A new test that analyzes all compounds (metabolites) in a blood sample can predict with 80 percent accuracy the likelihood a woman will develop breast cancer within the next two to five years.
While the new method, called a metabolic blood profile, is not perfect, says Rasmus Bro, a professor of chemometrics at the University of Copenhagen, it appears to offer some advantages over mammography, which can detect newly developed breast cancer with a sensitivity of 75 percent.
“The method is better than mammography, which can only be used when the disease has already occurred,” says Bro, who stresses that the method has been tested and validated only for a single population (cohort) and needs to be validated more widely before it can be used practically.
Nevertheless, the method could create a paradigm shift in early diagnosis of breast cancer as well as other diseases.
“The potential is that we can detect a disease like breast cancer much earlier than today. This is important as it is easier to treat if you discover it early,” says Lars Ove Dragsted, a professor of biomedicine.
The method was developed in cooperation with the Danish Cancer Society, and the study was recently published in Metabolomics.
The new approach involves analyzing all compounds in a blood sample instead of a single biomarker.
“When a huge amount of relevant measurements from many individuals is used to assess health risks—here, breast cancer—it creates very high quality information. The more measurements our analyses contain, the better the model handles complex problems,” explains Bro."
Susan Zager's insight:
This has only been studied on a small cohort but the concept should be looked at with a larger study. nload-v2.springer.com/static/pdf/829/art%253A10.1007%252Fs11306-015-0793-8.pdf?token2=exp=1429294699~acl=%2Fstatic%2Fpdf%2F829%2Fart%25253A10.1007%25252Fs11306-015-0793-8.pdf*~hmac=8d0728ba1061ba050a7cc70bf874898743170ab85d01188834e36ae5e8c76e28
"Uninsured cancer patients are paying anywhere from 2 to 43 times what Medicare would pay for chemotherapy drugs, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. These findings were published by Dusetzina et al in Health Affairs.
Uninsured patients who did not negotiate the billed amounts could expect to pay $6,711 for an infusion of the colorectal cancer drug oxaliplatin. However, Medicare and private health plans only pay $3,090 and $3,616 for the same drug, respectively.
Although uninsured cancer patients paid on average two times more than Medicare paid for expensive chemotherapy drugs, very high payment differences were seen for drugs that were quite inexpensive on Medicare. For example, carboplatin was estimated at $26 for one infusion with Medicare, but the estimate for uninsured patients was $1,124."
Susan Zager's insight:
This is a complex issue to solve but the problems with the cost of cancer medications and the disparities between pricing clearly are disturbing.
"PRLog - April 10, 2015 - NEW YORK -- The Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (MBCN) announced the 2015 recipients of its Metastatic Breast Cancer Research Leadership Awards: Dr. Andrew Ewald, associate professor in the Departments of Cell Biology and Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Dr. Matthew Ellis, the director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine.
The Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (MBCN), an all-volunteer, patient-led organization, has long advocated for more focused metastatic breast cancer research that improves outcomes in the clinic for patients with metastatic breast cancer, an incurable disease that ends the lives of 108 people every day of the year.
“In 2014, MBCN made a commitment that all memorial contributions made to MBCN would go to funding metastatic research,” said Shirley Mertz, President. “We are pleased to present leadership awards of $50,000 each to two individuals whose work contributes significantly to understanding basic knowledge about the process of metastasis and to improving how patients are treated.”
Mertz, living with metastatic breast cancer since 2003, noted that although metastatic breast cancer is responsible for virtually every breast cancer death, it receives only a tiny percentage of the billons dedicated to breast cancer research. “MBCN is a founding member of The Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance,” Mertz said. “The Alliance’s Metastatic Breast Cancer Landscape Analysis released in October 2014 found that metastatic focused research made up only 7% of the $15 billion invested in breast cancer research from 2000 to 2013 by the major governmental and nonprofit funders from North America and the United Kingdom. Breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the US, and it is the leading cause of cancer death for women globally. We know research "
Susan Zager's insight:
There's tons of great information in this article about the importance of metastatic breast cancer research. For more information about the MBCN go to: http://mbcn.org/
"Wealthier women who live in communities with the greatest income divide between rich and poor had better access to a new genetic test that can determine the most effective form of treatment for early-stage breast cancer, according to a new study (link is password-protected) by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Aetna. The study, published in the April issue of the journal Health Affairs, also indicated that only a small minority of women with breast cancer received the test at all.
