Neuroendocrine Cancer:  Those who know, know!

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Those who know, know!

Awareness, Patient Advocacy
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', but they have real difficulty 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 to very aggressive versions similar to many dangerous adenocarcinomas.  Unlike many of the more understood cancers, Neuroendocrine Cancer can literally appear anywhere in the body, adding to an already complex…
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Piss off Cancer, it’s been 12 years since my “big surgery”

Piss off Cancer, it’s been 12 years since my “big surgery”

Awareness, Inspiration
I'm still here I was 54 years and 9 months old at diagnosis on 26th July 2010.  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…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer:  Beware But Be Aware

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Beware But Be Aware

Awareness
An awareness post from Ronny Allan BEWARE There are a lot of scary diseases in this world.  Take the lesser-known type of cancer that infiltrated my body for example - Neuroendocrine Cancer.  Not only is it scary but it's also cunning, devious, misleading, and double-crossing. It likes nothing better than to play tricks on you. It will grow in your body without you knowing.  It finds places to hide, mainly the small intestine, appendix, lungs, stomach, pancreas, rectum, and a host of other places. It can be fiendishly small to avoid being seen.  Once it's established in the primary location (....or locations), it will try to break out via your blood and lymphatic systems.  It wants to establish other bases in your mesentery, your liver, your lymph nodes, your bones,…
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Evolving Approaches in the Management of Neuroendocrine Tumor-Associated Carcinoid Syndrome

Evolving Approaches in the Management of Neuroendocrine Tumor-Associated Carcinoid Syndrome

Patient Advocacy, Treatment
Introduction I found these 10 short video series from OncLive very useful. Each video ranges from 2 - 5 minutes long and is very easy to watch and digest. Not only a succinct primer on (so-called) carcinoid syndrome but also an update on the evolving approaches. And the series also includes information on Hedinger Syndrome (carcinoid heart disease) which can be caused by the effects of this syndrome. The panel includes some 'big hitter' names in our scientific community including: Satya (Nanu) Das, MD, MSCI (Oncologist) Jerome Zacks, MD (Cardiologist) Rodney Pommier, MD (Surgeon) Video list (click on the blue link to watch each one) Episode 1 - Overview of Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs) (onclive.com) Episode 2 - Overview of Carcinoid Syndrome (CS) (onclive.com) Episode 3 - Overview of Carcinoid Heart…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer:  Glossary of Terms

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Glossary of Terms

Awareness, Clinical Trials, Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Welcome to my Neuroendocrine Cancer terms and definitions list providing a source of meanings for acronyms and medical terms, all sourced from top Neuroendocrine Cancer and general cancer sites. How to use this list:1. If your term begins with an A, click on A to find all terms beginning with A.  Select your term from the list.2. For numerical terms, please click on the hashtag (#) symbol in the A to Z strip.3. The term definition including acronym or abbreviation will be given in full along with any of my published articles containing that term as long as I have tagged it on my website to display in the list. Please note I'm constantly working on the repository to clean up all definitions, adding and removing links where necessary, and ensuring all definitions…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: At least 50 shades of grey

Neuroendocrine Cancer: At least 50 shades of grey

Awareness, Patient Advocacy
If you read any authoritative source on this cancer, it will normally begin with "Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NENs) are heterogeneous tumours .............".  The term heterogeneous means diverse in character or content; or a structure with dissimilar components or elements.  This is not surprising as these tumours are found in Neuroendocrine cells throughout the vast majority of the human anatomy. And yet, when you look at many hospital/healthcare sites, advocate organisation sites, and cancer information sources not maintained by Neuroendocrine Cancer scientists or specialists, you might start to think there is just one big type of NET and only one syndrome. Once again, this is partly related to the lingering use of the term Carcinoid. Even within the community, so many people make blanket statements about Neuroendocrine Cancer which are misleading, e.g."they're all…
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12 years – I’m still here!

12 years – I’m still here!

Awareness, Inspiration, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
I finally made 12 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 with the help of Chris my wife of 47 years. 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…
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My illness may be invisible, but I am not – Neuroendocrine Cancer

My illness may be invisible, but I am not – Neuroendocrine Cancer

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship
The term invisible illness refers to any medical condition that is not outwardly visible to others, even healthcare professionals. Invisible illnesses encompass a broad range of conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, dementia, psychiatric illness, autoimmune disorders, and even cancer. Many Neuroendocrine Cancer patients look outwardly healthy, and this can often lead to a lack of appreciation of the potential dangers lurking in their life, the person's actual capabilities, and how they cope with their condition. I am sure those reading who have a Neuroendocrine Cancer diagnosis will find something similar to their own experiences. Growing invisibly inside me for years before making a vague announcement I had no idea the cancer was growing in me for years. Perhaps some of my routine illnesses weren't as routine as I thought.  Sorry…
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Electronic Autoinjector for Somatuline® Autogel® / Somatuline® Depot (lanreotide)

