Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tremdous Find May Mean Future Cure

Troubleshooters that block cancer
Scientists have shown how a family of "limpet-like" proteins play a crucial role in repairing the DNA damage which can lead to cancer. 
They hope the finding could pave the way for a new type of drug which could help kill cancer cells, and promote production of healthy replacements.
The proteins seem to have a remarkable ability to zero in on damaged areas.
The breakthrough, uncovered independently by two teams, appears in the journal Nature.
The family of Small Ubiquitin-like Modifier (SUMO) proteins track down sites in the body where DNA damage has occurred.

They attach themselves to normal proteins, and guide them in to fix the genetic faults.
Using this method, the proteins are even able to repair double strand DNA breaks - the most severe type of DNA damage.
When their work is done, the proteins detach themselves and move on.

Breast cancer gene
One of the study teams was able to follow this process of repair taking place on the BRCA1 gene, which, if damaged, is associated with a very high risk of breast cancer.
SUMO was shown to attach to the damaged gene, and switch it back on - helping prevent breast cancer forming.

Researcher Dr Jo Morris, from King's College London, said: "This new insight is the first step towards developing drugs which may protect normal cells from the side effects of chemotherapy, or improve the effectiveness of current breast cancer treatments."

Dr Lesley Walker, of Cancer Research UK, which part-funded the study, said: "DNA damage, particularly double strand DNA breaks, are a fundamental cause of cancer and we know that people who have mutations in the BRCA1 gene have a higher risk of developing some kinds of cancer.
"Discovering that these limpet-like proteins play such an important role in repair may provide new opportunities to stop cancer from growing."
But she added: "This is an extremely complex and intricate biological process so it may be many years before we can use this knowledge to safely intervene and help treat cancer patients."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Get the Latest Reports From San Antonio

The San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium has wrapped up with some exciting findings...
You may find them HERE.

Some topics include:
New Breakthroughs in TNBC treatment
Effective Drug Combo's for Metastatic Disease
Preventing Hair Loss with non-anthracycline chemotherapy
The Use of Testosterone to treat AI induced joint pain, vaginal dryness
Is Topical Estrogen Safe for women on AIs?
Lymph Node Transplantation: hope for women with Lymphedema
Male Breast Cancer
How your weight affects hot flash severity
Weight and Blood Pressure and risk of recurrance
Curcumin to the Rescue
Stabilizing Bone Mets
Treatment for Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

and much more!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sad fact, but true...

 Very sad fact. They say women are the "weaker" sex, yet if a woman is seriously ill, in a study of 500 patients, 105 men ended the marriage because they couldn't handle it. And only 15 women left their ill husbands. If you are wondering what happened to your marriage, read on..
October 15, 2009

Until her sickness do us part: why men leave ill partners

Men are seven times more likely than women to leave a seriously ill partner, a study has found. So why are males less able to cope?

Cancer was, says Lesley Forrester, far easier to deal with than her husband’s reaction to her diagnosis. “We had been together for ten years and I thought he was quite sensitive and caring, but he stunned me by becoming totally repelled by my body once I told him,” says the 41-year-old from Bedfordshire.
“It was as if he thought he’d catch something if he came near me. He couldn’t understand why I was so upset at either the illness or at his behaviour. He cooled so much towards me that our relationship became silent and lonely. Six months after I first found the lump he ran back into the arms of an ex-girlfriend and I have barely seen him since. He broke my heart.”

Abandonment would have been difficult at any time, Forrester says, but in her time of greatest need it dealt the harshest of blows. Yet was her husband’s behaviour as uncommon as might be supposed?
According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 144,220 divorces in the UK in 2006-07 (the latest figures available) and, of those, about 18 per cent (25,959) were due to “family strain”, a term that includes serious illness. In the US, a survey by the National Centre for Health Statistics found that 75 per cent of first marriages end in divorce if one of the partners develops a terminal or chronic illness.

Although it is not stated in these divorces which partner was ill, a study published last month in the journal Cancer found that a man is seven times more likely to leave than his wife if the other becomes seriously ill.

