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Minnesota Oncology News                                                                                   October 2016
In This Issue
Upcoming Events & Support Groups

DrTsaiMN Oncology Physician Dr. Michaela Tsai Shares Her Story of Healing and Hope on Front Page of Chicago Tribune

Dr. Michaela Tsai

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicks off, Minnesota Oncology physician Dr. Michaela Tsai graces the front page of the  Chicago Tribune. Her story, though, is not so much about her role as a leading breast cancer specialist. Rather, Dr. Tsai is featured because of her decision to undergo a double mastectomy after discovering at age 36 - and as a mother of two young children - that she carries the BRCA-2 gene. She then chose to work with sought-after Chicago tattoo artist David Allen to create an intricate floral design to cover her scars.

Dr. Tsai shared her very personal story with the Chicago Tribune in hopes that her experience might help other women who are struggling with post-mastectomy body image issues. Read the full story here:

Meet Dr. Tsai at GIlda's Club Twin Cities on Tuesday, October 11 at the Younger Survival Coalition meeting from 6-8 p.m. 
FacebookLiveUpcoming Minnesota Oncology Facebook Live Events

Minnesota Oncology is pleased to announce future Facebook Live Events featuring our expert providers! Mark your calendars for the following events. We will be adding more to this list, so be sure to like our Facebook page and turn on notifications from us to be notified every time we go live!

Friday, October 14 at 3:00 p.m. CST: Meet our genetic counselor, Anna Leininger, MS, as she answers questions about cancer and genetics.

Monday, October 17 at 3:30 p.m. CST: Meet our new breast cancer specialist, Dr. Raina Ferzoco, as she answers questions about diagnosing and treating breast cancer in young patients.

Friday, November 11 at 2:00 p.m. CST: Dr. Michaela Tsai will answer your questions about the popular topic of "chemo brain."

Post your questions on on any of these topics our Facebook page or email them to Please also let us know what topics you'd like our experts to cover!

Watch last month's Facebook Live event featuring Minnesota Oncology's newest gynecologic oncologist Jessica Thomes Pepin, MD.

Facebook Live with Dr. Jessica Thomes Pepin on 9/19
WelcomeDrFerzocoMinnesota Oncology Welcomes New Provider

Raina Ferzoco, MD
Minnesota Oncology is pleased to announce the association of   Raina Ferzoco, M.D. with the practice of Medical Oncology and Hematology at the   Maplewood Cancer Center beginning October 17, 2016.

"I believe in patient-centered, evidence-based, compassionate care," Dr. Ferzoco says. "I do my best to provide the best and latest treatment options to my patients while ensuring that their care is personalized and holistic. "

Dr. Ferzoco is a Stanford University dean's list graduate who received her medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, Fla. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center/Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. and a fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minn.

Dr. Ferzoco specializes in the treatment of breast cancer, lymphomas, and lung cancer. She has presented her research at the American Society of Clinical Oncology and European Hematology Association, and she received the Best Clinical Research Poster recognition from the American College of Physicians. She has published scholarly articles on the optimal delivery of male breast cancer follow-up care as well as the  treatment of young breast cancer patients, among other topics.

Dr. Ferzoco lives in North Oaks with her husband, their young twins, and two Goldendoodles. In her free time, she enjoys good food, good fiction, and spending time exploring the outdoors with her family.

Meet Dr. Ferzoco on Thursday, October 20, as she answers questions and shares her breast cancer expertise during a  Breast Cancer Awareness Month Facebook Live Event  starting at 3:30 CST p.m. on Minnesota Oncology's  Facebook page.
BollesRogersDr. P.J. Flynn Receives Prestigious Honor from Twin Cities Medical Society Foundation

P.J. Flynn_ MD
P.J. Flynn, MD
Dr. P.J. Flynn was selected by the Twin Cities Medical society Foundation Board as this recipient of the 2016 Charles Bolles Bolles-Rogers Award. Dr. P.J. Flynn was nominated by Dr. Joseph Leach on behalf of his colleagues at Minnesota Oncology.

Candidates for this "Physician of Excellence" award are nominated by their colleagues at Twin City area hospitals and/or clinics for achievement or leadership in medicine, contributions to clinical care, teaching and/or research.  This candidate is considered to be an outstanding physician by his or her peers.

