The SPAGN Blog

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Should I join a clinical trial?

When you have been diagnosed with sarcoma you are faced with making important, and at times daunting decisions about treatment. Amongst the treatment choices, a clinical trial may be an option. But how do you know if it is a good option for you? Is it something you should even consider? Denise Reinke asks 6 key questions about clinical trials and provides helpful answers for sarcoma patients to consider.

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No Losers Here!

War metaphors are used all the time in the context of cancer. “You’re a fighter! You got this!”, people say to a newly diagnosed patient.
And the war metaphors seem to imply that if someone succumbs to cancer, it’s because they didn’t fight hard enough, or worse, gave up – “He lost his battle against cancer.” Many point out that such expectations are an additional burden placed upon a person who is already undergoing so much. But I wonder: Can the use of war metaphors be of help to us sarcoma patients as we strive to take an active role in our treatment?

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Reflections for the New Year

2023 was a big year for SPAGN and the sarcoma patient community as a whole. We look back on the highlights of all that we achieved together and the many ways in which we grew, as we look to the year ahead.

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From Glasgow to Guyana

Anyone who has a sarcoma or a suspected sarcoma should be seen by sarcoma specialists. This is what we advocates say over and over again in the hope that patients will have better treatment outcomes. Yet in many countries of the world there is no doctor with such expertise. Every year, a Scotland-based orthopedic surgeon and sarcoma expert dedicates part of his leave to teaching and operating in countries where patients do not have access to a specialist surgeon. Here we tell the story of an amazing volunteer initiative.

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Submissions open for 2023/24 Advocacy in Action Awards

Each year SPAGN awards special recognition to member groups advancing patient rights and improving patient support. The submissions are OPEN for 2023/2024 projects. Winners will be selected by a panel of judges and announced at the 2024 SPAGN Annual Conference in Rome.

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Sarcoma Intelligent Specialist Network and How We Got Here

One of the first things a newly diagnosed sarcoma patient is told when they contact a patient support group is that they must be treated by expert doctors in a specialist centre. But no one knows how to judge whether there are experts in a centre or not. SPAGN therefore set out a year ago to work towards a universally acceptable definition of an expert centre. Such a definition would allow new patients to get a quick understanding, advocacy groups to gain deeper knowledge of their country’s resources, and doctors in centres that are developing their expertise to have a clear understanding of what we as patients expect.

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CTOS 2023 Highlights: Patient Advocacy Lounge Leaves a Lasting Impression

The Connective Tissue Oncology Society held its annual conference in Dublin, Ireland from November 1-4, 2023. The conference, an opportunity for the global sarcoma community to come together, has left a lasting impression: The role of patient advocates in this community is growing and SPAGN’s Patient Advocacy Lounge was a huge success.

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Patient Advocates Meet the World’s Sarcoma Specialists in November

The oncology community is preparing to gather for the annual conference of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS) in Dublin from November 1-4. This pivotal event brings together oncologists, researchers, and patient advocates dedicated to the common goal of advancing the understanding and treatment of these rare cancers. We take a closer look at the importance of the CTOS-SPAGN partnership and its global impact going forward.

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How to Successfully Engage Policymakers for Sarcoma Patients

In this post, we focus on one specific aspect where Sarcoma UK has really set a standard: How to advocate for changes at the policy level. Richard Davidson, Chief Executive of Sarcoma UK, shares his insights into policy and public affairs work in a talk with SPAGN Volunteer Gabi Ott. What started off as a patient-led information hub for sarcoma patients, is today an influential charity. On 25 September 2023, the Cancer Research Day, Sarcoma UK hosted a reception in Downing Street alongside Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP. Other special guests included celebrity ambassadors like ambassadors TommyInnit and DJ Graeme Park.

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I Lost My Son and Found My Purpose

We spoke with the founder of the first sarcoma organization in Bulgaria, Lidiya Vitanova, who lost her young son, Niki, to sarcoma. Lidiya talked to us about the sarcoma situation in her country as well as her motivation and goals for improving the outcomes of people diagnosed with sarcoma and other rare diseases.

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Check It Out!

Sarcoma patient and patient advocate Roger Wilson shares his experience of finding a lump – what happened and what he learned.

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When the Patient Becomes the Researcher

Dr. Sydney Stern, biomedical scientist and patient advocate, describes her personal journey as a patient with a rare tumor disease and her quest for answers through science. She calls for patients to get involved in research and outlines options for doing so.

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Would you like to submit a text to Voices of Sarcoma?

The blog Voices of Sarcoma covers topics of interest to the wider SPAGN community, which includes patient advocates of our Member Groups, sarcoma patients and caregivers, as well as members of the medical profession.  The aim of the blog is to convey information, share experiences and viewpoints, and strengthen the bonds of the international sarcoma community. While Voices of Sarcoma welcomes submissions on a wide range of topics, we ask that you adhere to our Editorial Guidelines. Find out more.

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