Sugar Rub! Fund for Feline Mammary Carcinoma Research
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  Tallulah was diagnosed in July 2009 and made her journey to the Rainbow Bridge in August 2010. Rest in Peace Precious Angel Tallulah.  
Fundraising goal $50,000.00
Recent donations (215 donations)
Name DescendingX Amount
Ms. Melanie Lakey $20.00
Ms. Melanie Lakey $80.00
Kymberly S $50.00
Friends of Sugar $3000.00
Ms. Diane MOE $30.00
Stacy Mitchum $25.00
Ms. Melanie Lakey $10.00
Ms. Melanie Lakey $17.00
Ms. Melanie Lakey $8.00
Felt2Rescue $125.00
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Recent donations
Top donors (215 donations)
Friends of Sugar This amount includes donations indented below $6840.00
   Ms. Stephanie Flynn    $700.00
   Ms. Janet Dillavou    $200.00
   Mrs. Patricia Hodge    $25.00
   Ms. Stephanie Flynn    $250.00
   Ms. Ruth Scharbach    $25.00
   Anonymous
Arkansas Best Corp. $5000.00
Ms. Jeanette Cereske $4800.00
Friends of Sugar $3806.00
Friends of Sugar $3100.00
Friends of Sugar $3000.00
Ms. Jeanette Cereske $2000.00
Friends of Sugar This amount includes donations indented below $1695.00
   Ms. Stephanie Flynn    $50.00
Jeanette Cereske $1300.00
Sugar Rub! Feline Mammary Cancer Fund

Loved beyond words, missed beyond measure.
"Cats can get breast cancer?"
Sadly, the answer is yes. Our kitty Sugar was diagnosed with mammary cancer in January 2013 and since then I've learned a lot about this hideous disease. Mammary tumors (breast cancer) are one of the most common types of cancer in cats, and the majority of feline mammary tumors (over 85%) are malignant, meaning that they have the potential to metastasize and ultimately end the cat's life. It is likely to occur in 1 out of 4000 cats and it is the third most common cancer in cats. There is a strong correlation between early spaying and a reduction in the incidence of mammary tumors in cats. Unfortunately many kitties like our Sugar, who we adopted from a shelter where she arrived unspayed at age 6, miss out on that window. Please visit our website. http://sugarrub.org/ to learn more about feliine mammary cancer.
Sugar's Journey
Sugar had a unilateral mastectomy and lumpectomy and recovered well. Initially chemotherapy was not recommended. Just three months later I was giving her a Sugar Rub! (breast exam) and I found a lump in the same spot as the first one. I was devastated. Sugar saw her oncologist the next day and two days later she had surgery to remove it. We did get some good news that it was not in the lymph nodes but it did mean that not all of the cells were taken out the first time. So chemotherapy was recommended and she had five rounds.

We were hopeful that the chemotherapy had killed all of the cancer cells in Sugar's body, but the reality is that there is not enough research to give us solid information on how effective chemotherapy is for feline mammary cancer. You can only hope and pray that your kitty will be one of those who survives. Sadly in May 2014, sixteen months after her initial diagnosis, we discovered that Sugar had cancer in her lungs and chest. We made the painful and heartbreaking decision to let Sugar leave this world and journey to her tenth and forever life. We miss her everyday and continue this mission in her memory.
Sugar Rub! Feline Mammary Cancer Study
When Sugar was diagnosed with feline mammary cancer, I started an organization called Sugar Rub! to raise awareness about mammary cancer in animals and to encourage pet owners to do a Sugar Rub! (breast exam) at least once a month.

We are also committed to funding research on feline mammary cancer because even though this horrible disease is very aggressive in cats, very few studies have been done. We are thrilled and honored to be working with Susan W. Volk, V.M.D., Ph.D., Diplomate ACV of Penn Vet.

