Prostate Cancer-“Normal Erection After Prostatectomy Is ‘Rare'”

A little over 7% of the men surveyed repored normal erections after prostatectomy. I will be direct. Collateral damage from this aggressive therapy is much worse than previously reported.

The fact is that there are men who undergo radical prostatectomy who do not have to. Undergo therapy for prostate cancer, yes, but not this for of surgery with dramatic collateral damage- erectile dysfunction,  urinary incontinence, etc.

To learn more about High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) or cryosurgery in addition to prehabilitation before surgery or anti-prostate cancer supplementation, scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

Long-term Cancer survivor, creator and director PeopleBeatingCancer

Normal Erection After Prostatectomy Is ‘Rare’

“After a radical prostatectomy, it is highly uncommon for a man to have erections like the ones he normally had before surgery… The researchers reached that conclusion because only 14 patients in the 210-men study reported that their erections were the same before and after surgery.

The study results are not entirely surprising, said an expert not involved with the study.

Prostate cancer treatment, whether surgery or radiation, definitely hits below the belt,” said Alexander Kutikov, MD, an attending surgeon in urologic oncology

Morbidity following prostate cancer treatment…is real, should be discussed with patients in detail, and should not be sugar-coated,” advised Dr Kutikov….


Posted in Newly Diagnosed, side effects ID and prevention Tagged with: ,

Cancer Survival versus Cancer Mortality- why do you care?

The other day a cancer coaching caregiver asked me “what are the tough questions should I should ask my husband’s onc? Sarah’s husband had just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma- my cancer.

I wish I had read the article linked and excerpted below before Sarah and I had coffee and she asked me this question. Measuring cancers- measuring therapy efficacy, how many patients die after how long, these are important concepts to learn and understand when you are making therapy decisions.

Cancer “survival rate” versus cancer “mortality rate.” You mean they don’t measure the same thing? You mean different countries measure cancer outcomes differently? Yes.

For my money cancer mortality rates tell me what I need to know about a certain cancer. How many people died from this cancer. If you have been diagnosed with a certain cancer you don’t want to look at your cancer’s survival rate and wonder if the numbers look better because of an increase in detection- an increase in screening.

For more information on cancer issues such as cancer survival versus mortality rates or cancer therapies, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

Cancer survivor, creator, director, PeopleBeatingCancer

Why Survival Rate Is Not the Best Way to Judge Cancer Spending

Mortality rates are determined by taking the number of people who die of a certain cause in a year and dividing it by the total number of people in a population…

Survival rates describe the number of people who live a certain length of time after a diagnosis…

These numbers describe very different concepts. But almost all of the research you might find in this area uses survival rates as the metric. One reason is that it’s much easier to measure. You enroll people upon diagnosis, follow them for a set number of years, and measure how many survive. Mortality rates are more of a population metric. They describe the population as a whole, and they’re much harder to measure accurately…

You can improve the survival rate, however, by preventing death, preventing people from getting sick, or making the diagnosis earlier. That last factor can make all the difference…

Let’s consider a hypothetical illness, thumb cancer. We have no method to detect the disease other than feeling a lump. From that moment, everyone lives about four years with our best therapy. Therefore, the five-year survival rate for thumb cancer is effectively zero, because within five years of detection, everyone dies

Now, let’s assume that we develop a new scanner that can detect thumb cancer five years earlier. We prevent no more deaths, mind you, because our therapy hasn’t improved. Everyone now dies nine years after detection instead of four. The five-year survival rate is now 100 percent

But the mortality rate remains unchanged, because the same relative number of people are dying every year. We’ve just moved up the time of diagnosis and potentially subjected people to five more years of therapy, increased health care spending and caused more side effects. No real improvements were made.

