Q&A With Tracey Jordan, Women Of Influence Honoree

Tracey Jordan Social MediaWe will celebrate our 7th Annual Women of Influence Awards Luncheon on Friday, May 10th in New York City at The Plaza’s Grand Ballroom. This exciting event honors extraordinary women who have pushed the boundaries by achieving outstanding goals in business, work, family, home, and health while inspiring women around the globe to live their dreams. Every year, we love to chat with our honorees in the weeks leading up to our Women Of Influence event about their advice for other women and their connection to health, wellness and cancer.

Today we are proud to feature a Q&A with Tracey Jordan, who will be honored on May 10th at The Plaza. 

1) What does it mean to you to be chosen as a Woman of Influence by the T.J. Martell Foundation?

Being chosen as a Woman of Influence by the T.J. Martell Foundation is one of the highest honors I’ve ever received in my 35 years in the music industry. It’s a living testament to those who have taught, mentored, taken a chance and believed in me!

I have to mention Lee Solters & Sheldon Roskin, Berry Gordy, Clive Davis, Jheryl Busby, Ross Zapin and Scott Greenstein. And of course, the women, Katie Valk, Melanie Rogers, Iris Keitel, Martha Crowninshield and of course Mom!

2) What piece of advice would you give to young women today to inspire them to follow their dreams?

Never give up on yourself or your dreams.  Fight for what you believe in and, although it’s hard, try not to let them see you cry!  We’re creatures of emotion and sometimes it gets the better of us, but it’s looked at as a sign of weakness…that’s a hard one for me!  Stay close to the people who support you and try not to be affected by the negative ones.  Stay the course of your dreams and don’t let anyone take them from you.  Eventually dreams do come true!

3) What steps do you take to make health and wellness a priority in your life?

Being diligent about yearly check-ups as a responsibility on everybody’s part I can think of!  I try to watch what I eat, but that doesn’t always work…I will walk around the office and up and down the stairs to talk to someone in the office rather than call them on the phone or email them.

 

 

Q&A With Sandra Lee, Women of Influence Honoree and Cancer Survivor

Sandra Lee Social MediaWe will celebrate our 7th Annual Women of Influence Awards Luncheon on Friday, May 10th in New York City at The Plaza’s Grand Ballroom. This exciting event honors extraordinary women who have pushed the boundaries by achieving outstanding goals in business, work, family, home, and health while inspiring women around the globe to live their dreams. Every year, we love to chat with our honorees in the weeks leading up to our Women Of Influence event about their advice for other women and their connection to health, wellness and cancer.

Today we are proud to feature a Q&A with Sandra Lee, who will be honored on May 10th at The Plaza. 

1) What does it mean to you to be chosen as a Woman of Influence by the T.J. Martell Foundation?

I am just thrilled to be in the room and I am humbled by this honor. I believe we should all do our best to help one another, to share as much information as possible, and do both whatever and whenever is possible.

2) What piece of advice would you give to young women today to inspire them to follow their dreams?

I would say live your life being brave in every area and unintimidated- be kind yet firm and stand strong with your head held up no matter what.

Cement yourself in yourself.

Educate yourself and travel – everywhere and as often as possible. Do not listen to people who judge you – be comfortable in who you are, in the skin you were given and when you look in the mirror.

Allow yourself to dream big – as big as you can. Imagine what the best life is in this world, visualize it, and then allow yourself to have it. Go get it. Beware not to let others steal your dreams and therefore steal the possibility of your future.

Be smart, thoughtful and conscientious when the forks in the road arise—-follow each road in your mind’s eye and then make your decisions based on which road take to the best end.

3) What steps do you take to make health and wellness a priority in your life?

Schedule and Keep my doctors appointments.

Make as many heathy food choices as possible. No smoking, sleep, water, laughter, friends, family, work, play————wine.

4) If you are comfortable, please share one way in which your life has been affected by cancer.

I make every minute matter.

Q&A With Rosanna Scotto, Women of Influence Honoree

 Rosanna Scotto Social MediaWe will celebrate our 7th Annual Women of Influence Awards Luncheon on Friday, May 10th in New York City at The Plaza’s Grand Ballroom. This exciting event honors extraordinary women who have pushed the boundaries by achieving outstanding goals in business, work, family, home, and health while inspiring women around the globe to live their dreams. Every year, we love to chat with our honorees in the weeks leading up to our Women Of Influence event about their advice for other women and their connection to health, wellness and cancer.

Today we are proud to feature a Q&A with Rosanna Scotto, who will be honored on May 10th at The Plaza. 

  • What does it mean to you to be chosen as a Woman of Influence by the T.J. Martell Foundation?

I am so excited to be honored by this wonderful group and alongside such amazing women. I had the opportunity to meet Tony Martell a few years ago and his passion and commitment to making a difference in the fight against cancer have inspired me to do my part.

  • What piece of advice would you give to young women today to inspire them to follow their dreams?

Don’t be afraid to fail. After navigating the television news world for over 30 years, I realize that my mistakes and disappointments helped shape my career. You need to fail in order to succeed.

  • What steps do you take to make health and wellness a priority in your life?

I have never worked harder at health and wellness than I do now. I push myself to exercise several times a week and I practice meditation daily. It is difficult to shut off the work commitments, emails and social media that can overwhelm my day, but I have realized that taking 20 minutes to meditate makes me calmer and more focused.

  • If you are comfortable, please share one way in which your life has been affected by cancer.

I’ve had my own health scare. I’ve lost family to cancer.

To help honor Rosanna and our other outstanding honorees, please click here.

Patient Legacy Lives On Thanks to Music Industry Help

TJM NY GalaWe are very proud to be featured in CURE Magazine. An excerpt of the article is posted below. To read the full article, please click here.

T.J. Martell was in his late teens when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Before he passed away in 1974 at the age of 21, T.J. told his oncologist, James Holland, M.D., FASCO, that he wanted to help others affected by the disease.

Holland explained that scientific research would be the catalyst to finding better treatments and saving lives, and that it would take millions of dollars. Instead of being intimidated by that amount, T.J. asked his father, music industry executive Tony Martell, to promise to raise $1 million dollars for research. Even though Tony Martell had no fundraising experience, he agreed.

The T.J. Martell Foundation was launched shortly after T.J. passed. Nearly 43 years later, it has become one of the world’s leading sponsors of innovative early-stage research into the treatments and cures for cancer.

“Since its inception in 1975, the foundation has raised more than $280 million for cancer research at leading research facilities and flagship hospitals across the United States, including the T.J. Martell Memorial Laboratories at Mount Sinai where Dr. Holland conducted his research until he passed away earlier this year,” Kate Fitzpatrick, Director of Communications and Patient Services for the T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer Research, said in an interview with CURE.

Fueled by the tragic loss of their son, Tony and his wife Vicky Martell built the foundation by working closely with their passionate friends in the music industry to continue his legacy and expand the foundation’s fundraising initiatives every year. Thanks to these like-minded friends, the organization grew across the country to markets like New Jersey, Nashville, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami and Atlanta.

While it was born from connections in the music industry, the foundation has found ongoing success beyond that community in the past four decades. “Over the years, we have kept the foundation’s roots deep in the music industry while expanding to many other industries,” said Fitzpatrick. “Today, the T.J. Martell Foundation is a vibrant organization with creative, passionate volunteers and donors who are committed to funding research that will one day lead to a cure for cancer.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Celebrate National Dog Day

Macy“Macy Gray Heatherly loves spending time playing with her friends, especially kids. She enjoys Greenies, all of her toys and most of all, giving kisses to the many people who pet her,” says her owner, T.J. Martell Foundation CEO Laura Heatherly.

Today is National Dog Day. Please click here to make a donation to cancer research so that kids can grow up to have a puppy like Macy Gray. You’ll be supporting life-saving developments like our research at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

Prostate Cancer Breakthrough at Mount Sinai Hospital

T.J. Martell Foundation-supported scientists have identified a “master regulator” gene driving aggressiveness in prostate cancer.

Scientists at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, with the support of the T.J. Martell Foundation, have discovered a gene that acts as a switch and activates the aggressiveness of tumor cells. The discovery could have a major impact on the development of treatments for prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common tumor and one of the leading causes of cancer death in men. In about 10-15% of patients prostate cancer has an aggressive disease course characterized by the appearance of tumors in distant organs (metastasis) and the acquisition of resistance to anticancer drugs, which contributes to the death of most patients with prostate cancer.

The study, led by Dr. Josep Domingo-Domenech published and highlighted in the cover of the prestigious scientific journal Cancer Cell, describes a mechanism by which prostate cancer cells become aggressive and survive standard treatment. The key is a gene called GATA2, which encodes a transcription factor capable of reprogramming and activating aggressive cells through activation of multiple signaling pathways.

Using computational biology techniques that integrate genetic information from prostate cancer cells in humans and experimental models it has been possible to identify the master regulator gene GATA2. It was observed that experimental prostate cancer tumor cells with high levels of GATA2 initiated aggressive tumors that were resistant to chemotherapy. GATA2 gene acts as a master gene, controlling the activation and expression of many other genes. It activates other genes, putting them to work invading healthy tissue and initiating metastasis. Other genes are set to activate survival pathways that help initiate tumors and make cells resistant to anticancer drugs. This is the case for the gene coding the growth factor IGF2, which is activated directly by GATA2 triggering a signaling cascade that increases tumor cell survival under adverse conditions.