In the research, Dr Marc Chamberlain, a neuro-oncologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, looked at 500 marriages where one of the partners had an illness such as multiple sclerosis or cancer. Of those, 105 ended because the wife was ill, but only 15 couples divorced when the husband was sick. Of the 23 divorces among multiple sclerosis patients, 22 occurred when it was the woman who had fallen ill, and only one where the man was the patient. And out of 23 divorces involving brain tumour sufferers, 18 of the patients were women. In 13 of the 14 failed marriages where other cancers had been diagnosed, women, too, were the patients.

What’s more, Chamberlain says, the findings “were not altogether unexpected”. For years, researchers probing the emotional impact of diseases such as cancer looked only at the effect it had on the patient. More recently, a growing realisation that a couple is affected emotionally by serious illness has led to a spate of investigations into each partner’s behaviour.

In 2001, Dr Michael Glantz, a neurooncologist at the University of Utah School of Medicine and a colleague of Chamberlain’s on the recent study, looked at the effects of brain cancer on 193 couples. He found that 13 husbands walked out on their wives after diagnosis but only one woman left her husband. “At that time I was disappointed. Stunned, really,” Glantz says. “Since then other studies have suggested that men are less able to commit to the burdens of having a sick spouse than women.” In another study, he found that 17 out of 183 married female brain cancer patients endured a divorce or separation within a year of their diagnosis.

In a book published this year, Elizabeth Edwards, whose husband John was an American presidential candidate in 2004 and 2008, relives the pain and sense of betrayal she felt when he was forced by a tabloid newspaper to admit that, while she was being treated for breast cancer, he had been unfaithful. Last summer, he confessed that he had lied repeatedly during his 2008 presidential campaign about his relationship with videographer Rielle Hunter. Edwards’ betrayal of his wife at her most vulnerable moment, compounded by rumours that he is the father of Hunter’s child, left him condemned by many to the moral (and political) scrapheap.

What causes this apparent chasm in emotional coping mechanisms between the sexes is intriguing experts, and the theories are plentiful. There is, of course, the straightforward, if unappealing, interpretation that husbands are programmed to bail out on sick wives while women are socially or genetically predisposed to stand by their man. But the reasons for this kind of behaviour are complex. Sometimes, the well partner feels more distress and despair than the sick one, says Paula Hall, a counsellor for Relate, who has worked with many couples affected by cancer.

Indeed, a study in the Journal of Oncology last year reported that spouses were lonelier than their ill partners and had lower levels of wellbeing and marital satisfaction. “There is an immediate shift in a relationship when an illness is diagnosed,” she says. “You stop being partners as you knew it and move to being patient and carer. That can lead to feelings of fear, not just about the disease, but about the relationship and the well partner’s ability to cope. Feelings of anger and resentment about life and the situation can quickly arise.”

A few researchers have suggested that men are more likely to walk out on a wife whose condition is newly diagnosed because the illness is more than they bargained for when they married. Depression, anxiety and medication can take their toll on the person who is being treated to the extent that socialising and keeping up friendships become difficult. “That can be a terrific strain on any relationship,” says Tara Beaumont, a clinical nurse specialist for the charity Breast Cancer Care. “The person who is well may find themselves asking why their life has changed so drastically and yearning for what they had before.”

Sickness can also interfere with or eliminate sex and intimacy from a relationship. “That is something many men struggle to accept when their partners are ill,” says Hall. “But there is so much that can be done to help the physical side of a relationship to stay strong. Sex may not be on the cards for a while, but affection shouldn’t be neglected. You need to find new ways to be a couple in every sense of the word.”

Some men blame a fear of being alone for their infidelity. Alison O’Flagan, 48, from Birmingham, discovered her partner was being unfaithful six months after she was told she had breast cancer. “He had withdrawn all affection and I felt increasingly isolated,” she says.

“His behaviour was more difficult to cope with than my illness. In the end I became suspicious and checked his phone and e-mails and found he was seeing two other women. I confronted him and he said he wasn’t going to break off either of the relationships because if something happened to me he didn’t want to be alone. We split up and the irony is that he is the one who is on his own, not me. I have a huge circle of family and friends who have helped me through everything.”