But if we just looked at survival rates, we would think we made a difference. Unfortunately, that happens far too often in international comparisons, as the United States often does much more screening than other countries and then justifies it through improved survival rates…

The second problem with using survival rates is overdiagnosis bias. Let’s say that a certain number of cases of thumb cancer that are detectable by scan never progress to a lump. That means some subclinical cases that would never lead to death are now being counted as diagnoses…”

Overdiagnosis of both breast and prostate cancer are clearly an issue. While studies indicate that mammograms and PSA testing clearly identifies cancers, it is impossible to determine if the early cancers identified would have actually resulted in the death of the patient.

“Since they were never dangerous, and we’re now picking them up by scans, they’re improving our survival rates. But they do nothing for mortality rates because no fewer people are dying.

These two factors are important to consider when you compare ways of caring for cancer, especially when there are differences in the ways diagnosis and screening occur. For many cancers, we’ve been diagnosing significantly more cases, but making little headway in mortality rates…”

New Analysis Reexamines The Value Of Cancer Care In The United States Compared To Western Europe

“Despite sharp increases in spending on cancer treatment since 1970 in the United States compared to Western Europe, US cancer mortality rates have decreased only modestly. This has raised questions about the additional value of US cancer care derived from this additional spending…

Our results suggest that cancer care in the United States may provide less value than corresponding cancer care in Western Europe for many leading cancers..”

Posted in Survivors Tagged with:

Intravenous vitamin C as brain, pancreatic and lung cancer therapy clinical trial-

A former quack cancer therapy being clinical trialed at a state university? With taxpayer funding? What is conventional oncology coming to? Could it be that the university professors testing vitamin C therapy has figured out that oral vitamin c doesn’t work against cancer but intravenous vitamin C just might.

Better late than never I say.

The fact is that there are a host of non-conventional therapies to work as complementary or integrative therapies with low doses of conventional chemotherapy and radiation.

A host of therapies that may improve outcomes for brain, pancreatic and lung cancer patients being cited in the clinical trial linked and excerpted below. Conventional oncology has little to offer those diagnosed with late stage brain, pancreatic or lung cancer. Just read about brain cancer survivor Mary Kluesner.

For more information on non-conventional integrative therapies to work singly or to enhance conventional therapies, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

Long-term cancer survivor, creator, director PeopleBeatingCancer

“Researchers at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are retesting a cancer treatment that was once dismissed decades ago…
In the 1980s, a Mayo Clinic study found that orally consuming high levels of vitamin C did not kill cancer cells. Now, UIHC doctors and scientists are taking another look at the idea, but with one distinct difference: the use of an IV

In petri dishes, putting vitamin C on cancerous brain cells has successfully killed off all the cancer.

Now, a small group of patients are undergoing the treatment — including Mary Kluesner, who is battling a deadly form of brain cancer.

“[The doctor] said it would kill me, and it was a very fast and aggressive tumor,” Kluesner said.

But when doctors told her about the vitamin C treatment, Kluesner knew she had to try it. Even if it didn’t help her tumor.

“If I can help someone down the road, that’s the best thing I can do,” she said.

Doctors are also using the treatment on pancreatic and lung cancer cells. They say in the first phase of the study, the treatment appeared safe, with minimal side effects…”

Posted in Newly Diagnosed, non-conventional therapies Tagged with: , ,

Rita Wilson diagnosed with breast cancer, urges people to seek second opinions

Ms. Wilson, I like your work both in front of the camera and your work behind the camera. By behind the camera I mean the work that Rita does in her everyday life. Work like getting a second opinion following a diagnosis of LCIS and then a diagnosis of PLCIS.

Both diagnoses are not formal breast cancer but a diagnoses  of LCIS and PLCIS do increase the risk for a breast cancer diagnosis in the future. A double mastectomy then lowers this risk.

In my blog post linked below, I receive many questions about many different types of cancer at different stages. Sure, I would have liked Rita Wilson to ask me about her case but the important thing is that she got a second opinion.

Getting a different kind of Second Opinion-

Thank you Rita Wilson.

For more information about breast cancer therapies both conventional and non-conventional, scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply ASAP.

