Big data and little data – elections and platelets

A friend drew my attention to an article ‘The Data That Turned the World Upside Down’  which talked about the impact of “big data” on the recent US Presidential election and the UK’s EU referendum. (It is quite a long article!). Big data seems to be an aggregation of vast volumes of little bits of data such as posts on Facebook or shopping on Amazon or searches on Google. Continue reading “Big data and little data – elections and platelets”

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Platelet mysteries

We are midway between oncology appointments so there is nothing to report on that front other than to mention a Radio 4 programme – Inside Out – that a fellow pc-blogger drew to my attention. It discussed the grey areas in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer – it may be over-diagnosed and over-treated or the opposite (and in particular not identified early enough). It’s a bit like spending money on marketing – you know that half the money is wasted but the trouble is that you don’t know which half. The programme also argued for MRI scans before prostate biopsies so that they could be targeted better.  Interestingly it mentioned prostatectomies and radiotherapy as treatments but nothing about chemotherapy.

However I can report progress on a different front – I saw a Haematology consultant on Monday. Continue reading “Platelet mysteries”

Animal health and blood numbers

It is often (incorrectly) claimed that a healthy dog has a wet nose (or vice versa). If that were true and I was a dog I would be regarded as being healthy! Since March I have had a slightly damp nose. Not sure why – it’s not listed among the many side effects of Docetaxel or of Triptorelin, so it’s a bit of a mystery. Continue reading “Animal health and blood numbers”

Testosterone fast and feast is bats

Last week I had an e-mail which started “Dear Sir and Madam” – gosh, I thought, the writer must have known about me being on hormone therapy. The idea of hormone therapy is that it reduces the testosterone that feeds the cancer. It may have a few side effects such as hot flushes and sweating – when I mentioned that I seemed to be getting these­­ to my consultant I just got a wry “Welcome to our world” look from the women in the room. The good news was that my PSA and platelet levels are roughly the same as the last time, one up slightly, one down slightly but not statistically significant. Continue reading “Testosterone fast and feast is bats”

Not 50 but 52

OK so this is my 52nd post but that isn’t the significance of the number 52 today. If I said “Not 36 but 52” you might have a clue about what I am referring to. Today we saw my haematology consultant, whom I discovered was named after my hero “Uncle Bill”, and the news is that my platelet levels have improved again – to 52. Not back to historic levels but definitely OK. Continue reading “Not 50 but 52”

Is it a blip or is it a trend?

Today I was to find out how my blood did in its test. I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say that I approached the consultation in Haematology with trepidation but we were certainly hoping that my platelet level would at least still be in double figures. So we saw a registrar who told us that my platelet level was now at thirty six. Time for a quick discussion with my consultant. He said that as a rule of thumb they were happy when people had a platelet level above 30, below that they would need to consider some form of intervention. Therefore  it was decided that we should go for Plan C. Continue reading “Is it a blip or is it a trend?”