My new chemotherapy treatment is starting on the 6th February. This is a little later than I would have liked but it is good to have a date in the diary at last. This will use dacarbazine.
My oncologist has also confirmed that he is happy to prescribe metformin for me alongside the chemotherapy. I will take an escalating dose of the drug during the first two weeks of treatment before reaching a stable dose (1500mg per day). I'm very pleased my oncologist has agreed as this is not currently recognised as a standard therapy for LMS.
I like to base my treatment choices on scientific information and my decision to try metformin has been made because of various research findings and a scientific hypothesis that suggest it may be of benefit. These include:
- evidence that shows that people taking metformin to treat diabetes appear to have a lower risk of developing cancer than the general population;
- research that indicates metformin has some level of activity against certain types of cancer cells (including sarcoma cells);
- research that shows that taking metformin in combination with some chemotherapy agents may give a better response than the chemotherapy agent alone and, finally,
- a hypothesis that metformin may have some specific value in reducing cancer risk in people with Li Fraumeni syndrome.
When I consider these factors along with the knowledge that metformin is a very widely taken drug with a relatively low risk profile it seems well worth a go.
Earlier this week Katie and I spent a very good couple of days in London. We packed a lot of sightseeing into our visit with trips to Westminster Abbey, Churchill's war rooms, the Cutty Sark, the Royal Observatory and the National Maritime museum.
Sometimes I see something in a museum that really captures my imagine. At the National Maritime museum they have an exhibition on Horatio Nelson. I've been interested in Nelson for many years and have read a number of books on his life so I was really keen to see the exhibition. One of the exhibits is Nelson's coat - the one he was wearing as he stood on the deck of HMS Victory at the battle of Trafalgar.
The dark blue of the officer's coat was quite possibly what drew the eye of the French soldier who fired the shot that killed Nelson. The musket ball left a small but jagged edged hole in the shoulder of the jacket. From the position of the hole it is clear that the shot was fired from a high angle, looking down on Nelson - probably from the masts of the French ship, Redoutable.
I can't think of ever seeing an object more intimately connected to a moment in history or to the personal fate of a man, recording as it does the day of Nelson's greatest victory and the moment he was fatally wounded, the point at which an already much feted British hero became a national legend. I don't think museum exhibits get much better than that!