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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:57 am 
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Runner puts dreams on hold for those of ill friend

AURORA, Ill. (AP) — Lukas Verzbicas sat in silence, trying to absorb the news that Kevin McDowell, his friend and longtime triathlon teammate, had been diagnosed with cancer.

Finally, Verzbicas' stepfather spoke. Lukas had a choice to make. He could continue to focus on the running career that has shown such promise he was being hailed as the next great American distance runner even before he broke the 4-minute mile, something only four other U.S. high schoolers have ever done.

Or he could put his own dreams and plans on hold for those of his friend, returning to triathlon for one last summer in hopes of claiming the junior world title that Kevin would have been favored to win.

"I made the decision right away," Verzbicas said. "I feel like Kevin would have definitely won that medal, and it's really not fair what happened. If I could bring it to him, I have to do it."

Triathlon is McDowell's passion, has been since he took up the sport seven years ago. The bronze medalist at last year's junior world championships, he graduated high school early so he could train full-time. At an International Triathlon Union sprint event in Clermont, Fla., in March, he finished 10th, the fourth-fastest American.

He was a decade younger than many of the other top racers.

"I was on a high, excited about how the race went," said McDowell, who turns 19 on Aug. 1.

When he returned home, however, his mother noticed a lump on his neck. McDowell didn't think much of it, just as he hadn't thought much about how tired he'd been lately, how drained he'd been after training. He had felt great during the race, and figured any fatigue was simply due to the intense workouts he'd been doing to get ready for the season.

But his mother, a nurse, told him to go have it checked out. Doctors said it was nothing, a torn muscle, perhaps. Just in case, though, they did an ultrasound and told McDowell to get an MRI.

The next day, the teenager learned he had Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. That lump in his neck was a tumor, and he had another in his chest.

The cancer was caught early, Stage 2, and his prognosis was — and is — good. But McDowell would need five months of chemotherapy. His season, barely started, was over. So, too, his dream of winning the junior title at the world championships, Sept. 10-11 in Beijing.

"It's just a little bump in the road," McDowell said. "At times it doesn't feel like a bump right now, sometimes it feels like going up a mountain. But in the end, I'll be able to look back and say, 'All right, this was just a little bump.'"

After getting the news, McDowell went up to his bedroom, wanting to be alone. But the enormity of what he was facing — and what he was losing — overwhelmed him, and he knew of only one place where he would find comfort.

"He got the news at 1. At 5 o'clock, he shows up for practice," said Keith Dickson, director of the Multisport Madness Triathlon Team, McDowell and Verzbicas' club team. "He told his team, 'Guys, I've got cancer. So let's go run.' So he goes and leads his team on a 5-mile run. Nobody was saying anything, they're just running behind Kevin."

While the news stunned all of McDowell's teammates, Verzbicas took it particularly hard. He and McDowell have trained side-by-side the past five years, one driving the other every bit as hard as he drove himself. As naturally gifted as they are — McDowell is the stronger swimmer, Verzbicas the better runner of course and they're about even on the bike — it's taken the other to make each the athlete he is.

"You can't have a bad day, really, unless you're both having a bad day," Verzbicas said.

The two have swapped places atop the podium since the very first time they raced. (Verzbicas won that time, though he admits he later discovered that he'd skipped a full loop on the course.) Verzbicas was the junior U.S. triathlon champ in 2008, McDowell in 2009. They finished 3-4 at last year's junior worlds, McDowell completing the sprint-distance course (a 750-meter swim, 19.03-kilometer bike ride and 5-kilometer run) in 52 minutes, 22 seconds, with Verzbicas a mere 14 seconds behind after being assessed a 15-second penalty.

But when asked if the two are rivals, Verzbicas recoils. Theirs is an individual sport, and each wants to win. But they take their role as teammates seriously, giving each other encouragement and counsel.

It's a complex concept, this idea of friendly foes, one that's hard to fully appreciate for anyone who hasn't watched the teens push and pull each other along.

"I never thought of it as a rivalry," Verzbicas said. "A lot of people think that. I really don't feel like it's that way. I think we're more teammates. ... Team brothers."

That's what made Verzbicas' choice so easy.

The 18-year-old had given up triathlon last October to concentrate on distance running, and already has an impressive collection of records. He won his second straight title at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in December, only the third boy to win consecutive races in the event's 32-year history. He single-handedly won the team title at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in March, winning the mile, two mile and 5,000 meters.

On June 4, he shattered the high school two-mile record by almost five seconds at the Prefontaine Classic. A week later, he ran the mile in 3:59.71 at the Adidas Grand Prix, only the fifth U.S. high schooler — and first in a decade — to break the 4-minute barrier. He has a scholarship to Oregon, a powerhouse in collegiate running.

But McDowell needed Verzbicas, now more than he ever has.

"When he said what he was going to do, I was like, 'Wow.' It's a really nice gesture," McDowell said, his face conveying the awe and gratitude that words can't adequately describe. "To come back, it's a harder path and it's not what he had planned. It meant a lot. ... Now, in a way, I can still be a part of it and be a part of this whole process. So it helped a lot. It's something to look forward to, in a different way."

