The Libyan terrorist has survived almost three years after a doctor said he had only months to live and he was released on “compassionate” grounds from a Scottish prison.
Al Megrahi, 60, is believed to be taking cabazitaxel to combat his prostate cancer.
But the drugs funding watchdog has decided against allowing its use on the NHS as it claimed the drug only extends life by three months and at £22,000 is too expensive.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) reached the same decision in February about another prostate cancer drug taken by Al Megrahi, abiraterone, as it they said only extends life by four months on average.
Critics say the two new drugs give some patients much longer than three or four extra months and do not cost as much as Nice claims.
First of all I understand that we don’t know for sure if Mr. Layton died of prostate cancer or another cancer. I do wonder why we don’t know or why we haven’t been told. Odd.
I thought this discussion and the perspective of “one does not battle cancer” sounded familiar. I search my previous posts and lo and behold not only a discussion about the topic but it was based on Mr. Layton stating he “beat it.” Now that is what’s called a “cowinkydink.”
I agree that you don’t battle cancer.
You battle yourself, your mentality, your perspective and how you repsond to the “affect” the cancer has on your spirit and your family.
I disagree that it is disrespectful to say that Mr. Layton battled cancer. What in the world does that mean.
Way to many references to fate. What is that “journalism speak” for…that there is no God?
Does emphasis on fate tell us something of the author of the piece?
I agree that if one has a “bad” cancer…i.e. in prostate cancer one with a 9-10 Gleason score…you can battle all you want-that type of cancer usually wins in the end.
Beauty in the young is a work of nature…beauty in the old is a work of art.
Handling oneself gracefully and with vigor in the face of cancer is indeed….a work of art and that my friend is the battle-that which is in one’s self that is felt when you are alone and your mortality is in the balance…now that is a battle
It’s not a battle with the cancer per se…it is a battle with the aftermath of the cancer.
Jack Layton didn’t lose a fight: He died of cancer.
From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Aug. 22, 2011 4:56PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011 8:20AM EDT
Did Jack Layton die from cancer because he didn’t fight the disease hard enough?
Of course not.
Why, then, did so many headlines and social media messages spreading news of his passing Monday morning at age 61 announce that he had lost a battle with cancer?
Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in his statement about the opposition leader’s death, noted that Mr. Layton “gave his fight against cancer everything he had,” and that he “never backed down from any fight.”
It’s a common cliché, one many of us use when talking about a disease that is often feared and rarely understood.
But to those touched directly by cancer, equating the illness with a war against the enemy, fighting an adversary, or suffering in order to survive can diminish understanding of the challenges and complexities faced by patients and their families.
“The idea that he was waging a battle which he lost demeans him,” said Robert Buckman, a medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. “I absolutely feel that he did not lose to an adversary.”
Many oncologists and cancer patients have been pushing in recent years for a change in the well-meant, but often misguided words and phrases that have become ingrained in the cancer lexicon.
The outpouring of emotion over Mr. Layton’s death provides an opportunity to ask whether it’s time to move beyond the militaristic metaphors and clichés.
A significant problem is that most of the common words and phrases we use to describe the experiences of people who have been diagnosed with cancer imply that personal will and self-control play a large part in determining who will live or die.
To say Mr. Layton lost his fight implies he had a say over his fate.
“He didn’t choose any of that any more than I could have chosen the colour of my eyes: It’s that arbitrary,” Dr. Buckman said. “It’s a much more mature and helpful comment to say this man, faced with a rotten hand of cards, as it were, really gave meaning to his life and to what he did in his life.”
London-based writer Mike Marqusee, who has discussed his experiences with multiple myeloma in several pieces in The Guardian, says cancer has little to do with battle. “The [emphasis] on cancer patients’ ‘bravery’ and ‘courage’ implies that if you can’t ‘conquer’ your cancer, there’s something wrong with you, some weakness or flaw,” Mr. Marqusee wrote in 2009. “If your cancer progresses rapidly, is it your fault? Does it reflect some failure of willpower?”
Similarly, saying someone who is now cancer-free is a “survivor” conveys that he or she is somehow better than the people who didn’t make it, said Peter Ellis, staff medical oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton, Ont.
“It does set up a battle with a winner and a loser, and I think that some people certainly think that there would be better ways of talking about this,” said Dr. Ellis, who is also an associate professor in the department of oncology at McMaster University.
Instead of fixating on the idea of a cancer battle, Dr. Ellis and a growing number of experts in the field say, it is more important to focus on learning to live with cancer.
