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"Do not cry for me": Teacher announces own death

<p>A teacher and mum-of-two who chronicled her breast cancer journey online has announced her own death, through a social media post written before her passing. </p> <p>"If you're reading this, it means I have died," Kate Rackham, 45, shared on her <em>Teacher With Cancer </em>X account. </p> <p>"But do not cry for me. I have lived my life on my own terms, the way I have wanted to."</p> <p>The mum told her followers that she joined X, formerly Twitter, as she "needed an outlet", but "what I got was so much more". </p> <p>"You made me feel validated in my feelings and much less alone. Thank you."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">If you’re reading this, it means I have died. But do not cry for me. I have lived my life on my own terms, the way I have wanted to. I joined X because I needed an outlet, what I got was so much more. You made me feel validated in my feelings and much less alone. Thank you ❤️</p> <p>— Teacher with Cancer (@kate_rackham) <a href="https://twitter.com/kate_rackham/status/1801137648146243756?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 13, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>The British mum was only 39 when she was diagnosed with  incurable oestrogen-receptive breast cancer and spent the past six years fighting the disease. </p> <p>She began documenting her journey online, and explained that she had no obvious risk factors leading to the disease. </p> <p>Just before her passing, she was admitted into hospital and was told by doctors that "there is nothing more we can do" and that she "needed a bit of time" to process the news. </p> <p>"I'm now home, where I want to be. With Mark and the girls. Surrounded by love, family and friends," she shared at the time. </p> <p>"Everyone is rallying around and I have so much support. Despite everything I feel blessed."</p> <p>Many have shared their condolences, including friends and those who are also battling breast cancer. </p> <p>"When my time comes, I can but hope I display the dignity and strength of character you did. Much love and condolences to your family and friends," one wrote.</p> <p>"I hope you are free from the pain. You still live in your children your husband. Your legacy," another said.</p> <p>"Thank you for sharing your journey with grace and dignity," a third added. </p> <p>"I hope wherever you are you are no longer in pain. Sending love and thoughts to your family."</p> <p>Rackham is survived by her husband Mark and their two daughters Ruby and Nancy. </p> <p><em>Images: X/ Nine</em></p> <p> </p>

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Cancer-causing chemicals found in Aussie tap water sparks safety concerns

<p>A landmark ruling in the US has sparked safety concerns over Australian tap water, with many wondering if it is safe to drink. </p> <p>After the US tightened their regulations around drinking tap water, cutting the maximum level of cancer-causing so-called “forever chemicals” allowed, experts have urged Australia to do the same. </p> <p>Earlier this year, the US Environmental Protection Agency found there was “no safe level of exposure” of the chemicals perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water and they were likely to cause cancer.</p> <p>The toxic substances have also been linked to kidney and liver disease, thyroid dysregulation, reproductive problems, and developmental problems.</p> <p>According to a federally funded University of Queensland study published in 2011, Australia permits per-and-poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances at levels up to 140 times higher than those allowed in the US.</p> <p>Health Minister Mark Butler has asked key political players, including Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, for an urgent briefing following the US developments.</p> <p>The National Health and Medical Research Council, which shapes the nation’s water rules, is reviewing its guidelines relating to the chemicals, and that could be expedited ahead of its 2025 end date.</p> <p>“Australian drinking water is regularly monitored for the presence of chemicals, including PFAS, to ensure those are within the limits assessed as safe by Australian regulators,” a spokesperson for the Health Minister said.</p> <p>“This independent review will consider recent guidance and reviews from international and national jurisdictions and determine whether they are suitable to adopt or adapt for Australia.”</p> <p>Nicholas Chartres, a senior research fellow at the University of Sydney, called for a precautionary approach and immediate widespread testing of the nation’s water supplies.</p> <p>“The government needs to take action. They need to be testing the water (and) it will come at a cost,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Urgent investigation into potential cancer cluster after mass diagnosis

<p>An urgent investigation has been launched into a potential cancer cluster after five women from the same workplace all developed cancer. </p> <p>Liverpool City Council confirmed five staff members working at its Moore Street office building, in Sydney’s southwest, were diagnosed with thyroid cancer within three to five years of each other. </p> <p>Four of the five workers are taking part in an urgent investigation by the NSW Department of Health, while sixth worker who has reported a thyroid condition has also opted out.</p> <p>The staff members were all working on the sixth floor of the office building, which has since been shut down upon the commencement of the investigation, with workers being relocated to other floors. </p> <p>Jenny Havilah, who works on level six of the building and was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer, told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/liverpool-council-cancer-cluster-investigation-three-staff-diagnosed-thyroid-cancer/75ef3ccd-1ca6-4b41-b3b5-8c614886f093#:~:text=Liverpool%20Council%20has%20made%20the,were%20%22well%20and%20working%22." target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-tgev="event119" data-tgev-container="bodylink" data-tgev-order="75ef3ccd-1ca6-4b41-b3b5-8c614886f093#:~:text=Liverpool%20Council%20has%20made%20the,were%20%22well%20and%20working%22." data-tgev-label="national" data-tgev-metric="ev">9News</a></em> she was concerned for her colleagues' health and safety. </p> <p>“It certainly sounds very sinister,” she told the outlet when asked about how three of her workmates who sat five metres apart were experiencing the same health issue. </p> <p>“I’m worried about my colleagues, not just on the sixth floor (but) that worked in that building.”</p> <p>“I had my thyroid and some lymph nodes removed and I’ll get the results in a week or so.”</p> <p>In a statement, Liverpool City Council said it was taking the matter “very seriously”, and have employed a third-party environmental health consultant while the NSW Department of Health undertakes a separate epidemiological investigation.</p> <p>“The decision to relocate staff is in response to the council’s high level of concern for the welfare of its staff,” the council said. </p> <p>“Our thoughts are with those affected and we wish them a prompt recovery.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News </em></p>

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The growing promise of cancer vaccines

