Friday, September 29, 2017

Former 'Seinfeld' star urges universal health care

'Veep' multiple Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus reveals that she's fighting breast cancer

Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 56-year-old multiple Emmy-winning star of "Veep" and "Seinfeld," has breast cancer.

The actress disclosed her diagnosis on Twitter yesterday "in a signed message snapped on personal stationery," according to a Huffington Post story by Sara Boboltz.

Her note began, "1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I'm the one."

She also took the opportunity to plug universal health care: "The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky so let's fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality."

Actress Deborah Messing, who again is starring in the TV sitcom "Will and Grace," tweeted that "you are incredible to use this moment as an opportunity to support others."

And actress Anna Kendrick tweeted, "I don't think I realized how much I love this woman, who I don't know. Love her more for speaking up for others in this moment."

Christina Applegate, an actress who had a double mastectomy in 2008 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, said Louis-Dreyfus could contact her if she wanted to talk.

Former vice president Joe Biden, whose son Beau died of cancer in 2015, tweeted that "we Veeps stick together. Jill and I, and all of the Bidens, are with you, Julia." 

Just under 240,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

Louis-Dreyfus, who did not immediately announce what treatments she's contemplating, won her sixth consecutive Emmy for playing bumbling politico Selina Meyer on "Veep," a political satire, earlier this month, a record. 

Her latest award came the day before her diagnosis. 

More information on the disease, as well as reactions to diagnoses, can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

2nd opinions, knowing right questions are key

Hospital network offers cancer patients, especially those in advanced stage, four tips

Sometimes good information comes from unexpected places.

Like an old ad.

Case in point: I just found a piece on a Time magazine website that was reprinted from Cancer Treatment Centers of America,  a network of five hospitals in five states.

It contends that "breakthroughs unimaginable a generation ago are now saving lives as a matter of course."

And it suggests "four things every cancer patient must do."

They are: Get a second opinion, find the right doctors, know the questions to ask, and stay strong for the fight.

Regarding second opinions, the piece maintains that those consults provide an opportunity "to better understand additional needs like nutritional planning, the management of side effects, and the power of family support during cancer treatment.

Dr. George Daneker Jr.
The piece quotes Dr. George Daneker Jr., CTCA's chief medical officer, to the effect that "more advances in cancer treatment have been made in the past five years than in the past 50" but initial diagnoses are not always right. 

Twelve percent of patients are actually misdiagnosed, the article says.

As to finding the right docs, it notes that "fully one out of five patients who receive a cancer diagnosis learn their disease is already advanced stage [and] frequently require more comprehensive care from a dedicated team that should include a medical oncologist, surgical or radiation oncologist [if appropriate], registered dietitian, naturopathic oncology provider, and other clinicians."

When it comes to knowing what to ask, the CTCA lists 10 questions it considers crucial, including "What happens if a treatment approach doesn't work for me?"

Staying strong may not be an easy task, the article inidicates, because "69% of cancer patients have health issues beyond their cancer…and fully eight out of ten people living with cancer are also malnourished."

The treatment centers also assert that "the one consistent enabling truth in the fight against cancer throughout the years has always been this: Knowledge is power."

I certainly concur.

And in that regard, I'd like to promote my VitalityPress book, "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," which I aimed at male caregivers and which I'm convinced is chock full of information that can become powerful knowledge.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Mistaken diagnoses plague patients, doctors

DNA 'fingerprinting method' might lower risk of lab errors on thousands, N.Y. Times says

Lab mixups and mistaken diagnoses (both positive and negative) may be happening to thousands of patients each year.

That's what Gina Kolata indicated recently in The New York Times.

Her article focuses on how to avoid those errors — a "high-tech solution: a way to fingerprint and track each sample with the donor's own DNA." 

But it's costly: About $300 per sample. So labs are reluctant to employ them.
Dr. John Pfeifer

Kolata, however, quotes Dr. John Pfeifer, vice chair of clinical affairs in the pathology and immunology department at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis as saying, "All the process improvement in the world does not get rid of human errors…Millions get biopsies every year. Is society going to say, 'Yeah, mistakes happen but we're not going to look for them?"

When the fingerprinting method is used, the lab tries to match the DNA from a swab taken from a patient's mouth. If it doesn't match, that signals a lab mix-up.

Errors, according to Kolata, "may lead a patient down a life-altering path, to a grueling treatment that was unnecessary, or to the neglect of a cancer that may or may not prove deadly."

Pfeifer actually reviewed more than 13,000 biopsy results from men evaluated for prostate cancer at a number of labs. The results were supplied by the chief exec at Strand Diagnostics, the company that's marketing the fingerprinting method.

More information about research into lab results can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

Friday, September 8, 2017

'Triple negative breast cancer' treatment studied

African scholarship student is working on potential cure for a subtype of cancer for blacks 

A Sierra Leonean student reportedly is developing an alternative breast cancer treatment for black women.

Sandra Musujusu
According to a recent story by Taryn Finley on the Huffpost website, the research of Sandra Musujusu, a student at the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, is focusing on "triple negative breast cancer, which is actually the aggressive subtype of breast cancer that is common with women from African ancestry."

The Huffpost piece references an article in the Nigerian Tribune that reported the research centering on "the development of biodegradable polymers for treatment of breast cancer."

A variety of African publications have been sanguine about Musujusu's research potentially leading to a cure.

She apparently is using macro molecular science as her basic tool.

Breast cancer, the Huffpost story indicated, "is the most commonly diagnosed caner among women around the world. In 2012, there were 1.7 million new cases worldwide, according to World Cancer Research Fund International."

An online article on the Rollingout website says that "about 1 in 8 U.S. women "will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to"

The National Cancer Institute has reported that approximately 1,211,690 black people have a history of cancer.

In the United States alone, the Huffpost story notes, "black women with breast cancer have the highest mortality rate than any other race, according to the Susan G. Women Foundation."

And the National Cancer Institute has said approximately 1,211,690 black people have a history of cancer.

Musujusu is a World Bank scholarship student.

More information about breast cancer and black women can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.