Electronic Autoinjector for Somatuline® Autogel® / Somatuline® Depot (lanreotide)

Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy, Treatment
Breaking News It doesn't seem that long since we got the new improved injection delivery system for the current model of Lanreotide.  I had to look at my blog articles for the announcement of that and was surprised it had already been 3 years.  It may be a shorter time period for many though, UK was near the front of that rollout.  I personally found the new injection a better experience and I know the nurses were happier too.  However, I also know there was some disappointment that the injection gauge and length were the same and therefore there was little change for many in terms of the 'experience'.  Speaking from a personal perspective, there was not sufficient change for me to consider moving to self-inject. I know (at least…
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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 my personal Facebook profile on 20th November 2010. Perhaps this was my way of opening up.  To be honest, the first few days I was suffering a lot of fatigue and brain fog from the morphine/painkillers. The thought of posting stuff on Facebook was far from my thoughts.  I was receiving…
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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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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.Neuroendocrine Tumor Pathogenesis…
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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
Caption: Talking to Ipsen 2016 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 not recorded but where possible and I am authorised to do so, I will attach the presentation slides.  Please note videos, presentation slides, and any Podcasts are in English. I'll list some of them below for your perusal.  I will keep adding them so they're all in one place.  Published talks Ann Edgar Trust - 31st August 2022 I was invited by Gordon Mackay who runs patient meetings for the Scottish NET organisation known as the Ann Edgar Trust.  As usual, I was only too happy to help. …
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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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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! Scroll, point, click, read, share! Click here and answer all questions 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. Ronny I’m also active on Facebook. Like my page for even more news. Help me build up my new site here –…
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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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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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Serotonin – it’s a no-brainer!

Serotonin – it’s a no-brainer!

Patient Advocacy
OPINIONThere is constant discussion about the effects of serotonin-producing tumours and issues of depression, anxiety, and 'rage'. However, it's a really complex issue for laypeople and I have no intention of trying to resolve it in this article. However, it's clear to me from listening and reading these discussions in patient forums for many years, that most of the discussion appears to be based on years of unsubstantiated and unmoderated debate inside patient forums without professional input.  This is not an attempt to bash patient leaders and forum administrators, because a full understanding of these issues needs a much wider moderation. I've spent a considerable time researching and analysing what science is known and I can tell you now that the behaviour of serotonin in the human body is not…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer – no sweat!

Neuroendocrine Cancer – no sweat!

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer
I see so many questions and comments in my private group about sweating, in particular, 'night sweats' and it's prompted me to dig deeper, thus this article. When I look at a dozen decent sources of medical info, they all seem to bring up several common causes appearing on the different lists on each website I look at. I do see (so-called) carcinoid syndrome come up infrequently and perhaps the authors are lumping that in with hot flashes/flushing etc.  But on authoritative NET sites (i.e. written by the NET scientific community), I do not see 'sweating' come up in the list of known symptoms directly attributed to any of the syndromes except for the group of catecholamine secreting tumours known as Pheochromocytoma and ParagangliomaI decided to extend it to diet…
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Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Everolimus (Afinitor)

Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Everolimus (Afinitor)

Clinical Trials, Treatment
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® (everolimus) Tablets is one 10-mg tablet once daily but lower doses of 7.5-mg tablets, 5-mg tablets, and 2.5-mg tablets are…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: The Perfect Storm

Neuroendocrine Cancer: The Perfect Storm

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
As featured by Neuroendocrine Cancer UK (formerly NET Patient Foundation)It's well known that Neuroendocrine Cancer can often be 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, and my follow up and support from a specialist centre were in place. I cope, but I wouldn’t say it’s easy living with…
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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
DoubleNeuroendocrine 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 ToilIf 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, skin irritation, anaemic,…
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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 Trial of Paltusotine for the Treatment of Neuroendocrine Tumours

Clinical Trial of Paltusotine for the Treatment of Neuroendocrine Tumours

Clinical Trials
Update as of 5th May 2022One Phase 2 trial has now been entered in the Clinical Trials database, based at the University of Kentucky (Markey Cancer Center).  Read the clinical trial document by clicking here.  The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics (PK), and exploratory dose-response of paltusotine treatment in subjects with carcinoid syndrome. This study consists of a Randomized Treatment Phase followed by an Open-Label Extension (OLE) PhaseUpdate as of 12th January 2022.Crinetics also plans to advance paltusotine into a Phase 2 trial for the treatment of carcinoid syndrome associated with neuroendocrine tumors. Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: CRNX), a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics for rare endocrine diseases and endocrine-related tumors, today announced that Scott Struthers, Ph.D., founder & CEO…
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Rosacea – the NET Effect

