Tag Archives: cancer

Christmas Challenge

Merry-Christmas-from-Bloggertone

We cancer people are masters of keeping on a brave face for everyone around us. People often ask us how we’re doing and we just instinctively say fine. Much of the time, we’re not fine but not many really want to hear about it. Your Christmas challenge is to ask a close friend or family member battling cancer how they’re doing. When they say just fine, ask them. No, how are you really doing? Then, just listen and hug them.

Merry Christmas to you all

 

This is going to be the final post here. Thank you for reading my adventure..

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Hallmarks of Cancer 7: Genome Instability and Mutation

Mutation-Rates2

Here is the 7th installment from Dr. Buddhini Samarasinghe‘s article series on the Hallmarks of Cancer. You can read the full article on Scientific American. Here’s a snippet. Please go check it out. She has a wonderful knack of making very complex bioscience topics understandable. Here’s a snippet, please check out the full post.

Mutations 101
Mutations enable cancer cells to embark on their frenzied growth within our bodies. But what are mutations, and how do they happen? In genetics, a mutation is a change in an organism’s DNA sequence. The nucleotide letters A, T, C and G that make up our DNA can be deleted or substituted, and single or double stranded breaks can occur in the DNA molecule. Complete sections of our DNA can also be deleted or swapped with other sections. These changes can occur spontaneously or from exposure to inducers such as harmful chemicals or radiation. Our metabolic activities cause mutations all the time; oxygen, the vital molecule that helps us live, also creates dangerous DNA-damaging free radicals when metabolized by our cells. A sunny day at the beach can introduce thousands of mutations into our DNA. In fact, mutations are inevitable; each time our cells divide, the imperfect DNA replication process introduces temporary errors into our DNA. It has been estimated that all these processes can result in thousands of individual molecular lesions per cell per day. Our genome surveillance system and DNA repair mechanisms must be doing a fantastic job: based on these mutation rates, cancer should occur from the moment we are conceived.

Please go back and check out her other posts. They’re worth your time.

Leper Treatment

hat

This issue caught my attention on social media last night and has practically gone viral since then. A high-end Nashville steakhouse called Mortons which apparently has a strict dress code for patrons delivered horrible and inhumane treatment to a cancer patient who chose to wear a knit cap on his hairless head to try to stay warm.

Right now, Fox17 WZTV is the only news outlet carrying the story but I expect that will change by newstime tonight.

According to numerous reviews on Yelp and posts on Facebook, a large party of about 16 people held a company Christmas party at Morton’s, The Steakhouse, in downtown Nashville, but there were no good tidings. After spending more than $2,000 at the Church Street location, one of the men dining with the group put on a wool beanie. Witnesses say he needs the added warmth because he is a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy. The diners say their friend was asked to remove his hat, and explained the situation to the manager, who allegedly said that the gentleman should bring a doctor’s note or call ahead so that he could be seated in a private dining area. Witnesses say the cancer patient along with his wife and kids became very upset over how the situation was handled and they stormed out to leave. The police even arrived.

Since when did a restaurant’s dress code ever trump basic human dignity? I can’t envision a more terrible management and customer service experience. I am embarassed for our city and outraged, no perhaps indignant as a fellow cancer patient. Morton’s is permanently off my menu.

Quackery

quack_quack_duckie

quackery n – medical practice and advice based on observation and experience in ignorance of scientific findings

I follow a leukemia survivors group on Facebook. One of the group’s  members is frequently making unfounded claims and posting articles describing alternative treatment or even people curing themselves of cancer w/o traditionally accepted medical treatment(s). Almost universally, these articles have

No sources cited
No control group in experiment
No peer review of findings

therefore to me they have

No credibility

Please don’t believe everything you see on the internet. Be skeptical and don’t implicitly assume that vast conspiracy theories are at work… This was the article which lit my fuse.

8-Year Old Girl Raises PH levels And Shrinks Cancer Tumors By 75 % With Diet

Collective Evolution

Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are constantly pushed as the only go-to options for cancer treatment, when this couldn’t be farther from the truth. How often does a cancer patient see a doctor who tells them that dichloroacetate can their cancer? That was recently discovered by researchers at the University of Alberta. Cancer is a multi-trillion dollar industry, it can be hard to believe that there are those who do not promote treatments that have been proven successful, but it simply means we have to go beyond what we are taught, use our critical thinking skills and find out the truth for ourselves.

I’ve already written about and provided debunking of alkalinated water claims before. That last sentence quoted has a huge degree of irony; many adherents have just written off traditional medicine as corrupt and complicit in moneymaking conspiracies. Dubious online articles like this one above are so numerous it can be difficult to find real and credible ones among the junk science trash. This one defied the trend and I found to be worth reading.
Cancer patients who use alternative medicine die sooner – Edzard Ernst MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Be healthy, be knowledgeable and ask your docs and nurses questions – especially the tough ones.

