Treating Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: How One Woman Achieved Remission

<b>Treating Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: How One Woman Achieved Remission</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – This year, nearly 66,000 Americans will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) — a cancer of the lymphatic system — and between 30 and 40 percent of these patients will have indolent NHL, a slowly developing form that is difficult to treat because patients are prone to relapse after therapy.

Thankfully, there have been a number of advances in treating NHL. Recently, a study published in the journal Cancer showed that a chemotherapy called TREANDA (bendamustine HCl) for Injection produced durable responses in patients with indolent B-cell NHL whose disease had progressed within six months of treatment with a therapy called rituximab as a component.

This is good news for patients like 65-year-old Arlington, Texas, resident Eunice Kendall. In March 2008, Eunice began feeling pain in her back, and attributed it to arthritis. When the pain did not subside, she was referred to Dr. Sohail Akbani, a medical oncologist at the Arlington Cancer Center. Results from a CAT scan revealed that Eunice had indolent B-cell NHL.

Dr. Akbani began aggressive treatment for Eunice, including six cycles of a chemotherapy regimen called CHOP, a chemotherapy treatment, plus rituximab, a monoclonal antibody. Following her remission in July 2008, Dr. Akbani began Eunice on a rituximab maintenance therapy.

Despite maintenance therapy, Eunice’s disease progressed. Dr. Akbani discovered this in August 2009 and began a bendamustine-based therapy after discussing treatment options with Eunice.

“When a patient is not responding to a certain therapy, we work to identify a treatment that may be the right choice,” said Dr. Akbani. “Although Eunice was hesitant to receive chemotherapy again, I believed a bendamustine-based therapy would be an effective and tolerable option for her.”

After receiving treatment with the bendamustine-based therapy, Eunice achieved remission. Individual results may vary.

Eunice has maintained her sense of humor and positive outlook on life and is very thankful for her health. Her days are now spent with her granddaughters, working in her garden, cheering on the Dallas Cowboys, and visiting family and friends.

“I’m only 65 years old,” she says. “I’ve got a lot of living left to do.”

Stress-Busting Tips for Caregivers

Few things prove more stressful than caring for a loved one with cancer. While doctors handle the cancer treatment, caregivers often manage their patients’ everyday needs — transportation, food, recreation, medications and visits with friends. At the same time, caregivers must deal with feelings of helplessness and frustration as they watch their loved ones fight battles in which they cannot help. Many feel guilty if they focus any attention on themselves.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, studies have consistently reported higher levels of depressive symptoms and mental health problems among caregivers than among their non-caregiving peers.

Stress-Busting Tips For Caregivers

<b>Stress-Busting Tips For Caregivers</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Few things prove more stressful than caring for a loved one with cancer. While doctors handle the cancer treatment, caregivers often manage their patients’ everyday needs — transportation, food, recreation, medications and visits with friends. At the same time, caregivers must deal with feelings of helplessness and frustration as they watch their loved ones fight battles in which they cannot help. Many feel guilty if they focus any attention on themselves.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, studies have consistently reported higher levels of depressive symptoms and mental health problems among caregivers than among their noncaregiving peers.

But caregivers can learn to manage their stress.”Talking with a trusted friend or counselor can help caregivers reduce stress, feel less helpless and understand how to respond to their loved ones,” says Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) Mind-Body Medicine national director Dr. Katherine Puckett.

Many of the same methods that help caregivers can apply to anyone facing a stressful situation. Puckett offers the following tips:

* Find a treatment center that will help. Puckett and her mind-body medicine team work closely with both patients and caregivers to listen and provide support. CTCA also helps ease stress by coordinating appointments, providing transportation and scheduling travel arrangements and hotel accommodations.

* Ask for and accept help. If another family member is willing to help out, let them ease your burden. Depending on the source of your stress, you should also seek out additional community resources. For example, cancer caregivers can find support groups for both themselves and patients.

