Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Ovarian Cancer Drug Wins Speedy FDA Approval

U.S. health officials have approved a new option for some women battling ovarian cancer: a drug that targets a genetic mutation seen in a subset of hard-to-treat tumors.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the drug, Rubraca, from Clovis Oncology Inc. for women in advanced stages of the disease who have already tried at least two chemotherapy drugs.
The Clovis medication targets a mutation found in 15 to 20 percent of patients with ovarian cancer. Women with the variation, known as BRCA, face much higher risks of breast cancer and ovarian cancer compared with other women.

The FDA also approved a companion test that screens for the mutation.
About 1 percent of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. This year an estimated 14,240 women will die from the diseasen the U.S. Currently, standard treatment includes surgery to try and remove tumors or chemotherapy.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Polson Middle School Students Volunteer at Oncology Clinic

A Leadership Class of Polson Middle School students are sharing their smiles, positive life perspectives, empathy, respect and curiosity with cancer patients at Polson Oncology Clinic on Tuesdays. 

Class teacher, Nicole Dubuque Camel, has a connection with Cheerful Heart and the oncology clinic. Her father, Don Dubuque, was a vital cancer thriver who felt strongly about supporting fellow cancer patients until his death in April of 2010. He was a constant presence at the clinic for years while he was in or out of treatment.

Fifteen students rotate involvement in the community as well as in school. The class meets five days a week and work includes classroom mentoring, welcoming new students, organizing school-wide fundraisers in addition to the volunteer work at Cheerful Heart. Students give time, keep a journal and spend time talking amongst themselves and with Nicole about their experiences. At the oncology clinic, in addition to serving soup and stocking snack items, students spend time developing relationships. They have learned to respect the needs of all patients. When a patient needs privacy and quiet, the students have learned to respect that need and add the experience to their journal and in follow-up discussions.

Nicole says the students look forward to Tuesday more than any other day, and it seems that the majority of patients enjoy the youthful, hopeful perspectives of the students as well. Friendships have developed, in fact, one student has written a letter to a young relative of a current cancer patient. Nicole feels strongly that "we are not growing if we are not serving others." She echoes the probable sentiments of her father… "It is a blessed and sacred time…”

Polson Middle School students bring a positive,
hopeful attitude to the Polson Oncology Clinic.
Pictured with Cheerful Heart volunteer Jane Holland (right) students from left: Sophia Moderner, Tana Allison and Maggie Todd.

From left:  Taleah Hernandez, Jazlyn Dalbey and
Berkley Ellis.