Archive for March, 2010

Clinical Trials Webinar: Capecitabine, Gemcitabine, & Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients With Cholangiocarcinoma

March 21, 2010 2 comments

 Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation Badge

The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation is generously sponsoring a free Webinar this Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 11:30am – 12:30 pm EDT.

As part of our ongoing Spotlight on Clinical Trials series, The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation invites you to join them for the upcoming web-based seminar featuring the active cholangiocarcinoma clinical trial entitled, “Capecitabine, Gemcitabine, and Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients With Cholangiocarcinoma of the Gallbladder or Bile Duct.” Principal Investigator Dr. Edgar Ben-Josef of the University of Michigan will lead the discussion of this clinical trial. A question and answer session will follow Dr. Ben-Josef’s remarks.

Click here to register.

This clinical trial was developed by the Southwest Oncology Group, and is a multi-center phase II clinical trial studying how well giving capecitabine together with gemcitabine followed by capecitabine and radiation therapy works in treating patients with cancer of the gallbladder or bile duct. In this trial, participants receive oral capecitabine every 12 hours on days 1-14, and gemcitabine hydrochloride IV over 30 minutes on days 1 and 8. Treatment repeats every 21 days for 4 courses in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. After the 12 week cycle concludes, participants begin receiving oral capecitabine every 12 hours on days 1-7, and undergo concurrent three-dimensional or intensity-modulated radiotherapy on days 1-5. Treatment repeats weekly for 5-6 weeks in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

All you need is an internet connection to join this Web-based seminar.  Once registered, you will receive an email with a link specific to you and instructions on how to join the Webinar on Tuesday.


Help for Underinsured Patients!

March 17, 2010 1 comment

PAF Underinsured DirectoryPatient Advocate Foundation Launches National Underinsured Resource Directory

NPAF’s sister organization, Patient Advocate Foundation, has recently launched a ground-breaking new online tool called the National Underinsured Resource Directory  which is intended to help underinsured individuals and families locate important resources and seek alternative coverage options or methods to cover their healthcare needs.
The National Underinsured Resource Directory is available through an online interactive tutorial program, and a written publication that supports the program.  The comprehensive online tool will help underinsured Americans faced with high out-of-pocket costs locate valuable resources and action steps to provide financial relief.
“We are pleased to provide this valuable tool to the millions of Americans facing problems securing critical medical care services due to their inadequate health insurance benefits,” said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Founder and CEO of PAF.  “Patients across the country will be able to gather information from the Q&A and action steps we have put together, improving their access to the quality care they need and deserve.”
NPAF and PAF encourage you to utilize the National Underinsured Resource Directory if you are underinsured and struggling to meet out-of-pocket obligations.  In addition, please share information about this valuable resource with your family and friends who may find it beneficial.
Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability relative to their diagnosis of life-threatening, chronic or debilitating diseases.  NPAF and PAF were founded on the principle that health care is a basic human need and shared social responsibility.  If you are a patient in need, for more information visit or call PAF toll-free at 1-800-532-5274.

Note: In the spirit of full and open disclosure, I must state that in addition to currently battling my own cancer, I am a volunteer State Policy Liaison with the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF),  the sister organization to PAF. 
NPAF is a national non-profit organization providing the patient voice in improving access to, and reimbursement for, high-quality healthcare through regulatory and legislative reform at the state and federal levels.  NPAF translates the experience of millions of patients who have been helped by our companion, Patient Advocate Foundation, which provides professional case management services to individuals facing barriers to healthcare access for chronic and disabling disease, medical debt crisis and employment-related issues at no cost.

PICC or PORT Line for Chemo?

March 10, 2010 10 comments

To PICC or PORT, that is the question:” With apologies to the Bard of Avon, my topic today is to discuss some of the differences between a PICC line and a PORT for chemotherapy. 

A PICC is a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter.  It is essentially an intravenous (IV) line that is inserted into a peripheral vein, typically in the upper arm, and advanced until the catheter tip terminates in a large vein in the chest near the heart to obtain intravenous access. It is similar to other central lines such as Central Lines or Ports as it terminates into a large vessel near the heart (the superior vena cava). However, unlike other central lines, its point of insertion is from the periphery of the body and usually a vein in the upper arm is the most common insertion point.

Unlike a standard IV line which is inserted in an arm or hand vein and terminates after only a few centimeters, A PICC line is usually inserted in the arm using ultrasound to guide the specially trained nurse or technician who is doing the insertion.  PICC lines differ from peripheral IV access but are similar to central lines in that a PICCs termination point is centrally located in the body allowing for treatment that could not be obtained from standard periphery IV access, such as chemotherapy, prolonged antibiotic treatment or TPN nutrition.   Read more…

Atlanta Area Cholangiocarcinoma Patient Support Group

March 4, 2010 1 comment


Peach State Support Group

New Atlanta, Georgia CCA Support Group


I realize that this is specific to those living or having treatment in the Atlanta, Georgia area but wanted to help get the word out about a new support group that will be meeting at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on the third Friday of each month beginning in April.         

It is open to cholangiocarcinoma patients and their family/caregivers and will be moderated by a member of the Emory University Social Work Team.  Support groups are a great way for patients and caregivers alike to get together and talk about issues they face in fighting the disease, dealing with treatment and coping in general.        

Here are the details:        

What:   Cholangiocarcinoma Patient & Caregiver Support Group        

Where: Emory University Winship Cancer Center, Room C3018      

The Winship Cancer Center is located at 1365-C Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30322. Click here for directions:*uyHkksF738        

When:   Third Friday of Each Month (Starting April 16th) from 12:00noon to 1:30pm        

Contact: Leave me a comment or email me if you need further information.