What are you doing this Saturday, September 8, 2012? I highly encourage you to grab your sneakers and join the Fox Chase team at the Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, PA for the annual National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC)’s 14 Annual walk/run.
NOCC hosts this annual event to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, celebrate ovarian cancer survivors and remember those who lost their fight with this disease. All funds raised benefit NOCC’s ovarian cancer awareness and education programs both locally and nationally.
The run/walk features a 5k Run – USATF certified course (flat & fast!); 5k Walk; and 1 Mile Fun Walk. Awards will be presented following the race. Enjoy live music by the Fastforwards on the route, a health tent, refreshments, survivor activities a TEAL merchandise tent and educational materials.
New this year!
Join the staff of Studio Shear Bliss Salon for our on-site hair cut-a-thon! Women and men can receive trims, shaves, teal hair extensions, chair massages and more! 100% of proceeds will benefit NOCC! For more information, contact the Chapter at 215.997.8075 or DelawareValley@ovarian.org.
Hope to see you on Saturday!
Be well, Bob
On any given weekend, you can probably find a walk or run designed to benefit a worthwhile cause (see my example to the right). But on April 28 and 29, there are two such events that are near and dear to my heart.
Both were created in memory of young women who lost their lives to gynecological cancers (ovarian and cervical) and both are set-up to benefit the Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase. If you’re free either day – or both – I strongly encourage you to join us for a run or walk.
If you’re planning to go to either event, let us know. And if you take pictures, please send them along to email@example.com so we can post them.
Be well, Bob
Sandy Sprint: Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
The Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation is hosting its annual Sandy Sprint 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Grab your running or walking shoes, and a leash (for your pup) and join the effort to raise funds to advance ovarian cancer research and spread the word about Sandy Rollman Foundation. Registration is $25 for adults ($30 after April 17), $40 for one adults and one dog, and $15 for children 12 and under ($20 after April 17). For more information or to register, visit www.sandysprint.kintera.org.
The Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation was created as a tribute to the life, character, and immense strength of Sandy Rollman. Sandy passed away from advanced ovarian cancer in May 2000. Prior to diagnosis, Sandy experienced many textbook symptoms. Her symptoms were whispering only no one was listening. The tragic result was that Sandy never had a chance against ovarian cancer.
Her sister Adriana Way and her nurse Robin Cohen decided to keep Sandy’s memory alive while trying to prevent other women from having to endure the same pain as she did. The mission of this organization is to educate both women and physicians about ovarian cancer; advocate for early diagnostic testing and more effective treatments; raise funds to advance research towards a cure; and offer support to ovarian cancer patients and their families.
Amy’s Fund: Sunday, April 29, 2012 from 7:30am until 10:30am
The 8th Annual Amy’s Fund 5K Run/Walk is in memory of a very special young woman. Shortly after she married her college sweetheart, Dave, Amy Kligge Vengels was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Amy, who was a strong athlete, wife, daughter and sister, was a fighter and tried everything to beat this disease. Amy believed in a cure and wanted to eventually raise money to support research. To ensure her legacy would live on, and in the hopes of helping others defeat this disease, Amy’s family created Amy’s Fund and organizes an annual walk/run to benefit cancer research at Fox Chase.
Join Amy’s family on April 29 to run, walk, enjoy music, face painting and a fun bus! Registration is $25 for adults, $15 for children under 12. Adults who pre-register before April 15 save $5. Selected t-shirt sizes are guaranteed to all who pre-register before April 15. Adult XL will be provided to all other registered walkers. To register and for more information, visit www.amysfund.org, call 215-632-1663 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Post, HealthDay, WebMD, 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.
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
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.
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 email@example.com 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.
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC)
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 there, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
On-line registration is now closed, however registration is available on the day of the event. We look forward to seeing you!
Mark A. Morgan, MD, FACOG, FACS, Chief, Gynecologic Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center
I’m stepping in this week to congratulate the author of this blog – my colleague, Robert Burger, MD, FACOG, FACS. He received the prestigious Rosalind Franklin Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Award on Monday, July 11, 2011, at the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance’s 14th annual conference in Washington, D.C.
As the director of Fox Chase’s Women’s Cancer Center, Dr. Burger is currently involved in groundbreaking research, including a study of molecular targeted therapeutics and novel primary prevention strategies. He is also the principal investigator for Phase II and Phase III trials of anti-angiogenic therapy for patients with ovarian cancer.
At Fox Chase, Dr. Burger also serves as Associate Director for Research, Section of Gynecologic Oncology; Professor, Department of Surgical Oncology; and Attending Surgeon, Gynecologic Oncology.
During his acceptance speech, Dr. Burger stressed the need to “extend progression-free survival and improve quality of life for patients.”
