Saturday, May 30, 2009

Research, as promised

As promised, some new research.

The Instutute of Physics released news last week about what they call a "breakthrough in radiotherapy." Traditional radiation is pretty good at focusing on tumors, but some healthy tissue does get destroyed in the process, causing some nasty side effects. The "breakthrough" involves combining radiation therapy with an MRI. The MRI allows more focused aiming of the radiation, but it also provides the radiation oncologist with a "real time" view of the tumor, so the beam can be adjusted in response to the tumor shrinking or moving. Radiation isn't necessarily used in later stage follicular NHL like mine, but it sometimes is used on a stubborn node that won't respond to chemo when the rest of them have, so this could be personally useful. Plus, it's just good news for cancer patients in general.

Another general cancer research report with implications for lymphoma: Researchers think they have uncovered a communication pathway that allows the immune system to coordinate and fight off cancer. They speculate that when that sytem breaks down, cancers are allowed to grow. It's a theory I've read about before: the body is constantly developing mutated cells, and constatntly fighting them off, and when they can't fight them, they turn into cancer. (It's a theory that's hard to prove, because we only see the failures of the system.) According to these researchers, that failure of the system comes from a breakdown in the interferon pathway -- that communication system in the immune system. Once that pathway breaks down, the system can't fight off developing cancer cells on its own. This is important for lymphoma research because it might explain why lymphoma vaccines, which seem so darn promising, haven't had the expected results. Maybe accounting for the interferon pathway problem will result in a more effective vaccine. I know the lymphoma specialist, Dr C, that I saw when I was first diagnosed, was very excited about the vaccine approach. So maybe in a few years we'll see it work.

This next one is more directly lymphoma-related. It's from a press release describing a Journal of Clinical Oncology article on early clinical trials of Veltuzamab, a monoclonal antibody that could be an alternative to Rituxin. Like Rituxin, it targets CD20 proteins on lymphocytes. But here's the key difference: Rituxin is made from both human and mouse proteins, while Veltuzamab is made from only human proteins. As a result, it's likely to create fewer rejection problems than Rituxin. Rituxin is usually given very slowly, often over a period of up to 8 hours, and with Benedril, so any adverse reactions can be taken care of immediately. Veltuzamab seems to cause fewer of these allergic reactions, and so can be given much more quickly. The responses to it are otherwise similar to Rituxin. The same company is also running trials for another antibody, Epratuzumab, that targets CD22 proteins, and has been used effectively in a recent trial. My guess is this company will soon start to combine Epratuzumab and Veltuzamab and see how that works as eithera first-line therapy or as a Rituxin substitute for standard chemo regimens. But that's just a guess....

Veltuzamab isn't the only humanized monoclonal antibody out there in trials. Another company recently started clinical trials for its humanized monoclonal antibody, known as R7159. (You can tell it's still in trials because the marketing department hasn't given it a cool name with an X or a Z in it yet.) This one is similar to that other one with a Z in the name -- derived from human proteins, so there's less chance of rejection or allergic reaction. Initial trials for R7159 look very good -- at least comparable to Rituxin, maybe even a little more effective. I'm not privy to the science behind all of these antibodies, but it seems like they all have slightly different, and they claim slightly better mechanisms for identifying and attaching to CD20 (or other) proteins on lymphocytes.

More soon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Radio Show

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about a researcher's crusade to get Zevalin and other RadioImmunoTherapies used more widely. One of the people in my support group, Betsy de Parry, was mentioned as being an inspiration to the doctor because of her success with Zevalin.

Well, Betsy did a nice spot on a radio show called Cancer Corner (the host, Bob Grayson, is himself a lymphoma survivor). She's actually written a book called The Roller Coaster Chronicles, which gets into the physical and emotional issues that she and her family have dealt with. She's a follicular NHL patient, too. She tried two fairly heavy chemo regiments (CVP and CHOP), and neither worked. But Zevalin did, and she's been cancer-free since 2002 (an almost 7 year remission).

The radio interview is about an hour long. The first part is focused on her book, being a survivor, caregiver issues, and other emotion-related issues. The second part gets into Zevalin and RadioImmunoTherapy. She gives a really good explanation about 34 minutes in as to why RadioImmunoTherapy is not used very frequently.

