Archive for the ‘Patient Resources’ Category

Free Beach Vacations Available for Breast Cancer Survivors

Posted By on August 15th, 2014 at 8:48 am | 6 comments.

littlepinkhousesfamilyforwebLittle Pink Houses of Hope provides FREE week-long vacations for breast cancer patients and their families. Each beach retreat is designed to help families relax, reconnect, and rejuvenate. Families accepted are responsible for the cost of travel to and from the vacation site; all other aspects of the retreat are covered by Little Pink Houses of Hope.

Applications are now open for fall vacations in North Carolina, California, South Carolina and Florida. Each family is housed in their own beach housing which has a refrigerator stocked with all of their breakfast and drink needs.  Common meals are held for lunch and dinner, allowing families to meet and enjoy getting to know other families on the same journey.  During the week, a schedule of daily activities is put together based on local community donations.  In the past, activities have included, kayaking, hang gliding, stand up paddle boarding, golf, jewelry making classes, massage, fishing, sailing, concerts, carnivals, etc.
For more information on Little Pink Houses of Hope, visit the website: http://www.littlepink.org/

Study: Drug May Protect Fertility During Chemotherapy

Posted By on June 16th, 2014 at 8:46 am | 14431 comments.

pregnant-womangreenResearchers at the Cleveland Clinic say they have found a drug that shows promise in protecting fertility among cancer survivors.  Goserelin, which is commonly used in hormonal therapies to treat breast and prostate cancers, is also used in fertility clinics to control ovulation.  How does it work?

According to this recent study, goserelin has been proven to prevent women from entering premature menopause that can be caused by chemotherapy.  Researchers found that women who were given goserelin injections along with chemotherapy had less ovarian failure and gave birth to more babies than women who only received chemotherapy.  Two years after starting chemotherapy, only 8% of women who received the monthly goserelin injections during chemotherapy experienced ovarian failure, compared to 22% of those with chemotherapy who did not receive the injections.  It was noted that this study only included women who had hormone-receptor-negative cancer, because many women with hormone-receptor-positive cancer typically receive the drug tamoxifen, which can cause a loss in menstruation.
Currently, the most common option for breast cancer patients to increase their chances of conceiving is to freeze their eggs, which is an invasive procedure that can cost $10,000+.  Once-a-month injections of goserelin during chemotherapy would serve as an alternative, costing about $500-$600 per shot.  Experts say, while the research shows positive results, the drug does come with side effects.  Survivors may experience a temporary postmenopausal state along with hot flashes and other symptoms.
There is some doubt among experts at the American Society of Clinical Oncology who say there is insufficient evidence that this approach is effective and “should not be relied on to preserve fertility.”
Still, scientists say they also noticed an unexpected finding of the study: women who received goserelin had a lower risk of dying after four years.   They say there is still not enough data to recommend this drug be used to treat cancer, but the results show goserelin will not worsen cancer outcomes if used to protect fertility.
To read the complete article in the New York Times, click here

FREE Summer Camp Open to PA Kids Affected by Cancer

Posted By on June 16th, 2014 at 8:45 am | 5 comments.

Camp-Kesem-picCamp Kesem, a summer camp for kids with a parent who has (or has had) cancer, is now accepting applications! The one-week sleep away camps are a chance for children ages 6-16 to have a fun-filled week and just be kids. Everything at Camp Kesem focuses on the goal of giving campers the best week of their lives, while providing the extra support and attention they need.

Camp Kesem empowers college student leaders nationwide to create free, FUN summer camps for children affected by a parent’s cancer.  There are two locations offered here in Pennsylvania:

Camp Kesem Central PA – Fort Washington
http://campkesem.org/centralpa/about-our-camp

Camp Kesem at UPenn – Philadelphia area
http://campkesem.org/upenn

Learn more about the Camp Kesem experience in the video below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cEDBQLhdSY#t=29

The “A Day at Camp” link provides an overview of a typical day your child might expect:
http://campkesem.org/parents-campers/a-day-at-camp

FREE Webinars Coming this Month

Posted By on June 2nd, 2014 at 10:56 am | 0 comments.

