We met with prominent oncologists from around the world at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago earlier this month- and we thought it was the perfect opportunity to get cheeky.
Our GetYourButtSeen-themed booth and educational butt-boards were a rare treat in a sea of oh-so-serious displays, and many doctors took the time to stop by our booth and create virtual butts of their own. There were some good laughs and extremely positive comments on our edgy virtual awareness campaign.
These specialists, who deal with the seriousness of cancer treatment on a daily basis, are ready to bare their butts. Are you?
Heartfelt thanks to CCAC Board Members Garry Sears and Eva Hoare for joining Frank (our Patient & Volunteer Support guru), Michelle (our Business Operations Director) and Barry (CCAC president) in the Windy City.
Did you know that the CCAC has a full-time clinical & Educational Specialist? Along with our Medical Advisory Board, this individual is a vital link between medical research and the many patients who come to our site seeking information about colorectal cancer screening, treatment and prevention. Below, you’ll find a selection of this month’s selected journal article summaries- a gift to you from our Clinical & Educational Specialist! Click here to catch up on previous months’ selected articles.
- EGFR-Targeted Therapies Like Erbitux & Vectibix Bind to Decoy
- Biothera Initiates Dosing in a Phase III Trial in Colorectal Cancer Patients
- DNA Repair Plays a Role in Colon Cancer Recurrence
- Primary Tumor Response to Preoperative Chemoradiation With or Without Oxaliplatin
- Avastin in First Line Therapy Comparing Folfiri and Xeliri
- Study Shows No Benefit from Adding Erbitux to Standard Chemo
- VEGF-C and VEGF-D Identified as Biomarkers for Avastin Resistance
- Breast Cancer Drug Lapatinib Helpful in Colon Cancer
- Xeloxgem (Xeloda + Oxaliplatin + Gemcitabine) In Second Line Therapy
- Adding Oxaliplatin to 5FU/Leucovorin in Stage II Colon Cancer
- Erbitux + Folfiri As First Line Therapy for MCRC
- MSI Testing Before Surgery For Young Patients
- Second Surgery for Peritoneal Mets
- Preoperative Radiotherapy Combined with Total Mesorectal Excision For Rectal Cancer
- Prognosis of Elderly Colorectal Cancer Patients In the Year Following Surgery
- The Use of Intraoperative Radiotherapy in Colorectal Cancer
- Pretargeted Radio-immunotherapy for Colorectal Cancer
- Detecting Polyps in Women
- People with Negative FOBT Might Still Be At Risk for Colorectal Cancer
- Oncotype DX Identifies Those Stage II Patients Who Are At Higher Risk of Recurrence
- Poor Bowel Preps May Miss Polyps
- Trial Participation Possible for Elderly Patients
- Red and Processed Meat, Fibre and Colorectal Cancer
- Reducing Exposure to Carcinogens When Cooking Outdoors
- Eating Yogurt May Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk
- Anti-Cancer Grilling Tips
- Colorectal Cancer Risk in Offspring Reduced by Vitamin B in Mom’s Diet
The CCAC hosted its third Round Table conference in Vancouver last month. Entitled Addressing Quality of Care Issues in the Colorectal Cancer Patient Pathway, the conference’s participants came together to discuss how they could better provide patients with seamless access to quality colorectal cancer care. Notable healthcare professionals from various disciplines and provinces engaged in deep discussions and group workshops to create strategies and projects to improve patient outcomes. Screening, treatment, navigation, survivorship and palliative care concepts were all explored.
We were very fortunate to host Dr. Robyn Boushay and Dr. Michael Fung Kee Fung who discussed the Ottawa Hospital’s multidisciplinary Communities of Practice care model. They shared their positive experiences in implementing this model at the Champlain Hospital region and we hope to spread their ideas to other hospitals and provincial healthcare authorities.
Keeping active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a key preventative measure for colorectal cancer. As part of the Round Table’s healthy lifestyle agenda, participants engaged in morning and afternoon exercise activities such as yoga, tai-chi, jogging and biking!
We’re back home in Montreal now, and we think this conference was a great success! We can’t wait to get started on new project ideas that will help improve the colorectal cancer patient pathway.
An estimated 22,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) this year. How will the Colorectal Cancer Association – a team of only a dozen professional staff – reach them all? Our Cancer Coaches are the answer!