David Emerson

Cancer survivor, creator, director PeopleBeatingCancer

Rita Wilson diagnosed with breast cancer, urges people to seek second opinions

“Actress Rita Wilson was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, she confirmed on Tuesday morning…

“I am recovering and most importantly, expected to make a full recovery,” Wilson wrote. “Why? Because I caught this early, have excellent doctors and because I got a second opinion.”

Wilson said she has “vigilantly monitored” her health with mammograms and MRIs after knowing she had an “underlying condition of LCIS, (lobular carcinoma in situ).” When a recent breast biopsy revealed PLCIS (pleomorphic carcinoma in situ), initial tests showed that it was not cancerous.

But Wilson had second thoughts. “A friend who had had breast cancer suggested I get a second opinion on my pathology and my gut told me that was the thing to do,” she wrote. When she went to two other pathologists, both confirmed a cancer diagnosis…

“I share this to educate others that a second opinion is critical to your health,” she said. “You have nothing to lose if both opinions match up for the good, and everything to gain if something that was missed is found, which does happen.”


Posted in Newly Diagnosed Tagged with: ,

Bone therapy for Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplant bone loss-

Upon diagnosis of multiple myeloma, we are told that while myeloma is incurable it is treatable. This means that while mmers relapse and eventually succumb to this cancer, there are many  chemotherapies  that have the ability to kill myeloma cells.

The trick then, is to figure out which chemotherapy, singly or in combination, high-dose, low-dose, etc. will result in the greatest overall survival. This is onc. speak for length of life.

Starting in the ’90’s (I was diagnosed in ’94) the autologus stem cell transplant (ASCT) became the go-to therapy for mmers. The ASCT is aggressive therapy. There is no two ways about it. A hematopoietic stem-cell transplant can mean a host of short, long-term and late stage collateral damage.

While many mmers do experience long remissions after an ASCT, many do not. I relapsed after my ASCT in ’95 after 10 months.

Along with overall survival (OS), mmers must think about quality of life after an ASCT. The study linked and excerpted below talks about bone loss and bone fracture as late effects of HSCT.

Fortunately, there are a number of therapies, both conventional and non-conventional, that are evidence-based bone strengthening therapies such as bisphosphate therapy, vitamin D, calcium, and others.

For more information about these bone therapies in addition to other myeloma therapies, again, both conventional and non-conventional, scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply ASAP.

thank you,

David Emerson

Long-term myeloma survivor, creator, director PeopleBeatingCancer

Increased Incidence of Fractures in Recipients of Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplantation

“The number of long-term survivors after hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) for malignant and nonmalignant disorders is increasing, and late effects are gaining importance. Osteoporosis and fractures can worsen the quality of life of HSCT survivors, but the burden of the disease is unknown…

A total of 7,620 patients underwent an HSCT from 1997 to 2011 at the MD Anderson Cancer Center of whom 602 (8%) developed a fracture. Age, underlying disease, and HSCT type were significantly associated with fracture. Age- and sex-specific fracture incidence rates after HSCT were significantly greater than those of the US general population in almost all subgroups. The striking difference was an approximately eight times greater risk in females and approximately seven to nine times greater risk in males age 45 to 64 years old when compared with the National Health Interview Survey and National Hospital Discharge Survey fracture rates.

Conclusion The incidence of fractures is compellingly higher after HSCT.

Posted in Newly Diagnosed, side effects ID and prevention Tagged with: ,

The case for Quality over quantity of life in Pediatric and AYA Cancers

Every so often I read an article or come across research that really resonates with me. While reading this article excerpted and linked below in last Sunday’s NYTimes I shook so intensely that I almost fell off my chair.

I am a long-term survivor of an incurable cancer. I live with short, long-term and late stage collateral damage from conventional therapy that have handicapped me and that in all likelihood will kill me- the collateral damage not the cancer.

