Category: Life

Life

I love AFLAC

Before I got cancer, I made sure I had an AFLAC cancer policy. They’ve been great, and I recommend that everyone who is planning on having cancer  enrolls in one of their plans before getting it.  The trouble is, you don’t know if/when you might get cancer, so you better just plan for it. Expect the worst and hope for the best, some say.

I filed my claim for 2008 a week or so ago and was really surprised when I received a check in the mail for $4600. Something wasn’t right.  It should have been $900. I’ve been filing these claims for years, so I knew a mistake had been made.  I picked up the phone and called AFLAC. They’re going to investigate it and will send a letter when they figure out what happened.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they said it was a reward for making it 6 years with myeloma?

What would you do?

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Prognostic Factor for myeloma patients after ASCT

Multiparameter Flow Cytometric Remission Is the Most Relevant Prognostic Factor for Multiple Myeloma Patients Who Undergo Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation
Blood. 2008 Nov 15;112(10):4017-4023, B Paiva, M-B Vidriales, J Cerveró, G Mateo, JJ Pérez, MA Montalbán, A Sureda, L Montejano , NC Gutiérrez, A García de Coca, N de las Heras, MV Mateos, MC López-Berges, R García-Boyero, J Galende, J Hernández, L Palomera, D Carrera, R Martínez, J de la Rubia, A Martín, J Bladé, JJ Lahuerta, A Orfao, JF San Miguel, on behalf of the GEM/PETHEMA cooperative study groups

Minimal residual disease (MRD) assessment is standard in many hematologic malignancies but is considered investigational in multiple myeloma (MM). We report a prospective analysis of the prognostic importance of MRD detection by multiparameter flow cytometry (MFC) in 295 newly diagnosed MM patients uniformly treated in the GEM2000 protocol VBMCP/VBAD induction plus autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT).

MRD status by MFC was determined at day 100 after ASCT. Progression-free survival (PFS; median 71 vs 37 months, P < .001) and overall survival (OS; median not reached vs 89 months, P = .002) were longer in patients who were MRD negative versus MRD positive at day 100 after ASCT. Similar prognostic differentiation was seen in 147 patients who achieved immunofixation-negative complete response after ASCT. Moreover, MRD− immunofixation-negative (IFx−) patients and MRD− IFx+ patients had significantly longer PFS than MRD− IFx+ patients. Multivariate analysis identified MRD status by MF Cat day 100 after ASCT as the most important independent prognostic factor for PFS (HR = 3.64, P = .002) and OS (HR = 2.02, P = .02). Our findings demonstrate the clinical importance of MRD evaluation by MFC, and illustrate the need for further refinement of MM response criteria.

Cancer survival rates impact type of Web communities used by patients

By Corrie Feldkamp
UMHS Public Relations

Online support communities for high survival rate cancers contain a greater amount of emotional support content than online support communities for cancers with low survival rates, according to a new study from the U-M Health System (UMHS) and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

The researchers also found that support communities for low survival rate cancers contain a greater amount of informational support content than online support communities for high survival rate cancers.

“Online communities have become an important resource for individuals seeking emotional and informational social support related to cancer,” says senior author Dr. Caroline Richardson, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at UMHS.

The study — led by Lorraine Buis, a postdoctoral research fellow at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System — assessed differences in emotional and informational social support content in online communities for cancers with high and low survival rates.

The researchers also found that, overall, emotional support was more prevalent than informational support across all communities and all types of cancers.

Both emotional and informational support widely is available within online communities for cancer, but not all of these sites are created equally, Buis says.

“When primary care providers refer individuals to online communities for support, they should be aware that there might be differing amounts of support based on the survival rare of a particular cancer,” she says. Buis also explains that not only are such online communities for patients, “but they help family and friends cope with the struggles that cancer presents.”

Until Richardson’s and Buis’s most recent study, there had been no previous research on the influence of patients’ cancer survival rates on social support content within online support communities for cancer.

Participants in this study all were reviewed under the same time period, were online community members who participated in online support communities for four different types of cancer — lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer and melanoma — and participated in eight different online communities in the investigation.

The study was presented last week at the annual meeting of the North American Primary Care Research Group. In addition to Buis and Richardson, Pamela Whitten of Michigan State University also was an author of the study.

http://www.ur.umich.edu/0809/Nov24_08/25.php?print

Puppy cam

Joyce told me about this puppy cam, and I just have to share! They’re so darned cute. I don’t know how I’ll get any work done!

Note: The puppy cam was discontinued at some point. :( I just want to keep this post here, because my friend Joyce told me about it. Joyce and I were the “Myeloma Twins” until MM took her life.