Updated 10/07/2011 05:39 PM
Breast cancer cure around the corner
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I saved this story for last, to end Profiles in Pink on a high note. If this series had come out 40 years ago, each piece would have been about someone dying, but the leap in breast cancer research and awareness has been so big during the last decade that death is now the exception.
So what happens if you
are the exception?
Click here to connect with the Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas. The group offers free guidance and support for breast cancer survivors and their families.
Imagine you’re Marie Carmel. You've been a vegetarian since you were 16. You exercise, and basically do everything right. Then, out of nowhere, you’re diagnosed with breast cancer. You go through chemo. You think positive. You follow every suggestion doctors give. Then you learn it was all for nothing; somehow, your cancer still progresses to Stage IV. You're still going to die.
No wonder Marie's not a big fan of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each October, the optimism of women fighting lower stages of breast cancer must seem like a slap in the face.
"There’s probably very few feelings in the world that are as bad as driving down Lamar [Boulevard] and seeing a big, 'I can beat cancer' banner hanging across the road when you’ve just been diagnosed with Stage IV and know you can not
beat it," she explained.
The American Cancer Society said a Stage IV breast cancer diagnosis gives you a 15 percent chance of being alive in five years. Marie has already survived nine years, but she sees her victory as temporary because she's already lost 30 of her IV League sisters. I too, would be wondering if I was next.
Sorry, I know I said at the beginning of this post that this story was supposed to be positive, but I just can't get away from the yin and the yang of breast cancer. You may only choose to see the white side, but it cannot exist without the black. If only it didn't have to be that way.
Scott & White’s Dr. Alexzander Asea hopes to begin clinical testing of his drug, NampEVA, within a year.
The experimental drug has been shown to cure breast cancer in mice and prevent the disease from re-infecting the animals. Human testing is costly, though. You can help realize Dr. Asea’s dream sooner by attending any of these NampEVA fundraisers happening Saturday, Oct. 8.
Hands across the Park
Carl Levin Park, 400 Miller's Crossing, Harker Heights
Registration is from 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Ceremony begins at 12:00 a.m.
Ride for a Cure
Horny Toad Harley Davidson , Temple
Registration starts at 9:00 a.m.
"Kickstands up" at 11:00 a.m.
$25 donation per bike
Dave's Icehouse, Copperas Cove
Music starts at 6:00 p.m.
Now here's the truth, it doesn't.
If people like Dr. Alexzander Asea continue to plug away at cancer research, perhaps one day breast cancer will be no more threatening than the Chicken Pox. That's actually the comparison Dr. Asea uses when he describes the promises of his developmental drug. He hopes NampEVA will teach your body to build an immunity to breast cancer. If you get it once, you'll never get it again.
Can you imagine a world where breast cancer vaccines are offered at your doctor's office? Where the disease shows up next to Scarlet Fever and Polio under the wikipedia page for extinct illnesses?
The researchers I've met say they expect that to happen in their lifetime. The bigger uncertainty is whether it will happen in Marie's. So I guess the message is, hurry up.