Do Dogs Get Prostate Cancer? A Life Reminder

Yes, Diana… the sad answer is: they do.

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I received an email from a colleague today. She had taken a voice mail from a middle school girl asking if dogs can be diagnosed with prostate cancer. I was sure they do. Cats and other animals get it. But, to be absolutely sure, I doubled checked my data banks using a quick Google search. Sure enough, the screen populated with numerous links to information about dogs and prostate cancer.

What I didn’t know is that cancer is the leading cause of death in canines over the age of two.

But that isn’t what gave me pause. What made me stop and think was the reminder that all animals, human or otherwise, are living organisms. We live in complex biological systems that can go awry for any number of reasons. This small reminder of what I already embrace, was surprisingly comforting. But we humans, because of our ability to think and reason in advanced ways, sometimes tend to let cancer take over our lives in paralyzing ways.

We build expectations that don’t always take biological realities into account. We become tied to futures we envision and often shut out the possibility of unexpected disruptions, no matter what physical speed bump or detour might present itself.

I am not suggesting that we give up on living life with dreams and expectations. I guess I’ve just come to realize the life might be easier in some ways if we sometimes remind ourselves that our bodies and nature might not always be able to keep pace with the demands we set for ourselves.

This thought underscores what I have heard many survivors say: we need to live in the moment.

Carpe diem.

HRC Update: 67 Home Runs, $800,000 to Date

Heading into Father’s Day, it’s not too late to join the fun and help Keep Dad in the Game.
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Trade out one frivilous expense this weekend and help Keep Dad in the Game by making a pledge for the 18th Annual Home Run Challenge.

 

Every 10 cent pledge and every home run is making a difference in our fight against prostate cancer. After just three days of counting home runs for the 18th Annual Home Run Challenge, Major League Baseball hitters have tallied 67 home runs each worth about $12,000. That’s a whopping $800,000+ to move us closer to a cure and prolonging life for millions of men.

Here’s some perspective: $800,000 is enough to fund nearly four Young Investigators for three years or a Creativity Award to get innovative research off the launch pad. On the other side of the spectrum, a 10 cent pledge with say, a total of 160 home runs, is just a $16 donation–less than a trip to the movies or a fast food meal for three. As a survivor, I might be a bit biased on which of these expenditures represents the best investment. But it’s pretty hard to argue for fast food or butted popcorn and the latest action flick when we can save lives with just one easy diversion of our weekly expenditures.

As I said, every 10 cent pledge and every home run is making a difference in our fight against prostate cancer. Please consider being part of that difference for so many. Visit the Home Run Challenge website before Father’s Day and help us Keep Dad in the Game.

Wishing every Father out there a Happy Father’s Day and abundant health.

Ximending hotels

Taipei, Taiwan is a very popular tourist destination in Asia. You can find a fusion between heritage and modernity in this little Island situated next to China. Find anything from former world tallest building Taipei 101  or tribal and mountainous area in Kaohsiung.

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Taipei is the capital of Taiwan.  Generally, you will want to stay in Ximending area of Taipei as this is one of the hub in Taiwan. Treat Ximending as the equivalent of Manhattan in New York City.  You can find anything from fashion, shopping, restaurant, street foods and many more. To sum it, Ximending is one of the most happening area in in Taiwan.

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Accommodation Guide in Ximending

There are plenty of good hotels that you can find in Ximending. Accommodation can be a little more expansive here as compared with the rest of Taiwan. As a rule of thumb. Accommodation starts from 50 dollars onward where you will get hostel or dorm category. Things get more luxurious from 100 dollars onward.

Westgate Hotel

Westgate is possibly one of the most recomended hotel in Ximending. This is probably your choice if there are no budget issues. This 121 rooms hotel is conveniently located just a few step away from Ximen MRT station.  There are also convenient stores such as Watson located nearby Prices can be a little steep starting from 150 dollars onward.

Hotel Midtown Richardson

This hotel is brand new. The reviews are not too bad for a new kid on the block. Hotel is rather dark with ambient light settings. They are giving huge discounts at the time of writing

Dairy of Ximen (Taipei)

This hotel is a good choice especially for those with mid range budget. This hotel is also very quite popular among people who frequently travels to Taipei.

