Thursday, June 30, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Click on the image above for more info about the location , time and date of Somerset County's Free Skin Cancer Screenings . The day is part of the program "Choose Your Cover" in NJ.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Are you a Breast Cancer Survivor? Do you have opinions about services provided Breast Cancer patients? Please consider being interviewed for this study being run by a Rutgers University Graduate student.Click on the image to enlarge.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
It has been a very hectic, tiring past few days but I am so happy I have been able to attend so many interesting sessions here at ASCO.
After having breakfast with fellow advocates Sharon and Susan I checked out of the hotel and headed back down to McCormick Place. First stop ? Another poster session, this time on cancer prevention and epidemiology.
I had a wonderful conversation with a researcher from Memorial Sloan Kettering who presented data from a study( poster 1509) looking at testing women with high grade serous epithelial ovarian cancer for BRCA mutations. Of 79 patients with no family history of breast or ovarian cancer 19% had a detectable BRCA1 or 2 mutation. The study concluded that the number of mutations identified supports current recommendations that it is reasonable to consider genetic testing for any woman with high grade serious epithelial ovarian cancer.
Then I strolled to a session called Assessing Patients Psychosocial Needs : How to Do this In Your Busy Schedule. After a review of the risks of emotional issues for survivors, the use of the Depression Thermometer as a tool to determine psychosocial problems was discussed. Many oncology practices do not ask questions about how a survivor “feels “ emotionally. So the speaker recommended that patients be asked how they feel along with assessing their pain, temperature, & blood pressure when they come in for a visit. Use of the DT was suggested as a way to gather that information.
When that session finished I went into the exhibit hall where there were over 220 exhibitors.I decided to do a bit of personal research so that I could better understand how vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors, Sorafenib ( Nexavar) by Bayer and Bevacizumab ( Avastin) by Genentech, work. Avastin is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the VEGF released by the cancer cells . Today I learned that Sorafenib is a small molecule inhibitor which blocks kinase proteins from signaling the cell to create the molecules it needs create the blood vessels. .
Before I knew it the day was over! Time to say goodbye to some very remarkable people, my new friends, the scholars of the Focus on Research Program.
Part II tomorrow.
Every Day is a Blessing! What a blessing it has been to be a participant in this program.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
For the past 2 months I have been preparing for the American Society of Clinical Oncologist (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago. I am attending as part of the Research Advocates Network(RAN) Focus on Research program . I appreciate the opportunity RAN is providing me to hear the latest research results. My goal and the goal of the Focus on Research Program is to disseminate the information learned about cancer research. For myself I am concentrating on ovarian cancer research lectures and poster sessions. I want to thank Dena O’Malley and the Center for Cancer Survivorship at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey for being my dissemination partner.
I have been attending webinars on Biomarkers, Drug Development and Cancer Pathways and reading manuals on genomics. At times I felt like I was back at Rutgers in the Intro to Biochemistry class. I needed to relearn how cells replicate, the structure of DNA and RNA, and clinical trial design. I admit It has been a bit of a challenge . Chemobrain seems to have affected how I learn and recall information. It requires me to listen, take notes, reread and review the slides from the lecture and still at times it takes me a long time to recall the proper names. Throw some unique acronyms on top of it and at times I feel I am talking alphabet soup. But I think the extra effort will pay off in the days ahead.
I have found recently that the media, internet , TV and print , tends to run with stories of agents that can cure cancer or raise or reduce risk without putting the results in perspective. This may raise hopes for patients when in fact the drug/agent is many years away from being used on humans. Rather we should ask: Was the research on animals or humans? Has the drug/agent finished clinical trials?How large was the study? How expensive is the agent/drug/screening test. How long until the agent is available?Many times groups push for a screening test for the general population that really does not fit the criteria of being specific and sensitive. My plan is to post an update every day from the Conference but in the weeks ahead I will follow up with more detailed information which hopefully will answer the questions I posed above .
The other bonus of this trip is meeting other research advocates from around the world.
Can’t wait for the sessions to begin tomorrow!
Every Day is a Blessing.