Neuroendocrine Cancer: Follow up tests and checks

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Follow up tests and checks

Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Since 2010 I’ve had a lot of surveillance and testing. More than ordinary people can imagine. I can see from various comments on my public pages and posts within my private group, that some people get a lot more than I do and some get less. It’s not true to say we all get the same, there are many factors including stage, grade, type of Neuroendocrine Neoplasm, healthcare system, miscellaneous problems, therapy, even age.I have metastatic small intestine NET.  In the first year or two after diagnosis, I seemed to be in an almost continuous testing phase but that was mainly due to seeing so many different doctors for so…
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Ronny Allan Newsletter – 1st February 2021

Ronny Allan Newsletter – 1st February 2021

Newsletters, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Overview [caption id="attachment_21789" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Honestly, there is a smile under that mask![/caption] 2021 is now underway and January has been an interesting month.  The highs are the approval of more vaccines and I had the first of my own vaccinations on 31st January - click here to see the announcement on my Facebook page. The lows are slightly depressing growth figures on my biggest Facebook public page and less than normal blog figures for the month of January. I'll need to work on that in February and with your help, I can catch up.  I'm putting it down to COVID-19 malaise! January update follows The newsletter is now divided…
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Lanreotide and Keytruda – the PLANET study (NCT03043664)

Lanreotide and Keytruda – the PLANET study (NCT03043664)

Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Headline:  Roughly 40% of patients with advanced, progressive gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) treated with pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in combination with lanreotide (Somulatine Depot) achieved stable disease, according to results from the phase 1b/2 PLANET clinical trial presented during the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium.I've written about Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) before in my general immunotherapy coverage - click here.  I did note they weren't really having much luck with Neuroendocrine Neoplasms although I do see some success (.... but not enough) in poorly differentiated carcinomas.  Well differentiated NETs remain an immunological desert.  However, this poster abstract from ASCO GI conference caught my eye.“Pembrolizumab has antitumor activity in a…
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Currently trending on RonnyAllan.NET

Currently trending on RonnyAllan.NET

Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email I realise some of you are busy but if you wanted a quick catch up and summary of what's currently relevant on my site, you can bookmark this article and refer to it time and time again.  It will automatically update the top 10 list below which are the most read posts in the previous 48 hours on my site.  These views will have come from various sources of reading including my Facebook pages, Twitter, Pinterest, Wordpress, newsletters and in my private group. I hope many of you will find this new tool useful. Thanks as usual for your phenomenal support. Ronny   My Facebook page is click here Click…
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The Invisibility of Rectal NETs – do the math

The Invisibility of Rectal NETs – do the math

Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Do the math not the myth An addition to my mountain of evidence against the so called rarity of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms, a new study from US indicates that many NETs are hidden among colorectal cancer cases in cancer registries. The study reported extraordinary figures of NET cases found when analysing the data.  For years, doctors have been warning about the increasing incidence of colorectal cancer amongst younger people. For that reason, the American Cancer Society recommended people to start screening at a younger age (45 years instead of 50 years) in 2018. This would affect 22 million Americans who now are recommended screening. Colorectal covers the large intestine including the sigmoid…
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Ronny Allan Newsletter – 1st January 2021

Ronny Allan Newsletter – 1st January 2021

Newsletters, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Happy new year everyone! OverviewJust when things couldn't get weirder, they get weirder.  At the beginning of the year, I started as I meant to go on, more advocacy work, more support for patients, grow my pages, grow my website, grow my private group.  I achieved most of it (and then some).  In February/March, it became obvious things were happening that would have serious consequences.  Nonetheless, I think most people thought it would all be over in a few months. We got that wrong......Where I live, December just got worse, we are in a very serious second wave of the virus and it could even turn out to be more…
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A 2020 blog review (RonnyAllan.NET)

A 2020 blog review (RonnyAllan.NET)

Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Click picture to view the A to Z of Neuroendocrine Cancer by Ronny Allan I should be happy with just over a third of a million views in 2020 but I'm not!   I had a target to beat 370,500 from 2019 but fell short by 35,000 (an average month).  However, you can see from the chart below, I was on track in Jan/Feb but knocked sideways by the COVID pandemic in March to August. I never got back above 30k in one month (my average) until November. December is traditionally quieter.  Hopefully 2021 will be a better year.  Facebook is a prime outlet for my blog views (by a country…
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Genome methylation accurately predicts neuroendocrine tumor origin – finding Neuroendocrine Neoplasms of unknown primary

