World Ovarian Cancer Day: One Voice for Every Woman

Each year, nearly a quarter of a million women around the world are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and the disease is responsible for 140,000 deaths annually. Statistics show that just 45% of women with ovarian cancer are likely to survive for five years compared with 89% of women with breast cancer. We ask that you join us on World Ovarian Cancer Day (May 8th) in the fight against the most lethal form of gynecologic cancer.

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LEARN: World Ovarian Cancer Day — May 8, 2014

On May 8, join the global movement to raise awareness about ovarian cancer by pledging to spread the word about the most serious gynecological cancer during the second annual World Ovarian Cancer Day (WOCD). The pledge to pass on the awareness message to at least five friends will bring to life this year’s theme One Voice for Every Woman.

“The number one objective of World Ovarian Cancer Day is to increase awareness of this disease and to connect people internationally with the resources available to educate others,” says Elisabeth Baugh, chair of the WOCD international organizing committee and CEO of Ovarian Cancer Canada. “In our inaugural year, 28 cancer organizations from 18 countries participated in getting the word out, largely through social media. In 2014, we are not only inviting cancer organizations, but all interested groups internationally to register and partner with us. With our pledge, we are also involving individuals worldwide, and empowering them with information about ovarian cancer and a quick and easy way to pass on the word about the disease.”

All of those who sign the World Ovarian Cancer Day pledge at www.ovariancancerday.org will receive an e-card on May 8 with ovarian cancer risk and symptom information. This card is to be passed along to at least five friends, who in turn will be encouraged to pass it along to their friends.

Each year, nearly a quarter of a million women around the world are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and the disease is responsible for 140,000 deaths annually. Statistics show that just 45% of women with ovarian cancer are likely to survive for five years compared with 89% of women with breast cancer. Women in developed and developing countries are similarly affected by ovarian cancer. There is no test for the early detection of ovarian cancer, a disease characterized around the world by a lack of awareness of symptoms and late stage diagnosis.

WOCD’s social media campaign includes the WOCD website, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. To help raise awareness and show international involvement in the inaugural year, partner organizations and individuals from many countries wore teal and posed for photos in front of well-known landmarks holding signs featuring the WOCD “world embrace” logo.

These photographs were shared around the world. Other activities included public awareness events at train and subway stations, and information tables and education sessions at hospitals and cancer centers. These activities will continue to grow on May 8, 2014 along with governmental proclamations and “lighting the world in teal” – the color that represents ovarian cancer. Committee members Annwen Jones, Chief Executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, and Alison Amos, CEO, Ovarian Cancer Australia agree this is a wonderful opportunity. “World Ovarian Cancer Day is an important day for ovarian cancer organizations and communities around the world to unite and speak with one voice to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. We’re proud to be involved with this global initiative and will be passing the awareness message out among those we work with. This activity supports our vision to save lives and ensure that no woman with ovarian cancer walks alone.” “For women living with the disease and their families and friends, World Ovarian Cancer Day has tremendous meaning,” says Baugh. “Through this important day, we will continue to build momentum and a sense of solidarity in the fight against ovarian cancer. Every woman is at some risk for ovarian cancer and awareness remains our best defence.”

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EDUCATE: Ovarian Cancer Facts:

Libby’s H*O*P*E* is dedicated to my 26-year old cousin, Elizabeth “Libby” Remick, who died from ovarian cancer in July 2008. Our mission is to educate ovarian cancer survivors and their families, as well as the general public, about ovarian cancer under the principle that “information is power.” The key to a significant reduction in deaths from ovarian cancer is early detection. Early detection is best achieved by having women listen to their bodies for the subtle, yet persistent, early warning signs & symptoms of the disease as described below. Together, we can raise money for a reliable early detection test, and ultimately a cure, for ovarian cancer.

Please take time to educate yourself with respect to the important ovarian cancer awareness facts provided below.

–Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

–In 2014, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be approximately 21,980 new ovarian cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. ACS estimates that 14,270 U.S. women will die from the disease, or about 40 women per day. The loss of life is equivalent to 28 Boeing 747 jumbo jet crashes with no survivors every year.

–Ovarian cancer is not a “silent” disease; it is a “subtle” disease. Recent studies indicate that some women may experience persistent, nonspecific symptoms, such as (i) bloating, (ii) pelvic or abdominal pain, (iii) difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, or (iv) urinary urgency or frequency. Women who experience such symptoms daily for more than a few weeks should seek prompt medical evaluation.

–Ovarian cancer can afflict adolescent, young adult, and mature women.

–Pregnancy and the long-term use of oral contraceptives reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

–Women who have had breast cancer, or who have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer may have increased risk. Inherited mutations in BRCA1/BRCA2 genes increase risk. Women of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry are at higher risk for BRCA gene mutations.

–There is no reliable screening test for the detection of early stage ovarian cancer. Pelvic examination only occasionally detects ovarian cancer, generally when the disease is advanced. A Pap smear is used to detect cervical cancer, not ovarian cancer. However, the combination of a thorough pelvic exam, transvaginal ultrasound, and a blood test for the tumor marker CA125 may be offered to women who are at high risk of ovarian cancer and to women who have persistent, unexplained symptoms like those listed above.

–If diagnosed at the localized stage, the 5-year ovarian cancer survival rate is 92%; however, only about 19% of all cases are detected at this stage, usually fortuitously during another medical procedure.

–The 10-year relative survival rate for all disease stages combined is only 38%.

Please help us spread the word about the early warning signs & symptoms of ovarian cancer and raise money for ovarian cancer research. The life you save may be your own or that of a loved one.

FIGHT: The “Holy Trinity” of Major U.S. Ovarian Cancer Organizations

There are three major U.S. ovarian cancer organizations that are working to increase ovarian cancer awareness, and/or raise money to fight the disease. They are listed below. Please consider making a donation to one of these critically important nonprofit organizations.

  • Ovarian Cancer Research Fund

The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) is the largest independent organization in the U.S. that is dedicated exclusively to funding ovarian cancer research– and to finding a cure. Through its three research programs, OCRF funds many of the best researchers and the most innovative projects.

Since 1998, OCRF has awarded 63 leading medical centers 195 grants for ovarian cancer research: an investment totaling over $50 million. OCRF researchers are taking on ovarian cancer from many angles:

— Developing innovative strategies for early detection;

— Discovering genetic polymorphisms that increase risk for ovarian cancer;

— Understanding the underlying genetics and molecular biology of ovarian cancer;

— Identifying new, better targets for treatment;

— Determining how to super-charge a woman’s immune response to better fight ovarian cancer; and

— Deciphering how and why ovarian cancer spreads, and how to stop it.

You can click here to make a donation to OCRF through the Libby’s H*O*P*E*’s donation page.

  • Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) is one of the foremost advocates for women with ovarian cancer in the U.S. To advance the interests of women with ovarian cancer, OCNA advocates at a national level for increases in research funding for the development of an early detection test, improved health care practices, and life-saving treatment protocols. OCNA also educates health care professionals and raises public awareness of the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer.

To make a donation to OCNA, click here.

  • National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

The mission of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) is to raise awareness and promote education about ovarian cancer. NOCC is committed to improving the survival rate and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer.

Through national programs and local Chapter initiatives, the NOCC’s goal is to make more people aware of the early symptoms of ovarian cancer. In addition, the NOCC provides information to assist the newly diagnosed patient, to provide hope to survivors, and to support caregivers.

To make a donation to NOCC, click here.

INSPIRE: Everyday Heroes in the Fight Against Ovarian Cancer.

Nearly a quarter million women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year around the world, and the disease also affects their families and friends. Please take time to visit the WOCD website and read inspirational stories about survivors, volunteers, and family members who are overcoming ovarian cancer, as well as the endeavors people are taking on to raise awareness about the disease.

At Libby’s H*O*P*E*, we are amazed each and every day by the inspirational ovarian cancer survivors and family members that we hear about, correspond with, or meet. The stories below represent a small sample of incredible individuals who have successfully fought the disease, as well as those who are currently fighting the disease with courage and grace. There are also stories about women who have died from ovarian cancer, but contributed to ovarian cancer awareness in a unique and special way during life. In addition, there are stories about doctors, advocates, and other inspirational individuals who are clearly making a difference in the fight against the disease.

“Bald is Beautiful,” March 20, 2008.

“Patty Franchi Flaherty Loses Battle to Ovarian Cancer, But Deserves a Long Standing Ovation,” August 19, 2008.

“Oscar Winner Kathy Bates Is an Inspirational Ovarian Cancer Survivor,” February 25, 2009.

— “Rare Form of Ovarian Cancer Not Getting Inspirational 13 Yr. Old Down; You Can Help!,” February 26, 2009.

— “Meet Laurey Masterton, 20-Year Ovarian Cancer Survivor Extraordinaire,” March 20, 2009.

— “The Rock Band ‘N.E.D.’: Their Medical Skills Save Many; Their Music Could Save Thousands,” March 29, 2009.

“A Wish To Build A Dream On,” May 3, 2009.

“Husband’s Love For Wife Inspires A 9,000 Mile Bike Trek To Raise Money For Ovarian Cancer Awareness & Cancer Prevention,” May 14, 2009.

“Gloria Johns Was Told ‘Ovarian Cancer Patients Don’t Live Long Enough … To Have Support Groups;’ She Proved Otherwise,” June 5, 2009.

“Vox Populi:* How Do Your Define “Tragedy?“, January 22, 2010.

— “Smile, Open Your Eyes, Love and Go On,” July 28, 2010.

