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CanSurvive and PLWC
Johannesburg celebration
A celebratory breakfast was held at Die Blou Hond in Linden to mark the
start of the festive season - and also the 2nd birthday of the CanSurvive
Cancer Support Group. Some sixty
guests enjoyed the meal and enter-
tainment provided by Phillip
Moolman and Suzanne Coetzer.
Apart from Group members and
buddies there were guests from
Bosom Buddies, CANSA, Reach For
Recovery and Lets Talk About Cancer.
In addition we were pleased to
welcome our newly-formed sister
group of Baragwanath Buddies.
LIVESTRONGserves people affected by cancer and empowers
them to take action against the worlds leading cause of death.
LIVESTRONG is a leader in the global movement on behalf of
28 million people around the world living with cancer today.
Known for its iconic yellow wristband, LIVESTRONGhas
become a symbol of hope and inspiration to people affected by
cancer around the world. Since its inception, the organisation
has raised more than $400 million for the fight against cancer.


Date : 30 November 2011 & 2
December 2011
Venue : Cansa Houghton Office (19 St John Road, Houghton)
Dominique Krajewski : (011) 648 0990

Costs : PSA Screening R 60
Pap smear R 120

Appointments start from 08:30 to 16H30 , Please Book in advance for a time slot.

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to eooiie o:e effectie t:eoteot ooo o iette: ciooce fo: :ecoe:;.

Bara Buddies
Six volunteers, all cancer survivors who received their treat-
ment at Bara, have been trained as Cancer Buddies and have
started providing support to patients at the Breast Clinic.
This initiative is a joint project between People Living with
Cancer (PLWC) and BrestSens, an NGO dedicated to
providing support to breast cancer patients. The training
course was conducted by PLWC volunteers, with the
encouragement and support of medical and nursing staff of
the Breast Clinic at Baragwanath.
Once over their treatment and on the road to recovery,
many cancer patients have a desire to volunteer their
services to help newly-diagnosed patients. PLWC provides a
structured support system for cancer patients, based on
cancer survivors who have been trained to provide first-line
support. Every attempt is made to match patients with
someone who has had a similar diagnosis, providing some-
one who will understand the specific challenges and be able
to provide as much guidance as possible.
Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital is the second
largest hospital in the world, with 3 200 beds and 6 760
staff members. It is one of the 40 Gauteng provincial hospi-
tals, and is financed and run by the Gauteng Provincial
Health Authorities. Baragwanath is a teaching hospital for
the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School.
Pictured at the conclusion of the Cancer Buddies training course in
October 2011 are, from left to right: Standing: Peter Hers (Chairman,
PLWC Johannesburg); Snowy Maphakela, Agnes Mosebekoa, Raynolda
Makhutwe, Bev du Toit (PLWC, course lecturer), Lehlohonolo Mokgobo,
Sibongile Manyama. Seated: Itumeleng Letoaba
Anyone wanting more information should contact:
Peter Hers on 083 445 4634, Email:
Kwanele Pooe-Shongwe on 082 902 7929, Email:
The team of 40 people (22 survivors and 18 crew) who travelled
from Johannesburg to Cape Town in September to spread the
message of the importance of early detection of cancer, made a
huge difference in the communities they visited. More than 40
events were held before, during and after the main event. During
most of these events, the crowd was entertained by Shimmy
Isaacs with her performance of Howzit my Bra. The group was
fortunate to spread the message face to face to more than 13,000
Cancer.vive have a series of posters dealing with the signs of the
shy cancers in men and women. Please contact us at info@can- should you need a set.
The team said goodbye to young Christin Page (who was with us
on the ride) on11th November. She was only 25 years old, diag-
nosed with Breast Cancer at the age of 18. Christin unfortunately
did not have a check-up the last two years and passed away with-
in three weeks of her second diagnosis. We want to encourage all
cancer survivors to not neglect having your regular check-ups.
Again, early detection is key to survival!
Above: Shimmy Isaacs in action with her performance of Howzit my
Bra and, below, the audience at Du Toit Brothers enjoying the show.
