Saturday, 21 November 2020

European Prostate Cancer Awareness Day calls for action; what did I learn?


The European Prostate Cancer Awareness Day (EPAD) aims to raise awareness and enhance knowledge of prostate cancer. Oncology specialists, patient advocates, politicians and policymakers gathered for EPAD20 online and in Brussels on 17 November 2020. I missed the live event but have been catching up with their videos/presentations. Some of the findings that I found interesting are below - scribbled notes as I tuned into these talks - big thanks to EPAD for letting people living with cancer join.



Things have improved significantly since PSA was introduced
 
However 1 in 7 men in Europe will develop prostate cancer before they are 85.  Figures show in 2018 107,000 died from prostate cancer in Europe. 
 
Prostate cancer was said not to be a killing disease: “You will die with, not from prostate cancer”. Yet this is plainly not so true. It has been suggested that PSA testing was overused and led to over diagnosis and over treatment. Instead people with early diagnosis should have been offered Active Surveillance. This over diagnosis and treatment led to the anti-PSA propaganda - yes it is not a great measure but it has still helped with early detection that has led to less mortality. 
 
When there was less PSA testing it appears prostate cancer deaths increased. Prof. Hein Van Poppel in setting the scene to the conference challenged that much less was being done for prostate cancer than other cancers and asked why are we are letting this happen.

Prof. Monique J Roobol in her talk started with a quote from 1993 in the BMJ wrote: "About 50-60% of all cases of prostate cancer in the European Community present with obvious metastases or are locally too advanced for potentially curative management. Of those cancers that seem to be limited to the prostate clinically, 25-35% will have lymph node metastases. Of the remainder, another 25-35% will be too advanced for curative treatment and will turn out to be unresectable if surgery is attempted.” 
 
She went on to share the results of clinical trails saying that things "will hardly be different in 2021 and onwards if we do not act.”  She concluded:
  • Data from pre-PSA era show that PCa is a disease often related to a lot of suffering over a considerable period
  • 2 out of 3 men diagnosed with PCa died of their disease
We now know that: 
  • Organized screening with the use of the PSA test reduces suffering and dying from PCa
  • Potential harms ( unnecessary testing /over diagnosis and over treatment) can be largely avoided
Indeed the talks repeatedly concluded that early detection should be offered and can save lives. Are we doing enough? It seems not at the moment. As the Prof. Hein Van Poppel said in answer to a question, mortality is increasing in the UK due to the "propaganda against PSA testing" and GPs need to know that and we need to act. He goes onto "say early detection is likely to be the way out of it”.

When asked about prevention Monique J Roobol said it was research was still underway and that it was hard to know what can be done to prevent prostate cancer but we are aware of risk factors - mainly related to diet - particularly red meat being not good and tomatoes being good.


EUPROMS study - some surprises re quality of life after treatment

Key findings from nearly 3,000 responses in this study were highlighted by Mr. André Deschamps in his talk include:

Prostate Cancer is not an old mans disease; average age at diagnosis is 64. Nearly 30% are diagnosed before 60 and 76% before 70. 
 
Anxious and depressed; 42% of men who have been treated for prostate cancer are anxious or depressed to some extent at the time of the survey - with 15% extremely, severely or moderately impacted.

Sexual function;
there was slightly more impact with radiotherapy than radical prostatectomy - both treatments impacted significantly but this research flies contrary previous thoughts that prostatectomy had worse outcomes re sexual function. Of huge concern was the overall some 28% have a big problem and 22% a moderate problem ie 50%!

Continence: prostatectomy was worse than radiotherapy and its seems after treatment (I think they mean any of the standard treatments) a whopping 37% of men use one or more incontinence pads every day.

The conclusion is that early detection is key and that active surveillance should be considered as the first treatment in order to ensure the best quality of life.


The Awareness Day also heard from November and their campaigns to raise awareness about early detection - see more re UK branch at: https://uk.movember.com/

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Black Women Rising: new magazine

I recently got my copy of the wonderful 'Black Women Rising’ magazine - another opportunity by teh inspiring Leanne Pero and the gang at Black Women Rising to empower women of colour as they navigate their cancer journeys. There are also plans already under way for Black Men Rising.