McDowell has chemotherapy every other Monday, and is often accompanied by one of his teammates. The two-hour treatments sap his energy for the next three or four days, but by Friday or Saturday he is back at practice, trying to push Verzbicas as he always has.

The workouts make him feel better physically and will make his return to competition easier. But it's the camaraderie with his teammates that helps most, allowing him to feel as if his "old" life is not that far away.

"Right after I was diagnosed, I met this girl who was fighting breast cancer," McDowell said. "She said, 'Keep living your life, don't curl up in a ball. Try and stay normal. Even if sometimes you don't feel good, still go out, go do something. Try to stay as normal as possible and don't curl up away from everything and feel sorry and be like, Why? Why?' Because it's not going to help."

Watching him hang on Verzbicas' back wheel during bike training, it's easy to forget McDowell is sick. He's lost 10 pounds, but triathletes are lean and sinewy by nature. He shaved his head when his hair began to fall out, but lots of elite swimmers and bikers go bald in hopes of reducing resistance and saving a second or two.

The only obvious sign McDowell has cancer is the chemotherapy port, a walnut-sized lump beneath the skin on the right side of his chest that's visible when he's in the pool.

"You wouldn't really believe he has cancer — except for the bald head, really. He's still training and doing everything with us," Verzbicas said. "It makes me look at what I have to do. He reminds me that I cannot give up. I'm not only doing this for myself, I'm doing it for others, as well."

Despite his previous success in triathlon, this is no easy undertaking for Verzbicas. He had been devoting his entire focus to one sport, and now he's had to switch to another. And not just any other sport, but one that crams three very different disciplines into one.

Triathlon demands an athleticism and versatility like few other sports, and getting back into it requires more than simply hopping back on the bike or into the pool.

"It's really tough to keep going," Verzbicas acknowledged. "But in the end, I just look at the big picture. I'll look back if I quit like, 'What have I done?' But if I complete it, then it's a big deal. So I've got to get through it."

He resumed triathlon training in March, put it aside in May to get ready for his June track meets, and then picked it back up after the Adidas meet. His first triathlon is July 10 in Edmonton, Alberta, followed by the national championships Aug. 7 in San Diego. Then it is off to Beijing in September for one last race; he is already qualified by virtue of his finish at last year's worlds.

Verzbicas and McDowell will go their separate ways after worlds, their individual sports taking them in different directions once again. Verzbicas will head to Oregon and resume his running career. McDowell plans to move to the new elite triathlon academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., following his final chemotherapy session on Aug. 22.

No matter where they are, though, they will always have a bond. And, Verzbicas hopes, a gold medal that will be both a token of what true friendship is, and a reminder that one would not be a champion without the other.

"Anything can happen, that's true. I'm not guaranteed a win," Verzbicas said. "Everyone wants to win just as much, if not more, than I do. But I think I have an advantage, because I'm doing it for someone else."

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... 44454dbec5


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:03 am 
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KFC and PepsiCo donate to diabetes research in exchange for your soda purchase

(NaturalNews) It could be one of the most ironically insulting "gifts" ever, but what it is, for certain, is a pathetic shame.

You might think that KFC is doing a good thing by pledging to help fund diabetes research, but when you figure out they are doing much more to cause diabetes than actually cure it, you have to shake your head in disbelief.

According to a recent advertisement spotted in a KFC store, the fast-food chain says it will donate a buck to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for every meal it sells - along with a "Mega Jug" of Pepsi Cola that contains about 800 calories and about 56 spoonfuls of sugar.

Yes, that's right. KFC will donate the dollar to JDRF, but only if customers buy a half-gallon of soda. So despite the "good intentions" behind the donations, clearly by forcing consumers to drink so much soda, the chain is violating the spirit of its campaign by contributing to the very disease it claims to be helping cure.

It isn't as if a link between excessive soda consumption, fast food and diabetes isn't well-known. In fact, some of the latest research shows that hundreds of thousands of diabetes cases have been linked directly to soda consumption.

"The finding suggests that any kind of policy that reduces consumption might have a dramatic health benefit," said senior study author Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, the associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

But this isn't the first time the soda- and junk-food industry has teamed with diabetes research organizations. In 2005, for instance, the American Diabetes Association teamed up with Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages under the guise of wanting to combat obesity and diabetes in America. Though the deal was that the ADA logo could only be placed on the company's diet soda, the fact is Cadbury Schweppes at the time was the world's third-largest manufacturer of soft drinks and one of the largest makers of sugary candies.

The company spun it this way, according to CSAB Senior Vice President of Marketing Jim Trebilcock: "I acknowledge that it is a little bit of a tricky dance here, given that we also sell sugared beverages, it's about communicating the choice. And it's also really about doing the right thing. And the right thing is we do offer products that are great for diabetic patients or people who are overweight and we want to get that message out, but done in a way that contributes to an overall solution."

