Archive for April, 2008

Spotlight on: Cancer Centers of North Carolina

April 17, 2008

With five locations around the Triangle, 17 knowledgeable physicians and 26 years of experience, Cancer Centers of North Carolina offers treatment facilities, clinical trials, and personalized care for local cancer patients.

What was started by Dr. William Berry as Raleigh Hematology Oncology on June 1, 1979,  has now grown to be associated with US Oncology, Wake Medical Center, Rex Hospital, and Duke Health Raleigh Hospital

The mission of the Cancer Centers of North Carolina is to “enhance the quality of life for people touched by cancer.” The experienced professionals at the Cancer Centers fulfil this goal not only by providing top of the line treatment services but also by their level of compassion for both patients, families and friends of cancer victims.

Services provided by the Cancer Centers of North Carolina include: medical oncology, chemotherapy, radiation oncology, surgery, diagnostic radiology and hematology. Also on-site are clinical laboratory trials which examine bodily fluids in order to detect, diagnose and make advances in treatment, and an educational pharmacy which aims to inform not only patients but other doctors and nurses.

Perhaps more importantly, Cancer Centers provides a comphrensive resource center about 20 different types of cancer, support groups,  social and physical issues that cancer patients and their family’s face, and ways that people can protect patient’s rights.

If you or a loved one is interested in seeking treatment at Cancer Centers of North Carolina, ask your primary physician for a referral so that Cancer Centers has access to your medical documents.

Duke Sophomore Calls Attention to Chordoma

April 3, 2008

Josh Sommer is not your average college student. In addition to being a Trinity Scholar at Duke University, receiving the USA Today All-USA Academic First Team Award, the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, the Coca-Cola Scholarship, and the AXA Achievement National Award, Josh was diagnosed with a clival chordoma in 2006, his freshman year at Duke.

Chordoma is a bone cancer that develops from leftover parts of embryonic notochord in the skull base and spine. Clival chordoma, which is the most frequent type, means that the cancer is located in the clivus, which is a bone in the middle of the head. The effects of this malignant cancer, when occurring at the base of the skull, are headaches, neck pain, double vision, and the paralysis of muscles in the face.

While only approximately 300 new cases of chordoma are diagnosed in the United States each year, Josh Sommer has brought national attention to the disease.  Since his diagnosis, Sommer has personally sought out a cure in a Duke oncology lab. In 2007, Sommer co-founded with his mother, Dr. Simone Sommer, the Chordoma Foundation.  

As there are currently no drugs which are effective in the treatment of this disease, and the survival rate is, on average, seven years, this cause is crucial to Josh Sommer’s survival. Even though Sommer underwent surgery to remove the tumor, in the “Our Story” section of the Chordoma Foundation’s Web site, Josh says, “For me, this is a high-stakes race to outrun my disease.”

In addition to organizing a nationwide collection of chordoma tumors, in order to grow their cells, and leading the first Chordoma Research Conference, Josh has raised more than $300,000 for researching a cure. His goal is to raise $3 million by 2009.

My attempts to contact Josh have been unsuccessful — if you happen to know him, tell him that I truly admire his courage and drive to find a cure, and as always feel free to leave a comment.