Importantly the discovery of the master gene, GATA2, that regulates expression of IGF2 led to the identification of a new therapeutic strategy for patients with prostate cancer. The new treatment strategy combines chemotherapy with IGF2 pathway inhibitors which improves the results of chemotherapy and allows more durable responses. Dr. Domingo- Domenech explains, ‘the combination of chemotherapy with IGF2 pathway inhibitors helps enhance the antitumor effect of chemotherapy and was well tolerated in animal models. Now we are looking forward to translate these studies into patients.”

“This important finding is a clear example of the excellent science with important clinical implications for cancer patients that the T.J. Martell Foundation is currently funding,” says Dr. James Holland, the founding research scientist for the T.J. Martell Foundation. The support that the T.J. Martell Foundation has given Dr. Domingo- Domenech during the last years is helping enormously to uncover new therapeutic targets against this devastating disease.

 

Monday, April 7th is World Health Day

Dr. Margaret Cuomo is the author of “A World Without Cancer: The Making of a New Cure and the Real Promise of Prevention.”

World Health Day, April 7th, is a great opportunity to focus our attention on what should be an American priority: cancer prevention.

Scientific evidence tells us that over 50 percent of all cancers are preventable by applying what we know right now. Attention to diet, exercise, avoiding alcohol, protecting our skin from the sun, managing stress and, of course, ending smoking all contribute to significantly reduce cancer risk. These are the “broad strokes” of cancer prevention. The devil is in the details, and people need to know which foods, what kind of exercise, how to manage stress, etc. There are highly-effective strategies to prevent cancer, but we need to learn them. We should be teaching our children about the kinds of foods that reduce cancer risk and encouraging them to stay physically active to prevent cancer and other diseases. Anti-smoking education should focus on the young as well as adults, emphasizing that “It’s not cool to smoke, because there’s nothing cool about cancer.”

Learning that whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables can help prevent many cancers, including cancers of the prostate, breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, lung, colon, kidney, pancreas, thyroid, gallbladder, and probably other cancer types is a powerful lesson that can have a significant impact on children’s lives. In many cases, children who have been taught about cancer-preventing strategies can become the role models and teachers for their parents.

Our fruits, vegetables and grains should be free of harmful pesticides that promote cancer. Our cattle, poultry and fish should not be exposed to antibiotics or hormones that will be harmful to their human consumers. Our personal care products, such as shampoo and deodorant and toothpaste; cosmetics, such as lipstick, mascara and eyeliner; and our household cleaning products should be free of chemicals that disrupt our hormones, and increase our cancer risk.

The scientific and medical community, including the World Health Organization and the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Reproductive Society, are speaking out against the harmful chemicals in our environment.

In a joint Committee Opinion issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in September 2013, obstetricians and gynecologists were urged to advocate for government policy changes to identify and reduce exposure to toxic environmental agents.

Among the reproductive and health problems associated with exposure to these toxic chemicals, these powerful medical groups listed childhood cancers, miscarriage and stillbirth impaired fetal growth and low birth weight, preterm birth, birth defects, cognitive/intellectual impairment and thyroid problems.

In 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel issued a scathing report entitled, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now,” in which it stated: “The true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated.”

It takes a village to support cancer prevention. Government and the industries producing our food, personal care products and cosmetics, household and industrial cleaning products, fertilizers and pesticides should be partners in the effort to ensure that our food is pure and healthful, and that the products used on our bodies and our farms, in our homes, schools and businesses aren’t cancer-causing. Less Cancer, a not-for-profit organization founded by Bill Couzens, seeks to educate individuals and raise awareness that results in the protection of human health, the environment, and our economy. Less Cancer’s work on health and the environment spans a wide range of issues, including specific contaminants, pollution sources and also healthy lifestyle choices, such as diet, exercise, and smoking cessation. While we work to protect all communities, our approach is particularly relevant to at-risk populations, such as children, low-income communities, and workers. Less Cancer’s ultimate goal is to reduce incidences of diagnosed cancer in all people. As a Less Cancer board member, I am honored to be a part of this vital mission.

A World Without Cancer, the book I wrote in 2012, is my personal journey with cancer as a doctor, a diagnostic radiologist and experiencing cancer’s horrific effects on my patients, friends, and family. The good news is that cancer is not an inevitability for us. Whether we are adults or children, members of the media or medical community, government, industry or cancer advocacy group, we can all contribute to a healthier environment, a stronger, more vibrant society, and ultimately, to a world without cancer. If we fully dedicate ourselves to the prevention of cancer, this impossible dream will become a reality.

