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How much money is raised and spent in fighting cancer?

Actress Paltrow is interviewed as she arrives for the fourth biennial Stand Up To Cancer fundraising telecast in Hollywood

1. Cancer money:

The Stand Up to Cancer telethon -- simulcast Friday night on all four major broadcast networks and 28 cable channels, and live-streamed on Yahoo and Hulu (available on YouTube here) -- reminded me of a story I have long wanted to read: How much money is being spent on cancer research, where is it going and how well is it being spent?

This story, from the CBS Los Angeles affiliate, reports, “Stand Up to Cancer was established in 2008 by film and media leaders as a new collaborative model of cancer research.

“More than $261 million has been pledged to support its programs,” the report continued, adding that the organization “has funded 12 teams of researchers, two transnational research teams and 26 young scientists.”

A story from the Associated Press reported that organizers said $109 million was raised from Friday’s event.

from Photographers' Blog:

Heshan: a poisonous legacy

Heshan, China

By Jason Lee

Heshan, a village with a population of about 1,500 in China’s Hunan province, is sometimes given the grim label: “cancer village”.

Located some 1,200 kilometers (770 miles) from Beijing it stands in an area rich in realgar, or arsenic disulphide.

from Cancer in Context:

Remembering Debra Sherman

It is with great sorrow that we learned that our much beloved and admired colleague, Debra Sherman, died yesterday morning in Chicago after battling lung cancer for more than a year. Deb’s signature mix of humor and moxie made her a fierce reporter and wonderful friend to so many of her colleagues around the world. She covered healthcare for more than a decade, breaking news on the medical device industry and writing considered pieces on such subjects as the rising financial toll posed by a cancer diagnosis.

After learning of her own illness, she employed that expertise in fighting the disease and imparting to readers honest accounts of her experience. Her “Cancer in Context” blog attracted a wide following among oncologists, cancer patients and their loved ones. In her memory, we recall here an excerpt from her inaugural post that speaks to her bravery and spirit.

from The Great Debate:

How Big Pharma is slowing cancer research

In a March 27 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team led by physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that a new cancer drug from Novartis has shown exciting clinical results in a small trial of lung cancer patients. While additional trials are necessary before the drug can obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration, this type of success story demonstrates why research to develop new cancer therapies is critically important.

Researchers in academia, biotech and pharmaceutical companies are making remarkable discoveries to help identify new drugs and drug targets for cancer patients. Many new compounds are under investigation -- including those that inhibit the growth of cancer cells, block the blood supply to tumors and prevent tumors from evading the immune system.

from Cancer in Context:

Hiring a cancer survivor

Today’s employment report from the U.S. Labor Department showed the job market remained tough in January. If it’s difficult for healthy individuals to get a job, what is it like for cancer survivors?

Personally, I’m not looking for a job. When I was diagnosed with lung cancer about a year ago, my editors and I came up with the idea that I should write a blog about all aspects of cancer.

from Cancer in Context:

Cancer wrecks your body, even some friendships

Much as cancer can cause skin to lose its suppleness, hair its sheen, and the body its vigor, it can also wreck some friendships.

Since one out of three people will get cancer during their lifetimes, almost everyone will be touched by this dreaded disease, either directly or indirectly. We may surprise ourselves by how we deal with it, either as a victim or as the friend of a victim.

from Cancer in Context:

Unnecessary palpitations over palliative care

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) said it best when it declared in its December 13, 2013, issue that “palliative care suffers from an identity problem.”

Indeed it does. In my last blog post, I wrote about pain and addiction, and quoted my palliative care doctor. Some readers took that to mean that I am at the end of the road, so to speak, since I am calling for palliative care. 

from The Great Debate:

The fierce fight over how to die

There has been an ugly and sad pile-on by two people who ought to know better and a young woman fighting against cancer. It started -- as these things can -- in the blogosphere, where Lisa Bonchek Adams, mother of three and terminal cancer patient, has been chronicling her battles in sometimes raw detail.

Her tweets are full of pain, literal and emotional. Apparently, her revelations have proved too much for journalists Emma Gilbey Keller and Bill Keller. In a post on theguardian.com, Ms. Keller suggested that Adams has gone over the line.

from Cancer in Context:

Pain and addiction

Pain arrived for another too-long visit recently, so I called on my palliative care doctor to get relief. Pain has been an exhausting, debilitating aspect of my cancer, affecting me primarily in my ribcage, on the right side. This is the site where my stage 4 lung cancer first was diagnosed. If it weren’t for the pain I felt in my ribs I never would have known I had cancer, and it's still my only symptom.  

I went to see Dr. Eytan Szmuilowicz, the director of Palliative Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He specializes in managing pain for seriously ill patients, a specialty called palliative care which is one of the fastest-growing areas in medicine. I told him I couldn't put up with the pain and asked for more, stronger, drugs.

from Cancer in Context:

Pumping Iron During Chemo

Exercise is good for cancer patients, doctors these days say. That’s an about-face from just a decade ago when they urged patients to conserve their flagging energy. My oncologists tell me to exercise as much as I can, as long as it’s not causing pain. Otherwise there are no limitations, no matter the patient's age, type or stage of cancer.

I can understand that exercise may not be a priority for many cancer patients, in spite of evidence that those who do work out fare better than those who don't. It wasn't a priority for me until after I was diagnosed in March with lung cancer. I exercised regularly before my diagnosis, and suspect exercising is one way for me to reassert control and counter feelings of helplessness. Whatever the case may be, my exercise program makes me feel better physically and boosts my confidence, so it seems worth sharing. 

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