The Search for Environmental Carcinogens
March 14, 2012 – Laura Beil
Currently Viewing
Turning 10
March 13, 2012 – Kathy LaTour
News from ASCO: Prostate and Colorectal Cancers
March 13, 2012 – Elizabeth Whittington
Finding Reliable Cancer Information Online
March 14, 2012 – Paul Engstrom
Stressed During Cancer Treatment? Try Meditating
March 14, 2012 – Don Vaughan
For Some, Genetic Counseling Is a Lifelong Necessity
March 14, 2012 – Jeanne Erdmann
Honest Discussions Can Help Ease Kids' Anxiety About Cancer
March 14, 2012 – Jane Hill
Despite Advances, More Work is Needed in Bladder Cancer
March 14, 2012 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Comments from Readers
March 14, 2012
Dealing with Breakthrough Cancer Pain
March 14, 2012 – Lacey Meyer
Drug Shortage Crisis Averted, for Now
March 14, 2012
Jury Still Out on Vitamin C's Effect on Cancer
March 14, 2012 – Lena Huang
The Power of Positive Thinking
March 14, 2012 – Christine Sunderman Russell
True Breast Cancer Prevention Requires Looking at Environmental Chemicals
March 14, 2012 – Julia Brody, PhD
Treatments in the Pipeline
March 14, 2012 – Lindsay Ray
Healthcare Law Requires Clinical Trial Coverage
March 14, 2012 – Lena Huang
Tips for Vetting Online Cancer Information
March 14, 2012
Credible Cancer Websites
March 14, 2012
Mindfulness Made Easy
March 14, 2012 – Don Vaughan
What Defines a Cancer Cluster?
March 14, 2012 – Laura Beil
Lives Well Lived: Looking Back
March 14, 2012 – Kathy LaTour
Be Your Own Best Advocate When it Comes to Bladder Cancer
March 14, 2012 – Heather L. Van Epps, PhD
Will I Inherit the Risk for Cancer?
March 14, 2012 – Jeanne Erdmann
Answering Kids' Questions About Cancer
March 14, 2012 – Jane Hill
Gridiron Foes Tackle Cancer Off the Field
March 14, 2012 – Lindsay Ray
National Conference on Work and Cancer
March 14, 2012 – Jon Garinn
Drug Approved to Treat Pre-Cancer
March 14, 2012 – Elizabeth Whittington
Q&A: Inequities in Cancer Care
March 14, 2012 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
LIVESTRONG Cancer Guide and Tracker App for iPad
March 14, 2012 – Jon Garinn
American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Nutrition for Cancer Survivors
March 14, 2012 – Katherine Lagomarsino
Kids of Childhood Cancer Survivors at No Greater Risk of Birth Defects
March 14, 2012 – Katherine Lagomarsino

Turning 10

A photo essay featuring people CURE profiled during its first year.

BY Kathy LaTour
PUBLISHED March 13, 2012

In this photo essay, we catch up with six people whose stories helped make cancer understandable to our readers during CURE’s first year of publication, 2002. Cancer served as the defining moment in each life, clarifying a mission or providing the inspiration to reach a goal. For each, the past decade has been a time to resume life, to rethink directions and to watch dreams come true.

In January 2002, Doris Lemonier, a 51-year-old elementary school French teacher in Lake Charles, La., received a breast cancer diagnosis. When her doctor recommended a clinical trial at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Lemonier sought counsel from family. “My colleagues are my family,” Lemonier says today, still teaching elementary French at T.S. Cooley Elementary Magnet School in Lake Charles. “My principal and I started on the same day in 1996 and had become close friends. She said I should go to M.D. Anderson.”

Lemonier, a single mother of three grown children, wanted to do everything she could to ensure more time to enjoy her three grandchildren, so she took part in a clinical trial that added a new drug called Herceptin (trastuzumab) to her chemotherapy. > By April, the doctor told her that her tumor was 99 percent gone. She finished chemotherapy in July and had a mastectomy in August.

For Lemonier, who is now cancer-free, it has been a decade of enjoying family—her grandchildren, who now number eight—and her colleagues.

