Friday, 30 October 2015

'Milestone' prostate cancer drug

By James Gallagher

  • 29 October 2015
  • From the section Health
Prostate cancer cellImage copyrightSPL
The first drug that targets precise genetic mutations in prostate cancer has been shown to be effective in a "milestone" trial by UK scientists. 
The study, at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, took place on 49 men with untreatable cancer. 
The drug, olaparib, had low overall success, but slowed tumour growth in 88% of patients with specific DNA mutations. 
Cancer Research UK said the trial was exciting.
The future of cancer medicine is treating cancers by their mutated DNA rather than what part of the body they are in. 
The breast cancer drug Herceptin is already used only in patients with specific mutations. Olaparib targets mutations that change the way DNA is repaired. 
DNAImage copyrightThinkstock
The trial results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed the drug worked in 14 out of 16 men with such mutations. 
Levels of Prostate Specific Antigen, which is produced by tumours, was more than halved and there were also significant falls in the number of prostate cancer cells detected in the blood and in the size of secondary tumours.
Patients responded to the drug for between six months and nearly a year and a half.
One of the researchers, Dr Joaquin Mateo, told the BBC News website: "It is very promising.
"Those entering the trial had an expected survival of 10 to 12 months and we have many patients on the drug for longer than a year." 
Prostate cancerImage copyrightSPL
Image captionProstate cancer can spread to bone (in green)
Prostate cancer is the fifth most deadly type of cancer in men. 
However, a larger clinical trial is needed before doctors can say if the drug extends life expectancy.
Dr Mateo added: "This is the first drug that targets specific genetically defined populations and we are going to see more and more of these coming in the next few years." 
The advantage of targeted drugs is they can be given only to those patients who will respond, which both saves money and spares patients unnecessary side effects. 
Some of the patients in the study were born with mutated DNA repair genes while in others the mutation developed inside the tumour. 

'Significant step'

Professor Johann de Bono, the head of drug development at the Institute of Cancer Research said: "Our trial marks a significant step forward in the treatment of prostate cancer.
"I hope it won't be long before we are using olaparib in the clinic to treat prostate cancer."
However, the drugs watchdog in England - the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - has already rejected olaparib for ovarian cancer on grounds - at £4,000 a month - of cost. 
Cancer Research UK's Dr Aine McCarthy added: "This trial is exciting because it could offer a new way to treat prostate cancer by targeting genetic mistakes in cancers that have spread. 
"The hope is that this approach could help save many more lives in the future."

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Try not to laugh at this...

The world of 'Prostate Cancer Blogs' can be a gloomy place sometimes. 
         So here's 12 minutes that will brighten up anyone's day.

 Play here  

Monday, 26 October 2015

A new way of monitoring biodiversity

I attended Cumbria University 2009/2013 where I gained a BAhons Degree in Wildlife and Media. On that course I met a young student, Matthew Leiper, an eccentric but really nice guy, who  many thought would have gone far on the stage. Well this is a short wildlife film that he, along with Maria Cristina Ramasco and Nicolo' Roccatagliata, have just released. It introduces us to a new way of monitoring biodiversity, with a particular focus on sharks. I think you'll agree, they've done an amazing job.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

World's largest ever clinical trial: Aspirin v Cancer Recurrence

The world’s largest ever clinical trial looking at whether taking aspirin every day stops some of the most common cancers coming back, launches across the UK today.
“This trial is especially exciting as cancers that recur are often harder to treat so finding a cheap and effective way to prevent this is potentially game-changing for patients.” - Dr Fiona Reddington, Cancer Research UK
The Add-Aspirin phase III trial*, the largest of its kind and funded by Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research(link is external), aims to find out if taking aspirin every day for five years can stop or delay cancers that have been caught and treated at an early stage from returning. It will also study how the drug might do this.
The study will recruit 11,000 patients who have recently had, or are having, treatment for bowel, breast, oesophagus (food pipe), prostate or stomach cancer. It will be open at more than 100 centres across the UK and will run for up to 12 years.
The study will compare two groups of people taking different doses of aspirin** and a group taking placebo (dummy) tablets.
Aspirin is already proven to help prevent heart attacks and strokes in some people, and research has suggested that it could also prevent some types of cancer.
Professor Ruth Langley, chief investigator from the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL(link is external), said: “There’s been some interesting research suggesting that aspirin could delay or stop early stage cancers coming back, but there’s been no randomised trial to give clear proof. This trial aims to answer this question once and for all. If we find that aspirin does stop these cancers returning, it could change future treatment – providing a cheap and simple way to help stop cancer coming back and helping more people survive.
“But, unless you are on the trial, it’s important not to start taking aspirin until we have the full results as aspirin isn’t suitable for everyone, and it can have serious side effects. Please speak to your oncologist or research nurse if you would like to join the Add-Aspirin trial.”
Mother of two Alex King, 51, was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2009. She said: “Having cancer was one of the toughest experiences of my life, but thankfully I was one of the lucky ones given the all-clear and I’ve been free of cancer for five years now. Any opportunity to reduce the chance of cancer coming back is incredibly important so patients can rest more easily, and it’s brilliant to see that Cancer Research UK is launching this new trial to see if aspirin can help do this.”
Professor Tom Walley, director of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment (link is external)(HTA) programme, said: “We have funded the Add-Aspirin trial because it offers the exciting possibility of improved outcomes for patients, with a simple well tolerated intervention. The NIHR HTA programme prides itself on funding pragmatic clinical trials like this that can lead to tangible benefits to patients and could help fill important knowledge gaps for the NHS.”
Dr Fiona Reddington, Cancer Research UK’s head of population research, said: “Aspirin’s possible effects on cancer are fascinating and we hope this trial will give us a clear answer on whether or not the drug helps stop some cancers coming back.
“This trial is especially exciting as cancers that recur are often harder to treat so finding a cheap and effective way to prevent this is potentially game-changing for patients.”
For more information about the trial call 0808 800 4040 to speak to Cancer Research UK’s information nurses or visit is external)

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The 'human' rat

We are right in the middle of a mass extinction. 

What can be done? How can we stop this?

Or is the earth just healing itself from the 'human' rat? 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

UFO's off the coast of Thailand?

From our balcony
Some very special friends have given us access to a beautiful apartment overlooking the Bay of Thailand, south of Hua Hin. It’s their winter here, so temperatures have dropped to the high 80’s at night, not a cloud in the sky, and you still melt during the day. It’s dark now, and the fishing boats are dotted around outside, their green fluorescent lights like some UFO invasion staring in on us. These little boats are fishing for squid that are attracted nearer the surface by the lights. The green glow from thousands of vessels around the coast of Thailand can be seen at night from the International Space Station.

I could easily live here, it’s much smaller than Bangkok, the town running off just one main road makes finding and remembering places far easier.

A strange phenomena that was apparent also in Bangkok, but is far more 'in your face' here, the vast amount of older men from Europe and the States, with very young Thai women. OK, I’ve been out with girls far younger than me, 10 or 20 years is cool, but this age gap is massive, as much as 50/60 years. It looks strange, but I guess it wouldn’t happen if there wasn’t something to be gained by both sides. When I go out alone in Bangkok I’m often approached by women asking if I’m looking for a wife. I make light of it, saying, “No, certainly not, one is all I can cope with”.

I’ve certainly fallen in love with this country and moving outside Bangkok for the first time has confirmed this. Why? That’s very difficult to quantify. Respect for older people has to be the 'big one', similar to South Africa in that way. I’ve said it before, but in the UK we treat older folk as an inconvenience, but here you are more of an icon, someone to be listened to. Am I old? I think of myself now as one of the younger ‘old people’, a more comfortable position than one of the older ‘middle aged’. 
What else? This is a respectful society here, it’s completely unacceptable to be anti-social, so people rarely are. We think we live in a freer society in England, because it’s ok to fall out of a bar, get sick in the street and your mates think you’re a hero. Family matters here and you wouldn't want to disgrace them, however, the family unit is very weak in the UK, and as such, society as a whole suffers. There was a time when children could be chastised by any adult if they were found misbehaving, but now we offer a ‘no rules’ package which leaves our kids floundering as they enter adulthood.
Then there’s the obvious, the price of almost everything is cheaper. We fill our car up with £18, food is generally half price, though a nice piece of cheese is double the UK price. Eating out is silly money, with lunch around £1.50 and dinner maybe £3 in most small Thai eateries. You can pay more at upmarket places but why bother when you can get authenticity by the bucket load.
NHS? Well everyone in Thailand has access to some sort of hospital, the main difference, if your poorer you wait a bit longer and your hospital isn’t as nice. Many hospitals here are like 5 star hotels and offer world-class treatment, but at a price. Taxis are ridiculously cheap, as are the busses and trains. A 3 mile taxi ride, maybe £0-80, a 3 mile train ride £0-20, a 3 mile boat ride £0-30 or a bus or motor bike taxi at £0-15.
Are there any downsides to living here? Yes, if you’re a twat, you could find life constantly ‘uncomfortable’ because society will view and treat you as such. 

I continue to enjoy life here and ever week gets better and better. I can imagine the day I leave Thailand will be the unhappiest day ever.

So now it's morning and I thought we'd try and find where these little UFO's park up during the day. The little fishing port was just around the headland, with dozens of boats tied up after the night at sea. Nothing fancy here, just hard working, rugged little ships that look like they'd been around for a very long time. Nobody minded as we strolled along the harbour, amazed at everything we saw. 'Sawadikap' (hello) was all it took for people to warm to us, and they were happy to show what they were working at. Squid in abundance, all sizes, but also a variety of crabs, fish, prawns and even things we'd never seen before. The processing was going on all round us, the whole family involved in gutting, cleaning or repairing nets.
I love fruit

What do monkeys eat? Bananas of course! Not around here! Crabs, and they love'em. Do monkeys dive and swim in the sea? Of course not! Oh yes, they do here and they're in and out of the water just for fun, dive bombing each other.
We had a mixed seafood lunch in a little place across from the boats, £3 fed us both, including the tip. This little port/fish market was the highlight of my time in Thailand to date, and we'll definitely visit again before we go back.

Crab lunch? Well, on the table next to us.

Squid, out to dry

Fresh today

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Vegetarian Festival, China Town, Bangkok...

I've taken this great article from 'Travel Fish', as we head down the river to China Town for this evenings celebrations at the Vegetarian Festival in Bangkok's China Town.
As Asian countries go, Thailand is not so easy for vegetarians or vegans. Yet for nine days each year during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar (typically late September/October), a large portion of the country’s population eat exclusively vegan foods in observation of the Chinese cleansing festival known as Tesakan Kin Jay (literally, ‘festival for eating vegan’), or the Vegetarian Festival. Elaborate festivities take place in Phuket, but Bangkok’s Chinatown is also a great place to sample vegan fare while soaking up the festive atmosphere.
Chinatown never has a shortage of energy, but it's taken to another level during the festival.
Chinatown’s energy is taken to another level during the festival.
An expression of the deeply rooted Chinese influence in Thailand, the Vegetarian Festival honours the nine Taoist emperor gods embodied by the nine stars of the big dipper constellation. Although its popularity has declined within China itself, the festival is also a big deal in SingaporeMalaysia and Burma.
The festival is most prominent among Thailand’s Chinese minority, but it’s also observed by millions of Thais with little or no Chinese background. Throughout the nine days, Chinese temples and shrines are abuzz with a carnival-like atmosphere that incorporates chanting by monks, noisy percussive routines (to awaken the spirits) and plenty of vegan feasting.
A very noisy display of percussion at a shrine in Chinatown.
A very loud display of percussion at a shrine in Chinatown.
Many in Thailand celebrate the festival in whatever way that suits them, but 10 rules are traditionally observed. These are: to keep the body clean; to prepare food only with utensils that have never touched meat; to wear all white or yellow; to keep the mind mentally calm and serene; to eat entirely vegan and to refrain from pungent foods like garlic and onion; to refrain from sex; to refrain from alcohol and drugs; to refrain from attending the festival while in mourning; and to refrain from attending while pregnant or menstruating.
Frying up sweet vegan rice cakes next to Yaowarat Road in Chinatown.
Frying up sweet vegan rice cakes next to Yaowarat Road in Chinatown.
In Phuket, the festival also incorporates acts of self-mutilation known as maa songMaa is the Thai word for horse, and those who carry out this custom are believed to become possessed by the emperor spirits as a horse is controlled by a rider. The most common act of maa song is to pierce the cheeks with large knives and swords, and those who participate are thought to be protected from pain by the spirits. This aspect of the festival never existed in China and is believed to have been adopted from the Hindu festival, Thaipusam, which is celebrated in SingaporeIndia and Malaysia.
For the casual traveller who’s not keen on sticking blades through their face, a day of sampling ahaan jay (vegan food) is a less dramatic way to enjoy the festival. Countless regular noodle shops, street stalls and restaurants discontinue serving meat during Tesakan Kin Jay, instead preparing totally vegan dishes that often incorporate tofu and a range of delicious handmade meat substitutes.
Thailand can produce some phenomenal vegan food when it wants to.
Thailand can produce some phenomenal vegan food.
Vendors taking part in the festival are marked by yellow flags and aprons with the word jay written in red Thai script. Vegan food sellers may be found in urban neighbourhoods and rural villages throughout the country across the Vegetarian Festival, but in Chinatown you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone selling meat. Strictly speaking, those who aren’t refraining from meat are not permitted to enter an area surrounded by yellow flags for fear that they'll attract unwholesome spirits.
Just look for the yellow flag.
Just look for the yellow flag.
A dizzying array of vegan dishes and finger foods are found during the festival in Chinatown. We sampled fried bean cakes, grilled lotus root and a range of vegetable dumplings before choosing from a healthy selection of kap khao style vegan curries and stir-fries and sauteed egg-wheat noodles tossed with meat substitutes and veggies.
Vegan noodles from a Chinatown vendor who typically sells meat.
Vegan noodles from a Chinatown vendor who typically sells meat.
The average Thai will eat vegan foods for three to 10 days while making a conscious effort to cleanse both the body and mind. Observing the festival each year is believed to contribute to a long and healthy life.
Healthy grilled lotus root -- now that is long life food.
Healthy grilled lotus root — now that is long-life food.
No matter where you are in Thailand, Tesakan Kin Jay offers a unique opportunity to enjoy some fantastic vegan food in an otherwise meat-obsessed country. If you happen to be in Phuket, an unexpected dose of self-mutilation might sneak its way into your beach holiday, but Bangkok’s Chinatown offers a worthy alternative. The festival culminates with a rip-roaring street procession on Yaowarat Road. Hope you like the sound of huge cymbals and drums being banged upon.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Cool, calm and delightful...

Quá hay luôn. Đúng là tuổi trẻ tài cao (y)Nguồn: Design Or Die
Posted by 2! Idol on Saturday, 5 September 2015

One of my all time favourite cartoons...

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Thai nickname...