“PBS Documentary, ‘The Whisper: The Silent Crisis of Ovarian Cancer,'” September 21, 2010.

“Determined Teen Loses Ovarian Cancer Battle, But Her Courage Inspires An Entire Community,” December 28, 2010.

“Mrs. Australia Quest Finalist Veronica Cristovao Is Raising Ovarian Cancer Awareness ‘Down Under'”, February 28, 2011.

— “Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go …”, July 28, 2012.

— “Crowd Funding:” Paying Medical Bills With a Little Help From Your Friends (and Strangers Too!), January 17, 2013.

___________________________

For more information on World Ovarian Cancer Day visit: www.ovariancancerday.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WorldOvarianCancerDay

Twitter: @OvarianCancerDY

Pinterest: @OvarianCancerDY

Each participating country is linked through the dedicated website which has been established for World Ovarian Cancer Day. To find out more about activities in each country, please contact the local organization directly through the website at http://www.ovariancancerday.org/get-involved/

Inaugural World Ovarian Cancer Day: “World Embrace” to Learn, Educate, Fight & Inspire

May 8th, 2013, is the first World Ovarian Cancer Day. On this day, 26 ovarian cancer organizations from 17 countries around the world will unite to educate their communities about ovarian cancer and its symptoms. For women living with the disease, and their families and friends, World Ovarian Cancer Day will build a sense of solidarity in the fight against ovarian cancer.

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“LEARN:” Inaugural World Ovarian Cancer Day — May 8, 2013

Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all gynecologic cancers, and is characterized around the world by a lack of awareness of symptoms and late stage diagnosis.

Today, May 8th, 2013, is the first World Ovarian Cancer Day (WOCD). On this day, ovarian cancer organizations from around the world will unite to educate their communities about ovarian cancer and its symptoms. For women living with the disease, and their families and friends, World Ovarian Cancer Day will build a sense of solidarity in the fight against the disease.

In 2009, representatives from patient organizations working in ovarian cancer around the globe came together for the first time in a two day workshop, to discuss the common issues they faced in their work.

Unlike more common cancers, there are significant challenges as the disease has been largely overlooked and underfunded to this point. Symptoms which are similar to those of less serious illnesses, the absence of an early detection test, and the resulting late diagnosis and poor outcomes means there are few survivors of the disease to become advocates. This initial meeting galvanized the community to begin thinking about what could be accomplished on a global level to begin changing this situation.

By coming together since that first meeting, the group has considered the many gaps in understanding and managing the disease, building awareness in the general public about symptoms and the importance of family history, and increasing funding for research .The idea of a Global Awareness Day for Ovarian Cancer was put forward and embraced by all participants as an important joint international action creating a powerful momentum.

A brand for World Ovarian Cancer Day, “World Embrace,” was developed and launched to the international group in March 2013 in preparation for this important day.

WOCDLate_Diagnosis_large1-980x600

“EDUCATE:” Ovarian Cancer Facts:

Libby’s H*O*P*E* is dedicated to my 26-year old cousin, Elizabeth “Libby” Remick, who died from ovarian cancer in July 2008. Our mission is to educate ovarian cancer survivors and their families, as well as the general public, about ovarian cancer under the principle that “information is power.” The key to a significant reduction in deaths from ovarian cancer is early detection. Early detection is best achieved by having women listen to their bodies for the subtle, yet persistent, early warning signs & symptoms of the disease as described below. Together, we can raise money for a reliable early detection test, and ultimately a cure, for ovarian cancer.

Please take time to educate yourself with respect to the important ovarian cancer awareness facts provided below.

–Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

–In 2012, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be approximately 22,280 new ovarian cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. ACS estimates that 15,550 U.S. women will die from the disease, or about 43 women per day. The loss of life is equivalent to 28 Boeing 747 jumbo jet crashes with no survivors every year.

–Ovarian cancer is not a “silent” disease; it is a “subtle” disease. Recent studies indicate that some women may experience persistent, nonspecific symptoms, such as (i) bloating, (ii) pelvic or abdominal pain, (iii) difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, or (iv) urinary urgency or frequency. Women who experience such symptoms daily for more than a few weeks should seek prompt medical evaluation.

–Ovarian cancer can afflict adolescent, young adult, and mature women.

–Pregnancy and the long-term use of oral contraceptives reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

–Women who have had breast cancer, or who have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer may have increased risk. Inherited mutations in BRCA1/BRCA2 genes increase risk. Women of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry are at higher risk for BRCA gene mutations.

–There is no reliable screening test for the detection of early stage ovarian cancer. Pelvic examination only occasionally detects ovarian cancer, generally when the disease is advanced. A Pap smear is used to detect cervical cancer, not ovarian cancer. However, the combination of a thorough pelvic exam, transvaginal ultrasound, and a blood test for the tumor marker CA125 may be offered to women who are at high risk of ovarian cancer and to women who have persistent, unexplained symptoms like those listed above.

–If diagnosed at the localized stage, the 5-year ovarian cancer survival rate is 92%; however, only about 19% of all cases are detected at this stage, usually fortuitously during another medical procedure.

–The 10-year relative survival rate for all disease stages combined is only 38%.

Please help us spread the word about the early warning signs & symptoms of ovarian cancer and raise money for ovarian cancer research. The life you save may be your own or that of a loved one.

“FIGHT:” The “Holy Trinity” of Major U.S. Ovarian Cancer Organizations

There are three major U.S. ovarian cancer organizations that are working to increase ovarian cancer awareness, and/or raise money to fight the disease. They are listed below. Please consider making a donation to one of these critically important nonprofit organizations.

  • Ovarian Cancer Research Fund

The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) is the largest independent organization in the U.S. that is dedicated exclusively to funding ovarian cancer research– and to finding a cure. Through its three research programs, OCRF funds many of the best researchers and the most innovative projects.

Since 1998, OCRF has awarded 63 leading medical centers 195 grants for ovarian cancer research: an investment totaling over $50 million. OCRF researchers are taking on ovarian cancer from many angles:

— Developing innovative strategies for early detection;

— Discovering genetic polymorphisms that increase risk for ovarian cancer;

— Understanding the underlying genetics and molecular biology of ovarian cancer;

— Identifying new, better targets for treatment;

— Determining how to super-charge a woman’s immune response to better fight ovarian cancer; and

— Deciphering how and why ovarian cancer spreads, and how to stop it.

You can click here to make a donation to OCRF through the Libby’s H*O*P*E*’s donation page.

  • Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) is one of the foremost advocates for women with ovarian cancer in the U.S. To advance the interests of women with ovarian cancer, OCNA advocates at a national level for increases in research funding for the development of an early detection test, improved health care practices, and life-saving treatment protocols. OCNA also educates health care professionals and raises public awareness of the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer.

To make a donation to OCNA, click here.

  • National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

The mission of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) is to raise awareness and promote education about ovarian cancer. NOCC is committed to improving the survival rate and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer.

Through national programs and local Chapter initiatives, the NOCC’s goal is to make more people aware of the early symptoms of ovarian cancer. In addition, the NOCC provides information to assist the newly diagnosed patient, to provide hope to survivors, and to support caregivers.

To make a donation to NOCC, click here.

“INSPIRE:” Everyday Heroes in the Fight Against Ovarian Cancer.

Nearly a quarter million women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year around the world, and the disease also affects their families and friends. Please take time to visit the WOCD website and read inspirational stories about survivors, volunteers, and family members who are overcoming ovarian cancer, as well as the endeavors people are taking on to raise awareness about the disease.

At Libby’s H*O*P*E*, we are amazed each and every day by the inspirational ovarian cancer survivors and family members that we hear about, correspond with, or meet. The stories below represent a small sample of incredible individuals who have successfully fought the disease, as well as those who are currently fighting the disease with courage and grace. There are also stories about women who have died from ovarian cancer, but contributed to ovarian cancer awareness in a unique and special way during life. In addition, there are stories about doctors, advocates, and other inspirational individuals who are clearly making a difference in the fight against the disease.

“Bald is Beautiful,” March 20, 2008.

“Patty Franchi Flaherty Loses Battle to Ovarian Cancer, But Deserves a Long Standing Ovation,” August 19, 2008.

“Oscar Winner Kathy Bates Is an Inspirational Ovarian Cancer Survivor,” February 25, 2009.

— “Rare Form of Ovarian Cancer Not Getting Inspirational 13 Yr. Old Down; You Can Help!,” February 26, 2009.

— “Meet Laurey Masterton, 20-Year Ovarian Cancer Survivor Extraordinaire,” March 20, 2009.

— “The Rock Band ‘N.E.D.’: Their Medical Skills Save Many; Their Music Could Save Thousands,” March 29, 2009.

“A Wish To Build A Dream On,” May 3, 2009.

“Husband’s Love For Wife Inspires A 9,000 Mile Bike Trek To Raise Money For Ovarian Cancer Awareness & Cancer Prevention,” May 14, 2009.

“Gloria Johns Was Told ‘Ovarian Cancer Patients Don’t Live Long Enough … To Have Support Groups;’ She Proved Otherwise,” June 5, 2009.

“Vox Populi:* How Do Your Define “Tragedy?“, January 22, 2010.

— “Smile, Open Your Eyes, Love and Go On,” July 28, 2010.

“PBS Documentary, ‘The Whisper: The Silent Crisis of Ovarian Cancer,'” September 21, 2010.

“Determined Teen Loses Ovarian Cancer Battle, But Her Courage Inspires An Entire Community,” December 28, 2010.

