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Archive for Monday, July 7, 2008

Cancer patients take heart in program’s focus on overall health

July 7, 2008

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Lawrence resident and breast cancer survivor Linda Carlyle says that breast cancer is hereditary in her family - both her mother and grandmother died from the disease. Carlyle is a participant in a survivorship program at Kansas University's Cancer Center.

Lawrence resident and breast cancer survivor Linda Carlyle says that breast cancer is hereditary in her family - both her mother and grandmother died from the disease. Carlyle is a participant in a survivorship program at Kansas University's Cancer Center.

When Linda Carlyle discovered in 1997 that the chemotherapy used to treat her breast cancer could permanently damage her heart, she chose the lesser of two evils.

"When it comes down to dying now or dealing with heart disease later," she said, "I decided I would rather deal with heart disease later."

Carlyle was lucky. Recent tests through the Kansas University Breast Cancer Survivorship Center showed her heart suffered little to no damage from her treatment.

In the past, few options existed outside of simply pulling sufferers off chemotherapy and hoping for the best.

Dr. Charles Porter, head of the cardio-oncology program at KU's Cancer Center, is heading up a team hoping to develop a form of treatment to help cancer sufferers maintain a healthy heart while continuing chemotherapy treatment.

Some say the treatment, which is one of several facets of the survivorship program dedicated to normalizing the lives of woman who have completed cancer treatment, is showing early promise.

The treatment

Patients either suffering from heart conditions after they have finished treatment or those currently undergoing chemotherapy take a mix of ACE inhibitors and beta blockers. Both are drugs often used in combating heart disease as well as suppressing high blood pressure.

Over time, Porter said, patients are given these drugs in tandem with an altered dose of chemotherapy. The hope is by treating the potential heart disease while administering drugs with a high likelihood of heart damage, they can keep the heart healthy.

Porter cautioned it was too early and the patient group too small to say whether the treatment will have positive long-term effects. Porter began this type of treatment in late 2007 and KU is one of only three cancer centers undertaking similar tests.

The treatment ties heavily into the survivorship program, which takes on women who are recovering from breast cancer treatment and tries to normalize their health.

Jennifer Klemp, program director for the survivorship program, said women who had been treated for breast cancer and were either in remission or had a nonmalignant tumor could qualify for the program.

The program

The project began in 2007 after breast cancer specialists at KU noticed what they believed was the lack of a specific cancer recovery program. Klemp said of all the other survivorship programs she had seen, most attempted to go too broad in scope.

By focusing specifically on breast cancer, Klemp said, doctors hoped to become experts at helping survivors of breast cancer regain a sense of normalcy. After that, they would eventually try and translate successes into survivors of other cancers.

Officials are still trying to work out some bugs, however.

Klemp said after her group presented initial findings to a group of peers, they discovered that while they were doing a good job treating the cancer, the issue of overall women's health had been lost.

"We're doing a good job taking care of the cancer part of this," she said. "But, we're missing out on the whole bigger women's health picture."

Carlyle said she felt the program helped to fulfill one of the most important things necessary for women going through breast cancer: a support network.

"You need support outside your family," she said. "Not to say they won't be there for you, but it can't be understated how much it helps to have someone who has gone through the same thing."

And Carlyle considers herself lucky. Both her mother and her mother's mother died in their 50s from breast cancer. So, in a sense, Carlyle said she anticipated her cancer. But her hope is that through the studies at the survivorship program at KU and similar initiatives around the country, something can be done to help her daughters.

"I know they have a chance of having breast cancer," she said. "But, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that."

Comments

notnowdear 5 years, 9 months ago

admendment to previous post:I suggest you look into the massive market manipulation plight of Provenge (DNDN), a prostate cancer immunotherapy treatment that the FDA is trying their best to keep from public access, despite the overwhelming positive results for Provenge of the FDA's advisory committee, voting 17-0 for safety and 13- dubious-and-conflict-of-interest 4 for efficacy.

