Posts Tagged ‘ovarian cancer’

Nancy Novack, 15 Year Stage IV Ovarian Cancer Survivor, Helps Others Through Nancy’s List Foundation.

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

My guest, Nancy Novack, was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer in 2004. It had metastasized into her liver. She was too happily innocent about the cancer world and said two now-remarkable things: “Thank goodness, it is not appendicitis,” and “What is stage V?”

Nancy says she is oftentimes asked what she did that was so unique, so mysterious that she survived a lethal dose of cancer, the silent killer as ovarian cancer is often called. She says she was extraordinarily fortunate to have an excellent psychologist who worked closely with her to define and refine her personal relationship to her own cancer. She was blessed with a magnificent A-team of friends and family and so many angels that embraced her. She says the opening of my heart to new loves and old brought forth an attitude of blessed gratitude that I had never known before. When I read and re-read the stories written by cancer survivors, I see the universality of the attitude of gratitude in the process of healing.”

Nancy’s mission since her “cancer journey” is all about determining the unmet needs of cancer patients, especially the emotional aspects, and doing her best to find a way to fill them. She is a psychologist and has significant concerns that the medical community does not address the levels of anxiety and stress and existential chaos that come with a cancer diagnosis … all of which get in the way of healing. Her Foundation Nancy’s List supports the emotional well-being of all those who are living with cancer … the patients and those who love and care for them.

Her path started with finding ways to assist cancer patients with a national listing of financial assistance programs available to the cancer community.  She was profoundly troubled that these kindred souls were experiencing so much fear and anxiety about their finances. How would that reality affect the possibility of their recovery? She vowed to make a difference and knew that financial assistance was out there somewhere and she was determined to make it accessible. She received a 501 ©(3) non-profit status in 2006 and launched her first website. Nancy’s List was intended to be simply a list of financial resources and her intention was to educate cancer patients and their loved ones and the healing professionals who serve them about the accessibility of these programs.

At the same time, she created a community call-to-action in the San Francisco Bay Area to reach out and support the courage, bravery, and resilience of our neighbors.  Through the Nancy’s List programs, cancer patients and their loved ones found community, strength, courage, pleasure, and healing relationships. There is healing power when one is connected to the larger community, especially when you are experiencing fear, loneliness, isolation, and uncertainty. It means everything to know your neighbors are looking out for you. And it is a very good thing to meet kindred souls along the path.

I Am With You: Love Letters to Cancer Patients is a powerful book for the newly diagnosed patient, for those who are going through treatment or have entered remission, for loved ones, and for everyone else in the world.  She created the anthology with 42 authors who truly share her vision, passion, and mission. It brings hope and courage to patients when they need inspiration, when they are feeling the loneliness and fear and anger and loss that go hand in hand with a cancer diagnosis, when they need comfort and a warm heart and a hand to hold. The book offers connection to kindred spirits who ‘know’.

Nancy is now developing a comprehensive national directory of integrative healing practitioners who offer their services (and their souls) to deepen the healing process.  The goal is for all cancer patients to have the opportunity to experience healing other than their dreadful visits to the infusion rooms, radiation offices, and more. She wants to educate patients and healing professionals about the enormous benefits of integrative healing services AND the accessibility of these therapies. The process is very simple. They write a blurb, add a jpg and contact info, email Nancy at, and she post it on the comprehensive directory.

Enjoy the interview below:


Can Parasite Protein Assist in Fighting Ovarian Tumors in Mice?

Friday, July 29th, 2016

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A new study published in PLOS Genetics reported that a specific protein secreted by the parasite Toxaplasma gondii causes the immune system to fight off ovarian tumors in mice.  Previously it had been discovered that using the bodies own immune system to fight tumor cells was hampered because of a phenomenon called immune tolerance in which the immune system has difficulty identifying which cells to attack.  In the current study, researchers build upon that previous work that a safe, non-reproducing vaccine strain of T. gonfii could cure mice of several types of solid tumors, and identified which parasite proteins and which immunological pathways are required to break immune tolerance. In the study they systematically deleted genes for secreted effective protein–molecules that the parasite injects into a host cell to modulate the immune system during infection–and injected the altered parasites into mice with aggressive ovarian cancer. Results showed that specific rhoptry and dense granule effector proteins that T gondii secretes before and after invading host cells, respectively, control the development of an effective host antitumor response. and increase the survival of mice with ovarian tumors.