“Mrs. Australia Quest Finalist Veronica Cristovao Is Raising Ovarian Cancer Awareness ‘Down Under'”, February 28, 2011.

— “Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go …”, July 28, 2012.

— “Crowd Funding:” Paying Medical Bills With a Little Help From Your Friends (and Strangers Too!), January 17, 2013.

___________________________

For more information on World Ovarian Cancer Day visit: www.ovariancancerday.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WorldOvarianCancerDay

Twitter: @OvarianCancerDY

Pinterest: @OvarianCancerDY

Each participating country is linked through the dedicated website which has been established for World Ovarian Cancer Day. To find out more about activities in each country, please contact the local organization directly through the website at http://www.ovariancancerday.org/get-involved/

“Crowd Funding:” Paying Medical Bills With a Little Help From Your Friends (and Strangers Too!)

An interesting article appearing in USA Today on January 14, written by Cheryl Alkon, describes the use of “crowd funding” to assist individuals who may be experiencing tough financial times — or even bankruptcy — due to, among other things, medical costs, including those incurred to treat cancer.

What is “Crowd Funding?”

The term “crowd funding” describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, generally through the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. For example, crowd funding can be used to support disaster relief, citizen journalism, political campaigns, startup company funding, movie or software development, and scientific research.

Crowd funding is even taking on national significance through enacted federal legislation. In April 2012, President Obama signed the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, which enables entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses to raise funds and gather investors through equity crowd funding.

An interesting article appearing in USA Today on January 14, written by Cheryl Alkon, describes the use of crowd funding to assist individuals who may be experiencing tough financial times — or even bankruptcy — due to, among other things, medical costs, including those incurred to treat cancer. The crowd funding websites listed by Alkon include: the Human Tribe Project (humantribeproject.com), GiveForward (giveforward.com), FundRazr (fundrazr.com), and GoFundMe (gofundme.com).

It is estimated that $2.8 billion was raised by all types of crowdfunding websites in 2012.

In an era when social media and networking reign supreme, most individuals have “friends,” and even “friends of friends.” At this point, you should be thinking about The Beatles song entitled, A Little Help From My Friends, which the group recorded on their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album in 1967. Or perhaps, you prefer Joe Cocker’s cover version of the song, which he sang at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. But, I digress. So, let’s turn to a great example of crowding funding used to support medical costs.

The Genesis of the Human Tribe Project

Group Formal

The Human Tribe Project Leadership Team: (left-to-right) Ryan Foutz, Jaclyn Foutz, Matt Foutz, and Steve Bever.

The concept of crowd funding within the context of cancer treatment is best understood through the genesis of The Human Tribe Project.

In early 2008, Jaclyn Foutz learned that her longtime friend, Kindra McLennan, had been diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer. Not knowing how to help Kindra, who lived 1,500 miles away, Jaclyn did what anyone thirty-something would do: she turned to Google®.

Her search turned up various websites listing ways to help support and encourage a friend through cancer, and of those, some even suggested fundraising ideas. Realizing that they could not be there to hold Kindra’s hand through the chemotherapy and radiation, Jaclyn and her friends decided to raise money for Kindra and her husband to relieve the financial burden associated with her cancer treatment. Jaclyn identified websites suggesting fundraising options, but all seemed too local and small in scope to have the kind of impact that she and her friends wanted. At the time, Jaclyn’s husband, Ryan Foutz, his brother, Matt Foutz, and Ryan’s childhood friend, Steve Bever, owned a wholesale jewelry company. They donated turquoise beads, and Jaclyn and her friends sold turquoise necklaces in support of Kindra. They sold the necklaces in-person to friends, relatives and coworkers, and by e-mail to people in Kindra’s support network all across the country.

The project was a huge success; they sold 350 necklaces and raised $10,000. They were inspired by the breadth of Kindra’s network of friends and the willingness of complete strangers to buy the necklaces.

Initially, Kindra refused to take handouts from her friends and family; however, when she knew her friends and family were receiving a necklace in return for their monetary donation, her concerns were alleviated. And, when Kindra saw everyone from her best friend to her chemotherapy nurse wearing the necklaces, she felt an emotional support as great as the financial support that she had received.

After extensive research, Jaclyn and Ryan learned that there were no resources available to do what they did on a larger, commercial scale. They found companies selling products in an effort to raise money for non-profits, foundations, or research institutions, but none raised money directly for individuals during their time of need.

During their research process, they were astonished to learn about the financial burden that individuals suffering from an illness often face. For example, with respect to breast cancer alone, it is estimated that out-of-pocket expenditures and lost-income costs for women with insurance coverage average $1,455.00 per month. The majority of those out-of-pocket costs are related to co-payments, hospitalizations, and specialist visits.

In 2006, twenty-five percent of cancer patients reported that they had to use all or most of their savings to deal with cancer treatment costs. Approximately fifty percent of all personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. are filed due to medical expenses. Also, researchers have found that there is a strong connection between emotional support and healthcare outcomes. Jaclyn and Ryan found these statistics astounding; there was a better way to aid individuals and enhance the benefits of strong support networks.

Through all of this, Jaclyn, Ryan, Matt, and Steve saw firsthand the power of the humanitarian spirit and how that spirit connects us all. It was from this experience that Human Tribe Project was born.

Ultimately, Kindra McLennan used some of the funds raised on the website to take a trip to Las Vegas for her 30th birthday, four months before she died. “If that’s what you feel you need to use the money for, that’s one of the things you can do when you know the people who are donating to you,” Jaclyn Foutz says. The Human Tribe Project website launched  in early 2009, six months after McLennan’s death.

Not only were Kindra’s friends and family able to raise approximately $10,000 on her behalf, but Kindra could see their love and support in every necklace that was worn. The Human Tribe Project website is dedicated to Kindra’s memory.

After helping establish the Human Tribe project, Matt Foutz never anticipated using the service for his own family. Two years ago, Mathew’s daughter Mia was diagnosed with a brain tumor, called a “medulloblastoma,” at the age of five. Mia received surgery, months of chemotherapy, and radiation treatment, the net result of which was permanent memory, mobility and endocrine issues. Through crowd funding, Matthew Foutz has already raised $11,520 for Mia.

Thoughts From Those In the Field

The USA Today article cites several individuals who are actively involved, directly or indirectly, in the field of crowd funding.

Catherine Chapman, a philanthropic consultant with Fullanthropy, a Louisville, Ky., consulting firm that advises non-profits on charitable best practices said:

Crowd funding is doing what has always been done, but taking the technology we have to make it viral. People give on these sites often because they have been asked to do so by a friend or a friend of a friend. The personal element is a lot more compelling than sending a check to a charity. Doing that is anonymous and you can’t relate, but if it’s your friend who has cancer, you want to help.”

Daryl Hatton, the founder and CEO of FundRazr, said:

“People know who they are donating to, but one of the big surprises is that people saw how many complete strangers were donating to them. The message has to really resonate with your friends, or else it won’t go anywhere. If you don’t get that social proof, then people don’t get donations. Our natural skepticism kicks in, and they hold back on hitting that button.”

According to the USA Today article, it appears that scams are rare. “Scammers tend to lack social-media followings, as they don’t want to identify themselves,” said Hatton. “Those with integrity have networks. To give you scale, approximately one in 5,000 medical FundRazrs get shut down.”

In the end, a cancer patient can use a crowdfunding site to tell his or her story about why money is needed, using blogs and updates to keep potential donors informed. Most websites collect donations and forward them directly to the person in need. The websites can take out a small portion of the donation for administrative and other costs, which can range from 5%-20% of funds raised. It is important to note that most crowd funding websites are not tax-exempt, non-profit organizations, and therefore, donations are not considered tax-deductible.

The USA Today article provides a few common sense tips to those who may be interested in crowd funding: (i) perform thorough due diligence on various websites beyond looking for a nice appearance (i.e., evaluate news stories, customer reviews, complaints,  etc.); (ii) research online tips for writing a compelling narrative about yourself and the need for money; (iii) give frequent updates (as most blog writers learn quickly); and (iv) know that fundraising is time-consuming, but realize that you are your own best advocate.

There is a saying that “to the world you may only be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” For those of you who may be thinking about helping a cancer survivor through crowd funding, keep in mind that “grand” opportunities to help others seldom arise, but small, yet critical, opportunities surround us everyday.

Sources:

“Crowdfunding” sites pay medical bills, raise hopes, written by Cheryl Alkon, USA Today, January 14, 2013.

“Company Background,” Media Packet, The Human Tribe Project, www.humantribeproject.com.

2011 SGO Annual Meeting: Ovarian Cancer Abstracts Selected For Presentation

The March 2011 supplemental issue of Gynecologic Oncology sets forth the ovarian cancer and ovarian cancer-related medical abstracts selected by the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists for presentation at its 42nd Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer™, which is being held in Orlando, Florida from March 6-9, 2011.

The Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) is hosting its 42nd Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer™ (March 6–9, 2011) in Orlando, Florida. The SGO Annual Meeting attracts more than 1,700 gynecologic oncologists and other health professional from around the world.

In connection with this premier gynecologic cancer event, 651 abstracts, and 27 surgical films were submitted for consideration. After careful discussion and deliberation, the SGO selected 51 abstracts for oral presentation (27 Plenary session papers, 24 Focused Plenary papers, and 42 Featured Posters, presented in a new, electronic format), along with 227 for poster presentation. Of the 27 surgical films originally submitted, five films were selected for presentation during a featured Focused Plenary session.