Cancer Coaches are survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals who we train, certify and empower to provide patients and their families with:
- Information about new treatments and clinical trials
- Suggestions for better coping, symptom/side effect management, stress reduction, etc
- Psychosocial support
- Guidance regarding Healthcare system navigation
Topics on the agenda for this packed three-day conference:
- Digestive system anatomy (our Clinical/Educational Specialist)
- Hereditary syndromes (and their connection to CRC) (veteran Cancer Coach Roslyn Fitzpatrick and Dr. Deborah Terespolsky, Medical Geneticist for Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga)
- Approved surgical, systemic (drug) and complementary therapies
- Coping skills, support methods (Dr. Mary Jane Esplen, De Souza Institute in Toronto)
- Medical oncology (Dr. Pierre Major, Juravinsky Hospital in Hamilton)
- Radiation oncology (Dr. Laura Dawson, University Health Network in Toronto)
- Liver surgery (Dr. Calvin Law, (Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto)
- Mindfullness-based stress reduction (Dr. Susan Abbey, University Health Network in Toronto)
- Review of 2010-2011 research findings
- Ostomy care (Debbie Miller, Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre, Toronto)
- Naturopathic medicine (with Dr. Becky Lee, Marsden Clinic)
Follow the conference’s activities on Twitter using hashtag #CancerCoach- and if you need support, don’t be afraid to call us at 1-877-50-COLON (26566).
Victoria Day long weekend is just a few short hours away, so it’s time we grill you on safe BBQ’ing!
Some research show that cooking meat at high temperatures can produce harmful carcinogens that increase your colorectal cancer risk. From one of our former posts on the matter:
When high-protein, high-fat foods like meat are cooked to the point of charring, the large quantities of creatine in the meat’s muscle cells chemically bond with the amino acids of the protein to form heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which have the ability to bond to DNA and cause genetic mutations that can trigger the growth of cancer. Further, the meat’s fat may oxidize, a process that produces compounds like malondialdehyde, which have similar abilities in terms of genetic mutations. Studies do conclude that high consumption of HCAs can be found in colorectal cancer patients.
The good news is that there are ways to reduce the harm while still enjoying the high-heat cooking of BBQ season:
- Overall, base your diet around fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. Eat meat in small quantities, grilled or otherwise
- Cook “low and slow”. Even if two pieces of meat are cooked to the same level, the piece cooked over a lower heat and longer period will contain fewer carcinogenic compounds
- Marinate your meat. This is probably the tastiest tip on the list! Research shows that the use of herbs and spices may inhibit the formation of carcinogenic compounds
- Limit the amount of fat that is allowed to drip onto the grill. Achieve this by using tongs rather than a fork to manipulate the meat, as piercing will cause fat to run out
- Consider lining your barbecue with tinfoil. Be sure to poke some holes so that smoke can escape. When the fat drips, it will avoid touching the hot coals, and will reduce the chances of your meat charring
- Grill up those veggies! Many vegetables can play a delicious role in your afternoon barbecue- try portobello mushrooms, sweet peppers, zuchinni, eggplant and asparagus
And now, what about the beer? A frosty brew may seem like the perfect accompaniment to your Victoria Day spread, but please practice moderation! Beside reducing your risk of impromptu karaoke, some evidence suggests that limiting your alcohol consumption may markedly reduce your colorectal cancer risk.
On April 24 2010, we held a small conference in Montreal in order to discuss how Canada’s colorectal cancer experts can better treat metastatic cancer patients. Over twenty doctors and nurses from various disciplines came together to form “practice guidelines” for care of those individuals whose cancer had spread beyond the colon or rectum. Nearly one year later, we’re harvesting the fruits of our labour!
The May 2011 edition of Oncology Exchange features our finished consensus (or “practice guidelines”) document, entitled “Standards of care for curative surgery and management of metastatic colorectal cancer”. Click here to read the PDF version of the article.
Among the experts’ priorities?
All Canadian patients with mCRC should have access to government-funded systemic therapies (and the predictive biomarker testing required to make systemic therapy decisions) that will improve their cure rate when used with surgery, or improve their survival and/or quality of life when used for unresectable metastatic disease.
The experts also touch upon the issue of clinical trial access:
Although there have been significant advances in the treatment of mCRC in the last decade, further improvements are necessary. Offering patients the option of participating in clinical trials should be a priority, and there should be a continued effort to design and accrue to trials that assess important patient-related outcomes such as quality of life and symptom control in addition to progression- free and overall survival.
