Breast Cancer can reoccur – not good news

Apparently studies are showing that the cancer can be dormant for 15 years and resurface.  Those who have had lymph node invasions are at a 40% risk.  Those who have had no lymph node invasion are still at a 10% risk.  Please read the full article here and speak with your doctor.


Is there a vaccine?


A year ago, Sergei German got terrible news: He had cancer, and it was incurable. Today, he is cancer-free. The tumors throughout his body literally melted away after treatment with an experimental vaccine.

It’s called immunotherapy: harnessing the immune system to attack cancer. The idea has been around for a long time, but now — for the first time — researchers are making it work.

“There used to be believers and non-believers,” says Joshua Brody, MD, a cancer researcher and German’s doctor. “There is only one school of thought now. We have clear evidence that the immune system can get rid of cancer.”

Vaccines work by teaching the immune system what to attack. They’re like the piece of the convict’s clothing that the sheriff gives to the bloodhounds to sniff. The immune system takes the scent, and goes off to get the bad guys.

Of course, cancer is different from the usual bad guys that vaccines target. Viruses like polio and the flu are outside invaders, but a tumor is made of our own cells.

German has lymphoma, which is one of the cancers that seems to be most responsive to immunotherapy. Dr. Brody is the director of the Lymphoma Immunotherapy Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The trick for Brody and other researchers working on immunotherapy is to find a way to teach the immune system how to distinguish a cancer cell from a healthy

Brody’s idea is to allow the immune system itself to figure it out. “You know, the immune system has been evolving for millions and millions of years to be able to distinguish one cell from another cell,” he says. “The immune system can make distinctions that we can’t.”

He begins by identifying a tumor near the skin, and then injects agents into the tumor that stimulate the immune system to recognize the tumor cells. Then the immune cells take that knowledge and find and destroy tumors anywhere in the body.

“The concept here is to be able to treat one tumor and then watch tumors in other places melting away,” says Brody. That’s what happened to German.

“It seems like it’s a movie, almost,” says German. He would go in on Fridays for the injection. By the weekend he was running a fever, then by Sunday morning he’d feel well again.

In addition to lymphoma, immunotherapy has shown success against melanoma and prostate cancer. So far, the only So far, the only FDA-approved cancer vaccine targets prostate cancer. But Brody predicts immunotherapy will one day be a front-line treatment for these, and perhaps many other cancers.

-Sanjay Gupta

Putting on the Brakes (on cancer cells)


Best news I’ve heard in a long time!

Researchers working in small-scale lab tests believe they’ve figured out how to reprogram cancer cells by turning off their uncontrollable growth.

When healthy cells start to die, molecules called microRNAs deliver a specific protein which prevents the cells from dividing. Cancer cells don’t get enough of this protein, so those cells usually multiply at a much quicker rate.

When researchers at the Mayo Clinic injected cancer cells with microRNA,the tumor stopped growing.

They likened the process to applying the brakes in a vehicle. One researcher said with microRNA delivery, “We should be able to re-establish the brakes and restore normal cell function.”

They call it “an unexpected finding” and “a significant step” in understanding how cancer works.

But cells on their own in the lab aren’t the same as cells in a human patient, and the researchers don’t know if the process can be worked into any cancer treatments yet.
They’ve published their findings in the journalCell Biology.

New Breast Cancer Detection!


A research team at Lund University in Sweden has conducted a study to test the effectiveness of tomosynthesis breast screening against more conventional mammograms. The results are promising, showing the new technique to be better at detecting tumors, as well as being a more comfortable experience for the patient.

Read the full article here:  


watercressOne study has found a compound in watercress that could turn off a protein that breast cancer needs to grow. Other studies have shown that broccoli and cauliflower can reduce lung cancer. Tomatoes, carrots, and blackberries contain compounds that fight cancer and heart disease.

Read the full article of how watercress may ‘turn off’ breast cancer signal in the Science Daily

Watercress has now become my new power food!

Breast Cancer Vaccine in 2015

vaccineMaybe we will have a breast cancer vaccine this year. Here’s why I think so:

Results of a small study published in Clinical Cancer Research have shown that a new breast cancer vaccine is safe to give to people.

The vaccine targets mammaglobin-A (MAM-A), a breast cancer-related antigen (a toxin or substance that causes an immune response in the body). In the study, the vaccine was given to 14 patients with stable metastatic breast cancer who had been off chemotherapy for at least 30 days. Analysis showed that, after they got the vaccine, the patients had significant increases in the number of immune cells targeting MAM-A, with no serious adverse side effects.

If further research goes well, the vacccine may ultimately serve as an effective treatment for early-stage breast cancer.