There are suggestions, too, that traditional roles shift more significantly when a woman becomes ill. Mark Litwin, a professor of urology at the University of California’s Jonsson Cancer Centre, found that for men with prostate cancer, having a partner, regardless of whether the relationship was good beforehand, improved their survival and quality of life. But Professor Laurel Northouse, of the University of Michigan Cancer Centre, who studies the needs of families with cancer, has found that when women get cancer the strength of a relationship probably matters more because of challenges to conventional caretaking and gender roles. Both partners may have to adapt when a woman gets cancer, Northouse says. Men may still be working full time, but may have to cope with additional tasks such as ferrying their wife to appointments, arranging childcare, cleaning and doing household duties. “It can mean even the most devoted husbands become exhausted,” Northouse says.

What a women wants most of all when she is ill is not so much for her husband to take charge, but for him to listen to her feelings and to express his own more often. Marc Silver, who wrote a survival guide for men, Breast Cancer Husband, after his wife’s condition was diagnosed, says many men are uncomfortable listeners. “Men have an urge to ‘fix’ things. They want to get in there and make it better when what they really need to do is shut up and listen,” Silver says. “Even if you have heard it one hundred times before, your wife needs you to respond by saying that whatever happens, you are there for her.”

Of course, not all relationships fail to weather the storm of something like cancer. Professor Jill Taylor Brown, a researcher at the University of Manitoba in Canada, examined data on marital dissatisfaction among a group of women who had breast cancer and another who did not. Illness appeared to have little influence as 10 per cent of women in each of the groups claimed to be unhappy in their marriages. For some people, illness proves a positive factor in bringing a couple closer together. One recent study at the University of Quebec found that 42 per cent of couples thought that the experience of breast cancer had strengthened their partnership. “Accepting the changes that take place is a process that takes time and effort,” says Paula Hall. “But many people do find their love grows stronger as a result.”

Even if divorce does follow a woman’s diagnosis of serious illness, it is not always because her partner has walked out. In studies of women with breast cancer, Northouse found that only 3 to 4 per cent of marriages ended in divorce within the first 12 months and that, in some cases, it was the wife who decided she no longer wanted to invest emotionally in a man she did not love. “To outsiders it might look as if the husband is leaving her,” Northouse says. “But she may be saying ‘That’s it. I’ve had enough’.” Cancer brings a new perspective to life that jolts some women into realising their partner is not the man they thought he was.

Karen Tyler, 42, says her diagnosis of bowel cancer helped to sharpen her focus about her eight-year marriage, which recently ended in divorce. During her debilitating treatment, she went to relationship therapy with her husband. “We didn’t communicate well before I was ill and that didn’t improve during or after my treatment,” she says. “I was prepared to try to improve matters until I just woke up one day and realised I was fighting for my life alone, and that being part of this couple wasn’t helping me at all. I could devote more effort to the battle without him. Divorce was easy once I accepted that.”

Friday, December 4, 2009

If you are local, please help

Young's Farm is a beautiful, family owned farm that has been in our area since 1893. I grew up shopping for our vegetables there. I go at least twice a week and it is a wonderful resource for organic vegetables, home made pies and jellies and unique farm-style gifts.

The owner is a fellow survivor, we were in treatment together, she and I share the same oncologist. She has kept the farm true to its roots because she is a member of the Young's family and has worked there her whole life.

Next to the farm is Villa Banfi, the winery. They have vineyards in Italy and here on Long Island. They bought up a good portion of the Young's Farm property to keep the space open and to help continue the legacy of the open space that is beloved by all who live here. On the weekends, you can see people from all over the area there. It is a destination because it is a step back in time, to a simpler, lovelier way of life.

Long Island has changed since I was a girl. Open spaces have been turned into housing developments. The Banfi Fields/Young's Farm is one of the last open spaces in the county.

The new owners of the Villa Banfi property want to turn Young's Farm into a House Farm of McMansions. The county and the Nassau Land Alliance has made an offer to purchase the property to keep it open and farmed.

