Roswellness Connections offers you helpful health tips, while keeping you connected to the latest Roswell Park news and advances. Each issue also features news about the important impact of your generosity to RPCI and its patients. Feedback? Please email Giving@roswellpark.org or call 716-845-1038. Thank you for your continued support through your gifts and participation in fundraisers like The Ride For Roswell, Goin' Bald for Bucks, Team Cure Challenge, Carly's Club activities, The Paint Box Project and more!
Social Security Fast-Tracks Benefits for Certain Cancers
If you've been diagnosed with cancer and the illness or your treatments leave you unable to work, you may have your claim for Social Security benefits processed within days rather than months. Thanks to the new Compassionate Allowances program, people with one of the 50 listed conditions can receive financial aid much sooner. Many types of cancer are included on the list, such as esophageal, liver and pancreatic, as well as acute leukemia and other cancers with certain metastases. The program was developed in consultation with medical experts, and new conditions may be added in the future.
Patients at Roswell Park Cancer Institute benefit from the assistance of specially trained financial counselors, who can help sort through questions and concerns about insurance coverage and paying for medical treatment.
A New Oral Cancer Protection Brewing?
Coffee-drinking might not be an entirely bad habit, according to findings published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that show coffee consumption is associated with fewer cancers of the mouth, pharynx and esophagus. Evaluating the diets of more than 38,000 people, Japanese researchers found that, compared to people who did not drink coffee, those who sipped a cup or more a day had only half the risk of developing throat and oral cancer. The risk reduction was noted even among people at high risk for those cancers, such as those who drink alcohol or smoke.
But Kirsten Moysich, PhD, of the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, cautions that the study results "might not be relevant to patients in the U.S., where coffee consumption is much higher." Moysich and her research team recently launched a study of coffee consumption and the risk of head and neck cancers among patients and healthy individuals in Western New York. While coffee consumption might be related to a lower risk of head and neck cancers, Moysich advises that "cessation of smoking and alcohol consumption would be much more effective strategies to reduce that risk."
Breast Density Provides Clues to Tamoxifen's Benefit
For women who take tamoxifen to help prevent breast cancer, a simple mammogram may indicate that the drug is working. If, after taking tamoxifen for 12 to 18 months, a mammogram shows that their breasts appear less dense (by more than 10 percent), chances are good that the drug is working and remains beneficial to them. The research, presented at the 2008 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, found that the women who showed at least a 10 percent decrease in breast density reduced their risk of developing breast cancer by nearly two-thirds. The news was less encouraging for women whose breast density didn't drop as much: those women may fare better with other cancer prevention strategies, say the study authors.
Swati Kulkarni, MD, FACS, Director of the High-Risk Breast Cancer Clinic at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, says the study is important because "at present, it is difficult to know whether tamoxifen or any chemopreventive agent is effective in preventing breast cancer in an individual patient. If we can use breast density to measure response to therapy, it would have a major impact on a woman's choice to take tamoxifen. Many women are worried about some of the side effects, but might be willing to take it if they had some evidence that it was actually reducing their risk."
Dr. Kulkarni stresses that quantitative breast density measurement is still used mostly in the research setting and has not yet become widely available in the clinical setting. As more data emerges on the utility of breast density as a marker of response, it may be more widely available.
Did you know... Your gifts are enabling Roswell Park researchers to better understand the specific genes that may lead to the development of breast cancer, a discovery that could allow oncologists to tailor treatment more effectively and classify breast cancers more precisely?
Old Drug Inspires New Hope for Some Cancer Patients
Researchers at Roswell Park are discovering how lenalidomide can dramatically increase the body's ability to fight certain blood cancers. Learn even more at our latest Partners for Progress seminar on March 19, 2009, where you'll hear from our experts about new options for multiple myeloma patients.
New MRI Applications Could Reduce Unneeded Prostate Cancer Therapy
After the initial diagnosis of prostate cancer, determining the severity of the disease and appropriate treatment leaves many patients guessing. Most opt to proceed with surgery, radiation or chemical therapy, instead of watchful waiting, but the side effects of these treatments can be both inconvenient and severe.
That's why researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, helped by your donations, are seeking new ways to give patients and physicians better decision-making information with MRI technology.
According to Anurag K. Singh, MD, Director of Clinical Radiation Research and a Roswell Park clinician, "This research may tell us which patients really will benefit from treatment and which can be watched safely without a high risk of having their disease progress and become less curable. As a result, many men may avoid the side effects of treatment."
To explore all of your diagnosis and treatment options, learn more from the Prostate Cancer Center at Roswell Park by visiting prostatepros.com.
