My friend, Paul, sent the link below. Seems very inflammatory to mention that we may be seeing the end of chemo, but that seems the nature of cancer research. What is today’s clinical study is tomorrow’s treatment pattern. When you think about the power of the immune system, cancer treatment moving away from chemo and more toward strengthening the immune system sounds like “personalized” treatment.

If you or someone you love is in the throes of a cancer battle, you may want to read the CNN article below. Also, within the article there are links to TIME Magazine articles with additional information. It is very hopeful.

I’ve talked with my oncologist about this latest move toward building a stronger immune system to fight the cancer and he was very informed and looking forward to turning these clinical studies into practical application with great success rates.

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As a conservative, I was very disappointed by the election results Tuesday.

The U.S. is always changing…

On purpose, I stayed away from the news shows next day. I surely did not want to watch any Wednesday-morning quarterbacking. He could have won if he’d only done this … He did win because he was better connected to his base … He just didn’t appeal to voters … He didn’t lose much of his base from 2008 … blah, blah, blah …

I just didn’t want to hear it. At the end of the day on the day before the election, TV reporters and pundits and anchors and just about anyone with a microphone and camera in front of them admitted the following: “It’s just too close to call. Nobody knows.”

I agree and this epiphany occurred to me.

I need to change MY behavior. Not yours, not any one else’s. Just mine.

Here’s how the epiphany occurred:

I watched the election results on several shows Election night. I particularly liked Diane Sawyer slurring her words. But, as I watched the results come in, it reminded me of a story I had read on the Internet about a week ago. A PBS newsperson, not Jim Lehrer, but a newsperson nonetheless, gave a speech in Seattle, Washington. The fundamentals of his speech included:

  • The reason we are so disconnected and disunited as a country is largely the blame of the media
  • The supposed “demand” by the public to provide news that is aligned with their political thinking helps none.

I read through the gist of the story on this newsperson’s speech and found myself really paying close attention to what he was saying.

Years ago, he said, the average American got his/her news from ABC, CBS or NBC for 30 minutes each evening. He explained that as a nation we watched assassinations, walks on the moon, Vietnam battles, elections and other major events TOGETHER through any one of these three networks. So, even if the media was tainted back then, people got their news from one of these three providers. And when they talked about major events with friends or work acquaintances, there was this feeling that on major subjects the networks dispensed similar news reports. How did CBS cover the assassination? I watched NBC’s broadcast. People who were connected at work, with very little in common, could talk about the news because regardless of race, gender, political belief, etc., they could reach common ground by being united in watching the same news broadcasts.

And he mentioned that as the interest in cable programming has grown, the interest in tailoring news channels to a person’s particular cultural way of thinking became such a novelty and a quickly embraced one that new niches of news broadcasters like MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, etc. began to appeal to a particular “cultural value” held by the viewer. There are cable channels directed to blacks, Latinos, just about any ethnic group you can imagine.

For ratings appeal, and advertiser dollars, the channels began to very clearly define their audiences. Not one network or cable news outlet can claim to give its viewers “straight” news. Fox claims to give the viewer a “fair and balanced” view, but that is ludicrous. It’s conservative in nature. MSNBC and CNN? Well, need I say more about these two?

But, with the media, particularly some of  the cable news providers, so tailored to liberals, uh progressives, and some so tailored to conservatives, there is little opportunity for these folks to mix and match ideas. As the newsman pointed out, a conservative viewer who watches Fox News rarely takes the opportunity to watch Chris Matthews or Joe Scarborough and seek out progressives to exchange ideas. As people, we “tend” to gravitate to those around us who appear to believe as we do, act like we do, enjoy the same things, etc. But we should seek the differences in people, too. This just doesn’t happen as much as it should. I discussed with a close progressive friend of mine, Dave, what the newsperson said in his speech and Dave reminded me, “Derek, do you remember just a few years ago it was really hard to tell a Republican from a Democrat?” I thought about it, and he was right. Not too long ago, it was hard to distinguish one from the other.

Now, as the newsperson’s premise, we’re digging ourselves only deeper into the personal and cultural divides that separate us so strongly now.

So, I have decided to change. As a conservative, I usually get my nation/world news from Fox News. Not gonna do that from now on. I’m gonna go back a few years and watch my world/nation news from ABC, NBC or CBS in my time zone from 5:30-6 pm ONLY. I won’t give up on reading the news. I am a former newsperson and it is hard to get that out of the blood.

And, today, I caught a good summation of what really happened in the election, and it was by George Will of the Washington Post. In short, he cited the GOP‘s inability to read accurately the changing demographics among diverse groups in the U.S. This division separates us and separates us greatly.

Here’s Will’s article: And the winner is: The status quo

I will avoid watching news all day. That will give me more time to invest in actions and activities that are truly important to me, like finding a way to get term limits installed in Congress.

And, when I vote, I will vote the principles and values that I hold dear,  whether they are changing around me or not.

