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Why I Became a Patient Advocate

Last year, I got diagnosed with breast cancer. My life fell apart. I lost my health, my energy, my job, my enthusiasm, my sleep, my appetite. My brain got sluggish. I was lost. Lethargic. Uninspired.

Then I started treatment. It was brutal. I shrank my sense of time to smaller units. I wasn’t thinking about what I would do after cancer. Or even making plans for the summer. I was just focused on making it to the end of the day. One day at a time. From my bed to the hospital. From the hospital to my bed. And again the next day.

Then, something happened. My body was still beaten up and shivering, but I started to see the treatment through new eyes. Amidst the misery, a new sense of purpose started to awaken in me. I realized that being a cancer patient also gave me an opportunity to be a proximate witness of cancer. I started to see the stress and trauma of treatment not as an inevitable dread, but as a design flaw that could be improved. I started to see that my pain could be turned into something positive. That I could leverage my first-hand experience of cancer, professional skills, and moment-to-moment awareness of my human experience to help oncology providers design a better cancer experience for other cancer patients. That gave me hope.

I decided to use my voice to give voice to the million voiceless cancer patients suffering in silence. I wrote a blog post about my cancer radiation experience and the distressing impact of stressful medical processes. A friend suggested I submit it to a medical journal to broaden its reach. I made improvements to turn it into an academic paper, and it was accepted for publication in the Journal of Patient Experience: Leotin, S. (2019). An Insider View of the Cancer Radiation Experience Through the Eyes of a Cancer Patient. This, in turn, opened doors to new conversations with medical providers. I was met by resistance by some and gratitude by others. I joined the board of the Stanford Cancer Center Patient and Family Advisory Council. I received invitations to speak at medical conferences.

My cancer experience made me aware of a gap in understanding the needs of cancer patients I had not seen before, and the unintended suffering it adds to the cancer journey. Cancer is a black box few people understand unless they’ve had cancer themselves. We need to bring to light the unseen needs of cancer patients to empower those who care to address them. Through writing, speaking, and the use of new technologies, my objective is to reveal the human experience of cancer and help improve the patient experience for all cancer patients.

I am thrilled to be joining the Lyfebulb community as Cancer Ambassador and look forward to meeting many of you, online and offline.

This article was originally published on my blog at sylvieleotin.com.

Twitter: @sleotin

Lyfestories: Jen Hodson’s Journey with Breast Cancer

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, the scariest word in the room was “chemotherapy”.  Naïve to what active treatment would actually be like, I foolishly assumed that once I completed it, I would be on to a whole new adventure.  Wow, was I wrong. I finished big chemo in April 2017 (coming up on one year!) and my Herceptin infusions in December 2017. I’ve been out of active treatment for three months and things have never been scarier.

It wasn’t chemotherapy I should have been fearful of, I should have balked at “post treatment” instead. With chemo and targeted therapy, I was actively doing something against cancer, and now I’m simply existing.  Or that’s how it feels. My follow-up appointments are dwindling, my side effects are plateauing, my survivorship care plan has been queued up. So why am I feeling so utterly depressed instead of ecstatic?!

Turns out, this is more common than I thought.  After discussing with several others I’ve met online or in support groups, they all agreed that “post cancer” life can be quite brutal on the mind.  Not only for the aforementioned reasons, but because we’re left with the fallout from the fight. We’re putting together pieces we didn’t realize had broken. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, lifestyle changes, relationship changes, returning to “normalcy”, being sick but not looking sick, these are just some of the aspects of my life that came rushing to greet me as I closed the door on active treatment.

And I was not prepared to greet them.  Perhaps I’m still not, but I’m learning everyday how to equip myself with the tools to make it through this challenging time.  I’ve started to carve out 10 minutes everyday to sit and reflect, or to meditate, so that I can turn everything off and see what surprising thoughts come creeping out of the woodwork.  After more than a year of cancer running the show, I’ve learned that I still desperately want to learn sign language. Now I have a new goal to focus on. No seriously, I got that from sitting on my bed and listening to my Headspace app for 10 minutes.  It works wonders.