This use of infectious organisms to break tumor immune tolerance may be an excellent treatment option for treating cancer in the future and is currently being used in clinical trials with pancreatic tumors where the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes is used to break the immune tolerance. More research is planned.

Can a Golden Caffeine Drink Fight Cancer?

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

logo1267406_mdResearchers reporting in the American Cancer Society journal Inorganic Chemistry  that combining a caffeine-based drink such as coffee or an energy drink with a small amount of gold could one day be used an an anticancer agent. Both substances have been identified as possible cancer treatments but taken in the amounts separately to do that would have negative effects on healthy cells . Thus, researchers put the two compounds together in different configurations to see if the new compounds could selectively stop cancer cell growth without hurting healthy ones. Seven new compounds named caffeine-based gold (1) N-heterocytic carbenes were developed and analyzed in the laboratory. Findings showed that one selectively killed ovarian cancer cells without harming healthy cells.  In addition, it targeted a type of DNA architecture called “G-quadruplex,” that is associated with cancer.

Is High Dose Vitamin C Beneficial for Ovarian Cancer Patients?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

logo1267406_mdA new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine concluded that high dose vitamin C administered intravenously with traditional chemotherapy, helped kill cancer cells while reducing the toxic effects of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer based upon studies with cells, animals and humans. Although traditional medicine stopped using high dose vitamin C after finding oral administration ineffective in two clinical trials whereas alternative medicine continued using it . The researchers said ” What weve have discovered is that, because of its pharmacokinetic differences, intravenous vitamin C as opposed to oral vitamin C, kills some cancer cells without harming normal cells.”

The clinical trial involved 27 patients with newly diagnosed Stage 3 or 4 ovarian cancer. All received conventional therapy with paclitaxel or carboplatin and some were also treated with high-dose intravenous vitamin C. Participants were followed for 5 years and those receiving the vitamin C tended to experience lower toxic effects from the chemotherapy drugs. In laboratory rodents, researchers found that vitamin C killed cancer cells at the concentration achievable only by intravenous inbfusion, with no observable toxicity or pathological changes in the liver, kidney or spleen. More resear h is planned based upon these results and the researchers said “our data provide strong evidence to justify larger anbd robust clinical trials to definitely examine the benefits of adding vitamin C to conventional chemotherapy.”


Interview with Bill Henderson (cancer coach) and Lea Ann Biafora (nurse cancer advocate) now Available for Listening.

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Bill_Photo_Compressedlea_ann_-_bio_picGuest on the Holistic Health Show on Saturday were Bill Henderson and Lea Ann Biafora. Bill is a best selling author of three books on natural healing of cancer and has coached over 3500 cancer patients. More information was presented earlier on this site and can be found at:

Lea Ann Biafora is a registered nurse with over 2 decades in the health care industry and has established Beacon Oncology Nurse Advocates. More information was presented earlier and can be found at:

Enjoy the interview below:

Saturday’s Show with Cancer Survivors Kathleen O’Keefe Karnavos, Margaret Bermel, and Claire Petretti

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Guests for the show on Saturday included cancer survivors Kathleen O’Keefe Kanavos (left) , Margaret Bermel (middle), and Claire Petretti (right) .