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notnowdear 5 years, 9 months ago

What if the cancer comes from the fluoride in our drinking water that is put there for our easily-replaceable! teeth at the expense of life-sustaining organs like our liver?It is far easier to replace teeth than it is a liver or lung or skin or heart or kidneys.It is now such that the American Diabetic Association is not supporting the ADA's stance on water fluoride, and they are recommending that diabetics do not drink the tap water if it is fluoridated.With the price of fluoridation going thru the roof for cities, including Lawrence, it may well be a good time to reduce or eliminate the fluoridation practice in this city.

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notnowdear 5 years, 9 months ago

Immunotherapy, the undoubtable cancer treatment process of the future, is having a hard battle with Big Pharms. Of course, Big Pharms are now, finally, jumping on the immunotherapy bandwagon, merely because people are opting out of chemo these days, and searching for treatments in other countries.I suggest you look into the massive market manipulation plight of Provenge (DNDN), a prostate cancer immunotherapy treatment that the FDA is trying their best to keep from public access, despite the overwhelming positive results for Provenge of the FDA's advisory committee, voting 17-0 for safety and 13- dubious-and-conflict-of-interest 4 for safety.Cancer treatment is big $ business. It is about making money, not curing people.Sign petition on link below:http://www.PetitionOnline.com/access2/petition.htmlCancer Advocates Support The Access ActTo: U.S. Congress and SenateAccess, Compassion, Care, and Ethics for Seriously Ill Patients Act (S.3046 H.R.6270). Congress now has an opportunity to help save and extend the lives of cancer patients and others with serious life-threatening illnesses, thanks to the recently introduced Access, Compassion, Care, and Ethics for Seriously Ill Patients Act. The Access Act creates a new approval mechanism called Compassionate Investigational Access (CIA) for patients who cannot wait. Patients receiving a CIA drug must suffer from a serious or life-threatening disease, be out of approved options and unable to gain access to a clinical trial. Patients must also provide informed consent, and allow the collection of clinical data from their experience with the drug, so we will all know more about the safety and efficacy of new therapies before they are approved for wider use. House initiating sponsor Representative Dianne Watson (D-CA): "The activism of the AIDS community in the 1990s expedited the marketing to the general public of promising antiretroviral drugs. Sadly, the expedited approval of promising new drugs for cancer patients and patients with other life-threatening diseases does not receive the same attention or expedited approval." A clear example and one of the poster children of "decelerated" approval at the FDA is Provenge, an immunotherapy for dying men with prostate cancer. Over 30,000 men have died since the FDA decision last May to delay Provenge, citing the need for more data. Provenge has shown activity and efficacy in every one of the six trials where it has been studied including three phase three trials. The FDA looked at the phase three trial that showed the median (midpoint) survival benefit was 4.5 months but the mean (average) survival benefit was much better: 34 percent of all men receiving Provenge were alive after three years compared to 11 percent of those who did not. In the last 45 years, chemotherapy is the only medicine approved to treat terminal prostate cancer. I urge Congress to support and pass the ACCESS Act (S.3046 H.R.6270). Sincerely,The Undersigned

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ACCardiology 5 years, 9 months ago

For more information on cardiovascular health and heart disease please visit CardioSmart.org, a website sponsored by the American College of Cardiology. You will find substantial interactive information that can change your life, and the lives of those around you http://www.cardiosmart.org/

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gr 5 years, 9 months ago

I hear chemotherapy is rough. I don't know of any doctor who doesn't have cancer willing to take it in support of his patients. Do you wonder what the chance of getting cancer from taking these toxic drugs are? Is taking poison better than dying from cancer? Carlyle thinks so.What if the cancer comes from the patient's environment or what they eat? Won't they get cancer again even if they don't get it from taking poison? Even if they do choose to take poison, would it be useful to review their environment and eat as healthy as possible? You ask, what is healthy? Any guidelines? Perhaps, a consulatation of the Instruction Manual would be useful.

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