Pasadena CyberKnife Blog

We encourage our patients to tell their story!

Dr. Ana M. Grace Named “Woman of the Year”!

Our very own Dr. Ana M. Grace was recently named “Woman of the Year” in the 29th Congressional District represented by the Honorable Adam Schiff!

Dr. Grace accepting the "Woman of the Year" Award from Congressman Schiff

“As a physician, Dr. Grace has dedicated her career to helping individuals and patients in need.  In addition to assisting patients in attaining a better understanding of various medical conditions,” Rep. Schiff said, “Dr. Grace’s steadfast dedication and unparalleled service makes her a superb choice to exemplify contributions of women in our community, during Women’s History Month.”

Dr. Grace discovered her passion for helping others at an early age.  Upon receiving a   Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from California State University, Fullerton, she went on to attend medical school at the University of Wisconsin and completed her residency at the University of Southern California and the University of Arizona.

Dr. Grace has dedicated much of her time in reaching out to senior citizens and the Spanish speaking population.  She has made numerous presentations to senior citizens regarding cancer awareness, screening and prevention.  With her Spanish speaking skills, Dr. Grace has also been able to communicate medical   information about common malignancies to the public, with the ultimate goal of reducing the risk for cancer and  emphasizing early diagnosis.  Dr. Grace has discussed various topics such as cancer awareness, the effects of secondhand smoking and the recent nuclear emergency in Japan on Spanish news stations such as Univision, Telemundo, and Azteca.

The Pasadena CyberKnife Center team would like to congratulate Dr. Grace on her many accomplishments and contributions to the community and celebrate her selection as “Woman of the Year 2011”.  Dr. Grace, congratulations again, we are so proud of you and are so fortunate to have you on our team!

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Patient Testimonial

We just received a very nice testimonial from one of our patients and would like to share it with you:

“After I was diagnosed with a brain tumor my life came to a shocking halt.  I was terrified.  After seeing Dr. Mak, my whole experience was turned around in such a positive way.  Knowing about the CyberKnife took half of my fears away. The other half went away during treatment.  It was painless, relaxed, and the staff was so loving and friendly.  I feel I was born again.  Thanks so much.”

It is our duty and responsibility to provide the highest quality care to our patients but getting testimonials like this is always nice and motivating.

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Happy July 4th!

The Pasadena CyberKnife Center would like to wish everyone a happy, fun and safe Fourth of July!  Celebrate, have fun, but remember not to drink and drive!  Also, remember, most pets are terrified of fireworks, so please take necessary precautions to keep them safe.  The Humane Society of the United States offers some great tips on how to keep pets safe on July 4th, here’s a link to their website:

http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/summer_care_tips_for_you_and_your_pets/keep_your_pet_safe_on_july_4th.html

Again, happy July 4th!

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Happy Belated Father’s Day!!

One of the reasons for the creation of this blog is to provide our patients and their loved ones  with information on different health topics and news.  For this reason, we would like to introduce you to the National Men’s Health Week.

In May 1994, President Clinton proclaimed June 12 through 19, 1994 as “National Men’s Health Week”.  The purpose of National Men’s Health Week is to increase the awareness of preventable health problems, with an emphasis on early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.  Ever since then, the National Men’s Health Week is celebrated each year the week up to and including Father’s Day.

The Men’s Health Network (MHN), a national non-profit organization with the goal of improving the health and well-being of men, boys and families,  has put together a great source of information called “Blueprint for Men’s Health:  A Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle”.  This online publication focuses on the main health issues that men face today, as well as factors that increase health risks, symptom recognition, and practical prevention strategies.

The guide is available as a free download in both English and Spanish at the following link:  http://www.menshealthnetwork.org/blueprint/

We hope you will find the guide informative and useful.

Again, happy belated father’s day!

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Recent Study: Radiation boosts prostate cancer survival

CHICAGO – Doctors are reporting a key advance in treating men with cancer that has started to spread beyond the prostate: survival is significantly better if radiation is added to standard hormone treatments.

Results of the study were given Sunday at a cancer conference, where other research showed that an experimental drug boosted survival for women with very advanced breast cancer.  The drug is being reviewed by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

The prostate study has the potential to change care right away. About 20 percent of the nearly 200,000 men diagnosed with the disease each year in the United States are like those in the study — with cancer that has spread to the area around the prostate.

“It is this group of patients in whom many of the deaths from prostate cancer occur,” because the condition is usually incurable, said study leader Dr. Padraig Warde, a radiation expert from the University of Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital.

These men are treated with drugs that block testosterone, a hormone that helps prostate cancer grow. Only about half also get radiation because of concerns about urinary problems it can cause. Even though these treatments have been used for decades, few studies have been done to establish their value alone or in combination.

The new study assigned 1,200 men to get hormones plus radiation or hormones alone. After seven years, 74 percent of men receiving both treatments were alive versus 66 percent of the others. Those on both treatments lived an average of six months longer than those given just hormones.

Serious side effects occurred in less than 2 percent of men in either group.  The study was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute of Canada.

The results show that “radiation is an indispensable element in the treatment of patients with high-risk prostate cancer,” said Dr. Jennifer Obel, a cancer specialist at Northshore University Health System in suburban Chicago who had no role in the study.

Dr. Otis Brawley, the American Cancer Society’s chief medical officer, praised the survival advantage but said he wished it were larger.

“It’s a practice-changing study in certain countries,” especially in Europe, where more men are diagnosed with locally advanced tumors than in the United States, he said.

In the U.S., about 192,280 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed last year, and it claimed 27,360 lives.

The breast cancer study tested eribulin, a drug derived from a sea sponge.  Unlike Herceptin and other gene-targeted drugs that have been the focus of cancer research for the past decade, this one is a chemotherapy — a drug that kills cancer cells, in this case by attacking cell division in a novel way.

The study tested it in 762 women whose cancer had either recurred after initial treatment or had spread beyond the breast. All were getting worse despite having tried an average of four previous drugs.

Two-thirds were given eribulin, and the others received whatever treatment their doctors wanted to try, since there is no standard of care in this situation.

Median survival was just over 13 months for those on eribulin versus less than 11 months for the others, said study leader Dr. Christopher Twelves, of St. James’s Institute of Oncology in Leeds, England.

About half of women on eribulin had typical chemotherapy side effects — fatigue, low white blood cell counts, loss of hair, numbness and tingling in different parts of the body. About one-fourth of women in each group had serious side effects related to their treatments.

The study was sponsored by Japan-based Eisai Inc., which last week received a promise of quick review from the FDA. A company spokesman said no price has yet been set for the drug.

“There aren’t many drugs that show a survival advantage in this setting,” and the amount of benefit seen in this study gives eribulin “a reasonable chance” of being approved, said Dr. Eric Winer, breast cancer chief at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

More than 1 million women worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. In the United States last year, there were an estimated 194,280 new cases and 40,610 deaths from the disease.

The studies were reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Source:  Article written by AP Medical Writer, Marilynn Marchione of the Associated Press (06/06/10)

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