Michael Seiden, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Fox Chase, delivered an overview of ovarian cancer at the conference’s opening plenary session on Sunday, July 10.
The Rosalind Franklin Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Award honors the memory of Dr. Rosalind Elsie Franklin, the renowned British molecular biologist who succumbed to ovarian cancer at age 37 in 1958. She is credited with a pioneering role in the research and discovery of the structure of DNA.
Recipients of the award honor Franklin’s legacy with their devotion to medical research. Past winners are George Coukos, MD, PhD (Abramson Cancer Center, UPenn); Nicole Urban, ScD (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center); Robert Bast, MD (MD Anderson Cancer Center); Deborah Armstrong, MD (Kimmel Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins); Elise Kohn, MD (Center for Cancer Research); and Barbara Goff, MD (Seattle Cancer Care Alliance).
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Burger on this truly outstanding accomplishment.
Mark A. Morgan, MD, FACOG, FACS
Chances are that if you’re on this blog, you know something about Fox Chase’s Women’s Cancer Center. Maybe you’re familiar with our expertise in breast and gynecologic cancer care, or you’ve visited our new offices in the Robert C. Young, M.D. pavilion.
For an in-depth look at our amazing facility—including details on the services we provide, from prevention to treatment to survivorship—I encourage you to check out our new webisode.
During this six-minute virtual tour, you’ll hear from me and a variety of different staff from around the Center as we explain exactly why the Women’s Cancer Center is the only one of its kind in the region.
See if you recognize a familiar face, or learn something new – and let us know what you think! We want to hear from you.
While many of you know Jane Pepper from her leadership as President of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and the celebrated Philadelphia International Flower Show, we know her as a devoted member of the Fox Chase Cancer Center Board of Directors. She has made a great impact on our community. In honor of Jane’s years of service and dedication to supporting our research and treatment efforts, Fox Chase has established our first Women’s Center symposium in her name.
The Jane Pepper Women’s Cancer Symposium, a free event slated for Saturday, November 6, 2010 from 2:30 – 4:00 pm, will convene oncologists, cancer survivors and their families, authors, and interested members of the public to discuss issues surrounding cancers that affect women and to celebrate survivorship. Join us from 4:00 – 5:30 pm for a catered reception and tours of the Women’s Cancer Center.
Reserve Your Spot Today!
This event is free and open to the public, however space is limited. Please respond by November 1 to Wanda Ford at 215-728-3163 or email@example.com.. We hope that you will join us for an inspirational and educational afternoon.
Meet the Moderator:
Fox Chase’s Dr. Mary Daly, chair of the Department of Clinical Genetics, will moderate a panel discussion featuring local attorney and ovarian cancer survivor Emily Beck, and authors Cathy Bueti and Kerri Conners, followed by a reception and tour of the Women’s Cancer Center. These vibrant women have all contributed strong voices to cancer support and advocacy through their writing and speaking, and we know you will find their perspectives to be inspiring.
For a bit of background:
Emily Beck, 38, is a three-year survivor of Stage IIIA ovarian cancer and active young adult cancer advocate. Emily is a strong voice within the cancer community, sharing her ongoing journey as a cancer survivor on the blog See Emily Play and volunteering with Imerman Angels to lend support to young adults currently undergoing treatment.
Cathy Bueti, a nine-year survivor, has been a panel participant at various cancer conferences and events to speak about her journey with breast cancer. In May 2009, she published the moving memoir Breastless in the City to chronicle her experience as a young widow dating through cancer treatment. She also maintains a blog and website, cathybueti.com.
Kerri Conner was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer at age 33. The daughter of a breast cancer survivor and the mother of a young child, Kerri wanted to encourage women with breast cancer and other adults to have conversations with young children about the treatment process. Kerry published My Mommy Has Breast Cancer but She is OK! this past February, and she is also the 2009 recipient of the Susan G. Komen Philadelphia chapter’s “Breast Cancer Survivor of the Year” award for her community efforts.
Tour and Book Signing
Following the panel discussion, we will host a reception and tours of the Women’s Cancer Center for those who have not yet seen our amazing new facilities since they opened this past Spring. Cathy and Kerri will also have copies of their books on sale and will be available for book signings.
I hope to see you there!
As Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month draws to a close, I wanted to share news of a study that was released earlier today in a special issue of The Lancet, a prominent medical research journal.
A European study of 1,442 women with ovarian cancer in remission found that contrary to popular belief, starting chemotherapy early did not improve survival or quality of life compared with postponing treatment until clinical symptoms of relapse were evident. Specifically, “there was no evidence of a survival benefit with early treatment of relapse on the basis of raised CA125 concentration alone, and therefore the value of routine measurement of CA125 in the follow-up of patients with ovarian cancer who attain a complete response after first-line treatment is not proven.”
