If you live in Pennsylvania, I hope you’re familiar with the PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC). If so, you know what a terrific organization it is. If not, I encourage you to check them out.
Pat Halpin-Murphy, President and Founder, established this statewide non-profit organization to create the hope of a brighter tomorrow by providing action and information to women with breast cancer today. They accomplish their mission through providing educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants within our state.
Some of the their accomplishments include:
Earlier this month, several Fox Chase Cancer Center staff were invited to the PBCC’s annual luncheon, which honors a distinguished group of individuals who regularly help to further the mission of the PBCC. This formal luncheon is held as a way to say “Thank you” and allows the PBCC to publicly recognize their major supporters from the past year. This year’s luncheon was held on Wednesday, May 16th at the Governor’s Residence. First Lady Susan Corbett hosted the event.
Below is a gallery of photos from the event that I’d like to share with you. Learn more by visiting www.pabreastcancer.org.
It was a beautiful, crisp Fall afternoon, the just-planted stuardia tree taking root in the courtyard, when we welcomed about 100 survivors and supporters on November 6 for the Jane Pepper Women’s Cancer Symposium.
The day was designed as an opportunity for survivors and their family and friends to convene to discuss issues surrounding cancers that affect women and to celebrate survivorship.
Fox Chase Cancer Center CEO Michael Seiden offered opening remarks and dedicated the day to board member Jane Pepper for her years of service and commitment to supporting our research and treatment efforts.
Dr. Mary Daly, chair of the Department of Clinical Genetics, moderated a panel discussion featuring ovarian cancer survivor Emily Beck, and breast cancer survivors Cathy Bueti and Kerri Conners, followed by a reception and tour of the Women’s Cancer Center.
We were confident that these young women’s stories would inspire the audience, because they have used their challenges to encourage other women to pursue their dreams. But we were still overcome with how honest and engaging they were.
For Emily Beck, 38, a three-year survivor of Stage IIIA ovarian cancer, this was the first time she shared her story publicly. A child advocate attorney, Emily spoke about volunteering with First Descents (www.firstdescents.org), a non-profit that provides free outdoor adventure experiences for young adult cancer patients and survivors. She showed slides of her experiences and how participants surpass their expectations about what they can accomplish physically. We encourage you to visit Emily’s blog, See Emily Play, as she shares her ongoing journey as a cancer survivor.
Cathy Bueti, a nine-year survivor, stressed that writing and being creative has helped her manage the fear and anxiety of cancer. Cathy told the heart breaking story of how she became a widow at age 25, and several years later, was diagnosed with breast cancer. In May 2009, she published the moving memoir Breastless in the City chronicling, with good humor, her experience as a young widow dating through cancer treatment. She also maintains a blog and web site, cathybueti.com. Her husband of seven years, who was in the audience, received a warm ovation.
Kerri Conner postponed her bridal shower to be with us! Kerri was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer at age 33, and described how different her experience has been from that of her mother, who had breast cancer at age 41 without the support that exists today. Kerri published My Mommy Has Breast Cancer but She is OK! this past February, inspired by her 4 year-old daughter. Kerri chaired Philadelphia’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in 2009 to celebrate the 10th year survivorship anniversary of her mother, with whom she operates a CPA firm.
All three women acknowledged that the experience of cancer doesn’t end with formal treatment and that issues of cancer survivorship are real. At the same time, they demonstrated how vibrant life continues to be with the support of family and friends, the pursuit of physical and creative outlets, and the faith that we can thrive.
We plan to host more programs like this at the Center that promote education, inspiration and support. We’d love to hear from those of you who attended, and we welcome your suggestions for future programming.
Be Well, Bob
Even though October has come to an end, breast cancer awareness and education is always on our minds at Fox Chase Cancer Center. As you know, we are currently preparing for our Jane Pepper Women’s Cancer Symposium this Saturday, November 6, which will focus on women’s cancers and survivorship (all are welcome to attend, even if you didn’t RSVP yet!) But we are also looking forward to December 11, when three of our very own staff members will be speaking at the Philadelphia affiliate of Susan G. Komen 7th Annual Sisters for the Cure event.