This consensus statement article is a challenging read, but a wonderful window into some of the crucial work we do with medical professionals.
Need some help with terminoloy? Consult our Glossary of Terms as you read!
Did you know that the CCAC has a full-time Research & Education Specialist? Along with our Medical Advisory Board, this individual is a vital link between medical research and the many patients who come to our site seeking information about colorectal cancer screening, treatment and prevention. Below, you’ll find a selection of this month’s selected journal article summaries. A gift to you from our Research & Education Specialist! Click here to catch up on previous months’ selected articles.
- FDA Approves Fusilev
- Reintroduction of Oxaliplatin in the Treatment of Metastatic Colorectal
- Pain Relievers May Lower Colorectal Cancer Risk
- Erbitux in First Line Therapy for the Treatment of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
- Zaltrap Extends Survival in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
- Drug May Have Utility in Treating Colorectal Cancer
- Prophylactic Drugs Help Prevent Oxaliplatin-Related Nausea and Vomiting
- Unresectable Peritoneal Carcinomatosis from Colorectal Cancer
- Laparoscopic Liver Resection Becoming More Popular
- Liver Resection in Presence of Extrahepatic Disease
- Sentinel Lymph Node Procedure in Colorectal Cancer
- New Test for Colon Cancer Detection
- CT Colonography More Sensitive At Detecting Colorectal Cancer
- Simple Urine Test for Colorectal Cancer
- Interval Colorectal Cancers Increased After Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
- Estrogen Use For a Few Years After Menopause is Safe
- Decision Aid for Patients with Advanced Colorectal Cancer Considering Chemo
- How Inflammation Can Lead to Cancer
- Vitamin D [25(OH)D] and Colorectal Cancer
- Alcohol and Cancer
- Study Shows No Link Between Folates & Colorectal Cancer
- Office Desk Job Doubles Colon Cancer Risk
- Smokers Diagnosed With Colon Cancer Have Greater Likelihood of Dying
- Eating Anything At Anytime & Risk of Colorectal Cancer
- Thin People Face Colon Cancer Risk As Well
A story on Medical News Today suggests that many nurses and other healthcare professionals express difficulty in initiating discussions about sexuality with their patients. This finding was outlined in an abstract presented at the 36th Annual Congress of the Oncology Nursing Society by nurses from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre.
We hear about this issue often- it seems the cancer care industry has known for some time that physical intimacy can be a real concern for patients striving to maintain the best possible quality of life.
While no online guide should replace guidance from your healthcare team, these documents may be a good place to start, if you or your partner is having difficulties during treatment:
- The Canadian Cancer Society has a comforting resource entitled Sexuality in Cancer.
- The National Cancer Institute (USA) has fact sheets regarding sexual chemo side effects for both men and women.
- The American Cancer Society has comprehensive resources for men, touching on topics like hormone therapy, orgasm intensity, erectile dysfunction and how to feel good about yourself during treatment.
- The American Cancer Society has comprehensive resources for women, touching on topics like reaching orgasm, preventing discomfort, fertility and how to feel good about yourself during treatment.
Do you have any resources to add to the list? We’re especially interested in resources for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community.
- The National LGBT Cancer’s Project’s own site, where they focus on LGBT cancer survivor support and advocacy with the help of oncologists, social workers, psychologists and patients
- Malecare.org, a multilingual site that focuses on the quality-of-life of men during treatment and palliation
- OutWithCancer.com, a social network for gay, lesbian, bi and trans men and women who have been diagnosed with cancer
Meet Stephanie Valent. To celebrate her mother’s recent NED (No Evidence of Disease) status and to bring attention to the work of the CCAC, Stephanie will be running in this weekend’s Mississauga Marathon. She recently circulated this letter to her peers.
As you know, my mother has gone through a hell of a year fighting colon cancer. She is now NED – No Evidence of Disease! She went through colon surgery, a liver resection, and 6 months of chemo. Along the way she has received support from the CCAC – the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada.
The CCAC is a fantastic non-profit association that has provided my mother the support and knowledge she needed to help fight this disease.
The CCAC also advocates for population-based screening and timely access to effective treatments. They are a fantastic association that gives my mother and many other colorectal cancer patients the hope, knowledge and power to help fight this disease.
Please support me as I compete in the Mississauga 5k run to support the CCAC (one day it will be a marathon…baby steps!). Click on the link below and select “The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada” and donate to help combat colorectal cancer!