Genome methylation accurately predicts neuroendocrine tumor origin – finding Neuroendocrine Neoplasms of unknown primary

Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email It's estimated that around 5-10% of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NENs) have an unknown primary - what that means is cancer cells have been found in the body but the place the cancer began remains unknown.  I wrote about this issue in more depth in my article "Needle in a haystack" - you can read that here.  In that article you will note that NET specialists through their knowledge and understanding of the behaviour of these comped tumours, can often drill down and gather various pieces of evidence to help narrow down the primary location. However, this new study would indicate they could have access to a new tool to be able…
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Selecting patients and the Challenges of Evaluating Response to PRRT in GEPNETs: The Present and the Future

Selecting patients and the Challenges of Evaluating Response to PRRT in GEPNETs: The Present and the Future

Patient Advocacy, Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Fascinating article from the Italian NET scientific community.  This article is more than just what the title says, it provides overviews on many facets of NETs including markers, scans and PRRT itself. It covers how to select patients for PRRT in the first place, i.e. who is most likely to get a good response to this treatment and then look at how to track and assess that response. The important thing I gathered from reading is that none of this is a precise science, there are too many variables.  And while this article focusses on the clinical factors, there can of course be non-clinical factors in play in different countries…
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Thanks a MILLION …and another half!

Thanks a MILLION …and another half!

Awareness, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email thanks all! I was totally astonished to have been able to accumulate a million views of my blog around the middle of June 2019 and now in December 2020, a Christmas present of one and a half million!  When I first set it up in Apr 2014, it was just to help spread awareness whilst I was walking the 84 miles of Hadrian's Wall with my wife Chris. I never thought for one minute I would reach 1.5 million hits and accumulating around 17,000 followers across all my social media sites.I'm now heading for 2 million and I often think I might have a screw loose by even thinking about…
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Ronny Allan Newsletter 1st December 2020

Ronny Allan Newsletter 1st December 2020

Newsletters, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email This newsletter covers a busy November with a look ahead for December and beyond.  October 2020 was manic, but November was just as manic but in a different way.  It was also a better month in terms of growth (increased viewing statistics etc).In UK. most of November had been under new COVID restrictions but due to the weather this time of year, I was not able to exploit that as much as the first lockdown in April/May.  Despite that, I'm built for lockdowns due to a 'regimented' upbringing in the military, so was able to stay busy and relaxed when needed. Still managed to get a few walks and cycles now…
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Serotonin – it’s a no-brainer!

Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email OPINION There is constant discussion about the effects of serotonin-producing tumours and issues of depression, anxiety and 'rage'. However, it's a really complex issue for lay people and I have no intention of trying to resolve it in this article. However, it's clear to me from listening and reading these discussions in patient forums for many years, that most of the discussion appears to be based around years of unsubstantiated and unmoderated debate inside patient forums without professional input.  This is not an attempt to bash patient leaders and forum administrators, because full understanding of these issues needs a much wider moderation. I've spent a considerable time researching and analysing…
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“I’m vertical” – Steve Jobs announces to Apple staff after a liver transplant

“I’m vertical” – Steve Jobs announces to Apple staff after a liver transplant

Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email A lot had been written about Steve Jobs, some good, some bad, some inaccurate - the latter is mostly about the cancer he had.  I came across this clip published by an Apple Mac publication and it contained a video of Steve the day he returned to Apple after having a liver transplant and had recovered from the procedure.  In it he said "I'm vertical" in classic Jobs language and positive outlook.  Watch the clip here:https://youtu.be/BNv2lH225Ko The article is a good one except it falls for the usual trap - that he had Pancreatic Cancer.  I made a comment of course - you might like to too.   It's probably too…
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1.4 million thanks!

1.4 million thanks!

