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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Cancer-Stricken Girl Sings to Barbra Streisand

Monday, June 17th, 2013

A 16-year-old girl, Coral Vedder, who is suffering from a rare form of cancer, sang Barbara Streisand’s song “People” to the Jewish legend when the award winning singer met with a group of children on Monday at the official Jerusalem residence of President Shimon Peres.

Streisand, who will perform at the Presidential Conference Tuesday night, met the children suffering life-threatening diseases and who were brought to the President’s Residence by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The children expressed their wish to meet President Peres and wish him a happy birthday in person and told them their stories, their wishes and their struggles with illness.

Everyone was moved to tears during Coral’s performance, and Streisand said, “This was such a beautiful rendition; it moved me very much.”

The children surprised her with a gift of beads on which was inscribed, “Hope is strength and happiness.”

Streisand told the children, “I will remember this meeting forever. There is an incredible strength in this room and from meeting with you. When I sing “Aveinu Malkeinu” tomorrow for Peres’ birthday, I will dedicate it in my heart to you. I am full of hope for you, for the State of Israel and for the entire world.”

Streisand, 71, arrived in Israel – with her pet dog – Saturday night and later visited the Western Wall.

She is to receive on Monday an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she donated money for a building in the memory of her father.  Streisand, for the first time in her life, will sing in public in Israel at two performances in a Jaffa on Thursday and Saturday. Tickets are going for $300 each, except for VIPs, who will pay $950 for the privilege.

Cancer Patients at High Maternity Risk, Says New Israel Research

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Cancer sufferers and survivors are at increased risk of major obstetric complications, according to new research by Israeli researchers to be presented next week at the Annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

It is well known that cancer treatments decrease fertility, but very little has been known until now concerning pregnancy outcomes in cancer sufferers and survivors. Tel Aviv’s Sheba Medica Center researchers Drs. Richard Lawrence and Nir Pillar interrogated a large database of U.S. inpatient statistics and identified 15,191 births in which the mother was a cancer sufferer or survivor. Compared with other women, these births were at very high risk for a range of complications ranging from blood clots and premature labor to maternal and fetal death.

“Parenting has been defined as one of life’s greatest fulfillments, and parenthood is a major concern among cancer survivors”, explained Dr. Lawrence, the abstract’s senior author. “Increasingly we are seeking to understand and improve the life-experience of cancer survivors, once cancer treatment is behind them… Our recommendation is that these pregnancies should be considered ‘high-risk’, and very closely monitored.

The Legacy of our Mothers

Friday, May 10th, 2013

In my role as genetic counselor, I meet with men, women and families who have personal or family histories of cancer. I take a detailed medical and family history, assess the chance for an hereditary risk for cancer, and recommend appropriate genetic testing. Genetic testing can help identify what that “hereditary factor” is. When the results come back, I interpret them in the context of the family history and help make screening and management recommendations.

Inevitably, the following statement would come up in discussion:

“…and if you carry one of these BRCA mutations, it means that there’s a 50/50 chance that you could have passed it on to your kids…”

That’s the worst part, by far, of my genetic counseling sessions with women who have personal histories of breast or ovarian cancer.

By the time they meet with me, they’ve already started working through some of the issues of accepting a cancer diagnosis and are taking steps towards treatment and, hopefully, recovery. I’m the one who reminds them that this isn’t just about them. I explain that their cancer diagnosis might have resulted from something hereditary that put them at an increased risk for cancer, something that they also could have passed down without intending to. I remind them that it’s not just about their cancer diagnosis; it’s about their daughters’ and granddaughters’ cancer risks in the present and future. I see their faces drop as they start to think about the legacy they may have passed down, one that they wish had stopped with them.

Hereditary cancer risk exists in all populations, but certain types of hereditary cancer risk are more common in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, and this is, unfortunately, a legacy which we need to acknowledge.

Breast cancer is alarmingly common, affecting one in eight women in the United States. Ovarian cancer is less common: it “only” affects one in 70 American women. A diagnosis of breast cancer or ovarian cancer in a family does not automatically point to a hereditary etiology, in fact, most cancers are not hereditary. However, when there are multiple cancer diagnoses in a family, at young ages and with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, there is a drastically increased suspicion of BRCA1/ BRCA2—associated Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer.

The role of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in the body is in part to protect us from cancer. However, when there is a mutation or an error in one of these genes, that protection from cancer is diminished. Without the necessary protection, these individuals have much higher cancer risks, up to an 87 percent lifetime risk to develop breast cancer, and up to a 44 percent lifetime risk to develop ovarian cancer.

We are more likely to see BRCA-related cancers develop at younger women, in their 30s and 40s. But the BRCA mutations don’t impact only women—men with BRCA mutations have an increased risk for cancer as well.

As an educator, I speak with communities about family histories and cancer risk. I see women realizing for the first time that they and their families may be at an increased risk for cancer. You see, BRCA mutations are more common in the Ashkenazi community in general. One in 40 individuals of Ashkenazi descent carries a BRCA mutation, regardless of their personal or family history. Once there is a personal or family history of cancer, the chance of carrying a BRCA mutation goes up.

Why would genetic testing and the knowledge of hereditary cancer risk be helpful? In my mind, the clear and obvious answer is: if you know that you are at a high risk for cancer, you can do something about it. More intensive breast and ovarian cancer screening regimens are recommended for women who have BRCA mutations.