* Know your limits. Determine what you can and can’t handle, based on your responsibilities to your family and professional life. If adding another obligation is too much, either say, “No” or find someone with whom to split duties.

* Take care of yourself. Sufficient sleep will help you manage challenges more easily. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Start exercising — regular activity can help reduce irritability, fatigue and overall stress levels.

* Make time for yourself. Relaxing or doing something that you enjoy — even for a few minutes — can go a long way towards lifting your mood. Puckett recommends that caregivers set aside at least five minutes a day to meditate or simply be still and relax.

For more information, visit

When Cancer Strikes, Strike Back

<b>When Cancer Strikes, Strike Back</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common form of adult leukemia. Last year, the American Cancer Society estimated that nearly 16,000 Americans were diagnosed with this disease.

Jason Whiting, Sr. never imagined he would be one of them.

Several years ago, 36 year-old Jason, a Baltimore-based father of two, visited his doctor to see why the lymph nodes in his neck were enlarged. He was immediately referred to Dr. Stephen Noga, director, medical oncology/hematology at Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute, who completed blood and bone marrow tests, which confirmed that Jason had CLL. With the diagnosis came mixed emotions — fear, shock and relief that it was detected early.

Given the early-stage diagnosis, Jason experienced minimal symptoms, and he and Dr. Noga decided to initially take a “watch and wait” approach to treatment -; a common practice for CLL patients. Over the next several years, Jason had blood tests and CAT scans to monitor his disease progression.

In May 2009, Jason experienced discomfort in his chin and neck, and a CAT scan showed that the cancer had spread to lymph nodes in his abdomen and chest. Both Jason and Dr. Noga agreed -; it was now time to begin treatment and the fight against cancer.

“It was important that Jason be comfortable with his treatment approach, and we spent a lot of time discussing options,” said Dr. Noga.

Dr. Noga prescribed TREANDA, and after six cycles of TREANDA, Jason has achieved partial remission.

Jason didn’t fight this battle alone. Throughout his treatment, Jason relied on the support of his family and his coworkers.

“When I was diagnosed, I made a decision to beat CLL,” said Jason. “I knew I had to stay positive and motivated so the cancer would not get the best of me. I am thankful for everyone who supported me through the experience.”

Grateful to have achieved partial remission, Jason can be found practicing martial arts and spending time with his children — something that he never takes for granted. Individual results may vary.


The following serious adverse reactions have been associated with TREANDA: myelosuppression, infections, infusion reactions and anaphylaxis, tumor lysis syndrome, skin reactions including SJS/TEN, other malignancies, and extravasation. Some of these reactions have been fatal, including myelosuppression, infections, and SJS/TEN (when TREANDA was administered concomitantly with allopurinol and other medications known to cause SJS/TEN). Patients should be monitored closely for these reactions and treated promptly if any occur. Adverse reactions may require interventions such as decreasing the dose of TREANDA, or withholding or delaying treatment. Myelosuppression is frequently severe and should be expected when treating patients with TREANDA.

TREANDA is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to bendamustine or mannitol. Women should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant while using TREANDA.

The most common non-hematologic adverse reactions associated with TREANDA (frequency 15%) are nausea, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, pyrexia, constipation, anorexia, cough, headache, weight decreased, dyspnea, rash, and stomatitis. The most common hematologic abnormalities associated with TREANDA (frequency 15%) are lymphopenia, anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia.


Sponsored by Cephalon, Inc., the makers of TREANDA.

Women: Take the “Pearl Pledge” For Cervical Cancer Awareness

<b>Women: Take the “Pearl Pledge” For Cervical Cancer Awareness</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Staying healthy can be easier when done with a friend. That’s the idea behind the new “Take the Pearl Pledge” program to fight cervical cancer.