“Our study shows that even among women who have insurance, where they live and how income is distributed in their community were closely linked to their chance of getting access to an effective innovation in the early years of its diffusion,” said Ninez Ponce, associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and lead author of the study.
The Gene Expression Profiling test is an early example of a “precision medicine” genomic test that estimates a patient’s risk of having a recurrence of a disease. According to current medical evidence, a woman with early-stage, estrogen-receptor–positive, lymph-node–negative breast cancer with a low-risk GEP test score may not benefit from adding chemotherapy to her treatment plan, while a woman with a high-risk score would benefit and should consider including chemotherapy in her treatment. More than 100,000 women are diagnosed with this type of breast cancer every year.
The study is based on a survey of 1,847 women between the ages of 35 of 64 who were insured through an Aetna health plan and were newly diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and 2007. Of those, 235 (12.7 percent) had the GEP test."
"Do you ever wonder if what you do matters? Do you ever wonder if your voice is ever really heard? Who doesn’t, right? Sometimes I wonder about these things too. Sometimes I wonder if my little old blog makes any difference at all – I mean a real difference. Or am I mostly just preaching to the choir. After all, it’s mostly people impacted by cancer who read cancer blogs, who read my blog. Don’t get me wrong. I love and appreciate all of you, my dear readers; but for the most part, if you’re reading my blog, you probably pretty much agree with most of the stuff I say. You’re probably already very much aware of the needs of the metastatic breast cancer community. So does what I say or you say matter?
Yes. Advocacy of all kinds matters. I believe that. I have to believe that.
That’s what I remind myself when I grow weary and feel like all I do is repeat myself (especially during Breast Cancer Awareness Month). Each of us needs an advocacy niche and I don’t mean just in Cancer-land. Everyone needs something or someone to advocate for. For me one of these things is raising genuine awareness about the reality of metastatic breast cancer, the only kind that kills.
So every #MetsMonday (as well as others days, too, of course) I will keep “stomping”. I will keep advocating.
Because stomping matters. Advocacy matters. Making noise matters. Bringing attention to realities of metastatic disease matters. Putting real faces of real women and real men to the numbers matters. Sharing their stories matters. Remembering lives taken and lives presently struggling with metastatic disease matters. Reminding whoever is listening that real lives are at stake matters. Changing ingrained pink ribbon messaging matters, even if it’s a slow evolution. Informing listeners about the entire spectrum of breast cancer matters, even if it’s hard and makes some uncomfortable. Striving to generate more research dollars specific to metastatic disease matters.
"Researchers have found that so-called 'triple-negative breast cancers' are two distinct diseases that likely originate from different cell types. Their results, published in Nature Communications, help explain why survival prospects for women with the diagnosis tend to be either very good or very bad. The aggressive form of triple-negative breast cancer appears to arise from stem cells, while the more benign form appears to arise from specialized cells. Stem cells have many of the same features as cancers. They are plastic and flexible, and have the ability to proliferate and spread into other tissues—deadly traits in cancers. Previous studies have shown that breast stem cells are needed for breast growth and development during puberty and pregnancy, although how they evolve from stem cells into specialist cells has been unclear. The new study has shown that a gene known as 'inhibitor of differentiation 4' (ID4) determines whether a stem cell remains a stem cell or whether it differentiates into a specialist cell. Notably, when the high levels of ID4 in a stem cell are 'switched off', other genes that drive cell specialization are 'switched on'. Drs. Alex Swarbrick and Simon Junankar from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research spearheaded this large interdisciplinary study, which links the development of the mammary gland in mice with human breast cancer. They found that ID4 not only 'marks' but appears to control the highly aggressive form of triple negative breast cancer."
