Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

MaryEllen’s Journey: Searching For Genetic Clues (Episode 4)

November 24, 2010

From the moment MaryEllen Sheppard was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, she wondered how she developed cancer.

Her ancestors, she said, tended to live long, healthy lives.

And other than a cousin, she wasn’t aware of anyone else in her family who had breast cancer.

As her battle against the disease began, MaryEllen’s thoughts also turned to her sisters, nieces, daughter and granddaughter who was on the way. Could they be at risk too?

In late March, MaryEllen and her sister Eileen met with Mayo Clinic’s genetic counselor Katherine Hunt to find out if genetics could have played a role in her diagnosis and get a better idea of how at risk her female relatives are.

The following video shows excerpts from MaryEllen’s actual counseling session with Katherine Hunt.

And watch the bonus footage of MaryEllen sharing her thoughts on her genetic counseling session and the procedure she needed to insert a port for her remaining chemotherapy sessions.

Missed an episode?

Please click on the following  to see MaryEllen’s journey from the beginning:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Dr Northfelt on Mayo Clinic’s Cancer Center team

MaryEllen on why she enrolled in a clinical trial

As always, please feel free to post a comment about the series or a message to MaryEllen after each episode.

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Mayo Clinic Cancer Center team in Arizona completes whole human genome sequence on patient with blood cancer

November 25, 2009

The concept of personalized medical treatment based on a patient’s DNA is one small step closer to becoming a reality.

A Mayo Clinic Cancer Center team in Arizona recently completed its first whole human genome sequencing on a patient suffering from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.

In a matter of weeks, the Mayo Clinic team, led by hematologist Dr. Keith Stewart and Dr. Jan Egan, a post doctoral fellow, in conjunction with Dr. John Carpten and a team of researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in downtown Phoenix, completed multiple copies of a whole human genome sequence, capturing an entire snapshot of the patient’s bone marrow cancer cells through various stages of the disease.

“We were interested in establishing the reasons why cancer patients become resistant to chemotherapy drugs or alternatively, why they are sensitive to the drugs in the first place,” said Dr. Stewart, of the groundbreaking research project which sequenced approximately 60 billion different DNA bases in less than a month after the patient’s samples had been prepared. 

This genetic research project was a first for the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and a key milestone on the way to individualized genome based cancer care.

While the practice of genomic sequencing has been around for nearly a decade, Dr. Stewart said this Mayo Clinic-led project was particularly unique in that genetic samples were gathered at four different time intervals over the course of about four years, ranging from the onset of the malignant cancer diagnosis to the patient’s third relapse of the disease.

“We think by studying the whole genome rather than one gene at a time, we’ll be able to pinpoint genetic mutations which make this cancer resistant to chemotherapy,” said Dr. Stewart, explaining this whole genome sequence has the potential to reveal clues which may help pave the way for the development of new cancer fighting drugs or circumvent resistance to current chemotherapy drugs.

Want to learn more? In the video below Dr. Stewart speaks about this groundbreaking project. 

This post was submitted by communications consultant

Julie Janovsky-Mason at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

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TV Story on Mayo Clinic Social Media

October 29, 2009

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Regular readers of Sharing Mayo Clinic — or Facebook “fans” or Twitter followers or YouTube subscriberswon’t be surprised at what KAAL-TV reported yesterday about Mayo’s involvement in social media:

Social Networking is usually a no-no at work and more young people use it as a means of communicating in our ever evolving high tech world. But you might be surprised to know that Mayo Clinic is using all forms of social media to its benefit, as well as the benefit of its patients…

More than 25 percent of Mayo Clinic patients come from more than 500 miles away. As a result, Mayo has turned to social media as a way to communicate with those patients.

You can see the full story here. For more details on Mayo Clinic’s social media platforms and how you can get involved, see 10 Ways You Can Use Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Tools.

Arizona Mom Recounts Battling Breast Cancer While Pregnant

October 19, 2009

Joan Dymand-Hintz was in her early 40’s when she became pregnant with her daughter. The happiness she and her husband Marc Hintz felt was short-lived. A week after learning she was pregnant, Joan, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based singer and mother of two sons, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Joan came to Mayo Clinic for a second opinion in hopes she would not have to terminate her pregnancy in order to treat the cancer.

Joan said her Mayo doctors, who included Dr. Donald Northfelt and Dr. Barbara Pockaj, gave her and her family hope. While pregnant, she had a mastectomy on her left breast and began chemotherapy. The Mayo Clinic team worked closely with Joan’s obstetrician from Scottsdale Healthcare.  Joan’s pregnancy was induced a month early so she could resume additional chemotherapy treatment.

The couple’s daughter , Elle Marie Faith, is now 17-months old and a happy and healthy child.

Joan still comes to the breast clinic at Mayo Clinic in Arizona for follow-up care and just started taking part in a clinical trial for a breast cancer vaccine.

Please click below to see Joan share her Mayo Clinic in Arizona experience.

This story was submitted by Julie Janovsky, Public Affairs communications consultant at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

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Social Media Saturday: All the Top Mayo Clinic News

June 27, 2009 is a Web site that enables its users to browse news headlines and lead paragraphs of stories on topics (or from news sources) that interest them. So, for instance, you can go to the Alltop page on topics ranging from Accounting to Zoology, or on health topics such as Acne, Nutrition, Prostate Cancer or Women’s Health. And there are aggregated pages for all the Web feeds from CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and the New York Times, as well as the Washington Post, CBS News, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.

This week, Alltop created a page for all the top Mayo Clinic news, which incorporates news feeds from Sharing Mayo Clinic and various other Mayo blogs, including the News Blog, Advancing the Science, and several from, including for example its Pregnancy blog. Mayo Clinic is the first medical center to have its own page on Alltop.

Here’s a screen shot of what the interface looks like (click to enlarge):


But the simplest way to see how it works is to try for yourself.

You might want to bookmark or “favorite” this page as a convenient way to scan Mayo Clinic news in one easy place. It’s also listed among the links in the right column of this blog.

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10 Ways You Can Use Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Tools

April 16, 2009


Mayo  Clinic’s use of social media was highlighted this morning in a story on ABC’s Good Morning America (see the story). The story’s focus was on medical organizations using Twitter, but that’s just one of several social media tools Mayo Clinic is using to share in-depth medical information and to gather communities of Mayo Clinic employees, patients and their families. You can review posts in the social media category here on Sharing Mayo Clinic for some more detail on some of the platforms, but here’s a quick list of ways you can take advantage of these tools.

Mayo Clinic Twitter

March 28, 2009

Lee Aase (@LeeAase) is Mayo Clinic’s manager for syndication and social media.


In previous “Social Media Saturday” posts I’ve introduced Mayo Clinic’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Those are Mayo Clinic’s longer-established social networking platforms, and like the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog they have significant potential for sharing information, enabling patients and staff to make connections and bringing the worldwide Mayo Clinic community together.

Twitter is another popular and rapidly growing social site for making connections and spreading information rapidly. You’ve probably seen a lot about it in the news recently. YouTube now features Twitter among its ways to share videos with friends. Yesterday’s New York Times had an article about celebrities “tweeting” (the verb for Twitter activity), and ABC News has a similar story.

Mayo Clinic’s Twitter account has been active for about a year, established well before all the recent hype. Until now it has mainly provided a way for Twitter users to get updates on the latest Mayo Clinic news. But the rapid growth of Twitter’s user base now makes it potentially much more useful for connecting the Mayo Clinic community.