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Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Senior Girl Scouts at Council Rock South High School (10th grade). Pictured (left to right) are Fox Chase clinical nurse specialist, Deena Dell, Jaime Swank, Monica Willson, Maggie Blackmon, Caroline Willson and Carolyn Weaver (me).

Senior Girl Scouts at Council Rock South High School hand delivered their pillows and cases. Pictured (left to right) are Fox Chase clinical nurse specialist, Deena Dell, Jaime Swank, Monica Willson, Maggie Blackmon, Caroline Willson and Fox Chase clinical nurse specialist, Carolyn Weaver. (Not pictured: Angela Healy, Lauren Gross, Allyson DiRenzi, Karishma Pinto, Melissa Cook and troop leaders Janette Swank and Deborah Willson)

At Fox Chase, our breast surgery patients are given special gifts at discharge to help ease their recovery. The gifts are hand-made with love by some very special volunteers, including the local Girls Scouts.

Carolyn Weaver, RN, MSN, AOCN, clinical nurse specialist, is here to tell you more about these special items and the talented volunteers who create them.

Be well, Bob

For many years, volunteers have been putting their talents to use to make life easier for breast surgery patients sent home with drainage tubes. Soft pillows, pillow cases and hand-sewn pouches provide the necessary comfort and convenience these women appreciate. I thought it was about time we acknowledged their efforts publicly.

Each pillow includes a note, such as “Thinking of You and Hope You Recover Fast” Girl Scout Troops 2273 and 21174

The pillows have personal notes attached, such as “Thinking of You and Hope You Recover Fast” Girl Scout Troops 2273 and 21174

The Friends of the Hospital of Fox Chase Cancer Center provide small pillows for patients to elevate their arms following surgery in order to decrease swelling and offer comfort. There are a few groups of volunteers who make beautiful cases for these pillows, along with small pillows (pictured left) which offer a personal touch that patients enjoy. Patients use the smaller pillows to place on their chest, under a seatbelt while riding in a car, to protect the incision site. The Friends also offer stress balls that help to facilitate circulation and decrease swelling in their arm.

Pouches (pictured below) are designed to hold the fluid collection end of the drain and some of the tubing. The patients tie the ribbon around their neck or waist. The pouch particularly comes in handy if the patient is allowed to shower with the drain in place. Wearing the pouch in the shower prevents the patient from having to hold the drain and from having it hang or pull while getting bathed (i.e., keeps the patient hands-free).

Each pouch is hand-sewn using soft fabric with a ribbon tie.

Each pouch is hand-sewn using soft fabric with a ribbon tie.

There are several nurses at Fox Chase with connections to seamstresses who have been making these wonderful treasures – Pam Jakubek’s (her daughter’s Girl Scout troop), Lisa Conrad (her mother, Sarah Masser, and her friends Lois Hook and Karen Nicholas), and Caroline McIntyre (her friends lead a Girl Scout troop in Bucks County).

When Caroline underwent breast cancer surgery herself, she was the recipient of a pillow and thought they were a wonderful idea and very helpful after her surgery. “Some of the girls who made the pillows were actually scouts that had been in my troop at one time or another,” shared Caroline. “It was very heartwarming to me to learn of their project. Many people go their whole lives not knowing how many people care about them. Having cancer provided that opportunity to me. I am so grateful.”

Fox Chase nurse, Pam Jakubek, brought the pillow making idea to her daughter's troop. They welcomed it with open arms and started sewing. Pictured (left to right) are Kendall Versfeld, Amanda Kurtz, Janine Jakubek, Sarah Merchant, Ellie Beekman, Julianna Tosti, Mary Brookshaw. Not pictured: Annalyn Runquist and Ellie Cautilli.

Fox Chase nurse, Pam Jakubek, brought the pillow making idea to her daughter's Girl Scout troop, who quickly began to sew! Thanks to (left to right) Kendall Versfeld, Amanda Kurtz, Janine Jakubek, Sarah Merchant, Ellie Beekman, Julianna Tosti, Mary Brookshaw. (Not pictured: Annalyn Runquist and Ellie Cautilli)

About 13 years ago, Fox Chase social worker, Coleen Boyd, met Joy Ozer and Rita Burnstein at a quilting club where they made drainage pouches as a service project. When the “official” project was complete, Joy and Rita continued to make more than 300 pouches a year for Fox Chase.