I’ve started to run again, and I even have a few races under my belt.  I’ve signed up for the Chicago Marathon in October 2018 and each day I can push my body and lungs to the limit, is a day I am thankful for. It’s an outlet for all the things I can’t control, I am quite literally running away from them.  And on the days that are the darkest, I’ll try and stroll around the park for a few minutes, just to be outside. A change of scenery always seems to help.

Most importantly however, I’ve started seeing a therapist.  This is the most important tool I’ve found during this tumultuous period.  There is so much to take in after treatment, there are so many questions that float around my head daily.  Should I become a vegan? How can I prevent a recurrence? Why do I feel guilty about surviving? About having fun? Journaling and reporting to my therapist keeps me grounded.  And it allows me an outlet to explore this new phase with a safety net. I’m happy to have it.

If you’re reading this, and find yourself in the same position, please reach out to your medical team for help.  I was surprised by the resources they provided me when I admitted that I was struggling. And if you’d like to chat more with me about it, you can find me on Instagram @jenhods or at my website www.rogueboob.com (if you’re not in the same position, that is amazing, but I hope you’ll still come say hi).  For everyone on this journey, just remember to put one foot in front of the other.

 

Inside the Patient Entrepreneurs Mind: Dana Donofree

Having a chronic illness can be challenging, and running your own business can be hard. No matter where you fit on the spectrum, we could all use a little motivation.  Our #InsidethePatientEntrepreneursMind blog series gives you insight and lifehacks on how to stay motivated from some of the most innovative patient entrepreneurs in the world.

Dana Donofree is the Founder, CEO and Head Designer of AnaOno, a lingerie & loungewear line created specifically for those who’ve been affected by breast cancer and its related surgeries.

Dana sat down with Lyfebulb to tell us how she started the collection after being diagnosed with Infiltrative Ductal Carcinoma. Dana had a bilateral mastectomy with implant reconstruction. She was underwhelmed by the bra options for women in this category and devoted her recovery and career to creating a line that was functional and fashionable.

What motivated you to create a business addressing a disease you know so well?
Being a patient isn’t easy. But it’s not because of the doctor appointments, or the life disruption, or how to manage your loved ones, it’s because all you want is to feel like the person you were before it was interrupted. That is the part no one tells you about or explains how it will affect you on levels outside of the pain, sadness, or struggle you go through…it isn’t just physical, it’s incredibly mental. When I found myself lost, confused, and having no way to find the answers, the diagnosis started dictating parts of life that were never expected, like how I felt about myself, or how I wanted to express my individuality. It was then I woke up and realized I may not be the only facing these challenges. That I may not be alone. I needed to do something about it. For me, that was taking my experience, my background, and my talents and putting them to use. That guided me to launch AnaOno. I wanted to feel beautiful, I wanted to feel sexy, and pretty and it started with my foundation. The act of simply getting dressed in the morning became my most feared task of the day, that didn’t happen before my cancer.

What are some of the hurdles you perceive exist for people with your disease?
People hear breast cancer, they see Pink. Pink shows pretty, femininity, lightness. There is nothing about breast cancer that represents these words that pink is so easily associated with. There is destruction and darkness. These are the realities, they are not pink. They are not something to celebrate. I was diagnosed at 27 years old, my life was just beginning, the pink shower that fell upon me was completely unrelatable. Living as a patient is my reality. I have to constantly face the marketing reality that has been presented to everyone else, that is an everyday struggle.

Who are some of your role models in your space?
My role models are the mothers, sisters, friends, aunts, coworkers that are diagnosed every day. It isn’t our grandmother’s (or grandfather’s) disease anymore. Breast cancer does not discriminate. And although I am facing my 8th year as a patient advocate, I see too many friends and loved ones facing a new diagnosis. They give me strength, remembrance and hope that we will conquer this disease, but we cannot accept what has been done in the past, and we must pave our own path to ensure our future is a world in which we get one more day with the ones we love.

What is your goal beyond creating a successful business?
AnaOno is not just about selling bras. Yes, we sell bras, but it is more than that. It’s a community, a support system that you can rely on for important, tangible information. I don’t want anyone diagnosed with breast cancer to feel alone; that extends itself beyond providing solutions for your treatment, it’s about supporting and holding each other up when we feel like falling. AnaOno can help strengthen that community.

