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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Give a Man a Hammar...



... and everything becomes a nail.

Give a man cancer, and every pain becomes a tumor...

I have been thinking about this little analogy for some time... it is really one of the legacies of having had cancer... it seems like the next shoe is about to drop.

There are answers to the dilemma of getting through cancer... you never get over it, at least I haven't been able to in the years since it first challenged me. I am encouraged however, by the actions of the Nova Scotia government.

Yesterday, I had another PET/CT scan. The Positron Emission Tomography Scan with a Computed Tomography Xray Scan (aka CAT or CT Scan) allows us to see any cancerous activity in the body. It is exceptionally accurate and uses a radio-active tag on a sugar molecule that is absorbed by cancerous tissue to produce an image of the body from about the knees to the top of the head. It is used to evaluate cancers and to look for metastasizes in cancer patients. Basically cancer cells have an affinity to glucose, and takes up the radio-active material... after being injected, you wait in a lead lined room for about an hour for it to circulate and be 'taken-up' by any cancer cells.

Then the radiation that is concentrated in tumours is read by the PET scanner, and a CT scan is taken to allow a 3D rendering of where a tumour is situated in the body. The physician can then (if there appears to be a tumour) biopsy it, excise it or radiate / apply chemo therapy as treatments.

I had a PET scan in Halifax yesterday as a part of my follow-up. I had one at the University of Arkansas two years ago after all of my treatments. I was very impressed by the process in Halifax... the staff were very efficient, the facility was first rate... and now I wait. While I am confident, one needs to understand the opening lines of this post in order to appreciate what it is like to have the need for a PET scan. Certainly if there is cancer, it is critical to get to it early.

Congratulations to the Nova Scotia Government for getting this tool (at the expense of several million dollars, and not available in most areas of Canada and much of the rest of the world.

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Blueknowser

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Grad. Saint Mary's University, 1975, got into the medical device business initially in sales, then various management positions up to president, all in Medical Devices. I prefer therapy products over diagnostic, but they are all fun, and in a way have defined my life. I have now evolved, with help from my 35 year partner Lynnda with whom I now share every hour. I am into staying healthy, photography, kayaking, bicycling, gardening and two books a week. I wish I had gotten to this stage earlier!