Living With Mesothelioma My Diary – A very different way to treat mesothelioma in Canada, A surprise gift from Boston

Photo: Happy St David's Day to all my friends out there xx

Happy St Davids Day to Rays relatives in Wales and our Welsh friends.

Had a lovely quiet Saturday.

I found a email on my computer that surprised me 

I have had an Email this morning telling me that this Trial is still open in Cardiff suggest if you are interested get in contact with Dr Harrop
Dear Mavis,
It’s been several years before we last spoke (we both had another news article about TroVax, a cancer vaccine being tested in Meso). It was great to see you on the TV again and good to hear about another treatment being tested.
Our trial is still ongoing in Cardiff and hopefully helping patients.
I hope you are well and wish you all the very best for the future.
Have a lovely (hopefully dry!) weekend.
Dr Richard Harrop,
So if anyone is interested there is a trial for you if your you haven’t had chemo yet.
The management team regularly attends key industry conferences to meet investors and potential partners. Our scientists also represent Oxford BioMedica at key scientific and medical congresses.

The day was going like any other, although Ray went to do the shopping on his own. I like that I save money as he will only stick to what is written on a list.

Then nearer to dinnertime , when I was baking bread and getting dinner ready, a knock at the door and Ray took a huge box with a wonderful bouquet of flowers.

They were from our lovely Boston friend bless him. Thanking for the wonderful time he had.That was so nice of him. He says he is coming back so I will look forward to seeing him again.


Linda has written a lovely blog tonight and it has the writings of David duChemin he writes a blog

I wrote a comment – sometimes I just dont know where words come from as my fingers run over the keyboard ———-I read your blog to know how Steve is doing each day as he is walking my path although he is doing it so different to me, treatment wise. I glean moments of how he feels about the journey but being a man he doesnt give much away. I watch your photography on your Timeline and marvel at your talent as photographer you have a strange eye for beauty in modern buildings . David duChemin is writing how he sees it– Cancer is a terrible word and a terrible illness but to see it as a patient is different. We dont put off anything –today is what counts and we cant plan anything for the future, ao living in the now isnt easy when you feel ill or your in pain. I put of buying new things to wear as I say I wont get my moneys worth out of it. You look at nature all around us and adore it. I wonder if we will be able to feel a gentle breeze in Heaven. We all think of heaven differently to. I believe we travel to planets through the Universe. —-A quiet reflection of life and I wont say Death -Im not ready xxxxx


Another interesting story I read today  of Man who has had different treatment and really high lights the need for early detection.

Man Hong Chang, a 74-year-old former Ontario Hydro mechanic who was exposed to asbestos 20 years ago, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in his 60s. He has benefitted from a world-leading technique developed at Princess Margaret that has rid him of his tumour.


Man Hong Chang, a 74-year-old former Ontario Hydro mechanic who was exposed to asbestos 20 years ago, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in his 60s. He has benefitted from a world-leading technique developed at Princess Margaret that has rid him of his tumour.

By:  Staff Reporter, Published on Mon Feb 24 2014

Like many people who were exposed to asbestos, it took more than 20 years before former Ontario Hydro mechanic Man Hong Chan knew anything was wrong.

When he started feeling short of breath during his weekly soccer matches, Chan went to the doctor and his worst fears were confirmed: he had mesothelioma, one of the most aggressive forms of lung cancer.

“It was scathing news. I was really scared,” he said. “Most people don’t even last two years.”

But thanks to a new therapy pioneered by a pair of Toronto doctors, 74-year-old Chan has been cancer free for more than four years.

The technique used by Dr. John Cho and Dr. Marc de Perrot at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has doubled survival times in patients with mesothelioma, according to research they published last month. Their success has drawn attention from around the world and they say doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota will soon attempt to use their method.

Cho, a radiation oncologist, and de Perrot, a thoracic surgeon, paired up to turn conventional treatment on its head, giving patients radiation before surgery instead of after it. They’ve dubbed the technique SMART, for Surgery for Mesothelioma After Radiation Therapy, and Cho says three-year survival rates have more than doubled, from 32 per cent to 72 per cent.

And because the study only started five years ago, survival rates could be pushed further in the years to come.

Mesothelioma is caused when the microscopic fibres from asbestos are inhaled and act like needles, slowly working their way into the lining of the lungs over decades. What make the cancer so hard to treat, Cho says, is that some of those fibres and affected cells would escape during surgery and the cancer would spread anew.

Traditional treatment removes the affected lung and then treats the patient with radiation in hopes any lingering cancer will be killed. Cho and de Perrot’s program gives the patient a toxic dose of radiation before surgery, ensuring that any cancer cells left over afterward aren’t viable.

Even though asbestos was banned in the early 1980s, 500 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in Canada each year and the number is growing. Because of the 30-year gestation period, this rate isn’t expected to taper off for decades.

“The exposure has been reduced; it hasn’t been eradicated,” said de Perrot. “The asbestos is still around and it’s very likely that (incidence of) the disease will still increase.”

Even as the carcinogenic substance is being removed from buildings across the country, asbestos brake pads and cement pipes are still being imported into Canada.

Canada was long one of the world’s biggest producers of asbestos and continued to export it even after it was banned domestically. Quebec closed its last asbestos mines in 2011.

While mesothelioma has been seen by many to be a death sentence — average survival is only eight to 12 months — early intervention is granting patients a new lease on life.

The key to Cho and de Perrot’s treatment is moving quickly. While a patient typically waited six months for an intervention, Chan had already undergone radiation therapy and surgery within a month of his initial diagnosis.

“Our message to doctors and patients is to seek a referral early on. Don’t wait for additional screening. We can do the work quickly. Early work can make a difference,” said de Perrot.

In Chan’s case, since his surgery, he’s welcomed a new grandson into the world. And while he can’t play soccer like he used to, he’s still thankful.

“I’m lucky to have gotten rid of the cancer. You can’t ask for everything.”

Rays Blog


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