Further, I study and write about cancer- mostly about the many cancer issues beside cancer deaths. Issues like author Jeremy Smith’s “disability-adjusted life years, or DALYs.”

To boil down what Jeremy Smith is saying, in cancer terms, is that it is cancer’s youngest survivors who may suffer the greatest number of DALY’s as it is cancer youngest survivors who have to live with a lifetime of collateral damage from toxic cancer therapies.

Keep in mind that I am a father as well. I too would welcome toxic therapies for my cancer-stricken child if it meant a good chance of survival.

The answer? I’m not saying that we shouldn’t spend money on researching how to treat cancer. I am saying that we need to support young cancer survivors more.

We need to support young cancer survivors with the many evidence-based therapies that reduce the risk of heart damage, brain damage, muscle weakness or any of the many long-term or late stage side effects that affect the vast majority of pediatric and AYA cancer survivors.

For more information about evidence-based lifestyle, nutritional, supplementation therapies that may reduce the risk of collateral damage, scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply ASAP.

thank you,

David Emerson

Cancer survivor, creator, director PeopleBeatingCancer

When ‘Moneyball’ Meets Medicine

“What’s worse: Ebola or AIDS? Measles or malnutrition? Lung cancer or low back pain? As individuals, as a nation, and as a global community, where should we focus our time and money to improve lives the most?

The way we usually answer these questions is to count the number of deaths: The more people killed, the more important the problem. Counting deaths is so familiar that few have thought to question it. But death toll alone says nothing about how long people live, and good health is much more than not being dead

Faced with these issues, health economists have in recent years developed new summary measures of personal, public and global health, perhaps chief among them a unit they call disability-adjusted life years, or DALYs…

Focusing on disability-adjusted life years may sound convoluted compared with simple lives lost. But it more closely aligns with most people’s intuitive sense of how health really works. Say, for example, that I’m in a paralyzing car crash at age 35, but survive until age 65, when I die (alas) from a heart attack. Then, assuming an ideal life span of 85 years, I lost 20 years of potential life to the heart attack. But, because I lived 30 years with paralysis after the car crash, the crash cost me the equivalent of 15 years of healthy life. My total health loss is 35 DALYs, a figure that accounts both for the health loss from the fatal heart attack and the health loss from the nonfatal car crash..

In late 2012, the British medical journal The Lancet published a new ranking of the world’s leading health problems comparing deaths and DALYs by cause. In terms of death, scientists reported, lung cancer kills about 200,000 more people than road injuries annually. But measured by DALYs, road injuries are almost two and a half times worse for humanity…

These are provocative questions, and new statistics in any field are inherently threatening to the status quo. But just because we have always looked at things one way is no reason not to consider alternatives, especially when it comes to something as fundamental as improving how we all live and die…”

Posted in Survivors Tagged with: ,

Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) Survivor Story- Mary Slocum

Mary Slocum was one of the first e-patients I met online. The term “e-patients” hadn’t been coined yet. Mary, Margaret, Beth, Julius and I (and many others) were living in different stages of multiple myeloma trying to learn more about multiple myeloma than what conventional oncology offered.

As you will read in Mary’s account, MGUS, a pre-myeloma stage, was not well-understood by oncology. Mary’s journey, in her own words, is written below.

Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance

“In 2003 I was having excruciating pains in my legs  and neuropathy. It was odd because sometimes there was no neuropathy other times it was bad. I was tested for a lot of things but finally diagnosed with fine nerve pain and the possibility my nerves were demyelinating. Then a blood test revealed MGUS 0.04 IGG.  The Dr at the time told me nothing about an MM possibility and told me we would just watch and wait….He also said MGUS had no symptoms and that it had nothing to do with my pain. Then he referred me to an Oncologist and I had to wait 3 months for an appointment. During the 3 month wait I got the flu, returned to my GP who refused to see me stating “You have cancer. You need to see the cancer specialist” When I called the Oncologist he stated I did not have cancer and that my GP was wrong. I eventually got a different GP but the whole experience told me there wasn’t a lot known about MGUS. I set out to learn everything I could about MGUS, I learned about the MM connection and began my journey to enable my immune system to help heal me, slow the progression and improve my quality of life.

