Tuesday, 11 November 2014

My daughter diagnosed her own brain tumour after being turned away by numerous doctors...


A hard hitting but great comment to my blog on Monday 10th November, from my lovely daughter Lucienne, who eventually 'self diagnosed' her own brain tumour, after doctors and specialists that she went to for help, repeatedly turned her away...

"The sad thing is it happens all over the world Dad, to people with all types of conditions! Take me for example.. 5/6 GPs told me I was 'unlucky, depressed or paranoid' and 'over using the internet and believing it blindly' .. Turned out I was right though didn't it!


But I watched it wreck my body for 5/6 years before even one GP would listen to me, believe I did 'have a rare illness being caused by a brain tumour' .. Heck.. I had to move to London to find that!

Fact is, I think we have generations of doctors who graduated with second rate grades, possibly just to appease their parents & what was expected of them, they have no bedside manner whatsoever, no 'caring calling' bringing them into their careers, probably more so financially and status driven. They then go on (with their 60% knowledge Uni pass rates) to tell us that we aren't qualified to have an opinion. That my medical education, if not stamped by a university, is simply inadmissible, & probably just pure hypochondria. 

I for one am disgusted, not at the NHS, but at the audacity of these narrow minded individuals who still seem to live in this 'God complex' where their word is gold, & you are a brainless idiot who is incapable of reading medical research papers, and studying the same information as they have.. News flash, In the case of a GP, that's not hard. Most of them have only heard of rare illnesses in passing at Uni (how many years ago??!) or maybe if you're lucky it was focused on for a few weeks/months? Well guess what.. I spent 6 years reading about one rare illness, & it's studies, & it's biochemistry, from reputable sources, so I think that qualifies me just a little bit to have an opinion. And at least request to be heard, and to have a blood test run which costs peanuts!

Don't get me wrong, we still have some great GPs out there. But it's a dying race, and by the looks of it, along with the NHS."

Scientists have discovered a new treatment that could halt the progression of prostate cancer...


Drugs known as Sphinx compounds may inhibit the activity of a molecule that promotes tumour growth

Scientists have discovered a new treatment that could halt the progression of prostate cancer. Researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Nottingham and the University of the West of England (UWE) have identified a compound that inhibits the activity of a molecule which helps cancer cells to grow and multiply.

The SRPK1 (serine arginine protein kinase-1) molecule plays a key role in angiogenesis - the process through which tumours are able to develop blood vessels in order to obtain the nutrients they need to grow.
Angiogenesis is regulated by the signal protein VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). This protein comes in two forms, which can either activate or inhibit the growth of blood vessels.
The form that VEGF takes depends on how the gene is controlled by a cellular process called "alternative splicing".
Dr Sebastian Oltean, the study’s co-author from the University of Bristol’s School of Physiology and Pharmacology, said: "We reasoned that inhibition of SRPK1 activity could stop cancer progression.
"Indeed, we show in this paper that if we decrease SRPK1 levels in prostate cancer cells, or in tumours grafted into mice, we are able to switch VEGF splicing and therefore inhibit tumour vasculature and growth."
When the scientists analysed samples of human prostate cancer they found that SRPK1 increases as the cancer gets more aggressive. 
However, in experiments carried out on mice they discovered that the tumours decreased in size when drugs known as Sphinx compounds were injected three times a week.
Professor David Bates, co-author from the University of Nottingham’s Division of Cancer and Stem Cells, said: "Our results point to a novel way of treating prostate cancer patients and may have wider implications to be used in several types of cancers."
This study was funded by Prostate Cancer UK, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Richard Bright VEGF Research Trust.
Dr Matthew Hobbs, deputy director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: "There’s no denying that there are too few treatment options for the 40,000 men that face a diagnosis of prostate cancer every year in the UK - especially for those with advanced disease. Prostate cancer continues to kill over 10,000 men annually and there is an urgent need for new treatments if we are to significantly reduce this figure.
"Although it’s early days, each finding like this represents a crucial block in building up our understanding of what can slow down and stop the progression of prostate cancer. This understanding will give us the foundations needed to develop new targeted treatments for those men in desperate need."

The findings are published in the journal Oncogene.

Many thanks to Chaz Dowie for submitting this article.


      

Scientists have developed a promising treatment for prostate cancer by starving tumours of their blood supply.

Very hopeful article submitted by my daughter Sasha today...

British researchers say the new approach could be tested in patients within two years, potentially giving them the ability to stop cancers growing and spreading.

The scientists made the breakthrough after discovered a molecule which plays a key role in aggressive prostate cancer.
Crucially, the academics from Bristol and Nottingham universities have already worked out how to neutralise the dangerous molecule.
The new approach could be tested in patients within two years, potentially giving them the ability to stop cancers growing and spreading. The prostate is pictured in orange, containing a small tumour 
The new approach could be tested in patients within two years, potentially giving them the ability to stop cancers growing and spreading. The prostate is pictured in orange, containing a small tumour 
The treatment, delivered by an injection, has already been shown to halt the growth of prostate tumours in mice.
And scientists are confident the procedure can be replicated in humans, with a British firm investigating how to turn it into a clinical treatment.
The findings, published yesterday in the Oncogene medical journal, rests on the investigation of a molecule called SRPK1.
The scientists found that the molecule enables the tumour to form new blood vessels.
Tumours need a supply of nutrient-enriched blood to survive, grow and spread.
Stopping the production of new blood vessels prevents cancer cells from multiplying, they found. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, accounting for a quarter of all male cancers.
Twenty per cent of patients die within five years of receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis, with few treatments available to doctors.
Shrinking tumours by cutting off blood supply is an approach that has already been shown to work in colorectal cancer - but until now scientists had struggled to find a way to do the same thing in prostate tumour.
The study leaders are now investigating whether the same molecular target will work in other tumours - with potential that the drug could be used to treat a range of diseases.

PROSTATE CARE IS FAILING HALF OF NHS PATIENTS, REPORT CLAIMS

The NHS is still failing to deliver the best diagnosis and treatment to thousands of men with prostate cancer, says the first national audit of services.
It shows a ‘worryingly vast variation’ in access to advanced MRI scanning and the latest radiotherapy techniques.
Half of all men with the disease do not receive all the support services they should in hospitals, the National Prostate Cancer Audit found.
Four out of five radiation centres in England do not offer brachytherapy – which uses radioactive seeds planted inside the prostate and can help half of men retain their sex lives.
The service is not provided at a single centre in Labour-run Wales.
Prostate cancer is the commonest cancer in men. 
In the UK, more than 41,000 are diagnosed each year leading to around 10,000 deaths annually. 
Survival rates in the UK are below the European average and research into the disease lags a decade behind that for other cancers, say critics. 
The scientists made the discovery by analysing samples of human prostate cancer, observing that SRPK1 increases as the cancer got more aggressive.
In experiments on mice, they found that injecting an inhibitor drug called Sphinx three times a week, stopped the molecule from working and the tumour growth halted.
Study author Dr Sebastian Oltean, of Bristol University, said: ‘We reasoned that inhibition of SRPK1 activity could stop cancer progression.
‘Indeed, we show in this paper that if we decrease SRPK1 levels in prostate cancer cells, or in tumours grafted into mice, we are able to inhibit tumour vasculature and growth.’
He said: ‘This is a completely new area and could form a completely new class of drugs. Tumours all need blood to survive and grow, to differing degrees depending on the type.
‘If this is show to work in clinical trials it could be used to inhibit all kinds of cancers.’
Biotech company Exonate, a spin-out drug development firm from the University of Nottingham, is looking at developing SRPK1 inhibitors as treatments for other diseases with abnormal vessel development.
They think sight problems where blood vessel development is key - such as age-related macular de-generation - could also benefit from the same approach.
Study co-author Professor David Bates, from Nottingham, said: ‘Our results point to a novel way of treating prostate cancer patients and may have wider implications to be used in several types of cancers.’
Dr Matthew Hobbs, deputy director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, which helped fund the study, said: ‘There’s no denying that there are too few treatment options for the 40,000 men that face a diagnosis of prostate cancer every year in the UK – especially for those with advanced disease.
‘Prostate cancer continues to kill over 10,000 men annually and there is an urgent need for new treatments if we are to significantly reduce this figure.
The treatment, delivered by an injection, has already been shown to halt the growth of prostate tumours in mice
The treatment, delivered by an injection, has already been shown to halt the growth of prostate tumours in mice.
‘Although it’s early days, each finding like this represents a crucial block in building up our understanding of what can slow down and stop the progression of prostate cancer. This understanding will give us the foundations needed to develop new targeted treatments for those men in desperate need.’
The lack of treatments for men with prostate cancer is exacerbated by the fact the NHS is not using all those available to them, a report on cancer services revealed yesterday.
The National Prostate Cancer Audit showed a ‘worryingly vast variation’ in access to advanced MRI scanning and the latest radiotherapy techniques.
Half of all men with the disease do not receive all the support services they should in NHS hospitals,
And four out of five radiation centres in England do not offer brachytherapy – which uses radioactive seeds planted inside the prostate and can help half of men retain their sex lives after treatment.
Survival rates in the UK are below the European average and research into the disease lags a decade behind that for other cancers, say critics.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2828668/Prostate-cancer-breakthrough-scientists-discover-STARVE-tumours-blood-supply.html#ixzz3IlLvon6d
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Monday, 10 November 2014

Which treatment, which hospital and which specialist? Crucial choices...


I was prompted by my good friend Sue to write, after she posted this article on Facebook. 

Have a read and if you ever have to make that choice, make it a good one…


If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, then which treatment do you opt for, which hospital do you go to, and crucially, which surgeon do you allow to perform this delicate operation?

So your hospital has a state of the art Da Vinci Robot…So what? That's like saying, "He's an excellent driver, he owns a Ferrari!" How many times have the team (because it is a team) used this machine? What is their reputation like? Have you asked on the Prostate Cancer Forums what men being treated at the hospital feel about their experience?


My surgeon, Nimish Shah and his team had been to the USA to observe surgical teams there. They then bought their first Da Vinci Robot at Addenbrookes, but specialists from the USA came over to train them and stayed with them to observe their surgical techniques. Nimish Shah had completed hundreds of successful operations before he started on me. I see men all the time on the forums that trusted to surgeons in local hospitals, not even prostate specialists, and they are still suffering incontinence.

From the time you are diagnosed until the time you have treatment there is usually plenty of time to decide. If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, don't get swept up in the moment, just because the doctor doing your biopsy immediately refers you to the local hospital. Say, "Hang on, I have options here, I can choose my treatment, my hospital and my specialist. I'll get back to you."





Sunday, 9 November 2014

Here's to the health of everyone...

It's been a heavy few weeks and I'm carrying around too much baggage that I need to deal with. It's summer time, the Jacarandas are in full bloom and the pool is glimmering, so why feel down? I'm well, I've had my 4 year all clear and I've cut way back on drinking; Beverley and I have never been happier.

A few months ago we found that Tony Windsor had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The last we heard he was having chemotherapy, and we are hoping that he defies the odds. Tony was the Head Teacher of Beverley's school in Penrith, a lovely guy who gave us both so much support when I was diagnosed 4 years back. It made us both very sad to get that news, but it was just the start of a few to come.

Next I found my good friend from my army days, Chaz has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease. He still holds the 400 metres record at AAC Harrogate, and where I won the medal for discus 3 years running, he was king of the middle distance runners. He jokes that, "Everyone has a limited amount of mileage in their lives, and I must have used mine." But it was another reminder of how young athletes eventually become older men.

Then I had contact from Bazza last week, a lovely guy, only in his early 50's with a fabulous wife and 2 beautiful daughters. He had surgery same time as me  and we gave each other a lot of support in the Prostate Cancer Forum, and in private. We celebrated getting the all clear after 3 years but he wasn't so lucky at the 4 year mark. His cancer recurred in his hip, and to make it worse, it was the type that doesn't respond to hormone treatment. I'm not surprised he's down, and I'm down for him. I just hope that something can be done but I feel  helpless and just not sure what to say.

My friend Simon in Knaersborough was to be next, he had a biopsy for prostate cancer last week, and again, I'm hoping that he gets the result he's hoping for on Tuesday. Hopefully that will put an end to the cycle of negative health news from the past few months.

On top of that there's the ongoing scenario with Lloyds TSB over the handling of my late mother's account. It's with the Financial Ombudsman's Office now and the Financial Times want to run it as a full story, but only after it's been concluded. I wish my mother had never named me as executor, because then I wouldn't have found out what my sister Jacqueline was up to. I don't see a time in the future when I will ever speak to my brothers Paul and Andre again, which is very sad because we always got on really well. But I can't allow my sister to simply drain my mother's account while she was sick and dying, without the knowledge of any other person. My sister tried to justify her actions by saying, "I always took mum on foreign holidays and treated her to other things". 
When I was taking my mum out to dinner or for a drive, I didn't even think of saving the receipt so that I could take the money from her bank account later. You wouldn't, would you?
Something more fishy about this than Grimsby Harbour, but it's only a matter of time. It does wear me down, but I do take the roll of executor seriously.

Two of my daughters have birthdays this month, but sadly I can't tell you their names, or the dates of their birthdays, their hair colour or anything in fact. I would like to tell you about my grandchildren also, but again, if I had any, which I can't say I have, I can't tell you if they are boys or girls, what age they are or where they are. I'd show you some photos also, if I had any, but because I can't tell you if I have, I'm sometimes not sure myself!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Have you been told you need a prostate biopsy? Here is one man's recent experience...

My Story - So Far:

The main purpose of me writing this is to help anyone who is facing prostate biopsy, by sharing my experiences with you. 

My wife arranged for a private medical for me following a conversation we had.
I went to the BUPA centre in Leeds in August 2014. I had no real concerns about my health, no noticeable symptoms, but could see the common sense in getting checked out (I am in my late 50's). I was offered a PSA test routinely along with a whole lot of other blood tests. I also had a DRE (Digital Rectal Examination - a finger up the bottom) which was normal.
The result came back with a value of 12, out of line (high) my expected result should be about 3.
The doctor explained this and also that this test can give up to 75% false positive results.
She wrote to my GP and, after a talk, I decided that I should follow this up.
I met the consultant and he arranged for a biopsy to be carried out. 
I had almost a week to wait for the biopsy. Naturally I read all sorts of stuff about prostate biopsy and a host of related things and, quite honestly, scared myself. Result: by the day of the biopsy I was very nervous and apprehensive.

It is quite understandable that you will be worried by the biopsy. It will not be as bad as you imagine.

The staff are highly professional not only in their technical skills but also in the calm and caring way that they treat patients. They probably spend most of their working lives dealing with scared worried and nervous people so they know how to put you at your ease. They are friendly and explain exactly what will happen and they will give you the chance to ask questions if you want to.

As far as the biopsy goes: An ultrasound probe is inserted into your bottom and a local anaesthetic is administered. This is certainly no worse than the DRE. During a DRE the doctor will move their finger around to explore the prostate, there is far less sensation of things moving about with the ultrasound probe (I do remember it did feel a bit cold going in!). The same probe will do the needle biopsies which are nothing to worry about. I was warned by the staff that the machine makes a knocking sound and that I might feel a "sharp scratch" from the needle. I could feel the needle as it took the sample but in my opinion, it hurt far less that an injection into your arm, for instance. I was convinced that the first needle was some sort of fluke (not hurting) so it was really only after the second sample that I started to relax a bit. (Relax isn't probably the best word to use when you are in a room with 2 strangers who are sticking a machine up your bottom).

It was certainly not a nice experience but it was far less traumatic than I was imagining. If you are about to have this biopsy I hope you are reassured by my experience. It's really not that bad.
If you are trying to decide whether to go forwards with this test, do not let the biopsy put you off, thinking about it is really much worse than having it done. After all it is the best chance that you will find out if you have prostate cancer or not.

I did have a little bleeding out of my bottom but that only lasted a day. I have also had slight urinary incontinence (when my bladder is full I have "leaked" about a teaspoonful of urine). 

I am now 24 hours past the biopsy and the bleeding has stopped. I have had 3 leaks which I have easily dealt with by using some of my wife's sanitary pads stuck into my pants. I think I'll probably be able to do without the thing pad tomorrow but I'll sleep with one tonight.  

One other thing not directly related to the biopsy: I do not do well on anaesthetics. I come home from the dentist feeling sick after injections. I did feel quite sick for several hours after the procedure but I think that's just me and you probably don't have a bad reaction to anaesthetic!

This is easily "do-able" don't think about it too much. It's over very quickly and it's not as bad as you are imagining it.



Monday, 3 November 2014

Help to improve life in a remote Zimbabwean village...


Freedom, here with his wife Sylvia, are a very hard working couple who we have known since we arrived in Johannesburg. They chose to come to South Africa so that they could earn enough to improve life for their families back home. 
We are helping them to raise the £220 they need to set up their own painting and construction company, covering registration, equipment, business cards and flyers. Their current joint income helps to supports Makaza village in Zimbabwe, but the extra income they could make from registering and establishing their own company would make a massive difference to that community. It would enable them to employ fellow Zimbabweans who would also be able to return money home to their families. I'm hoping that some of my Facebook, blog followers and other friends might give a small amount, which I will match £1 for £1 to reach the target. Please e-mail me at dansencier@yahoo.co.uk if you would like to help change the lives of Freedom & Sylvia, and in turn, help the people of Makaza Village.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Prostate cancer's fatal weakness…copper?



Many thanks to my good friend Chaz Dowie for finding this...


Prostate cancer's penchant for copper may be a fatal flaw
Date:
October 15, 2014
Source:
Duke Medicine
Summary:
Like discriminating thieves, prostate cancer tumors scavenge and hoard copper that is an essential element in the body. But such avarice may be a fatal weakness, scientists report. Researchers have found a way to kill prostate cancer cells by delivering a trove of copper along with a drug that selectively destroys the diseased cells brimming with the mineral, leaving non-cancer cells healthy.
Like discriminating thieves, prostate cancer tumors scavenge and hoard copper that is an essential element in the body. But such avarice may be a fatal weakness.
Researchers at Duke Medicine have found a way to kill prostate cancer cells by delivering a trove of copper along with a drug that selectively destroys the diseased cells brimming with the mineral, leaving non-cancer cells healthy.
The combination approach, which uses two drugs already commercially available for other uses, could soon be tested in clinical trials among patients with late-stage disease.
"This proclivity for copper uptake is something we have known could be an Achilles' heel in prostate cancer tumors as well as other cancers," said Donald McDonnell, Ph.D., chairman of the Duke Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and senior author of a study published Oct. 15, 2014, in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association of Cancer Research.
"Our first efforts were to starve the tumors of copper, but that was unsuccessful. We couldn't deplete copper enough to be effective," McDonnell said. "So we thought if we can't get the level low enough in cancer cells to kill them, how about we boost the copper and then use a drug that requires copper to be effective to attack the tumors. It's the old if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em approach."
McDonnell and colleagues searched libraries of thousands of approved therapies to identify those that rely on copper to achieve their results. Among those they found was disulfiram, a drug approved by the FDA to treat alcoholism. Disulfiram had at one time been a candidate for treating prostate cancer -- it homes in on the additional copper in prostate cancer tumors -- but it showed disappointing results in clinical trials among patients with advanced disease.
The Duke team found that the amount of copper cancer cells naturally hoard is not enough to make the cells sensitive to the drug. But when the Duke researchers added a copper supplement along with the disulfiram, the combination resulted in dramatic reductions in prostate tumor growth among animal models with advanced disease.
And there was another surprise: Androgens, the male hormones that fuel prostate cancer, increase the copper accumulation in the cancer cells. McDonnell said this finding could make the combination of disulfiram or similar compounds and copper especially beneficial for men who have been on hormone therapies that have failed to slow tumor growth.
"Unfortunately, hormone therapies do not cure prostate cancer, and most patients experience relapse of their disease to a hormone-refractory or castration-resistant state," McDonnell said. "Although tremendous progress has been made in treating prostate cancer, there is clearly a need for different approaches, and our findings provide an exciting new avenue to explore."
McDonnell said clinical trials of the combination therapy are planned in upcoming months.
Andrew Armstrong, M.D., associate professor of medicine, was involved with a recent study at Duke testing disulfiram in men with advanced prostate cancer.
"While we did not observe significant clinical activity with disulfiram in men with recurrent prostate cancer in our recent clinical trial, this new data suggests a potential way forward and a reason why this trial did not have more positive results," Armstrong said. "Further clinical studies are now warranted to understand the optimal setting for combining copper with disulfiram or similar compounds in men with progressive prostate cancer, particularly in settings where the androgen receptor is active."

