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Posts Tagged ‘prostate blog’

Hi all

I haven’t been on this blog for a while, so apologies to anyone who has commented or asked questions.

I am teaching blogging to my journalism students today and showed them Prostablog – and discovered a large number of pending comments. They are mostly now posted (apart from the spam ones).

The reason I have stayed away, I guess, is I consider myself prostate cancer-free these days. My PSA doesn’t register, and my checks are down to once a year.

It is three and a half years since the surgery to remove my prostate and while I still have to get to the five year post, then a decade, I don’t think much about it.

Please take that as a positive – it could be seen as selfish on my part not to continue blogging. However,  I just ran out of stuff to say, and monitoring the web for prostate cancer news was taking several hours a day, which I now need to spend on doing other stuff.

I’m 66 and have just retired from journalism teaching. I will be returning to my hometown of New Plymouth in Taranaki to finish a book and maybe write some others. I will be working with my brother, photographer Rob Tucker, who has a few projects for me to contribute some writing to.

Prostate cancer changed my life in one important way: my wife and I enjoy camping, so decided to abandon home ownership in favour of a big caravan, which we tow around the country.

Although it might seem a crazy option in mid-winter, in fact we are finding it a great lifestyle at any time of year. Even the cat has got used to moving around.

So there we are. I feel lucky. Here’s all the best to all of you just starting the journey I began on Christmas Eve, 2008.

If you want to discuss anything about prostate cancer with me, please use my gmail address: edwardtuckr001@gmail.com

But remember, I’m not following the topic closely any more, so may not be able to help. And my advice is always cautious – I’m not a doctor, and I believe every man’s experience is different and personal.

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PROSTABLOG NZ:  The PSA test may get a bad rap from epidemiologists and the Ministry of Health, but so far as I’m concerned it’s a winner.

It’s a reliable post-treatment indicator of whether your prostate cancer is coming back or not, and I’ve just had my two-year test – and it remains undetectable.

That’s very good news, so far as I can discern. My reading of things prostate tells me the two-year mark is a crucial one, a time when recurrence is most likely to rear its unwelcome head.

That doesn’t mean I’m cured. There’s a long way to go before that marker, perhaps a decade.

The only thing I’m not sure about is the fact my PSA never registered much (let alone any change) prior to my diagnosis in 2008.

Does that mean post-surgery PSA tests won’t work on me either.

Nah, let’s not dwell on it.

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PROSTABLOG NZ: My last PSA test recently showed it continues to be undetectable, some 20 months after my surgery in March, 2009.

But I’m not getting cocky just yet (forgive the pun).

From what I’ve read about prostate cancer treatment, if the cancer bug has got out of the organ during/after a prostatectomy, there’s a good chance the first signs will come two years after the operation.

My two-year anniversary comes up in a couple of months – so wish me luck.

It’s interesting how long it takes to fully recover from the surgery’s effects.

My scar is virtually gone and I’ve felt fit for ages.

There’s no incontinence. I haven’t done the pelvic floor exercises for more than a year, but there’s never any problem with not being able to hold it in, even when I’m busting.

Not that I put myself in the busting mode if I can avoid it.

So, hey, no regrets and no real worries. I’m bloody lucky.

Well, there is one worry – the number of friends and people I know who have been diagnosed. Talk about an epidemic.

And I wonder if the NZ Parliamentary Health Select Committee will ever get round to reporting back on its prostate cancer inquiry…

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Publicly funded chemotherapy clinics in NZ have increased 25% in two years, to just over 57,000 outpatient sessions in public hospitals in the 2009/10 year, says Health Minister Tony Ryall. READ MORE>

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REUTERS: British scientists say they have developed a lab test that can accurately distinguish prostate cancer from healthy tissue and other prostate conditions. READ MORE>

Researchers at a genetics and diagnostics firm Oxford Gene Technology say the set of biological signals, or biomarkers, they have identified was able to distinguish healthy tissue and benign prostate disease from prostate cancer with 90 percent accuracy in initial laboratory sample tests.

A full test for use in doctors’ clinics is likely to be at least five years off, they said, but their pilot study testing around 130 samples showed encouraging results in a disease area where more accurate diagnostic tests are sorely needed.

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HEALTH NEWS TODAY: When combined with the erectile-dysfunction drug Viagra, a long-used chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin may be even more effective as a treatment for prostate cancer, according to a new study. READ MORE>

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NEW PROSTATE CANCER INFOLINK: All that favourable publicity for pomegranate juice and its anti-prostate cancer properties may be in trouble – a US company has been accused of over-selling its benefits. READ MORE>

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WASHINGTON EXAMINER.COM:  Here’s a well-written article on the current US debate about how much a life is worth – more specifically, how much the government Medicare scheme and health insurers pay out for cancer drugs that prolong life for a few months. READ MORE>

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NEW PROSTATE CANCER INFOLINK: It has been well understood for some time that there is confusion among men in general and among members of the primary care community about appropriate use of PSA testing. READ MORE>

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NEW PROSTATE CANCER INFOLINK: The debate about mass screening for prostate cancer has been moved on significantly by by some recent Swedish studies, writes Mike Scott:

Is there a simple take-away from these three Swedish studies that correlates to the data from the meta-analysis of the six major screening trials? We believe that there is, and it is based on a testable premise:

  • All men should get a PSA test every 5 years starting at age 40, each of which is likely to be able to project a 25-year risk for diagnosis of prostate cancer and/or clinically significant prostate cancer.
  • Men who are shown to be at no significant 25-year risk based on these 5-yearly PSA tests may not need to get interim PSA tests unless there are other reasons for them to do so (based on clinical signs and symptoms, ethnicity, genetics, and other known factors).
  • Men who are shown to be at significant 25-year risk based on any one of the 5-yearly PSA tests should be encouraged to monitor their PSA with care over time in consultation with a prostate cancer specialist and make appropriate clinical decisions based on their individual data.

READ MORE>

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