Neuroendocrine Tumors: Targeted Therapies – Update from NET Specialist Diane Reidy-Lagunes, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center – August 2021

Neuroendocrine Tumors: Targeted Therapies – Update from NET Specialist Diane Reidy-Lagunes, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center – August 2021

Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Background.  For those who want a quick run through of Neuroendocrine Tumors from diagnosis to selection of treatment, about the treatments themselves plus what is the Future Directions in the Management of Neuroendocrine Tumors.  There are 8 episodes, and each is around 3-5 minutes long. I personally found them very useful and in a language understandable to patients. Great job by OncLive and Dr Reidy-Lagunes! Episode 1 - Understanding the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Neuroendocrine Tumors Diane Reidy-Lagunes, MD, provides an overview of neuroendocrine tumors, along with specific considerations for optimal diagnosis and prognostication. Understanding the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Neuroendocrine Tumors (onclive.com) Episode 2 - Neuroendocrine Tumor Pathogenesis and Molecular Testing Expert insight on the pathogenesis of neuroendocrine tumors and the best use of molecular testing to inform treatment decisions.…
Read More
UK Travel Insurance – are cancer patients a cash cow?

UK Travel Insurance – are cancer patients a cash cow?

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
OPINION FOR UK NEUROENDOCRINE CANCER PATIENTS (probably applies to all cancer patients in practice). Some of my findings are potentially applicable in other countries. Nothing in this article should be interpreted as a recommendation to travel or use any company or service mentioned. This is based entirely on my own experience and decisions. Background. Ronny Allan was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroendocrine Cancer in 2010. Following several surgeries and procedures in the first 2 years after diagnosis, he remains under surveillance, and he remains on a 28-day treatment plan. I've always had travel insurance, incidents or accidents overseas can costs thousands, many thousands in certain countries. Of course if you are fit and healthy (and young) it's not too expensive. Everything in the insurance industry is based on risk -…
Read More
I thought I was going to die.  I didn’t

I thought I was going to die. I didn’t

Inspiration, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
I thought I was going to die, I didn't Opinion.  It can be extremely hard to face a diagnosis of cancer and with that, an uncertain future. After treatment, there's worry about the cancer growing or coming back after a period of stability.   BUT there is also the thought of dying of cancer.  I think as you get older, you tend to begin to accept death is inevitable, or at least that is how I feel today, aged 65.  I was diagnosed at the age of 54 which I guess in cancer terms, is still relatively young. I also suspect this fear must be multiplied in a much younger person.It's known that the lower grades of Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) have fairly good outlooks but there are still many factors at…
Read More
Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) – Neuroendocrine Cancer

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) – Neuroendocrine Cancer

Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
In my patient support group of 6000+, fatigue is very commonly discussed, and it certainly gets bags of empathy from the readers.  I remember being really tired in the first few years after my diagnosis and in the years preceding it. As I was very focused on my work in those days, I was putting it down to the rigours of my working practices, commuting, overnighting, and working far too many hours in a day.  In 2010, my diagnosis was triggered by symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia which was almost certainly connected to my cancer and feelings of fatigue for quite a while leading up to the diagnosis.  That said, I gradually got back into old ways after diagnosis and pretty much continued to put my tiredness down to the same…
Read More
Let’s Talk About NETs (#LetsTalkAboutNETs)

Let’s Talk About NETs (#LetsTalkAboutNETs)

Awareness, Diet and Nutrition, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Talking to Ipsen 2016 Some of my talks I do a lot of writing about NETs but I guess I've also done some talking too.  Some of these talks to patient groups and healthcare professionals were recorded and I have access to those recordings.  Others were either not recorded or I don't have access to them for various reasons.  I'll list some of them below for your perusal. Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email I was invited by Ipsen to help produce some videos for a website they were building - it's called "Living with NETs" and I also helped them, along with other patients, with the requirements for the content.  The video below was my…
Read More
11 years – I’m still here!

11 years – I’m still here!

