A Role for Progesterone in Breast Cancer Treatment?

New research sheds light on the role of progesterone in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.Back in August 2015, I wrote about an article in the journal Nature on some interesting new discoveries about the role of the hormone progesterone in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

The research suggested that adding progesterone to standard treatment with tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor could increase the effectiveness of treatment for this subtype of breast cancer, while possibly also lowering toxicity.

Cancer Research UK reports that these findings are now going to be investigated in three clinical trials that are set to begin.  Continue reading

5 Cancer Research Stories Worth Following – Spring 2017

Cancer research stories worth following this spring include a study on the benefits of immunotherapy for breast cancer patients.What’s the latest news in cancer research that we need to know about? In this post, I’ll briefly review several of the most interesting cancer research stories that have been in the news this spring.

These are a few of the recent stories that seem to have the greatest potential impact, at least from my perspective, and that I know I’ll want to follow as they develop further.

Topics covered this time include studies reported at the recent annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research on the use of PARP inhibitors to treat different types of cancer, as well as a study on the benefits of immunotherapy for triple negative breast cancer.

Continue reading

What is “Step Therapy” and Why Should We Care?

What is step therapy and how is it affecting cancer patients?What in the world is “step therapy”? Maybe a new type of fitness routine? Unfortunately, it’s nothing of the kind. And this benign sounding term can sometimes mean bad news for cancer patients and others who need newer, but often more costly, medications that have been prescribed by their doctors.

This February, I joined a group of advocates for meetings at our state legislature here in Virginia. One of the major issues on our agenda was the need for reform of the practice of step therapy, which has increased significantly across the country in recent years with the rising prices of prescription drugs.  Continue reading

Review of “The Gene: An Intimate History” by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Review of 'The Gene: An Intimate History' by Siddhartha MukherjeeI’ve been looking forward to reading Siddhartha Mukherjee’s latest book, “The Gene: An Intimate History”, since it was published last year.

His Pulitzer prize-winning “The Emperor of All Maladies” is one of the most interesting and informative books about cancer that I’ve read. In addition, now that genome sequencing and other forms of genetic testing are becoming more accessible and more common, I hoped this new book would provide some insights about where we are in all of this and what we might realistically expect from more expansive genetic testing in the years to come.

The implications of what has been learned about the gene and what it means for future generations are very personal for Mukherjee, as he reveals in sharing the stories of several family members who have been affected by mental illness. He comes back to these stories and how they relate to our growing understanding of the biology of inherited disease risk at various times in the book. Continue reading

5 Cancer Research Stories Worth Following – Winter 2017

 

Cancer research stories worth following for Winter 2017 include a possible use of an existing drug in triple negative breast cancer to prevent metastasis.What’s the latest news in cancer research that we need to know about? In this post, I’ll briefly review several of the most interesting cancer research stories that have been in the news this winter.

These are a few of the recent stories that seem to have the greatest potential impact, at least from my perspective, and that I know I’ll want to follow as they develop further.

Topics covered this time include a possible new use for an existing drug to prevent metastasis in triple negative breast cancer, and new imaging technology that could provide a noninvasive way to monitor ongoing treatment.

Continue reading

A New Year: Where Do We Go From Here?

A new year and improving health careOne of the things I enjoy about the holiday season is that it usually includes some down time to reflect a bit on the past year and opportunities the new year brings.

As we start this new year, I’m looking forward to (hopefully) a wonderful year ahead, but it’s hard not to also recognize that there are many uncertainties at play in the larger world today.

I’ve been thinking lately about some of the lessons I’ve learned going through difficult times in the past. One of those lessons was recognizing that even when our world seems to be veering off course, there are things we can control. And those are the small and large (mostly small) choices we make and actions we take every day that add up to the kind of year we have and the life we live.

Continue reading

10 Things We Learned About Progress Against Cancer in 2016

A review of cancer research developments in 20162016 was not a year for big breakthroughs in cancer research and improving access to quality care. And yet, it was a year in which many of the issues that need to be addressed if we want to ever see those breakthroughs were front and center.

Those issues include the need for collaborative research and sustained research funding, finding ways to make immune system treatments safer and effective for more patients and addressing the problem of outrageously high drug prices.  Continue reading

Cancer and Health Policy: Some Things I’m Watching

Issues to watch in cancer and health policyThe last month has been full of discussion about where we’re headed as a country following the November 2016 election.

Health care policy is a big part of that discussion. There’s been much opining on what the leadership in Congress will likely be seeking to do. Right now, we are mostly faced with a huge amount of uncertainty.

Discussions of health care issues are often presented in ideological terms. But here’s the thing about cancer: once you’ve had to deal with it, you’re perspective changes. Whether you identify with Republicans, Democrats–or neither–you realize that many of the things that matter most are the same for everyone.

Continue reading

5 Cancer Research Stories Worth Following – Fall 2016

Cancer research stories worth following for fall 2016 include a possible new addition to the treatment toolkit for advanced ovarian cancer.What’s exciting in cancer research right now? In this post, I’ll review several of the most interesting cancer research stories that have been in the news this fall.

These are a few of the recent stories that seem to have the greatest potential impact, at least from my perspective, and that I know I’ll want to follow as they develop further.

Stories worth following this fall include two studies on financial toxicity and new developments in targeted cancer therapies for ovarian cancer and for metastatic breast cancer.  Continue reading

Charity Review: Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

Reviewing the charity, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.One of the best ways to help in the fight against cancer is by making a donation in support of cancer research. But deciding which organizations will make the most effective use of our contributions requires a little homework.

I’ve shared my ideas in earlier posts on contributing to breast cancer charities and focusing on charities that support cancer research specifically. This post is the third in a series in which we’re taking a closer look at individual charities that focus primarily on cancer research.

When it comes to donations, making a choice based on value for our money means considering several factors for any individual charity. These include how the organization uses the money it raises, its financial health, and how transparent it is about what has been accomplished with the contributions it has received. In this post, we’ll review the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, including its mission and approach, history, notable financial facts and results reporting. Continue reading