What does Lyfebulb mean to you? How can we support you better? what are some of the biggest gaps today for a “young” entrepreneur?
For Lyfebulb to take a focus on chronic disease, by not only supporting the patients living with it every day but supporting those that have the skills and background to help make a difference, is an important piece of development in our community. Like living day-to-day doesn’t challenge enough, taking the extra step to make those days just a little easier is the path many of us take after facing these unique challenges. I am so proud to be a part of the Lyfebulb family, so I can not only have their support but I can support others taking the path less traveled and adding on the challenge of launching a new business!

How do you stay healthy and motivated to deliver?
Staying healthy is always something I strive for but feel I often fall short. I know life is short. I want to make sure my body is treated in the best way possible, medical side effects can really take hold. Then add on top of that launching a business. I have to give myself time to unwind whenever possible. It may be dinner with my friends, it may be a moment of meditation or a walk through the park. Just a moment to let my mind rest, while my body may be tired. I hope to find my path to mental clarity on a daily basis. That is something I will always have to prioritize in my life.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
As a “young” entrepreneur, I know a lot, but I don’t know everything. Being open to criticism and feedback, using it to become stronger is very important in both personal and professional growth. It is also good to celebrate the wins or accomplishments. Great mentors will be there to celebrate with you!

How can we draw more attention to user-driven innovation?
Starting your own business, or inventing your own solution can be overwhelming, not to mention scary. Especially when you may not have all the skill sets needed, but I do believe with passion you can achieve anything you put your mind to. By telling stories of other entrepreneurs, who have launched their businesses, I can learn more through real voices and challenges. It also helps you to feel not so alone. It’s beneficial to hear the good, the bad and the ugly… because we all have those moments.

How do you maintain work/life balance?
Maintaining a work/life balance is hard when your work is your life. It may sound crazy, but I love every single moment of my life, and those that are involved, and those I get to meet because of AnaOno. It could be an introduction to another young woman facing a diagnosis, or another woman entrepreneur, or even teaching students how they can get started. My life is my passion, and my passion is my life.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?
That by the time my nieces and nephews grow into adults that they don’t have to be afraid when receiving a cancer diagnosis because treatments will be widely available.
For our society to see disparity as equal.
That no woman faced with a diagnosis feels alone in her life and her treatment.

What is your favorite song that gets you motivated?
Janet Jackson, Black Cat


#InsidethePatientEntrepreneursMind is a weekly blog series that highlights members of Lyfebulb’s Patient-Entrepreneur Circle. The Entrepreneur Circle is an educational and inspirational platform for all people living with or affected by chronic disease. Existing entrepreneurs will be available to educate new dreamers through the website and through live events. Check out last week’s featuring Johnnie Refvik. To read more or to apply to join the Entrepreneur Circle click here.

Lyfestories: Jessica Proto’s Breast Cancer Journey

It was the spring of 2017, around March. I was lying in my bed thinking that it had been a while since I did my last breast self-examination. I started to check my left breast and I could quickly feel a small lump there. I checked both breasts and under my arms, no lumps any other places. I asked my boyfriend to check if he could feel it, and he did. I immediately went online and googled “lump in breast”, which led me to several places that explained that a tumor would be hard and very firm, and not easy to move. Since my lump didn’t have those characteristics, I thought that probably it was just a fat cyst, so I waited another month before I checked it again. The second time I checked it I could still feel it; it had the same size, but just to be sure I wanted my doctor to feel it. He sent me to a clinic to take some tests of it. Unfortunately the results came back positive. Me, a 27-year-old girl, had breast cancer.

I think I was in shock at first. I managed to tell my mum that I had some cell alterations, while I told my sister and my brother that I had cancer. Because of my age they wanted me to take another test, just to make sure that it actually was cancer. The second time I got the answer to my result it was easier for me to tell my family and friends that it was, in fact, cancer. I always thought that cancer was something I probably would get when I got old, and it’s still weird for me to think about it.

My lump was small and I started off with surgery the 18th of august 2017. They removed the lump, analyzed it and the tissue around it and found two more tiny lumps. I had to have another surgery to make sure they removed everything, and then started chemotherapy in November. I consider chemo to be my toughest friend. One of those friends that constantly tells you the truth because they want what’s best for you, even if it hurts you a little bit. Chemo hurts my cells, makes my body ache and tired, but it is for my very best. My treatment journey is not over yet, I’ve still got a few months left, and then I can look back at this as a hard chapter of my life.