Just Sleep Ximending

Just sleep is also a popular choice amongst tourist. This hotel is also very near to Ximen MRT station. Staffs are very helpful.

City Inn Taipei (Ximending)

City Inn is a popular hotel chains in Taiwan. City Inn Ximending is situtuated inside Ximending so you may want to book the right hotel. Rooms are clean funky and modern. This hotel is situation just next to exit 3 Ximeding. There are choices from Standard to large family room.

Amba Taipei Ximen

This hotel is located just at Wuchang Street, Ximending. There are 162 rooms in this hotel while it’s just 5 minutes walk away from Ximen station. Hotel is wooden based concept where it is design by Muji concept.

Good 9 Stay Inn

Good 9 stay is a popular choice if you have lower budget. Staffs are extremely helpful and friend. Rooms are clean and comfortable.

Free free to visit  http://ximendinghotel.com/ for hotel guide in Ximending area.

 

 

Refractory Period

I had never heard of the Refractory Period for cancer patients until last week. Now I believe it is important to anticipate it.  

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Last week, I participated in a patient and survivor panel for MOVEMBER representatives from around the world. I had the pleasure of meeting Jonny Imerman, founder of Imerman Angels. He’s a terrific cancer survivor filled with enough energy, love and encouragement for any number of cancer patients.

During the panel, Jonny spoke of the refraction period. As Jonny puts it, cancer’s prism bends and forever changes us. We are the same beam, of light yet forever changed. It is a strong emotional experience that leaves many, once they are on the other side of their journey, in a prolonged refractory period. As in sex, where the refractory period is the time in which a man is physiologically incapable of having an erection and orgasm again, a prolonged emotional refractory period can render some patients incapable of finding calm, moving forward and living life without cancer.

Paul Elkman, PhD, an acclaimed psychologist who retired as a professor from UCSF in 2004, has written many books on emotions, including one based on conversations with the Dalai Lama. It is entitled Emotional Awareness. Elkman refers to the refractory period as how long it takes for a person to come back to a quiet baseline condition of calm after being provoked by an emotion. Often, this is a short period such as one might go through following a fit of rage. But, for those who have experienced a prolonged period of being provoked by emotions–say several years of battling cancer–the period can understandably last a while. InEmotional Awareness, Elkman writes: “Once the emotional behavior is set off, a refractory period begins in which we are not only not monitoring, we cannot reconsider. We cannot perceive anything in the external world that is inconsistent with what we are feeling. We cannot access the knowledge we have that would disconfirm the emotion…” To me, it sounds like all the necessary ingredients for a downward emotional spiral just when one would think we should be in a state of euphoria.

Jonny and I spoke of the refractory period following the conclusion of the panel and I asked him to contribute a personal piece on it. Forewarned is forearmed. I think you will find it interesting.

The Refraction Period of the cancer journey– “What the hell is that!!?” you ask… The Refraction Period is one of the most under talked-about parts of the cancer journey.

My name is Jonny Imerman and I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at 26 years old, beat it at 27, and then the docs found four tumors behind my kidneys by the time I was 28 years old. By 29, I beat cancer again–the whole journey was about two and a half years. Along the way there was a lot of chemo, surgeries, probably infertility, wacky side effects, and other unusual stuff that I sure wasn’t expecting in my 20s.

Of course, it’s challenging to get though all the treatments, but the survivors out there know just as well as I do–you have no other option!  You do it, smile as much as you can, laugh as much as you can (testicular cancer guys like me get plenty of “one ball” nicknames – people are creative!!!), stay as positive as you can, and do whatever it takes to get to that 26.2 mile finish line!