"Elizabeth A. Mittendorf, MD, PhD, needs only a single word to answer this question: Is immunotherapy ready for prime time in breast cancer?
The most advanced treatment candidates are just beginning later stage trials.
That said, their performance so far suggests that immunotherapy may become a powerful tool against breast cancer for those oncologists who follow the research and prepare for its arrival.
Mittendorf differentiated the main types of immunotherapy and highlighted some of the most interesting results in breast cancer trials during her presentation at the 32nd Annual Miami Breast Cancer Conference. She also discussed why different types of immunotherapy might be appropriate for different types of breast tumors at various stages of development.
“Researchers have dreamed of turning the immune system against tumors for more than half a century now, and—after decades of incremental progress—the science has reached the sort of tipping point that has produced a large number of promising compounds,” Mittendorf, an associate professor of surgical oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said in an interview.
Breast cancer specialists once assumed that the relative paucity of nearby T cells limited the potential of immunotherapy in their field, so they concentrated (very effectively) on targeted treatments. Patients with breast cancer have thus had limited access to the kinds of immunotherapies that are currently available to people with melanoma or prostate cancer. But that may change."
Susan Zager's insight:
Once again here's more information about hope rising for immunotherapy related to vaccines including metastatic breast cancer.
"As Gavin Smith read over a new report released this week from the Institute of Medicine, it was what is missing from the document that raised his concerns.
The report offers recommendations to improve a draft Veterans Affairs clinical guidance document intended to help health care providers determine whether a veteran or family member has a medical condition covered by legislation established in response to groundwater contamination that was documented at Camp Lejeune.
In 2012, Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, which provides hospital care and medical services to veterans and family members who have any of the 15 health conditions associated with use or consumption of the contaminated water.
The report states that between 1957 and 1987, the groundwater at Camp Lejeune was inadvertently contaminated with chemicals that were later found to cause cancer and other health problems."
“You are being deported,” a surgeon announced to me last fall. That’s a scary thing for a child of two immigrants to hear. But he was referring to the removal of my port, a medical device implanted just beneath my right collarbone — a gateway for the dozens of rounds of chemotherapy, antibiotics and blood transfusions that have entered my body since I received a leukemia diagnosis at age 22.
I love a good pun, but I wasn’t in the mood for laughter or lightness that day. After three and a half years of cancer treatment, I no longer needed the port. My doctors had finally pronounced me in remission. I had thought I’d want to celebrate or dance a jig in my hospital gown or throw a rager when I got there. But it didn’t feel anything like the endgame I had imagined.
It took me a long time to be able to say I was a cancer patient. Then, for a long time, I was only that: A cancer patient. Now that I’m done with my treatment, I’m struggling to figure out who I am. On paper, I am better: I no longer have cancer, and with every passing day I’m getting stronger. The constant flood of doctor’s appointments, blood tests and phone calls from concerned family and friends have trickled to a slow drip. But off paper, I feel far from being a healthy 26-year-old woman."
Susan Zager's insight:
Suleika Jaouad writes, "My disease has left countless invisible imprints in its wake: infertility, premature menopause, a thyroid condition, chronic fatigue and a weakened immune system that sends me to the emergency room on a regular basis. And that’s just the short list. Then there are the demons of depression and the fears of relapse that sneak into my head just when I think I’ve gotten a grip."
Writer attracted devoted following for her blogs about metastatic breast cancer.
Susan Zager's insight:
Lisa Bonchek Adams, who attracted a devoted online following for writing unflinchingly about her experience with breast cancer, died from the disease Friday at age 45.
Through her blog, tweets and Facebook posts, Adams wrote candidly about everything from her diagnosis with metastatic disease to advice for other parents going through cancer.