Yesterday, as the world knows, Apple founder Steve Jobs died.

He died of complications of pancreatic cancer. He and I have this devastating disease in common.

If you have been following my treatment patterns for pancreatic cancer, you know that, for me, everything is stable right now. That is good and to God be the glory.

What follows is a CNN article that examines Jobs’ history of his treatment for pancreatic cancer. If you are even slightly interested in his kind of pancreatic cancer (very rare), his treatment patterns and his history of dealing with the disease, please read on. The more we all know about the difficulties of pancreatic cancer, the more we can take a step to fight it and overcome it for others. Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs.

Editor’s Note: The report was originally published August 25, 2011, the day after Steve Jobs stepped down as Apple CEO.

(CNN) — Steve Jobs has been notoriously private about his health, but as he steps down as CEO of the company he helped invent and re-invent, speculation abounds that he has gotten very sick.

In his resignation statement, he alludes to his inability to continue in his role at the company.

“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come,” Jobs wrote in a letter addressed to the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community.

Neither Jobs nor the company has revealed concrete details of his condition. Based on the public information about his health history, there are many possibilities, including cancer recurrence and liver transplant rejection.

Steve Jobs: From college dropout to tech visionary

Jobs revealed in 2004 that he had a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, kind of pancreatic cancer that tends to grow slowly. It’s relatively uncommon, representing only 5% of all pancreatic tumors. Diagnosis usually happens when the cancer has advanced; tumors are often detected after the cancer has spread to the liver, said Dr. Craig Devoe, pancreatic cancer specialist at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, New York, who did not treat Jobs.

Treatment options include surgery, hormone replacement, chemotherapy and radiation.

A closer look at Steve Jobs’ health

In a rare moment of openness about his condition, Jobs revealed a few details of his diagnosis in a 2005 speech at Stanford University’s commencement ceremony.

Jobs recalled having a scan one morning in 2003 that showed a tumor in his pancreas and doctors telling him “this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months.”

“Later that evening, I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope, the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery, and I’m fine now.”

But the timing wasn’t that clear-cut. In between diagnosis and surgery, he pursued an alternative therapy approach for nine months, hoping a special diet would allow him to avoid surgery, according to a 2008 Fortune magazine article.

On July 31, 2004, at the Stanford University Medical Clinic in Palo Alto, California, Jobs underwent surgery to remove his tumor.

“This weekend I underwent a successful surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from my pancreas,” Jobs wrote in an e-mail to Apple’s staff the next week. “I will be recuperating during the month of August, and expect to return to work in September.”

Reports have suggested that this surgery was a Whipple procedure, a complex operation that involves removing the “head” of the pancreas in addition to the gallbladder and parts of the stomach, bile duct and small intestine. This can result in digestive problems and weight loss.

“The hope is that you remove all visible disease,” Devoe said.

A timeline of Steve Jobs’ career

Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple

Tim Cook new Apple CEO

Apple’s future without Steve Jobs

Jobs said in January 2009 that doctors said he dropped so much weight because of “a hormone imbalance that has been ‘robbing’ me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis.”

The former CEO never disclosed any more details; doctors unaffiliated with his care said a variety of conditions could have caused the weight loss, including cancer and diabetes.

If related to his a recurrence of his cancer, a pancreatic tumor would typically lead to an overproduction of hormones including glucagon, which results in weight loss if produced in excess, Dr. Jeffrey Mechanick said in 2009. Mechanick, a clinical professor at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, was not involved in Jobs’ care.

That same year, Jobs underwent a liver transplant in Tennessee. Dr. James D. Eason of Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute announced in June 2009 that “Mr. Jobs is now recovering well and has an excellent prognosis.”

The odds are against the pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cancer patient who has a liver transplant, but close to half of the patients may be free of cancer four to five years after the transplantation, said Dr. Simon Lo, director of the Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who did not treat Jobs.

Still, relatively few liver transplants have been performed as a treatment for neuroendocrine tumors, making it a somewhat experimental option, Devoe said. If the patient has a lot of disease in the liver, it can extend life, but there’s no guarantee that this will remove all of the cancer remaining in the body.

And immunosupression drugs required after a liver transplant could allow any remaining cancer to grow faster, Devoe said.

In rare cases, immune suppression itself can also cause cancer, said Dr. James Yao, oncologist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, who has not treated Jobs.

On the bright side, there are two new cancer drugs that have been approved this year that may apply to someone in Jobs’ situation, experts say.

Everolimus is available to treat pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and prevents transplant rejection. But there are serious potential side effects, which may include lung or breathing problems, infections and renal failure, which may lead to death.

Sunitinib malate is prescribed for the treatment of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, kidney cancer and GIST, a rare cancer of the bowel, esophagus or stomach. This too carries its risks; it can cause liver problems and death.

“The good news that this is an area where there are a lot of advances,” Yao said.