The mission at Black Women Rising is to educate, inspire and bring opportunities for women from the BAME community, to connect with one another and share their stories, without fear or shame. As their website says; “As well as..generic injustices, the unhelpful myths and taboos surrounding cancer within the BAME community had ultimately stopped people from speaking out about their ordeals, leading to a lack of awareness and education within BAME households around cancer, its signs and symptoms. This ultimately led to the devastating outcomes of late stage diagnoses and higher mortality rates in some cancers than their white counterparts.”

Check out their podcasts
Black Women Rising have support groups and podcasts which I have mentioned in a previous blog - see here (i). This magazine will be another way to reach out. It covers loads with a look at the project, many voices from folk living with cancer, signs and symptoms, what to say to loved ones, hair, beauty, sex, gratitude, menopause, LGBTQI, genetics and so much more.


Options can be overwhelming

The magazine touches on lifestyle with Toral Shah talking nutrition and a section on exercise with Jonelle Lewis - from an integrative health perspective there is lots more evidence that could have been included around other stuff we can do to build our health. However I see one of the biggest challenges being about how not to  overwhelm people with too much info. 
 
In the recent Your Life and Cancer’ online event with 40 plus global experts it was more than clear how much evidence is out there. Some options cost loads while others are almost no cost. But how do you choose? And how do you find what is right for you? 

The magazine focusing on nutrition and exercise is clearly a great place to start. However as I noted in the previous blog (mentioned above) (i), complementary medicine like conventional treatment does also not seem to be able to serve the BAME community in terms of people living with cancer.

That leads me to one of the sections in the magazine that I particularly liked - looking at what we can do as a community to help banish stigma. 
 
The graphic opposite covers some of the ways which are already underway. I know we can all do more. This magazine is certainly a great start - could they be available in oncology waiting rooms? How else can we help reach out?
 
See more and order your copy of the magazine at: https://www.blackwomenrisinguk.org/
 
Notes
 
(i) See my blog with links to Black Women Rising podcasts, support groups and a film of Leanne talking at Trew Fields with the equally inspiring late Saima Thompson:  https://myunexpectedguide.blogspot.com/2020/07/yes-to-life-stands-in-solidarity-with.html

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Raising awareness; BBC’s ‘Prostrate’ radio series

In a recent blog I noted a series of funny, sensitive videos that tackles some of the silence around black America’s prostate cancer crisis (i). Well little did I know the BBC had a series of radio shows trying to do a bit of the same with Martin Jameson’s comedy drama.

Last month they released the series - starring Stephen Tompkinson and Gary Wilmot - the BBC describes them "as buddies grappling the country’s most common and least sexy male cancer”. What?!! The ‘least sexy male cancer’?? What a load of tosh! Are any cancers sexy? 

Anyhow it is great that this series is raising awareness - and particularly about the poorer survival rates for Black people. Although disappointing it doesn’t cover what else we can be doing to support our health and wellbeing. The episodes stay very clearly with conventional treatment despite the huge and growing evidence that lifestyle and complimentary can play a significant role in health. The show also appears slightly misleading at one point with mention of testosterone being the thing that helps prostate cancer grow. Well it is nothing like as simple as that - see my blog here looking at that issue a bit more (ii).

The website explains the title of the show; "Prostrate - because that's what everyone calls it and that's how it renders you - is a rebel yell of solidarity to every man (and supportive woman) living with the disease. The enemy is silence - the weapons are friendship and laughter”. Here’s the exchange between the two characters in episode one:

"Prostate not prostrate.”
“No its definitely prostrate.”
“Prostrate is when you are lying on the ground, helpless in complete supplication and submission.”
“And your point is?”
“Yeah, fair enough."