Whatever you say, Jim.

http://www.naturalnews.com/032910_KFC_diabetes.html


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:24 am 
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Are Companies Cashing In On Breast Cancer?

Last week the New York Attorney General filed suit against a group called the Coalition Against Breast Cancer, branding it a “sham charity.” It's a more extreme example of a corporate trend researchers call “pinkwashing.”

According to Amy Lubitow, Portland State University (Oregon), and Mia Davis, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “pinkwashing” describes the practice of companies adopting pink colors and ribbons to imply they support breast cancer research, while at the same time permitting the use of chemicals shown to cause cancer.

The concern is not exactly new, but the rhetoric is sharpening. In very strong words, Lubitow and Davis accuse such companies of “committing a form of social injustice against women.” The two have co-authored an article on “pinkwashing” in the journal Environmental Justice.

The authors say that aligning oneself with a cause such as breast cancer, while carrying out research, manufacturing, or other types of policies or processes that involve the use of chemicals with a proven link to cancer crosses a critical line between just and unjust practices.

Pure profit motive?

They accuse companies that “pinkwash” with being motivated solely by the profit motive. These companies, they say, link themselves to the cause to increase profits but are taking actions and pursing policies that might contribute to higher cancer rates.

Last year, the company marketing an alcoholic lemonade product came in for some criticism for its campaign to “pink your drink,” a way the marketers said people could promote breast cancer year round.

Breast cancer awareness and breast cancer research have become enormously popular causes in recent years, with hundreds of businesses and organizations joining the effort to fight the disease. October, the official breast cancer awareness month, is usually marked by a sea of pink, as these organizations, most of whom sincerely and wholeheartedly support the effort, show pink.

Real men wear pink

For example, the National Football League observes the month by having players wear pink accessories, like gloves and shoes, along with their normal team colors. These efforts have won praise for raising the profile of breast cancer awareness, though some in the movement wondered aloud last year if they weren't getting just a bit over-exposed.

Those in the movement are also concerned about the trend Lubitow and Davis highlight in their article, claiming too many companies are simply trying to cash in on the good feelings.

"The authors of this article draw needed attention to the dangerous use of consumers' social and sometimes environmental consciousness by institutions who contribute to environmental health disparities,”said Sylvia Hood Washington, PhD, ND, MSE, MPH, Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Justice, and Research Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. “The blind financial support of these entities, by affected consumers, is a form of environmental injustice that is clearly elucidated by the authors.'

In other words, breast cancer awareness groups would like consumers to think carefully about the product they buy, and not choose it just because it has a pink label.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2 ... ancer.html


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:54 am 
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Cancer survivors Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back

TWO RIVERS — Missy Ward says her daughter, Ella, is getting back her bubbly personality with chemotherapy finished.

But the Mishicot 3-year-old still has 19 radiation therapy sessions left to help treat her retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that already has claimed her left eye.

Missy and her husband, Todd, said it has been a roller coaster of emotions since Ella's diagnosis and surgery last December.

Friday evening was a "high" as the couple pushed Ella around the Two Rivers High School track during the Survivors Lap portion of the 17th Annual Relay for Life of Manitowoc County benefiting the American Cancer Society.

Ella was one of hundreds of children and adults completely encircling the quarter-mile oval wearing T-shirts declaring, "Had it. Fought it. Survived it."

Cancer primarily strikes adults and a new survivor is Donald Kochan, 81, diagnosed earlier this year with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

"It's good to have a handkerchief for the Survivors Lap," advised his brother-in-law, Frank Zeman, 78, who went through treatment for colon cancer 15 years ago.

Indeed, there always are plenty of hugs and tears and applause as cancer survivors, then caregivers take to the track following the first of three ceremonies during the 15-hour event concluding at 9 a.m. today — Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back.

Arleta Petty has been a relay walker since 2005 but this year became a breast cancer survivor.

"Cancer research has done amazing things," Petty told a packed grandstand as the featured "Celebrate" speaker.

"We have come a long way but there's a long ways to go … we're not at the finish line, yet," Petty said.

"To eliminate cancer will take power, courage, time, sacrifice and, yes, money … just like it does to fight cancer," emcee Lee Davis told the survivors, family members, loved ones and supporters at the event, which has a 2011 fundraising goal of $325,000.

Haircuts, hot dogs

The Manitowoc County event is always one of the leading fundraising relays in the Midwest region, according to ACS officials.

Many of the 65 teams generate money beyond individuals' donations by selling various items.

Mary Graczyk, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in March, was buying tickets for a chance to take home a gift basket from Cancer Patrol, a team of Manitowoc County Sheriff's deputies, Joint Dispatch personnel and members of the Two Rivers Police Department.

"Call them 'take a chance' tickets … we don't have a raffle license," Mike Polich, a patrol sergeant with the Sheriff's Department, said with a smile.

Whitelaw Sausage was selling their distinctively flavored hot dogs and GJ's Salon-n-Spa stylists were doing haircuts with proceeds going to support the ACS research, education, treatment and advocacy programs.

