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Globe Publisher Phillip Crawley on the project

Globe and Mail Update

CEO talked about his personal experiences with cancer and what he, as an individual, wanted the series to achieve in terms of government response. ...Read the full article

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  1. Michael H from Edmonton, Canada writes: As you point out in your response to my question, chemoprevention has enormous potential. In terms of diet, we now have a mechanism-epigenetics. There are a lot of opportunities for drugs that have chemopreventative activities. The problem here is that it is difficult to test these drugs on any group other than high risk groups (e.g., females with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations but who do not currently have breast cancer). What I was getting at was carcinogenesis, where people inherently believe that processing of food makes it carcinogenic. As the famous researcher, Bruce Ames, the man who developed the commonly used assay for mutagens, recently stated-natural foods (plants in particular) are loaded with toxins and carcinogens. They have these toxins to defend against animals that will eat them. If anything, we could generalize and say that natural is inherently toxic and mutagenic but synthetic not necessarily so. This is not to say that we don't have environmental toxins that can cause cancer. Rather, the point is that these are minor contributors to the problem and not THE problem as so many people believe when they get cancer but have lived healthy lifestyles. They look to the environment. It is not that simple.
  2. Jim Whitney from Kearney ON, Canada writes: Wouldn't it be wonderful if patients could go online, and like at the FedEx site, they are able to track their file and see when it sits at one stage for far too long. One day.
  3. MJ Patchouli from Regina, Canada writes: Jim, #2, yes that would be ideal but why isn't it yet possible? Here in SK, we for several years funded some government department called SHIN -- Saskatchewan Health Information Network, which has now disappeared and there is no network despite millions of dollars going into it. Why can't patient files be stored online? Privacy, shmivacy, really -- trying to help my mother through this cancer spider web of doctors, meds, tests, etc is brutal and it does nothing to help her find a positive attitude. There is no coordination of her treatment between the various doctors, test results are NEVER sent from one to the other in a timely matter, if at all. REceptions push her appointments back without asking the oncologist if it's okay -- if she can afford the extra wait time. When Mum does get up the nerve to ask a question, she is usually rebuffed, which really throws her off. The oncologist won't answer questions about how the drugs from the GP might be working (or not) with those he gives her. The pharmacist has become a person we rely on for information. And in the meantime, my mother gets sicker right in front of us despite all the great things we are told about our healthcare system. I can do amazing things on the internet -- why can't I see my own health information so that I can manage my own healthcare, be my own advocate.
  4. Michael H from Edmonton, Canada writes: Jim Whitney-this would be a great idea. Unfortunately, it is currently impossible due to privacy legislation. As someone who works in a cancer institute, I can tell you that the information services departments in these institutes are all about restricting access. Anything that opened up their databases to the public at large would be a definite no-no.
  5. Jim Whitney from Kearney ON, Canada writes: As an example, I don't need to see the contents of the FedEx package online, I simply want to see where my package sits at any given time. Like any 1-800 service, I'd also like to be shown an estimated wait time for my procedures.
  6. Emma Hawthorne from Canada writes: Canadian patients need their own strategies and would benefit greatly from an independent national cancer patient advocate to call when they fall through the cracks of cancer care or cannot afford needed prescriptions. I hope Canada's cancer societies will be more vocal for patients and that every cancer patient would at least obtain a reputable cancer book for patients, such as those produced by many medical associations. Cancer patients should not be shy about trying to sign up for research studies in Canada or the US, which supply medications, and shouldn't give up hope even if their cancer has spread, without consdiering all treatment options.
  7. tricia normal from Kamloops, Canada writes: I am so sick of hearing the fallacies on cancer and the foods we eat, be it store shelf or organic. Nothing today is safe from carcinogens. We all digest them, breath them in, absorb them, in each and every day of our life. Our bodies do not rid of carcinogens. They build up like lego's eventually forming a cancer. It was thought that organic foods were healthier. There is no such thing as healthy foods nowadays. From the acid rains to the "6 added anabolic agents" (ALL CARCINOGENS) that the government has approved in our beef is also listed at: http://www.mad-cow.org/~tom/melengestrol.html Nothing is any better for you than anything else. One in Three of us WILL get a form of cancer in our lifetime.
    From nanotechnology and Kraft, to the Mr. Clean Eraser and its contaminant - formaldehyde. Our soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, cleaner, dish soaps, air fresheners, laundry fresheners, fruits, water, meats, everything we digest contains carcinogens.
    We have to pressure our government not for just treatments but PREVENTION! Treatments are a billion dollar industry. A mere 30 yrs ago these additives were not in our foods and cleaners, etc. Cancer was rarely heard of. Products should be labeled by law. Europe will not import Canadian beef and it's no wonder why. Those nice shiny apples are coated with carcinogens. None of this is needed! All the info and facts are on the "net".
    Going back to basics, may take us a little more time to make a dinner but we will have more time to enjoy it.
  8. pat schmidt from cleveland ohio, United States writes: Thank you, Mr. Crawley, for your insights.Having been in the health care field for many years my message has been--each patient is responsible for their own health care.In other words, patients should not be so afraid to voice their opinions and concerns to their doctors and others in the fields of medicine.I have followed my own advice for a long time and have been able to help my doctor better pinpoint the problems and get the best results possible at that particular moment.Patients do not realize that a simple blood test drawn from an incorrect location can alter their care.Too many times I stopped a blood drawer from drawing a sample from an artery instead of a vein.The problem was--they had not been taught the correct location and often times drew blood by what they saw--the artery, instead of the proper way of looking for and finding a vein--by feeling for it.If it pulsates--it is an artery.If it feels spongy it is a vein.This may seem as a little mistake, but as I explained time and again, the sample from an artery gives a much different test result than a sample drawn from a vein.That is how we are built. One has to be extremely careful when approached by a needle.I do not like needles, either. However, as a medical lab technician of almost 30 years, who not only did lab tests but also, on occasion drew blood samples and taught students the correct way to do it, I find it appauling that the general public is not more aware of their surroundings enough to ask the doctor to show them where the artery and veins are in their own arms.I always told my students-it is better to have no result than have a wrong oneSo, patients out there, take the lead in your health care.Take a list of questions to your doctor visit and remember when you want to take over the counter products, whether on medication or not, always consult your pharmasist.They are one of the best resources out there.

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