Sisters for the Cure is a wonderful program that empowers the African American community to take charge of their breast health and reduce their risk of breast cancer.
I’m always impressed by the breadth of topics they cover, from the emotional side effects of cancer treatment to how women in need can find financial assistance. Events such as Sisters for the Cure are especially important since African Americans have the highest breast cancer death rate compared to all other racial or ethnic groups – that equates to the loss of almost 6,000 African American women each year. Education is the first step toward reducing these statistics and building a strong network of support.
Fox Chase’s Dr. Mary Daly, Chair of the Department of Clinical Genetics; Joan James, PA-C, Project Manager of Breast Cancer Prevention; and Melanie Corbman, MS, CGC, Cancer Genetic Counselor, will lend their expertise during a specialized group session on “Personalized Treatment for Breast Cancer.” Together, they will touch on advances in matching the best treatment plan to each individual patient, the importance of a family history of cancer, and clinical trials.
This year’s Sisters for the Cure event also includes a breakfast session on sexuality and intimacy for breast cancer survivors, a breakout session on breast health basics, and a keynote lunch address by Dr. Byllye Y. Avery, Founder of the National Black Women’s Health Project and the Avery Institute for Social Change.
I hope that you will find this program a useful resource, whether you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer or you are taking proactive steps to protect your breast health. As always, we welcome your questions about breast cancer or any other cancers on the blog, our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Sisters for the Cure will take place at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market Street, Philadelphia on December 11, 2010 from 8:30am – 2pm.
For more information or to register, visit the Susan G. Komen Sisters for the Cure website.
In my blog last week, I noted some of the highlights of the opening of the Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) Clinic, which we were honored to share with guests from around the country. Today, I’ve invited one of our guests, Patti Bradfield, to share some of her thoughts about her visit to Fox Chase.
In 2003, Patti’s daughter, Tina, was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer that had already metastasized to her liver. Tina asked her mom to write about this under-reported and overly misdiagnosed type of breast cancer. When no one would publish her story, Patti turned to television and met the staff KOMO TV in Seattle, Washington. There, she found a reporter, Michelle Esteban, who wanted to help educate the masses. Esteban went on to win three Emmy’s for her continued coverage of inflammatory breast cancer and the issues surrounding its diagnosis.
On August 29, 2007 Patti lost her beloved daughter, Kristine “Tina” Turck. Patti strongly believes that knowledge is power and the only way to beat IBC. Along with Dr. Cristofanilli and Jenee Bobbora, Patti founded the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation, whose mission is to educate the public about IBC – so that future generations will not be surprised by this uncommon diagnosis.
On May 11, 2010, the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation was honored to be present at the Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) Clinic ceremony at Fox Chase Cancer Center. We were all moved as we listened to Fox Chase president and CEO, Dr. Michael Seiden, speak about his personal experience losing his wife to breast cancer, followed by his passion for raising awareness of IBC. He discussed the need for continued research and clinically-directed physicians who specialize in IBC.
For too long, IBC has flown under the radar of most physicians and has been misdiagnosed repeatedly, which ultimately leads to death in many occasions. With the opening of this clinic on the East Coast, more women (and men) will have access to the treatment they so badly need.
Our Foundation’s mission was, and still is, education first. Without proper education of both the public and doctors to the needs of patients (who have often traveled from doctor to doctor just for a proper diagnosis), there can be no research. Education and research truly go hand in hand.
Some of the nation’s top breast cancer researchers at Fox Chase invited our group into their labs and provided a status update on their groundbreaking research.
During our visit to Fox Chase, we were also invited to take a tour of the AstraZeneca Hope Lodge of the American Cancer Society, which sits less than a mile from the hospital. After the tour, I personally felt that if I ever had to be treated, I would go to Fox Chase, knowing that there were not only devoted doctors, but caring people at Hope Lodge who can ease some of the mental burden in a very serene environment. Although the grounds of Hope Lodge are picturesque, it is the people who make each patient’s stay so special – especially when compared to a hotel or other facility.
