study continue and hopefully help the vision expand so the treatment is available to many more patients," continued Lin.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

This isn't good news...

Women's lung cancer deaths up in South and Midwest

June 26, 2012 - Natasja Sheriff - Reuters/Chicago Tribune

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Despite falling lung cancer rates across the U.S. in the past decade, researchers report that deaths from the disease are steady or rising among middle-aged women in southern and Midwestern states.
The findings, published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, point to a need for more aggressive policies and strategies for reducing smoking by a new generation of men and women, in all U.S. states.

Read more by CLICKING HERE.

The bottom line: I have always heard - and sensed - that there is a direct link between income, education and how likely someone is to smoke.

Head to any nice suburb and the only people that you are likely to see smoking are teenage girls.  Pattie and I moved to Florida a few years back after "stealing" one of the foreclosure homes your read about.  But it is in a more working class neighborhood than I grew up in.

It seems like EVERYONE SMOKES! 

Too bad that those who can least afford it engage in such an unhealthy, expensive habit.

Feel good, keep smiling and please don't smoke!  Pat

Friday, June 22, 2012

This is an interesting feature. Just when you thought that you had heard or seen it all...

Breast cancer survivor Jodi Jaecks doesn't want to be exception to Seattle's swim rules

(CBS/AP) - Jodi Jaecks, a Seattle breast cancer survivor whose breasts were surgically removed, has gained the permission to swim topless at a city pool.

Now she wants to make sure her privilege is also extended to other breast cancer survivors who want to swim comfortably.

"Initially when I heard about the reversal, I was elated. Then it came that it wasn't a policy change, it was just an exception for me. Then I was quite deflated. It seemed like it was a reaction that it was just meant to appease me," the 47-year-old said Thursday.

Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Christopher Williams announced Wednesday that he was giving Jaecks an exception to the department's clothing policy.

"Our original concern stems from our responsibility to accommodate the needs of all our patrons. In this case, I see nothing that might alarm the public," Williams said in a statement. He was reacting to an article about Jaecks that was published in The Stranger weekly newspaper, which also ran a picture of her topless.
Parks spokeswoman Dewey Potter said Thursday that Williams has decided to create a committee made up of cancer survivors, parks staff, King County health representatives and others to come up with a new policy.

Until a new policy is written, Williams will review on a case-by-case basis requests from people who have had surgery and want to swim.

After enduring two surgeries, rounds of chemotherapy and the surgical removal of both her breasts in March 2011, Jaecks wanted to turn to swimming to regain her strength. But swimsuit tops proved too uncomfortable, and nerves on her chest remained tender, Jaecks said.

So she asked the manager at her city pool if she could swim topless this past March. Eventually, she heard from the head of the aquatics department, who told her she couldn't.

"And that's when they said it was a policy that they required gender-appropriate clothing ... regardless if I had nipples or whatever," Jaecks said.

Potter said pool staff was following city policy. But she said it was "unfortunate" the issue didn't get to Williams' attention until now.

Jaecks hasn't swum topless yet. She is planning a swim Monday. Her exception extends only to adult lap hours.

She plans to meet with Williams next week and ask that her exception be extended to anyone who survived breast cancer.

Jaecks said cancer patients shouldn't be made to feel self-conscious by asking for special permission.


Can't we just reimburse our brave first responders without quibbling about how and where they got their cancer?

Cancer scientists question gov's decision to link 50 kinds of cancers to 9/11 health fund

(AP) JUNE 20, 2012 - Call it compassionate, even political. But ... scientific? Several experts say there's no hard evidence to support the federal government's declaration this month that 50 kinds of cancer could be caused by exposure to World Trade Center dust.

The decision could help hundreds of people get payouts from a multibillion-dollar World Trade Center health fund to repay those ailing after they breathed in toxic dust created by the collapsing twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

But scientists say there is little research to prove that exposure to the toxic dust plume caused even one kind of cancer. And many acknowledge the payouts to cancer patients could take money away from those suffering from illnesses more definitively linked to Sept. 11, like asthma and laryngitis.

"To imagine that there is strong evidence about any cancer resulting from 9/11 is naive in the extreme," said Donald Berry, a biostatistics professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Yet this month, Dr. John Howard, who heads the federal agency that researches workplace illnesses, added scores of common and rare cancers to a list that had previously included just 12 ailments caused by dust exposure.

