Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Do you see the person that others see?


It IS possible to love your body as it is.


As pervasive and insidious as it is, you can fly in the face of societal programming.
Improving one's own body image perception is a process that occurs over time and requires shifting the way in which you define beauty and your own self-worth.
Key to making the shift to a positive body image perception is becoming acutely aware of the hidden messages about beauty that surround you. Recognizing the impact of these images and observing thought processes that lead you towards beliefs that undermine your self-love is an excellent place to start. 
Here's how:
1.) Notice when women or men are being portrayed sexually to sell a product and notice airbrushed images that do not accurately portray the female or male form. Recognize the beliefs that you conjure up from these images about your own beauty.
2.) Question what you are looking at and the hidden intentions behind what you see. Often, media images are intended to manipulate you into believing that you are not good enough so that you will then purchase a product.
3.) Form your own opinion about what it is to be beautiful. Include all of your amazing female and male qualities in your definition and don't forget, your personality counts in this equation! Working on your outer looks without working on your personality would be a big mistake, because the former will fade with age, but the latter will be with you forever. 
People can -- and do -- change their beliefs throughout the course of their lives. 
The most powerful and healthy belief systems are the ones that influence the love of and care for your body. When your body image perception improves and you begin taking better care of yourself, your confidence improves along with your health.
In direct opposition to what today's media and advertising purport, finding happiness and fulfillment is an inside-out job. Choose today to start being a critic of what you see in the media. Enjoy the positive effect this has on your entire life.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Recurrence


If your PSA starts to rise after you’ve undergone prostatectomy, so-called "salvage" radiation therapy might be a good option to explore. With this approach, external beam radiation is delivered to the area immediately surrounding where the prostate was, in the hopes of eradicating any remaining prostate cells that have been left behind. Radiation is more commonly being given after surgery for men with high risk disease (positive margins, seminal vesicle invasion, positive capsular extension), even in the absence of a PSA rise. If you did not get radiation immediately, doing so later based on a rising PSA is often reasonable. (Brachytherapy is not an option because there is no prostate tissue in which to embed the radioactive seeds.)
But the procedure is not for everyone. If there are obvious sites of disease outside of the immediate local area, if any tumor cells have been found in your lymph nodes, or if your Gleason score was 8-10, post-surgery radiation therapy may not be right for you. In this high risk situation, additional therapy may be warranted such as hormonal therapies or clinical trials. Also, in men who are considered good candidates for this therapy, it can be very effective, but five-year disease-free rates tend to be considerably higher in men whose pre-therapy PSA levels are lower than 0.2 ng/mL compared with those whose pre-therapy PSA levels are greater than 0.2 ng/mL. Therefore, if you and your doctors are considering post-surgery radiation, ideally you should start before your PSA goes above 0.2-0.4 ng/mL. Side effects from the radiation therapy can be moderately severe, and are additive to those previously received with surgery. These include rectal bleeding, incontinence (urinary leakage), strictures and difficulty urinating, diarrhea, and fatigue. Be sure to discuss with your doctors what you can reasonably expect before deciding on a course of therapy. In some cases, hormone therapy might be added for a short period before radiation to allow your urinary function to heal, or during the radiation treatment, which can also add to the side effects that you might experience.
Because the anatomy looks different and the tumor is often not visible on imaging or felt on DRE, the radiation oncologist has to carefully balance between delivering sufficient radiation to destroy the prostate cells while not damaging the healthy tissue. Once again, practitioner skill can make an important difference in outcomes.
In some cases, particularly if the tumor was considered high-grade and therefore at greater risk of spreading to the surrounding areas, your doctor might decide to initiate radiation therapy right after you’ve healed from your surgery. This approach, known as adjuvant therapy, typically starts about six weeks after surgery, and is unrelated to "salvage" radiation therapy that is administered if the PSA begins to rise.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Dan Zenka