<div class="copy"> <p>A cure for cancer — which is <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/burden-of-disease-by-cause" target="_blank" rel="noopener">second only to cardiovascular diseases</a> in its contribution to the global burden of disease — has long been a dream.</p> <p>While no magic bullet is yet in sight, three vaccines for particular skin and lung cancer types have advanced to the last stage of clinical trials in recent months.</p> <p>If successful, these vaccines should be available to patients in the next three to 11 years. Unlike vaccines which prevent diseases, these aim to cure them or prevent relapses.</p> <p>Cancer in every person is different because the cells in every cancerous tumour have different sets of genetic mutations. Recognising this, two of the vaccines are personalised and tailor-made for each patient. Oncologists working with pharmaceutical companies have developed these individualised neoantigen therapies.</p> <p>A vaccine typically works by training the immune cells of our body to recognise antigens – proteins from pathogens, such as viruses – against future attacks by the pathogen.</p> <p>In cancer, however, there is no external pathogen. The cells of a cancerous tumour undergo continuous mutations, some of which help them to grow much faster than normal cells while some others help them evade the body’s natural immune system. The mutated proteins in cancerous cells are called ‘neoantigens’.</p> <p>In individualised neoantigen therapy, the gene sequence of the tumour and normal blood cells are compared to identify neoantigens from each patient, and then a subset of neoantigens are chosen that are most likely to induce an immune response. The vaccine for an individual patient targets this chosen subset of neoantigens.</p> <p>These vaccines, jointly developed by pharma giants Moderna and Merck, have been shown in trials conducted so far to be significantly more effective in combination with immunotherapy than immunotherapy alone in preventing both the relapse of melanoma — a type of skin cancer — and non-small cell lung cancer after the tumours had been surgically removed.</p> <p>Following these promising results in phase II clinical trials, the vaccines are now being tested on a larger group of patients in phase III trials. The studies are expected to be complete by 2030 for <a href="https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT05933577" target="_blank" rel="noopener">melanoma</a> and 2035 for <a href="https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT06077760?intr=mRNA-4157&amp;rank=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener">lung cancer</a>.</p> <p>The Moderna-Merck cancer vaccine may not be the first to reach the market. The French company OSE Immunotherapeutics <a href="https://www.clinicaltrialsarena.com/news/ose-shares-pipeline-updates-with-plans-phase-iii-trial-for-tedopi/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">published positive results</a> last September from phase III clinical trials of a vaccine using a different approach for advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Its vaccine, Tedopi, is scheduled to start <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ose-immunotherapeutics-receives-8-4-160000694.html?guccounter=1&amp;guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&amp;guce_referrer_sig=AQAAADAX7Kqu7RTAEowvwOw2f-2cJ7SJ4uLpvjH-3tXzGtifqidaZfPs4eHLz23UqqjHDPjbVE1Vwel5qIKzKbmWvPLfLQzzH_PvKJAMsqTHuz8p5nPoR39RbIToLShEUG53eOeDFg6pWlRc2JPqrX7sGnc3ByO9FFfqXQYpZ4FZ-jgr" target="_blank" rel="noopener">confirmatory trials</a> – which are the last step before regulatory approval – later this year and may be available by 2027.</p> <p>Vaccines for pancreatic cancer being developed by BioNTech and Genentech, and for colon cancer by Gritstone, are also showing promising results in the early phases of clinical trials. Like the vaccines being developed by Moderna and Merck, these too are individualised neoantigen therapies based on messenger RNA (mRNA).</p> <p>There is another kind of RNA therapy also under development that uses small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA). Since 2018, six siRNA-based therapies have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of neural, skin, heart and renal diseases. Several more siRNA drugs are at various clinical trial stages for different types of cancer and a diverse range of other diseases.</p> <p>Within cells, there are two kinds of nucleic acid molecules that contain coded information vital to life: DNA and RNA. While DNA contains genetic information, mRNA — one among the different types of RNA — carries the codes for the proteins. In addition, there are also non-coding RNA, some of which are functionally important. siRNA and miRNA are examples of such non-coding RNA.</p> <p>The RNA vaccine for an individualised neoantigen therapy is a cocktail of mRNA carrying the codes for neoantigens — the mutated fingerprint proteins in cancerous cells. For the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41591-023-00072-0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Moderna-Merck study</a>, scientists identified 34 neoantigens per patient. They delivered the corresponding mRNA vaccine cocktail packed in lipid nanoparticles, just like the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.</p> <p>When the vaccine is delivered after removing the tumour, it trains the immune system to recognise neoantigens and fight back against the cancer returning. Usually, the body’s natural immune system corrects mutations and prevents us from having cancers. However, in some cases this natural immune response is insufficient, leading to tumour growth. In individualised neoantigen therapy, these mutations in the tumour cells are used for vaccine development and for training the immune system to fight back against relapse after removal of the tumour.</p> <p>Recent advances in artificial intelligence are helping identify potential neoantigens and manage personalised therapies. Firstly, gene sequencing of tumours and normal blood cells of a patient and their comparison produces a huge amount of data. AI is used to find the genetic mutations of the patient’s cancer in such ‘big data’. Moreover, individualised therapy requires timely production and delivery of vaccines that are different for each patient. AI is also useful in the management of such data.</p> <p>The individualised nature of the treatment is probably why it has been <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41591-023-00072-0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">more effective in trials</a> than previous, unsuccessful RNA vaccine candidates. However, this personalisation is also likely to raise challenges for the timely and cost-effective delivery of treatment to populations around the world.</p> <p>The siRNA and miRNA treatments work in a way opposite to mRNA. While each mRNA in a vaccine carries the code for producing a protein from a pathogen (antigen) or tumour (neoantigen) to train our immune systems against future attacks by the pathogen or tumour, siRNA directly targets the mRNA of the antigen or neoantigen and terminates the production of the protein it codes. Thus, the effect of a siRNA is more direct and immediate (like a drug), rather than a protection against future attacks (like a vaccine).</p> <p>Discovered at the turn of this millennium, siRNA-based therapeutics attracted immediate attention, but their initial success was limited due to their inherent low stability, difficulties in delivering them to desired locations, and rapid clearance from the bloodstream. However, in recent years, siRNA therapies have been boosted through chemical modifications that have increased their stability and ability to be delivered to specific locations such as tumours, and improved delivery systems such as lipid nanoparticle encasings.</p> <p>These improvements led to recent successes in FDA approvals of siRNA-based therapies and further <a href="https://www.rockefeller.edu/news/35461-a-new-way-to-target-the-culprit-behind-a-deadly-liver-cancer/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">promising reports of advances</a> in the treatment of diseases including a type of liver cancer.</p> <p><em>Research scientist </em><em><strong>Dr Bidyut Sarkar</strong></em><em> is the DBT-Wellcome Trust India Alliance Intermediate Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Shiv Nadar Institute of Eminence, Delhi NCR, India.</em></p> <p><em>Originally published under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Creative Commons</a> by <a href="https://360info.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">360info</a>™.</em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <div> <p align="center"><noscript data-spai="1"><em><img decoding="async" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-198773" src="https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/spai/q_lossy+ret_img+to_auto/cosmosmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/MICROSCOPIC-TO-TELESCOPIC__Embed-graphic-720x360-1.jpg" data-spai-egr="1" width="600" alt="Buy cosmos print magazine" title="the growing promise of cancer vaccines 2"></em></noscript></p> </div> <p><em><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=304875&amp;title=The+growing+promise+of+cancer+vaccines" width="1" height="1" loading="lazy" aria-label="Syndication Tracker" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/the-body/the-growing-promise-of-cancer-vaccines/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/360info-2/">360info</a>. Originally published under Creative Commons by 360info™.</em></p> </div>

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Kate Middleton's positive cancer update