This is more of the description from the website:

"Tony – job going nowhere, marriage collapsed, son barely speaking to him - thinks life couldn’t get any worse. Until the nimble-fingered consultant tells him he has prostate cancer. Head spinning, Tony collides with Lenny’s car in the urology car park. Lenny has been in hand-to-gland combat with the disease for ten years but still lives life to the cantankerous max. Over five episodes, Lenny drags Tony out of the slough of despondency. Together they kick Tony's cancer into touch, and his life into vibrant new shape. 

"47,000 men are diagnosed every year, with UK deaths from prostate cancer now exceeding those from breast cancer. Writer Martin Jameson was diagnosed in 2013 and endured lengthy treatment in 2014, despite which he discovered a well of humour and life-affirming camaraderie with other prostate veterans whose experiences get to the nub of what it is to be a middle-aged man". 

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Genetics; what we need to know before chemotherapy or radiotherapy?

I first published this blog on the Yes to Life website here following a great Forum put on by Yes to Life's Wigwam Cancer Support Group - in that we heard Dr Peter H Kay talk about genetics and more (i). It does seem extraordinary that this issue is not being more considered by the NHS? I would hugely welcome any feedback from others about their experiences? Is this something patient groups should be campaigning on?

Genetics is more than complicated to get my head around. Some regular blog readers might have seen my earlier blogs looking at the role of p53 and my own cancer here and the key role of epigenetics here. Well in thsi blog Peter kindly cast an eye over it before I published so hopefully this will make sense to folks.

What we need to know before chemotherapy or radiotherapy?

Dr Kay on Zoom
I recently joined one of the Wigwam cancer support group forums (i) with Dr Peter H Kay who introduced us to the idea that our genetic profile can significantly influence whether chemotherapy or radiotherapy will be helpful or harmful. For example studies into chemotherapy have shown that about 25% of patients die or have a shortened life because of this form of treatment.

The information that Peter shared in the forum made it one of the most important talks I’ve heard about conventional treatment. It is complicated. The language alone is enough to give me a headache. Yet as I grappled with the science it became increasingly clear that this information should be in the hands of more people. Indeed why are the NHS not routinely testing in the way Peter suggests?

In the talk Peter, who is an Australian trained Molecular Pathologist, Immunopathologist and Cancer Specialist, discussed the significance of some of the more important genetic aspects to be considered to optimise the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Considerations include reference to the genes that encode the proteins p53 and CYP2D6 as well as a gene called MDR1. The gene MDR1 encodes a protein that causes multidrug resistance. He also spoke briefly about the importance of oxygen in radiotherapy. I will introduce them in more detail below.

TP53

The gene TP53 encodes a protein called p53. The protein p53 plays a very important role in many aspects of development, progression and treatment of cancer. It is a type of tumour suppressor protein that inhibits the development of tumours. It has been called “the guardian of the genome,” and when inactivated, it permits the growth and spread of cancer. Around half of all cancer cells have developed a mutant form of the TP53 gene.

Broadly speaking it seems there are two types of mutations; germline and somatic. Germline mutations are heritable. These mutations are present from birth and affect every cell in the body. Genetic tests are now available and folks can check for several germline mutations that increase cancer risk, such as mutated BRCA1 and 2 genes. Germline mutations in the TP53 gene are not common. Indeed it should be noted that less than around 7% of all cancers are due to germline gene mutations. Most cancers are associated with a somatic mutation.

Somatic mutations are acquired. They are not present from birth but come about from the process of a cell becoming a cancer cell. In contrast to germline mutations there are a wide range of cancers that are associated with somatic mutations in the TP53 gene including most lung cancers and 20-40% of breast cancers. Somatic mutations are only present in cancer cells and not in other cells in the body.

Damage to the TP53 gene can be due to cancer-causing substances in the environment (carcinogens) such as cigarettes but often the toxin leading to the mutation is unknown. Mutations are also caused by exposure to radiation and ultraviolet light and viruses. Somatic mutations also occur when DNA repair genes are faulty.

Reading lots to try and understand!

