5 Cancer Research Stories Worth Following – Fall 2017

A look at several "need-to-know" cancer research stories for Fall 2017.What’s the latest “need to know” news in cancer research? In this post, I’ll briefly 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.

Topics covered this time include approval of a new drug to treat advanced breast cancer and a study on post-traumatic stress disorder in cancer survivors.

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Three Year Anniversary for After Twenty Years Cancer Research Blog

Celebrating 3 years of blogging about cancer research from the patient perspective.It really is hard to believe that it’s been over three years since I started this blog in the late summer of 2013.

I have learned so much in the process of reading and writing about developments in cancer research from the patient perspective. And it’s been wonderful to connect with so many readers and fellow bloggers.

I’ve been reflecting a bit on starting the blog, how it’s been going and what comes next, and I’d like to share some of those thoughts in this post.

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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?

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Is There a “New Normal” After a Cancer Diagnosis?

Is There a New Normal After a Cancer Diagnosis?What I wanted most of all in the early days after my breast cancer diagnosis was to get back to normal. It felt as if some strange force had taken over my life, and I longed to be back as I was as if none of it had happened.

I remember walking down the street, and thinking that everyone I saw passing by was normal because they didn’t have cancer. I felt different. And my life felt out of control. This thing had happened to me out of the blue. What else could happen now? What I wanted most of all was to get back the familiar feeling of stability, that there was some sense of predictablity about life.

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The Value of Patient Navigation for Cancer Patients

Patient navigators guide patients through the complexities of cancer care.A recent article in the Washington Post was headlined “‘Navigators’ for cancer patients: A nice perk or something more?”

A “nice perk”? It certainly seems like anything that would help to lessen the confusion for patients and help them obtain and adhere to treatment would improve outcomes and help keep costs down too. I took a closer look at the article and especially at the main research study it was reporting on.

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Top Cancer Research Stories: Spring 2014

Laptop, newspaper and coffeeThis is the latest post in a bi-monthly series where we take a look at several of the most interesting cancer research stories that have come out over the previous two months. 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.

Below are overviews of a number of the top cancer research stories that came out during March – April 2014. Also, in March, a study reported in the Journal of American Medical Association reviewed what is known about the benefits and harms of screening mammography from studies conducted over the past several decades–I’ve written about the take-home messages in a recent post. Continue reading

Breast Cancer Quality of Life Issues: A Researcher Asks “Are We Doing Better?”

In one of the most interesting presentations at the recent San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, physicians and other attendees heard from a researcher who has spent thirty years studying issues related to the measurement of quality of life for cancer patients and how it can be improved. Dr. Lesley Fallowfield, Director of Psychosocial Oncology at Brighton & Sussex Medical School, spoke about what has and has not changed in the treatment of psychosocial and survivorship issues in breast cancer.

Woman sitting on mountain top and contemplating the sunset

Possibly the biggest change in this area over the last thirty years is that there is now much more support available to patients, largely through a wide variety of formal and informal support groups and online and other sources of information. Dr. Fallowfield noted, however, that these resources “fill a void in the absence of anything more formal”.

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