Now, for the Refraction Period… It’s that period of time AFTER you cross the finish line. After you beat cancer. Trying to build back up.  Emotionally.  Physically.  Getting back in the gym. Trying to feel strong.  Trying to feel confident.  Wondering if anyone would actually want to date you after all that.  Trying to figure out who the hell you are after all that chaos and all those shenanigans. Trying to figure out your values, your morals, where you want to spend your time-and with whom.  The way you look at life.  What you want to do with your life.  How you feel about helping others, and making the world a better place.  In short–having completed the journey and being affected by it, figuring out what you really are about.

It feels like everything has shifted.

The Refraction Period is trying to figure all this stuff out after cancer.

It’s friggin HARD.  REALLY HARD.  And most people never expect it.  They go into it completely blind, making it even harder. It can cause depression.

Why is it called the Refraction Period?  Picture a beam of light going in a straight line. That light is you and your life. You think your life is moving straight forward.  Then, shit – you get cancer! All of the shenanigans of the cancer experience knock you off your rocker!  Then, this beam of light is “refracted” let’s say, 25 degrees to the left and on a different trajectory. Cancer refracts us and we’re no longer going in the same straight line.  It’s our job to figure out what all this means.  It’s not easy. It is a life-changing experience.

But, I believe STRONGLY that after we get through this refraction period – sometimes lasting a few months and sometimes 2 or 3 years – that life’s beam of light is on a BETTER trajectory.  I believe that we become better people after cancer. We have stronger, if not new values. We have learned a BIG lesson about the fragility of life, and through our hard mental and emotional work during the refraction period we become better people. We are more committed to being kinder and working together to make this world a better place.

The #1 way to get through the refraction period is to CONNECT with others who understand–survivors who are going through it also, or better yet, those like you who have been there but have come out the other side and landed on top.  And there is a “top.” I believe I became a better person through my cancer experience and consequent struggle through the refraction period.  My reflection and challenges through this period have helped me see the world and what I want out of it in a much clearer way.

The key again is: connect with others who understand and empathize. TOGETHER we are stronger.  I wish each of my fellow brothers and sisters going through cancer and refraction ALL of my very best- and the ability to find the positive in this very challenging, and often myopic journey.

Love and light- Jonny Imerman

Having read Jonny’s piece I was reminded of what it was like when my wife and I returned after living in the Netherlands for almost three years. The experience changed us forever. It did indeed feel as if everything had shifted. There was a sense of alienation as even good friends had trouble relating to us and our changed frame of reference, new values and new preferences. I can only imagine that returning from the journey with cancer can be exponentially more difficult.

As I said… forewarned is forearmed. Jonny’s insight is an important trip advisory for those of us who have not yet come out the other side. For those readers who have, I wonder what your experience with the refractory period was like?

On the Importance of Getting Patients and Scientists Together

This past weekend in Washington has this guy–yes, ME–speechless.

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It’s not often that I find myself searching for words. Thirty-two years as a communicator and someone whose personality tends toward the highly effusive, I am surprised that I find myself having difficulty putting into words, the transformational experience I just had in Washington D.C. with PCF scientists and a group of patient-survivors. From where I sit, I often have one arm fully extended into the patient-survivor world and the other in the vast and often dense world of scientific research and discovery. In the middle, I try to share information and insights that marry the two.

As part of the Celebration of Science (an event focused on reinvigorating America’s support for scientific research to find cures for patients across many disease states) and PCF’s program within the event, I led a small group of patient-survivors so that they could see first hand the advances that are being made on their behalf. It was also an opportunity to thank our funded researchers and let them hear from those who deeply appreciate their commitment to finding cures. I also had the honor of opening the PCF program Friday with a tribute to our special guests and closing it as we ”passed the torch” to out nearly 100 Young Investigators. In the morning, I reminded our scientists that each man on the stage represented more than a million men and families around the world who are touched by prostate cancer–that they are our raison d’etre–our sole reason for being. In closing, I ended by saying those in the brotherhood can supply each other with encouragement for peace and strength, but that we need to look to our scientists to keep the wish of life alive for so many.

Through all of this, our small group of  guests had the opportunity to share their experiences, frustrations, fears and hopes that they have encountered during their journey with cancer. We were also joined by our dear friends, the Vinecki Family and that wonderfully impressive 13-year old, Winter Vinecki, who  helped me with our meeting and addressed the audience at the Kennedy Center Gala Saturday evening.