This is a post from Dan Zenka's blog in the USA. It's so good that I thought it worth sharing....
It is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month—no better time than now to reset some thinking about this men's disease. It is the second most common form of cancer among men after skin cancer and the second leading cause of death of American men after lung cancer. In incidence and mortality, prostate cancer is to men what breast cancer is to women. Yet for many reasons, it has remained too long in the shadows. This problem fosters a good deal of misunderstanding about a disease that will be diagnosed in 242,000 American men and kill 28,000 of them in 2012. Globally, more than 16 million men and their families are challenged by prostate cancer.
Let me dispel some common myths right now: it is not just an old man’s disease, it is not “the good kind of cancer” with which to be diagnosed as it is not always slow growing as is commonly believed, and a family history is not always needed to be diagnosed. Further, prostate cancer is often asymptomatic, meaning you don't have to feel bad to have it growing inside your gland.
I know first hand.
At age 51 (not an old man in my book), two years after joining the Prostate Cancer Foundation in Santa Monica to head up their communications, I was diagnosed with my own case. Ironic? Perhaps. But not surprising. I already knew that one in six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Someone needs to fall into the statistics. Why should I have been given a pass?
Two months following my diagnosis, I had a radical prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) and the cancer appeared to be contained and the margins were mostly clear. Despite believing that we had gotten all those nasty cells, one week later, the post-surgical pathology report showed that the cancer had metastasized to my lymph nodes. I was suddenly a Stage 4 cancer patient with advanced disease. It was on to 35 sessions of radiation therapy (equivalent to more than 48,000 chest x-rays) and two years of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) to cut my production of testosterone since this hormone of manliness fuels the proliferation and spread of prostate cancer. Despite all the side effects I have had to endure from a near total lack of testosterone, I have been fashionably manscaped for the past two years and a new crop of hair follicles has taken root on my once more sparsely populated scalp. I suppose there are upsides to anything if you look for them.
With 27 genotypes or varieties of prostate cancer, it is not always slow-growing. There are both the indolent, non-life-threatening types that a man will die with rather than of, and the very aggressive varieties. In between the two ends of the spectrum lie a number of varieties that require moderate rather than aggressive treatment. For those diagnosed with varieties that appear less aggressive (Gleason score 6), active surveillance is often a viable option.
Since the age of 40, I had been having annual PSA tests and a digital rectal exam (DRE) as part of my annual physical. Just before my diagnosis, my PSA score nearly doubled—a signal that triggered a biopsy and subsequent diagnosis. And yes, the PSA test—though not a cancer-specific test—indeed saved my life with its ability to set off the smoke alarm and alert my physician that something might be going wrong in my little walnut-sized gland.
Today, as I wean off of ADT, I have a 30 to 40 percent chance of one day hearing the words “you are cancer free.” If not, there are a range of additional treatments and new drugs to be tried once I become resistant to ADT, as most patients invariably do. From my perspective, working alongside the world’s leading prostate cancer researchers, I often tell fellow patients that there is no better time to be a prostate cancer patient, if you have to be one, than today. So, I remain optimistic.
The good news about prostate cancer is that with early detection and treatment, the 5-year survival rate is nearly 97 percent.
Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones:
1. Help break down the barriers of “macho-dom” and make prostate cancer something to talk about. If we can openly rally to save the ta-tas, we should be brave enough to save our walnuts;
2. Share family medical histories;
3. If you are over 40, talk with your physician about when it is right for you to begin annual PSA testing and DREs so you can make an informed decision depending on your health, family history and other relevant factors;
4. Eat a healthy diet and exercise—research shows that lifestyle plays an important role in preventing prostate cancer and disease recurrence;
5. Eat more cruciferous vegetables, particularly broccoli, which contain high levels of sulphorophanes that aid in the repair of damaged DNA;
6. And finally—just because you won’t believe this one—do not char you meats. The amount of char on an 8-ounce steak carries a carcinogen (PhIP) that is the equivalent of your prostate smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes. This compound interfere with the normal replication and repair of DNA in the prostate which can lead to the development of cancer.
For more information on prostate cancer, including the most recent updates on research, visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation website at www.pcf.org.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The back ache is back!