More than 15,000 people followed her on Twitter, where she posted 176,000 tweets. People touched by her story filled social media over the weekend with remembrances. A breast cancer group has scheduled a Twitter chat about her tonight at 9 p.m.
New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where Adams was treated, says it has received more than $100,000 in donations thanks to Adams' online requests, first made in 2012, when Adams learned that her cancer had returned.
She wrote extensively about her experience with breast cancerLisa Bonchek Adams, a prominent online writer who inspired and provoked readers with her extensive writing on her experience with cancer, died Friday evening.
“The thousands upon thousands who knew and loved Lisa Bonchek Adams … will find it hard to believe that her steely will and indomitable spirit were finally overcome by the disease she had lived with for so many years,” the announcement on her website read. “In keeping with Lisa’s wishes, this web site will be maintained as a resource of Lisa’s writings about metastatic breast cancer, grief and loss, life, and family.”
A Connecticut mother of three, Adams shared her story in more than 176,000 tweets and frequent blog posts. She was treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. “I gather up my pump cords, release myself from the wall’s grip,” Adams wrote in a post typical for its grit and intimacy. “I walk, counterclockwise around the nurse’s station with a vengeance, trying to push the pain and discomfort away.”
Adams’s frequent updates attracted more than 15,000 Twitter followers, as well as controversy over the role of social media in writing about death and disease. Earlier this month, Adams wrote that “things have gotten exponentially harder in last few weeks.” Her family reports that she died peacefully and surrounded by loved ones, writing, “We know that Lisa will always be a part of your lives, as she will be a part of ours.”
Our prayers go out to her family and children. She had such a great impact with her words and incredible social media presence. So many of us got a glimpse in to the lens that Lisa let us travel with her on her journey. Her journey lives on in many of our collective journeys-for I have truly been blessed to be reminded every day by Lisa's words: “Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere.”
Women whose immune cells were clustered together around breast cancer cells have a better chance of survival, said scientists at The Institute of Cancer, London...
So far the test is being trialled only on women with a type of breast cancer called oestrogen receptor negative (ER negative), which affects up to one in three patients and is particularly hard to treat.
But researchers plan to extend testing to cover women with the more common form of the disease.
Dr Yinyin Yuan, Team Leader in Computational Pathology and Integrative Genomics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: ‘Our research is aiming to develop completely new ways of telling apart more and less aggressive cancers, based on how successful the immune system is in keeping tumours in check.
"In the latest push to expand access to clinical trial data, the World Health Organization has released a new position statement calling for companies to publish all research studies and suggested specific timetables for making the information available.
The move comes amid growing clamor from academics and consumer groups to press drug and device makers to release trial data. At issue is the ability for researchers to independently verify study results and, consequently, improve patient treatments that can lead to better health and lower costs.
Concerns have been heightened following various safety scandals that revealed trial data for some products was never fully published or disclosed. In recent months, regulators in the U.S. and Europe have responded by releasing new rules designed to widen access. And several drug makers, in varying degrees, have taken steps to release trial data (see here and here).
In explaining its position, the WHO notes that the failure to fully report trial data can foster misinformation, raise health care costs and distort public policy. The agency, which also published a rationale in the PLOS Medicine journal, also maintains that “it is unethical to conduct human research without publication and dissemination of the results of that research.”
Specifically, the WHO says companies should update information already provided to trial registries and submit findings for publication in peer-reviewed journals within 12 months of finishing studies. The agency also says companies should ensure there is so-called ‘open access’ publication, which refers to freely available access. Moreover, the WHO adds that results from past studies should also be disclosed."
"Rita Wilson is sharing some difficult and very personal news: she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and has undergone a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.
In an exclusive statement to PEOPLE, the actress, 58, reveals the diagnosis and how she feels "blessed" to have the love and support of her husband, Tom Hanks, friends, family and the doctors who saved her life.
