For the Families of the Dying

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The New York Times has an article "For the Families of the Dying, Coaching as the Hours Wane".  They discuss the details of the hospice movement in the US and how it can help families deal with the impending loss of a loved one.  The article also talks about the final hours of  a death vigil and the different emotions and dynamics people go through. 

But I must admit, this article didn't really appeal to me.  It's not something I want to think about right now.  But perhaps others will benefit from it. 


Jane's Appeal

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Today I learned of a web site called www.janesappeal.com, a site developed by breast cancer survivor Jane Tomlinson.  Tomlinson, a mother of three from England, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2000 and given only 6 months to live.  She has proven the doctors wrong by a wide margin, and has gone on to complete the IronMan Triathlon in Hawaii, three London Marathons, the New York Marathon, several Triathlons and two long distance bike rides across England, raising more than $2 million for charities.

She is now starting a new campaign to ride across America, which at 4,200 miles, appears to be the greatest endurance feat attempted by someone with terminal cancer. 

Thanks to Steve Runner for pointing out Jane's Appeal on his Podcast, Phedipidations.  Steve also mentioned this blog and my mother on his Podcast #43 at around 34:40 into the story.


Ovarian Cancer Breakthrough?

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Ok, I am skeptical of any reports about "breakthroughs" in treatment of ovarian cancer, but there is a report from the New England Journal of Medicine about  intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy delivered through the abdomen as a better form of treatment than traditional intravenous (IV) approaches.  The benefit is a longer median survival time by an average of 16 months.  So while this is not a cure by any means, it can significantly extend the lives of ovarian cancer patients.


All My Wife Wanted...

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'There's a touching story in the Belfast Telegraph entitled "All my wife wanted was to see her little girl grow up."   The story is personal account of Sandra Coulter-Ellis and how she dealt with ovarian cancer and how it affected their family. 

It's a familiar story, with chemotherapy treatments, remission, false hopes, and the trials and tribulations of CA-125 scores.  Ovarian cancer is heart-breaking in that way; so many people are affected and they and the success rate has not improved in more than 20 years.  It's one thing to read about the statistics and it's another thing when it affects your family.  This article helps capture what it's really like without becoming trite or sensational. 

Also, March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the UK, so check out some of the links below.


Yale Licenses Ovarian Cancer Test

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Yale University has licensed their early stage cancer detection test to LabCorp.   Preliminary results from the tests have been good and Yale expects to conduct additional clinicial studies before the commercial introduction by LabCorp.

Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women and one of the most difficult cancers to detect.  Early detection is critical to treatment.


The Cancer Blog

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Dalene Entenmann has now taken over as blogger-in-chief over at www.TheCancerBlog.com an excellent online resource which is part of WebLogs Inc, recently acquired by AOL.  They also publish www.TheCardioBlog, www.TheDiabetesBlog as well as wide range of blogs on technology and media.

Dalene is a cancer survivor and was previously blogging on her own at several sites including Rutabaga Stew.   The coverage on The Cancer Blog is a bit eclectic.  It ranges from news coverage and medical reports to celebrity auctions raising money for cancer.  She also covered TuesdaysWithMary a while back.  I guess that makes us famous!


Coretta Scott King

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Coretta Scott King, the widow of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. died recently at the age of 78 after a short struggle with late stage ovarian cancer.  King's cancer was reportedly considered terminal by her U.S. doctors, and she was exploring alternative options at a holistic health center in Rosarito Beach, Mexico.


Going Broke to Stay Alive

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The January 30 issue of BusinessWeek has a good article on the high cost of cancer treatments.  For example, Genentech's Avastin, which can add months to the lives of patients suffering colon, lung or breast cancer, can cost from $4,400 to $8,800 per month.  And despite the positive effects of these drugs, the makers have no incentive to make them more affordable.