Archive Posts

Archive for the ‘ cancer’ Category

Prostate cancer includes emotional challenges

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Aliya M Hafeez, MD ABIHMAliya 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.


Upstate hosts program on history of cancer

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Ken Burns Cancer ProgramDebbie 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.


A Tale of Two Boobies – One Year with Cancer

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Shelly StraubShelly 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.


“The Boring Patient”

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

R. David Lankes, PhDProfessor 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.


The role of a dietitian during cancer treatment

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Maria Erdman, RDMaria 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.


Men to Men group (prostate cancer)

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Jason Warchal & Ray StraubLearn 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.


HealthLink On Air radio show: Oct. 19, 2014

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

HealthLink on Air radio show art in pinkBreast cancer researchers share their projects. Leszek Kotula, MD, PhD, and Steve Landas, MD, explore which drugs will work best in each patient. Megan Oest, PhD, investigates how to better protect bone from radiation therapy. Debashis Ghosh, PhD, explains the best way to inhibit estrogen. Christopher Turner, PhD, and Nicholas Deakin, PhD, search for ways to halt the spread of breast cancer.


New dangers: e-cigarette cartridges, and heroin-laced oxycontin

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Michele CalivaMichele Caliva, RN, administrative director of the Upstate New York Poison Center at Upstate Medical University, shares the newest dangers related to e-cigarette cartridges, and heroin-laced oxycontin. Read more:


Which drug will work best in each breast cancer patient?

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Steve K Landas, MDLeszek Kotula, MD/PhD

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?”

Kotula and Landas are among dozens of researchers who have received grants from the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund of CNY since 2002.


What will stop the spread of breast cancer?

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Christopher E Turner, PhDNicholas Deakin

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.


Can your job give you cancer?

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Jerrold L Abraham, MDMichael B Lax, MDJerrold Abraham, MD and Michael Lax, MD, talk about occupationally related cancers, and describe the potential risks and strategies for minimizing those risks in the work place. Abraham is professor of Pathology and medical director of Environmental and Occupational Pathology at Upstate Medical University. Lax is professor of Family Medicine at Upstate Medical University and medical director of the Occupational Health Clinical Center (CNY). Dr. Abraham’s lab: Welcome to Particle Analysis in Environmental and Biomedical Samples


A unique surgery built a new bladder to replace one damaged by cancer

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Gennady Bratslavsky, MDAl SustareUrologist Gennady Bratslavsky, MD is joined by patient Allan Sustare to share the aggressive and dramatic approach used to treat Sustare’s advanced bladder cancer. Bratslavsky is chair of Urology and director of the Prostate Cancer Program at Upstate Medical University.
Watch Sustare’s video: Cancer Survivor Allen Sustare delivers remarks at the Upstate Cancer Center ribbon cutting ceremony on the campus of Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. July 18, 2014.  Upstate Cancer Center