University of Pennsylvania Health System

Focus on Cancer

Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Menu at HUP for Patients

hospital food at HUP Philadelphia
The Food Services department at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) recently launched a new, "Great Living Menu" for patients. This new, innovative patient menu is designed to help promote healthier lifestyles.

To support the Great Living Menu, food services will prepare meal using a new process called "Cook-Serve." This process enables food to be cooked fresh and served hot versus reheating food.

Patients at HUP will also see a whole new look for food trays. Cook-Serve Trays will have a more elegant appearance, and plate and soup bowl sizes will be larger and resemble items patients might use in their own homes.

Additionally, orders for food will be taken closer to meal time, and coffee will be poured on the patient care unit to ensure hot fresh coffee is delivered to those who order it.

More Changes in Food Services at HUP

  • Patient food orders will be taken, in person, by a catering associate (CA), closer to the actual meal time (breakfast order taken after dinner; lunch order taken after breakfast; dinner order taken after lunch).
  • The CA will then come to the kitchen assemble the food that the chefs have freshly prepared and deliver it to their patients. They will review the patient trays to ensure that patients received everything ordered.
  • Food Services will use a new system called "Heat on Demand" which will ensure that hot food maintains its hot temperatures for more than 60 minutes.

Food Services at HUP hopes patients enjoy these changes to the menu and meal services at HUP.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bringing Hope Home

At the age of 32, while pregnant with her second child. Nicole Isenberg found out she had stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma.

“Nicole gave birth to Gabby and immediately started intense chemotherapy,” remembers her husband Paul. “But we were now faced with a whole new set of challenges, including caring for Nicole and making sure she was getting the best treatment, raising a newborn and a toddler, and the everyday tasks of getting the kids off to school, packing lunches, cleaning the house, and going grocery shopping, all while making sure the bills were somehow paid.”

Fortunate to have a strong support system, Nicole suggested that Paul and his friends, affectionately called the “Great Guys” have a dinner to show thanks, and raise money for cancer organizations.

“Our first Great Guys Dinner raised more than $13,000 for cancer charities,” says Paul. “We were just sales and business guys who wanted to do something good.”

After Nicole lost her 6-year fight with cancer, Paul realized there was an unmet need in the community to help those undergoing cancer treatment with emotional and financial assistance.

“Our research shows that if you get diagnosed with cancer – even if you have health insurance – it can cost anywhere from $20-25 thousand dollars,” says Paul. “While it is great to support larger charities, we wanted to focus on ways we could keep our charity’s dollars in the community, and on a local level.”



Bringing Hope Home

Now called Bringing Hope Home, the organization continues to raise money for families in need. Since 2008, the group has helped more than 1,200 local families battling cancer.

“Electric bills, mortgage payments, groceries and medications – these bills don’t stop when you have cancer,” says Paul. “Our mission is to ease the burden of financial stress by directly paying bills for families.”

Paul says their organization goes a step further – they don’t just pay the bills, they negotiate for a lower rate.

“Last year, we negotiated to get about 25 cents more on the dollar,” says Paul. “We make each dollar stretch because we know how much it means to families.”

Bringing Hope Home works with families at the Abramson Cancer Center and has provided more than $65,000 in direct financial aid to families at the Abramson Cancer Center.

“Families interested in getting support from Bringing Hope Home need to be nominated by their medical and care team,” says Paul. “We review applications and speak with the family directly to assess their needs and learn how we can help.”

The family is given a one-time grant from up to $1,500 that goes directly to the vendors that need attention. This year, Bringing Hope Home hopes to increase the average grant to families from $1,500 to $2,000.

How You Can Help

Help bring hope home to so many families in the Philadelphia region by supporting Bringing Hope Home.

On Wednesday, May 1, the annual Great Guys Dinner will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Valley Forge from 6-9PM. Tickets are $175, and all proceeds go to local families in need of financial assistance during cancer treatment.

Learn more about the Great Guys Dinner.

You can also make a donation to Bringing Hope Home, and help support local families with a one-time donation.

Follow Bringing Home Home on Facebook and Twitter for event information, or see their stories of hope. 

Help Families at the Abramson Cancer Center

The Abramson Cancer Center is grateful to Bringing Hope Home and other foundations who directly support our patients in need including the Paul R. Nardoni Foundation, Stomp the Monster, The Mary Anne Mazanec Ovarian Cancer Foundation, Sandy Rollman Foundation, Starr Foundation, Fox’s Fight, and Peggy Spiegler Melanoma Research Foundation, just to name just a few.

The Abramson Cancer Center also has a Patient Special Needs Fund to help provide support to patients and families facing financial hardship as a result of diagnosis. We are grateful to the many individual friends and organizations that directly support this fund. Please consider making a gift and easing the burden of cancer for our patients and families with a donation.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Proton Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer


Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult forms of cancer to treat because it is so difficult to find.

However, advanced treatments like Penn Medicine’s proton therapy for pancreatic cancer offers new hope and may someday change the statistics, despite the challenges pancreatic cancer poses for both researchers and clinicians.

Why is Pancreatic Cancer So Difficult?

There are currently no detection tools to diagnose pancreatic cancer in its early stages when treatment would be most effective, and the symptoms (abdominal pain, weight loss, jaundice) mimic those of several other ailments. Therefore, pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major forms of cancer. Ninety-four percent of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer die within five years. If the cancer has metastasized, life expectancy is less than six months. Unlike so many other types of cancer, these statistics have not improved substantially in nearly 40 years.