Eventually I would stop working because stress seemed to exacerbate my condition. I remembered that many of the women in my family had become severely fatigued after 50 years old and I looked for a genetic testing that provided me with the information that I have a reversal on my number 10 gene, a marker for POEMS, an immune system problem. I searched MGUS, Immune Response, Neuropathy, MM, fibromyalgia, and  Chronic fatigue. I found the Galen Foundation and Margaret of “Margaret’s Corner” who advocated for Curcumin. I looked for alternative therapies, things I could do to change my immune system. I read about Burzynski and others with theories outside western medicine. I tried Macrobiotics and thought I loved really good food too much to die with lentils on my lips. But I went vegetarian for a while and I went Organic, increased my consumption of fruits and green veggies. I read about hydrotherapy, bought a hot tub and cranked it up to 104 degrees and soaked every day and sometimes at night before bed. I took supplements, some helped some didn’t. I trusted my body to get better if I found things that worked. I saw a Naturopath, had more tests that diagnosed gluten intolerance and tested for yeasts found I had one that was near impossible to cure, took nystatin for 30 days and it came back. Eventually I would read Brownstein’s book Iodine…increase my iodine intake and the yeast would disappear.

I believe my research, my making this a job  improved my condition.

In 2015 my m-spike is now 1.04 IGG and I continue to take about 22 supplements a day- 3 grams of Curcumin which I believe has helped slow the progression.I’ve become a great gluten-free chef, And the last time I saw my Oncologist he asked what I did to take such good care of myself. 8 years ago when I went to him I said I was starting a gluten-free diet and he rolled his eyes and said he doubted it would help. This time I told him my progress was because of the Curcumin and gluten-free eating , he said “ I’m gluten-free too.” Today Doctors acknowledge that MGUS has symptoms, neuropathy in particular.
Find people you can share information. Find people who have held off MM like Margaret and David Emerson. Recognize you did something that got you here, whether it’s environment or genetics. Your job is to learn all you can about whatever is happening to you and trust your body, you’ve known it longer than your Doctor. Don’t be afraid to fire a doctor if they don’t support you in your journey, they don’t have to agree with you, just allow you to partner and work on your own. From 0.04 in 2003 to 1.04 in 2015 I am doing OK.”

Posted in Newly Diagnosed Tagged with: ,

DrugFacts: Is Marijuana Medicine?

The fact is that medical marijuana is controversial and must be researched and discussed. The first link below will take you to an excellent slide show on the topic. The second link will take you to the PeopleBeatingCancer posts on MM.

For more information on cancer and medical marijuana, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply ASAP.

thank you,

David Emerson

Cancer survivor, creator, director PeopleBeatingCancer

What Is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is any part of the marijuana plant that you use to treat health problems. People use it to get relief from their symptoms, not to try to get high.

Most marijuana that’s sold legally as medicine has the same ingredients as the kind that people use for pleasure. But some medical marijuana is specially grown to have less of the chemicals that cause feelings of euphoria.

10 blog posts from PeopleBeatingCancer about medical marijuana, cannabis, or cannabidiol-

Posted in Newly Diagnosed, non-conventional therapies Tagged with: , ,

Radiation therapy for head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma (HNSCC)? Don’t take EPO

A common side effect of radiation therapy is loss of red blood cells and anemia.   Erythropoietin (EPO) is a therapy used to stimulate red blood cell production. A cancer patient undergoing radiation therapy may feel tired, get EPO therapy and feel much better.

Further “As a tumor grows, it rapidly outgrows its blood supply, leaving portions of the tumor with regions where the oxygen concentration is significantly lower than in healthy tissues.” Therefore it makes sense that a therapy like EPO might produce red blood cells and oxygenate both the cancer patient overall and the tumor specifically. In theory, the oxygenation of a tumor might make the tumor more sensitive to radiation.

