Thursday, February 28, 2008

News about Anemia drugs- JAMA

When cancer patients experience chemo induced anemia (low hemoglobin levels) they sometimes are prescribed erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs). Two commonly used drugs are called Aranesp from Amgen and Procrit from Johnson & Johnson. Yesterday, the NY Times published a column describing the results of a study printed in JAMA of clinical trials that used those drugs. The study concluded that cancer patients given the ESA's were shown to have decreased survival rates and increased incidence of blood clots.

I took Procrit a few times during my treatment so this article really makes me think about what I would do faced with postponing chemo due to low hemoglobin/red cells. I guess the FDA will have to consider if the risk of taking the drug outweighs what would occur if patients treatments were postponed due to low hemoglobin/ red count.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Good News

I got word this morning that my CA-125 is down again- back to where it was in November.
Good News- indeed.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The End of an Era

This is the view of the Belmar beach at the end of 9th Avenue taken yesterday. That was the day we finished cleaning out Grandma's apartment. It is good that Grandma is in a safe, warm place with people watching out for her. It is sad to leave behind a place that was the Jersey "home" for over 30 years. Memories.....


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Talc and Ovarian Cancer

"Perineal talc and ovarian cancer : a clinical review"

This article was written by Penn State College of Medicine professors. Over the past 25 years a number of studies were done to see if there was a link between talc, a silicate compound, and Ovarian Cancer. (I can remember when I was young putting lots of talc on a big soft pink powder puff and using it after a nice warm bath.) Anyway, a review of all the studies concluded "Talc is not genotoxic." and "These data collectively do not indicate that cosmetic talc causes ovarian cancer".
Since asbestos another silicate compound is connected to other types of cancer it was thought that use of talc in the 1950's could cause OC.
(European Journal of Cancer Prevention)

So one more thing we can cross of the list list as contributing to OC.

Thanks to the ACOR listserv for info on this study.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Finally Significant Snowfall

Just reporting the first significant snowfall for NJ today.

FDA Approves Avastin for Breast Cancer

Avastin, produced by Genentech, has been approved as a breast cancer treatment by the FDA. It was previously approved for lung and colon/ rectal cancer treatment. The chemical name for Avastin is bevacizumab. It is known as an angiogenesis inhibitor. Angiogenesis is a process where cancer cells produce a chemical which causes surrounding cells to produce new blood vessels that feed the cancer tissue. The studies done by Genentech show a slowing down /stopping of breast cancer tumor growth.Avastin is used with other chemotherapy drugs like 5-FU or carboplatin. There are some side effects - bowel perforations is one.

So why am I writing about Avastin? I have read about clinical trials of Avastin in Ovarian Cancer treatment. It seems that ovarian cancer cells may produce a VEGF -Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor. This factor causes angiogenesis and Avastin can counteract the VEGF. I know that is a simple version of what happens so if you want to check Avastin out in greater detail see:
Avastin Page
Marketwatch Page

Remember to LiveStrong!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Meeting Another LAF Supporter

This past weekend was spent at Woodloch Pines resort in Hawley, Pennsylvania. We have been going for a number of years with my cousins and have made friends with the staff. One staff member, Kathy, who knew of my ovarian cancer diagnosis told me to speak to the son of the owner, Bob Kiesendahl who was also a cancer survivor. On Sunday night before dinner I ran into Bob and we had a great talk. Turns out that Bob, a leukemia survivor of 8 years, was one of the LiveStrong Challenge Survivorship Award winners in 2006. He has raised over $250,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. He also walked in the LiveStrong Challenge last year in Philly as I did. So we had a lot in common. We talked about how to go about raising funds for LAF and for our own cancer groups( his- Leukemia research and mine -Kaleidscope of Hope/ovarian cancer research). I bought chances in his BK Hope Cures raffle for a Harley Davidson. ( I will admit I am not sure what I would do if I win but it is a neat looking motorcycle.Maybe I can have it painted Teal.)I suggested that he and his mom Patty apply for the LiveStrong Summit this July in Ohio.I hope he does apply. This morning I received an e-mail from him and he will donate to Kaleidoscope. That is awesome. Thanks Bob! The more I meet people involved with the LAF , both survivors and caregivers, the more I feel we can be successful in our quest to find a cure for cancer.

