Cancer Coach App!

I wanna smartphone….

In the interest of public service, I’m providing the following press release (please feel free to pass it on!) regarding a new app: Cancer Coach!

GENOMIC HEALTH LAUNCHES SMARTPHONE APPLICATION TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO IMPORTANT TREATMENT INFORMATION FOR NEWLY DIAGNOSED BREAST AND COLON CANCER PATIENTS

Cancer Coach App to help patients better understand their personalized treatment options and manage their cancer journey

REDWOOD CITY, CA – October 25, 2011 –Genomic Health, Inc., (Nasdaq: GHDX) today launched a smartphone application designed to help people who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer or colon cancer to better access and manage information important for their personalized treatment plan. The application was developed in partnership with Breastcancer.org and Fight Colorectal Cancer, creating a natural extension of the original My Breast Cancer Coach and My Colon Cancer Coach online tools to empower patients to make better informed decisions about their treatment based on accurate, accessible and personalized medical information about their cancer.

The application, called the Cancer Coach, features a calendar to mark medical appointments, important questions for the doctor, audio notepad function that records additional questions and responses, glossary, and a journal to keep track of key information shared during physician visits throughout diagnosis and treatment.

“More and more women are seeking information about breast cancer, not just online, but using their mobile devices. The Cancer Coach app fulfills this need for reliable resources on-the-go as patients and their personal support networks navigate a new diagnosis,” said Hope Wohl, CEO of Breastcancer.org. “Our partnership with Genomic Health on My Breast Cancer Coach and the Cancer Coach app supports our mission to help breast cancer patients and their loved ones make sense of complex medical information so they can make the most informed decisions.”

The Cancer Coach app walks patients through a simple questionnaire with audio guidance for breast cancer by Lillie Shockney, RN, Administrative Director of the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center and for colon cancer by Richard M. Goldberg, MD, Professor and Physician-in-Chief of the James Cancer Hospital and Associate Director of the James Cancer Center at the Ohio State University. Based on a patient’s responses, the Cancer Coach creates a customized treatment information guide that can be shared with their physician as they discuss treatment options. The Cancer Coach app is available on Apple iTunes and in the Android Market and features additional resources for breast and colon cancer, as well as a RSS news feed unique to newly diagnosed breast cancer or colon cancer patients.

“We believe that as the biology of cancer becomes better defined it is critical that every woman begin to take a more informed and active role in her treatment plan,” said Randy Scott, founder and executive chairman of the board, Genomic Health.  “The Cancer Coach app allows patients to store and access high quality personalized information right at their fingertips so that it is readily available as they decide with their healthcare team how best to proceed with treatment.”

Carlea Bauman, president of Fight Colorectal Cancer, believes colon cancer patients and their caretakers will find the Cancer Coach app to be extremely helpful as they are able to take the resources of  My Colon Cancer Coach with them into the doctor’s office, and use the key features of a smart phone to help manage all the information shared during health care visits, “The app is an effective tool for patients to have in hand, especially when they meet with their doctor. It gives them information unique to their diagnosis that can really make a difference in the discussion about treatment,” she said.

The personalized treatment information guides provided by My Breast Cancer Coach and My Colon Cancer Coach online tools and the Cancer Coach app were developed in accordance with National Cancer Cooperative Network® (NCCN®) clinical treatment guidelines. [1]

The Cancer Coach app is available for iPhone® and for Android®. It can also be downloaded from My Breast Cancer Coach and My Colon Cancer Coach, or by visiting the Apple® store or Android Market on a mobile device and searching for “Cancer Coach.” [2]

About Genomic Health and the Oncotype DX® Tests

Genomic Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: GHDX) is a molecular diagnostics company focused on the global development and commercialization of genomic-based clinical laboratory services that analyze the underlying biology of cancer allowing physicians and patients to make individualized treatment decisions.

Its lead product, the Oncotype DX Breast Cancer test, has been shown to predict the likelihood of chemotherapy benefit as well as recurrence in early-stage breast cancer to help optimize treatment options. Oncotype DX is the only test incorporated in published ASCO® and NCCN® breast cancer treatment guidelines for patients with node-negative breast cancer that is estrogen-receptor positive and/or progesterone-receptor positive. The test is also recognized in international guidelines issued by St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Expert Panel and European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO).

