Tuesday, September 27, 2016

LIFE ON A SECOND OPINION midnight special


Read on Facebook stickit2stage4 today the fine 2nd opinion piece from Beth Caldwell  on her new hope for an incredible combination of rough diseases.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

TAMOXIFEN - What does it really do? How is it really different?

Today I got an e-mail from   a CA Breast Cancer site I once supported.  One issue mentioned in the  "letter" from their Exec Director, was a study on aromatase inhibitors.  I don't take them, but I still glanced at her June 7 post.

She mentions the "San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium which showed that extending treatment with tamoxifen reduced both recurrence of and death from breast cancer."  and mentions that she wrote about that symposium and the Atlas Study at that time.

I clicked the link to what she had written then.  And was dismayed to find this: "Tamoxifen is an anti-estrogen drug given to women with hormone sensitive breast cancer to prevent spread and recurrence."

 In fact, anti-estrogen is the opposite of  Tamoxifen--   

Pre-menopausal women get Tamoxifen because it does NOT destroy or prevent estrogen.

Here's what Tamoxifen does: 

Cancer Research UK:
Tamoxifen works by locking on to the oestrogen receptors to block oestrogen from attaching to them. The oestrogen cannot then stimulate the cells to divide and grow. "  (bold is mine)  

 For me, this is a very important difference, a vital difference.  At my age, if my body produces a bit of estrogen, I want to consider that that might not be all bad!  

So I refer you to what the Nat'l Cancer Institute says on hormone treatment and what SERMS like Tamoxifen can do. 

 "Most SERMs behave as estrogen antagonists in some tissues and as estrogen agonists in other tissues. For example, tamoxifen blocks the effects of estrogen in breast tissue but acts like estrogen in the uterus and bone."


PS Even my oncologist mentions now and then that Tamoxifen is thought to have deposited some new bone on hips. And one of my hips is where I'm hoping for a little help with my osteoporosis.  


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

BELOW THE BELT - more about some parts that aren't working perfectly

I once had a need to pee too often.  It wasn't a doctor or nurse who saved me - maybe a book or magazine or friend said a magic word Kegel exercises.  Recently I'm having those urges again.

Why aren't my nurses and my Gyno handing out Kegel info as a sort of preventive move?  You can print it out on Mayo clinic - they tell if Kegels will probably help you and when they might not.

Maybe your complaint is not frequent urination, but something is irritating your perineum, and you don't want to hear about exercises until this is fixed.

In fact, I have both problems. I've learned several things can make our perineum very unhappy.  Mine has been unhappy before. A male doctor (and his nurse) listened to the perineum problem and clued me into what might work.?  They agreed that Clotrimazole OTC might help.  It did.  More recently, a Texas NP wrote me a scrip for a combination cream containing it. She said I could use it anywhere, but I DON"T use it inside the vagina and don't get it near my eyes.  Ever.

Also, isn't it possible that a hard-to-ignore irritation may start if we're taking tamoxifen or meds that completely stop estrogen production -- we've been gifted with our own Second Menopause, and our perineum is getting nothing. Hmm.  Ask your oncologist on that one.  Other patients may have noticed the same thing.

Furthermore - It seems when my perineum is irritated, I feel a need to urinate more often, and my pee-ometer (early warning system) in my head gets confused.

By the way, when more and more women started working, I read some reminders that we should empty our bladders completely instead of rushing back to work too soon.

Finally, As we get older, they say our senses get weaker - doesn't this include the sense that notices we may need to pee soon?  Should be maybe looking for the bathroom locations when we enter the building?

Infuriating hour-long phone conversations with the internet service taught me that I can retain a very full bladder longer than I think I can, if I must.  But I don't risk it for fun.

Ask your doctor.  Then ask her nurse.  Then ask your other doctor.  But ask before you exercise and before you use any medicine.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


This is from Sunrise Rounds.  I get it on e-mail, but you can go to his website.


Posted by  on Sep 6, 2016 in End of LifeFeatured | 5 comments
An older friend of mine a couple of years ago said before she was convinced to go and live near her daughter:
"I wish I were doing something worthwhile."
Dr. Salwitz knows about this need.  I'm encouraged when even one doctor says he does know.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

THE TEST FOUND WHAT?! And that, too, and that, and that?

Since I took RETHINKING AGING... out of the library, headlines on overtreatment have been catching my eye.

Twitter led me to this one.
When a Medical Test Leads to Another, and Another

 Yes, it opens up the argument- should patients be told of unexpected things that pop up during X-rays and other tests - things that may be nothings?  Things that may not be dangerous?

The two researcher authors feel we're over the line and giving too much information.

A sidebar gives us some info and a few percentages of what is turning up unexpectedly lately.  Lumbar spine MRI's for instance.  I already knew that my lumbar spine MRI showed a bunch of arthritis that I'm still dealing with.  Or dealing with more often.  Interestingly - it was a 2nd-opinion pain expert who told me about the arthritis.  The spine surgeon never mentioned it.

Also, you might be surprised by the many extra findings during diagnostic tests for colon cancer.

A lot of mention is given to unexpected kidney findings, and how urgent they could become if left for later.

This patient was reading fast, looking for the part where they would mention "immune system.."  Since Prolia arrived in my life, my immune system is on my mind.  Didn't find a mention of it.

Nothing has been solved here, but I am always glad when anyone pokes a stick into over-treatment and keeps it in the spotlight.

I wish you health.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Twitter tonight --article on IORT (surgery including radiation) in San Diego area, CA

An MRI visual of a breast with breast cancer opens this article on interoperative radiation treatment.

Can't tell if the short article suggests this may be a newer form of IORT.  I wish I had all my other IORT text and refs at my fingertips, but tonight I don't.  I supposedly can't ever have a second lumpectomy because I already had too much radiation with The Boost. Whether that would include my other breast, I don't know.

So this may be info you already have.  But the text is clear and easy to read.

Copy or type this in your browser line and have a look.


I wish you health.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

CAR T Coffee break

On Twitter today, Sloan Kettering offers info on CAR T therapy - may be new addition to earlier NYT article.