I am one of the lucky ones and that is why I’ve always tried to stay positive. I know that I’m surviving this so I usually don’t feel that I have any reason to be sad. I do have a bad day now and then, tired of the whole thing and just want to get back to my “normal” life. I miss my long hair and I don’t feel very feminine anymore. But, my hair will grow back, and I will get my “normal” life back. I also found it soothing to share my story with others. It makes me so happy if I can manage to change just one person’s life. I also would like women to open up their eyes and be more aware of this illness. I know a lot of women who started to check themselves at home after finding out about me. I do it every two-three months, and that is why I’m lucky to survive this. My message to you out there, men and women, is: If you are afraid something is wrong or you are not sure how to do a self-examination and need help, call your doctor. It could really save your life like it did to me.

Keep smiling, and stay positive. Life is good.

Lyfestories: “Cancer with a Smile”– Finding Life After Cancer

For many people including myself finishing treatment for cancer can leave you feeling a little lost. You expect to feel over the moon but often end up down in the dumps which can come as a shock. A recent survey by Breast Cancer Care discovered that more than half of breast cancer patients questioned struggled with anxiety after treatment ended and 26% said life after cancer was harder than chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

At this weeks final Moving Forward course with Breast Cancer Care we had a group session with a councillor and all eleven of us said we found life after cancer much harder than we had expected. Initially when treatment stops, being out of the cycle of hospital appointments is unsettling. I found I had got used to the constant care and attention of the nurses and doctors. It was comforting to know they were on hand if you had any problems.

Then treatment stops and its time to get back to your ‘normal’ life, but it just doesn’t seem to fit anymore.

Talking to the other ladies at the course it became clear we all felt a similar feeling of loss but for different reasons. One lady even described it as being like grieving, grieving your old life and body. I could completely relate to this as, for me, hormone therapy and the side effects are something that, ten months in, I am still learning to live with. I feel angry and cheated that, at 35 years old, I am dealing with severe menopausal symptoms while my friends are all having babies. The physical changes that breast cancer brings is another big hurdle many women face. The war may have been won but there are still a lot of casualties to be treated, operations that haven’t gone to plan, unpredictable fatigue and painful scar tissue.

The overall consensus from the group was that the mental scars run far deeper than the ones on our bodies. Many of us feel frustrated that, months after treatment is finished, cancer is still bringing us down but we find it hard to admit this to friends and family. The fear of recurrence is also very raw and many of use don’t trust our bodies anymore, fearing that every little ache or pain is the cancer returning.

Fortunately there are lots of resources out there. Macmillan and Breast Cancer Care both offer courses and counseling that can help cancer fighters deal with life after cancer. I had six sessions of counseling through Cancer Support Scotland which I found really helped get my head in a much better place. We finished the course in a lovely way by writing a letter to ourselves that we will receive in a few months time as a reminder of how far we have come. Our group was keen to stay in touch with each other and the course leader very kindly collected all our phone numbers and email addresses so we can arrange to get together again.

The ‘Someone Like Me’ service that Breast Cancer Care offers is another fantastic way to find someone who has been through a similar experience. It’s also very important to remember our cancer nurses are there for us during and after treatment, so if you have any niggling questions or side effects they are only a phone call away. If you don’t feel happy calling your hospital the Breast Cancer Care Helpline is manned by specialist nurses.

Life after cancer is hard but we are most definitely not expected to handle it alone.

To check out more of Audrey’s amazing work, go here: https://cancerwithasmile.com/

Instagram: @cancerwithasmile

Breast Cancer Warrior Thankful for Early Detection

I am a 70-year-old wife, mother, grandmother and university administrator. My cancer journey began October of 2014 with my annual mammogram followed by the mail notice of an abnormality and the ultrasound to check it out.   I was alone in my office when I got the dreaded call from my doctor telling me it was cancer and that I would need to find a surgeon.

After the initial jolt, I picked up the phone, called my husband and made it real by telling him the terrifying news. I tried to minimize the severity by telling him my doctor said it was small, we got it early, and that I likely could get away with a lumpectomy. I have no history of breast cancer in my family.  

