Monday, December 8, 2014

Around the Web

Call me naive, but I didn't know it would be quite this hard to introduce our cat to our dog. The cat has spent the better part of the last week holed up in a closet in one of our bedrooms. But Luna-Dune, as we've all started calling her, is fitting in with our family nicely. Most importantly, she appears to have sated my urge to have/adopt/somehow acquire another child. This is exhausting enough, thank-you-very-much.

(But look how cute she is...)

When I wasn't busy Instagramming photos of my dog, here's what caught my attention on the internet this week.

Breast Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise (but Phase II Trial Will Exclude Advanced-Stage Patients)

This makes me both hopeful and terribly sad that metastatic patients won't be included in the next phase of research.

"If we give the vaccine to patients at the beginning of treatment, the immune systems should not be compromised like in patients with metastatic disease," Gillanders said. "We also will be able to do more informative immune monitoring than we did in this preliminary trial. Now that we have good evidence that the vaccine is safe, we think testing it in newly diagnosed patients will give us a better idea of the effectiveness of the therapy."

Did You Hear What Melissa Etheridge Said About Breast Cancer?

That her words "stirred debate" is a bit of an understatement, at least in the breast cancer community.

"Singer Melissa Etheridge's comments that breast-cancer genes can be turned on or off by diet are being challenged by doctors and others, who say they are hurtful and could mislead millions of people."

And Speaking of Genetic Screening...

"Most patients with triple-negative breast cancer should undergo genetic testing for mutations in known breast cancer predisposition genes, including BRCA1 and BRCA2, a Mayo Clinic-led study has found. The findings come from the largest analysis to date of genetic mutations in this aggressive form of breast cancer. The results of the research appear in the Journal of Clinical Oncology."

And Speaking of Triple Negative Breast Cancer...

"Scientists at A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), in collaboration with local clinicians and colleagues in the USA, have identified a biomarker which is strongly associated with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), a highly aggressive carcinoma that often has early relapse and metastasis following chemotherapy. The newly identified biomarker, a gene called RASAL2, provides a target for developing new therapeutics designed to treat this often deadly disease."

Saying Good-Bye Far Too Young

{photo credit}
Another mother gone too soon because of metastatic, triple negative breast cancer.

"And who are the brave ones in the country's breast cancer conversation? They're so quiet as to be all but ignored. They're the women with metastatic disease, especially the young women I get chemo alongside at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, the ones who really may not see their children graduate from kindergarten, let alone high school."

Another Reason I'm Lucky: Where I Live

"In the United States, 9 out of 10 kids diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia will live. In Jordan, the survival rate is 16 percent.

And while cervical cancer patients have a five-year survival rate of over 70 percent in countries like Mauritius and Norway, the rate in Libya is under 40 percent.

That's the sobering news from the largest cancer study ever published. It surveyed more than 25.7 million patients and reveals a huge gulf in cancer survival worldwide."

3D Mammography Improves Cancer Detection in "Dense" Breasts

"Our findings are extremely promising, showing an overall relative increase in the cancer detection rate of about 30 percent," Dr. Skaane said. "Stratifying the results on invasive cancers only, the relative increase in cancer detection was about 40 percent."

Getting Off the Couch Could Save Your Life

"Women with breast cancer who engage in physical activity, even if at moderate level, have a lower risk of death, cancer-specific or not; according to new research presented yesterday at the 2014 World Cancer Congress in Melbourne, Australia."

The Daily Show Takes On "Fracking for the Cure"


  1. dear Jen,

    awwww, your little Luna-dune is adorable! sorry your kittie is having a hard time adjusting - but I bet in the not too distant future, they will become good friends. and your whole family is going to get so much love and enjoyment from your fur-babies - I am soooo happy for you!

    thank you for all the excellent BC news. I know it must take a lot of time and effort to get them posted, so please know how much I appreciate your advocacy. and I love the photo of you. too.

    much love,


    1. You're so welcome -- it's my pleasure to put this series together each week (or most weeks, anyway).

      I'm keeping my fingers crossed about the dog and cat. I imagine them cuddling in front of our (unused because we're in Phoenix) fireplace on Christmas morning. We'll see.


  2. Hrm. Not a fan of when studies refocus on early stage. Love the doggy photo. :)

    1. Nope, me either. I just hope it works, and that they'll move to include late-stage patients in further research. I do hate that we have to wait for that, though.