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Do you have a disaster plan?

Hurricanes, nor'easters, earthquakes or perhaps just bad winter storms interrupt cancer treatments and create panic for patients. Cure Magazine presents some advice for patients to prepare for disaster, as well as tips we all can use and linkst to resources.

Vera Bradley pledges $15 million to research
vera logo

Here's another reason to buy a colorful quilted bag: The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer has pledged $15 million to support breast cancer research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. This new pledge from the Fort Wayne-based foundation adds to $20 million the company pledged previously.

The completion of this pledge will bring the total giving to the IU Simon Cancer Center to $35 million. As a result of support from the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer, the number of IU researchers focused on breast cancer has grown to 38, up from six in 1999.

book cover
New book advises friends of cancer patient

When Cancer Strikes a Friend now is available to answer the questions and offer guidance for those who want to help their friends with cancer. A work 10 years in the making, it covers emotional and practical aspects of supporting friends.

The book is by former resident Bonnie Draeger and is a project of Friends & Cancer, a nonprofit dedicated to creating materials and learning opportunities to prepare and encourage friends to help and support people with cancer.

The book features local contibutors Gena Asher of BreastCancerFYI.org, Janice Ross of the Olcott Center for Cancer Education and Catherine Sherwood-Laughlin, IU health sciences professor who has taught a popular course on cancer. Nationally known health care professionals offer their expertise on topics from learning to communicate to finding your way as a friend. Read more about the project at the Friends & Cancer website.

Road to Recovery needs drivers

The American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program to provide cancer patients with transportation needs some volunteers. Are you available?

The program provides drivers for cancer patients who do not have transportation to treatments or medical appointments. Volunteer drivers will be certified by spending about a half hour watching a DVD and filling out an application. The ACS will check driving records and conduct background checks.

If you are interested, contact Terri Jones at Terri.Jones@cancer.org or call (812)376-3148, or toll-free, (800)227-2345.

From the news pages:

Study looks at care for longtime survivors

People are living longer after cancer treatment than ever before, and this means the effects of their treatment may show up years later. A new study in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship found that breast cancer survivors may be at higher risk for bone density loss, high blood pressure or heart disease, depending on their treatment. Read more online.

Chemo may account for fast-track aging

Adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer is "gerontogenic," accelerating the pace of physiologic aging, according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. These results suggest the age-promoting effects of chemotherapy last for several years after treatment, and may be permanent.

Radiation with mastectomy may benefit some

A new analysis shows that women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer with only one to three positive lymph nodes under the arm are less likely to have a recurrence and more likely to survive breast cancer if they have radiation after mastectomy.

Breast cancer care affects debt

A study suggests that about 25 percent of long-term breast cancer survivors go into debt to pay for their treatment. Minority women are more likely to go into debt to pay for breast cancer treatment than white women. Read more about the financial consequences of fighting disease.

Biomarkers individualize care

Bits of information, called biomarkers, only a few of which are inherited, are helping patients better understand the highly individualized risks and benefits of certain treatments. Read a full report in Cure Magazine.

Genomic testing personalizes treatment

Genomic testing is changing the way breast cancer is diagnosed and treated. By examining a woman's genes to look for specific mutations or biomarkers, treatment can be personalized to the tumor cell's biology and a woman's genetics. Dartmouth researchers at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center have compiled a review of the role that information gathered through genetic testing plays in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

Pfizer drug shows promise

Pfizer's experimental breast cancer drug significantly delayed progression of symptoms in a mid-stage trial, meeting the study's primary goal. The oral treatment, called palbociclib, is one of the company's most important experimental drugs. The trial tested the pill in post-menopausal patients with locally advanced or newly diagnosed breast cancer that had spread to other parts of the body.

Folic acid may promote cancer cell growth

Watch those supplements: Researchers have found that large amounts of folic acid may increase the risk of developing breast cancer. In the lab, a study shows that folic acid supplements in doses two and a half times the daily requirement promoted the growth of pre-cancerous and cancerous cells in the mammary glands of rats. Read more from Artemis.

Vaccine may prevent recurrence

Australian scientists have announced development of a vaccine to prevent breast cancer recurrence. So far, the clinical trials show that the vaccine slashes the rate of breast cancer returning from 60 to just 12 percent over a 15-year period. The vaccine uses the body's own immune system to fight off cancer.

Tracking racial gap in breast cancer

The New York Times reports on the imbalance in the survival rates of white and black women. Using programs in Memphis as a basis, the article describes possible reasons for the imbalance and programs that address it.

Cure magazine reports on paying for cancer care

Cure magazine's special supplement this winter is "Special Report on Paying for Cancer Care," which provides practical advice and support on the financial issues associated with a cancer diagnosis. If you don't receive the print version, you can read the full report online.

Cognitive issues related to cancer treatment might have some answers

Cure magazine reports on chemobrain, the cognitive dysfunction many survivors continue to experience. Once dismissed in the medical community, researchers in recent years have listened to survivors and investigated the problem. The article reports on research as well as some of the strategies doctors are advising for people who want to regain or slow the loss of cognitive function.

Note: One of the researchers cited in the story is Diane Von Ah, assistant professor in the School of Nursing at Indiana University in Indianapolis, who wrote in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing about the problem.

FDA: Nipple fluid test not screening tool

A nipple fluid test is not an effective screening tool for breast cancer, U.S. regulators warned recently, noting that mammography is the best way to detect the disease in its earliest, most treatable stages. The FDA is concerned that women will believe misleading claims about a nipple aspirate test and not get mammograms or other needed breast imaging tests or biopsies.

Learn about survivors' 'Emotional Journey'
hand with ribbon

If you are a patient, survivor or caregiver, you probably have witnessed the range of emotions breast cancer patients display over the course of treatment and into survivorship. Indiana University researchers, led by Susan Woods, have released a study about just this topic, "The Emotional Journey of Long-Term Breast Cancer Survivors Five Years and Beyond," and Breast Cancer: FYI is proud to host the entire study on this website.

In the study, Woods and fellow researchers Nancy T. Ellis and Kathleen R. Gilbert look at nine themes: Changed Sense of Identity, Taking Control, Why?, Fears, Significant Milestones, Mementos, Marriage and Family, Spirituality and Words of Wisdom. One of the more powerful sections, Results, features survivors sharing their reflections on these topics. This section should be a must-read for any health professionals working with survivors, and may be useful to patients just finishing treatment, too.

Get started on the intro page, then follow the links.

More research news is available from the Archives page.

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