Before I was diagnosed, over 2 years ago now, I suffered from severe back aches. The pain was so bad at times that I could barely walk, and if I needed to sneeze I would hold onto a lamp post or kneel down! This had been with me for several years and specialists said that it was simply disc degeneration, all part of the ageing process!
After surgery, as if by some miracle, this pain dissapeared. I was able to run again, it just wasn't there anymore and I even started playing badminton. I joked at the time that had I realised the back pain would go, they could have had my prostate gland years ago!
Last week, very suddenly and for no apparent reason, the pain came back. It was the same pain, like an evil old friend returning, just as bad and it won't go away. I often thought that during the surgery, because my body was elevated and the pressure on my spine relieved for over 6 hours, that something had just clicked back into place. Surely it wasn't the cancer causing this pain because my bone scan was clear?
Funny thing is, by hanging from the balcony and allowing my spine to stretch out with the weight of my body, the pain goes away instantly and doesn't return for hours. I warn Beverley before I do this, after all, finding your partner 'hanging' around the house can give cause for concern! It doesn't hurt at all during the night, but getting up in the morning is fairly hellish.
I'm not due a PSA test until December, but just to be on the safe side I am asking for one next week. If it's clear then great, I know that I have a back problem to deal with again. If it's not, then at least I won't be giving anything another 3 months to develop.

Anyone else had similar back trouble before or after surgery?

Broccoli?


Major award to study protective effects of broccoli consumption against prostate cancer

The Prostate Cancer Foundation is providing $1M of funding to the Institute of Food Research and the University of East Anglia (UEA) to study the protective effects of broccoli consumption against prostate cancer.
It builds upon several years of research led by Professor Richard Mithen on the biological activity of a naturally occurring compound called sulforaphane that is obtained in the diet from eating broccoli.
Professor Colin Cooper (UEA), Professor Richard Mithen and Dr Maria Traka (IFR)
Professor Mithen and Dr Maria Traka will lead the research at IFR, and will collaborate with leading cancer genetics expert Professor Colin Cooper of UEA, and Mr Robert Mills and Professor Richard Ball at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.  Professor Cooper, supported by the Big C charity, has recently joined UEA’s Norwich Medical School and School of Biological Sciences.
This is one of nine ‘Challenge’ Awards made by PCF in an effort to accelerate scientific discovery and new treatments for prostate cancer patients. It was selected after rigorous peer review of 96 applications from 10 countries.  The unique capacity of the Norwich Research Park to integrate high quality plant science research, food research and clinical studies on a single campus was an important factor in the granting of this prestigious award.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK – with more than 35,000 cases diagnosed each year. Around 11,000 men in the UK die from the disease,” said Professor Cooper.
“It has long been thought that what we eat can play a part in the likelihood of developing prostate cancer but the responsible dietary components have not yet been identified.”
Men who eat diets rich in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, have been shown to have a lower chance of developing prostate cancer, or of progressing from localised cancer to more aggressive forms of the disease. Studies using model systems have suggested that sulforaphane, which is found at high levels in broccoli, may be behind the protective effects.
The new study will follow changes in the metabolism and gene expression in prostate tissue of men identified as being at risk of developing prostate cancer, and see how these changes are affected by eating a diet enriched with sulforaphane.
Professor Richard Mithen
“The results of this study could help men by providing evidence that diets rich in cruciferous vegetables or sulforaphane can reduce the likelihood of metastatic cancer, leading to the provision of higher quality dietary advice. It will also result in a greater understanding of metabolic and gene expression changes in prostate tissue that may lead to better drug development,” said Professor Richard Mithen.
“A change in diet could be a very simple way of decreasing the risk of developing prostate cancer, helping future generations to avoid the disease altogether,” said Professor Cooper.
“The receipt of this ‘Challenge’ award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation is very exciting news for Norwich Research Park and testament to the innovative research carried out by scientists in our Partner institutions,” said Matthew Jones, Chief Operating Officer, Norwich Research Park.
“The nine funding awards have only been given to those working in cross-disciplinary areas of research with near-term patient benefits. This is further evidence of the value seen by an increasing number of organisations in the unique combination of expertise on Norwich Research Park, ranging from fundamental research through to clinical trials and we are delighted by this endorsement.”