Tag Archives: breast cancer

Should you have a Mammogram?

Cancer Screening – have your say


English: SAN DIEGO (Sept. 22, 2008) Lead Mammo...


There is heated debate in some quarters over benefits or problems caused by Mammograms, with experts taking opposing views.  Recently I attended one debate where world-renowned experts were one step away from an Olympics-style boxing match – it became so heated.

There is an increasing recognition that people should be provided with what they need to make an informed choice themselves about cancer screening, including balanced information about benefits and harms.

Currently, Professor Amanda J Ramirez, National Cancer Action Team  is leading a  review, engaging clinicians, academics and charities, who have helped us develop a proposed approach.  This has been published on http://www.informedchoiceaboutcancerscreening.org/

Ramirez is keen to engage YOU in the debate over the coming months. The website will give members of the public an opportunity to have their say about the approach, the type of information that should be available and how it should be presented.  It is well worth taking this survey, which should take about ten minutes, as the answers will be noted and form  help the Team get the views of the public on the approach.


More and more research is showing breast screening can possibly cause harm as well as benefit.  Ever since the pan-European cancer charity Europa Donna held a fascinating debate in London on screening pros and cons, people have been asking questions.  And major organisations have typically stood back and offered platitudes rather than action.

Dept. of Health, NHS, Breast Cancer Charities, cancer hospitals, professionals, etc. have done what they do best – sat on the fence.

Brave souls, from cancer patient Mitzi Blennerhasset,  to one of world’s leading breast cancer surgeons, Prof. Michael Baum, have been calling and calling for an investigation – for more information – for the truth to come out – but finally Richards, the ‘Cancer Czar’,  has been goaded in to action, come off his comfy fence, and ordered a review.

Meanwhile Mitzi has posted a string of information on her website,


The debate was aired here first

It takes guts for a pioneer, lauded for his work, to go on looking at facts – then come out and say further research says “do the opposite”.

Basically, this was what Michael Baum has done. 

Over two years ago, on a night when there was thick snow,  enough interested people managed to fight through the drifts to hear a fascinating debate, put on by Europa Donna.

The debate was between various luminaries of the breast cancer world – and got so heated that the snows were well on their way to be melted.  Michael was there to explain why, having set up the NHS Breast Screening programme, he now advocated caution – and was telling people that the programme should provide much more information, and to urge further investigation into the results.

Of course, if the NHS ‘approves’ something, woe betide anyone who sensibly points out that once a programme is rolling, it might throw up anomalies.  The NHS has approved – so you don’t questions this.  Well, not if you don’t want the medical establishment to close ranks.

Michael doesn’t care; his position in the surgical oncology world is so eminent he doesn’t need to worry.  But it took guts for Mitzi to question the medical establishment, and demand better treatment for cancer patients.

It should be OUR personal choice if we want a mammogram, or not.  Not dependent on fighting the system or paying to go privately.  But to make this choice we should be given the facts, and let’s hope Mike Richards pulls his finger out and gets on with the review.

Here is an extract of Mitzi’s research, up on http://evenstarsexplode.wordpress.com/

*COCHRANE LEAFLET: screening for breast cancer with mammography http://www.cochrane.dk/screening/mammography-leaflet.pdf


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Breakthrough – latest reseach in cure for cancer

What happens to YOUR donation?



This week, three major pieces of research have been published which change the way we think about breast cancer.


All have been funded in part by funds people like you have donated to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, with involvement from two of their key scientists, Professors Jorge Reis-Filho and Andrew Tutt.

British success story

It is good to report on a British success;  when Cameron and Lansley constantly bang on about how much better other countries are at treating cancer, they forget to mention that British research institutes such as Cancer Research UK are way up there at the top of the world.

Now Breakthrough’s research team has announced ground-breaking findings about Breast Cancer,  and their research revealed:

1. Nine new genes which drive the development of breast cancer – ahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcrVUJvKA1E&feature=relmfureatment before her cancer progresses.

3. A previously unknown process that happens to the cells in the body and which is a driver in breast cancer development. By understanding this process we hope to be able to create targeted treatments in the future which, for example, might be able to stop the cancer from developing.

The ramifications of this work in terms of how we diagnose, treat and prevent the disease are potentially huge. You can read more about these on Breakthrough’s website


Their work shows how far they have come since Breakthrough was founded 20 years ago. But it also shows how important it is that funds are raised to enable them to carry on their work, until we all reach a point when breast cancer is a disease which is no longer life-threatening.

