Tuesday, 21 June 2016

BEWARE! Your choice, surgery or radiotherapy, is about to disappear...

When diagnosed with localised prostate cancer, if the cancer is low grade and still well contained, you may be offered other treatment, such as brachytherapy or even just watchful waiting, to see how things progress.

However, if treatment is recommended because the cancer is starting to become well established, there are usually two choices on offer, surgery or radiotherapy.
After talking to the specialists involved, only you can make that choice, nobody makes it for you. The outcomes are roughly the same and each has its equal share of advantages/disadvantages, so it's no easy choice. 
I opted for surgery, simply because I wanted to leave my cancer in a 'bin' at the hospital and not carry it around in my body as a dead radiated lump. It seemed cleaner, I have no regrets.
Surgery costs around £30,000 and radiation, less than a third of that price. 
I'm now wondering, with the NHS run extensively by accountants, if there will soon be only one choice, and this is how we are being sold it.
What do you think?

Read this from the BBC today...

Hard-and-fast prostate radiotherapy 'a win-win for NHS'

  • The NHS could save money and patients' time by giving fewer but 
    stronger doses of radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, say experts.
The UK doctors told the Lancet Oncology there was now enough proof the hard-and-fast treatment worked just as well and did not cause more side-effects. 
For a patient, the new regime would mean 17 fewer trips to hospital. 
Nationally, it would free more than 150,000 visits, saving the NHS tens of millions of pounds each year.
Prostate cancer makes up more than a quarter of the workload of UK radiotherapy departments, and many cancer centres are already making savings by following the new regime.
Prof David Dearnaley and his team, from the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital, say others should do the same.


They estimate about 10,000 men a year could benefit from the new treatment regime.
The treatment is given over four weeks instead of seven and a half, and uses higher doses of radiation to zap the prostate gland and kill the cancer. 
Studies in thousands of men suggest giving 20 high doses for a month is as effective as giving 37 standard doses over two months. 
Prof Dearnaley said: "There are no losers with this. Everybody wins - the NHS and patients."
The work was part-funded by the Department of Health and Cancer Research U.K.
Prof Arnie Purushotham, of Cancer Research UK, said: "It is clear that this is safe and effective, so it is now up to the NHS to ensure all men who are suitable are offered this treatment immediately."

Friday, 17 June 2016

Good news for future treatment...

Laser that can zap prostate tumours: Pioneering therapy could stop thousands of men needing surgery 

  • Technology 'fuses' MRI scanner with ultrasound to identify diseased cells
  • A precisely targeted laser fibre is then heated up to annihilate them
  • Expert says procedure is 'akin to a lumpectomy for breast cancer' 

A pioneering therapy using high powered laser beams may cure prostate cancer, according to research.
The sci-fi style technology doesn't require surgery and has already been successful in zapping the tumours of 19 men.
It 'fuses' an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner with ultrasound to identify diseased cells. A precisely targeted laser fibre is then heated up to annihilate them.
A pioneering therapy using high powered laser beams may cure prostate cancer, according to research (stock image)
A pioneering therapy using high powered laser beams may cure prostate cancer, according to research (stock image)

Urologist Professor Leonard Marks, of the University of California, Los Angeles, said: 'Our feeling was if you can see prostate cancer using the fusion MRI and can put a needle in the spot to biopsy it, why not stick a laser fibre in the tumour the same way to kill it.
'This is akin to a lumpectomy for breast cancer.
'Instead of removing the whole organ, target just the cancer inside it.
'What we are doing with prostate cancer now is like using a sledgehammer to kill a flea.'
The technique, called focal laser ablation, was first used on eight participants by guiding the laser fibre into the cancerous tissue just with MRI.

Six months later there were no serious side effects or changes in urinary or sexual function.

A follow up study involving eleven subjects then showed the clinical potential of the therapy using a machine known as Artemis that combines both MRI and ultrasound.
The procedure was well tolerated under local anaesthetic, after four months, they have also had no problems.
Prof Marks said if the laser treatment proves effective in further studies it could mean thousands of men avoiding surgery and radiation, which can result in erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.
The sci-fi style technology doesn't require surgery and has already been successful in zapping the tumours of 19 men (stock image)
The sci-fi style technology doesn't require surgery and has already been successful in zapping the tumours of 19 men (stock image)
Up until now, capturing an image of a prostate cancer has been difficult because the healthy and tumour tissue appear so similar.
Accurate non invasive treatment has proved difficult as a result.
The new fusion imaging method provides real time ultrasound that more clearly delineates the tumour.
It has already proved successful at performing biopsies in difficult to diagnose prostate cancers.
Such biopsies are usually 'blind,' meaning physicians take a tissue sample based on what they believe is the location of a possible tumour.
The researchers say they have proved in principle laser ablation can be done safely and effectively with MRI, although longer term follow-up is needed as well as continued assessment to ensure cure,
Prof Marks said: 'This focal therapy provides a middle ground for men to choose between radical prostatectomy and active surveillance, between doing nothing and losing the prostate.
'This is a new and exciting concept for prostate cancer treatment.'
The laser treatment is not yet approved for use in prostate cancer by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Added Prof Marks: 'I think we were so successful in this effort because of the experience we gained doing the targeted biopsies.
'That allowed us to go from biopsy to treatment.'
The first study has been published in the Journal of Urology, while the second was presented at the American Urology Association meeting in San Diego.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3640085/Laser-zap-prostate-tumours-Pioneering-therapy-stop-thousands-men-needing-surgery.html#ixzz4Boqy1YXs

Monday, 13 June 2016

The 90 day challenge! Did I make it?

