My cousin testified before the FDA oncology advisory board on Tuesday about her experience taking Avastin. This is a tragedy, to deny the only drug that is keeping a 51 year old woman alive. You ...
This is the second in a series of posts on Bending the Cost Curve in Cancer Care. We should consider the proposal, published in the NEJM, gradually over the course of this summer, starting with ...
Yesterday I checked in on the Cancer Culture Chronicles, a thoughtful and sometimes funny blog by Anna Rachnel, who lives with metastatic breast cancer. There I learned that the author of Living With Cancer, a ...
Like many New Yorkers, feminists?, hematologists and other people, I was saddened to learn yesterday of Geraldine Ferraro‘s death. The Depression-era born mother, attorney, criminal prosecutor, Congresswoman, 1984 Democratic VP-candidate and part-time neighbor to yours ...
The findings show that it’s safe for women who’ve had breast cancer surgery to work out in a way that includes a careful, progressive upper body strengthening. Weight lifting is not only safe; it can reduce lymphedema in women at risk. But “old wives’ tales” still persist in some doctors’ minds and established medical resources. These need be dispelled.
Dear Readers, I am sad to learn of the death of Elizabeth Edwards, who died earlier today of metastatic breast cancer at the age of 61. She has taught countless people about what it’s like ...
Last October, the U.S. Senate (on 10/13/09) and House (retroactively, on 10/28/09) voted to support the designation of October 13, 2009, as a National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. The point was to draw public attention to the distinct needs of metastatic BC patients: women who live every day with this condition but, for the most part, are not heralded in pink.
I’d say the opposite is true: It’s precisely because there are effective treatments for early-stage disease that it’s worth finding breast cancer early. Otherwise, what would be the point?
Metastatic breast cancer is quite costly to treat and, even with some available targeted therapies, remains
“You can get discomboobulated in this place,” a NYC police officer told me today.
This morning, some 25,000 or so men, women and children converged on Central Park for the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s 20th annual Race for the Cure. It was my first time witnessing the event:
…Live Each Day Like There’s a Lot of Them Left….What she articulated is the idea that maybe the best thing to do after cancer is to live, essentially, as you would do otherwise, except with a bit of added balance:
The question is, what’s the right, PC and emotionally-sound, sensitive but not sappy term to describe the situation of a person who’s living after breast cancer?
Some might say, who cares if you’ve had it?
Today is the start of this year’s Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Dialog from NBC’s 30 Rock, Season 1, Episode 4 “Jack the Writer” (2006)*: Tracy Jordan: But I want you to know something… You and ...
Hiking, or even just walking, in the hot summer heat to see ancient ruins, national monuments or spectacular vistas can sap the energy of healthy people. For someone who’s got a health issue – like chronic lung disease, reduced heart function or anemia – or anyone who’s pregnant, elderly or just frail, summer travel can knock you out in the wrong sort of way….Don’t plan
I learned of a new study implicating stress in reduced breast cancer survival by Twitter. A line in my feed alerted me that CNN’s health blog, “Paging Dr. Gupta,” broke embargo on the soon-to-be-published paper ...
Yesterday I visited my internist. I had no particular complaint. My back hurt no more than usual. The numbness in my left foot was neither better nor worse than it was last month. I wasn’t suffering from vertigo or abdominal pain. I went because I had an appointment to see her, nothing more.
Until just a few years ago, I rarely
Last week the journal Cancer published a small but noteworthy report on women’s experiences with a relatively new breast cancer decision tool called Oncotype DX. This lab-based technology, which has not received FDA approval, takes a piece of a woman’s tumor and, by measuring expression of 21 genes within, estimates the likelihood, or risk, that her tumor will recur.
As things stand, women who receive a breast cancer diagnosis face difficult decisions…
There’s a new survivor on TV and she means business.
In the latest episode of The Office, Kathy Bates walked into the Scranton branch of Dundler Mifflen and onto my living room TV screen as Jo Bennett, CEO of Sabre, a fictitious Tallahassee-based company. An assistant and two large canines accompany her as she meets the crew. She’s firm, graying and very much-in-charge.
When the camera gets her alone, in focus, here’s what she has to say:
“I’m Jolene Bennett, Jo for short.
“I’m a breast cancer survivor, close personal friends with Nancy Pelosi, and Truman Capote and I slept with three of the same guys. When I was a little girl I was terrified to fly, and now I have my own pilot’s license.
“I am CEO of Sabre International and I sell the best damn printers and all-in-one machines Korea can make.
“Pleased to meet ya.
There’s promising news on the breast cancer front.
A study published on-line this week in The Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) suggests that regular, low-dose aspirin use reduces the risk of recurrence and death from breast cancer among women who’ve had stage I, II or III (non-metastatic) disease.
This is a phenomenal report in three respects:
1. The dramatic results: among women who’ve had breast cancer, regular aspirin use was associated with a reduced risk of recurrence and of death from cancer by more than half;
2. The relevance; these findings might affect millions of women living after breast cancer, today;
3. The cost: aspirin is widely available without patent restriction. Aspirin costs around $5 for 100 tablets, several months’ supply.
After a while my oncologist stepped out into the waiting area and guided me to the hall by her office. “The cells are low,” she said. “We’ll have to wait another week, that’s all.”
I knew she was right. But a week seemed like a lifetime to me then….
Well, I went ahead and started this blog without a proper introduction. Why was I in such a hurry?
Because I think the media’s getting – and giving – the wrong message on breast cancer screening. When it comes to long, boring medical publications like those published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, perhaps it’s not the devil that’s in the details so much as are the facts.
More on that tomorrow –