Patients and advocacy groups boost adrenal cancer research

Latest advances subject of international symposium in Ann Arbor

Adrenal cancer

Visualizing new potential targets in ACC. This fluorescence microscopy image shows expression of ZNRF3 (green) in the normal mouse adrenal gland. Collaborative research efforts, including The Cancer Genome Atlas project, have recently mapped the genetic landscape of human ACC tumors and identified ZNRF3 as one of the most commonly altered genes in ACC. Image courtesy of Kaitlin Basham, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (Hammer Laboratory) and Heather Rose Kornick Adrenocortical Cancer Research Scholar

 

mCancerPartner sat down with Gary Hammer, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Endocrine Oncology Program in the Comprehensive Cancer Center, to discuss the program’s most recent developments in adrenal cancer research and patient care.

mCancerPartner: Why is collaboration so important in treating adrenal cancer?

Dr. Hammer: Adrenal cancer, or ACC, is very rare, with less than a thousand people diagnosed with it each year in the United States. In adults, it is most often diagnosed at an advanced stage, so for many, the prognosis is dismal. Collaboration is essential because no one hospital sees enough of these patients to advance research or clinical care. Continue reading

Faith and spirituality through grief and loss

Guest blogger Kristin Meekhof shares her story on coping with grief after the loss of her husband to adrenal cancer.

Guest blogger Kristin Meekhof shares her story on coping with grief after the loss of her husband to adrenal cancer.

In the process of writing my book on grief and loss, I interviewed dozens of widows about their own grief and sense of loss. Eventually, I started getting emails from others who experienced different types of loss. Others shared a lament for their child, sister, mother or close friend. Often during these conversations, the question that I am most frequently asked is this: How do you trust in God after your husband died?  My answer is always hesitant because there are days when I’m not sure how or why I continue to believe. Sometimes, I stumble and people catch my awkward pause.

For some of you, this is not a formal religious or theological construct that you question. It is more of an issue of spirituality, a form of goodness, a pure intention, whatever it is that tugs at your soul. I know that the grief-stricken feel abandoned by God and cheated by life.

Wrestling with your spiritual beliefs is natural. It is difficult to feel generous and loving when your entire world is gone. Wishful thinking will not bring back your sister, parent, child or spouse. Death tells us as much about ourselves as it does about the person we lost. You will feel raw, fragile and vulnerable. For this reason, if you are looking for heartfelt advice, seek out a non-judgmental Continue reading

Each widow’s journey through grief is unique

Guest blogger Kristin Meekhof shares her story on coping with grief after the loss of her husband to adrenal cancer.

Guest blogger Kristin Meekhof shares her story on coping with grief after the loss of her husband to adrenal cancer.

In 2007, my late husband was diagnosed at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center with an ultra-rare form of cancer: adrenal. There is a one in a million chance that someone will be diagnosed with this form of cancer and unfortunately, my husband was diagnosed with advanced cancer. Approximately eight weeks after his first visit to his primary care physician (not associated with the University of Michigan) he died. At the time I was 33, and we had no children together. This is my story about grief and widowhood.

C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know that we are not alone,” and I couldn’t agree more. While reading this blog about my story will not resolve your problems, there is comfort in knowing that others have traveled the same path. As part of my research for my upcoming book, my co-author, psychologist James Windell and I interviewed dozens of widows. I also read many books about grief. What I have learned, to my surprise, is that each widow’s journey through grief is unique. Many widows speak about the intense loneliness (regardless if they live with children) and the cold sharp emotional pain. Death does damage. However, the pain will not always be as intense.

During the first year after my husband’s death, I found that the last thing I wanted to do was reach out to others. This was before text messaging and I Continue reading