This all said, I am still having difficulty trying to encapsulate the experience. Thus, I will rely on some of my friends to paint the picture. Jim Highly, also known as the Bobblehead Dad, was diagnosed as a single dad at 44 years old (and some still insist on calling this an old man’s disease…). This morning Jim wrote a perspective on his weekend experience: Making Whoopi. And Why Bioscience Matters for Our Kids.

“We will talk about this week-end for years to come… because it will impact the world and its status quo!” –Rick D.

“I walked away with comfort, peace, hope but most importantly a warm and caring group of brothers that I look forward to meeting with again and again. Words cannot explain how blessed I am.” –Bill M. No. 1.

“It was very helpful to me. And, to all my other Brothers… it was a pleasure meeting all of you. I truly enjoyed our time together. It was a meaningful, helpful and fun experience for me.” –Bill M. No. 2

“Prostate cancer is a journey so many men walk alone. This weekend was an incredible reminder of the strength, power and potential us guys have when speak loudly, ask for support, hug it out, and walk the walk together.” –Jim H.

“It will be difficult to top the ‘mountaintop experience’ of the past few days. And the pinnacle of this time together was the privilege of getting to know–and bond–with each of you.” –Craig P.

“I was very pleased to have been able to contribute and grateful for the chance to give something back for all the blessings I have been given. Looking into the eyes of those men drives me to do much much more…”  — Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD, former Director of the NCI and former Commissioner fo the FDA

“The weekend surprised my soul. Plus, I understood a lot of the science! The bond that I already feel toward everyone in the group has sent this often cynical guy into an orbit of optimism. I have a new problem: I am drowning in dopamine. Good experiences, laughter, knowledge, and, obviously, chicken come with a healing capacity that pills and drips can only dream they possess.” –Tom P.

Of course, I would have loved to have 200 hundred patient-surviors at this event, but that would have been impossible. However, we were able to film a good deal of the proceedings and will be producing a patient-focused documentary that I will post later this fall. I am deeply grateful to our guests who so willingly allowed themselves to be filmed and who shared their personal and heartfelt experiences to help other patients and families. I am also grateful to my friend and cancer mentor, Trip Casscells, who opened his home to us on Saturday for our Men’s Retreat.

The Brotherhood remains strong. Our scientists remain committed to our cause. Together we will find cures.

It Starts With a Wish and Ends With a Cure…

It’s June and prostate cancer supporters can help raise funds for research by shopping at Safeway-owned stores once more.

Funds raised by Safeway-owned stores for prostate cancer research directed by the Prostate Cancer Foundation are delivering game-changing research and discovery including the identification of more than 27 cancer-causing gene fusions, new biomarkers for diagnosis and treatment response assessment and the development of new drugs to deliver more effective treatments for patients with advanced disease. The support of Safeway shoppers and employees have helped reduce the death rate by more than 40 percent and is moving us closer the ultimate goal of overtreating less and curing more.

It is gratifying to have their corporate support, the commitment of the employees and the generosity of so many shoppers.

This year, with the help of Stand Up to Cancer, the annual June campaign features special reusable shopping bags designed by celebrity Angie Harmon to promote awareness for this cancer that effects 16 million men and their families worldwide–more than 2 million of which live in the U.S. This yeasr’s campaign slogan, It Begins With a Wish and Ends With a Cure, says its all.

I hope you will consider supporting the campaign this June by shopping at Safeway stores and making a donation at the checkout stand by either rounding up to the next dollar on  each purchase or making a specific donation as you pay for your groceries. You can even purchase one of the Angie Harmon bags. Every piece of spare change makes a difference.Learn more about the Safeway Campaign.

Here is a list of Safeway stores across the country: Safeway, Carrs, Dominick’s, Pavilions, Randall’s, Tom Thumb and Vons.

With the help and genrosity of many, our wishes will, indeed, end with a cure.

The Power of Sports Reaches Men and High-Risk Audiences

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FOX Sports pioneered and set the bar for bringing important health messages to sports audiences.

