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

5 Cancer Research Stories Worth Following – Spring 2016

Cancer research stories worth following this spring include a potential new treatment combination for HER2-positive breast 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 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.

Stories worth following include a potential new combination treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer, evidence from a large clinical trial of a gene assay that may help reduce unnecessary treatment, and a new study that offers some insights on male breast cancer. Continue reading

Metastatic Breast Cancer: How Can We Accelerate Progress?

Genomic studies will play an important role in precision medicine for metastatic breast cancer.For a long time, there has been a critical need for research that is focused specifically on metastatic breast cancer. That means understanding what causes metastasis and how we can intervene to shut down this process even after it has started. Although a true “cure” may not be possible, the question is whether we can treat the disease in such a way that patients live for a very long time with good quality of life.

That should not be so far-fetched an idea. HIV/AIDS not long ago was usually fatal, and now this disease can be managed as a chronic condition with a combination of drugs that patients take for the rest of their lives. Could something like this be possible for breast cancer that has become metastatic?

There have been some amazing advances in the treatment of metastatic melanoma and metastatic lung cancer using immune system therapies. Why have we not seen similar advances in treating metastatic breast cancer?

Continue reading

How Could a Blood Test Be Used Soon in Breast Cancer Care?

Can we detect breast cancer with a blood test or liquid biopsy?We’ve heard a lot in the news over the last year about how researchers are working to develop a blood test to detect cancer, sometimes referred to as a “liquid biopsy”.

What should we make of all this? A blood test, whether for early detection or to aid in treatment and monitoring, would be a wonderful development. But how close are we really?

As I headed to San Antonio for the annual Breast Cancer Symposium in December, I wondered what we might hear there about progress toward a liquid biopsy for breast cancer. I’ve shared some highlights from the Symposium in a recent post. In this post, I’ll share my impressions from the Symposium on where things stand with work toward a liquid biopsy for breast cancer. Continue reading

Breast Cancer: How Much Progress Have We Made?

How much progress have we really made against breast cancer?It’s October, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month in now well underway. As always during October, we’re surrounded by pink products, business promotions displaying the pink ribbon and pink-themed advertising–all in the name of breast cancer “awareness”. But how much real awareness does all this bring? Does it actually help patients at all?

Why not take a step back from all the craziness for a moment and take a look at where we actually are in the fight against breast cancer. Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been around for 30 years. It seems fair to ask: with all this awareness, how much progress have we actually made against breast cancer? And if it’s not enough: how can we, or will we, do better? Continue reading

5 Cancer Research Stories Worth Following – Summer 2015

Cancer research news for Summer 2015 reflected a growing emphasis on matching patients with treatments based on the molecular characteristics of their 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 Summer.

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.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) held its annual meeting in June. A major theme reflected in numerous reports about the meeting was the need for more intensive efforts to match patients with treatments based on the molecular characteristics of their cancer, and incorporating this approach into clinical trials. Continue reading