The Family Walkers had a penny raffle going with the lucky winner set to receive a PlayStation 3 video game.

April Melichar started the team in 2010 after helping her mother, Susan Walesh, successfully battle breast cancer, taking her to medical appointments and the hospital for surgery three years ago.

Her mother's breast cancer fight spurred Melichar, 34, to get her first mammogram.

Amy Peterman is the captain of a first-year team, Twisted Scissors Cutting Out Cancer, after her father, Raul Maertz, was diagnosed with lung cancer.

She said he was "very happy to ring the bell" as he completed his radiation therapy treatments at Holy Family Memorial.

Theresa Brauer, patient care manager at Aurora Medical Center-Manitowoc County, was busy helping coordinate enrollment in CPS-3, a national cancer study seeking to sign up 500,000 adults who will help researchers learn how to prevent cancer.

CPS-3 is designed to better understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer.

Anyone is eligible to participate who:

» Is willing to make a long-term commitment, 20 years plus, to the study, which involves completing periodic follow-up surveys at home;

» Is between 30 and 65 years old; and

» Has never been diagnosed with cancer (not including basal or squamous cell skin cancer).

Brauer said enrollment will continue this morning and for more information, one call (888) 604-5888 or visit www.cancer.org/cps3.

http://www.htrnews.com/article/20110730 ... Fight-Back


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:19 am 
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Cyclists raise $4.7m for cancer research

More than 1300 cyclists have finished a cancer fundraiser in Brisbane, earning $4.7 million for research into the disease.

The riders finished the two-day-long, 200-kilometre Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer at the University of Queensland's St Lucia campus on Sunday afternoon.

Money raised will support work at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) that's looking into a range of cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer, bowel cancer, blood cancers like leukemia, brain cancer and skin cancers, including melanoma.

"The support will have a significant impact on cancer patients through improved diagnostics, prevention and treatment options," said QIMR's director, Professor Frank Gannon.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/technology/8 ... r-research


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:33 am 
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Big pharma discredited by Twitter drug-pushing: Official

A pharmaceutical company's use of Twitter to promote medicines discredited the industry, a regulatory body has ruled.

The Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) said that Bayer Healthcare had violated the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry Code of Conduct (ABPI Code). The Code sets rules on what companies can say when informing the public about prescription-only medicines.

Bayer was in breach of the parts of the Code which prohibits the advertising of prescription-only medicines to the public, the PMCPA said. The company also breached a rule that prohibits companies releasing information about prescription-only medicines that would encourage the public to ask their doctor for the product. Bayer also failed to maintain high standards and brought discredit upon, and reduced the confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry – two other rules written into the Code.

An advertisement publicising Bayer's case was published in The Nursing Standard on 17 August. Further adverts will run in the British Medical Journal and The Pharmaceutical Journal on 20 August.

The PMCPA rules state that it must advertise brief details of all cases where companies bring discredit upon and reduce confidence in the pharmaceutical industry, or when companies are forced to issue a corrective statement or are the subject of a public reprimand.

Last year Bayer copied headlines from press releases it had formed about the launch of two products and sent them out as two tweets to its Twitter followers, according to the PMCPA ruling (3-page/42KB PDF). One of the tweets did not name the product but "referred to its qualities, indication and launch", while the other tweet "mentioned the brand name, indication and launch", the PMCPA said.

"The Panel considered that each tweet was in fact a public announcement about the launch of a prescription-only medicine which promoted that medicine to the public and would encourage members of the public to ask their health professionals to prescribe it," the PMCPA said in its case summary.

"Breaches of the Code were ruled in relation to each tweet as acknowledged by Bayer. The Panel considered that high standards had not been maintained," the summary said.

"The Panel was concerned that material placed on Twitter had not been certified. That the original press releases were certified was insufficient in this regard. If part of a certified document was reproduced in a different format or directed to a different audience the new material should be certified separately. The Panel was extremely concerned that controls within the company were such that uncertified information about the launch of prescription-only medicines had been posted on Twitter. A breach of [The Code] was ruled," the summary said.

The self-regulatory Code sets out rules based on compliance with UK laws, including The Medicines (Advertising) Regulations 1994. The regulations were introduced in the UK to implement an EU Directive, the "Community code" relating to medicinal products for human use. Civil and criminal sanctions exist for serious breaches of the regulations.

"Pharmaceutical companies must comply with the ABPI code of practice and have in place sufficient checks and regulations to ensure that breaches of the code such as this do not occur," Camilla Balleny, legal expert in life sciences at Pinsent Masons said.

"Digital media is moving at such a pace that companies must be on the look out for ways in which issues such as this might breach the code in way not previously envisaged," Balleny said.

"It seems that the problem in this case arose because of extracts from 'approved' announcements of the launch of two new medicines being posted on Twitter in circumstances where Bayer could not verify that the only people who could access the extract were healthcare professionals. The extracts were such that they were considered to be advertising, and in particular, likely to encourage members of the public to ask their health professional to prescribe a specific prescription. Advertising to healthcare professionals is not restricted per se, although the content of such advertisements is still heavily scrutinised for balance and truth," Balleny said.

