Author Archive

March 3 is Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Day

Posted By on February 25th, 2015 at 3:16 pm | 0 comments.

woman-with-doctorMarch 3 is Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Day. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a very aggressive form of the disease which makes up for 15 to 20 percent of all breast cancer cases. Pennsylvania researchers, like Refunds for Research grant winners Dr. Mauricio Reginato of Drexel University College of Medicine, Dr. Yanming Wang of Penn State University and Dr. Sandra Fernandez of Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals are just a few of the scientists in Pennsylvania working every day to find out what causes triple-negative breast cancer and what we need to cure it.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida will be conducting clinical trials on a vaccine they believe could prevent triple-negative breast cancer from coming back after a patient has been treated.

Here is the complete text from a recent USA Today article on the topic:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A major breakthrough could be coming for patients who suffer from a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer commonly referred to as “triple negative.”

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville are planning to do clinical trials for a vaccine that would hopefully prevent the disease from coming back after a patient has been treated.

“Can we do something else to essentially wake up the immune system so that the patient’s own body fights any cancer cells remaining after standard chemotherapy treatment?” asked Dr. Edith Perez, lead researcher on the project at Mayo Clinic.

Triple-negative breast cancer, or TNBC, strikes 15 percent to 20 percent of breast cancer patients. Unlike most forms of breast cancer, it’s not fueled by estrogen and cannot be treated with estrogen blockers like Tamoxifen. Right now, the only treatment is chemotherapy and the disease, even when treated, is likely to come back and spread.

TNBC typically strikes younger patients than most other forms of breast cancer. It often occurs in women under 50. African-American and Hispanic women are also more likely to develop it as are women who have the BRCA1 gene mutations.

Donna Deegan, a WTLV- and WJXX-TV news anchor, is a three-time breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with the cancer at age 38.

“For women with triple negative breast cancer, if this works, it could be a game changer,” Deegan said.

Perez said that in the past, she was not optimistic about the chances for success of a breast cancer vaccine. However, that has now changed.

“Over the last year we spent quite a bit of time evaluating a protein that is called the folate receptor alpha protein. We studied it in a variety of tumor types here in the laboratory at Mayo and we identified that in approximately 80% of the cases of triple negative breast cancer, this protein was over-expressed.” said Dr. Perez. “Patients who will be eligible are those patients with resected or removed triple negative breast cancer whose tumors express this protein.”

Perez is one of the top breast cancer researchers in the world. She teamed with immunologist Dr. Keith Knutson to develop the vaccine. Knutson’s research has worked on treatments for both ovarian and breast cancer. Patients who are part of the trial will be treated over a six-month period.

Funding for this research comes from several sources, including money raised by a local marathon. Perez said it will take about $10 million to complete the vaccine clinical trial.

“I tell you, the marathon has been instrumental to all of this work we have done over the years because we didn’t have a genomics program here at Mayo Clinic before the marathon started. So we used the funds to start the program,” Perez said.

Dense Breast Tissue: What to Know. What to Do.

Posted By on February 16th, 2015 at 8:31 am | 0 comments.

patheadshotforplWe all have a responsibility to educate, support and care for each other. I’ve met and talked with so many women who tell me similar stories – they have dense breast tissue, didn’t know it and were diagnosed at a later, less-treatable stage. We’re working to ensure no other woman has that same story to tell.

The PBCC hopes to gather information from mammography centers where women receive their mammograms. We’ve developed a 12-question survey to learn more about what mammography centers need to notify women of their breast density. Are you a breast imaging professional? Will you help us with this email survey?

Mammo-Survey-button-pink

Answers to the short survey will make a BIG difference! Gathering this information is vital as we move forward, informing and educating women about breast density. Thank you for turning advocacy into action!

Dr. Eugene Glavin, Medical Director for Women’s Imaging at Good Samaritan Health System explains why it’s important for mammography centers to share information.

Dr-Glavin-youtube-thumbnail-for-PL

Welcome New Honorary Chair First Lady Frances Wolf!

Posted By on February 16th, 2015 at 8:30 am | 0 comments.

FrancesWolfforPLThe PA Breast Cancer Coalition is proud to announce that First Lady Frances Donnelly Wolf will serve as the PBCC’s Honorary Chair. A resident of York County, Mrs. Wolf is an accomplished artist, dedicated to community involvement and engagement.
“Thousands of Pennsylvania women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year,” said Mrs. Wolf. “I am honored by the opportunity to work with the PA Breast Cancer Coalition, which fights every day to give these women and their loved ones hope.”

“We are delighted and extremely grateful that Mrs. Wolf shares our passion for helping breast cancer survivors, families, researchers and advocates in Pennsylvania. Her involvement continues a wonderful tradition and partnership with Pennsylvania’s first ladies,” said Pat Halpin-Murphy, president and founder of the PA Breast Cancer Coalition. “The PA Breast Cancer Coalition is excited for the opportunity to work with our new first lady towards our goal of finding a cure for breast cancer now… so our daughters won’t have to.”
Mrs. Wolf, the daughter of a U.S. diplomat, was born in New York City and raised all over the world in Iran, Germany, France, Pakistan and England. The first lady has earned degrees from the University of London and Franklin and Marshall College. Mrs. Wolf also holds a master’s degree from Bryn Mawr College. Her artwork has been exhibited in numerous shows including the Lancaster Museum of Art, York College of Pennsylvania and the Artists’ House Gallery in Philadelphia.
The First Lady and Governor Tom Wolf have played an integral role in the rejuvenation of downtown York over the years. She served on the board of York’s community foundation from 2005 to 2010. Mrs. Wolf is also a vice chair of the Board of Trustees as her alma mater, Franklin and Marshall College.
Governor and Mrs. Wolf have been married for 39 years. They have two daughters, Sarah and Katie.
Welcome, First Lady Frances Wolf!

PBCC Advocacy Helps Fayette Survivor Find Support, Strength

Posted By on February 16th, 2015 at 8:29 am | 0 comments.

JaynetteSurvivorStoryforPLWell, I did a terrible thing. I went for three years without a mammogram, working, going camping, and just doing whatever I wanted to do. The doctor’s office would make an appointment for me and I’d cancel it. Then I realized I had a lump and I made an appointment and had a mammogram. I knew they’d be calling me back in, and two days later they did. I went for a diagnostic ultrasound, then a biopsy, and was diagnosed with breast cancer on July 26, 2013.

When I learned I had breast cancer I did an online search and found the PBCC. I didn’t know where else to turn and the PBCC was so helpful! I got my Friends Like Me care package within a week. There was so much good information. It gave me something to concentrate on.
I had a modified radical mastectomy, then chemo, took a month off to rest, and then I had 36 radiation treatments.
When I was on my 3rd of 20 chemo treatments, my Family Medical Leave (FMLA) ran out and I lost my job. I was trying to keep up with COBRA payments, and I think what happens is that nobody wants to talk about not being able to pay their bills. But I eventually mentioned it to my niece who lives in another state and she knew someone there who got coverage through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act (BCCPT). I called the PBCC to see if that was available in PA and you helped me find out how to apply. It was such a huge relief, not having to worry about how to come up with the COBRA payments!
jaynettelastchemoMy husband was such a great support. He said, “You can’t give up now. You have to keep on going.” The other biggest help I had was Luca, a yellow golden retriever. Luca is a therapy dog who comes to UPMC Magee and is owned by Sister Pat, a Catholic nun. Pets with Heart is a program of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden PA.  All throughout my chemo treatments, Sister Pat brought Luca in and she would sit with me. I never would have done as well without her.
One thing I want other women to know is not to be upset if they have chemo fog. If you forget things, just laugh about it. It’s healthier. Look on the bright side because there are so many people that want to help you. Unity Journey of Hope, a nonprofit organization working to fulfill wishes for adults facing illnesses, granted me a wish. I haven’t been able to ride bikes or ski or travel like I used to do because I’ve had too much pain and discomfort. But I have always wanted to eat in a 5-star restaurant and they granted me that wish!
Now I’m looking forward to going to the Pink Zone basketball game at Penn State! This would be my first time and that looks like a lot of fun!

Breast Cancer Death Rates Decline Drastically Over 20 Years

Posted By on February 16th, 2015 at 8:29 am | 0 comments.

