Saturday, February 20, 2010

Those noisy MRI scans may be replaced by blood tests soon

If you too have head/neck cancer, you know the MRI scans I am referring to - inside the noisy tube, listening to the magnets dance while the experts run the scan to see if you have a recurrence. I think at one point I was getting those about every 6 months (seems they found some interesting things to keep watching in my head, despite what my little brother used to tease me about when we were younger). Now, scientists say that watching for cancer may only take a blood test after the initial tumor's genetic signature has been identified. As reported in Reuters [http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61H5QR20100218], they used this new process to identify cancer remaining in colorectal cancer patients long before anything would have shown up on an imaging scan. They say the procedure is costly now (hey, I would pay 5 grand gladly to see if anything is floating around), but should be less than an MRI in the future. So far, they have only tested breast and colorectal cancer. I am not sure if Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma would be a good cancer for this test, since it travels the nerves more than in the blood, but we can hope. Now, where did I put that 2006 tumor...

Friday, February 19, 2010

The thrill of social media has brought me out of the frozen silence


It has been a winter around here that would chase polar bears away. The cold and dark have seeped into everything, including my blogging gene, hence the long silence. (Just letting you know that the only big C that I am currently dealing with, as far as I know, is the cold, not cancer.) What finally brought me back to the keyboard was a visit today to a University of Omaha marketing class, where I heard a great speaker: Bryan Jennewein (Director of Social Media at Infogroup). His tips would work for any cancer patients and their families who are considering integrating social media to spread the word about their condition, treatment, and recovery. Some notes that I took:
-use all privacy settings available on social media such as Facebook. If you want only your selected family and friends to read about your cancer experiences, limit the access. If you are doing a fund raiser, maybe you want a new page to announce the event(s), rather than open up your main Facebook page to strangers.
-if you wish to find out your standing in the blog community, you can check it out at Technorati [http://technorati.com], but you will probably have to make a claim on it first through your account. You can also check to see how your blog shows up by searching through Google Blogs, like this one I did for mine: [http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=cheeky+librarian&btnG=Search+Blogs].
-get others to link to your social media account, if you are trying to get the word out.
-involve your readers by asking for comments (I live by them, folks! It gets lonely out here.), and even holding contests if you can.

We truly aren't alone, but it takes a bit of work to stay connected using every bit of technology available. Thanks for hanging in there while I have been silent - I feel a thaw coming on! Stay tuned...and now, I will leave you with a photo from warmer weather.
 
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