Above: Christin Page with Nokuthula and a young girl from the
Right: Members of the Cancer.vive team participated in the Pick n
Pay Breast Cancer Walk in Port Elizabeth in honour of Christin. They
each carried a sunflower with her face in the centre. With Sean,
Frieda, Beatrix and Elsje are Christins brother Andrew and boyfriend
Articles and letters and events submitted for
publication in VISION are welcomed and can be
sent to:
By the time you see the doctor, youre either dead or youre bet-
ter, my mother-in-law told me. She had to have multiple tests, all
with long waits to get the appointments and the results, before
her health insurer would allow her to make an appointment with a
Waiting is the bane of the medical system, a former student, an
R.N., concurred. Advances in medicine and technology have
improved medical outcomes, but have often resulted in more
waiting at a time when every other aspect of life is speeding up.
Waiting is a systemic problem exacerbated by advances in medi-
cine and by health care reform.
Some of the ways we wait:
1. Wait to see if the symptoms go away or get worse. We all
struggle with these decisions: do we need to be seen about the
fever, back pain, or rash? Sometimes we wait because of denial or
hopelessness; sometimes because of the cost or availability of
medical care. I make decisions about when I need to see the doc-
tor by asking myself if, under the same circumstances, I would take
one of my children to the doctor.
2. Wait to get an appointment scheduled. Ive made appoint-
ments for a sick child by channeling an old friend who could be
relentless: That is not acceptable. I need an appointment today.
Obnoxious but it sometimes worked. The rest of the time, though,
the period between making and having an appointment can feel
very long.
3. Wait to be seen by the doctor. It isnt called the waiting
room for nothing. Dr. Atul Gawande wrote in The Checklist
Manifesto about people in the waiting room getting irate when he
was running two hours behind on a hectic day. Being irate or
anxious or bored is unlikely to increase the quality of physician-
patient communication.
4. Wait in the examining room. At least in a waiting room you
are dressed. If it is cold and you are wearing a paper or cloth john-
ny, distractions dont work as well and examining rooms have
fewer than waiting rooms.
5. See the doctor. Nowadays, as my mother-in-law recount-
ed, you have to wait for the doctor to review your records before
even looking at you. I find it surprising that physician rating sys-
tems give equal weight to wait times as they do to communi-
cates and listens, when the latter are so much more important.
6. Wait in the lab. The selection of magazines is skimpier. You
may be reviewing what you were told not to eat or drink: will that
cup of black coffee skew the results?
7. Wait for lab results. If there are any non-routine reasons
for testing, this can be interminable. I leave a lab asking when
results will be ready and then I call. -A former student told me
about using Harvard Vanguards MyHealth Online. She said, I love
getting the lab results immediately online but I can see how those
without clinical training could be overwhelmed or confused by the
data and how to interpret them.
8. Wait for the doctors interpretation of lab results. Lab
results can be hard to decipher without clinical training, as my stu-
dent said above. Even when I know results are available and the
doctor has seen them, it can take many phone calls to obtain the
doctors message via the secretary. Asking the doctor follow-up
questions takes even longer. These are waits with a cell phone
never turned off so you dont miss the call.
9. Loop. You think youre done but you may need to see a
specialist, get a second opinion, or have more tests. As my mother-
in-law pointed out, this process can be controlled more by insur-
ance companies than by doctors availability. Another type of wait-
ing also takes place now: waiting to get better. A friend bemoaned
how she couldnt wait for her black eye resulting from a fall to
clear up because she was tired of people staring at her.
Waiting Reduction
We all have to wait. Waiting is an inherent part of being ill. But
here are some ways to reduce wait time or lessen the impact:
1. Schedule tests and doctors appointments together.
Scheduling appointments together reduced both waiting time and
anxiety, although not all tests results can be interpreted this quick-
ly. Personally I find it is much easier to deal with a diagnosis than
fear of what a symptom could mean.
2. Avoid unnecessary appointments through email or phone.
A Dutch friend, whose sister and aunt are doctors, recounted
instances when she was able to get quick answers by email or
phone to questions, be reassured, and save a lot of time and effort.