The research team was led by William Gillanders, MD, of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. In a recent interview with Cancer Therapy Advisor, Dr. Gillanders shared his optimism about the study results. “We learned that targeting MAM-A is a safe and very promising therapy for breast cancer,” he told the publication. He also said that MAM-A is a “highly attractive target” because it is overexpressed (meaning there are many “copies” of the gene) in breast cancer but not in other tissues. According to Gillanders, recent studies suggest that between 60 percent and 70 percent of breast cancer tumors have the MAM-A antigen.

The next step in the research will be to give the vaccine to patients in the early stages of the disease because. Gillanders explained that “there is a growing realization that vaccine therapy is most effective in the earlier stages of cancer.” The trial will be unique in that patients will be given the vaccine before surgery so that researchers will be able to evaluate the immune response in tumor tissue samples taken during surgery.

-Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, MD, MPH Women’s Wellness

Are we past ‘aware’?

Founder and spokesperson of the Center for Transparency Bobbie Shay Lee, a survivor herself after 22 surgeries, makes a good argument.  Aren’t we past ‘awareness’ and lost our way to our goal?  What does all the pink and events signify and where does all that money go?

“Where Does the ‘Pink’ Money Go?

These corporations and organizations, padded with millions in charitable gifts, have lost sight of their role — and for many, their mission. They are not providing critical therapies breast cancer patients need to survive. Nor do they provide basic needs, like food and transportation, for those who are fighting cancer and are unable to work.

You never hear of a single organization that helps in covering funeral costs (a last attempt to give those who succumb to this horrific disease the dignity they deserve). I suppose they will brag about the dollars committed to research, so tell me more about the research findings? Surely the billions of dollars committed over the past three decades has resulted in some groundbreaking advances?

Pink Is Fine, but Something Has to Change

I have been a “survivor” for almost two decades, since being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 25. Throughout my evolution, which began during my time as an NFL cheerleader, I have became a voice for those who needed one. I defied the odds to become a mother, and forever became part of the sisterhood breast cancer brings into your life. In each phase of this journey, I am grateful for the struggles — as well as broke from 22 surgeries — but empowered to change how we fight this battle.


Know Someone With Breast Cancer? Help Them Directly

Creating change won’t be easy, but let’s make a vow this month to be activists, not pacifists. Participate in every event you feel deserves your contribution. Ask questions before you make a donation. Check the merchandise label to see exactly how much of your purchase is donated to the cause and mission of the organization receiving funds.

Directly support those around you who are affected by breast cancer! Find a way to make your investment count! Give someone a ride to therapy. Buy groceries for that single mom going through treatment. We decide how and what our campaign for compassion should be. It’s time we start making it count!”.


Not just October


October was christened as Breast Cancer Awareness month, but breast cancer does not just happen in October.  Please be vigilant every month.   Below are links for some of the best creative BC awareness ads this year:


Here’s one from the above list.


Strength & Love

One  young mother’s determination for a final wedding dance at her son’s marriage ceremony beat the disease.  She lived and will live for eternity in that precious moment.

Bare Reality

bare reality

Photographer Laura Dodsworth started the project after becoming frustrated with how breasts were shown in the media, feeling that most portrayals created an “unobtainable ideal.”

“I felt compelled to embark on a personal exploration of what it means to be a woman,” Dodsworth told The Huffington Post in an email. “To understand women’s experiences through their body. I wanted to re-humanize women through honest photography and interviews, present our breasts as they really are and burst the ‘fantasy bubble’ of the youthful, idealized and sexualized breasts presented by the media.”

bare reality

© Copyright Laura Dodsworth 2012-2014. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

The book features photographs of women aged 19 to 101, of all breast sizes and sexualities. Some women talk about how their breasts give them confidence, while others reveal struggles with self-esteem related to their cup size.

All of the stories remind us that women should be proud of their bodies despite the size, appearance or presence of their breasts.

In an anecdote from the project posted on The New Statesman today, one woman shares her experience with breast cancer and a subsequent mastectomy.

bare reality

© Copyright Laura Dodsworth 2012-2014. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

The woman, age 54, also discusses her decision to cover the scar with a floral tattoo rather than undergoing reconstructive surgery.

I don’t think I could have psychologically come to terms with my “battle scar” as easily without the tattoo. It would have taken a lot longer to look in the mirror and feel okay about the scar where the boob was. It makes a statement and it’s pretty to look at. I’m proud of it. I want people to realize you don’t have to hide away, just because you’ve had breast cancer.

For each book sold, a donation will be made to Breast Cancer UK.

Dodsworth, who is herself the 100th person profiled in the book, hopes that the project will empower women and assure them that, no matter how complicated their relationships with their breasts, they are not alone.

“Bare Reality has changed me, and changed how I think and feel about women.” she told HuffPost. “It has transformed my relationship with my breasts. Quite simply, I like myself more as a woman, and I like my breasts more.”  Learn more here.

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.