Make some noise for a silent cancer


can be silent

One of the key aims of my blog is to create more awareness of Neuroendocrine Cancer (or NETs), its peculiarities, its effects, its ability to deceive, its ability to kill if left undetected and/or untreated; and its impact on Quality of Life (QoL). There are millions of people out there doing similar with thousands of other conditions. That means even to stand out a little, messages must be compelling, must attract attention; and must catch people’s interest.

In the last 36 months, I’ve generated a few ‘different’ awareness campaigns, some of which have been more successful than others and I learn from this.  One of them is actually now the most tweeted post about NETs on twitter.  Fortunately, I have had significant help from YOU because if you did not share my posts and blogs, they would not have the potential reach they currently do and would not, therefore, attract the new audiences I’m looking for (….and finding!). The same applies to Facebook, twitter and other parts of the social media universe.  I thank you all for the help to date.  However, the job is far from finished!

My main campaigns are listed here so please help yourself to the ones you like and feel free to support or sponsor.  Please note there are social media sharing buttons at the bottom of each post – or just simple cut and paste as required.

 

ignore-this-post

Neuroendocrine Cancer would love you to ignore this post.   This is a reverse psychology message which is designed to attract attention – and it does!.  It is currently the most tweeted post in the history of NET Cancer awareness.   If you are on twitter, please retweet the original post (quoting it in a new post is also great but please also retweet the original).  The tweet can be found by clicking here.  It’s also a great awareness post for any type of social media so please share as it gives a really simple and yet compelling awareness message about the danger of NET Cancer and ignoring symptoms, including after diagnosis.  Click here then share.

 

it-takes-guts-living-with4.jpg

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer – it takes guts! This is a powerful message which lets people know what effects the consequences of Neuroendocrine Cancer and its treatment have on people’s lives. It’s not a pity party – I don’t do those (as you well know).

I also emphasise that it’s not all about diagnostic difficulties (as important as that might be), more focus needs to be placed on LIVING with NETs given that it is a highly prevalent cancer, and no longer rare.

The diagnostic angle was relevant 10 years ago but the focus needs to become much wider thus why the community needs to shift from the ‘same old same old’ to a ‘different new’. This post has attracted much interest from new audiences in the wider healthcare world. Read and share it by clicking here


sshh - can you hear it?

Neuroendocrine Cancer – ssh! Can you hear it?  This is the NETs is ‘silent’ theme and attracts a lot of support.  This really drives home the devious nature of NETs, the fact that it can be a very silent cancer until it’s too late and the difficulties that it presents with accurate diagnoses and subsequent ongoing monitoring.  The post can be found by clicking here

 

The Human Anatomy of Neuroendocrine Cancer

The Human Anatomy of Neuroendocrine Cancer This is a campaign to point out that NET Cancer is not confined to a particular part of the body and raises the issue of misdiagnosis, incorrect naming and recording of cancer types; and the loss of awareness opportunities, particularly when famous people are involved.  I never get fed up of sharing this one and it cannot be shared too many times!  Please feel free to share the hell out of this one.  The post can be found by clicking here

 

Early signs of a late diagnosis (2)

Neuroendocrine Cancer Syndromes – Early Signs of a Late Diagnosis

This is an awareness message to emphasize that there are a number of different syndromes involved in NETs in different parts of the body and that terminology and understanding is important to get the awareness messages right.  Click here.

 

 

Every day is NET Cancer DayEvery day is NET Cancer Day.  This post has had the largest number of 5 star ratings input by readers indicating support for my awareness strategy.   Don’t get me wrong, 10 Nov is special but the other 364 days also present awareness opportunities. You can read this blog by clicking hereYou can also register for my NET Cancer Day Social Media Event leading up to 10 Nov by clicking here and select ‘Going’ (then invite others please). On this event, Every Day is NET Cancer Day!

 

lets raise our sites

Let’s raise our ‘sites’. This awareness message also emphasizes the anatomy of NETs and the importance of the correct terminology in order to get the optimum and accurate awareness messages over.  I’m using the word ‘sites’ as a take on ‘sights’ – someone picked me up for spelling last time I posted!  Click here to read.

 

Neuroendocrine Cancer:  Normally Slow but Always Sneaky.   Very powerful message, scary but designed for external audiences.  My most read article with over 20,000 views in a year.

cancer-rates

 

Neuroendocrine Cancer is NOT a ‘type’ of another cancer …. PERIOD.  The anatomy of cancer works against us so we need to really drive this message home.  We lose a lot of publicity, resources, supporters and potential funding because of this misunderstanding.

