20th November 2010 – feeling perkier

20th November 2010 – feeling perkier

Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Every year I cast my mind back to this time in 2010. Diagnosed on 26th July that year, I was in hospital from 8th - 26th November, an extended period due to complications.  At that point, I had been keeping my diagnosis within close family and friends and my manager at work.  People at work and my wider list of friends were probably wondering what was going on with me.  Cleary, I let my emotions slip by posting this on Facebook on 20th November 2010. Perhaps this was my way of opening up.  That was 11 days after the surgery, so I guess it took a while to feel almost normal. I had a big surgery! I had some issues along the way. But after 10 days I had got through…
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Do we need a new model for Carcinoid Crisis in NETs?

Do we need a new model for Carcinoid Crisis in NETs?

Treatment
(so called) Carcinoid Crisis is one thing that tends to raise concerns in patients and has been bubbling away in NET centres and in patient communities for many years.  One of the big problems I have found is trying to place boundaries on it in terms of which types of NET does it apply to.  My thinking was that surely it only applies to those tumours which were once described by that ancient misnomer "carcinoid" and yet you hear patients who clearly do not have a tumour that was once described as "carcinoid" talk about it, at least in terms of protection against it. Perhaps some of the confusion lies with the ancient misnomer term, another reason why we need to get rid of it.  Many texts I read describe it…
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CAR-T clinical trials for Neuroendocrine Cancer

CAR-T clinical trials for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Clinical Trials, Treatment
What is CAR-T?CAR-T – chimeric antigen receptor T-cell – therapy is specifically developed for each individual patient and involves reprogramming the patient’s own immune system cells which are then used to target their cancer., i.e. it's an immunotherapy. It is a highly complex and potentially risky treatment but it has been shown in trials to cure some patients, even those with quite advanced cancers and where other available treatments have failed.The treatment involves several steps over a number of weeks. First the patient’s blood is taken and is sent off to the manufacturer’s laboratory. Here the patient’s blood is ‘trained’ to fight the cancer cells. The CAR-T blood is then transported back to the hospital and the patient is administered with the CAR-T to treat their condition.It has not been deployed in…
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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.…
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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…
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Small Intestine Neuroendocrine Tumours (SI NETs): To cut or not to cut?

Small Intestine Neuroendocrine Tumours (SI NETs): To cut or not to cut?

Treatment
Small Intestine Neuroendocrine Tumours (SI NET) are one of the most common types of Neuroendocrine Cancer, and also one of the most challenging to diagnose and then treat. Patients can have a very good outlook even when presenting with metastatic disease.  However, it's true to say that some NET centres of excellence (CoE) or multi-disciplinary team (MDT) see a lot of SI NET patients have built up considerable experience in treating them, including the use of surgery.  The surgical challenges are such that a surgeon not experienced in treating these cases may shy away or think they are inoperable, whereas MDTs or CoEs potentially have the experience available to operate or to make sound judgements based on their own experience.  At the very least, they can offer a second opinion. …
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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…
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11 years – I’m still here!

11 years – I’m still here!

Awareness, Inspiration, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
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 of the mesentery and in the…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: 48 hours before diagnosis

Neuroendocrine Cancer: 48 hours before diagnosis

Humour, Inspiration
I took this photo on the evening of 24th July 2021 in the New Forest I had a liver biopsy on 19th July 2010, and I can tell you now, it wasn't exactly a walk in the park. I had a mild anaesthetic, I felt extremely uncomfortable throughout, and I was in pain. In fact, they did call in another nurse to help and her only job was to hold my hand in reassurance. I was not yet diagnosed.  Most patients report no issues with their liver biopsy.  24th July 2010 (Saturday)I was OK for a few days but on the afternoon of 24th July, I started to feel pain in my right shoulder. I normally put up with pain (via regular over the counter stuff) but this got worse throughout…
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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…
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The 6 E’s

The 6 E’s

Diet and Nutrition, Inspiration, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
An opinion postWhen 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 (so called) 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…
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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

Clinical Trials, 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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Lanreotide:  Ten more years please!