Breast-Cancer-Survival-for-PLIn the past 20 years, breast cancer death rates have dropped dramatically.  According to the latest government statistics, breast cancer deaths decreased by 34 percent between 1990 and 2011 and experts believe that number has continued to drop over the past 4 years.  Why the decrease?

Researchers say death rates from breast cancer have declined due to better treatment, greater awareness, and more women getting mammograms.  New medicines in the past 20 years, such as targeted chemotherapy and Tamoxifen, have contributed to increasing breast cancer survival.  Today, there is an increasing trend toward individualized medicine as doctors learn more about tumors and the effectiveness of personalized medicine.  Additionally in the past 20 years, more women are becoming aware of the disease and are going to the doctors when something seems suspicious.  Many are hopeful that this downward trend will continue and even more women will survive a breast cancer diagnosis.

Click here to read the full article.

NHL Alumni to Face Off Against Breast Cancer this March

Posted By on February 16th, 2015 at 8:29 am | 0 comments.

Pucks-with-ProsCalling all ice hockey fans: Join the PA Breast Cancer Coalition for a fun-filled weekend with NHL Alumni at Pucks with Pros on March 6th and 7th! It all gets underway Friday night at Hersheypark’s Coaster Cafe with an exclusive Meet and Greet Hot Stove Party featuring dozens of former pros. Hear the alums tell their stories and bid on some one-of-a-kind silent auction items. The action continues Saturday at the Pucks with Pros Alumni Classic game at Klick Lewis Arena. Want to go?

A limited number of tickets to the Meet and Greet Hot Stove Party are available online at www.PuckswithPros.com for $30.  Tickets are also available for $40 at the door.  Snitz Creek Brewery will supply original beer selections for the event.  On Saturday, pros and their teams are set to challenge each other in a “Fantasy Tournament” at Klick Lewis Arena in Palmyra. Don’t miss it!

Pucks with Pros, organized by Jon Jehrio, has raised more than $90,000 for the PA Breast Cancer Coalition over the years.

Visit www.PuckswithPros.com for information on NHL Alumni lineup and weekend events.  Be sure to spread the word using #PuckswithPros on Twitter and Facebook. We hope to see you there!

Free Program Offers Support, Guidance to Children with Loved Ones Battling Cancer

Posted By on February 16th, 2015 at 8:28 am | 0 comments.

CLIMB-programCLIMB® (Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) is a FREE program offered by Penn State Hershey Medical Center  and designed to help children cope when someone they love has cancer. Sessions are held over four successive Wednesday evenings and are facilitated by a health care provider trained in caring for families of cancer patients. CLIMB® is open to children between the ages of 5 and 13. Registration ends Feb. 17!

Participants will gain new understanding of cancer and its treatment, and bond with others their age going through the same thing.
WHERE:  Penn State Hershey Breast Center
WHEN:    February 18th, February 25th, March 4th and March 11th
6:00 to 8:00 p.m. with dinner provided
To register, call Nicole Cook or Lynn Fantom at 717-531-7492 or email ncook@hmc.psu.edu.
For more information, click here 

Hope for the Future: Supporting Outstanding Breast Cancer Researchers

Posted By on January 15th, 2015 at 10:30 am | 3 comments.

patheadshotforplBy Pat Halpin-Murphy, President & Founder

Busy doesn’t even begin to describe a day in the life of a cancer researcher. Between studying cells, conducting lab trials and applying for grants, they work ’round the clock in their search for a cure.
And they need our help. Desperately. You can donate directly to Pennsylvania scientists through the PBCC’s Refunds for Research campaign. How? Find line 32 on your state income tax form and choose code “A.” The average donation is $7 and every penny makes a difference. Take action and donate your refund to breast cancer researchers in PA. Together, we can eliminate this disease and find a cure for breast cancer now… so our daughters won’t have to.

In 2015, the PBCC will fund $50,000 grants to each of these three researchers:
Alessandro Fatatis, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology, Drexel University College of Medicine
Xianxin Hua, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Cancer Biology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Mauricio Reginato, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Drexel University College of Medicine

Join the PBCC Wednesday, January 28 at 10:00am at Drexel University as we award our first two research grants to Dr. Fatatis and Dr. Reginato! To RSVP, email Erica@PABreastCancer.org or call 800-377-8828 x2307.

R4R-Video-Thumbnail-with-play-button