roswellness connections(April 2010)

Video Spotlight:
Roswell Round-Up:
Events and Giving Opportunities:
Donor Impact:
Patient Voice:
Business Partner of the Month

Many thanks to you, our generous supporters and friends, for your continued dedication to our ongoing efforts in the fight against cancer. We appreciate your support through 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.



Is Cancer Hiding in Your Family Tree?
You may be at higher-than-average risk for cancer without knowing it, especially if you’re African-American or Latino, or belong to another minority group. African-Americans, for example, are at higher risk for developing and/or dying of several types of cancer, including prostate, breast, colon, and oral, while Latinos face higher risk for stomach, cervical, and other cancers.


During Minority Cancer Awareness Week, April 18-24, help Roswell Park Cancer Institute spread the word that awareness of your family medical history is one of your most important defenses against cancer. The first step: Write down the names of any blood relatives in your immediate family who have had cancer—mother/father, sister/brother, son/daughter—and make a note of the types of cancer they had, and their age (or approximate age) at the time of diagnosis. Then add information about other relatives, including grandparents/grandchildren, aunts/uncles, and nieces/nephews. Share that information with your doctor to help determine when and how often you should be screened for certain types of cancer.


To find out more about your possible inherited risk of cancer, ask your health care provider about making a referral to Roswell Park's Clinical Genetics Service. You can also self-refer by calling Roswell Park’s Cancer Information Program at 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724), or complete the online Clinical Genetics Service Questionnaire.


Why Quit Now? Smokers with Lung Cancer Can Still Improve the Odds
Quit smoking!What’s the use in trying to quit smoking if you already have lung cancer? There’s growing evidence that it can make a difference. A study published recently in the medical journal BMJ concludes that “smoking cessation after diagnosis of early-stage lung cancer improves prognostic outcomes.”


Why? For one thing, components in tobacco smoke “significantly reduce the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy,” explains Graham Warren, MD, PhD, Department of Radiation Medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “A growing tumor needs a good supply of blood and oxygen, and compounds in tobacco, such as nicotine, speed up the creation of new blood vessels that can provide both. Tobacco and nicotine also appear to increase the ability of cells to break through tissue membranes and invade other areas of the body, which means they can increase the rate of metastasis.” Dr. Warren’s research shows that the act of smoking, or other exposure to compounds in tobacco, “activates a series of proteins in the cell that decrease response to radiation and chemotherapy.”


Dr. Warren and his colleagues are looking for ways to overcome the effects of tobacco and compounds in tobacco smoke in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. But he says smoking cessation is still critical to improving the odds, “and unfortunately, as soon as a patient is diagnosed with cancer, smoking-cessation efforts are often dropped.” He is working in broad collaboration with several research and clinical departments at Roswell Park to develop a program that will make it easier to identify and assist patients who struggle to quit smoking. “We are at the forefront in trying to incorporate this for our cancer patients in treatment.”


“As a medical community, we’re just beginning to address the effects on patients who smoke during treatment,” adds Mary Reid, PhD, Co-Director of the Stacey Scott Lung Cancer Registrya donor-funded initiative at Roswell Park. “Clinicians need to more aggressively encourage their smoking patients to quit, even after they are diagnosed.” She says smokers who have lung cancer need to know that “if you quit now, there are still benefits.”


Video Spotlight

PillsThe Trouble with Tamoxifen
A multidisciplinary research team at Roswell Park is finding new reasons why the drug works for some women with breast cancer, and not for others. Check out this report from WIVB-TV’S Dr. Peter Ostrow on the research.


Roswell RoundUp

Sammy the SquirrelCanisius and Roswell Park Team Up To Promote Testicular Cancer Awareness
Students at Canisius College recently embarked on ambitious effort: to increase testicular cancer awareness among young men, the group at highest risk for the disease. The students teamed up with the experts at Roswell Park to tackle this troubling trend by promoting testicular self-examination for men ages 15-40, through informative, relatable and humorous messages. Read more about the campaign.


Exploring Genetic Causes of Down Syndrome-Associated Mental Retardation
Eugene Yu, PhD, of the Cancer Genetics Department at RPCI, recently received a grant for $250,000 from The Children’s Guild Foundation of Buffalo to identify the causative genes for Down syndrome-associated mental retardation. Down syndrome is the most common genetic cause of mental retardation in children, and children with Down syndrome also are at increased risk for developing leukemias. If this research is successful, it will offer the first scientific basis to design therapeutic intervention strategies.


Calling All Survivors: Save the Date to Celebrate With Us!
Survivor's Day CelebrationIf you, your loved one or a friend is a cancer survivor, that’s a great reason to celebrate. On June 13, Roswell Park will host a fun and family-friendly day to honor Western New York’s survivors and commemorate National Cancer Survivors Day. Join us to enjoy games and entertainment, and to share your inspiring story with other survivors and cancer specialists. Get all the details on Roswell Park’s event calendar here!