Being able to easily reach a doctor or nurse by email could provide
a way to get a quick answer. Dr. Danny Sands has long been a pro-
ponent of physician-patient email, but most practices do not sup-
port it. I can easily see the benefits because email forces you to
describe a situation concisely and images can be attached as
3. Meet Dr. Skype. Can telehealth be used to end a persons
six hour commute by providing him access to the specialists he
requires? What barriers and challenges still lay before us to make
this a reality? Dr. Joseph Kvedar answers this, saying We have to
move beyond the antiquated notion that you must visit a physical
space and talk real-time with your health care provider to fulfill
the process of care. Seamless communication between you the
patient and the system (including your provider but also your
health information) will allow us to cut through what is a falsely
complex and inefficient system to achieve more efficiency, less
waiting and less anxiety.
4. Ask the expert. Recently there has been a proliferation of
sites supporting health Q&A. A new entry, HealthTap, promotes
Must waiting be inherent
to medical care?
Lisa Gualtieri is Assistant Professor in the
Department of Public Health and
Community Medicine at Tufts University
School of Medicine where she teaches
Online Consumer Health, Social Media
and Health, and Digital Strategies for
Health Communication.Lisa Gualtieri is
Assistant Professor in the Department
of Public Health and Community
Medicine at Tufts University School of
Medicine where she teaches Online Consumer Health, Social
Media and Health, and Digital Strategies for Health
(Continued on page 5)
The Group is run by members of the Johannesburg Branch of People
Living With Cancer in association with the Wits Donald Gordon
Medical Centre and is open to any patient or caregiver.
It helps and we do it all the time at our CanSurvive Cancer Support Group!
Join us on the second Saturday of each month for a cup of tea/coffee,
a chat and an interesting talk.
9h00 at 18 Eton Road, Parktown
Enquiries: 073 975 1452 email:
that it has Answers from 5,000 U.S. licensed physicians. No wait-
ing room. I tried it and questioned why I needed to answer so
many personal questions during the registration process. Once
registered, I started to ask a question but was stumped by how
much context to provide. In general one of the things I like about
Ask the Expert is the ability to browse other peoples questions
sometimes you learn more from questions you never would have
thought to ask and answers.
5. Use clinics for non-urgent care. I had a friend who believed
that it was important to see the same doctor because he or she
could notice changes that might not otherwise be detected. While
I agree, the Minute Clinics (note the name) model can potentially
reduce some of the use of doctors for non-urgent care.
6. Enhance health literacy skills. With 80% of US internet
users looking online for health information, better health literacy
skills are needed to guide the strategies used to seek, select, and
use online health information. This is rarely taught in schools or by
doctors, and is increasingly necessary because of the lower barriers
with social media: it is easier than ever to promote herbal supple-
ments and bad advice.
7. Make waiting fun or at least less stressful. Deirdre Walsh,
a health coach and a former student, said, The pain and frustra-
tion of endless waiting seems needlessly cruel. But its often the
emotional toll of fear and uncertainty that does the most damage
from the negative effects of stress chemicals on energy, sleep and
mood. If waiting is inevitable, there are self-awareness exercises
that restore calm, power, and the sense of control. Games and
gamification have potential as well: a version of Wait, wait dont
tell me! for the waiting room?
8. Is there an app for that? Not that I know of, but social
media is being used by public health departments to post flu clinic
waits and by emergency rooms to post wait times. What about for
doctors visits? Dr. Richard Besser said, You shouldnt have to wait
more than 15 minutes unless theres an emergency. Social media
might be a great place for people to share waiting times. Along
those lines, I read about, but have not tried, WaitChecker, a web-
based service to alert patients to appointment delays.
9. Set expectations. The metaphor Trisha Torrey uses is when
you arrive at a busy restaurant on a Friday night, whats your
question to the host? How long is the wait? Its only fair that
providers manage our expectations about wait times, too. It is
easier to be patient with expectations set, not just for the length
of a wait but the course of a disease.