"I have taken a leave from the play Fish in the Dark to deal with a personal health issue," reveals Wilson, who will return to the Broadway play on May 5. "Last week, with my husband by my side, and with the love and support of family and friends, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction for breast cancer after a diagnosis of invasive lobular carcinoma. I am recovering and most importantly, expected to make a full recovery. Why? Because I caught this early, have excellent doctors and because I got a second opinion.
"I have had an underlying condition of LCIS, (lobular carcinoma in situ) which has been vigilantly monitored through yearly mammograms and breast MRIs. Recently, after two surgical breast biopsies, PLCIS (pleomorphic carcinoma in situ) was discovered. I mention this because there is much unknown about PLCIS and it is often found alongside DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). I was relieved when the pathology showed no cancer."
Susan Zager's insight:
Rita is very open about her experience with breast cancer and shows how important it is to get a second opinion.
April 18-22, 2015Pennsylvania Convention CenterPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania Program Committee ChairpersonLewis C. Cantley, Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York View Updated Program / Itinerary Planner[Abstract text now available] Download the Annual Meeting AppDownload Daily Calendar Message from AACR President, Carlos L. ArteagaMessage from Program Committee Chairperson, Lewis C. CantleyRegister NowThe AACR Annual Meeting 2015 will highlight the latest, most exciting discoveries in every area of cancer research and will provide a unique opportunity for investigators from all over the world to meet, interact, and share their insights. This year’s meeting theme – “Bringing Cancer Discoveries to Patients” – underscores the vital and inextricable link between discovery and treatment, and it reinforces the fact that research underpins all the progress we are making in the field toward cancer cures. For everyone – presenters, early-career and established researchers, clinicians, and advocates – the Annual Meeting is a must-attend event. We are developing a comprehensive and multidisciplinary program, with an outstanding roster of speakers, hundreds of invited talks, and more than 6,000 proffered papers from researchers all over the world.We want to thank the Program Committee Co-Chairpersons and Education Committee members for their incredible guidance in shaping an innovative program that will be both enjoyable and educational to all attendees, and attract major media attention from around the world.Together we are making astounding progress in the fight against cancer. It is taking less time than ever for our research to be translated into improved prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies for patients. This is an exciting time for cancer research. By attending the AACR Annual Meeting, you will find ideas, people, and moments that provide you with renewed energy, inspiration, and focus in your work. We look forward to welcoming you to Philadelphia."
By Catherine L. Ormerod When PBS's three-part documentary based on Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer debuts tonight, the public will get to know cancer as a shadowy and deviously brilliant historical figure that has been killing and maiming men, women, and children since the beginning of recorded history. Understanding and finding cures for cancer has obsessed generations of healers, scientists, fund-raisers, politicians, and entrepreneurs.
Susan Zager's insight:
This looks like a great series to watch and really explains well about issues with cancer specifically breast cancer. The article also talks about Lisa Boncheck Adams.
I wanted other women at risk to know about the options. I promised to follow up with any information that could be useful, including about my next preventive surgery, the removal of my ovaries and fallopian tubes.
I had been planning this for some time. It is a less complex surgery than the mastectomy, but its effects are more severe. It puts a woman into forced menopause. So I was readying myself physically and emotionally, discussing options with doctors, researching alternative medicine, and mapping my hormones for estrogen or progesterone replacement. But I felt I still had months to make the date."
Susan Zager's insight:
This is really well written and empowering. Angelina Jolie opens up with such candor. It's very impressive.
"The phrase “a cure for cancer” is one we’ve all heard countless times — but likely never taken literally.
After all, there are more than 200 forms of cancer that can develop in any of the body’s 60-plus organs. There’s no way that a singular “cure” could be developed for all of them, right?In 2010, Dr. John Bell of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute became the first researcher to show how an injectable form of the smallpox virus could be manipulated into killing cancer cells without harming healthy tissue.
Well, maybe not just one cure — but rather multiple options for cure.