A Neuroendocrine Tumour is NOT

 

The 9 posts above comprise around 20% of my total blog hits and these are the ones which are attracting new audiences who now know about Neuroendocrine Cancer and are telling others.  Please help me build on this.

Neuroendocrine Cancer can be silent but we shouldn’t be!

 

Stay well all

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

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Remember ….. in the war on Neuroendocrine Cancer, let’s not forget to win the battle for better quality of life!

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Neuroendocrine…..the little suckers get everywhere!

little-suckers.jpg

One of the key milestones in my awareness campaigns occurred when I featured as a guest blogger for one of the biggest cancer ‘support’ organisations in the world – Macmillan.

The aim of the blog ‘Sorry I’m not in service’ was actually to highlight the consequences of cancer and its treatment (a Macmillan Campaign message); and to a certain extent to highlight the conflict that can often exist between work and cancer. However, it was also a fantastic opportunity for me to grab the interest of the general population with the word Neuroendocrine’.  The response was amazing and on twitter it was one of Macmillan’s most retweeted posts over that period.  The Macmillan Facebook post was also very popular and still rising with over 500 likes and over 40 shares so far.

There are some great comments on the post and the one which stuck out most is now the title of this blog article. I’ve always thought the ‘anatomy’ factor was a strong awareness message for Neuroendocrine Cancer and I outlined this in an article I wrote last year entitled ‘The Human Anatomy of Neuroendocrine Cancer’There are not many cancers which have the anatomical reach of Neuroendocrine Cancer –  the ‘suckers’ can indeed get everywhere!

Although there are common areas for Neuroendocrine Cancer to pop up, there are also many rare locations.  I was therefore both astonished and delighted when the Macmillan Facebook post brought together two people from UK diagnosed with a NET of the nasal cavity, an extremely rare location for any cancer.

Why is the potential distribution of NETs so wide?  Neuroendocrine Cancer is nearly always formed in the diffuse neuroendocrine system, which is made up of neuroendocrine cells found in the respiratory and digestive tracts. The respiratory tract includes the bronchial tubes and lungs. The digestive tract starts at the mouth and ends at the rectum. Neuroendocrine cells are also found in the endocrine glands, such as the adrenal glands, pancreas, thyroid, parathyroid and pituitary. These cells are also found in the ovaries and the testes.  However, these ‘little suckers’ have a propensity to spread (metastasize) and can end up in even more obscure sites throughout the body.  When you carry out a bit of light research in reputable areas plus taking into account their metastatic tendencies, you end up with a list like this:

Small intestine (small bowel)

Lung (including the pulmonary pleura)

Pancreas

Appendix

Stomach

Large intestine (large bowel or colon)

Rectum

Adrenal Glands

Liver

Gallbladder

Bile Ducts

Kidneys

Spleen

Ovaries

Uterus

Testicles

Prostate

Seminal Vesicle

Parathyroid

Thyroid

Tongue

Cheek

Larynx

Thorax

Bronchus

Oesophagus

Thymus

Pituitary

Pineal

Brain

Breast

Epicardial

Eye – including Retro-orbital (situated or occurring behind the orbit) and the choroid (vascular structure supplying the outer) 

Mesentery (keeps the small intestine in place against the abdominal wall)

Abdominal wall

Peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity)

Retroperitoneum (behind the Peritoneum)

Nasal Cavity

Skin (Merkel cell)

Bones in general

Sacrum – the large, triangular bone at the base of the spine

Lymph Nodes – mainly in the area of the Mesentery, Peritoneum, Retroperitoneum, Chest Wall; but also in distant locations such as axillary (armpit) and supraclavicular (collar-bone area)

Bladder wall

 

 

Did I miss any?  Feel free to add!

 

 

Thanks for reading

Ronny

I’m also active on Facebook.  Like my page for even more news.

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Remember ….. in the war on Neuroendocrine Cancer, let’s not forget to win the battle for better quality of life!

On twitter?  How about retweeting this tweet?

 

Neuroendocrine Cancer – early diagnosis, not early misdiagnosis?