National Bone Marrow Donor Drive to be Held at Roswell Park Cancer Institute
In conjunction with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), Roswell Park is holding a Bone Marrow Donor Drive in the main lobby on Tuesday, April 27 from 4-6 pm. Marrow and stem cell transplants are used to treat leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening blood diseases.


Each year more than 30,000 children and adults are diagnosed with diseases for which a bone marrow transplant is the only chance for a cure, and only 30% of these people will find a matching donor within their families, making drives like this critically important. Community members, ages 18-60, with no history of cancer, diabetes or heart problems, are invited to help share life at the drive by being screened to become a potential bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell donor. A simple swab of the inside of your cheek gives the necessary tissue typing information needed for determining matches.


Events and Giving Opportunities

Have Your Signed Up to Ride?Have You Signed Up to Ride?
Now is the perfect time to register and start training and fundraising for The Ride For Roswell 2010. The June 26 event marks The Ride’s 15th anniversary, and riders are celebrating with some brand new event features—and some old favorites brought back for this special occasion. New this year, families can enjoy the Family Fun Zone, featuring child-friendly activities at the post-Ride party. Plus, back by popular demand, hardcore riders can choose the 100-mile century ride to push their cycling skills to the limit. So visit today to sign up or learn more about our 9 routes!


Paint Box Customers: We Want to Hear From You!
Have Your Signed Up to Ride?The holiday season may seem far away, but we need you to start thinking about The Paint Box Project, Roswell Park’s card and gift program that features the artwork of our pediatric patients. In an effort to make the program more successful than ever, we’re reaching out to our customers and supporters for your feedback. Please take this brief survey to let us know more about what you want to see from The Paint Box Project!


Get Warmed Up and Take the Team Cure Challenge
Warmer weather is finally here! Ready to get back outdoors and get in shape? Sign up today for an upcoming Team Cure Challenge event, and our expert trainers will help you get into the best shape of your life while you raise crucial funds for Roswell Park.


Registration is now open for the annual Tops 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, August 28th, 2010. This fun, family-friendly event now offers a unique 10K race! Or, check out one of the most beautiful parts of the country at the Lake Tahoe Marathon on September 22-26. Learn more about these events and much more at today!


Donor Impact

Providing Transportation and Lodging for Those in Need
Patient familyThe last thing patients and family members want to worry about is how to get to treatment or, in the case of patients from out of town, where to stay after they get to Roswell Park. Thanks to a Lodging and Transportation program funded by your donations, they don't have to.


The program is operated by the department of Social Work and annually serves 3,000 individuals. For patients whose income level is 300% above the federal poverty line or less, the program pays for transportation when no other options exist. The program also plays a huge role in helping any patient in need of transportation—regardless of income—by making arrangements to link them to available sources such as vans run by the American Cancer Society, local senior service providers and local governments.


Social work staff also book most of the lodging for out of town patients and their families as well as for patients undergoing Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) procedures with linkages to the Hope Lodge, Kevin Guest House, the Doubletree Hotel and other hotels and guest houses—all part of Roswell Park's total commitment to its patients. 


Patient Voice

Julian, Age 14
Julian, Age 14.Last October I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). The treatments are long and hard. They used chemotherapy drugs to kill the leukemic cells and those make you feel pretty sick, but the doctors and nurses at Roswell Park are exceptional.


Organizations like Carly’s Club and Roswell Park Cancer Institute are so special that we can’t say enough about them.  My family says Roswell is like an invisible safety net that most of us are unaware of until it’s needed! – Julian, a leukemia patient and Carly’s Club member. Read more of Julian’s story here.


Business Partner of the Month

First Niagara Financial GroupWGRZ-TV (Channel 2)
Each year, Team WGRZ-Channel 2 and our Ride For Roswell spokesperson, sports anchor Adam Benigni, offer their significant support as a Big Wheel media sponsor to bring the personal stories behind the The Ride to the community. Reporters including Kevin O’Neill, Josh Boose, and Heather Ly have championed the touching and personal accounts of riders and their families, and helped share why this event has such an impact on Western New York.  


“The Ride for Roswell is one of the most positive events you can be a part of.  It represents a community coming together for a common cause and goal where every dollar makes a difference,” said Benigni. “I became involved after my father lost his battle with lung cancer in 2004.  My mother-in-law passed away a couple of years later so it really hit home for my wife Lorrie and me. So many others share similar stories, and it feels good to be a small part of something so meaningful for so many.”


It is thanks to the efforts of WGRZ and our other sponsors that The Ride continues to find new supporters each year. If you’d like to get your company involved in The Ride For Roswell by becoming a sponsor, offering in-kind donations or forming a Ride team, contact a Ride Coordinator at 716-THE-RIDE or email