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!
More Breast Cancer Patients Opting to Remove Healthy Breast
A rising number of women who have cancer in one breast are choosing to have the other, healthy breast removed, reveals a recent study of New York State data. Stephen B. Edge, MD, FACS, Chair of Breast Surgery at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and clinical leader on the study, says the trend raises concerns because removal of a healthy breast to prevent cancer—a procedure called prophylactic mastectomy—has not been shown to lower the risk of dying for patients who already have breast cancer.
Examining statewide hospital discharge data plus data from the state cancer registry for the period 1995-2005, Dr. Edge and his colleagues from the New York State Department of Health discovered that the number of prophylactic mastectomies more than doubled during that time among women who already had breast cancer. Edge stresses that women who have breast cancer should receive careful counseling about the risks and benefits of surgery before undergoing prophylactic mastectomy of the other breast.
Cancer Diagnosis? Why You Need a Second Opinion
A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating, and the sense of urgency it triggers in some patients can lead them to make quick—and possibly poor—decisions. But Richard Cheney, MD, Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), advises that it’s a good idea to get a second opinion before starting treatment, to ensure that the diagnosis is correct and that treatment options are appropriate.
Of the second opinions provided by RPCI, about 10% involve a change—either a reversal of diagnosis (someone received a diagnosis of cancer but does not actually have cancer, or someone has cancer but was told no cancer was present) or identification of a type of cancer that’s different from the original diagnosis (information that can dramatically alter treatment options).
It’s especially important to seek a second opinion if your doctor or pathologist has not provided you with a full, clear explanation of your pathology report, in terms you understand; if your physician tells you that you don’t need a second opinion; or if your physician wants you to begin treatment tomorrow. “If your physician is pressuring you to do something immediately because there’s no time to waste, that isn’t a good approach,” cautions Dr. Cheney.
Visit the National Cancer Institute website for helpful tips about getting a second opinion. To contact the RPCI referral service, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355).
Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a $1.5 Million Endowment
As the nation commemorates national breast cancer awareness month, Roswell Park Cancer Institute announced the establishment of a $1.5 million endowed fund in breast oncology from the Alfiero Family Charitable Foundation of Western New York. Stephen B. Edge, MD, FACS, RPCI’s current Chair of Breast Surgery and Medical Director of the RPCI Breast Center will become the fund’s first endowed chairholder.
The Alfiero Foundation Endowed Chair in Breast Oncology will provide a secure base of annual funding for Dr. Edge to continue to grow the Breast Center’s programs, and to explore the latest in clinical treatments for patients. Read more...
RPCI Physicians Recognized Nationally as "Best Doctors"
Twenty-nine physicians from Roswell Park were named to the Best Doctors® in America list for 2009-2010. Only 5% of the doctors in America earn a spot on the list.
For almost 20 years, Best Doctors® has been conducting a continuous, peer-to-peer survey of the medical profession to develop the proprietary Best Doctors database of over 50,000 expert physicians in 30 countries.
RPCI physicians were recognized from a variety of disciplines, including radiation oncology, pediatrics, colon and rectal oncology, and more. Read more to see a complete list of the recognized doctors.
Technology Developed at Roswell Park Goes Global
Roswell Park has licensed its photodynamic therapy (PDT) technology to pharmaceutical companies in India and China, reports Richard Matner, PhD, MBA, Director of RPCI's Technology Transfer Office. PDT, a treatment that uses intense doses of red light to activate photosensitive, cancer-killing drugs, was pioneered by RPCI scientist Thomas J. Dougherty, Chief Emeritus of the Photodynamic Therapy Center. PDT is used to treat skin, lung and esophageal cancers, as well as other medical conditions. The licensing agreements cover technology that was developed by Dr. Dougherty and his RPCI colleague Ravindra Pandey, PhD (shown), Distinguished Member of Clinical Research, in the Cell Stress Biology Department.
