Monday, October 22, 2012

Lewiston family heads to Rome for canonization of first Native American saint - Unusual Thyroid Cancer Story

Lewiston family heads to Rome for canonization of first Native American saint

Cover story: Tuscarora family is in Rome for the canonization today of the first Native American saint, to whom they’ve prayed for years

When Leona M. Gonzales recovered from thyroid cancer 10 years ago after praying to Kateri Tekakwitha, a 17th century Mohawk woman, the Vatican did not consider her recovery a miracle.
But Gonzales and her husband, Rudy, so fervently believe that Blessed Kateri saved her life and has watched over them and their children that they donated a statue in her honor to Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Lewiston. That’s also why they will be among the throng that gathers today in Vatican Square to witness the first canonization of a Native American.
“We always have depended on Blessed Kateri, and we have prayed to her for many smaller interventions. She has helped us to find things when we have misplaced them,” Gonzales said last week at her home on the Tuscarora Reservation. “There is a true feeling of love for her.”
Blessed Kateri, as she is known in the church, was a Mohawk Indian who lived in New York State’s Mohawk River Valley in the 17th century and converted to Catholicism. Members of Holy Family Catholic Parish on the Tuscarora Reservation, most of whom are Native Americans, have been praying for a long time for sainthood for Blessed Kateri.
One of the requirements for becoming a saint is that the person must have interceded in the performance of authenticated miracles that seem to contradict known scientific laws and are regarded as supernatural or acts of God.
Among miracles authenticated by the Catholic hierarchy are Blessed Kateri’s intervention in the healing of a smallpox patient in the 18th century, the restoration of a deaf priest’s hearing and the curing of a nun’s illness in Montreal. A more recent miracle attributed to her intervention is the healing of a boy in 2006 whose face had been disfigured by a flesh-eating bacterium. A priest gave the boy the last rites of the church before the reported miracle saved him.
Because of their shared Native American ancestry, Leona Gonzales has been praying regularly to Blessed Kateri for intercession in her life for more than 15 years.
“I felt a great sense of pride,” Gonzales said upon learning that her patron would become a saint. “I am very proud of my heritage and being Catholic. Blessed Kateri’s canonization has a very significant meaning for me.”
Gonzales said she prayed that Kateri would intercede after her diagnosis of thyroid cancer. “She most certainly did, as I have been free of the disease since the time of my operation,” Gonzales said.
In addition to her own experience, Gonzales noted that the first Mass held on the reservation was conducted by the Vincentians on her parents’ land. Holy Family Parish, of which the Gonzales family are members, was maintained for many years by Vincentian seminarians from Niagara University. It now is a diocesan church supported by Barnabite Fathers of the nearby Our Lady of Fatima Shrine.
The Gonzaleses were so moved by their devotion to Blessed Kateri that they donated a life-size bronze statue of her in 2008 for display on the grounds of Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, 1023 Swann Road. The statue was dedicated in memory of the couple’s parents.
The Gonzales family – daughters Francesca Clause and Carmelita Gonzales and granddaughter Sarah Shontz – is attending today’s canonization while on a 10-day trip with a group from the National Tekakwitha Conference.
Also becoming a saint today is Blessed Marianne Cope, a Franciscan nun from Utica who founded hospitals there and in Syracuse before she moved to Hawaii to care for leprosy patients. She now is known as Mother Marianne Cope.
Because of the unusual circumstance of two women with roots in upstate New York being elevated to sainthood at the same time, more than 200 parishioners in the Diocese of Syracuse and about 200 others from the Diocese of Albany are attending today’s rites.
According to her official biography, Blessed Kateri was born to a Catholic Algonquin mother and a Mohawk tribal chief father in 1656 near today’s community of Auriesville, in Montgomery County. Smallpox spread through the Native American village, taking the lives of her parents and baby brother and leaving her an orphan at age 4. She was forever weakened, scarred and partially blind.
The village was abandoned, and a new settlement was built about five miles away on the north bank of the Mohawk River, now the location of Fonda. The young woman, not well accepted in her native village, later fled more than 200 miles to a Catholic mission near Montreal.
She was called Tekakwitha, which means “she who bumps into things.” At her baptism, she was given the name Kateri, which is the Mohawk translation of Catherine.
She was known for her gentleness and kindness; she taught children to pray, and she worked with the elderly and sick. She is said to have often placed Christian crosses in wooded areas, leading the Catholic Church to consider her the patroness of ecology, nature and the environment.
At her death in 1680 from a serious illness just before age 24, her scarred and disfigured face is said to have been miraculously cleared and made beautiful by God. She is known as “Lily of the Mohawks” or “Beautiful Flower Among True Men.”
Her feast is celebrated in the United States on July 14 and in Canada on April 17, the date of her death. She is buried near Montreal and is honored at shrines near Auriesville, Fonda, Washington, D.C., and other places.
According to Catholic doctrine, miracles are granted only by God, but they can be performed through the intercession of saints. The saints themselves are not worshipped as gods, but venerated – likened to members of a family praying together for one another’s needs.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thyroid Cancer: Overview, Thyroid Gland - New York Thyroid and Parathyroid Center

A pretty good overview of various forms of thyroid cancer.