For those undergoing treatment, this can be much more empowering than the idea they can somehow control the ultimate outcome if they fight hard enough.
It is the attitude that gets Barb Rowe-Bennett through each day. The 64-year-old Toronto resident, who has had cancer off and on for nearly 20 years, is in the last stages of palliative care after her breast cancer metastasized, or spread, to her bones and lungs.
The medication she is taking keeps her comfortable and enables her to leave the house, spend time with family and enjoy each day as it comes.
Ms. Rowe-Bennett doesn’t see herself as a “survivor” even though she has managed to outlast the cancer thus far; nor does she feel she has been cursed by bad luck because the disease is still with her.
“I just feel that cancer is an interference in your life, and you have a choice of making it good or bad,” she said. “You can bring yourself down, and it can be the worst of the worst, or you can say ‘I can carry on, I will deal with [it] on a daily basis.’ ”
To make the right decision about “your prostate cancer” you need to evaluate all the arrows in your quiver. There is no question that Patrick Walsh’s book is a text-book like book with all the stuff you need from a “technical” aspect. You need a radiation type book as well and boy are there a lot of “proton” advocates out there. And then, I feel you need a book by a patient who is also a doctor, a mix or blend so to speak. Don’t worry that I am biased or not, as some have suggested on the Amazon comment board, get a book on all perspectives, do your research, read, study and then make a decision peculiar to you. That is my point…who are you, what are the specifics of “your cancer” and then and only then make the decision that is right to you and your personality. No book, friend, treatment is stand alone…it is a blend of all and if nothing else that is the point my book makes for you. One other thing…it highlights the voiding consequences of all the decisions, something overlooked by doctors and patients alike in the decision-making process. Urologist’s are funny that way…we are the human plumbers my friend. Next time a friend recommends doing what he did, ask “How are voiding? Leaking? Getting up at night? Burning? Slow stream?” Put all that in your database and then decide. I don’t give a …. what you do….just do it with right information and for the right reasons for you. Good luck.
Number 2 and number 4 on Amazon.com for the subject of prostate cancer and on the same page as “the” Patrick Walsh…not to shabby for a little ole community urologist in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northeast Georgia.
I'm looking through you where did you go? I thought I knew you, what did I know. You don't look different but you have changed. I'm looking through you...where did you go? Rubber Soul
I don’t have to read this article. The Gleason did not change…it was there all along. When you do a biopsy and it’s all Gleason 6 and then you remove the prostate and there are elements of Gleason 7, did it change between the time of the biopsy and the subsequent removal….6 weeks? Well no, the biopsy just did not hit the Gleason 7 area. This is one of the issues with active surveillance in the healthy young, you are making decisions based on a “tiny” sampling of the prostate. Are you listening Clark Howard?
Gleason Grade Often Changes During Active Prostate Surveillance
By Dave Levitan
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jun 01 – Changes in Gleason score are common during active surveillance for prostate cancer, a new paper says.
About 25% of such men will have subsequent negative biopsies and about 35% will have an upgrade, said lead author Dr. Sima Porten of the University of California, San Francisco, in an e-mail to Reuters Health.
Until now, not much was known about biopsy changes in men who opt for active surveillance, Dr. Porten and colleagues write in their report, published online May 31 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The new study involved 377 men undergoing active surveillance. Ninety-four percent had an initial Gleason score of 6 or less, and 6% had a score of 7 (either 3 + 4 or 4+3).
The mean time to follow-up after the initial biopsy was 54 months. At the first repeat biopsy, 81 men (21%) had an upgraded Gleason score; 91 (24%) had a negative finding, 198 (53%) had no change, and seven men (2%) were downgraded.
Of the 198 with no change after the second biopsy, only 24 were upgraded after a third. Of the 69 men who showed no change until a fourth biopsy, six men then experienced an upgrade. Nearly all the men who had progression on biopsy — 98% — were upgraded to Gleason 3 + 4 disease.
Of the 91 who had a negative second biopsy, 19 (21%) had a positive finding on a third biopsy. Thirteen of 43 (30%) had cancer discovered on a fourth biopsy.
Fifty-nine percent of men with upgraded score opted for definitive treatment, though the authors noted they haven’t been following the men long enough to make definitive statements on treatment outcomes. Still, Dr. Porten suggests that early data indicate there may be little difference between immediate and delayed treatment.
“In individual patients, biopsy changes are fairly variable over time, but overall, men who experience an upgrade and go on to subsequent treatment have favorable outcomes and seem to be no different than those who are treated outright,” Dr. Porten said.