I started this Blog after being diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2010. It was a way of keeping family and friends informed. It then became a campaigning tool helping to make improvements in hospitals nationally. In 2013 we moved to Johannesburg, setting up our own e-education company. Now we have moved to Bangkok, where we will work and tour the Far East. After surgery 5 years ago my PSA remains at zero, the cancer has gone, and I remain thankful.
I would like to thank Healthline for once again choosing my blog, to be amongst the top prostate cancer blogs of 2016/17.
When you consider how many blogs there are out there, this is really something I'm proud of. The other 10 selected blogs are all amazing reading in their own way, and in the world of prostate cancer, there's is something for everyone.
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I'm enjoying this, not that I haven't fancied a beer with temperatures here tipping over 40C, it's knowing that I can look at the booze and just leave it, enjoying a glass of iced water or juice instead.
My mindset has changed for sure, I feel stronger and have applied the theories learnt in OneYearNoBeer to other habits that I wanted to rid myself of. It works every time! Excersise is the one thing that I need more of and haven't managed yet, mainly due to the incessant heat outside, but I've changed other habits to give me more exercise. I try not to use lifts and escalators and I'll always choose the long way around. If there's a more difficult or strenuous way of doing something, I will sometimes do it, to the great amusement of others. But that's not enough, I've got to do better, so there's a challenge. Probably my main concern when I started the 90 day challenge, was how it would affect the chemical balance in my body. Having had cancer surgery 6 years ago, there's always the chance of a bio-chemical recurrence, and in my case, depending on where you look, that chance can be up to 30%. I have 6 monthly blood tests, and last week's result was more anxiously awaited than at other times. But it came back OK, I'm still clear, the alcohol obviously had played no part in keeping the cancer away, how could it? Pomegranate juice is one of my weapons against recurrence, and a low dosage aspirin a day, so far, so good. Waking up in the morning is still the main problem, my sleep is so deep. If I get up when the alarm goes off, I just feel drowsy until I've had a shower, but if I have a lie in, like this morning, drifting in and out of sleep, I go into what I can only describe as a depressed state, lasting hours. Why is this?
The evening 'habit' has been replaced by coke-zero or iced water, I don't even think about it now. I laugh when the old 'reward' habit kicks in, like it did last week when I found I'd got a job. Wow a job, where's the nearest bar to celebrate? Instead I treated myself to an iced coffee and a snickers bar. Look out Daniel, there's a habit to replace every habit!
A new type of drug could benefit men with aggressive prostate cancer that is no longer responding to treatment, researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research have said.
In a study on mice, Hsp90 inhibitors were found to strip cancer cells of defences against hormone treatments.
This makes the drugs particularly promising for treating drug-resistant cancers, the research team said.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK.
About one in eight men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. It mainly affects men over the age of 50.
The cancer can sometimes be treated successfully with hormone treatments, which target androgen receptors linked to the growth of male hormones called androgens.
But some prostate cancers don't work that way. Instead they create an abnormal form of androgen receptor which is not linked to the growth of hormones and therefore does not respond to standard hormone treatment.
This is the most common form of resistance in prostate cancer which leads to aggressive, difficult-to-treat cancers.
The latest research, published in the journal Cancer Research, found that a new class of drugs reduced production of both receptors.
Professor Paul Workman, study author and chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research, said it was an exciting discovery.
"We call Hsp90 inhibitors 'network drugs' because they tackle several of the signals that are hijacked in cancer all at once, across a network rather than just a single signalling pathway.
"These drugs can hit cancer harder than those targeting only one protein, and look promising for preventing or overcoming drug resistance."
Prof Workman said the next step was to test the Hsp90 inhibitors in clinical trials on patients with aggressive, drug-resistant prostate cancer.
Prof Johann de Bono, a professor of experimental cancer medicine at the Institute of Cancer Research, said: "These drugs are already in clinical trials for several types of cancer, and I am excited that our work suggests they could also benefit men with prostate cancer who have otherwise run out of treatment options."
Please take a minute to vote for Joanna Slater and her amazing 'MyNotes Medical' app that she's spent so much time developing. It will take less than a minute to vote, but this app could save thousands of lives a year, at a time when our NHS needs all the help it can get. It could directly benefit you...
