Posts Tagged ‘prognosis’

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 Insulin Levels of Breast Cancer Patients Affect Their Prognosis?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015


logo1267406_mdA new study presented at the Advanced Breast Cancer Third International Consensus Conference recently reported that patients with breast cancer that has metastasized  to other parts of the body and who have higher insulin levels than normal, but are not diabetic, have a significantly worse prognosis compared with those with normal insulin levels.

In the study 125 metastatic breast cancer patients who were non diabetic and all with HER2 negative tumors  receiving first line chemotherapy as part of a clinical tria were includedl. The relationship of insulin resistance and length of time patients survived without the disease getting worse (progression-free survival, or PFS) and overall survival (length of time the patient remained alive or OS) was evaluated. Researchers concluded “After taking into account other factors likely to affect PFS and OS in these patients, such as age and body mass index (BMI). we found that higher insulin levels were an independent factor leading to a worse prognosis in patients with advanced breast cancer.”

Researchers suggested adopting simple lifestyle changes such as a better diet and more exercise, and the use of cheap and widely available  drugs such as metformin as ways to tackle the problem. In addition, clinicians need to be more aware of these results. More research is planned.

Can a Urine Test Improve Bladder Cancer Treatment?

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Can a Urine Test Improve Bladder Cancer Treatment

Bladder Cancer urine test: A new study published in the British Journal of Cancer concluded that being able to reliably identify patients with the most aggressive cancers early by use of a urine test, and promptly initiating therapeutic interventions might significantly improve outcomes. The validity of two urinary biomarkers could offer a new way of tailoring treatment. In this research two prognostic urinary biomarkers, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and a protein, epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) were identified and validated in over 400 clinical samples. They found both were independent predictors of bladder cancer-specific survival and have prognostic value over and above that provided by standard clinical and pathological observations. Thus, measuring these biomarkers would offer a simple and useful approach to speed up prognosis and treatment of patients with the most aggressive form of bladder cancer.  Researchers said “These biomarkers alone cannot be used to diagnose bladder cancer, but there is immense value in being able to easily and independently indicate the prognosis of the disease in order to guide treatment and decide whether more or less aggressive management is required.”

Is there a Gene Signature to Predict Malignancy and Risk of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer?

Friday, January 13th, 2012

New Research published in a recent issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concluded that the malignancy-risk gene signature was associated with overall survival (OS) and was also a prognostic and predictive indicator for early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). . The gene signature has also been useful in predicting breast cancer risk and consists of numerous proliferative genes.
In their research, they hypothesized that the malignancy-risk gene signature would have high prognostic and predictive value for early stage NSCLC. They studied the hypothesis by using 3 different NSCLC microarray datasets ranging in number from 117 to 442. An overall malignancy risk score was generated by principal component analysis to determine the prognostic and predictive value of the signature using 2 sided statistical tests.
The malignancy-risk gene signature was statistically associated with overall survival (OS) at the .001 level for the NSCLC patients. Validation with the two additional datasets demonstrated that the malignancy-risk score had prognostic and predictive values. Of the patients not receiving chemotherapy (ACT) those with a low malignancy-risk score had increased overall survival compared with those having a high malignancy-risk score at the .007 level of probability and at the .01 level for the two independent data sets.
The researchers concluded that “the malignancy-risk gene signature was associated with OS and was a prognostic and predictive indicator.”