In a letter to Dr. Flynn notifying him of the award, Twin Cities Medical Society Foundation Chair Chris Johnson, M.D. and Twin Cities Medical Society CEO Sue Schettle noted: "Twin Cities Medical Society Foundation considers this award to be the single, most prestigious local honor that can be given to a physician by their colleagues."

Dr. P.J. Flynn's honor was recognized at the October Minnesota Oncology Board meeting, and the  Award will be officially presented to Dr. Flynn in November at a physician event.
"We congratulate P.J. on this honor in observance of his excellent clinical care and outstanding leadership with cancer research in the Twin Cities over many years," said Minnesota Oncology President Dean Gesme, M.D. 

Minnesota Oncology physicians Joseph Cardamone, M.D. and Burton Schwartz, M.D. are previous Bolles-Rogers Awardees.
YoungBreastCancerTreatment for Young Breast Cancer Patients: How and why it's different - and what you need to know

Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon It is estimated that more than 230,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year. The vast majority of these diagnoses will be older women; however, approximately 7% will be women under the age of 40. These are considered young breast cancer patients, who currently face lower survival rates than older women. This alarming statistic is due in part to the fact that very few clinical trials have focused specifically on younger women. Additionally, young breast cancer patients are unique because they typically are diagnosed with more aggressive tumors and have greater concerns of infertility.

However, I am thrilled to see that increased attention is being paid to this population of patients, and that there is a growing hope for improved prognoses - as well as a deeper understanding of what challenges the medical community must collectively overcome. For example, we have historically assumed that poor prognoses were partially because young women were not adequately self-detecting breast abnormalities and because they were not seeking medical attention in a timely matter.

Recent study results, though, indicate that 80% of women under the age of 40 detected their own breast cancers, and only 17% of those waited a significant period of time before consulting a doctor. While there is always room for earlier detection and diagnosis, it is safe to say that young women are, in general, detecting abnormalities and seeking medical attention appropriately. Continued advancements and more positive prognoses will likely come from a greater emphasis on treatment efficacy for this population. 

Young breast cancer patients face certain vulnerabilities that older patients do not. Fortunately, a number of recent studies have focused on young women and have begun to identify new possibilities and advancements for improving their prognoses. There is much more research to be done, but with existing research and more forthcoming, we can look forward to a hopeful future in which mortality and recurrence rates for young breast cancer patients begin to decline.

Dr. Raina Ferzoco specializes in breast cancer treatment. She joins Minnesota Oncology's Maplewood Cancer Center on Monday, October 17. Please join us for a Facebook Live Q & A with Dr. Ferzoco on Thursday, October 20 at 3 p.m. 
NourishingKitchenSeriesMinnesota Oncology and Allina Health Present the Nourishing Kitchen Education Series
Cooking Prep
There are still spaces available in Nourishing Kitchen, a three-part series designed to teach and show you how food can support you through your cancer treatment and beyond.

Nutrition Talk
Tuesday, Oct. 25 | 7 p.m.
Virginia Piper Cancer Institute
310 Smith Ave. N. | Ste. 300
St. Paul, MN 55102
Free parking is available in the Green Ramp

Grocery Store Tour
Tuesday, Nov. 1 (register for one group)
Group 1 - 6:30-7:15 p.m.
Group 2 - 7:30-8:15 p.m.
7180 10th St. N.
Oakdale, MN 55128

Cooking Demo
Tuesday, Nov. 8 | 7 p.m.
7180 10th St. N.
Oakdale, MN 55128

Featured speakers:
Sarah Barts, MA, RD, CSO, LD | Mary Brunner MS, RD, LD,
HyVee dietitian | Jena Pape, RD, LD, HyVee dietitian

Lisa Thelemann, LSW, licensed social worker, Minnesota Oncology |
Ali Cain, LICSW, licensed social worker, Virginia Piper Cancer Institute

RSVP: Registration is limited to 16 people. Please call or email to reserve your spot today: 
Lisa Thelemann, 651-251-5515,
MamasKnightGrieving Daughter Publishes Book for Children of Moms with Cancer

Author Aurora Whittet and her mom
Author Aurora Whittet and her mom

Minnesota Oncology is very grateful this month for the donation of 150 copies of a newly published book for children of moms with cancer.
The author,  Aurora Whittet of St. Louis Park, lost her mom to breast cancer three years ago. Shortly after, she put her grief into action by writing a children's book called  Mama's Knight: A Cancer Story of Love. Aurora was 27 when she lost her mom to cancer. One of the first things she thought was, "I'm an adult, and the grief is overwhelming. I can't imagine how painful this must be for young children."