In April this year the PMCPA released guidance notes on how companies could use digital media without falling foul of the ABPI Code. Balleny said that inconsistencies exist in global rules governing the advertising of medicines, which makes it difficult for pharmaceutical companies that make information available online.

"In the US the advertising of medicines to the public is permitted. This is in contrast to the restrictions in Europe. This difference has long been a problem for pharmaceutical companies looking to develop website content which reaches around the world and it has led to, for example, the development of healthcare professionals-only websites," Balleny said.

"Based on the recent PMCPA guidance, if pharmaceutical companies wish to use Twitter from a UK perspective, there is going to need to be tighter restriction on the content, in circumstances where the identity of the signatory cannot be verified," Balleny said.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/22 ... regulator/


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:00 am 
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Flowergirl touches hearts

A HOST of yellow daffodils have brightened Ipswich Hospital's cancer ward – thanks to a giant-hearted school student.

While visiting her own grandmother at the hospital, Stephanie Jenner was saddened to see many other cancer patients battling the disease without the support of family.

The Year 12 student from Ipswich State High quickly decided to do something about it.

She contacted the Cancer Council and arranged delivery of 300 daffodils for patients at the hospital.

The school vice captain and six of her classmates then hand delivered the flowers to every cancer patient in the hospital. Miss Jenner said the reason for the gesture was quite simple.

“Just over a month ago my Nan passed away,” she said.

“When I spoke to her and asked her how her day was she got really happy, and I realised the small things really helped.

“Nan would have people visit her two to three times a week but the woman next to her, who was losing her hearing and eyesight, only had a visitor every couple of months.

“So even though daffodils are just a flower, it's still a little initiative to show them someone does care. I really just want people to know that there are people out there who care.”

Patient Ken Conneely was one of the first patients to receive his daffodil. The 74-year-old moved to Ipswich to be close to medical services after recently contracting carcinoid cancer.

Mr Conneely said the disease touched many people in the community and the flower delivery was a thoughtful gesture.

“One in two of us are going to have some form of contact with cancer,” Mr Conneely said.

“It's really nice to receive a gift. It just brightens the day up a bit.”

Miss Jenner said she hoped the gesture would inspire other people to help out someone in need.

“I hope they will be motivated to make the small differences,” she said.

Daffodil Day is now in its 25th year and is the major annual fundraiser for the Cancer Council.

http://www.qt.com.au/story/2011/08/26/f ... ancerunit/


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:26 am 
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Cancer cover-up cycle embroils bureaucrats

Queensland Health has quietly killed off the most damning evidence of its desperately under-resourced radiotherapy service - the Weekly Snapshot of Next Available Radiotherapy Treatment Dates - a simple one-page hospital memo that has been shining an inconvenient spotlight on the unacceptable delays faced by public cancer patients for many years.

Clinicians first alerted me to this tell-tale paper trail during my time as advocacy manager with the Queensland Cancer Council, which coincided with the radiation therapy meltdown of 2003 when patients were waiting up to 16 weeks for treatment they should have received within four weeks at most. I have been obtaining copies of these uncharacteristically candid memos ever since through right to information.

Then just last month concerned clinicians let me know the weekly reports had been discontinued at the direction of senior health bureaucrats who were reputedly sick of the waiting time data being used to highlight the department's continuing failure to provide cancer patients with timely treatment.

What followed again showed that Queensland Health has no shame when it comes to defending the indefensible, even to the extreme of shredding its own arguments for past deceit.

Challenged to explain why the reports had been axed, the department said “the weekly memorandum to share information of expected delays for radiotherapy treatment was implemented primarily as a strategy to inform referral of patients”. In other words, to move patients between facilities to spread their workload - but this strategy “was not being realised”.

(One might ask why Queensland Health - and more significantly, hospitals - persevered with the strategy since the 1990s if it really didn't work, but that is another story for another day.)

More to the point, this lame excuse totally repudiated the department's own arguments used to block the release of the same weekly reports back in 2003 when I first sought access on behalf of the Cancer Council.

At that time it was me arguing the weekly reports were used “to help equalise workload” between radiotherapy units while senior bureaucrats claimed the memos were exempt from release because their sole purpose “was to inform the Minister in preparation for responding to potential parliamentary questions”.

They even went so far as to swear two statutory declarations in support of that absurd claim, one of which was signed by disgraced former health chief Steve Buckland who was later sacked after the Davies Inquiry into the Dr Death scandal exposed his outrageous administrative shenanigans.

The department eventually capitulated and released every last document, but by then the passage of time had done its job and the reports were ancient history.

So, in 2003 Queensland Health blocked release of the weekly reports on the preposterous pretext that they were parliamentary - not operational. In 2011 it has admitted that the reports were operational after all, but now claims they weren't working. The first cover-up delayed release until the reports were useless. The second cover-up has killed them off forever. But why does this matter; why should we care?

