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Archive for July, 2010

PROSTA DROP: What happened on July 7 to drive readers away?

PROSTABLOG NZ:  Who were those people – and what did they want?

I’m talking about 100 or more souls – most of them from the US – who seem suddenly to have stopped looking at this blog.

They may have rumbled me, of course.

For months now, I’ve been using the word “catheter” as a tag (key word) on every post, based on my observation late last year that “catheter” is the most popular search word used by people searching the web looking for prostate cancer stuff.

Every day for the last six months, in the list of terms people used to find this blog, “catheter” would have 100 more mentions than any other word.

A single post (of more than 1350 now) called “All quiet in the western ward…” for a long time got more visits than all other posts put together. It has a drawing of a catheter in it, as well as a picture of our cat and one of comedian Billy Connolly.

This all reached a climax in July 7, when Prostablog was visited by 470 people in a single day, the first time 400 had been exceeded.

But since then – people have stayed away in their droves.

BIG DAY: July 7, when Prostablog's readership hit the big time - then crashed.

The blog now averages just over 100 visits a day (down from 230), and the proportion from the US has dropped from 67% to about 45%.

So who were they? And why did they suddenly decide to go elsewhere?

Or has there been some interference from some eminence gris lurking somewhere on the world wide web?

Perhaps they all belonged to a catheter fetish organisation, which finally saw through my shallow ruse.

Anyway. it may not be a bad thing.

I notice those who stay reading Prostablog for more than a couple of seconds have increased from 10% to 25%, which is encouraging.

There’s a website in NZ called Open Parachute which ranks the 200 most popular blogs in the country. Prostablog made it to number 23 in June.

I expect we’ll be down the list a long way this month.

But, what the hell: I’d rather have you high quality readers than those other guys.

NOTE: Prostablog is heading for 100,000 hits since starting in April, 2009. At one stage earlier this month I thought we would make it by now, but I’ll revise that in view of what’s happened. Maybe we’ll hit the magic mark in a couple of months.

NOTE 2: I’ve used “catheter” as a tag for this post. Maybe one of the fetishists will see this and come forward to explain himself. Maybe not…

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LOS ANGLES TIMES:  The identity of the prostate cell that goes awry to produce cancer has been discovered by UCLA researchers. READ MORE> and HERE>

Their finding that could lead to new approaches to prevention and treatment of this common plague of men.

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URO TODAY: Robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer is a safe alternative to classical surgery and the robotic approach is reliable, according to a four-year US study. READ MORE>

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BUSINESSWIRE: With a recent first-of-its-kind surgery, physicians at Mayo Clinic in Arizona have developed a new surgical procedure for the treatment of prostate cancer using natural orifices – signalling the next step in the evolution of minimally invasive surgery. READ MORE>

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MEDPAGE TODAY: A cellular immuno-therapy appears to prolong survival among men with metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer, researchers report. READ MORE>

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ABC NEWS: The new US wonder drug for treating advanced prostate cancer – Provenge – extends life about four months – at a cost of $NZ130,000 ($US93,000).

The makers say it took 15 years to develop, at a cost of $US1.2 billion. READ MORE> and MORE>

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URO TODAY: A relatively new, non-invasive and side effect-free way to treat prostate cancer – using a light-activated drug and lasers – is being used more often in the US and Europe. READ MORE>

During the procedure, laser fibres are positioned over the prostate where cancer cells have been identified.

Once in place, a photo-sensitising drug called WST11 is administered to the patient intravenously and circulates throughout the bloodstream for 10 minutes.

The laser fibres are then activated to deliver a specific wave-length of light to the prostate for 20 minutes.

When the light comes into contact with the drug in circulation, the laser fibres destroy the blood vessels around the tumour, shutting down blood supply to the cancer.

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URO TODAY: Men who develop prostate cancer – especially the more aggressive and dangerous forms that spread throughout the body – tend to retain denser bones as they age than men who stay free of the disease. READ MORE>

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URO TODAY: One in five men have a DNA variation that increases the risk of prostate cancer recurring after surgery, even though other factors (early diagnosis, low aggression, etc) may be in their favour. READ MORE> and HERE>

Department of Radiation Oncology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, US:
The A/G genotype of rs10895304 is predictive of decreased recurrence-free survival in patients with clinically localised prostate cancer.

Our data suggest that for this subset of patients, prostatectomy alone may not be adequate for local control.

This is a novel and relevant marker that should be evaluated for improved risk stratification of patients who may be candidates for adjuvant radiation therapy to improve local control.

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URO TODAY: Acupuncture provides excellent control of hot flashes in men undergoing androgen ablation therapy (hormone treatment) for prostate cancer, according to US researchers. READ MORE>

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