Awareness, Inspiration, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
11 years - I'm still here! I finally made 11 years since I was diagnosed on 26th July 2010.  A milestone I was not certain at the time I would reach.  However, as things progressed, as treatment was administered, and as I got used to living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, I eventually became more confident this was a possibility.  I was fortunate that my cancer was not that aggressive although it was aggressive enough over an unknown period of time (probably years) to have grown inside my small intestine and mesentery, reached an army of lymph nodes and settled in my liver and beyond including, strangely, in my left armpit.  It was incurable.  And, unique to serotonin secreting Neuroendocrine Tumours, it had caused a dense fibrotic reaction in the general area…
Read More
Every picture tells a story (point, click, read)

Every picture tells a story (point, click, read)

Awareness, Clinical Trials, Diet and Nutrition, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Newsletters, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
I always try to use graphics for a number of pictures, I admit mainly to catch people's attention but also because sometimes a picture on its own tells a story or at least provides a great introduction to one. If the picture catches your eye, clicking on will take you to the text.  This post will auto update as new blogs are published. thanks for reading and sharing!  Click here to join my private Facebook group Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Thanks for reading.RonnyI’m also active on Facebook. Like my page for even more news. Help me build up my new site here – click here and ‘Like’Sign up for my newsletters -  Click Here DisclaimerMy Diagnosis and Treatment…
Read More
The 6 E’s

The 6 E’s

Diet and Nutrition, Inspiration, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
When I first heard of something called "The 5 Es", it struck me that I was aware of these issues and their potential effects; and I’m certain there is science to substantiate most of the content. These 5 E’s are apparently the most common ‘triggers’ for Carcinoid Syndrome. Clearly, they are not going to have the same effect on every patient e.g. I have the occasional drink of ‘Ethanol’ and I always enjoy it, I go for long exhausting walks as ‘Exercise’ and I always feel great after. I had dental treatment using ‘Epinephrine’ without any precautions before and after I was aware of the risks …….. nothing happened! Before I was treated, stressful meetings (‘Emotions’) at work would make me flush though! As for ‘Eating’ – well that’s another couple of blog’s worth! Worth noting that many people…
Read More
I have walked 500 miles and I will walk 500 more (….. sing along)

I have walked 500 miles and I will walk 500 more (….. sing along)

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email https://youtu.be/VKyWLAaStwM?t=53 At the beginning of the year, I signed up to walk 1000 miles in 2021.  I can now confirm, I'm halfway there in 5 months.  I have buffer time ..... but only if I keep going.  By total coincidence it came on the anniversary of the completion of an 84 mile walk along Hadrian's Wall on 31st May 2014.  500 miles seems a lot more than that epic journey, but Chris and I did do around 300 miles in training to build up our stamina. Am I mad walking 1000 miles as a Stage 4 cancer patient? Not quite but working on it (haha).  I have several incentives, including:…
Read More
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…
Read More
If it’s not raining, it’s not training! (part 2)

If it’s not raining, it’s not training! (part 2)

Inspiration, Survivorship
As someone who was born and raised in the Scotland, and lived most of my life in the UK, I'm no stranger to inclement weather.  In my 29 years years in the military, the weather was no excuse to do nothing, whether it was training or the real thing. They gave us wet weather clothing after all!  There is a saying in the UK army and it goes like this "If it's not raining, it's not training".  In classic British pragmatism, it decodes to "raining is normal so get on with it".  In fact, one of my oldest army friends cannot wait for the torrential rain, he much prefers it to the sun!  Read his blog here.  We've been caught out over the years, for example back in 2016, a…
Read More
Paraneoplastic endocrine syndromes – the NET effect

Paraneoplastic endocrine syndromes – the NET effect

Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Kaltsas, G., Androulakis, I., de Herder, W., & Grossman, A. (2010). Paraneoplastic syndromes secondary to neuroendocrine tumours, Endocrine-Related Cancer, 17(3), R173-R193. Retrieved Jul 28, 2020, from https://erc.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/erc/17/3/R173.xml Neuroendocrine Tumours (NET)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…
Read More
Ronny Allan:  Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer during COVID-19 restrictions (Episode 8) – a story of nurses, trees and Canada

Ronny Allan: Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer during COVID-19 restrictions (Episode 8) – a story of nurses, trees and Canada

