Neuroendocrine Cancer – the devil is in the detail

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Nick Robinson, well-known and ex-BBC Political Editor starts his new job today (16 Nov 15) on BBC Radio 4. He was until earlier this year, the most recognised political reporter face on UK TV, frequently stood outside 10 Downing St reporting on anything politics and at any time of the day.

Like a lot of people, Nick’s life changed when he was diagnosed with Cancer in Feb 2015. A self-confessed workaholic, he is now hoping to live a more balanced life after surviving lung cancer according to an article in the Sunday Times this weekend.

He assumes the post vacated by James Naughtie, an extremely hard act to follow – a man who would frequently sink his teeth into a politician’s leg and not let go until he got an answer – or at the very least he would paint them into an embarrassing corner. It’s a tough job as most politicians are extremely wily characters, masters of ‘double speak‘ and expert in answering a question without getting into the detail the questioner wants.  As we all know, the devil is in the detail.

Although the article introduces some new facts about his cancer experience, I was really looking for more detail.  That said, even without the ‘devil’, the latest article is inspiring for most (….man goes back to work after a tough fight with Cancer).

So why am I so interested in the detail of Nick’s Cancer? Simple – because he does not have Lung Cancer as frequently and widely reported in the media. Lung Cancer is the ‘politician’s answer‘ or the ‘double speak answer’ to avoid going into complicated detail. The correct answer is he has Neuroendocrine Cancer with a Lung Primary.

I’d really like to turn the tables and interview Nick, we seem to have so much in common. We are both self-confessed workaholics, we both went to an annual Asthma clinic, we both told our Asthma nurses we had lost weight and we both were sent for a scan as a result. Following our scans, we were both diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer.  Like Nick, I also have an interest in politics but wouldn’t make a good one due to my love of detail and hate of ‘double speak‘.

This is not a new problem for Neuroendocrine Cancer.  The most famous of patients is the Apple founder and now deceased Steve Jobs.  He is frequently (even to this day) reported to have had Pancreatic Cancer rather than Neuroendocrine Cancer of the Pancreas (an Insulinoma to be precise).  Although not as famous as Jobs, UK musician Wilko Johnson (of Dr Feelgood fame) is a similar story. I touched on this dilemma in my article The Human Anatomy of Neuroendocrine Cancer.

Nick – good luck with the new job.  

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I am not a doctor or any form of medical professional, practitioner or counsellor. None of the information on my website, or linked to my website(s), or conveyed by me on any social media or presentation, should be interpreted as medical advice given or advised by me.  Neither should any post or comment made by a follower or member of my private group be assumed to be medical advice, even if that person is a healthcare professional as they are not members of the private group or followers of my sites in any official capacity.  Please also note that mention of a clinical service, trial/study or therapy does not constitute an endorsement of that service, trial/study or therapy by Ronny Allan, the information is provided for education and awareness purposes and/or related to Ronny Allan’s own patient experience. This element of the disclaimer includes any complementary medicine, non-prescription over the counter drugs and supplements such as vitamins and minerals.

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7 thoughts on “Neuroendocrine Cancer – the devil is in the detail

  • Maggie

    I’m a lung NET too, and I’ve helped raise awareness of lung cancer, and really don’t mind that they label me just as “lung cancer survivor”. In my opinion, the symptoms of bronchial NETS that I want people to be aware of piggyback the symptoms of most other types of lung cancer. Bronchial NETs are so different than GI – both specialists I’ve seen told me they are really a separate disease! And a grade 1 or 2 bronchial NET IS lung cancer. Just as small cell or large cell carcinoma (also NET, but grade 3) are lung cancer. There are many kinds of lung cancer, and you’re right – the media likes to label them all “lung cancer” without providing details. I mentioned neuroendocrine cancer in my interviews and they didn’t sneak that in to any of the coverage, but I’m okay with that. Lung cancer is underfunded, and needs awareness, whether its neuroendocrine, squamous cell, adenocarcinoma or something else. Of course NET needs awareness too – but lots of NET coverage focuses on GI symptoms, so I feel like bronchial folks fit into two camps. 🙂

    • I absolutely can see your point Maggie. I admit my approach is bias toward Neuroendocrine Cancer but as someone who blogs about it, that shouldn’t be a surprise! Lung Cancer is an awful disease and is already very well known (unfortunately for its links to smoking). Neuroendocrine Cancer is not very well known and that is the purpose of my blog. Thanks for taking the time to comment, it’s a very interesting debate!

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