Posts Tagged ‘M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’

Michigan firefighters rally for brother

20 Jun 2008 by under Events

Firefighters in the city of Portage, Michigan, are used to facing challenges. Their daily work is filled with the unexpected. Recently, however, they’ve responded to a call that has nothing to do with smoke and flames, but everything to do with helping to save a life, and this time it’s one of their own – 25-year veteran firefighter Brad Wilson, diagnosed with .

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports members of the Portage Fire Department, led by Rick Nason, a firefighter and president of the Portage Professional Firefighters Union, and firefighter Jim Kelecava, have organized a community fund-raising event to help Wilson and his family. The event, a spaghetti supper, will be held from 4:30-7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5855, on S. Sprinkle Road in Portage. Donations will be taken at the door.

The paper reports Wilson and his wife, Cinda, and mother, Mary Lubbert, leave next week for Houston, where Wilson will undergo evaluation at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

His co-workers at Station 3, as well as throughout the , say Wilson was always the first in line to offer help to anyone who needed it, taking extra shifts, participating in the department’s Honor Guard and raising money for underprivileged children and muscular dystrophy, according to the Gazette. It was automatic, they said, to rally around their friend and colleague.

If you live in the Portage area, please take the time to visit this fund-raising event!

What is Mesothelioma?

27 Feb 2008 by under


New system for staging lung cancer

15 Feb 2008 by under News, Research/Treatment

As I was browsing some of the online news sites today, I came across an article on that was originally posted Aug. 31, 2007, attributed to The Associated Press. It talks about a new system of classifying tumors in lung cancer cases that can help more people get access to aggressive therapy who might otherwise have been ruled out, and also to help prevent those who aggressive treatment wouldn’t particularly help avoid the stress of ineffective and physically draining treatment.

The new system was developed by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. I’m putting a link to the group in my blogroll, but it’s mainly full of professional development opportunities for doctors. But if you’re interested, it’s there.

Basically, the old system of “staging” a tumor (based on tumor size, how much it has spread, etc.) was developed from examining about 5,000 tumor samples gathered from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, DECADES ago. The new plan is based on 100,000 tumor samples from around the world, including Asia (predicted by, particularly Japan, to see increases in cases of due to the heavy use of there in the 1970s).

Doctors predict that the expansion of tumors for study and comparison will greatly increase understanding of tumor characteristics and allow them to better identify specific stages of tumor development beyond the four basic groupings (which will remain in place). They estimate that as a result as many as 10,000 patients a year in the United States will be shifted from inoperable to operable classifcations!

Changing some groupings, like creating more sub-stages for tumor size, reclassifying tumors that have spread into the fluid surrounding the lung, recognizing that spread to certain lymph nodes is more dangerous than its spread to others, and additional factors will let patients be classified at an earlier stage, where they can be recommended for more aggressive treatments.

Right now, only about 20 percent of cases are diagnosed in stages 1 or 2.

The article quotes Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, who says that staging for lung and other types of cancer should become even more precise in the near future, as biomarkers and gene tests are developed that will even better sort patients.

Expanding the base of study from 5,000 samples limited to the U.S. – and one cancer center in the U.S. – to a base of 100,000 samples that includes international elements has to be good for the future of treatment. Just think how much more doctors can learn, and how much more variety they will be able to access to help them make a more accurate diagnosis!