***Overall, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Canada. Colorectal Cancer is one in a group of the deadliest cancers, yet receives the least amount of charity support. Please help change this statistic! ***
Have you had a colonoscopy? While it may be one of the deadliest, it is one of the most preventable cancers. Get screened today!
We are so proud of Stephanie’s commitment- and we are delighted that her mother is embarking on her survivorship journey. We hope to see many more stories like this!
You can visit Stephanie’s page to see her fundraising progress!
Meet Jessica Wu. Her mother Joyce lost her battle with colorectal cancer on October 7, 2007, at the age of only 49 years old. This Saturday, Jessica will continue her tradition of raising funds for the CCAC and spreading awareness in her community, all in honour of her incredible mother.
I have. Although, my celebration may be a little different from most. You see, I lost my mother, Joyce L. Wu, to Colorectal Cancer in October, 2007. Mom was only 49 years old, and I was 24. We were both ‘too young’ to be experiencing this type of a farewell.
Mom wasn’t someone who should’ve gotten cancer, I remembered people saying. She was the Captain of her volleyball team in school, exercised regularly, kept a very healthy diet and chose fresh food, and even took up Tai Chi weekly. There was no family history we could find that hinted my Mom may have been a candidate for cancer. At age 46, though, Mom told us the news: the lump our family doctor found was malignant … and she had Colorectal Cancer. She was told that screening for Colorectal Cancer was not performed until people are 50 years old in Ontario. Mom battled Colorectal Cancer bravely for the next three years, and although it rendered her completely motionless from her neck downwards and riddled her body with relentless pain, Mom did not want to be admitted to Palliative Care until 4 days before she passed. Mom was always a fighter and a true warrior.
Nearly four years have passed, and each year, I have the opportunity of continuing to celebrate Mother’s Day along with everyone else, even though Mom is no longer with us. After emptying my savings account to buy a small townhouse after Mom’s passing, I stumbled upon an Annual Community Garage Sale event held by my townhouse corporation around Mother’s Day each year, in which all 548 townhouse units can participate. It’s a MASSIVE and very convenient way to sell, swap and find items. Ideas flowed and I began asking my co-workers, friends, family, and even my French and Piano students to donate any items they no longer needed to me for the Garage Sale, especially since Spring Cleaning was always around the corner. I housed all the donated items – from bikes to treadmills, sandboxes for kids to vacuum cleaners – in my garage and spare bedroom. On the morning of the Garage Sale, my brother and Dad helped to set everything up.
For the past three years, our family has continued this tradition to celebrate and remember Mom for Mother’s Day. Every year during the Annual Community Garage Sale, we ask around for donations of items (or proceeds) and donate every single penny from our Garage Sale to the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) in loving memory of Mom. The CCAC graciously sends me posters, wallet inserts, banners, and/or brochures annually for this event so that my brother and Dad can pass these out to all passer-bys and raise awareness for Colorectal Cancer. Given Mom’s healthy lifestyle, she wasn’t someone who “should’ve” gotten cancer, but she did. She wasn’t supposed to get screened for Colorectal Cancer until age 50, but she didn’t make it to 50. My family recognizes the importance of spreading the word about Colorectal Cancer to anyone and everyone, regardless of their age. The first year, we raised $320.95 in 4 short hours from our Garage Sale alone and my company matched this donation amount 100% – we wrote a cheque to the CCAC for a total of $642!
This year is no different for us as we celebrate Mother’s Day. Our Annual Community Garage Sale takes place Saturday, May 14th from 8AM – 1PM (rain or shine) for all 548 townhouse units, of which mine is but one. The CCAC brochures, wallet inserts and posters are ready to go. We would love to have more donations of items (items that aren’t sold are driven across the street and we give them all to Goodwill the same afternoon) and/or financial donations that morning, too. So please do stop by to support and encourage us, or make a donation to the CCAC for us! You can find our address on CCAC’s calendar of events: http://www.colorectal-cancer.ca/en/events-and-raising/ccac-events-calendar/
It is our dream that our humble Garage Sale will continue not only annually, but that it will become a city-wide event one day where families of those who have been affected from Colorectal Cancer will gather to not only remember, but truly celebrate our loved ones who so courageously battle this disease by raising awareness and funds for the Colorectal Cancer Association to further their mission and fund research we all so desperately need.
From the Wu Family, we wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day – truly, a day to celebrate all Moms, no matter where our Moms are.
- Jessica, Grant & Joseph Wu