Cancer SUCKS

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  • A minor head-scratching tangent... My friend Dave has just had what looks like successful surgery for bladder cancer, and he's been told that part of the follow up treatment is a course of injections of a vaccine originally meant for TB. Happy for him, of course, but what kind of clinical accident leads to the discovery that something normally injected into your arm for one disease also works for something completely different when applied much farther south by a method that you probably don't want to discuss in polite company?
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    That’s good news, @Patdys 🕯
  • I would guess someone with cancer was also being treated for TB and they noticed a minor improvement in the cancer so decided to up the dose to the cancer area.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    A minor head-scratching tangent... My friend Dave has just had what looks like successful surgery for bladder cancer, and he's been told that part of the follow up treatment is a course of injections of a vaccine originally meant for TB. Happy for him, of course, but what kind of clinical accident leads to the discovery that something normally injected into your arm for one disease also works for something completely different when applied much farther south by a method that you probably don't want to discuss in polite company?

    BCG ( bacille-Calmette-Guerin aka the now rarely used TB vaccine( has been used as immunotherapy with some success in the treatment of malignant melanoma as far back as the early 1980s.

  • Sojourner wrote: »
    A minor head-scratching tangent... My friend Dave has just had what looks like successful surgery for bladder cancer, and he's been told that part of the follow up treatment is a course of injections of a vaccine originally meant for TB. Happy for him, of course, but what kind of clinical accident leads to the discovery that something normally injected into your arm for one disease also works for something completely different when applied much farther south by a method that you probably don't want to discuss in polite company?

    BCG ( bacille-Calmette-Guerin aka the now rarely used TB vaccine( has been used as immunotherapy with some success in the treatment of malignant melanoma as far back as the early 1980s.

    BCG - that rings a very distant bell. Would that have been a vaccine that was administered to school-age children in the UK in the 1950s?
  • Sounds like it - we were jabbed in 1964 or thereabouts, when I was an inky-fingered Third-Former!
  • They stopped doing the mass BCG immunization programme in the early 2000s. I had it as a teenager, but my brother is a couple of years younger and I don't think he did.
  • I think it's something to do with the bacterium involved generally priming the immune response when circulating (one of the reasons TB is such a sod to deal with is that it grows incredibly slowly in dark corners of the body, and doesn't often circulate in the bloodstream).

    It sounds like a safer version of Freund's Complete Adjuvant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freund's_adjuvant
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    I've heard there is some evidence that people who were given BCG as children are slightly less likely to get COVID.
  • I'd treat that considerable caution given the infection rates in the UK!
  • It certainly didn't stop me getting covid last March.
  • I think it's something to do with the bacterium involved generally priming the immune response when circulating (one of the reasons TB is such a sod to deal with is that it grows incredibly slowly in dark corners of the body, and doesn't often circulate in the bloodstream).

    It sounds like a safer version of Freund's Complete Adjuvant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freund's_adjuvant

    Back to cancer - if you want to reduce me to a shivering wreck pleading for mercy, just use that word 'adjuvant' in my hearing. The adjuvant treatment (interferon) was worse than the melanoma.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Sojourner wrote: »
    A minor head-scratching tangent... My friend Dave has just had what looks like successful surgery for bladder cancer, and he's been told that part of the follow up treatment is a course of injections of a vaccine originally meant for TB. Happy for him, of course, but what kind of clinical accident leads to the discovery that something normally injected into your arm for one disease also works for something completely different when applied much farther south by a method that you probably don't want to discuss in polite company?

    BCG ( bacille-Calmette-Guerin aka the now rarely used TB vaccine( has been used as immunotherapy with some success in the treatment of malignant melanoma as far back as the early 1980s.

    BCG - that rings a very distant bell. Would that have been a vaccine that was administered to school-age children in the UK in the 1950s?

    This is something debated on social media at length in southern Africa. I was one of those British colonial children given a large variety of inoculations in then-Rhodesia from the late 1960s through to the '70s and even into the early 1980s: shots against tuberculosis, polio, smallpox, bilharzia, yellow fever, polio. My upper arms and thighs have faint scars (sheaf gun marks) to this day.

    The multiple puncture method of BCG used Paris freeze-dried vaccines and even then was thought to provide broad protection against respiratory infections I'd be curious to know if this has any preventative efficacy against Covid-19 over the long term.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Tangent aside, prayers for all posting here, especially your brother Dave @Stercus Tauri .
  • KyzylKyzyl Shipmate Posts: 24
    During the shit show that was the US last week I also received this news, my cousin Harry was hospitalized over the holidays, after having his last chemo treatment, with kidney failure. That last session precipitated the renal shutdown. They thought he might need dialysis, but they were able to treat it medically. He is home now and very dicey. The understanding is that he might live six months or maybe not even two weeks. Then learned that my cousin Johnny also has been diagnosed with advanced liver cancer and is not given much hope. They are testing him to see if he's a candidate for some cutting-edge treatment. He will have an MRI that will determine if he has sufficient liver mass and blood vessels left to sustain the treatment. His wife Rosemary is head nurse of an oncology unit there locally (S. Carolina), so he is getting good care. It does not sound hopeful but there is the possibility of a transplant. When it rains...
  • Ain't that the truth...
    {{Harry, Johnny, and families}}
  • For your family Kyzyl, and all who post here, my prayers.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    @Kyzyl and family 🕯
  • PatdysPatdys Shipmate
    Ongoing reading, prayers and cursing cancer
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Prayers ascending for all on this thread; cancer truly is evil.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Indeed! Praying 🕯
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited January 12
    Kyrie, eleison.

    (Especially on those whose urgent cancer surgery may have to be postponed indefinitely because hospitals in the UK are full of Covid-19 patients).

  • Kyzyl - this is the place to come to for cursing and praying, often enough at the same time. You are in good company here; we are with you and for you.
  • KyzylKyzyl Shipmate Posts: 24
    Kyzyl - this is the place to come to for cursing and praying, often enough at the same time. You are in good company here; we are with you and for you.

    Thank you. I am a loooooong time lurker on the Ship.
  • Praying.
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    Kyzyl ...prayers ascending
  • Prayers for @Kyzyl, cousins and all on this thread. 🕯🙏🏼
  • AmosAmos Shipmate
    Reading and praying.
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    A-ha! Now all this information is coming out here (State of Israel) with people suffering as I did after their second Pfizer jab. Weakness, temperature, shivers ... generally ghastly.
    Heaven alone knows what will happen to me. But I will be at the strongest point in my drug-cycle when I get it.
  • HelixHelix Shipmate
    I truly hope @Galilit that when you have your second jab, you will have had all the side-effects necessary and so will breeze through it.
  • Ghastly might be a bit strong for it--I watched Mr. Lamb go through it, and it was basically a "go to bed and be cranky with a fever and chills" kind of thing, but it lasted less than 24 hours (he's in his early seventies). It might also help to consider that the reactions which make the paper (Twitter, etc.) are going to be the strongest and nastiest (and rarest)--the folks who say, "eh, I had a sore arm and a headache" won't get interviewed. (This is my attempt to cheer you up, forgive me if it does the opposite!)
  • PatdysPatdys Shipmate
    Ongoing care for all on here.
  • Amen
  • Does anyone know what the wiggle room is in a prognosis of "2 to 3 months, maybe more"? Or is that akin to asking how long is a piece of string?

    Dad was told that on the 21st September 2020, and that he "might see Christmas, but probably not"

    There was then a flurry of activity, visits and care plans drawn up in readiness by the community nurse and Mcmillan nurse etc etc. And then we paused, waiting for Dad to get ill.

    Since then he has become progressively more tired, but he doesn't look ill, isn't in pain, and doesn't have any care needs.

    It's brilliant that Dad is still "well." I speak to him on the phone every day and it's a joy. I can't describe the delight with which I wished him "Happy Christmas" on Christmas Day, and "Happy New Year" on Jan 1st. If he's still here for his birthday in March I will be overjoyed.

    I'm concerned about my mother, who is 87 and has been on high alert for any signs of decline for four months now. She's also suffered the loss of two old friends (from cancer and Covid respectively) during that four months. Not to mention that we're in the throes of a pandemic.

    What does "2 to 3 months, maybe more" really mean? Could the "maybe more" bit extend "2 to 3 months" to 6 months, for example?
  • When I may dad was told at Easter (2014) he had terminal pancreatic cancer, they gave him 2-3 months. He died at the end of October, and was only bedridden at the start of September. Up to that point, he'd regularly mowed the lawn (it's a big-ass lawnmower) and reroofed the garage (with metal sheeting). We even yoinked the kids out of school for what we thought would be the 'last visit' in June.

    Honestly, 2-3 months is a guess based on the doctors' experience of the pathology of the disease and how it progresses. It's not based on the individual patient. Your dad could, like my dad, decline quite quickly at the end, but that's not terrible.

    The answer is, yes, maybe. It's going to happen, and it may happen quickly, or slowly, or some combination of the two. Because no one has any control over that timing, you just have to let it run and be at peace with that.
  • Thanks, Doc Tor. I think I am at peace with it, and Dad says he's at peace with it. We've been able to talk, and that's been a blessing. However, my brother and I are both worried about our mother. She's coping very well, but the stress is showing.
  • I moved in in the September, so that I could carry some of the load for caring for both of them. That might be something you want to discuss with your mum. Not me moving in, obviously. You or your brother.
  • Ross was told "no Christmas for you" in September, and they were right, but it was the following year's Christmas.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    I moved in in the September, so that I could carry some of the load for caring for both of them. That might be something you want to discuss with your mum. Not me moving in, obviously. You or your brother.

    My suitcase is packed, I can move in anytime. But at the moment, Dad doesn't need care. Mum needs emotional support, but I'm not sure if me being there would be any improvement on me phoning twice a day. Covid complicates everything of course- I'm not visiting them at all, and my brother, who lives within walking distance of them, isn't going into the house, but speaking to them from their garden.
  • MargaretMargaret Shipmate
    And then her oncologist told her that her date of expiry would be probably somewhere in March or April 2020, and she had great pleasure (and so did he) in wishing him a happy May Day, before going on until November.
  • Yes indeed!
  • AmosAmos Shipmate
    Reading, thinking, praying, feeding the orneries.
    @Kyzyl , it's good to see you; are you still in MN? Sending love and prayers.
  • A good friend was told in autumn 2019 that she might have four months, but all is still well. She is well organised, remaining independent with supporters and has some not-so-good days, but no sign of an imminent end yet, thank goodness.
  • KyzylKyzyl Shipmate Posts: 24
    Amos wrote: »
    Reading, thinking, praying, feeding the orneries.
    @Kyzyl , it's good to see you; are you still in MN? Sending love and prayers.

    Hello Amos. Yep, still in the frozen tundra. Or in my case, frozen river bluffs.

    My update isn't good. Both cousins are still declining. It looks like just a few months perhaps for either. Please keep them in your prayers.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    🕯🕯
  • Chatted with old friends in Scotland yesterday and asked how S was doing, knowing that she's been dealing with pancreatic cancer for far longer than anyone thought possible. "Not bad at all", she said, "they've just increased the morphine dose by 300%". I can't think of anything to say.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    So sorry 🕯
  • Lovely stuff, morphine; even better than booze for gladdening the heart
  • I watched my mother die, not long after an increase in her morphine dose.

    My heart was NOT gladdened, whilst hers was stopped.
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