Joanna Slater...."My mother had a standard hip operation in 2007 and fell ill soon after. I started writing notes day by day as a reminder of all the things that was happening to her. Unfortunately, she passed away still in hospital 6 months later. Eventually, I started a blog www.strength-in-numbers.co.uk and posted all my mother’s notes. In 2011, the Mail on Sunday contacted me after seeing my blog and published extracts of my notes then my life changed forever. I received 1000's of emails from people saying they wished they had taken notes and the difference it would have made. That's how the idea of MyNotes Medical was born to help others from my experience by documenting everything. I am committed to the cause of improving patient care and believe that MyNotes Medical will lead to more effective communication between patients, their carers, GP’s and doctors - the key to better treatment. I am on a quest to create a patient-led programme with my business partner Brad Meyer co-founder of MyNotes Medical that will help everyone become more engaged in their own and loved one's medical care to safeguard against medical mistakes."
As I move to day 40 without alcohol, is there any difference from day 30? A few: My weight has stopped dropping, stabilised at 13st 12lb and I know I'm eating less as a result of not drinking. I've improved my water intake, so don't feel as tired when I wake up, but I'd still like more improvement there. Best thing of all is my blood pressure which on average is around 115/70, bang in the middle of what is considered average. Two months ago I'd have come in around 135/85 which is not bad, but a little high.
I feel good in myself, which is surprising considering it hits nearly 40 every day in Bangkok and I'm still trying to fill my days with interesting stuff. I don't have the same desire for a beer/wine as I did, the BBC programme 'Drinking to Oblivion' from Louis Theroux helped cement that. If you haven't watched it then please do!
Can I answer the big question yet? Will I start drinking after the 90 day mark? No I can't, but I can say that I'll never go back to what I was. I've seen a clearer better life beyond the cloud; I'm enjoying it.
I met Susan in Bangkok soon after I moved here, she's helped many people through transition at the end of life. It's not a job you see advertised anywhere, and I guess you're just lucky if you know someone like that when it's your turn. We started talking about death because we had both died and come back, and even though the circumstances were different, the experience had striking similarities.
I was twelve when I died.
My Mother had sent me to the local swimming pool with Ena, a girl a few years older, who was going to look after me. I'd never seen a public swimming pool before or any large expanse of water with people in it. I got changed in the men's room, and Ena told me she'd meet me by the side of the pool. When I came out the pool was packed, chaotic, with people diving and splashing everywhere. I didn't know what it was to 'tread water', all I knew was that one end of the pool had a lot less people in, and it couldn't be very deep because smaller kids than me had their heads above water.
I jumped in! I remember holding my breath as long as I could, and I could see all the feet kicking in the water above me, but the shock alone caused me to inhale very quickly. When you inhale water, it's not like when you drink water and it goes down the wrong way, and you cough and splutter until you're clear. You start to breath the water, like it's thick air, like you're back in the womb I guess. I wasn't panicking, it was really peaceful, but over several minutes, I was slowly drifting into unconsciousness. The feeling was serene, peaceful, beautiful and yes, even at 12, my life started to 'flash before me'. Maybe when you're older, it takes longer to drown?
Drowning is a great way to go if you want to end it all, take my word, but be sure, because you don't want to go through revival, which is what happened next. Apparently, someone saw me, lifeless at the bottom of the pool, and everyone started screaming, like I was a shark! The lifeguard pulled me out, dumped me on the edge of the pool and then started what lifeguards are there for, saving my life, bringing me back. First he pumped as much water out as he could before starting on my heart, and at first there was no response. After what he described as 'ages', I exploded, gasping for air, filling my pants and struggling to fight everyone off until I could be calmed. Coming back was far worse than dying, that's for sure.
So it was when Susan said at the end of a recent article..."living is the tough stuff, dying is easier", I was prompted to share that experience.
I'd also like to share what Susan said, when describing being with someone who is nearing their end in this life...
"One thing I have learned is, you never know quite what you'd do until you get there. Plus, what your family, friends, or medics expect from you. Also, how you'd react if it were your loved one. For myself, I'd like to think that I'd take the least invasive route, meaning no intervention as much as possible, plus as much pain meds, comfort, whiskey, and irreverence, fun, and loving time together. The people I transition with are not all Christians, some have faith to go, others do not...we are all different. What I find very important is to respect people's rights to live and to die as they feel best. Also, supporting, loving, and caring as they make their choices, which often change along the way. There is loss, grief, even horror when you see people truly suffer. Life and death can be messy, but they can be more than equally beautiful. It's raw, it's real, it's amazing....you have no idea until you've cleaned up endless vomit, shit, body fluids, tears, fears, anger, pain, regrets, and come to a place of love, joy, peace and absolute beauty....but yes, myself, having died already, I know living is the tough stuff, dying is easier, or was for me. I long for that place again, but I love life, and hold onto it while I have the gift of it..."
