Saturday, November 27, 2021


Disclaimer: This article/website does not provide medical advice. The information, including, but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blogsite are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Furthermore, any/all contributors mentioned in this article are presenting only ANECDOTAL findings of the effects of the products/technologies they are featuring- and are not offering clinical data or medical recommendations in any way. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read on this page, article, blog or website.

 By Dr. Robert L. Bard /Lennard Gettz   

The NON-INVASIVE MOVEMENT IN MEDICINE was largely shaped by the clever use light, laser, near-infrared, sonic, magnetism and other electronic emissions to collect vital information on a patient's specific state of health without any cutting or physical intervention.  This article reviews today's impressive use of high-speed, quantifiable and accurate data-gathering in our medical technologies.

In a (now) standardized sleep study, patients diagnosed with Sleep Apnea will actually stop breathing 20-30 times per hour- bringing potentially significant health risks like stroke, organ failure and heart disorders like atrial fibrillation.  An astounding 18M+ Americans suffer this disorder that health providers are incentivized to call a "must fix".  

The clinical society addresses this with a sleep study protocol called POLYSOMNOGRAPHY, collecting data on the patient's varying brain waves, breathing patterns, blood/oxygen levels, heart rate and breathing and eye, leg and body movements.

But as with many personal consumer health devices, polysomnography inspired the rise of wearable wrist monitors for physical fitness and activity tracking (ie. Smartwatch™, Apple Watch™, Fitbit™ etc).  These bio-sensory devices tend to carry a wide variety of popular interactive features from a pedometer to mindfulness tracking as well as vital health metrics including heart rate variability (BPM), blood pressure, Oxygen Saturation (SpO2), breathing rate.  Most carry a Sleep Tracker feature, comprised of intelligent collaboration of this data to help the user recognize potential sleep problems or therapy progress[1].  Though not marketed to replace clinical POLYSOMNOGRAPHY, the medical-grade ECG (Electrocardiography) or medical checkups anytime soon[1c],  they do provide the consumer with preliminary in-home lifestyle support on a supplemental level. 

The bio-scanning technology comes from photodiodes  or PHOTOPLETHYSMOGRAPHY to measure blood flow.  These wrist monitors often have red or green sensor lights that scan volume changes in the capillaries above your wrist.  [1b] This Optical Scanning Technology is similar to semiconductor diodes except that they may be either exposed (to detect vacuum UV or X-rays) or packaged with a window or optical fiber connection to allow light to reach the sensitive part of the device.  [1a] 

The concept of health tracking via OST light diodes for data-gathering in medical and consumer health products shows evidence of continued utility trends and growing research.


A popular and remarkable example of light emitting diagnostics is THE PULSE OXIMETER – which measures oxygen saturation in peripheral arterial blood by illuminating the skin and measuring the light absorption of oxygenated (oxyhemoglobin) and deoxygenated (reduced hemoglobin) blood using infrared light [2]. The Pulse Oximeter is an electronic device that clips onto a patient’s finger to measure heart rate and oxygen saturation in his or her red blood cells—the device is useful in assessing patients with lung disease.  In the first months of the pandemic surge, waves of empty shelves included the widespread purchase of the Oximeter as part of standard home-scanning equipment. This reflects a significant part of "the Covid Culture"- comprising the demand for personal safety measures (beyond the holy trinity of masking, distancing and hand hygiene). The public confidence in this affordable device reflected on its commercial access and data scanning accuracy. In addition, more and more drug store shelves continue to stock up on self-check devices including the hand-held infrared Thermometers, Blood Pressure Cuffs and Spirometers.[3]

The basic premise of scanning temperature readings with infrared is widely useful in various applications including medical diagnostics. INFRARED thermography (IRT), thermal video and thermal imaging captures an impression of any object using infrared radiation emitted by the device to detect radiation in the long-infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum (roughly 9,000–14,000 nanometers or 9–14 μm) and produce images of that radiation, called thermograms. The theory is that ALL all objects with a temperature above 0 degrees emits radiation, making thermography a means of measuring just how much radiation is on any specific surface. As radiation increases with temperature, thermography represents temperature variations through image intensity. [4]. 

On the medical front, clinicians recognize the utility of thermography- in identifying dermal disorders and possible tumors (Fig 3B) including this Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), a common form of breast cancer.  

