The annual CATWalk is among the University of Arizona’s most popular cancer-research fundraisers.

The members of Pi Kappa Alpha have taken the reins this year, with the 2012 edition of the race scheduled to take place on Dec. 1. Those still interested in taking part in a piece of UA tradition can register up until race day.

From the CATWalk’s Facebook page:

“Join us for a 5K/10K run and walk that goes to benefit cancer research at the University of Arizona Cancer Center. All the proceeds go specifically towards creating new pilot medicines for cancers that affect women, such as ovarian and breast cancer. The cost of the event is $15 per person. Included in registration is a shirt, food, and drinks.

The 10K starts at 8 a.m., with the 5K run and walk beginning at 10 a.m. The course circles the UA campus, starting and finishing on the mall in front of Old Main.”

For those who cannot attend the CATWalk but would still like to make a donation, make checks payable to: UAF/Arizona Cancer Center, with a memo of CATwalk. Send the check to Pi Kappa Alpha, 1525 E. Drachman St., Tucson, AZ, 85719.

CATWalk registration form



Meet Salvatore Iaconesi.

The 39-year-old artist and software engineer recently received a devastating diagnosis: brain cancer.

It wasn’t necessarily the specific disease that worried him. It was how the disease was going to impact his ability to enjoy his life as a thoughtful, creative individual.

“Being ‘diseased’ is like a state of suspended life. Can I work? Have fun? Be creative? Not really,” Iaconesi wrote in an essay for CNN on Sunday. “When you are declared ‘diseased,’ you become a set of medical records, therapy, dosages, exam dates. It’s as if you disappear, replaced by your disease.”

Iaconesi took a proactive approach on his treatment, obtaining all of his medical records in digital formats so he could further educate himself about his condition and seek out the best possible treatments.

This proved to be much more difficult than he anticipated.

“I had no direct access to my own information, since I use Linux and OSX rather than the files’ Windows-based viewer,” Iaconesi wrote. “As a software engineer, I found software and programming tools to hack the files and make them open — but a nontechnical person would have difficulty making use of their own medical data.”

Once he obtained all of his data, he did something many patients wouldn’t even consider attempting. He made all of his medical records available on the Internet, free to view by anyone who happened to stumble upon them.



A day like this was long overdue.

The Thanksgiving holiday is supposed to be a time of appreciation and togetherness — a time where each of us takes a moment to reflect on the people and the circumstances makes our lives special.

Of course, much of the holiday has been overrun by Black Friday doorbusters and Cyber Monday gadget liquidation. Shop, shop, and when you think you’re all shopped out, be sure to shop some more.

Thankfully, the good folks behind Giving Tuesday have helped recalibrate the Thanksgiving holiday back toward its intended purpose.

Today, people are urged to give to back in any way they see fit. Donate to your favorite charity online? Find a local charitable organization who needs help? Talk to other like-minded individuals about specific charity projects? Giving Tuesday has you covered.

Head to the official Giving Tuesday website to find out about all of the remarkable projects going on today, and while you’re at it, feel free to visit our very own giving page to find out how you can help the University of Arizona Cancer Center achieve its goal of preventing and curing cancer. Every gift counts.

Want more? Head over to the Giving Tuesday Twitter feed (@GivingTues) or follow the hashtag #GivingTuesday. Like Giving Tuesday on Facebook. Brainstorm your own ideas and send them to the Giving Tuesday community.

Today is a day for giving. Spread the word.



“That’s the thing about your hearing. You don’t realize just how important it is to you until it’s gone.”

That is the point Abraham Jacob, MD, wants every oncologist to make with his or her patients before they begin chemotherapy sessions. Hearing loss is among the most underreported, yet potentially devastating, side effects endured by many patients. Often, they don’t realize that their hearing has been compromised until it is too late to receive treatment.

Dr. Jacob started the Hearing Conservation Program at the University of Arizona Cancer Center in large part to help spread this message to chemo patients who may not understand the potential risk of hearing loss as they seek treatment.

As chemotherapy agents such as cisplatin and carboplatin become more successful and patients live longer, healthier lives, oncologists are discovering side effects that can seriously impact a patient’s quality of life. One such impact is ototoxicity — damage to the inner ear by a toxin.

Of course, treating the cancer is of primary importance. “However, we now have the tools to maintain patients’ quality of life after they have been cured of cancer — monitoring and potentially treating their hearing loss,” Dr. Jacob said.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Jacob, please call (520) 694-1000. Oncologists interested in having their patients enroll directly in this innovative University of Arizona Cancer Center program should contact Stephanie Adamovich, PhD, with the University of Arizona Medical Center Audiology Clinic at (520) 694-5008.