“Cervical cancer is the second leading cancer in women worldwide. This year in the United States, more than 11,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, and more than 4,000 women will die of this preventable disease,” said Tamika Felder, cervical cancer survivor and founder of the nonprofit organization, Tamika and Friends, the lead U.S. partner in the Pearl of Wisdom Campaign to Prevent Cervical Cancer. “We want women to learn about cervical cancer prevention and then share what they know with other women.”

The following, according to the Pearl of Wisdom campaign, is what every woman should know:

* Girls and young women: Ask your health care provider about the HPV vaccine, which protects against the two types of HPV (human papillomavirus) that cause the majority of cervical cancers. The vaccines are recommended for girls 11 to 12 years old and are approved for girls and young women up to age 26. Even women who have been vaccinated will still need to be screened.

* Women age 21 or older: Get the Pap test, which detects abnormal cells that can lead to cervical cancer.

* Women age 30 or older: Get the Pap and HPV tests together as part of routine cervical cancer screening. The HPV test detects the virus that causes cervical cancer, identifying those women at increased risk who will need to be monitored more closely.

“Unlike other cancers, cervical cancer is almost always preventable because we know what causes it and we have the tools available — the Pap test, the HPV test and the HPV vaccine — to prevent this cancer,” said Susan Wysocki, WHNP-BC, FAANP, president and CEO of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, a partner in the Pearl of Wisdom campaign.

For the “Take the Pearl Pledge” initiative, women can go to where they can commit to schedule their annual gynecologic exam; wear a Pearl of Wisdom, the global symbol for cervical cancer prevention; and share cervical cancer prevention information with others. Pearl of Wisdom pins can be purchased through the campaign, with all proceeds benefiting U.S. cervical cancer prevention activities.

Note to editors: January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

When Breast Cancer Fights Back

<b>When Breast Cancer Fights Back</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – We’ve all heard about the fight against breast cancer — but did you know that breast cancer fights back?

Breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, is found in 1.3 million women throughout the world each year. Early detection and improved treatments have decreased death rates, but the American Cancer Society predicts that 40,910 Americans will die of breast cancer in 2009.

What makes breast cancer difficult to treat? Typically, doctors treat breast cancer through surgery to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. But some cancers prove difficult to remove, others come back. And some tumors stop responding to chemotherapy drugs. When this happens, the cancer is said to have developed drug resistance.

Some cancer cells become drug resistant when they develop the ability to pump out drugs from their bodies. Other chemotherapy drugs target specific proteins within the cancer cell. In response, the cancer cells produce more of that protein. Chemotherapy drugs can destroy healthy tissue, so doctors are limited in the dosages that they can administer. The cancer cells produce more proteins than the chemotherapy drugs can target, allowing the cancer cells to overwhelm the body despite chemotherapy treatments.

But breaking-edge companies are developing new drugs that can treat resistant cancers and give patients new hope. For example, Cellceutix Corporation, a cancer and anti-inflammatory drug developer, has developed a unique technology called Kevetrin that targets growth signals in tumor cells as opposed to being toxic to all cells, which is the traditional chemotherapy treatment.

In the experiments, mice were implanted with human tumor cells known to be drug resistant. Kevetrin reduced tumor volume by 68 percent and delayed tumor growth by more than 62 percent, compared to controls.

“Kevetrin continues to demonstrate consistent success in fighting drug resistant cancers, the leading cause of chemotherapy failure,” says Mr. George Evans, CEO of Cellceutix. “We are optimistic that Kevetrin will continue to progress on the developmental pathway as a treatment for these very difficult cancers, providing hope to its patients.”

For more information about the Kevetrin experiment results, visit

Early Detection, Better Treatments Lead Advanced Breast Cancer Fight

<b>Early Detection, Better Treatments Lead Advanced Breast Cancer Fight</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In 2009, doctors will diagnose an estimated 192,370 cases of breast cancer. But the chances of survival have never been better, especially for women with advanced cancer.

