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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Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) – Neuroendocrine Cancer

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) – Neuroendocrine Cancer

Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
In my patient support group of 7000+, fatigue is very commonly discussed, and it certainly gets bags of empathy from the readers.  I remember being really tired in the first few years after my diagnosis and in the years preceding it. As I was very focused on my work in those days, I was putting it down to the rigours of my working practices, commuting, overnighting, and working far too many hours in a day.  In 2010, my diagnosis was triggered by symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia which was almost certainly connected to my cancer and feelings of fatigue for quite a while leading up to the diagnosis.  That said, I gradually got back into old ways after diagnosis and pretty much continued to put my tiredness down to the same…
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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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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 – on your bike!

Neuroendocrine Cancer – on your bike!

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

Diabetes – The NET Effect

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

Neuroendocrine Cancer – it takes guts

Survivorship
The majority of Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) are slow growing (well differentiated).  However, many tumours can be silent (non-functioning) for some years before they start to 'function' and inform you of their presence.  Even then, it may take some time to work out the real cause as the symptoms can mimic regular ailments.  Moreover, in most cases, the appearance of a functional tumour often indicates the disease has metastasised and could now be incurable. Some tumours will grow and metastasise without syndromes, i.e. they are non-functional. These may become functional at some point in the future.However, with most slow-growing NETs, this does not mean terminal as there are various treatment options even at Stage IV.  In fact, NETs are one example where surgery at the metastatic stage can often provide prognostic advantages denied…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer:  My experience with Lanreotide (Somatuline Autogel/Depot)

Neuroendocrine Cancer: My experience with Lanreotide (Somatuline Autogel/Depot)

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship, Treatment
On 9th December 2021, I celebrated 11 years of Lanreotide - click here to read about that.My Lanreotide ExperienceWhen I was discharged from hospital following major surgery in Nov 2010, I knew I would shortly be commencing long-term monthly 'somatostatin analogue' treatment and had assumed Octreotide (Sandostatin LAR) would be the drug of choice. However, my Oncologist prescribed Lanreotide (known in the UK as Somatuline Autogel and elsewhere as Somatuline Depot).  Technically this is a hormone therapy (it's not chemo).Somatostatin Analogues (Octreotide/Lanreotide) are mainstay treatments for many Neuroendocrine Cancer patients and their introduction is a very significant factor in the improvement of both prognostic outcomes and quality of life.  Both drugs are designed to control Carcinoid Syndrome (but can be used selectively in other NET syndromes) and both have anti-tumour effects.  Check out…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer – a difficult jigsaw

Neuroendocrine Cancer – a difficult jigsaw

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
A couple of years ago, I received a request from a reader asking if I would write an article about all the symptoms experienced by a Neuroendocrine Cancer patient and how to sort out what is and what isn't associated with NETs.Although I chuckled and raised eyebrows at the request, inside I was genuinely humbled that someone thought I was capable of achieving this herculean task.  I actually gave it quite a bit of thought to the point of compiling a matrix of types of NET, main symptoms, cross-referenced with the symptoms of the most common reported comorbidities. After it started to look like it might be bigger than the Empire State Building, I came to the conclusion that it's an almost impossible task for a wee Scottish guy with…
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