Monday, March 30, 2009

Cancer Literature

No Free Press today although I can probably get it on line. Instead, I reviewed the most recent literature on TNBC made easier by Pam, a frequent contributor on the TNBC website who had TNBC along with her daughter. She routinely posts several articles a day.

It is frustrating reading these as some contradict each other. Among today's readings:

Success in neoadjuvant treatment does not predict overall survival ( Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is treating tumors before surgery. This is done when the tumor is large (> 5 cm) and the patient wants to avoid a mastectomy and/or the onc wants to see how a tumor responds to a given treatment. Anyway, one can assume if the chemo given completely destroys the tumor, one assumes it's destroying any mets. This paper claims that is not so: OS (overall survival-common term) is no better than incomplete or no response. That's a downer even if it doesn't apply to me.

Another paper highlighted the importance of typing any met. Alot of time it is assumed that any new tumor (met or recurrence) is the same type as the original breast cancer. Not so and this could be a dangerous assumption. In one case a new tumor was found to be a lymphoma- treated completely differently. Lesson learned: If one ever finds another tumor, make sure pathology is performed on it.

New tumor marker that predicts success in treatment with taxol. TLE3 ( ?-forgot to write it down)If a tumor doesn't have this marker, taxanes won't help a bit. Fortunately the marker is common in TNBC and taxanes specifically help us more than other subtypes so the nerve and nail damage may be worth it. At some point, one might be spared taxanes by screening for this marker.

Another article saying that the Red Devil may be useless against HER2 neg cancers-esp ER+ ones. This of course pisses me off when I read that I might have been poisoned for no good reason but lots of conflicting articles on this subject.

An article saying that carboplatin might be better than the Red Devil against early stage TNBC. Less long term side effects too. Wish they would get their act together on this one.

Lots of papers on BRAC1and BRAC2 cancers. I had assumed that BRAC1 cancers were all TNBC but not so although more than half are. They also surmise that the ones that aren't TNBC will quickly turn into ones that are. Of those who are TNBC, the BRAC1 + are much younger than the BRAC1 or 2 neg who are younger than the BRAC2+.

I should go out and run to make up for my lazy day yesterday-as soon as it is above freezing.

Someone in blogsphere reported that her formerly brown hair is coming in pink while she is ON Taxol. Where's my hair?

Another (Renee) almost 3 months out from Taxol finally has a whole set of eyelashes and her scalp is completely covered but her fingernails still suffer. One just fell off. Her new word for us in Cancerland is "onycholysis" which is the medical term for nail damage. She still doesn't have her energy back.

And Kathy with her new perky breasts is fighting her drains (drain wars)with humor with a whole list of songs that originally had the word 'rain' in it as in "I wish it would drain."

For my pal Sharon and her very pretty blog, radiation +implants=pain and peeling skin. Ouch!!!

Tomorrow I enter the Land of Radiation. Please let it be easy! Also I start the LiveStrong program-let the healing begin. Also as of tomorrow, I no longer will be the mother of a child as Naomi will magically be turned into an 18 year old adult. Can't wait to see evidence of 'adult' behavior. When the kids were young, we'd drive into another state and I would announce "Hey kids, we're in Ohio now!!!" They'd look up and eventually remark "So what- it doesn't look any different than Michigan" I have the feeling that crossing March 31 will be like driving over the Ohio State line. Not a lot of changes.

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