If you are reading this, and have contributed to Breakthrough, it’s good to know your support has been vital in helping them get this far. It is now needed more than ever, so they can build on the exciting breakthroughs like those reported this week.

Christ Askew of Breakthrough says “Thank you so much for your continued support. I really do believe that this news takes us further towards ending the fear of breast cancer”.


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Europa Donna





More than 3,000 breast cancer specialists and advocates attended the 8th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-8) in Vienna, Austria from 21-24 March.

Topics such as survivorship and the benefits of lifestyle interventions also took the floor. EUROPA DONNA  in partnership with the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the European Society of Breast Cancer Specialists (EUSOMA) hosted the conference, where physicians and advocates alike heard the latest findings on best practice in mammography screening, specialist breast unit implementation and accreditation, imaging techniques, surgical and drug therapy, lifestyle measures, and specific populations such younger women, older women and those with metastatic disease.

What is Europa Donna?

EUROPA DONNA (ED) – The European Breast Cancer Coalition, is an independent, non-profit organisation whose members are affiliated groups from countries throughout Europe. ED works to raise public awareness of breast cancer and to mobilise the support of European women in pressing for improved breast cancer education, appropriate screening, optimal treatment and care and increased funding for research.  Member countries currently number 46, from Albania to Uzbekistan.

EUROPA DONNA Past President Bettina Borisch reminded participants of the need for further advocacy for mammography screening and breast unit implementation: “We know that in breast units, team work is essential, but it is not easy. A European specialist breast unit accreditation scheme must be implemented so that patients know where they can go for optimum care.”

Prof. Borisch also mentioned “professional tribalism”, i.e., the reluctance of some professionals to work together. Lesley Fallowfield, of the University of Sussex, emphasised the importance of a well-functioning, communicative multidisciplinary team, for the benefit of the members and their patients.  In Britain we find that David Cameron and Andrew Lansley constantly echo that cancer treatment is better in some European countries, but there are no plans to open wider co-operation across the English Channel.

Dutch Research

Presenting the 20-year results from the Dutch national breast cancer screening programme, which now includes women aged 50-75, Jacques Fracheboud from Erasmus Medical Centre said that the programme has contributed to a decrease in breast cancer mortality, and that its benefits outweigh all the potential negative effects. A study presented later by his colleague Rianne de Gelder estimated that in 2008, adjuvant treatment reduced breast cancer deaths by almost 14%, while biennial screening reduced deaths by almost an additional 16%.


In a first ever session dedicated to “survivorship”, Julia Rowland of the U.S. National Cancer Institute described how advocacy in her country led to the creation of the Office of Cancer Survivorship, of which she is the director. With the growing population, and the fact that due to early detection the vast majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer can expect to live beyond 5 years, research and attention must be focussed on the issues concerning this population. She added that the transition to recovery can be stressful for both the woman and her family, and long-term effects of treatment such as fatigue need to be addressed. ED members Mojca Miklavi and Ingrid Kössler then gave moving accounts of their personal experience with survivorship and advocacy.

There was also promising news for younger women. Hatem Azim of the Jules Bordet Institute presented trial results showing that pregnancy is not only safe after breast cancer, it might have a protective effect.

Lifestyle factors

In a well-attended, early morning ED Teaching Lecture, Isabelle Romieu, Head of the Section of Nutrition and Metabolism at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, covered the lifestyle factors that could help in preventing breast cancer. She said that research is now targeted at identifying the subgroups of breast cancer types that could benefit from certain lifestyle interventions.

She reiterated that minimal alcohol consumption, avoiding obesity, eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet and avoiding sweet drinks could help to reduce breast cancer risk. Many of these are the messages of ED annual Breast Health Day campaign, which was outlined by Susan Knox, ED’s Executive Director. Lifestyle was also the topic of a lively Oxford Debate.

A further study presented by Dutch experts indicated that cognitive behavioural therapy and physical exercise can have beneficial effects on treatment-induced menopausal symptoms. In an additional study presented by Jennifer Ligibel from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, women who were overweight or obese at the time of diagnosis were found to have a higher risk of recurrence and a shorter survival than their leaner counterparts.

Metastatic Breast Cancer

A ED session focussed on advocating for the unaddressed needs of women with metastatic breast cancer, who often feel marginalised in current breast care facilities. A panel discussion followed regarding the metastatic setting content to be included in the next edition of the European Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis.

