Monday, March 18, 2013

The Cancer Blog: Week 8

My Health

This blog within a blog will discuss cancer and all of my fears, hopes and expectations for a positive outcome—full and complete recovery. In addition, I plan to throw in some latest medical research. All cancer patients are interested, to some degree, in research and the latest medical findings; I am no exception. 


CT Scan Technology: One of the marvels of modern medicine is computed tomography (CT), which uses computer-processed X-rays to produce tomographic images or "slices" of specific areas of the body; such is a non-invasive method to determine a patient's medical condition: I have had two such scans on a machine similar to this one in the last few months. My oncologist said I will likely have more scans as part of determining my progress toward recovery.
Photo Credit & Source:

I want to talk a bit about my cancer care; I have a fantastic team at Sunnybrook's Odette Cancer Centre, in Toronto, led by my oncologist, Dr. Kelvin Chan. But he's only one of many individuals involved in my treatment and recovery, which includes general surgeons, radiologists, pharmacists, chemo nurses, phlebotomists, hematologists, imaging technicians and psychologists. 

This list, if it shows anything, is that it takes many individuals to care of a patient. It's a complete team approach, and I am fortunate to reside in Canada, and in Toronto, where I am cared for at one of the top research hospitals in Canada. We often take much for granted living in Canada, complaining about government cutbacks to healthcare. It's true that things could be better—they always can—but things could be worse. Much worse. Yet, that's not the case at the cancer centre where I receive excellent care.

I read an interesting article last week, which I posted on my blog last week, but would like to share again, chiefly because of its importance. It's about the need for a global patient registry to combine and coordinate efforts to defeat cancer.  If we are to succeed in our effort to eliminate cancer, it will take a far greater global effort, says a blog post, by Heidi Ledford, for the scientific journal, Nature.
The world needs better patient registries, improved treatments and more research if it is to tackle the international challenge posed by cancer, according to an international panel of leading cancer organizations. It is becoming increasingly clear that cancer is a global problem, with more than half of the 12.7 million newly diagnosed cases each year occurring in the developing world. The panel’s report, published today by Science Translational Medicine, pulls together the findings of representatives of 15 countries that gathered together last November to discuss ways of reducing cancer deaths and improving cancer care around the globe.
The report highlights a series of research needs, including the need for more and better patient registries to provide data on cancer incidence and outcomes, noting that worldwide cancer estimates from the International Agency for Research Against Cancer are pulled together from only about one-third of 184 countries. The panel also emphasized the need for more research into cancer prevention, believed to be the most cost-effective way to reduce the impact of cancer, yet an area many believe is underfunded.
I would willingly share my healthcare information, particularly if it would lead to  the end of cancer. It's a disease that kills indiscriminately, and its elimination from humanity would be welcome by all. Let's hope that it happens within the next 20 years.


  1. Knowledge s power. We need all the power we can get to fight cancer and other diseases.

    1. I could not agree more; all invention starts with a will, a determination, if you will, to do good. Ridding the world of diseases like cancer is one of the greatest universal goods.

  2. Perry, the case in point you illustrate is mind-boggling. A nasty and rampant disease is fought on many fronts on a unique case-by-case basis. But as you say, a coordinated human effort is missing, and not just in the area of prevention, I agree.
    As complex and bewildering as cancer is, so too are the nebulae of entities engaged in fundraising and in researching cause, treatment, and cure. If their priorities were singular and their efforts universally collaborative, it would be an unparalleled human marvel.

    1. It's true that a more coordinated effort would be more efficient and likely produce greater results. There is sharing of information among the cancer institutes, but a world-wide patient registry would give more data (knowledge) to the researchers in their fight against this deadly disease.


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