Lung, skin, breast and thyroid cancer were among those added; of the most common types of cancer, only prostate cancer was excluded.

"We recognize how personal the issue of cancer and all of the health conditions related to the World Trade Center tragedy are to 9/11 responders, survivors and their loved ones," Howard said in a June 8 statement...

There is a lot more to read.  CLICK HERE to access the entire transcript.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cheech and Chong's Tommy Chong reveals long battle with prostate cancer

More celebrity cancer news.  Famous or not, cancer doesn't care!

Comedian Tommy Chong fighting prostate cancer

By the CNN Wire Staff
Video is also available at the link above.
Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

BREAKING NEWS: ABC News anchor, Robin Roberts, diagnosed with secondary cancer...

Breast cancer survivor and ABC News Good Morning America anchor, Robin Roberts, is reported to have been diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) recently.  

Details are sketchy.  But MDS, formerly known as preleukemia, is a hematological disorder which is not uncommon among those who have undergone chemotherapy.  But it is more often seen in patients who already have a hematological disorder like multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer) or amyloidosis.

It usually is be treatable.  Not sure if it is curable, however.  Maybe by undergoing a stem cell transplant?

I will pass-along details as they become available.  

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Friday, June 8, 2012

New treatment options for metastasized skin cancer leads to therapy debate among experts in the field

Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in the United States.  Over one million cases are diagnosed each year. 

Most of those cases are resolved and cured up-front.  But a significant number are not caught early enough and they metastasize, usually in the bone.

This is an excellent debate on CancerNetwork about what to do, and how to treat them:

ASCO: Expert Panel Explores Questions Regarding Drug Selection, Drug Sequencing in Advanced Melanoma

Thursday, June 7, 2012

California proposal, Prop 29, tries to cut smoking and raise money for cancer research all at the same time...

I understand that government at all levels needs to cut and control spending.  But I have always felt prioritizing the money is the best way to go.

Keeping that in mind, I am rooting for this investment by California in cancer research:

Californians vote down cancer-research fund — or do they?

By a margin of less than 1%, California voters yesterday seem to have nixed a ballot measure that would make the state one of the world’s largest supporters of cancer research. But with hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots yet to be counted — many more than the 63,000-vote difference now separating the yes and no sides — the contest may not be over...

Read more by CLICKING HERE.

Go Prop 29!  Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Monday, June 4, 2012

Komen foundation continues to support important breast cancer research

With all of the bad press Susan G. Komen has been getting lately, it's good to know that they are still doling out research cash.  

Here's the first part of an article about grants that are going to St. Louis' Washington University for breast cancer research:

Komen gives $5.4 million to Siteman for breast cancer research

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has awarded more than $5 million in new grants to Washington University scientists at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center to develop new breast cancer treatments, university officials said.

The largest portion – $4 million – will be used to better identify which women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, the most common form of the disease, are at the greatest risk for recurrence, and to determine better treatments for them.

“There are so many new drugs out there for breast cancer patients that we need a way to establish which ones are most likely to be the home run,” said Matthew Ellis, professor of medicine and chief of the breast oncology section at Washington University School of Medicine. “Our goal is to screen drugs to find the one that will produce the best outcome for the patient with the least toxicity.”

This Reuters/Chicago Tribune article is two stories in one--and both are big news. Simply click-on the headline link below to read all about it:

FDA to let women try new breast drugs earlier

 (Reuters) - Regulators are moving the goal posts in testing new drugs for breast cancer in the hopes of giving more women with aggressive, early-stage cancers the chance to try breakthrough drugs while they have the best shot at a cure.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Olympic swimmer wins battle with cancer

This ESPN feature about Olympian Eric Shanteau is very inspiring.  Click on the headline link below and see what you think:

Cancer-free Shanteau eager to focus on swimming


Saturday, June 2, 2012

The psychological side of cancer screening...

Read this great Time Healthland article and see what you think:

Why People Stick with Cancer Screening, Even When It Causes Harm

When it comes to complex medical decisions, cold hard statistics may hold little sway over patients in the face of a single, compelling anecdote.

Human nature is a complicated thing.  How we hold on to things that make us feel safe and familiar, even when facing rock solid evidence that we should do the contrary.

Complicated?  Try crazy!

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat