Thank YOU for supporting the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition through another PINKtober!

Thank YOU for supporting the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition during Breast Cancer Awareness Month! It has been a wild October spreading breast cancer awareness in our community. We are grateful to have so many generous partners in our neighborhoods across the state, helping us share our resources with folks who need them and helping raise funds to support our local programs and services of support, education, and survivorship. We have to take a moment to thank all of our partners, volunteers, sponsors, and donors!2016-partnership-collage

 

We want to especially give a shout out (in no particular order) to:

Pirees Piri Piri Grill in Pike Creek

Kings Tire and Lube

McDonald’s

Third Base Liquors

Sea Tows Boats

Duck Donuts in Newark

One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning

Gatehouse Media

Bayhealth Medical Center

Sante Fe, Wilmington Location

Rawlins Orthodontics

Chevy of Dover

Milford Police

The Melting Pot

Anytime Fitness Bear

Brandywine Lighting Gallery

Artist Designs

TJ’s Repairs in Milford

The News Journal/Delaware Online

Ed Oliver golf club

Dos Locos in Rehoboth

First State BMX

Plantation Lakes

First State Chevy Olds

NASCAR Dover

Eagle 977/Delmarva Broadcasting

Atticus Bow Ties

Capitol School District

Continental Jewelers

Dewey Goes Pink 5K organizers the Starboard and the Body Shop and Races2Run

Tanger Outlets

Milford High School

Ronny’s Garden World

Oxford Feed and Lumber

Deer Park & Races2Run

Lovering Studio

Harrington Raceway

Lula Roe Dover Vendors

Beer Pong Organizers Alex and Thomasine Bianchi & Christopher Burgos

UD Hockey (Men’s D1, D2, D3 and Women’s) organized by Katrina Anderson

Tocara Jewelry & Sullivan’s Steakhouse

Farmers Insurance

Lake Forest East Elementary

Premier Cosmetics and Dermatology

Currie Hair Skin Nails

Capriotti’s

Georgetown Car Show Organizers Levin Clark and Georgetown Mayor Bill West

Monster Mile Sponsors: Edgewell Personal Care, Highmark Delaware, Yencer Builders, Willis Chevrolet & Buick, Bayhealth, Chevrolet of Dover, Dover Colonial Rotary Club, Mid-Delaware Imaging, Price Acura and Price Honda, Ronny’s Garden World, and Lighthouse Construction

…and so many more. Too many to name. If we inadvertently left you off this list, so sorry, just let us know and we’ll add you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Although October is over, the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition is still here to serve our community. If you or someone you know is diagnosed with breast cancer, call 1-866-312-3222.

 

New Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van Unveiled

The new Women’s Mobile Health Screening (WMHS) Van was unveiled on Tuesday, June 21 at Legislative Hall in Dover. The program included tours of the medical unit, remarks from program facilitators and elected officials, and a toast to the success of the program. Guests included Governor Jack Markell, Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Rita Landgraf, Division of Public Health (DPH) Director Dr. Karyl Rattay, staff from the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) and Women’s Mobile Health Screening (WMHS) program, DPH staff, and members of the Delaware General Assembly, including Senator Patricia Blevins, Senator Hall-Long, and former Senator Liane Sorenson.

 

The van is a collaborative effort between the State of Delaware and Women’s Mobile Health Screening (WMHS), a subsidiary of DBCC. The van is owned by DPH and the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition holds the operating contract. In March, the WMHS program received a new, state-of-the-art van that combines digital imaging equipment and health professionals from Beebe Medical Center.  The Delaware General Assembly allocated funding for the van in June 2015.

 

“When we catch cancers early, we protect Delawareans from early death, disfigurements, complex health problems – and devastated families,” said Governor Jack Markell.  “The work the coalition has done over 25 years has saved lives and preserved families.”

 

“Screening is saving lives in Delaware,” Secretary Landgraf said.  “Because of organizations like the Delaware Breast Cancer and Screening for Life within the Department of Health and Social Services, it is highly likely that improving the early detection of breast cancer contributed to Delaware’s progress in breast cancer mortality.”

 

Delaware’s all-site cancer mortality rate has dropped, from second-highest in the country in the early 1990s to 14th for the period of 2007-2011.  Delaware’s breast cancer mortality rate currently ranks 17th-highest in the country.

 

Starting in July, in addition to mammography screenings, the van will offer cervical cancer screenings and blood pressure screenings, as well healthy lifestyle education.  A prescription from a medical professional is no longer necessary to be screened.

 

“We will also talk to women on the van about risk factors for cancer (and other chronic diseases),” Dr. Rattay said.  “Women will receive glucose screening (for diabetes), tobacco cessation referrals, Body Mass Index screening, and physical activity and nutrition education.”

 

“I am pleased to finally see the new and improved women’s mobile health screening van on the road and bringing lifesaving mammography screenings to some of our most vulnerable populations,” says Senator Patricia Blevins. “The van serves nearly 800 women a year who might not otherwise have access to mammography screenings and with the new addition of a room for examinations, it will bring even more value to the women in Delaware who need it most.”

 

Through the WMHS program, more than 8,500 women were screened since July of 2004. Of those, more than 4,200 were through the Screening for Life (SFL) program.  Over the past 15 years, SFL provided 25,000 uninsured or under-insured women in Delaware with more than 48,000 breast cancer screenings.

 

Women who qualify for the SFL program may receive free mammography services as well as cervical, screenings. WMHS also accepts Medicaid, Medicare, most health insurance, and self-pay clients. Patients should check with insurance providers to find out if they are covered. WMHS staff helps women apply for SFL or find another program that can help cover the cost of screening. Patients also can arrange for transportation or an interpreter through WMHS.

 

“By having a background in both healthcare and nursing and co-chairing the Delaware Cancer Consortium, I have seen firsthand the effects that cancer can have on all of those who are touched by this disease,” says Senator Bethany Hall-Long. “Early detection can be lifesaving when it comes to screenings for breast cancer which is why having access to the mobile mammography van can help reduce mortality and morbidity in our population.”

 

The van primarily targets those who are uninsured and/or low income; however, all women can be screened on the van. The van regularly visits community centers, senior centers, health care facilities, and employers throughout the state. Most women screened on the van are age 40 or older. For more information on the Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van, call 888-672-9647.

 

Event Photos by CM Baker. Captions below (from left to right).

 

 

 

 

Top Left: Group shot in front of the van

Top Right: Katelynn Mayers, Governor Jack Markell, Bethany Hall-Long

Bottom Left: Vicky Cooke and Liard Stabler

Bottom Right: Rebecca Elzey, Donna Stinson, Vicky Cooke, Christina Richter, Ciro Poppiti, Patti Key, and Linda Powell

 

 

Advocacy in Action #NBCCsummit

Several staff members from the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition recently attended the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. It was a wonderful summit where staff members were updated on the latest efforts to achieve Deadline 2020: to know how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020 and advocate to leverage government to help us achieve our goals.  NBCC President, Fran Visco, shared so many stories with us of the triumph and tribulations the organization has faced over the last 25 years. We were inspired to live up to our goals so we can stop losing the ones we love to this horrible disease. #NBCCSummit

IMG_5315

There were updates from panels of experts in science, research, women’s health, and more on the Artemis Project – the search for a preventative breast cancer vaccine, prevention, metastasis, the political climate of breast cancer, and advocacy training.  All of this learning prepared us to march to Capitol Hill to meet with our legislators and effect change in our communities. #NBCConthehill

Our voices were heard as we met with staff members from all our legislative offices. In Congressman Carney’s office we met with staff aid, Gita Miller, who assured us of Congressman Carney’s continued support for the fight against breast cancer. He has already signed on as a Co-Sponsor for H.R. 1197 the bill which will help us Accelerate the End of Breast Cancer.  We urged the Congressman to help put pressure on the leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives to bring the bill to a suspension vote. We hope we can count on Congressman Carney to reach out to Representative Hoyer and Representative McCarthy to bring the bill to a suspension vote, where it will undoubtedly pass! Our Congressman will continue to make cancer a priority in his office.

 

IMG_5354

 

Quick detour as we stopped at the Supreme Court for a photo-op. #wheninDC

Next, we proceeded to the Senate side where we met with Senator Coons’ aid Kelsey Mellette to discuss the Senators unrelenting support for the efforts of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Not only is Senator Coons a cosponsor for S. 746 Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, but he has signed onto the FY17 letter to the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in support of funding for the DOD peer-reviewed Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP). This program has been so successful in producing innovative and unique, effective research which is both accountable to the public and transparent, and has produced extraordinary results. It has led to revolutionary work including the breast cancer drug, Herceptin. We are grateful to have Senator Coons support in Washington!

IMG_5357

Lastly, we met with Senator Carper’s aid Lynn Sha to discuss Carper’s support. Senator Carper has signed on as a cosponsor for S. 746 Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act and we hope we can count on his support of the DOD BCRP in the future.