The next conference

EBCC-9 is to be held 19-21 March 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.  Make a date to go to this, as delegates will be able to hear from a similar group of experts, many of whom have much to offer cancer care and survivorship in Britain.

More information on the conference is available through the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO), and the conference abstracts are available online.

EUROPA DONNA – The European Breast Cancer Coalition
Piazza Amendola, 3
20149 Milan, Italy
Tel: +39 02 3659 2280
Fax: +39 02 3659 2284
Email: info@europadonna.org     Website: www.europadonna.org

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What's new to come out of San Antonio breast cancer conference

The good news is it’s official ~


Drug side effects can be devastating


For years, patients have complained doctors don’t seem able to help them with side effects of oancer treatment.

Side effects come from radiotherapy, chemotherapy or hormone therapy:  all can be devastating.

So why do so many patients find it difficult to get doctors to give advice about mitigating the problems?

One reason aired at the recent San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.  Researchers reported doctors may have been going on old data that reported only 5 % of patients experienced moderate to severe side effects while taking cancer drugs.  Using these old stats, may well be why patients today report that doctors can sometimes brush aside their problems with side effects.

Now, the good news for patients is that at the latest Symposium, presentations given in front of thousands of the world’s top oncologists proved what patients have known all along:  side effects of cancer drugs can be devastating.

What is San Antonio?

The San Antonio Symposium is where, every year, the latest research on breast cancer and its treatment is unveiled;  where eminent practitioners  discuss their latest procedures in front of their peers, and from where the latest breast cancer treatment options eventually filter down to us, the patient.

So when, as reported at San Antonio, a recent study of the number of women who said their cancer drug side effects were unbearable was much higher than originally reported – oncologist will listen.

Google shows this story is going global – and coming to a medical journal near you.  So if you have found medics don’t show much sypmathy – you have up-to-date research on your side!

Side Effects

Now we’re appreciating that there’s a significant gap between

  1. patient-reported symptoms
  2. and provider-reported symptoms

Lynne Wagner, of Northwestern University of Feinberg School of Medicine  said, “that gap widens when we’re talking about more subjective symptoms, things like pain or fatigue that only a patient can report.”  For instance, nearly 35 % of women reported severe joint pain.

Wagner said no matter how unbearable women find a drug’s side effects, many will not report their troubles to their doctors for fear that they will be viewed as complainers or as difficult patients. On the other side of the table, doctors with waiting rooms full of patients may neglect to devote time to probing a patient about her experience with a drug.

“I think what this would tell us is, you do need to make time, you do need to tell your patients that it’s O.K. to mention these side effects to you, and that they can expect some side effects from these drugs,” said Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology and oncology for the Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La.

“Patients often do not volunteer that kind of information. It’s up to the doctor or nurse to directly ask them,” said Dr. Harold Burstein, a breast oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “And it’s important to do that because they may be able to take an alternative treatment that doesn’t have those side effects.”


Aromatase Inhibitors

Aromatase inhibitors have been shown to improve a woman’s chance of survival, after breast cancer, by 30 %, a powerful reason to continue treatment. But doctors say reports of intolerable side effects are equally important to consider.

“These pills have very profound benefit against breast cancer, but if people don’t take the pills, they don’t work,” Brooks said. “I can tell you that this study will change my perception to ask questions of patients as we’re treating them.”

You are not alone

For patients, all over the world, who talk about side effects but find doctors may not seem sympathetic, this study is something to show them – and repeat that the study shows were are complainers;  we really do have major problems.

So for cancer patients whose doctors won’t/don’t believe them  – just go through to web address www.sabcs.org/PressReleases/index.asp#top

There are a whole range of easy-to-understand releases, covering many aspects of treatment.  Print out those that are relevant and show to your Oncologist.  They can’t sneer – this comes right from the top.

More – and more

Jeremy Moore of the AACR (American Association of Cancer Research) sends out the most lucid and well-written press releases direct from the San Antonio Symposium, to doctors all over the world.  Our Dept. of Health could learn a lot from him!

So if you go to  http://www.sabcs.org/PressReleases/index.asp#top

Up comes a long list of the press releases to come out of this Symposium.  And I can assure you they are written in patient-friendly English;  Jeremy is clever enough to realise that using too much medical jargon (which can be different in every country) makes life difficult for oncologists searching the web from all over the world.

