roswellness connections(December 2010)

Video Spotlight:
Audio Podcast:
Roswell Round-Up:
Events and Giving Opportunities:
Patient Voice:
Donor Impact:
Business Partner of the Month
As the year draws to a close, we thank you, our generous supporters and friends, for your continued dedication to Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Thank you for your donations 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! Feedback? Please email or call 716-845-1038.



Can an Aspirin a Day Keep Cancer Away?
That seems to be true for a lot of people, according to findings published in the medical journal The Lancet, which analyzed eight studies involving more than 25,500 people originally conducted to examine the effects of a low dose aspirin regimen on cardiovascular disease. Researchers found that a long-term aspirin regimen reduced the risk of dying from cancer by 21 percent. The benefit increased for certain cancer types and the longer people took it. After five years, those taking aspirin reduced their risk for dying from gastrointestinal cancer by 54 percent. After twenty years, the death risk dropped by 10 percent for prostate cancer, 30 percent for lung cancer, 40 percent from colorectal cancer and 60 percent from esophageal cancer.

“This is 20 percent across the board, 40 to 60 percent for certain cancers,” explains Martin Mahoney, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in the Departments of Health Behavior and Medicine. “That applied to the population level is enormous, and very exciting.” Although Dr. Mahoney says that for the vast majority of patients, adding low dose daily aspirin is a reasonable addition to their list of medications, people should check with their doctors first. People with certain conditions or taking some medications should avoid aspirin.
Pancreatic Develops Slowly, Leaving Window for Future Early Diagnosis
Music lovers everywhere were saddened recently to learn the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was battling pancreatic cancer, proven one of the more challenging types to treat. Most cases are not diagnosed until after the disease has spread to regional lymph nodes or has metastasized. The five-year survival rate even for early-stage diagnoses remains disappointing at just 22 percent. But genetics researchers have discovered that pancreatic cancer takes a surprisingly slow road. More than a decade, or 11.7 years, passes from when key mutations first occur to when a cancer cell develops. Then it takes another 6.8 years to grow into a plum-sized tumor, at which point it has the ability to spread. Once the disease spreads, it progresses quickly. The findings offer hope that this large window of opportunity offers a chance to detect and diagnose the disease far earlier and improve survival.

Video Spotlight

One Puff is Too Many
Dr. Michael Cummings explains the latest research on smoking—and offers help for those seeking to quit in this WIVB-TV spotlight.

Audio Podcast

Cancer Prevention: What Can Help, and What You Can't Control
Martin Mahoney, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, and Carolyn Farrell, MS, RN, Director of the Clinical Genetics Service at RPCI, talk about factors we can control (diet, exercise, tobacco/alcohol use) as well as those we can't (our genetic heritage) as they relate to our likelihood of developing cancer.

Roswell RoundUp

RPCI Named to Leapfrog’s Top Hospitals List
The Leapfrog Group’s annual class of Top Hospitals — 65 from a field of nearly 1,200 — was announced December 1 in Washington, D.C., and included Roswell Park for the first time. The announcement came at Leapfrog’s 10th anniversary meeting. The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage founded a decade ago to work for improvements in healthcare safety, quality and affordability.

Tree of Hope Lights Up Roswell Park
WIVB-TV’s Jacquie Walker, a pediatric patient and his family and even Santa Claus helped light up the night at the annual Tree of Hope celebration on December 3. Hundreds of Western New Yorkers were on hand at Roswell Park to witness the tree lighting and take part in holiday celebrations. See photos from the event, including the impressive winning entries from the gingerbread house contest. Plus, don’t miss WIVB’s reports on the event or our recap video.
healthelinkHEALTHeLINK Announces $10 Million Grant at RPCI
Roswell Park was the site of an announcement that HEALTHeLINK, the Western New York Clinical Information Exchange, has been awarded a $10 million “sole-source” grant from the New York State Department of Health. The grant will enable HEALTHeLINK to work with the DOH on a statewide plan to develop a system that allows health care systems to share clinical data for the benefit of research and patients. The data is related to population and public health targeting child health immunization, newborn screening, syndromic surveillance, and chronic disease with a specific focus on cancer. Read more about what this will mean for patients and clinicians in Western New York.

Events and Giving Opportunities

Visit Music City with Team Cure Challengetcc
The weather is anything but warm now—start thinking about a weekend in the southern climate by signing up for the Nashville Country Music Marathon with Team Cure Challenge! The April 30th weekend of events offers a half or full marathon, and now is the perfect time to sign up and start training. We’ll help you reach your fundraising and training goals. Visit today to get started.
Dedicate a Snowflake of Hope
Say thank you for the blessings in your life this holiday season by making a gift that will help other patients and families. The annual Snowflakes of Hope campaign raises funds for cancer research in the pursuit of cures and compassionate patient programs at Roswell Park. You can dedicate a paper snowflake in honor of someone you love facing cancer this season, or in honor of someone who has lost his or her battle. Thank you for your generous efforts and for helping make future holidays easier on cancer patients and their loved ones. Give today.