<p>More than two months after Kate Middleton shared the news of her cancer diagnosis with the world, a source close to the royals has issued a positive update on her condition. </p> <p>Vanity Fair’s royal correspondent Katie Nicholl, who has well connected sources inside Buckingham Palace, shared that the Princess of Wales has "turned a corner", as she continues treatment for the disease.</p> <p>“It has been a great relief that she is tolerating the medication and is actually doing a lot better,” a family friend of Kate’s told <a href="https://www.vanityfair.com/style/story/kate-middleton-update" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Vanity Fair</em></a>. </p> <p>“It has, of course, been a very challenging and worrying time. Everyone has rallied around her—William, her parents, and her sister and brother.”</p> <p>While undergoing treatment, the Princess has been at home in Sandringham Castle, although recent reports claim Kate has been well enough to be out and about with her children while they are on school holidays.</p> <p>Despite the positive news about her condition, sources inside the Palace shared that Kate's number one priority is still her health, and will not be returning to royal duties for the foreseeable future. </p> <p>According to Nicholl, Kate “is in no hurry to return to work, with her focus being entirely on her recovery.”</p> <p>A well-placed source told her, “There is no timeline, and there is certainly no hurry. It will be when Catherine feels ready and when she gets the greenlight from her medical team. But she will 100 per cent be coming back to work, of that there is no question.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Supplied</em></p>

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"Family unity is key": Sarah Ferguson gives cancer update

<p>Sarah Ferguson has shared an update on her cancer journey during her appearance at the Cannes Film Festival. </p> <p>The Duchess of York was diagnosed with <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/fergie-reveals-second-cancer-diagnosis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">skin cancer</a> in January, not long after getting a mastectomy for her breast cancer, which she was diagnosed with in June 2023. </p> <p>When asked about her health, the royal told <em>People</em>: "This evening I am doing very well. I think that we've managed to get cancer in the right place rather than cancer ruling me. I've put cancer in the corner." </p> <p>Speaking on the amfAR Gala red carpet, the 64-year-old added that it was important to be aware and get checked for both breast cancer and melanoma. </p> <p>“I think you always have to be aware. I think it’s great to get checked for breast cancer [and] melanoma. I think you just have to be very candid about it," she told the publication. </p> <p>“I think a lot of people get very frightened to talk about these things. I’m very happy with my mastectomy and my breasts and just to talk about it.”</p> <p>Her diagnosis coincided with both her brother-in-law King Charles, and Princess Catherine's cancer diagnoses, although both of them have not disclosed what types of cancer they have. </p> <p>She praised the royal family for their "unity" during these difficult times and how she has been able to offer support to Charles and Catherine. </p> <p>"I think family unity is key… I think the key to life is that we all support each other," she said. </p> <p>"And also forgiveness is a great thing. I think forgiveness of yourself, and forgiveness of others." </p> <p>Earlier this month, the duchess' eldest daughter Princess Beatrice spoke about her mother's health in her debut TV interview on <em>This Morning</em>. </p> <p>"She’s such a phenomenal icon. As a mum she’s been amazing," she said, adding that despite going through so much in the last year, she felt inspired by her mum's resilience and sense of purpose. </p> <p>“She’s doing really well. She had a bumpy health scare last year but she’s all clear now. But I think at 64, she’s thriving. She’s been through so much, but now she’s coming into her own.</p> <p>“We are just reminded when any parent or individual has a health scenario, you really need to get the checks you need as early as you possibly can.”</p> <p><em>Image: DGP/imageSPACE/ Shutterstock editorial</em></p> <p> </p>

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Exercise, therapy and diet can all improve life during cancer treatment and boost survival. Here’s how