Stephen Hahn, MD (l) and James Metz, MD
Given the typical late detection of the disease, pancreatic cancer has limited treatment options. As symptoms usually arise in the late stages, only 20 percent of patients are still eligible for surgery at the time of detection. For those eligible for surgery, adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy has been shown to increase the five-year survival rate from 10 to 20 percent.

Radiation Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer

As surgery is often not an option, chemotherapy and radiation are the primary forms of treatment for pancreatic cancer. The FDA currently approves only three drugs for chemotherapy treatment. That’s why physicians at Penn Medicine recommend clinical trials for pancreatic cancer when available.

“Most clinical trials are using the best available therapies plus something else,” said Jeffrey Drebin, MD, PhD, chairman of surgery at Penn Medicine. “We hit a lot of singles with our standard therapies; we don’t hit a lot of home runs. Clinical trials offer that chance to be in the group of patients who are first treated with a really new and innovative therapy.”

With radiation treatment, the amount of radiation that can be given with conventional doses is limited due to the proximity of the pancreas to critical organs such as the liver and kidneys, as well as the spinal cord. That is why Penn offers proton therapy for pancreatic cancer treatment at the Roberts Proton Therapy Center.

“It’s all about depositing the dose where you want it,” said James Metz, MD, vice chair clinical division, department of radiation oncology and professor of radiation oncology at Penn Medicine.

“Proton therapy allows us to pinpoint exactly where we want to put that radiation dose while missing the normal tissues,” says Dr. Metz.

This is a key benefit of proton therapy for pancreatic cancer, as exposing normal tissue to radiation causes significant side effects.

“They get nauseous, they get diarrhea, they feel lousy, their quality of life is not as good,” says Dr. Metz of patients undergoing conventional radiation treatment. “Many of the patients that get protons have a tendency to really go through treatment easier, and I think that’s really important from a quality of life perspective.”

Who Can Get Proton Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer?

Not all patients are eligible for proton therapy for pancreatic cancer. Where the tumor is and how it moves inside the pancreas, along with several other technical reasons, helps the cancer team at Penn Medicine to determine the correct course of treatment. The team includes specialists in surgery, medical oncology, and radiation oncology, along with several other disciplines, all collaborating on the patient’s behalf.

“We have to analyze what’s been done before, where you are now, and figure out if that’s the right thing for you,” says Dr. Metz. “It’s not right for everyone. That is something the physician needs to decide when you come in.”

The Roberts Proton Therapy Center is the only place that offers proton therapy for pancreatic cancer in the Philadelphia region.

To set up an appointment to learn if proton therapy is right for you, call 800-789-PENN.

Monday, March 25, 2013

From a Survivor: What You Need to Know about Thyroid Cancer

At 30, Michelle LeBeau was diagnosed with advanced stage medullary thyroid carcinoma. Michelle sought treatment under the care of Marcia Brose, MD, at the Abramson Cancer Center. There is no known cure for medullary thyroid cancer and it is not responsive to traditional chemotherapy, but rather than sit back and do nothing, Michelle started the REACT Thyroid Foundation in 2011.

From L-R: Lori Cuffari, Dr. Marcia Brose,Michelle LeBeau,

You are the founder of REACT Thyroid Foundation. Why did you start it? 

After my own diagnosis with thyroid cancer I learned that there is no known cure and I would be dependent on clinical trials and other drugs to hopefully keep my cancer at bay. During one of my appointments with my oncologist, Dr. Marcia Brose, we got into an in-depth conversation about her work in the lab and the advancements being made in thyroid cancer research. I learned that despite the enormous efforts of very dedicated scientists and doctors around the country there was unfortunately little funding available to make everything happen. Dr. Brose is one of the leaders in thyroid cancer research and anyone who knows her is familiar with how passionate she is about the cause and her work. I left my appointment that day so inspired and with such a belief in her work that I felt compelled to help the doctors get the funding they desperately need. I was determined to send a message to family and friends to raise some money. On the plane ride home I continued thinking about it and said "Go big or go home Michelle!" and REACT Thyroid Foundation was born.

What were you diagnosed with? 

I was diagnosed with a rare form of stage IV thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), which had already spread extensively throughout both of my lungs.

You were young when you were diagnosed with thyroid cancer. How did that diagnosis affect the plans you had for your life? 


As you can imagine, being diagnosed with stage IV cancer was not what I was expecting at the age of 30. I went to the doctor because of a nagging cough with no idea that it would change my life forever. I was very determined to not let cancer define who I am but rather let it be one more interesting part of me. I have been very successful at doing that and have become so much more of a well rounded person because of it. My diagnosis helped me to realize how important it was to have a work/life balance, not sweat the small stuff and to live life to the fullest. This journey has not been easy in any way but it has been extremely rewarding. I have met so many amazing people, done things I never dreamt possible and become a source of inspiration for many. You’ve participated in clinical trials for thyroid cancer.

What do you want people to know about clinical trials and cancer research? 


When it comes to thyroid cancer, we rely heavily on experimental treatments and clinical trials. If you rewind just 8-10 years ago there wasn't even a viable treatment option for people with advanced stage thyroid cancer. Now we have 2 FDA approved drugs and several more clinical trial options available. None of this would have been possible without the strong and brave survivors who willingly participated in this unknown research to help better the future for all of us. Those individuals who participate in clinical trials are heroes who are paying it forward to make the future better for those who follow in their foot steps. In addition, the financial support of so many survivors, their family and friends plays a huge part in making these trials possible. There are multiple ways to get involved, including REACT Thyroid Foundation, and I encourage people to help in any way they can whether it be monetary contributions, volunteering of time or being an advocate to spread awareness for the fastest increasing cancer among men and women today.

Tell us 3 things you want everyone to know about thyroid cancer. 

  1. Thyroid cancer is the fastest increasing cancer among men and women today. 
  2. There is no known cure for advanced stage thyroid cancer, only treatments to help slow down its growth. 
  3. If detected early, there is a very good prognosis so asking for a neck check while at the dentist and your general practitioner is so important. 

Raise Money and Awareness for Thyroid Cancer 

Join the REACT Thyroid Foundation on Sunday, April 28 from Noon to 5pm at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ for a walk to raise awareness and money for thyroid cancer research.

Register for the REACT Thyroid Foundation’s Bold Steps to Fight Thyroid Cancer walk here.

Follow the REACT Thyroid Foundation on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information about the event, as well as information about thyroid cancer and thyroid cancer research.

Interested in learning more about how to support thyroid cancer research at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center? Contact Katie Dewees Detzel at kdewees@upenn.edu or (215) 746-1927. 

Learn More About Thyroid Cancer 

Learn more information about thyroid cancer, thyroid cancer treatment and thyroid cancer research from the 2012 Focus On Thyroid Cancer Conference.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for information about thyroid cancer and upcoming thyroid cancer events at Penn.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Meet the Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team

As the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, pancreatic cancer remains one of the most deadly forms of cancer. More than 90 percent of patients die within the first year of diagnosis. Recent advancements have had little impact, and a new approach is desperately needed.

As featured in Time Magazine, Penn Medicine’s Dr. Jeffery Drebin and the Stand Up 2 Cancer Pancreatic Dream Team is answering that call. Their team-based multi-disciplinary approach is translating scientific breakthroughs into new treatment options faster than ever before.

Dr. Drebin and the pancreatic cancer dream team is focused on developing tests using advanced imaging technology to understand pancreatic cancer cells and developing new, personalized pancreatic cancer treatments based on their research.


About Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is cancer that develops within the pancreas, the gland about six inches long that is responsible for making hormones, including the enzymes responsible for the digestion of food and control of blood sugar.

Pancreatic cancer develops when cells within the pancreas begin to grow out of control. It may spread, or metastasize, to nearby lymph nodes and organs such as the liver and lungs.
About Pancreatic Cancer Treatment at Penn Medicine
At Penn Medicine, patients with pancreatic cancer receive their care from a multidisciplinary team of nationally recognized experts in the diagnosis, treatment and research of gastrointestinal cancer.

Penn Medicine's multidisciplinary approach to cancer diagnosis and treatment provides better outcomes and gives patients access to the most advanced treatment, surgical techniques and clinical trials.

Learn more about pancreatic cancer treatment at Penn.

Dance Event to Benefit Abramson Cancer Center



Join us for River North Dance Chicago's world premiere of EVA on Thursday, April 4, 2013, 7:30 to 10:00 pm sponsored in part by Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, and presented by Dance Affiliates and the Annenberg Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

EVA is a dance celebration commission dedicated to the life and music of American legendary vocalist and instrumentalist, Eva Cassidy. Battling melanoma that took her life at 33, she told her mother, "All I want to do when I get well is sing and travel around with my music."  Her album Songbird received triple platinum status in the United Kingdom.

There will also be FREE skin cancer screenings on site at the event by Dr. Karolyn Wanat from Penn Medicine's Department of Dermatology.

Special VIP Package

  • Priority seating for the world premiere performance on Thursday, April 4 at 7:30 pm ONLY
  • Pre-show reception 6:00 pm to 7:15 pm in lower lobby of Annenberg Center with Dr. Lynn Schuchter, leader of the melanoma program at the Abramson Cancer Center
  • $50 donation will be sent to the melanoma foundation of your choice
For tickets contact Siobhan Hagan at 215-636-9000 ext. 109 or shagan@danceaffiliates.org.

These tickets are not available at the box office.

Performance Tickets

Select any of the following performances:
  • Thursday, April 4 at 7:30 pm; Friday, April 5 at 8 pm; Saturday, April 6 at 2 pm and 8 pm
  • 10 percent of the ticket price will go to the foundation of your choice when you choose from the codes below.
Three ways to order
  1. In person at the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts Box Office
  2. By phone at 215-898-3900
  3. Online at www.annenbergcenter.org
Choose a recipient for your contribution:
  • Abramson Cancer Center – Promo Code ACC 
  • Mark Allen Friedman Foundation – Promo Code MARK
  • Peggy Spiegler Melanoma Research Foundation – Promo Code PEGGY
  • The Susan Fazio Foundation for Melanoma Research – Promo Code SUSAN
  • Fox's Fight – Promo Code FOX

Purchase tickets here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cancer-fighting Recipe: Shredded Beet Salad

Just one serving of this salad a day should be enough to keep the doctor away. Onions are rich in the phytochemical quercetin, which has also been shown to have beneficial effects against lung cancer that are totally worth the tears.

Carrots and parsley belong to the Umbelliferae family but boast different cancer fighting properties.

Carrots are high in vitamin A, which is known to promote lung health so much so that studies have shown just eating one carrot a day could cut the risk of lung cancer in half. Parsley commonly used to garnish, contains many volatile oils and phytochemicals that have cancer protective attributes.
beet salad recipe

Shredded Beet Salad

Ingredients:
2 cups of cooked, peeled and shredded red beets
1 cup shredded carrots
½ c fresh parsley (chopped)
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs onion (chopped)
1 Tbs sugar
½ tsp salt
Pepper to taste

Mix together and chill.  Toss salad with the following dressing recipe.  Also optional is to serve on a bed of lettuce topped with 2 sliced hard-cooked eggs.

Adapted from: Simply in Season: a World Community Cookbook by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert

For more cancer fighting recipes and nutrition information visit www.pennmedicine.org/karnell.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dr. Simone Discusses Proton Therapy for Lung Cancer

Charles Simone, MD, chief of thoracic service in the department of radiation oncology at at Penn Medicine discussed proton therapy for lung cancer on CBS 3's Talk Philly this week.

Learn how proton therapy for lung cancer, and proton therapy is changing the way lung cancer is treated at Penn by watching this brief interview with Dr. Simone.



What is Proton Therapy?

Proton therapy is a non–invasive, incredibly precise cancer treatment that uses a beam of protons moving at very high speeds to destroy the DNA of cancer cells, killing them and preventing them from multiplying.

The Benefits of Proton Therapy at the Roberts Proton Therapy Center at Penn Medicine

Unlike conventional radiation that can affect surrounding healthy tissue as it enters the body and targets the tumor, proton therapy's precise, high dose of radiation is extremely targeted. This targeted precision causes less damage to healthy, surrounding tissue.

When aimed at cancer tumors, protons pack impressive power. Protons release their energy completely once they enter a tumor, limiting the radiation dose beyond the tumor, causing less damage to the healthy surrounding tissues and resulting in fewer side effects.

Learn more about proton therapy at Penn Medicine's Roberts Proton Therapy Center, and proton therapy for lung cancer.

The Alcohol - Cancer Link

It’s estimated that alcohol is responsible for causing about 20,000 cancer deaths in the United States every year – or about 3.5 percent of all cancer-related deaths.

A new study published in the April 2013 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, sheds light on alcohol consumption as a leading cause of preventable cancer.

Usually smoking gets all the attention when it comes to preventable causes of cancer. But as more and more research is done, cancer researchers are learning that other lifestyle factors are increasing risk of cancer.

Other lifestyle risks of cancer include obesity, inactivity, and, as this study states, alcohol consumption.

In fact, The World Health Organization has labeled alcohol as the world's third largest risk factor for disease burden, saying it can cause neuropsychiatric disorders and other chronic diseases such as heart diseases, cirrhosis of the liver and various cancers. It added that 30 percent of cancer deaths are caused by five behavioral and dietary factors, including high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and alcohol use.

Researchers also determined that breast cancer was the most common type of drinking-related deaths in women. For men, mouth, throat and esophageal cancers were the most common alcohol-associated deaths.

Alcohol and Esophageal Cancer Risk and Prevention

Register for a free conference about esophageal and stomach cancer prevention.

The CANPrevent Esophageal and Stomach Cancer Conference is FREE and open to the public. Come and learn the latest information on esophageal and stomach cancer. Learn how to manage the genetic risk for you and your family. Gain knowledge and take action by getting important information from our experts. Breakfast will be provided.

Date: Friday, March 22
Time: 7:30 am to 10:30 am
Location: Hilton Hotel, 4200 City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA

Register for this free event here.

These conferences are made possible through philanthropic funding. Help support our efforts to empower patients and survivors to become more active participants in their care by making a donation to the Abramson Cancer Center today.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Support the Abramson Cancer Center

A gift to the Abramson Cancer Center lives on for a lifetime.

Whether given in memory, in honor, or in celebration of anniversaries, birthdays, or other special occasions, a contribution in the name of a loved one plays an important role in the Abramson Cancer Center 's ongoing ability to support its patients and continue its research.

A tribute gift to the Abramson Cancer Center lives on for a lifetime. Your contribution in the name of a loved one plays a key role in our ongoing ability to support our patients and has allowed us to explore new avenues of targeted research, effective cancer prevention strategies and compassionate approaches to patient care.

Penn has had a tremendous history of understanding cancer as a disease, not only to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment, but also to improve on our ability to prevent cancer. Your generosity can make a difference and will support the tremendous strides in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Every day, our cancer researchers and scientists are engaged in trials that can extend and improve lives for countless cancer patients in the Philadelphia region and beyond. Your continued support can further strengthen their efforts by accelerating the pace of discovery and fostering deeper collaborations, while also providing the crucial support needed to bring new, ground-breaking treatments to our patients.

Thank you for making the Abramson Cancer Center part of your philanthropy.
 
Make a donation to the Abramson Cancer Center here.

How Donors Have Helped

Read stories from Abramson Cancer Center donors, and learn how their generosity is funding cancer research and treatment. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Preventing Colon and Endometrial Cancer

March is colon and endometrial (uterine) cancer awareness month.

Did you know that approximately 90% of colorectal cancers are thought to be preventable?

Did you know that uterine cancer is the most common cancer of a woman’s reproductive system?

Don’t miss an upcoming program about colon and endometrial cancer on Tuesday, March 19 and Thursday, March 21 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm in the Elm Garden Cafeteria at Pennsylvania Hospital.

Meet with and speak to health care professionals to learn more about colon and uterine cancer prevention.

Topics discussed will include:
  • Risk factors for colon and uterine cancer as well as signs and symptoms to look for
  • Colon Cancer Screening: facts and myths
  • Nutrition: foods to eat that reduce your risk for colon and uterine cancer
  • Genetics: how your family history affects your risk for colon and/or uterine cancer
  • Prevention: what steps you can take today to reduce your risk.

Register for the 2013 CANPrevent Colorectal Cancer Conference


The CANPrevent Colorectal Cancer Conference is free and open to the public. Come and learn the latest information on colorectal screening and managing the genetic risk for you and your family.
Gain knowledge and take action by getting important information from our experts. Breakfast will be provided.

Date: Friday, March 22
Time: 7:30 am to 10:30 am
Location: Hilton Hotel, 4200 City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA

Register for this free conference about colorectal cancer prevention here

Friday, March 15, 2013

BRCA Beat: 2013 Spring Issue

The Basser Research Center for BRCA reports on donor Andy Cohen and research updates:

As we begin so many new and exciting endeavors with support from the Gray, Potter, and Basser families, we are reminded of the many donors who paved the way for the Basser Research Center for BRCA and look forward to telling their stories in upcoming BRCA Beat issues.

One such donor, Andrew J. Cohen, has supported the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer community for over a decade, having started the Marjorie B. Cohen Foundation in memory of his sister in 2001.“I was extremely close with my sister,” says Cohen. “In fact, growing up I truly viewed her as my best friend. After she passed, I felt compelled to do something so other families do not experience what our family went through. The Marjorie B. Cohen Foundation was created to provide the essential education to high risk individuals and families.”

Read the whole Spring Issue Edition of the BRCAbeat here:
BRCA beat eNewsletter

One Week Left!

There is only one week left to register for the 2012 Focus On Colorectal Cancer Conference, the 2012 Focus on Pancreatic Cancer Conference, the 2012 Focus on Stomach and Esophageal Cancer Conference and the 2012 CANPrevent Colorectal Cancer and Esophageal/Stomach Cancer Conferences.

These Focus On conferences are FREE conferences designed for patients, their loved ones and caregivers to learn about their type of cancer, new treatments and survivorship programs.

The CANPrevent conferences are to educate those at high or higher risk for certain types of cancer about screenings and preventions.

There is still time to register for these conferences, which are Friday, March 22. Learn more about these conferences, and register at one of the links below:


Stay up to date on the latest conferences from the Abramson Cancer Center, and see photos from previous conferences by "liking" our Facebook page.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cancer-fighting Recipe: White Beans and Winter Greens

Leafy greens and beans are not the only ingredients that make this a cancer fighting dish. Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which has been found to reduce the risk of prostate, pancreas, breast and colon cancer when it is combined with healthy fats, such as the olive oil used in this recipe.

White Beans and Winter Greens

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup white beans (cannelloni or great northern)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large bunch winter greens (mustard, chard, turnip, or a mixture)
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock, homemade or canned
Topping:
  • 1 cup of fresh bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Soak the white beans in 4 cups of cold water for 8 hours or overnight. In a medium pot, add the drained beans, 3 cups of fresh water, and the bay leaf and thyme sprig Simmer the beans for 45 minutes, and then add the salt. Continue cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the beans are tender but not mushy. There should be no more than 1/2 cup of liquid left in the pot. Remove bay leaf and thyme.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the stalks from the greens and wash and dry leaves. Stack them and cut crosswise into ribbons. In a large pan, sauté and the garlic in oil for approximately 7 minutes or until tender. Add the tomatoes and salt. Mix the beans and their cooking liquid, and the greens. Add some chicken stock if the mixture seems dry and spoon into a 9-inch round or a 10-inch oval oiled gratin dish. Serves 4.
  3. Prepare the topping: Mix the bread crumbs with the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and spread evenly on top of the bans. Bake in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes. Served with a crisp, green salad or a salad of shared fennel and pears, this is a welcome dish for a cold winter day. If you like add some sautéed pancetta or little pieces of harm to the greens and beans mixture before turning it into the grain dish.
Adapted from Greens: A Country Garden Cookbook by Sibella Kraus.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why More Women are Choosing Mastectomies


The data we've been collecting is evolving quickly, and these women are living with this information in real time," [Domchek] said in an e-mail. "Since 1994 enormous progress had occurred... genes have been cloned, clinically available tests for gene mutations have been developed, and the implications of having BRCA1/2 mutations are better understood. Women as young as 25 are using this data to make informed choices."


CNN reports on studies indicating that more women with early-stage breast cancer are opting for double mastectomies, quoting Susan Domchek, MD, Executive Director of the Basser Research Center for BRCA



Click here for the full CNN report


Why More Women are Choosing Mastectomies

CNN reported on studies this week indicating that more women with early-stage breast cancer are opting for double mastectomies, quoting Susan Domchek, MD, Executive Director of the Basser Research Center for BRCA.
"The data we've been collecting is evolving quickly, and these women are living with this information in real time," she said in an e-mail. "Since 1994 enormous progress had occurred: (T)he genes have been cloned, clinically available tests for gene mutations have been developed, and the implications of having BRCA1/2 mutations are better understood. Women as young as 25 are using this data to make informed choices."

For the latest information on BRCA research, 
screening and clinical trials from 
The Basser Research Center for BRCA,
visit the official webpage.

Vitamins and Supplements During and After Breast Cancer Treatment


If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, are currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, or a breast cancer survivor, you may have a lot of questions about vitamins and supplements.

Join us LIVE tonight from 6:30 to 8 pm ET from Living Beyond Breast Cancer's March community meeting to learn how vitamins and supplements affect your treatment plan and follow-up care.

During this chat, you will also get information about the latest research on the role of specific vitamins and supplements in reducing risk of recurrence and explore how to obtain evidence-based information to discuss with your doctor and care providers.

Date: TONIGHT, March 13, 2013
Time: 6:30 to 8 pm, ET
Location: Visit Oncolink.org/webchat to register for the chat, get a reminder about the chat, and submit your questions.

You can also listen to a recording of the chat on Oncolink after the chat.

Nutrition to Prevent Uterine Cancer


March is uterine, or endometrial, cancer awareness month.

Uterine cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer accounting for 6 percent of all cancers among women in the United States.
The most common type of uterine cancer starts in the lining
of the uterus, or uterine wall, called the endometrium. This is why uterine cancer is also commonly referred to as endometrial cancer.

Nutrition plays a role in the prevention of various gynecological cancers.

The World Cancer Research Fund along with the American Institute for Cancer Research analyzed research on nutrition and its role in cancer and published the “Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective."

The recommendations for the general public are as follows:
  • Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight.
  • Be physically active as part of everyday life.
  • Limit consumption of energy-dense foods.  Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Eat mostly foods of plant origin.
  • Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks.
  • Limit consumption of salt.
  • Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone.
This report analyzes the evidence by cancer type including endometrial, or uterine, cancer.

Nutrition to prevent uterine cancer

For endometrial cancer, a high percentage of body fat as well as weight gain in the adult years may increase the risk of endometrial cancer.

So clearly at the top on your priority is weight management and just as your mother said “eat your vegetables."

The two work hand in hand as well as vegetables are a very high fiber, low calorie food which can provide cancer fighting compounds and assist with the feeling of fullness.  Easy ways to incorporate vegetables in your diet are:
  • Breakfast: Top your cereal off with berries or make a spinach omelet.
  • Lunch: Layer sandwiches with greens, tomatoes and cucumber.  Have raw vegetables on the side instead of chips.
  • Dinner: always include a colorful salad and aim to fill half your dinner plate with non-starchy vegetables like steamed asparagus, broccoli and carrots.
  • Snacks: Try baby carrots, sugar snaps peas and sliced red peppers dipped into hummus.
Continue following this blog for more recipes with cancer fighting properties.

Debra DeMille, MS, RD, CSO is a nutritional counselor at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center.  Debra has worked at Pennsylvania Hospital since 1988 with the last 12 years specializing in oncology.  Debra guides individuals receiving chemotherapy and radiation as well as addressing survivorship issues including the use of Integrative therapies.  She conducts cooking programs and group counseling sessions for cancer survivors. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Proton Therapy for Lung Cancer at Penn

Learning about proton therapy for lung cancer treatment led grandmother of 8 to choose Penn Medicine.
proton-therapy-for-lung-cancer

Lung cancer is the most common form of the disease in the world, claiming more than 1.3 million lives each year. 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancer cases are attributed to smoking tobacco. Most lung cancers are of the non-small cell variety, with adenocarcinoma being the most common type in women.

Kathy Brandt learned all of this and more when she was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma. Her pulmonologist discovered the cancer in her left lung while Kathy was in for a checkup for her emphysema.

“You feel like you have been hit by a ton of bricks,” Kathy remembers about her reaction upon hearing the diagnosis. “It was truly terrifying, but then the decision needs to be made where you are going to seek treatment.”

Learn more about Kathy’s story about proton therapy for lung cancer in her own words here.

The type of treatment needed can often drive that decision. There are three main treatment types for lung cancer: Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Surgery has been the “gold standard” for lung cancer. It is possible to completely remove cancers surgically that have not metastasized and spread either to or from the lungs. If the cancer has spread, however, then surgery is combined with other treatment. Possible side effects include local pain, damage to surrounding tissue and the threat of infection.

Chemotherapy uses strong chemicals to target rapidly dividing cells throughout the body. These chemicals kill both the original tumor cells as well as any cells that have spread. That means healthy cells are targeted as well, but these cells recover while cancer cells do not. Chemotherapy is often given as an adjuvant therapy designed to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence after surgery. Side effects may include nausea and vomiting, loss of hair and appetite, diarrhea and anemia.

Radiation treatment before or after surgery or in conjunction with other therapy is used to destroy or shrink tumors. This can be done to try and kill tumors entirely, to kill remaining cancer cells after surgery, or to kill cancer cells that have spread. However, it damages other cells as well, those healthy normal cells surrounding the cancer. Possible side effects include fatigue, nausea, hair loss and loss of appetite.

“First I had surgery. I had a left upper lobectomy, where half of my left lung was removed,” Kathy explained. “That was followed by chemotherapy and then radiation.”

Kathy had her proton therapy for lung cancer at Penn Medicine.

“Penn Medicine was a wonderful choice for us. They used a team approach. I saw an oncologist, a radiologist and a surgeon,” she said, “all located at Penn Medicine.”

“They were all genuinely concerned and genuinely caring and wanted to make me healthy again, and that was evident from the first day I went there”.

The main reason she went to Penn Medicine for lung cancer treatment, however, was for the option Penn Medicine offered Kathy that no one else in the region could – proton therapy for lung cancer as her radiation treatment, under the same roof as all of her other treatments.

“They offer proton therapy for lung cancer, which was especially important to me. I was concerned about the scatter from radiation, and proton therapy has less scatter, and therefore the chances would be less that I would have damage to any other internal organ,” Kathy explained.

Treatment at the Roberts Proton Therapy Center uses genetically targeted proton beams to destroy cancer cells. This is a particularly important factor in lung cancer treatment due to the proximity of the heart to the lungs. And it also means fewer side effects for patients.

“It was wonderful. I continued to work the whole time”, Kathy said. “I went to work, came home, and enjoyed my grandchildren,” Kathy said of the days she was receiving treatment. After five weeks, Kathy was cancer free.