But feeling stronger....

It was day 61 when I decided to jump ship.

It wasn't a desire to drink, that had gone after the first month. 

So what was it?
The numbers game was doing my head in, 43 days, 51 days, 55 days, who cares? I didn't get into it for that reason, I wanted to change my relationship with alcohol, and at 60 days, I had. My daughter Chantal said, I could claim success when I no longer talked about it, when it was no longer a 'big deal'. With a countdown number arriving every day, I couldn't stop thinking/talking about it, but now I can.  Would any other changes have occurred in my mind, had I stayed on to 90 days? It's possible, my guess would be yes, but I was delighted with what 60 days brought. It showed me a far better life outside the 'cloud' that all regular drinkers are mainly unaware of. You can only become aware of that 'cloud' when you've been off drink for at least a month. 

It's so worth anyone trying the 30 day challenge, just to feel how amazing even a month off the booze can be. 

So now, I'm about a stone and a half lighter, I've a clear mind every day and saved a lot of money. I never, ever drink Sunday to Thursday, and IF I drink on Friday or Saturday, it's a very small amount. I went to a party at the British Club on the weekend, and watched the Australia v England rugby, with some very 'shit faced' fans, while I happily drank water and lemon soda. I'm sure I look healthier, I've got so much more energy and I sleep like a stone; I'm happy with that. I'd like to think I can stay on board with the OYNB crew because you've got it so right guys. In the next 365 days, I may drink on 50 or 60 of those, that's a big drop from 365.

Join up here to experience a better life...

Sunday, 5 June 2016

"I've made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven't lived in vain."

His daughter said this morning that when he died, all his major organs had failed, but it took 30 minutes for his heart to stop. Guess that didn't surprise any of us.

I was the only one in the room with my Father when he died, and it was exactly the same; he just wouldn't stop living. He'd been in a coma all day, and I'd sat with him, occasionally nodding into sleep. A few hours before he died, he raised his hand and gave me a thumbs-up sign. The doctors had to stop his heart to let him go, and that was a relief for both of us, as at last he could rest. 

My earliest memories are sitting and listening to the legendary (Cassius Clay) fights on the radio, and it was also these rare occasion that my dad would sit with me; maybe because we only had one radio! Boy did he love those fights, he would punch the air as he listened and even smile sometimes. It was great to have that in common and to share rare moments that seemed to melt the ice that was always there.

I feel very sad at the passing of Mohammad Ali, a link to my childhood never to be forgotten. Wish I could travel back in time and listen to that radio again.


Prostate cancer aggression 'linked to waist size'

 Prostate cancer cell

Image captionNearly 11,000 men die from prostate cancer in the UK every year

Men with larger waistlines could be at higher risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer, a study has suggested.
Research on 140,000 men from eight European countries found that a 4in (10cm) larger waist circumference could increase the chances of getting the cancer by 13%.
Men were most at risk when their waist was bigger than 37in (94cm), the University of Oxford study found.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.
The study, which was presented at the European Obesity Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, looked at the association between body measurements in men in their 50s and prostate cancer risk over 14 years.
In that time, there were about 7,000 cases of prostate cancer, of which 934 were fatal. 
The researchers found that men with a higher body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference had an increased risk of high grade prostate cancer, an aggressive form of the disease.
For example, men with a waist size of 37in (94cm) had a 13% higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer than men with a waist of 33in (84cm).
Scientists also observed a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer with increased BMI and increased waist circumference.
NHS Choices says there is a higher risk of health problems for men with a waist size of more than 94cm (37in) and for women of more than 80cm (31.5in).

Prostate cancer facts

  • About 47,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK
  • More than 10,800 men die from it every year in the UK
  • One in eight men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime
  • More than 330,000 men are living with or after prostate cancer
Source: Prostate Cancer UK

Dr Aurora Perez-Cornago from the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford said the study showed that the association between body size and prostate cancer was complex and varied by disease aggressiveness.
She said it was likely to be down to cancer-causing hormones in fat cells, but this had not yet been proven.
Her advice was that "men should try to maintain a healthy weight and if possible lose weight around their waist".
But she added that the study had not specifically looked at the impact of losing weight on prostate cancer risk.
A spokesman for Prostate Cancer UK said: "Maintaining a healthy weight and staying active can protect against many diseases, including cancer.
"This research adds to a growing body of evidence that shows that weight and waist size could be another crucial risk factor for men to be aware of when it comes to protecting themselves against prostate cancer."
Thea Cunningham, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said more research was need to get a clearer picture of the link.
"It isn't clear whether excess weight itself is causing men to develop aggressive prostate cancers, or if prostate cancers are less likely to be picked up at an early stage in overweight men, meaning their prostate cancer may be aggressive or advanced by the time it is diagnosed.
She added: "Keeping a healthy weight can help men reduce their risk of several other cancers including bowel cancer."