Monday, September 24, 2012

Shooting the Moon

I read an article last week about MD Anderson's Moon Shots Program. 

Instead of putting a man on the moon they are trying dramatically affect the survival rate of different cancers -lung, prostate, melanoma, leukemia (CLL), leukemia (AML, MDS), and breast &ovarian.

When I saw they were targeting breast and ovarian, I assumed they would be focusing on the more common hormone positive breast cancer, instead of the more rare and deadly triple negative. I was wrong they are focusing on triple negative breast cancer. 

While I am glad they are focusing on my specific type of cancer, it is crazy how cancer research gets funded. It is a high stakes game with real lives in play. I know it is not necessarily zero sum, where a dollar on one cancer means a dollar less for another type of cancer. Still medical research is not driven by goodwill. It makes my heart hurt thinking about it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tell Me About Yourself

In my son's class the teacher asked the students to fill a bag with different things that tell about yourself. For example, what your hobbies are, what your talents are, and so on. He was also supposed to put in a sudden unpleasant event, so he wrote cancer on a piece of paper and put it in there. 

One aspect that has been difficult in moving is that everyone, or it seemed like everyone in our old town knew about the cancer. Here nobody knows and yet it is still a part of our family's life. When it comes up, like why are you going to Camp Kesem, they explain what they feel like explaining. I can see it wears on them, especially C, (L mainly avoids topics that might lead to cancer) he wants to share, but it was and still is a difficult topic to discuss.


New Onocologist and BRCA1 & BRCA2 & p53 - Now I know my ABCs

I met with my new oncologist at the end of August before school started. She listened to my long medical history, asking questions, and then discussed, while writing down, some options for genetic testing for me. The doctor explained what a positive or negative result of each test would mean for me, for my children, and for my siblings. 

In my medical history monologue, I brought up the expanded BRCA1&2 test. I had read about it at the Siteman Cancer Center site here. I had considered getting the test redone in NV, but it was far, my kids were younger, I was more tired, and so on.

Then she discussed with me P53, aka, the tumor suppressor protein. In looking at my medical history and my family medical history, she thought I might be a viable candidate for a mutation in P53. Which is bad if you tumor suppressor protein is mutated, because then it lets tumors get out of control. 

Before I left I made an appointment with the genetic counselor, though I still think I was just the lucky one to get cancer, and there is no reason to it.

P53 (wikipedia commons)