Lanreotide: Ten more years please!

Inspiration, Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Back in February 2015, I wrote an article called "Four more years" and the title came from an election campaign happening at the time when I had been on Lanreotide for approximately four years.  Inspired by this campaign slogan, I too wanted four more years and crafted the blog post.However, I was underselling myself as I've now hit 10 years of Lanreotide on 9th December 2020.  On that day in 2010, I was still recovering from major surgery and hadn't had any somatostatin analogues since leaving hospital on 26th Nov.  Prior to surgery, I had been taking daily shots of Octreotide which did have the effect of reducing the symptoms…
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Piss off cancer – I’m 66!

Piss off cancer – I’m 66!

Awareness, Inspiration
I was 54 years and 9 months old at diagnosis.  For the first few months, I had no idea what the outcome would be.  What I did know at the time, given the final staging, grading and other damage that was accumulated via various tests, checks and scans; is that my body had been slowly dying.  Without intervention I may not be here now to tell you this tale and who knows what would be listed on my death certificate.  It's amazing to think something that would eventually kill me without intervention, didn't have a much grander announcement than the one presented to me in 2010 (or had I been paying more attention, in 2008 or 2009). I will never know if a much grander announcement would have happened because…
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Early diagnosis of late stage cancer!

Early diagnosis of late stage cancer!

Awareness
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email OPINION: What a strange title for a cancer blog post!   However, what a strange cancer I have.  Let me explain - I was really confused in 2010 as to how I could suddenly become a stage 4 Neuroendocrine Cancer patient even though I didn't feel ill enough to see a doctor.  To cut a long story short, you can read about me here."The cancer has been growing for years"One of the common stories I hear from other patients is they were told their cancer had been growing for some years, up to 10/11/12 in most cases. I'm fairly certain my surgeon once said something similar.  Clearly doctors are 'guesstimating' so these…
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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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Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Sunitinib (Sutent)

Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Sunitinib (Sutent)

Clinical Trials, Treatment
Click here to see the A to Z of Neuroendocrine Cancer What is Sunitinib (Sutent)? Manufactured by Pfizer, this is a targeted biological therapy or more accurately, a multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI).  You may also see it described as an anti-angiogenic agent on the basis that these tumor types are highly vascularized and show high expression of something called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a key driver of angiogenesis in neuroendocrine tumors. Because NETs are generally hypervascularized tumors, treatment with antiangiogenic drugs seems a rational approach. A complex process but in the simplest of terms, sunitinib blocks a particular enzyme and keeps tumors from making their own blood vessels, which are needed to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to help them survive and grow. In clinical trials, SUTENT was…
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Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Everolimus (Afinitor)

Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Everolimus (Afinitor)

Clinical Trials, Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Click picture to read the A to Z of Neuroendocrine Cancer What is Everolimus (Afinitor)? Manufactured by Novartis, this is a targeted biological therapy or more accurately, a mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor. It works by stopping some of the signals within cells that make them grow and divide. Everolimus stops a particular protein called mTOR from working properly. mTOR controls other proteins that trigger cancer cells to grow. So everolimus helps to stop the cancer growing or may slow it down.  The drug is also approved for Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) and hormone-receptor-positive advanced Breast Cancer.The drug is administered in oral form (tablet). The recommended dose for AFINITOR®…
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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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Neuroendocrine Cancer – Liver directed therapy

Neuroendocrine Cancer – Liver directed therapy

Treatment
Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NENs) present complex challenges to diagnosis and treatment. Even in metastatic cases spreading to the liver there are some important differences compared to the more common types of gastrointestinal tumours and pancreatic adenocarcinomas, e.g. their sometimes indolent nature and their ability to oversecrete hormones causing distinct clinical syndromes. Also, the tumours are known to be highly vascular which is a feature where growth inhibition and symptom relief may be achieved by specific 'blocking' agents - this is particularly the case with liver metastases in well differentiated Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs).Spread to the liver may occur from NETs of the foregut, midgut as well as hindgut. NET metastases are usually multiple and of varying size. In most cases both liver lobes are affected, but widespread (miliary) seeding throughout the liver…
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Prognostics and Crystal Balls

