Is there a trend?

Blood Tests This month I had oncology and haematology appointments only a week apart so I thought it silly to go for two separate blood tests.  Off I went to the surgery with two blood test forms and found that the phlebotomist also had one form (from my GP) so she had the challenge of seeing how they differed and whether she could combine them and avoid taking too many gallons of my red stuff. After all, they all wanted a FBC, LFT and U&E (that’s a Full Blood Count, Liver Function Test and Urea and Electrolytes). In  addition Oncology, not surprisingly, wanted a PSA figure (I would be worried if they hadn’t asked for that)  and my GP wanted a couple of other things. Continue reading “Is there a trend?”

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Better diagnosis?

In Faster diagnosis? I mentioned developments in MRI technology (which could also lead to better diagnosis). Scientists at Dundee University have been working on developments in ultrasound – a technique called shear wave elastography. This relies on the fact that cancerous tissue is stiffer than non-cancerous tissue. This can be detected on an ultrasound scan and so cancerous tissue can be pinpointed more accurately. The information obtained allows a better diagnosis which in turn leads to better treatment. In addition it should be cheaper than an MRI scan and so be more widely available. Continue reading “Better diagnosis?”

Faster diagnosis?

Ten years ago I was invited to give a talk at one of the monthly socials run by the Amersham & Chesham branch of the MS Society. Since then I have been asked back half a dozen times and fortunately I have found half a dozen other topics to talk about. Therefore when I spotted an Article by BBC reporter Caroline Wyatt titled How I’m feeling after my MS ‘body reboot’ I thought I would read it.

It is a well written (as you would expect) and thought provoking piece. Continue reading “Faster diagnosis?”

Fine tuning the PSA sledgehammer

San Diego Dan has posted a link to an interesting article on various approaches to refining the PSA test. As I said a while ago a raised PSA really only shouts “Have more tests” since it is possible to have prostate cancer with a PSA of zero and to not have it with a PSA of 4,000. Factors such as how much time you spend on the saddle of a bicycle will have an impact on your PSA level. Then there is the question of whether the cancer is aggressive or not. If you can tell this then a lot of unnecessary treatment can be avoided. While I wouldn’t say avoid hospitals and treatment at all costs (and in the US personal costs can be significant) certainly if unnecessary treatments can be avoided not only does it save money it also avoids all the various side effects and risks associated with any medical intervention. The article explains that researchers are developing genetic tests, imaging tests, and algorithms in an effort to reduce the more than a million men a year who have prostate biopsies and, even more important, reduce the thousands who get treatment they don’t need.

https://www.statnews.com/2017/05/04/prostate-cancer-research-psa/

 

ICE, paper and blood

Some years ago someone came up with the idea of ICE numbers in your mobile phonebook. These would  be numbers to be called  In Case of Emergency  which  worked well until it was necessary to type in a PIN in order to access the phonebook.  So now it became a bit more challenging – if I was found unconscious by a cryptologist they could crack my PIN code find my phonebook and call my ICE contact. Otherwise I would be stuffed. Continue reading “ICE, paper and blood”

A new word

When we were on holiday I wondered whether I would have anything to say to keep my blog going. Yep, looks like it won’t be a problem.

Today’s new word is thrombocytopenia. We had timed our holiday* so that I could go for a blood test before seeing the oncologist on Monday (looking at the all important PSA levels). I had been going to go first thing Friday morning but a meeting had come up at our daughter’s Day Centre (rumours of it closing) so I had popped over to phlebotomy on Thursday afternoon. Continue reading “A new word”