Kathleen  is an inspirational speaker, phone counselor at R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation and author of Surviving Cancerland: The Psychic Aspects of Healing. More information was presented earlier on this site or can be found at

Margaret has co-authored management articles in scholarly journals, was the co-recipient of the Human Resource Management and Orgamizational Behavior Journal’s Distinguished Paper Award in 1985, and is author of The Cancer Odyssey: Discovering Truth and Inspiration on the Way to Wellness. More information was presented earlier on this site or can be found at:

Claire Petretti studies for law but decided it was not for her and has spent many years working with Yoga and Cancer Recover, completed a DVD on Yoga for Cancer Recovery and finishing a book based upon her self-written cancer journals. More information was presented earlier on this site and can also be found at:

Cancer Survivors on this Week’s Show Include Kathleen O’Keefe Kanavos (breast), Margaret Bermel (ovarian), and Claire Petretti (breast).

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

My guests on this weeks Holistic Health Show are: Kathleen O’Keefe Kavanos (left), Margaret Bermel (center) and Claire Petretti (right).

My first guest Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos was born to a military family, raised in Europe, graduated from Munich International High School in Germany, has a degree in Special Education from Keene Teacher’s College in Keene, NH, taught Special Education for 10 years and Psychology at the University of South Florida.

Kathleen is a two time breast cancer survivor and her first book is in press– SURVIVING CANCERLAND: The Psychic Aspects of Healing. She is currently working on her second book, SURVIVING RECURRENCE in CANCERLAND: The Dream World and Healing.

Kathy is an inspirational speaker, phone counselor for R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation, and mentor for WE CAN- a self-help group. She contributes to Cape Women Online Magazine, Twitter’s C4Women, Colette Baron-Reid’s Intuition Now, and Nationally to TheGuidedPath,, Writer’s Digest Community, Scribblerati, guest contributor to author Carolyn Howard Johnson’s SHRING WITH WRITERS BLOG SPOT, NCCS, blogs, National Wellness Community Online Support blog and discussion groups, and Cancer Advocacy Now blog site.

She is a member of the International REIKI Association’s blog and website, ACOR (Association of Cancer Online Resources) blogger and web chat, NBCC (National Breast Cancer Coalition) journal and blogger, USA TODAY Community Blog, LinkedIn and is a volunteer for many cancer organizations and online groups.

Kathy is Cambridge Who’s Who Registry Executive Professional of the Year 2009-2010. More information is available at http;//

My second guest, Margaret Bermel, lives on Long Island with her husband and cats.  She graduated from Marywood University cum laude with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in music. She is an MBA with Distinction from Hofstra University, a 1st Degree Black Belt, and an avid golfer. She previously co-authored management articles published in scholarly journals, and was the co-recipient of the Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior Journal “Distinguished Paper” award in 1985.  She is the chief financial officer of a large county government department. She is an ordinary person who was called upon to do the extraordinary: overcome cancer and live to tell the story., Her story can be found in her book The Cancer Odyssey: Discovering Truth and Inspiration on the Way to Wellness.” More information can be found at:

Clair Petretti, my third guest completed Law School and  after practicing law determining it wasn’t her cup of tea, She began practicing and teaching yoga in 1999. She wrote about yoga  for and also set to film workouts for Exercise TV.  At the same time, Claire was unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer.  Finally feeling like she had found her path, it was now all being torn away and she couldn’t film the TV spots due to treatments and surgery.

A yoga teacher and friend in Colorado inspired Claire to investigate Yoga For Cancer and she enroll in Prana Yoga Center teacher training in La Jolla to add the Yoga For Cancer Recovery credential. Upon completion of her classes, Claire partnered with Lululemon Carlsbad to launch a series of Yoga for Cancer Recovery classes that are now offered weekly at Haute Yoga Carlsbad.

In the summer of 2010, Claire was approached about partnering with the nonprofit organization, City of Hope to bring the inaugural Yoga for Hope event to San Diego

The Yoga For Hope event had already proved itself a huge success in San Francisco and Seattle so Claire signed on as San Diego’s event chair. She then worked with local development people to organize the event, bring together the instructors and rally the local yoga community to come together for this great cause. And they sure did! Yoga for Hope, San Diego sold out with a total of 500 participants that joined forces to synchronize downward dogs and sun salutations to raise funds for others with life-threatening diseases. Working with other local yoga gurus (Stacy McCarthy, Tim Miller, Michael Fukumura and Bonnie Saldivar-Jones) Claire and the Yoga For Hope team and participants raised over $80,000, when they were hoping for a mere $25,000.