Biography:

Dr. Volk earned her B.A. in Biology, her Veterinary Medical Degree, and a Doctorate in Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania. After completion of the Veterinary Medical Scientist Training Program (VMD-PhD), as well as a small animal surgical residency and obtaining board certification from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, she established her own laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. A major goal of her research program is to define the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in regulating cell activities and fate in regenerative and tumor microenvironments. This research is highly relevant to her goal of improving care of surgical patients with degenerative conditions, injuries or cancer that can not be successfully treated with existing surgical and medical therapies.

Currently a tenured, Associate Professor of Small Animal Surgery, she is a member of the Bioengineering Graduate Group at the School and an active member of local, national and international societies in the fields of regenerative medicine and oncology. Her leadership in the fields of wound repair and tissue regeneration is evidenced by election to the Board of Directors of both the Wound Healing Society and the North American Veterinary Regenerative Medical Association. She also serves as a member of the PennVet Cancer Center steering committee. Dr. Volk maintains an active clinical practice and teaches veterinary, graduate students and residents. With a strong clinical interest in improving tissue repair and regeneration and developing superior prognostic biomarkers and novel therapies in small animal patients with mammary tumors, her work is poised to change the trajectory of clinical care in veterinary medicine (and by extension to human medicine in a One Health approach).
Sugar Rub! Feline Mammary Cancer Research Study
Study Description:

It has been estimated that one in 4,000 cats develop mammary gland tumors (MGT). Although this number at first glance seems relatively low, mammary tumors are the third most common tumor and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in female cats due to its aggressive behavior.

Two major obstacles limit our care of cats with mammary cancer:
1) the need for improved biomarkers that accurately predict risk of local recurrence and/or metastasis in order to reduce overtreatment of patients bearing malignant tumors with low metastatic potential.
2) ineffective therapies for individuals at risk for recurrence.

While genetic alterations within tumor cells can promote their uncontrolled growth and ability to spread beyond the primary tumor to distant sites, recent work indicates that normal, non-malignant cells and ECM within the surrounding tumor stroma also regulates the growth and spread of cancer. Notably, the family of ECM proteins known as collagens are well recognized to play a key role in breast cancer.

Although increased collagen density (which contributes to mammographic density in women) is known to be a risk factor for breast cancer and promote its progression, more recent studies suggest that certain collagen types or physical features such as its organization may also limit or suppress aggressive cancer behaviors. Therefore, certain tumor-restrictive or tumor-permissive cancer-associated stromal (collagen) signatures in feline MGT biopsy samples may predict clinical outcome better than commonly used markers that guide clinical recommendations. These predictive markers would improve the Veterinary Oncologist's ability to accurately determine which cats truly need aggressive treatment from those that do not .They would also, critically, provide additional targets that could suppress formation of or reverse tumor-permissive collagen to improve outcomes for cats with MGT. This research builds upon Dr. Volk's interest in how the tumor microenvironment regulates cancer behavior across species (human, mouse, dog and cat) and her specific interest in improving outcomes of feline surgical patients.
    Donation messages
    For our dear friend Sugar from Angel Charming and his family. --Ms. Melanie Lakey
    Love you always, Sugar. - Charming and family. --Ms. Melanie Lakey
    Thank you, Jeanette, for all of your great work. You are appreciated! --Kymberly S
    In loving memory of Sugar and all who have fought feline mammary cancer. We BeliEVE in a cure! --Friends of Sugar
    In memory of Marzipan --Stacy Mitchum
    For Angel Sugar and her family, from Angel Charming and his family. --Ms. Melanie Lakey
    Lots of love to Sugar from all the Lakeys, human and feline. --Ms. Melanie Lakey
    Eternal love to Sugar and her family, from Angel Charming and his family. --Ms. Melanie Lakey
    In memory of Little Missy --Felt2Rescue
    Eternal love for Sugar from Melanie, Angel Charming and all the kitties in my bunch. --Ms. Melanie Lakey
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