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Cancer Articles, Tips and Information

Cancer Survivor Turns Cancer Information Specialist

When callers to the Canadian Cancer Society's information service connect with Isabelle Wilson, they're talking to someone who's been there herself. The Christmas of 1997 was turned upside down for the Montreal mother of three. Days before the holiday she learned she had a rare tumour on her left lung. The lung was removed on Christmas Eve. Wilson was a 30-year-old non-smoker and had a six-month-old baby at home. Even her doctors were stunned.


Breast Cancer Treatment

"Everything went so fast," she says. "I didn't know what was happening to me."

Worse, Wilson had to recuperate during the infamous ice storm, which knocked out power and heat to her home for days. Eventually she turned to the Canadian Cancer Society's information service for support and help in understanding her condition. It was a life-changing call. Three years later, Wilson joined the service herself.


"Knowing there was a professional there who was with me and researching this disease too meant a lot. I felt a lot less isolated," says Wilson, a biologist and former health services worker. "One morning I woke up and said, 'I have to do this job.'"


The service is Canada's toll-free bilingual source of cancer information. Trained and caring specialists provide information about cancer and community resources. This helps newly diagnosed patients and their families understand their condition and act as informed members of their healthcare team.

When you want to know more about cancer, call the Canadian Cancer Society's information service at 1 888 939-3333 or e-mail


News Canada provides a wide selection of current, ready-to-use copyright free news stories and ideas for Television, Print, Radio, and the Web.


News Canada is a niche service in public relations, offering access to print, radio, television, and now the Internet media, with ready-to-use, editorial "fill" items. Monitoring and analysis are two more of our primary services. The service supplies access to the national media for marketers in the private, the public, and the not-for-profit sectors. Your corporate and product news, consumer tips, advice, opinions and information are packaged in a variety of ready-to-use formats and are made available to every Canadian media organization including weekly and daily newspapers, cable and commercial television stations, radio stations, as well as the Web sites Canadians visit most often. Visit News Canada and learn more about the NC services.



We really do care about your health and happiness and are thrilled you are interested in our articles, but please always check with your doctor before trying something new!


A Day In The Life Of A Cancer Information Specialist


The lines can crackle from hundreds of miles away, but it's the telephone that has brought nurse Donna Kennedy closer to those she wants to help.


Kennedy is one of the caring pairs of ears in the Regina, Saskatchewan call centre of the Canadian Cancer Society's information service. There, trained information specialists answer questions from Canadians across the country looking for information about cancer and community resources. This helps newly diagnosed patients and their families understand their condition and act as informed members of their healthcare team.


Once a nurse to cancer patients in a local hospital, Kennedy found the pressures of having to do more with less and mounting paperwork were pulling her away from where she wanted to be - with patients.


Joining the service as an information specialist nearly six years ago has "brought that part of me back that I was missing in the hospital," says Kennedy, a married mom of two young adults. "Even though it's over the telephone you bond quite quickly with people because it's so intimate."


The Canadian Cancer Society's information service is Canada's toll-free bilingual source of cancer information. The Regina centre is one of four call centres across the country - other centres are in Hamilton, Montreal and Vancouver. Averaging 25 calls a day herself, Kennedy says her role is sometimes like "a translator," explaining the confusing medical jargon patients often hear when first diagnosed.


"People tend to apologize a lot when they're very upset. But there's nothing they have to be sorry about ... We're there to help the person, to provide ideas for them and options." No matter where the caller lives, information specialists can give information about such things as risk reduction, treatments, drugs, clinical trials, and support groups in the caller's region, helped by a computer database listing approximately 7,000 community services nationwide.


"I really enjoy helping people and teaching," says Kennedy. "It's been a wonderful experience to know you are able to help people with any questions or concerns they may have regarding cancer." When you want to know more about cancer, call the Canadian Cancer Society's information service at 1 888 939-3333 or e-mail


News Canada provides a wide selection of current, ready-to-use copyright free news stories and ideas for Television, Print, Radio, and the Web.


News Canada is a niche service in public relations, offering access to print, radio, television, and now the Internet media, with ready-to-use, editorial "fill" items. Monitoring and analysis are two more of our primary services. The service supplies access to the national media for marketers in the private, the public, and the not-for-profit sectors. Your corporate and product news, consumer tips and information are packaged in a variety of ready-to-use formats and are made available to every Canadian media organization including weekly and daily newspapers, cable and commercial television stations, radio stations, as well as the Web sites Canadians visit most often. Visit News Canada and learn more about the NC services.


Battling Society's Cancer: Unemployment


The official figures are staggering: 35% of the workforce - about 280,000 people - are unemployed and looking for a job. Each 1.43 employee support 1 unemployed person. In the USA the figure is 3.3 to 4 employees supporting all the unemployed AND all the pensioners!


