Steady as she volunteers

I saw my oncologist this week and it is “steady as she goes”. My latest PSA is 0.21 marginally up from the last reading of 0.15 but still crawling along the bottom of the graph. (I won’t talk percentages – it’s a 40%  increase, which sounds more scary than a 0.06 increase).

PSA combined

Apparently this week is  Volunteers Week so I thought I would share with you a piece written by a relative in Canada. He started by asking the question “Why do people volunteer?”. Continue reading “Steady as she volunteers”

Trip to pup

Liz was looking at the calendar and asked why I had put “Trip to pup” on it. Perhaps she thought something doggy was going on, but one large hairy rottweiler/german shepherd cross is enough. So I explained that it wasn’t “Trip to pup” but “Tripto top up”. In other words my three monthly triptorelin injection.  I am glad I cleared that up.

Back in the days when I used to toddle up to London on a daily basis the company I worked for was trying to licence a whole range of inventions, many of which came from universities or research institutes, to companies who would take them into production. Some of these were drugs like cephalasporin antibiotics  and other clever polywallywhatsits. (I dealt with engineering inventions which were much easier to spell but nothing to do with the story I am trying to tell.)

One of the polywallywhatsits was abiraterone acetate. Continue reading “Trip to pup”

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/

 

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”

Countdown – three weeks to normality?

Last Thursday was my sixth (of six) chemo session. So the last three week cycle of  my neutrophils and white blood cells running for cover, bottoming out between seven and ten days later before starting to recover so that I am fit enough to be zapped again. This time though no more zapping. Actually zapping is the wrong word, more appropriate for radiotherapy than for chemotherapy, but I will stick with it for now. Continue reading “Countdown – three weeks to normality?”