Thursday, July 29, 2021

A Different Kind of Sweet 16

In 2019, my sister sent me an old photo from my Sweet 16 party. It was a small party at my home with a few friends from high school. In the photo were Kathy, Karen, Patty, Ilene, Mindy and Debbie who were   fellow twirlers and classmates. Everyone in the photo was smiling. I remember it was a fun day. 

Today, July 29th, I celebrate another Sweet 16. 

On this day in 2005, I woke up from surgery to hear my gynecologic oncologist say " I am sorry Dee, you have stage three B ovarian cancer but I will do everything I can to make you well. " I am here writing this blog sixteen years later because of the treatments I received at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of NJ , the care provided by Dr Rodriguez, Dr Gibbon and their team, the support of my family and friends and my faith. 

Today I am thankful for these Sweet 16 years of life. 


Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

And the Fourth Edition is Published !

In 2005, shortly after my diagnosis,  I picked up the second edition of a book titled 100 Questions and Answers about Ovarian Cancer. I referred to it through out my intial diagnosis and recurrence and used post-it notes to mark important topics. 

In 2015, Dr Dizon asked me to share my voice and experience in the 3rd edition. I was honored to be a part of the publication. 

Fast forward to 2019 the Drs Don Dizon and Vance Broach asked me once again to work on the 4th edition of 100 Questions and Answers about Ovarian Cancer ( Jones & Bartlett Learning).  I was thrill to be part of the updated edition. The book includes the latest information on front line and recurrence treatments including PARP inhibitors, as well as maintenance therapy information and coping strategies. See this on Twitter last Saturday made my day!


The book is available through Jones and Bartlett ( or  Amazon ( Be sure to check that it is the  new 4th edition so you get the most up to date information. 

I hope those who read this edition find it as helpful as the 2nd edition was to me.


Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

#ASCO21 Cancer Disparity Sessions

The theme for this year's ASCO annual meeting was EQUITY: EVERY PATIENT EVERY DAY EVERYWHERE.  I attended a number of sessions including  Equality in Care for All Women: Addressing Disparities in Gynecologic Malignancies and Social Determinants, Not Biology: Time to Reappraise Genetics- Based Theories of Racial/Ethnic Cancer Outcome Disparities and More Than the Patient: Structural Racism and Cancer Disparities.

Here are the tweets I posted during the sessions. 

Equality in Care for All Women: Addressing Disparities in Gynecologic Malignancies

Opening Session


Social Determinants, Not Biology: Time to Reappraise Genetics-Based Theories of Racial/Ethnic Cancer Outcome Disparities 


More Than the Patient: Structural Racism and Cancer Disparities


There are so many areas where we all can improve the care for "every patient everywhere" and these open  and honest discussions can make these needed changes happen.  



Every Day is a Blessing! 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

ASCO 2021 Oral Abstract Session - GYN Cancers

I'll begin my coverage of the #ASCO21 Annual  meeting I have been attending virtually with comments and tweets from the Monday June 7th Gyneocologic Cancer Oral Abstract session. 


Not all the studies report were "blockbuster", not all provided results the researchers expected but in each and every one of them we - researchers, clinicians and patients learned something. 

 Here is my tweet summary:  


PDL1 inhibitor / Neoadjuvant chemo plus Bevacizumab

GEM vaccine  (Gemogenovatucel)

Bevacizumab 15 months vs 30 months 

Agent given to highlight tumors with overexpression of folate receptor Alpha during surgery

Mirvetuximab plus Bev for recurrent OC

Adavosertib w and w/out Olaparib

Endometrial Cancer 

Intensive Follow-up after endometrial cancer treatment

mTOR inhibitor and Anastrozole 

Pertuzumab and Trastuzumab in uterine cancer patients with ERBB2/ERBB3 


Over the next few days I'll be sharing tweets from the disparity, plenary ( cervical cancer study)  and poster sessions. Stay tuned. 


Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

#ASCO21 Begins Soon

 The ASCO Annual meeting runs from June 7, 2021 to June 8, 2021. I am happy to once again attend this meeting which shares cancer research from across the globe. I wish it was in person but once more we will be meeting virtually. 


Here is a list of the sessions that relate to Gynecologic Cancer that I hope to attend.

I have also made a list of a  few abstracts of research that I would like to learn more about so I don't miss out on the discussion during the meetings sessions or online. 


5502 Oral Abstract Session

Maintenance vigil immunotherapy in newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer: Efficacy assessment of homologous recombination proficient (HRP) patients in the phase IIb VITAL trial. Abstract 5502   (Vigil, an autologous tumor cell vaccine transfected with a DNA plasmid encoding GMCSF and bi-shRNA-furin for TGFβ expression control, following frontline platinum-based chemotherapy)


5501 Oral Abstract Session

Optimal treatment duration of bevacizumab (BEV) combined with carboplatin and paclitaxel in patients (pts) with primary epithelial ovarian (EOC), fallopian tube (FTC) or peritoneal cancer (PPC): A multicenter open-label randomized 2-arm phase 3 ENGOT/GCIG trial of the AGO Study Group, GINECO, and NSGO (AGO-OVAR 17/BOOST, GINECO OV118, ENGOT Ov-15, NCT01462890). (BEV treatment duration of 15 months remains standard of care vs 30 months)



Mirvetuximab soravtansine, a folate receptor alpha (FRα)-targeting antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), in combination with bevacizumab in patients (pts) with platinum-agnostic ovarian cancer: Final analysis  5504

The combination of MIRV with BEV demonstrates impressive anti-tumor activity with durable responses and favorable tolerability in high FRα recurrent ovarian cancer.

5503 Oral Abstract Session

Phase 3, randomized, single-dose, open-label study to investigate the safety and efficacy of pafolacianine sodium injection (OTL38) for intraoperative imaging of folate receptor positive ovarian cancer. intraoperative near-infrared fluores- cence (NIRF) imaging with pafolacianine sodium may offer a novel real-time adjunct to current surgical imaging practice in ovarian cancer surgery. 

5506 Oral Abstract Session

Intensive versus minimalist follow-up in patients treated for endometrial cancer: A multicentric randomized controlled trial (The TOTEM study—NCT00916708). Intensive follow-up in endometrial cancer treated patients showed a weak and uncertain advantage in detecting earlier asymptomatic relapses but did not improve OS, even in HiR patients, nor influenced HRQL.


5513 Poster Discussion Session 

Evaluation of a RAD51 functional assay in advanced ovarian cancer, a GINECO/GINEGEPS study. RAD51-deficient EOC have im- proved outcome after neoadjuvant platinum. Conversely, the RAD51 assay also identified a small subset of RAD51-high BRCAmut tumors with poor platinum response. Whether this RAD51 functional assay may also predict PARP inhibitor benefit is currently 


5519 Poster Discussion Session

Molecular results and potential biomarkers identified from MILO/ENGOT-ov11 phase 3 study of binimetinib versus physicians choice of chemotherapy (PCC) in recurrent low- grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSOC). higher response rates and longer PFS were seen in those patients with LGSOC treated with binimetinib who harbored MAPK mutations, most commonly in KRAS. Somatic tu- mor testing should be routinely performed in patients with recurrent LGSOC to aid in clinical decision making.

5521 Poster Discussion Session

Dendritic cell vaccine (DCVAC) combined with chemotherapy (CMT) in patients with newly diagnosed epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) after primary debulking surgery (PDS): Biomarker exploratory analysis of a phase 2, open-label, randomized, multicenter trial. DCVAC improved PFS and OS outcomes in patients with newly diag- nosed EOC, predominantly in patients with immunologically “cold” tumors, 


5544 Poster Session

Nanoanalysis of plasma volatile organic compounds using novel DNA-decorated carbon nanotube vapor sensors to noninvasively distinguish ovarian and pancreatic cancer from benign and control samples. Prescreening test diagnostic approach based on vapor detection of ovarian and pancreatic cancer is achievable.