IMG_5369

The conference was intense but we found some time for fun. Meeting the faculty for a quick chat about his ongoing research and a photo.

IMG_5322

And when it came time for the Breast Cancer Caucus “Convention”, we showed our Delaware pride BIG time! Check out our team pictured with Abe from the Washington Nationals and our University of Delaware Pride!

Overall, we learned a lot and had a great time. We will continue to fight to achieve the deadline and stop ending deaths due to breast cancer. If you would like to learn more about the National Breast Cancer Coalition and becoming an advocate, please contact Beth at bkrallis@debreastcancer.org.

Breast Cancer Update Was Great Success

Just about 300 people attended this year’s 19th Annual Breast Cancer Update held at Dover Downs Hotel and Rollins Conference Center on April 13. This year’s theme, Personalized Medicine: Not Your Grandmother’s Breast Cancer, focused on new methods of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, and more personalized options.

The morning sessions included informative talks about advances in diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer from Kevin Fox, M.D., Director, Rena Rowan Breast Cancer and Mariann T. and Robert J. MacDonald Professor in Breast Cancer Care Excellence, University of Pennsylvania, a look at what kind of research is being done here in Delaware by Jennifer Sims-Mourtada, Ph.D., Senior Clinical Scientist, Helen F Graham Cancer Center at Christiana Care Health System, and a look at complementary medicine including naturopathic practices by Marie Winters, ND, FABNO, Manager of Naturopathic Medicine, Cancer Treatment Centers of America and spirituality by Drew Angus, DMin, Director of Spiritual Outreach, Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

New this year was a look at breast reconstruction and nipple recreation. Erik Hoy, M.D., Plastic Surgeon, Premier Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery and Mandy Sauler, CPCP, Micropigmentation Specialist, Owner, CosMed Tattoo, LLC, both spoke about reconstruction after surgery and nipple recreation via tattooing. If you liked Mandy’s talk, you might enjoy this short video from Penn Medicine as well.IMG_9535

The day ended with a survivor panel with three local survivors sharing their stories, Barbie Andrews, Cheris Reed, and Holly Thatcher. This is always one of the most touching parts of the day and a favorite of many attendees!

Our expert panel of moderators included Owen Thomas, M.D., Radiation Oncology, Delmarva Radiation Services, Tunnell Cancer Center; Sara Gavenonis, M.D., Diagnostic Radiologist, Christiana Care Health System; Clara Higgins, D.O., FACOS, Trauma Medical Director, Beebe Healthcare; and Wendy Newell, M.D. FACS, General Surgeon, Wolf Creek Surgeons.

DBCC would like to thank the planning committee, chaired by board members Nanci Mayer-Mihalski and Wilma Yu, along with board members Tynetta Brown, Sue Bowlby, Patti Key, Beth Selsor, Linda Powell, Mary McLaughlin, Rena Howard, Donna Stinson, Ciro Poppiti, Amy Norgate, Dr. Clara Higgins, Dr. Wendy Newell  and all the sponsors, staff, volunteers, vendors, and all those who attended!

See you next year for the 20th Annual Breast Cancer Update – Wednesday, April 26, 2017!

IMG_9540

 

Forgiveness and Health

Provided by Drew Angus, DMin
Director of Spiritual Outreach, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

 

Maryanne’s aging parents are still independent but they need more support than ever. Her Dad has a complicated health history including diabetes and a recent recurrence of cancer. Maryanne has three siblings who all live within an hour drive to their parents, however, Maryanne is the child who seems to always take her parents to the doctor and is in daily contact with them. Maryanne’s husband maintains her parent’s lawn and frequently does their home maintenance. Maryanne cooks three meals a week for her folks and stops by to check on them almost every day, all while managing her own household and working full time. In addition, Maryanne has recently gained added responsibilities with her daughter’s upcoming high school graduation. Recently, she asked her siblings if they could take over some of the duties of supporting their parents during the coming month. None of her siblings stepped up to the plate and each had excuses that did not seem valid. Once again, Maryanne was stretched thin with responsibilities and work that left her exhausted and angry. “I am disgusted with my siblings. Why do they have to be so selfish? I just need them to pull their weight and help Mom and Dad especially when I have so much on my plate already!”