Physicians also use the Oncotype DX Breast Cancer test to make treatment recommendations for certain node-positive breast cancer patients.

Oncotype DX has been extensively evaluated in thirteen clinical studies involving more than 4,000 breast cancer patients worldwide, including a large validation study published in The New England Journal of Medicine and a chemotherapy benefit study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. 

The Oncotype DX Colon Cancer test is the first multigene expression test commercially available that has been clinically validated to predict risk of recurrence in patients with stage II colon cancer. Genomic Health collaborated with the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project and Cleveland Clinic on a total of four development studies in more than 1,800 to analyze patients with stage II colon cancer.  The final gene panel was then independently evaluated in more than 1,400 stage II colon cancer patients in the QUASAR validation study.

As of June 30, 2011, more than 10,000 physicians in over 60 countries had ordered more than 200,000 Oncotype DX breast and colon cancer tests.  Genomic Health has a robust pipeline focused on developing tests to optimize the treatment of prostate and renal cell cancers, as well as additional stages of breast and colon cancers.  The company is based in Redwood City, California with European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.  For more information, please visit www.genomichealth.com.  To learn more about Oncotype DX tests, visit: www.oncotypedx.com and www.untileverywomanknows.com.

About Fight Colorectal Cancer 

Fight Colorectal Cancer demands a cure for colon and rectal cancer. We educate and support patients, push for changes in policy that will increase and improve research, and empower survivors to raise their voices against the status quo.

About Breastcancer.org

Breastcancer.org (http://www.breastcancer.org) offers comprehensive, easy to understand information about breast cancer, as well as online discussion boards and chat rooms in the “Community Knowledge” section of its Web site.

[1] NCCN, ASCO, and NCCN are registered trademarks of the National Cancer Cooperative Network (NCCN), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), respectively.  ASCO, NCCN and NCCN do not endorse any product or therapy.

[1] iPhone, Apple, and Android are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc., and Google, Inc., respectively.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements relating to the attributes and focus of the company’s product pipeline, the ability of the company to develop additional tests in the future, and the ability of any potential tests the company may develop to optimize cancer treatment. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, and reported results should not be considered as an indication of future performance. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the risks and uncertainties associated with the regulation of the company’s tests;  the results of clinical studies; the applicability of clinical study results to actual outcomes; our ability to develop and commercialize new tests; unanticipated costs or delays in research and development efforts; our ability to obtain capital when needed and the other risks set forth in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the risks set forth in the company’s Quarterly  Report  on Form 10-Q  for the period ended June 30, 2011. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. Genomic Health disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

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I Love Komen’s Pink Ribbons

My Name is Lisa—I ♥ Pink.

I’ve “met” a lot of awesome breast cancer survivors/bloggers since I started my blog.  The thing that’s so neat is that while we may not agree with the other’s point of view, we respect the person.  That just doesn’t happen in the real world, unfortunately.  Some of my favorite bloggers have pink-aversion.  I try to understand it, really I do, but I still ♥ Komen and pink breast cancer ribbons.

I’d like to present snippets of my fellow bloggers’ thoughts regarding “pink” because what they have to say needs to be heard.   I encourage you to read their entire posts so you have a full understanding of their opinions, because I’m only posting some parts pertaining to “pink.”  I  get what they are saying, but I can’t diss the pink, which I’ll explain below.

Stacey, Bringing Up GoliathMy brother asked if I’m anti-pink.  Not exactly.  Like so many these days, I’m against what “pink” has come to represent. The happy-go-lucky, early stage, still having fun, never sick, all is right in the world, let’s get coffee with perfect hair and makeup, cancer survivor.  My skin prickles at this unrealistic vision created by major marketing machines.

***

The thing is, it hasn’t worked.  Thirty years, no cure and more questions than answers.  The promise most of us grew up with, has yet to come true.  We’re still being told we have breast cancer.

Nancy, Nancy’s PointRecently someone said to me, I’m paraphrasing here, you bloggers need to be careful not to alienate people about pink. Most people are just trying to do the right thing. Most people are just trying to do something.