Prognostics and Crystal Balls

Inspiration, Patient Advocacy
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. “OK Doc – let’s go” I said. Always take someone with you to take notes at important meetings with Oncologists!…
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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
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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Clinical Trials – PEN-221 for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Clinical Trials – PEN-221 for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Clinical Trials
What is PEN-221?Tarveda Therapeutics is discovering and developing a new class of potent and selective precision oncology medicines for the treatment of patients with various solid tumor malignancies. Their strategy includes developing their own proprietary Pentarin miniature conjugates to enhance the effectiveness of promising anti-cancer payloads that have struggled without their selective targeting to solid tumors.  These medicines are known as 'Pentarins'. PEN-221 is the lead candidate 'Pentarin' aimed at Neuroendocrine Cancer - PEN-221.Somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2) is frequently overexpressed on several types of solid tumors, including neuroendocrine tumors and small-cell lung cancer. Peptide agonists of SSTR2 are rapidly internalized upon binding to the receptor and linking a toxic payload to an SSTR2 agonist is a potential method to kill SSTR2-expressing tumor cells. PEN-221 is a conjugate consisting of microtubule-targeting…
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Clinical Trials – ONC201 for Neuroendocrine Cancer (including Pheo/Para)

Clinical Trials – ONC201 for Neuroendocrine Cancer (including Pheo/Para)

Clinical Trials
What is ONC201? A company called Oncoceutics is developing a novel class of safe and effective cancer therapies called imipridones. Imipridones have a unique three-ring core structure and selectively target G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), the largest class of membrane receptors and a common target of approved drugs that are underexploited in oncology. Despite being historically uncommon as targets in oncology, GPCRs control an array of critical prosurvival and stress signaling pathways that are often dysregulated in human cancer to favor cancer cell survival and propagation. The ability of imipridones to target GPCRs with a high degree of selectivity represents a novel opportunity in oncology that generates remarkably safe and effective therapeutics. ONC201, the founding member of this novel class of therapies, is an orally active, safe, and selective antagonist of…
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The Other 5 E’s

The Other 5 E’s

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer
Those who know about the 5 E's of (so called) carcinoid syndrome will get the meaning of this story straight away. For those unaware of those 5 E's, read about them here.I sometimes need motivating and it's really easy to put off doing 'hard things', instead opting for your comfort zone of staying at home. It's often easier to say "I can't" than it is to say "I can". And yet, each time I hesitate about saying "I can", I always end up refreshed, enthused, and happy I didn't say "I can't". So this is the story of the my daytrip at the end of summer (and pretty much many days out). [caption id="attachment_14267" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Motivation is often difficult[/caption]ExerciseEverywhere you look, there are experts telling us that exercise is good…
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Clinical Trials – Surufatinib for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Clinical Trials – Surufatinib for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Clinical Trials, Treatment
What is Surufatinib?Surufatinib is a novel, oral angio-immuno kinase inhibitor that selectively inhibits the tyrosine kinase activity associated with vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFR) and fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR), which both inhibit angiogenesis, and colony stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF-1R), which regulates tumor-associated macrophages, promoting the body’s immune response against tumor cells. Its unique dual mechanism of action may be very suitable for possible combinations with other immunotherapies, where there may be synergistic anti-tumor effects. Update 17th November 2021. Interim findings from a phase 1 dose-escalation and dose-expansion study, which were presented during the 2021 NANETS Symposium, demonstrated antitumor activity with surufatinib in heavily pretreated, United States-based patients with progressive NETs. Moreover, the data were consistent with 2 completed phase 3 studies that were performed with surufatinib in Chinese…
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Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours – to cut or not to cut

Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours – to cut or not to cut

Treatment
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 surgical removal of tumours. The latter scenario plus surgery after a positive biopsy result does present an…
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Clinical Trials of PV-10 (Rose Bengal) for the treatment of Neuroendocrine Tumours (NET)

Clinical Trials of PV-10 (Rose Bengal) for the treatment of Neuroendocrine Tumours (NET)

Clinical Trials
Reviewed and edited 26th September 2021 Updated September 21st 2021 Provectus Biopharmaceuticals Announces Presentation of Full Study Data from Metastatic Neuroendocrine Cancer Phase 1 Trial of PV-10® at European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2021 KNOXVILLE, TN, Sept. 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Provectus (OTCQB: PVCT) today announced that data from an ongoing clinical trial of investigational cancer immunotherapy PV-10 (rose bengal disodium) for the treatment of neuroendocrine tumors (NET) metastatic to the liver (mNET) refractory to somatostatin analogs (SSAs) and peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) (NCT02693067) was presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress, held online from September 16-21, 2021. Highlights from the ESMO 2021mNET Presentation: Baseline disease characteristics N = 12 patients: 50% male; median age of 66 years (range 47-79) Primary tumor sites: 7…
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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
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. Quite often I would ignore the illness and continue working and also continue normal day to day activities. In hindsight,…
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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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Clinical Trial: Lenvatinib Efficacy in Metastatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (TALENT)

Clinical Trial: Lenvatinib Efficacy in Metastatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (TALENT)

Clinical Trials
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email "Interestingly, the ORR in pancreatic NETs was 44%, a rate not seen before with targeted agents," Jonathan Strosberg, MD, head of the neuroendocrine tumor division at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa Tweet Lenvatinib has completed a Phase 2 trial in Gastrointestinal (GI) and Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours.  The trial was sponsored by Grupo Espanol de Tumores Neuroendocrinos (Spanish NET scientific organisation) and the manufacturers.  A European venture with sites in Austria, Italy, Spain, UK.   Headline: The responses are better than Everolimus (Afinitor) and Sunitinib (Sutent).What is Lenvatinib?It is a type of targeted therapy known as a multikinase inhibitor. The brand name is 'LENVIMA'. These work by inhibiting multiple intracellular and…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering November 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering November 2018

Newsletters
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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Neuroendocrine Cancer – is normally slow growing BUT …..

Neuroendocrine Cancer – is normally slow growing BUT …..

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship
But I have a lot of be thankful for[caption id="attachment_24013" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] click on the picture to read[/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…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering October 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering October 2018

Newsletters
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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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering September 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering September 2018

Newsletters
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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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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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering August 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter Covering August 2018

Newsletters
[caption id="attachment_13604" align="aligncenter" width="959"] RIP Aretha Franklin - Neuroendocrine Cancer[/caption] Summary for August 2018 NET News Several headlines covering the past month: 1. The death of Aretha Franklin was a shock to her many fans around the world, including myself. I had no idea she was a Neuroendocrine Cancer patient. However, it would appear her death is being assigned as 'Pancreatic Cancer' mainly due to a rather clumsy statement from her physician. Despite the fact that her death certificate specifically confirms Neuroendocrine Cancer, we will be fighting a hard battle for years to come. The same thing happened with Steve Jobs, although I suspect we have now won that battle despite frequently news articles saying Pancreatic Cancer. Read about Aretha Franklin here and check out the link to her death…
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Detectnet™ (64Cu-DOTATATE) – an expansion of the Somatostatin Receptor PET Imaging for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Detectnet™ (64Cu-DOTATATE) – an expansion of the Somatostatin Receptor PET Imaging for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Clinical Trials, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Treatment
Edit 21st January 2021. The imaging time window of 64Cu-DOTATATE positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) for patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms can be expanded from one hour to three hours post-injection, according to new research published in the January 2021 issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.  Read more hereEdit 4th September 2020.  64Cu-dotatate now named Detectnet™ is approved for use by US FDA. Majority read revealed Detectnet had over 98% accuracy, 100% sensitivity, and over 96% specificity to confirm or exclude presence of disease. Read more here. Edit 14th July 2020.  Expanded Access Program via clinical trial now recruiting - see below.  The objective of this trial is to provide patients with confirmed or suspicion of NET access to Copper Cu 64 Dotatate for the detection, localization, and monitoring of SSTR expressing NETs.Edit…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter JULY 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter JULY 2018

Newsletters
Summary for July Personal News  Another unusual month, after a bizarre June.  The chest infection has gone but still awaiting results of an x-ray to confirm.  July was supposed to be partly holiday but that was cancelled due to illness.  The chest infection caused a 4kg weight loss and only half of this has returned to date.  I also got the results of my first ever Ga68 PET Scan and this resulted in an article below. No longer a boring stable patient but nothing that needs doing imminently. Many thanks to all the messages which continue to arrive both public and privately, I'm most grateful.  I received my 100th Lanreotide earlier in the month and I'm still here following my 8 year 'cancerversary' on 26 July 2018.  Many of you…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: Fibrosis – an unsolved mystery?

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Fibrosis – an unsolved mystery?

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Treatment
Update as at 3rd Feb 2021. Thanks to a grant of $1.2million from the NET Research Foundation, a team led by UK and Netherlands will explore the underlying molecular cause of mesenteric fibrosis, as well as develop new diagnostic and imaging tools to treat the condition. This is great news.  Read more here. BackgroundIt has long been observed that certain Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) are often associated with their ability to secrete hormones and these substances are thought to be responsible for the collection of symptoms which include (but not limited to) diarrhea, flushing and wheezing.  One of the lesser known aspects of this disease is the development of fibrosis, both local and distant. These fibrotic complications may lead to considerable morbidity. They can also result in incidental diagnoses of NETs after…
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“What are you doing this afternoon”

“What are you doing this afternoon”

Awareness
"Don't ignore symptoms because you're too busy at work".   I had what was really an incidental diagnosis in 2010 that took around 2 months to be diagnosed from me saying "I think I've lost some weight".  This is actually crazy because I had metastatic (Stage IV) cancer and how can cancer get to that stage without any hints?  Well, often that's what happens with Neuroendocrine Cancer - it's a sneaky little disease.  I didn't hear it coming but there were a few clues.  I'm putting that down to my own intransigence, doctors need you to tell them about your issues. However, in 2021, I'm still here. https://youtu.be/n17KUCiFaqU?t=7On 8th July 2010, I was sat in front of a secondary care consultant. I asked specifically for this consultant for two reasons, firstly, he carried…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter JUNE 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter JUNE 2018

Newsletters
Summary for June For the first time in 3 years, I didn't write any new articles in a single month (other than the monthly newsletter).  This was due to a prolonged chest infection from which I'm still recovering.  I'm so much better now (thankfully) but I suspect recovery has been slightly hampered by the recent UK heatwave. I managed a relaxing short break on the south coast of England to make up for my cancelled 3 week road trip to Scotland  My weight remains below 10 stone, the lightest I have been for over 30 years. For me, weight loss is a red flag, although this occurrence wasn't sufficient for me to start waving one.  I will get the results of my Ga68 PET scan on 11 July (please note…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter May 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter May 2018

Newsletters
  Summary for May Different type of intro to my newsletter as it's late due to unexpected illness.  In some ways, what happened in May is possibly connected.  I had quite a bit of work to do for a 'Patients Included' event in May in Berlin.  I managed to meet the deadlines and admit I was slightly out of my comfort zone. That said, it was a success and I managed an amazing amount of new contacts and awareness for Neuroendocrine Cancer.  I arrived back exhausted and turned my attention to another two things - a patient presentation to the inaugural UK Dietitian Group study day followed by a holiday to Wales. The study day was done on the way to my holiday, was very successful and I enjoyed it. …
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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter April 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter April 2018

Newsletters
Headlines 1.  Patients Included.  I'm a big believer that patients should be included in all aspects of healthcare and I can very much relate to any initiative that promotes this. I'm therefore pleased to have been listed as a Patients Included accredited site providing further  EXTERNAL awareness opportunities - read about this here.  2. I've accepted an appointment to the Strategic Advisory Board on MultiMed Inc, the owner of Cancer Knowledge Network based in Canada who have featured my articles in the past (https://cancerkn.com/) - It also publishes a magazine called Current Oncology which is Medline listed. This is not a NET site but my inclusion will no doubt raise the profile for us. Read more here. 3. My blog site is 4 years old.  When I set my blog…
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Sapanisertib – a drug on trial for Neuroendocrine Tumors (NET) with a pancreatic primary

Sapanisertib – a drug on trial for Neuroendocrine Tumors (NET) with a pancreatic primary

Clinical Trials, Treatment
Researchers are testing the drug Sapanisertib to see if it can halt the progression of pancreatic NETs (pNETs) which cannot be surgically removed, have not responded to other treatment, and have spread to other parts of the body. What is Sapanisertib? Sapanisertib is one of a group of targeted therapy drugs that interferes with tumor progression by inhibiting an enzyme known as mTOR which a tumor cell needs for growth.  In fact this is the same technique used in Afinitor (Everolimus), already approved for NETs. It is also being tested in a number of different advanced cancers, including bladder, kidney, breast, liver, and certain types of lung cancers, among others. The Clinical Trial The primary goal of the phase II study is to evaluate how well pNET tumors respond to Sapanisertib.…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter March 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter March 2018

Newsletters
Headline for the period of March 2018 is reaching a milestone of half a million blog views.  Yay ...... Read more here. Amazing that I clicked over the 500,000 mark in a taxi going from Barcelona airport to my hotel for ENETS 2018 where I'd been sponsored by INCA.  Fortunately I had prepared the post earlier and was able to spread the news in a few clicks.  I picked up some great information at this conference which I'm feeding into my articles so you get the best and latest thinking.  Here's a couple of pictures of me with famous NET specialists.  [caption id="attachment_12597" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Dr James Yao[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12598" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Dr Jonathan Strosberg[/caption] I caught this news in my social media NET A website I helped design with a…
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RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter February 2018

RonnyAllan.NET – Community Newsletter February 2018

Newsletters
Another great start to the year in both NETs in the news and my social media activity. It's been really cold where I am though! I'm so busy with personal contacts, I decided to set up a chat room so that other people can help me answer some really difficult questions!  This 'chat rom' is not designed to run like a traditional Facebook forum, it's a place to make people feel safe and to discuss without the usual distractions and dramas that people often encounter. And .... it's about learning.  I welcome all types of NET, people from any country and I also welcome carers/caregivers and medical people (I already have a few of the latter). It's also a place where I will bring in expertise to chat about various…
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Update – Oncolytic Virus Trials for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Update – Oncolytic Virus Trials for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Clinical Trials
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Updated 21st March 2021Thankful to a fellow patient for this update from Professor Essand. "The AdVince trial is actively recruiting NET patients with liver metastases. The AdVince trial is a so-called phase I dose escalation study with four dose levels and we are currently treating at dose level three (so far without observing severe toxicity). As for all phase I studies, the primary endpoint is safety and to determine maximum tolerable dose of the oncolytic AdVince virus. We are of course also looking for efficacy. We have for practical reasons so far only included local patients for the dose-escalation part (phase I). This is because of the complex treatment schedule with…
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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 since 2010 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. Click here to join my private Facebook group Subscribe to…
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