Thyroid Cancer: Overview, Thyroid Gland - New York Thyroid and Parathyroid Center

Sunitinib-associated pseudothrombocytopenia induce... [Platelets. 2012] - PubMed - NCBI

Cool, a new side effect for Sutent!

Sunitinib-associated pseudothrombocytopenia induced by IgM antibody.


Department of Clinical Chemistry and Hematology, Sint Franciscus Gasthuis , Rotterdam , The Netherlands.


Thrombocytopenia is a well-documented adverse reaction of sunitinib. Thrombocytopenia was observed in a patient with metastatic renal clear-cell carcinoma undergoing sunitinib treatment. Platelet count in an ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) sample was 19 × 10(9)/l. To exclude pseudothrombocytopenia (PTCP), a platelet count in citrate-anticoagulated blood was performed, showing a platelet count of 6 × 10(9)/l. Due to the apparent thrombocytopenia, the patient received platelet concentrates. Subsequent analyses revealed PTCP whereby platelet clumping was most abundant in citrate - followed by EDTA- and heparin-anticoagulated blood samples. This effect was partially reversed after placing blood samples at 37°C. The IgM antiplatelet autoantibodies responsible for in vitro agglutination are temperature and multianticoagulant dependent and did not react to amikacin pre-supplementation. Remarkably, the antibody revealed specificity to platelet antigens other than GPIIb/IIIa, GPIb/IX, GPIa/IIa, GPIV, and GPV. After 16 days of discontinuing sunitinib, no PTCP and no platelet reactive antibodies could be detected. We report a case of PTCP with clear time-relation with sunitinib, strongly suggesting the mechanism to be sunitinib dependent. Since this finding has not been described before, non-recognition of PTCP during sunitinib treatment might lead to dose reduction or unwarranted therapy.
[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Clinical Oncology News - Effective Hand–Foot Syndrome Treatment Identified

Effective Hand–Foot Syndrome Treatment Identified
Phase II, randomized trial has some clinicians changing practice
Chicago—Urea-based skin creams can reduce the incidence of hand–foot skin reactions (HFSR) in patients treated with sorafenib (Nexavar, Bayer), according to results from a large Phase II, open-label, randomized study. An example of this skin cream is Eucerin (Beiersdorf, Inc), a commonly available product.
The finding, reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (abstract 4008), has already spurred practitioners to make changes.
“I would definitely recommend Eucerin cream in patients who are on sorafenib,” said Ed Chu, MD, chief of Hematology/Oncology and deputy director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, who was not involved with the study. “It might also be interesting to use Eucerin cream with other drugs that are associated with hand–foot syndrome, such as the oral fluoropyrimidine Xeloda [Roche], and I’ve already discussed this with my nurse and mid-level provider,” he said.
Examples of hand-foot syndrome.
Hand–foot skin reactions occur in 21% of patients who are treated with sorafenib for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma and 30% of patients who receive this drug for advanced renal cell carcinoma.
Investigators of the new study, which was conducted at 64 centers in China, enrolled patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma who were sorafenib-naive. Approximately 900 patients were given sorafenib and randomized to concomitant best supportive care (BSC) or BSC plus urea-based skin cream. The treatment arms were well balanced in terms of baseline patient characteristics.
Patients who were treated with the skin cream had a significantly lower incidence of all-grade HFSR within 12 weeks (56.0% vs. 73.6%; P<0 .0001=".0001" 29.2="29.2" 2="2" as="as" em="em" grade="grade" hfsr="hfsr" nbsp="nbsp" vs.="vs." well="well">P
=0.004). The prophylactic use of urea-based cream improved health-related quality of life, reducing symptom burden and the effect of symptoms on daily activities. Grade 2 HFSR is characterized by skin changes, such as peeling, blisters, bleeding, edema or pain that does not interfere with function. Grade 3 HFSR is ulcerative dermatitis or skin changes with pain that interferes with function.The researchers also found that the median time to the first HFSR event was 2.5-fold longer in patients who received the skin cream than in those who did not receive it (84 vs. 34 days;P<0 .0001=".0001" p="p">“This is important because sorafenib is the most effective agent in hepatocellular cancer, but it is a marginally effective agent,” said Colin Weekes, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver. “When we look at an agent that may not benefit everybody, it is nice when we might be able to delay the toxicity for those patients who aren’t going to turn out to have a benefit.”
Sheng-Long Ye, MD, of the Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, in Shanghai, China, who presented the research at the meeting, said the study was limited in that it did not document the extent to which the patients used the moisturizing skin cream.

—Kate O’Rourke