Awareness, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Just registered the 1,400,000th view of my blog site.  So grateful for the support!Last 12 posts going back to 28th June - feel free to read and share.  Each one has a share button for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, WhatsApp and Email (as has the entire post).You can also catch up on other points of interest and some of my lockdown activities on my Facebook pages Ronny Allan and Neuroendocrine CancerMany thanksRonny
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RonnyAllan.NET – Newsletter 1st September 2020

RonnyAllan.NET – Newsletter 1st September 2020

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email External news of interestNot surprisingly, news about Neuroendocrine Cancer has been a bit slow but I sense that things are starting to pick up. Here's a few items I picked up during August from my google alerts, from direct contact or from twitter (the latter is a key source for me to hear about what's happening).1. The Middle East Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (MENETS) will hold their first World NEN Lives 2020 Congress this September 23-24 virtually via Zoom. This congress is designed to showcase treatment options and ways to live better with and around NENs. The speakers include some of the top NEN world specialists as well as patients and…
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Small intestine, large surgery

Small intestine, large surgery

Patient Advocacy, Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email My own experienceAt my diagnostic consultation, the Oncologist told me I had Stage 4 metastatic Small Intestine NET (SI NET). He also told me that surgery would almost definitely be on the cards and would be referring me to an experienced surgeon in a different hospital for assessment. I was assured this surgeon was one of the most experienced in the south of England for NETs. This was before the current multi disciplinary team was setup but it did all seem so very organised and I felt comfortable, albeit apprehensive. Worth pointing out that surgery is not normally offered in cancer at Stage 4 but the slow growing nature of…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Newsletter 1st August 2020

RonnyAllan.NET – Newsletter 1st August 2020

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email External news of interest Not surprisingly, news about Neuroendocrine Cancer has been a bit slow but I sense that things are starting to pick up. Here's a few items I picked up during July from my google alerts or from twitter (a key source for me to hear about what's happening). 1. 64Cu DOTATATE PET scans. This is an alternative scan that's been in use in Europe but is undergoing trials in US - it has some advantages in particular a more logistically efficient generator system than the Ga68 PET. There's been an announcement of an expanded access program in US providing access to nuclear PET scans for NET patients…
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Paraneoplastic endocrine syndromes – the NET effect

Paraneoplastic endocrine syndromes – the NET effect

Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Paraneoplastic syndromes are a group of rare disorders that are triggered by an abnormal immune system response to a cancerous tumour known as a "neoplasm." Paraneoplastic syndromes are thought to happen when cancer-fighting antibodies or white blood cells (known as T cells) mistakenly attack normal cells in the nervous system. These disorders typically affect middle-aged to older people and are most common in individuals with lung, ovarian, lymphatic, or breast cancer. Neurologic symptoms generally develop over a period of days to weeks and usually occur prior to the tumor being discovered. These symptoms may include difficulty in walking or swallowing, loss of muscle tone, loss of fine motor coordination, slurred speech, memory loss, vision problems, sleep disturbances, dementia, seizures, sensory loss in the limbs, and vertigo or dizziness. Paraneoplastic syndromes…
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The NETest® – a Chromogranin A replacement and more?

The NETest® – a Chromogranin A replacement and more?

Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Tumour Markers GeneralFor some years the gold standard tumour marker for Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NENs) has been and remains today, Chromogranin A (and for certain scenarios Chromogranin B and C can provide some additional clues).  Pancreastatin, which is actually a molecule of Chromogranin A, is another marker touted but appears to be limited to USA. Its main advantage is the ability to better handle the effects of Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) use which is prevalent in the general population.  As we move to a new era of molecular/genetic tumour markers, there's a danger that NENs will be left behind, stuck with diagnostic tools not capable of meeting new demands. I see a…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Newsletter 1st July 2020

RonnyAllan.NET – Newsletter 1st July 2020

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Coping with lockdownDuring June, I decided I continued to be active outside despite the fact I see myself as someone at risk, not just because of the Neuroendocrine Cancer but also due to a history of chest infections and mild asthma. Mental health can be as important as physical health in times of stress and anxiety so I took to the outdoors to tell my story of how I was coping. Of course the outdoors is also a garden (yard) and so that counts too!  Back in March I told the story of my own symptomatic period and perhaps one day I might find out if I have antibodies when I'm…
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My interview with ITM – I’m still here!

My interview with ITM – I’m still here!

Awareness, Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email I was delighted to be contacted by ITM AG, a Germany based pharmaceutical company specialising in targeted radionuclide technology in precision oncology (e.g. Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy - PRRT).  The company is formally known as  ITM Isotopen Technologien München.One of their pipeline developments is 177Lu-Edotreotide / Solucin® in patients with neuroendocrine tumors of gastroenteric or pancreatic origin (GEP-NET).  The development is via the COMPETE Phase III Clinical Trial which is being conducted worldwide in 11 countries at 33 sites and is open for recruitment.  I actually wrote about this trial after attending a workshop at the annual ENETS conference in 2018.I was delighted when they wanted to interview me to…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Newsletter 1st June 2020

RonnyAllan.NET – Newsletter 1st June 2020

Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Newsletters have returned! I ceased publication of monthly newsletters over a year ago, mainly because they were time consuming to compile and the impact was less then my average post in terms of feedback. However, since going into COVID-19 lockdown, I've given that some more thought. Going forward, I'll be sending you out a newsletter each month including an email version as soon as I can get my mailing system software up and running (I've been busy during lockdown!) Coping with lockdown During April and May, I decided I wasn't going to hide away during lockdown despite the fact I see myself as someone at risk, not just because of…
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Ronny Allan: Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer during COVID-19 restrictions (Episode 6) – A story of footpath etiquette, sheep, donkeys and dopamine

Ronny Allan: Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer during COVID-19 restrictions (Episode 6) – A story of footpath etiquette, sheep, donkeys and dopamine

0 test, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, test, TEST
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email In the first update of this series, I explained that I kept my diary going, but again, only on my public Facebook page, so I was prompted to document these on my blog site to cater for those not on Facebook who only see what I produce in blog format. But it’s my intention to also post these on my other public Facebook sites. Because I was self isolating, Chris was also isolating under the rules and she was also feeling under the weather. During our self isolation period, the government ordered a “lock-down” (a bit like the shelter in place term used in USA) but out of self isolation, we were still…
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My Self Isolation Diary – COVID-19

My Self Isolation Diary – COVID-19

Patient Advocacy
COVID-19 reminds me of some of the issues with Neuroendocrine Cancer e.g. is this a normal day to day cold/flu/chest issue or is it COVID-19?  At least COVID-19 is the number one awareness topic in the universe so people are very very aware.  Just as well because it has the potential to kill hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people.  It's only right that cancer patients take strict precautions because they should all at least be considered as an 'at risk' category and many will be on their national 'most vulnerable' lists (for example in the UK, read about that here).So when I started to cough and wheeze on Tuesday 17th March 2020, I was clearly concerned. On 19th March, I started to record my self isolation with daily posts…
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COVID-19 and Cancer Treatment and Surveillance

COVID-19 and Cancer Treatment and Surveillance

Patient Advocacy, Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email NEW CONTENT added 14th June 2020.For US patients - see the recently produced NANETS guidelines which provides guidance on the following:How is treatment for patients with NET/NECs likely to change during the COVID-19 outbreak?What should providers do to prepare their clinic for patients?Should octreotide or lanreotide be delayed or stopped in NET?Surgery: Can/should surgery be canceled or delayed?Liver-directed therapy: Should liver embolization be performed? Is one modality preferable to another in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak?Lutetium Lu177 DOTATATE PRRT: Should PRRT be delayed if not yet started? Should the next treatment plan be postponed if in the middle of the planned PRRT course?Iobenguane I 131: Should iobenguane I 131…
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Why Coronavirus Anxiety is Hard to Control – a Neuroendocrine Cancer patient perspective

Why Coronavirus Anxiety is Hard to Control – a Neuroendocrine Cancer patient perspective

Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
OPINION. I guess many people are feeling pretty scared right now.  Add age, a chronic disease, cancer, a lung illness or any condition that has a level of immunosuppression, and it seems to become even more scarier when you read the news.  I think the 'not knowing' how this crisis is going to pan out has made the situation quite surreal.  We seem to have gone from a fairly routine day to day living, thinking coronavirus is something that happens in another faraway country and then BANG, it's on our doorstep.  I don't know about you but I would hate to have survived metastatic Cancer for the last 10 years only be taken out by a stupid tiny virus because I forgot to wash my hands. Thus why I intend…
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Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19): risks for cancer patients

Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19): risks for cancer patients

Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email This is not medical advice and should not be considered up to date.  For the latest information for your cancer in regard COVID RISKS and VACCINES, please speak directly to your specialist doctor or follow your national health organisation's guidance.UPDATED 22 Apr 2020 - COVID-19 and MEN patients. See article 7 below.UPDATED 5 Apr 2020 - excellent video meeting between Elyse from NET Research Foundation and Dr Mark Lewis. Dr Lewis is an Oncologist and also a NET patient so he speaks with both aspects in mind. See article 6 below.UPDATED 28 Mar 2020 - see two links from Neuroendocrine Cancer UK (formerly NET Patient Foundation). First is a general…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: The Perfect Storm

Neuroendocrine Cancer: The Perfect Storm

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email As featured by Neuroendocrine Cancer UK (formerly NET Patient Foundation) It's well known that Neuroendocrine Cancer can often be a difficult to diagnose condition. However, what is less well known is the impact it has on those who are diagnosed.  I'm one of the lucky ones, even though I still ended up with distant metastases.  It does feel odd to say that having distant metastasis is lucky! I consider my diagnosis to have been incidental as they were not investigating cancer - I suspect that's the route for many cancer patients. I also think I was lucky because I had instant access to Neuroendocrine Cancer specialists and got quick treatment,…
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Featuring Kirsty Dalglish – Pheochromocytoma and Pregnancy

Featuring Kirsty Dalglish – Pheochromocytoma and Pregnancy

Inspiration, Patient Advocacy
This story is about my friend Kirsty. She lives with metastatic Pheochromocytoma, a type of Neuroendocrine Tumour (NET) of the adrenal glands - (read more here). She has an amazing blog which is not just for Pheochromocytomas or even just for Neuroendocrine Cancer patients and supporters, because she has not let her condition stop her from doing normal stuff and amazing stuff. The challenges she has faced, and still facing, are very similar to many cancer patients. Kirsty is actually one of the moderators in my private Facebook group, she found me and put herself forward to help out. My group international in compostion working 24/7, so her location in New Zealand was perfect, filling in the North America/Europe normal 'sleepy' time around 3am - 7am UK time. In 2012,…
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Ronny Allan – Top 10 for 2019 – Neuroendocrine Cancer

Ronny Allan – Top 10 for 2019 – Neuroendocrine Cancer

Awareness, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email sharing this could help someone 2019 has been quite a year and my blog views are the highest they have ever been.  They could have been even higher had I written more articles instead of resting on my laurels after reaching ONE MILLON total views in June of this year.  Will try harder in 2020! (edit - COVID changed those plans)Things are so hectic I might need to think about more resources for my website/blog going forward.  Much of the effort in 2019 has been directed in building up my private group, the fastest growing NET group on earth and based on current size and growth rate, it will soon…
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Prognostics and Crystal Balls

Prognostics and Crystal Balls

Inspiration, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email When I was being told I had an advanced and incurable cancer, I did what most people seem to do in movies ….. I asked “how long do I have“. The Oncologist said ” … perhaps just months“. That must have been quite a shock because for a few moments after that, I heard nothing – my brain was clearly still trying to process those words – I wasn’t even feeling unwell! The really important bit I missed was him go on to say “…but with the right treatment, you should be able to live for a lot longer”. Fortunately, my wife Chris heard it all and I was refocused.…
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“Please find something wrong with me”

“Please find something wrong with me”

Awareness, Patient Advocacy
I’m contacted almost daily by the ‘undiagnosed’ who suspect they have Neuroendocrine Cancer, often because they appear to be displaying the symptoms of one of the associated syndromes and my large internet footprint leads them to me. These are some of my most difficult questions. I’m always very wary of initially agreeing with their assumptions and logic, instead opting for straightforward detective work based on my knowledge of the different types of Neuroendocrine Cancer, knowledge of the best scans, the best tumour and hormone markers. And I always warn them that statistically, they are more likely to have a common condition than the less common Neuroendocrine Cancer. When I first chat with the ‘undiagnosed’, I find many of them are fairly knowledgeable about Neuroendocrine Cancer and other health conditions, again…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: Double, Double Toil and Trouble

