The Anonymous Widower

Dame Sally Davies Puts The Boot In To Cancer

The lead item on BC Breakfast this morning is detailed in this article on the BBC web site entitled Chief medical officer calls for gene testing revolution.

Dame Sally Davies is very forthright in calling for gene testing to cease being a cottage industry and be nationalised with a large database of all information, to help in the treatment of cancer.

She said that spending the same amount of money on a national system, would bring better treatments to many more patients.

But she didn’t leave it at that and criticised doctors for not wanting a nation system and patients who don’t let their data be added to the national database.

I have been told by Liverpool University, that one of the reasons for their success with pancreatic cancer, is that they have an impressive database of cases from all over the world.

Those who refuse to allow their data to help others, need to be persuaded in the strongest possible way.

July 4, 2017 Posted by | Health | | 1 Comment

It’s Cancer Good News Time Again!

These articles have appeared on the BBC in recent days.

Last June this story on the BBC web site entitled ‘Major Win’ In Pancreatic Cancer Fight was published.

It is not unexpected at this time of year, as a big cancer conference takes place around now every year.

There is also another pattern that seems to be happening in all the good news.

Research is key and often the research has been funded by Cancer Research UK and performed in our Universities.

Some techniques like innovative routes of attacking the cancer cells and understanding the action of existing drugs better seem to be more common.

We’ll never win totally against cancer, but we’ll certainly win a few skirmishes.

We should all do our bit for not ourselves, by not smoking!

June 3, 2017 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Remembering A Relative Or Friend

In seven days it would have been my late wife’s sixty-eighth birthday.

C gave her body for medical research and we had a private cremation a year or so later.

In her memory and also in that of my son, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2010, I helped to fund in a very small way some research into the disease at my mine and my late wife’s university of Liverpool.

I wrote about the research in There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles!

In some ways, the successful outcome of the research, gave me an enormous lift and now when I think of my son, I sometimes think, that others will hopefully not have to go through, what he and his family did!

Serious research can do that!

So I got to thinking, that perhaps when a friend or relative dies, we should start a fund and give the money to an appropriate charity, that funds research into whatever was the cause of their death.

My funding of Liverpool University’s Pancreatic Cancer research that came about because I asked Alumni Relations at the University to suggest a suitable research project for my donation.

The Devil must have blessed the donation and the research produced a positive result.

But not everyone can be so lucky.

So why not, when someone close to you dies, collect an appropriate amount of money and ask the major charity or perhaps as I did, your old University to find a project to help fund?

I would think that it could be best to go to a central charity like Cancer Research UK or the British Heart Foundation, as they might now something that was very suitable, based in a University of research institution convenient to where you live!

I feel that selecting a well-run and well-respected central charity is that they know the ropes and that the world is littered with charitable failures, set up by individuals with the best of intentions.

August 19, 2016 Posted by | Health | , , , | 1 Comment

Liverpool University Strikes Again!

In the latest alumni newsletter from my old University, there is a link to this page on the University web site, which is entitled Cancer Drug Trial Success.

This is said.

The University of Liverpool has led a successful trial of a drug trial aimed at developing new therapeutic approaches to cancer.

The trial (APR-246) aimed to test the effects of a novel compound on a specific protein, p53, found to be mutated in more than 50% of all cancers.

The p53 gene is from a class of genes called tumour suppressors which are mutated in all cases of one form of ovarian cancer (high grade serous), but have proved difficult to target in the past.

This research was also done in the Institute of Translational Medicine, where the pancreatic cancer research I wrote about in There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles! was carried out.

It certainly would appear that something is being done correctly!

August 8, 2016 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

My Mid-Life Crisis

They were talking midlife crises on Radio 5 yesterday, so I sent in a text, which was broadcast.

My mid-life crisis was caused by the death of my wife and our youngest son to cancer smd then my stroke at 63. But I survived and raised money for pancreatic research at mine and my late wife’s University of Liverpool. Yesterday, I visited the unit and left feeling that there is now some hope for people suffering from this awful cancer. My mid-life crisis seemed to be receding as I took the train home.

Hopefully, life can only get better!

Incidentally, since my visit to Liverpool, I’ve spoken to three or four people, who have been affected by pancreatic cancer and I hope my attitude has given them a bit of strength to face the future.

July 27, 2016 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

When Will The United States Realise That Guns Kill People?

On the wall of my office, there used to be a picture of my wife presenting a racing trophy to a racehorse trainer.

Both are now dead.

We fight cancer with common sense and all the tools that science has given us.

Isn’t it about time, that common sense is applied to the problem of guns in the United States and other countries where they are responsible for a high murder rate?