Recent studies have shown that the presence of mutant forms of TP53 may reduce the benefits of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

DNA sequencing tests can easily be done on DNA samples isolated from a blood sample or a cheek swab to identify germline mutations. Somatic mutations however can only be identified by sequencing DNA or RNA isolated from the cancer cells themselves, usually requiring a biopsy.

If a cancer is found to have a somatic TP53 mutation, other forms of treatment, other than chemotherapy or radiotherapy, may be more suitable

CYP2D6

Many chemotherapeutic drugs are administered in an inactive form called a pro-drug. When pro-drugs are absorbed into the bloodstream, they need to be activated by certain enzymes within the cytochrome P450 enzyme system   before they can be of help. CYP2D6 is a key pro-drug activating enzyme that is encoded by the CYP2D6 gene mainly in the liver. It plays a key role in the metabolism and elimination of the drugs and toxins we ingest.

We inherit different functional forms of cytochrome P450 family members such as CYP2D6. Some people inherit CYP2D6 enzymes that work very poorly. These people may not activate pro-drugs adequately for drugs to be effective. Others inherit CYP2D6 enzymes that are highly active. These people may activate pro-drugs too quickly leading to an overdose effect. Most drugs are designed to work best in those who have inherited a CYP2D6 enzyme with intermediate activity.

An example that is currently being researched is Tamoxifen. This treatment can reduce a woman’s risk of developing a second primary breast cancer, but there is substantial variability in response to treatment. Some of this may be attributed to germline genetic variation because Tamoxifen is a pro-drug activated by CYP2D6.

MDR1

Many cancer patients develop resistance to the very chemotherapy drugs designed to kill their cancer. Even more problematic, it seems that once a patient’s tumour is resistant to one type of chemotherapy, it is much more likely to be resistant to other chemotherapies as well. This is known as multidrug resistance. Once patients reach this point, the prognosis is often poor.

Several genes are recognized as playing a role in multidrug resistance in cancer; key amongst these is the multidrug resistance-1 gene (MDR1). MDR1 inhibitor drugs have sadly not been successful in clinical trials with cancer and it is now thought the reason maybe because it impacts on our natural immune responses (ii).

Development of multidrug resistance by cancer cells is the greatest obstacle against efficacy of chemotherapy. Multidrug resistance is often referred to as the “Oncologist’s nightmare”. Knowing the extent of MDR1 gene expression in cancer cells would be useful in determining further chemotherapy or not. If multidrug resistance is present in cancer cells, then other treatment options such as immune based therapies should be considered.

Tests for the presence of multidrug resistance require a sample of the cancer cells usually by way of a biopsy.

See my blog & film re hyperbaric oxygen here

Oxygen and radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is about using shaped beams of high radiation energy, light or particles to induce cell death in tumour cells, whilst sparing healthy cells; up to 60% of cancer patients will receive radiotherapy in the course of treatment.

Yet we don’t get to hear about oxygen and the key role it plays in the replication of cells and growth of tumours. Research has shown that oxygen deficient tumours create their own networks of blood vessels to sustain themselves and develop their capacity to metastasis (ie spread the cancer to other parts of the body).

Oxygen also plays a key role in radiotherapy; a well oxygenated tumour responds up to three times better than those with less oxygen. Knowing this opens up huge possibilities for cancer treatment, one very promising example being researched is to have hyperbaric oxygen before having radiotherapy. There seem to be similar benefits from this approach with chemotherapy.

Good news story

Recently work is being done around the widely used fluoropyrimidine chemotherapy drugs such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). This powerful class of drugs is proving useful in the treatment of many cancers.

The fluoropyrimidine class of drugs are usually administered intravenously in an active form.  They are metabolised by the enzyme dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) enzyme encoded by the DPYD gene. The problem is that around 5% of people have a genetic deficiency of DPD and less than 0.1% of people have a complete deficiency. This means they are unable to break down the chemotherapy agents and in a small number of cases it will lead to rapid life threatening toxicity.

The good news is that some NHS hospitals, like Manchester, have started to save lives by screening for the DPYD genotype prior to fluoropyrimidine treatment (iii). When will they also start to look at other genetic tests?

