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Issue highlights
Research for Life campaign kicks off
Major advance in skin cancer study
Am I at risk for cancer?
Upcoming events

For a full listing of Massey events, visit the online calendar.
HDL, Inc. Massey Challenge


For the seventh year, Massey is the official charitable partner of the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k presented by Martin's. Join family, friends and colleagues on April 13, 2013, as they run or walk to raise funds for cancer research at Massey. Sign up today.


More information. 


Saturday, Dec. 8
The Richmond Christmas Gala!

Join the Massey Alliance for the Richmond Christmas Gala, a holiday celebration featuring live music, dancing, hors d'oeuvres and an open bar to raise awareness and funds for Massey's cancer research.


More information


Thursday, Jan. 24
Learning and practicing mindfulness: a free overview of meditation

Join Dr. Jo Lynne Robins for a free class on meditation. Learn basic techniques aimed at cultivating mindfulness and a heightened level of self-awareness thought to reduce stress and improve health outcomes.


More information


Thursday, Jan. 31
Learning and practicing mindfulness: a free overview of tai chi and qigong


Join Dr. Jo Lynne Robins for a free class on mindfulness. Learn about tai chi and qigong meditation techniques designed to reduce stress and to improve health.


More information


Tuesday, Feb. 5
18th Annual Women & Wellness Forum Series


Continuing a tradition of bringing powerful, inspirational speakers to the community, the 2013 Women & Wellness Forum presents Lee Woodruff.


Wife of ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, who sustained a critical brain injury in Iraq, Lee Woodruff is the author of "In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing" and "Perfectly Imperfect." She conveys a message of hope and courage, tempered by an understanding that we're all fighting our own battles.


More information


Issue: 9
December 2012
Dr. Michael Hagan
Dr. Michael Hagan
Improves radiation therapy for U.S. veterans
As national director of the Radiation Oncology program at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Massey radiation oncologist Michael Hagan, M.D., Ph.D., is working to ensure that veterans with cancer are treated with radiation as safely and effectively as possible. Massey medical physicist Jatinder Palta, Ph.D., serves with him, helping to implement national policies and procedures that improve cancer care for the country's veterans. Read more.

Extends radiation care to Spotsylvania


Massey recently partnered with Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center (SRMC) to jointly provide radiation oncology services at a new cancer center scheduled to open in April 2013 at SRMC in Spotsylvania, Va.

The partnership with SRMC represents the latest of Massey's clinical partnerships and research affiliations with community health systems and oncology medical practices in extending expert cancer care and National Cancer Institute-designated research throughout the state. Read more.

Blazes the national trail in radiotherapy clinical trial
Clinical trial participant Bob Holdsworth
Bob Holdsworth

In 2003, Bob Holdsworth, an active 50-year-old computer industry sales professional, was diagnosed with stage III oral cancer that had metastasized to a lymph node. Thanks to a clinical trial at Massey that was one of the first nationwide for intensity modulated radiotherapy (which allows for high doses of radiation directly to the tumor while sparing the healthy surrounding tissue), today he is cancer free. Read more about Bob's clinical trial experience and his climb to Mount Kilimanjaro five years after surviving cancer. 


Massey kicks off its largest ever fundraising campaign


Massey recently launched the public phase of its Research for Life campaign to raise $100 million to fund the people, programs and places that will defeat cancer. More than $75 million has been raised to date and the goal is to raise the remaining funds by June 2014.

Research for Life CampaignDuring this season of giving, please consider how your support can help Massey pursue innovative research that improves, extends and saves the lives of cancer patients.

View the campaign video by clicking the image on the right or visit the campaign page to learn more.

Paul Fisher 100x150
Dr. Paul Fisher
Breakthrough could halt the spread of skin cancer

In laboratory experiments, Massey scientists led by Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., have eliminated metastasis, the spread of cancer from the original tumor to other parts of the body, in melanoma by inhibiting a protein referred to as mda-9/syntenin.

More than one million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S., and melanoma is the deadliest form. With further research, the approach used by Dr. Fisher and his colleagues could potentially lead to targeted therapies that stop metastasis in melanoma and possibly in a broad range of additional cancers. Read more or listen to Dr. Fisher discuss his study on the local National Public Radio affiliate.
Cancer patients with employment-based insurance may feel locked into remaining at work
Cathy Bradley, PhD
Dr. Cathy Bradley

Men with employment-contingent health insurance (ECHI) who suffer a health shock, such as a cancer diagnosis or hospitalization, are more likely to feel "locked" into remaining at work. They also are at greater risk for losing their insurance during this critical time as compared to men who are on their spouse's insurance plan or on private insurance plans, according to a study led by Massey researcher Cathy J. Bradley, M.P.A., Ph.D.


The study also finds that as new health care reform takes effect, men with ECHI policies who can no longer work because of illness will have the added option to purchase private insurance as the Affordable Care Act will make private insurance plans more affordable and will eliminate pre-existing condition clauses. Read more.


Cancer is common in my family. Will I get cancer?

The genetic influence on the development of cancer has been heavily studied; however, it is still impossible to know with certainty whether someone will get cancer or, if they have it, why.


Most cancers are not strongly hereditary. Overall, about 5 to 10 percent of cancers are hereditary. These cancers occur when there is a change (mutation) in one or more genes, which are passed down from parent to child, that cause cells to grow out of control. But a single genetic change is rarely sufficient for the development of cancer - cancer is generally a multistep process.


How do you know if there is a strong genetic susceptibility to cancer in your family? Knowing your family health history offers the biggest clues. There is likelihood that the cancer in your family is hereditary if:  

  • There is more than one person in the family with cancer
  • There is more than one occurrence of a particular type of cancer in the family
  • Cancer in the family occurred at an early age (under 50)
  • Anyone in the family had/has more than one cancer

Determining your risk for cancer is complicated, as there are many possible factors that can increase risk. In addition to genetic predisposition, tobacco or alcohol use, obesity, radiation exposure and other factors can increase cancer risk. Often, a combination of factors causes cancer to occur. Even if one inherits some risk, cancer may have resulted from an entirely different process, such as exposure to harmful substances. If you are concerned that there is hereditary risk of cancer in your family, consult your doctor. Learn more.


Momentum is published by VCU Massey Cancer Center.

David Raine, Jr.

If you have questions about cancer, cancer treatments or survivorship, please ASK MASSEY.

To learn more about VCU Massey Cancer Center, please visit our Web site at