Friday, August 29, 2014

Around the Web

{photo credit}
Here's what I found on the web this week. Every week, I hope it will be the cure, but I do believe we are getting closer. Let's just get there faster.

Is This Why Brain Mets Occur? Is This How We Can Stop Them?

"Now Memorial Sloan Kettering researchers have found that a protein called cathepsin S may play a key role in the spread of breast cancer to the brain. A complex interplay between breast cancer cells and certain surrounding cells called macrophages induces both cell types to secrete increased levels of cathepsin S, an enzyme that promotes the cancer cells’ ability to metastasize.

In addition to potentially helping doctors predict which breast cancer patients are at increased risk for brain metastasis, the discovery, published recently in Nature Cell Biology, suggests that cathepsin S could be an important target for new drugs."

Why We Need More Words to Describe Living with Cancer

What words do you use to describe your breast cancer journey? Battling? Thriving? Surviving? Suffering? Treating? All of the above? 

For the most part, I think to each her own when talking about cancer and otherwise, but I do think the author here is right: Amy Robach, by virtue of her position as a journalist, has a special responsibility to choose her words more carefully.

Public Service Announcement: Pfizer Initiates Expanded Access Program for Treating Certain Advanced Breast Cancers

"Under its expanded access programs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works with companies to allow access to investigational therapies to patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses who do not otherwise qualify for participation in a clinical trial and for whom there are no comparable or satisfactory alternate therapies."

This particular drug, palbociclib, is for hormone-positive, HER-2-negative breast cancer patients.

Breast Cancer is Really (at Least) 10 Different Diseases

While it's inspirational to hear, "My aunt had breast cancer 10 years ago and is doing great now!" it probably doesn't have any bearing on how someone else diagnosed with breast cancer today is going to fare. As I keep reminding myself when I see my friends dying -- whose cancer is, on paper, very similar to my own -- every disease blueprint is unique.

How Much is a Cancer Drug Worth? The UK is Reevaluating.

"Big manufacturers set to be affected by the changes include Roche, which came under fire this month from Nice [National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] for failing to cut the price of Kadcyla. The £90,000 per course drug is for women with advanced breast cancer. Nice rejected the drug as failing to offer value for money at that price."

I am eternally grateful for the quality of my health insurance.


  1. Thank you for these articles, Jen.

    Reading them again, the 2 last ones reveal how "personal" cancer really is.
    You are so right in saying every disease blueprint is unique... And the question "How much is a cancer drug worth?" is, actually, a personal question, too....

    Very glad to read that your health insurance did not make you think about that last question....!

    1. I am grateful beyond words for my health insurance every day.

      Thanks for following along!

  2. Thanks for sharing this important information, Jen!