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rob-newton-12124">Rob Newton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p>With so many high-profile people <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/mar/23/cancer-charities-princess-of-wales-speaking-about-diagnosis">diagnosed with cancer</a> we are confronted with the stark reality the disease can strike any of us at any time. There are also reports certain cancers are <a href="https://www.cancer.org/research/acs-research-news/facts-and-figures-2024.html">increasing among younger people</a> in their 30s and 40s.</p> <p>On the positive side, medical treatments for cancer are advancing very rapidly. Survival rates are <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3322/caac.21763">improving greatly</a> and some cancers are now being managed more as <a href="https://www.cancer.org/cancer/survivorship/long-term-health-concerns/cancer-as-a-chronic-illness.html">long-term chronic diseases</a> rather than illnesses that will rapidly claim a patient’s life.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.cancer.org/cancer/managing-cancer/treatment-types.html">mainstays of cancer treatment</a> remain surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and hormone therapy. But there are other treatments and strategies – “adjunct” or supportive cancer care – that can have a powerful impact on a patient’s quality of life, survival and experience during cancer treatment.</p> <h2>Keep moving if you can</h2> <p>Physical exercise is now recognised as a <a href="https://www.exerciseismedicine.org/">medicine</a>. It can be tailored to the patient and their health issues to stimulate the body and build an internal environment where <a href="https://wchh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/tre.884">cancer is less likely to flourish</a>. It does this in a number of ways.</p> <p>Exercise provides a strong stimulus to our immune system, increasing the number of cancer-fighting immune cells in our blood circulation and infusing these into the tumour tissue <a href="https://jitc.bmj.com/content/9/7/e001872">to identify and kill cancer cells</a>.</p> <p>Our skeletal muscles (those attached to bone for movement) release signalling molecules called <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7288608/">myokines</a>. The larger the muscle mass, the more myokines are released – even when a person is at rest. However, during and immediately after bouts of exercise, a further surge of myokines is secreted into the bloodstream. Myokines attach to immune cells, stimulating them to be better “hunter-killers”. Myokines also signal directly to cancer cells <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254623001175">slowing their growth and causing cell death</a>.</p> <p>Exercise can also greatly <a href="https://wchh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/tre.884">reduce the side effects of cancer treatment</a> such as fatigue, muscle and bone loss, and fat gain. And it reduces the risk of <a href="https://doi.org/10.2337/diacare.27.7.1812">developing other chronic diseases</a> such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Exercise can maintain or improve quality of life and mental health <a href="https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tbj/2022/9921575/">for patients with cancer</a>.</p> <p>Emerging research evidence indicates exercise might increase the effectiveness of mainstream treatments such as <a href="https://aacrjournals.org/cancerres/article/81/19/4889/670308/Effects-of-Exercise-on-Cancer-Treatment-Efficacy-A">chemotherapy</a> and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41391-020-0245-z">radiation therapy</a>. Exercise is certainly essential for preparing the patient for any surgery to increase cardio-respiratory fitness, reduce systemic inflammation, and increase muscle mass, strength and physical function, and then <a href="https://www.jsams.org/article/S1440-2440(18)31270-2/fulltext">rehabilitating them after surgery</a>.</p> <p>These mechanisms explain why cancer patients who are physically active have much <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/fulltext/2019/06000/physical_activity_in_cancer_prevention_and.20.aspx">better survival outcomes</a> with the relative risk of death from cancer <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/fulltext/2019/06000/physical_activity_in_cancer_prevention_and.20.aspx">reduced by as much as 40–50%</a>.</p> <h2>Mental health helps</h2> <p>The second “tool” which has a major role in cancer management is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6016045/">psycho-oncology</a>. It involves the psychological, social, behavioural and emotional aspects of cancer for not only the patient but also their carers and family. The aim is to maintain or improve quality of life and mental health aspects such as emotional distress, anxiety, depression, sexual health, coping strategies, personal identity and relationships.</p> <p>Supporting quality of life and happiness is important on their own, but these barometers <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1349880/full">can also impact</a> a patient’s physical health, response to exercise medicine, resilience to disease and to treatments.</p> <p>If a patient is highly distressed or anxious, their body can enter a flight or fight response. This creates an internal environment that is actually supportive of cancer progression <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/feelings/stress-fact-sheet">through hormonal and inflammatory mechanisms</a>. So it’s essential their mental health is supported.</p> <h2>Putting the good things in: diet</h2> <p>A third therapy in the supportive cancer care toolbox is diet. A healthy diet <a href="https://www.cancer.org/cancer/survivorship/coping/nutrition/benefits.html">can support the body</a> to fight cancer and help it tolerate and recover from medical or surgical treatments.</p> <p>Inflammation provides a more fertile environment <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2022/reducing-inflammation-to-treat-cancer">for cancer cells</a>. If a patient is overweight with excessive fat tissue then a diet to reduce fat which is also anti-inflammatory can be very helpful. This <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2021.709435/full">generally means</a> avoiding processed foods and eating predominantly fresh food, locally sourced and mostly plant based.</p> <p>Muscle loss is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/rco2.56">a side effect of all cancer treatments</a>. Resistance training exercise can help but people may need protein supplements or diet changes to make sure they get enough protein to build muscle. Older age and cancer treatments may reduce both the intake of protein and compromise absorption so <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261561421005422">supplementation may be indicated</a>.</p> <p>Depending on the cancer and treatment, some patients may require highly specialised diet therapy. Some cancers such as pancreatic, stomach, esophageal, and lung cancer can cause rapid and uncontrolled drops in body weight. This is called <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8233663/">cachexia and needs careful management</a>.</p> <p>Other cancers and treatments such as hormone therapy can cause rapid weight gain. This also needs careful monitoring and guidance so that, when a patient is clear of cancer, they are not left with higher risks of other health problems such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions that boost your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes).</p> <h2>Working as a team</h2> <p>These are three of the most powerful tools in the supportive care toolbox for people with cancer. None of them are “cures” for cancer, alone or together. But they can work in tandem with medical treatments to greatly improve outcomes for patients.</p> <p>If you or someone you care about has cancer, national and state cancer councils and cancer-specific organisations can provide support.</p> <p>For exercise medicine support it is best to consult with an <a href="https://www.essa.org.au/Public/Public/Consumer_Information/What_is_an_Accredited_Exercise_Physiologist_.aspx">accredited exercise physiologist</a>, for diet therapy an <a href="https://dietitiansaustralia.org.au/working-dietetics/standards-and-scope/role-accredited-practising-dietitian">accredited practising dietitian</a> and mental health support with a <a href="https://psychology.org.au/psychology/about-psychology/what-is-psychology">registered psychologist</a>. Some of these services are supported through Medicare on referral from a general practitioner.</p> <hr /> <p><em>For free and confidential cancer support call the <a href="https://www.cancer.org.au/support-and-services/cancer-council-13-11-20">Cancer Council</a> on 13 11 20.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226720/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rob-newton-12124">Rob Newton</a>, Professor of Exercise Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/exercise-therapy-and-diet-can-all-improve-life-during-cancer-treatment-and-boost-survival-heres-how-226720">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Seinfeld star's worrying health update

<p><em>Seinfeld</em> star Michael Richards has revealed his secret battle with prostate cancer in 2018, and how he only survived after making the decision to undergo surgery. </p> <p>Richards, who played the ever-eccentric Cosmo Kramer in the 1990s sitcom, received the stage one diagnosis after a routine check-up showed he had elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.</p> <p>He opened up about the diagnosis to <em>People</em> magazine, saying, “I thought, ‘Well, this is my time. I’m ready to go’.”</p> <p>“But then my son came to mind just a few seconds later, and I heard myself saying, ‘I’ve got a nine-year-old, and I’d like to be around for him. Is there any way I can get a little more life going?’”</p> <p>Richards’ doctor recommended removing the comedian’s entire prostate because the biopsy “didn’t look good”, as Richards explained it "had to be contained quickly”.</p> <p>“I had to go for the full surgery. If I hadn’t, I probably would have been dead in about eight months,” the 74-year-old said. </p> <p>After facing the difficult health battle, Richards felt inspired to write his forthcoming memoir, Entrances and Exits, using a collection of diaries he had kept over the years.</p> <p>“I had over 40 journals I’d kept over the years and wanted to do a full review of my life. I’m turning 75, so maybe wanting to do that is something that comes with being my age. I wanted to connect with feelings and memory,” he told the publication. </p> <p>“I’m surprised at how much I was able to remember.”</p> <p><em>Greg Grudt/UPI/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

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If I’m diagnosed with one cancer, am I likely to get another?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sarah-diepstraten-1495268">Sarah Diepstraten</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/walter-and-eliza-hall-institute-822">Walter and Eliza Hall Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/terry-boyle-1521638">Terry Boyle</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Receiving a cancer diagnosis is life-changing and can cause a range of concerns about ongoing health.</p> <p>Fear of cancer returning is one of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9321869/">top health concerns</a>. And <a href="https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/cancer-information/living-well/after-cancer-treatment/fear-of-the-cancer-returning/managing-fear-of-recurrence/">managing this fear</a> is an important part of cancer treatment.</p> <p>But how likely is it to get cancer for a second time?</p> <h2>Why can cancer return?</h2> <p>While initial cancer treatment may seem successful, sometimes a few cancer cells remain dormant. Over time, these cancer cells can grow again and may start to cause symptoms.</p> <p>This is known as cancer recurrence: when a cancer returns after a period of remission. This period could be days, months or even years. The new cancer is the same type as the original cancer, but can sometimes grow in a new location through a process called <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-does-cancer-spread-to-other-parts-of-the-body-219616">metastasis</a>.</p> <p>Actor Hugh Jackman has gone public about his <a href="https://www.skincancer.org/blog/is-basal-cell-carcinoma-serious/">multiple diagnoses</a> of basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer) over the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65158945">past decade</a>.</p> <p>The exact reason why cancer returns differs depending on the cancer type and the treatment received. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8486871/">Research</a> is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cam4.3408">ongoing</a> to identify genes associated with cancers returning. This may eventually allow doctors to tailor treatments for high-risk people.</p> <h2>What are the chances of cancer returning?</h2> <p>The risk of cancer returning differs between cancers, and between <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8019423/">sub-types</a> of the same cancer.</p> <p>New screening and treatment options have seen reductions in recurrence rates for many types of cancer. For example, between 2004 and 2019, the risk of colon cancer recurring dropped by <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2812113">31-68%</a>. It is important to remember that only someone’s treatment team can assess an individual’s personal risk of cancer returning.</p> <p>For most types of cancer, the highest risk of cancer returning is within the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31231898/">first three years</a> after entering remission. This is because any leftover cancer cells not killed by treatment are likely to start growing again sooner rather than later. Three years after entering remission, recurrence rates for most cancers decrease, meaning that every day that passes lowers the risk of the cancer returning.</p> <p>Every day that passes also increases the numbers of new discoveries, and cancer drugs being developed.</p> <h2>What about second, unrelated cancers?</h2> <p>Earlier this year, we learned Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer) <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-68047608">shortly after</a> being treated for breast cancer.</p> <p>Although details have not been confirmed, this is likely a new cancer that isn’t a recurrence or metastasis of the first one.</p> <p>Australian research from <a href="https://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2407-11-83">Queensland</a> and <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cncr.31247">Tasmania</a> shows adults who have had cancer have around a 6-36% higher risk of developing a second primary cancer compared to the risk of cancer in the general population.</p> <h2>Who’s at risk of another, unrelated cancer?</h2> <p>With improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment, people diagnosed with cancer are living longer than ever. This means they need to consider their long-term health, including their risk of developing another unrelated cancer.</p> <p>Reasons for such cancers <a href="https://www.cancer.net/survivorship/what-second-cancer">include</a> different types of cancers sharing the same kind of lifestyle, environmental and genetic risk factors.</p> <p>The increased risk is also likely partly due to the effects that some cancer treatments and imaging procedures have on the body. However, this increased risk is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6435077/">relatively small</a> when compared with the (sometimes lifesaving) benefits of these treatment and procedures.</p> <p>While a 6-36% greater chance of getting a second, unrelated cancer may seem large, only around 10-12% of participants developed a second cancer in the Australian studies we mentioned. Both had a median follow-up time of around five years.</p> <p>Similarly, in a <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cncr.30164">large US study</a> only about one in 12 adult cancer patients developed a second type of cancer in the follow-up period (an average of seven years).</p> <p>The kind of first cancer you had also affects your risk of a second, unrelated cancer, as well as the type of second cancer you are at risk of. For example, in the two Australian studies we mentioned, the risk of a second cancer was greater for people with an initial diagnosis of head and neck cancer, or a haematological (blood) cancer.</p> <p>People diagnosed with cancer as a <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2020/212/3/second-primary-cancers-people-who-had-cancer-children-australian-childhood">child</a>, <a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jayao.2022.0074">adolescent or young adult</a> also have a greater risk of a second, unrelated cancer.</p> <h2>What can I do to lower my risk?</h2> <p>Regular follow-up examinations can give peace of mind, and ensure any subsequent cancer is caught early, when there’s the best chance of successful treatment.</p> <p><a href="https://www.lymphoma.org.au/lymphoma/treatments/maintenance-therapy/">Maintenance therapy</a> may be used to reduce the risk of some types of cancer returning. However, despite ongoing <a href="https://febs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/febs.15626">research</a>, there are no <em>specific</em> treatments against cancer recurrence or developing a second, unrelated cancer.</p> <p>But there are things you can do to help lower your general risk of cancer – not smoking, being physically active, eating well, maintaining a healthy body weight, limiting alcohol intake and being sun safe. These all reduce the chance of <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21719">cancer returning</a> and <a href="https://www.cancer.net/survivorship/what-second-cancer">getting a second cancer</a>.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226386/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sarah-diepstraten-1495268">Sarah Diepstraten</a>, Senior Research Officer, Blood Cells and Blood Cancer Division, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/walter-and-eliza-hall-institute-822">Walter and Eliza Hall Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/terry-boyle-1521638">Terry Boyle</a>, Senior Lecturer in Cancer Epidemiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-im-diagnosed-with-one-cancer-am-i-likely-to-get-another-226386">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Doctor beats cancer using his own treatment

<p>Australian doctor Richard Scolyer has been declared cancer free, thanks to a first-of-its-kind treatment he helped to develop.</p> <p>The 56-year-old professor, who has been recognised around for the world for his pioneering melanoma research, was diagnosed with aglioblastoma, a terminal kind of brain tumour, after suffering a seizure last June.</p> <p>After receiving his devastating diagnosis, the doctor agreed to be a "guinea pig" to undergo a world-first cancer treatment that he had a hand in developing. </p> <p>Now the world-leading pathologist and Australian of the Year has given a remarkable update, stating he is cancer free.</p> <p>“I had brain #MRI scan last Thursday looking for recurrent #glioblastoma (&/or treatment complications). I found out yesterday that there is still no sign of recurrence. I couldn’t be happier!!!!!” the professor shared on X, formerly known as Twitter.</p> <p>Before Dr Scolyer was diagnosed with cancer, he was fit and active, and had been hiking mountains in Poland with his wife.</p> <p>“I felt normal. I didn’t have any symptoms at all,” he told <em>A Current Affair</em> earlier this year.</p> <p>Just days after, he suffered a devastating seizure, and when he returned to Australia, underwent a series of tests which resulted in a diagnosis with glioblastoma – an aggressive and terminal form of brain cancer that would give him a average of 14 months to live. </p> <p>Teaming up with his friend and medical oncologist Georgina Long, Scolyer decided to undergo the new treatment, which came with a long list of risks. </p> <p>“No one knew what it was going to do, people were nervous because it could actually cause my life to end more quickly. But when you’re faced with certain death, it’s a no-brainer for me,” said Professor Scolyer, who also hoped the treatment would make a difference for other cancer patients.</p> <p>Dr Scolyer also underwent surgery to remove as much of his tumour as possible, and in April, he updated his social media followers to share that10 months after his diagnosis, his tumour had not returned. </p> <p>Speaking to ABC’s <em>Australian Story</em> at the time, Professor Scolyer said he was “blown away” by the results.</p> <p>“This is not what I expected. The average time to recurrence for the nasty type of brain cancer I’ve got is six months. So, to be out this far is amazing,” he said. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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"I love you all": Social media star announces her own death

<p>Social media star Kimberley Nix has passed away at the age of 31 after a gruelling battle with cancer, and has announced the news of her own death to her dedicated followers. </p> <p>The TikTok star, who has amassed a following of 143,000 people as she documented her cancer journey, spoke candidly in a pre-filmed video that was posted to her page, letting her followers know that her "journey here is over". </p> <p>Kimberley, who was also a doctor in training, told her fans that if they were seeing the heartbreaking clip, that she had "passed", before sharing that they had made her "so happy".</p> <p>She captioned the viral video, which has so far amassed more than 5.1 million views, "My journey here is over and I can't thank each and every one of you enough. You have all made me so happy and your comments and support are more than enough to have gotten anyone through anything!"</p> <p>"If you wish, please donate through my link in bio to sarcoma cancer research and follow my husband [Michael MacIsaac] in his updates."</p> <p>At the beginning of the clip, Kimberley said, "Hello followers, if you're seeing this clip, I have passed away peacefully. "</p> <p>Holding back tears, she said that she had a "very beautiful life" that she was "so proud" of. </p> <p>"Those who know me, know I love my pets, my husband, and makeup. And though being a doctor is a big part of my identity, those are the things that matter," she said during the heartbreaking clip.</p> <p>Kim went on to note that in 2021 she got the "opportunity to start making TikTok videos", admitting that she "never thought anything would come of it".</p> <p>"I shared about love, joy, and gratitude because in this journey, I was grateful for the people and the little moments."</p> <p>"Those little parts of your day, like that warm first sip of tea in the morning or how it feels when snow is fresh on your face, those are the most beautiful [moments]."</p> <p>At the end of the clip, she thanked her followers for helping her and said that they meant the world to her. </p> <p>"I can't thank you enough, I will miss you TikTok. I love you all. Thank you for this amazing opportunity, I am in happy tears because I have found so much purpose in the end of my life," she said.</p> <p>"Thank you from the bottom of my heart, goodbye."</p> <p>Kimberley was diagnosed with metastatic sarcoma, which is known as cell cancer, at just 28 years old, and she was finishing up her final year of her internal medicine core residency when she got the diagnosis. </p> <p>She is survived by her husband Michael, who she married in February. </p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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Paris in spring, Bali in winter. How ‘bucket lists’ help cancer patients handle life and death

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leah-williams-veazey-1223970">Leah Williams Veazey</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-broom-121063">Alex Broom</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-kenny-318175">Katherine Kenny</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>In the 2007 film <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0825232/">The Bucket List</a> Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play two main characters who respond to their terminal cancer diagnoses by rejecting experimental treatment. Instead, they go on a range of energetic, overseas escapades.</p> <p>Since then, the term “bucket list” – a list of experiences or achievements to complete before you “kick the bucket” or die – has become common.</p> <p>You can read articles listing <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/11/cities-to-visit-before-you-die-according-to-50-travel-experts-and-only-one-is-in-the-us.html">the seven cities</a> you must visit before you die or <a href="https://www.qantas.com/travelinsider/en/trending/top-100-guide/best-things-to-do-and-see-in-australia-travel-bucket-list.html">the 100</a> Australian bucket-list travel experiences.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UvdTpywTmQg?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>But there is a more serious side to the idea behind bucket lists. One of the key forms of suffering at the end of life <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pon.4821">is regret</a> for things left unsaid or undone. So bucket lists can serve as a form of insurance against this potential regret.</p> <p>The bucket-list search for adventure, memories and meaning takes on a life of its own with a diagnosis of life-limiting illness.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/14407833241251496">study</a> published this week, we spoke to 54 people living with cancer, and 28 of their friends and family. For many, a key bucket list item was travel.</p> <h2>Why is travel so important?</h2> <p>There are lots of reasons why travel plays such a central role in our ideas about a “life well-lived”. Travel is often linked to important <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2003.10.005">life transitions</a>: the youthful gap year, the journey to self-discovery in the 2010 film <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0879870/">Eat Pray Love</a>, or the popular figure of the “<a href="https://theconversation.com/grey-nomad-lifestyle-provides-a-model-for-living-remotely-106074">grey nomad</a>”.</p> <p>The significance of travel is not merely in the destination, nor even in the journey. For many people, planning the travel is just as important. A cancer diagnosis affects people’s sense of control over their future, throwing into question their ability to write their own life story or plan their travel dreams.</p> <p>Mark, the recently retired husband of a woman with cancer, told us about their stalled travel plans: "We’re just in that part of our lives where we were going to jump in the caravan and do the big trip and all this sort of thing, and now [our plans are] on blocks in the shed."</p> <p>For others, a cancer diagnosis brought an urgent need to “tick things off” their bucket list. Asha, a woman living with breast cancer, told us she’d always been driven to “get things done” but the cancer diagnosis made this worse: "So, I had to do all the travel, I had to empty my bucket list now, which has kind of driven my partner round the bend."</p> <p>People’s travel dreams ranged from whale watching in Queensland to seeing polar bears in the Arctic, and from driving a caravan across the Nullarbor Plain to skiing in Switzerland.</p> <p>Nadia, who was 38 years old when we spoke to her, said travelling with her family had made important memories and given her a sense of vitality, despite her health struggles. She told us how being diagnosed with cancer had given her the chance to live her life at a younger age, rather than waiting for retirement: "In the last three years, I think I’ve lived more than a lot of 80-year-olds."</p> <h2>But travel is expensive</h2> <p>Of course, travel is expensive. It’s not by chance Nicholson’s character in The Bucket List is a billionaire.</p> <p>Some people we spoke to had emptied their savings, assuming they would no longer need to provide for aged care or retirement. Others had used insurance payouts or charity to make their bucket-list dreams come true.</p> <p>But not everyone can do this. Jim, a 60-year-old whose wife had been diagnosed with cancer, told us: "We’ve actually bought a new car and [been] talking about getting a new caravan […] But I’ve got to work. It’d be nice if there was a little money tree out the back but never mind."</p> <p>Not everyone’s bucket list items were expensive. Some chose to spend more time with loved ones, take up a new hobby or get a pet.</p> <p>Our study showed making plans to tick items off a list can give people a sense of self-determination and hope for the future. It was a way of exerting control in the face of an illness that can leave people feeling powerless. Asha said: "This disease is not going to control me. I am not going to sit still and do nothing. I want to go travel."</p> <h2>Something we ‘ought’ to do?</h2> <p>Bucket lists are also a symptom of a broader culture that emphasises conspicuous <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH_Pa1hOEVc">consumption</a> and <a href="https://productiveageinginstitute.org.au/">productivity</a>, even into the end of life.</p> <p>Indeed, people told us travelling could be exhausting, expensive and stressful, especially when they’re also living with the symptoms and side effects of treatment. Nevertheless, they felt travel was something they “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/14461242.2021.1918016">ought</a>” to do.</p> <p>Travel can be deeply meaningful, as our study found. But a life well-lived need not be extravagant or adventurous. Finding what is meaningful is a deeply personal journey.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Names of study participants mentioned in this article are pseudonyms.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225682/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leah-williams-veazey-1223970">Leah Williams Veazey</a>, ARC DECRA Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-broom-121063">Alex Broom</a>, Professor of Sociology &amp; Director, Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-kenny-318175">Katherine Kenny</a>, ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/paris-in-spring-bali-in-winter-how-bucket-lists-help-cancer-patients-handle-life-and-death-225682">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Qantas apologises after rejecting cancer patient's refund request

<p>Qantas has issued an apology for rejecting a cancer patient's refund request after his case allegedly did not qualify based on “compassionate reasons”. </p> <p>Neil Ross, 62, decided to book a holiday to Cairns with his wife for a couple of weeks, but two weeks later he was diagnosed with face cancer. </p> <p>“It hit me like a rock,” Mr Ross told <em>news.com.au</em>.</p> <p>“I wasn’t in the life of me, expecting that news.”</p> <p>The Brisbane local was initially told he had Bells Palsy, but was later diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo a 13-hour operation to remove the tumour, causing the right side of his face to be significantly disfigured. </p> <p>He underwent radiation almost every day for six weeks saying it “knocked him to no end”.</p> <p>“I was very thankful that my wife had helped me and still is helping me to get through this.”</p> <p>Ross is yet to be given the all-clear and is still undergoing treatments, including rehab following the loss of muscle mass. </p> <p>He will also undergo plastic surgery to reconstruct the right side of his face.</p> <p>“I had notified Flight Centre that I needed to cancel my flight due to finding out that I had cancer and that l needed treatment urgently,” he said. </p> <p>“As I said to the girl at Flight Centre – ‘look at my face, do you think I want to get a refund for the hell of it? I rather be healthy and go on holiday.”</p> <p>Ross said that the airline issued him a credit note until April 22 of this year, but with his current circumstances, he was unable to travel before that date and applied for a full refund. </p> <p>He also claims that despite sending two medical certificates - the first which stated that Ross was unfit to fly for 12 months, and the second which included detailed information about his condition -  it “did not meet requirements on compassion”.</p> <p>“I thought ‘what the hell, what more can I do?’ This has done nothing but cause me a great deal of stress that I don’t need,"  he said. </p> <p>Ross submitted two different refund requests, one on March 20, which was rejected on the fourth of April, and another on April 9 which was rejected two weeks later. </p> <p>The email from a Flight Centre representative reportedly said: "They have advised that ‘the attached medical certificate does not fit into the GF guidelines for a refund due to compassionate reasons’." </p> <p>According to <em>news.com.au</em>,  Qantas has since contacted Ross and issued a refund, after an error was made in processing the supplementary material, by not connecting it to the earlier application.</p> <p>“We apologise to Mr Ross for this experience and have let him know we’re processing a refund for him.”</p> <p>They have also reportedly apologised for any distress they may have caused and are investigating how the error occurred so that it doesn't happen again. </p> <p><em>Images: news.com.au/ Getty</em></p>

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King Charles returns to public duties for the first time since diagnosis

<p>King Charles has made his first official public appearance since being diagnosed with cancer in February. </p> <p>In a symbolic appearance on Tuesday morning, the royal visited the Macmillan Cancer Centre at the University College Hospital donning a navy pinstripe suit with a light blue shirt and a pink dinosaur tie.</p> <p>The monarch was joined by his wife, Queen Camilla, with the couple sporting huge smiles as they waved to the crowd outside of the London hospital. </p> <p>The royal couple met with clinicians, patients and families of patients during the visit, and when asked by one patient how his treatment was going, Charles replied: "I'm alright, thank you".</p> <p>In one photo Charles can be seen tenderly placing his hand on the arms of a patient as he spoke with them. </p> <p>One patient discussed her chemotherapy with Charles, who who told her: “I’ve got to have my treatment this afternoon as well,” according to the <em>Mirror</em>.</p> <p>He also shared his reaction to finding out about his diagnosis for the first time, telling one patient: “It’s always a bit of a shock, isn’t it, when they tell you?”</p> <p>The King's hospital visit comes just days after the Palace released a statement confirming that he was showing progress with his treatment and would be resuming official duties. </p> <p>“His Majesty The King will shortly return to public-facing duties after a period of treatment and recuperation following his recent cancer diagnosis,”  it read, before announcing the visit to the cancer centre. </p> <p>“This visit will be the first in a number of external engagements His Majesty will undertake in the weeks ahead.”</p> <p>Despite this, his upcoming summer schedule would not be a full one, with events like the King's Birthday parade, known as Trooping the Colour, and the Royal Ascot, being undertaken on a case-by-case basis. </p> <p>He also plans to host the Emperor and Empress of Japan in late June. </p> <p>“As the first anniversary of the Coronation approaches, Their Majesties remain deeply grateful for the many kindnesses and good wishes they have received from around the world throughout the joys and challenges of the past year,” the statement concluded. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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How niggling hip pain led a squash coach to life-saving cancer diagnosis

<p>Melbourne squash coach and player Malcolm McClarty had been experiencing frequent pain in his right hip area for about 12 months before he mentioned it to one of his clients, a top medical oncologist, in October last year.</p> <p>The 63-year-old father-of-three coaches Professor Niall Tebbutt at the Kooyong Lawn and Tennis Club in Melbourne. </p> <p>Despite having lost his younger sister to pancreatic cancer just months earlier, Malcolm had been brushing off the pain, thinking it was a niggling sporting injury. </p> <p>Now Malcolm credits Niall, who ordered a prostate-specific antigen test (PSA), with saving his life. </p> <p>Malcolm also coaches Weranja Ranasinghe, a urologist with the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ), who has been his ‘unofficial second opinion’ throughout the journey. </p> <p>Associate Professor Ranasinghe says Malcolm’s diagnosis comes as the newly-released Lancet Commission on Prostate Cancer predicts cases worldwide will double from 1.4 million to 2.9 million by 2040. </p> <p>The USANZ says although the findings are alarming, Australia is well-placed to manage the spike thanks to availability of advanced diagnostic tools, improvements in treatments and quality control registries, but it needs to be coupled with more awareness. </p> <p>“Australia is better placed than many other nations to deal with a sharp spike in prostate cancer cases, but the urgent review of guidelines can’t come soon enough,” says Associate Professor Ranasinghe.</p> <p>“Prostate cancer is not commonly understood or spoken about, particularly amongst high-risk younger men, leaving too many in the dark about their cancer risk and that can be deadly,” he added. </p> <p>“Prostate cancer is already a major cause of death and disability, and the most common form of male cancer in more than 100 countries,” says Associate Professor Ranasinghe. “It’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia with over 25,000 new cases every year, and more than 11 deaths a day.”</p> <p>Malcolm was devastated to learn his cancer was aggressive Stage Four and had spread to three spots in the pelvic bone. He also experienced other symptoms including frequent and weak-flow urinating at night. </p> <p>He will begin radiotherapy, with chemotherapy on the cards as well. But his attitude is positive; he’s hoping to live for another six to 10 years. </p> <p>Malcolm’s message for other men is simple: if you’re 50 or older, get tested for prostate cancer now. He warns waiting can lead to complex and limited treatment options. </p> <p><strong>Five Risk Factors For Prostate Cancer</strong></p> <p><strong>1.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Age</strong> - the chance of developing prostate cancer increases with age.</p> <p><strong>2.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Family history</strong> - if you have a first-degree male relative who developed prostate cancer, like a brother or father, your risk is higher than someone without such family history.</p> <p><strong>3.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Genetics</strong> - while prostate cancer can’t be inherited, a man can inherit certain genes that increase the risk.</p> <p><strong>4.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Diet</strong> - some evidence suggests that a diet high in processed meat, or foods high in fat can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.</p> <p><strong>5.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Lifestyle</strong> - environment and lifestyle can also impact your risk, e.g. a sedentary lifestyle or being exposed to chemicals. </p> <p>For more information, visit <a href="https://www.usanz.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.usanz.org.au/</a></p>

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Cancer survivor slapped with $15,000 water bill

<p>An Aussie man has been slapped with a $15,645.86 water bill after the <span style="font-family: Inter, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; letter-spacing: -0.16px; background-color: #ffffff;">Goulburn Mulwaree Council </span>claimed he had used more than 35,000 litres a day over 104 days. </p> <p>Anthony, who lives on his own in the Southern Tablelands, said that his bill is normally around $290 and that he uses about 130 litres of water a day, the average amount a person would use according to Sydney Water. </p> <p>"A 15-and-a-half thousand dollar water bill, they can go and get themselves nicked," he told <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <p>"I'm not paying it, no way in the world."</p> <p>The local mechanic is a cancer survivor, but the disease has made it difficult for him to communicate, so he went to a council meeting with his father, Neil, who talked on his behalf. </p> <p>"I couldn't believe it when he showed me the bill," Neil said. </p> <p>"Currently now, we're at this point in stage where we can't get any reasonable common sense from the council.</p> <p>"I said, 'It's got to be the crook meter', and she said, 'We've had a lot of meters tested and they've all come back positive. </p> <p>"And I said, 'What about this meter?' and she said, 'It'll cost you $50 to have it tested but there'll be nothing wrong with it'."</p> <p>Anthony is accused of using more than 3.6million litres of water,  which is equivalent to filling two Olympic sized swimming pools - or having five taps running all-day. </p> <p>He has received multiple emails from the local council asking him to prove his claim. </p> <p>The local mechanic also said that he received an overdue bill notice ordering him to pay it immediately. </p> <p>"I got an email saying I can have a payment plan and all the rest of it... like, get real," he said. </p> <p>"I'm not going to pay it."</p> <p>Anthony uses his own water tank to water his lawn, fill his fishpond and wash his car, and only uses town waters to wash up and shower. </p> <p>He has been asked to prepare a detailed letter of his water usage, which will be presented at a council meeting later this month.</p> <p><em>Image: Nine</em></p> <p> </p>

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Tragic update on young Aussie Taylor Swift fan

<p>Nine-year-old Scarlett Oliver travelled all the way to Sydney from Perth to see Taylor Swift live, and to her surprise, she was chosen to receive gifts and a hat from the pop star as part of the iconic performance of her hit single <em>22</em>. </p> <p>The two even shared a big hug and the sweet moment went viral on social media. </p> <p>Scarlett was living with an aggressive form of brain cancer known as high-grade glioma, and now, just weeks after meeting her favourite singer,  Scarlett’s father took to social media to share a devastating update.</p> <p>“My Angel, so strong, so brave, so beautiful," Paul announced his daughter's passing on Instagram. </p> <p>"Nothing will ever be the same again.</p> <p>"Don’t forget me and please find a way to let me know you are OK.</p> <p>"Goodnight baby, I love you – Dad."</p> <p>"It’s just not fair,” he concluded the post. </p> <p>Scarlett died just days away from her 10th birthday on May 7. </p> <p>Earlier this month, Scarlett's father shared that his “beautiful” daughter was not doing well and likely had “weeks rather than months” left.</p> <p>He shared that she had spent most of her school holidays in hospital due to complications with her feeding tube, vomiting and "extreme tiredness". </p> <p>“Last night after discharge from hospital she suffered a significant seizure and was rushed to hospital via ambulance,” he wrote. </p> <p>Tributes are flowing in from fellow Swifties who shared their condolences on Instagram. </p> <p>“You were bigger than the whole sky …” one fan wrote, quoting the lyrics to a Taylor Swift song.</p> <p>“We all grieve for you and with you. May she rest in peace, free of pain and illness,” wrote another.</p> <p>“She touched so many hearts,” added a third. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty/ Don Arnold</em></p>

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Young and the Restless star passes away after cancer battle

<p>Veteran soap opera actress Meg Bennett has died at the of 75 after a lengthy battle with cancer. </p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/meg-bennett-dead-young-and-restless-1235878548/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Hollywood Reporter</em></a>, Bennett's family announced that she passed away on April 11th. </p> <p>Bennett had a prolific career in the world of soap operas as both a writer and actress, after working on high profile shows such as <em>The Young and the Restless</em>, <em>General Hospital</em>, <em>Santa Barbara</em> and many more. </p> <p>She became most known for her role on <em>The Young and the Restless</em>, appearing on 52 episodes from 1980–2020 playing the role of Julia Martin/Julia Newman, the spouse of Eric Braeden’s character Victor Newman.</p> <p>Bennett also had a stellar career on Broadway, appearing in the initial run of the musical <em>Grease</em> in 1972 playing the role of Marty Maraschino for more than two years.</p> <p>She also racked up a significant credit as a writer on a number of soaps, stepping behind the camera on <em>The Young and the Restless</em> after her character was phased out. </p> <p>In the interview in 1985, Bennett opened up about the differences in her approach to acting and writing.</p> <p>She said, "I'll admit, acting makes me a little crazy sometimes: You wait to audition. You wait for the part. When you're writing, you're in control. I can initiate things on my own when I'm writing."</p> <p>Bennett is survived by her spouse of 19 years Robert Guza Jr., as well as two stepdaughters, four grandchildren, a brother and a sister. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Best-selling author diagnosed with "aggressive" brain cancer

<p>Best-selling author Sophie Kinsella has shared that she has been fighting "aggressive" brain cancer since the end of 2022. </p> <p>The British writer took to Instagram to reveal she was diagnosed with glioblastoma 18 months ago, and shared why she chose to keep the devatstsing news out of the spotlight. </p> <p>The 54-year-old said she wanted to "make sure my children were able to hear and process the news in privacy and adapt to our new normal" before going public with her diagnosis. </p> <p>"I have been under the care of the excellent team at University College Hospital in London and have had successful surgery and subsequent radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which is still ongoing," she told her followers on Instagram.</p> <p>"At the moment all is stable and I am feeling generally very well, though I get very tired and my memory is even worse than it was before!"</p> <p>Kinsella said she is "so grateful to my family and close friends who have been an incredible support to me, and to the wonderful doctors and nurses who have treated me."</p> <p>She also thanked her readers for their "constant support", adding how the reception of her latest novel <em>The Burnout</em>, released in October 2023, "really buoyed me up during a difficult time."</p> <p>She ended her statement by saying, "To everyone who is suffering from cancer in any form I send love and best wishes, as well as to those who support them."</p> <p>"It can feel very lonely and scary to have a tough diagnosis, and the support and care of those around you means more than words can say."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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