The study excerpted and linked below tested the theory that EPO administration would stimulate red blood cell production for head and neck cancer patients and enhance the tumor killing effect of local radiation.

In short, EPO didn’t help. In fact, it hurt patients a bit and increased the risk of a blood clot.

For information about hyperbaric oxygen therapy to stimulate red blood cell production or other non-conventional therapies for head and neck cancer, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

Long-term cancer survivor, creator and director PeopleBeatingCancer

Door to EPO in Cancer Therapy Bolted Shut
“No benefit and a suggestion of harm with erythropoietin support during radiotherapy.

“Locoregional failure, locoregional progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) did not differ significantly between patients who received concomitant EPO and those who did not. If anything, the trial suggested a possible detrimental effect of EPO, as all three outcomes favored patients who received radiation therapy alone.”

“Because of several reports of a detrimental effect of EPO on cancer control, administration of EPO to patients with malignancies treated with curative intent is currently not indicated,” they noted. “In addition, the use of EPO is associated with an increase of thromboembolism.”

5-year locoregional failure: 46.2% with EPO versus 39.4% without (P=0.42)
Locoregional PFS: 31.5% versus 37.6% (P=0.20)
Overall survival: 36.9% versus 38.2% (P=0.54)

The negative outcomes occurred despite the EPO group having a 1.66 g/dL increase in hemoglobin after 4 weeks of treatment as compared with a 0.24 g/dL decrease in the control arm.

Posted in Newly Diagnosed Tagged with:

Mammograms may save lives but the also cause overdiagnosis, overtreatment and cost U.S. 4 Billion a year

Articles and studies debating overdiagnosis and overtreatment in both breast and prostate cancer are not new. What is new is a study that puts a real number on what overtreatment costs us in dollars.

Before the invention of the mammogram, there probably were many breast cancers that could have been diagnosed at an earlier stage but were not. As we all know, finding cancers early results in better outcomes. By identifying breast cancers earlier,  mammography improved the outcomes for many women.

In fact, a good friend of mine discovered her invasive breast cancer through a routine mammogram. Merribeth swears to me that mammorgrams save lives.

At the same time, mammograms find problems that either are not cancer or cause treatment that is not necessary, aka overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

Owing to the widespread adoption of screening for breast cancer and improvements in the sensitivity of mammography, the diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) has increased dramatically over the past few decades. Historically, DCIS accounted for only 1% to 2% of all breast cancer diagnoses, but now it accounts for over 20%.

According to a recent Medscape article, the number of DCIS diagnoses in ’14 was 35,591. Many cancer experts debate if DCIS should even be classified as cancer or perhaps cancer stage 0.

Perhaps the screening pendulum has swung too far the other way?

For more information on both conventional and non-conventional therapies for breast cancer, scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

Long-term cancer survivor, creator, director PeopleBeatingCancer

Study finds breast cancer overtreatment costs US $4B per year

“Sharpening a medical debate about the costs and benefits of cancer screening, a new report estimates that the U.S. spends $4 billion a year on unnecessary medical costs due to mammograms that generate false alarms, and on treatment of certain breast tumors unlikely to cause problems…

The cost estimates cover women ages 40-59…

Study authors Mei-Sing Ong and Kenneth Mandl say their findings indicate that the cost of breast cancer overtreatment appears to be much higher than previously estimated. Their $4 billion figure is the midpoint of a range that depends upon assumptions about the rates of false-positive mammograms and breast cancer overdiagnosis…

Apart from the financial cost of screening tests and treatment, false positives and overdiagnosis expose women to risks from additional medical procedures, not to mention psychological distress. It’s not uncommon for mammograms to turn up some apparent abnormality that has to be resolved with more imaging tests or a biopsy…



Posted in Newly Diagnosed Tagged with:

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