For more than 25 years, Susan Nessim-Keeney has dedicated her life to Cancervive, one of the first support organizations for young people, founded in 1985 by Keeney to help cope with the isolation she felt after her diagnosis of soft tissue sarcoma in her thigh in 1974. She was featured in the 2002 winter issue of CURE in a reprint from Here & Now: Inspiring Stories of Cancer Survivors, a book about young survivors by Heidi Schultz Adams and Elena Dorfman.

Keeney says Cancervive prepared her for the latest phase of her life, as a founder of Capture Life Media.

“When I went to pharmaceutical companies to fund educational materials for Cancervive, I found that what was available was lacking, so I began producing educational materials for patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.”

Keeney is looking for ways to license the educational materials she developed through Cancervive to other nonprofits as she prepares to close the organization and move on to the next phase of her life.

A decade ago, there was little to celebrate in prostate cancer treatment, says Oliver Sartor, MD. “At that time, we didn’t have any agents that prolonged survival. Now we have six different drugs that have been shown to prolong survival in large randomized trials.”

Sartor, the C.E. and Bernadine Laborde Professor of Cancer Research in the departments of medicine and urology at Tulane University in New Orleans, was lead author on studies for two of the drugs approved by the FDA, a remarkable experience for a researcher, he says.

Although prostate research moved forward during this time, life in New Orleans came to a halt in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit, devastating the city and its occupants. Sartor says his patients, some still in treatment, fled to 13 different states after the hurricane. Luckily, he says, he had many of their medical records in his head.

“I could remember most cases, but not all.” Sartor had given his cell phone number to most of his patients, and when they called, he told them to find a medical oncologist where they were and have the physician call him.

Fortunately for Sartor, his own 19th-century New Orleans home had only minor damage, positioned as it was in one of the higher neighborhoods built before flood control.

During the past decade, Susan Leigh, BSN, RN, has watched a dream come true as the national cancer community has embraced survivorship care for cancer patients.

Leigh, one of the early proponents of this evolving field and a founding member of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), has been working toward the acceptance of survivorship issues for more than 25 years. As a three-time cancer survivor and an oncology nurse, she has used her own experiences to advocate for the long-term and late effects of cancer and its therapies.

After her initial treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma in 1972, she received a diagnosis of breast cancer in 1990, most likely resulting from radiation treatment for her lymphoma. Then, in 1995, it was accidently discovered that she had early-stage bladder cancer. Fortunately, all were caught early and treated successfully.

She has been instrumental in the development of survivorship materials and research for the National Cancer Institute, the Oncology Nursing Society and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, among others.

Our readers saw new parents Brad Zebrack, PhD, and his wife, Joanne Kelleher, holding their adopted daughter, Sierra, in an article focusing on information about fertility for young cancer patients. Zebrack was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 1986 at 25. Because he was told the treatment would probably result in infertility, he decided to bank sperm.

Suggesting sperm banking as the answer to infertility is like saying that chemotherapy cures cancer,” Zebrack says. “There is an element of truth, but the reality is far more complex.”

Seven years later, Zebrack and Kelleher began trying to have a child, a process that he says left him feeling guilty and angry at cancer for all he and his wife had to endure only to be unsuccessful. At the time, Zebrack was in a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he researched issues of young adult survivors and childhood cancer survivors.

Today, Sierra is almost 10, and Zebrack is an associate professor of social work at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he is in the unique position of researching and speaking on areas of survivorship that he experienced personally.

Dallas therapist Clare Buie Chaney, PhD, wrote about her battle with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and the long-term and late effects she has experienced as a result of the only curative treatment available at the time of her diagnosis, bone marrow transplantation.

Chaney received her diagnosis at age 34 in 1987 when her sons Clark and Brent were ages 1 and 4.

Now 25 and 28, both sons are in Dallas, one finishing an MBA and the other working.

Chaney remains on the verge of cataract surgery and practices Pilates and yoga to strengthen the muscles around her knees to further delay knee replacements, both late effects of treatment.

But she has continued to grow her counseling practice, half of which is composed of cancer survivors whom Chaney helps find the new normal.

Survivors feel relief when a treatment is found that is easier than what they experienced, and, for Chaney, that time came when the FDA approved Gleevec (imatinib) in 2001. Taken as a daily pill, Gleevec stops CML in its tracks with few of the side effects of the bone marrow transplantation that Chaney endured.

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