Go down the list  and you will see different topics listed.  There are bound to be some that refer to your type of cancer and might come up with solutions.

  • There are several papers this year on breast cancer and diabetes, and this is certainly something our oncologists should be looking at.  As Ash Soni (member of the Govt’s Future Forum) says, oncologists must treat patients with diabetes better.
  • There is the latest on the type of diet that might better suit cancer patients.
  • And why many women don’t undergo Breast reconstruction.

News from elsewhere

A new analysis has found that breast cancer survivors may experience problems with certain mental abilities several years after treatment, regardless of whether they were treated with chemotherapy plus radiation or radiation only. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study indicates that there may be common and treatment-specific ways that cancer therapies negatively affect cancer survivors’ mental abilities.

Previous research suggests that chemotherapy can cause problems with memory and concentration in breast cancer survivors. To compare the effects of different types of cancer treatment on such mental abilities, Paul Jacobsen, PhD, of the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, and his colleagues examined 62 breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy plus radiation, 67 patients treated with radiation only, and 184 women with no history of cancer. Study participants completed neuropsychological assessments six months after completing treatment and again 36 months later, which is further out from the end of treatment than most previous studies of this type.

The study confirmed that chemotherapy can cause cognitive problems in breast cancer survivors that persist for three years after they finish treatment. In addition, the investigators found that breast cancer survivors who had been treated with radiation (and not chemotherapy) often experienced problems similar to those in breast cancer survivors treated with both chemotherapy and radiation. They did not find that hormonal therapy (such as tamoxifen) caused cognitive difficulties.

“These findings suggest that the problems some breast cancer survivors have with their mental abilities are not due just to the administration of chemotherapy,” said Dr. Jacobsen. “Our findings also provide a more complete picture of the impact of cancer treatment on mental abilities than studies that did not follow patients as long or look at mental abilities in breast cancer survivors who had not been treated with chemotherapy,” he added.

At last what we are saying is being taken seriously!

Article: “Cognitive functioning after cancer treatment: A three-year longitudinal comparison of breast cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy or radiation and non-cancer controls.” Kristin M. Phillips, Heather S. Jim, Brent J. Small, Christine Laronga, Michael A. Andrykowski, and Paul B. Jacobsen. CANCER; Published Online: December 12, 2011 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.26432).

Author Contact: Patricia Kim of the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute’s media relations office at patricia.kim@moffitt.org or +1 (813) 745-7322.

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Cancer Survivor named Woman of the Year


Val Armstrong is Woman of the Year



The BBC radio presenter Val Armstrong has been named Cumbrian Woman of the Year
Having been diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time, the 47-year-old decided to make her fight with the illness public, to help other women.

The organising committee for the Cumbrian Woman of the Year said she had used her “honesty and humour” to reassure and encourage other women, as well as being a voice for the county.  Chairwoman of the organising committee Tess Hart said: “We choose one lady to represent all those ladies, and for her stoicism, for the voice she has and the friend she is to people who have never even met her, she has been a shining example to all Cumbrian women.”

What it means to Val

Although used to being in the limelight because of her job, Val Armstrong said: “I am still in shock. There are almost 100 women in the room behind me and every single one of them has a story to tell. They are amazing women.

“For me to be chosen among them, to actually be included to be with them in the first place I was shocked, but to walk away with this is just fantastic.”

Winners of the Cumbria Woman of the Year title are nominated by the public before being reviewed by the 20 volunteers who make up the organising committee.

Good News
In a week when NHS staff were about to go on strike;  friends and family were paying for relatives to have private nursing on wards, and stories of Trusts refusing to fund cancer drugs, Val Armstrong’s smiling face showed that you can beat cancer twice over.

All during her second bout of treatment for breast cancer, she has kept her sense of humour, and written a much-loved diary on the BBC website.  This detailed all the ups and downs of treatment, but also included information about her beloved football team, and what she had to do to follow them to Wembley.

She also took part in a massive motorbike ride for charity, and detailed all the planning that had to go in to that, not least what gear she would be able to wear.

And for more – go to



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Evelyn Lauder dies

The Founder of pink ribbons

for cancer awareness


Has died from complications of non-genetic ovarian cancer

This was diagnosed in 2007, after she had battled breast cancer.

She died at her home in New York City, with her family around her.