Since it was now almost Christmas, I made the decision to tell only immediate family and deal with everything after the Holidays. So we made it through dinners, parties, Santa and all the fun with the diagnosis hanging in the background like Scrooge. And did I say there were tears…..lots of tears.

The first part of January, I saw a surgeon.  He explained that I could have a lumpectomy or a “mastectomy”– the word took my breath away. No one had talked about a mastectomy. He explained with a lumpectomy came radiation and with radiation came difficulties with reconstruction and increased risks of other cancers. Radiation was a must according to the standard of care.  Mind you, this was a very kind qualified doctor doing his job but delivering news that I was not prepared to hear.

I am a take charge person so for the next month, I visited doctors and plastic surgeons, visited with friends and friends of friends who had gone through breast cancer, researched on the internet to the wee hours of the morning, read studies, sent my doctor daughter in Seattle studies to interrupt in the middle of her 80 hour a week residency, drove my husband crazy with the what ifs, and railed against the forces in the universe that brought me to this untenable spot.  

I was having an incredibly hard time accepting that I really did have cancer and that I was going to have to make a decision about how to deal with it.  

When visiting blogs at 2 AM, it became apparent that I was not the only one out there in my predicament. Many women were doing the same thing trying to sift through all the information by themselves and come up with the decision that worked for them.

As I tell this story, keep it mind it is MY story. Not all woman chose to deal with the diagnosis as I did.  There are many types of treatment options and many types of breast cancer.  It is confusing at best and paralyzing at worst.

At the end of all my research, I decided a unilateral mastectomy with reconstruction was best for me given my fear of the side effects of radiation.  So, on March 9th  2014, I had a relatively new nipple and skin sparing mastectomy which leaves the outer part of the breast intact allowing for a good reconstruction outcome.  The pathology report came back with the great news: I had the “best type of cancer” if you must have cancer and would not need radiation or chemo.

The next three months were tougher than I imagined both physically and especially emotionally. June 1st was the reconstruction day and for the short term the end of the physical journey.  Healing has gone well and results are good.  The emotional journey continues, however.  The grief process is one that takes a little more time and doesn’t move in a linear fashion.  You go through the stages of shock, anger, sadness, and acceptance but not necessarily in that order.  I have entered the stage of acceptance– but on any given day anger and sadness can reappear. I know, however, acceptance is where I want and need to be for my continued healing and well- being.  

I am a stronger, more empathic person because of my breast cancer journey and try to be a spokesperson where ever possible to push the importance of mammograms for early detection.  

Medicine has come so far in what can be done both with the surgeries and the drug therapies for women with breast cancer. I pray my daughters and granddaughters will not have to go through what I have. But if you happen to find that you are one of the unlucky one in eight that end up with breast cancer, there are treatments and options and a marvelous life after cancer if you detect it early.

 

I Started Chemo On The Most Gorgeous Day Of The Year

I started chemo on the most gorgeous day of the year.  I had just gotten the full range of motion back in my arm post-surgery a few days before and was ready to take on the next challenge.  My dear friends came in town from Philadelphia to support me.  My girlfriends in Copenhagen gave me a series of gifts to be opened at each treatment.  My parents sent family photos.  Not a bad start.  After my first chemo session, I spent the day enjoying the sunshine.  I even met Seth Godin who was vacationing in Copenhagen.

In fact, aside from the needles, it was a pretty great day.

I was told the nausea would hit me 4-6 hours after the first treatment.  I didn’t want to sit at home waiting to be sick so, under Anders’ watchful eye, I didn’t.  And in the end the nausea didn’t come until four days later!  All in all I’ve been pretty lucky with the side effects though the fatigue is pretty hardcore.  I was sleeping 13-15 hours per day for the first handful of days after treatment and I’ve had a couple less than glamorous episodes involving me nauseous on the floor but nothing super grotesque or horribly unexpected despite the warnings.

The nurse attributes my “luck” so far to 1) drinking close to a galloon of water a day and 2) being pregnant which apparently gives me some special powers.  I would also attribute it to the super nice weather and my friends being in town.

My mind was focused on not wanting to be sick alone inside when there was sun and fun to be had.

So positive mindedness aside, what have the hardest parts been?