Though the FDA does not officially confirm the use of this protocol to replace or supplement the mammogram as a screening tool for any medical condition including the early detection of breast cancer, [4a], a widening trend in utility within the medical community appears to find more confidence and benefits in the use of Infrared thermography (IRT). It is found to be a safe, non-invasive alternative to devices such as clinical thermometers, skin physiology via skin temperature.   On a 2012 study, IRT has been "successfully used in diagnosis of breast cancer, diabetes neuropathy and peripheral vascular disorders... (and) used to detect problems associated with gynecology, kidney transplantation, dermatology, heart, neonatal physiology, fever screening and brain imaging." [4b]

The concept of ultrasound scanning provides the ability to view and study the condition of many vital organs without radiation and without any surgical intervention- instead relying on calibrated sound waves similar to sonar navigation of a submarine.  Medical ultrasound devices are known to be one of the safest ways to analyze and diagnose patients. At a frame rate of 10 to 30 images per second, the ultrasound allows us to find any disorder interactively with a hand held probe, while showing an organ's real time activity quantitatively. Today's ultrasound comes with innovative features to offer more quantifiable data gathering- including DOPPLER BLOOD FLOW (to generate imaging of the movement of tissues and body fluids, and their relative velocity to the probe) and 3D/4D Functions (referring to the volume rendering of ultrasound data collected over time)

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an imaging technique that uses low-coherence light to capture micrometer-resolution, two- and three-dimensional images from within optical scattering media (e.g., biological tissue). It is used for medical imaging and industrial nondestructive testing (NDT). Optical coherence tomography is based on low-coherence interferometry, typically employing near-infrared light. The use of relatively long wavelength light allows it to penetrate into the scattering medium. Confocal microscopy, another optical technique, typically penetrates less deeply into the sample but with higher resolution. [5]

Since the advent of ultrasound, the trend in medical device technology is noninvasive data gathering that can peer into the body without cutting or causing any aftereffects. And yet, the brain functionality is still almost totally opaque to modern medicine, the only human organ for which we have inadequate tools and diagnostic tests. In addition, existing tools such as fMRI and PET imaging have historically been unable to test brain functionality during a standard daily routine, with real rather than simulated sensory stimulation and activity. 

Our editors are reviewing a brain-scanning innovation by Neurosteer Inc. Their non-invasive device is designed to monitor comprehensive brain health with EEG (Electroencephalography) technology that uses a wearable, medical-grade brain activity monitor for a wide range of medical, wellness and lifestyle applications. The adhesive forehead strip contains 3 electrode sensors that scan brain activity and is connected to a pocket-sized sensor that wirelessly transmits data to the cloud for signal processing, which supports screening, continuous patient monitoring, optimized neurostimulation and drug selection. This unique device is currently undergoing research trials to be confirmed for a set of applications including early detection of cognitive decline, quantifying the effect of tDCS (Transcranial direct-current stimulation) on different patients, quantifying and assessing surgeon performance.

1) AASM -American Academy of Sleep Medicine  / "Rising prevalence of sleep apnea in U.S. threatens public health"
1c) "Guidelines for wrist-worn consumer wearable assessment of heart rate in biobehavioral research" - 
2) Validation of the Withings ScanWatch as a Wrist-Worn Reflective Pulse Oximeter: Prospective Interventional Clinical Study
4b) Source: Pubmed: Medical applications of infrared thermography: A review-
5) Optical coherence tomography (OCT)

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Editorial: "UNDERDIAGNOSED WOMEN" (part 1)

By: Graciella Davi & the NYCRA-NEWS Editorial team

Historically, there is substantial evidence of gross disregard and dismissive response on the part of the medical establishment in the way women have been diagnosed. Critics have speculated a vast array of reasons for this ‐ from professional carelessness and laziness to blatant sexism (and other forms of discrimination) to a lack of updated education in current research. But whatever the reasons may be, the lack of performance and attention in the hands of the medical diagnostician have resulted in tremendous danger to the patient. The most extreme cases of this underdiagnosing led to major health disorders and even death due to false negatives and missed conclusions from physicians and radiologists.

Our report starts with the legendary story of the late comedienne, Gilda Radner who died of ovarian cancer remission. In 1985, at a time when little information was available about this cancer, Ms. Radner started reporting pain in the upper legs and severe fatigue to her physicians'‐ whose diagnoses did not offer any satisfactory answers. Her recurrent issues worsened and she pursued other doctors for answers, some were said to have deemed her issues as 'mentally manifested'. By late 1986, her case had become so evident ‐ in the form of a grapefruit‐sized tumor from her abdomen, that she immediately underwent surgery and had a hysterectomy. 

The medical community unanimously states the success of any cancer treatment is about TIME. "The earlier you catch it, the better your chances are of beating it". The size of her tumor was a sign of significant medical neglect to her issue, that by the time of her hysterectomy, her cancer was already at stage IV. [1]

Gilda Radner's story carries many survivorship lessons, including the need to stay proactive about (your) cancer.  Her journey also shows the importance of getting a second opinion, research for all diagnostic care options and staying vigilant about your continued health through early detection. But her story remains a landmark to all awareness crusaders who identify and expose this unfortunate trend that continues to plague women in health crisis to this day. 

From a 2018 documentary called “Love, Gilda” (by Lisa D'Apolito), executive producer Meryl Goldsmith delivered a powerful and exclusive portrayal of the groundbreaking comic’s impact in our society as an entertainer and as one of the most powerful figures in cancer patient advocacy and survivorship. Ms. Goldsmith’s dedicated research on the life of Gilda Radner deeply explored her personal struggles including those pertaining to her health‐ leading to her untimely demise. "It's devastating to Gilda's family, friends, and fans, that she was not truly listened to when she complained of pains to doctors. Although she did end up with doctors who did the best they could to treat her, unfortunately she was delayed from getting the dire treatment she needed. Treatment was not as advanced as it is today, but early diagnosis was and remains crucial. We will never know if she would be alive today if doctors would have listened and looked carefully so they could have diagnosed it sooner."