Before I started, I studied, even wrote down, how a drinker (me) feels at different points of the day.
I never had a desire to drink during the day, as it made me sleepy, but evenings were different. Between 6-9 pm really, I guess I though of it as some sort of reward. For what? It didn't matter! If I'd had a good day, a bad day, there's always a reason to sit down and have that drink. Did I enjoy it? Yes! Can't say the taste of wine or beer ever appealed to me, and I rarely drank spirits, it was the buzz and the social habit that hooked me. Take any TV action thriller, courtroom drama, whatever, drink flows throughout; as it does through our culture. We grew up with it and it's traditionally used to celebrate every event, be that a wedding, christening or funeral. St Patrick's Day this year, I was a guest of the St Patrick's Society in Bangkok and what a great night out. It was 'normal' for people to be laying on the floor semi-conscious at the end, and they would be tomorrow's 'heroes' in the office. The Thai wait-on staff may have been traumatised, in a state of shock, but oh not I. I've been there, done that, felt the pain next day; haven't you?
4 weeks in, and it's a lot easier than the first two. Because I was addicted? No, because if I had been, I don't think I'd have made it past day two. I've never been an alcoholic, I think that some people are just more prone to that than others. I've known light drinkers who simply couldn't do without the daily fix, and heavy drinkers that could stop for weeks. There seems to be no fast rule.
Physically I feel great, I've lost 6 pounds and that bloated feeling has gone. I'm sharper and have a clear head all day, not living in 'the cloud' that all drinkers are in, a mist that they're blissfully unaware of.
How thick is that mist? After week one, I thought I could see the edge, the 'light', if you like. But as each week passes, I realise that there's always a bright edge and I look forward, probably nearer the end of my 90 days, to coming out into the clear and 'looking back at the cloud', as others have described.
After initial constipation, my motions are fine and regular, with a consistency, smell and colour of the perfect poo! No getting up to the toilet and breaking my sleep anymore, the habitual glass of water by the bed no longer needed. No sweats at night, which in a Bangkok summer is a miracle in itself. An MRI scan a few years back showed a trapped nerve which caused back pain, but that's gone. A dental crown fell out, maybe unrelated, who knows. I don't wear reading glasses anymore, my hearing is sharper and I get massive erections, but that's all in my dreams.
Sleep is a worry! It's so heavy now, and I dream a lot, even remembering my dreams, which is new to me. When I wake in the morning I feel like I've been drugged, and it takes me 10 minutes to 'switch on'. I wonder if that'll change, it's not a big deal but I thought I might feel more alert first thing.
Mentally, I'm not sure! I need to swim further into the 90 days, then experience what others have before I decide if I'm a, 'non-drinker'. Reading the stories and updates from One Year No Beer has been an amazing support on this journey, and where as I think I could have done it without them, it would have been a far lonelier place.
My guess is I will drink occasionally, but never go back to the daily ritual, which was always a health worry and I didn't enjoy. I don't miss going to the supermarket and handing over all that money, which often came to more than the cost of my food. I don't miss going to the weekly bottle bank, hearing all those empties screaming as they slid from my bag! I laugh watching films, noticing the importance given to drink in every day life, which of course it used to be with cigarettes. My earliest memories include my mother smoking and me thinking how stupid that was; she died of it! I don't look at drinkers that way yet, but will that change?
Why the 90 day challenge? Anyone can give up drink for a week, a bad hangover's good enough to keep you off the bottle for days, but I wanted to feel how a 'non-drinker' felt.
I want to meet part of me, a part I haven't known for 50 years.
Nearly 6 years since I started this blog, and who would have guessed in June 2010, that I 'd be writing and living in Bangkok, 2016. That's after having being in Johannesburg for 2 years, getting married, graduating from the University of Cumbria (BA Hons) and passing my CELTA, qualifying me to teach English Language.
So, driving on, I've set another goal, inspired by the One Year No Beer campaign. I'm taking the 90 day challenge; 90 days without alcohol. This has been gathering steam for years now and I've really psyched myself up for it. Since moving here, I've so many friends who don't drink, they'll think it remarkable that I'll find it a challenge! I'm not a heavy drinker, never during the day (apart from St Patrick's), but nearly always a few glasses in the evening. A habit formed over years, something I do without thinking and very much part of my culture. I've had alcohol since I was a child, it's never been something that was hidden in our house, but having said that, neither of my parents were alcoholics or heavy drinkers. Being half Irish, drink was always going to be difficult to avoid as it's somewhat a national pass-time. Find me a town in the world without an Irish Bar, I'll find you a town in Thailand without a Wat. My kids either don't drink or very rarely do, which is a credit to them. When I joined the army, you couldn't have possibly been a non-drinker. You would have been grouped with the gays and blacks, then socially exterminated! Those were my heaviest drinking years, when getting drunk was something so normal, you couldn't recognise people unless they appeared blurred. There were two main categories...
The violent drinkers: a good friend of mine Dave, referred to it as the 'red mist', which would come down after a certain level of consumption. They couldn't help but pick a fight, and next day, couldn't understand why they had been beaten up, again! The passive drinkers: (Me) First I would start to slur my words, my eyes would go into 'independent control' mode, and I would need to sit down. I couldn't drink over a certain amount as I would be sick, a great safety valve (not always). I would then just fall asleep, regardless of where I was. Along with children came responsibilities, too many sometimes! Drink became an evening thing, rarely during the day, it was a 'before bedtime' habit that lasted through my entire life, until now! Yes I've had some of the best times of my life with a Guinness in my hand, and I'm not sure if I would change that if I could. Just as smokers congregate around smokers, drinkers are much the same. If you lose your habit, you lose many of your friends, not because they disown you, because you are not doing the same thing any more. Like when you have babies, most of your friends become other parents, because your child-free friends are moving in different circles. At the age of 62 my Father became allergic to alcohol, so at 60 I thought I might be lucky too. He wrote to me, and talked about how different life had become without drink and how his perception of everything changed as the 'fog lifted'. You can read that letter on my 'family blog'; which brings me to the subject of blogs. I was going to start one about my 90 day challenge, but decided not to, because how many blogs can you keep up with? It'd be like having 8 diaries and wanting to start a 9th. THIS is my main blog. I know a lot of it is about prostate cancer, but I never wanted that to be the main theme, it was always about life during, and hopefully after. I have several blogs relating to my degree in Wildlife & Media which I never update now, even one on the 6 Nations rugby which I tried one year and gave up on. I have a 'family blog' which is by subscription to family only and other blogs which are parked until the end of this year. So THIS is my one stop blog. What after 90 days? I simply don't know. My idea is not to become a 'non drinker', it's to not let alcohol rule my every evening and every morning (that feeling). I asked my friend George why he gave up, and he said, "Because I got fed up with feeling that way every morning". That comment was a key moment for me, but he said it 4 years ago. I rarely eat meat, but I'm not a vegetarian. I don't want a label, but I don't want to have alcohol as a regular partner, thinking I'm missing something if I don't comply. After only 3 days, I feel huge benefits, more alert in the morning (Beverley would disagree), less tired during the day, eating less and spending less. If you think this might be for you, read on... Join (FREE) and look at www.oneyearnobeer.com , it could change your life for the better. You don't have to give up alcohol for a year or become a non-drinker. You can take the 30, 60 or 90 day challenge, just to show yourself how different you could feel without 'the beer'. I chose 90 because many have said you don't feel the full benefit until 4-6 weeks. My only fear is that because it's such a drastic change to my body chemistry after all these years, that if something happens, like a recurrence of my cancer, or another disease creeps in, the tendency will be to blame my lack of alcohol. I've also read that it can increase my chances of having a stroke, but hey, so can some of the things I see every day in Bangkok. Read this, from Ruari Fairbairns, co founder of 'One Year No Beer' who was born on The Isle of Mull in Scotland....
an earlier blog post I explained that I experienced a number of fringe benefits
during my 90 days off the sauce. I wanted to explain what I mean by this and
also share with you this particular experience. I hope this helps…
I say “fringe benefit” I mean there were upsides to going dry that I never
expected. I had the typical expectations in my head when I started the
challenge, such as weight loss, getting better sleep, being less irritable and
feeling generally a lot healthier. However, I experienced much more than all
main fringe benefit that I experienced was about anxiety. At the time, work was
full on, a lot of travel, presentations, responsibility, blah, blah, blah. We
all have a lot going on, I realise that. I won’t bang on about it.
just a few weeks in of the OYNB challenge, I noticed the change. Firstly,
because I was simply better at my job – I was able to focus on work more, I
procrastinated less, made decisions quickly and generally worked smarter.
Secondly, more importantly, I worried about it all less. Rather than tying
myself up in nots about all the little things, I let it go. I was able to pick
my battles better rather than always feeling like I was on the back foot.
advantages were mostly professional at first, but they did have positive affect
on my home life because I wasn’t bringing any work crap home with me. I was
able to separate my work and home life much better. I played with my kids
without having that sense of loathing and anxiety about the impending work day.
every was rosy. I was happy. Mentally I was chalking up another ‘win’ for me
and my little social experiment. Woop! But… It seems there is always a ‘but’.
In my experience, and I believe other OYNB members agree, there are many
bitter/sweet moments with this challenge. There are huge upsides, but sometimes
these leave you feeling flat when you realise how bad the situation had become.
It dawned on me that I had never before had any problems with anxiety, ever! I
didn’t even notice when this one crept up on me. In fact, I still considered
myself to be a laid back guy, like a teenager. One of my late Step-Father’s
friends once gave me the moniker “the white Jamaican” because of my over-use of
the phrase “no worries” (He was Jamaican. I took it as complement). So what had
happened to me? How long had I been like this? It seemed to me to be dramatic
shift from my core personality.
felt like Edward Norton in Fight Club, that moment when he realised he had been
leading a double life with an alternate persona.
I can’t in good conscience tell that the blame lies squarely with alcohol. I am
not naïve, there are many influences to anxiety and I don’t need a scapegoat
for my own behaviour which was also to blame here. Sometimes daily life, both
personal and work, beats you up a bit. I will admit that, on occasion, I had a
few drinks to deal with it. Never a lot, less than a bottle of wine each time.
I wasn’t drinking until I blocked it out or anything nefarious like that, it
was just a few drinks. I was/still am just a moderate drinker. Which is why I
was so surprised when I realised I had anxiety. I came to the conclusion that
this must have happened over a long period of time, but ultimately the
combination of life and alcohol has my changed my personality.
was a big wake-up call for me. I wanted to find my inner teenager again. Do the
things that I held true to be my core personality. Of course this had to be a
measured response. I have two kids so I wasn’t skipping off to a rock concert
anytime soon. However, I found that even small steps that I took to regain my
personality feel like giant leaps forward.
An earlier post from Ruari....
addict (noun): "to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively"
I find it interesting / convenient the word 'addict' is more commonly associated with drug taking than alcohol consumption. Why is that? I will tell you why, it's because we don't like to share any commonality with this group of social outcasts. We all like a drink, so bringing up addiction and alcohol is too close to home for most of us. Statistically, at least one person in your close social group will consume more than the recommended average. More than 9 million people in England drink more than the recommended guidelines - that is 1 in 5 people. How is it possible for this to be the social norm?
We live in a time where people are more self aware and health conscious than ever before. So why is it so hard to stop doing something that's killing you?
Taking a look at the NHS guidelines it is easy to see where the problem is. The NHS say we should consume no more than 1 pint of (strong) beer / 1 standard glass of wine (which is small by today's standards) a day, or 7 a week. For many of us, who clock up a week's worth of units in one sitting, this is so far away from reality it becomes easy to dismiss as unrealistic, or out of touch with today's society.
Let's talk about our illustrious society for a moment and you can draw your own conclusions about how alcohol has a strangle grip on everything we do:
Alcohol companies have been advertising to you since you were old enough to drink, earlier probably.
Almost every social gathering is deeply associated with drinking. Well, it would be rude not to bring a bottle wouldn't it?
Christmas, although originally a religious holiday, must be the biggest season for booze companies. Everyone suddenly wants a 'Christmas drink"
There is almost no alternative. Imagine yourself in most bars, your choice of non-alcoholic drinks are water, coke, lemonade or fruit juice - or even a granny style tea or coffee. That's it. It's a f@#ing joke. There is more choice between the dusty bottles of champagne behind the bar.