Thanks to the Kiesendahl family for such a fun weekend and their support of cancer research. Happy 50th Anniversary Woodloch!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Yale Researchers Develop Detection Test

I am thrilled about a new detection test for Ovarian cancer that has been developed by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine. The test uses a platform to detect 6 protein biomarkers instead of 4. The accuracy of detection is 99.4 percent accurate. Gol Mor , M.D. is the chief investigator. The Early detection Research Network of NCI evaluated the result of the Stage II clinical trial. Stage III trials have begun.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Grandma is better & An ACOR friend passes

It has been a busy week. Grandma was taken to the hospital on Monday . Her low pulse necessitated pacemaker surgery. She finally was released on Friday and we brought her back to her assisted living facility. I am hoping that this will help her feel better. Thanks to Mike, John, Alycia and Kevin for there helpful advice regarding Grandma. 

A friend from the ACOR Ovarian Cancer listserv , Cindy Owens passed on Monday Feb 4th. I didn't learn about it until today. Cindy was funny , wore teal shoes and answered lots of my questions when I was first diagnosed. We also had a special connection because her son , Patrick , attends Virginia Tech. 
My aunt used to say bad news comes in threes. Emma, Holly, Cindy- I am ready for some good news now. 

Thursday, February 7, 2008

LiveStrong Summit 2008

I decided to apply to attend this year's LiveStrong Summit at Ohio State University in July. They are accepting 1000 survivors and caregivers and family members. The program will be divided into 3 sessions. I applied for the Advocacy session.
to attend the Summit!

Now I just have to patiently wait until May 9th.
Gee there is a lot happening that day!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Another Hard Post to Write

Today I learned of the passing of LiveStrong Summit participant Holly Young, 22. Holly was a member of my table- # 75. (For 3 days in October 2006 in Austin, Texas eight hundred cancer survivors discussed the needs of cancer survivors and what can and should be done to improve survivorship .) Holly was from Cape Cod and was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma at the age of 18 while at the University of New Hampshire and playing volleyball. I am sure she was chosen to attend the LiveStrong Summit because of her work pressing her state department of health to examine the link between an Air Force radar station and the high number of cancer patients on Cape Cod. In a ten year period there were 8 children and 1 adult diagnosed with cancer. In December the study was completed and did not find a link between the station and the high cancer numbers. By the way the normal number should be 2 in a 10 year period.

Holly was a sweet young lady who was committed to finding a cure for cancer. She raised funds for the Dana Farber Institute and worked with the Red Sox to raise money for research. On her MySpace page she said "Live strong means more than wearing a yellow bracelet," she wrote. "I've done my very best to live strong every day of my life".

Holly is the second person from the right with the black sweater.
In other news, Brian ( 3rd person from the left) visited CINJ and his doctor said there is something there but that "he caught it too early". So they are waiting until his March check-up see what happens next. His blog is

Friday, February 1, 2008

Thank you Senator Boxer

I was thrilled to learn that Senator Boxer introduced the Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act of 2008 (S 2569) on January 29,2008 . This bill will amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize the National Cancer Institute to make grants for the discovery and validation of biomarkers for use in early detection and screening of ovarian cancer. There would be $100 million for NCI research grants and $20 M for national clinical trials. It will also establish a repository for new tissue that can be used in the research. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health ,Education, Labor and Pensions.

Best news I've heard since the Omnibus bill passed.

Senators Bayh, Cantwell, Dole, Murray, Obama, Sanders, Stabenow, Tester and Wyden were also co-sponsors.

Write or e-mail your Senators so they can cosponsor the bill or if they are on the committee move the bill through.

A House Bill was introduced in September 2007.