The hour-long program, which debuted last week, chronicles the potentially game-changing methods being implemented in clinical trials in the U.S. and Canada.
As Shane Smith, the man behind HBO’s Emmy-winning VICE series, and the documentary’s narrator, explained, “Today in real time there is a revolution happening in the treatment of cancer and the story is almost too incredible to believe. That: (A) The diseases that used to kill us en masse like smallpox, measles, and even HIV actually hold the key to stopping this disease in its tracks; and that: (B) For the first time in medical history we just might be on the verge of curing cancer.”
"Metastatic breast cancer is currently a lethal disease for the great majority of patients, but will it always be so? That was the subject of a provocative debate at the Miami Breast Cancer Conference.
On the pro side, George W. Sledge, Jr, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Medical Oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine, channeled his “inner Pollyanna,” as he put it, and argued that metastatic breast cancer is ultimately “just a disease,” and as such is ultimately amenable to human intervention.
Clifford A. Hudis, MD, Chief of the Breast Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, starting out by acknowledging himself as a “hard-bitten New Yorker,” pointed out that there has never been a study in which cure has been suggested as the result of treatment for metastatic breast cancer.
As with many medical debates, though, each side saw merits in the points of the other, and in the end both expressed hope for the future.
Sledge: ‘Embrace Your Inner Pollyanna’
Sledge opened with a downer, admitting that it would be easy to take the con position in this debate. “When I sit down with a patient with metastatic breast cancer, almost the first words out of my mouth are: 'You have a disease that is likely to claim your life.' That has not changed in 30 years, though we’ve certainly made many real improvements and delayed things.”
But then he asked the audience to “embrace your inner Pollyanna, and take a journey with me towards a cure, a journey towards a more positive future.”
Working definitions are always helpful, and Sledge provided three: “To a statistical purist, [a cure means] no one relapses and no one dies. For the patient there is the personal cure, to die of something else. And the corollary to that is the definition of the word 'specialist'--a doctor who wants his patient to die of some other doctor’s disease.”
He continued with the second definition as the more fruitful for his patients in the clinic. Some cases of metastatic breast cancer are already cured, Sledge said: in the adjuvant setting, where it is micrometastatic disease but still metastatic; and with oligometastatic breast cancer, as the CALOR (Chemotherapy for Isolated Locoregional Recurrence of Breast Cancer) trial has shown recently (Aebi et al. Lancet Oncology 2014;2:156-163).
“So the question is not why can’t we cure, but rather why don’t we cure more?” he said.
Clearly the size of the recurrence matters, he said, which the outcomes in CALOR trial would say--that the same chemotherapy given to a large tumor will not cure a cancer that is cured when it is micrometastatic disease.
There may be a simple explanation, he said, that given a large enough tumor, there will be a number of mutational events that allow the development of resistant clones--and clearly biology in the form of drug resistance matters, he said.
To improve the cure rate, Sledge suggested undertaking a research program with three elements: find and treat smaller metastases; give the right drugs to the right patients; and then use new biology to develop new drugs.
"WASHINGTON – Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) this week reintroduced bipartisan legislation to help end breast cancer by creating a clearinghouse and catalyst for research, public-private partnerships and trans-disciplinary collaboration.
“Breast cancer is much too common and results in tens of thousands of deaths every year,” Grassley said. “We need an all-hands-on-deck approach that brings experts together with the goal of making a breakthrough for a cure.”
“Every year, tens of thousands of American women die from breast cancer,” Whitehouse said. “This legislation will help drive the development of better treatments for breast cancer, and sets the ambitious goal of ending breast cancer by the end of the decade. And I appreciate the opportunity to work with Chairman Grassley to rally support from our colleagues and get this enacted into law.”
“As one of the most pressing health concerns in this country, breast cancer remains the disease many Americans fear most, and it is past time we change that mentality. My family has been touched by this sickness, and I know the difficulty that comes with the day-to-day life of breast cancer patients. That is why I am determined to help eradicate this horrible illness – the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2015 will move us toward that goal,” Heller said. “I am proud to work with Senators Grassley, Whitehouse, Reed, Collins, Brown, Capito and Casey on this important piece of bipartisan legislation.”