Webinar-Graphic-for-PinkLink     Ask the Expert!  The PA Breast Cancer Coalition will expand its educational programs and services this June with the launch of FREE Webinars for survivors and advocates. The first presentation, offered Tuesday, June 24 at 7:00pm, will be “Understanding Your Breast Cancer Reconstruction Options” hosted by Dr. Joseph Serletti, Chief of Plastic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine.
Dr. Serletti plans to focus on the latest in breast and nipple reconstruction options as well as how to best prepare for surgery and post-operation recovery. He will also be available to answer questions during the webinar. Anyone interested in learning more about this topic is invited to join us for this unique educational opportunity, free of charge.

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Targeted Breast Cancer Therapy Study Calling for Participants

Posted By on May 15th, 2014 at 10:14 am | 0 comments.

Are you currently undergoing breast cancer treatment? A new study is looking for survivors who are taking either Afinitor breast-cancer-study-for-PL Tykerb. Researchers want to learn more about the patient experience including daily nutrition and any side effects they may be noticing. Want to learn more?

GlaxoSmithKline’s Focus on the Patient team is conducting this study of oncology patients.  To be eligible, you must be:

•    Currently taking one of these medications – Afinitor or Tykerb – as part of treatment regimen for at least the past two months

•    Available to participate in on-on-one interviews on one of the following dates:  May 19, 20 or 21 to be conducted in Collegeville, PA or via Skype or telephone.

•    Willing to discuss daily nutrition and any side effects experienced as a result of this treatment as well as its effects on quality of life

Researchers are hoping to gain insight into any changes for patients related to the treatment.  If you are interested in volunteering for this study, please contact Kay Warner at kay.j.warner@gsk.com or call the PBCC at 800-377-8828.

FREE eBook: “Breast Cancer Basics”

Posted By on May 6th, 2014 at 10:00 am | 1 comment.

Breast-Cancer-Basics-PicThe PA Breast Cancer Coalition has compiled a “Breast Cancer Basics” book with helpful information on types of breast cancer, stages, treatments, nutrition and more.  It’s everything you need to know including tips for talking with your doctor and what to do if you don’t have insurance.  Download your copy, free of charge here.

If you know someone who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, request a free Friends Like Me care package for them from the PBCC.  Fill out the online form by clicking here and a box full of resources and small gifts will be on its way.

PBCC’s Rainy Day To-Do List

Posted By on April 30th, 2014 at 11:32 am | 1 comment.

Rainy-Day-To-do-list

April Showers just won’t seem to let up (at least at the PBCC office in Lebanon)!  If you’re battling the rainy day blues, check out our to-do list for days like this:

1.  Schedule your mammogram!  Don’t put it off.  Early detection saves lives.  No insurance?  Check out PA’s Healthy Woman program here.

2.  Start a new book.  Rainy days are perfect for reading.  Look through our list of favorites in the PBCC book club here.

3.  Sign up to volunteer.  The PA Breast Cancer Coalition and its Grassroots Partners host events year-round to support survivors, their families and breast cancer researchers including the upcoming Take a Swing Against Breast Cancer Home Run Derby.  Click here for more information.

4.  Be Inspired.  Browse our online photo exhibit, 67 Women, 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania for quotes and photos from brave women all across the state.  The exhibit will be on display starting this Thursday, May 1 in Westmoreland County.  Join us! Details here.

5.  Break a sweat!  Hitting the gym is a great stress-reliever and we all know it’s good for our health.  If you’re a survivor, find out if there are any free programs in your area like the Pink Complete program at Lebanon YMCA.

6.  Take a nap.  Catching some extra Zzzs can be just what you need to recharge.

7.  Share Your Story.  Every breast cancer survivor has a unique journey.  Share yours with us and inspire other women just like you.  Click here to send us your story.

8.  Grab coffee with a friend.  If you don’t feel like going out, order in.  Chick Coffee has a whole line of products that support our cause.  Check ‘em out here.

9.  Two words – Bubble. Bath.

10.  Eat up.  Try a new recipe or whip up some comfort food.  Looking for something yummy and healthy?  Check out the Silver Pen blog for something fresh and new.  Bonus: It’s written by a breast cancer survivor who also shares some great stories and tips to navigate a diagnosis.

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Calling for Participants

Posted By on February 28th, 2014 at 9:25 am | 73 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

Dr. Avery

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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