Evelyn Lauder worked with Alexandra Penney, former editor of Self magazine, to create the breast cancer awareness campaign.

Initially, the “small” campaign started in 1992 consisted simply of financing bows that were given to female customers who came to the makeup counters at department stores – the aim was to remind women about breast screening for cancer.

Eventually, the campaign evolved, there were fundraising products, until the U.S. Congress designated October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the world followed.

The campaign raised over $330 million in donations, of which $50 million came from Estée Lauder and associates. The donations went to an organization Lauder had founded – “The Breast Cancer Research Foundation“.

Evelyn Lauder is survived by Leonard A. Lauder, son of Estée Lauder, founder of the skincare and cosmetics giant, and  Chairman Emeritus of the Estée Lauder Companies, William Lauder, Executive Chairman of the same company, Gary Lauder, Managing Director of Lauder Partners LLC, and five grandchildren

 Women are grateful to her

She was one of the most vociferous campaigners for better breast cancer care, and is probably the main reason why people with the disease can be open about it – instead of hiding away as they did in former times. 

While devoting her life to breast cancer awareness, she kept quiet the fact that she too was fighting cancer, surviving both early-stage breast cancer and ovarian cancer.  Having fought for so long, the finally died of complications of non-genetic ovarian cancer aged 75.

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Breakthrough's Westminster Fly-In gathers even more MPs

Breakthrough Breast Cancer team put on a good show


Do you recognise yourself in the picture above? Or a friend?

As usual, the Westminster Fly-in was bigger than ever, for its 12th annual event.  Over 60 MPs were lobbied by the group above.

The night before the Lobby meetings, there was a Reception where all of a sudden you were talking to an MP, who “came over because I just wanted to see what it was about”, or a Lord who told me, “I came in to see what I could do to help”.

Those on the platform constantly congratulated and thanked Breakthrough’s CAN members, and the whole event showed how much their efforts were appreciated.

The TLC campaign

One of the main messages at the event was TLC.  For once this wasn’t what we wanted from our medical team, but the campaign message

  • TOUCH your breasts.  Can you feel anything unusual?
  • LOOK for changes.  Is there any chance in shape or texture?
  • CHECK anything ususual with your doctor.

However, it is as well to remember that many of us suffer with doctors who ‘pooh pooh’ concerns we have over cancer, so there should be information about what patients can do IF their doctor won’t listen.


Georgina Kaim, Senior Development officer, was my main contact in the year leading up to the Fly-In, and kept on supplying me with information and support.   As it happened, ‘my’ MP chickened out – he works with the Cabinet and anyone in that position is worried about fall-out from Health Bill.  But no worries – we intend to follow up!

Opening Plenary

At the door to greet us when we arrived was Maggie Alexander and her team.  They knew us all by name, and were determined to see that we were welcomed and felt welcome.

Then Maggie, as Director of Policy and Campaigns, set the tone for the event during the first session.  From then on we were on an interesting  roller-coaster.  Workshops followed, designed to take ‘new’ CAN members through what would happen during their MP meeting – and the team made sure everyone was extremely well briefed.


These are usually full of people wasting time before the evening dinner – not at this event!

It was buzzing with Trustees who had bothered to turn up and TALK, and various MPs and members of the House of Lords who had come over to see what it was all about (interestingly it was mainly men).

One MP  who turned up was James Arbuthnot, M.P. for North East Hampshire, and we talked about dogs (James has several and wants to breed Irish Wolfhounds).  As you see he was bravely photographed at another event wearng a pink waitcoat for Wear Pink Day;  I only hope the troops don’t pull his leg, as his other job is in Defence.

The party was was hosted by Annette Brook and Stephen Brine, Co-Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Breast Cancer, who both gave light-hearted but inspiring speeches.



Next morning the efficient team from Breakthrough marshalled  ‘their’ charges off to meet the MPs.  In an orderly fashion, they gathered CAN members together, made sure they had a briefing pack and all the literature they would need, and even supplied a memory stick with Breakthrough’s loge.  They hoped these would lie around on member’s desks and spread the word!  Very good PR!


By lunchtime everyone was well away, talking and exchanging information.  I sat between two CAN members who also worked for Kidney cancer, and we spent lunch discussing how, now that most people talk openly about breast cancer,  we need to join up with all the other cancers and present a united front to the Minister of Health, and all the politicians.