During the course of any given day many of us get angry at least once. Something or more likely someone becomes a source of anger or frustration. There are a number of reasons why we get angry with people, but let me suggest a few of the m­ost common:

  • Injustice. We all have a sense of right and wrong and of what constitutes fair treatment. We know when wrong has been committed against us or someone we love, when people don’t do what they say they are going to do, when they don’t pull their weight, etc.
  • Hurt. The heart gets wounded. Most of us know what it feels like to be left out; overlooked, undervalued, put-down.
  • Fear. When there is a perceived threat to something that gives us a sense of identity or security.
  • Frustration. Everyone has a God-given need for significance and to leave a positive mark on the world. We want to see our work make a difference. Sometimes, roadblocks to moving toward our goals are people.

Sometimes we have a hard time letting things go.  We have the capacity to stew on offenses and sometimes develop deep pockets of resentment or lack of forgiveness that research shows actually hurts our health over time.

According to Seawell et al. in Pyschology and Health, “As a negative response to interpersonal offense that commonly involves grudge, resentment and revenge, lack of forgiveness has been consistently related to poorer health in published research.”

We know that those who do not forgive show an increase in sympathetic nervous system responses and release more stress hormones over a longer period that will in time affect their health and well-being. In other words, if I don’t forgive someone who has hurt me, the one who will suffer the most is me. So it is important for our friend Maryanne’s own health and well-being to be able to find forgiveness toward her siblings who have let her down.

So if it is so beneficial to forgive, why might Maryanne resist something that is good for her? Harboring an offense can actually feel good! History shows that one of the shadow sides of human nature is self-righteousness. If we are really honest sometimes we really enjoy feeling BETTER than someone else. If Maryanne forgives her siblings, she may sacrifice her sense of being `right’. When we hold onto a grudge it feels like we are in control although, in the long run, we end up being the ones controlled by the very offense that has hurt us to begin with. Another reason Maryanne might resist forgiving her siblings is the false notion that it means that she is letting them off the hook. It is difficult to accept that forgiveness does not perpetuate the hurt and injustices being done.

“Importantly, forgiveness is not condoning, excusing, denying, minimizing, or forgetting the wrong. It can occur without reconciliation, which requires the participation of both parties, if the person who caused the hurt is absent, deceased, or remains unsafe.” (Toussaint et al. Forgive to Live)

“Lack of forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” –Nelson Mandela

“Forgiveness can be defined as a freely made choice to give up revenge, resentment, or harsh judgements toward a person who caused a hurt, and to strive to respond with generosity, compassion, and kindness toward that person. It is a process that involves reducing negative responses and increasing positive responses toward the person who cause the hurt, across the realms of affect, cognition and behavior.” Loren Toussaint et al. (Toussaint et al. Forgive to Live)

Family therapist, Ruthanne Batstone, describes forgiveness as, “a willingness to absorb or pay the emotional debt for the offense and not seek revenge or payment in return. The offended person absorbs the price of emotional pain without seeking revenge.”

So if Maryanne forgives her siblings it is not a denial of the pain of their offense to her, rather it is an acknowledgement of the offense and a willingness to absorb the debt without repayment.

How do we find the power to forgive? “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” This beautiful quote is familiar to many and is taken from Jesus prayer from the Sermon on the Mount. One way to forgive is to remember our own humanity and frailty which will help us develop compassion towards others, even those who have hurt us. All of us who are loved well are also known well and that means we are not loved because we are perfect, but rather loved `warts and all’. If we meditate long enough on being loved by God with others even with our imperfections, it will create the space in our hearts to do likewise and to ‘forgive those who have trespassed against us.”

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, we see many people who live with cancer and their caregivers who, like Maryanne, carry immense responsibilities. Our desire is to minimize their stress and optimize their health and well-being by offering forgiveness education ­­­as one of many modalities to integrated health and healing.

Scriptural wisdom gives two possible responses to an offense by another. Sometimes you go to the person and talk about the offense, especially if it is needed to keep the relationship free of resentment and for the sake of loving the offender well. Sometimes you overlook the offense if you are able to absorb the debt without resentment and it is a more minor offense. Part of living in any relationship, any community is “patience, bearing with each other in love” (Eph 4:2). So we often need wisdom and discernment to know whether we let an offense go or talk to the person about it. When trying to decide, the guiding principle is LOVE.

11-9-mainimage-forgive

Personalized Medicine… The future is here for Judy!

We have all heard that personalized medicine is the future of cancer treatment. Fortunately for some, the future is here now! At the National Breast Cancer Coalition Project LEAD conference last summer, a staff member from the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition met Judy Anderson, a stage 4 breast cancer survivor from Florida. Judy’s incredible story of breast cancer diagnosis, recurrence, treatment, and her experience in a clinical trial is told below. We are amazed that the future of breast cancer treatment is here and Judy has experienced it! We wish her a cancer-free future filled with much happiness!

headshot

Pictured: Judy at the National Breast Cancer Coalition Project Lead conference in San Diego last July 2015.