“What survivorship means to me, first of all, is not to sweat the small stuff,” she said. “I definitely embrace every day.”

Monday, March 11, 2013

Focus On Esophageal and Stomach Cancer Free Conference

stomacn-esophageal-cancer-treatment-philadelphia
The Focus On Esophageal and Stomach Cancer Conference is a full day designed to address the personal and medical issues facing those with esophageal and stomach cancer including those in treatment, survivors, their loved ones, and caregivers.

Register for the 2013 Focus On Esophageal and Stomach Cancer Conference

Get information on the latest advances, diagnosis, treatment, symptom management and psychosocial issues; as well as the opportunity to network and gain support from other esophageal and stomach cancer survivors.

Date: Friday, March 22
Time: 7:30 am to 10:30 am
Location: Hilton Hotel, 4200 City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA

Register for this free event here.

These conferences are made possible through philanthropic funding. Help support our efforts to empower patients and survivors to become more active participants in their care by making a donation to the Abramson Cancer Center today.
 

Friday, March 8, 2013

What You Need to Know About Colon Cancer

March is colorectal cancer awareness month.

Colon and rectal cancer awareness is important because approximately 90 percent of colorectal cancers are thought to be preventable.

Other than skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosis among men and women in the United States.

Studies show that 1 in 20 Americans develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime.

Make an appointment for a colonoscopy at Penn

What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in both men and women, and is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. Colon cancer is cancer that forms in the lining tissues of the colon. Most colon tumors begin when normal tissue forms a polyp, or pre-cancerous growth projecting from the wall of the colon. As the polyp grows, a tumor forms. Because the tumor grows slowly, early detection is possible through screening and tests.

Colon cancer is often combined with rectal cancer and can be referred to as “colorectal cancer.”

Risk Factors for Colon Cancer

Some risk factors for colorectal cancer include:
  • Over the age of 50
  • Personal history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Inherited syndromes
    • FAP – familial adenomatous polyposis
    • HNPCC – hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer also known as Lynch syndrome
    • Juvenile polyposis
    • Peutz-Jegher
    • MYH gene
  • Racial and ethnic background – African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews
  • Lifestyle factors
    • Diet high in red meats and processed meats
    • Physical inactivity
    • Obesity
    • Smoking
    • Heavy alcohol use
    • Type 2 diabetes

Screening and Prevention of Colon Cancer

Regular screening exams such as colonoscopies can prevent colorectal cancer.  During colonoscopies, any abnormal cells that begin as polyps can be found and removed before they become cancerous. Screening can also result in early detection of colorectal cancer when it is highly curable.

Screening for colorectal cancer should begin at age 50 for those with no identified risk factor other than age. People with a family history or other risk factors should talk to their doctor about starting screening when they are younger.

If you have an early onset of colon polyps, colon cancer, or multiple family members with colon polyps or colon and uterine cancer, you should consider genetic counseling and testing. Genetic counselors can be contacted at Pennsylvania Hospital by calling 215-829-6528 or at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania by calling 215-349-8141.


Register for the 2013 Focus on Colorectal Cancer Conference


This is a free conference dedicated to colorectal cancer education. Come and learn the latest information on colorectal screening and managing the genetic risk for you and your family. Gain knowledge and take action by getting important information from our experts. Breakfast will be provided.


Register for this free event here. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cancer-fighting Recipe: Kale and Carrot Soup

Kale is one of those superfoods that packs a great, cancer-fighting punch. And, this recipe for kale and carrot soup is also packed with flavor.

Kale is a leafy green vegetable
with many cancer-fighting qualities.
Research has shown that kale reduces the risk of certain cancers, including colon cancer. A leafy green vegetable, kale is rich source of organosulfur compounds and other cancer-preventive compounds that block the growth of cancer cells and contribute to the death of cancerous cells.

It's still chilly out, but this delicious soup packed with cancer fighting ingredients promises to keep you warm.

Kale and Carrot Soup

Ingredients for kale carrot soup

  • 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic* (more if you like)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 inch of peeled fresh ginger, chopped or grated.
  • 2-1 inch cinnamon sticks, left whole
  • 2 bay leaves, left whole
  • 1/2 lb. carrots, chopped
  • 4 cups, cleaned (washed) or torn kale
  • 1 large partially cooked sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • *Can cook in microwave for 8-10 minutes
*Chop garlic 10 minutes before you sauté to increase its anti-cancer benefits.

Sauté first six ingredients until tender, but not brown (approximately 5 minutes). Add carrots and 2 cups water. Cook until carrots are tender (approximately 20 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Add kale, sweet potato and 2 cups water. Cook until kale is wilted, but still bright in color. Sweet potatoes will break up slightly (or you can smash about half the sweet potato) and thicken the broth. Remove the whole cinnamon sticks and bay leaves before eating. Season with salt and pepper to you liking.

Serve with a tossed salad made with lots of different greens and fresh whole grain bread, using more olive oil or hummus for a spread.

Want another recipe using kale? Click here for a recipe for a delicious chopped kale salad.

Source: Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, Cancer Nutrition Information, LLC, http://www.cancernutritioninfo.com/

Content for this post provided by Joan Karnell Cancer Center.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pancreatic Cancer: A Free Conference at Penn

pancreatic-cancer-treatment-philadelphia
The 2nd Focus On Pancreatic Cancer Conference is a full day designed to address the personal and medical issues facing those with pancreatic cancer; including those in treatment, survivors, their loved ones, and caregivers.

Get information on the latest advances in pancreatic cancer risk, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, symptom management and psychosocial issues; as well as the opportunity to network and gain support from other pancreatic cancer survivors.