“Some breast cancer survivors have a saying that ‘problems wouldn’t be called “hurdles” if there isn’t a way to overcome them.’ We’ve come so far in the fight against breast cancer: advancing research, raising awareness, and improving treatment options. We still have a ways to go and this bill is designed to accelerate innovation, collaboration, and the eradication of this disease by 2020,” Reed said.
“Breast cancer has taken a tremendous toll on far too many Americans and their families, and for this reason I’m proud to support the ambitious goal to end breast cancer by 2020,” Collins said. “By identifying promising research and creating partnerships between the government and the private sector, we can grow closer to finding better treatments and eventually, a cure.”
"Lisa Bonchek Adams, who chronicled her life with terminal disease before a loyal audience of Internet readers, died at home last week at age 45 from metastatic breast cancer. She is survived by her mother, father, husband, three children, other family and friends in her community.
Lisa was pulled onto the national stage in January 2014 when Emma Keller, then a contributor to the Guardian, and Keller’s husband Bill, then an op-ed writer at the New York Times, wrote a pair of bruising columns about her. Emma criticized Adams for oversharing, and Bill suggested she give up non-palliative treatments. Their harsh treatments created an uproar, and also highlighted sensitive issues relevant to detailing health information on the Internet, medical journalism and goals of cancer care.
For many, Lisa offered a window into what it was like to be dying of cancer but still reaching for new experimental therapy, for continued treatment, for hope grounded in reality. She was clearly and understandably trying to hold on to her life. Meanwhile she was receiving palliative care aimed at relieving symptoms and she wrote about that, too. She looked at her condition head-on; she planned for this end.
I didn’t know Lisa well, but I sat with for her for hours one cold, wintery day in December 2013 at Java Girl, an old-style coffee shop on East 66th Street. She picked the spot, just paces from the medical center. The place was dreary and sunless but, by neighborhood standards, hip for its old wooden furnishings and throw pillows. Lisa was participating in a clinical trial, taking an experimental PI3 kinase inhibitor about which she wrote on her blog. She’d been up since around 6 AM to take the train to Manhattan, to get to the medical center where she would have her blood drawn before a 10AM check-up.
When Lisa entered the café, I recognized her instantly. Some people don’t match their TwitterTWTR+2.46% photos, but hers was true. She stood tall and smiled broadly. We exchanged greetings and hugged. Close, but not too close. We were each a bit wary, perhaps – as is normal – when you meet a person you “know” on-line. She took off her bulky winter coat and sat down."
Susan Zager's insight:
Elaine Schattner has written a beautiful article about Lisa. Elaine writes, "For many, Lisa offered a window into what it was like to be dying of cancer but still reaching for new experimental therapy, for continued treatment, for hope grounded in reality. She was clearly and understandably trying to hold on to her life. Meanwhile she was receiving palliative care aimed at relieving symptoms and she wrote about that, too. She looked at her condition head-on; she planned for this end."
"Young breast cancer patients who want to have kids following treatment may now have new hope.
Chemotherapy often prompts the distressing side effect of early menopause in breast cancer survivors, but a drug called goserelin helps to prevent that from happening, a new clinical trial has found.
“It decreases the chance of going into menopause early after chemotherapy, which is great news for women who want to become pregnant,” said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital.
“The overall survival is also better,” she said.
Just 8% of women who got a shot of goserelin once every four weeks during their chemotherapy regimen faced early menopause two years later, compared to 22% for those who had standard chemo, according to the study of more than 200 women, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The patients who received goserelin injections also had higher survival rates — 92% compared to 82% for those who underwent standard chemotherapy.
Bernik, who had been waiting to see the trial’s results, said she has patients who are currently taking goserelin, which is sold under the brand name Zoladex."
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