 Gilda Radner's life story touched the world of entertainment but her desperate journey to seek medical help was cemented in the very core of patient advocacy to this day. "She couldn't get out of bed for days, and had pelvic cramping, so no doctor should have said "everything is fine" or that it was "psychological" because it obviously wasn't. We can only hope that lessons are learned so others are diagnosed and treated quickly, and don't suffer the same fate. Gilda's legacy as a loveable comedian and national treasure lives on, along with all of the Gilda's Clubs around North America that provide support for those with cancer and their families. We also hope the message for doctors, both male and female, to listen to medical complaints carefully, especially from women, whose issues seem to be disregarded more often, is passed on through generations as well."

The world lost Gilda Radner in May 20, 1989, but many life‐saving lessons continue to resonate throughout the medical and patient communities from her story. She is an inspiration to advocates who push for a personalized treatment strategy.  Ms. Goldsmith’s research and her film’s depiction of Gilda Radner’s treatment course stands as a major reference for any patient who may undergo similar struggles in getting proper treatment or accurate diagnoses.

Over a decade after Gilda’s passing, Dr. Nancy Cappello (a startlingly similar case of professional inefficiency and neglect) was diagnosed with stage 3C breast cancer in 2004 from a mis‐read mammogram, concealed behind dense breast tissue. A false negative mammography scan unidentified a large 2.5 cm suspicious lesion, which was later found via ultrasound readings was confirmed to be stage 3c breast cancer. This same cancer had metastasized to 13 lymph nodes. This sparked Dr. Cappello to create the "Are You Dense?" Foundation‐ an international awareness crusade to better support dense breast diagnostics and initiatives pass legislation to enact laws requiring mammography centers to inform patients about their breast density and the associated cancer risks.

Dr. Cappello passed away on Nov 15, 2018, from secondary myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a bone marrow cancer that was a complication of her prior aggressive breast cancer treatments. But she ignited a legacy of fighting for improved policies, advancing imaging technologies and continued research to better address this health crisis that puts the est. 40% of the female population (women with dense breasts) at risk of a false negative readings or other dense‐breast related cancers.

An excerpt from Nancy’s Story: “ I call it the best‐kept secret ‐ but it WAS known in the medical community. I have dense breast tissue – and women like me (2/3 of pre‐menopausal and 1/4 of post-menopausal) have less than a 48% chance of having breast cancer detected by a mammogram. In November 2003 I had my yearly mammogram and my "Happy Gram" report that I received stated that my mammogram was "NORMAL" and that there were "no significant findings." Six weeks later at my annual exam in January, my doctor felt a ridge in my right breast and sent me for another mammogram and an ultrasound… "Why didn't the mammogram find my cancer?" It was the first time that I was informed that I have dense breast tissue and its impact on missed, delayed and advanced stage cancer. What is dense tissue, I asked? Dense tissue appears white on a mammogram and cancer appears white – thus there is no contrast to detect the cancer (It is like looking for a polar bear in a snowstorm). I asked my physicians (now I had a TEAM of them) why wasn't I informed that I have dense breast tissue and that mammograms are limited in detecting cancer in women with dense breast tissue? The response was "it is not the standard protocol."

The disorder or the cause may vary, but sad endings to stories like these remain common in our patient community.  We stand at a major point in history when medicine offers the highest advancements in technological innovations and treatment options- if not for HUMAN ERROR, or the mis-management of those entrusted to give professional care.   So perhaps the most important lesson from Gilda Radner and Nancy Cappello 's story is to stay vigilant and "follow your gut". If something continues to feel wrong, trust your feelings.  Never forget; doctors work for YOU. Never be railroaded to doubting your own feelings. There are MANY answers to cancer and they are all just a mouse click away.

By: Dr. Robert L. Bard

Nancy Cappello's "False Negative" led her late stage (type 3C) cancer, where the mammogram was not able to detect the cancer that was being concealed by her dense breast tissue.  The lesson here is to upgrade the standard screening technology and expand to include supplemental scanning (such as the use of an ultrasound scan).

A "FALSE POSITIVE", on the other hand brings a different kind of crisis.  It is the statistical classification in medicine referring to even less appealing terms like a MISREAD, an INACCURATE OVERSIGHT or a WRONG CONCLUSION. It is essentially a flaw in the patient diagnostic report that could cascade into the clinical team pursuing an inaccurately founded plan or the wrong path of care. My first commitment as a medical professional was in the US Air Force (1971) where I first witnessed the critical and sometimes even fatal results of 'false positive' reports and readings. Unnecessary surgical procedures were conducted and improper medications were dispensed- due to a possible misread of a scan or an inaccurate blood test.  It was then that I realized the many potential types of disasters that could come from what could appear as a simple oversight- and what should be done to avoid them. 