5548 Poster Session

Circulating tumor DNA as a noninvasive marker of resectability in ovarian carcinomas. ctDNA may be a promising non-invasive marker to assess peritoneal cancer spreading and to predict surgical resectability after neoadjuvant chemotherapy 

5553 Poster Session

Next generation sequencing in ovarian cancer patients: Does personalized medicine improve oncological outcomes? Our study suggests an OS benefit among the NGS tested cohort. We identified Loss of heterozygosity as a prognostic biomarker


5552 Poster Session- Disparities

Disparities in ovarian cancer treatment and overall survival according to race: An update. Overall survival remains worse for black patients, regardless of whether their care adhered to NCCN guidelines as defined by our study. This suggests that while receipt of care that is not adherent to NCCN guidelines seems to be negatively associated with overall survival, 

5571 Poster Session- Disparities

Race-related disparities in patterns of uterine cancer recurrence. non-White race is potentially contributory to distant recurrence of uterine can- cer, even when accounting for histopathologic differences, stage at presentation, and other traditional covariates.

Have you looked at the abstracts? Did some catch your eye? Please let me know and tag me ( @womenofteal in a tweet). Please be sure to use #gyncsm when you are tweeting from  the meeting too. 

I'll catch you all up on what I have learned with a few posts about this year's meeting. Stay tuned!


Every Day is a Blessing!


Monday, May 24, 2021

Two Months of Activities and Looking Ahead

Well, where did the last two months go?  I am not sure.  But when I looked at the calendar and it said, May 24th, I thought I really should post to my blog . It has been way too long. 

I was involved in many personal activities as a member of my homeowners association board. It is not an easy process to open a 55+ community pool in NJ in the time of Covid but we are working on it. I also spent lots of time and a few vet visits taking care of my dog. She had a growth removed but is recovering nicely.


And on a personal level, I had my second Covid vaccine. HURRAH! And I also I dealt with an ear infection. Yes, adults can still get ear infections.

On the advocacy front, I was so happy to take part in the 40th Anniversary of Cancer Hope Network. They provide one-on-one support for cancer patients and caregivers. I trained as a support volunteer with them in 2007. When I was first diagnosed I spoke to a volunteer. She gave me hope that I could make it to five years. Since then I have had over 50 matches with women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancers or others considering clinical trials.

I also took part in the COSMO (The Collaboration for Outcomes using Social Media in Oncology) Conference. I was part of the The  Patient Engagement in Social Media:When the Doctor is No Longer the Expert panel. It was wonderful speaking about the #gyncsm  cancer community along Tamika Felder, Patricia Anderson, John Novack and Janet Freeman-Daily leaders of other online patient communities and social media leaders. I enjoyed two days interacting with and hearing from cancer Social Media experts like Drs Dizon, Lewis, Durma, Drake, Miller , Painter and others.

You can follow COSMO on Twitter at @COSMONC or the hashtag #COSMOnc

On May 12th the #gyncsm community spoke about  Recurrence Secondary Cancer and other Diseases. Check out the highlights on our blog at

I am looking forward to  #ASCO21 and hope to highlight the great gyn cancer and disparity research being done. Join me and follow the #gyncsm and #ASCO21 hashtags.



Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

2021 SGO Virtual Meeting Sunday March 21, 2021

I am happy to share with you Tweets that cover the work presented during the last full day session of SGO was on Sunday, March 21, 2021.

One session, Time to Return to the Drawing Board, reported clinical trial results that did not meet their aims. Understanding where a drug or treatment may have failed to provide the results expected is as important as those trials that meet aims.




Durvalumab and Trememlimumab

Additional sessions of interest.

Barriers to Quality of Care - Poster 

Uterine lavage and early detection

Post operative opiods use model 

Neuropathy and genetic variants 

Gross resection and OS / NACT

Vulvar Cancer Studies 

Endometrial cancer 

Cediranib and Olaparib NRG GY012



Here are some articles from various sources that go more into depth about studies discussed at the meeting. 

Medscape article on hormone IUD and endometrial cancer

Vulvar cancer patients with sentinel node micrometastases, radiation therapy (RT) to the groin after local excision led to extremely low rates of recurrence, a phase II trial suggested 

ABV-500 small molecule in OC


Thank you so Eisai for supporting patient advocates at the annual meeting . 

Thank you SGO leadership for making us feel welcome and for all the gyn oncs who answered our questions.  


Every Day is a Blessing!