#LCSM

#LCSM Chat Topic 03/07: Biomarker Magicians (or, Why We Love Pathologists)

Diagnosing the type of lung cancer from a tissue or liquid biopsy is absolutely critical to selecting treatment and determining the patient’s prognosis. However, for many lung cancer patients and their families, the role of tumor tissue in their diagnosis is a mystery. What happens to tissue collected in a biopsy? How is it analyzed? What is involved in getting helpful answers from biomarker testing?

The specialized doctors responsible for answering these questions are pathologists.  They identify any lung cancer cells in the biopsied tissue, and guide the patient’s biomarker testing. Unfortunately, pathologists do not typically speak with patients, so patients and families–and even  some doctors–often do not have a clear understanding of  the role pathologists play in their diagnosis and treatment.   Learning more about the pathologist’s role can help patients and families cut through the hype about biomarker testing and provide a better understanding of the patient’s specific disease.

Please join moderator and pathologist Dr. Timothy Craig Allen (@TimAllenMDJD) at 8 PM Eastern Time on Thursday, March 7, 2019, for a discussion about the pathologist’s role in lung cancer, a subject potentially affecting all lung cancer patients and doctors.  We will cover the following topics:

  • T1: What role does a pathologist play in diagnosing lung cancer?   How is a molecular pathologist different from a pathologist?
  • T2: What happens to tumor tissue after a biopsy?
  • T3: How does a pathologist know if a cell is cancerous? How can they tell what type of lung cancer it is (e.g., small cell vs adenocarcinoma)?
  • T4: How does a molecular pathologist decide what biomarker tests to do?
  • T5: If you have talked to your pathologist, what did you learn? If you haven’t, what would you like to learn?

Please remember to include #LCSM in ALL your tweets so the other chat participants can see them. If you need a refresher, read our primer on participating in the chat. Note that some tweetchat apps (like tchat.io) will not display tweets longer than 140 characters. Hope you’ll join us!

#LCSM Chat Topic 2019-02-07: Is it worth the drive?

Unfortunately, you just got diagnosed with cancer.  You and your family are desperately trying to figure out where to go and which doctor to see.  But how far are you willing to go?  Can you be more confident in your diagnosis, decrease your complications, and improve your chances of survival if you drive a little farther, past your local hospital, to a specialized center that treats a higher volume of cancer patients?  What would it take for you, the patient, to go that extra distance?

Seminal surgical studies have described a “volume outcome” effect, suggesting that cancer patients operated on at high volume centers are less likely to die in the hospital.  Recently, evidence was also published which suggested that stage IV lung cancer patients are more likely to survive when treated at academic versus community centers in the United States.  But how solid are these findings?  Are they clouded by selection bias and statistical flaws, in which the patients who travel for care are actually healthier, more motivated, and with better insurance and prognostic factors?  Although regionalization of complex cancer care (which is already mandated in some countries) may be appealing, we have to take potential patient barriers such as time away from work and family, costs of and ability to travel, insurance restrictions and other socioeconomic factors into account.  Failing to do so, would decrease access to care for patients with limited ability to travel.

Please join moderator Dr. Brendon Stiles (@BrendonStilesMD) at 8PM Thursday night, February 7, 2019, for this important discussion, one which affects almost every cancer patient and doctor.  We will cover the following topics:

  • T1: Do you travel far for cancer care?  If so, why?
  • T2: Is there data supporting the concept that surgery/oncology/radiation oncology results are better at high volume, specialty centers?
  • T3:  What are the downsides of and obstacles to traveling for your cancer care?
  • T4:  How can we best coordinate care between community and high volume regional centers?
  • T5:  Are there resources that exist to help patients educate themselves, get second opinions, or even facilitate travel for cancer care?

Please remember to include #LCSM in ALL your tweets so the other chat participants can see them. If you need a refresher on how to participate, read our primer on participating in the chat . Note that some tweetchat apps (like tchat.io) will not display tweets longer than 140 characters.  We look forward to the discussion.

 

Here is further reading on the topic:

Survival Comparison in Patients with Stage IV Lung Cancer in Academic versus Community Centers in the United States (Journal of Thoracic Oncology, Dec 2018)

How Far Would You Drive to Increase Your Chances of Cancer Survival? (Op-Med, Feb 2019)

Lung Cancer Surgery Patients May Reap Benefits of Larger, More Centralized Hospitals (Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Jan 2019)

Motivators, Barriers, and Facilitators to Traveling to the Safest Hospitals in the United States for Complex Cancer Surgery (JAMA Network, Nov 2018)

 

#LCSM Chat 2019/01/06–Immunotherapy: What Patients Need To Know

It’s a new year, and #LCSM Chat is transitioning to monthly chats.  Our first chat is a collaborative chat across all cancer hashtag communities titled “Immunotherapy: What Patients Need to Know.” The discussion will cover all types of immunotherapy currently approved for treatment of any cancer.

Chat moderator Janet Freeman-Daily (@JFreemanDaily) will be joined by special guest Lisa Rezende (@LisaRezende1), a biology educator (Assistant Professor of Practice) on the Molecular and Cellular Biology faculty at the University of Arizona.  Lisa is also a long-term volunteer cancer advocate with FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), a cancer previvor (BRCA1 mutation carrier), daughter of a long-term ovarian cancer survivor, and recent caregiver to her stepmother through her diagnosis, treatment and hospice for Stage IV inflammatory breast cancer.

Our discussion will focus on the following topics:

  • T1: Why doesn’t the immune system prevent cancer?
  • T2: What types of immunotherapy have been approved?
  • T3: How can we tell if immunotherapy will work for my cancer?
  • T4: What are the downsides of immunotherapy?
  • T5: How can I find the right immunotherapy clinical trial for me?

Hope you will join members of the #LCSM, #BCSM, #BTSM, #GYNCSM, #MMSM, #AYACSM, and other cancer hashtag communities for this tweetchat on January 10, 2019, at 5pm Pacific, 8 pm Eastern.  Please remember to include #LCSM in ALL your tweets so the other chat participants can see them. If you need a refresher on how to participate, read our primer on participating in the chat . Note that some tweetchat apps (like tchat.io) will not display tweets longer than 140 characters.

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