The ovarian cancer abstracts listed below were obtained from the March 2011 supplemental issue of Gynecologic Oncology. Each abstract bears the number that it was assigned in the Gynecologic Oncology journal table of contents.

Please note that we provide below (under the heading “Additional Information”) Adobe Reader PDF copies of the 2011 SGO Annual Meeting program summary and the medical abstract booklet (includes all gynecologic cancer topics). If you require a free copy of the Adobe Reader software, please visit http://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/.

For your convenience, we listed the 2011 SGO Annual Meeting ovarian cancer abstracts under the following subject matter headings:  (1) ovarian cancer symptoms, (2) ovarian cancer screening, (3) pathology, (4) ovarian cancer staging, (5) chemotherapy, (6) diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, (7) clinical trial drugs and results, (8) hereditary breast & ovarian cancer syndrome (BRCA gene deficiencies & Lynch Syndrome), (9) gynecologic practice, (10) gynecologic surgery, (11) genetic/molecular profiling, (12) immunotherapy, (13) medical imaging, (14) preclinical studies – general, (15) preclinical studies – potential therapeutic targets, (16) palliative and supportive care, (17) rare ovarian cancers, (18) survival data, (19) survivorship, (20) other, (21) late breaking abstracts.

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

142. Utility of symptom index in women at increased risk for ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #140)

184. Symptom-triggered screening for ovarian cancer: A pilot study of feasibility and acceptability. (SGO Abstract #182)

187. Women without ovarian cancer reporting disease-specific symptoms. (SGO Abstract #185)

Ovarian Cancer Screening

12. Ovarian cancer: Predictors of primary care physicians’ referral to gynecologic oncologists. (SGO Abstract #10)

84. Long-term survival of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer detected by sonographic screening. (SGO Abstract #82)

90. Significant endometrial pathology detected during a transvaginal ultrasound screening trial for ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #88)

109. Detection of the tissue-derived biomarker peroxiredoxin 1 in serum of patients with ovarian cancer: A biomarker feasibility study. (SGO Abstract #107)

113. Epithelial ovarian cancer tumor microenvironment is a favorable biomarker resource. (SGO Abstract #111)

127. Stop and smell the volatile organic compounds: A novel breath-based bioassay for detection of ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #125)

144. Incidental gynecologic FDG-PET/CT findings in women with a history of breast cancer. (SGO Abstract #142)

156. Discovery of novel monoclonal antibodies (MC1–MC6) to detect ovarian cancer in serum and differentiate it from benign tumors. (SGO Abstract #154)

158. Evaluation of the risk of ovarian malignancy algorithm (ROMA) in women with a pelvic mass presenting to general gynecologists. (SGO Abstract #156)

162. Human epididymis protein 4 increases specificity for the detection of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer in premenopausal women presenting with an adnexal mass. (SGO Abstract #160)

163. Identification of biomarkers to improve specificity in preoperative assessment of ovarian tumor for risk of cancer. (SGO Abstract #161)

171. OVA1 has high sensitivity in identifying ovarian malignancy compared with preoperative assessment and CA-125. (SGO Abstract #169)

172. OVA1 improves the sensitivity of the ACOG referral guidelines for an ovarian mass. (SGO Abstract #170)

182. Sonographic predictors of ovarian malignancy. (SGO Abstract #180)

237. Management of complex pelvic masses using the OVA1 test: A decision analysis. (SGO Abstract #235)

241. Three-dimensional power doppler angiography as a three-step technique for differential diagnosis of adnexal masses: A prospective study. (SGO Abstract #239)

Pathology

145. Accuracy of frozen-section diagnosis of ovarian borderline tumor. (SGO Abstract #143)

Ovarian Cancer Staging

31. Should stage IIIC ovarian cancer be further stratified by intraperitoneal versus retroperitoneal-only disease? A Gynecologic Oncology Group study. (SGO Abstract #29)

173. Peritoneal staging biopsies in early-stage ovarian cancer: Are they necessary? (SGO Abstract #171)

Chemotherapy

29. Treatment of chemotherapy-induced anemia in patients with ovarian cancer: Does the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents worsen survival? (SGO Abstract #27)

69. Intraperitoneal chemotherapy for recurrent ovarian cancer appears efficacious with high completion rates and low complications. (SGO Abstract #67)

174. Predictors of severe and febrile neutropenia during primary chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #172)

177. Sequencing of therapy and outcomes associated with use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in advanced epithelial ovarian cancer in the Medicare population. (SGO Abstract #175)

179. Should we treat patients with ovarian cancer with positive retroperitoneal lymph nodes with intraperitoneal chemotherapy? Impact of lymph node status in women undergoing intraperitoneal chemotherapy. (SGO Abstract #177)

229. Predictors and effects of reduced relative dose intensity in women receiving their primary course of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #227)

Diagnostic & Prognostic Biomarkers

128. Stress and the metastatic switch in epithelial ovarian carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #126)

130. The cytoskeletal gateway for tumor aggressiveness in ovarian cancer is driven by class III β-tubulin. (SGO Abstract #128)

134. True blood: Platelets as a biomarker of ovarian cancer recurrence. (SGO Abstract #132)

148. CA-125 changes can predict optimal interval cytoreduction in patients with advanced-stage epithelial ovarian cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. (SGO Abstract #146)

149. CA-125 surveillance for women with ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancers: What do survivors think? (SGO Abstract #147)

150. Calretinin as a prognostic indicator in granulosa cell tumor. (SGO Abstract #148)

135. Tumor expression of the type I insulin-like growth factor receptor is an independent prognostic factor in epithelial ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #133)

147. C-terminal binding protein 2: A potential marker for response to histone deacetylase inhibitors in epithelial ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #145)

157. Elevated serum adiponectin levels correlate with survival in epithelial ovarian cancers. (SGO Abstract #155)

175. Prognostic impact of prechemotherapy HE4 and CA-125 levels in patients with ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #175)

178. Serum HE4 level is an independent risk factor of surgical outcome and prognosis of epithelial ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #176)

Clinical Trial Drugs & Results

8. MicroRNA as a novel predictor of response to bevacizumab in recurrent serous ovarian cancer: An analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas. (SGO Abstract #6)

9. Prospective investigation of risk factors for gastrointestinal adverse events in a phase III randomized trial of bevacizumab in first-line therapy of advanced epithelial ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer or fallopian tube cancer: A Gynecologic Oncology Group study. (SGO Abstract #7)

10. First in human trial of the poly(ADP)-ribose polymerase inhibitor MK-4827 in patients with advanced cancer with antitumor activity in BRCA-deficient and sporadic ovarian cancers.  (SGO Abstract #8)

30. An economic analysis of intravenous carboplatin plus dose-dense weekly paclitaxel versus intravenous carboplatin plus every three-weeks paclitaxel in the upfront treatment of ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #28)

51. BRCA1-deficient tumors demonstrate enhanced cytotoxicity and T-cell recruitment following doxil treatment. (SGO Abstract #49)

54. A novel combination of a MEK inhibitor and fulvestrant shows synergistic antitumor activity in estrogen receptor-positive ovarian carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #52)

68. An economic analysis of bevacizumab in recurrent treatment of ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #66)

71. A phase II study of gemcitabine, carboplatin and bevacizumab for the treatment of platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #69)

72. A phase I clinical trial of a novel infectivity-enhanced suicide gene adenovirus with gene transfer imaging capacity in patients with recurrent gynecologic cancer. (SGO Abstract #70)

73. A phase I study of a novel lipopolymer-based interleukin-12 gene therapeutic in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #71)

74. AMG 386 combined with either pegylated liposomal doxorubicin or topotecan in patients with advanced ovarian cancer: Results from a phase Ib study. (SGO Abstract #72)

86. Pressure to respond: Hypertension predicts clinical benefit from bevacizumab in recurrent ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #84)

152. Changes in tumor blood flow as estimated by dynamic-contrast MRI may predict activity of single-agent bevacizumab in recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer and primary peritoneal cancer: An exploratory analysis of a Gynecologic Oncology Group phase II trial. (SGO Abstract #150)

153. Comparing overall survival in patients with epithelial ovarian, primary peritoneal or fallopian tube cancer who received chemotherapy alone versus neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by delayed primary debulking. (SGO Abstract #151)

154. Consolidation paclitaxel is more cost-effective than bevacizumab following upfront treatment of advanced ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #152)

193. Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin with bevacizumab in the treatment of platinum-resistant ovarian cancer: Toxicity profile results. (SGO Abstract #191)

194. Phase II Trial of docetaxel and bevacizumab in recurrent ovarian cancer within 12 months of prior platinum-based chemotherapy. (SGO Abstract #192)

195. A phase I/II trial of IDD-6, an autologous dendritic cell vaccine for women with advanced ovarian cancer in remission. (SGO Abstract #193)

183. STAC: A phase II study of carboplatin/paclitaxel/bevacizumab followed by randomization to either bevacizumab alone or erlotinib and bevacizumab in the upfront management of patients with ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer. (SGO Abstract #181)

228. Is it more cost-effective to use bevacizumab in the primary treatment setting or at recurrence? An economic analysis. (SGO Abstract #226)

240. The use of bevacizumab and cytotoxic and consolidation chemotherapy for the upfront treatment of advanced ovarian cancer: Practice patterns among medical and gynecologic oncology SGO members. (SGO Abstract #238)

Hereditary Breast & Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (BRCA gene deficiencies & Lynch Syndrome)

39. BRCAness profile of ovarian cancer predicts disease recurrence. (SGO Abstract #37)

52. A history of breast carcinoma predicts worse survival in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers with ovarian carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #52)