Who Should Attend

  • Those who are newly diagnosed, currently in treatment of a long-term survivor of pancreatic cancer.
  • Family members, caregivers or health care professional of a pancreatic cancer patient or survivor.

Register for the 2nd Focus On Pancreatic Cancer Conference


Date: Friday, March 22
Time: 7:30 am to 10:30 am
Location: Hilton Hotel, 4200 City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA

Register for this free event here.

These conferences are made possible through philanthropic funding. Help support our efforts to empower patients and survivors to become more active participants in their care by making a donation to the Abramson Cancer Center today.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Prevent Esophageal and Stomach Cancer: A Free Conference

Prevent-esophageal-cancer
On Friday, March 22, the Abramson Cancer Center presents a conference about esophageal and stomach cancer prevention

2013 CANPrevent Stomach and Esophageal Cancer Conference

The CANPrevent Stomach and Esophageal Cancer Conference offers the latest information on colorectal screening and managing the genetic risk for you and your family.

Who Should Attend

Those at risk for esophageal cancer due to:
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Barrett's (or Barrett) esophagus
  • The use of tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Achalasia
  • Tylosis
  • Esophageal webs
  • Work place exposure to chemical fumes
  • Injury to the esophagus

Those at risk for stomach cancer due to:
  • A family history of stomach cancer
  • Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) infection
  • Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (MALT) lymphoma
  • Diets that have large amounts of smoked foods, salted fish and meat, and pickled vegetables
  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Previous stomach surgery
  • Pernicious anemia (vitamin B12 deficiency)
  • Menetrier disease (hypertrophic gastropathy)
  • Type A blood
  • Some types of stomach polyps
  • Epstein-Barr virus infection
  • Workers in the coal, metal, and rubber industries
  • Immune deficiency
  • Inherited cancer syndromes:
    • Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer
    • Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome)
    • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP syndrome)
    • BRCA1 and BRCA2

Register for the 2013 CANPrevent Esophageal and Stomach Cancer Conference

Gain knowledge and take action by getting important information from our experts. Breakfast will be provided.
Date: Friday, March 22
Time: 7:30 am to 10:30 am
Location: Hilton Hotel, 4200 City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA

Register for this free event here.
These conferences are made possible through philanthropic funding. Help support our efforts to empower patients and survivors to become more active participants in their care by making a donation to the Abramson Cancer Center today.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Focus On Colorectal Cancer: A Free Conference

Free-colon-rectal-cancer-conference-Philadelphia
On Friday, March 22, the Abramson Cancer Center presents a free conference about colorectal cancer prevention.

2013 Focus On Colorectal Cancer Conference

The 6th Focus On Colorectal Cancer Conference is a full day designed to address the personal and medical issues facing those with colorectal cancer (colon, rectum); including those in treatment, survivors, their loved ones, and caregivers. Get information on the latest advances in gastrointestinal cancer risk, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, symptom management and psychosocial issues; as well as the opportunity to network and gain support from other gastrointestinal cancer survivors.

Who Should Attend

  • Those who are newly diagnosed, currently in treatment of a long-term survivor of colon or rectal cancer.
  • Family members, caregivers or health care professional of a colon or rectal cancer patient or survivor.

Make an appointment for a colonoscopy at Penn


Register for the 2013 Focus on Colorectal Cancer Conference

This is a free conference dedicated to colorectal cancer education. Come and learn the latest information on colorectal screening and managing the genetic risk for you and your family. Gain knowledge and take action by getting important information from our experts. Breakfast will be provided. Date: Friday, March 22 Time: 7:30 am to 2 pm Location: Hilton Hotel, 4200 City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA Register for this free event here. This conference is sponsored by Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center and the Colon Cancer Alliance. These conferences are made possible through philanthropic funding. Help support our efforts to empower patients and survivors to become more active participants in their care by making a donation to the Abramson Cancer Center today.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Prevent Colorectal Cancer: A Free Conference

Free-Conference-Colon-cancer-prevention
On Friday, March 22, the Abramson Cancer Center presents a free conference about colon cancer prevention and rectal cancer prevention.

2013 CANPrevent Colorectal Cancer

CANPrevent is a prevention series featuring experts from Penn's Abramson Cancer Center. CANPrevent Colorectal Cancer is a half-day symposium designed to help those at risk for colorectal cancer learn about colon cancer prevention.

Who Should Attend

Those at risk for colorectal cancer because:
  • You are a man or woman aged 50 or older with no identified risk factors
  • You have a personal history of adenomatous or precancerous polyps, colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease)
  • You have a family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer in one or more close relatives (parents, siblings, or children)
Those at risk for colorectal cancer due to a diagnosis of:
  • Lynch syndrome, also known as Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC)
  • Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)
  • Juvenile Polyposis (JP)
  • MYP-Associated Polyposis (MAP)
  • Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome (PJS)

Register for the 2013 CANPrevent Colorectal Cancer Conference

The CANPrevent Colorectal Cancer Conference is free and open to the public. Come and learn the latest information on colorectal screening and managing the genetic risk for you and your family. Gain knowledge and take action by getting important information from our experts. Breakfast will be provided.

Date: Friday, March 22
Time: 7:30 am to 10:30 am
Location: Hilton Hotel, 4200 City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA

Register for this free event here. 

This conference is sponsored by Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center and the Colon Cancer Alliance.

These conferences are made possible through philanthropic funding. Help support our efforts to empower patients and survivors to become more active participants in their care by making a donation to the Abramson Cancer Center today.
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