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.


Times they were a-changing

At the end of last month we went through the twice yearly ritual of changing the clocks by an hour. In the USA they did it at the beginning of the month so as to confuse us should we want to contact them in March. The clock in the car does it all by itself, as does my phone, but my watch and the other clocks in the house need to be adjusted manually (in fact manually bi-annually even). I usually manage to fix most of them first thing in the morning but there are a couple I don’t understand and so they remain on GMT until a small child comes along and sorts them out. This means there is plenty of scope for confusion if you look at the wrong clock and forget that it is an hour out. Continue reading “Times they were a-changing”

I didn’t realise gas was so heavy.

We spent last week in the far west in a land where they speak with a lilt in their voice and I discovered several new things concerning gas and glass. I had heard that you could tell whether an LPG bottle was full or empty by weighing it, but I had never quite believed it. After all gasses must be pretty light mustn’t they? Surely it’s a bit like checking the weight of a feather. Well I had the chance to check which of two bottles was full and which was empty and found that while it was easy enough to lift one, I could hardly lift the other one. So it is true, gas can be seriously heavy. But more fascinating was what I learned watching a glass flame-worker. Continue reading “I didn’t realise gas was so heavy.”

My three legged stool

A three legged stool is more stable than any other. But mine has been out of kilter for a while. It’s not a real stool of course, just a hypothetical one with the legs being three of the numbers that try to rule my life – PSA, platelet counts and blood glucose. A year and a bit ago my PSA leg was too long, six months ago my platelet count leg was almost non-existent while the third blood glucose leg was knocked senseless by chemotherapy and then beaten up by the prednisolone that was trying to get my second leg right! Continue reading “My three legged stool”

Madness down under

A friend wrote that she was “feeling annoyed” on one of those social network thingys. Not an emotion I normally see from her (from others, yes, but her, no). So I read on.

I knew that there were controversial plans for a coalmine in Queensland which would mean huge coal barges crossing the Great Barrier Reef. As Dr. Charlie Veron, former chief scientist, Australian Institute for Marine Science stated: “I think there is no single action that could be as harmful to the Great Barrier Reef as the Carmichael coal mine.” Continue reading “Madness down under”

Flushes, Antigens and Platelets

Every so often I feel like I am breaking out in a hot sweat even though there is no actual sweat or perspiration. I notice it mainly on my face and I don’t think anyone else notices it is happening unless I start fanning myself or open the doors and windows.  It can happen several times a day and usually lasts just a few minutes. Continue reading “Flushes, Antigens and Platelets”