2021- the modern era of medical diagnostic advancements, and False Positives continue to happen much in the same way, due to the many 'flavors' of human error.  But upon review of the "damage reports" from recent medical cases as a medical witness in a major malpractice case, it was concluded that NEGLIGENCE came from significant dependence and over-reliance on technologies to play a role in the clinicians' lack of discernment and focus.

Misdiagnoses offer their own set of problems as does the actual growth (cyst or tumor) that we are scanning for.   Either HUMAN or TECHNICAL errors could lead to the wrong conclusion and distracts from the real pathology. Raising alarms of mis-reads have been known to put patients (and physicians) at great risk of unnecessary surgeries, costly testing and unwarranted treatments.  What’s more, a false positive drives significant attention to the wrong area, where true issues and disorders are left unattended or found late when more damage occurs.

Suppose you misplaced your glasses and you can’t find them because the room is getting dark at sunset. You proceed to look for the glasses on all surfaces but if that doesn't work, you instinctively go deeper in your search (on shelves, coat pockets etc).  Expert diagnostics involves thinking “outside the box”  and the ability to "go deeper"- searching for what else is there or what item is missing.  

Decades ago (as a junior radiologist) I was reviewing a spine xray and didn’t know what the abnormality was but I knew that somehow, it was not normal.  So my gut told me to explore further. I took it to the neuro-radiologist at the Kansas City Medical Center near the McConnell Air Force Base who pointed out a bone curvature that was caused by a benign slow growing lumbar tumor that would eventually collapsed the spine and caused paralysis.  

Unchaining the diagnostic thought process from standard textbook teachings opens up the possibility of deeper study. As a medical student in New York I was reviewing x-rays when my mentor, Dr Jack Rabinowitz, (head radiologist at Mt Sinai Medical Center) walked by and said, in passing, “nice example of pediatric metastatic neuroblastoma”. Amazingly, he immediately spotted the tumor purely from experience- what I did not recognize from my unseasoned eye.  He explained how a baseball sized calcified mass on the kidney happens and slow growing cancers behave differently from aggressive, lethal tumors. As a large mass degenerates, it outgrows the blood supply and the dying tissue will calcify in the wall forming a shell of calcium on the x-ray. An untrained eye without this understanding would probably misinterpret these findings and offer a different report.  The big take-away here is that professionals ranging in experience can sometimes get snagged by ASSUMPTIONS, but to continue exploring greater depths is what makes for a true cancer detective.


Cancer nutritionist and patient advocate Debbie Falborn, RN calls it "downright arrogant" of the many doctors who "brush off your feelings and your concerns... if you ask too many questions, you're a hypochondriac ‐ and if you complain too much about things they have no answers for, it's 'all in your head'. People die from this recipe of negligence!" 

Among the many disorders that women have reportedly undergone struggles with getting help, Nurse Falborn also reviewed another (mostly) women related disorder; the confirmation of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). "You have to persist… the patient's path to being taken seriously has been a long one‐ especially with symptoms that are tough to pinpoint and at a time when tests are limited." A 2019 Harvard Health article addressed the evolution in the medical community to be supported by over 9,000 scientific studies in 35 years to confirm this unusual health condition. It's official name is "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis" (ME/CFS) as has achieved data of over 2.5 million people affected in the United States. Its causes range from viral infections, immune system issues to physical/emotional trauma and causes a span of symptoms from extreme exhaustion to recurring headaches to enlarged lymph nodes in the neck & armpits. 

It is apparent that science, technology and the medical community's desire to advance is truly upon us. Where current diagnostic resources are light years beyond where we were in the 80's and 90's, we are now able to find so many more answers to unique disorders once thought unfathomable.  To instill better "detective work" on questionable unknowns (as part of medical due diligence) remains the clinical code of conduct of every physician and imaging specialist.  Because of this, one can only hope to reduce or eliminate the level of negligence, false readings and (even) malpractice cases from underdiagnosed patients.



The publishers of & would like to give our heartfelt special thanks to Ms. Meryl Goldsmith, Executive Producer and Lisa D'Apolito Director of the documentary film "LOVE, GILDA", Joe Cappello (Co-founder of "Are You Dense?" Foundation), Dr. Robert L. Bard ( and Debbie Falborn, RN (holistic cancer care advisor) for their valuable contributions, their insight and precious resources that have all led to the completion of this feature.   Additional recognition goes to the technical advisement and unending "I'm just a phone call away" loving support of Julia Chiappetta and Jessica Connell-Glynn of the NY Cancer Resource Alliance and Dr. Noelle Cutter (Biology professor/Molloy College) for the countless collaborative hours of research, reference checking and shaping the voice of advocacy. 

