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For more information on Tulane Cancer Center news and events, please contact:

Melanie N. Cross
Manager of Communications
Tulane Cancer Center
1430 Tulane Ave., SL-68
New Orleans, LA 70112


Inroads - Tulane Cancer Center's e-Newsletter

April 11, 2017


Tulane Researcher Shows Education Can Ease Fear in Cancer Patients

People with cancer are more likely to use palliative care once they learn about its benefits, according to a study led by a Tulane University researcher and recently published by the American Psychological Association. Palliative care provides relief from the symptoms and stress of serious illnesses and seeks to improve quality of life whether patients have a curable, chronic or life-threatening illness.

Michael Hoerger, an assistant professor of psychology, psychiatry, and oncology at Tulane University, led an NIH-funded experiment called Project EMPOWER that examined how patients’ preferences for palliative care were affected after they were presented with results from the ground-breaking “Early Palliative Care Study,” which demonstrated the beneficial effects of palliative care on mood, quality of life, and survival in patients with lung cancer. Participants in EMPOWER became less scared of palliative care, viewed its evidence more favorably, and said they would be more likely to accept referrals.

“Most people are scared of palliative care because they believe it means stopping treatments, giving up, or starting hospice,” said Hoerger. “When people learn they can still do their treatments and that there is good evidence that palliative care helps with side effects and the stress of their illness, of course they want it.”

A sample of 598 patients with prostate, breast, lung, colorectal, skin and other cancers were randomized to either learn about the medical evidence for palliative care (intervention group) or receive no information at all (control group). Findings indicated that 75 percent of participants who received the intervention had an increase in preferences for palliative care. The intervention effect could not be attributed to alternative explanations, such as the patients’ demographics or illness characteristics.

“Usually it takes 20 to 30 years before effective interventions are widely accessible,” Hoerger said. “We hope that by educating people about the benefits of palliative care more patients and families will feel empowered to use it.”



Thanks A Million!

Tulane Cancer Center would like to thank the sponsors, participants, volunteers and planning committee members involved in the success of the Sixth Annual One Man Shoot Sporting Clays Fundraiser, held recently in Denham Springs, Louisiana.  Approximately 260 shooters participated in the competitive sporting clays event, which raised abut  $130,000 for Dr. Oliver Sartor's Prostate Cancer Research Fund.  This year's total brings the cumulative six-year impact of the Shoot to over $1 million!

"The importance of these funds, which are vital to our research progress, simply cannot be overestimated," said Dr. Sartor.  "Neither can my gratitude.  It takes months of teamwork and camaraderie to put this incredible event together each year, and I am continually in awe of the commitment and overwhelming generosity of everyone involved.  What a milestone!  What an accomplishment!  What a team!"

The Shoot was started in 2011 by Connie Mack Boykin, one of Dr. Sartor's patients.  It is now held in his memory.  "There are some who would say that on October 10, 2013, our co-founder lost his long battle with prostate cancer.  To them we say Connie Mack's battle is not over," said Randy Hays, one of the planning committee leaders and Connie Mack's lifelong best friend.  "His battle was not about beating cancer for himself.  It was about preventing others from having to fight the same fight.  We all miss him deeply, but we take comfort in knowing his fight goes on through us.  With each Shoot, each novel discovery, each new treatment method and eventually a cure, we will see his battle won."

One thing that Connie Mack was extremely passionate about was PSA testing for the early detection of prostate cancer.  That's why Tulane Cancer Center offers complimentary PSA blood tests at the event each year.  PSA - or prostate-specific antigen - is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland. The test measures the level of PSA in the blood. It is normal for men to have low levels; however, prostate cancer or benign (non-cancerous) conditions can increase PSA levels.  This year, over 90 participants rolled up their sleeves and were tested at the Shoot.

Previous Issues of Inroads...

Komen Grant Supports Study of Ductal Carcinoma In Situ

Leading Study Backs Hormone Therapy With Radiation for Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Victory Bell:  Donation Helps Cancer Patients Celebrate Survivorship

Genetic Counselors Help Patients Better Understand Inherited Cancer Risk - February 3, 2017


Tulane Researchers Find Tumor-Suppressing Protein Actually Promotes Cancer - January 26, 2017


Researcher Investigates Pathways Regulating Breast Cancer Metastasis - January 12, 2017


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