Just about every Thai person has a nickname by which they are known informally, given to them by their parents at birth. The pervasive use of nicknames in this way apparently comes from the old belief that evil spirits ( ปีศาจ ปีศาจ ) are constantly on the lookout for newborn children to snatch away and control, but using a nickname instead of a normal Thai name confuses the spirits and helps to keep the child safe. This is not a widespread belief nowadays of course, but nonetheless the use of nicknames remains so widespread in Thailand that it's not uncommon for friends to know each other for years and yet not know each other's real name and surname. 
The nicknames given may be a contraction of their real name, but most often Thai parents take inspiration for the nickname from a wide variety of other sources instead. Names based on someone's appearance at birth are common. I've come across a variety of others, such as 'Link' 'Stingray' 'Hulk' 'Tree' 'King' 'Gold' 'Moo' 'Cake' and 'Ping-Pong'.

So can I have a Thai name? Why not!

I have decided on 'Bacsi', pronounced 'Bartchi', similar to 'Bhaji' as in 'Onion Bahji'; don't you love them?

A few years back, I was visiting a small but wonderous town in Romania, called Ozsdola. The locals started calling me, 'Daniel Bahji'; well that's what it sounded like. When I enquired, it was a word of respect, usually given to older people. Not always though, you had to earn it, and it could be taken away if you didn't deserve it. So you couldn't give yourself that name, it was bestowed upon you. I was proud to be 'Daniel Bahji'.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Buddhism began in India, 2,500 years ago...

Sukhothai Historical Park, Bangkok
Buddhism began in India 2,500 years ago and, although virtually extinct in India, it remains the dominant world religion in the East. There are over 360 million followers of Buddhism worldwide and over one million American Buddhists. There even a significant number of "Jewish Buddhists." Buddhist concepts have also been influential on western society in general, primarily in the areas of meditation and nonviolence.
Buddhist beliefs and practices are based on the teachings of the Buddha ("Enlightened One"), an Indian prince named Siddharta Gautama who lived around 500 BCE. According to Buddhist tradition, the young prince lived an affluent and sheltered life until a journey during which he saw an old man, a sick man, a poor man, and a corpse. Shocked and distressed at the suffering in the world, Gautama left his family to seek enlightenment through asceticism. But even the most extreme asceticism failed to bring enlightenment. Finally, Gautama sat beneath a tree and vowed not to move until he had attained enlightenment. Days later, he arose as the Buddha - the "enlightened one." He spent the remaining 45 years of his life teaching the path to liberation from suffering (the dharma) and establishing a community of monks (the sangha).
Over its long history, Buddhism has grown into a variety of forms ranging from an emphasis on religious rituals and the worship of deities, to a complete rejection of both rituals and deities in favor of pure meditation. Yet all forms of Buddhism share respect for the teachings of the Buddha and the goal of ending suffering and the cycle of rebirth. Theravada Buddhism, prominent in Southeast Asia, is atheistic and philosophical in nature and focuses on the monastic life and meditation as means to liberation.
Mahayana Buddhism, prominent in China and Japan, incorporates several deities, celestial beings, and other traditional religious elements. In Mahayana, the path to liberation may include religious ritual, devotion, meditation, or a combination of these elements. Zen, Nichiren, Tendai, and Pure Land are the major forms of Mahayana Buddhism.

Friday, 2 October 2015

The Side Effects of Chemotherapy on the Body

Chemotherapy drugs are powerful enough to kill rapidly growing cancer cells, but they also can harm perfectly healthy cells, causing side effects throughout the body.

The Side Effects of Chemotherapy on the Body

Cancer cells divide more quickly than healthy cells, and chemotherapy drugs effectively target those cells. Unfortunately, fast-growing cells that are healthy can be damaged too. There are many different chemotherapy drugs with the potential for many different side effects. These effects vary from person to person and from treatment to treatment.
Factors that play a role in side effects include other ongoing treatments, previous health issues, age, and lifestyle. Some patients experience few side effects while others feel quite ill. Although most side effects clear up shortly after treatment ends, some may continue well after chemotherapy has ended, and some may never go away.
Chemotherapy drugs are most likely to affect cells in the digestive tract, hair follicles, bone marrow, mouth, and reproductive system. However, cells in any part of the body may be damaged.