How do you keep your sanity?

Some might argue my sanity has been missing for quite a while. Waiting for reports and labs when you’re fighting cancer can be really stressful and tiring. I’m curious how others fighting the evil C word manage to keep their sanity. My latest method is home recording, mixing pre-recorded guitar & drum tracks w/ my own vocals and bass guitar ones. It’s experimental so far but has proven to be a lot of fun and very effective at melting away unwanted stress. No, I’m not a good singer and not an especially good bass player but hey, who cares?

R O C K in in the U S A. 😉

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Monday Memorial

slide4aThat’s my grandfather, Richard Crompton (& me). He lost his battle w/ a malignant brain tumor when I was almost 3 way back in 1967. In 2013, I’m sure things would likely have turned out very different for him given incredible advances in treatment and diagnosis.  My memories of back then are pretty sparse but I’m told we were really really close; I know his death has impacted my life in ways that I still deal with. His was the first cancer to directly impact my life. Cancer Sucks. Now and always. Please help me out here. I’d like to dedicate Mondays to posts remembering those fallen in the cancer fight. Please email me a suggestion, picture or even as a guest post for a future Monday Memorial.

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Surrendered Medals?

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My goal with this blog was to journal my journey and try to keep my posts short and readable. This one will be a bit longer and I apologize. My friend John shared this link a few days ago. At first it reminded me of when the astronomers declared Pluto was no longer a planet. Definitions and rules aren’t supposed to change, right? The scientists are redefining what constitutes a cancer as a whole which is good but it’s still a very confusing and scary topic for nearly anyone. Check it out.

What if what you survived wasn’t cancer?
Here’s a snippet:

For decades, the reigning theory has been that the earlier a cancer is spotted and treated, the less likely it is to be lethal, because it won’t have time to grow and spread. Yet this theory infers causality from correlation. It implicitly assumes that cancer is cancer is cancer, even though we now know that even in the same part of the body, cancer is many different diseases — some aggressive, some not. Perhaps people survive early-stage cancers not because they’re treated in time, but because their disease never would have become life-threatening at all.

This isn’t just logical nit-picking. Thanks to widespread screening, the number of early-stage cancers identified has skyrocketed. In many instances — including types of breast, prostate, thyroid and lung cancers — more early diagnoses haven’t led to proportionate decreases in mortality. (New drugs, not early detection, account for at least two-thirds of the reduction in breast-cancer mortality.) The cancers the tests pick up aren’t necessarily life-threatening. They’re just really common. So more sensitive tests and more frequent screening mean more cancer, more cancer treatment and more cancer survivors.

“We’ll all be cancer survivors if we keep going at the rate that we’re going,” says Peter Carroll, the chairman of the department of urology at the University of California at San Francisco and a specialist in prostate cancer.

Distracting Doctors

In a well-intended effort to save lives, the emphasis on early detection is essentially looking under the lamp post: Putting many patients who don’t have life-threatening diseases through traumatic treatments while distracting doctors from the bigger challenge of developing ways to identify and treat the really dangerous fast-growing cancers.

“Physicians, patients, and the general public must recognize that overdiagnosis is common and occurs more frequently with cancer screening,” argues a recent JAMA article by the oncologists Laura J. Esserman (a surgeon and breast-cancer specialist), Ian M. Thompson Jr. (a urologist) and Brian Reid (a specialist in esophageal cancer). They argue for limiting the term “cancer” to conditions likely to be life-threatening if left untreated.

That’s going to be a tough change for a lot of people to swallow. For patients and the rest of the public, getting tested offers a sense of control, encouraging an almost superstitious belief that frequent screening will ward off death. (A few years ago, when the actress Christina Applegate was making the talk-show rounds urging young women to get breast MRIs, my own oncologist told me he was getting calls from women who thought the tests would not merely detect but prevent breast cancer.)
Early detection of non-life-threatening cancers also produces a steady supply of “cancer survivors,” who work to support cancer charities and make their efforts look successful. There’s an entire industry devoted to celebrating “breast cancer survivors” in particular, and many women are heavily invested in that identity. It offers a heroic honorific as a reward for enduring horrible treatments. A term originally coined to remind cancer patients that their disease need not be fatal has become a badge of personal achievement.

The author makes some good points; especially the survival being over the treatment vs the disease itself. Traditional cancer therapy modalities are still barbaric.  I have an aggressive form (chromosome 17p deletion) of a generally non aggressive blood cancer. I have to admit that I struggle with even calling what I have (CLL) a cancer as while it can be very fatal, it generally doesn’t undergo metastasis in the traditional sense of most cancers.

Regardless of how anyone ultimately reclassifies the disease, cancer survivors who endure any of chemo/radiation/surgical body part removal are true heroes to me.