Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sometimes What We Wonder About Actually Happens

Yesterday, I went to my local NOCC meeting( Northern NJ) . The group meets at the Carol G Simon Center in Morristown, NJ on the first Saturday of the month. I haven't been to a meeting in a few months so it was great getting together with everyone and learning that due to the efforts of the members of the NNJ-NOCC , awareness of Ovarian cancer in NJ is on the rise.

At one point in the meeting we learned that a member, after being treated with a chemotherapy agent for six months, had her cancer continue to grow. This is not unusual with regard to ovarian cancer- sometimes the chemo drugs work, sometimes they work for a while and then are no longer effective and sometimes they don't work at all. When they don't work the woman is switched to another drug. One member spoke of her mother's tumor tissue being tested so that the doctors knew what chemos would work and which ones would not. We wondered if there was a drug response test. (Turns out that there is one and it is called ChemoFX. ) If there is one , why when a women is diagnosed with ovarian cancer aren't her tumors automatically tested? Why put a women through the chemo and all those side-effects, if it won't work? Why use a drug and its associated expenses( the drug itself and its administration) if it won't work?

So today I decided to look in to this ChemoFX test. On its website I found a link to an article dated February 27, 2010 which announced that the NCCN( National Comprehensive Cancer Network) recently updated their Principles of Chemotherapy section of the Oncology Guidelines for ovarian , peritoneal and fillopian tube cancer to include chemosensitivity/resistance tests. They updated the guidelines based on studies presented at ASCO that showed an association between the tests prediction of response and progression free and overall survival. It was stated that some member institutions have used the test to help choose among chemotherapy treatments.

So all our wondering around that table in north Jersey actually makes sense to experts from NCCN.

Every Day is a Blessing! Today I am blessed to have friends who call just to say Hi!

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