Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Posts Tagged ‘good news

Latest Advances In Treatment Of Prostate Cancer And The Butterfly Effect

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The Blue Tiger

The Blue Tiger

The first blast of winter has reached my little tropical hideaway part of the world. There is a massive high pressure system south of the Great Australian Bight directing Antarctic winds right up the east coast of Australia. Night time temperatures have dropped below 10 degrees celsius with day time temps below 25 deg. It may not sound like a big deal to my southern neighbours but living in temperatures that average minimums of 25 deg to maximums of 35 degrees for nine months of the year it becomes a shock with the first winter blast in this part of the country.

At least the butterfly swarms are still passing by my verandah but I am guessing that this cold dry change will knock them back a bit for this year. Between March and May every year I can sit daily on my verandah and watch the procession of these beautiful creatures as they travel from the south in a northerly direction. I have even seen these swarms over the ocean 100 kilometers from land. Where they come from and where they are going I have no idea. They just happen here every year with the main type being the “blue tiger” but also many other species of all colours and sizes can be mixed with them.

Watching them the other day reminded me of an old metaphor called “The Butterfly Effect.” This was a theory exploring the concept of a small thing happening on one side of the planet (such as the flapping of a butterfly wing) can cause an immense reaction in one form or another on the other side of the world. It was part of a theory called the “Chaos Theory” and was generally attributed to calamities, however I believe in “Yin and Yan,” so the theory in my opinion should apply equally between good and bad.

One thing cancer has taught me, is to look at life more deeply and appreciate things in a more meaningful way, hence my fixation of my butterflies, their life cycle and the theory. Such a beautiful creature that evolves by unfolding itself from a lowly caterpillar after pupation. I like to believe the whole story offers hope that small actions can create massive changes for the good in this world. Mankind is still at the beginnings of meaningful good changes as witnessed by lifestyle differences. opportunities and other madness going on in the world; We are seriously out of balance. However the more developed countries involve themselves in the opportunity to continue to make advances in areas such as medical practices the more likely these advances will eventually filter throughout all the world. This then takes me to the subject I wish to offer readers in this article, regarding the advances made recently and where we are headed in the treatment of prostate cancer.

So how has treatment for prostate cancer advanced over the past number of years? Before I begin I should quote the following statistic for my readers. The prostate cancer 5-year survival rate has improved from 59% in 1986 to above 92% today, and likewise for most types of cancer the 5-year survival rate has increased. This increased survival rate is due to improved medical practices, the introduction of new drugs and/or the treatment methods and successful research outcomes.

In the case of prostate cancer, over 3300 men will die of this disease this year, even though it is still thought of as a slow-growing old mans disease. The truth is, that early low-grade prostate cancer is indeed slow to promulgate but there are high-grade aggressive varieties that are lethal, and indeed more younger men are now being diagnosed with this disease in their thirties and forties.

While PSA monitoring and DRE procedure have been the main indicators for biopsy; Research is searching for other prostate cancer markers to use, and several exciting pathological trials are underway. Medical imaging has also expanded, with much advances in imaging from MRI, CT and PET scans, along with ultrasound technologies. Much of this future researching and improvements should bring huge benefits in assisting doctors to discern at diagnosis, between the non lethal and lethal types of prostate cancers. This then, should have a great impact in decisions regarding primary treatment for the patient. Improved imaging should enhance the ability to locate and direct biopsies and also to better detect metastasis to bone and other tissues.

In the past few years there has been the introduction of new drugs such as Abiraterone Acetate (Zytiga) and Enzulutamide (Xtandi) which are advances in hormonal drugs offering greater survival rates, with less side effects. Sipuleucel T (Provenge) is an Immunotherapy drug and treatment, which stimulates the individual patients own immune system to attack cancer cells. Radium 233 (Xofigo) which is a radioactive type drug, used in the treatment of bone metastasis with prostate cancer.

Much research continues to search for and identify the different individual characteristics of prostate tumours. This may lead to drugs being available for specific types of tumours, and could lead to individual tailored drugs being used on a patient circumventing the need for current primary treatments of surgery and radiation. This could  have profound effects in preventing major life changing side effects.



There is much excitement and discoveries still to come in the medical world over the next decade, and I hope I am still alive to see much of it. Meanwhile I will keep admiring my butterflies for the hope they offer for a better world to come. Is it Possible?????? Perhaps.