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Double, Double Toil and Trouble

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Double Neuroendocrine Cancer is a complex and difficult disease to diagnose, many people struggle with symptoms for some time before they are formally diagnosed.  Some continue to struggle after diagnosis. There are many facets that can confound a physician - at diagnosis and beyond. Double Toil If it's not enough just to have tumours growing inside your body, this cancer can also be uncannily quiet delaying diagnosis.  At the same time, the tumours can still be 'functional' and over-secrete certain hormones to add or introduce symptoms which mimic many other diseases or conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Menopause, Heart disease and Asthma - also delaying diagnosis.   In addition to common symptoms of flushing and diarrhea, others include generally feeling weak, fatigued, pain, agitated, anxious, dizzy, nauseous, acid reflux,…
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The Flu shot – it’s not just about you

The Flu shot – it’s not just about you

Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Edit:  September 2020.  I believe the flu shot is even more important in the era of COVID. This is an illness which typically spreads in autumn and winter. A major flu outbreak would not only overwhelm hospitals in the coming months (the so called "twindemic") but also likely overwhelm a person who might contract both at once.Another year, another flu shot. Since my cancer diagnosis, I've had one each year. To me it's really important protection even though I know it's not 100% effective, it's better than nothing. As someone who lives with metastatic and incurable Neuroendocrine Cancer, I know that my immune system may be compromised and having got…
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Cancer can kill but so can fake cures

Cancer can kill but so can fake cures

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy
No matter where you look on social media, there are millions of sites claiming that 'this' and 'that' can cure cancer.  If you analyse some of the things that can apparently 'cure' cancer, you will normally find that behind these fantasies, there is someone selling something, a book, a video, a product. I was also interested to read a number of articles about various aspects of this modern phenomenon.  Firstly in the magazine Wired, a major media company was forced to take down some cancer therapy videos after someone pointed out they were not scientifically factual.  Not just patients who get fooled by these claims then? Much of the misinformation arrives via Facebook, and YouTube, two of the most commonly used social media tools. This article suggests a shockingly large…
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Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours – surgical decisions

Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours – surgical decisions

Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Background I've written before about pancreatic NETs (pNETs), much of which has been on the awareness side of my advocacy work, particularly emphasising the differences with core Pancreatic Cancer (adenocarcinoma).Pancreatic NETs are quite difficult to diagnose and treat, some of that difficulty is due to the location of the pancreas and accessibility for surgeons and radiographers. It's not helped by the fact that most pNETs are non-functional making diagnosis more difficult as there is little clinical suspicion to scan, but also results in more late diagnoses.Although biopsies are possible, mainly via endoscopic ultrasound or laparoscopy, it can still be difficult to reach.  In some cases biopsies are not done until after…
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I’m not sick, I just have cancer

I’m not sick, I just have cancer

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Opinion. I receive many messages from people across the world. Recently, one person asked me if I saw myself as a sick person. I found it a really interesting question because someone with cancer must be sick, right? When I was diagnosed, I really didn’t feel unwell, not how I thought a Stage 4 cancer patient would feel and not even ill enough to consider myself a 'sick person'. Prior to that, I suppose like everyone else on the planet, I had normal day-to-day stuff come along but that always settled in days or weeks. But never enough to call myself a sick person other than as a temporary label.…
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Rosacea – the NET Effect

Rosacea – the NET Effect

Awareness, Patient Advocacy
Around 2001, I started noticing some issues on my nose, particularly around the creases, an issue I still experience today. It normally starts with a stinging feeling, an indication I'm about to experience some sort of inflammation. What eventually happens is something which looks like a 'whitehead' which I now know to be a 'pustule'. Sometimes there are multiples and most are not normally bigger than 2mm, mostly smaller. These pustules nearly always disappear within a short period of time, normally after washing/showering but they tend to leave reddish marks which eventually fade. Very infrequently, these pustules would appear on my chin. After 18 years of the issue, my nose is slightly discoloured and more reddish than the rest of my face. Shortly after I started experiencing this issue, a…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: No one gets it until they get it