As June and Father’s Day approaches, so does PCF’s annual Home Run Challenge (HRC) with Major League Baseball. For two weeks leading up to Father’s day, baseball fans will be able to support prostate cancer research for cures by pledging a monetary amount for each home run hit in 75 designated games or a one time pledge. It’s not only a fun way to raise funds, the tie in to Father’s day and the HRC’s slogan, Keep Dad in the Game, prompts many a frank discussion within families about prostate cancer, the impact of family history and the benefits of early detection and appropriate treatment.

Over the course of 16 years, the Home Run Challenge has reached millions with the important message about prostate health and raised nearly $40 million for research. In addition to the fans who pledge each year, the HRC owes its success to many including the Major League Baseball Player Association, team managers, club owners and Major League Baseball. But through the years, it has been super-charged by the support of FOX Sports. At a time when no sports broadcast organization was willing to get behind causes, Fox Sports, fueled by the vision of Ed Goren, vice chairman, stepped up to the the plate and got behind the program. With its base of 80 million subscribers, FOX hit the HRC out of the ball park and directly into the homes of a diverse base of baseball fans who have benefited from prostate cancer awareness. Millions of dollars of prime television airtime notwithstanding, FOX has helped save lives of thousands of American men and the well-being of their families.

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Ed Goren as part of a new series, Profiles in Leadership, I am producing at PCF. The program focuses on individuals and organizations whose efforts have made important contributions in raising awareness and funding for prostate cancer research. Ed’s interview is the first in the series. I believe you will find his insights and historical perspectives fascinating and I am very pleased to share the segment with you here.

 

David Emerson’s Legacy Lives On

Even after his passing, David will continue to serve his brothers in cancer.

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As I reached for the incoming call this morning, the last person I thought it might be would be Mary Emerson. It’s only been two months since David lost his battle to prostate cancer. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Mary and her family had decided to take a break from cancer and focus on their healing. In fact, after all they had been through during the years of David’s illness, I couldn’t fault them if they decided to make a permanent about face from the disease that has forever changed their lives.

I couldn’t imagine why Mary was calling. I asked how she and the family were doing and I was pleased to hear her positive response. They are healing.

Mary then went on to tell me that the Board of Directors of Faith, Love, Hope, Win (FLHW)–the foundation started by her and David to help support the research supported of the Prostate Cancer Foundation–had met and decided to continue its work. She continued by saying that she and the Board felt that it was a fitting tribute to David’s memory. She was also calling to make a very generous donation from FLHW for their work in 2012.

I said to Mary that we at PCF are honored to have their continued support and that David, like my other friend Trip, will forever remain a hero in my mind. Whenever I talked with him, he would update me on his participation in clinical trials. As trying as they were, no matter how far he had to travel to participate, I never once heard him complain. I knew it wasn’t easy on either David or Mary, and I thanked Mary for her strength and support. Their contributions to moving clinical trials forward will continue to serve men with prostate cancer for many years to come. So too will the ongoing work of FLHW.

In reply to an email I sent to Mary asking if I could share this story, she wrote:

“Absolutely! When David was diagnosed almost 8 years ago, our treatment options were very limited. Although the statistics were not in our favor, we were determined to fight the battle against PC. Finding the PCF website was such a blessing…. The resources that the website provided were invaluable. We adopted a focus on nutrition and exercise, bought the cookbooks and found hope through our ability to empower ourselves where we could. It has been amazing to watch PCF evolve through the years. The benefits of the research that PCF has supported have done nothing but grow exponentially. I know David would be so happy to see the progress that continues to be made today. On behalf of the FLHW Board, I am honored to continue to support the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

 ”My daily thoughts and prayers continue to be with you Dan.” 

I find such selflessness as inspirational as it can be overwhelming.

As we enter this holiday season we are reminded that it is a time of love and sharing. Thank you, Mary and David for continuing to share so much with us all.

I wish you and your family peace and the comfort of many warm memories of David.

PCAs Research Funds

Kudos to the members of the Prostate Cancer Roundtable and advocates everywhere.