At a time of growing concern about the overseas transfer of American jobs and resources, RPCI is helping to reverse the trend through agreements like this. Over the last two decades, licensing and royalty fees for PDT alone have generated millions of dollars to support RPCI research, said Dr. Matner. Read more about the agreement and this life-saving technology.
Noted Fashion Designer Returns Home to Support RPCI
Adam Lippes, famed New York City designer known for his ADAM collection, returned to his Buffalo roots on October 1 to celebrate his Williamsville store's one year anniversary, and to raise needed funds for gynecologic cancer research. Through the event, a private dinner and by generously donating 10 percent of the store's profits for a week, the Lippes family helped raise $40,000 in memory of Sandra F. Lippes, Adam's late mother, who passed away from ovarian cancer in 2004. Read more about Lippes and his family’s support of RPCI research.
Young Women and Breast Cancer
As the nation marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Tracey O`Connor and patient Alicia Howell discuss the challenges faced by young women with breast cancer on the October 4 Roswellness radio show.
Why Cancer Cells Become Resistant to Treatment—and How to Defeat Them
Cancer cells can learn to "outsmart" certain therapies by becoming resistant to them, but research at RPCI is exploring a new way to overcome that resistance.
Thanks to a recent grant funded by your gifts, Scott Abrams, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology in the Department of Immunology at Roswell Park, is studying a protein known as IRF-8 whose presence is linked to how certain cancer cells are eliminated by the immune system or common treatments like radiation.
Dr. Abrams' findings in the lab suggest that IRF-8 levels play an important role in how cancer cells respond to these mechanisms. When IRF-8 levels are low, cell death decreases; whereas when IRF-8 levels are high, cell death increases.
"If we can better understand what makes certain cancer cells more death-resistant, we can then develop strategies to overcome those defects so that current or new therapies would work better," said Dr. Abrams. His new findings suggest that IRF-8 levels can be boosted and the response to death increased using certain classes of drugs already being tested in cancer patients for other reasons.
Events and Giving Opportunities
Celebrating 20 Years of The Paint Box Project
Start making your holiday shopping list! This year, when you choose cards and gifts from The Paint Box Project, you'll help celebrate 20 years of the program's impact on pediatric patient-artists and research helping patients of all ages and diagnoses.
The Paint Box Project's 20th anniversary collection features cards and gifts for everyone on your list, including gourmet Choco-Logo chocolates, Swarovski jewelry, an L.L. Bean tote and a one-of-a-kind gift for the coffee lover in your life. Plus, to place a customizable card order for your business or organization, call Alicia Becker at (716) 845-8119 or fax your order form to (716) 845-8705. Visit www.PaintBoxProject.com today to shop holiday cards and gifts that cure!
It’s Fashionable to Support Carly’s Club!
Tickets are still available for the fourth annual Catwalk for Charity, hosted by Ryan Miller's Steadfast Foundation. This evening of fashion and fun, held on November 8 at Town Ballroom in Buffalo, supports Carly's Club at Roswell Park. Buy your tickets today at www.TheSteadfastFoundation.com.
Get Your Denim and Diamonds Tickets Today!
Looking for a fun, casual event to support Roswell Park? Join us for the third annual Denim and Diamonds on Friday, January 29, 2010. Wear your favorite jeans and jewels to Ani DiFranco’s Asbury Hall (located on Delaware Avenue and Tupper) and help raise funds for cancer research and patient care. The evening will include food, drinks, music, dancing, a fabulous silent auction and more in support of the WNY Robotic Surgical Center at Roswell Park.
Call or email today to reserve your tickets! For more information, contact Mary Rose McDermott at (716) 845-3517 or MaryRose.Mcdermott@roswellpark.org.
Business Partner of the Month
Dunkin' Donuts is partnering with The Paint Box Project to offer a gift sure to please the coffee-lovers on your list: the Dunkin' Donuts Mug of Hope, featuring artwork created by some of The Paint Box Project's young patient-artists. Purchase this mug and receive unlimited free refills of coffee or tea at local participating Dunkin' Donuts through December 31, 2010! Read more or search other cards and gifts at www.PaintBoxProject.com.