Photo essay book celebrates life after cancer | Study: Many women do not understand breast cancer treatment options | Palliative approach reduces ICU services, study shows
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December 6, 2012
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Patient-Centered Cancer Care
Photo essay book celebrates life after cancer
The American Cancer Society's new photo essay book, titled Picture Your Life After Cancer, examines the positive, negative, challenging and inspiring experiences of cancer survivors in the years following diagnosis. ?What cancer made me do in my own professional life is to pedal faster,? cancer survivor Susan Schwalb said. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers)/Well blog (12/3)
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Study: Many women do not understand breast cancer treatment options
Doctors treating breast cancer patients may need to find new ways to communicate treatment options, according to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. More than 20% of breast cancer patients surveyed said they were overwhelmed by their choices and unprepared to weigh the risks and benefits of each option. A team composed of an experienced surgeon, a medical oncologist, a plastic surgeon and a radiation oncologist can help women make informed choices that they will be less likely to regret later, says Steven Katz, a University of Michigan researcher who was not involved in the study. Reuters (11/28)
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Palliative approach reduces ICU services, study shows
A comprehensive palliative care approach using a multidisciplinary team and clinician feedback reduced the use of ICU services for terminally ill cancer patients, Johns Hopkins University researchers reported. Lead author Dr. Allen Ray Sing Chen said more patients decided against resuscitation and fewer died after prolonged ventilation. Medscape (free registration) (11/27)
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Emerging Trends, Products & Technologies
Computer-assisted diagnostics has potential to improve care
IBM?s Watson for Healthcare is among the newest of computer-assisted diagnostics designed to interpret clinical information, aid in diagnosis and determine treatment options. Some experts say using computer systems in medicine is difficult because they must work with incomplete or imprecise information, but others say such systems could help identify rare conditions that may not be considered, such as in the recent outbreak of hantavirus at Yosemite. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (12/3)
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Cancer Research & Health Policy
FDA advisers discuss pediatric cancer meds
A panel of FDA advisers is meeting to discuss testing four drugs with potential to treat childhood cancers. Relatively few children are affected by cancer, making robust clinical trial design difficult. The FDA requires drugmakers to study their products in children if that population is prone to the target disease, and new legislation taking effect next month will require those studies even earlier. Bloomberg (12/4)
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Supreme Court will take another look at human gene patents
The U.S. Supreme Court will once again look at the issue of whether human genes are "patent-eligible" material after it issued a writ of certiorari to a group of plaintiffs involved in a breast cancer-genes patent case. The dispute was filed on behalf of a clinician who wants to examine people for breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 without a license from Myriad Genetics, which owns the patents for those genes. Insider blog (11/30)
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Foundation News
A Glimpse into the Future of Cancer Therapy
The Cancer Genome Atlas Project is a major cancer initiative to help health care professionals better understand precisely what is “broken” in their patients. To borrow a car metaphor, if a cancer patient needs a new timing belt, they will get the timing belt that is manufactured specifically for their make and model. The fix may still be easy or complicated, but knowing precisely what’s broken leads to the best options for considering repair. Read more about the comprehensive work in the mechanics of cancer on the LIVESTRONG blog.
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Are You a Blue Mussel?
IBM’s John Gordon recently talked about the idea of “big data” and what it can offer the health care world. Gordon also discussed a Nordic drilling company that uses blue mussels to detect leaks in their pipes and pumps because mussels close if their surroundings have been contaminated. Lessons can be learned from big data and blue mussels that could have an impact on the progress made to end cancer. Using patient feedback as the next form of big data and having a mussel-inspired problem alert system could have a meaningful impact on the future of cancer. For the full story, visit the LIVESTRONG blog.
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If you do not have someone (to go to appointments with you), take a tape recorder, keep the tapes and listen to them."
-- Susan C., cancer survivor
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The LIVESTRONG Foundation does not necessarily endorse the opinions that may be mentioned on this site, the articles are published for informational purposes and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.
About the LIVESTRONG Foundation
The LIVESTRONG Foundation provides free cancer support services to help people cope with the financial, emotional and practical challenges that accompany the disease. Created in 1997 by cancer survivor and philanthropist Lance Armstrong, the Foundation is known for its powerful brand – LIVESTRONG–and for its advocacy on behalf of survivors and their families. With its iconic yellow LIVESTRONG wristband, the Foundation has become a symbol of hope and inspiration around the world. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised nearly $500 million to support cancer survivors and served 2.5 million people affected by the disease. For more information, visit
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