Lee aka Popeye




My God Box Adventure

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My God Box

My God Box

Welcome back for the year 2015. I hope everyone enjoyed the festivities and I sincerely hope that the new year will bring health, prosperity and peace to the world. In this article I have decided to write about a subject dealing with spirituality. I have been inspired to do this by an event that happened accidentally toward the end of my treatment for the gross hematuria I was experiencing. When I was at my spiritual lowest point during my illness, full of despair and accepting that I could be reaching the end of my life, a friend came to me and suggested the following idea.

My friend suggested I create a “God Box.” The idea being that I acquire a small box of some type where I could write down on little slips of paper all my fears, anxieties, problems or prayers and deposit them into the box for God to look after. Once these fears were deposited I could then just let go of them knowing they were in the hands of a higher authority.

Now I have never been a pious religious person who was a regular churchgoer, but I always retained a sense of confirmation that there existed a God that was responsible for all creation. The “God Box” suggestion just captured my imagination and fell in line with my overall belief in a creator. I believe that everything in life happens for a reason, both good and bad. I also believe my life has been directed at certain times by someone other than me when events have caused me to travel in different directions than I thought possible. So the search for a suitable box began and my wife took exactly 2 hours to locate the perfect box in a local op shop for $2.00. ( A picture is included at the head of this article.)

I began depositing my little slips of paper containing my fears just weeks prior to the investigations that revealed the full extent of my serious condition and the surgical suggestion that could (and has done) saved my life. It was during this period that a volunteer chaplain visited me in hospital and seeing the “God Box” at the head of my bed asked me about it. After I told my story she was amazed and delighted and then commented by asking if I included any “Thank You” notes among the little pieces of paper I was depositing. It was then that I realised with embarrassment that my little notes were all one way with no such words of gratitude given by me, I fixed this issue straight away.

Readers can choose what they say or think about my story here but I can say for myself that my “God Box” came about as a suggestion from a friend during a dark period of my illness. This little box changed my life at the time and continues to do so. It gave me great comfort and hope while easing the fears, the stress and despondency I was feeling. From the time I accepted the concept of my little box and proceeded to deposit my little notes, my health outlook took a turn for the better. I believe that little box entered my life at just the right time and brought about changes that resulted in my successful surgery. It also reinvigorated my spiritual awareness.

Some Good Advice

Some Good Advice

I originally thought this was quite a unique idea that my friend suggested to me but I have since discovered the concept has been well-known and used for hundreds of years by many religious faiths. I have included a few links to web sites for readers who may be interested in further reading. I decided to write this article in the hope that the “God Box” idea might be of interest and give comfort to other chronically ill patients or their carers doing it tough out there. “Thank you God”

Further Reading




Lee aka Popeye

Best health system in the world?

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Yes, that’s me laying on the radiation machine at the Peter Mac Cancer Centre just about to be nuked from both above and below.

The green laser beams are aligned with inked tatoos that they put on you so that they can relocate you exactly each time you receive the treatment.  The alignment procedure takes about five minutes and the actual radiation is about five seconds top and bottom.  There is no feeling associated with the treatment – all you hear is the buzz of the monster machine.

After the top has been done, the whole machine pivots on the wall and can be directed throughout the full 360 degrees to get to the area to be treated. (see next photo)

This is one of six machines at the clinic that are in full use every day.  They have more machines at Box Hill, Monash and elsewhere that are kept just as busy.

And, you know, this treatment costs you nothing – as does the daily transport to and from the clinic by ambulance – or the accommodation required for your stay in the city.

Show me another country where terminal or chronic illness is treated by the government’s national health scheme without out-of-pocket costs to the patient.  A friend, who spent many years living in the US was telling me today that she was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack.  After an overnight stay and being told it was a false alarm, she was sent home with a bill for some thousands of dollars.

Written by Greg Naylor

25 October 2011 at 11:25 pm

100 not out

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Whilst we are down in Melbourne for radiation treatment at the Peter McCallum Cancer Institute, we took the opportunity to visit my fathers sister, Lorna, the last survivor of my fathers generation. She turned 99 last July and is so fit and well she will undoubtedly outlive me.

Widowed seven years ago, she now lives in a retirement unit but still cares for herself in every way – she even takes the empty dinner dishes back to the kitchen.

Lorna has fought off a couple of cancers, including having a breast removed, and is currently working on a melanoma on the side of her nose.   Is she complaining? – not bloody likely!   Her mind is as sharp as can be and she shows no signs of boredness or frustration.

She is a lovely old lady that makes you feel good just being around her.

Written by Greg Naylor

23 October 2011 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Health, PERSONAL

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Vic.Govt.WIN – Tradition restored to Mountain Cattlemen

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CATTLE are back in Victoria’s Alpine National Park today ending a controversial five-and-a-half-year ban.

Mountain cattlemen today said the Coalition Government had delivered on its election promise to allow the reintroduction of cattle to the National Park.

An official announcement is expected at this weekend’s Mountain Cattlemen’s Get Together at Hinnomunjie. (Herald & Weekly Times)

The first of 400 cattle have returned to the park this week as part of a bushfire risk trial.

Under the six-year Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) trial, the cattle will graze at six sites covering an area of over 25,000 hectares.

The practice ended in 2005 when the Bracks Labor government did not renew licences for farmers. (Sydney Morning Herald)

The tradition of the Mountain Cattlemen goes back more than a hundred years and is not only a practical means of feeding cattle over the dry months, but the foundation of a rich heritage bringing together cattlemen from as far north as Kosciosko to the Gippsland cattle country culminating in the annual “Mountain Cattlemen Get Together” weekend that lasts for more than a week.

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Written by Greg Naylor

12 January 2011 at 11:34 pm

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Reducing your carbon footprint

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With a life span that is twelve times longer than the ordinary bulb, a fluorescent tube can last up to 12 thousand hours, and runs on a much lower consumption of electrical supply.

With a life span that is twelve times longer than the ordinary bulb, a fluorescent tube can last up to 12 thousand hours, and runs on a much lower consumption of electrical supply.

Reducing your carbon footprint around the home is really easy once you accept that we have spent a lifetime wasting cheap energy and living a disposable lifestyle.

The place to start is with reducing our use of electricity.

The time is approaching when we will no longer be able to buy traditional light bulbs because of the mandated change over to the low energy fluorescent type.  In England, traditional lightbulb sales soar as customers stock up ahead of the switch over – and that is a selfish move!

Unfortunately, some low energy bulbs don’t fit many standard light sockets – particularly table lamps where they protrude out from the light shade.

The light output leaves a bit to be desired.   The ones I have used give off a cold glow – more blue than the traditional brown light of incandescent bulbs.  And, of course, dimmer switches do not work with these energy efficient bulbs.  I find them quite ugly and bulky but they do a job – and they save money and energy.

Next on the agenda is to get out of the ‘disposable’ lifestyle.  Be selective in your shopping and refuse to buy excessive packaging.  At a bare minimum, pick up your game in recycling everything that can be recycled. In England, one ecofriendly family have cut their waste to the point where they now throw away only 100g of litter every week – the equivalent of filling one rubbish bin every six months.

Anti-poverty campaigners claim that those with ‘affluenza’ have already caused more carbon emissions in 2009 than a person in the poorest countries will create all year, and that Going green can save the average family £1000 a year.

What other ideas are you practicing?

Written by Greg Naylor

16 January 2009 at 12:46 am

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I’m against late term abortion

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Miracle: 23 week aborted foetus survives five hours in hospital refrigerator

There was a ‘must read’ on ABC Online on Tuesday morning titled ‘Stillborn baby’ comes back to life in hospital fridge.

In Israel, a 27 year old woman was aborted at 23 weeks due to internal bleeding.  After wrapping the foetus and storing it under refrigeration for five hours, they were taking the it to be disposed of, they found it to be still alive and the baby was transferred to intensive care.

There is the miracle of life at it’s most desperate!

Reading between the lines, it would appear that as they were doing an abortion, it was presumed the baby would die and it was not checked out – simply stored away for later disposal. That got me thinking about the current abortion vote before the Victorian Parliament.

Maybe it is because I am in palliative care and have a new appreciation of the value of life, but I can not understand how anyone in the medical profession  can be prepared to deliberately take the life of such a viable foetus.  The Victorian government is currently debating legislation to allow pregnant women to take the decision to abort at this late stage.

I had previously not thought much about the abortion issue, but this baby has galvanised my thoughts.

A few interesting news items from Tuesday

20.08.08: Mudflow bubble in Sidoarjo explodes

The Indonesian ‘Mud Volcano” created by Santos mining activities in May 2006 is about to consume yet another village after one of the many gas bubbles in the mud flowing in Sidoarjo, East Java, exploded on Tuesday.  Jalaludin Alham from the mudflow special committee at the Sidoarjo legislative council said that the government should pay special attention to the emergence of gas bubbles in Siring and other villages.  (Background information here)

Written by Greg Naylor

21 August 2008 at 12:00 am

Posted in MEDICAL

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