Monday, January 19, 2015

Around the Web

Just when I start to think most of my anger toward cancer has dissipated, a dear friend sends me an email about her colleague's wife who just learned that her early-stage cancer is now metastatic. Meaning, it has spread to bones or vital organs. It is incurable. I don't know this woman's health history, but I do know her cancer was first diagnosed in 2007. So, more than SEVEN years later, after I'm sure she figured she was done with this disease, barely a speck in her rearview mirror any longer, it rears its hideous head again.

Then I learned of another woman, a mom to two young children, who died this weekend after battling triple negative breast cancer for a little over a year. One year. If you want to contribute to her family as they try to navigate through life in the absence of their wife, mom, daughter, best friend, the link to do so is here.

And if you've ever been tempted to say (as I was and did, when I was first diagnosed) that, well, everyone beats breast cancer, please think again. As the first article in this week's round-up reminds us, we still have so much work to do. Also, if you find anything you think I should include here, please shoot me an email. I'd love to hear from you.
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Pretty in Pink? A Reminder That We Still Have Work to Do in the Fight Against Metastatic Breast Cancer

(Full disclosure: I'm quoted a couple of times in this article.)

"According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rates for stages I, II and III breast cancer are 100 percent, 93 percent and 72 percent respectively, and not all early stage breast cancers will advance to stage IV....

In contrast, 75 percent of people diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer will die of the disease within five years."

But There's Reason (in the form of Personalized Medicine) for Hope

"Even more tailored treatment is on the horizon. In the next few years, patients with breast cancer can expect increasingly detailed diagnostic tests, tests that may predict side effects of treatments like chemotherapy or radiation, and better guidance in choosing the drug, or drugs, most likely to eradicate their disease. Genomic discoveries may also help patients with advanced, aggressive cancers, a group for whom even the latest treatments often fail. In these ways and many others, breast cancer prevention, treatment, and care are a microcosm of the slow but inevitable shift in healthcare....

'We are at the beginning of a revolution,' says the American Cancer Society’s Lichtenfeld. 'Breast cancer, as with many others — lung, melanoma, etc. — has a number of therapies in the pipeline, and that number is increasing dramatically. What does the future hold? Some successes, some failures. Will it lead to a cure? I can’t say that. Will it lead to control of breast cancer? That’s a real possibility.'"

A "Novel Platform" for the Treatment of Pancreatic and Breast Cancers

"Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have identified a novel synthetic compound that sharply inhibits the activity of a protein that plays an important role in in the progression of breast and pancreatic cancers.

In the new study, to be published in the February 2015 print edition of the journal Molecular Pharmacology, the scientists showed that the compound, known as SR1848, reduces the activity and expression of the cancer-related protein called "liver receptor homolog-1" or LRH-1.

In fact, the study showed that levels of LHR-1 in a cell's nucleus began to diminish four hours after treatment with SR1848, and the compound repressed specific target genes as early as two hours after administration."

Rates of Diagnosis and Survival Vary by Race

"A new study published in JAMA finds that among women in the US, the chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the early stages of the disease and the likelihood of surviving after such a diagnosis may be influenced by race and ethnicity, and this may be down to biological differences."


  1. Hello, my name is Tatiana and I was diagnosed with breast cancer and bone mets in February 2013. My treatment was 4 cycles of AC and 8 cycles of weekly TAXOL. Since September 2013 I am First tamoxifen and ovaries removed after I changed my oncologist treatment Femara.
    Every day I'm better, the last tests I did in October showed me that my mets gone!
    I am very happy! My oncologist was very surprised, now I'm NED.
    Much strength to all women who are battling metastatic breast cancer .... can win.

  2. If you think everyone can beat breast cancer, you are pretty damn stupid.

    1. Caroline, I have to disagree -- it's not stupidity, so much as a decades-long marketing campaign that has (unfortunately) succeeded at making breast cancer seem less scary, less deadly, less of what it really is. I think we are widely sold a bill of goods that breast cancer is infinitely beatable, so long as it is "caught early." Part of what I've tried to do with this blog and my other public efforts is refute this perception. But I knew so very little about the reality of this disease prior to my own diagnosis. I don't think that made me stupid, just misinformed.

  3. I do not think you can always win at breast cancer, but there are people that if they do, lots. I prefer to think that if I go to and live with hope and does not make me stupid.
    Your comment has been very rude and impolite.

    1. Living with hope in NO WAY equates to stupidity. In fact, I think hope is just about the only thing we have to cling to some days. (I alternate with clinging to my three-year-old.) Lots of love to you.

  4. Caroline, To whom are you speaking in your comment above?!

    1. I think she was addressing those people who still think everyone beats breast cancer, not that she was calling me stupid. I hope. ;)

    2. That's the response I was hoping to hear or else things were going to get ugly.😈 For now, I (or should I say "we") will stand down.