My Malignant Melanoma

Seanty's experiences with Metastatic Malignant Melanoma. Part of Email us direct at

Friday, 21 November 2008



Just seen a new article in the Mail about a new Melanoma vaccine. Two annoying things are immediately obvious.

The first is describing melanoma as "the sun-worshipper's killer". The second is allowing anti-vaccination muppets to post comments describing vaccines as "poison".

Now I know the Daily Mail isn't a reliable source of medical information. I personally wouldn't wipe my arse on it. But its readers don't know this.

Let's have a look at whether this vaccine really is five years from use.

What the university theseselves actually say is that they have had encouraging results in small scale human clinical trials. These encouraging results are similar to that given by chemotherapy, without the side-effects. Since the chemotherapy available only has a detectable response in about 15% of cases. Not too spectacular. Compare this with the 50-60% response obtained by Rosenberg's ACT technique.

The university's account also says that the research group will carry out over the next three years test -tube studies with the aim of improving the vaccine, and that they intend to spend A$104,000 on the project over three years.

That isn't even one year of one researcher. For a vaccine which might be given to every person in Australia, and used by every hospital treating stage 4 melanoma if it worked. What a money-spinner that would be. Does this suggest that anyone thinks it is five years from market?

Another worthless puff-piece written by a collaboration of lazy journalism and an academic looking to boost their profile. Of course the Mail played a major part in the MMR scare. It's got previous.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


Positive mental attitude

I've never liked flying, whether its because you are relying on lots of people you don't know doing their jobs properly, whether the technology does not seem trustworthy due to lack of understanding, or whether my life so far has taught me that what might go wrong will.

I've caught myself in the past more or less willing the plane to stay in the air, on some level believing that my input was required for us to get there safely. I've never been able to sleep on a 'plane, as without my effort of will or worry it would surely crash.

And so far it has always worked. I've never been on a 'plane that crashed yet.

All of this, and I'm a professional engineer, with some idea of how the 'plane works, the infinitesimal chance of crashing, the systems put in place to make sure that people do their jobs properly. Doesn't stop the monkey part of me from generating superstitious belief systems.

The cancer patient and those who love them are in a similar situation, reliant on technology, unknown people doing their jobs and luck. No surprise then that many of them become superstitious. One of the commonest forms of this superstition is the belief that positive mental attitude affects the course of cancer.

Now, it has been shown in well designed, powerful studies that this is not in fact the case. Believing in PMA as affecting in any way the course of cancer in the face of the weight of evidence against it is simple-minded superstition. It is no more rational or justifiable than believing that a lucky hat or rabbit's foot will cure cancer.

PMA is in fact quite possibly worse than useless:

I have noticed that the overwhelming majority of those on the internet ramming the supposed benefits of PMA down the throats of cancer patients are not themselves cancer patients. They are "carers".

Perhaps they would simply like us to put a happy face on our life-threatening illness, rather than bothering them with our fears, grief, helplessness, and rage, and forcing them to confront their own.

Perhaps they would like us to believe that if we don't, we will be to blame for our own deaths. That'll learn ya!

Perhaps after silencing the person they were supposed to be caring for, they are under the impression they have made them happier, as they no longer express their "negative" emotions. Repressing these emotions does not stop them, they just pop up elsewhere.

Perhaps they are utterly unaware of their own motivation.

Whatever the case, it is unhelpful to spread this nonsense. A realistically optimistic attitude is thought to best facilitate adjustment to the circumstances of cancer. Pretending that cancer is a 100% positive experience, or worse yet, trying to bully cancer patients into pretending that it is on pain of death is not helpful.

I've started blogging on whatnow as well, the feed is here

Thursday, 13 November 2008


Clinical Trials Databases

I've been looking for info on clinical trials recently for people at stage 4, and there's nothing on the Cancerbacup or CRUK sites for them at all at present.

I called CRUK, and they told me that much of their database comes from a couple of American databases.

These are the and National Cancer Institute databases. They don't just cover the US, but the whole world, and have more up-to-date information on UK trials than the UK databases.

Cancerbacup's database also uses the National Cancer Research Network database as a source. This database is linked to a European database as well.

So if you are looking for info on trials, these last three databases will give you wider and more up-to-date information than the predigested Cancerbacup and CRUK ones.


August 2008   September 2008   October 2008   November 2008   December 2008   January 2009   February 2009   April 2009   May 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   December 2009   January 2010   February 2010   March 2010   April 2010   May 2010   June 2010   July 2010   August 2010   September 2010   October 2010   November 2010   December 2010   February 2011   March 2011   April 2011   May 2011   June 2011   July 2011   August 2011   September 2011   October 2011   November 2011   December 2011   January 2012   February 2012   March 2012   April 2012   May 2012   June 2012   July 2012   September 2012   November 2012   December 2012   January 2013   May 2013   June 2013   July 2013   August 2013   September 2013   October 2013   December 2013   July 2014   May 2015   July 2015  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]