I get that.

Whenever I write a post I always try to bear this in mind. It is never my intention to put anyone down for buying pink stuff, wearing pink ribbons, running in races or donating to their favorite charity. I think doing any or all of these things is wonderful. In fact, if truth be told, I still like pink.

But turning everything pink this month is just not good enough!

Katie, Uneasy PinkI know why we would rather look at people in cute pink boas and capes racing for a cure instead.  I understand it way down into my gut.

***

The question is… do we care enough about REAL awareness?

***

That’s why I won’t wear the pink shirt.  That’s why I know we’re not racing for a cure.  That’s why I wanted to spit on all the teenage boys wearing their FBI – Female Boobie Inspector shirts at this year’s race.

None of it has anything to do with reality.

That’s why pink has me down this year instead of angry.

I can’t say it eloquently enough; I know what I feel in my heart.  Have I been pink-washed?  I don’t know.  Honestly, I was clueless about breast cancer and Komen five years ago, and I’m not sure I’m that much more informed now.  I just know I can never tell Lovely Daughter that the pink she wears every single day in October doesn’t mean anything.  It does; it means that, God-willing, she understands how important self-awareness of her body is to her future health.  It means she loves me and is aware, and acknowledges, the pain I’ve gone through.   Do I care if she wears a shirt that says:  Save the Ta-Tas?  Absolutely, positively not.   (By the way, those are her hands above.)  Did (or do) I expect cure for cancer in my lifetime?  No.  Would it be awesome?  It would be unbelievable.  So would a cure for AIDS.  So would ending world-wide hunger.  Could I tell the men and women below that the Komen Rally tennis tournament last Sunday meant nothing?  It meant everything to me; their generosity humbles me.  The women who walk the Race for a Cure as a member of “Lisa’s Ladies”?  You should be so lucky to have those friends in your life.  Do I think the money raised goes toward research and research only?  No.  Without marketing, funds are not successfully raised and without money being raised research is hindered.  Don’t tell me pink isn’t “real awareness.”  You are giving it attention (e.g., awareness), are you not?

To be angry about pink is a waste of good energy!  Comments such as, “pepto-pink sea makes me turn my head and shut my eyes,” ” Pink is covering up the reality of the disease,” makes me sad.  Pink isn’t offensive to me; anger about millions of people just trying to help by wearing pink is what is offensive to me.

Maybe I just have pink-colored glasses on all the time.  Maybe I wear it just for me and my fellow sisters; I hope they don’t think I’m not into “real awareness.”  I just know that if coloring my hair pink and marching down the streets of Little Rock with 55,000 “friends” helps in even a teeny, tiny amount to not only find a cure for cancer, but develop better chemo drugs, or provide a wig or scarf, or just make one woman perform a self-exam, then I will wear my pink ribbons.

A Little Rant: “Perfect Boobs” Seriously??

I kid you not.

While channel surfing through Dish Network this Sunday morning, I was struck by this wording:  Perfect Boobs.  First and foremost, let me say I find the title a little very demeaning, inappropriate, and demeaning, particularly on Sunday at 8 a.m.  Second, just the title alone is enough to perpetuate the myth that one (uh, meaning female) should strive to be perfect.  Third, well, let’s just say there are many more things I’d like to say, but I’m going to be a lady and keep them to myself.

I love pretty things, and most days (today not being one of them) I want to look-if not good-then at least presentable.  But perfect?  Do I really need to be perfect?  Or is that just certain parts of my female anatomy need to be perfect? And whom determines whether or not they’re perfect?  What an advertising ploy for a bra.  Call it “Perfect Bra” or (shocker) it’s name: Genie Bra, and maybe I’d have checked it out.  I hope and pray a man came up with this title and not a female because that might put me over the e.d.g.e.

Dear Mr. Idiot (please, please be a man):

You are sexist and you insult consumers (and don’t even get me started about breast cancer survivors).  I do not need to be perfect to love myself or have someone love me.  What exactly is your definition of perfect?  Let me tell you something, no female’s “boobs” are perfect, and I don’t give a rat’s rear what bra you slap on her chest.  My “boobs” will never be perfect. . . because one is half-missing and was filled with cancer.  No bra can or will ever make me perfect in your eyes.  That’s okay because in Better Half’s eyes I (not my body parts) am perfect (most days….) and better yet, I am alive.  I have fought the hard fight and I am winning.  To me, that is perfection.

