Lung Cancer Expert Praises CVS Decision

cigarettes_thinkstockCVS Caremark has announced that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its pharmacies, making it the first chain of pharmacies to take such products off the shelves.

The decision by the U.S.’s No. 2 drugstore chain sets a precedent that may pressure other retailers to take the same stance.  It has drawn high praise from public health officials, including Dr. James Mulshine, vice president of research at Rush University Medical Center and an internationally recognized expert in lung cancer research.

“Tobacco-related disease remains far and away the greatest source of premature death in our society,” he said. “As the first academic campus in the state to go smoke-free, we salute the leadership of CVS in taking a major step in make all our communities much safer. Smoking is a habit started in childhood. Making cigarettes less readily available will save lives.”

Mulshine’s research concentrates on management of early diseases as a key to success in improving outcomes with lung cancer. In 2007, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer selected Mulshine as the recipient of the 2007 Joseph Cullen Award in recognition of lifetime scientific achievement in lung cancer prevention research.

He is also a part of the advisory panel for the American Lung Association, which released its own statement on CVS’ decision.

Helping Cancer Patients Who Have Heart Disease

Williams KimHeart disease is never a welcome diagnosis. It can be particularly daunting for a patient who is already contending with cancer.

With both diseases becoming more and more prevalent, cases of crossover between them are becoming more of a problem. Such patients would benefit from specialized health care, and that’s why Dr. Kim Williams, who was appointed chief of cardiology at Rush in November, hopes to soon tailor a program to meet their particular needs.

Williams, a nuclear cardiologist with a special interest in cardiovascular radiology and heart disease in kidney and cancer patients,  plans to soon establish a cardio-oncology clinic at Rush in collaboration with the Medical Center’s cancer programs. The clinic would provide care for two distinct groups of patients: those whose chemotherapy regimens put them at high risk for heart disease, and those who have both cancer and heart disease.

“In the coming years, cancer will overtake heart disease as the No. 1 killer of Americans,” Williams said. “But with the incidence of heart disease being what it is, there will be a lot of overlap between the two. And patients who have both conditions need specialized management.”

He hopes to add or expand services at Rush for several other groups of patients who need ongoing management: adults with congenital heart disease, patients with heart and renal problems, and patients with heart and metabolic conditions.

Read more about Williams’ background and vision.

Rush Hosts Annual Lung Cancer Vigil

cancer support_thinkstock_edited-1An estimated 174,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer every year. On Thursday, Nov. 14, Rush hosted the fifth annual Shine a Light on Lung Cancer Vigil — the largest coordinated awareness event for the disease.

The vigil was a gathering of hope, support and compassion for people living with lung cancer. Those who have died from the disease were honored with the lighting of glow sticks.

Such vigils provide a voice for the millions impacted by lung cancer. It empowers attendees by creating a unifying call to action to triple survivorship by the end of the decade.

Digging Deeper Into Hereditary Cancer

UshaLydiaDr. Lydia Usha, director of the Rush Inherited Susceptibility to Cancer (RISC) program at Rush, is currently investigating genetic causes of cancer in patients who tested negative for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations but still developed breast or ovarian cancer and have a known mutation in one of these genes in the family.

The results may help explain why patients who test negative for a genetic predisposition to cancer may still develop cancer. Usha is examining the idea that certain people have the familial BRCA mutation in some tissues, but not in their blood. She hypothesizes that these patients have had BRCA-positive chimeric cells in their body since birth, making these cells more susceptible to developing cancer. Usha and her team are recruiting patients and testing their cancer tissue for the familial mutation.

“This is important because we know that some drugs are more effective in treating patients who have breast and ovarian cancers with these specific mutations,” Usha said.

Read the entire story.

Annual Chicago Swim Event for Cancer Research

HT6A2188Swim Across America (SAA), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming events across the country, will host its 20th annual SAA Chicago event Saturday, July 20, at Ohio Street Beach in Chicago.

The fundraiser benefits the Rush University Cancer Center, which comprises all of the clinical, research and educational efforts at Rush University Medical Center. The Chicago swim aims to raise $400,000 this year after raising $315,000 in 2012.

“What Swim Across America has achieved in Chicago and around the country is incredible,” said David McClellan, SAA-Chicago event co-chair. “We always set our sights high, but we expect a record-breaking 2013 event in hopes of funding groundbreaking cancer research at Rush.”

McClellan expects as many as 10 former Olympians to swim in the event. Swimmers must raise a minimum of $500 in order to participate in the ½-mile, 1-mile, 1.5-mile or 3-mile course. They may swim individually or as part of a team to honor friends and family who have been touched by cancer.

Read the entire news release.