That inspired her to write a 40-page book, which is essentially an emotional toolbox to help kids and parents communicate about what it means when mom has cancer. The book is filled with activities designed to make coping with illness easier on both the mom and the child, and can be personalized for each child. A graphic designer and illustrator by day, Aurora did all of the illustrations in this book.
Mama_s Knight book cover

Dr. Amy McNally of Minnesota Oncology, who treated Aurora's mom, has read the book and said she can't wait to share the book with her patients: "I have never seen anything like this in my many years of caring for women. This book provides an amazing, and much-needed, tool for families with young children who are facing the challenges of cancer and treatment together."

Aurora says that she will always be grateful for the care her beloved mother received at Minnesota Oncology. "Dr. Amy McNally gave my mom hope, when there was no hope left," she says. "She was honest and real and laughed with us along the way. I am so grateful she was my mom's doctor. Three years after my mom had passed away I took my grief and wrote a book for moms with cancer and Amy graciously consulted with me as I developed Mama's Knight: A Cancer Story of Love to help families explain what it means for mom to have cancer."
Copies of Mama's Knight will be available at the Minnesota Oncology booth at the  Breast Cancer Education Association Annual Conference at the Mall of America on Saturday, October 8 as well as in Minnesota Oncology clinics. Also check Minnesota Oncology's  Facebook page for a special book giveaway promotion.

Listen to a   live interview that Aurora did with WCCO Radio's Jordana Green on Wednesday, October 5. Attend the book's launch party on Saturday, November 13.
Angel Gala 2017 Early Bird Registration Now Open

Please join Angel Foundation as they celebrate their 15th Anniversary Gala on January 28, 2017 at the Hilton Minneapolis. Angel Gala gathers old and new friends of Angel Foundation for an incredible evening of hope, survivorship and support for adults with cancer and their families. Beginning with a one-of-a-kind silent auction, several fundraising games (including their signature Punchboard!), a three course dinner, live auction, program and fund-a-need giving opportunity, this beautiful evening is one you won't want to miss. Stick around after the program ends to groove to the sounds of  Boogie Wonderland , back for another year by popular demand!

6:00 p.m. - Reception and Silent Auction
7:00 p.m. - Dinner, Live Auction, Program, and Fund-A-Need
9:30 p.m. - After Party Dancing to Boogie Wonderland

Bold in Blue
In honor of  Angel Gala's 15th Anniversary Year, we are launching our "Bold in Blue" initiative, where we invite our guests to dress to the nines in their finest "Angel Blue". From jewelry to gowns, ties to socks, we look forward to seeing a sea of blue at the event this year, further demonstrating support for our mission and those we serve.

Angel Foundation is excited to share two NEW ticket options for our guests this year! Young Professionals, age 35 and under, are invited to join us for the evening at a discounted rate of $75. Guests interested in experiencing Angel Gala as a VIP can purchase a higher priced ticket, which includes:
  • Access to our VIP reception from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
  • Three drink tickets (includes wine, beer and rail liquor)
  • One complimentary voucher for valet parking
  • Priority dinner seating
Both ticket options are LIMITED, so we recommend purchasing soon. There is not an Early Bird discount for either of these options.

Early Bird Registration is open now through December 5th - don't delay! Get tickets here.
NotesofHope"Notes of Hope" Variety Show Entertains Packed House and Raises Thousands of Dollars for Angel Foundation
MN Oncology nurse, cancer survivor, and Notes of Hope organizer Yana Reko sings at the show.

A dancer at Notes of Hope
A dancer  performs at Notes of Hope

MN Oncology physician Dr. Stewart Bloom entertains the audience.

The Second Annual "Notes of Hope" variety show and fundraiser, planned and organized by Minnesota Oncology nurse and cancer survivor Yana Reko, was a great success last month.

"It happened because of so many amazing, gifted, kind and giving people," said Reko."I'm so grateful to all who participated - including our very own Dr. Cheryl Bailey and Dr. Stuart Bloom - and all who came to show their support.  We had a nearly full house, raised $2,600 for Angel Foundation, and had a wonderful time," she said. "I am looking forward to Notes of Hope 2017!"