10. Use waiting time on task. A student once told me that she
had a rash when pregnant and assumed it was unrelated to her
pregnancy. She searched for information on her iPhone while in
the waiting room, decided it might be related after all, and asked
her doctor, who treated it. She saved another doctors appoint-
ment. What if all waiting rooms provided mobile devices? Or pro-
moted prevention with education, exercises, and healthy snacks.
Talk about captive audiences.
Quality of Health Care Is Paramount
It is important to maintain perspective: quality of health care is
paramount. Everyone wants the best care possible and sometimes
waiting is unavoidable. With no health advantages to waiting, put ,
as Dr. Ted Eytan said, the patients cost of care, which includes the
time they spend waiting, into the equation. Everything follows
from that. There is no reason to accept that its part of our health
system, but, instead to work to reduce waiting, and to reduce the
impact of waiting.
Must waiting be inherent to medical care?
(Continued from page 4)
Cancer Coping Kit
The Cancer Coping Kit helps cancer patients cope with their jour-
ney to recovery, thanks to a grant from the National Lottery
Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF).
The Cancer Coping Kit providesknowledge and understanding for
people diagnosed with cancer. The kit also provides family mem-
bers and caregivers with information and coping techniques.
Patients or caregivers can access the kit from
(select Cope with cancer and then Cancer Coping Kit.)or
obtain it in CD format from: CANSA on 011 648 0990
standard part of our practice. Prognosis and treatment decisions
will be determined by this data more and more in the future.
Compared with chemotherapy, starting with hormonal agents
and continuing on with the development of tyrosine kinase
inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies, the treatment of cancer is
Around the World
Most important development of 2011
Dr. Jeffrey Kirshner, a member of the editorial team of
OncologySTAT gave his choice for this years most important
practice-changing development.
He said that as a practicing clinical oncologist, he believe the most
significant development in 2011 was the availability of two new
targeted agents, crizotinib for ALK-positive nonsmall cell lung
cancer (NSCLC) and vemurafenib for BRAF-mutated metastatic
Dr. Kirshner said that the development of these two new drugs,
along with the recent development and utilisation of other tyro-
sine kinase inhibitors, such as imatinib and erlotinib, is changing
how we think about treating cancer. Testing for specific gene
mutations and subclassifying certain cancers is now becoming a
A friendly
warning ....
R4R say Hope Matters
The countrys one and only rock star breast cancer survivor, Toni
Rowland, who started her music career in Pretoria, wowed the
crowd at Reach for Recoverys Hope
Matters morning of inspiration and
empowerment. The event was held at
Oostvallei Hall in Garsfontein to mark
breast cancer awareness month.
A vibrant line-up of guest speakers included
the exuberant and
outspoken interna-
tional ambassador for
breast cancer awareness and education,
Lynda Marthinus, who gave a colourful
account of her rollercoaster cancer ride.
With her infectious enthusiasm, motivation-
al speaker, author and life coach Annie
Coetzee left her audience all fired up to live
fully and fearlessly.
Professor Nola Dippenaar, a gorgeous role
model for a healthy life, gave guidelines on
how implementing simple lifestyle changes
can prevent disease.
This year our annual breast cancer support
and awareness function was a huge success.
We are very grateful to Toni and her band
who generously performed a concert for
the benefit of breast cancer awareness,
said Stephn Jacobs, Chairlady of Reach for
Recovery Pretoria.
Reach for Recovery volunteers, who are all breast cancer survivors,
visit patients after they have had surgery for breast cancer, to offer
emotional support, practical information, and recovery tools.
Reach for Recovery is registered as a Public Benefit Organisation
and as a Non-Profit Organisation and relies totally on donations
for funding.
Toni Rowland.
Linda Marthinus
Left: Lily Delport with Stephn Jacobs, chairlady of Reach for
Recovery Pretoria. Aged 92, Lily has been a breast cancer survivor for
45 years.
Centre: Reach for Recovery volunteers Annemarie Joubert (left)
and Redna Kruger.