My colleague, Deena Dell, a breast cancer survivor herself, and I see all breast surgery patients before they are discharged from the hospital. The visit is typically focused on self-care at home. This is also the time we have the honor of giving them the pillows, cases and pouches. It is so rewarding because every patient is truly touched that someone hand-made the pouch or pillow just for them.

One patient just wrote a thank you note to the Girl Scout troop with her heartfelt gratitude. She said it made her smile. It makes Deena and me smile, too, as it is so uplifting to witness the spirit of giving present in so many people … and then to see the look of appreciation on the faces of our patients.

If you are interested in making pillow cases to donate to breast cancer patients, please contact me (Carolyn Weaver) and I would be happy to provide additional information. Thank you to all of these wonderful volunteers—you are truly special treasures!

Carolyn Weaver RN, MSN, AOCN
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Patient Education Coordinator

Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center


The first 500 guests to donate a book at the Special Tea will receive a free mug.

If you’re in the neighborhood next Tuesday, February 28 at 3:30, we invite you to join us at a special tea and book drive presented by Love Versus Cancer (in the Fox Chase cafeteria).

We are collecting new and gently used books for patients and visitors. Donations of new word puzzle, Sudoku and other activity books are also encouraged.

The first 500 book donors will receive a Love Versus Cancer mug. Also on the menu: the preview of a new video and remarks from a caregiver who will talk about the importance of complimentary reading materials in treatment and waiting areas.

If you can’t join us, but have a book to donate, our Volunteer Office is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm (located on the 3rd floor of the hospital) and will gladly take your donations. In addition to books, the Volunteer Office would appreciate playing cards, individually wrapped candy (mints are great!),  pencils, activity books and reading glasses.

Hope to see you next week!

Be well,


Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center


On Monday, January 30 at 3:30pm, Fox Chase Cancer Center will unveil its brand new mural, called Pathways, in our renovated cafeteria. Joining us will be the accomplished mural artists Meg Saligman and Emilie Ledieu, along with Jane Golden, Executive Director, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. If you are in the area, I hope you can join us for what will prove to be a moving and meaningful dedication.

Mural almost complete

A portion of the mural shown in early January during installation.

The mural is the result of a partnership between Fox Chase and the Mural Arts Program, who designed and produced a mural that portrays Fox Chase’s three main focuses—bold science, breakthrough medicine, and personal touch.  The 250-square-foot mural is a multimedia work incorporating paint, glass mosaic, sculptural elements, collage and back-lit layers of painted glass.

The team at Fox Chase has enjoyed the unique opportunity to work with the Mural Arts Program, an organization with a long-standing history of creating inspirational artwork that engages communities all over the city of Philadelphia by giving them a voice to tell their individual and collective stories.  This experience has been no different at Fox Chase, where our staff, patients, and volunteers have had the opportunity to come together and tell our story.


One of Meg Saligman's murals, The Evolving Face of Nursing, features Fox Chase nurse practitioner Agnes Masny.

Meg Saligman and Emilie Ledieu conducted an extensive series of meetings at Fox Chase and held hands-on creative activities with staff and patients.  Objects collected from the Fox Chase community were included in the finished mosaic portion of the new mural, including painted eyes of significant members—both past and present.

If you’ve spent any time in Philadelphia, you’ve likely seen several of Meg Saligman’s murals – including Common Threads, Passing Through or Philadelphia Muses. Gifted glass mosaic artist Emilie Ledieu’s work includes Under the Clothespin, which be unveiled early this year.

I’d like to acknowledge Fox Chase board member, Ed Glickman, who helped designate funds for the mural. Mr. Glickman serves as president of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), generous supporters of the Mural Arts Program.

I look forward to seeing you on Monday afternoon.

Be well, Bob

About The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is the largest mural program in the nation. Since 1984, Mural Arts has created over 3,300 murals and works of public art, earning Philadelphia international recognition as the “City of Murals.” Visit muralarts.org to learn more.

Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women's Cancer Center

Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women's Cancer Center

Happy New Year! Today, I have the pleasure of sharing results of my study that was published in the December 29, 2011 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. It was one of two major studies published in the Journal that day. And based on the results, this approach can be looked upon as a third component of treatment for ovarian cancer and related malignancies.

