The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act is now before Congress.Timely access to treatment is critical for individuals dealing with any number of medical conditions. Metastatic breast cancer is no exception to this. Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is breast cancer that has spread from the breast to another part of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain. The average life expectancy of an individual with MBC is three years.

Although there is no cure, treatments have extended survival for women and men with MBC. But for some individuals dealing with MBC, not being able to work, and thus not having health insurance, presents a major problem in getting access to care. Continue reading

Supporting Breast Cancer Charities: A Better Way

Over the years, October has become a marketing opportunity for companies that splash pink on their products, suggesting to consumers that they’re helping the breast cancer cause by buying these products. Unfortunately, most of the time very little of the money paid for these products actually goes to breast cancer-related charities. And some of the companies that make these products also produce toxic chemicals that may contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer, Breast Cancer Action explains in their Think Before You Pink project.

What to do instead? There are lots of great alternatives. There are many nonprofit organizations that provide valuable services for those affected by breast cancer or fund critical research. Donating directly to these organizations is a much better alternative to buying pink products. Continue reading

Targeted Treatments for Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer

Targeted treatments for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer - stories we're following this year.One of the stories that has stood out over the last few years in breast cancer treatment was the FDA’s approval in 2015 of the drug palbociclib (Ibrance) for treatment of hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Palbociclib was the first in a category of targeted therapies called CDK 4/6 inhibitors to receive FDA approval. These therapies are used in combination with the hormone therapy fulvestrant and are now part of standard-of-care treatment for patients with hormone-receptor positive MBC. Continue reading

Breast Cancer: Are We Still Making Progress?

 

Are we still making progress against breast cancer?Learning about progress against cancer has been a main theme here on After Twenty Years since I started this blog about five years ago. One of my first posts in 2013 was a look back at progress against breast cancer in the twenty years since I had been diagnosed.

Now, as we come to the end of 2018, let’s take another look back, but this time let’s focus on what we’ve seen in progress against breast cancer over the last five years or so. Continue reading

Making a Difference: Contributing to Cancer Charities

Making donations to cancer charitiesEvery two years, the American Cancer Society publishes a new report on breast cancer trends. The latest report came out earlier this month.

What does the new report tell us? Are we really making a great deal of progress against breast cancer as some of the media stories are presenting it? Or is progress more incremental in nature?

And how might we respond in a way that could make a difference–during this month of October and during the rest of the year as well?

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

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

Metastatic Breast Cancer: Learning About Innovative Research Approaches

Researchers are using genomic studies to develop better treatments for metastatic breast cancer.In a recent post, we looked at highlights of a major report on the status of metastatic breast cancer care and research. That report notes that progress against MBC has slowed and, over the past decade, only about 7% of research publications about breast cancer have been specifically about metastatic breast cancer. It also talked about several things that need to be done to accelerate progress and offered some hope that we are beginning to move in the right direction.

Shortly after writing that post, I attended an event where I learned about some fascinating MBC research that is going on now. The event was the 2016 Advocate Leadership Summit organized by the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

I’ll share here a few of my impressions from parts of the program that focused specifically on MBC research. Videos of these sessions are now available on the NBCC website. Continue reading

Charity Review: Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Reviewing the charity, Breast Cancer Research Foundation--its mission, financials and what it reports about how donations are used.Many of us are interested in making donations in support of cancer research. But figuring out which organizations will make the most effective use of our contributions isn’t always an easy task. This post is the second in a series in which we’re looking at individual charities that focus primarily on cancer research.

Making a choice based on value for our money means considering factors such as how an 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 review the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, including its mission and approach, history, notable financial facts and results reporting. Continue reading