Roswell Park Honored as Industry Leader
Roswell Park Cancer Institute received the INNOVATE Buffalo Niagara Award for Life Sciences on January 28, 2009 at a luncheon hosted by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and KPMG LLP. Dr. Donald L. Trump, President and CEO, accepted this prestigious award on behalf of Roswell Park.
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership noted a number of Roswell Park's achievements, including:
- recent recruitment and retention of highly renowned faculty;
- an increase in research grant dollars of more than $15 million in 2007;
- a five-year Cancer Center Support Grant from the National Cancer Institute;
- and the opening of the $2.6 million Clinical Research Center.
Leadership awards were presented to the Buffalo Niagara region's most groundbreaking and inventive companies in five thriving industry sectors: advanced manufacturing, agri-business/food processing, professional services, life sciences and logistics. Over 60 regional companies were nominated for the awards program, with 21 finalists named.
Team Cure Runners Raise $70,000 for RPCI
A group of 21 athletes from across the country raised $70,000 at the recent Walt Disney World Marathon 2009 in support of Roswell Park Cancer Institute. As participants in the Team Cure Challenge program, the group fundraised and trained in the months leading up to the event, with the goal of supporting cancer research and patient care programs at Roswell Park. Read more about how this year's team featured some long-time supporters of the program, including three generations of one family, and four sisters running in memory of their mother. Or register or learn more about upcoming Team Cure Challenges like the Buffalo Shamrock Run, Buffalo Marathon and Lake Tahoe marathon at www.teamcurechallenge.com.
Patients to Benefit from Expanded Patient Navigator Program
Roswell Park recently announced the expansion of its patient navigator program as part of a partnership with the American Cancer Society. This is the first site to launch in Upstate New York as part of ACS's nationwide effort to significantly extend the reach of this innovative program and assist individual cancer patients in negotiating the health care system.
"Roswell Park was the first hospital in WNY to offer its patients a patient navigation program," said Rosa Scrivani, Senior Patient Advocate at Roswell Park. "This collaborative effort will enhance our existing program, which began in 2005, and help ensure that underserved patients obtain appropriate early detection, treatment and follow-up cancer care."
Patient navigators at Roswell Park will work directly to assist and counsel newly-diagnosed patients. The program's expansion was made possible by support from Asta-Zeneca. For more information, contact Rosa Scrivani at (716) 845-2981.
Two Renowned Physicians Named to RPCI Faculty
Roswell Park welcomes William G. Cance, MD, as Chair of the Department of Surgery; and Roberto Pili, MD, as Chief of the Genitourinary Section and Co-Leader of the Genitourinary Program.
Dr. Cance comes to RPCI from the University of Florida, where he served as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery. He will lead the Department of Surgical Oncology and provide administrative oversight for the operating room and surgical services. He also will serve as RPCI's principal investigator of a training grant in surgical oncology.
Dr. Pili was most recently Associate Professor of Oncology and Urology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Pili specializes in the treatment of prostate, renal and bladder cancer. His research focuses on the development of novel therapeutic agents and understanding the mechanisms of angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation) in the progression of cancer.
Events and Giving Opportunities
Rally for The Ride!
It's never too early to start fundraising and training for The Ride For Roswell 2009 presented by Wegmans. Get pumped up and learn more at an upcoming Ride Rally and Info Session in your neighborhood.
Upcoming Ride Rallies:
Ride rallies provide the latest Ride information, health and wellness training, bike repair workshops, fundraising help, and inspiring testimonials. For more information or to find out when a Ride Rally will be in your area, call 716-THE-RIDE (843-7433) or visit RideForRoswell.org.
Snip, Clip and Shave Your Way to Cancer Cures!
The 2009 Goin' Bald for Bucks season kicks off on March 6 at Roswell Park, and some local schools and businesses are already getting in on the action! The Buffalo State College swim team recently held a Goin' Bald event on their campus, cutting their hair or shaving their heads to raise funds for Roswell Park.
Interested in organizing a Goin' Bald event at your school or organization? It's simple: register online at www.baldforbucks.org or contact Misha Russo at (716) 845-8164 to learn more. Anyone can do the cutting—local cosmetology students, your friends at the salon or anyone with a good pair of scissors. Register today and start snipping, cutting and shaving your way to cancer cures!
Fight Back Twice as Hard Against Cancer!
Now there’s a guaranteed way to double your charitable gift and do twice as much to help in our fight against cancer. Between now and March 31, 2009, your donations to a special campaign at Roswell Park Cancer Institute will be matched up to $100,000 through a generous dollar-for-dollar grant from the Patrick P. Lee Foundation.
At Roswell Park, we will never stop searching, never stop healing and never stop fighting until cancer is defeated. But we need your help to keep our programs among the nation’s finest. Make your gift today, and help arm our researchers and scientists with twice the ammunition to find life-saving treatments and a cure.