Where can we get tests done?

In view of the benefits of genetic testing for germline and somatic cell mutations, it is possible that oncologists, clinicians and general practitioners will have access to helpful genetic tests locally within the NHS system (iv). You should seek these tests from them.

Other approaches

In recent times, new immune based treatments like CAR-T cell therapy and immune checkpoint therapy and the use of monoclonal antibodies have been developed by harnessing elements of the immune system. These immune based treatments avoid many of the problems associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Let us hope these and other treatments will provide more answers and ways forward.


It is also worth mentioning epigenetics. We may not be able to change our genetics but we are not a victim of them. What we can change is the expression of our genes – and that’s what epigenetics is about. Some of the epigenetic changes may have a serious impact like cancer, but it is clear that these can still be modified by lifestyle choices and environmental influence.

Understanding our genetics can play a key role in choosing conventional treatments like radiotherapy and chemotherapy – but also adding support like lifestyle and complementary approaches. It would be great to have access to these important genetic tests on the NHS. Having access to this information could have a significant impact on the quality of lives; avoiding for example, harsh chemotherapy treatments that have no benefits.

Course on offer

Peter has prepared a course based on past and present advances to provide a wide range of genetic, biochemical, metabolic and immunological information. It is aimed at patients, practitioners and students of the health sciences to enable them to understand many aspects of the development, progression and treatment of cancer. The normal charge for the course is £200, however, if interested, members of Wigwam support groups can take the course for £100. For details and further information contact Dr Peter H Kay at: peterhkay@gmail.com

Notes

Philip would like to note his thanks to Dr Peter H Kay for the talk and acknowledge that this blog is based on his understanding gained from Dr Kay. Philip also notes that of course people should consult their cancer specialist before making any decision that could affect their treatment.

(i) For Wigwam Forums see: https://www.wigwam.org.uk/forums-and-webinars

For a video of Peter’s Forum with Wigwam register on the Wigwam website in top right hand corner to get access to the talk:

https://www.wigwam.org.uk/resources

You can also hear Peter in a Yes to Life Radio Show: https://www.ukhealthradio.com/blog/episode/critical-information-molecular-pathologist-and-cancer-specialist-dr-peter-kay-wants-people-considering-chemotherapy-to-be-aware-of-genetic-tests-that-could-save-their-lives/

(ii) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200417114440.htm

and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2915407/

(iii) https://mft.nhs.uk/dpyd/

(iv) Genelex in USA offer CYP2D6 and DPYD typing. See  https://www.genelex.com/test-menu/

Friday, 23 October 2020

Starving cancer; new documentary

This excellent 30 minute film below 'Should We Starve Terminal Cancer’ came out earlier this month on YouTube. This documentary follows Yvonne's experience of starving her cancer, alongside the NHS standard of care. She uses cheap, existing drugs - sometimes called ‘off-label’ - typically used for diabetes or as anti-malarials - alongside a plant-based diet and supplements.

More than two years ago I met and talked to Jane McLelland, author of the book, ‘How to Starve Cancer’. She was one of the first, if not the first, to share her story and learning about how to starve her cancer. You can see my brief film with her here (i). Jane's website summarises her journey: "Diagnosed with terminal cancer in the prime of her life, and with no viable treatment options, she used herself as a human guinea pig, putting together a cocktail of low toxicity drugs, not normally used for cancer, alongside a low glycaemic diet and powerful supplements. These ‘starved’ her cancer of glucose, glutamine and fat, which she demonstrates with her ingenious, easy-to-follow ‘McLelland Metro Map’."

Jane now has over 31,000 followers on her Facebook page, her book is being republished, she has won an ‘Amazing Women Global’ life-time achievement award for her work and she is also launching a course in the next weeks - I’m already signed up.  

It is Jane’s approach of starving cancer that is the basis of this film - and Yvonne now believes she is living a healthier life with her cancer than she was before her diagnosis. The documentary investigates various aspects of starving cancer, and speaks to those who swear by it and totally refute it. I think it is a powerful and hugely informative film - a great introduction to what is a very complex field. I would strongly recommend it as a starting point to understanding this approach more. Big thanks to the documentary’s producer, Saffron Amis and director, Frederick Ferguson.