Currently, there is a feeling that the Dept. Health is happy that cancer charities pursue their own agenda.  If  charities don’t talk between each other, it is easier to ignore or brush aside concerns.  As I found out last month, my local hospital is totally ignoring that we are allowed to top-up drugs with co-payments.  I was refused, and bullied, being told that the hospital knew nothing.

But a united front, and a thundering ’round-robin’  letter to the hospital, signed by the major charities’ CEOs, and the hospital would have had to listen.

During the conference

Maggie Alexander was repeating that we have to ensure that Breast Care Nurses aren’t allowed to be made redundant.  Perhaps this could be the subject of a letter from united cancer charities, because it isn’t only breast care nurses that are threatened with redundancy, but other specialised cancer nurses as well.

One disappointment was that the session on personalised medicine wasn’t to do with the new treatment paths in the United States.  In fact to someone who follows what is going on in America, it was bewildering that Breakthrough isn’t campaigning more strongly for this.  After the last San Antonio Conference, doctors across the States declared emphatically that their surgeries were definitely going to be offering this to every suitable patient.  Yes, it will make them money – but if tests might avoid side effects such as heart and eye problems, nausea, hot flushes, carpal tunnel syndrome,  etc.  surely, if the NHS copy this, it will save money?

The All-party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer was represented by Annette Brooke and  Steve Brine.  Brine announced that the Fly-in is like their AGM, and both said how brilliant this event is for getting to meet people and hear their concerns.  However, he repeated the same mantra that was being aired at every session, and constantly repeated by Andrew Lansley and David Cameron:  according to the World Health Organisation Britain lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to cancer treatment and survivorship.

As a patient I am getting tired of hearing this.  We know that we lag behind.  So why aren’t we told what is going on in other countries, so we can copy their treatments and hopefully live longer?  Having been to France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland for treatment for different side effects from drugs, for me it wasn’t about expensive drugs or equipment, but the way European doctors take time to go through problems, and use common (er-rare?) sense.  Every bit of superb treatment I received depended on this rare sense;  not once did I need an expensive drug.  But every treatment could be copied so easily, if only there weren’t arrogance from our medics.

Other points

Over the teas and coffees, we talked about NHS services already being withdrawn, and how it was going to be up to patients themselves to question hospitals, GPs and the new Commissioning Boards.  If they don’t provide the services – how and whom do we ask WHY?

One delegates mentioned that consultants are now starting to ask the NHS to allow them 15 or even 20 minutes for each appointment.  Hurrah – let’s all lobby for that!  In Europe a ten-minute appointment draws gasps of horror – and the thought of our ‘clinic’ system where patients are seen by a different doctor each time is anathema.

Many patients don’t realise they are entitled to a second opinion, and in fact this is normal in many countries.   But when it comes to joined-up thinking, one delegate cited that her hospital had just opened a MacDonalds – now how many calories does a Big Mac contain?  !!  Yet we are told obesity can be a factor in getting cancer.

And overall delegates were in agreement that Patients must be at the centre, consulted and listened to.  But when the Royal College of Nursing and other medical associations are sponsoring conferences, ostensibly dealing with patient care, but NO PATIENTS ARE ASKED TO SPEAK – one wonders if they will ever get it.

One criticism of the Central Hall venue.  Breakthrough offered us lunch, but the caterers hadn’t thought who was going to eat this.  There were lovely-looking eats, but no labels to show what they contained.  My first mouthful of what looked like a fish cake was full of chillie flakes – so after that I had to go round asking staff what was in food.  A simple sign listing things like mayonnaise, chillies, spices, etc. which drugs don’t like would be helpful.

Still, at least after the Westminster Fly-In, MPs have got it!

QVC goes 'pink' when viewers turn on TV to help cancer

QVC supports Breast Cancer Care




This Wednesday, QVC,  one of the UK’s leading multi-channel retailers, broadcasts a show around

Breast Cancer Care’s annual Fashion Shows

The show is glitzy, fun and shows off this Winter’s Fashion ‘must haves’.

And it’s unique – instead of bored fashion models thinking of … what?  as they stride down the catwalks in London, Cardiff and Glasgow, these shows have models that are there to have fun.

All the models (male and female) have survived Breast Cancer – and will be strutting their stuff and help make over half a million pounds in aid of the cause.

QVC’s involvement

Now QVC say they are ” proud to be the Official Broadcast Partner” for Breast Cancer Care.  Last year their three-hour show raised a staggering £440,000 – this year they hope to top this.