Our Friends & Supporters:

1) Gilda Radner/Illness:

2) Nancy's Story:

4) Chronic fatigue syndrome: Gradually figuring out what’s wrong:‐syndrome‐gradually‐figuring‐out‐whats‐wrong‐2019111418224

5)  Video: Love Gilda- by Lisa D'Apolito (Magnolia Pictures/CNN Films):

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Sunday, April 4, 2021


Moments after the zoom meeting ended, Dr. Noelle Cutter, the moderator and host of the 2nd May 13th Cancer PowerMeet event described the collection of cancer support advocates as "the most impressive set of passionate caregivers... inspiring leadership and unity in the community to CONVERT AWARENESS INTO ACTION!"  In the post-event team meeting, "Cousin Sal" Banchitta, (retired FDNY firefighter turned cancer prevention ambassador for NYCRA) echoed Dr. Cutter's statement with "it's about the Power of Love and the Power to Care... it truly takes a lot of self-generating energy from within to step up to the plate and help others, especially when it comes to cancer."

This 2-part series focused on Occupational Cancers in the Fire Service. Special guests were selected around medical supporters, educators & advocates to introduce their specific disciplines in support of the first responders.  The framers of the event included legendary cancer awareness speaker Dan Noonan from the 1975 NY Tel Exchange Disaster and internationally published cancer diagnostic expert Dr. Robert Bard.  According to Mr. Noonan, seeking out the most outspoken and the most respected members of FF cancer awareness helped shape the success of the event's message of "GET CHECKED NOW!"

Unlike the original March event, part 2 expanded its reach to recruit national partners in the fire service. JIM BURNEKA JR. (Dayton, OH), DENA PLUMMER (Canton, TX), GEG OLIVA (Culver City, CA), LT. CHRIS CONNER (Bedford/Fort Worth, TX) and CHIEF BOBBY HALTON (Tulsa, OK) added new zip codes to the NY Family- making up the national society called the I.C.R.A. - Integrative Cancer Resource Alliance.  Greg Oliva of the Movember Foundation was chosen to represent the community of international cancer orgs. "Movember started out in Australia and we now have over 20 countries and fund over 1200 innovative health projects- supporting firefighters' cancer is certainly a major interest of ours, and the honor of being in this zoom room and meeting so many great DOERS is so inspiring... and validating about my own work with the foundation!"

Another objective of this program was to introduce and welcome Lt. Christopher Conner, CEO of The F.A.C.E.S. Foundation (Firefighters Against Cancer and Exposures).  He originally established this org. as a charitable foundation, but by mid-2021, FACES united with NYCRA to form an expanded resource support group.  With the added strength of over 210 national cancer orgs & hundreds of health resources + first responder groups, F.A.C.E.S. 2.0 morphed into a collective of new ideas and abilities to bring bring public support and aid to our heroes. "Firefighters and their families dedicate their lives and lifestyles to save others; it is our turn to help them. Our challenge coin has an inscription- "Heroum Animas Salvas". it means "Save the Lives of Heroes". That's our mission right there!"

In a separate interview with ICRA Events associate producer, Cheri Ambrose (founder of the Male Breast Cancer Coalition), uniting leaders under a common cause has its challenges, especially in the cancer awareness community.  Not everyone is on the same page, but when you find synergy and common ground, THAT'S A FAMILY! 

Dena Plummer of FLAME KEEPERS brought a unique and special voice to the mix, translating into a powerful resource for firefighters. "I started it because my husband's (medical) case was the first in the city of Dallas and the second in the state of Texas to file against Workers' Comp using our state presumptive law.  I found myself in uncharted territory.  Most of the needed information either wasn't available or could only be found in bits and pieces.  I saw a need for an organization to gather and provide all possible information to the firefighter and/or his family in the areas of Workers' Comp., state and national benefits and also government and private organizations.  Members of our organization prepare the firefighter and their family for what to expect each step of the way, and have contact information for others who can also help along the way."

By: Dr. Robert Bard
After my military tour in Vietnam as a radiologist (1972), I realized that there are many ways to treat disease not understood by conventional American medicine. I traveled to Denmark in 1974 to learn from where they pioneered conducting pancreatic tumor needle biopsies to avoid surgeries on benign tumors. This procedure was later adopted in the United States around 2019. Radiologists perform this using sonograms in real time directly to the patient in France because Europeans are trained to perform the sonogram without a technician because the scan is part of the physical examination 
. I learned to do non-invasive prostate imaging and advanced tumor blood flow tracking that shows tumor aggression from Italy. From Germany, I was taught to do 3D imaging, which reduces the scan time to seconds instead of minutes and sometimes hours. 

My message here is that there is no one answer to cancer, and that scientific leadership is from many sources across the globe.  The scientific community needs to continue working together by sharing information and conducting joint research programs.  I'm glad to find some of the top technical innovations, international patents and treatment protocols are usually authored and designed by a team of developers from multiple continents. I am equally proud to bring together all these concepts (from abroad) into the hands of people in our country.  That's my commitment to my patients-  including our first responders.

In the style of a roundtable discussion, the moderator kickstarted the discussion ret. FF Chief Bobby Halton - a favorite in the national responders community and industrial publishing.  Chief Halton captivated the group with profound statements about the significant need for dedicated diagnostics for all fire personnel in response to the highly lethal nature of modern fires from complex carcinogenic materials. 

"Talking about occupational health issues, I think we need to talk about industrial hygiene because in the fire service, it is non-existent. Every other profession has industrial hygienists who can help identify patterns, trends, hazards, but the fire service doesn't have that as an industry yet. There's a great book by Dr. Deborah Wallace (an industrial hygienist in NYC) called 'In the Mouth of the Dragon: Why Today's Fires are More Dangerous'. She  looked at over 18 fires, including the ATT fire and looked at how the people died and aligned this all with the toxicity of these fires."

"To dovetail on what Dr. Bart just said about European technologies, hydroxocobalamin has been used as an antidote to smoking election in Europe since the nineties.  It's still not approved in the United States. Although we do have cyanide kits, they are still under a provisional from our FDA- so our bureaucracy has been a problem when it comes to understanding toxicity in fires and bringing that awareness. And plus I think we were hampered early by the Lemasters study that albeit with the best of intentions created a tremendous moral hazard and making statements that were wildly inaccurate." 


Andrea Booher / FEMA
Mar 31, 2021- The Integrative Cancer Resource Alliance launches the first virtual town-hall style video meeting called The 2021 Cancer PowerMeet series.  This interactive event is part of a set of panel-driven meetings covering the topics of OCCUPATIONAL TOXIC EXPOSURES and SURVIVORSHIP AFTER THE JOB -  with a list of prominent guests from the Medical and First Responders' communities.  Headliners for this event include nationally recognized spokesman for fire safety and fire rescue veteran from the 1975 NY Tel Fire & 9/11 DAN NOONAN.  Alongside Mr. Noonan is 35+ year cancer medical imaging professor DR. ROBERT BARD (NYC) + associate director of the First Responders Cancer Resource Group and active duty responder in 9/11 Sal Banchitta.  Together, they all share their powerful experiences about notable disasters in history, answering targeted questions from a panel of top members in the cancer care community steering public awareness and education about prevention and early detection as part of I.C.R.A.'s "Get Checked Now!" program.

To experience the first Cancer PowerMeet, see the excerpt clip link

"Nine Squares of Care" Starts with a Button
Focus Groups: First Responders, Cancer Research Professionals & Cancer Community Leaders
Speakers: Dan Noonan (Ret. FDNY), Sal Banchitta (Ret. FDNY) and Dr. Robert L. Bard

The Integrative Cancer Resource Alliance is proud to launch its 2021 'PowerMeet' series on OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH RISKS starting with its first focus group- The Emergency Responders in the Fire Service. Architected by executive director Lennard Gettz and The I.C.R.A. Educational team, the event recruited "a perfect fusion of guests from various cancer-specific interest areas to provoke a strong Q/A exchange about job-related cancers".  This event offered a highly charged educational exchange with direct insights, viewpoints and experiences from retired firefighters and members of the medical community + questions from other professionals from both sides.

Selected headliners are chosen for their professional experiences and their profound presence as educators.  The lineup includes Dan Noonan (Ret. FDNY), "Cousin" Sal Banchitta (Ret. FDNY) and Dr. Robert Bard, cancer diagnostic imaging specialist - recognized in the community as the "cancer detective".  Together, they cover the patient-doctor dynamics of the cancer care dynamics.

"The One-Voice mission of The I.C.R.A. is to present like-minded educators, advocates and resources to form a harmonized chorus... with messages of educated prevention, early detection and proactive lifestyle", states Cheri Ambrose, moderator and president of the Male Breast Cancer Coalition. "There are so many answers to cancer, and hearing them from those who are affected in these unique ways (either as medical experts, patient advocates, family members or as the cancer patients themselves) makes for a powerful messenger of what can and should be done to keep everyone safe!"

Known internally as “the button”, NYCRA received a modest gift of $255 from a firefighter’s widow and was used to produce the “Get Checked Now!” button for the group’s first meeting with the FDNY/RMA (Retired Members Assoc.) in 2018.   It remains the signature call for the team’s many ‘road trips’, videos, articles and fire service presentations.  The motto continues to resonate in the 2021 PowerMeet as Dan Noonan proudly holds up his button to the Zoom camera to start off his introduction.

Each of the speakers came to this event with "guns a-blazing".  Dr. Bard shared a 7-slide presentation illustrating the common cancer scans from actual firefighters to best describe the science of diagnostics. In addition, he shared his own personal experiences with agent orange exposure from the Viet-Nam era as a military officer as the impetus to his public outreach to all cases of toxic exposures in service personnel.

"Bringing in a scientific powerhouse like Dr. Bard is a one man army of endless knowledge about understanding cancer", stated Sal Banchitta. "His part of the presentation was called 'Straight Talk from the Doc'- and I personally have never heard a doctor speak this candidly and offer this much information clearly and concisely. Cancer is not an easy topic to discuss- but Dr. Bard's 4 minute intro taught me more than months of reading - and having a front row seat to ask him my questions is such a rare honor!"

