Friday Round-up

Castle in Cashell

Castle in Cashell

Clinic Visit

Today I had my clinic appointment for transplant follow-up, labs, and, today, a cortisone stimulation test.  I knew the appointment was approaching and I acknowledged to myself yesterday that I was not anxious about it as I usually am.  By yesterday evening my throat was starting to hurt and a head cold seemed to reemerge. Then I started thinking about the successions of flu episodes,  sinus infections, sore throats, and ear aches I have been having over the last months.

Every leukemia patient I have ever known, and I have known hundreds, related to me this very same history – lingering cold and flu symptoms – prior to their diagnosis.  Of course I knew that the overwhelming probability is that my still inefficient, immature immune system was to blame.  But I also that my relapse, if and when it does occur, might resemble this same pattern of recurrent infection.  But my counts cam back okay – normal albeit low-normal, but normal just the same.  So my anxiety has subsided, at least for another three months (a record by the way, if I can keep it).

AMAS Test

I received another odd email inquiry.  The writer asked “it is possible … to get a post about an innovative aid in early cancer detection and follow-up: the AMAS test.

Even though the test has existed for over a decade, many people don’t know about it. I would like to start spreading the word around.

The principle is simple: the test measures the level of a specific antibody (the Anti-Malignin Antibody) in a blood sample. The antibody would be elevated regardless of the location and cell type of the malignancy. It is used by many doctors to increase the accuracy of other standard tests (MRI, PSA, CA125, or mammograms); and as a follow-up tool for recurrences.

Many studies have been done over the last 20 years supporting the theory. The test had been proven 95% accurate (see publications for details of the studies).

Odd, I thought, that I, being a cancer nurse since 1987, had never heard of this.  Sounds too good to be true!  So I googled the term.  Not a lot came back, at least from the medical literature.  Proponents are few and far between.  Such a test would indeed be a boon to the cancer community, the professional community included.  If true, the discoverers would had long ago been offered millions of dollars for the rights.  Unfortunately when exposed to scientific scrutiny and rigor, the claims do not hold up, not for the test, not for the existence of the “anti-maliginin anitbody.”

So from what I read this is the only post I can responsibly publish.  And, no way, can I recommend this test to readers.

Snap Shots

I have been working on the blogroll.  If you look at the Brain Cancer” section, you will see that I have added more information about the specific diagnosis, year of diagnosis, country the blog is written from (if not the US), whether the patient is a child, and whether the blog is currently inactive.  I always look at blogrolls seeking new entries for “Cancer Blogs. I look as well for interesting features.  When looking at one blogroll, I noticed that by merely hovering the cursor over the blog name, a window popped up showing the recent entries.  A cool feature, I thought.

So I just installed this nice little tool on my site called Snap Shots that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, MySpace profiles, IMDb profiles and Amazon products, display inline videos, RSS, MP3s,  and photos,

Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you “look ahead,” before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.

Should you decide this is not for you, just click the Options icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot and opt-out.

I’ll be interested in your feedback on this.

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About Dennis Pyritz

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN, has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and a cancer and bone marrow transplant survivor since 2004. In December 2001 he was diagnosed with t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL), a rare aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dennis was treated with the then new monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab (Campath) as this disease has a median survival of 7.5 months. He achieved a 26 month remission but relapsed in February 2004. He was retreated with Campath and went into a second remission. In August 2004 he underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant with his brother, Mark, as donor. Dennis has remained in remission since - a near miracle. Throughout his career as cancer nurse and patient, Dennis has had the opportunity to speal to both lay and professional groups. Dennis has spoken on cancer topics and survival issues across the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrpus, Israel, and India.

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