Rosacea – the NET Effect

Awareness, Patient Advocacy
Around 2001, I started noticing some issues on my nose, particularly around the creases, an issue I still experience today. It normally starts with a stinging feeling, an indication I'm about to experience some sort of inflammation. What eventually happens is something which looks like a 'whitehead' which I now know to be a 'pustule'. Sometimes there are multiples, and most are not normally bigger than 2mm, mostly smaller. These pustules nearly always disappear within a short period of time, normally after washing/showering, but they tend to leave reddish marks which eventually fade. Very infrequently, these pustules would appear on my chin. My nose is slightly discoloured and more reddish than the rest of my face since the issue started.  Shortly after I started experiencing this issue, a doctor diagnosed me…
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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
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', but they have real difficulty 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 to very aggressive versions similar to many dangerous adenocarcinomas.  Unlike many of the more understood cancers, Neuroendocrine Cancer can literally appear anywhere in the body, adding to an already complex description. …
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Neuroendocrine Cancer – is normally slow growing BUT …..

Neuroendocrine Cancer – is normally slow growing BUT …..

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
I have a lot to be thankful for [caption id="attachment_24013" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Click on the picture to read[/caption] Not intended to come over as a pity party No thanks for growing inside me for years before making your vague announcement Sorry too late, I'm metastatic and around 50% of patients will be at diagnosis (so I'm not alone!). It's very SNEAKY! [caption id="attachment_14152" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Click on the picture to read[/caption] 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 INSIDES [caption id="attachment_3720" align="aligncenter" width="391"] Click on the picture to read[/caption] No thanks for generating fibrosis throughout my mesentery and retroperitoneum! I really didn’t know what to make of this issue at diagnosis, although…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer Hormonal Syndromes – Clinical Esoterica

Neuroendocrine Cancer Hormonal Syndromes – Clinical Esoterica

Awareness
One of the key awareness messages for Neuroendocrine Cancer is the hormonal syndromes that can often accompany the diagnosis for many people.  As it's a difficult disease to diagnose, many people struggle with these syndromes for some time before formal diagnosis of Neuroendocrine Cancer.  Some continue to struggle after. Neuroendocrine Cancer can often be uncannily quiet, but the tumours can be 'functional' and over-secrete certain hormones to add or introduce symptoms that mimic many other diseases or conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Menopause, Heart disease and Asthma.   In addition to common symptoms of flushing and diarrhea, others include generally feeling weak, fatigued, pain, agitated, anxious, dizzy, nauseous, acid reflux, skin irritation, anaemic, weight loss, weight gain, low blood sugar, high blood sugar, heart palpitations, headaches, sweating, high blood…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: Diagnosing the Undiagnosed

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Diagnosing the Undiagnosed

Patient Advocacy
Neuroendocrine Cancer is one of a number of "difficult to diagnose" conditions. Many types of Neuroendocrine Cancer come with an associated syndrome and these syndromes can mimic everyday illnesses. In many cases, people don't even feel ill while the tumours grow. Most types of this cancer are slow-growing but there are also aggressive versions. Although things appear to be improving in diagnostic terms, it can sometimes take years for someone to be finally diagnosed correctly and get treatment, albeit in some cases, too late for any hope of a curative scenario. It's a very sneaky type of cancer and if left too long it can be life threatening - CLICK HERE to find out why.The road to a diagnosis of Neuroendocrine Cancer is often not straight or easy to navigate.…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: Fibrosis – an unsolved mystery?

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Fibrosis – an unsolved mystery?

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Treatment
What happened to me?Since I was diagnosed in 2010, I've always known I've had a fibrosis issue in the retroperitoneal area, as it was actually identified on my very first CT scan, which triggered my diagnosis.  Here's how the radiologist described it - "There is a rind of abnormal tissue surrounding the aorta extending distally from below the renal vessels. This measures up to 15mm in thickness".  He went on to describe that "almost certainly malignant".  The second and third scans would go on to describe as "retroperitoneal fibrosis" and "a plaque-like substance".  Interestingly the fibrosis itself does not appear to 'light up' on nuclear scans indicating it was not cancerous (see below).I really didn't know what to make of this issue at diagnosis, although I did know the aorta…
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“What are you doing this afternoon”