Notes


You can get 40% of the book now on Jane's website and sign up for her newsletters: https://www.howtostarvecancer.com/



Sunday, 11 October 2020

A look at Coconut oil

In 2018 a headline in The Independent screamed: 'Coconut oil is ‘pure poison’ Harvard professor claims’ (i). Dr Karin Michels, professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and director of the Institute for Prevention and Tumour Epidemiology at the University of Freiburg, argues that coconut oil is “one of the worst foods you can eat” due to the damaging effect the saturated fatty acids in the coconut oil can have on your body.

To me this is deeply unhelpful. As nutritionist Lily Soutter says "Claiming that any one food is a poison can be dangerous as it instils fear around food." 

Coconut certainly seems to divide opinion. In recent years we’ve seen the claims like this report that coconut oil is poison and we’ve also seen folks go crazy for coconut with claims like it boosts our immune system and can be beneficial for Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately a number of the health claims for coconut oil seem to be based on studies that used a special formulation of coconut oil made of 100% medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) (ii). This is not the coconut oil available in shops. Indeed the coconut we buy in the UK contains mostly lauric acid.

Cooking with fats and oils

Kirsten Chick, a nutritional therapist, who spoke at the Your Life and Cancer weekend, raises the question of cooking with fats in her new book, ‘Nutrition Brought to Life’ (2020). Heat will cause unsaturated fatty acid rich oils to go rancid faster. It is why we keep them in dark bottles/cupboards and buy cold-pressed. She notes that for years we’ve been encouraged to cook with oils like olive and rapeseed which have some of the highest unsaturated fatty acid contents. 

Yet we don’t know enough about rancid oils from the oxidation - or oils that have also been damaged by the heat. Kirsten says some research suggests they maybe more difficult to digest which may aid inflammation? We also know that high levels of cancer forming aldehydes occur in heated unsaturated fatty acid rich oils. Interestingly it seems from new research that coconut oil and butter have the fewest unsaturated fatty acids - coconut oil performed particularly well in tests under heat compared to others. 

So the research confirms that if you cook with fats/oils use ones that have low levels of unsaturated fats - in other words not the corn or sunflower oils that have been suggested in the past for cooking. Kirsten concludes that appropriate levels of saturated fats within a balanced diet are healthy.
 
Update 12/10/20: Just been sent this new article that concludes similarly it should be used in moderation - however they argue it is best not used in cooking (!) - this is the opposite to nutritionist Kirsten Chick noted above and research she quotes specifically looking at using fats at high temperatures: https://www.createcures.org/the-healthy-properties-of-coconut-oil/
 

But what of cancer?

Looking generally at cancer, Lizabeth Gold, Head Dietician at the The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Chicago, responding to a question about coconut oil at the Your Life and Cancer weekend (Oct 2020) said we should be limiting overall intake; plant-based oils are better but it is best that coconut "should not to go beyond 8-10% of intake of fats”
 

And prostate cancer particularly?

Chris Woollams of Canceractive writes: ”Saturated fat intake is linked to an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer and an increased risk of fatal prostate cancer; whereas good fat like fish oil EPA reduces risk and mono-unsaturated fats show no raised risk (iii)” In his article he writes that coconut oil is linked to chronic inflammation as it has twice the saturated fat content of lard. Chris also quotes Professor Thomas Seyfried, the Boston College champion of the Ketogenic Diet saying he wouldn’t touch it and goes onto argue folks should take lycopene and lots of raw ginger.

In a major review looking at ‘Lipids and Prostate Cancer’ (2012) they note: "Several epidemiological studies have suggested increased consumption of saturated fatty acid correlates with increased risk of prostate cancer and reduced progression-free survival; however others report no significant association (iv)". Most of the studies don’t differentiate the type, quality or quantity of the fat, and may not disaggregate other factors for example people who eat a diet high in saturated fats from processed foods may do less exercise, be more overweight etc. Interestingly palm oil, a saturated fat often lumped in the research of saturated fatty acids, has been shown to have carcinogenic effects in animal studies. So does some of the research reflect that?