It's a nice interview. Click here for the Cancer Corner show, then click on "Last Recording" to listen.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


There are a ton of recent articles that have come out lately on new and developing treatments for NHL, and paticularly for follicular NHL, and a few more that review and update what we know about current treatments. I'm still trying to read through them all. Once I do, I'll provide some links and summaries. There's a major conference on cancer research in the next week or two, so that's probably where a lot of this stuff is coming from.

For now, here's a fascinating article on how some researchers are studying lymphoma in dogs to better understand how lymphoma works in humans. It's from Medical News Today, and it's called "Collaboration Between NC State And UNC Lineberger To Combat Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma In Human And Canine Patients."

Pretty interesting. Right now, when researchers want to study a lymphoma treatment, they first try it out on mice. (This isn't only the case for lymphoma, but for many cancers.) It's been successful so far, but researchers are discovering that dog lymphoma is not only very common, but genetically similar to human lymphoma. So canine oncologists and human oncologists are teaming up and comparing notes. (By "canine oncologists" I mean those who study cancer in dogs, not those who are dogs. You probably knew that.) Dogs are more genetically complex than mice, and closer to humans, so they make a better model than mice.

Strudel is looking over my shoulder, begging to add some commentary, so to stop her from digging her nails into me any more, I'm going to let her add soemthing.

Surprising? No. Once again, dogs come to the rescue. You would be lost without us. And I'm not even talking about little Timmy and Lassie. I think "canine oncologists" shoud mean dogs who are oncologists. Then we'd see some breakthroughs. Talk about celebrations. We'd see some leg-humping that ni

OK, we're good.

More on all that great research soon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Woo Hoo!

This is my 200th post to the Lympho Bob blog. An event worth celebrating -- at least until you look back at post #1 and realize the only reason I started a blog in the first place was because I was diagnosed with cancer.

So it's kind of bittersweet. But we focus on the sweet around here, not the bitter, so we're celebrating. (Speaking of bittersweet -- chocolate is the Official Antioxidant-Rich Food of the Lympho Bob blog. I recommend Dove Promises Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate.)

I noticed about two weeks ago that I was getting close to 200 posts, so I've been trying to come up with some way of marking the occasion. I don't think I could write about (let alone actually do) 200 of anything, so I've been reflecting on some Lympho Bob - related 200's:

I thought maybe I'd post something from the film musical 1776, which came out around the time of the country's 200th birthday, and which prominently features John Adams, the Offical Founding Father of the Lympho Bob blog. (See the entry from last June for more on my trip to Philadelphia).

I also thought about doing something involving a 1980 baseball card of Jim Rice (Official Baseball Hall of Famer for the Lympho Bob blog), which was number 200 in the Topps catalogue that year. It's available on eBay for under $2.00, which is astonishingly cheap for a Hall of Famer, considering he had 200 hits four times in his careeer. It's a clear sign of the recession. See the entry from January for my rejoicing reaction to his HOF announcement.

I had also thought about the 200 guests at the Marriage Vows Renewal ceremony for Snoop Dogg (Official Rapper of the Lympho Bob blog) and his wife Shante. Snoop was moved to tears at the ceremony, as was I when Peter saw Snoop in the mens room at Planet Hollywood in Times Square. See the entry from last May.

I could write a lot about Joe Andruzzi -- Official PAL (Pro Athlete with Lymphoma) of the Lympho Bob blog: alumnus of Southern Connecticut State University (just named to Southern's Athletic Hall of Fame); winner of three Super Bowl Rings with the New England Patriots; survivor of Burkitt's Lymphoma, an extremely aggressive form of NHL; fellow blogger; and winner of the Patriots' Community Service Award for doing things like bringing 200 inner-city kids to a Pats game and making sure they each got a Christmas present. See the Nodes of Gold entry from last June, where I named Andruzzi my second favorite PAL behind Jon Lester, but since Andruzzi started his own foundation to raise money for cancer research, he moves ahead. For now. His foundation sponsored the Joe Andruzzi Foundation Motorcycle Run to raise money for cancer patients. Hey, speaking of motorcycles.....

Post #200 has me thinking about a trip from Hamden, Connecticut to Cooperstown, New York this summer. According to Mapquest, it's a little over 200 miles. I plan to attend Jim Rice's Hall of Fame induction. Tickets are considerably more than $200 on StubHub. But that doesn't bother me, considering my brother, in a comment to the post on April 25, 2008, said he'd pay for my ticket to the induction ceremony if Rice got elected. (And he didn't object to my suggestion that he drive me there on his Harley, so I assume that's still part of the deal...)

Anyway, 200 thank you's to all of my readers, the family and friends that were my original audience, and those I've never met, but who are bonded to me by a common fate. There have been many times over the last 16 months that writing in the blog, and reading your responses, have been an emotional rescue. I'm glad I've been able to help out some of you, too.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Saw this article about Zevalin, and thought it was kind of cool. Actually, it's not about Zevalin so much as about a doctor who's making a push for Zevalin to be used more often.

Zevalin, as long-time readers know, is essentially a radioactive version of Rituxin. Liquid cancers like Lymphoma don't respond well to traditional radiation treatments because the cells won't hold still and keep moving through the blood stream. Zevalin takes a monoclonal antibody, which targets and latches on to the cancer cells, and uses it to deliver a dose of radiation to the cells, wiping them out. It's been a pretty successful therapy for lots of people, and is especially used by those who were unsuccessful with a stem cell transplant. Zevalin delivers hope along with that dose of radiation.

The problem with Zevalin is that it's complicated to administer; you need a team of people familar with both oncological practices and radioactive medicine, and the insurance issues are apparently complicated, too.

But as the doctor in this article (his name is Roger Macklis) points out, it's worth it. He's been trying to get more oncologists to try this treatment, particularly by pushing it in combination with traditional chemotherapy. The logic, I think, is that oncologists are familiar with chemo, so the combo may make it all seem a little less radical. The FDA is considering the Zevalin/chemo combo for approval, and will make a decision by July.

Macklis calls Zevalin (and Bexxar, another RadioImmunoTherapy" a "classic disruptive technology," something that makes us completely rethink how we approach something because the new approach is cheaper and better. He came to this conclusion because of his experience with a patient named Betsy (who is, coincidentally enough, a member of my online support group).

Zevalin has been passed around some, with different companies owning the patent, because it's had some trouble becoming accepted (and thus becoming profitable). I've written about Zevalin before -- its effectiveness, its problems, and my fear that it will be allowed to die off from lack of use. It has survived a few times in the past because of FDA approval for expanded use. Here's hoping that happens again in July.

Friday, May 15, 2009

MRI Results

Dr. R left a message -- the MRI of my head "looks perfectly normal."

Which is, of course, excellent news. Except for two little things:

First, it doesn't explain the whole dizziness issue, except that I guess it really is stress, and I should see my dentist about fitting me for some kind of device to wear at night to relax my jaw and facial muscles.

And second: Mary, this means that the MRI Collage we had planned for the summer is going to be a little less colorful....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Everything Gives You Cancer

Here's an amusing article from a writer named Tim Dowling, who spent a day trying to avoid things that could possibly give him cancer, which he found very difficult to do. The original article appeared a few years ago in The Guardian in England, though I'll give it to you here to make things easier on you.

The title comes from a great song by Joe Jackson, as Dowling mentions.

The world is not a place for the meek, becoming paralyzed with fear when things seem difficult. It's enough to make Bill Rodgers skip a run and go back to bed.....


Everything gives you cancer
In a world where even joss sticks and broccoli are said to be carcinogenic, Tim Dowling spends a day trying to avoid a tumour

I wouldn't say I've courted cancer exactly, but I have hitherto been pretty heedless of the warnings. Now, however, I have reached a stage in life where I think it may be time I stopped meeting cancer halfway. Fresh from a three-week holiday that combined lashings of alcohol, lashings of stress, plenty of sun, a good deal of red meat, a lot of passive smoking and a certain amount of aggressive smoking, I think perhaps I should try to be a little less helpful to cancer. At the very least I could avoid known carcinogens, even if for just one day. I resolved to give it a try.

My first mistake came shortly after waking up. Toothpaste, I have since discovered, contains several compounds (fluorides and sodium lauryl sulphate among them) that are at least suspected carcinogens, as do shaving cream, soap and shampoo. Breakfast, as well as being the most important meal of the day, is also a cocktail of cancer-causing substances. Heterocyclicamines - highly mutagenic, possibly carcinogenic - are created by cooking or burning foods, and are commonly found in coffee and toast.

Aflatoxins, produced by naturally occurring fungi, are found in small concentrations in milk and cereal. Aflatoxin B1, the most deadly of all the aflatoxins, has been shown to cause cancer in mice, rats, hamsters, rainbow trout, ducks, marmosets (this is a partial list, by the way), tree shrews, guinea pigs and monkeys. Luckily, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day to me, so I'm happy to skip it.

It quickly becomes clear that total carcinogenic abstention is more difficult than it sounds. When that noted oncologist Joe Jackson first proclaimed that "Everything/Gives you cancer", I think most people understood him to be speaking about all the good things in life -smoking and drinking and red meat and DDT-based pesticides. But a quick look at even a partial list of known human carcinogens proves that he may as well have been speaking literally.

Going out in the midday sun presents an obvious risk, but thanks to the radon seeping into your home from the soil below, so does staying indoors. Taking to the air is no better: high-altitude flights routinely expose passengers and crew to radiation, and the free peanuts, with their traces of carcinogenic fungal toxic metabolites, aren't much help either.

Shortly after not having breakfast, I decided to retreat to my office at the very top of the house, the furthest I can get from cancer without getting cancer, where I read up on the 15 known carcinogenic substances commonly used in roofing material.

Hunger eventually drove me back to the kitchen, with an eye towards whipping up a cancer-free salad, but here again there was no escape. While the risk of getting cancer from fruit and vegetables remains small, most of that risk is said to come from naturally occurring carcinogens, generally the organic pesticides produced by the plants themselves to keep predators at bay. Broccoli, apples, onions, oranges, strawberries, lemons and mushrooms all contain acetaldehyde, a natural by-product of oxidation and a known human carcinogen. If you close your eyes you can practically taste it.

Nitrates - which can be converted by the human body into carcinogenic nitrosamine compounds - are present in such seemingly inoffensive foods as celery, lettuce, kale and rhubarb. Nitrites, halfway to being nitrosamines already, are found in cured meats. There are carcinogens specific to tap water, basil, beer and mustard. Cancer-causing PCBs are found in varying levels in all foods. It is generally accepted that there is no such thing as a diet free from carcinogens, so there's no point in worrying about it, although it is unclear how the second part follows from the first.

It's well known, of course, that certain foods have anti-carcinogenic properties: organosulphur compounds, flavonoids, tannins and carotenoids have been shown to inhibit some forms of cancer. Unfortunately, these anti-carcinogens tend to be found in foods that also contain carcinogens - well-known killers such as broccoli, onions, strawberries and cabbage. Even while these vegetables are preventing you from getting cancer, they are giving you cancer.

Ingesting carcinogens directly is now regarded as a rather old-fashioned way of getting cancer. These days, simply exposing oneself to one's environment for prolonged periods - what used to be known as standing around minding your own business - is plenty carcinogenic enough. Diesel exhaust, asbestos, the formaldehyde in ordinary home air and crystalline silica of respirable size (ie dust) have all been listed as carcinogens.

You can get cancer from the wax on your floors, the paint on your walls and the dyes in your shirt. We are all constantly exposed to vinyl chloride, a gas emitted by PVC plastic, which is sometimes known as new-car smell. Then there is isoprene, which the US National Toxicology Programme describes as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen". Isoprene is emitted by rubber products (natural and synthetic), automobiles and trees, and is commonly found in exhaled human breath. When you breathe in you get cancer; when you breathe out, you give it to someone else.

The popular idea that absolutely everything gives you cancer is finally confirmed by the fact that many cancer treatments, such as cisplatin, are themselves known to cause cancer. So even while you are dying of cancer, you may also be getting cancer. This is somehow a less worrying prospect, a bit like finding out that mustard gas is carcinogenic (which it is).

If you are ever unsure as to whether something you're doing or eating or inhaling is giving you cancer, the internet is always there to confirm your worst fears. Go to any search engine, type in the name of any common product or substance (herbal tea, nail polish, jellied eels, fabric softener), then type in cancer and hit the return key. You won't be disappointed.

Ultimately, however, this notion that all things are carcinogenic is misleading; risks vary wildly depending on dose, length of exposure and countless other factors. Most "known carcinogens" have only been tested on animals, in huge concentrations. Some of these substances cause tumours in mice, but not in rats or hamsters. In any case, most of them are unavoidable. You can't stop drinking water, or breathing air.

In short, one can do little to avoid cancer apart from the obvious: the vast majority of preventable cancers are caused by smoking, drinking and poor diet, which also just happen to be the major causes of dying from things other than cancer. Mildly carcinogenic vegetables are the least of your problems, and it's doubtful that anyone ever got cancer solely from eating broccoli. But because luck also appears to play a big part, cancer tends to inspire more superstition than any other disease. I realise I'm running a huge risk of contracting cancer just by writing about it. I think I'll stop here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

A very happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there, most especially to Isabel, my own mom, and my mother-in-law.

As a Mother's Day tribute, here's a link to a video by an FoLBB (Friend of Lympho Bob Blog -- I'll give you a hint: he's a lymphoma survivor) that I think perfectly sums up how all of us feel about mothers.

Click here for your tribute, moms.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Another Good Visit

Saw Dr. R this afternoon. Everything still looks good.

As usual, he did blood work, and everything continues to be within normal range. He did a physical exam, and thinks the most active node cluster might be a little flatter, if not smaller -- certainly not bigger. All of that is good news.

The only area of concern is one that I brought up. I'm still having the slight dizziness every now and then that I've been having for close to two months now. Dr. R wants to get it checked out. I have an MRI scheduled for Tuesday.

I've been to an Ears/Nose/Throat doctor about it, and a few weeks ago, the ENT did some tests. He found nothing -- brain, inner ears, eyes all seem to be functioning just fine. His best guess now (as it was a month ago) is that it's stress-related. Jaw and facial muscles can tense up, causing imbalance and dizziness when the pres against the inner ear (or something like that). I've been to the dentist to talk about getting a device to wear at night to keep my jaws relaxed.

A diagnosis of "stress" seems to me to be the kind of thing they say when they don't know what else to say (like the pediatrician saying "it's a virus"). I was actually doing much better with the dizziness until Wednesday night, when it flaired up again, which maybe gives some support to the whole stress theory (as an oncologist appointment comes up).

Dr. R thinks it could be stress, or it could be a bunch of other things, though it's unlikely to be lymphoma-related. Still, he'd rather be sure (and maybe take off some of that stress) by getting some pictures. I'm good with that. I'm not much of a fan of MRIs -- too squishy in that tube -- but it's better than another barium milkshake and intestinal distress. Plus, it's at 10:45, so I can go for a nice big pastrami sandwich at Katz's Deli across the street when I'm done.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

That's What You Do

Nice article in this month's Runner's World magazine about Bill Rodgers, the 4 time winner of both the Boston and New York Marathons, and one of those Boston-area icons. The article is online.

Rodgers is a prostate cancer survivor. Here's what the article says about how he got the news:

Aside from the broken leg at 55 and a bout of plantar fasciitis at age 40, Rodgers hadn't a single health problem in his adult life. He was in Barbados for a 10-K in December 2007 when his doctor called with grave news: Rodgers had prostate cancer. "I was with a couple of friends, and we were having a lot of fun," he recalls.

"And as soon as I got that call, I was like, 'What now?' You don't know what the hell to do."

So what did he do?

"I ran the 10-K," Rodgers says. "That's what you do."

I think the whole "that's what you do" was supposed to show how dedicated a runner he is. Runners don't stop for anything. That's what you do.

But, really, it's what being a cancer patient is about, too. You get the news, you're confused, then you're devastated, but you get out of bed that next day and you move forward. That's what you do.


I have an appointment with Dr. R tomorrow. I'm not expecting any big changes. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Nodes of Gold

It's been too, too long since I featured someone in Nodes of Gold.


F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They aren't like you and me."

Except when they get cancer.

With that in mind, here's another edition of Nodes of Gold -- strange and fascinating tales of famous people who have had Lymphoma. Joining Mr. T, Arte Johnson, Paul Azinger and others is.....

Senator Arlen Specter of the great state of Pennsylvania!

I've said it many times before: the Lympho Bob Blog doesn't do political statements, except to encourage people to write to Congress to increase funding for cancer research.

But since Specter -- a Hodgkin's Lymphoma survivor two times over -- has been in the news in the last week, I thought I had to induct him into my own little Hall of Fame. Specter, of course, made news for switching from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party -- or perhaps better to say "returning to" the Democrats, since he switched the other way in 1965.

Specter is a Yale Law School grad, and thus a former New Haven-area resident (always a plus for a Nodes of Gold awardee -- see the piece on Joe Andruzzi), and worked for the Warren Commission that investigated the Assassination of JFK. While on the Warren Commission, he co-authored "The Single Bullet Theory" which stated Kennedy and Gov. John Connally were each hit by the same bullet -- a key point in the Warren Commission declaring there was only one shooter. (I had planned on giving a link to something about this, but it's really easy to get sucked into conspiracy theory videos and web sites. I'll let you Google it on your own if you want.)

Specter was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980, his third try for the office. His official Seante biography says he "has brought rugged individualism and fierce independence learned from his youth on the Kansas plains to become a leading Senate moderate." (What's kind of funny is that John McCain's and Bob Dole's official biographies say the same thing, and McCain wasn't even born in Kansas.)

In 2005, Specter was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He bravely worked in the Senate while being treated with chemotherapy, which of course made him bald. His fellow Senator, John Sununu of New Hampshire, shaved his own head in solidarity. (However, there are no pictures on the Internet of Sununu with a shaved head, so I have my doubts that he actually did it. I mean, come on -- no pictures on the Internet of a Senator with a shaved head? And yet, you can find, like, a million pictures of this kid starting the whole swine flu pandemic?)

In 2008, Specter's Hodgkin's returned, and he underwent treatment again. Specter has been an outspoken advocate for cancer research funding, and has been very supportive of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


Whenever I hear Specter's name, one particular memory always comes to mind:

February 1999, and President Clinton is being impeached. My son John had been born a few days earlier, and my mother-in-law was visiting. Specter, of course, has always been independent-minded, and not one to go along with what his party is doing just because it's his party (be warned, Democrats -- that 60 vote caucus is nowhere near guaranteed). When it was his turn to vote on impeachment, Specter didn't just vote "not guilty," he voted "not proven." My mother-in-law, who had been insisting the whole time that she was remaining neutral through the impeachment trial, shouted at the TV, "Shame on you Arlen Specter!" It was the harshest I've heard her speak in the 19 years I've known her.

The other great controversy on which Specter took a strong moral stand was "Spygate." In 2008, Specter wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about his concern that the alleged tapes of alleged cheating by the New England Patriots had been destroyed illegally by the NFL. Specter felt that his beloved Philadelphia Eagles had been wronged by my beloved New England Patriots in their Super Bowl matchup. "My strong preference is for the NFL to activate a Mitchell-type investigation. I have been careful not to call for a Congressional hearing because I believe the NFL should step forward and embrace an independent inquiry and Congress is extraordinarily busy on other matters. If the NFL continues to leave a vacuum, Congress may be tempted to fill it." Specter backed off when he realized that (1) the Eagles' pathetic clock management was actually to blame for the loss, (2) members of Congress had better things to do than this -- like sell their stock holdings before the market collapsed, and (3) he himself had better things to do, like battle cancer.


Arlen Specter, U.S. Sentor from Pennsylvania, congratulations. You've taken Joe Biden's place as the Democratic Senator most likely to say something that the Democratic leadership needs to distance itself from the next day, and...

You've got Nodes of Gold!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More from AACR

As promised, a little more news from AACR. There were some interesting items about lifestyle choices, adding to that study about drinking more wine.

Those wacky folks from Yale who say I should drink more wine also say I should exercise more. A study from Yale's School of Public Health says that oncologists should recommend exercise to their patients, since it results in better quality of life and better prognosis. However, they also suggest that oncologists stop recommending supplements (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc.), since there is little evidence that they help make cancer better. All that said, I still plan keep up with both anyway. I'm not yet willing to give up hope on my omega-3 fish oil (there's an interesting study I'm following that seems to show that omega-3's help combat inflamation associated with prostate cancer and helps keep the cancer from growing). It seems to me that even if there is no effect on my NHL, there is plenty of evidence that omega 3's will keep my heart healthy, which is just as important a long-term health issue (especially if I'm still doing all of that running).

Of course, there was also a study from AACR that looked at a whole bunch of other studies about diet, nutrition, and cancer. The author of that one says that we can't really trust any single studies on the subject. His team looked at some of the research that's been done on cancer and lifestyles that has gotten a lot of media play, and found that once multiple follow-up studies are done, the results of that research look cloudier. For example, the idea that grilling meat to the point of charring may create carinogens has been around for a long time. It may be true, but if you look at all of those studies together, there has been nothing to show more than a "mild to moderate" effect in causing cancer. Then he specifically questions that Yale study on wine drinking, and says that while this small study shows some promise for NHL patients, other studies show that even moderate alcohol consumption can increase breast cancer risk. So, looking at the big picture, drinking wine may end up causing problems as it helps others.

He really didn't need to burst my bubble that way.

All of that really sums up the difficulty of "lifestyle" research, I think. Unlike testing for the effects of a specific drug, for example, there just seem to be so many variables to take into account. Not that I would want to discourage such studies. But we're fooling ourselves if we think there are easy answers -- a bottle of wine, a piece of dark chocolate, and you're safe.