137. Does genetic counseling for women at high risk of harboring a deleterious BRCA mutation alter risk-reduction strategies and cancer surveillance behaviors? (SGO Abstract #135)

138. Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome based on family history alone and implications for patients with serous carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #138)

139. Management and clinical outcomes of women with BRCA1/2 mutations found to have occult cancers at the time of risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy. (SGO Abstract #137)

141. The impact of BRCA testing on surgical treatment decisions for patients with breast cancer. (SGO Abstract #139)

136. Compliance with recommended genetic counseling for Lynch syndrome: Room for improvement. (SGO Abstract #134)

Gynecologic Practice

81. Availability of gynecologic oncologists for ovarian cancer care. (SGO Abstract #79)

Gynecologic Surgery

19. Single-port paraaortic lymph node dissection. (SGO Abstract #17)

20. Robotic nerve-sparing radical hysterectomy type C1. (SGO Abstract #18)

21. Urinary reconstruction after pelvic exenteration: Modified Indiana pouch. (SGO Abstract #19)

22. Intrathoracic cytoreductive surgery by video-assisted thoracic surgery in advanced ovarian carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #20)

26. Cost comparison of strategies for the management of venous thromboembolic event risk following laparotomy for ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #24)

28. Primary debulking surgery versus neoadjuvant chemotherapy in stage IV ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #26)

33. Does the bedside assistant matter in robotic surgery: An analysis of patient outcomes in gynecologic oncology. (SGO Abstract #31)

48. Defining the limits of radical cytoreductive surgery for ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #46)

87. Prognostic impact of lymphadenectomy in clinically early-stage ovarian malignant germ cell tumor. (SGO Abstract #85)

93. Secondary cytoreductive surgery: A key tool in the management of recurrent ovarian sex cord–stromal tumors. (SGO Abstract #91)

146. Advanced-stage ovarian cancer metastases to sigmoid colon mesenteric lymph nodes: Clinical consideration of tumor spread and biologic behavior. (SGO Abstract #144)

155. Cytoreductive surgery for serous ovarian cancer in patients 75 years and older. (SGO Abstract #153)

168. Intraperitoneal catheters placed at the time of bowel surgery: A review of complications. (SGO Abstract #166)

169. Laparoscopic versus laparotomic surgical staging for early-stage epithelial ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #167)

170. Oncologic and reproductive outcomes of cystectomy compared with oophorectomy as treatment for borderline ovarian tumor. (SGO Abstract #168)

180. Significance of perioperative infectious disease in patients with ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #178)

185. The feasibility of mediastinal lymphadenectomy in the management of advanced and recurrent ovarian carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #183)

235. Incidence of venous thromboembolism after robotic surgery for gynecologic malignancy: Is dual prophylaxis necessary? (SGO Abstract #233)

286. Charlson’s index: A validation study to predict surgical adverse events in gynecologic oncology. (SGO Abstract #284)

288. Cost-effectiveness of extended postoperative venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in gynecologic pncology patients. (SGO Abstract #286)

302. Integration of and training for robot-assisted surgery in a gynecologic oncology fellowship program. (SGO Abstract #300)

303. Outcomes of patients with gynecologic malignancies undergoing video-assisted thorascopic surgery and pleurodesis for malignant pleural effusion. (SGO Abstract #301)

304. Perioperative and pathologic outcomes following robot-assisted laparoscopic versus abdominal management of ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #302)

307. Predictive risk factors for prolonged hospitalizations after gynecologic laparoscopic surgery. (SGO Abstract #305)

309. Robot-assisted surgery for gynecologic cancer: A systematic review. (SGO Abstract #307)

310. Robotic radical hysterectomy: Extent of tumor resection and operative outcomes compared with laparoscopy and exploratory laparotomy. (SGO Abstract #308)

315. Utilization of specialized postoperative services in a comprehensive surgical cytoreduction program. (SGO Abstract #313)

Genetic/Molecular Profiling

5. A 3’ UTR KRAS variant as a biomarker of poor outcome and chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #3)

15. XPC single-nucleotide polymorphisms correlate with prolonged progression-free survival in advanced ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #13)

16. Genomewide methylation analyses reveal a prominent role of HINF1 network genes, via hypomethylation, in ovarian clear cell carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #14)

49. Loss of ARID1A is a frequent event in clear cell and endometrioid ovarian cancers. (SGO Abstract #47)

53. Genetic variants in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway as predictors of clinical response and survival in women with ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #51)

55. BAD apoptosis pathway expression and survival from cancer. (SGO Abstract #53)

59. Molecular profiling of advanced pelvic serous carcinoma associated with serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #57)

82. Biologic roles of tumor and endothelial delta-like ligand 4 in ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #80)

85. MicroRNA 101 inhibits ovarian cancer xenografts by relieving the chromatin-mediated transcriptional repression of p21waf1/cip1. (SGO Abstract #83)

102. Association between global DNA hypomethylation in leukocytes and risk of ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #100)

103. Cisplatin, carboplatin, and paclitaxel: Unique and common pathways that underlie ovarian cancer response. (SGO Abstract #101)

106. Comparison of mTOR and HIF pathway alterations in the clear cell carcinoma variant of kidney, ovary and endometrium. (SGO Abstract #104)

107. Concordant gene expression profiles in matched primary and recurrent serous ovarian cancers predict platinum response. (SGO Abstract #105)

111. Differential microRNA expression in cis-platinum-resistant versus -sensitive ovarian cancer cell lines. (SGO Abstract #109)

112. DNA methylation markers associated with serous ovarian cancer subtypes. (SGO Abstract #110)

118. MicroRNA and messenger RNA pathways associated with ovarian cancer cell sensitivity to topotecan, gemcitabine and doxorubicin. (SGO Abstract #116)

119. Molecular profiling of patients with curatively treated advanced serous ovarian carcinoma from The Cancer Genome Atlas. (SGO Abstract #117)

125. Proteomic analysis demonstrates that BRCA1-deficient epithelial ovarian cancer cell lines activate alternative pathways following exposure to cisplatin. (SGO Abstract #123)

132. The tumor suppressor KLF6, lost in a majority of ovarian cancer cases, represses VEGF expression levels. (SGO Abstract #130)

126. Quantitative PCR array identification of microRNA clusters associated with epithelial ovarian cancer chemoresistance. (SGO Abstract #124)

160. Genes functionally regulated by methylation in ovarian cancer are involved in cell proliferation, development and morphogenesis. (SGO Abstract #158)

181. Single-nucleotide polymorphism in DNA repair and drug resistance genes alone or in combination in epithelail ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #179)

278. Expression patterns of p53 and p21 cell cycle regulators and clinical outcome in women with pure gynecologic sarcomas. (SGO Abstract #276)

Immunotherapy

98. Ab-IL2 fusion proteins mediate NK cell immune synapse formation in epithelial ovarian cancer by polarizing CD25 to the target cell–effector cell interface. (SGO Abstract #96)

124. Proteasome inhibition increases death receptors and decreases major histocompatibility complex I expression: Pathways to exploit in natural killer cell immunotherapy. (SGO Abstract #122)

Medical Imaging

164. Impact of FDG-PET in suspected recurrent ovarian cancer and optimization of patient selection for cytoreductive surgery. (SGO Abstract #162)

294. The clinical and financial implications of MRI of pelvic masses. (SGO Abstract #292)

Preclinical Studies

11. A unique microRNA locus at 19q13.41 sensitizes epithelial ovarian cancers to chemotherapy. (SGO Abstract #9)

14. Common single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the BNC2, HOXD1 and MERIT40 regions contribute significantly to racial differences in ovarian cancer incidence. (SGO Abstract #12)

46. Development of a preclinical serous ovarian cancer mouse model. (SGO Abstract #44)

56. Examination of matched primary and recurrent ovarian cancer specimens supports the cancer stem cell hypothesis. (SGO Abstract #54)

58. Modeling of early events in serous carcinogenesis: Molecular prerequisites for transformation of fallopian tube epithelial cells. (SGO Abstract #56)

101. Antiproliferative activity of a phenolic extract from a native Chilean Amaranthaceae plant in drug-resistant ovarian cancer cell lines. (SGO Abstract #99)

115. Identification and characterization of CD44+/CD24–ovarian cancer stem cell properties and their correlation with survival. (SGO Abstract #113)

Preclinical Studies – Potential Therapeutic Targets

57. Hypoxia-mediated activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) in ovarian cancer: A novel therapeutic strategy using HO-3867, a STAT3 inhibitor (and novel curcumin analog). (SGO Abstract #55)

61. The ubiquitin ligase EDD mediates platinum resistance and is a target for therapy in epithelial ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #59)

97. A novel hedgehog pathway smoothened inhibitor (BMS-833923) demonstrates in vitro synergy with carboplatin in ovarian cancer cells. (SGO Abstract #95)

100. AMPK activation mimics glucose deprivation and induces cytotoxicity in ovarian cancer cells. (SGO Abstract #98)

104. Clinical significance of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) in the ovarian cancer microenvironment. (SGO Abstract #102)

105. Combined erbB/VEGFR blockade has improved anticancer activity over single-pathway inhibition in ovarian cancer in vivo. (SGO Abstract #103)

114. EZH2 expression correlates with increased angiogenesis in ovarian carcinoma. (SGO Abstract #112)

116. Induction of apoptosis in cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cells by G-1, a specific agonist of the G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor GPR30. (SGO Abstract #114)