Mr. Idiot, perhaps you should concern yourself with making some body part on yourself “perfect.”

P.S. to Dish Network: shame on you for allowing that wording to be placed right above the cartoon Angelina Ballerina–just great for little girls (and boys) to see. . . .

5 Years–So What Now?

What the heck does it really mean?

During the past week’s headlines regarding the fraud allegations I filed against my former boss (a big WAHOO for auditors), I realized I passed the five-year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis.  For five years I’ve been asked  “How many years? ” I’ll reply “Two,” “Four,” etc.  Okay, now I’m at five years post diagnosis, and what’s the big deal?  I don’t feel any different.  I’m not less scared that a recurrence will happen.  I still look the same.  No doctor called to congratulate me.   Now that I have time to sit and digest this little tidbit, I’m curious.  Someone once told me that if I lived to the five-year mark then my odds of developing cancer are the same as someone who never had cancer.  But, I’ve had cancer. . . .  Someone said I’m cured.  Really, then why am I still taking Aromasin?  Why am I still having scans? So, I survived five years, now what?  Is there another magic number I need to meet?

According to the National Cancer Institute:

The 5-year survival rate indicates the percentage of people who are alive 5 years after their cancer diagnosis, whether they have few or no signs or symptoms of cancer, are free of disease, or are having treatment. Five-year survival rates are used as a standard way of discussing prognosis as well as a way to compare the value of one treatment with another. It does not mean that a patient can expect to live for only 5 years after treatment or that there are no cures for cancer.  Blah, blah, blah.

According to Komen,

It is important to keep in mind that relative survival compares survival rates between women with breast cancer to women in the general population. For example, the five-year relative survival for stage II breast cancer is 92 percent. This means that women with stage II breast cancer are, on average, 92 percent as likely as women in the general population to live five beyond their diagnosis. Women with stage 0 (DCIS) or stage I breast cancer are just as likely as women in the general population to live five more years. As with overall survival, these rates are averages and vary depending on each person’s diagnosis and treatment. Blah, blah, blah.

I could go one and one with what I’ve found re:  five-year survival rate, five-year mark, five years after cancer diagnosis, etc.  I really don’t (but I kind of do) understand why this five-year anniversary is important.  Or maybe it really isn’t.

You tell me: what the heck does the five-year mark mean to you?

Death and Garlic

It all started with one bulb.

He was elderly with no family.  He gave me, direct from his garden, one bulb of garlic with specific directions to separate the bulb into cloves, plant on (exactly) September 4, lightly water throughout winter, and reap the benefits the following summer.

I was a little late on the planting date, but I got it done.  I couldn’t wait to show him my bounty last summer, but was unable.  He killed himself.  He had cancer and couldn’t bear the pain anymore.  He was alone and tired of asking for help.  He left a garden full of lovely vegetables, and a lot of questions never to be answered.

I was just someone he met through a fluke, and I loved listening to his stories.  I looked forward to his visits and flirted with him shamelessly.  He was buried in Arlington Cemetery but no one who knew him attended the service.  It was his greatest pleasure to be recognized as a Veteran.  He bled red, white and blue.  In his youth he’d been a cocky pilot during WWII.

I cried for hours when I was received the call.  If it hadn’t been for my horrific former boss, I would have still been able to be there for him.  She sure wasn’t.  He was just another person for her to use and discard when he quit giving her money.

I used the garlic last summer and saved two bulbs.  I gave one bulb to a friend (with instructions that upon harvesting, she too must pass on good karma and a bulb to be replanted) and separated the remaining bulb into cloves, planted them a little later (sorry Mr. M) than September 4, watered carefully, and again, am reaping the benefits of Mr. M’s generous gift.  I’ll always replant Mr. M’s garlic, and you can bet that every single time I use one of his cloves I say a silent prayer of thanks for knowing, albeit a brief time, this kind gentle man.

Maybe the title of this post should be Living and Garlic. . . .

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