So there it is, we are destined to fail. We have all, every single one of us, been tee-total at some point, either the designated driver, on medication, or maybe mandated by a significant other. It is no wonder why this was the most sinfully boring experience.
It is time for change. We are the rise of the Tee-total Socialites, It is time to listen to our bodies, and not the strange societal conventions we are now accustomed to. It's time to stop associating sober with boring.
Follow these 5 hacks to survive a sober stint:
Don't be a Hermit - so many people fail giving up alcohol because they change their very natural requirement - being sociable. So just do it differently. Take up a new sport, go hiking or, mountain biking on Saturday mornings, try a spin class, juice bar crawl. Everywhere you will meet people on the same journey
Build your Stats - Everyone says, I stopped drinking and I felt better. What does that mean? Go get your body composition done, track your sleep, take the online NHS wellbeing test, weigh yourself - then do it again after you've given up for 90 days and show people in hard FACTS... this is how much better I felt.
Replace the Booze Go to www.alcoholfree.co.uk and order a mixed case of beers - dump the old ones and restock your fridge. So when the neighbours come round for a bbq you will be holding a bottle and they will barely notice. Plus you get all the psychology of drinking, and none of the hangover. AWESOME!
Why are you not drinking? - At some point someone is going to ask you.. why are you not drinking? It's not a time for weakness - you need a well prepared answer that hits back. "Are you kidding me.. kids + hangovers don't mix" "I've entered the London marathon and I want a sub 5hrs" "I'm doing a year off and I'm on day 57" etc.
Find people just like you - You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Are you a booze fiend? or a healthy, happy, loving caring individual? Join a club / community / sport and get among others like you.
These are just some of the hacks that we have an abundance of in our new challengeOne Year No Beer. Whether giving up for a month, 3 months or a year - we have a thriving community to support you and tons of tools to make it easy.
Thousands of prostate cancer patients in England and Wales will no doubt welcome news that cost-regulators have changed their minds on whether to release NHS funding for Janssen’s Zytiga pre-chemotherapy, now endorsing the drug as a cost-effective option.
Back in December the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence turned down Zytiga (abiraterone) for patients for whom chemotherapy is not yet indicated after initial evidence submitted by Janssen failed to demonstrate quality of life and long-term survival.
But during the consultation period the drugmaker submitted extra data from a large group of patients given Zytiga at this stage in the treatment pathway in the US, which showed that 14% were still taking the drug after 4.4 years.
The appraisal committee expressed some concerns about whether these results could be generalised to the UK, but they recognised that the new data supported the case for some patients taking Zytiga for long periods of time. As such, the committee has now issued final guidance concluding that the drug is indeed a cost-effective use of NHS resources.
“I am very pleased that the new evidence submitted has meant we are able to recommend abiraterone,” said Carole Longson, Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE. “There are few treatments available for patients at this stage of prostate cancer so this is very good news.”
Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, which discovered the drug, has welcomed the news: “This is a big victory for men in England with prostate cancer, and means they will finally catch up with the US, Europe and indeed Scotland in being able to access abiraterone earlier in the course of treatment”.
“The answer today is the right one, but I would urge NICE to implement the planned overhaul of its drug appraisal processes as soon as possible to avoid repeated delays in getting the best, most innovative treatments to patients. It’s been more than three years since NICE first started evaluating use of abiraterone pre chemotherapy, and it’s very frustrating that it has taken that long for NICE and the drug’s manufacturer to find a way of making it available cost-effectively.”
Mark Hicken, managing director of Janssen UK & Ireland, said: “We have worked tirelessly for several years to ensure abiraterone, a UK-discovered medicine, which demonstrates long term survival and quality of life benefits for patients, is made widely available for men who cannot have or do not want chemotherapy and are delighted that this is now possible for them”.
But he also stressed that “the length of time taken to gain approval in the UK demonstrates a clear need for reform of the way NICE appraises innovative cancer medicines,” and that Janssen is “concerned that the CDF changes recently approved by NICE and NHS England will only exacerbate these problems, resulting in even greater restrictions for cancer patients in England”.
Zytiga is also approved by NICE for routine use after chemotherapy in patients with metastatic prostate cancer.
Doctors believe a "revolutionary" sound wave technique being used to treat prostate cancer could be as effective as surgery or radiotherapy - and cause fewer side effects.
Tim Dudderidge, a consultant urological surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, is among a small group of clinicians in the UK performing High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) on NHS patients.
The procedure, which sees patients leave hospital the same day, allows surgeons to focus high frequency sound waves directly on to tumours in the prostate gland at 80 to 100C without affecting surrounding healthy tissue.
Although conventional treatments such as surgery to remove the whole prostate - known as radical prostatectomy - or radiotherapy can effectively treat tumours, patients often suffer side effects such as incontinence or impotence.
In a study led by University College Hospital (UCH) in London, researchers followed 625 men - which included 50 patients from Southampton - between 2004 and 2015 with tumours in one part of the prostate which had not spread beyond the gland.
The results, presented by UCH consultant urological surgeon Mr Hashim Ahmed at a meeting of the European Association of Urology in Munich, found 93 per cent of patients who underwent HIFU alone remained cancer-free without any need for surgery or radiotherapy five years after treatment.
In addition, only 1 to 2 per cent of men who underwent HIFU experienced long-term urinary incontinence - compared to between 10 and 20 per cent of men who have had surgery or radiotherapy - and just 15 per cent suffered erectile dysfunction, compared with between 30 and 60 per cent of surgical patients.
Prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50 and is the most common type of cancer in men, with around 37,000 new cases diagnosed in the UK every year.
Mr Dudderidge, who co-authored the study, said: "The results of this study are impressive and have the potential to transform prostate cancer treatment for many men in the future.
"It is extremely exciting technology and these results show that in men diagnosed early by prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood testing, this targeted therapy could be as effective as surgery to remove the whole prostate gland or radiotherapy and cause far fewer side effects."
It's only a week, but it hangs in the air, The evenings are lonely without you here. The lizards are fine, and so is the cat, Well he keeps me company, I imagine that! Eating for one is not much fun, So I eat for two, remembering you. I hear the air-con, it's my best friend, Less fortunates outside rely on the wind. 6 days to go, you'll fly back to me, I'll follow the flight as it crosses the sea. I'll watch your plane land, as I always do, I'll be at the gate to help you through. We'll both go home, where we're never alone, You'll walk in, and the lights will come on. The feeling I have now will drift away, You'll be here, and all will be well.
1 The Complete Genomic Landscape of Prostate Cancer Mapped
PCF provided funding to the International Prostate Cancer “Dream Team,” led by Drs. Arul Chinnaiyan (University of Michigan) and Charles Sawyers (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) to analyze the genetic profile of 150 advanced prostate cancer tumors, providing an unprecedented look at the disease. The resulting complete digital image of the disease, known as the tumor’s genomic landscape, can tell doctors precisely who to treat, and how they should be treated.
This achievement is highly significant because prostate cancer is not a single disease, and its variations are associated with a wide variety of outcomes. Using only a microscope to guide them, there is no way for doctors to match a patient to an optimal treatment. This work begins to change the paradigm of “one-size” treatment fits all.
This work will dramatically improve the care of prostate cancer patients. The Dream Team’s results mean that if a doctor were to biopsy a tumor, there would be nearly a 90% chance that there would be something treatable in its DNA. The doctor could then write a prescription for the most effective course of treatment, whether FDA-approved or experimental.
2 Resolving Health Disparities in Prostate Cancer: New Signatures Identified
In 2015, discoveries in prostate cancer genetics helped us better understand the disproportionate disease burden carried by African-American men, who are 64% more likely to develop prostate cancer than any other race or ethnicity, and 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease. A pioneering study by PCF Young Investigator Kosj Yamoah, MD, PhD (Moffitt Cancer Center) identified 6 new biomarker signatures of aggressive disease in African-American men with prostate cancer. These findings, published in the September 1 issue of Journal of Clinical Oncology, shed much-needed light on the biological factors that predispose African-American men to early, aggressive disease, and provide important targets for future drug development.
This major breakthrough carries with it a new, unanticipated problem: we don’t know the function of most of these genes. In order to address this inequality, we need to do basic science on the function of these genes. It is time to invest resources in this arena and solve this disparity for good. This major breakthrough carries with it a new, unanticipated problem: we don’t know the function of most of these genes. In order to address this inequality, we need to do basic science on the function of these genes. It is time to invest resources in this arena and solve this disparity for good.
