Leslie Kohman, MD, explains advances in cancer prevention that have taken place over the years, plus how surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments have changed and improved. Kohman is medical director of the Upstate Cancer Center, which teams with WCNY on March 25 to offer previews of the upcoming cancer documentary that is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Emperor of All Maladies.”
Leslie Kohman, MD: Cancer Center med director reflects on advances in cancer prevention, treatments[ 0.01 MB ]Play Now | Download
Aliya Hafeez, MD, the chief psychiatric consultant at Upstate Cancer Center, tells about the emotional challenges of a prostate cancer diagnosis, and the importance of communication during trying times.
Aliya Hafeez, MD: Prostate cancer includes emotional challenges[ 0.01 MB ]Play Now | Download
Debbie Stack, the director of education and community engagement at WCNY, tells about the upcoming cancer documentary that is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Emperor of All Maladies.” Upstate is teaming up with WCNY to offer previews of this program at an event from 6 to 8 p.m. March 25.
Debbie Stack: Upstate hosts program on history of cancer[ 0.01 MB ]Play Now | Download
Shelly Straub of Cicero thought that her nipple developed a dimple because she was getting older and because she had breastfed her daughters. She did not realize until she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer that dimpling can be a sign.
She was diagnosed in October 2013. By October 2014, she was recovered from surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Soon after, she published a book called “A Tale of Two Boobies: One Year With Cancer,” which offers an organized perspective of her experience.
“I really wanted to remember my story,” she says. “It feels surreal, like I can’t believe that it really happened.”
The book carries a parental advisory on the cover, because of the graphic photos she includes. Straub discusses why she wrote the book and what that year was like for her.
Shelly Straub: A Tale of Two Boobies - One Year with Cancer[ 0.01 MB ]Play Now | Download
Professor David Lankes, from Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, was diagnosed in 2012 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. During his treatment, he wanted to be the boring patient, the man who simply needed his vitals checked or a scheduled dose of chemo. “You don’t want to be interesting in most medical settings. Interesting means complications, and that is bad,” Lankes explains in the book he wrote with the title, “The Boring Patient.”
The book was his way of summing up his experience.
Lankes talks about how many people say a person with cancer is “fighting” the disease. The way he sees it, chemistry is fighting the disease. As a patient, he was not fighting so much as surrendering — surrendering that his son had to help him up the stairs, for instance.
R. David Lankes, PhD: "The Boring Patient"[ 0.01 MB ]Play Now | Download
Maria Erdman, RDN, explains how a registered dietitian nutritionst who specializes in oncology can help cancer patients as they go through treatment. Appetite, eating habits and weight are all potentially affected by cancer treatment. “Some people sail right through, but for many people it’s very challenging,” she says. Some patients benefit from eating small meals throughout the day. It’s also important to know how to choose the most nutritious foods.
Maria Erdman, RDN: The role of a dietitian during cancer treatment[ 0.01 MB ]Play Now | Download
Learn about Men to Men, a prostate cancer support group that has existed in the Syracuse area since the mid-90′s. Ray Straub, one of the group’s facilitators, talks about the meetings with Jason Warchal, from the American Cancer Society. The group meets at 5 p.m. the last Thursday of month at the HealthLink offices in East Syracuse. Spouses and partners are welcome. Please call Upstate Connect at 315 464-8668 for more information.
Jason Warchal & Ray Straub: Men to Men group (prostate cancer)[ 0.01 MB ]Play Now | Download
A family of molecules known as the Wave Complex interact within our cells. Which molecular family members are present at any given time in the life of a cell determines how that cell will behave: how it gets nutrition, whether and how it moves, whether it remains stationery.
This complex appears to play a major role in the invasive types of breast cancer, says Leszek Kotula, PhD, associate professor of urology and biochemistry and molecular biology. Working on the theory that the Wave Complex could be a target for therapy are Kotula and two colleagues, Steve Landas, MD, professor of pathology and urology, and Mira Krendel, PhD, assistant professor of cell and developmental biology.
When they increase some specific molecules in the complex, the cancer spreads, Kotula says. He adds that by decreasing certain molecules, “we may actually stop metastasis, or greatly affect it.”
The next step will be to test the effects of existing cancer drugs on these molecules. Landas, a diagnostic pathologist for 35 years, sees the potential. “Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if we find ourselves in a situation where we can look at certain members of this family of molecules and know with a high degree of certainty which drugs will work and which will not?”
The protein, paxillin plays an important role in cell movement. What scientists are trying to determine is exactly how paxillin affects the movement of cancer cells away from a primary tumor, into the blood stream and on to colonize distant organs. It’s important to know because “If we can develop ways in which we can limit paxillin’s function, we may be able to block the process of metastasis,” says Christopher Turner, PhD, professor of cell and developmental biology.
Many of the drugs used to fight breast cancer tumors target microtubules, the proteins that makes up the cytoskeleton that helps cells maintain their shape and internal organization. These drugs create toxic side effects for patients.
“We found that the level of expression of paxillin in tumor cells may actually influence the microtubule cytoskeleton and, therefore, may influence how those drugs actually work in individual patients,” Turner says.
Nicholas Deakin, PhD, research assistant professor of cell and developmental biology, points out that the deaths of 95 percent of the 40,000 American women who die from breast cancer each year are linked to metastasis. “It’s not the tumor in the breast that really is the problem. It’s the ability of the cells to move away from there,” he explains. “If we can detect the tumors early, and if we can then treat them with a drug or know what drug to go with to stop their spread, then that’s going to greatly influence the survival of these patients.”
Turner and Deakin are among dozens of researchers who have received grants from the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund of CNY since 2002.
Christopher Turner, PhD and Nicholas Deakin, PhD: Impact of Paxillin Expression on breast cancer drug efficacy[ 0.01 MB ]Play Now | Download