UA Cancer Center surgeon assists patients suffering from chemotherapy-related hearing loss (arizonacancercenter.org, Nov. 19, 2012)



Tom Miller, MD, is among the University of Arizona Cancer Center’s most respected physician scientists. As the director of the UACC’s lymphoma program, his influence on cancer research and treatment is incalculable.

Dr. Miller is this year’s recipient of the UA College of Medicine’s 2012 Faculty Science Forum Founders Day Award, awarded annually to a “faculty member who embodies a model of an investigator whose research work has a continuous thread of significance and who effectively can present that research with enthusiasm, vigor and inspiration.”

On Friday, Nov. 16, Dr. Miller will host, “We Changed Outcome for Lymphoma Patients (‘You Didn’t Get There on Your Own’),” a free lecture, open to the public, from noon to 1 p.m., in DuVal Auditorium at the University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus.

Dr. Miller has been included in every edition of America’s Top Doctors and Best Doctors in America. He served as head of the Section of Hematology/Oncology for 10 years and played a key role in the development of The University of Arizona Cancer Center – North Campus, where he continues to see patients.

Congratulations to Dr. Miller — a truly deserving recipient of this honor.

After the jump, watch a video of Dr. Miller discussing his career:



At this point, it’s been proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that regular exercise (30 minutes or more per day, as often as possible) is among the most effective cancer-prevention tools.
But did you know that it can literally add years to your life?
A recent study shows that people who exercise regularly live at least 3.5 more years longer than comparable couch potatoes. That seems obvious on the surface, but I’m not sure people truly grasp what’s at stake here.
Via the Los Angeles Times: “Even for the severely obese – those with a body mass index above 35 – exercising for about 2.5 hours a week at moderate intensity or for 75 minutes at vigorous levels puts average life expectancy a notch above that of a normal-weight person who is sedentary, the research shows.”
So while it’s clearly important for individuals to maintain a healthy weight, the study (published in the journal PLoS Medicine) determined that regular physical activity is far too often overlooked in terms of its vital importance toward a longer lifespan.
The study covered more than 632,000 people from six major study populations, and the data was consistent across the board – a sedentary lifestyle is life-threatening.
“We have to get people to understand that it’s not all about weight,” said Dr. Robert Sallis, a sports medicine specialist with Kaiser Permanente in Fontana, Calif., who has spearheaded the Exercise Is Medicine initiative.
The University of Arizona Cancer Center understands this, which is why we have so many enthusiastic, energetic folks involved in Better Than Ever. The program is designed to encourage participants to make exercise a regular part of life, and work to prevent cancer.
So please, as soon as you’re finished reading this blog post, find something active to do!
• Study: Sedentary lifestyle may be worse than obesity (Los Angeles Times via Arizona Daily Star, Nov. 11, 2012)



The Arizona Health Sciences Center is on its way to becoming smoke free.

This week, the UA Faculty Senate approved a controversial, but necessary ban on “cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, water pipes, hookah, and other products that contain tobacco, as well as e-cigarettes.”

Some argue that the ban is too far-reaching, but my counter to that would be that this is a Health Sciences center, which must set an example and provide the cleanest air possible for patients coming in and out of the University of Arizona Medical Center.

The policy now reads: “Use of tobacco products by students, faculty, staff, contractors and visitors is prohibited on and within all grounds and buildings located at the AHSC campus and/or for which the AHSC and The University of Arizona Health Network are designated responsible. Littering campus with remains of tobacco or smoking-related products is prohibited. Ashtrays or smoking shelters are not provided.”

Smokers can still smoke in their cars, but those who attempt to challenge the new law will be asked – politely but firmly – to stop. “Employees will be referred to their supervisors, and visitors will be asked to leave the campus if they fail to conform to the rule after they’ve been advised.”

The new UA@Work blog does an excellent job breaking down the new ban, so please click over to read the full report.



In July, we did a blog post about how an accurate family tree can serve as an individual’s most effective cancer prevention tool.

On Nov. 17, the University of Arizona Cancer Center will host an in-depth program on this topic, stressing the importance of how one’s education on various risk factors can be the best prevention strategy.

“Breast, Colon and Beyond: Answering Questions about Hereditary Cancer” brings together experts from the University of Arizona Cancer Center to answer your questions about assessing and reducing your cancer risk.

The program will cover a broad range of topics, including genetic counseling, screening for breast cancer, gynecologic cancer risk assessment and management, and colon cancer risk assessment and management. In addition, a panel of health care providers and survivors will be available for question and answer sessions.

The program takes place from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the UA Cancer Center’s Kiewit Auditorium, 1515 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson.

The event is free but preregistration is required. Click here to register online.

• UA Cancer Center to present symposium on hereditary cancer risks (arizonacancercenter.org, Oct. 23)
• An accurate family tree can be a major cancer prevention tool (UACancer.org, July 30, 2012)