Targeted drugs, which block or disrupt particular molecules involved in the growth of tumors, have been shown to be effective treatments against many types of cancer.

In my new phase 3 clinical trial conducted in partnership with the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), we learned that a targeted therapy called bevacizumab (Avastin) effectively delayed the progression of advanced ovarian cancer by almost four months. Patients with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer now typically undergo surgery and chemotherapy, but the new research suggests an additional avenue of treatment.

We’ve had the combination of surgical management and cytotoxic chemotherapy for many years, but we haven’t really seen anything else in terms of a fundamental class of treatment. This represents a new way for us to control the disease.


The drug, known generically as bevacizumab, has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat ovarian cancer in the U.S.  But the study results suggest that treatment for ovarian cancer could improve for the first time in 15 years.

Karen Orloff Kaplan, chief executive of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, shared her thoughts with the Washington Post. “While we are looking for that silver bullet, this is a gift that shouldn’t be overlooked.”

If you’d like to read more, here is a link to the Fox Chase Cancer Center news release. In addition, there was quite a bit of news coverage, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington PostHealthDayWebMD, and CNN.

The results have left many people wondering about the efficacy of bevacizumab. If you have any questions, please ask them here and I’d be more than happy to respond.

Be well,


Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center

CorriganBooksLater this week, Fox Chase Cancer welcomes breast cancer survivor, Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author of “The Middle Place” and “Lift.” The authors’ event takes place on Thursday, November 17 at 7 p.m. with a book signing and catered reception.

Corrigan lives deep within what she calls the Middle Place— “that sliver of time when parenthood and childhood overlap”—comfortably wedged between her adult duties and her parents’ care. But she’s abruptly shoved into a coming-of-age when she finds a lump in her breast and gets the diagnosis no one wants to hear. And so Kelly’s journey to full-blown adulthood begins. When her father, George, learns he has late-stage cancer, it is Kelly’s turn to take care of the man who had always taken care of her — and show us a woman as she finally takes the leap and grows up.

The book signing event will take place in the Fox Chase auditorium. There is no cost, but seating is limited, so registration is required. To register, send an email to authors@fccc.edu, call 215-214-3954 or go to www.foxchase.org/authors.

Be well,


Directions to Fox Chase can be found here: www.foxchase.org/information/directions/index.html

Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center

( Joseph Kaczmarek, Chicago Tribune / October 1, 2011)  Margaret Zuccotti, with one of her three children, Emma, has had success with Herceptin.

(Photography: Joseph Kaczmarek, Chicago Tribune/October 1, 2011) Margaret Zuccotti, with one of her three children, Emma, has had success with Herceptin.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Los Angeles Times recently invited six women to share their very different journeys with the disease and survivorship.  I am very proud to report that Margaret Zuccotti, a patient of Dr. Lori Goldstein, was featured as one of those powerful voices in the article, “Breast cancer: Six women, six paths.” Today, I’ve invited Dr. Goldstein to talk about how she works with patients to “hit on the right drug.”

Be well,


Without a doubt, Margaret Zuccotti is an inspirational cancer survivor.  Since we first met in 2006, she has been aggressive in her treatment and a passionate advocate for cancer support organizations.  The recent Los Angeles Times article below touches upon Margaret’s treatment plan, which was individually tailored based on test results that showed her to be HER2 positive and ER/PR negative.  By understanding these factors, our team identified a combination of Taxol and Herceptin from a list of potential treatments as to target the biological pathways driving her cancer.  Margaret underwent eight months of chemotherapy with this combination, as well as mastectomy, and, continuing with Herceptin, has shown no evidence of disease since July 2007.

Margaret is a great example of the importance of translational science and what it can accomplish.  By identifying the cancer markers and how they function, we can more accurately choose a treatment option that may work for the individual in front of us.  Further translational efforts are underway at Fox Chase to improve the lives of patients with breast cancer using personalized, targeted therapies where possible.  Fox Chase’s Keystone Programs for Collaborative Discovery, the Institute for Personalized Medicine, and our clinical trial program are all working toward this goal.

Lori Goldstein, MD

Lori Goldstein, MD

I hope to have many more positive stories like Margaret’s to share with my future patients.  They may not all finish first at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure four years in a row,  but we are hopeful they will have the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives.

Best wishes,

Lori Goldstein, MD

To read Margaret’s and the other women’s stories in the Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-breast-cancer-profiles-20111001,0,6488202,full.story

Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Join Nutmeg and me at Paws for the Cause

Join Nutmeg and me at Paws for the Cause

I’d like to invite you and your dog(s) to join us this Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 9:30 a.m., at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia for a very special event. Each year, hundreds of dogs and their owners participate in Paws for the Cause to support the effort to prevail over cancer. To date, the event has raised more than $115,000!

In addition to a one-mile walk around the Fox Chase campus, there are lots of other activities to enjoy, including our MC, WMGK-FM, refreshments, vendors, goody bags, contests and prizes. Enter to win the best pet costume, pet trick and dog-owner look-alike contest. Top fundraisers will also be recognized with prizes.

  • 9:30 a.m. Registration, Reimann Building “Barking” Lot
  • 10:30 a.m. One-mile walk begins
  • 11:00 a.m. Contests, prizes, activities, vendors, refreshments

Register online and you can easily invite your friends and family to sponsor you and your dog. Registration is $25 per dog and includes one t-shirt ($10 for each additional shirt)

Visit dog-friendly vendors and enjoy breakfast treats and refreshments. “Ask the Vet” Oncologist: Rebecca Risbon, VMD, DACVIM, Staff Oncologist at Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center. Rebecca be available to answer questions regarding, basic canine cancer education, early signs and symptoms and overall quality of life for you and your pet.

Students Making a Difference

Jake Kind will draw pictures of your dog on the spot!

Jake Kind will draw pictures of your dog on the spot!

Fox Chase welcomes students who are supporting this event, including Pet Emergency Decals by Jillian, an eighth grader who is raising money for animal welfare agencies and cancer research through her originally designed decals.  Jake, another talented eighth grader will draw pictures of your pooch on the spot. Donations are welcome and will be donated to Fox Chase in honor of his grandmother.

Helping Animals in Need

Pennsylvania SPCA Adoption Truck – meet animals available for adoption. Participants are invited to bring much-needed items for animal welfare agencies, including Animal Lifeline and WAGS Animal Rescue.

Vote for me (and all the cute dogs) in the Facebook photo contest!
If you can’t attend, but want to get involved, vote for your favorite dog on Facebook!

I hope you’ll consider joining us next Sunday!

Be well,


Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center

67 Women, 67 Counties

Fox Chase Cancer Center is honored to be chosen as the next location for the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC)”s traveling photography exhibit, 67 Women, 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania, at Fox Chase Cancer Center from October 20 – October 30, 2011.

The photo exhibit will be displayed in the Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase located at 333 Cottman Avenue in Philadelphia. As always, free parking is available.

The Office of Health Communications and Health Disparities at Fox Chase is proud to sponsor this display.

Opening Reception – October 20 at 5:00 p.m.

An opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, October 20th at 5 p.m. The exhibit and reception are FREE and open to the public, however reservations are encouraged. Visit foxchase.org for directions.

The traveling photography display.

The traveling photography display.

To R.S.V.P. for the opening reception, please call 800-377-8828 x303.

This work of art features women from each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, along with a message about how breast cancer has touched their lives. The women reflect the diversity of Pennsylvania, and their stories reflect the impact of breast cancer on themselves, their families and their communities. The exhibit encourages women to learn about early detection and celebrates life, courage, hope and dignity of women and families who have battled breast cancer. 67 Women, 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania is sponsored by the PBCC and funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Pat Halpin-Murphy, President and Founder of the PBCC, encourages everyone to visit the exhibit. “Breast cancer is not a rare event separate from the fabrics of our everyday lives. It impacts our mothers, daughters and friends. We must educate ourselves about this disease and fight to find a cure now … so our daughters won’t have to.”

Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition

The PA Breast Cancer Coalition represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants. For more information, please call 800-377-8828 or visit www.PABreastCancer.org.

I hope to see you at the exhibit. And if you get a chance to visit, let us know what you think of it.

