Thursday, July 25, 2013

Recent Advances in Mesothelioma Cancer Treatment

There still is no cure for mesothelioma cancer, but there are curative therapies that are working better than ever before. Advances are being made. Patients are responding. Hope is being rewarded.

Although the complexities of mesothelioma still elude much of the medical community and make it one of the toughest cancers to treat, a handful of specialty centers are paving new ground in this fight.

Malignant mesothelioma cancer is the rare but aggressive cancer caused by microscopic asbestos fibers that are inhaled or ingested and become lodged in the lining of the chest or abdominal cavity. It can take decades before symptoms appear.

The use of asbestos has fallen dramatically in recent decades, but it remains abundant in both residential and commercial structures today. A myriad of products across America still contain asbestos.

The long latency period between exposure and diagnosis means that people who were exposed back in the 1970s – the height of asbestos use in this country -- are just now being diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Surviving Longer Today

But unlike a decade ago, patients are surviving, extending their lives beyond the original cancer prognosis they receive. The gloom and doom and the fatalistic approach that was the norm not long ago, is being replaced by patients with a fighting chance.

Instead of 6-12 months to live, many of today’s patients are surviving 2-5 years and some even longer; life expectancy has been greatly increased. An earlier, more effective way to diagnose the disease has opened the door to more treatment options. Surgery, for those who are candidates, has become more advanced and better performed. The chemotherapy drugs are changing and more effective. The radiation is becoming more precise.

Clinical Trials Provide Access to Latest Advances

And a variety of alternative therapies are emerging. Many of those are available as part of clinical trials being conducted at specialty centers across the country. One of the most promising therapies – and the expected future of mesothelioma treatment – is immunotherapy, where the body’s own immune system can target and destroy the cancer cells.

“I’m a big proponent of immunotherapy,” says Ani Balmanoukian, M.D., director of the Lung Cancer Program at the innovative Angeles Clinic and Research Institute in Santa Monica, Calif. “And with mesothelioma, it’s holding significant prospect for providing an effective option for patients.”

The key to immunotherapy is the ability to unmask the cancer cells and allow the immune system to destroy them without bothering the healthy cells. When the immune system is working normally, it only destroys cells that are recognized as foreign, which is how it fights off a virus or bacterial infection.

Because the cancer cells are produced by the body, the immune system normally ignores them. Researchers are discovering protein molecules now that can mark the mesothelioma cells as foreign, allowing the immune system to do its work.

Also showing promise in early clinical trials is gene therapy, where defective genes are altered by injecting a patient with a modified virus that can target the cancer cells, making them more receptive to chemotherapy drugs.

Author Bio: Tim Povtak has been writing for more than three decades. He spent most of his career at the Orlando Sentinel, before joining The Mesothelioma Center in 2011.

Balmanoukian, Ani, M.D., Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, Santa Monica, CA. Interview with

Lebenthal, Abraham, M.D., Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston. Interview with

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study 3

Please see the documents below and links regarding the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study 3.

Thank you letter to CPS3 Champions

Please share this information to inform others of the opportunity to participate in the study.

Encouraging those eligible to participate in this historic research will allow us to make a difference in the future prevention of cancer.

Webinar: Living Beyond Breast Cancer

July 25th, there will be a free webinar hosted by Living Beyond Breast Cancer from noon to 1 p.m. 

The topic is: Newly Diagnosed: Using Complementary Therapies to Manage Side Effects, featuring Don Dizon, M.D. from the Gillette Center for Gynecologic Oncology and Assistant in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Register at or call (610) 645-4567. CEU credits are available for licensed social workers. Webinars are audio accessible via phone or computer.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Webinar: Be A Community Outreach Champion!


Presented By: Paige Menking, CHWI, Program Director, Ventanilla de Salud en Austin, Texas

When: August 22nd 2013 10:00AM-Noon Central Time

Where: LIVESTRONG headquarters and Via Distance Learning

2201 E. Sixth St

Austin, TX 78758

Core Competency: Interpersonal skill

For Texas-certified CHWs: earn 1 hour interpersonal skill

Cost: Free


After participating in this webinar CHWs will be able to:

· Identify the demographics of Latino population who attend outreach events

· Discuss the CHW role in community outreach

· Engage the Latino community using new outreach skills

· Employ best strategies for outreach

· Avoid ineffective outreach strategies


This webinar will be presented in English and Spanish. Please follow either link to register.

10:00AM Central Time ENGLISH:

11:00AM Central Time SPANISH:

Webinar: Cultural Competency for Community Health Workers


Presented By: Sandra San Miguel, MS Research Instructor, Dept. of Medicine/Epidemiology & Biostatistics Institute for Health Promotion Research, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

When: July 26th 2013 10:00AM-Noon Central Time

Where: Via Distance Learning

Core Competency: Interpersonal skill

For Texas-certified CHWs: earn 1 hour interpersonal skill

Cost: Free


After participating in this webinar CHWs will be able to:

• Discuss demographic trends in the Hispanic/Latino US population

• Identify the importance of cultural competency

• Utilize interpersonal skills to improve client interaction


This webinar will be presented in English and Spanish. Please follow either link to register.

10:00AM Central Time ENGLISH:

11:00AM Central Time SPANISH:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Join the Cancer Connections Relay Team for Hope Lodge

Join us at the Relay For Life of Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge in Gainesville on
August 27th, 5:30 to10 p.m.

Signing up for the “Mini-Relay” is as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Visit and click “Sign Up”
2. Click “Join An Existing Team” and search for Cancer Connections
3. Complete the form and submit the $10 registration fee
(Checks can be mailed to: Hope Lodge Relay for Life 2119 SW 16th Street, Gainesville, FL 32608 if the registration fee is not paid online.)

