Friday, June 28, 2019

A Ride Across Country: Donna Wiegle's Campaign to Raise Awareness of Ovarian Cancer

Do you know the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer?  I didn't think so.
My name is Donna Wiegle and I am living with advanced stage cancer. Three years ago, I was diagnosed with stage IIIB ovarian cancer and given a 5-year prognosis. It took my medical team more than two years to figure out what was wrong with me.
Over the past three years, I have heard many stories that were like mine. I have met women who knew something was wrong with them and they felt like no one was listening. They received diagnoses of irritable bowel syndrome, GERD, urinary tract infection, diverticulitis, chronic fatigue, and even suggestions of mental health issues—no one suspected ovarian cancer.

In her lifetime, a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer is 1 in 8.  Her chance of getting ovarian cancer is 1 in 78.  With no screening tests for ovarian cancer, by the time most women are diagnosed, they have stage III or IV cancer with  5-year survival rates of less than 39% and 17%. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

Breast cancer’s color PINK is everywhere helping to raise awareness about the disease.  Ovarian cancer’s color is TEAL, which is virtually nowhere to be found.  If I asked the next ten women I meet what the symptoms of ovarian cancer are, I would be surprised if any could tell me.  I would also be surprised if the next ten people working in the medical field could tell me the symptoms of ovarian cancer.  This MUST change!

TEAL on WHEELS will encompass my mission of spreading ovarian cancer awareness across the United States. I plan to make this ride solo—just me, my bike, and my message.
I found the perfect bike...a teal and white 2016 Harley Davidson Heritage Classic motorcycle that I will ride across the country.   A leather jacket with a TEAL on WHEELS logo on the back and a flag with a teal cancer ribbon proudly displayed on the back of the bike will draw attention to me and the bike.  This will allow me to share my message at gas stations, hotel parking lots, restaurants, highway toll booths—everywhere I go. 
I plan to schedule stops along with way to talk with women’s groups, to doctors and nurses at medical centers—I might even show up at churches on Sunday mornings to spread my message.
I will be carrying business cards with the symptoms of ovarian cancer—abdominal bloating, lower back pain, frequent and urgent need to urinate, fatigue—symptoms that are easily dismissed by women and their doctors.  Unlike other cancers, there are no screening tests for ovarian cancer, only symptoms.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and that is when I will be riding across the country sharing my message.  TEAL on WHEELS will be a month-long ride.

In addition to raising awareness, I want to raise money to be donated to two non-profit cancer organizations.  The first, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA) is the largest ovarian cancer research organization in the world.  OCRFA works to advance research to prevent, treat and defeat ovarian cancer.  

The second non-profit organization, Turning the Tide Ovarian Cancer Retreats, Inc. has a different mission. Since 2012, Turning the Tide has hosted ovarian cancer patients and survivors living in the Northeast, for a 5-day retreat at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro, Maine. Turning the Tide Ovarian Cancer Retreats offers women the opportunity to come together and bond creating a Teal Sisterhood at a beautiful lakefront setting.  

All the donations received through this GoFundME campaign for the TEAL on WHEELS Ovarian Cancer Awareness Tour will be handled by the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center, a non-profit organization in Ellsworth, Maine.  Michael Reisman is the Executive Director of the Beth C. Wright Center and will be managing all of the donations for TEAL on WHEELS.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Combo Therapy More Than Doubled PFS in Platinum-Sensitive Recurrent Ovarian Cancer

This article was published in the online journal, CancerNetwork  and written by Leah Lawrence.

The combination of the PARP inhibitor niraparib plus bevacizumab significantly improved progression-free survival in women with platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer, according to results of the phase II AVANOVA trial (abstract 5505) presented at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, held May 31–June 4 in 

Chicago.Combination treatment more than doubled progression-free survival from 5.5 months with niraparib alone to 11.9 months with the combination therapy (hazard ratio [HR], 0.35; 95% CI, 0.21–0.57; < .001), according to data presented by Mansoor R. Mirza, MD, of the Nordic Society of Gynecologic Oncology and Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Platinum-based chemotherapy is a standard treatment for platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer, but its use is limited by cumulative toxicity. Previous research established that maintenance with niraparib after platinum-based chemotherapy significantly improved progression-free survival.AVANOVA was designed to test combination PARP inhibition and anti-angiogenesis as an alternative to platinum-based chemotherapy. This study included 97 patients with platinum-sensitive recurrent disease who were randomly assigned to niraparib 300 mg once daily alone, or niraparib 300 mg once daily plus bevacizumab 15 mg/kg every 3 weeks until disease progression.

Benefit was seen with combination treatment for patients with partially sensitive disease with a chemotherapy-free interval of 6 to 12 months (HR, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.14–0.62; = .0006) and those with a chemotherapy-free interval of longer than 12 months (HR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.20–0.80; = .0062).

Homologous recombination-deficiency (HRD) status did not affect the efficacy of the treatment. Patients benefited from combination treatment regardless of HRD status (HRD positive: HR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.20–0.72; = .0019 vs HRD negative: HR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.15–0.85; = .0129).

Patients with BRCA wild-type disease also benefited from combination treatment (HR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.17–0.58; = .0001). However, because of the small number of patients with BRCA-mutated disease (33 patients), there was no significant difference in progression-free survival for patients treated with combination therapy compared with niraparib alone. 

Overall response rate increased from 27% with monotherapy to 60% with combination treatment (odds ratio [OR], 4.23; 95% CI, 1.79–9.97; = .001), and the disease control rate also increased with niraparib plus bevacizumab (53% vs 79%; OR, 3.36; 95% CI, 1.37–8.22;  P= .008). 

Overall, niraparib plus bevacizumab was well-tolerated, according to Mirza. Most patients were able to remain on therapy until disease progression, and no detrimental effect on quality of life was observed. 

In his discussion of the results, Don S. Dizon, MD, FACP, FASCO, of Lifespan Cancer Institute, said that when it comes to this data, “it is all about preferences." 

“No one discontinued treatment based on toxicities, but hypertension was far more common—and expected—with bevacizumab on board, and neutropenia risk was 12% [with the combination] vs 2%,” Dizon said. “Interestingly, these did not translate into any differential aspects of quality of life.”

Dizon said that as of ASCO 2019, clinicians can offer women with ovarian cancer options for treatment that do not include chemotherapy, but that future trials need to address other clinically relevant questions related to the use of PARP inhibitors.  

Friday, June 14, 2019

Evaluating Olaparib for BRCA Wild-Type Platinum-Resistant Ovarian Cancer

Check out this article about olalparib for certain types of platinum-resistant OC.

You can read more about it by following this link to the CancerNetwork.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

June 15th: Ovarian Cancer Thriver Seminar!

Thanks to Betsy for alerting me to this seminar that will be offered this Saturday. This is a great line-up of topics. Follow this link to register.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

12th Annual W.A.R. Walk and Run: June 9th, Framingham

Come join Ovations for the Cure of Ovarian Cancer for their biggest fund raising event.

When: Sunday, June 19, 2019

Where: Barbieri School
             100 Dudley Rd
             Framingham, MA 

5k/3 mile walk or run!

Family Friendly

Ovations for the Cure of OC provides support for local women and their families dealing with this disease. 

For more information, follow this link.
To register, follow this link