Right: Reach for Recovery volunteers (left to right) Gloria Tshoba,
Annemarie Joubert, and Anita van Rensburg.
Toni Rowland
Seven years ago singer/songwriter Toni Rowland was diagnosed
with breast cancer. Today she is preparing material for her
second CD to be recorded early next year, and is hoping that her
pop and classic rock sound will take off in a major way locally as
well as internationally.
Amazingly, cancer changed my life for the better. I have learned
that life is precious and that every moment should be lived to the
full, says Toni, who has written a beautiful song titled I Rise to
promote a South African breast cancer foundation. Breast cancer
survivors were featured in the music video for the track.
During her cancer treatment Toni relocated from Johannesburg
to a small seaside town near Cape Town. This was a time of
rediscovery, re-evaluation and a refocusing of my talents, she
Now based in Durban, Toni is working with a new group of musi-
cians, and hopes to perform internationally next year. She
recorded her debut solo album, Unfolding, with producer Ken
Hensley (ex-Uriah Heep), and is working with him again on her
new album.
Dates to remember
26 November Bosom Buddies year end function 0900
28 November Cape Town PLWC & Can-Sir Support Group
30 November R4R Year End Lunch. Details from R4R Jhb.
10 December Cancer Support Group, Parktown 0900
January 14 PLWC/CanSurvive Cancer Support Group
January 28 Bosom Buddies public meeting
February 11 PLWC/CanSurvive Cancer Support Group
February 26 Bosom Buddies Valentines Ball
March 10 PLWC/CanSurvive Cancer Support Group
March 17 Bosom Buddies public meeting
March 17/18 CANSA Relay For Life at the Thaba Tshwane
(old Voortrekkerhoogte) Sports Grounds.
April 14 PLWC/CanSurvive Cancer Support Group
May 5 Bosom Buddies public meeting
May 12 PLWC/CanSurvive Cancer Support Group
May 28 Bosom Buddies Pink Pyjama Party
June 9 PLWC/CanSurvive Cancer Support Group
June 9 Bosom Buddies public meeting
July 14 PLWC/CanSurvive Cancer Support Group
July 21 Bosom Buddies 7th birthday
August 11 PLWC/CanSurvive Cancer Support Group
August 14 Bosom Buddies Spinathon/Boxathon
People Living With Cancer and CanSurvive Cancer Support
Group, Johannesburg: 073 975 1452,
People Living With Cancer,Cape Town: 076 775 6099,,
Bosom Buddies: 0860 283 343,
Campaign for Cancer:
Cancer.vive, Frieda Henning 082 335 49912, info@cancer-
Can-Sir, 021 761 6070, Ismail-Ian Fife,
CANSA Johannesburg Central: 011 648 0990, 19 St John
Road, Houghton,
Reach for Recovery (R4R) : Johannesburg, 011 648 0990
Reach for Recovery: Harare, Zimbabwe contact 707659.
Pink Drive:,
Cancer Centre - Harare: 60 Livingstone Avenue, Harare
Tel: 707673 / 705522 / 707444 Fax: 732676 E-mail:
evolving into more specific, less toxic, and more effective thera-
pies. I hope for, and expect, even more developments along these
lines in the near future.
When asked why he chose this development as the top story of
the past year, Dr. Kirshner said I chose this development as the top
story of the year as it really is changing the way we think about and
treat cancer.
Subcutaneous Herceptin meets goals in
phase III trial
San Diego-based Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. and partner Roche
have announced that a subcutaneous version of the big pharma's
cancer drug Herceptin (trastuzumab) performed similarly to the
intravenous version of the biologic when given to early-stage
breast cancer patients in a Phase III clinical trial.
The injectable version of the popular cancer drug uses Halozyme's
Enhanze technology to break down a substance between the
tissue layers of the skin, allowing large-molecule biologics to be
administered safely. Enhanze uses recombinant human
hyaluronidase (rHuPH20) to temporarily break down hyaluronic
acid, a major tissue component in the skin. Whereas the IV formu-
lation requires a 30-minute infusion, the "ready-to-use" version
takes five minutes to inject, allowing patients to spend less time in
the hospital setting.