How? By getting viewers to shop online for goodies.  From  fantastic beauty, jewellery, fashion and homes products at superb prices – and brands such as Bare Escentuals, OPI, Kipling, Lola Rose, Leighton Denny, Butler & Wilson, Diamonique, etc.

These companies have designed products especially for the show, with every penny of the net proceeds going towards helping women and men with breast cancer. Also, many of the brands I have mentioned as being particularly helpful to our poor ‘druggie’ skins, will be featured, along with personalities from Breast Cancer Care.

QVC have been supporting Breast Cancer Care since 1999, and have raised over £3.5 million for the charity so far. And now say,  “with your help we can make another huge contribution this year”.


The dedicated 3-hour live show is live on Wednesday 12th October from 7pm – 10pm

Packed with catwalk clips and behind-the-scenes moments from today’s fashion show as
well as interviews with some of the models taking part.

Freeview channel 16, Sky channel 640, Virgin TV channel 740, Freesat channel 800


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What to do about 'The silent cancer killer'

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Association

Image via Wikipedia

The video that made


me write the book


Some time ago the publishers, Anshan, saw this video



They were so concerned they wrote to me, asking if I could write a book for those with Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), explaining

  • the processes that happened to all breast cancer patients
  • highlighting the differences for IBC
  • what happens during treatment.

Simple things, in plain English, that might help those with any breast cancer, particularly IBC, understand what was going on.

Normally they publish serious medical books written by eminent doctors.  But they had had great success with a book written by a patient about dealing with pain – and realised there were patients out there who didn’t want all the technical jargon, but just wanted to know about the ‘little’ things doctors brushed aside.

Although it wasn’t a ‘happy’ subject, the book almost wrote itself.  All I had to do was remember what happened to me when undergoing treatment – and in particular what puzzled me – rather than what the doctors expected would be of interest to me.

Every patient is different, but there are so many little things we breast cancer patients – and in paticular those with IBC – want to know.

I finished the book sitting up in bed waiting to have an operation.  I had got on with the writing as I didn’t think I would be able to sleep.   But at 3 am I wrote ‘The End’ and went off to sleep like a baby.  The nurses said they had never had such a relaxed patient, and the operation was a success!

More details from publishers: Enhanced by Zemantahttp://www.anshan.co.uk/ecomcart/

Elemis provides emergency rescue for rough skin patches

shower head

Image via Wikipedia

Elemis got big by bothering


~ about showering


Amongst the ‘big boys’ from USA and now France, the British skincare company Elemis is making great strides, particularly when providing creams that help with problem skin produced by drug side effects.  Once we had so many companies:  Cyclax, Yardley, etc., but now most seem to have been absorbed into other companies.  Instead, to take their place comes Elemis.

For some time I have been using their products to help with scaly skin, rough patches and itchy dry skin, and each time they have come up trumps.

Latest in their line of helpful products are a range for baths, which have been helpful with zapping patches of dry skin.  Don’t know what it is, but every time the docs. put me on a different drug, my skin tries to burst out.  So rescue remedies are called for – and these have been very helpful whenever I shower:

Note:  all prices are regular prices, but currently Debenhams have an Elemis sale online.


Tranquil Touch Body Polish

Gentler than a body scrub, it still does the job of getting rid of rough patches.  Might be because apparently contains ‘a natural rice exfoliator’.  Well, you live and learn, but it is very helpful.  £16

Tranquil Touch Creamy Body Wash

Does just what it says on the label, and my bottle has lasted – so I don’t seem to need to much when I shower.  £18.40

Cellutox Active Body Oil

During what little summer we had, I became lazy and didn’t want to spend minutes massaging in body butters or lotions – so went for oils, and this Elemis one is a treat.  It has kept my skin moisturised, so when we had what little sun we got, I didn’t need to put on after-sun cream because my skin was soft enough.  £27.70

And finally, amongst one of my ‘goodie bags’, was a little bottle of their Quiet Mind Temple Balm. I take it into meetings, place it in front of me, and just looking at it soothes me.  Talk about mind over matter!!

Think Pink Beauty Kit

And Finally, every year Elemis produce a goodie bag exclusively for  Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.  The company are massive supporters, and pledge £10,000 to help continue their incredible work that offers support and information to anyone who is affected by breast cancer.   So look for the bright, brigh pink bags on beauty counters, and help the charity.


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