Trying to be productive.  The word ‘awake’ used to be binary to me; the exact opposite of ‘asleep’.  Now ‘awake’ has far more variance.  Often when I am awake I don’t feel fully awake rather like I’m walking under water, in slow motion or on autopilot.  And if I workout, I have to expect that a few hours later my body will suddenly feel like I’m sporting a lead suit.  Everything takes more energy.  When my goal is simply ‘to be’ I’m good.  When my goal is to complete a ‘to do’ list I am coming nowhere close.  Often I do 1-2 things and then take a 2-3 hour nap!

Buzzing my hair.  My hair is likely to begin to fall out in the next few days.  Rather than wait for big clumps of it to start falling out, I decided to take my new already short style another step shorter. Anders buzzed it for me.  As I sat in the bathroom with my eyes closed taking deep breaths, suddenly I felt faint and nauseous and started to sweat.  I guess it was a physical reaction to a very emotional experience.  It took me a while to regain my composure before Anders could begin again.  The fact is the Demi Moore/GI Jane look isn’t so bad, it’s knowing that it’s yet another step closer to bald.  And bald is a big (and long) step.  I had my new short haircut for a couple weeks.  I’ll have my buzzcut for likely a week at most.  See you again sometime in 2018 hair.

Demi Moore’s iconic 1992 Vanity Fair cover doctored to also have her GI Jane haircut Photoshop credits: Lone Illum
Going, going…almost gone!

 


Follow Nora on her blog: Reflections: Being Diagnosed With Breast Cancer While Pregnant

Tamoxifen protects against obesity-related metabolic disorders

Tamoxifen, a selective estrogen receptor modulator, is the gold standard for endocrine treatment of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. Tamoxifen is also known to have metabolic effects. A new study in The American Journal of Pathology reports that the drug also prevents obesity, fatty liver, and insulin resistance in female mice who were fed a high-fat diet and whose ovaries had been removed. The study was also able to pinpoint which estrogen receptors underlie these protective effects, opening up possibilities for new therapies to treat these conditions.

“For the past two decades, estrogen receptor α (ERα) has been identified as a key regulator of energy and glucose homeostasis and consequently proposed as a promising target to develop new therapeutic strategies to fight against obesity-related metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. However, understanding the mechanisms of the metabolic protection conferred by ERα activation has been a crucial challenge,” explained Pierre Gourdy, MD, PhD, INSERM UMR1048, Institut des Maladies Métaboliques et Cardiovasculaires, Université de Toulouse (France).

Mice whose ovaries had been removed were fed a high-fat diet and treated with either tamoxifen or a placebo for 12 weeks. Investigators found that tamoxifen prevented weight gain,…

A marathon that celebrates women

This year, the agenda of DNA iCan Run Women’s Half Marathon is to spread awareness about breast and cervical cancer

JASLOK HOSPITAL

DNA iCan Run is a wonderful initiative which promotes a healthy lifestyle among the women and the spirit of achievement. This is for the second time we are associating with this cause. During the first edition of DNA iCan Run in 2012, we had associated with this initiative. As a multi-specialty hospital, we at Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre have always been involved and encouraged with various initiatives for women’s health. We have conducted various initiatives like PinkNote- an initiative to celebrate the spirit of Breast Cancer Survivors and spread awareness about the diagnosis of Breast Cancer, Hairley’s Angels- hair donation drive where women from all walks of life were seen donating their crowning glory, their badge of femininity – their HAIR to female cancer patients who often lose their hair during treatment, among others. Today a woman is the most important part of our society and has always been a decision maker for family’s health. It is always a pleasure to be a part of such initiatives, where women’s health is taken into consideration and shall live up to our promise of caring for women’s welfare.

The modern society has started recognizing the individual identity of women. Women are believed to have her aspiration, abilities and qualities as a man does and it is also agreed that she should have the opportunities to develop her faculties and express them according to her own choice. The world cannot grow at good pace unless women come forward and take initiative for the betterment of the society. I believe being a women myself this year’s theme of Breast & Cervical Cancer, is the most common worldwide cause of cancer mortality among women, however they are largely preventable diseases. In India, over 1, 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year -a staggering number that has overtaken cervical cancer to become the most common cancer affecting women in India With 70,000 deaths getting reported every year, a woman succumbs to breast cancer every ten minutes in the country. The main reason is people are not aware of breast and cervical cancer. They do not undergo regular check-up due to lack of awareness. All we need to do is come together to spread awareness about cancer to the people who do not get knowledge about it.