Subcutaneous Herceptin would not require preparation and there-
fore could cut down on pharmacy time. Herceptin IV currently is
delivered to pharmacies as a dry powder that has to be formulated
the proper dose for each patient. Herceptin SC would be given in a
standard 600 mg dose for all patients.
The Phase III trial, deemed HannaH, showed that women receiving
the injectible version responded as well to the treatment as those
given the IV formulation, with patients showing similar levels of
Herceptin concentration in the blood. The subcutaneous formula-
tion also showed no evidence of side effects beyond those typical-
ly seen with the IV version. The most common side effects were
anaemia and low white blood cell count, both normal for patients
receiving chemotherapy plus Herceptin treatment.
Roche also is developing cancer drug MabThera (rituximab) with
the Enhanze technology for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Subcutaneous MabThera currently is in Phase III and could hit the
market by 2014.
Tree kiwis a day keep the
cardiologist at bay
Kiwis may be one of the smaller fruits, but they are stacked with
nutritional contents in their juicy green flesh; including Lutein, a
powerful antioxidant which is thought to be one of the active
components in the fruit that reduces blood pressure.
Researchers who were led by Mette Svendsen of Oslo University
Hospital in Norway point to lutein as having benefits, but cardiol-
ogists were quick to say that there is no magic bullet or compound
that is going to take care of a person's heart health, it's more a
question of a healthy lifestyle with a good diet and exercise. Kiwis
though, can happily make up one of the recommended five a day
servings of fruit and vegetables that have shown to improve health
in the long run.
Transparency in retractions
Retraction notices are increasing rapidly. In the early 2000s, only
about 30 retraction notices appeared annually. This year, the Web
of Science is on track to index more than 400 . . . even though the
total number of papers published has risen by only 44% over the
past decade.
When the UK-based Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) sur-
veyed editors' attitudes to retraction two years ago, it found huge
inconsistencies in policies and practices between journals. . . . That
survey led to retraction guidelines that COPE published in 2009.
But it's still the case, says Wager, that "editors often have to be
pushed to retract".
Other frustrations include opaque retraction notices that don't
explain why a paper has been withdrawn, a tendency for authors
to keep citing retracted papers long after they've been red-flagged
. . .and the fact that many scientists hear 'retraction' and immedi-
ately think 'misconduct' a stigma that may keep researchers
from coming forward to admit honest errors.
As more retractions hit the headlines, some researchers are calling
for ways to improve their handling. Suggested reforms include
better systems for linking papers to their retraction notices or revi-
sions, more responsibility on the part of journal editors and, most
of all, greater transparency and clarity about mistakes in research.
No sound reasoning for vitamin E
intake if youre male and over 55
The long held belief of vitamin E and selenium to reduce the risk
of prostate cancer now demonstrates that theory has been wrong.
In 2001, Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial had
begun with researchers testing the belief that these supplements
prevented disease or helped treat it.
Findings from the study on lung and skin cancers had advocated that
either supplement just may decrease the risk for prostate cancer.
The study had consisted of 35,000 healthy males, fifty years or
older at 400 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico. This
$122 million dollar trial had came to a halt in 2008 when the
study failed to demonstrate the 25% reduction in cancer risk as it
was designed to show.
Dr. Eric Klein, Chairman of the Glickman Urological & Kidney
Institute and a staff member in the Taussig Cancer Institute at
Articles and letters and events submitted for
publication in VISION are welcomed and can be
sent to:
Reach for Recovery
float their boat!
The popular annual Dragon Boat Race took place at Wemmer Pan,
Johannesburg, in November and the R4R team were once again
there to show the rowers how it should be done.
Although a certain well known member of the Johannesburg
Committee appears to be abandoning ship, she assured Vision that
this was not the case.
DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is for information purposes only
and is not intended to replace the advice of a medical
professional. Please consult your doctor for personal medical
advice before taking any action that may impact on your health.
The views expressed are not necessarily those of People Living
With Cancer or those of the Editor.