Neuroendocrine Cancer: No one gets it until they get it

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Over the years of my advocating, I've tried to explain Neuroendocrine Cancer to many people outside the community.  Some 'get it' but many don't.  Most understand 'Cancer', they have real difficultly understanding 'Neuroendocrine'.  Despite how hard I try, I can see that some of them just don't get it!  I told someone I had a primary in the small intestine once, they said "oh you have bowel cancer then" - NO! One of the challenges of explaining Neuroendocrine Cancer is the sheer complexity and spectrum of types. It's a heterogeneous grouping of cancers ranging from some quite indolent versions through to very aggressive versions similar to many dangerous adenocarcinomas.  Unlike…
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From dying to living, to hell and back

From dying to living, to hell and back

Awareness, Inspiration, Patient Advocacy
I once wrote a post about patient stories, in particular the ones I receive in my private messages.  The headline was "The shock effect never wears off".  But none have been more shocking than the one I received early in 2019.  (edit: After posting this article, I heard of a few similar cases). This is a story about someone who is a private person but felt the need to reach out to me about their diagnostic experience. This person wanted to talk about it, but in private and I was happy to listen.  I was so moved by this story, I persuaded this person to let me tell it here whilst retaining their anonymity.  Hence referral going forward as 'Patient E'. I just felt that someone somewhere might learn something…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: a needle in a haystack?

Neuroendocrine Cancer: a needle in a haystack?

Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email It's no secret that Neuroendocrine Cancer can be difficult to diagnose. Although earlier diagnosis is improving (as reported in the SEER database report issued in 2017), there is still a lot of ground to cover. There are a number of reasons why these Neoplasms are often difficult to correctly and quickly diagnose including but not limited to: - they grow silently, they often produce vague symptoms which can be mistaken for much more common illnesses, and their complexity is not fully understood.I wanted to cover two different aspects of the problem of finding NETs. Firstly, in finding the primary tumour so that the type of NET can be properly established…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering November 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering November 2018

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Summary for November 2018 NET News 1. I supported the annual NET Cancer Day event in my own style, contributing SIGNIFICANTLY to both Facebook and Twitter social media platforms.  My twitter accounts were the biggest contributors to the #LETsTalkAboutNETs and #NeuroendocrineCancer hashtags for several days straddling the 10th Nov and between this and my Facebook account, I accounted for a significant proportion of the data recently published by INCA.   I almost got to my 1 million 'reach' on twitter in ONE WEEK straddling NET Cancer Day (see below) - just a wee Scottish guy with a less common disease and a computer. Curiously not mentioned by INCA in their recent newsletter.  So I thought I'd mention it instead. Mind you, every day is NET Cancer Day on my social media…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering October 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering October 2018

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Summary for October 2018 NET News Several headlines covering the past month: 1. The annual NANETS symposium took place last month and I constructed an article of several important outputs.  One day I might make it there, been to ENETS twice.  Would love to attend UKINETS but they don't seem very 'patient' friendly. 2. I spoke alongside IPSEN Pharma SAS (Global HQ) at the annual Eye for Pharma Patient Summit. It was an honour and a privilege to stand in front of 200 people to tell my personal story plus my involvement in LivingWithNETs.com.  The audience was a mix of the Pharmaceutical industry, Healthcare industry and Patient Advocates from many different illnesses.  A fantastic and real awareness opportunity which is part of my promise to take NET awareness to new…
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How to Talk to a Cancer Patient Without Being a Complete Twit

How to Talk to a Cancer Patient Without Being a Complete Twit

General, Humour, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy
I enjoyed reading "8 rules on how to talk to a cancer patient" because I think much of it is written with 'tongue in cheek'.  Great title! In UK we might even spell the word 'twit' slightly differently (UK people will get it!). Some of the rules are directed at doctors and I'm sure some doctors will laugh (if you're a doctor and you didn't laugh, sorry). I think one or two are a bit harsh and could potentially backfire and at least one I partly disagree with.  Personally I try to balance my reactions to not come over as a 'pity party' and something which is genuinely offensive or upsetting to me as a cancer patient.  I appreciate understanding and empathy, perhaps sympathy, but I certainly don't want pity.…
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Living with Cancer – Worrier or Warrior?