Approximately 25,000 Queenslanders will develop a new cancer this year and more than half should receive at least one course of radiotherapy at some stage of their treatment. The reality is that thousands will miss out due to grossly inadequate capacity and hundreds will die as a direct result.

Most of the patients who do make it into the public radiotherapy queue will be treated well outside the maximum acceptable waiting times of 14 days for high-priority care and 28 days for planned care. These life-threatening delays have again been highlighted in the latest reports for the June quarter and suggest a much more likely motive for the department's decision to pull down the information shutters once and for all.

This one last set of reports shows that Queensland Health failed to treat cancer patients within the acceptable maximums more than 90 per cent of the time. They show three of the four radiotherapy units failed to treat patients within the acceptable maximums even once. They show one in four patients - high priority patients with aggressive and advanced cancers - had to wait at least double the acceptable maximum. Delays of this magnitude are a potential death sentence, so transparency is even more critical than usual.

Health bureaucrats say performance reports will still be available online, but the data is hopelessly fragmented across multiple web pages and has been so vigorously laundered through the department's public relations spin cycle that any residual resemblance to the true delays for radiotherapy is purely coincidental.

So, while the department's arguments regarding the weekly reports have changed diametrically over the years to suit its own self-interest, the outcome has remained the same - concealment and deception. Health bureaucrats have now flown full circle in the cancer cover-up cycle.

Paul Turner is a former cancer patient, journalist and advocate for the Queensland Cancer Council. He was also a senior adviser to the parliamentary leader and deputy leader of the Queensland Liberal Party

Mr Turner currently works in the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General media unit but is writing in his private capacity.

In reply, Queensland Health's Deputy Director-General Policy, Strategy and Resourcing Dr Michael Cleary said:

“Queensland Health publishes online comprehensive radiation wait-time information.

Far from being "hopelessly fragmented" web data, any patient can visit the website and see the length of stay between seeing a doctor and commencing treatment for the radiation treatment centres in the state.

The data demonstrates the same thing the weekly reports used to demonstrate: that the government's investment in more machines and extra hours of usage has driven down wait times since reporting began in 2008.

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/cancer-co ... 1jnxs.html


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:17 am 
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States Get Creative in Raising Money for Breast Cancer Programs

FRIDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Fundraising methods such as a state lottery, selling specialty license plates and offering the ability to make a donation on state income tax forms have raised millions of dollars for breast cancer research and prevention programs in the United States, a new study says.

Researchers found that 18 states have programs that enable taxpayers to check a box on their income tax forms to donate part of their tax refund to breast cancer programs. The median annual amount collected was $115,000 per state.

The study also noted that 26 states have breast cancer license plates that have generated more than $4.1 million. The extra cost of the specialized plates ranges from $20 to $75, said the researchers at Washington University in St. Louis in a university news release.

States with medium or high breast cancer death rates were 2.5 times more likely to offer breast cancer specialty license plates than states with low breast cancer death rates, they noted.

Illinois was the only state to have a breast cancer lottery, which raised $7.4 million from 2005-09.

"We found that revenue-generating breast cancer initiatives can be a successful strategy for states to raise funds, or 'pink ribbon dollars,' for prevention and early detection programs," said Amy A. Eyler, a research associate professor at the Brown School of Social Work and the Prevention Research Center at WUSL.

The study appears online and in the September-October print issue of the journal Public Health Reports.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/fa ... r-programs


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:26 am 
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Sydney man allegedly stole wallets and iPods from cancer patients at St Vincent's Hospital

A SYDNEY man has been refused bail after allegedly preying on the city's weak and infirm, stealing wallets and iPods from cancer patients during a "rampage" of theft at St Vincent's Hospital.

Christopher Gordon Brown, of Woolloomooloo, appeared in Parramatta bail court yesterday on five charges of larceny.

The court was told Brown was allegedly caught red-handed by hospital staff and security stealing from patients' rooms on the hospital's wards on Friday.

The court heard police claims that Brown, 33, entered the hospital about 3pm with "the sole purpose of stealing from vulnerable persons".

A nurse on level 9 noticed Brown acting suspiciously and saw him take from one of her patients a black bag containing a first aid kit, cigarettes, an umbrella, sunglasses, a name tag and phone charger.

Security were called and Brown was apprehended on level 5 of the hospital before being taken to the security office and searched.

The court heard he allegedly had in his possession a gold coloured iPod, a cream coloured iPod and a Nokia mobile phone belonging to a visitor in the hospital.

Brown is also alleged to have had another Nokia mobile phone, which police found belonged to a patient on ward 9, and a Samsung mobile phone from another patient's room on ward 8.

Brown was taken to Kings Cross police station, where a further search is alleged to have uncovered a brown leather wallet belonging to a fourth patient on level 7.

Police have photographed the goods, which have been returned to the owners.

According to police facts tendered in court, Brown also abused an officer, yelling: "I hope you get cancer too so I can steal off you."