Survivorship
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email 12th May 2020I had minimal exposure to nurses throughout the first 55 years of my life. I did spend a night in hospital when I was 16 having been knocked unconscious in the boxing ring (….you should’ve seen the other guy). Bar the odd mandatory injection, I avoided nurses (….and boxing) for many years after that. But now ……Today is international nurses day. These guys have hit the headlines recently and many of us are dependant on them for ongoing care etc.I'd like to publicly thank all the nurses and healthcare assistants who helped me get better and brought me here today - and who continue to watch my back!Always thank…
Read More
Ronny Allan:  Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer during COVID-19 restrictions (Episode 7) – A story of swans, cycling, VE Day and my 124th monthly cancer treatment

Ronny Allan: Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer during COVID-19 restrictions (Episode 7) – A story of swans, cycling, VE Day and my 124th monthly cancer treatment

Survivorship
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…
Read More
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

Survivorship
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…
Read More
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…
Read More
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 post was generated at the height of the pandemic and is not medical advice, moreover, it 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…
Read More
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,…
Read More
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…
Read More
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.…
Read More
Neuroendocrine Cancer – is normally slow growing BUT …..

Neuroendocrine Cancer – is normally slow growing BUT …..

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship
I have a lot of be thankful for[caption id="attachment_24013" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] I'm still here for starters![/caption] BUT......… here's a list of 10 things I'm NOT thankful to Neuroendocrine Cancer for!Thanks for growing inside me for years before making your vague announcementSorry too late, I'm metastatic and around 50% of patients will be at diagnosis (so I'm not alone!). It's very SNEAKY!No thanks for making a right mess inside my body!I mean, I look really good, I look really well, but you should see my INSIDESNo thanks for generating fibrosis throughout my mesentery and retroperitoneum!I really didn’t know what to make of this issue at diagnosis, although I did know the aorta was pretty important!  Fortunately, I had a surgeon who had operated on many NET patients and has seen this issue…
Read More
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…
Read More
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…
Read More
Neuroendocrine Cancer – on your bike!

Neuroendocrine Cancer – on your bike!

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship
[caption id="attachment_13876" align="aligncenter" width="2592"] Get on your bike![/caption] There's a Brit saying known as "on your bike" (sometimes colloquially called "on yer bike").  It basically means "go away and stop bothering me" but there are other definitions including some 'Anglo-Saxon' versions (I won't repeat those here!) When I moved to my current home in 2012, the removals lorry unloaded our rather dusty bikes (pedal cycles) and stuffed them in the garage where they mostly remained until this year.  A couple of months ago, I dusted them off, repaired punctures etc, and basically started putting them to better use.  In fact, Chris got a new one out of the deal! I'm reasonably fit (considering) but finding it so easy to opt for the sofa and there's always something worth watching on…
Read More
Diabetes – The NET Effect

Diabetes – The NET Effect

Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship
My chest infection is now settled, as too is the excitement and apprehension behind my first ever Ga68 PET - the outcome of that is still a work in progress. Earlier this year, my thyroid 'lesion' on watch and wait was given a 'damping down' with the prescription of a thyroid hormone supplement but I await a re-ignition of that small bush fire downstream. Bubbling behind the scenes and clamoring for attention is the spiking of my blood glucose test results and I was very recently declared 'at risk' for diabetes One of my followers entitled a post in my group with "The hits keep coming" in reference to encountering yet another problem in the journey with Neuroendocrine Cancer. I now know how she feels, this issue is a bit…
Read More
Neuroendocrine Cancer: Ga68 PET Scan – a game changer?

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Ga68 PET Scan – a game changer?

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship, Treatment
This is not my personal scan When I was offered my very first Ga68 PET/CT at a 6 monthly surveillance meeting in May 2018, I was both excited and apprehensive. Let me explain below why I had a mix of emotions. You can read about my Ga68 PET experience here.I was diagnosed in 2010 with metastatic NETs clearly showing on CT scan, the staging was confirmed via an Octreotide Scan which in addition pointed out two further deposits above the diaphragm (one of which has since been dealt with). In addition to routine surveillance via CT scan, I had two further Octreotide Scans in 2011 and 2013 following 3 surgeries, these confirmed the surveillance CT findings of remnant disease. The third scan in 2013 highlighted an additional lesion in my…
Read More
Things to do today