“What are you doing this afternoon”

Awareness
On 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 out a colonoscopy some 20 months previously which turned out to be negative. Secondly, my GP had referred me to the iron deficiency anaemia clinic, and they wanted to do ….. a colonoscopy.  I changed that plan because this "non-issue" was dragging on; quite frankly I wanted it to be resolved quickly, and I wanted it to be resolved in my favour - after all, I wasn't actually ill! Rewind two months, I had an incidental set of blood tests ordered by a nurse following a routine visit to my local medical centre (....... "I think I've lost a bit of weight").  My haemoglobin…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer Clinical Trial: Advanced Oncology Formula enterade®

Neuroendocrine Cancer Clinical Trial: Advanced Oncology Formula enterade®

Diet and Nutrition, Treatment
Diarrhea is a huge subject for NET patients, whether it's caused by the tumour itself (i.e. a syndrome), due to treatment, knock on effects of treatment, or some other reason, it can dramatically limit qualify of life.  Working out the root cause can be problematic even for medical teams. I wrote about these issues before in my article Neuroendocrine Cancer - the diarrhea jigsaw. So when I saw the data from a trial of something called enterade®, I was immediately drawn to investigate.  I don't normally write articles on over the counter commercial products but this one is an exception given that it has been classed as a medical food since 2012 and is also used to rehydrate patients undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy for cancer (so not just for NETs).What…
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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…
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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…
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Ronny Allan – Top 6 posts of 2017

Ronny Allan – Top 6 posts of 2017

Awareness, Inspiration
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email These are my top performing posts for 2017 - comprising one eighth of my entire hits for the year.  My blog hits for 2017 almost reached a quarter of a million, double that of 2016 which was double that of 2015.  A chunk of these figures can be attributed to most of these articles.  Please share to maintain the momentum. Top 6 posts for 2017 (Click on each article title to read) Short Description Hits in 2017 The Human Anatomy of Neuroendocrine Cancer Making the point that Neuroendocrine Cancer is not confined to a particular part of the body 9,906 Neuroendocrine Cancer Syndromes – Early Signs of a Late Diagnosis…
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Update:  Management of Neuroendocrine Tumors

Update: Management of Neuroendocrine Tumors

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Treatment
This is an excellent and positive video based overview of where we are with the Management of NETs.  This is a presentation from a NET Specialist (who some of you may know) presenting to a "GI Malignancies" conference.  This is therefore not only awareness of NETs, it's also some good education for non NET GI experts who may only know the very basics. Useful for patients too!  I met Dr Strosberg in Barcelona (ENETS 2017) and thanked him for his presentational and scientific paper output which I often use in my articles. The classification picture is good as it explains the different facets of NETs and how NETs are classified and categorised in a general way - not seen it done this way before.   Slightly out of date as…
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Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer – the 7 Year Itch

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer – the 7 Year Itch

Awareness, Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email I quite like the Facebook memory thing. This morning I got a reminder of a post I made from 7 years ago whilst I was in hospital recovering from my 9 Nov surgery.  It had taken 12 days for me to feel strong enough to venture onto social media with a simple message "I'm feeling perkier".  For those not familiar with English localisms, it just means lively, spirited, bright, sunny, cheerful, animated, upbeat, buoyant, bubbly, cheery, bouncy, genial, jaunty, chirpy, sprightly, vivacious, in fine fettle, full of beans, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  I guess I met some of these descriptors most of the time! I had gotten through the worst and…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer – normally slow but always sneaky

Neuroendocrine Cancer – normally slow but always sneaky

Awareness
An awareness post from Ronny Allan There are a lot of scary diseases in this world but some of them are particularly spooky.  One such spooky disease is the lesser-known type of cancer that infiltrated my body - Neuroendocrine Cancer. Not only is it scary and spooky, but it's also cunning, devious, misleading, and double-crossing. It likes nothing better than to play tricks on you. It will grow in your body without you knowing.  It finds places to hide, mainly the small intestine, appendix, lungs, stomach, pancreas, rectum, and a host of other places. It can be fiendishly small to avoid being seen.  Once it's established in the primary location (....or locations), it will try to break out via your blood and lymphatic systems.  It wants to establish other bases…
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Weight – the NET Effect