Living with Cancer – Worrier or Warrior?

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
  If you only believe what you see on social media, you would probably classify cancer patients into two main groups, warriors or worriers.  I guess people have, or adopt, these traits from their cancer experience but I suspect many people are simply 'wired' that way.  I also believe there are many people who have a bit of both, perhaps slanting to mostly warrior or worrier, I mean who doesn't worry about a single thing?  However, the extent of worrying can often have a negative effect on quality of life. You're not going to stop worrying by simply reading this article but if you read no further, at least check out the lead graphic, it might help putting things into perspective. Warriors I used to do that for a living…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer – Short Update from NANETS 2018

Neuroendocrine Cancer – Short Update from NANETS 2018

Clinical Trials, Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
I would love to go to a NANETS conference but I would need sponsorship or otherwise have to fund my own way there. Seattle sounds like a great place to visit. I would even have been their twitter correspondent had they asked! I've been to the European equivalent twice, they always have theirs in Barcelona it would seem, at least NANETS uses different locations making it more interesting.  It's a scientific conference for the most part, but I guess some basic stuff is also covered. However, in the world of instant contact and communications on the internet, together with twitter, one can keep up to speed on what is or has been discussed.  One day, NANETS and ENETS will be sufficiently advanced that we can all watch the presentations from…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering September 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering September 2018

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Summary for September 2018 NET News Several headlines covering the past month: 1. The annual NANETS symposium kicks off in a few days. I'm hoping to bring you news from the event (remotely, I won't be there) and perhaps a summary in next month's newsletter. 2. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a proposal on their desk to harmonise the grading structure for all types of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NEN). I've actually been ahead of the game for over a year since I found out this was coming and it's reflected in my 18 month old post on Staging and Grading. Be careful where you look as many are still behind the curve on this issue. Their proposals are interesting as they are recommending the final removal of the last vestiges…
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Don’t worry, it’s benign!

Don’t worry, it’s benign!

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy
OPINION One of the most controversial aspects of Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) is the ‘benign vs malignant’ question. It’s been widely debated, and it frequently patrols the various patient forums and other social media platforms. It raises emotions and it triggers many responses ….. at least from those willing to engage in the conversation. At best, this issue can cause confusion, at worst, it might contradict what new patients have been told by their physicians (….or not been told). This post will not cover Neuroendocrine Carcinoma which by definition is malignant. Any definition of the word 'tumour' will confirm it can either be benign or malignant. However, and while I'm sure there are benign NETs, the key statement to explain any slow growing or indolent NET is that they all have…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: Diagnosing the Undiagnosed

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Diagnosing the Undiagnosed

Patient Advocacy
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Neuroendocrine Cancer is one of a number of "difficult to diagnose" conditions. Many types of Neuroendocrine Cancer come with an associated syndrome and these syndromes can mimic everyday illnesses. In many cases, people don't even feel ill while the tumours grow. Most types of this cancer are slow-growing but there are also aggressive versions. Although things appear to be improving in diagnostic terms, it can sometimes take years for someone to be finally diagnosed correctly and get treatment, albeit in some cases, too late for any hope of a curative scenario. It's a very sneaky type of cancer and if left too long it can be life threatening - CLICK…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer is not a ‘type’ of another Cancer ….. PERIOD!

Neuroendocrine Cancer is not a ‘type’ of another Cancer ….. PERIOD!

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy
Now the dust has settled on the death and funeral of Neuroendocrine Cancer patient Aretha Franklin, the community needs to review the strategy for how we explain the nomenclature of Neuroendocrine Cancer to outsiders including the media, and including doctors. About 95% of the articles I read about Aretha Franklin stated she had Pancreatic Cancer. Only a few quoted her physician who clumsily said "Pancreatic Cancer of the Neuroendocrine Type". Her death certificate quoted "Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Cancer". Despite this, the media outlet which published her death certificate still led the article with the headline "Pancreatic Cancer". Exactly the same thing happened with Steve Jobs and a few others. And that's only the ones we know about - how many other pe0ple are being labelled and documented with the wrong cancer…
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