The Legislature will hold a vote on Monday, December 7th. If there are enough signatures on the petition voting YES, Young's Farm will be saved, along with all the jobs of the wonderful people who work there.

Please sign this petition. It takes only a moment.
Go to this link:

THIS is what you will be saving...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Bit of Misinformation.....

A new report has been released today to tell us all that breast ultrasounds pick up tumors 100% of the time in women under 40.


My tumor, which was found when I was in my 30s, was picked up on mammogram and when the docs did a follow-up ultrasound it was not there. The radiologist said that since it was not picked up on both, I should "watch and wait" for six months.... Fortunately I have a gyn who hates cancer as much as I do and he insisted on an immediate biopsy. That resulted in finding a grade 3, highly aggressive Triple Negative Breast Cancer next to my chest wall.  If I had followed the three most dangerous words in the English language, "watch and wait" my TN tumor would have made a nice, comfy home for itself in the chest wall and the vascular and lymphatic system. Would I still be here? I don't know- Ferne isn't... and she was told to wait.

Here is the article- tell your friends to not take this as gospel because it could be deadly. The TRUTH IS: Women under 40 need better screening. It is NOT just replacing mammography with ultrasounds. If they really gave a damn about us they would find a way to get EVERYONE Breast MRIs which can find tumors as small as 7mms. But who is going to pay for that? We have research into erectile dysfunction to fund.... the Space Shuttle to launch to change the spark plugs on the International Space Station.... Think about it.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Breast ultrasounds found 100 percent of suspicious cancers in women under 40 who found lumps or other suspicious areas of the breast, offering a cheaper, less-invasive alternative to surgery or biopsies, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

They said targeted ultrasound -- which examines just the area of the breast where a lump is identified -- should become the standard of care for women under 40.

The findings may address some of the concerns raised by a federal advisory panel about breast exams done by women or doctors to investigate lumps or hot spots in the breast, which most often turn out to be harmless.

In a controversial set of recommendations issued last month, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that women not be taught to perform self breast exams because they often result in worry and expense for tests, biopsies and unnecessary surgery.

"That concerns us because while breast cancer in young women is rare, it absolutely does occur. Often, those cancers are only diagnosed because the woman noticed the lump in her breast or her doctor noticed a lump in her breast," said Dr. Constance Lehman of the University of Washington and director of imaging at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, who presented her findings at the Radiological Society of America meeting in Chicago.

"There are harms that follow after a woman does a self breast exam -- unnecessary surgeries, unnecessary biopsies. To that point, what we're saying is if you use imaging appropriately you can avoid those harms," Lehman said in a telephone interview.

Lehman did two studies testing the effectiveness of ultrasound to distinguish between potentially cancerous lumps and harmless masses in younger women.

In one, they studied more than 1,100 ultrasound exams of women under age 30. In the second, they studied 1,500 exams in women aged 30 to 39.

In both studies, ultrasound correctly identified the cancers and all of the benign breast changes. The only cancer not found was in a region of the breast that was not identified as an area of concern. Instead, it was identified by a full breast mammogram.

"Less than 3 percent of the patients that presented in this way had cancer. But it's important for us to find those patients that did have cancer," Lehman said.

"We had 26 women whose cancers were diagnosed because they brought the lump to the attention of their doctor, or their doctor brought the lump to the attention of the breast imaging specialist," she said.

Lehman said in the United States there is no standard way of treating women under age 40 who find a lump in their breast.

"Some of them go to the operating room to have the lump removed. Others have it followed. Others have a needle biopsy and we wanted to bring some clarity to this treatment," she said.

She said ultrasound is a quick and easy test that uses sound waves to create an image of the breast. It typically costs $100 to $200 per exam.

Lehman said using ultrasound could help balance some of the harms of overtreatment with the benefits of self breast exams in women under age 40, who are too young for routine mammogram screening even under the American Cancer Society guidelines.

The task force also recommended against routine mammogram screening for women in their 40s for many of the same reasons, a change the American Cancer Society and many other breast cancer experts reject.