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?”

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Is it a blip or is it a trend (2)?

Just over a year ago I wrote “Is it a blip or a trend?” about my blood test results. That time is was an encouraging improvement in my platelet levels which allowed me to avoid Plan B and go on to Plan C. (Plan A was prednisolone which bumped up my blood glucose and played havoc with my diabetes, Plan B was rituximab, most of which’s side effects weren’t fatal, and Plan C was carry on with the lower dose prednisolone and see what happens and eventually stop the prednisolone). This time the question is aimed at a less than encouraging increase in my PSA levels. Continue reading “Is it a blip or is it a trend (2)?”

It’s that nervous time of year again

From comments in the press about marks being adjusted for the stiffer A levels so that the trend doesn’t show a big dip (!) I guess it’s that time of year when youngsters nervously await the results for tests they took a month or two back. For me my test was on Monday and the results came in today. So my waiting time was only a couple of days (but it happens every three months not once a year). Continue reading “It’s that nervous time of year again”

Spare a thought for the ‘spectators’

San Diego Dan has been investigating the Facebook Prostate Cancer support group. One comment he made was “one person spoke of how her husband was sleeping upwards of 20 hours per day.” which would make you an insomniac if you were a koala but is not so good for homo sapiens. But that set me to thinking about how having prostate cancer can affect those around you (or me) – the ‘spectators’. They have to put up with my irritability, lethargy, concerns and a host of other things with no thought of thanks. I am grateful for their support whether it is just a ‘like’ on this blog, the invitation round for tea, a visit or more. Continue reading “Spare a thought for the ‘spectators’”

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/