Your correspondent was recently invited to take part in the fabulous Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, for its 2022 return after two years of COVID cancellations. The festival’s theme was “Uniting Humanity” and, with writers from all over the world baring their souls, I’d say it achieved its aim.
For something a little different, herewith a photo essay of my journey, spreading the message of supportive care for men with Prostate Cancer to the world, through my book Patting The Shark.
Yay! We can travel again! Dust off the passports! Pull out the Hawaiian shirts and Qantas bags.
But wait! What’s this? We can’t get travel insurance for pre-existing conditions without paying a fortune? So, if we want to travel, we aren’t going to be covered for anything related to our cancer, or our holiday budget is going to take a massive hit. If you are living with advanced, metastatic disease, or even just on Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) for localised disease, your pre-existing condition exclusions might take in a huge range of ailments.
Skeletal related events (SREs), also known as symptomatic skeletal events, occur due to bone instability related to the treatment of advanced prostate cancer or due to the spread of prostate cancer to the bone (metastases). This results in localised pain at the site of spread and increased risk of fractures. Metastases to the spinal column can result in a pathological fracture with collapse of the vertebrae leading to spinal cord compression. SREs are associated with increased risk of mortality, pain, and low-quality of life. Symptomatic bone lesions may require radiotherapy or surgical intervention to improve symptoms. Patients may also present with high calcium levels in the blood.
Greetings from Bali, where your correspondent finds himself enjoying a break from normal transmission, in the splendour of the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival. I’m here to talk about my bookPatting The Shark, which you might already be aware documents the perilous path of the prostate cancer patient and my quest for a sensible, middle path through mainstream and evidence-based complementary therapies.
Changing the health care system is slow, difficult and expensive.
So, I thought I’d save everyone a lot of time, cost and trouble by designing new guidelines for the delivery and management of a prostate cancer diagnosis, based on my admittedly complete absence of medical qualifications, apart from seven years as a prostate cancer patient.
Those of us on hormone therapy probably don’t need reminding that exercise is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, for its many benefits: improved cardio-vascular health, bone density, muscle mass and mood, all compromised by hormone therapy (Androgen Deprivation Therapy).
The European Society of Medical Oncology 2022 Conference was hosted in Paris from 9-13 September. Updates from some of the key clinical trials presented at the conference will be discussed in this blog.
Everyone responds to a cancer diagnosis differently. Some embrace yoga, meditation and a plant-based diet. Some retreat from the world. Some resolve to suck the marrow from life and chase an audacious bucket list.
There may be no satisfactory answer to the question: Why did I get cancer?
If you are a lifelong smoker with lung cancer, chances are that was a contributing factor. Lengthy court cases have been waged to establish if exposure to the toxic pesticide and known carcinogen Roundup was responsible for the various cancers suffered by gardeners and farmers and others who regularly doused themselves with the stuff.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, particularly the strict lockdowns in Victoria, there was a sharp and dramatic drop in cancer diagnoses. And the sharpest and most dramatic drop of all was for prostate cancer, with a 60% reduction in prostate cancer screening in Victoria.
Have you ever felt like you have a story to tell just waiting to get out? Or thought journaling or keeping a diary might be a useful way of processing your experiences? Or just felt like getting something off your chest without burdening those around you with your angst?
Decision regret has been defined as a negative emotion involving distress or remorse following a decision and can result when the outcome of a decision is compared with the likely outcome of an unchosen alternative1. This blog will refer to those originally diagnosed with localised prostate cancer who are often presented with several treatment options...
I went to have my annual skin cancer check the other day. No big deal.
Except as a man on hormone therapy, enduring its emasculating effects and unwanted bodily changes, stripping down to my undies even in the supposedly safe space of a doctor’s surgery can be a little anxiety producing...
An onco-psychologist and a surf writer walk into a library.
It sounds like the setup to a bad joke, but in reality, it’s just another day on the book promo trail. I was hugely honoured to be joined at the Brisbane Square Library on Saturday by the one and only Prof Suzanne Chambers AO, this country’s pre-eminent authority on prostate cancer survivorship, who literally wrote the text book on the topic (“Facing The Tiger,” Australian academic Press, 2020)...
As some of you may have detected, it’s been a funny old week for your correspondent.
After labouring over a book, Patting The Shark, for the best part of two years, documenting my journey with metastatic prostate cancer, it was finally released. Like most authors, I felt deeply anxious and insecure about whether anyone would remotely care or take an interest. It turns out I needn’t have worried...
Urinary incontinence significantly compromises heath-related quality of life and when conservative measures fail can be improved by surgical treatment. This includes the male sling (bulbar urethral sling), and the artificial urinary sphincter (AUS). These procedures prevent involuntary urinary loss by increasing resistance to flow at the bladder exit (bladder neck)...
Close readers of this blog and, indeed, the PCFA website, may have picked up on the carefully guarded secret that I have written a book about my experience living with prostate cancer and its treatment...
In the grand, time-honoured tradition of “those that don’t do, teach,” please allow me to impart what I know about maintaining sexual function during prostate cancer treatment, a mission I have failed at spectacularly myself...
Written by Exercise Physiologists Malek El-Hassan and Andrew Rivellese, in collaboration with Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA).
After a diagnosis of Prostate Cancer (PCa), you may be recommended to commence Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT). ADT is a standard first line therapy for PCa that assists to shrink or prevent the tumour from continuing to grow...