3 Key Mechanism of Metastasis Discovered
When considering prostate cancer genomics, there is nothing more significant than identifying new vulnerabilities in the disease – targets that can be exploited with new drugs to put patients into lasting remissions. A team of researchers led by Karen Knudsen, PhD (Thomas Jefferson University) has done just that—their studies revealed that a single molecule called DNA-PK drives cancers from a slow growing, benign disease into a killer.
Under normal conditions, DNA-PK, along with half a dozen other molecules, helps to combat routine DNA damage. However, Dr. Knudsen’s team found that it also helps cancer cells evade many forms of treatment. In men with prostate cancer, they discovered, DNA-PK molecules are recruited by the androgen receptor (AR), which are responsible for feeding male hormones to tumor cells, allowing these mutated cells to survive. By identifying DNA-PK as a key mechanism of metastasis, the team’s research has enormous clinical implications with the potential to impact thousands of prostate cancer patients.
4 Landmark Trial Shows Same Drug Effective in Ovarian, Prostate Cancer
A major new trial, funded in part by PCF, has concluded that olaparib—the world’s first medicine approved for the treatment of ovarian cancer patients with BRCA1/2 defects—can also benefit men with certain types of prostate cancer. Nearly 30% of men with advanced prostate cancer harbor mutated BRCA1/2 genes. In the trial, called TOPARP-A, olaparib significantly benefited as many as one third of prostate cancer patients, including many who did not inherit these cancer genes, but whose tumors acquired these defects over time. TOPARP-A is a major milestone as it is the first study to show the benefit of precision medicine in prostate cancer.The potential benefit of prostate cancer solutions for saving lives from other cancers will soon be realized.
5 Exercise and Healthy Habits Found to Decrease Prostate Cancer Risk
Even with the most sophisticated analyses, genes alone cannot predict with complete certainty if a man will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime. This is why living a healthy lifestyle is imperative. A new study by Stacey Kenfield, ScD and June Chan, ScD (University of California San Francisco) has found that vigorous exercise and other healthy habits may cut a man’s chances of developing lethal prostate cancer by up to 68%. While we have always been aware of the benefits of exercise and nutrition, we now know that it has a direct impact on a man’s prostate health. Not only that, but the same habits that can stave off prostate cancer development and recurrence may also prevent against other age-related illnesses including heart disease and diabetes.
Aspirin is already taken by millions of Britons with heart disease, but now it seems it may also protect men with heart trouble from prostate cancer.
A study of more than 13,000 cardiac patients showed that men taking aspirin had substantially lower levels of prostate cancer than those who did not take it.
Overall, they were 36 per cent less likely to get the disease - and among those who had been taking aspirin regularly for five or more years, the likelihood of the disease dropped by an astonishing 57 per cent.
A spokesman for the Italian team that carried out the study said: 'Our findings indicate that low-dose aspirin might be associated with a reduction of risk of prostate cancer in patients with cardio or cerebrovascular [stroke causing] diseases.
'Raising patients' awareness of its beneficial role in the prevention of prostate cancer might help improve adherence to the long-term therapy for the prevention of vascular problems.'
Aspirin, a painkiller and anti-inflammatory, is widely prescribed to people at risk of heart disease.
In patients whose blood vessels are narrowed from atherosclerosis, or 'furring' of the arteries, fatty deposits on the lining can cause a blocked artery and a heart attack.
Aspirin works by interfering with blood clotting by reducing the clumping together of platelets or clotting cells.
Studies have also suggested it may help prevent colorectal cancers in heart patients. One theory about its anti-cancer effect is that the drug blocks cyclooxygenase or COX enzymes which are involved in the pain and inflammatory process.
COX enzymes may also be involved in the growth of new blood vessels that help cancerous tumours to grow, and that by blocking their activity, aspirin reduces the likelihood of the cancer both growing and also spreading.
Aspirin may trigger cancer cell death too.
There are nearly 50,000 new cases of prostate cancer a year and 11,000 deaths, according to Cancer Research UK.
Almost nine out of ten men diagnosed with prostate cancer survive the disease for five years or more.
The prostate study was carried out by doctors from the Italian College of General Practitioners and Primary Care and reported in the International Journal Of Cancer.