Chemotherapy CARES
Olympic ice skating star, Scott Hamilton has launched a new
website designed to provide the latest information about
chemotherapy to patients and their families, caregivers and
friends. Backed by the Cleveland Clinic it aims to help by
supplementing what you may already have learned about
chemotherapy from your healthcare professional.
The Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative was founded in 1999 as a
partnership between Scott Hamilton, a cancer survivor, and the
Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center where he was treated.
CARES was created to promote cancer awareness while raising
significant funds for cancer research.
Have a look at this excellent site
About herbs, botanicals and
other products
This alphabetic information resource, presented by Memorial
Sloan Ketterings Integrative Medicine Service, provides
evidence-based, objective information for oncologists, health-
care professionals and patients, including a clinical summary for
each agent and details about constituents, adverse effects,
interactions, and potential benefits or problems. Evaluations of
alternative or unproved cancer therapies, as well as products for
sexual dysfunction are included.
A consumer version of each monograph also is available to help
you deal with the often confusing claims made for over-the-
counter products and regimens. It is important to ask your doc-
tor or another qualified professional about possible interactions
with your specific medications before taking any supplements.
Find it on the Web
Cleveland Clinic, had remarked that researchers at the closing of
the study did observe that those men taking vitamin E alone were
developing a higher risk toward prostate cancer.
Now reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association,
the findings show that men who took 400 international units of
vitamin E each day had received no benefit from the vitamin and
showed a 17% increased risk for prostate cancer. According to Dr.
Howard Parnes, Chief of Prostate and Urologic Cancer at the
National Cancer Institute, that this increased risk for prostate can-
cer by taking vitamin E alone is significant.
Upon halting the study, researchers had followed post-study par-
ticipants for 18 months.
Dr. Klein, a contributor to the article, noted researchers found that
vitamin E can have an affect even when men had stopped taking
the supplement.
In closing Dr, Klein remarked that there is just no reason for men
to take vitamin E if they are 55 years old or older.
What will cut the risk for prostate cancer? Try that morning cup of
coffee. In May of this year it was reported by Harvard School of
Public Health, that men who consume coffee on a regular basis
have a decreased chance of developing a more aggressive form of
prostate cancer.
Other ways to decrease your risk include:
Have a low fat diet. Choose leaner cuts of meat and low fat or
reduced fat dairy products.
Choose your fat from plants not animals such as cooking in olive
oil instead of butter.
Consume fatty fish like tuna and salmon which are loaded with
omega 3s and have been associated to a decreased risk for
prostate cancer.
Decrease dairy products. A study has shown that men who con-
sume most dairy products like cheese and milk every day have a
higher risk for prostate cancer. Results of this have been mixed and
the risk is determined to be small.
Green tea or green tea supplements have been demonstrated to
cut the risk of prostate cancer.
Studies have demonstrated that exercise does reduce risk.
Hairdressers, barbers could spot skin
changes that signal melanoma
A trusted hairdresser may be privvy to your deepest secrets --
your age, your real hair colour and maybe even the name of your
plastic surgeon. Your stylist also may be the first to spot the tell-
tale signs of deadly skin cancer.
"Hairdressers and barbers can potentially play a key role in detec-
tion of early melanoma if they are trained on how to look at the
skin for atypical moles and lesions while they are taking care of
their customer's hair," said Alan C. Geller, a senior lecturer in
Society, Human Development and Health at the Harvard School of
Public Health in Boston and lead researcher of a new study.
"They have a unique view of these high-risk sites," Geller said. If
they see something questionable, they can suggest their client see
a primary care physician or a dermatologist."
About six percent of all melanomas, the deadliest type of skin can-
cer, are found on the scalp and neck, and these cancers accounted
for ten percent of all melanoma deaths in the United States from
1973 to 2003. With a hairdresser's help, potentially cancerous
abnormalities can be detected early, when they are most treat-
able, the researchers said.
Already, many hair professionals say they do examine their clients'
head, neck and face, according to the study, published in the
October issue of the Archives of Dermatology, and many more
expressed interest in doing so.