What makes breast cancer “advanced”? Simply put, advanced breast cancer has spread beyond the breasts and their lymph nodes. In metastatic breast cancer, the most advanced form, cancer cells spread to other parts of the body, like the organs, bones, lungs or liver, where they continue to reproduce.

Though difficult to treat in the past, medical advances are helping doctors treat advanced breast cancer. For example, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) provides each patient with a personalized cancer treatment plan, which may include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, surgery and radiation integrated with complementary medicine like mind-body medicine, naturopathy and nutrition.

In response to studies indicating that low levels of vitamin D have been associated with higher tumor grade and shorter disease-free survival, CTCA employs nutritionists to actively monitor and document vitamin D in all breast cancer patients. While exposure to sunlight and foods, like fortified milk products, can provide some vitamin D, few people meet their daily requirements. For this reason, CTCA recommends supplements.

Of course, treating patients isn’t just about fighting cancer, but also about maintaining quality of life. Women who need surgery can now opt for oncoplastic surgery, which removes the tumor and reconstructs the breast in one procedure. Fewer surgeries mean less stress on patients.

“Personalized cancer medicine is becoming very much a modern concept,” says Dennis Citrin, MD, a medical oncologist at CTCA. “Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease. It’s not a single disease where one treatment fits all,” he adds.

Additionally, genetic technology can help protect cancer patients’ families. Two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, cause most hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. If a cancer patient finds out that she has a gene that causes cancer, she can tell her family members to get tested. Although patients with advanced cancer have better chances today than ever before, survival rates are still highest for those who detect breast cancer in its early stages.

For more information, visit

D-Licious and D-Lightful Vitamin D

<b>D-Licious and D-Lightful Vitamin D</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – For years we’ve heard about the dangers of sun exposure — premature lines and wrinkles, brown splotches and the biggest scare of all, skin cancer. We slather on the sunscreen, wear hats and don UV-protective clothing. Meanwhile, our teeth and bones pay the price — staying out of the sun means we don’t activate production of our sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, which is critical to strong bones and pearly whites.

In addition to our obsession with UV protection, numerous studies point to the fact that the Dietary Reference Intakes (RDIs) for vitamin D set in the 1990s are no longer sufficient based on new research that shows vitamin D wears more than a “calcium absorption” hat. It turns out that vitamin D could be a strong defensive player against cancer, heart disease, immunity and neuromuscular disorders. Based on this, you can bet that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has set determining the optimal intake of vitamin D as a high priority.

Most Americans face a serious vitamin D deficiency, with women having the greatest risk of deficiency. Nearly half of us don’t meet our recommended daily intake for vitamin D, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Dietetic Association.

A lack of vitamin D in our diets has put us on a path toward some serious health problems. Studies show that a lack of vitamin D may put people at risk for diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Geography, age, skin color and the amount of SPF we apply plays a serious role in how much or how little vitamin D our bodies produce. Today, most vitamin D comes from the foods we eat. Fish is one of the few foods naturally rich in vitamin D. Tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel are especially excellent sources of vitamin D, but it’s unlikely that we’re eating enough to make up for our vitamin D deficit. Products such as milk and yogurt, certain baked goods and oil spreads usually pack extra vitamin D, too.

So, how much should be we be getting? Well, we won’t know for sure until the IOM sets new recommendations. You can visit your doctor and request a blood test for the active form of vitamin D, known as 25 hydroxy D3. The amount of vitamin D needed to maintain optimal levels in our blood has not yet been established, but initial studies suggest the range to be a concentration somewhere between 40 and 80 nanomoles/liter. This test can be taken at your annual check-up to see how effective your diet is in providing you with vitamin D.

In the meantime, eat the foods I’ve mentioned as being high in vitamin D. You can also supplement 200 IUs per day (if you’re under 50 years of age) or 400 IUs a day (if you’re over 50 years of age). Eating a LUNA bar is another great way to get vitamin D, as well as other vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium and folic acid, that women need. Your bones, teeth and taste buds will thank you!