Along with the opening of the IBC clinic, we had the opportunity to meet with many survivors and advocates from across the country, many of whom traveled great distances to be with us for this momentous occasion.
On behalf of the IBC Foundation, I would like to thank everyone who came from so far away, and especially to Dr. Cristofanilli, for making everyone’s life a little easier, given the topic of Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
Best wishes to you,
President, Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation
Earlier this month, Fox Chase Cancer Center announced the opening of its Inflammatory Breast Cancer Clinic, the first such facility in the region. The new clinic, led by noted breast cancer clinician and researcher Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, FACP, focuses on the treatment of patients with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). IBC accounts for about one percent of all breast cancers diagnosed in the United States. It can be difficult to diagnose because it rarely causes a breast lump and may not show up on a mammogram. It is considered one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer, making early diagnosis vital to saving lives.
Dr. Cristofanilli came to Fox Chase from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he founded and served as executive director of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program and Clinic, which treats more cases of inflammatory breast cancer than any other facility in the world. The program and clinic honor Morgan Welch, one of Cristofanilli’s youngest patients. Welch was diagnosed with metastatic inflammatory breast cancer at the age of 24. Dr. Cristofanilli joins me to tell you more about IBC and our new clinic.
Patients with inflammatory breast cancer often face challenging odds, first to be promptly and accurately diagnosed and then to receive the most effective treatment. With the opening of this new clinic, Fox Chase Cancer Center is dedicating itself to improving both diagnosis and care for inflammatory breast cancer patients.
In October 2006, I opened the first clinic solely dedicated to IBC. The subsequent year we had the official dedication of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic. Morgan Welch was one of my youngest patients with IBC. She died of widespread metastatic disease with her husband and family by her side. On her last visit she asked me to continue the fight against this terrible disease not for her anymore but for other women affected by IBC. During the following years, I learned from every woman with IBC and I realized how the complexity of this disease requires a tremendous effort in education for the public and medical personnel.
Moreover, more research is needed involving scientists from disciplines traditionally not involved in breast cancer studies. Fox Chase offers the opportunity for reaching out to women and physicians in a strategically significant geographic region represented by the north east of the United States.
Along with an outstanding clinical team, Fox Chase’s scientific resources in immunology, virology and tumor biology, developmental therapeutics and Phase I program represent outstanding opportunities for expanding our knowledge about the disease and introduce new and more effective therapies.
Fox Chase’s new IBC clinic offers patients a coordinated team of cancer care specialists who follow them through examination, care, and any continued monitoring. I believe in multidisciplinary team science as the most appropriate way to ensure that patients are getting top quality care.
May 11, 2010: To mark the opening of the new clinic, we were very fortunate to host an enthusiastic group of men and women, many of whom are actively involved in the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation. These folks traveled from around the United States to visit Fox Chase Cancer Center and celebrate the opening of our Inflammatory Breast Cancer Clinic. Following are some photos from our day together:
I look forward to meeting you,
“You have breast cancer.” These 4 words can change your life forever. Once you hear them, you probably feel a variety of emotions: fear, anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety, etc. Then comes the next question. What happens now?
Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) is dedicated to empowering all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life. Their talented and compassionate staff provide support, while keeping you up-to-date on the latest medical and quality-of-life news. What does their support look like? It comes in a variety of different ways. I’ve invited Michelle Zeigler from LBBC to share this valuable information with you.
Our Survivors’ Helpline is a great resource if you just need someone to talk to. Trained volunteers who have been diagnosed with breast cancer are ready to talk with you and give you advice. It’s difficult to ask for help and to share what you’re going through with a stranger. But don’t hold it inside. It’s important to express your feelings, whether it be with your support system, healthcare team or even a stranger who knows what you’re going through. You can reach our Helpline at (888) 753-5222.