120. Neuropilin-1 blockade in the tumor microenvironment reduces tumor growth. (SGO Abstract #118)

129. Targeting the hedgehog pathway reverses taxane resistance in ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #127)

121. Ovarian cancer lymph node metastases express unique cellular structure and adhesion genes. (SGO Abstract #119)

122. Overexpression of fibroblast growth factor 1 and fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma: Correlation with survival and implications for therapeutic targeting. (SGO Abstract #120)

131. The pattern of H3K56 acetylation expression in ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #129)

133. Thinking outside of the tumor: Targeting the ovarian cancer microenvironment. (SGO Abstract #131)

161. Horm-A domain-containing protein 1 (HORMAD1) and outcomes in patients with ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #159)

165. Influence of the novel histone deacetylase inhibitor panobinostat (LBH589) on the growth of ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #163)

166. Inhibition of stress-induced phosphoprotein 1 decreases proliferation of ovarian cancer cell lines. (SGO Abstract #164)

167. Insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 pathway signature correlates with adverse clinical outcome in ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #165)

230. Therapeutic synergy and resensitization of drug-resistant ovarian carcinoma to cisplatin by HO-3867. (SGO Abstract #228)

Palliative & Supportive Care

159. Factors associated with hospice use in ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #226)

190. Age-related preferences regarding end-of-life care discussions among gynecologic oncology patients. (SGO Abstract #188)

192. Palliative care education in gynecologic oncology: A survey of the fellows. (SGO Abstract #190)

Rare Ovarian Cancers

151. Carcinosarcoma of the ovary: A case–control study. (SGO Abstract #149)

Survival Data

80. Ten-year relative survival for epithelial ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #78)

83. Impact of beta blockers on epithelial ovarian cancer survival. (SGO Abstract #81)

176. Revisiting the issue of race-related outcomes in patients with stage IIIC papillary serous ovarian cancer who receive similar treatment. (SGO Abstract #174)

186. The impact of diabetes on survival in women with ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #184)

284. Survival following ovarian versus uterine carcinosarcoma. (SGO Abstract #282)

285. The unique natural history of mucinous tumors of the ovary. (SGO Abstract #283)

292. Stage IC ovarian cancer: Tumor rupture versus ovarian surface involvement. (SGO Abstract #290)

Survivorship

191. Menopausal symptoms and use of hormone replacement therapy: The gynecologic cancer survivors’ perspective. (SGO Abstract #189)

Other

4. From guidelines to the front line: Only a minority of the Medicare population with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer receive optimal therapy. (SGO Abstract #2)

32. Efficacy of influenza vaccination in women with ovarian cancer. (SGO Abstract #30)

91. Women with invasive gynecologic malignancies are more than 12 times as likely to commit suicide as are women in the general population. (SGO Abstract #89)

231. Attrition of first-time faculty in gynecologic oncology: Is there a difference between men and women? (SGO Abstract #229)

238. Relative impact of cost drivers on the increasing expense of inpatient gynecologic oncology care. (SGO Abstract #236)

Late-Breaking Abstracts

About Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO)

The SGO is a national medical specialty organization of physicians and allied healthcare professionals who are trained in the comprehensive management of women with malignancies of the reproductive tract. Its purpose is to improve the care of women with gynecologic cancer by encouraging research, disseminating knowledge which will raise the standards of practice in the prevention and treatment of gynecologic malignancies, and cooperating with other organizations interested in women’s health care, oncology and related fields. The Society’s membership, totaling more than 1,400, is primarily comprised of gynecologic oncologists, as well as other related medical specialists including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, social workers and pathologists. SGO members provide multidisciplinary cancer treatment including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and supportive care. More information on the SGO can be found at www.sgo.org.

About Gynecologic Oncologists

Gynecologic oncologists are physicians committed to the comprehensive treatment of women with cancer. After completing four years of medical school and four years of residency in obstetrics and gynecology, these physicians pursue an additional three to four years of training in gynecologic oncology through a rigorous fellowship program overseen by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Gynecologic oncologists are not only trained to be skilled surgeons capable of performing wide-ranging cancer operations, but they are also trained in prescribing the appropriate chemotherapy for those conditions and/or radiation therapy when indicated. Frequently, gynecologic oncologists are involved in research studies and clinical trials that are aimed at finding more effective and less toxic treatments to further advance the field and improve cure rates.

Studies on outcomes from gynecologic cancers demonstrate that women treated by a gynecologic oncologist have a better likelihood of prolonged survival compared to care rendered by non-specialists. Due to their extensive training and expertise, gynecologic oncologists often serve as the “team captain” who coordinates all aspects of a woman’s cancer care and recovery. Gynecologic oncologists understand the impact of cancer and its treatments on all aspects of women’s lives including future childbearing, sexuality, physical and emotional well-being—and the impact cancer can have on the patient’s whole family.

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Additional Information:


PBS Documentary, “The Whisper: The Silent Crisis of Ovarian Cancer.”

To raise ovarian cancer awareness, Long Island’s Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliate WLIW-Channel 21 will present the exclusive New York metro area premiere of a half-hour television documentary entitled, “The Whisper: the silent crisis of ovarian cancer.” The program will debut at 7 P.M. (EDT) on Friday, September 24 in the New York metro area, and will be rolled out to other PBS affiliates across the country over the next 12 months.

More than 13,000 women this year will be struck down by ovarian cancer, which is the most lethal gynecologic cancer. Ovarian cancer statistics are staggering; nearly three out of every four women with this disease will die because of it. Chances of survival can improve if it is detected early and confined to the ovaries. Unfortunately, only about 25 percent of women are diagnosed with early stage disease because there is no reliable early stage screening test available. Victims of ovarian cancer include President Obama’s mother Ann Soetoro, Coretta Scott King and comedienne Gilda Radner.

To raise awareness of this devastating disease, Long Island’s Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliate WLIW-Channel 21 will present the exclusive New York metro area premiere of a half-hour television documentary entitled, The Whisper: The Silent Crisis of Ovarian Cancer.  A preview trailer of the documentary is provided below.

The Whisper:  the silent crisis of ovarian cancer — PBS Documentary

The program will debut at 7 P.M. (EDT) on Friday, September 24, with encore presentations scheduled for 10:30 P.M. on Monday, September 27, and 11:30 P.M. on Friday, October 1. The program will be rolled out to other PBS affiliates across the country over the next 12 months.

The documentary was made possible by a generous grant from the Sonia L. Totino Foundation and the Rocco Totino family. Mr. Totino, a New York resident, lost his wife Sonia to ovarian cancer several years ago, and wished to honor her with an initiative that seeks to raise awareness among women of the warning signs of ovarian cancer, and by doing so, reduce the number of women lost to this devastating disease.

Sharon Blynn is the founder of Bald is Beautiful & the host of “The Whisper: the silent crisis of ovarian cancer” (a PBS documentary)

The host featured in the documentary is Sharon Blynn, who is an ovarian cancer survivor and the founder of the Bald Is Beautiful campaign. Through this campaign, Sharon wants to send a message to women that they can “flip the script” on the many traumatic aspects of the cancer experience, and embrace every part of their journey with self-love, empowerment, and a deep knowing that their beauty and femininity radiate from within and are not diminished in any way by the effects of having cancer.  As an “actorvist,” Sharon communicates the Bald Is Beautiful message through acting, writing, modeling and spokesperson appearances, and she continues to do patient outreach through one-on-one correspondence via her website, hospital visitations, being a chemo buddy and other such activities.

Other Bald Is Beautiful highlights include an international print campaign for the Kenneth Cole “We All Walk in Different Shoes” campaign, an international print and TV campaign for Bristol-Myers Squibb, appearances in “Sex and the City” and a principal role in Seal’s music video “Love’s Divine.” She has been featured in magazine and newspaper articles in Glamour, Vogue, Marie Claire (US & Italia), Organic Style, BUST, the Miami Herald and other publications. Sharon has also performed onstage as part of the “Off the Muff” collective, and she was commissioned to write and perform her one-woman theatrical piece “How Are We Feeling Today?” which saw its world premiere in Los Angeles and was presented in New York City. A QuickTime video compilation of Sharon’s past projects can be viewed here.

Blynn was awarded the prestigious 2010 Lilly Tartikoff/Entertainment Industry Foundation Hope Award at the 2010 National Coalition for Cancer SurvivorshipRays of Hope Gala” held in Washington, D.C. Sharon has also been selected to be part of Lifetime Television Network’s Every Woman Counts “Remarkable Women” campaign, and will appear in a 30-second spot that will run the week of Sept 17–23, 2010.

The nationally-renowned ovarian cancer experts featured in the documentary include:

Barbara A. Goff, M.D., Professor, Gynecologic Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Goff is the principal investigator responsible for critical ovarian cancer research which revealed that ovarian cancer is generally accompanied by four primary warning signs or symptoms — bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency).  Goff’s research became the foundation for the Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Consensus Statement, which was sponsored and co-authored by the American Cancer Society, Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, and Society of Gynecologic Oncologists in July 2007.

Beth Y. Karlan, M.D., Board of Governors Endowed Chair, Director, Women’s Cancer Research Institute and Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, David Geffen School of Medicine ,University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Karlan is a world-renowned expert in the field of gynecologic oncology, specifically ovarian cancer surgery, early detection, targeted therapies and inherited cancer susceptibility. She is a past-president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, the Editor-in-Chief of Gynecologic Oncology, and has held many international leadership positions.  She is committed to both scientific advancement and enhancing public awareness about gynecologic cancers.