"Some days the calls are very difficult. Sometimes a caller is very upset because a family member is dying," says Kennedy, who supported her husband in his cancer recovery 19 years ago. "I try to be very understanding and to support people in whatever their trouble is.


The truth is less ominous. Many employed people in Macedonia go unreported. Their employers prefer not to report them as employed in order to avoid paying social benefits and retirement benefits to the state. This greatly distorts the official figures - yet, it would be safe to assume that the unemployment rate in Macedonia is close to 20%.


Unemployment has only bad aspects. A certain level of unemployment is considered to be healthy. People move between workplaces - this is called labour mobility. People desert old professions for new ones, training themselves to occupy higher paid, higher education positions. This kind of healthy unemployment is called "friction unemployment". A level of 3% to 6% is considered to be friction unemployment in the West (depending in which country).


But the kind of unemployment that is prevalent in Macedonia is not of this kind. It is permanent in the sense that the same people are unemployed continuously for more than a year. It is habit - forming: people lose their self dignity, they become dependent on outside assistance, they are afraid to face reality. Such unemployment has grave psychological consequences. People change under its influence to such an extent that they no longer qualify as workers. This affects the situation inside families. People who used to provide for their families are cast aside as no goods, losers with no prospects for the future. This deeply and adversely affects the very fabric of society's basic unit: the family.


But unemployment also has a great macroeconomic impact. The State doles out millions of DM each month to pay unemployment benefits. Multiply 60-100 DM per month per 283,000 job seekers - and you will face the frightening figures the Macedonian Minister of Finance is faced with every morning. Instead of putting this money to productive use - it is spent on keeping people idle at home on an allowance which is not even enough for bare subsistence. No one is happy: the Government - because its budget is unduly and unnecessarily inflated, the nation - because good money is thus spent instead of being invested and the unemployed - because they can hardly survive on what the State gives them. Unemployment is not unique to economies in transition. Even much stronger economies - like France's and Spain's - suffer from it. Spain's real unemployment rate is similar to Macedonia's. What are the long term, structural causes for unemployment?


There are more theories than there are unemployed people.

Some say that free trade encourages unemployment of unskilled and semi-skilled labour. Factories move overseas to places where labour is cheaper. Inexpensive imports of textiles and basic electronic wares compete with the local production and - usually - wound it badly.


Others blame labour market rigidities. If the psychology of employees and employers alike is that of "one big family" where no one is fired even in hard times and even if he is incompetent. If the laws and regulations of the state are in favour of a static workforce. If social benefits (annual vacation, sick pay, child support) increase the costs of employing - unemployment will be created. Employers will not hire additional staff in times of economic boom - because they will not be able to fire them in time of crisis. They will prefer to manufacture in places where labour costs are negotiable and low. Where trade unions have been abolished (Britain and the USA are the prime examples) - unemployment all but disappeared. Yet others emphasize the technological revolution (mainly in the fields of informatics). So many professions become obsolete at such a quick pace - and so many professions are revolutionized so often - that more jobs are lost than created.


But whatever the reasons are for unemployment - certain countries are battling this cancer of society in creative ways. During the 1990's, Israel - a country with 4,500,000 million people and 20,700 square kilometres - absorbed an inflow of more than 600,000 immigrants (=15% of the population), mainly from the former USSR.


One could expect a dramatic increase in unemployment. If Macedonia were to absorb 300,000 additional immigrants (=15% of its population) tomorrow - its unemployment rate would have skyrocketed until the newcomers would have been absorbed by the marketplace. Not only did Israel succeed in providing most of this deluge of immigrants with jobs - it also reduced the overall rate of unemployment among its old population! How did it succeed in doing the impossible?


Israel decided to give the unemployment benefits to the employer - not to the unemployed. Let us study an example:

The average unemployment benefit was 900 DM per person per month. The average salary which an employer was supposed to pay this person if he were employed - would have been 1400 DM per month.


The Government came to the employer with the following suggestion:

Find employment for the unemployed person. Pay him a salary of 1400 DM. We will give you, the employer, 900 DM - instead of paying this amount directly to the unemployed person in the form of unemployment benefits.


So, everyone was happy:

The employer hired an experienced and well - educated worker for 500 DM (The difference between the 1400 DM that he paid him - and the 900 DM that he got back from the Government). The unemployed person - because he finally found employment with a real chance to continue to be employed in the future if he really contributed to the business that he was employed in. The Government was happy - because it did not increase its budgetary outlays and expenditures. Yet, at the same time it has increased the level of employment in the economy.


