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.
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!
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.
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.
- My wife died from a squamous cell carcinoma of the heart.
- The trainer died because of an argument and a gun was available and used to settle it.
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?
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!
That may be a controversial thing to say, but these posters for a new breast cancer charity have been appearing everywhere in London.
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.
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.
That is the headline on this story on the BBC web site. Here’s the first few paragraphs.
The results of two international trials against advanced skin cancer have been hailed as “exciting and striking”.
Both treatments, for advanced melanoma, are designed to enable the immune system to recognise and target tumours.
The last statement is key. After all one of ourposes of your immune system is to fight infections and any other dangerous things it finds in your body.
Research has shown that coeliacs on a gluten free diet, have a reduced cancer rate compared to the general population.
So should everybody avoid obesity, too much drink, smoking and gluten, if they want to reduce their cancer risk?
I don’t have the data, so I won’t make a prediction. But the man, who helped to identify the link between smoking and lung cancer, Richard Doll, was a coeliac and was obviously on a gluten-free diet.
He lived until he was 92.
He obviously looked at the data and probably massaged his immune system.
On Sunday morning, I heard a guy called the Casual Hopper on BBC Radio 5. As he was raising money for a reputable cancer-related charity, I thought I might send him a donation.
So I logged in to his Just Giving page and donated, using my John Lewis Partnership card. I got an acknowledgement from Just Giving, as expected. However, a few minutes later, I got a message from them saying that the payment had been rejected. Now as I’d just paid my credit card bill, I knew that I was some thousands of pounds below my credit card limit.
I then attempted to login to my Partnership card account and found the problem. Their system was down and I couldn’t log in.
I have managed to login this morning, but there is no trace of the payment to the Casual Hopper. In fact, there is no trace of any payments made by the account and I used the card twice yesterday in Sainsburys and Waitrose.
If we can use our cards on a 24-hour basis, surely we ought to be able to see the information in a likewise manner.
After all, if I missed a payment, they’d be on me like a ton of bricks.
It’s just not good enough!
Especially, as it’s caused grief and extra work to a whole series of people like the Casual Hopper, Just Giving and of course myself.