Magistrate John Bailey, who refused Brown's bail application, said it was of grave concern that a man could walk into a hospital and steal from the sick. "I don't know if one can get much lower than that," he said.

Brown will appear via audio/visual link in central local court tomorrow.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/s ... 6133889081


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:28 am 
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Teen accused of cancer hoax to get donations

(Reuters) - A Texas teenager faces theft charges after police said she duped her community into giving her $17,000 because they erroneously believed she was dying of cancer.

Ruth Angelica Gomez, 18, of Horizon City, Texas, created the Achieve the Dream foundation, under which she held fund-raising events. She solicited donations to help cure her leukemia, which she said would claim her life before the year ended, Horizon City police Detective Liliana Medina said.

Yet there was no indication that Gomez ever had cancer, police said.

She is being charged with felony theft by deception, punishable, by up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

"Ms. Gomez stated that she had been diagnosed with a terminal illness (Leukemia) and was under treatment for the disease, although Ms. Gomez does not have any form of cancer," Medina said.

"She did hold many fund-raisers in the area of Horizon City and El Paso. People began to suspect that she may not be sick, so an investigation ensued."

There are no other suspects in the case, Medina said.

News reports from earlier this year touted the Achieve the Dream Foundation's creation and publicized some of its fund-raisers. On one website, members of a girls' fast-pitch softball team challenged other teams to donate to the foundation, saying they were "proud to be a part of Angie's life."

The foundation's website has been taken down, but an archive of the page shows teens and children wearing the group's green ribbon logo and a message from Gomez.

"Blessed by God's will, every child was brought to this world for a reason," the message on the home page reads. "So being, every child should have the right to fight for their life, Achieve the Dream is dedicated to helping children with Leukemia have the chance to beat their cancer and live a normal life."

Donations to the "Achieve the Dream" Foundation came in the form of cash and checks directly deposited to her foundation, as well as gift cards, and in-kind donations to sell for fund-raising, Medina said.

Horizon City is about 20 miles southeast of El Paso.

El Paso-area charities say their isolated community is close knit and people help each other out, and they do not anticipate the Gomez case having a lasting impact on charitable giving.

"There may be some short-term problems, but we have so much poverty in this community, we have so many needs, that everybody knows they have to do their part," said Jason Brewer, Vice President of the United Way of El Paso County.

At the Susan B. Komen for the Cure El Paso Chapter, Executive Director Stephanie Flora agreed.

"We do not foresee any setbacks from the Angie Gomez situation," she said Thursday. "We do not provide funds to individuals. Direct support must be given through our grantee organizations using their eligibility requirements."

Flora stressed that donors need to realize that there are generally very strict rules in place before individuals can receive direct donations from any charity, and those rules apply to people soliciting donations for charities as well.

"Any individual, organization, or business that is interested in fundraising on our behalf must submit an application, which is reviewed by local staff. Both parties then sign a formal contract agreeing to the terms prior to solicitation of funds and use of the Komen name."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/ ... UG20110915


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:23 am 
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Breast cancer lie used to skip meeting

AUSTIN (KXAN) - A Central Texas man on probation is facing felony charges after authorities said he lied about suffering from terminal breast cancer to avoid court-ordered community supervision.

After missing several appointments with his probation officer in Austin, Brian Bonniwell, 32, provided a written excuse that he had breast cancer and was receiving treatment, according to an arrest affidavit released Wednesday.

The letter, which Bonniwell gave his community supervision officer on July 20, 2010, was purported to be from Texas Oncology-South Austin. The letter indicated that Bonniwell had been diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma and had "crossed over into terminal status."

A grand jury subpoena was issued to Texas Oncology for the medical records of Bonniwell. There was no record of Bonniwell ever being a patient of Texas Oncology nor receiving medical services from its treatment outlets.

In March 2005, Bonniwell was sentenced to 10 years of probation stemming from a criminal charge of burglary of habitation. A condition of that probation was that Bonniwell had to report in person to his community supervision officer on the second Wednesday of each month.

Bonniwell faces third-degree felony charges for fabricating physical evidence and is currently being held in the Travis County jail.

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/strange/br ... ip-meeting


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:01 am 
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Cancer coffee morning toasts 21 years

Caffeine and charity come together again next weekend for Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

The annual event sees hundreds of community groups across Oxfordshire coming together to enjoy a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.

Last year saw more than 600 community groups and other organisations taking part in Oxfordshire, raising thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Macmillan Oxfordshire fundraising manager Julian Knowles said the team wanted to raise at least £120,000 this year.

He said: “This is a fantastic event for anyone to get involved in because it’s so simple. We’re really grateful to all the hosts who have already signed up but we’re so close to reaching our target, we just need a few more people to get involved.”

He added: “If you can’t do it on Friday, September 30, just pick another day. If you’re not keen on coffee and would rather have cocktails or herbal tea, that’s fine as well.”

The official coffee morning is on Friday, but events go on throughout the weekend.

If the charity gets just 40 more hosts nationwide, it will officially be the biggest yet in the event’s 21-year history.

Mr Knowles said their aim was to get 766 coffee mornings in Oxfordshire alone.

Among those taking part are staff at Oxford Castle Unlocked, where visitors can enjoy a brew in the grounds of the former prison.

General manager Michael Speight said: “We’re really looking forward to holding our World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event.

“Fifty pence from every cup of coffee will go to Macmillan Cancer Support so we’re hoping to raise lots of money for the cause.”

Macmillan provides support for people living with cancer and campaigns for better care.

Also taking part are staff at the Hinksey Funeral Services in Botley, who said they would be “dragging in people off the street” to raise as much money as possible.

Funeral director Charlie Jarrett said: “At our morning, we’ll have chocolates, cakes, tea and coffee and, along with others, a prize draw to win a holiday for two.

“We unfortunately do an awful lot of work with people who have had cancer and find it hard to handle seeing people who have died of the disease, many of them too young.

“But as funeral directors we can’t show any emotion so it’s an absolute delight to help someone like Macmillan.”

He added: “We’ll be dragging people in and cajoling them in with sweets and cakes.”

Other events include one at Bonmarche in Oxford, the Fleece in Witney and at Banbury Town Hall.

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/926975 ... _21_years/


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:28 am 
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God, some folk are foolish

IF you were following the news in the past week or so, you've had a ringside seat to observe religious buffoonery.

In the US, three presidential candidates claimed God had chosen them to win the election, prompting one religious leader to state: "At least two are wrong, and I'm guessing three are."

More foolishness raised its ugly head as televangelist Pat Robertson, perhaps best known for his foot-in-mouth syndrome, told his "700 Club" viewers that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's was justifiable.

Robertson was asked what advice a man should give to a friend who began seeing another woman after his wife started suffering from the incurable neurological disorder.

"I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her," Robertson said.

Seriously? It seems the "in sickness and health" marriage vow has been replaced with "until circumstances permit".

Robertson was rightly blasted by Christian leaders but the controversy had its upside.

Christianity Today magazine quoted Robertson McQuilkin, who ended his 22-year tenure as president of Columbia Bible College and Seminary to care full-time for his wife, Muriel, who suffered with Alzheimer's for 25 years.

During her last 10 years she could not recognise her husband. He wrote an article where he explained that his decision to care for her was easy: "This was no grim duty to which I stoically resigned, however. It was only fair. She had, after all, cared for me for almost four decades with marvellous devotion; now it was my turn. And such a partner she was! If I took care of her for 40 years, I would never be out of her debt," McQuilkin wrote.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky, where prisons are overcrowded, eight Amish men were jailed after refusing to affix orange reflective safety triangles to their slow-moving buggies, saying the triangles violated their religious beliefs.

They were initially fined for breaking road laws but opted for jail time because they felt paying the fines would "amount to complying with a law they believe violates their religious strictures against wearing bright colours or trusting in manmade symbols for their safety".

In another violation of religious freedom, Muslims caught praying on the streets of Paris now face police action after a new law was introduced.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said praying in the streets "hurt the sensitivities of many of our fellow citizens".

At the same time, an Indonesian mayor was pushing for a decree to block Christians from opening churches on streets with Islamic names

In Vienna, 329 Catholic priests - one in 10 of all priests in Austria - called for male priests to be allowed to marry.

You can't help but wonder if all this is what God had in mind when he created us.

But the craziness is not a new development.

Jesus said not to worry. With radical grace, we can live worthy lives amid the madness. We can still be touched by love and set free.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/sunday ... 6143484864


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:28 am 
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Retail therapy to fight breast cancer

Those who love to shop can do so this week and in the month of October without feeling guilty.

That's because some retailers at Santa Monica Place will be offering various promotions and giveaways with some proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Bloomingdale's cardholders are invited to join the fight during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) by opting to "Give Pink Get More," a $15 donation on their Insider card that goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. As an incentive to join, from Sept. 28 through Oct. 31 all customers who pay the enrollment fee and spend a minimum of $250 on their card will earn a $25 gift card.

Bloomingdale's will also offer many exclusive items with a designated portion of sales benefiting breast cancer research. This includes Bloomingdale's merchandise as well as items from designers such as Movado, Links of London, Paige Premium Denim, True Religion and Cuisinart. When customers purchase The Pink Gift Card, 10 percent of the card's value is donated to the foundation and when redeemed, 10 percent of any spending exceeding the card's value is also donated.

Customers can also purchase the Little Pink Bag, a reusable tote inspired by Bloomingdale's Little Brown Bag for $20 with $2 going to the foundation through Oct. 31. Additionally, a pink umbrella is available for $12 with $6 going to the foundation. The Little Pink tote and umbrella are available both in-store and online.

Visit Nordstrom from Oct. 20 through Oct. 22 and receive a tote with the purchase of $50 or more on lingerie. For every bra purchased from a participating brand at the event, $2 will be donated to the Komen foundation.

http://www.smdp.com/Articles-c-2011-09- ... ancer.html


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