An 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.
Dr. 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.
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Swim 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.
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Dr. Bruce Orkin has joined the Department of General Surgery at Rush University Medical Center as professor and vice chair for academic affairs in the Department of General Surgery, effective March 12.
“There is a long tradition of excellence in colorectal surgery at Rush and I’m looking forward to collaborative efforts among many departments. Having a joint adult and pediatric colorectal surgery program makes treatment a lot more seamless. Pediatric patients get the medical advice and treatment they need plus as adults they can transition to adult care at Rush far more easily,” said Orkin.
Orkin comes to Rush from Tufts Medical Center in Boston where he served as vice chair for academic affairs, department of surgery, and chief of the division of colon and rectal surgery at Tufts and the Floating Hospital for Children. He previously was director of the division of colon and rectal surgery at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Lorenzo Muñoz
For patients dealing with life-endangering diseases such as cancer that has spread to the brain, trying to reach medical experts to determine next steps in medical care can be almost as anxiety-provoking as the diagnosis itself. In a perfect world, patients would be able to call specialists directly to ask questions and set up timely appointments.
That’s exactly the type of access a neurosurgeon and a radiation oncologist at Rush University Medical Center are now providing.
Physicians at Rush who treat cancers that spread to the brain — a grave diagnosis — are giving patients a direct line — (312) RUSH-MET (787-4638) — to reach them in order to improve care for a time-sensitive disease. Patients whose cancer has spread to the brain usually live just 12 weeks without treatment, but they can live vastly longer with effective treatments.
“These extra months are literally like a lifetime to our patients,” said Dr. Lorenzo Muñoz, a neurosurgeon at Rush, who stresses access, options and hope for dealing with the disease.
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