Fighting pancreatic cancer: treatments
on the horizon
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, with a five-year sur-
vival rate of only about 4 to 5 percent. That's because tumours in the
pancreas may grow rapidly without any symptoms at first and are
often not detected until they have progressed to an advanced stage.
For pancreatic cancers that have spread, radiation therapy and
chemotherapy are mainstays of conventional treatment. Because
conventional chemotherapeutic agents aren't always enough,
researchers are searching for newer drugs that more effectively
target the genetic and molecular mechanisms that contribute to
pancreatic cancer tumour growth. Here are some promising treat-
ments in development courtesy of Johns Hopkins Health Alerts.
Aurothiomalate for pancreatic cancer. In a study reported in the
journal Cancer Research, researchers found that an oncogene
known as protein kinase C-iota (PKCi), a crucial element of colon
and lung cancers, is overexpressed in pancreatic cancer as well.
They also found a high PKCi level to be linked to poor survival
rates. Thus, researchers are investigating a substance called auroth-
iomalate, which is a PKCi inhibitor, as a treatment for pancreatic
cancer. It is also currently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis under
the brand name Myochrisine.
RTA 402 for pancreatic cancer. RTA 402 is a targeted anti-inflam-
matory agent that works by altering biochemical inflammatory
pathways and reducing levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Safety and efficacy of this drug are currently being tested in clini-
cal trials. A phase 2 trial is currently under way to test the efficacy
of RTA 402 when used in combination with Gemzar, the conven-
tional chemotherapeutic agent for pancreatic cancer.
Vaccines for pancreatic cancer. Normally used to programme the
immune system to prevent infectious disease, vaccines can also be
used to combat cancer cells or block molecular mechanisms that
encourage tumour growth. Several pancreatic cancer vaccines to
be used as treatment are currently in clinical trials.
GVAX. GVAX works by initiating an immune response to target
and kill pancreatic cancer cells, leaving healthy cells alone. Clinical
trials are ongoing to test the safety and efficacy of the drug.
VEGFR2-169. VEGFR2-169 blocks vascular endothelial growth fac-
tor receptor 2, an agent that encourages tumour blood vessel
growth. In an article in the journal Cancer Science, researchers
tested 18 participants with at least one course of treatment com-
bining chemotherapy with Gemzar and VEGFR2-169 and achieved
a disease control rate of 67 percent for an average overall survival
time of almost nine months.
Other similar vaccines combating pancreatic cancer include the
HyperAcute pancreatic cancer vaccine, survivin peptide vaccine
and the KLH-pulsed autologous dendritic cell vaccine.
Israels cancer vaccine breakthrough
As the worlds population lives longer than ever, if we dont
succumb to heart disease, strokes or accidents, it is more likely
that cancer will get us one way or another. Cancer is tough to
fight, as the body learns how to outsmart medical approaches that
often kill normal cells while targeting the malignant ones.
In a breakthrough development, the Israeli company Vaxil
BioTherapeutics has formulated a therapeutic cancer vaccine, now
in clinical trials at Hadassah University Medical Center in
Jerusalem. If all goes well, the vaccine could be available about six
years down the road, to administer on a regular basis not only to
help treat cancer but in order to keep the disease from recurring.
The vaccine is being tested against a type of blood cancer called
multiple myeloma. If the substance works as hoped and it looks
like all arrows are pointing that way its platform technology
VaxHit could be applied to 90 percent of all known cancers, includ-
ing prostate and breast cancer, solid and non-solid tumours.For
more info about this incredible vaccine, visit Vaxil on the web at
You dont need to
face cancer alone!
We are here to help
You are invited to join us at our Cape Town
Cancer Support Group held at Vincent
Pallotti Hospital in the GVI Oncology unit
Time: 18h00 19h30
See the calendar on page 7 for dates
or contact the PLWC helpline on 076 775 6099
PinkDrive in
collaboration with
Cell C hosted their
first ever range of high coffees all over SA!
These fabulous afternoons of delicious coffee, cake and enter-
tainment were in support of Breast Cancer Awareness and
Education and proved to be a delectable success!