While President Obama and Vice President Biden are beginning work on a new initiative in the fight against cancer, a Port St. Lucie woman has just returned from the front lines in the battle to cure cancer with some hopeful newsJudy Perkins Anderson has had Stage 4 breast cancer since August, 2013.  She was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 and had a mastectomy.  Since she became metastatic, in the last 2-1/2 years, she has been through numerous treatments including several different hormonal therapies, chemotherapies and targeted therapies.  Last summer, with treatment options running out, she found out about a clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD.  The trial, “Immunotherapy Using Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes for Patients with Metastatic Cancer”, builds on existing immunotherapy that has already shown success with melanoma patients.  This trial expands the patient population to include people with other cancers with solid metastatic tumors.

The theory behind this treatment is that part of our immune system is still trying to fight the cancer.  However, most of our immune system no longer recognizes the cancer as an enemy and is no longer trying to attack it.  Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) are white blood cells (WBCs) that have penetrated the tumor and are trying to fight the cancer.  They are a small minority of the WBCs in our bodies and do not have sufficient numbers to effectively fight the cancer.

In Mrs. Anderson’s case, she had a tumor removed in August, 2015 to potentially develop her treatment.  Her tumor was cut into 24 pieces and the TIL were watched to see if any of them would attack the cancer.  In four of the 24 pieces, activity was seen.  Subsequently, the active TIL from these four tumor pieces were grown up into an army of about 80 billion T-cells focused only on killing her cancer.  This “selective TIL treatment” was ready for Mrs. Anderson just before Christmas in December, 2015.

Prior to receiving her “TIL army” as Mrs. Anderson calls it, she was given high dose chemotherapy that killed all the other WBCs in her system.  This way, when the selective TIL treatment was infused, the only target was the cancer cells.  With time, her bone marrow will regenerate the other WBCs which are an integral part of our normal immunity that fights infections and disease.

Mrs. Anderson returned home on New Year’s Day 2016 and has been recovering from the TIL treatment which can be, in her words, “a grueling affair”.  Amazingly, she reports that more than half a dozen tumors that she could feel in her chest have “melted away”.  She has stopped all pain medications that she had been taking to control the pain from the cancer.  Her doctors at NIH are already very optimistic saying that such a rapid response is unusual.  Mrs. Anderson will get scans in early February that will confirm what she already knows, that she is heading for a remission.  How long it will last, remains to be seen.  But, for other patients that have responded, sometimes the remissions have lasted a long time.  Until there is evidence to the contrary, Mrs. Anderson is resuming life without cancer and beginning once again to plan for the future.

project lead study group.jpg

Pictured: the Olive study group at Project Lead in July 2015. Judy is on the right, standing next to DBCC staff member, Beth Krallis.

What do you think after reading about Judy’s experience? What questions do you have about TIL treatment and cancer fighting of the future? What do you wish you knew earlier or want to know now about clinical trials?

If you would like to find out more about participating in a clinic trial or becoming involved with the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s Clinical Trials Mentoring Initiative, please contact Beth. Researchers and the medical community recognize the need for trained advocates and their support role to the clinical trials process. Without participants, research outcomes are limited.

If you want to learn more about the science of breast cancer and Project LEAD, please visit the National Breast Cancer Coalition website.

 

Progress Is Great But More Is Needed!!!!

We were happy to recently read a press release from the American Cancer Society that tells us the death rate from cancer in the US has declined steadily over the past 2 decades. The cancer death rate for men and women combined fell 23% from its peak in 1991 to 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, translating to more than 1.7 million deaths averted during this time period. Read the details here.

Still, we know a total of 1,685,210 new cancer cases and 595,690 deaths from cancer are projected to occur in the US in 2016 and many of them will be due to breast cancer. During the most recent 4 years for which there are data (2009-2012), the rate of new cancer diagnoses decreased by 3.1% per year in men and stayed about the same in women.

We need to do more. Too many people (and especially women) we love are dying of cancer, and specifically breast cancer. If we continue to affect death rates this slowly (23% over 2 decades!) we will keep losing those we love to cancer.

For more information on this subject matter, please check out the National Breast Cancer Coalition‘s plan to know how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. Find out more about the deadline, which we support, by clicking here. We are committed. Are you with us?

IMG_3226