Click here for the article: “Early verus delayed treatment of relapsed ovarian cancer (MRC OV05/EORTC 55955) a randomized trial,” [The Lancet, Vol 376, Oct 2, 2010].
The study was based on CA-125 serum levels, which have been used to monitor patients after completion of primary therapy who appear to be without evidence of disease. The level of the CA125 protein produced by ovarian cancer cells in the blood often increases several months before signs or symptoms of relapse appear in women with ovarian cancer. This study compared treatment started when the CA-125 value was twice normal with delayed treatment based on conventional clinical indicators.
Patients in the CA-125 monitoring group began second line treatment approximately five months earlier than the experimental group. Results showed that overall survival was similar in both groups, but that a worse quality of life was demonstrated in the in CA-125 monitored group, who experienced greater emotional and social side effects as well as fatigue associated with early treatment.
As you may know, current practices concerning whether or not regular CA125 tests are done and when to start second-line chemotherapy vary widely. While CA-125 is known in general to detect disease recurrence earlier than symptoms, imaging and physical examination, CA-125 is not specific for ovarian cancer (unlike PSA for prostate cancer, for example), and false positive tests are possible. Concerns about CA125 testing and the implications of positive results can cause patients considerable anxiety.
In addition, the downside of earlier treatment without documented evidence of recurrent disease by imaging or physical examination is that patients could be exposed to toxicity and financial burdens when impact on survival is unknown. It could also potentially exhaust treatment options once recurrent disease is documented by clinical and radiographic criteria.
As in all studies, results must be interpreted by the oncologist for his or her individual patient. This study may not be applicable to all patients with ovarian cancer or to those with ovarian cancer treated in other parts of the world.
For example, approximately 50 percent of the patients were randomized at nine months, indicating an early relapse group, with most of these women probably having higher risk disease (platinum-resistant disease). In this therapy-resistant subgroup, it is reasonable to hold off on treatment until patients become symptomatic or to treat with a non-toxic agent, such as tamoxifen or to enroll such patients in a clinical trial evaluating biologic therapies rather than cytotoxics. This trial has not answered the question for patients who relapse at 12 months or later.
Also, treatment standards in Europe may differ from those in the United States. At the time of initial diagnosis, most U.S. patients undergo aggressive surgeries prior to beginning front-line chemotherapy, whereas in Europe it is much more common for patients to have either chemotherapy prior to surgery or a less aggressive surgery. In addition, it is possible that a wider variety of active agents are available in the United States (see NCCN guidelines).
After the results of this study were presented at the 2009 ASCO meeting, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) issued a statement regarding the use of CA-125 for monitoring ovarian cancer.
SGO criticized the study for not including information on the amount of residual disease after initial cytoreductive surgery, for lack of remission confirmation by imaging before enrollment onto the study, and for lack of standardized treatment at relapse. Patients randomized to the CA-125 monitoring group may have had less effective treatment at the time of “recurrence.”
In addition, in a commentary in the Lancet issue in which the study is published, Robert T. Morris and Bradley J. Monk point out that contemporary therapies were not available to most of the trial participants because of the length of the trial which started in 1996 and required nine years to enroll the 1.442 patients; and to regulatory and financial barriers restricting access to all active compounds in the participating countries. The usefulness of the study, they argue, is in its challenge to the assumption that early treatment of relapsed disease must be better than delayed treatment, and the questions thereby raised.
The study, then, is informative but not definitive. Patients and their physicians should still have the opportunity to choose CA-125 monitoring as a philosophy of active management.
Please stay tuned to this space and let us know if you have any comments or questions. While it might be the official end of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, our discussion of issues in ovarian cancer will continue.
P.S. Dr. Burger was quoted in a HealthDay article about this study.
As we mark ovarian cancer awareness month in September, I thought it would be helpful to invite Karen Orloff Kaplan, Chief Executive Officer of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance to share a few words with you. Her organization recently announced the launch of a new, online quarterly publication, The Teal Journal. I hope you will take a look and let us know what you think.
This September marks the introduction of The Teal Journal, an online quarterly publication produced by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.
The publication features interviews with thought leaders and experts in ovarian cancer research and treatment, as well as interpretive essays about scientific discussions appearing in national cancer magazines and white papers. The Teal Journal intends to be an educated conduit of information to the greater cancer community and provide insight, perspective and interpretation of late-breaking medical and scientific news about ovarian cancer.
The inaugural issue includes:
The need for timely information that functions as a bridge between the scientific community and the lay community is great. The Teal Journal has been designed to fill this gap. All content is peer-reviewed by the Scientific Medical Advisory Council before publication and explores topics of great concern to the cancer community.
I encourage you to visit www.tealjournal.org to read the first issue. Feel free to share with your family and friends who may benefit from and find this information useful.
Karen Orloff Kaplan
Chief Executive Officer, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance