#bcsm When a cancer sister dies, it is unavoidable: terror of our own death coming by the same means arises, unexpected and strong.
— Xeni (@xeni) March 9, 2015
It's not just fear of our own mortality, of course. We also miss our friends.
I am not alone in missing Lisa's wit and quick comfort. Even in 140 characters or less, she knew how to get straight to the heart of a matter, what to say, how to be a friend, the right words to use to educate the rest of us about clinical trials, palliative care, end-of-life decisions, and how to stay positive through it all (to paraphrase: find or create a bit of beauty).
My friend Renee's birthday was this week. I miss her, too. And Brigid, and Jen, and far too many others to list here.
So, yes, we grieve for our friends. But there is a large dose of fear. We who are living with metastatic breast cancer can't help it. We wonder: when will our luck run out? How will our families cope? Will our children remember us? Have we done enough to leave our marks, given our limited time (and energy)? Will there ever be an end to this disease? Will it (could we dare to hope) be in our lifetime?
Here is a round-up of the news and research that I hope is moving us in the right direction. My hope sustains me. It brings me out of my fear. Here's to hope. And research.
“Interest in using the body’s own inflammatory response to fight cancer has been reinvigorated recently because of the promising results of immunotherapy. Our study further supports the need to explore the role of inflammation and cancer, in order to enhance treatments and the body’s own ability to eliminate cancer cells.”
Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:
'Cancer cells are in a battle against the body’s natural failsafe mechanisms that seek out and destroy them. This study underlines the importance of a cancer cell’s shape in helping to tip the balance in its favour, not only dodging an immune reaction but actually thriving in response to it. It also shows that manipulating cell shape could help tip the balance back against a tumour.'”
Poziotinib has shown a remarkable 60% response rate in early clinical trials in patients with breast cancer who had previously failed multiple lines of treatment, including HER2-directed therapies trastuzumab and lapatinib."
'Some of the most distressing side effects of chemotherapy in young women with breast cancer are early and sudden onset of menopause and infertility,' said Kathy Albain, MD, senior author, medical oncologist and Director of Loyola University Chicago Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center's Breast Cancer Clinical Research Program. 'These findings provide hope for young women with breast cancer who would like to prevent early menopause or still have children.'"
The drug is a rival version of Neupogen, an Amgen Inc. treatment prescribed to chemotherapy patients."
I never needed Neupogen. Instead, I was given Neulasta, a similar drug that is long-lasting rather than fast-acting. Both work to stimulate white blood cell production. My Neulasta shots cost something on the order of $6,000 per infusion, and I got one after every treatment on my old chemo.
This news could save a lot of people a lot of money.
Care to match this, Congress?"The FDA’s recent approval of the first PARP inhibitor, coupled with current research, suggests that this new class of targeted therapy has great potential to help not only patients with ovarian cancer for whom the agent is indicated but also individuals with breast cancer. Mark E. Robson, MD, clinic director of the Clinical Genetics Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, presented on this topic at the Miami Breast Cancer Conference.
“It is an exciting time. We have an approval for olaparib (Lynparza) in ovarian cancer and there are active phase III studies for olaparib and other PARP inhibitors in metastatic breast cancer for patients with BRCA1/2 mutations,” said Robson."
Hallelujah. Right, Chris?