There will be lots of food, fun, and musical entertainment. This event will give us all a chance to see Hope Lodge up close and personal, to gain a better understanding of the wonderful services it - along with the great staff- provides to cancer patients in treatment, and their caregivers.
Questions? Please contact Lacey Duncan Jones at or 352-240-5052.

No fundraising is required, but your family and friends might wish to support your efforts. Donations may be made directly to Hope Lodge.

If you are not able to join the fun, please consider making a direct donation to benefit our Gainesville Lodge and the wonderful and vital services it provides to so many patients and their caregivers. Without these services, many cancer patients would not be able to get the best care available.

Florida Society of Oncology Social Workers 30th Annual Conference

The Florida Society of Oncology Social Workers will be hosting it’s 30th Annual Conference this year in Orlando Florida.  It is a great opportunity to network with a variety of healthcare professionals from around the country. 

For more information or to register visit:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Webinar - Roles and Responsibilities of Navigators: A GWCI Case Study

July 24, 2013, Noon ET (FREE!)

The Affordable Care Act and American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer Patient- Centered Standards have placed a heavy emphasis on providing patient-centered care to improve health outcomes. Patient navigation is a culturally competent intervention to address barriers to care that has been widely adopted in cancer and chronic disease to reduce health disparities and improve quality of life. Models of patient navigation vary based on the services being provided, who is providing those services, to whom and at what point(s) during the continuum. This webinar will explore the history and evolution of patient navigation and provide participants with a case study on the navigation model implemented through the George Washington University Cancer Institute. GWCI navigators will discuss their role as part of the care coordination team across the continuum, challenges and successes and program results. 

Register today!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fall Melanoma Conference in Tampa, FL

Update for Clinicians on Diagnosis and Treatment of Melanoma and Other Cutaneous Malignancies

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Moffitt Cancer Center • Tampa, FL

The Update for Clinicians on Diagnosis and Treatment of Melanoma and Other Cutaneous Malignancies is a 1-day educational and scientific meeting that will focus on key clinical topics in the management of melanoma and other cutaneous malignancies, including evolving standards of care and current guidelines, as well as the most promising novel chemotherapeutics and targeted agents currently undergoing clinical trial evaluation.

In partnership with the Moffitt Cancer Center, this highly practical and interactive forum will provide a unique opportunity for medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists and other health care professionals to learn from and interact with leading national and local Moffitt faculty in order to increase clinical knowledge, apply new data to practice, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Why Should You Attend?
•             Interact with your peers and top-ranked experts in the field
•             Discuss the current, dynamic treatment landscape, including new surgical, radiation, and systemic treatment options for melanoma and basal cell cancer, as well as the toxicity management of available agents and considerations regarding the sequencing of available therapies
•             Review the molecular mechanisms and pathways involved in the pathogenesis of melanoma and basal cell carcinoma
•             Discuss the usefulness of molecular tests to assess prognosis and treatment options, and monitor response to therapy
•             Gain understanding of emerging agents currently in clinical trials for patients with melanoma and basal cell carcinoma


Download Flyer

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July Issue of Cancer Stakeholder Available

Please view the latest edition of our statewide newsletter, the Cancer Stakeholder. In it you will find information on topics including but not limited to:

Program Spotlight: June 2nd as National Cancer Survivors Day

State Update: The 2013 legislative session results

Tools and Resources: Upcoming webinars & workshops, opportunities for continuing education credits, and the Surgeon General’s upcoming Symposiums

Cancer in the News: The latest articles from great resources such as Science Daily, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to name a few

Funding Opportunities: Ranging from gardening initiatives to obesity to cancer research grants

Events: Including local and national conferences of interest to our stakeholders

Smoking Cessation Resources: highlighting Tobacco Free Florida’s 3 easy and free ways to quit

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Deliver the Dream Parent with Cancer Retreat

Deliver the Dream is an organization that offers a free weekend retreat for families who have a child or parent with a serious illness or crisis. Applications for families who have a parent with cancer are due by July 16th for a retreat held August 16-18.

Individuals in our area are eligible to apply. Please see the application below and share this information with interested parties.

Application: Click Here

Organization website:

Colon Cancer Alliance National Conference in Miami, FL Oct. 11-12, 2013

Registration for the 2013 National Conference is now open!

Whatever you're ready to tackle - whether it's your treatment plan, your community, your insurance company or the federal government at-large - we’ve put together an incredible agenda that’s going to get you ready to take action. We promise you'll leave our 10th national conference empowered, excited and unstoppable!

Register now to receive our early-bird registration rate - if you’re a CCA volunteer or Buddy, please be sure to contact Nancy Butterfield at or (202) 628-0123 for a special volunteer discount.

A limited number of scholarships will be available on a first come, first served basis. If you require travel, registration or lodging financial help, please apply for a scholarship. We recommend that you wait for a response from the Scholarship Review Committee before registering for the conference.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cyber-Seminar: The Role of Primary Care in Cancer Prevention and Control: International and US Perspectives

July 16, 2013 2:00PM - 3:00PM EDT

Primary care providers (PCP) and staff play an increasingly important role in the prevention, diagnosis, and long-term care of cancer patients.  The July National Cancer Institute (NCI) Research to Reality cyber-seminar will explore this role and approaches to better improve the integration of primary and community care across the cancer continuum from both the international and US perspectives.

At the end of the cyber-seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the role that primary care can play in cancer care across the continuum, from prevention to survivorship
  • Understand the international and domestic perspectives on integration of primary, community, and specialty care with regards to cancer.
  • Identify several approaches to implementing interventions within the primary care setting.

Register Now