Archive for the ‘Patient Advocacy’ Category

Pregnant and Diagnosed with Breast Cancer? Help is Available.

Posted By on April 15th, 2014 at 8:32 am | 29 comments.

pregnant-woman-pic-for-PLFor some women, the happiest time in their lives is complicated by the scariest times in their lives when pregnant women are diagnosed with cancer. There is help available.

Dr. Elyce Cardonick, a Maternal Fetal Medicine physician at Cooper University Health Care maintains a cancer and childbirth registry/data base of all pregnant women diagnosed with cancer and with each patient’s permission, reviews their cancer treatment and pregnancy outcomes. What is unique about this data base, The Cancer and Pregnancy Registry, is that the children are not only followed up until birth, but on an ongoing yearly basis. Pregnant women diagnosed with cancer find the registry helpful in learning how many other pregnant women were diagnosed and treated for the same cancer during pregnancy. Patient data is kept confidential. It is a valuable contribution to the oncological and obstetrical knowledge base for pregnant women with cancer.
If you would be interested in contributing your information to the data base to advance the knowledge about cancer and pregnancy, please contact Dr. Cardonick directly. She can send you information and a consent form explaining the data base. Your health, and the health of your child, will be followed periodically.

You may reach Dr. Cardonick and find out the details about participating in The Cancer and Pregnancy Registry at www.cancerandpregnancy.com or by calling her at 1-877-635-4499 (toll free) or at 1-856-342-2491. A message may also be left on her private voicemail at 1-856-757-7876.

Breast Cancer Researchers Need Your Help. Take Action Today!

Posted By on April 15th, 2014 at 8:32 am | 0 comments.

clinical-trials-pic-for-PLFederal funding cuts could soon shutter access to clinical trials for thousands of cancer patients across the country.  The National Cancer Institute has decided to end funding for federal-funded clinical trials in the community setting.  How can YOU help?

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, researchers will either be forced to shut down existing clinical trials or cancel planned new trials.  Unless the National Cancer Institute continues to fund current clinical trials and future trials, potential breakthroughs in cancer treatment may be halted.  Here’s where YOU come in.  We urge anyone passionate about finding a cure for breast cancer to contact their U.S. Senators and representatives in U.S. Congress to alert them of this important and urgent issue.  Tell them to demand continued funding for cancer clinical trials from the National Cancer Institute. Thank you for taking action with us!

To find your U.S. Representative, click here.

To contact U.S. Senator Bob Casey, click here.
To contact U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, click here.

Do You Need Time Off from Work for Breast Cancer Treatment?

Posted By on March 14th, 2014 at 8:23 am | 29 comments.

Woman-and-doctor-chemoThe Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave. Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles.

The U.S. Department of Labor website  provides details on the law and what your rights are under the Family Medical Leave Act. You can find more information and a sample letter requesting time off under FMLA in the toolkit section of the PBCC insurance guidebook “Breast Cancer: Covered or Not?”.

You can download the PBCC insurance guidebook for FREE here.

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Calling for Participants

Posted By on February 28th, 2014 at 9:25 am | 160 comments.
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Drs. Edith Mitchell, Hallgeir Rui and their team of multidisciplinary researchers

An ongoing research program, led by Edith Mitchell, M.D., FACP, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Clinical Oncology at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and Hallgeir Rui, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Cancer Biology, has initiated a new clinical trial at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University that offers a more customized and personalized approach to the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer. The trial, with lead investigators Drs. Tiffany Avery in the Department of Medical Oncology and Adam Berger in the Department of Surgery, offers treatment in the form of chemotherapy paired with a supplemental medication called a “Parp Inhibitor” and is designed to target the breast cancer cells to increase response to treatment and decrease the risk of recurrence. Researchers will conduct a randomized two-arm trial in 12-week cycles by administering different types of medicines in addition to chemotherapy.

Triple-negative breast cancer cells lack estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors, and do not have an excess of the HER2 protein on their surfaces. This type of breast cancer diagnosis is more prevalent in younger women and in African-American women. Triple-negative breast cancers tend to grow faster and more aggressively and spread to other parts of the body more quicker than most other types of breast cancer. Drs. Mitchell and Rui and their team of researchers are hoping to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of treatment for triple-negative breast cancer through this clinical trial.

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Dr. Edith Mitchell speaks with a patient at the Kimmel Cancer Center.

Clinical Trial Details:

An adaptive randomized Phase II Trial to determine pathologic complete response with the addition of carboplatin with and without veliparib to standard chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant treatment of triple-negative breast cancer
Study Design:  This is a randomized two-arm trial for the neoadjuvant treatment of triple breast cancer patients. The two arms for the trial are as follows:

1.    Paclitaxel and carboplatin (12 weekly cycles) with growth factor support followed by doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (4 cycles every 3 weeks) with growth factor support.

2.    Veliparib + paclitaxel + carboplatin (12 weekly cycles) with growth factor support fol

lowed by doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (4 cycles every 3 weeks) with growth factor support.

