Three stories top the list of major developments in cancer research during the past month.  Listen to these topics discussed in the most recent Cancer News Review podcast

First, to treat or not to treat is the question for low-risk prostate cancer.  Whether to give aggressive treatments for low-risk cancer contained within the prostate is a controversy that many experts in the field still debate. Prostate cancer expert and Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson reviews a study analyzing how treatment decisions for these cancers are made and how quality of life expectations are communicated.  He says the current problem is that screening, which has helped decrease mortality from prostate cancer, has identified some men who could live their entire lives with prostate cancer but die of other causes.  He believes there are certain groups of men who should consider active surveillance programs to carefully monitor low-risk, organ-confined prostate cancer.

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I got into this business 25 years ago, when my husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.  I was a newlywed, and at 22-years-old, I faced the prospect of being a widow.  The evening we learned the shocking news, I remember leaving the hospital to return home. I was numb with fear.  I went into our bedroom and picked up the T-shirt he had casually dropped on the bed before we left for what we believed would be a brief doctor’s visit.  I didn’t expect to be returning to our home alone. I pressed the shirt to my face and breathed in his scent and sobbed uncontrollably.

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Louise Knight

Louise Knight, MSW, LCSW-C, OSW-C

You may be confused by the list of letters after the word Medicare.  A, B, C, D...  Who can keep them straight?  There is a web page that can give the answers.  It is www.medicare.gov

Let's Talk D:  Let me give you the important Medicare D news for 2011.    I am going to start with the letter D and the reason is:  the deadline to apply ends soon.

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What makes an outstanding cancer center?  How can patients and referring physicians determine which is best? 

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In Kimmel Cancer Center director Bill Nelson's podcast, top stories included studies on pancreatic, colon and kidney cancer.

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As an avid runner, I participate in many races each year.  I enter these for many reasons. I love to run, it’s a challenge, and sometimes it’s for a good cause. At the beginning of each race, I like to look around at the starting line at the wide range of people running the event.  Each participant is running for a different reason. For some, it’s a personal goal, a hobby, or even a response to a challenge.  For many, the race has a special meaning -- it could be in honor or memory of a loved one, in support of a friend or family member, or to simply celebrate life.  

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When you are facing potentially life-changing treatment or surgery for cancer, you may want to have several opinions from the best surgeons, the most experienced oncologists, and top experts in radiation therapy, right?  Well, there's another expert whose double-checking may be worth your while -- the pathologist. 

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Amy Sales

Amy Sales, MSW, LCSW-C

This week, many media outlets have reported on findings from a recent study by researchers at Dartmouth College addressing the vast differences in end-of-life care for cancer patients in the U.S. The study addressed concerns that many patients may not receive appropriate end-of-life care, and this care depends heavily on where they are hospitalized.

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--The following blog post is Part 2 of a blog series written by Brenda Boitson, a 26 year-old widow, writer, and speaker who resides in Lancaster, Pennyslvania.  Her husband, Kevin, lost his battle to angiosarcoma at the age of 36 on October 28, 2008.  Brenda detailed their journey through his disease at http://www.theboitsons.info and now continues to blog about widowhood at http://www.crazywidow.info.  She advocates locally for sarcoma and grief awareness while working full time and attending school for business.   Read Part 1, posted last week. 

My husband became ill in June 2008 and within just two months he went from having a sore throat, to being on life support and having an emergency esophagectomy at Johns Hopkins.  Our life drastically changed, and that change included a sudden move from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Baltimore, Md.  While Kevin was in full care of the Hopkins staff, I could not bring myself to leave his side.

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The following blog post was submitted by Brenda Boitson, a 26 year-old widow, writer, and speaker who resides in Lancaster, Pennyslvania.  Her husband, Kevin, lost his battle to angiosarcoma at the age of 36 on October 28, 2008.  Brenda detailed their journey through his disease at http://www.theboitsons.info and now continues to blog about widowhood at http://www.crazywidow.info.  She advocates locally for sarcoma and grief awareness while working full time and attending school for business. 

When I first walked through the doors of Johns Hopkins Hospital, one late night in August 2008, I was uncertain, fearful, and worried beyond belief.  My husband of 1.5 years had arrived just a few minutes before me via emergency ambulance transport.  He was breathing only thanks to life support, and we still had no answers on the undiagnosed cancerous tumor that was growing in his chest.

Continue reading “Remembering Kevin Boitson” »

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