Are You Next to Face the Clippers?goin bald
Ready to plan your 2011 Goin’ Bald for Bucks event? Registration is now open at Follow the easy online registration steps, and we’ll help you get started on your way to organizing an event for your school, business or family and friends. All you need is time, a good pair of clippers and the commitment to supporting Roswell Park!
Visit RPCI for Great Paint Box Project Deals
The new year is the perfect time to stock up on supplies for next holiday season! Visit
The Paint Box Project online or in the Roswell Park lobby in January on the following dates to take advantage of great discounts on new and classic cards and merchandise.

  • Tuesday, January 4, 10 am - 2 pm
  • Wednesday, January 5, 10 am - 2 pm
  • Tuesday, January 11, 10 am - 2 pm
  • Wednesday, January 12, 10 am - 2 pm
Stop by and pick up your card packs, wrapping paper, ornaments and gifts for next year--at new low prices! All items feature artwork created or inspired by our pediatric patients and their families, and proceeds support research and patient care programs right here at Roswell Park. Sales will be held in the lobby of Roswell Park. Call 716-845-8119 for more information.

Patient Voice

Veronica Meadows-Rayveronica
Veronica Meadows-Ray is the latest person in her family to be diagnosed with breast cancer. She was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer in March 2007, and immediately sought care from Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

“After diagnosis, my first thought was to get to Roswell Park yesterday. Within five days, with the assistance of Roswell's navigation department Witness Project representative Mildred Kelly, I was able to see the head of the Breast Center, Dr. Edge,” she says. “Dr. Edge, with the assistance of the Breast Cancer Resource Center representative Joanne Janicki, was able to restore my belief that living was an option.  The Breast Cancer Center, the Breast Cancer Resource Center, Witness Project, the Oncology department, the Radiation department all worked as one—just for me.” 

“My story is only one story,” says Meadows-Ray. “Your donations help breast cancer patients like me every day: one success story after another."

If you were recently diagnosed with breast cancer, or you are at high risk for the disease, learn more at or call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) to make an appointment.

Donor Impact

Outsmarting Metastatic Prostate Cancerprostate cancer study
Although highly treatable in its early stages, advanced prostate cancer remains a largely incurable disease due to the absence of effective therapies. As a result, each year over 32,000 American men lose their prostate cancer battles.

“Prostate cancer is resistant to chemotherapy and hormone therapy for advanced prostate cancer has largely failed,” explains Katerina Gurova, MD, PhD, an Assistant Member in the Department of Cell Stress Biology at Roswell Park. “After 60 years of extensive studies, androgen deprivation therapy is the therapy of choice for patients with advanced prostate cancer,” she adds. “Unfortunately this therapy is usually effective initially, but rarely results in a cure. Most patients treated with such therapies relapse.”

In prostate cancer cells, the androgen hormone receptor is the main target for these therapies. This receptor controls the survival of therapy-resistant advanced prostate cancer cells. Armed with your donations, Dr. Gurova and her team are now exploring a new way to inhibit the survival of these cells.

“If we come up with a therapy to eliminate the androgen receptor, rather than the current approach of just inhibiting the receptor’s activity, we believe we can improve patient outcomes,” explains Dr. Gurova.

 “Roswell Park donors have become a crucial partner in this effort,” she adds. “If successful, our plans are to parlay our results into a competitive national funding request so we can take it to the next level. This initial laboratory work could someday lead to a new drug to defeat the androgen receptor’s cancer-protecting qualities. We also hope to identify new and more specific targets for treatment."

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and seek a second opinion from Roswell’s experts, or are at high risk for the disease, learn more at or call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) to make an appointment.

Business Partner of the Month

M&T Bank
M&T Bank has built a reputation for supporting causes that have an impact on Western New Yorkers, and their support of Roswell Park Cancer Institute is no exception. By continuing to step up and support events and programs at Roswell Park, M&T makes an important difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families.

By donating gifts and volunteering their time at the annual Carly’s Club holiday party, staff and leadership at M&T make the holidays brighter for young people facing a cancer diagnosis. M&T also was one of the first banks to create a team for The Ride For Roswell. Their team continues to grow in size and amount raised, a sign of M&T's ongoing commitment to The Ride and Roswell Park.

Their gift of $1.5 million created the M&T Bank Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, providing critical leadership support for RPCI’s research initiatives in the pursuit of cancer cures. M&T also provided a generous matching gift campaign in 2004 that helped fund the construction of RPCI’s world-class Center for Genetics and Pharmacology.

M&T has been a top sponsor of All Star Night, Roswell Park’s annual gala, for several years, and has provided generous funding for Kaminski Park and Gardens, providing a calm, beautiful space for patients and their families to enjoy a peaceful moment.

These are just a few examples of M&T Bank’s dedication to Roswell Park. Their generosity and advocacy will continue to have a lasting impact on cancer patients in Western New York and beyond.