Expanded Health Insurance Options Increase Choices for Cancer Care

<b>Expanded Health Insurance Options Increase Choices for Cancer Care</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – UnitedHealthcare and Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) announced a new multi-year agreement that will expand health care options and accessibility for many cancer patients at all four hospitals in the CTCA network.

The new agreement, effective July 1, 2009, provides UnitedHealthcare Options PPO customers access to more than 330 physicians across all four CTCA-affiliated cancer treatment hospitals. CTCA serves patients with complex cancer at hospitals located in Philadelphia and Tulsa and suburban Chicago and Phoenix.

“This is a welcome choice for cancer patients,” said Kimberly Perrin of Washington, D.C., a UnitedHealthcare plan participant who is being treated at CTCA. “Cancer patients need increased access to quality cancer care and more options when it comes to choosing a hospital that is right for each of us.”

UnitedHealthcare Options PPO customers can call the number on the back of their UnitedHealthcare member identification card to verify they have access to the CTCA hospitals. Cancer patients may also call 888-353-7687 to speak with a CTCA oncology information specialist for access verification.

“This is very good news for consumers across the nation,” said Tom Wiffler, president and CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Illinois. “The addition of CTCA to UnitedHealthcare’s broad national network gives our customers increased choice, and access to affordable, quality health care.”

The agreement is consistent with UnitedHealthcare’s longstanding commitment to promote evidence-based decision-making and aims to benefit employers and employees alike by promoting consistent, high-quality care.

“Our new agreement with UnitedHealthcare will enable more patients to access our fully integrated, individualized model of cancer care,” said Steve Bonner, president and CEO of CTCA. “At CTCA, we strive to empower patients as advocates and decision-makers. Giving patients and their families more cancer care options extends that commitment to patient empowerment.”

“Cancer patients deserve choice, access and quality when it comes to medical decisions; among the most important decisions they’ll make in their lives,” said Dr. Edgar D. Staren, senior vice president for clinical affairs and chief medical officer at CTCA.

For more information about Cancer Treatment Centers of America, visit

Impacting Cancer Survival With Good Nutrition

<b>Impacting Cancer Survival With Good Nutrition</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Good nutrition is key to maintaining a healthy body, but bodies experiencing physical stress often require increased nutrient intake. Unfortunately, people under severe physical stress, such as people receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer, frequently struggle with eating, which makes getting adequate nutrition difficult.

It is estimated that malnutrition and weight loss are contributing factors in one out of every five cancer-related deaths. Cancer patients have difficulty maintaining weight during their treatment for a number of reasons including side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dry mouth.

Cancer treatments increase the body’s need for nutrients by speeding up metabolism and limiting nutrient absorption while at the same time making it difficult to swallow and changing the way food tastes. If a patient doesn’t take in enough calories, they are unable to maintain a healthy weight, which can lead to weakness and inability to fight their disease.

Typically, cancer patients need to consume about twice the protein and 10 percent more calories than a healthy person to maintain weight and nutrition during treatment cycles.

Hospitals and cancer treatment centers are taking steps to educate these patients by offering pre- through post-treatment nutrition counseling. The American Cancer Society also offers free nutrition advice for patients and caregivers through a toll-free phone service.

Health product manufacturers are doing their part to help cancer patients address their nutritional challenges, as well. For example, The Isopure Company, LLC, recently developed Isopure Plus Nutritional Drink, a clear, fruit-flavored, protein-based drink, to help cancer patients get the extra calories and protein they need to maintain proper nutrition before, during and after treatment.

Unlike most nutritional drinks, Isopure Plus Nutritional Drink isn’t thick or milky, and it goes down easy. It delivers 15 grams of rapidly absorbable, high-quality whey protein in a single 8-ounce serving and is free from fat, gluten and lactose (which may cause stomach upset in some people). It comes in two flavors, Alpine Punch and Grape Frost and is available at chain drug retailers, grocers, nutrition centers and through online outlets.