June 12, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

Why I Support Cancer Research UK

In yesterday’s post; There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles, I talked about how researchers at Liverpool University had developed a better prostate cancer treatment. I posted this from an An article in The Guardian.

The ESPAC trials, which began publishing findings in 2004, showed that chemotherapy with gemcitabine brings five-year survival up to 15-17%, doubling the rate of survival with surgery alone. The latest research, presented at theAmerican Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, showed the two-drug combination nearly doubles the survival rate again to 29%.

It showed, said Neoptolemos, that chemotherapy does work in pancreatic cancer, even though most attention in cancer research is now focused onimmunotherapy, and precision or targeted medicine.

But the trial would not have happened without funding from the charity CancerResearch UK (CRUK), because both drugs are old and off-patent, meaning they can be made by any generic drug manufacturer and are consequently cheap. Drug companies would not foot the bill for such a trial because the profits to be made are small.

“This is an academic-led presentation,” said Neoptolemos. “This shows the enormous value of CRUK. Without them, none of this would have happened. There is a lot of pressure [on doctors] to do drug company trials because you get £2,000 to £3,000 a patient. For something like this, you don’t get anything. It has been quite tough to do.”

That is a very strong endorsement of Cancer Research UK.

Today, there is this story on the BBC web site, which is entitled Bowel cancer: Stents ‘may prevent need for colostomy bags’. This is said.

Bowel cancer patients may avoid the need for colostomy bags if they are first treated by having an expandable tube inserted at the site of their blockage, cancer doctors have said.

The new approach, presented at the world’s biggest cancer conference, showed that the tube, or stent, cut the risk of complications from surgery.

The trial took place at Central Manchester University Hospitals! And who funded the trial? Cancer Research UK!

So I shall keep supporting the work of Cancer Research UK!

June 5, 2016 Posted by | Health | , , | 2 Comments

Why The London Tramlink Should Be Extended To The Royal Marsden Hospital

One of my Google Alerts picked up this article in the Sutton Guardian entitled Bunker for breakthrough cancer therapy machine could fit 24 Routemaster buses.

It is about the creation of a concrete bunker at the Royal Marsden Hospital to house a cross between an MR Linac machin which is decribed like this here on the Institute for Cancer Research web site.

The MR Linac combines two technologies – an MRI scanner and a linear accelerator – to precisely locate tumours, tailor the shape of X-ray beams in real time, and accurately deliver doses of radiation even to moving tumours.

All this leads to more and more patients going to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton to get treatment.

As many will not be in the best of health and would not relish a stressful journey, surely now is the time to build extension A of the London Tramlink to Sutton and the Hospital. This map shows the current proposal.

St. Helier Tramlink

St. Helier Tramlink

The Royal Marsden Hospital is South of Sutton.

As Sutton is a Thameslink station, this Tramlink extension will give access to the Royal Marsden from a large area of London and the South East.

October 4, 2015 Posted by | Health, Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Do We Have Too Many Breast Cancer Charities?

That may be a controversial thing to say, but these posters for a new breast cancer charity have been appearing everywhere in London.

Do We Have Too Many Breast Cancer Charities?

Do We Have Too Many Breast Cancer Charities?

Now C successfully survived breast cancer, so it is not a subject I know nothing about.

But I think now, that some of the most promising cancer research, like looking at the genetics, is very expensive and covers the whole spectrum of cancers.

So surely, this is where we should give our money. I incidentally subscribe to three different cancer charities, none of which are directly linked to breast cancer.

Although, Cancer Research UK, which I support, does support research into  breast cancer.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Health | , | 2 Comments

An Unusual Cancer Story From Germany

I have just read this story on the BBC web site entitled The Blind Breast Cancer Detectors. Here’s the first paragraph.

Women being screened for breast cancer in Germany may find themselves in the hands of a blind examiner. The idea has been around for a few years, and unpublished research suggests that it really works – that blind people can in fact detect tumours earlier than their sighted counterparts.

Now I’ve never had cancer, but C had breast cancer and she found the lump herself, which the GP discounted. It was later confirmed by a specialist.

But in Penang in Malaysia, we were staying at the Mutiara hotel. My back was giving me trouble, so C suggested I had a massage.It was probably the most successful massage I’ve ever had.

And the masseur was blind! They explained that the Malaysian government was training them to work in the luxury hotels of the country.

I thought at the time, it was a good idea. I still think it is and after reading the BBC article, I think that the sensitive fingers of the blind may go a lot further than relieving tension in my spine.

February 23, 2015 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment