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Scattered throughout the body’s tissues are hordes of exquisite cellular machines called Adult Stem Cells (ACS). Each of these marvelous little cells is endowed with the power to perform astonishing works of biological magic.

When your skin is broken, adult skin stem cells at the affected site swing into action. They divide, and morph along the way. Some become sheets of cells, the precursor of new layers of skin. Others form sinuous filaments that wind through and in between the sheets, soon to conduct nutrients and oxygen; these will serve as capillaries. A similar process repairs other organs and tissues, liver, stomach, bone, etc. The process is regulated by untold thousands of biochemical handshakes between each microscopic player, as they grow from individual ASC to tissue containing many different kinds of cells. It’s an amazing phenomenon, and one made all the more fascinating as it happens without any conscious thought or direction. But sometimes, it can take a sinister turn ...

If, in the journey from ASC to new tissues, a few key genes are garbled, the cell may never stop dividing. Worse still, the body’s defenses are fooled by the errant cell’s outward appearance and chemical signature. Nearby quickening cells still dutifully build blood vessels and supporting tissue to nourish the growing collection. The owner will be unaware of the tiny malfunction, until they notice a lump, or until it affects the proper operation of an organ. At which point they consult a doctor, learn the chilling diagnosis, and the battle againt cancer begins.

For some time, researchers have suspected that Adult Stem Calls might play a role on the early development of the disease. More recently, there is some evidence that not only can the malignancy be triggered by an ACS, the cancer itself can arise from a mutated stem cell, a cancer stem cell, which produces only cancerous tissue. Needless to say, even if most of the tumor is removed or shrunk, just one cancer stem cell can give rise to a new tumor. And if those cancerous stem cells drift away from the original tumor, the new cancer appears in whatever tissue the malignant cells settle:

Three years ago, Weissman discovered that mutations and rearrangements of the genomes of stem cells that give rise to all the cells of the blood can lead to some forms of leukemia. Weissman proposed that these changes could underlie the development of cancers in many tissues.

Over one-million Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer every year. In some cases, the struggle they will endure, the courage they will summon, is simply unimaginable. If you’ve witnessed or experienced the devastating emotional and physical roller-coaster that makes up a cancer patient’s life, you understand all too well. If not, I hope you never do.

Cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death in the US. And yet, the outlook for survivors like Elizabeth Edwards has never been brighter. New treatments are being developed and refined, and insight into the role of adult stem cells, viral infections, and other possible causes holds great promise for future generations. The disease is slowly, ever so slowly, becoming less a death sentence and more a chronic illness which can be managed, especially when caught early. Here’s to hoping that one day, in the near future, with enough funding, research, government leadership, and perhaps most importantly, affordable access to quality healthcare, all the victims of this disease can look forward to a long, healthy, and full life.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 04:21 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We love you Elizabeth! (43+ / 0-)

    And many thanks to Bill who got up an at ungodly hour to post C & J!

    If you would like to learn more about Breast Cancer, or any other form of the disease, a good place to start is the American Cancer Society. On checking several sources, I was appalled to learn that the Federal government spends about 20 to 30 times more on the Iraq War alone as on cancer research.

    Read UTI, your free thought forum

    by DarkSyde on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 04:20:24 AM PDT

    •  There's a call to action in this (8+ / 0-)

      As I diaried yesterday, this is a good opportunity to make the case for increased funding to the National Institutes of Health in FY08.

      The budget for the National Institutes of Health has been flat since FY03, which amounts to a 13 percent decline after accounting for inflation. Nationwide, grant amounts were cut by as much as 29 percent in 2006.

      The proposed 2008 budget for NIH provides only a slight increase for the agency. On the basis of the 2007 funding levels passed by the House in joint resolution, NIH stands to grow by 0.8% in 2008 to $28.8 billion. This slow growth marks the fifth straight year that agency funding has not kept pace with biomedical inflation, which is estimated to be 3.7% for 2007.

      Consider we've spent $300 billion in Iraq compared to $30 billion for all health care research.  That distribution needs to change.

      Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

      by mini mum on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 05:22:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cancer Sucks (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        triciawyse, ladybug53, fayeforcure

        We lost our 4 year old precious angel boy to rhabdomyosarcoma in 2003 after a textbook year of chemo and radiation.  His scans had been clean for months, the tumor gone, and we were in the hospital for his last round of chemo when he started vomiting and complaining of headaches. After many tests they determined it had metastasised to his central nervous system.  We lost him 3 1/2 weeks later.  As the post says, for him it just took one cancer cell to break through the blood/brain barrier, where chemo doesn't go, and it grew unchecked.

        The National Childhood Cancer Foundation just introduced the "Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2007".  Follow the link here to read more about this important legislation and ask your Congressmen and Senators to support it!! I am so proud my congressman, John Yarmuth, KY-03, is a co-sponsor.  The Bush budgets have gutted funding for medical research, and childhood cancer is particularly neglected.

        And to add insult to injury, my husband was diagnosed last August with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and after 6 months of chemo he is still not in remission.  We are off to MD Anderson in Houston to see the top guy in CLL in April.  We MUST find a cure for cancer!!

    •  Our sympathy runs deep this week (11+ / 0-)

      We've just come through some ugly months centered around this issue, but they gave way to good news on the day before this announcement.  Just as we were planning our celebration, this news appear to dampen our fervor and remind us just how different life would have been, had a voice on the phone not delivered a long discourse ending in the word "benign."

      My wife was already a great admirer of Elizabeth Edwards, and if I have to listen to one more lilting lecture on how much she likes everything about John, I might just get jealous.  The coincidence of this timing has made us feel somehow bonded to this couple we've never met.

  •  What a timely and well-written piece... (7+ / 0-)

    I'm suffering from a bout with insomnia, and I find myself engaged (which is difficult as anyone without sleep can attest) and inspired to learn more about cancer research. I think the news conference today really gave many ordinary people pause. Makes me want to go back to school at an older age.

    The object of mathematics is the honor of the human spirit. -C. Jacobi

    by Malachite on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 04:22:47 AM PDT

  •  Fabulous post, thanks a lot! (8+ / 0-)

    The body is truly an amazing thing.  After having surgery (several times) I marvel at its ability to "return to normal" - and quickly, I might add.

    Of course there is the other side of the story, but regardless of our outcomes, our bodies are astonishing.

    Best thoughts and healthy wishes to Elizabeth Edwards and all others who are experiencing the downside of cell development.  There is always room for a miracle or two...or three...or.....

  •  Thanks for this. (7+ / 0-)

    And Best wishes to the Edwards'.

  •  Great work DarkSyde (13+ / 0-)

    I posted a similar topic at the John Edwards blog:

    http://blog.johnedwards.com/...

    An important side note is that the cancer stem cell is only a small fraction of all the cells within a tumour.  AND, these can be specifically identified.

    The problem:  If these specific cells are injected into a new host animal, the tumour is completely reconstituted.  In other words, in cancer treatment killing 99.99% of the cancerous cells is NOT good enough if one or more of the Cancer stem cells survive.... and while the cancer is slowing coming back, the cancer cells are becoming more and more mutated.

    -Zen Blade

    •  In addition (5+ / 0-)

      There is evidence to suggest that treatments for cancer may actually cause a selection force for further deleterious mutations resulting in the emergence of a secondary cancer that is even more resistant to treatment.  We are making great progress with this disease, but the challenge also grows with our understanding.  

      I am so delighted to see this topic getting so much attention here.  Of course, its also nice to feel like I can contribute some new info here instead of just absorbing everything up from all you great people.

      I have to say, it excites me to think that maybe the Edwardses campaign can lead to a new nationwide focus on cancer and cancer research.  It could bring out so many elements that are still great about America.  The optimism of working together to overcome a great burden.  The compassion involved in comforting those who suffer.  The ingenuity and intelligence of our great citizens.  The spirit of discovery that has always been behind driving this nation forward.  At times, I have felt like we lost all of those things these past six years.  Maybe this campaign could symbolize a rebirth of what makes us great.

      Your ad could be here.

      by TheC on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 06:23:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good luck to you! On the fronts! (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheC, CalifSherry, brillig, Agathena, ladybug53

        I am only slightly snide as a recently let-go member of the science community. I have done cancer research (particularly on viral agents that could be involved). I was let go because we didn't get an NIH grant. Not involved specifically in cancer, I have been a science mercenary through my career. (Actually I was working on a MMR protein, which you should recognize, but no cancer association for Mlh3 ).

        I am not sure of the current status, but there was a large pot of money through the Dept of Defense for breast cancer research. Somewhat creepy to get funding via that channel.

        I have written several responses in diaries before: I do not think that it is honest for real researchers to talk about cancer as a Disease. The big C is many proliferative diseases, and your interest, I believe, is colorectal cancer.

        Just don't oversimplify for the less-educated masses, many of the recent treatment advances have been organ-specific, not body-general.

        Anyway, good luck to your lab.

        •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53, Rippen Kitten

          I appreciate the good wishes and I am sorry to hear of your situation.  Unfortunately, I am hearing stories like yours all too frequently.  And I worry both for myself and for friends.  

          I think even among researchers we talk about cancer in many different ways.  We can talk about specific organ-related diseases, and even within one organ, there appear to be many different pathways to cancer.  Certainly that is true for colon.  But we also can't help but oversimplify even when talking with other researchers.  For one, there are certain cancer paradigms that do hold true for many different types of cancer.  A concept as basic as selection likely drives every decision of a tumor cell in every type of cancer.  At least, that is what I believe.  In addition, I am interested in a particular pathway, which as you know, is affected in many different cancer types.  So, the end result is whether the particular cancer is MMR-defective or not regardless of where it is.  So... I don't mean to be condescending by talking very generally about cancer.  I am not a doctor discussing treatment options with a patient.  I am a scientist who is trying to understand both a very specific type of cancer as well as fundamental concepts about the "disease" as a whole.  But you are right, we can get lazy - even in our research - about grasping generalities and ignoring crucial details.  I will try hard to keep that in my mind in my posts on the topic so that I do not say anything misleading.  

          Your ad could be here.

          by TheC on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 07:02:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think that you are condescending, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TheC, ladybug53

            but as one who was inside, and now outside, I can see that it becomes easy (but maybe necessary) to make sweeping claims about one's research area. No one on the outside can know the amount of frankly, marketeering, necessary to get funding now.

            Hey, I have worked on studies, leading to grant proposals after some initial results, that weren't funded (most aren't now, are they?). I am conflicted as a researcher, because we have learned much basic molecular biology from non-human species, that they should not be discounted. But in this time of lean funding, research directed at Human Problems may get the upper hand.

            Humans are the worst research subjects in the universe.

            •  Funding is bad (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TheC

              Funding is really bad and has been for the past couple years.

              Most of us hold out hope that things will change after 2008.  Things can't get much worse.  The grant renewal rate is really bad.  And the number of new grants that receive funding is even worse.

              -Zen Blade

              •  Yes. And then I will be (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TheC, ladybug53

                a "highly-compensated" non-faculty researcher who still can't find a job.

                I am not bitter, I just didn't expect retirement quite so soon. And I will be fine.

                •  I can't tell you how many times... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ladybug53

                  ... I constantly remind myself to be grateful for the opportunity I now have.  I get caught in these cycles of feeling sorry for myself for starting during this historically crappy time.  

                  But you are right... we do have to adapt to the funding reality and the current attitude of the NIH.  Human research is important, but most of the important breakthroughs is in lower organisms.  The human work is usually just double-checking to make sure things work the same way.  :)

                  Maybe we'll start a new wing of DailyKos that serves as a biological sciences support group.  Though in general, the scientific community is pretty liberal - a DailyKos posting scientist has to be something special!

                  Your ad could be here.

                  by TheC on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 07:46:53 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TheC, ladybug53, Stripe

                Tell me about it.  See my comment in Carnacki's diary yesterday.

                Right now, I'm trying to make a career choice.  I'm an MD/PhD student who's seen his mentor go through a lot of shit as a new investigator.  I don't know if I want to deal with that.  I'm thinking of just sticking with the clinical route.  Part of it is I'm not just as excited about the lab as I used to be.  But I really love thinking about experiments and "the big picture," so I'd miss that aspect.

                I don't want my time to be eaten up with just doing bs grant proposal after grant proposal and seeing my manuscript rejected from countless journals because I'm not in some high powered lab.  Like I said in Carnacki's diary, I had a first-hand conversation with a major cancer researcher I'm sure you would all recognize, and what he had to say about the state of funding at the NIH was absolutely chilling.  He's considering leaving the US in a few years.  I can't believe it's come to that.

                People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

                by viget on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 07:37:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Cancer prevention is the key (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheC, ladybug53

        How much of Cancer research is devoted to aggressive cures which as you suggest may result in secondary cancer.

        I want to see more research into cancer prevention. I have a list of things to avoid pasted on my fridge and I avoided every one of them. And yet I got cancer in spite of my healthy lifestyle. My surgeon said, "it's just bad luck." When I questioned him about diet, he said
        "we know so little."

        He gave examples of countries with good diets overall compared with countries where diets are poor but the cancer rate is lower. I would rather hear that reply indicating the need for more comprehensive study of the causes instead of the back-slapping about our great strides to cure a disease which is actually increasing in the North American population. Yes the survival rate is improving but most victims have to go to hell and back in order to be "cancer-free."

        This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

        by Agathena on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 07:55:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The difficulty in doing these studies. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheC, ladybug53

          There are at least two inherent problems that must be addressed:

          1.  Genetics
          1.  Screening

          Regarding genetics, Japan has a fairly low rate of most cancer types, however the Japanese have a higher rate of a few cancer types (including stomach).  There are two lines of speculation regarding the interpretation of this data:

          1.  The Japanese diet... which includes a lot of fish--which can contain high mercury levels.  This diet results in lower levels of cancer, but fish contaminated by heavy metals results in higher cancer along the digestion pathway.
          1.  Genetically the Japanese are distinct from Europeans.  Might there be some differences that account for lower cancer rates in general?

          Regarding screening, this also includes overall health and life expectancy.  Cancer is an age-related illness.  A country with life expectancy at 50 will have fewer cases of cancer than a country with life expectancy at 70.
          Similarly, if a country has poor/no medical facilities the rate of cancer diagnoses will be considerably lower.  The medical care in the country may focus more on alleviating symptoms than curing the illness.  

          The best comparisons are within a single country with a homogenous genetic background.  Any studies involving Iceland would probably be top notch.  Their population is very homogenous, genetically.  Thus, genetic differences can be eliminated, and behavioural choices can be highlighted.

          -Zen Blade

        •  Prevention is key (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Agathena, ladybug53

          I specifically work with a research program that focuses on cancer prevention - colon cancer specifically.  Of course, it is common in the popular culture to talk about "curing" cancer.  And even in the medical and research commnity, we get caught up in the general speak of "curing" cancer.  We participate in the popular culture too.  But, of course, as you know, the goal is not to cure cancer.  The goals is to a) make cancer not an automatic death sentence and b) reduce the new incidences of cancer as much as possible.  We have made strides on the first part and maybe are slowly beginning to get at the second point.  And, of course, by we I mean many many other smarter people than me whom I lump myself in with now.

          As Zen noted, prevention is very hard.  We still don't understand enough about the underlying causes of different cancers - yet alone enough to tell people what exactly to do to keep from getting a certain cancer.  The best we can do is make a series of suggestions based on a lot of not so strong associations.  My expertise is colon, so I will speak to that.  Avoiding red meat, exercise, eating cruciferous vegetables are all things that you will hear on tv and there is some science to back it up.  But those studies are extremely hard to do accurately to determine whether they will really help.  As Riverlover mentioned above - humans are awfuly tough research subjects.  And even if one can make those associations more accurately, your underlying genetics likely affects how your cells respond to the environment.  So... I may have genes that allow my cells to recover from red-meat contatining carcinogens better.  You may have genes that are more responsive to the protective compounds in broccoli.  To begin to understand the interplay between genes and environment is the next frontier in cancer research I think.

          There are still very few truths in cancer epidemiology I think.  That tobacco causes lung cancer is as close as you can get.  Another is that early screening and identification of pre-cancerous lesions in the colon decreases your risk of getting colon cancer.  I think you are exactly right that we need to be honest about how much we don't know.  But I think most cancer researchers are.  And, I would even argue that by beginning to get a handle on what we don't know, it allows us to ask the right questions going forward.... if that makes any sense.  

          Your ad could be here.

          by TheC on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 10:09:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Informative and hopeful..thank you (8+ / 0-)

    Best best best vibes to Elizabeth. I wish the Edwards family well...and a positive outcome.

    My grandmother died of breast cancer, two of my aunts also, one with metastatic stage 4. My mother has to go for a repeat mammogram next week...they "found an abnormality"  and change in "density", in her left breast, and "most are benign" so we're hoping it's nothing.
    Breast cancer...nobody wants to hear that diagnosis.
    Elizabeth Edwards is a very brave woman. A role model.

  •  Miso... (6+ / 0-)

    The undeniably most medicinal soy food is miso. Current scientific research now supports its historical health claims. This delicious food is an effective therapeutic aid in the prevention and treatment of heart disease, certain cancers, radiation sickness and hypertension.

    Miso soup consumption is linked with up to a 50% reduced risk of breast cancer according to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

    Miso making has been considered an art form for the past several centuries in Japan. Through a special double-fermentation process, soybeans and grains are transformed into a wondrous seasoning agent with potent healing properties.

    Miso has a texture similar to peanut butter and is available in a vast range of delicious flavors ranging from meaty and savory to sweet and delicate. While you’ll most often find miso in soup, where it serves as a rich and flavorful bouillon, it is also used in sauces, dressings and even some desserts.

    they greatest of curing Miso's come from the barley of Onozaki family

    16 oz. Mitoku Organic Onozaki Barley Miso
    (Reference #MIT003A)

    Retreating from battle with a rival Samurai group over 500 years ago,the Onozaki clan headed north in search of a protected mountain area with an abundance of fresh spring water and fertile soil.Finding refuge in the outskirts of the tiny village of Yaita,they laid down their swords and turned to growing and making various staple foods.Over time, the Onozaki's found the climate and pure mountain water ideal for making delicious,hearty misos.Today, the Onozaki family is deeply committed to traditional methods of making miso,as well as to organic agriculture.Made from the finest organic whole soybeans,cultured organic barley,pure water and sea salt,Onozaki Barley Miso is aged in huge cedar kegs at natural temperatures for 2 years.Certified Organic and Unpasteurized.

    The vessel of Justice is shattered and the spine of Liberty fractured. A swift answer in action is at hand. Sinew is America's saving grace.

    by placid on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 04:48:39 AM PDT

    •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena, ladybug53, placid

      I can add further information I found in the following book The Miso Book (which I wholeheartedly recommend, since it contains not only a great deal of information about miso and its manufacture, but also some great recipes!):

      • Miso contains substances which inhibit and even kill off such bacteria as E. Coli.
      • Miso contains chemicals which chelate (suround like a cage) certain radioactive substances, such as strontium, allowing the body to eject said radioactives.
      • Police canteens in Tokyo have miso soup on all menus, since it has been shown to help the body combat the pollutants in the air of the city; this is especially useful for traffic cops, etc.
      • Mixed with other protein-containing substances, miso can give a meal an effective protein content of over 35%, and sometimes over 50%, which makes it comparable with steak, etc.
      • Since the fermentation process can be viewed as a form of "pre-digestion," miso soup is given in hospitals as a food for building patients up; the substances in miso can already be absorbed through the stomach wall, instead of waiting to enter the intestines to be broken down.

      As placid says, it is a delicious and health-giving food.

      Oh Joy, this evening is my Japanese cookery course evening, and the theme of the course is at present: miso.

    •  Is this true for all breast cancers? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      riverlover, ladybug53

      For instance, estrogen positive cancers?

      Breast cancer is not simply one disease.

      •  Note: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Agathena

        radiation sickness and hypertension...refardless if it is in the case of estrogen the friendly bacteria acts like a PAC-MAN stryle cleansing agent within the bloodstream and strengthens the blood...Dan Wolfe who was Co-Captain with Tom Landry of the 1950 Texas Longhorns was near death of lymphactic cancer when his sister found out she began him on Miso soup and he lived in robust health for over 5 years.

        http://www.kushistore.com/...

        stay with the original makers from Japan if you can as you will not be as happy with the sped-up Amercanization processes.

        The vessel of Justice is shattered and the spine of Liberty fractured. A swift answer in action is at hand. Sinew is America's saving grace.

        by placid on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 07:56:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is controversial (0+ / 0-)

        There are varying points of view in the oncological community. Some feel that low amounts of soy may act like estrogen and lead to worse incidents of cancer. Others point out that no tests are conclusive one way or the other.

        See here, here, here, and here, for example.

        Please note that I am not arguing for or against the consumption of soy; rather, I am saying that there have been conflicting studies, and few, if any, conclusive ones.

        I think it's best that people decide these things in consultation with their medical professionals.

        Know someone fighting breast cancer? They might be inspired by my wife's blog about her experience.

        by zknower on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 08:12:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Try it personally.. even if you are the perfect (0+ / 0-)

          and switch your fuel source from the American sugar to the Oriental sugars of the Macrobiotice diet and see for yourself that your brain receptors do not foul out like spark plug wires that aren't pure carbon...

          The vessel of Justice is shattered and the spine of Liberty fractured. A swift answer in action is at hand. Sinew is America's saving grace.

          by placid on Sat Mar 24, 2007 at 11:31:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you! I brought MISO SOUP with me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      in little packets when I went to the hospital for breast cancer surgery. I had no idea.

      This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

      by Agathena on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 08:03:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  May I suggest you become an ardent fan of George (0+ / 0-)

        Oshawa so that you know the truth forever and always about Macrobiotics?

        The vessel of Justice is shattered and the spine of Liberty fractured. A swift answer in action is at hand. Sinew is America's saving grace.

        by placid on Sat Mar 24, 2007 at 11:33:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Used to study cancer... (12+ / 0-)

    Before I got into virology.  To a limited extent I still do; viral oncogenesis is a interesting topic to me.

    (That's often the very rare incidences when viruses knock out a single critical tumor suppressor gene, or, more commonly, the viral proteins THEMSELVES induce tumors.  Cervical cancer and Human Papilloma Virus is the example just about everyone knows about by now!)

    It's terrible disease family.  There will never be any "cure" for it -- it'd be like curing all viral disease with a single medicine.  But I have hope that someday, we can control or wipe most of it out.  It has been an extremely informative -- and very harsh -- teacher of cell biology and cell genetics.

    I wish Elizabeth Edwards the very best in her battle against it.  I want her (and her husband) to win.

    •  Good to see real expertise being shared (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ArchTeryx, ladybug53

      Thank you for pointing out something that has been missed in a lot of stories and posts--that cancer is, as you say, a family of diseases rather than a single one. A lot of people seem to think that because they know someone with "cancer" they know how all cases of the disease proceed.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 06:29:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You flatter me! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53

        I'm no cancer expert, certainly not like the professors I used to study under.  I'm just an occasionally inspired amateur. :>

        But I do try and correct misinformation wherever I find it, and popular culture is full of it over cancer.  It's bad enough fighting the disease, without fighting myths about it too!

  •  Very informative. I think the lesson that (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Agathena, MTgirl, papercut, ladybug53, adrianrf

    everyone should take away from this Diary is that the medicine that really saves lives, is not the medicine performed by extraordinarily highly paid doctors charging exorbitant prices for simple procedures, but is actually performed by often singularly extraordinary scientists performing often extraordinary research for entirely ordinary wages.

  •  Great post...a little more (11+ / 0-)

    The first tier treatment for most people, most cancers still involves decades-old chemotherapy drugs like cisplatin and carboplatin. (Radiation therapy has made more advances than any other form of treatment in recent years. To those facing choices, find the most advanced machine you can.)

    It's only when cancer recurs that many insurances and medical institutions move to the newer drugs, which are not proven effective over the long term.

    But the real dearth of knowledge in this field is treatment of the long term side effects of our current treatments. Oncologists are uncomfortable with these side effects--which, in effect, they caused, and general practice physicians have little background in the long term treatment.

    One of the upsides of yesterday's bad news was the emphasis on individuality of treatment, and the importance of attitude in all chronic illnesses. One of the idiot commentators from the right said: "He should just stay home and be with her." What a sad commentary. This family has chosen to do good work every day of their lives. Can we choose more?

    •  Great WaPo op-ed column (11+ / 0-)

      In today's paper, Eugene Robinson's op-ed is called Choosing to Live:  

      How could they possibly go on? I think there are better questions to ask. How could they not go on? What choice did they have but to continue with the mission they have set for themselves, and how else could they do it but together, as a partnership?

      I've heard some of the same handwringing but really, as Robinson writes, "The question, then, was not how to go about dying, but how to go on living."

      Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

      by mini mum on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 05:26:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Amen! (7+ / 0-)

        As I mentioned, my husband had a very serious bout last year. Almost every day, I've said: "This is one of the days of the rest of your life. What shall we do with it?"

        When he worries about tiny symptoms--as any cancer survivor does--I remind him of a story. Some guy was killed when a hunk of "blue ice" from the toilet of an airplane fell and hit him in the head. (Actually, may be an urban myth but...) When he goes out, I tell him to watch out for blue ice.

        Live! and share joy with someone today.

    •  I agree. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      javelina, MTgirl, ladybug53

      Sometimes airing your laundry in public can mean suffering alongside millions. In this case, with our health care system in disarray and our efforts to suppress scientific advances, public illness is an act of leadership.

      Big boss man..you ain't so big, just tall, that's all.

      by TheFatLadySings on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 06:14:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Early screening (7+ / 0-)

    Elizabeth Edwards credits her early diagnosis with an otherwise unscheduled chest x-ray that never would have been done had she not broken a rib.

    Recently, there was a study reported in the NYT (from JAMA or NEJM?) showing that getting a routine chest x-ray doesn't affect mortality for lung cancer.  It contradicted an earlier study that suggested that the screening increases survival.

    I know someone whose lung cancer was diagnosed only because she also had an unrelated chest x-ray.  Since then, I've read that we can lose 50% of our lung capacity before we realize that something's wrong.

    I know you can't make policy based on a few anecdotes, but I'm very skeptical about the discouragement of early screening.  Many doctors are now recommending PAP tests only once every 3 years, on the premise that if one year's PAP test is negative, the chances of next year's results being different are so slim that it's not worth it.  It's hard for me to believe that the cost of a missed diagnosis doesn't outweigh the extra costs of more frequent exams.

    And it's hard to convince me that there's an overall public health benefit to denying people "extra" screenings when we know that the money saved is merely purchasing more private boxes and corporate jets for insurance companies' CEOs.

    •  Breast cancer is very complex (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alice in Florida, MTgirl, npbeachfun

      There are many different kinds of breast cancer. Some respond well to treatments and others don't. For those that don't, early detection isn't helpful. And with the current level of screening technology, not all breast cancers can be detected early.

      In addition, the most common form of breast screening, mammography, exposes patients to radiation. Frequent screening (more than once a year) can actually cause benign breast disease to become cancerous. We need to develop better methods for detecting breast cancer early, but we have to realize it still won't help in every case.

      There is no real perfection, there'll be no perfect man, Just peace is our connection, forgiving all you can - Pete Ham

      by Betsy McCall on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 05:16:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nothing's perfect (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        papercut

        but I'd take issue with a couple of things.

        I especially oppose the idea that early detection of cancers which don't respond to treatment isn't helpful.  I would want to know as soon as possible, so that I could make life choices with that information in mind.  And no doctor or policy maker should take that decision away from me.

        I haven't heard anyone suggest getting a mammography more frequently than once a year.  And the old fashioned way of feeling for lumps, in conjunction with mammography, is really important in early detection.

        •  Like I said, its complex (0+ / 0-)

          Most tumors have been growing for 5 to 6 years before they're detected by mammography. We have to realize that early detection isn't a panacea for curing breast cancer. And as I mentioned, most of the more aggressive breast cancers often don't show up in mammograms.

          We need better methods of early detection and screening, but we're also seeing a trend in more "informed" detection. Genomic testing reveals more about individual breast tumors at the time of diagnosis (whether early or late) allows doctors to better target treatment for optimal results.

          There is no real perfection, there'll be no perfect man, Just peace is our connection, forgiving all you can - Pete Ham

          by Betsy McCall on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 06:01:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I agree, screen fairly aggressively (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, think blue

      My prostate cancer was discovered at age 54 when I had my first (!) PSA test at Kaiser Oakland. I was amazed to find, that was the protocol! My PSA of 15 was advanced enough to be scary (thankfully treated successfully, so far, with 1 year of hormone-blockade, and radiation). If I had not been really lucky, it may have progressed to the point of metastasis and probably been untreatable.

      So even though getting a PSA result over 2 can cause unnecessary anxiety, and getting a biopsy is No Fun, I cannot agree with those who conclude that screening should be relaxed. I heard far too many men in my treatment group tell how their cancer had been dangerously advanced when discovered, BECAUSE screening had been so relaxed. The urologists need to learn how to present the potentially scary results in a non-threatening way, not back off from screening. And I would think the same would be true for other cancers.

  •  The only thing I don't like (7+ / 0-)

    about your post, DS, is that I can no longer press the "Recommend" button.
    Fantastic work, as usual.  I learn so much from you.

    The media are only as liberal as the conservative businesses that own them.

    by MTgirl on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 05:03:20 AM PDT

  •  Cancer as a chronic illness (9+ / 0-)

    While there are certain cancers that can be considered a "chronic" illness, the fact is even managing a chronic illness requires a strong family support, and good financial resources. Even with those the side effects of various treatments can still be exhausting. A poor person with negligible resources will still have a significantly decreased prognosis, so whether it is a chronic or acute disease will have little matter.
    Many Americans still continue to work while battling catatrophic illness so I see Edward's decision to continue campaigning as a positive. The average American cannot simply "quit" work if they have even a treatable cancer.

    •  The growing burden of cancer (4+ / 0-)

      on our society is one that needs to be addressed.  Too often our own Dem leaders don't adequately address the needs of patients living with chronic diseases. The number of uninsured adults living with a cancer diagnosis is growing.  Many  adult cancer patients aren't eligible for disability assistance and a cancer diagnosis moves many into  poverty with no access to public assistance.

      There is no real perfection, there'll be no perfect man, Just peace is our connection, forgiving all you can - Pete Ham

      by Betsy McCall on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 05:25:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post DarkSyde! (8+ / 0-)

    I can't tell you how much I appreciate this wealth of information...thank you.

    We all love you Elizabeth...keep up the fight, we have confidence you will beat this.

    You are an incredibly inspiring woman, and as a couple, you and John are phenomenal. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    No Retreat Baby, No Surrender

    by WI Dem on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 05:12:29 AM PDT

  •  New saliva test: early diagnosis of breast Cancer (5+ / 0-)

    New saliva test may help in early diagnosis of breast Cancer

    Cancer-fighting prostate drug developed

    U.S. researchers have found a possible new method of diagnosing breast cancer, simply using a saliva sample from patients, according to research published in the latest issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's clinical, peer-reviewed journal.

       Researchers found that the protein levels in saliva have great potential to assist in the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care of breast cancer. And general dentists are perfect candidates to assist with these diagnosis samples because they can easily remove saliva from a patient's mouth during routine visits.

    The early-method saliva diagnosis is not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but if it does receive approval, dentists and physicians could use it to collaboratively diagnose breast cancer, the authors said

    http://www.dailykos.com/user/SECURITY

    by SECURITY on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 05:24:23 AM PDT

    •  It's my fervent hope that diagnosis of the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      spread of breast cancer by cutting into the lympth nodes will soon be outdated. It is invasive, extremely painful and comes with the risk of lymphedema and/or restricted arm motion.

      This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

      by Agathena on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 08:20:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Due to the work (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MTgirl, Panda, ladybug53, npbeachfun

    of a lot of scientists over the last several decades, many cancers, as you say, are now managable. Hopefully, we will see faster and better outcomes with new medicines and combination therapies.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 05:46:28 AM PDT

  •  Political: Stem Cells (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, npbeachfun, fayeforcure

    For some time, researchers have suspected that Adult Stem Calls might play a role on the early development of the disease.

    That's the real "talking point" when the idiot right tries to say that adult stem cells (or cord blood cells) are the same as embryonic stem cells.

    We have no idea what might happen to transplanted stem cells, but there is reason to believe that there is more chance of a partially-differentiated cell to go bad than one that differentiates totally in the new environment.

    I am only well-acquainted with one aspect: research for spinal cord injury. While some centers (Portugal) are using oligodendrite cells from the nose, some using cells from the gut lining and other areas, there is some very great concern that they may actually be transplanting pre-cancer cells.

    Embryonic stem cell research is an absolute necessity.

    •  ES cells also pose this threat (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      Work in mice tells us that use of ES cells can also lead to cancers referred to as teratocarcinomas.  If you think about it, ES cells have also evolved to function in a restricted environment and so working with these cells in culture - in normal oxygen levels, with changes in surrounding media conditions, etc... puts stresses on these cells that they may not otherwise encounter in their normal setting.

      One thing we do know is that ES cells in culture are highly prone to developing spontaneous chromosomal abnormalities that are similar to the types of changes we see in cancer cells.  What does this mean?  Well... it means we have a lot of work to do to learn about using these cells in the laboratory and in the clinic.  The restriction on ES cell work by Bush has been tragic and has proably set this field back quite a bit.  

      My university here in Connecticut is beginning to take advantage of being in the first (and still only) state to approve funding for human ES cell research.  It will be fascinating to follow the research that will occur in the coming years here.  Hopefully, in two more years, the new Democratic President will lift the ban on ES cell research nationwide in his/her (I like typing that, but unfortunately, I wish I was more excited about the potential "her") first week in office.

      Your ad could be here.

      by TheC on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 06:16:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree on two counts. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheC, ladybug53

        I know of at least one case of an experimental stem cell program going badly wrong (in another country) and have been following the research closely. Yes, we have a lot of work to do.

        And yes, I like the idea of a woman (or non-white male)president, but more than that I want an intelligent, caring, progressive president...and if both don't come in the same package, we have to choose, don't we.

  •  How about a FP on Debunking GW Swindle video (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    My issue with the movie is --- they acknowledge Volcano eruptions do change climate such as MT Pinatubo in the 60's and Middle Ages mini ice age  if I remember was preceded by a Volcanic Eruption (according to one movie in Discovey Channel I saw)

    Thus if volcanic eruptions can cause climate change, and pollutions all over the world shd probably be much more than one volcanic eruption then pollution do cause climate change.

    Al Gore was therefore right.

    Tom Hartman in his Tuesday show in Air America also talked about the video and debunked all the points it made.

  •  Survivabilty (7+ / 0-)

    If the cancer has not spread to the lungs, Elizabeth has a 20% chance of surviving 5 year.  No one is a statistic so, we can hope that she is one of the lucky ones.  

    The reason I point this out, is so we can see how heroic Elizabeth is, in her wish to make the world better and not stop working for her dreams.

    There are things we don't control in life and death.  The world would be a much better place if we understood this.  We might demand more money in research, embryonic stem cell research, the end of Bush administrations tainting of science, etc. if we were given more realistic news reporting, instead of that suitable for only the feeble minded.

    I am saddened that the republicans always stop science and programs that can lead to a better life, claiming where is the money, while they spend hundreds of billions on pointless weapons and wars that do nothing but kill.

    I hope the Edwards can stay in the race and that I get a chance to vote John in as the next President.  

  •  you provide a real service darksyde, thank you.nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Panda, npbeachfun
  •  OT - New Criminal Investigations in Ohio Election (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gaspare, npbeachfun

    Per The Register (http://www.theregister.co.uk)

    A criminal investigation is to be launched into the way the November 2006 elections were run in Cleveland, Ohio, according to reports.

    The new probe has been sparked by a report compiled by election board public monitor CSU's Candice Hoke. County Prosecutor Bill Mason read the report and said there were several "worrying" things within.

    More info here:  
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/...

    Apparently, numerous security breaches were found, including multiple passwords, early vote recording, unsecured vote tally computers, and keys stored in an unlocked box.

    Sorry about throwing this in here, if there's a better way to do this, let me know.

    Everyone has a right to vote. http://www.ep365.org

    by Phyrkrakr on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 06:16:05 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for a great synopsis !! (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Panda, npbeachfun

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -E.Burke Women, Get It Now: HPV Test

    by ezdidit on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 06:21:02 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, great dairy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Panda, mattes, ladybug53

    My mother breast cancer survivors: her Oncologist told her it was caused by hormone replacement therapy. Have they made a link to breast cancer form hormone therapy~ for infertility?

    It worries me because I have friends that went through that, does anyone know if they are at a higher risk?

    I'm sorry Elizabeth, I know she is a fighter and that is half the battle.

    "A standing army is one of the greatest mischief that can possibly happen" James Madison (-6.88, -6.26)

    by npbeachfun on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 06:28:32 AM PDT

    •  I don't know about cause and effect... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Panda, npbeachfun

      .... Most existing studies do not demonstrate a link between IVF and increased cases of breast cancer. But lack of a conclusive link doesn't mean IVF does not lead to higher incidences of the disease; it simply means that there is no proof that it does.

      There are certainly cautions involved when discussing IVF for women who've already been diagnosed with certain cancers. E.g., women who have fought estrogen-positive breast cancer, particularly aggressive ones, may be advised that they should only undergo IVF for a limited time or not at all.

      The bottom line is: not enough is known yet to conclusively say one way or the other. There are conflicting studies.

      Know someone fighting breast cancer? They might be inspired by my wife's blog about her experience.

      by zknower on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 08:38:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I recommend the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53

    book "A Private Battle" by Cornelius Ryan and his wife Kathryn.  Ryan is the historian/journalist who wrote WWII books, "A Bridge Too Far", etc.

    But "A Private Battle" is about his fight with prostate cancer in the early 70s.  In addition to amazing courage and remarkable research skills, it is astonishing to see how far screening and evaluation has advanced since that time, though I don't know the same about treatment.

    His book is also an inspiring testament to the value of friends and family in fighting cancer, as well as to Ryan's own truly remarkable courage.  His comments on the medical community, positive and negative, are brilliant.  And in a final irony, though this happened years after his death - the expert treating his prostate cancer, Willet Whitmore of Memorial Sloan Kettering, a world reknowned expert on the disease, himself died of prostate cancer.  

  •  I lost my mom to cancer last year (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javelina, Panda, ladybug53, SaraPMcC, Stripe

    it was a form of blood cancer called multiple myaloma where her bone marrow was unable to produce good blood plasma anymore.  Hers was only a treatable cancer, they tried a stem cell transplant to extend her life.  We got an additional 2 1/2 years with her, it was a grueling 2 years for her.  I hope that Elizabeth Edwards can do more to keep it at bay so that she may have much more time with us.  But it goes to show, if we weren't pouring so much God damn money and energy into war, we could be doing more about the scourge of cancer.
    My thoughts and prayers go out to Ms. Edwards and my frontrunner candidate John Edwards.

  •  good job, DarkSyde (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Panda, ladybug53

    I've also done a bit of research in the field of cancer genetics and this post does a good job summarizing the main issues.

  •  Thankfully I have good insurance (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javelina, Panda, ladybug53, SaraPMcC

    I'll be seeing my oncologist for the first time in six months next week.  I'm not worried - what would be the point?  I've been cancer free for going on two years after three years of chemo and radiation.  My father, with a different cancer, is on a maintenance regimen and staying active.  

    I am glad to see how well they are handling this and wish them and any others out there health, courage, comfort, and good insurance.  Of course, that last should be a given.

  •  Thank you, DarkSyde (8+ / 0-)

    for another great, informative diary. And for words of hope.

    When I was first diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 1995, only one out of three women diagnosed with breast cancer was alive after 15 years. You do the math. (This is death from all causes, not just cancer. The five year survival rate then was 85%; it's higher now.) I had surgery, chemo, radiation and hormone therapy, and I prayed that I could stay cancer free for at least 10 years so there would be time for my kids to grow up and for medical science to find something new. By the way, this cancer was detected by touch; it did not show up on the mammogram.

    In May of 2005 I was diagnosed with a second, new stage 2 breast cancer (not a return of the original one, which my doctor said they felt was "cured." Now he tells me!) Ten years, ha! Why didn't I go for 20? Only a few weeks earlier the new "miracle" drug herceptin had been approved for early stage breast cancers. The good news was that I was one of the people who could benefit from this drug, and I got it (along with surgery, chemo, radiation, yadda yadda). The bad news was that cancers that can be treated with herceptin are especially aggressive. Mine had developed in less than a year, and this one did show up on the mammogram. I'm lucky: early-ish detection, good medical insurance, excellent support system. And this time my children are grown up.

    By the way, stage 2 means that there is also cancer in some of the lymph nodes in the under-arm area. I had three positive nodes in '95, one this time. This is still considered "early" and very treatable.

    So far there is no signs of recurrance, but in a few weeks I will go in for my "two year" doctor visit, and with what has just happened to Elizabeth Edwards, I'm scared. Will I beat the odds a little longer? I don't know. Maybe this will be the time there is bad news for me. Yet, only a few days ago, another new drug was approved for women who have already responded to herceptin. Hope again.

    Yesterday was not a good day for me and other breast cancer survivors. It hits us hard when a sister gets this kind of setback. Elizabeth Edwards is my hero, and she's right. You keep on living. You go forward. You find out exactly what you are dealing with and what you can do about it. Then you do it. With a sense of humor, or you're sunk. Either way. My other hero is Molly Ivins.

    Heavens, this must be the longest comment I've ever written! Back to short and pithy now.

    •  ((((papercut)))) (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      javelina, ladybug53, SaraPMcC, Stripe

      I'll be thinking of you and sending positive vibes for a clean visit.

      And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

      by brillig on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 07:59:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Papercut (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      I'll be thinking of you...best best vibes for your 2 year visit. No, not back to short and pithy all the time, some of the time okay....this is a very important comment you've made. I'm scared for you and appreciate your candor. I know you must be terrified on several levels. The waiting is so hard.
      Ah, yes...Molly.  What a loss.
      Hang in...you're not alone.

      You go forward. You find out exactly what you are dealing with and what you can do about it. Then you do it.

      You are very brave.

  •  Frustrating (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Panda, ladybug53, fayeforcure

    Thanks for your highlighting what's going on scientifically.  It is very frustrating to live at the moments before complete knowledge and treatments are available.  You know it's close, will be possible soon, yet possibly not there soon enough.  The Edwards are role models for handling tragedies--not a bad trait for someone attempting to take over this presidency.

    I had a good friend survive colon cancer--after the docs gave him little reason to be optimistic.  Sometimes the best docs are surprised by the speed of scientific advancement.  Let's hope treatment morphs into cure sooner than expected.

  •  Hear, Hear! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Panda, ladybug53
    Well said. And what a timely, informative diary.

    Know someone fighting breast cancer? They might be inspired by my wife's blog about her experience.

    by zknower on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 08:04:07 AM PDT

  •  Stem Cell transplant..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheC, ladybug53

    What I am about to relate is anecdotal and I don't have many details but....

    I felt a little frustration when they called Elizabeth Edwards' cancer incurable because my daughter's kindergarten teacher had metastatic breast cancer and she had some sort of stem cell transplant in 1995 and she is still with us today.

    To the best of my knowledge she has not had a reoccurance.  I don't know if she considers herself "cured" but 12 years post transplant is pretty encouraging.

    I hope the Edwards' will look into stem cell transplant when the time is appropriate.

    I would think that it is likely that they will be able to knock out the reoccurance with chemo and radiation, but then they will have to be watching for what comes next.

    Having a sister who is fighting stage 4 colon cancer, I find myself feeling these "announcements" about people I admire more accutely.

    Having a loved on who is "living with cancer" and be stressful because of all the unknowns, but the Edwards were truly inspiring yesterday.

  •  The promises of science.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheC, Panda, ladybug53, fayeforcure

    give us all reason to hope.  Unfortunately, the reality of right-wing physiology Neanderthals masquerading as the managers and executives of our Federal government provide little hope that the vital research needed to extend stem cell research to everyday cures is eminent.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    by TheRef on Fri Mar 23, 2007 at 08:30:40 AM PDT

  •  interesting overview, but I am disturbed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, SaraPMcC

    by the sentence' Cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death in the US'

    First, because I have no idea what it relates to. For example, what is the percentage of people actually living out their allotted life-span in today's era of medical marvels.  How many people actually die of old-age, or natural causes as I imagine the COD would read.

    And second, what are the world-wide statistics, and how much does diet, life-style, stress etc. factor in? and how does the US compare with other developed nations and undeveloped nations?.

    In other words these simple statistics tend to remove the personal responsibility and medical profession attitudes, such as preventative care, palliative care as opposed to invasive treatment etc, from the equation.

    This simplicity tends to feed into the American belief that throwing money at a problem , including death, can solve the situation.

    My heart and love goes out to Elizabeth and John Edwards and their children and parents. I trust that their bravery and dignity will allow all of us to understand a little better our own role in the matter of life and death and terminal disease, and relationship to the medical profession,. That was what impressed me most in Elizabeth Edwards response at yesterday's press conference. She made it quite clear that she was an equal participant in the treatment of her disease. They both faced head on, squarely, the fact that her cancer is now 'not curable but is treatable'. That was the truth I want to hear from all of us. That is very rare.

    We ask our leaders to tell us the truth, but we still continue to lie to ourselves.

    And the truth is, that we know very little.

    And do me a favour please, hold the brickbats about personal tragedies. I am not blaming the victims! I am merely trying to put everything in perspective for myself. In the 'old days' we didn't live long enough to die of many of these modern diseases brought on by our own accepted life-styles.

  •  I have a "dog in this fight" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheC, Panda, ladybug53, fayeforcure

    I am an insulin dependent diabetic, I have congestive heart failure and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

    It drives me absolutely nuts that there are Democratic congress critters who have voted to suppress stem cell research.

    "Right to Life?"

    My ass.

    After all, I'm used to the GOPers trying to kill me. But when Democrats would join them just makes wanna puke.

    Good job DarkSyde, kudos to you.

  •  Hello wood co. Dem! I cried like a baby for... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53
    Elizabeth. My husband and I were given the same prognosis the beginning of last August.  We were extrodinarily lucky in these times, we had the best medical care available and the insurance to help pay for it.  He was 53, he passed two weeks ago.  We had 21 years since his first battle with cancer.  Elizabeth has had three, I am sick in my heart for her and her family.  One sentance for a good lady with everything to live for and a country that needs many more like her (or my husband) and not one less.....Fight, Pray, Live, Home healthcare/Hospice.  Hospice will gaurantee quality of life and dignity of death.  Instead of imperialistic wars of choice we should be spending our valuable assets on real enemies.  Love to the Kos community from a Logan Co. Dem, I missed you all during the fight.

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