John Lovecchio, M.D., Chief of Gynecologic Oncology, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System; Leader of the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute; Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the New York University School of Medicine.  Dr. Lovecchio’s major areas of research are in uterine and ovarian cancers, and he holds administrative and leadership positions in regional and national professional organizations and has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals. Lovecchio is widely regarded as a leading physician-surgeon and has received numerous awards in recognition of his academic and professional achievements.  In the documentary, Dr. Lovecchio offers his insight on ways to combat this deadly form of cancer. He is also credited as the technical advisor for the documentary.

Maurie Markman, M.D., Vice President of Patient Oncology Services & National Director of Medical Oncology, Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  For more than 20 years, Dr. Markman has been engaged in clinical research in the area of gynecologic malignancies, with a particular focus on new drug development and exploring novel management strategies in female pelvic cancers.  Dr. Markman’s many accomplishments include serving as Editor-In-Chief for the Current Oncology Reports journal and Oncology (Karger Publishers) journal, and serves as Chairman of the Medical Oncology Committee of the national Gynecologic Oncology Group.  In addition, Dr. Markman has served on numerous editorial boards, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Gynecologic Oncology.  Dr. Markman has been the primary author, or co-author, on more than 1,000 published peer-reviewed manuscripts, reviews, book chapters, editorials or abstracts, and he has edited or co-edited 14 books on various topics in the management of malignant disease, including Atlas of Oncology and the most recent edition of Principles and Practice of Gynecologic Oncology.

“Taking part in this program was a labor of love and concern for my patients,” said Dr. Lovecchio, who is based at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. “I wanted to make sure that women are getting the right information, and are aware of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. They must be alert to their own bodies and recognize that abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, urinary symptoms, difficulty in eating, and feeling full quickly may not be the norm.”

“I wanted to make sure that women are getting the right information, and are aware of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. They must be alert to their own bodies and recognize that abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, urinary symptoms, difficulty in eating, and feeling full quickly may not be the norm.”

— John Lovecchio, M.D., Chief of Gynecologic Oncology, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System

“Women should seek the advice of experts trained in this field and not think that they are being alarmists. Other medical experts and patients interviewed in this documentary are all seeking the same outcome — to make every woman aware of her own body and to encourage every woman to seek help if she feels that something is not quite right,” said Dr. Lovecchio, who was interviewed for the documentary along with Drs. Goff, Karlan, and Markman.

Source:  PBS Documentary on Ovarian Cancer, News Release, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, September 9, 2010.

Libby’s H*O*P*E* to Present At NOCC 6th Annual Women’s Health Expo (REJUVENATE Finding Balance)

On March 20, 2010, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (Maryland Chapter) will hold its 6th Annual Women’s Health Expo entitled, REJUVENATE Finding Balance (NOCC Rejuvenate), at the Sheraton Annapolis Hotel. … On behalf of Libby’s H*O*P*E*™, I will conduct a seminar as part of Session II entitled, A Patient Advocate’s Perspective on the Importance of Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Related On-line Resources.

On March 20, 2010, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (Maryland Chapter) will hold its 6th Annual Women’s Health Expo entitled, REJUVENATE Finding Balance (NOCC Rejuvenate), at the Sheraton Annapolis Hotel. NOCC Rejuvenate is sponsored by the National Breast & Ovarian Cancer Connection and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  Additional funding was also provided through a grant from the Maryland Attorney General Settlement.

NOCC Rejuvenate is designed to appeal to all women who want to rejuvenate their mind, body and spirit. The event is divided into three sessions. Each session offers seven to eight different seminars for attendees. The seminars address a variety of topics including make-up and skin care, going green, photography, plastic surgery, decorating, fashion, finance, retirement solutions, nutrition, fitness, and holistic approaches to wellness. A list of all event seminars is provided below.

Informative seminars about ovarian and breast cancer are offered as part of each session. Knowing the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, the screening guidelines for breast cancer, and the basics about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, could save your life or the life of someone you love.  On behalf of Libby’s H*O*P*E*™, I will conduct a seminar as part of Session II entitled, A Patient Advocate’s Perspective on the Importance of Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Related On-line Resources.  My presentation will address the genesis of the Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ website; highlight critical ovarian cancer awareness information; summarize available online ovarian cancer and cancer-related resources; describe stories of hope involving ovarian cancer survivors and their families; and explain how each individual can make a difference in the fight against ovarian cancer.

NOCC Rejuvenate also targets cancer survivors. The devastating effects of these diseases can rob women of hope and peace. This event will offer an opportunity for survivors to reinvent their self-image and gain more knowledge, offering a sense of hope and a chance to connect with other survivors.

An exhibitor’s area will be offered at the event. This area will include informational tables as well as vendor tables that have been specifically chosen to meet the overarching vision of the event. At the completion of the three event sessions, a nutritious lunch will be served while information is provided on the signs and symptoms of ovarian and breast cancer.

NOCC 6th Annual Women's Health Expo

What:  National Ovarian Cancer Coalition 6th Annual Women’s Health Expo entitled, REJUVENTE Finding Balance (click here to view event brochure, including mail-in registration)

When: Saturday, March 20, 2010 (8:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.)

Where: Sheraton Annapolis Hotel, 173 Jennifer Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 (driving instructions).

Register: To register online click here.

Contact: Nancy Long (NOCC Maryland Chapter Co-President) at 443-433-2597, or email (click here).

Keynote Speaker:  Yarrow, The Energy Whisperer

Session I Presentations (9:30 A.M. – 10:30 A.M.)

  • Treating Cancer By Alternative Medicine
  • The Survivors’ Connection
  • The Skinny on Fat – Cancer Prevention Naturally
  • Interior Design in Difficult Times – Cost Saving Design Solutions
  • Relaxation & Healing
  • Identifying & Solving the Challenges of Baby Boomer Women
  • Cancer and The Healing Power of Forgiveness
  • Belly Dancing

Session II Presentations (10:45-11:45)

  • Dr. Zandra Cheng, Breast Surgeon at Anne Arundel Medical Center
  • Hereditary Syndromes That Include Ovarian and Breast Cancers
  • Facial & Body Rejuvenation
  • A Patient Advocate’s Perspective On the Importance of Ovarian Cancer Awareness & Related On-line Resources (Paul Cacciatore, Founder, Libby’s H*O*P*E*™)
  • Designing Green Interiors
  • Creating Better Images with the Camera You Own
  • Some Expert Fashion Tips
  • Yoga:  A Balanced Life
  • Relaxation & Healing

Session III Presentations (12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.)

  • New Advances in Ovarian Cancer (William McGuire, M.D., Medical Director of The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute at Franklin Square Hospital)
  • What is My Daughter’s Chance of Getting My Cancer?
  • Planning for your Retirement Lifestyle:  The New Retirement
  • Super Health Begins with Super-food Nutrition
  • Around the World to Your Backyard
  • Balancing Your Life Wheel
  • Get Fit & Healthy with the Simple Rules of the Big 3
  • Relaxation & Healing

About the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

The mission of the NOCC is to raise awareness and increase education about ovarian cancer. NOCC is committed to improving the survival rate and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer. Through national programs and local Chapter initiatives, the NOCC’s goal is to make more people aware of the early symptoms of ovarian cancer. In addition, the NOCC provides information to assist the newly diagnosed patient, to provide hope to survivors, and to support caregivers. NOCC programs are possible only with the help of its volunteers; committed men and women dedicated to the mission of the NOCC in communities across the country.  For more information go to http://www.ovarian.org/.

About the National Breast & Ovarian Cancer Connection

The mission of the NBOCC is to raise awareness and educate the general public about the link between breast and ovarian cancer. The organization is dedicated to teaching all women about their inherent risks and how to improve their chances of survival through early detection and research developments.  For more information go to http://www.nbocc.org/.

President of M.D. Anderson Outlines 10 Steps To Achieve Progress Against Cancer.

“The Houston Chronicle recently published a commentary by John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of M. D. Anderson, outlining actions the nation should take to achieve great progress against cancer. … Here are 10 steps we can take to ensure that deaths decrease more rapidly, the ranks of survivors swell, and an even greater number of cancers are prevented in the first place. …”

“Ten Pieces Help Solve Cancer Puzzle

John Mendelsohn, M.D., President, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

John Mendelsohn, M.D., President, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

The Houston Chronicle recently published a commentary by John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of M. D. Anderson, outlining actions the nation should take to achieve great progress against cancer.

An American diagnosed with cancer today is very likely to join the growing ranks of survivors, who are estimated to total 12 million and will reach 18 million by 2020. The five-year survival rate for all forms of cancer combined has risen to 66%, more than double what it was 50 years ago.

Along with the improving five-year survival rates, the cancer death rate has been falling by 1% to 2% annually since 1990.

According to the World Health Organization, cancer will be the leading worldwide cause of death in 2010. Over 40% of Americans will develop cancer during their lifetime.

While survival rates improve and death rates fall, cancer still accounts for one in every five deaths in the U.S., and cost this nation $89.0 billion in direct medical costs and another $18.2 billion in lost productivity during the illness in 2007, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Here are 10 steps we can take to ensure that deaths decrease more rapidly, the ranks of survivors swell, and an even greater number of cancers are prevented in the first place.

#1.  Therapeutic cancer research should focus on human genetics and the regulation of gene expression.

Cancer is a disease of cells that have either inherited or acquired abnormalities in the activities of critical genes and the proteins for which they code. Most cancers involve several abnormally functioning genes – not just one – which makes understanding and treating cancer terribly complex. The good news is that screening for genes and their products can be done with new techniques that accomplish in days what once took years.

