Hope and help for triple-negative (TNBC) and other forms of hormone-negative breast cancer.
Monday, February 27, 2012
The High Cost of Cancer
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Writing Workshop: Inspiration and Action
Meredith Hall, Room 104
28th and University
Des Moines, Iowa
Email me for more information.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
What Should I Title My Book on Triple Negative Breast Cancer?
A brief overview of the book:
Nearly 70,000 women a year are diagnosed with triple-negative and other forms of hormone-negative breast cancer, yet no book exists on this disease. Patricia Prijatel fills this void by using a broad array of scientific studies presented in the context of her own experience and through profiles of other women who have faced TNBC.
The Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Book (or whatever) provides research-based information on the characteristics of TNBC, survival statistics, proper treatment, and strategies to reduce the risk of recurrence, including diet and lifestyle changes. It provides a guide to understanding your pathology report and explores possible risk factors for TNBC, including the role of the BRCA genetic mutations, family history, and race. Prijatel provides scientific studies to support her information and to offer suggestions for further reading.
Prijatel's primary message is that TNBC is a disease to take seriously, with proper and occasionally aggressive treatment, but it is not automatically a killer; in fact, most women diagnosed with the disease do survive.
Prijatel's story will make you laugh and cry, but will show the heart of a survivor. And the profiles of 11 women from throughout the United States, who were diagnosed in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s put a face on the disease. These are mothers, wives, daughters, sisters who went through a variety of medical treatments and then got on with life—one competes in triathlons, two had babies after being treated with chemo, one got remarried in her 50s, and one just celebrated the 30th birthday of the son she was nursing when she was diagnosed.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Breast Cancer Mantra: Calm Your Spirit
That’s what Madlyn Ferraro calls this beautiful painting. It’s the kind of art that makes me stop and wonder about the story behind the image. Who is this woman, what is she reading, and is she as calm as she looks?
And can I be her?
Madlyn, the artist, found this calm spirit at a local restaurant, sketched her, and then created this acrylic painting. It and more of her whimsical and interpretive art are on her website. You can buy these beauties for yourself or for others going through a stressful journey. Looking at this painting calms me.
Madlyn is actually in her second career. This past year, she left her job at the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center where she was the network coordinator of the cancer clinical trial program.
She spent her first career helping researchers find new treatments for cancer. Then she retired to create art.
An enviable move, showing the art of the possibility. And the possibility of art.
Madlyn is one of the professionals who reviewed my book on triple-negative breast cancer for medical accuracy. She has been exceptionally helpful in making the book as precise and helpful as possible. In return, I am supporting her in her new career in the wonderful world of art.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Fetal stem cells may offer key to the origin of TNBC
Do breast cancers develop the same way as fetal breast stem cells? Scientists at the Salk Institute of Biologic Studies think so. And their recent research, published in Cell Stem Cell (February 2, 2012), opens important avenues for the study of the molecular structure of breast cancer—and its cure.
But here’s the most compelling part of the research: Breast stem cells that develop in mice fetuses right before birth have specific characteristics that are similar to triple-negative breast cancer cells.
What this means to us: Isolating the molecular structure of fetal breast cells can help determine the makeup of triple-negative breast cancer, which means a better understanding of the disease and more chance of the development of treatment options.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Breast Cancer Mantra: Sometimes you just need to be sad.
When my daughter was just a wee thing—three or four or so—she was in her room, crying. I went in and asked her what was wrong.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Nature, Time and Patience
I got this wisdom from a fortune cookie:
Friday, February 3, 2012
Links Between Abortions and Breast Cancer Not Supported By Science
In February 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a workshop of over 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Workshop participants reviewed existing population-based, clinical, and animal studies on the relationship between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. They concluded that having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer. A summary of their findings can be found in the Summary Report: Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer Workshop.NCI regularly reviews and analyzes the scientific literature on many topics, including various risk factors for breast cancer. Considering the body of literature that has been published since 2003, when NCI held this extensive workshop on early reproductive events and cancer, the evidence overall still does not support early termination of pregnancy as a cause of breast cancer. To view regular updates on this topic, please go to the Breast Cancer PDQ® summary, which is part of NCI’s comprehensive database.
The largest, and probably the most reliable, study on this topic was done during the 1990s in Denmark, a country with very detailed medical records on all its citizens. In this study, all Danish women born between 1935 and 1978 (a total of 1.5 million women) were linked with the National Registry of Induced Abortions and with the Danish Cancer Registry. All of the information about their abortions and their breast cancer came from registries – it was very complete and was not influenced by recall bias.After adjusting for known breast cancer risk factors, the researchers found that induced abortion(s) had no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer. The size of this study and the manner in which it was done provide good evidence that induced abortion does not affect a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.Another large, prospective study was reported on by Harvard researchers in 2007. This study included more than 100,000 women who were between the ages of 29 and 46 at the start of the study in 1993. These women were followed until 2003.Again, because they were asked about childbirths and abortions at the start of the study, recall bias was unlikely to be a problem. After adjusting for known breast cancer risk factors, the researchers found no link between either spontaneous or induced abortions and breast cancer.The California Teachers Study also reported on more than 100,000 women in 2008. Researchers asked the women in 1995 about past induced and spontaneous abortions. While the women were being followed in the study, more than 3,300 developed invasive breast cancer. There was no difference in breast cancer risk between the group who had either spontaneous or induced abortions and those who had not had an abortion.