Meanwhile, Claire joined with others and completed “Yoga For Cancer Recovery”, the DVD..Although very humble, Claire has become a bit of a local celebrity! On her website you can check out her recent media coverage and stay tuned for her near future book, which will be a compilation of her self-written cancer journal blog.  Claire is sheer proof that anything worthwhile isn’t easy and that persistence truly does make dreams come true. Go to:

Simple Two Minute Questionaire May Lead to Better Early Detection for Ovarian Cancer

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

A report in the Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that a simple three question paper and pencil survey,  given in the doctor’s office and taking less than 2 minutes can effectively identify those women who experience symptoms that may indicate ovarian cancer. Questions were asked about the frequency  and duration of the following three symptoms: abdominal or pelvic pain, feeling full quickly and/or unable to eat normally, and abdominal bloating and/or increased abdominal size.

1200 women, age 40 to 87 were included in the sample and more than half reported being post-menopausal and about 90% were white. About half of the sample had been seen for routine care such as mammography and the other half were seen for current health concerns or follow up of earlier health problems. Five percent of the sample had positive scores on the test indicating a need for follow up. Of this group of 60 women one was with ovarian cancer shortly thereafter. Of the 95% of women who tested negative on the test, none developed ovarian cancer over the next twelve months. The authors said “Women with symptoms that are frequent, continual and new to them in the past year should talk to their doctor, as they may be candidates for further evaluation with ultrasound and blood tests that measure markers of ovarian cancer such as CA-125. ” Recent research indicates that approximately one in 140 women with symptoms may have ovarian canccder. Aggressive follow-up of these symptoms can lead to diagnosis when ovarian cancer can be caught earlier and more effectively treated.”

Does Lynch Syndrome Increase Your Risk of Breast and Pancreatic Cancers?

Friday, February 24th, 2012

A new prospective study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology concluded that people with Lynch Syndrome face significantly increased risks of breast and pancreatic cancers and the relatives of those individuals who do not have the genetic mutation associated with the condition do not have a higher risk of developing cancer than the general public. You may ask “What is Lynch Syndrome?” It is an inherited disorder caused by mutation in specific DNA repair genes. The researchers claimed “Our study is the first prospective analysis to find a strong association between breast cancer and Lynch syndrome.”
In the study researchers followed 446 carriers of one of four mismatch repair mutations related to Lynch Syndrome and 1,029 of their relatives without the mutation. Study subjects were evaluated every five years. After a median follow-up of five years carriers had a 20-fold greater risk of colorectal cancer, a 30-fold greater risk of uterine cancer, a 10-fold higher risk of pancreatic, stomach, and bladder cancers, a 19-fold higher risk of ovarian cancer, and a four-fold higher risk of breast cancer than the general population. Results also showed that carriers tended to be diagnosed at an earlier age than the general population and family members without the mutation had risks comparable to the general population.

Ovarian Cancer Risk Increased With Estrogen Replacement Therap

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010


In a new study reported online last week in Cancer Research researchers at the University of Colorado reported that menopausal estrogen (E2) replacement therapy increased the risk of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive epithelial ovarian cancer and increases the likelihood of metastasizing to the lymph nodes. Using a mouse model to determine the effect of E2 on tumor risk the researchers found E2 “significantly increased the size, induced progesterone receptors and promoted node metastasis.” More information is available at: Spillman et al (2010) Tissue-Specific Pathways for Estrogen-Regulation of Ovarian Cancer Growth and Metastasis. Cancer Res0008-5472Can-10-1238: Online First October 18, dot:10.1158/0008-5427.CAN-10-1238