The I.C.R.A. committee is scheduling 15 PowerMeets for the year, but unanimously wanted to launch the 'Cancers on the Job' series with speakers from the fire service. "I would be remiss if we did not kick off such an important event without Dan (Noonan), probably one of the most recognized and outspoken firefighters in modern history to speak about fire safety from cancer exposures. Dan survived the devastating 1975 NY Tel Fire (where 699 firefighters were heavily exposed to the most horrible carcinogens of burning PVC) and volunteered in 9/11 past retirement. As far as I'm concerned, Dan Noonan is a national treasure with an immeasurable heart to represent us all!"

In the 40 minute exchange, Dan responded with kind generosity and down-to-earth directness, which he attributes as part of "straight talk from the kitchen" (the 'communication central' of all firehouses).  With pointed conviction to fire safety at the cost of so many lives, Dan Noonan delivered with blistering urgency.  "I enjoy bringing awareness to my fellow first responders... and all folks exposed to these chemicals. I think this country as a whole has to step up and really ring the bell for these people and bring them awareness with "Get Checked Now!" I emphasize this to all my fellow firefighters, new firefighters and first responders coming on the job. But the problem there is that when you come on the department, you're young and you think you're invincible. You think you're Superman. You want to serve the community. And boy, you put that uniform on and you're ready to rock and roll, but you don't identify the hazards. And that's why it falls on us. All of us to say, 'Hey, time out'-- you gotta be aware of the ABC-XYZ and be sure to get checked."

"We are blessed to have such a powerful group of individuals who hold the common spirit to make a difference." Unlike webinars and talk shows where most of the audience is limited to being spectators, each invitee carries a major role of driving the headliners to share and discuss with highly charged questions.  They are hand selected based on their own professions, encouraging discussions about job-related cancers but are also public advocates in their own right.

This event is a FIRST, both as a pilot project and also as the official launch of The I.C.R.A. brand-  a global branch formed by The NY Cancer Resource Alliance. "As one of the first medical speakers of the group, the New York alliance on Linkedin was started back in 2018 - but it was impossible to keep local when the web was connecting us with so many cancer experts from everywhere. The I.C.R.A. banner covers our global family with endless possibilities.  The philosophy of INTEGRATIVE applies to expansive medicine and borderless alliances (and is) as the most powerful problem solving paradigm", says Dr. Robert Bard.

One of the first panelists was David Dachinger- Career Fire Lieutenant, IAFF Local 1739 (Ridgefield, CT.) and inventor of the Loving Medications stress reduction technology for patients in treatment.  "Cancer in the fire service is an epidemic and NOW is the time for radical awareness and culture change... I love the direction of this forum of bringing the many sides of advocacy together."

A Texas-based partner group supporting firefighters cancer is F.A.C.E.S (Firefighters Against Cancer Exposures), a national program led by Christopher Conner of Bedford TX.  In the early days of NYCRA's 9/11 CancerScan project, a strong connection was established to share and support each other. "I am proud to connect with all firefighters in need of help- especially anyone affected healthwise by the job. This type of event powerfully supports that feeling of awareness and can only charge up the community to better understand this ongoing issue."

Other speakers included Mindy Conklin of "Hitting Cancer Below the Belt" ( of Virginia, Julia Chiappetta (breast cancer survivor/health educator) of Cos Cob, CT and Elizabeth Banchitta (EMT/safety publisher) of Kings Park, NY. They contributed greatly to the engaging and dynamic energy of the PowerMeet.

The I.C.R.A. program recently acquired the technology to translate all articles and videos to as many as 9 different languages supported by partners in countries such as Italy, The Netherlands, France, Spain, England- and other nations where cancer research is prominent.

by Elizabeth Banchitta, EMT
Now more than ever, with the Covid-19 pandemic exhausting all resources of our healthcare community, hospitals and practitioners everywhere are suffering a major crash from the disconnect with patients who need vital care and maintenance (especially cancer cases).  Uniting medical and community leaders to share and brainstorm under an alliance of proactive health, safety and treatment measures is a valuable element in the fight against cancer- as shown in events like the Cancer PowerMeet. 
It was such an honor to see a screen full of true DO'ers of their own personal crusades unite to present and do so much more- together.  If this 'meeting of the minds' is about leadership, kicking off the series with first responders was strategically empowering.  This unique breed of rescuers are most regarded for their self sacrifice, focused only on THE job - even long after retirement!  When we approached Dan (Noonan) to be the first speaker, it was so inspiring to hear his “Count me in!” – amidst major cancer surgeries and personal challenges.  It is his presence and all those like him that drives us all to do the best we can to ‘get the word out’ for him, and alongside him.  With this PowerMeet, we have a united and inspired new voice to drive this message even louder and farther beyond all borders. 

2022 RESCEUE GALLERY: Celebrating Field Photographers

Since the advent of 9/11, global campaigns drove the "NEVER FORGET" mantra that defined the voice of our post-attack era. FILM, VIDEO and PHOTOGRAPHY documents timeless moments, especially events that change our world.  The First Responders Cancer Resource (formerly 9/11 CancerScan) ,thanks in part to the historical archives of the 9/11 World Trade Center Memorial and Museum, gained exclusive access to some of the most remarkable works by photographers like KEVIN COUGHLIN (Pulitzer Prize-sharing photojournalist), ROBERTO RABANNE and ANDREA BOOHER - whose powerful images photographs continue to support our culture and grace the many pages of 9/11 related historical presentations. "They are priceless nuggets of visual narrative and evidence of important occurrences gone past - especially in cases like the collection of prints of 9/11 photos." (see feature article)

According to a 2015 NIOSH study of cancer cases in the U.S., Fire fighters had a greater number of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths in mostly digestive, oral, respiratory, and urinary cancers.  There were about twice as many fire fighters with malignant mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.  Exposure to asbestos while fire fighting is the most likely explanation for this. There were more cases of certain cancers among younger fire fighters. For example, fire fighters in our study who were under 65 years of age had more bladder and prostate cancers than expected.  When comparing fire fighters in our study to each other: The chance of lung cancer diagnosis or death increased with amount of time spent at fires. The chance of leukemia death increased with the number of fire runs. (Source: CDC/NIOSHFindings from a Study of Cancer among U.S. Fire  Fighters:


Feb. 27, 2021 - The effects of Burn Pits are being compared to other known military health cases like the wide exposure to Agent Orange from Viet Nam- as well as the many cancer cases caused by disasters like 9/11. - "...Unlike exposure to Agent Orange, VA does not consider any disabilities presumptively associated with exposure to burn pit smoke. Therefore, post-9/11 veterans filing claims for service connection must obtain a medical opinion stating that their condition is at least as likely as not a result of their exposure to burn pit smoke. VA adjudicates burn pit claims on a case-by-case basis in which the decision is based on the facts unique to each claim." 

Over 45 years ago, the first responders' community including the remaining survivors of the 1975 NY Tel Exchange Fire recalls one of the most significant disasters in firefighting history next only to 9/11.  The many health impacts from this historical event, exposing all responders also resulted in countless safety references from its many occupational hazards as well as prevention protocols and protective innovations.  The NY Cancer Resource Alliance (NYCRA) features Ret. FDNY Ff. Dan Noonan and his contribution & sacrifice to the City of New York.  After his tenure at the fire service, Mr. Noonan pursued a life-long national crusade in safety awareness and publishing educational projects including his report about the 1975 NY Telephone Exchange Fire.  


DR. NOELLE CUTTER - Assoc. Professor at Molloy College Director / TedX Speaker
As first responders, firefighters are subject to a countless number of toxins while saving lives. For example, PVC, a common toxic plastic has been linked to several cancers including liver cancer, brain, lung, lymphoma, and leukemia. Listening to the first hand stories from these hero’s is truly motivating. Their powerful stories shed light on some of the occupational exposures that these hero’s endure. The Integrative Cancer Resource Alliance is bringing together our beloved heroes to raise public awareness on occupational exposures and survivorship after the job. By doing so, the group aims to provide outreach and educational resources about prevention and early detection. The Integrative Cancer Resource Alliance promotes prevention and early detection through their “Get Checked Now” campaign. Dr. Robert Bard, MD, Cancer Diagnostics and Imaging, gives meaningful insight into the importance of following firefighters who may have been exposed to toxins on the job. The Integrative Cancer Resource Alliance truly lives up to its mission on brining advocacy and other forms of aid to cancer victims in the fire services.

BORYS KRYNYCKI - PET/CT interpretation / Personal Care Molecular Imaging
When dealing with cancer size does matter. Establishing an early diagnosis of cancer when tumor burden is low and limited to a single site can lead to better outcomes. The longer the delay in diagnosis, the more chances cancer has to mutate to more aggressive variants and spread to other parts of the body. Advanced screening and diagnostic techniques work in synergy to detect cancer at an early stage, to customize patient treatment. Once the patient has been treated, the goal is to detect recurrence of disease at an early stage, also for some of the same reasons as above. In addition, with the same advanced diagnostic techniques working in synergy the scenario of “oligometastatic” disease becomes more prevalent, i.e. recurrence is confined to a single or very limited set of sites in the body. This provides for the opportunity to perform a more custom targeted plan of patient treatment, with ultimately better results. 

A great many thanks to our headliners, Dr. Robert Bard, (Dapper) Dan Noonan and "Cousin" Sal Banchitta for their unending generosity, their resilience and unforgettable presence in the fight against cancer.  Also, our eternal gratitude goes to: Melinda Conklin of Hitting Cancer Below the Belt (, Tony and Laura Carfang (, Dave Dachinger/ Tamara Green (, Cheri Ambrose & Kirby Lewis (, Liz Banchitta (, Dr. Stephen Chagares (, Johnny "Double Pains" Graziano (, Dr. Pierre Kory (, Dr. Conrad & Coleen Maulfair (, Phil Muccio (, Greg Oliva ( and Chris Conner (F.A.C.E.S.- for your labor of love, your hard work and the inspiration & empowerment you provided this project. Your leadership helped drive the connective nature of this alliance, without whose support this event and our collective mission could not be made possible!

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