The papers and social media seem to be full of awareness and early diagnosis articles this month.  This coincided with world NET Cancer Day on 10 Nov and world Pancreatic Cancer day on 13 Nov.  Social media was, therefore, buzzing with messages from organisations supporting and advocating for both of these cancer types.  These issues also made it to the conventional media outlets of newspapers, radio and television.  Last week I watched a clip from the UK national news, where 7-year survivor of Pancreatic Cancer Ali Stunt was telling the nation about the top 3 symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer and I was struck by the similarities with NET Cancer. However what really caught my ear was Ali saying how important it was for individuals to think whether the symptoms they were experiencing were unusual for them.  Great advice and a reminder that the patient has a duty to help in their own diagnosis.   Ali also said to insist on seeing a doctor again if you felt something was still not right after the first visit.  Again, excellent advice on the basis it appears to have saved her life.   Click here for Ali’s interview

One other major story which caught my attention was the statement from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) that they intend to update their guideline document “Suspected cancer: recognition and management of suspected cancer in children, young people and adults”.  The statement followed news of research which indicated up to 10,000 people in England could be dying each year due to late diagnoses. This research cited the reasons why cancer diagnoses may be missed and these included the fact that over 200 different types of cancer exist, each with different symptoms, and that patients present at their GP with symptoms which are non-specific.  Does that sound familiar to NET Cancer patients?

I found the NICE statement very interesting because in the 4 years I’ve been studying NET Cancer, I’ve never heard of these guidelines so thought I’d take a look.  No surprises that NET Cancer (or more specifically, Neuroendocrine Tumours or Carcinoid) was not mentioned as a condition.  I searched the entire 405-page document using the search terms ‘Neuroendocrine’, ‘Carcinoid’ and ‘flushing’ and only turned up a single reference to ‘Neuroendocrine’ within the children’s cancer section under Neuroblastoma.

The guidelines are constructed to look at cancer in terms of anatomy so I, therefore, looked at the most common place for a NET cancer – the small intestine.  Good time to refresh my view on this by reading blog post The Anatomy of NET Cancer. I was happy to find a section on cancers of the small intestine which it defines as “a rare cancer of the duodenum, jejunum or ileum, with different histological subtypes. Most GPs will not diagnose a case during their career. The rarity of this cancer means there are no relevant studies of its clinical features. It may have symptoms similar to those of stomach or colorectal cancers. The main method of diagnosis is by biopsy, which is performed in secondary care.”   That got me thinking that the target area for NET Cancer awareness campaigns in the UK might need to be focussed more on secondary rather than primary care?  Food for thought?

I then found a non-anatomy based section further on entitled “Recommendations for specific symptoms and signs” which then cross references to the potential cancers involved.   I was hoping to find something in there so I searched on the most common symptom of Carcinoid Syndrome (in most cases indicating an advanced carcinoid tumour) but there was no sign of the most common symptom of the most common type of NET Cancer.

It’s fantastic that NICE is updating its guidelines to provide the latest clinical and best practice advice to GPs.  I also read that they are encouraging GPs to refer more people to secondary care as another way of tackling the late diagnosis issue (particularly important for NET Cancer patients when you consider the NICE guidelines above) – see BBC News article 

It’s right that the more prevalent and more aggressive cancers be included as a priority in the NICE guidelines but NET Cancer is a notoriously misdiagnosed condition and people do die of this disease.  Additionally, many people have to live with a reduced quality of life due to the symptoms and side effects and this comes at great cost to health providers.  Perhaps the incidence rate of NET Cancer is still not high enough to merit mention in the NICE guidelines. Or perhaps there is still a general ignorance of these types of cancers in the ‘medical establishment’?

You can see a copy of these guidelines here although I suspect only UK-based patients will be really interested. Personally, I feel there could be a section specifically on Neuroendocrine Tumours as there are for other ‘systemic’ cancer types, perhaps with cross references to the various anatomy based sections in the document.  Consequently, I’ve emailed NICE asking if there is anything in the pipeline to include guidance on NET Cancers and I urge UK-based patients to do similar – their email is: nice@nice.org.uk

NET Cancer patients and their advocates have been pushing and pushing for more recognition and it appears in the UK, this will go on for some time. Whilst I recognise the positive moves above, it’s important that both primary and secondary care medical staff are alerted to the symptoms of NET Cancer and are able to spot these at an earlier stage.

NET Cancer patients need an early diagnosis, not early misdiagnosis!

Thanks for reading

Ronny

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Remember ….. in the war on Neuroendocrine Cancer, let’s not forget to win the battle for better quality of life!

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