Be well,


Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Daniel Gottlieb, PhD, host of WHYY-FM's "Voices in the Family" will join Dr. Mary Daly and families in the Risk Assessment Program for a panel on the importance of talking to loved ones about cancer.

Daniel Gottlieb, PhD, host of WHYY-FM's "Voices in the Family" will join Dr. Mary Daly for a panel on the importance of talking to loved ones about cancer.

Fox Chase Cancer Center has covered many milestones in its long and prestigious history, from the development of the hepatitis B vaccine to the discovery of how proteins are broken down and recycled.

Just last year we marked the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Philadelphia Chromosome with a symposium, bringing together the scientific world to honor Drs. David Hungerford and Peter Nowell and explore the future of targeted therapies.

This November, we commemorate the 20th anniversary of another innovative program in the movement toward personalized medicine: the Fox Chase Risk Assessment Program (RAP), one of the first of its kind in the nation.  I’ve invited Mary Daly, MD., Ph.D., Chair of the Fox Chase Department of Clinical Genetics and Founding Director of RAP, to say a few words about this special occasion.

Be well, Bob


Dr. Mary Daly, founder, The Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center

When we started the Risk Assessment Program in 1991, we focused solely on individuals with a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer.  It is amazing to think how we’ve grown, adding prostate, GI, and lung cancers, as well as melanoma, under our umbrella.  I am extremely proud of how far we’ve come in 20 years, and we could not have achieved any of it without our RAP families, who are the heart and foundation of the program.

To bring together the oncologists, nurses, genetic counselors and families who have contributed so much to our growth, we will hold a special event at WHYY’s Hamilton Media Commons in Old City, Philadelphia, on Sunday, November 13, 2011.  I’ve asked Daniel Gottlieb, Ph.D., host of WHYY-FM’s “Voices in the Family” and health reporter Maiken Scott to join us in conversation about the importance of talking to loved ones about cancer.  Members of the RAP family will also share their experiences on the panel, as well as through feature videos illustrating the role of the program in their families’ health journey.  I am certain that it will be a wonderful and thought-provoking afternoon.

WHYY Health Reporter, Maiken Scott, will also join Dr. Daly on the panel.

WHYY Health Reporter, Maiken Scott, will also join Dr. Daly on the panel.

If you or someone you know has taken part in the Risk Assessment Program, I invite you to share in the 20th anniversary celebration by submitting photos to be featured in a slideshow at the anniversary event and on our anniversary website: www.foxchase.org/rapcelebration. I look forward in sharing these memories with you, and making more over the next 20 years.


Mary B. Daly

For more information about the 20th Anniversary Celebration, email rapcelebration@fccc.edu or call 215-728-4788 or 215-728-2465, or for more information on how you can join the RAP family and learn more about your risk, visit www.fccc.edu/prevention/riskAssessment.

To hear more from Dr. Daly about the importance of risk assessment, listen to her One Great Idea on Philly.com.
RAP New Logo

Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC)balloonarchwalk
Delaware Valley Chapter’s
13th Annual 5K Run/Walk & 1.5 Mile Walk to

Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer
Saturday, September 10, 2011 Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia

Please join Team Fox Chase on Saturday (the forecast is for sunny skies), at the 13th annual NOCC walk, and first ever 5K run, on a USATF Certified Course through Fairmount Park! Awards will be given to first place overall male and female finishers, and medals to top 5 male and female finishers, the “Top Docs,” top overall Survivor finisher and top individual and team fundraisers.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is pleased to be a premier sponsor of this special event. And yours truly will be delivering the key note speech. Join the Fox Chase team now!

While you’re thNOCC-Walk-logo1ere, please visit the Survivor Tent, Kids Tent, Health Fair Tent, food and beverages, special guest speakers and live entertainment. Proceeds raised from all activities benefit the Chapter’s awareness & education programs. You won’t want to miss this event!

The Run/Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer is the largest awareness event for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Organized by local Chapter volunteers, this event celebrates our survivors, remembers those we’ve lost to ovarian cancer and increases awareness about the disease.

If you have questions, please contact the Delaware Valley Chapter at (215) 997-8075 or delawarevalley@ovarian.org

On-line registration is now closed, however registration is available on the day of the event. We look forward to seeing you!

Be well,