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Drs. Edith Mitchell, Adam Berger & Hallgeir Rui

The primary objective of the study is to compare the pathologic complete response in patients with triple negative breast cancer treated with paclitaxel and carboplatin or paclitaxel, carboplatin, and veliparib in addition to standard

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Dr. Tiffany Avery, a lead investigator in this clinical trial

chemotherapy  (adriamycin and cyclophosphamide).
Key Eligibility Criteria:
1. Histologically confirmed adenocarcinoma of the breast with the following markers: Estrogen receptor negative (<1%), progesterone receptor negative (<1%), and Her-2/neu negative (0, 1+ on IHC te

sting or 2+ and FISH ratio < 1.8) or adenocarcinoma identified as basal-like subtype on molecular profiling.
2.    Clinical stage IIA, IIB or stage IIIA, IIIB, or IIIC breast cancer with no prior treatment for this tumor.
3.   ECOG Performance Status of 0 or 1.

If you think you may be a potential candidate for this clinical study, please contact the study coordinator, Melisa Mordenti, at 215-955-8979.

Click on the video below for more details on this clinical trial.

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Need a Ride to Treatment? Angel Bus Program Offers Assistance

Posted By on February 17th, 2014 at 8:55 am | 145 comments.

Angel-Bus-logo-pic-for-webAngel Bus is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing FREE non-emergency, long-distance ground transportation to financially stressed ambulatory patients who are traveling for treatment.  A typical Angel Bus trip is 70 – 250 miles (one-way).  Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis for cancer patients traveling daily for treatment.  Here’s how Angel Bus can help…

Angel Bus provides help with transportation in these ways:
Gas Cards are provided to help offset fuel cost for patients
-Gas cards from major companies are mailed to patients

Commercial ground transportation (Amtrak, Greyhound, etc.)
-Tickets to be picked up at Will Call.  With ample lead time, tickets can be mailed.

Volunteer drivers
– Angel Bus has a limited number of drivers throughout the continental US.

To be eligible, you must have:
-Scheduled medical appointment
-Clearance by physician to travel
-Verifiable financial need
All services provided by Angel Bus are free to clients. A Trip Request can also be completed online at http://www.angel-bus.org/request-form

Are You Struggling to Pay Bills During Treatment? Find Help Now.

Posted By on January 15th, 2014 at 8:38 am | 129 comments.

woman-with-bills-for-webIf you are currently in treatment for breast cancer, and having difficulty keeping up with rent and utility bills, there is help available! Breast Cancer Charities of America offers up to $500 on a one-time basis per patient through its Help Now Fund. You will need to complete an application together with your medical personnel or social worker, and submit it between the 1st and 7th of the month.

Here’s how it works…

~ Applications sent directly from the patient will not be accepted.

~ If approved, Breast Cancer Charities of America will call the medical personnel by the 15th of the month, and checks will be made payable to the rental or utility company and mailed to you for review.

~ To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen in active treatment for breast cancer and provide documentation of past-due rent and/or utilities.

Click on the links below for more information on these programs.
http://www.thebreastcancercharities.org/help-now-fund/
http://www.thebreastcancercharities.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/2014-HNF-Application-Guidelines.pdf

Got a Giving Spirit? You’re Probably Good-Looking, Too…

Posted By on December 16th, 2013 at 8:29 am | 100 comments.

heart-in-hands-image-for-webWhen it comes to donating your money or time to a charity of choice, do you ever wonder – what’s in it for you? According to an article published in the Wall Street Journal by Arthur Brooks, studies show that donors to charity are happier, healthier and handsome than those who choose not to give.

Researchers at the University of Chicago found that happiness and generosity go hand-in-hand.  Charitable givers are 43% more likely to say they are “very happy” when compared to nongivers.  The same goes for volunteering to nonprofits.  Scientists at the University of Buffalo studied hundreds of volunteers, finding that their charity work significantly lowered the association between stressful life events and death.

Dutch and British researchers surveyed students, showing them one of three videos featuring a handsome actor.  Those who saw the video of that actor donating to charity, the more good-looking he appeared.

According to the study, you can’t afford not to give, whether it’s a monetary donation or the donation of your time.  Take some time to support the causes you’re passionate about this holiday season.  You’ll be better off for it.

To read Arthur Brooks’ Wall Street Journal article in its entirety, click here.

What’s for Dinner? Free Online Service Organizes Meals for Survivors

Posted By on December 16th, 2013 at 8:29 am | 30 comments.

Meal-Train-Image-2forwebWhen faced with a breast cancer diagnosis, friends or family members might ask – “How Can I Help?”  Often they offer to provide that help by cooking dinner during treatment, but it’s tough to figure out who’s bringing what and when they’re bringing it!   That’s where Meal Train comes in.  It’s a free Web site that organizes meals for friends or loved ones in need.
Here’s how it works…

MealTrain.com allows anyone to set up a free meal calendar.  In the calendar, you can log on, choose a day of the week during which you would like to make a meal.  Each participant then chooses that day, writes what meal they will be bringing so other members of the Meal Train don’t bring the same thing.  How many lasagnas can you eat in one week anyway?  Meal Train also lets you type in the survivor’s address, their favorite meals, a preferred drop-off time and any allergies their family members might have.  Friends who choose to help in other ways may opt to pass on cooking a meal and send the patient flowers or donations instead.  For more information on Meal Train, click here.