Monthly Archives: January 2012

Sometimes Science Is Not Convenient: Avastin® In The (Very) Early Treatment Of Breast Cancer

Sometimes science is not as convenient as we would like it to be. We want answers, we want clarity, we want direction–especially when it comes to the treatment of patients with cancer.


So when I read two articles and an editorial released Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, I was struck as to how studies seeking to answer similar questions could come to different conclusions. And, as I struggled to explain the research findings to reporters prior to their release to the general public, I found myself searching for words that would adequately explain the message of the research. Quite frankly, determining that message proved to be difficult. [more]


The studies were done by well-recognized and accomplished researchers, one group from Germany and one from a group based in the United States. The goals of the studies were to demonstrate whether or not the addition of Avastin® (bevacizumab) to chemotherapy treatment given before a woman with breast cancer had surgery improved the rate of complete response of the cancer at the time of surgery (meaning that when the surgeon did the surgery and the pathologist reviewed the specimens there was no evidence of cancer in the … Continue reading →

Cancer Facts and Figures 2012: One Million Cancer Deaths Averted, But We Still Have A Long Way To Go

Welcome to the New Year!


And as has been the case for many years in the past, the American Cancer Society takes the New Year opportunity of providing the nation with the latest estimates of cancer incidence and deaths, along with a measure of how well we are doing in reducing the burden of cancer in the United States.


The data is contained in two reports released today by the Society: the consumer oriented Cancer Facts and Figures 2012 and the more scientifically directed Cancer Statistics 2012. Both are available online. 


It is never “good news” to realize that the burden of cancer in this country is immense. And with the country gaining in population and age, the extent of that burden is inevitably going to increase. But this year’s report does contain some welcome information, namely that cancer death rates have declined in men and women of every racial/ethnic group over the past 10 years, with the sole (and unfortunate) exception of American Indians/Alaska Natives. In addition, the Society now estimates that a bit more than one million cancer deaths (1,024,400 to be exact) have been avoided since 1991-1992.


That one million number is actually … Continue reading →