On the whole things are bearable, though it never ceases to amaze me how they manage to come up with new and inventive ways to torture a person in the name of making them better. Susan Sontag (her again) said that "the treatment is worse than the disease", and the whole thing does feel incredibly counterintuitive at times.
Five years ago, we could have lost my own father Michael Bradbury to prostate cancer, the men-only disease which kills one man in the UK every single hour. Put another way, it means 24 prostate cancer deaths on Father's Day alone - or 168 during Men's Health Week.
I know I'm biased (and I'm sure other organisations who work with volunteers will say the same) but I have never worked with a group of people whose commitment to the cause is so absolute... They fundraise, raise awareness, share their knowledge and experience, and talk from the heart. And they save lives. Our volunteers are amazing. Every day of the year.
At Prostate Cancer UK, we recognised a while ago that sport is a great avenue for bringing men together and talking with them about prostate cancer, not just preaching to them from the side lines.
Unfortunately, in this case a process which is of huge public interest has gone on behind closed doors rather than adopting the transparent and inclusive approach that was promised by politicians and civil servants alike. It fuels suspicion that the decision was made on a muddle of flawed criteria.
The trouble is who's going to be brave enough to stand up - particularly in the run up to a general election - and state that they think having a massive pot of money to help treat cancer patients needs a rethink? All the political announcements so far have been about extending the CDF and nobody is really talking about reform because it is not exactly a vote winner. We need to engage the public in this important debate as it's one that gets to the very heart of our health care system, and the value that we as a society place on the quality of life for all patients.
Scientists too - especially those whose work is more about understanding prostate cancer biology than developing new treatments - can sometimes feel like the clinical sterility of their lab is a long way from the living, breathing men behind the numbers. These men, when you stop to think about it, are the reason they get out of bed in the morning.
You and I both know that charities are great at churning out stats, but with one in eight men (and an astonishing one in four black men) affected by prostate cancer in their lifetime, these numbers quickly become brothers, best mates, uncles, grandfathers, and even sons.
Early diagnosis of cancer is the key to improving survival rates. This is an area where the NHS has been lagging behind when compared to other developed countries. Not surprisingly, the government is targeting improvements and rightly so. Clinical leadership is being promoted and doctors have been entrusted with the responsibility of increasing awareness in the population about different types of cancer.
A study released by Bupa found that a considerable number of cancer patients are choosing to go it alone and keep friends and family in the dark about their diagnosis and treatment, in order to protect them.
Several incorrect media articles over the last few days have been published stating middle-aged men with a certain balding pattern are at an increased risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer than men with no baldness. Well, this is highly inaccurate in my opinion and unfortunately caused a great deal of men unnecessary anxiety and stress.
There are moments in family life when time seems to stand still, and for me, one of those came in the spring of 2013, when my father Tazi revealed to my mother, my brother and myself that he had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. New drugs are now coming through and one of them has made an immense difference to my father's quality of life over the last year... Every moment that abiraterone continues to work is a blessing. It has helped him maintain his professional life and continue doing the things he enjoys - so much so that at times I almost forget he has cancer, let alone one that has spread and is at an advanced stage.
Listening to the news about NICE turning down yet another cancer drug has made me very sad and a little puzzled. In the space of 10 days two new drugs - Kadcyla and Abiraterone, that would give valuable extra time to breast and prostate cancer sufferers respectively, have been refused because of cost.
This week is Graduation Week at Nottingham Trent Universityhttp://www.ntu.ac.uk and the city centre is filled with smiling happy graduates and their p...
How on earth can cow's milk be considered an essential part of our diet when its purpose is to feed calves until they are old enough to be weaned? How does it make any sense at all that people are supposed to have it? Just because we have been doing it for centuries does not mean it is rational or good for us; it just means it was an available food source at some point, and has since become an acceptable part of the human diet.
We all know the theory and long before I began to work in the sector, I tried to have a balanced diet, occasional no alcohol days, early to bed on a 'school night' etc - but even when the spirit is willing, more often than not the flesh is weak. I