Knowledge of the human genome and mechanisms regulating gene expression, advances in technology, experience from clinical trials, and a greater understanding of the impact of environmental factors have led to exciting new research approaches to cancer treatment, all of which are being pursued at M. D. Anderson:

  • Targeted therapies.  These therapies are designed to counteract the growth and survival of cancer cells by modifying, replacing or correcting abnormally functioning genes or their RNA and protein products, and by attacking abnormal biochemical pathways within these cells.
  • Molecular markers.  Identifying the presence of particular abnormal genes and proteins in a patient’s cancer cells, or in the blood, will enable physicians to select the treatments most likely to be effective for that individual patient.
  • Molecular imaging.  New diagnostic imaging technologies that detect genetic and molecular abnormalities in cancers in individual patients can help select optimal therapy and determine the effectiveness of treatment within hours.
  • Angiogenesis.  Anti-angiogenesis agents and inhibitors of other normal tissues that surround cancers can starve the cancer cells of their blood supply and deprive them of essential growth-promoting factors which must come from the tumor’s environment.
  • Immunotherapy. Discovering ways to elicit or boost immune responses in cancer patients may target destruction of cancer cells and lead to the development of cancer vaccines.

#2.  Better tests to predict cancer risk and enable earlier detection must be developed.

New predictive tests, based on abnormalities in blood, other body fluids or tissue samples, will be able to detect abnormalities in the structure or expression of cancer-related genes and proteins. Such tests may predict the risk of cancer in individuals and could detect early cancer years before any symptoms are present.

The prostate-specific antigen test for prostate cancer currently is the best known marker test to detect the possible presence of early cancer before it has spread. Abnormalities in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes predict a high risk for breast cancer, which can guide the decisions of physicians and patients on preventive measures. Many more gene-based predictors are needed to further our progress in risk assessment and early detection.

#3.  More cancers can and must be prevented.

In an ideal world, cancer “care” would begin with risk assessment and counseling of a person when no malignant disease is present. Risk factors include both inherited or acquired genetic abnormalities and those related to lifestyle and the environment.

The largest risk factor for cancer is tobacco smoking, which accounts for nearly one-third of all cancer deaths. Tobacco use should be discouraged with cost disincentives, and medical management of discontinuing tobacco use must be reimbursed by government and private sector payors.

Cancer risk assessment should be followed by appropriate interventions (either behavioral or medical) at a pre-malignant stage, before a cancer develops. Diagnosis and treatment of a confirmed cancer would occur only when these preventive measures fail.

A full understanding of cancer requires research to identify more completely the genetic, environmental, lifestyle and social factors that contribute to the varying types and rates of cancer in different groups in this country and around the world. A common cancer in Japan or India, for example, often is not a common cancer in the U.S. When prostate cancer occurs in African-Americans it is more severe than in Caucasians. A better understanding of the factors that influence differences in cancer incidence and deaths will provide important clues to preventing cancer in diverse populations worldwide.

#4.  The needs of cancer survivors must become a priority.

Surviving cancer means many things: reducing pain, disability and stress related to the cancer or the side effects of therapy; helping patients and their loved ones lead a full life from diagnosis forward; preventing a second primary cancer or recurrence of the original cancer; treating a difficult cancer optimally to ensure achieving the most healthy years possible, and more.  Since many more patients are surviving their cancers – or living much longer with cancer – helping them manage all the consequences of their disease and its treatment is critically important.  It is an area ripe for innovative research and for improvement in delivery of care.

#5.  We must train future researchers and providers of cancer care.

Shortages are predicted in the supply of physicians, nurses and technically trained support staff needed to provide expert care for patients with cancer.  On top of this, patient numbers are projected to increase.  We are heading toward a “perfect storm” unless we ramp up our training programs for cancer professionals at all levels.   The pipeline for academic researchers in cancer also is threatened due to the increasing difficulty in obtaining peer-reviewed research funding. We must designate more funding from the NIH and other sources specifically for promising young investigators, to enable them to initiate their careers.

#6.  Federal funding for research should be increased.

After growing by nearly 100% from 1998-2002, the National Cancer Institute budget has been in decline for the past four years. Through budget cuts and the effects of inflation, the NCI budget has lost approximately 12% of its purchasing power.  Important programs in tobacco control, cancer survivorship and support for interdisciplinary research have had significant cuts.  The average age at which a biomedical researcher receives his or her first R01 grant (the gold standard) now stands at 42, hardly an inducement to pursue this field. This shrinks the pipeline of talented young Americans who are interested in careers in science, but can find easier paths to more promising careers elsewhere.  Lack of adequate funding also discourages seasoned scientists with outstanding track records of contributions from undertaking innovative, but risky research projects.  The U.S. leadership in biomedical research could be lost.

Biomedical research in academic institutions needs steady funding that at least keeps up with inflation and enables continued growth.

#7.  The pace of clinical research must accelerate.

As research ideas move from the laboratory to patients, they must be assessed in clinical trials to test their safety and efficacy. Clinical trials are complicated, lengthy and expensive, and they often require large numbers of patients.  Further steps must be taken to ensure that efficient and cost-effective clinical trials are designed to measure, in addition to outcomes, the effects of new agents on the intended molecular targets. Innovative therapies should move forward more rapidly from the laboratory into clinical trials.

The public needs to be better educated about clinical trials, which in many cases may provide them with access to the best care available.  Greater participation in trials will speed up drug development, in addition to providing patients with the best options if standard treatments fail.  The potential risks and benefits of clinical trials must continue to be fully disclosed to the patients involved, and the trials must continue to be carefully monitored.

The issue of how to pay for clinical trials must be addressed. The non-experimental portion of the costs of care in clinical trials currently are borne in part by Medicare, and should be covered fully by all payors. The experimental portion of costs of care should be covered by the owner of the new drug, who stands to benefit from a new indication for therapeutic use.

#8.  New partnerships will encourage drug and device development.

One way to shorten the time for drug and device development is to encourage and reward collaboration among research institutions, and collaboration between academia and industry.  Increasingly, partnerships are required to bring together sufficient expertise and resources needed to confront the complex challenges of treating cancer. There is enormous opportunity here, but many challenges, as well.

Academic institutions already do collaborate, but we need new ways to stimulate increased participation in cooperative enterprises.

Traditionally, academic institutions have worked with biotech and pharmaceutical companies by conducting sponsored research and participating in clinical trials.  By forming more collaborative alliances during the preclinical and translational phases prior to entering the clinic, industry and academia can build on each other’s strengths to safely speed drug development to the bedside. The challenge is that this must be done with agreements that involve sharing, but also protect the property rights and independence of both parties.

The results of all clinical trials must be reported completely and accurately, without any influence from conflicts of interest and with full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.

#9. We must provide access to cancer care for everyone who lives in the U.S.

More than 47 million Americans are uninsured, and many others are underinsured for major illnesses like cancer. Others are uninsurable because of a prior illness such as cancer.  And many are indigent, so that payment for care is totally impossible.

Depending on where they live and what they can afford, Americans have unequal access to quality cancer care. Treatment options vary significantly nationwide. We must find better ways to disseminate the best standards of high-quality care from leading medical centers to widespread community practice throughout the country.

Cancer incidence and deaths vary tremendously among ethnic and economic groups in this country. We need to address the causes of disparities in health outcomes and move to eliminate them.

We are unique among Western countries in not providing direct access to medical care for all who live here. There is consensus today among most Americans and both political parties that this is unacceptable.  Especially for catastrophic illnesses like cancer, we must create an insurance system that guarantees access to care.

A number of proposals involving income tax rebates, vouchers, insurance mandates and expanded government insurance programs address this issue. Whatever system is selected should ensure access and include mechanisms for caring for underserved Americans.  The solution will require give-and-take among major stakeholders, many of which benefit from the status quo.  However, the social and economic costs have risen to the point that we have no choice.

#10.  Greater attention must be paid to enhancing the quality of cancer care and reducing costs.

New therapies and medical instruments are expensive to develop and are a major contributor to the rising cost of medical care in the U.S.  The current payment system rewards procedures, tests and treatments rather than outcomes.  At the same time, cancer prevention measures and services are not widely covered.  A new system of payment must be designed to reward outcomes, as well as the use of prevention services.

Quality of care can be improved and costs can be reduced by increasing our efforts to reduce medical errors and to prescribe diagnostic tests and treatments only on the basis of objective evidence of efficacy.

A standardized electronic medical record, accessible nationwide, is essential to ensuring quality care for patients who see multiple providers at multiple sites, and we are far behind many other nations.  Beyond that, a national electronic medical record could provide enormous opportunities for reducing overhead costs, identifying factors contributing to many illnesses (including cancer), determining optimal treatment and detecting uncommon side effects of treatment.

What the future holds in store.

I am optimistic. I see a future in which more cancers are prevented, more are cured and, when not curable, more are managed as effectively as other chronic, life-long diseases. I see a future in which deaths due to cancer continue to decrease.

Achieving that vision will require greater collaboration among academic institutions, government, industry and the public.  Barriers to quality care must be removed.  Tobacco use must be eradicated.  Research must have increased funding.  Mindful that our priority focus is on the patient, we must continue to speed the pace of bringing scientific breakthroughs from the laboratory to the bedside.

M. D. Anderson resources:

John Mendelsohn, M.D.”

Primary SourceTen Pieces Help Solve Cancer Puzzle, by John Mendelsohn, M.D., Feature Article, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Cancer News, Mar. 2009.