Unless you work within the prostate cancer advocacy community, you mostly likely missed an important piece of news just prior to the holidays. At a time when many may have been tuned into Miracle of 34th Street and other festive distractions, it is likely that you missed an important development for prostate cancer research: the preservation of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) 2012 budget for prostate cancer at the U.S. Department of Defense. In these budget-tight times, I am tempted to call it Miracle on Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues.

However, keeping $80 million intact for CDMRP prostate cancer research–work that many within the research enterprise consider some of the most ground-breaking–is no miracle. It is the direct result of the focused energies and tireless work of the Prostate Cancer Roundtable members (both jointly and individually) and independent advocates across this country. It is important to note that the CDMRP for prostate cancer also supports the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium (PCCTC) with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to enroll more patients into clinical trials and help speed approvals of new drugs for patients.

It was on December 15 that the House released an Omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2055) and statement of managers, which includes Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (L-HHS). It was passed by the House on December 16 and by the Senate on Saturday, December 17. The President signed the bill into law in December 23.

We should all be relieved to see the preservation of this important research budget for one more year. But there’s more work ahead.

While policymakers are seeking ways to reduce costs, our shared vision to cure more and overtreat less is even more urgent. These two goals are not in opposition. Cancer research and prevention is an investment, not an expense that can save millions of lives and trillions of dollars. The National Cancer Institute estimates that a 20-percent reduction in cancer mortality would be worth $20 trillion to the U.S. economy—far more than the federal debt.

On behalf of millions of men and families who suffer from the impact of prostate cancer, I voice our sincerest gratitude to all the members of the Prostate Cancer Roundtable and their supporters who worked to preserve the 2012 budget:

  • Ed Randall’s Fans for a Cure
  • Malecare
  • Men’s Health Network
  • National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation
  • Prostate Cancer International
  • Prostate Conditions Education Council
  • Prostate Health Education Network
  • The Prostate Net
  • Us TOO International
  • Women Against Prostate Cancer
  • ZERO-The Project to End Prostate Cancer

I also need to join my fellow Roundtable members in extending a special THANK YOU to Jimmy Boyd and the Men’s Health Network for the leadership and support they have provided in organizing our collective efforts.

Yes, Virginia… There is power in numbers.

Pee-to-Play Game Delivers Awareness Message to Men

New urinal game streams awareness message to baseball fans.

urinal-300x164Every morning, as part of my job, I am tasked to review the daily headlines for prostate cancer and circulate the top stories to my colleagues. Most of the stories that we end up discussing in our morning editorial rounds are fascinating, often talking about new treatments or breakthroughs that may soon benefit patients and prolong survival. Some dispel previously-held beliefs about the disease. Others discuss trends in the field, funding, and other related matters. Few are ever entertaining.

This morning was different. Here’s why…

I have always said that when it comes to delivering healthcare messages to men it requires equal parts of innovation and base humor. After all, there is still a little boy in all of us just waiting to giggle at something that only appeals to the male sense of humor.

Now the Phillies’ AAA minor league team, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, has hit the proverbial nail not on, but in the head, so to speak. When the team’s baseball season begins next week, screens installed above one urinal in each of the ballpark’s men’s room will display a downhill snowmobile competition. How to play? Simply directing the user’s stream left or right will move the driver in that direction. The game screens will display information on prostate cancer when the game is not in action.

What’s more, there is no need to pump the urinal with quarters for play time. All you need is a steady stream and some coordination. (Lack of a steady stream could be an indicator that a visit to one’s urologist may be in order.)

Players will be given a score at the end of their game and high scorers (names only) will be displayed in real time on video boards inside the park. Participants will also be ranked and recognized on the team’s website.

I have to believe that beyond having some fun while receiving an important health message about prostate health, there may well be another benefit. Like the Dutch, who print a small fly on the bottom of their urinals to increase users’ accuracy and prevent unsightly messes on the floor, this system should make some stadium janitors in Lehigh Valley very happy, indeed.

Wishing you good health and a continuing supply of humor!