Margaret I. Cuomo, M.D., is a board-certified radiologist and served as an attending physician in diagnostic radiology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. for many years. Specializing in body imaging, involving CT, Ultrasound, MRI and interventional procedures, much of her practice was dedicated to the diagnosis of cancer and AIDS. She is the daughter of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and Mrs. Matilda Cuomo and sister to Governor Andrew Cuomo and ABC’s Chris Cuomo. She resides in New York. Cuomo’s book, A World Without Cancer, was published October 2012 by Rodale.

We Want YOUR BUSINESS To Get Involved!

We would like to thank Edwards Photography Studios for supporting our organization in the month of January. You can help with a simple “CLICK.” Go to their Facebook page, and click “LIKE.” For each new like in the month of January, they will donate $2 to our foundation. Please SHARE our Facebook posts and invite your friends to do the same!

Does your company have a fan page on Facebook? We’d love for you to get involved with a campaign like this which raises money for life-saving research AND gains exposure for your business, a win-win for everyone involved! Ready to make us your charity of the month? Please email Kate Fitzpatrick, our social media manager, kfitzpatrick@tjmartell.org for details.

The Problem with Excuses: Early Cancer Detection in Young Adults

Guest Blog Post from 15-40 Connection

In the realm of cancer research, preventative measures like early detection are coming into the spotlight lately. After Angelina Jolie’s high-profile case, more people are aware that genetic testing even exists. It’s a hot topic on everyone’s mind. Early detection can mean increased chances of survival, but it also likely means fewer rounds of chemotherapy, surgeries, and radiation. Especially if the cancer is caught early enough so that it has not spread, it drastically decreases the complexity of treatment and the painful side effects.

So, why isn’t it working for everyone? Rates of survival in the 15-40 year old age group have not increased since 1975. Rates of survival of pediatric cancer have improved, as well as cancer found in those over 40, so why are young adults left out?

There isn’t an easy answer. This age group is particularly hard to diagnose, because screenings like colonoscopies and mammograms aren’t usually required until later in life.  While many are aware that early detection works, far fewer know what to look for or how to look. Even when they are aware, the environmental factors mean that this age group often overlooks their own health problems.

15-40 year olds are chronically busy. This age group encompasses high school-ers, college students, young professionals, and young parents. There are a lot of transitions and a lot of new adjustments, and taking care of your health can take a back seat. When making an annual physical appointment is competing with your children, your schoolwork or your full-time job, it’s very easy to leave at the bottom of the list.

With all these responsibilities, 15-40 year olds are less likely to put themselves and their health needs first, and more likely to ignore persistent health problems, or write them off as due to stress or “just getting older.”

The busy schedule paired with a feeling of invincibility is particularly dangerous. Feeling invincible, and that ‘cancer doesn’t happen to someone my age,’ can be self-perceived, but it can also be inferred by the doctors. Doctors are less likely to expect that a persistent health problem could be due to cancer, and frequently treat symptoms individually without discovering the real cause: cancer.

To make use of the power of early detection, we need to empower 15-40 year olds to take control of and responsibility for their health. Here are a few resources:

Stress the importance of self-exams and teach how to do them:

Breast self-exam

Testicular self-exam

Teach 15-40 year-olds how to advocate for their health:

How to talk to your doctor

When to trust your instincts

If we harness the power of early detection, the 15-40 year old age group can see similar improvements in cancer survival rates as the pediatric and adult cancers. We can change this. See www.15-40.org for more information.

Dr. Sandeep Kapoor – Skin Cancer Prevention and Awareness at Bonnaroo Music Festival

Dr. Sandeep Kapoor with the T.J. Martell Foundation at Bonnaroo

I would like to extend a warm thank you to Laura Heatherly of the T.J. Martell Foundation for asking me to conduct a skin cancer awareness program at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester,Tennessee.

As a primary care physician, I truly enjoy reaching out to the community to educate the public on the importance of cancer prevention and early detection. We had an enthusiastic audience that spanned many age groups who were interested in learning how to protect themselves from the dangers of the sun and how to check themselves for early signs of skin cancer.

On behalf of he board of directors of the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, we appreciate our collaboration with the T.J. Martell Foundation and plan to be present at many more outdoor music festivals to spread the word about skin cancer prevention.

Cancer prevention and early detection saves lives!

Check Yourself for Cancer Today!

Sandeep Kapoor, MD

Co-Founder/Medical Director

The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund

www.diocancerfund.org