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Duke MedicineNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. R. Safi, E. R. Nelson, S. K. Chitneni, K. J. Franz, D. J. George, M. R. Zalutsky, D. P. McDonnell. Copper Signaling Axis as a Target for Prostate Cancer TherapeuticsCancer Research, 2014; 74 (20): 5819 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3527

Cite This Page:
Duke Medicine. "Prostate cancer's penchant for copper may be a fatal flaw." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141015084514.htm>.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

To a friend who's worrying right now but needs to know he's not alone...

I've just found that a friend has been examined by his doctor and consultant, and is now going for a biopsy next week. I want to write to him here because so many other men will be in his position right now, wondering what the next few months will hold, and this letter may benefit them...

Dear friend,
                     At this stage you don't know if you have prostate cancer but you've researched it to death, so you know a hell of a lot more than you did a few months back. But it's information overload and you're worrying yourself to death over things that probably won't turn out anywhere as near as bad as you're thinking right now. You may even be told that you don't have prostate cancer, only one in ten enlarged prostates turn out to be cancer!

A guy in the states said, "You shouldn't look at a diagnosis of prostate cancer as a visit from the grim reaper, more a long slow waltz with the angel of death". I liked that, because when I was first diagnosed, I just thought I was going to die, yet 4 years later, hey man I'm still kickin! Winning the battle in your mind is critical at this stage, and not imagining the worse, but staying focused on today. Your mind will try and play out dozens of different scenarios on the information you already have, but why bother, you know nothing yet!
There is a urine test that will tell you if you have prostate cancer, but I'm afraid it won't tell you what gleason grade you have; that's why the biopsy. I would describe this as 'uncomfortable', but you do get a local anaesthetic and antibiotics before you leave to prevent infection. You will have usually 12 needle samples taken, and these are guided by the nurse on an ultra sound scan, so that they can go for areas that look suspicious. The whole thing takes around 20 minutes and I have to confess, it's not as bad as the dentist!
Take a nice big cushion for the seat of the car and whatever you do, don't drive yourself back! They will tell you that there may be a bit of blood in your urine. Ha ha, everyone is probably different but I had blood in everything, yes, everything, but that's perfectly normal and takes a few days to go away.

The result, 8 days or so later will tell you what grade cancer you have if they find any, but it is possible that if they don't find any, that cancer is still there but may be in an awkward place to biopsy. If you need a second biopsy it will be a 'saturation biopsy' under general anaesthetic, but that doesn't often happen.
At this stage, if no cancer is found then that's still an excellent sign, because if there is any, it's going to be very small. You may even be put on what they call 'watchful waiting', where they just keep an eye on you for years ahead with 6 monthly PSA's.
If you are told you have prostate cancer, Gleason 6 is the dream ticket at this point. Very early stage, unlikely to have travelled to anywhere else in the body, my brother Paul had this. I had Gleason 7 (3+4), a little more nasty but as it was contained, only a 5% chance of recurrence for me now. Gleason 8 to 10 is more likely to travel, but if caught early is completely treatable with surgery.

The next stage is an MRI, but that's not possible for around 6 weeks after the biopsy as they need to give the prostate a chance to heal. During this time you will also be booked in for a bone scan (that's routine), just to make sure the cancer hasn't metastasised, but if you've already been told the cancer is localised, it's rare that a bone scan will show anything going on. Only after the biopsy, bone scan and MRI will your MDT meeting take place, where all specialists involved will get together to offer you 'best advice' on the way forward. At that stage, there are several paths open to you, from surgery to radiotherapy, radioactive implants to alternative medicines, but the choice is left to you. I'm happy to help you if needed, but it may not even come to that, because today is 'today' and officially, you're still all clear until told otherwise.

Having said all this, know that I am only a Skype away if you need to talk and take it one day at a time. Good luck with the biopsy, treat yourself to a nice drink that night and I'll toast to your long and healthy future.

Best wishes always

Daniel

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

PSA 4 year all clear...

                                                                              
Christmas has come early for me. I went to the doctors yesterday after having problems with my heart all weekend. The ECG turned out fine, apparently 10% of the 'elderly' population experience what I had. 'Elderly'? Am I? The pulse was regular but every so often I was missing a beat. Sometimes after 2 or 3 beats, other times after nearly a minute, but I could feel it in my chest, though there was no pain. The doctor sent for a thyroid blood test so while we were at it, may as well have the PSA done, be it a few weeks early.

The all clear came through at 6pm from the surgery…same feeling of delight that I've experienced 8 times now since surgery. The hours of dread before hand are the same and I feel sorry for Beverley putting up with me during that time.

So I'm clear until May 2015 until we do it all again. No announcements on Facebook this time as there are people I know who have been far less fortunate than me, going through the mill right now. I pray for them in my own way, wishing I could do something, anything to help.

Lloyds Bank had 62,132 complaints referred to the Ombudsman in the first 6 months of 2014


My complaint at...
http://complaintslloydsbank.blogspot.com/
is the tip of the iceberg!


Giant state-backed banking group Lloyds was the most complained about financial institution in the first six months of the year, figures show.
Across its different brands, which include Halifax and Bank of Scotland, it attracted a third of the total complaints received by the financial ombudsman, which settles disputes between banks and their customers.
The ombudsman received 62,132 new complaints about Lloyds Banking Group between January 1 and June 30. The total across all institutions was 191,129.
Lloyds was followed by Barclays, which had 27,487 complaints. Royal Bank of Scotland, another state-backed giant, had 13,654 complaints passed to the ombudsman (see table below).
However, these three groups, which account for a large proportion of banking customers, saw overall complaint numbers decline from the previous six months.
Figures were lower than in the second half of last year due to a shrinking number of payment protection insurance (PPI) cases, the ombudsman said.
Complaints about PPI fell to 133,819 from 266,000but still accounted for seven out of 10 cases.
Outside of PPI, banking complaints rose 7pc overall and the ombudsman warned there are signs that banks and other firms were failing to handle complaints properly.
The proportion of cases where the ombudsman found in favour of the customer rose from 51pc to 57pc.
Among the worst offenders were the smaller lender MBNA, which lost 93pc of cases. HSBC lost 78pc, and Barclays and Lloyds Bank both lost 66pc.
Caroline Wayman, chief ombudsman, said: “We’re seeing more and more people turn to us in frustration where they feel their bank or insurer simply doesn’t understand or really care. And we’re hearing growing dissatisfaction from people about being processed industrially as a number rather than being listened to as an individual customer.
“By giving their customers more thoughtful, considerate and personal responses – clearly setting out the reasoning behind an individual decision – we know that businesses can help sort out problems earlier on, prevent complaints being escalated to the ombudsman and rebuild trust and confidence more generally.”
James Daley, director of consumer website Fairer Finance, said while banks had improved complaints handling procedures in the first few years after the financial crisis, those improvements seem to be stalling.
"If more than 50pc of complaints to the ombudsman are being upheld in favour of the customer, then quite simply banks are making the wrong decision when a customer first complains, more often than they're making the right one,” he said.
"Banks need to make every effort to sort out complaints at the very beginning of the process, and should be ready to give customers the benefit of the doubt more often – rather than forcing them to appeal to the ombudsman, which can drag out disputes for months on end."
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