Weight – the NET Effect

Diet and Nutrition, Survivorship
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 I'd lost some weight (....about half a stone).  I answered the question with "no" and this response triggered a sequence of…
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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…
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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
Ronny Allan's 'PoNETry' © series can be shared with poetry credit to:RonnyAllan.NETThanks for readingRonnyI also have one about Lanreotide (or "butt darts" in general) - click here Click here and answer all questions to join my private Facebook group Subscribe to my newsletter Email address First name (Optional) Last name (Optional) By subscribing, you agree with Revue’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. 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 HereDisclaimerMy Diagnosis and Treatment HistoryFollow me on twitterCheck out my online presentationsCheck out my WEGO Health AwardsLike my new awareness page - click here or on the photo.  (Like rather than follow please!)Check out my…
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ASCO 2017 – Let’s talk about NETs #ASCO17

ASCO 2017 – Let’s talk about NETs #ASCO17

Clinical Trials
ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) is one of the biggest cancer conferences in the world normally bringing together more than 30,000 oncology professionals from around the world to discuss state-of-the-art treatment modalities, new therapies, and ongoing controversies in the field.  As Neuroendorine Tumors is on a roll in terms of new treatments and continued research, we appear to be well represented with over 20 'extracts' submitted for review and display.  This is fairly complex stuff but much of it will be familiar to many.  I've filtered and extracted all the Neuroendocrine stuff into one list providing you with an easy to peruse table of contents, complete with relevant linkages if you need to read more.  For many the extract title and conclusion will be sufficiently educational or at least…
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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
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 from the primary site cannot be benign by any scientific definition. However, since the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2010 classification…
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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…
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Recent Progress in NET Management – Positive presentation from Jonathan R Strosberg MD

Recent Progress in NET Management – Positive presentation from Jonathan R Strosberg MD

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Treatment
I recently wrote a blog called Neuroendocrine Cancer – Exciting Times Ahead! I wrote that on a day I was feeling particularly positive and at the time, I wanted to share that positivity with you. I genuinely believe there's a lot of great things happening. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot still to be done, particularly in the area of diagnosis and quality of life after being diagnosed. However, this is a really great message from a well-known NET expert. In an interview with OncLive, Jonathan R. Strosberg, MD, associate professor at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, discussed his presentation on NETs at a recent 2016 Symposium, and shed light on the progress that has been made in this treatment landscape. OncLive: Please highlight some of the main points from your…
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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…
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Surgery for Neuroendocrine Neoplasms – to cut or not to cut?

Surgery for Neuroendocrine Neoplasms – to cut or not to cut?

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Reviewed and edited 26th September 2021Surgery can sometimes be a tough call (......to cut or not to cut?)It is an area where I have some sympathy for physicians and surgeons who sometimes have tough decisions to make. Surgery is risky, particularly where people are presenting in a weak condition, perhaps with very advanced disease, secondary illness and comorbidities. I also suspect age is a factor (I was surprised to find myself considered 'young' at 55). Physicians and surgeons need to weigh up these risks and the consequences of the surgery against a 'watch and wait' or alternative non-surgical approach. This would normally be discussed via a 'Tumor Board' or Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting. However, and although imaging helps, the situation is not really 100% clear until the surgeon 'gets inside'.…
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Somatostatin Analogues for Neuroendocrine Cancer:  Lanreotide and Octreotide

Somatostatin Analogues for Neuroendocrine Cancer: Lanreotide and Octreotide

Treatment
Somatostatin Analogues are the 'workhorse' treatments for those living with NETs, particularly where certain syndromes are involved.  So not just for classic NETs with Carcinoid Syndrome but also for treating the hormone overscretions caused by insulinoma, gastrinoma, glucagonoma and VIPoma (all types of pNETs) and others. They are most effective if the NETs express somatostatin receptors.  They also have an anti-tumour effect but more of a slowing down of growth rather than a killing or reduction of tumour size - but there are always outliers where such effects are displayed.Somatostatin is actually a naturally occurring hormone produced by the hypothalamus and some other tissues such as the pancreas and the gastrointestinal tract. However, it can only handle the normal release of hormones.  When NET syndromes occur, the naturally occurring somatostatin is unable to cope. The…
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Neuroendocrine – don’t let it be a Crisis

Neuroendocrine – don’t let it be a Crisis

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Treatment
Update 15th November 2021.   A study presented at NANETS 2021 produced data to suggest the causes and treatment for carcinoid crisis have been wrong and that a new model is required.  Read the article here or by clicking on the picture.Author's notes:  This is probably a controversial conclusion in some circles and it's worth pointing out that so-called 'carcinoid crisis' isn't going away, just the need for time-consuming and expensive, and apparently ineffective according to the study, perioperative protection.  And the study also noted that medication to treat complications was still required.  I don't believe we should immediately dismiss this conclusion as one of the authors is a 'big hitter' NET Specialist surgeon (Dr Rodney Pommier) whose job is to keep patients safe on the operating table.However, it's the second…
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