Energy ball; made with coconut oil?
Toral Shah, Nutritional Scientist and Functional Medicine Practitioner, who was another speaker at Your Life and Cancer agrees that it coconut oil is better than other saturated fats so she would use for cooking but not putting in all food. Interestingly in answer to a question I raised at the conference about fats and prostate cancer, she says we don’t yet understand the link. Toral asks "Is it the fat itself or is it the diet and the whole being obese?” Then goes onto say we know there is a link between a diet high in saturated fats and obesity, we know obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer, so would a low fat diet be about reducing weight to change the metabolism to improve health and outcomes with cancer or is it the fat itself?
 

Conclusions

We are all different and metabolise differently so I guess we all have to make up our own mind. Hopefully more research can help in the future. To further confuse there are wider questions about what else we are eating - I’ve not managed to get my head around the various ketogenic diets and still not written up my wider approach to nutrition in this blog. However it seems to me that the benefits of coconut oil have been overstated and I heed the comments made specifically about saturated fats and coconut oils. It would also seem to make sense, (bearing in mind the research that Kirsten Chick quotes), that if cooking then maybe that is the time for a small amount of coconut oil - there don't seem to be many oils that work for cooking!
 
Then the way to go the rest of the time is a modest intake of olive oil along with foods rich in fatty acids such as oily fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, etc. This re-confirms my view of 18 months ago when I mentioned coconut oil in a blog then (vi).

To finish I love this comment from a nutritionist: "The more I read the more I’m convinced that what we put into the diet – especially in terms of vegetables and some fruit – is more important than what we take out, there’s some wonderful literature emerging on the potent anti-cancer benefits of plant bioactive compounds, all from everyday, delicious foods like berries, broccoli, mushrooms, green tea, garlic, spices and herbs (amongst many others!), also feels a much more positive approach than the ‘shalt nots’. All a balance of course but that’s exciting for me”. 

Friday, 25 September 2020

Daddy’s Boys – a play tackling prostate cancer disparity in African-American men

I recently came across a series of funny, sensitive videos that tackles some of the silence around black America’s prostate cancer crisis - a situation not dissimilar to the UK. 

I’ve covered a bit here with my film of two wonderful activists about raising awareness and the local Prostate group in Gloucester - I also know the Black community in Gloucester have done some great awareness raising work. One in Four Black Men will get Prostate Cancer. For the rest of guys the stats are one in eight will get prostate cancer. You can see more about the reasons why this is so important in my blog about Yes to Life standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matters.

The Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) worked with GDavis Productions to produce Daddy’s Boys. The story is about Jessie, a father of three living with a prostate cancer diagnosis. The PHEN motto is: “Knowledge is the best defense against prostate cancer.” Hence the series has lots of good info as well as challenging the taboos and silence. 
 
Apparently half the audiences are someone with prostate cancer or a family member - and they say they are also hoping this will educate women as they often have some influence over the men in their lives. Certainly the dramas will aid communication and enable folk to better support people - just knowing you can talk means people feel less alone - and plays/drama/creativity is such a great way to raise awareness.

See first two episodes at: https://www.daddysboys.net/tickets and they are hoping to tour again next year - sadly I guess they won’t come here but maybe there is a UK project that is similar?

Update 30/10/20: Here's some interesting new research which is better news - 'Black Men Have Better Outcomes From Radiation-Based Tx for High-Risk PCa': https://www.oncologynurseadvisor.com/home/cancer-types/prostate-cancer/racial-differences-radiotherapy-prostate-cancer-recurrence-metastasis/


European Prostate Cancer Awareness Day calls for action; what did I learn?

The European Prostate Cancer Awareness Day (EPAD) aims to raise awareness and enhance knowledge of prostate cancer. Oncology specialists, pa...