Circulatory and Immune Systems

Routine blood count monitoring is a crucial part of chemotherapy. That’s because the drugs can harm cells in the bone marrow, where blood is produced. This can result in several problems. Red blood cells carry oxygen to tissues. Anemia occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells, making you feel extremely fatigued. Other symptoms of anemia include:
          • lightheadedness
          • pale skin
          • difficulty thinking
          • feeling cold
          • general weakness
Chemo can lower your white blood cell count, which results in neutropenia. White blood cells play an important role in the immune system: they help fight infection and ward off illness. Symptoms aren’t always obvious, but a low white blood cell count raises the risk of infection and illness. People with an immune system weakened by chemotherapy must take precautions to avoid exposure to viruses, bacteria, and other germs.
Cells called platelets help the blood clot. A low platelet count, called thrombocytopenia, means you’re likely to bruise and bleed easily. Symptoms include nosebleeds, blood in vomit or stools, and heavier-than-normal menstruation.
Some chemo drugs can weaken the heart muscle, resulting in cardiomyopathy, or disturb the heart rhythm, causing arrhythmia. This can affect the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. Some chemo drugs can increase the risk of heart attack. These problems are less likely to occur if your heart is strong and healthy at the start of chemotherapy.

Nervous and Muscular Systems

The central nervous system controls emotions, thought patterns, and coordination. Chemotherapy drugs may cause problems with memory, or make it difficult to concentrate or think clearly. This symptom sometimes is called “chemo fog,” or “chemo brain.” This mild cognitive impairment may go away following treatment, or may linger for years. Severe cases can add to anxiety and stress.
Some chemo drugs can cause pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy). Muscles may feel tired, achy, or shaky. Reflexes and small motor skills may be slowed. It’s not unusual to experience problems with balance and coordination.

Digestive System

Some of the most common side effects of chemotherapy involve the digestive tract. Mouth sores and dry mouth can make it difficult to chew and swallow. Sores also may form on the tongue, lips, gums, or in the throat. Mouth sores can make you more susceptible to bleeding and infection. Many patients complain of a metallic taste in the mouth, or a yellow or white coating on the tongue. Food may taste unusual or unpleasant.
These powerful drugs can harm cells along the gastrointestinal tract. Nausea is a common symptom, and may result in bouts of vomiting. However, anti-nausea medications given in conjunction with chemotherapy drugs can help alleviate this symptom.
Other digestive issues include loose stools or diarrhea. In some people, hard stools and constipation can be a problem. This may be accompanied by pressure, bloating, and gas. Take care to avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Side effects involving the digestive system can contribute to loss of appetite and feeling full even though you haven’t eaten much. Weight loss and general weakness are common. Despite all this, it’s important to continue eating healthy foods.

Hair, Skin, and Nails (Integumentary System)

Many chemotherapy drugs affect the hair follicles and can cause hair loss (alopecia) within a few weeks of the first treatment. Hair loss can occur on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes, and body. As troubling as it can be, hair loss is temporary. New hair growth usually begins several weeks after the final treatment.
Some patients experience minor skin irritations like dryness, itchiness, and rash. You may develop sensitivity to the sun, making it easier to burn. Your doctor can recommend topical ointments to soothe irritated skin.
Fingernails and toenails may turn brown or yellow, and become ridged or brittle. Nail growth may slow down, and nails may crack or break easily. In severe cases, they can actually separate from the nail bed. It’s important to     take good care of your nails to avoid infection.

Sexual and Reproductive System

Chemotherapy drugs can have an effect on your hormones. In women, hormonal changes can bring on hot flashes, irregular periods, or sudden onset of menopause. They may become temporarily or permanently infertile. Women on chemotherapy may experience dryness of vaginal tissues that can make intercourse uncomfortable or painful. The chance of developing vaginal infections is increased. Chemotherapy drugs given during pregnancy can cause birth defects. In men, some chemo drugs can harm sperm or lower sperm count, and temporary or permanent infertility is possible.
Symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, and hormonal fluctuations may interfere with sex drive in both men and women. So can worrying about loss of hair and other changes in appearance. However, many people on chemotherapy continue to enjoy an intimate relationship and an active sex life.

Kidneys and Bladder (Excretory System)

The kidneys work to excrete the powerful chemotherapy drugs as they move through your body. In the process, some kidney and bladder cells can become irritated or damaged. Symptoms of kidney damage include decreased urination, swelling of the hands and feet (edema), and headache. Symptoms of bladder irritation include a feeling of burning when urinating and increased urinary frequency.
You’ll be advised to drink plenty of fluids to flush the medication from your system and to keep your system functioning properly. Note: Some medications cause urine to turn red or orange for a few days. This isn’t cause for concern.

Skeletal System

Most people—and especially women—lose some bone mass as they age. Some chemotherapy drugs can cause calcium levels to drop and contribute to bone loss. This can lead to cancer-related osteoporosis, especially in post-menopausal women and those whose menopause was brought on suddenly due to chemotherapy.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), women who have been treated for breast cancer are at increased risk for osteoporosis and bone fracture. This is due to the combination of the drugs and the drop in estrogen levels. Osteoporosis increases the risk of bone fractures and breaks. The most common areas of the body to suffer breaks are the spine and pelvis, hips, and wrists.

Psychological and Emotional Toll

Living with cancer and dealing with chemotherapy can exact an emotional toll. You may feel fearful, stressed, or anxious about your appearance and your health. Some people may suffer from depression. Juggling work, financial, and family responsibilities while undergoing cancer treatment can become overwhelming.
Many cancer patents turn to complementary therapies like massage and meditation for relaxation and relief. If you have trouble coping, mention it to your doctor. They may be able to suggest a local cancer support group where you can speak with others who are undergoing cancer treatment. If feelings of depression persist, professional counseling may be necessary.

See more at:


Have you heard of 'MeetUp'?

In the UK I never found reason to search for a group like this, because you can go for a walk most places at any time, with very little chance of your safety being in danger.

In Johannesburg, if you fancied a nice walk in the countryside, going with 20 other people was about the only way to guarantee your security. Even then, one of our groups with over 20 people in were held up by 2 armed men and robbed.

In Bangkok, you are safer walking out alone than even in the UK, so why join MeetUp?
Well, it's a great way to make new friends, which otherwise, you might have never met.

When I arrived here a couple of months ago, Beverley soon started work and the plan was that I started a CELTA course which would have qualified me to teach English. I injured my back and couldn't start the course, so I became a 'house husband'. For 40 years of my life I had been the 'bread winner', now here I was, ironing, washing, cleaning and cooking; bored doesn't cover it. As we live in a Thai area, very few people speak English, and if I was to not go stir crazy, or worse, slip into depression, I had to do something.

I started the 'Bangkok English Speakers Lunch Group'. I wanted to be at home in the evenings and had no problem occupying my time on the weekend, with endless sightseeing in Bangkok. Monday to Friday, I needed to look forward to more, and I was sure there would be other people in my position.

We have had 4 meetings to date at different venues and some first class lunches, mainly less than £3. There are 131 people  signed up, but I limit the lunch group to around 16, first come, first served. Nationalities so far have been Thai, USA, Dutch, Canadian, English, Finish, French, Philippine, the list just grows. Age group from teens to, well, probably me. We are from all walks of life, and some extremely interesting people, many who are quickly becoming good friends.

If you want to start a MeetUp group, whatever country you're in, go to...

You can either organise your own group or join many of the dozens of existing groups in your area.
Don't worry, you'll be guided through the whole process and believe me, it could transform your week.