Jaslok Hospital has forever remained in the forefront of medical advances and has established the name by introducing the most effective and advanced medical technologies first within the country. We at Jaslok want to expand and specialize in intensive care capacity , strengthening our Centre of excellence which are Assisted reproduction, Cardiac science , Renal Science Onco Science with special emphasis on women’s health . As a research center we have continuous research activities going on in various fields in collaboration with other institutions in India & abroad. As a hospital, we have and will always sustain our commitment to quality care. In addition to health facilities there will be an Improvement and modernization of Hospital Information System, in both at the clinical and administrative level. This will result in better economic data exchange, easier administrative procedures and ultimately, patient safety. The hospital can continue to lead as an arbiter in introducing the most recent and most patient-friendly technologies over the years.

Over the years Jaslok has been proactive in supporting health of a woman that ensures that every woman treated is able to perform her best at work and at home, and support her family, friends, and colleagues. Beyond serious health concerns for woman, it is important to create a balance of health and wellness which is paramount. Jaslok hospital goes beyond making healthy choices for the services that we provide, positive role-modeling, treating food as fuel and planning are among the common threads that everyone cites as being instrumental in prioritizing their own health.

The core objectives of the hospital lies in discussing innovations and initiatives which will amend the face of healthcare delivery with woman and kids health being at the very epicenter of our practices while addressing a various issues especially me being at the helm of affairs. Jaslok Hospital provides a solution to a good range of conditions, health behaviors, and health system indicators that affect the health, wellness, and quality of life of women, children, and families. We are able to have a better engagement with our woman associates by knowing our associates better. They have the privilege to access and update their own and dependents’ data, provide their work preferences, capture their career aspirations, track their performance and develop self-goals, and find…

Two drug combinations may reduce mortality rates in breast cancer patients, study reveals

Patient health records revealed two drug combinations that may reduce mortality rates in breast cancer patients, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The drugs involved were commonly used drugs that turned out to be associated with a longer average survival rate in breast cancer patients.

The study will be published online Dec. 9 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The lead author is Stanford postdoctoral scholar Yen Low, PhD. The senior author is Nigam Shah, MBBS, PhD, associate professor of medicine and of biomedical data science.

Often, when different drugs are taken together, they can have unexpected side effects. For example, some antibiotics and antifungal drugs can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills. It occurred to Shah and his team that the opposite could also be true — that some drug interactions might help patients.

“What if we looked for combinations of drugs that have an accidental beneficial effect?” Shah said.

Combing through records

The researchers decided to comb through a breast cancer database built at Stanford called Oncoshare, which takes de-identified patient information — including tumor and treatment information for each patient — from Stanford Health Care and from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and links it to patient outcomes in the California Cancer Registry.

The team searched for drugs that patients just happened to be taking and that were statistically associated with better outcomes. “By integrating different kinds of data, we can ask questions we couldn’t ask before. Usually, you don’t find both survivorship data and all the different kinds of drugs and other treatments patients get all in the same place,” said Allison Kurian, MD, associate professor of medicine and of health research and policy.

“We looked at all the noncancer drugs that breast cancer patients were on,” said Shah. “People have other things going on in life. They might have hypertension, they might have high cholesterol or diabetes. They would be taking drugs for those as well. So the question we were asking was, do any of…

Avandia targeted as potential treatment against breast and ovarian cancer

A banned type 2 diabetes drug that prevents cancer cells from shielding against chemotherapy is being researched for use against breast and ovarian cancer.

Avandia is a thiazolidinedione (or glitazone) drug that has been used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes to reduce insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity. But in 2010 it was pulled from use as a diabetes treatment in the UK due to its association with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Glitazones help the insulin that the body produces to work more effectively, but new research from Rice University suggests they also have a potential future use in cancer patients.

This is because the small molecules in Avandia can stop the production of glycoproteins, which are found in the protective mucus which lines the cells and organs of the human body.