Hear it From the Experts
Every month we hold a national teleconference that focuses on a specific topic. We invite medical experts from a variety of different fields to present the latest research and answer questions. You can listen over the phone or online. It’s a great way to get the resources you need without leaving your home! On May 19, we will feature “What If? Managing Fears of Breast Cancer Recurrence.” Our upcoming teleconferences are listed here.
We’re committed to bringing you quality publications that focus on topics YOU want to hear about. Our Guide for the Newly Diagnosed will help you understand the choices you face and cope with the medical and emotional concerns of breast cancer. At LBBC we believe it’s important for women to advocate for their health. Our Guide to Understanding Treatment Decisions will help you create an individualized plan for your care in the first few weeks after diagnosis. We also have guides on topics such as lymphedema, insomnia and fatigue, managing emotions, triple-negative breast cancer and treatment for advanced breast cancer. Check out our full list and order your free copy by going to our web site.
Connect with Others
Sometimes you just want to know there are others out there feeling the same way as you. We have an extensive social network at your disposal. Join our Facebook or follow us on Twitter. We also have a blog, featuring stories from women affected by breast cancer, photos and videos. These are great ways to interact with other women and discuss topics relevant to your diagnosis and treatment.
Join us Sunday, May 16 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
We’re also committed to promoting awareness in the community through events like Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. This annual event is a basic, outdoor yoga class and Healthy Living Expo on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The class is taught by Jennifer Schelter, Founder of Yoga Unites®, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring individuals and engaging communities by nurturing creativity and well being through the transformative power of yoga. Even if you’ve never done yoga before, it’s a great way to come together with other members of your community in support of women affected by breast cancer. This year we’ve set a goal of raising $200,000 for the nearly 200,000 women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. You can help us by registering and forming a fundraising team. Just visit our web site to get started!
Remember: You are not alone. Our programs and services are meant to fit your needs—so that you can live life to its fullest.
Take care, Michelle
To recognize its 25th anniversary, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to the Prevent Cancer Foundation. This organization was created to find new ways to prevent and reduce risk for cancer, educate the public about screening options and risk reduction, and provide screening services to under-served communities in the Washington, D.C. area and across the country. Fox Chase Cancer Center has a long history of partnering with Prevent Cancer Foundation, as we share the same strong commitment to cancer prevention with a focus on women’s cancers. Lisa Hughes, Senior Director, Policy and Advocacy for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, shares more information about the organization below. If you have a question or concern, please submit it below, or contact Ms. Hughes directly.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation empowers women to understand the steps that they can take to reduce their risk for cancer, including breast, cervical, skin, lung, oral and colorectal cancers. We encourage women to initiate a dialogue with their health care providers about their risk for cancer, and what screenings they should be having according to their family history and evidence-based screening guidelines.
Through unique partnerships like Breakaway from Cancer, we offer women knowledge about resources available to them in prevention, wellness, financial and insurance support and survivorship. Prevent Cancer Foundation also funds research grants around the country to develop screening and risk identification technologies for those cancers that do not currently have reliable screening options available.
The Foundation is also deeply engaged in advocacy, to help shape public policy to better support cancer prevention. Our public affairs staff works closely with Federal legislators to improve policies related to cancer research and prevention, to remove barriers to access, and to promote quality screening and preventive care for all Americans. Our Federal priorities include advocating for increased funding for cancer research and cancer control at the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, removing financial barriers to screening, prevention and clinical trials through Federally-funded programs or improved insurance coverage, advancing genetic non-discrimination, greater Federal oversight over tobacco and tobacco products, and efforts to improve policies that combat obesity and promote healthy lifestyle.
Prevent Cancer Foundation offers tools to help women become advocates for policy change as well, and to educate them about how to become powerful voices for cancer prevention. For more information about cancer prevention policy, to find your Federal legislators or how to engage in advocacy and make your voices heard in Washington, DC, visit our Advocacy Action Center. We look forward to joining forces to make a positive impact in cancer prevention!
Take care, Lisa