In addition, because most cancer cells are genetically unstable and more prone to mutations, resistance is a major problem with many chemotherapy agents. But since anti-angiogenesis drugs target normal endothelial cells that are not genetically unstable, drug resistance is less likely to develop and has not been a problem so far in clinical trials. Another hope is that angiogenesis inhibitors can be used in combination with therapies that directly target tumor cells. Because anti-angiogenic drugs and chemotherapy are aimed at different cellular targets, it is possible that the combination will prove even more effective than either therapy is as a stand-alone.


Another Israeli twist: the Government also paid part of the social benefits of the person who was previously unemployed in his first three years of employment. This saved the employer a lot of money and encouraged him to employ and to report the employed person to the authorities. A whole different approach was experimented with in Great Britain. All those unemployed in a specific geographic region were assembled into a "Community". The Community included a wide variety of professions:


carpenters and tailors, electricians and farm hands, gardeners and teachers. A computerized centre was set up. Each unemployed person registered with this centre, listing both his professional capabilities - and goods and services that he was interested in, but did not have the money to purchase. A matching process then ensued: the tailor was looking for a teacher to give his children some private lessons (which he could not afford in his current financial straits). The teacher was looking for a tailor to saw a communion dress for her daughter. So, the computer matched them up:


The teacher tutored the tailor's children - in return for his services in sawing the dress for her daughter. Both of them were thus employed, recovering their sense of self-worth and dignity. Moreover, both of them were able to afford things which were badly needed by them but which they could afford under no other circumstances.

This is a return to primordial, pre-monetary, barter economy.


But who will determine how many private lessons provided by the teacher - are worth one dress sawed by the tailor?

A special tariff was published. It reflected the conditions which prevailed in the "real" marketplace in which real money changed hands.

To ease the "payment" process - special Community money was printed in lieu of the unemployment benefits which the government used to dole out to the members of the Community.


Now, each member of the Community received from the Government a monthly allowance in Community money (instead of real money) which he was able to use only with other members of the community, unemployed as he was. This way, the purchasing power of the unemployed was used exclusively with the other unemployed, easing their overall situation. It also eased the Government's situation - because it did not have to print additional money to pay out unemployment benefits. Admittedly, this was a fairly small and restricted experiment - but it was so successful that I believe that it warrants the attention of every nation facing high unemployment.


Sam Vaknin is the author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" and "After the Rain - How the West Lost the East". He is a columnist in "Central Europe Review", United Press International (UPI) and and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia.
His web site:


New Class of Drugs Brings Hope to Cancer Patients

(ARA) - This is an exciting time in cancer research. Recent information on angiogenesis -- the growth of new blood vessels -- is providing researchers opportunities to find new ways to slow or stop a tumor's growth by cutting off the blood supply it needs. Angiogenesis performs a critical role in the development of cancer. To grow, solid tumors need oxygen and nutrients provided by new blood vessels. Once a vascular network has been generated, cancer cells can also invade the rest of the body, a process called metastasis. Currently, researchers believe that more than 90 percent of all cancer cases are angiogenesis-dependent. The good news is that a novel class of drugs, which acts as angiogenesis inhibitors, shows great potential in fighting more than 20 different diseases, including many types of cancer.


These "anti-angiogenesis" drugs being developed and tested block the formation of new blood vessels, starving cancerous cells and stopping tumor growth. One drug being tested, Neovastat, was discovered in 1994 and is derived from cartilage tissue. Neovastat is the only angiogenesis inhibitor being developed in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical universe that has four mechanisms of action to combat blood vessel growth. Furthermore, Neovastat is taken orally, making it convenient for patients who need long-term treatment, and it has shown minimal side effects in clinical trials. This means that unlike standard chemotherapy, Neovastat is not likely to interfere with a patient's immune system, or cause adverse gastrointestinal symptoms or hair loss.


Currently, Neovastat is the subject of three clinical trials, targeting three forms of cancer for which there are urgent needs for new therapies. For multiple myeloma, the second most common form of blood cancer, the drug is in phase two trials with 125 patients in the United States, Canada and Europe. This trial should be completed by the end of 2002. For progressive renal cell carcinoma, the drug is in phase three trials with 280 patients in the United States, Canada and Europe, which should be completed in early 2003. For non-small cell lung cancer, Neovastat is in a phase three trial sponsored by the National Cancer Institute with 760 patients in the United States and Canada. This trial should be completed in 2005. Once the clinical trials are complete, health authorities in various countries can then assess test results and make decisions on approval.


Neovastat is being developed by Aeterna Laboratories of Quebec, Canada. For more information about current trials, call (888) 349-3232. If you are an oncologist, contact Claude Hariton, PhD, vice president of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, (418) 652-8525, Ext. 306.

To learn more about anti-angiogenesis and Aeterna Laboratories, visit the Aeterna Web site at For more information about the NCI's clinical trials, visit


Courtesy ARA Content,; e-mail:


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