Cancerous tumours manipulate these mucus cells to protect themselves from the immune system and chemotherapy.

Rice University bioscientist Daniel Carson said: “Cells of the immune system that kill tumours have to make contact with the cancer cell’s surface, but when they have these big barrier molecules on the surface, they’re protected.

“But tumors have learned a trick. Instead of keeping mucins on one end of a cell, where they would normally protect it from the external environment, they start putting mucins all over their surfaces.

“These mucins perform a very important protective function, lining your mouth, your glandular structures and your gastrointestinal tract, essentially acting like Teflon for those surfaces.”

The effects of rosiglitazone were studied on a glycoprotein known as MUC16 that protects breast and ovarian cancer cells. “MUC16 wound up being particularly interesting because it’s also known as CA125, which is the gold standard marker for ovarian cancer,” explained Carson.

“Women are routinely monitored for CA125 levels that normally are found at very low levels in serum. If you have certain tumors, these cancer cells begin to release fragments of CA125.”

When rosiglitazone was administered to cancer cells in a laboratory environment it led to glycoproteins being closed down. This occurred when the actions of cytokines, which trigger the protective response of the cells and increase MUC16 production, was disrupted.

Issues surrounding the drug need to be ironed out before it can be used in the fight against cancer as small doses used in the treatment of diabetes can actually increase the risk of cancer in people with diabetes. Researchers hope a way can be found to administer the drug safely in large enough doses to directly target tumours.

Carson added: “If you could shut down synthesis by 90 percent or more, which is achievable with these drugs, within two days you have enough reduction to remove the tumor’s protective coating.”

Their work will feature in the January issue of the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry.

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Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 is commonly known as Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 is commonly known as Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) due to the body:

  • Being ineffective at using the insulin it has produced; also known as insulin resistance and/or
  • Being unable to produce enough insulin

Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the body being unable to metabolise glucose (a simple sugar). This leads to high levels of blood glucose which over time may damage the organs of the body.

From this, it can be understood that for someone with diabetes something that is food for ordinary people can become a sort of metabolic poison. This is why people with diabetes are advised to avoid sources of dietary sugar.

The good news is for very many people with type 2 diabetes this is all they have to do to stay well. If you can keep your blood sugar lower by avoiding dietary sugar it’s likely you will never need long-term medication.

Type 2 diabetes was formerly known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes due to its occurrence mainly in people over 40. However, type 2 diabetes is now becoming more common in young adults, teens and children and accounts for roughly 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide.

Type 2 diabetes statistics

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), more than 371 million people across the globe have diabetes and this figure is predicted to rise to over 550 million by 2030.

Of the total global diabetes rate, 90% are living with type 2 diabetes but it is estimated that up to half of these people are unaware of their condition (undiagnosed diabetes).

In the UK, more than 2.7 million people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes whilst a further 750,000 people are believed to have the symptoms but are yet to be diagnosed with the…

Type 2 diabetes drug may someday help combat breast and ovarian cancers

A drug used now to treat Type 2 diabetes may someday help beat breast and ovarian cancers, but not until researchers decode the complex interactions that in some cases help promote tumors, according to Rice University scientists.

Rice bioscientist Daniel Carson and alumna Micaela Morgado researched thiazolidinediones, small molecules used to fight diabetes, that can halt the expression of glycoproteins that make up the protective mucus that lines cells and organs in the body. These mucus cells are manipulated by tumors to keep them safe from chemotherapy and the immune system.

But there are problems to be solved before the drug can be used to fight cancer, Carson said, including the fact that small doses appropriate for diabetes treatment actually increase cancer risk for patients with diabetes. The drug they studied, rosiglitazone, shows promise only if it can be delivered in large-enough doses and directly to tumors, he said.

The work will appear in the January issue of the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry.

“My lab is interested in the class of very high-molecular-weight glycoproteins that absorb water and cover and protect the surfaces of your cells,” Carson said. “These mucins perform a very important protective function, lining your mouth, your glandular structures and your gastrointestinal tract, essentially acting like Teflon for those surfaces.

“But tumors have learned a trick,” he said. “Instead of keeping mucins on one end of a cell, where they would normally protect it from the external environment, they start putting mucins all over their surfaces. Cells of the immune system that kill…

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