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February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Iran Unveils Drone that Can Reach Israel – or Is It Photoshop?

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Iran announced on Monday it has manufactured a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can reach Israel and can carry two 330-pound bombs.

That really sounds scary. It conjures up a scene of a drone infiltrating Israel with two small nuclear bombs that can annihilate the country and bring an Islamic peace to the world. The threat, of course, is intended to strike fear into the hearts of Washington and Jerusalem, who now are expected to shiver in their boots and say “yes” to whatever Iran wants.

There is no proof that this new drone does not exist. Nor is there proof that is does exist.

Let’s assume for a minute the “Fotros” drone really does have a range of 620 miles.

Dr. Eldad Pardo, a Hebrew University expert on Iran, told The Jewish Press Monday, “It is one thing to make a drone that can reach Israel, but it is another thing to have the technological capability to do something with it.”

While not pooh-poohing Iran’s technological ability, Dr. Pardo said a drone needs highly sophisticated electronic systems to be able to do any damage.

He noted, “The drone looks very similar to others. We will have to wait for a few days and see if anyone notices something that would indicate it is a ruse.”

Iran bragged that the new drone “is equipped with state-of-the-art light cameras for reconnaissance.”

Its official media stated, “In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and has attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.”

Dr. Pardo pointed out that Iran also is capable of using Photoshop.

Let’s take a look at some of Iran’s amazing achievements, some of which have been announced one after the other in the past three years.

Most of the regime’s announcements came at a convenient time when it was necessary to counter Israeli and Israeli threats.

Last month, Iran unveiled a supposed suicide combat drone. It did not take long for even amateurs to notice that the nose and tail appeared to be held together by duct tape.

Last January, Iran said it sent a monkey into space but provided no details of when and where the launch took place, if it ever did.

“Before” and “after” flight pictures clearly showed different monkeys. Iran’s Propaganda Ministry quickly came up with an explanation. Someone in its media department simply mixed up a picture of a monkey two years, ago.

How’s that for quick thinking?

Two years ago, Iran claimed it launched a rocket with a mouse, a turtle and worms. Nothing has been heard about that achievement since then, but it would be interesting to know how everyone got along during the ride.

Dr. Pardo said that last November, Iran boasted of a UAV that had the capacity to take off vertically, “but they took the picture from a journal,” he told The Jewish Press. The image of the supposed vertical take-off drone the image looks almost identical to a picture of a drone from a university in Japan.

This past February, Iran released photos of a brand-new stealth fighter, a remarkable feat – until it became clear that it  was only three-quarters of the size of a plane. Furthermore, a photo showed the “stealth fighter” flying over a mountain at the same angle of a stock photo.

In 2008, the media arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards released a photo of four missiles being launched. It was an amazing accomplishment. One of the rockets, including its exhaust trail, was exactly like another one of the rockets. If its rocket-producing capability is like its Photoshop capability, Iran really needs a new Propaganda Minister.

In November 2011, Iranian media announced is added two new submarines to its fleet. The following month, the official Fars (or is it Farce?) News Agency reported, “ The Iranian Navy plans to test-fire a mid-range surface-to-air missile,…  the first time that such a missile is launched from navy vessels.”

The same month – it seems the Propaganda Ministry was working overtime – Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi “announced Iran’s high capabilities in building UAVs, and said the country is mass-producing new types of combat drones.” Fars reported. He also said Iran has “already produced several types of combat drones, as well, and we are now mass-producing a number of them.”

Israel Beats Guinness Record for Donating Hair to Cancer Patients

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Israel has broken the Guinness world record for donating the most hair to cancer victims in a single drive, producing 53.1 kilograms (117 pounds) on Monday, Yisrael HaYom reported. The previous Guinness record was 48.7 kilograms (107 pounds).

About 250 women attended the hair drive in Jerusalem organized by the Zichron Menachem Association for the Support of Children with Cancer and their Families, which worked in conjunction with the Pantene hair products company.

Among the donors were three sisters whose father is battling cancer, and a young girl who had recovered from the disease and donated the wig she wore during her illness.

Fire Destroys Bunkhouse at NY Camp for Kids with Cancer

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

A fire at Camp Simcha, a camp  for children with cancer, destroyed one bunkhouse and damaged a newly built one.

The fire was discovered when a counselor at the camp in Glen Spey, N.Y., woke up early Saturday morning and smelled smoke. The counselors evacuated the 15 residents of the cabin, including one camper in a wheelchair, VIN News reported.

The entire camp then was evacuated to a helicopter landing field near the camp. Several people were treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters believe the cause of the fire is electrical, VIN reported.

Donors to Chai Lifeline, the organization that sponsors the camp, are sponsoring a visit to a local shopping mall to help the campers in the destroyed bunk replace their personal items, according to the report.

The camp season ends Tuesday.

A Woman of Courage and Strength

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

When I was little, my parents didn’t have much money so family vacations were non-existent. But somehow, for years if I remember correctly, my uncle and aunt invited me to spend a week at their house. These are the memories of a child – perhaps it was only a few days. For all I know, it could have been only one night – but the memory I carry with me was that I spent days and days with my Uncle Woodie and my Aunt Pia.

Pia was an accomplished artist – she filled her house with color and brightness. She was a wonderful mother…housewife…teacher. She was always dressed so beautifully, so elegantly. I have so many memories of her as I was growing up.

Seven years ago, Pia was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told she had months, maybe even just weeks, to live. She redefined courage as she fought back the disease time and time again.

When a doctor told her there was no hope… she decided not to listen. She went experimental treatments, was declared cancer free and continued to fight even after the disease re-appeared. She became a symbol for many as she launched campaigns to raise money and awareness for a disease that leaves devastation and shock in its wake.

Through it all, she continued to smile, continued to cherish her family. I saw her a bit over a year ago when she came to Israel to celebrate the bar mitzvah of her oldest grandson. There was such pride in her as she stood on Masada and watched her daughter’s family gather around.

We all knew the disease was still there and we knew she would continue to fight it for as long as she could. She never gave up; she never gave in.

She lost her battle with cancer on Friday (Shabbat in Israel).

There are many heroes in the world – perhaps the greatest are those who simply struggle to live their lives with dignity, respect, and love.

I always knew Pia was a woman of grace, beauty, talent and love. I have learned over the last few years, that she was also a woman of incredible courage and strength. May God bless her memory.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-legacy-of-our-mothers/2013/05/10/

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