Things to do today

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship
When you live with any illness, getting through the day can be tough. Trying to get a diagnosis, dealing with a diagnosis, undergoing treatment and then learning to recover and adapt. I've been living with my condition for almost 8 years and I'm a big advocate of keeping busy, keeping active and keeping my mind occupied. Despite this, there are times with a chronic disease, an invisible disease, an incurable and long-term disease including cancer, occasionally just doing nothing can be very productive in the long term! Of course, sometimes you have little choice if you're ill from your condition or something routine. So now and then, I just breathe in and breathe out (then repeat). It's very enjoyable! Take a break if you need one. Thanks for reading Ronny…
Read More
Don’t be underactive with your Thyroid surveillance

Don’t be underactive with your Thyroid surveillance

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email From other posts, you'll be aware of the thyroid lesion (now 17x19mm) which I've been tracking since 2013. The surveillance included routine thyroid blood tests, mainly TSH, T3 and 4. I was out of range in TSH (elevated) but the T4 was at the lower end of the normal range.  On 20 March 2018, following an Endocrine appointment, I was put on a trial dose of 50mcg of Levothyroxine to counter the downwards trend in results indicating hypothyroidism, possibly due to the lesion. Levothyroxine is a thyroid hormone (thyroxine) replacement.  One month after taking these drugs, my thyroid blood levels are now normal for the first time in 4 years…
Read More
I now take food with my medicine!

I now take food with my medicine!

Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email If you want to strike up a friendly conversion with a Brit, ask him or her about the weather - we're really famous for our weather conversations and they normally focus on rain or clouds!  However, despite the famous British 'reserve' and 'stiff upper lip', they also frequently talk about being 'under the weather', a phrase meaning slightly unwell or in low spirits.I find myself smiling at some of the conversations I hear in medical establishment waiting rooms, particularly the potentially long wait for blood tests.  Here, conversations bypass the weather and focus on being under the weather! I thought I was a regular when I started to recognise people…
Read More
Shame on you!

Shame on you!

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
I don't look ill.  I didn't even look ill when I was diagnosed with metastatic and incurable Neuroendocrine Cancer.  People have even told me I look better than many people my age who do not have an incurable disease!  There's a bit of me which is very happy with that predicament, although I'd rather look less good and not have cancer.Many cancer patients have illnesses that cannot be seen, they are invisible. I know quite a lot of cancer patients who don't look ill but I know they have a life-threatening disease and things could change quickly.  For example, some cancer patients who look really well can need quick access to facilities such as toilets as side effects can sometimes not only be instant but also painful.  Some just need…
Read More
Neuroendocrine Cancer and Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy (PERT) – the Digested Version (Nutrition Series Article 5)

Neuroendocrine Cancer and Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy (PERT) – the Digested Version (Nutrition Series Article 5)

Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
After 7 years of avoiding pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT), I finally asked for some on a trial basis at the end of 2017.  To be honest, for some time, I thought they were really only needed in the NET world for those with pancreatic issues (pNETs).  I've always known I've had some digestive issues related to malabsorption. However, I'm not losing weight - this has been stable for some years (but see below).  Plus my key vitamin levels (B12 and D) are in range.  However, I had been struggling with a lot of bloating issues, thus the trial.  You know me, I like to research and analyse such things! I've actually written about a lot of these issues in my Nutrition series ..... so this is now 'Article Number…
Read More
Neuroendocrine Cancer – surveillance and follow up

Neuroendocrine Cancer – surveillance and follow up

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 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 me. 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. In the first year or two after diagnosis, I seemed to be a continuous testing phase but that was mainly due to seeing so many different doctors for so many different issues. In reality I was seeing and being assessed by my…
Read More

Round up of NANETS 2017 – Let’s talk about NETs #NANETS2017

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
NANETS (North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society) is one of the biggest NET conferences, bringing together NET Specialists from around the world to discuss state-of-the-art treatment modalities, new therapies, and ongoing controversies in the field of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (Tumors and Carcinomas). This is fairly complex stuff but much of it will be familiar to many. I’ve filtered out several outputs from the conference which I think are both relevant and topical to patients. The list is below allowing you to easily peruse and read further via linkages if you need to read more.  Remember, some of these are extracts so do not contain all the details of the research or study – although some of the linkages will take you to in-depth information if that’s your bag. Where applicable, I’ve also linked…
Read More
Opinion: Neuroendocrine Cancer – Can it be cured?