These women may also decide to pursue preventive surgical options.

The goal of screening regimens is to catch cancer at an early and treatable stage, whereas preventive surgeries are aimed at reducing the cancer risks. There are even ways to prevent BRCA mutations from being passed on to future generations.

These screening, surgical and reproductive options involve highly personal decisions—but they can be lifesaving decisions. Perhaps that’s the legacy we want to pass on, not one of acceptance of our “genetic fate,” but one of being proactive and taking control of the course of our fate.

This Mother’s Day, speak with your mother, and the other mothers in your life, about the legacy that you want to pass on to your children.

Ten of Thousands at Funeral of Son of Rav Ovadia Yosef

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Tens of thousands of people participated Friday afternoon in the funeral procession of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, the eldest son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former Chief Rabbi of Israel and of the most influential rabbis in Israel.

Yaakov Yosef died Friday afternoon at the age of 66, succumbing to a long struggle with cancer, after being hospitalized at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem. He was buried in Jerusalem before the start of Shabbat.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu mourned the loss of Yosef, calling him “a great teacher and adjudicator of Jewish law who followed in the path of his father.

The Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yona Metzger, eulogized Yosef, saying his passing is “a great loss to the people of Israel, to the land of Israel, and to the world of halacha.”

Yosef, the rabbi of the Haredi Givat Moshe neighborhood in Jerusalem and of the Hazon Yaakov Yeshiva, was one of the most influential right-wing rabbis

Hebrew U Professor Chosen for American Cancer Research Award

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has chosen Prof. Alexander Levitzki of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as the winner of its 2013 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research.

The AACR is currently holding its annual meeting through Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Levitzki, professor of biological chemistry at the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences at the HebrewUniversity, will deliver his award lecture there on Tuesday afternoon on “Eradicating Tumors by Targeting Nonviral Vectors Carrying PolyIC.”

The AACR said that Levitzki was chosen for the honor in recognition of his contributions to signal transduction therapy and his work on the development of tyrosine kinase inhibitors as effective agents against cancer.

Levitzki’s concept of targeted cancer therapy using protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors is extensively used by the pharmaceutical industry worldwide to develop anticancer drugs.

His method of large-scale screening of synthetic compounds tested against a large spectrum of protein kinases for specificity, followed by systematic testing in cell lines and animal studies, became the standard procedure in most of the laboratories working in that field.

Levitzki has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Israel Prize in Biochemistry, the Wolf Prize for Medicine, the Hamilton-Fairley Award from the European Society of Medical Oncology, the Rothschild Prize in Biology and two Prostate Cancer Foundation Research Awards. Last year he received the Nauta Award in Pharmacochemistry, which is the highest award from the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry.

Hizbullah Denies Syria Rebels’ Claim They Hit Nasrallah’s Deputy

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Syrian rebels have claimed that they wounded Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s top deputy in the bombing of a Syrian army convoy, but Hizbullah immediately denied it.

A Lebanese newspaper reported that rebels said Naim Qassem was with senior army officers loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad when the explosion hit the convoy on the Damascus-Beirut highway.

Nasrallah is scheduled to make a speech Wednesday night to squelch a report by the Turkish Anatolia News Agency that he flew to Tehran for medical treatment, Lebanese sources said he suffers from cancer.

“Such news is totally incorrect, and Nasrallah did not leave the country,” Hizbullah sources said.

Heeb Magazine Gets Serious

Friday, December 7th, 2012

In a departure from their usual irreverence and not so kosher antics,  Heeb Magazine, the infamous humor magazine for unaffiliated Jews,  has appealed to the wider Jewish community to support former Heeb publisher Joshua Neuman’s short indie film, Johnny Physical Lives. The film is about his younger brother Jonathan, and his fight with leukemia.

Neuman explains the goal of his film as follows:

 ”In the U.S. alone, more than 70,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer each year. While overall survival rates have improved during the past 25 years, for those between the ages of 15 and 29, survival rates have worsened. In addition, young adults with cancer face their own distinct set of emotional challenges, finding themselves utterly dependent at a time in their lives when they’re supposed to be asserting their independence. I want to shine a light on this demographic (young adults with cancer) while creating a tribute to my late brother’s courage and creativity.”

This project is in the running for a consultation with the Tribeca Film Institute, and if they win, it will add weight to Neuman’s goals for the project.

If you’re interested, you can vote for Johnny Physical Lives on the IndieWire site. Voting ends on Friday, December 8th.

In Time For Winter, Israeli National Archives Release PM Golda Meir’s Recipe for Chicken Soup

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Golda Meir, Israel’s only female prime minister to date, wasn’t just known for being a sagacious rhetorician, a stalwart Zionist or a gritty pioneer – she was also lovingly considered Israel’s grandmother during her term from 1969 to 1974.

Though analysts and private citizens may be critical of her decisions and policies as prime minister, the National Archives, has now enabled Israelis and lovers of Israel to consider for themselves whether her chicken soup is worthy.

Golda passed away on December 8, 1978 (the 8th of Kislev) from lymphatic cancer.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/in-time-for-winter-israeli-national-archives-release-pm-golda-meirs-recipe-for-chicken-soup/2012/12/05/

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