Opinion: Neuroendocrine Cancer – Can it be cured?

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email OPINION: "Cured" - In cancer, this word can evoke a number of emotions. Interestingly, not all these emotions will be as positive as you might think. If you want to spark a heated debate on a Neuroendocrine Cancer patient forum, just mention that you've been cured. I'm not taking any sides by using this statement, just stating what actually happens and the deeply held views that persist in community held groups. One important factor in some of this thinking is that many people still remember the days where most diagnoses were late and many followed years of misdiagnoses for other conditions. But the latest statistics (which are now quite old)…
Read More
Weight – the NET Effect

Weight – the NET Effect

Diet and Nutrition, Survivorship
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Firstly, let me say that I have no intention of advising you how to lose or gain weight!  Rather, I'd like to discuss what factors might be involved and why people with NETs might lose or gain weight either at diagnosis or after treatment.  Clearly I can talk freely about my own experience and associated weight issues. If nothing else, it might help some in thinking about what is causing their own weight issues. I once wrote a patient story for an organisation and the headline was "Did you mean to lose weight".  Those were actually the words a nurse said to me after I nonchalantly told her I thought…
Read More
The shock effect never wears off

The shock effect never wears off

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship, Treatment
Patient stories are key to any awareness campaign.  Nothing like a human being standing up and letting you know about their experience.  Many are positive examples of how they are overcoming their trials and tribulations, others tell stories of a struggle. They all have different styles, some are the 'kick ass' type stories, some are just thankful, some are reflective - all of them are perfectly acceptable. I normally like to place myself somewhere in the middle with phrases like "I'm still here", although I can veer left and right when the mood takes me! Because of my social media footprint, I get a lot of private messages from people across the globe. Many are from people who have no wish to go public and that's fine. Many are from…
Read More
Genetics and Neuroendocrine Tumors

Genetics and Neuroendocrine Tumors

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email   In my article 'Ever wonder what caused your NET', I concluded that currently, the only known scientifically explained causes for NETs were hereditary/genetic in nature.  This is mostly associated with those who have MEN syndromes (yes, they are a syndrome not a type of tumour) and a few other less common types of NET including Pheochomocytoma/Paraganglioma (Pheo/Para) and Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma (MTC) (the familial version of MTC is often referred to as FMTC). However, please note this does not mean that all those diagnosed with pancreatic, parathyroid, pituarity, Pheo/Para and MTC tumours, will have any hereditary or genetic conditions, many will simply be sporadic tumors. In recent years, it has…
Read More
Cancer Isn’t All About Me

Cancer Isn’t All About Me

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
[caption id="attachment_11078" align="alignleft" width="150"] As featured by Cure Magazine[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4318" align="aligncenter" width="500"] It's about others too[/caption] Since my diagnosis of incurable and metastatic neuroendocrine cancer in 2010, it's really all been about me. I didn’t see the trauma coming, and my family has supported me throughout every single step. I really don’t want to be the focus of attention as that mantle was normally evenly distributed. However, there’s nothing like a cancer diagnosis to put you into the spotlight. Facing an uncertain future with regular scans, injections, treatment, pills, examinations and blood tests has made me the center of attention, whether I like it or not. The focus is on me because these things are necessary to keep me alive for as long as possible and also because I…
Read More
Ronny Allan’s ‘PoNETry’ © – An Ode to Invisible Illness

Ronny Allan’s ‘PoNETry’ © – An Ode to Invisible Illness

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 Ronny Allan's 'PoNETry' © series can be shared with poetry credit to: RonnyAllan.NET   Thanks for reading Ronny I’m also active on Facebook. Like my page for even more news. I’m also building up this site here: Ronny Allan Disclaimer My Diagnosis and Treatment History Most Popular Posts Sign up for my twitter newsletter Read my Cure Magazine contributions Remember ….. in the war on Neuroendocrine Cancer, let’s not forget to win the battle for better quality of life! Please Share this post Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email
Read More
8 tips for conquering fear – Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer

8 tips for conquering fear – Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Opinion:Before I was diagnosed with cancer, my health was in reasonable condition. I had minor irritants that seemed to come back now and then, nothing that was going to kill me. So I just put up with most of it and time was frequently a good healer. Occasionally, I would use medicine to speed up the healing or ask a doctor for advice. Even leading up to my diagnosis, this was my strategy despite some strange things going on.  Luckily for me, the 'system' picked up something suspicious and I am where I am today. It's amazing to think a cancer can grow inside you for years causing a lot of damage but without a grand announcement.That's not to say I didn't have any fear about what was going to…
Read More
The trouble with the NET (Part 3) – Miracle Cures

The trouble with the NET (Part 3) – Miracle Cures

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Since I started blogging, I've had to become quite savvy at forming headlines for my posts as the wording can be a factor in whether someone reads it or not. A post picture can also influence.  There's a third factor and that is credibility - I'd like to think I've worked hard to earn that level of trust in my 'product'. I use the NET to talk about NETs!  I'm a genuine guy with a genuine purpose and I don't want to sell you anything - my 'product' is free. However, the 'NET' can also provide 'misinformation'. Unfortunately 'misinformation' also includes 'alleged' cures for various ailments including cancer.  I think we've all been there, we check twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc and we find the ubiquitous miracle cures for every illness under…
Read More
Diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer? – 10 questions to ask your doctor (and where to find a NET Specialist Worldwide)

Diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer? – 10 questions to ask your doctor (and where to find a NET Specialist Worldwide)

Awareness, 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 On the day I was diagnosed, I hadn't really thought about questions, the only one I actually remember asking was "how long do I have left to live" (I watch too many movies!). On the day of diagnosis and a period beyond, people tend to feel emotions of shock, denial, anger and sadness, before going on to accept their situation. Yes, I 'googled' but not a great deal really - although some things I found did frighten me. I wish I had found this article way back then. As things progressed in the weeks after 'D-Day', I started to work out the sort of things to ask but even then,…
Read More
Don’t believe the hype – Neuroendocrine Cancer Myths debunked

Don’t believe the hype – Neuroendocrine Cancer Myths debunked

Awareness, Diet and Nutrition, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email  OPINIONThere's a lot of inaccurate and out of date information out there. Some is just a lack of understanding, some caused by out of date websites, often as a result of patient forum myth spreading. Some can only be described as propaganda. Some of it even comes from doctors and NET advocate organisations. Myth 1: All Neuroendocrine Tumours are benignNot true. By any scientific definition, the word 'tumour' means 'an abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Tumours may be benign (not cancerous), or malignant (cancerous)'. Sure, some NETs will be benign but a tumours which spreads away…
Read More
In the war on Neuroendocrine Cancer, let’s not forget to win the battle for better quality of life

In the war on Neuroendocrine Cancer, let’s not forget to win the battle for better quality of life

Awareness, Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
OPINION.  Date of Article March 2017.  In the last 24 months, there seems to have been announcement after announcement of new and/or upgraded/enhanced diagnostics and treatment types for Neuroendocrine Cancer.  Increased availability of radionuclide scans, increased availability of radionuclide therapies, combination therapies, increased availability of somatostatin analogues, biological therapies, enhanced surgical and minimally invasive techniques, new oral drugs for carcinoid syndrome, more trials including  immunotherapy. Admittedly, some of the announcements are just expansions of existing therapies having been approved in new regions. Compared to some other cancers, even those which hit the headlines often, we appear to be doing not too badly. However, the pressure needs to stay on, all patients, regardless of where they live, need access to the best diagnostics and treatments for them; and at the requisite time. This alone is…
Read More
Poker Face or Cancer Card?

Poker Face or Cancer Card?

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
[caption id="attachment_11078" align="alignleft" width="150"] As featured by Cure Magazine[/caption]   Before I was diagnosed, I had my share of illnesses. Fortunately, many of them were the routine stuff that most people tend to get from time to time, and most did not stop me getting on with whatever needed doing. I served in the military from age 16 until 45 – a long time! On only two occasions during that 29-year period, did I involuntary visit a hospital: aged 16 having been knocked out at boxing (you should have seen the other guy!) and aged 39 after falling off a vehicle (in my defense it was really dark). Illness wasn't really something I thought much about and for minor things, I would just "soldier on.” So, from an early age,…
Read More
It’s been 5 years since I saw a scalpel (….but my surgeon is still on speed dial)

It’s been 5 years since I saw a scalpel (….but my surgeon is still on speed dial)

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship, Treatment
5 years ago today, I had a bunch of lymph nodes removed. Two separate areas were resected, only one was showing growth but both were showing up as hotspots on an Octreoscan.  I had known since shortly after diagnosis in 2010 that 'hotspots' were showing in my left 'axillary' lymph nodes (armpit) and my left 'supraclavicular fossa' (SCF) lymph nodes (clavicle area). Some 10 months previously, I had a major liver resection and 5 months prior to the liver resection, I had a small intestinal primary removed including work on some associated complications.  There had always been a plan to optimise cytoreduction of my distant metastases, it was just a matter of timing. I still can't get my head round why metastases from a small intestinal NET managed to get to this area but not others! Distant nodal metastasis treatment…
Read More
25 Life Lessons From a Two-Time Cancer Survivor

25 Life Lessons From a Two-Time Cancer Survivor

Inspiration, Survivorship
Sometimes, a blog post comes along and it just resonates!  I got chatting with the author who has given me permission to post it here.  Shari Berman is a two-time cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 25, days after returning from her honeymoon and a second time with breast cancer 8 years later. I posted her full CV below. Her post "25 Life Lessons From a Two-Time Cancer Survivor" is a fantastic summary of a positive approach to life, despite a cancer diagnosis (or in Shari's case, two). I've seen some similar quotes before but Shari has collated them into one very powerful list.  I'm not suggesting they all apply to everyone but perhaps even a 'pick n mix' approach would be useful.  For example, I couldn't do number 8…
Read More
Things not to say to someone with cancer

Things not to say to someone with cancer

Inspiration, Survivorship
[caption id="attachment_9184" align="aligncenter" width="592"] Graphics courtesy of https://emilymcdowell.com/[/caption] This topic comes up regularly on patient forums, twitter, Facebook..... in fact everywhere!  Personally, I don't tend to get too excited about it, although there can be extremes.  Most people (not all) are just stumped to know exactly what to say.  Even as a person with cancer, I sometimes feel awkward when faced with someone I just found out has a serious illness. It's really difficult to know what to say, knowing how they might react and it's particularly difficult if you don't really know the person, for example on social media, you could be talking to someone who you have never met, you don't know anything about them; and they may not even speak English as a first language (those who have tried google/twitter or Facebook translator,…
Read More
Road ahead closed – Bowel Obstructions

Road ahead closed – Bowel Obstructions

Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship, Treatment
OK - we've gone through diagnosis, we've gone through treatment and now we need to live with the consequences of cancer and it's treatment.  Not a day goes by when I don't feel some twinge or some minor pain and I think 'what was that?'.  Fortunately, many things can just be day-to-day niggles. It's the cancer .... easy to say, sometimes not easy to prove. However, for Neuroendocrine Tumour (NET) patients who have had surgery, anything that seems like a bowel obstruction is quite a scary thought (I suspect this is also an issue for other cancer types).  In fact, even before diagnosis, a bowel obstruction rears its head as it can be how the condition is diagnosed in the first place, i.e. pain leads to more pain and that can sometimes result in…
Read More
Neuroendocrine Cancer: Nodes, Nodules, Lesions (and false alarms!)

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Nodes, Nodules, Lesions (and false alarms!)

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship, Treatment
A fairly common disposition of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms is a primary with associated local/regional secondary's (e.g. lymph nodes), and often with liver metastases. Technically speaking, the liver is distant. However, many metastatic patients appear to have additional and odd appearances in even more distant places, including (but not limited to) the extremities and the head & neck. Certain things are known about the behaviour of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NENs) (a term for Neuroendocrine Tumours and Neuroendocrine Carcinoma) and specialists will be analysing many factors when working out the type of NEN and how it might behave. This is useful in cases of unknown primaries as it can give them clues to the possible location(s). Read more about these issues in my article "Needle in a Haystack".How does cancer spread? In addition to…
Read More