Cancer ABCs From Surviving To Thriving - How to Thrive with Cancer

Joel Nowak Cancer ABCs


To facilitate tangible improvements in the lives of people who have been affected by cancer(s), by providing them and their loved ones the necessary survival tools, education, support and advocacy so that they can become responsible for and take an active role in their own medical care and wellbeing.


Our goal is to teach all people affected by cancer, including those with multiple cancers and/or rare cancers, to become CANCER THRIVERS.

Methotrexate and the COVID Vaccine -WARNING
https://ard.bmj.com/content/early/2021/08/22/annrheumdis-2021-220597 As per the link above, individuals taking the drug methotrexate experience an up to 62% reduced rate of an immunological response when given a mRNA Covid-19 vaccination like to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.  This finding suggests that patients on methotrexate may need alternate vaccination strategies such as additional doses of vaccine, dose modification of methotrexate or even a temporary discontinuation of this drug.In this podcast, Joel Nowak from Cancer ABCs, who is taking methotrexate, after having is booster shot of the Moderna vaccine was informed by his doctor that he should have not received the injection without having made a modification in his methotrexate.   Joel talks about his frustration and anger that he was not informed about this complication when the research was first published, three months prior to his receiving his Covid-19 booster shot.   Joel shared his current plan to discontinue taking methotrexate and hope that the booster will still create some antigen effect.  He will follow up in a few weeks and check his antigen level (blood test) and then if he hasn't received an adequate result go on a campaign to obtain an additional Covid vaccination booster while still remaining off methotrexate.Joel’s story should serve as a warning to anyone taking methotrexate that they need to discuss this issue with their doctors prior to having a mRNA Covid-19 vaccination.  Cancer ABCs would like to thank its podcast sponsors for their support of this podcast program.  Our sponsors include:Myovant/PfizerFoundation MedicineBayer DendreonSupport the show (https://www.cancerabcs.org/new-page-2/)
Aug 29 2021
6 mins
A Special Message for Someone Diagnosed with Cancer
When you are first diagnosed with cancer, when the doctor says to you have cancer, you are likely to have many different responses. Among these first possible responses are fear, apprehension, disbelief, sadness, anger, dread, or even denial. Any and all of these reactions are reasonable and normal.The question is how do you chose to deal with these feelings?  Everyone's cancer is different and how we as individuals deal with our cancer is also different. However, developing a specific mindset, taking personal responsibility for yourself and your medical care, learning about your disease and  deciding on how you are going to come to grips with your reality will immediately influence you today and tomorrow. We all have choices to make, the choice we eventually make will have repercussions from today until the day we die.  Making better choices is hard, but so much of our future is dependent on the choices and decisions we make from today and on. In this podcast, Joel Nowak shares some lessons he has learned about being diagnosed with cancer.  Joel has been told he has cancer on six different occasions.  He has been diagnosed with 5 different cancers (thyroid, renal (kidney), melanoma, prostate and appendiceal (appendix cancer) as well as a prostate cancer recurrence five years after his primary treatment. Cancer ABCs would like to thank its podcast sponsors for their support of this podcast program.  Our sponsors include:Myovant/PfizerFoundation MedicineBayer DendreonSupport the show (https://www.cancerabcs.org/new-page-2/)
Aug 24 2021
7 mins
New Orleans Music Producer Shane Norris Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer During Covid Shares His Journey with HIFU Treatment
Joel Nowak and Shane Norris discuss his unusual Covid Pandemic Journey with a new prostate cancer diagnosis.  Shane, a well-respected music producer and gig worker, joined with other New Orleans artists to raise funds for out-of-work musicians.  As he began to create a fund raising vehicle he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Shane shares the experience he had navigating the Covid pandemic as he searched for the prostate cancer treatment that he felt best suited his needs.  With financial support raised from a GO-Fund-Me project as well as help and guidance from a number of resources, including medical professionals, family and friends, Shane decided to become the first man in Louisiana to treat his prostate cancer with high intensity focused ultrasound – or HIFU. Despite Shane having to learn about prostate cancer and potential treatments and their possible side effects, in the middle of a pandemic, he and his colleagues managed to raise and distribute $400,000 to out-of-work New Orleans artists.   Some Important Additional Information: 1-  High Intensity Focal Ultrasound (HIFU) currently has a CPT code, and is covered by Medicare, with a deductible. HIFU is also covered by some private insurance carriers for both initial treatment and as a salvage therapy.  Please check with your insurance carrier (Medicare and private carriers) to confirm your specific coverages.  With the CPT code urology practices can now submit claims to private insurers which are evaluated for reimbursement on a case by case basis. 2-  Shane's personal experience with side effects from his HIFU treatment does not guarantee that others having HIFU will have the same experience.  Following HIFU patients may be required to have a catheter inserted for 3 to 7 days.  The risk of having the more common side effects of urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction seen in treating the entire gland are minimized due to HIFU's targeted nature of  tumor ablation. Cancer ABCs would like to thank its podcast sponsors for their support of this podcast program.  Our sponsors include:Myovant/PfizerFoundation MedicineBayer Dendreon Support the show (https://www.cancerabcs.org/new-page-2/)
Jun 22 2021
26 mins
Understanding the Importance of Radiopharmaceutical Scans and Why They Might Not Be Available for Us When We Need Them
Radiopharmaceutical scans (PETS) are a vital tool in our fight against cancer. These special PET scans allow us to make earlier cancer diagnoses while a cancer is still contained in the original organ.   With an earlier diagnosis, treatments can still stop the cancer before it is able to move to other parts of the body, or become metastatic.  These special scans also are our best tools to evaluate whether our treatments are working, or if we have developed resistance to the treatments.  FDA approved treatments are limited, so we have  to take full advantage of them while they work.  Since most treatments will eventually stop working, we need to also have an immediate and accurate way to measure whether we are still benefiting from our treatments, or have developed resistance to them.Sadly, the future of these scans is in jeopardy.  The current insurance reimbursement schedule only supports the use of these scans for three years, after which reimbursement rates might not cover the costs, making these very important scans unavailable despite having been approved by the FDA.  Currently these scans could be looking  at a 3 year life, after which adequate reimbursement might disappear (as will the availability of the scan to patients). Cancer ABCs is working to change the law so that reimbursement of these scans will keep them affordable and available as we need them.  Join us and help us preserve the availability of these scans.  To learn more about this issue,  and to lend your support, reach out to us at info@CancerABCs.orgCancer ABCs would like to thank its podcast sponsors for their support of this podcast program.  Our sponsors include:Myovant/PfizerFoundation MedicineBayer DendreonSupport the show (https://www.cancerabcs.org/new-page-2/)
Apr 22 2021
12 mins
Survival with Provenge - Real World Data  Along with A Peek Into the Future of TreatmentIs ADT Hormone Therapy Necessary When You Take Abiraterone Acetate aka Zytiga?Dealing with Salvage Radiation Side Effects for Prostate Cancer- One Mans Extraordinary Journey
Men who have a local prostate cancer recurrence, or their PSA starts increasing, after having prostate cancer surgery (a radical prostatectomy), the treatment of choice is considered salvage radiotherapy (SRT). In the post prostatectomy setting, SRT may impose significant risks and complications.Potential complications or side effects can include incontinence, bladder neck contracture, bladder and bowel symptoms, needing secondary procedures, as well as secondary malignancies. Radiation should never be considered non-invasive, but it can halt the progression of the cancer. Therefore, reserving radiotherapy for those who will most benefit is of great concern.In this podcast Joel Nowak speaks with Mr. John Harrison who had salvage radiation and has experienced many of these side effects.  On two occasions John has used Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment which he describes as well as having a colostomy to allow his colon to  rest and hopefully heal.  In addition to having deal with radiation toxicities, he still has to be treated for his progressing prostate cancer.  John has just completed a Phase II Clinical Trial as well as using Lupron, aka Hormone Therapy (ADT). To date, John has had limited relief from his symptoms, but his cancer is under control. John shares his journey and experiences treating his side effects from both the surgery and the salvage radiation. Despite all of his symptoms he maintains a positive attitude and reminds us that his experiences are his and do not reflect what others might experience.John considers himself an outlier. As an outlier he offers some sage advice for all of us who are being treated for prostate cancer.  Support the show (https://www.cancerabcs.org/new-page-2/)
Jul 28 2020
27 mins
Protect Yourself - Know the Limits of the Genetic Privacy LawsProstate Cancer Clinical Trials- The Continued Lack of Racial Diversity and the Iron Man Registry's Attempt to Reverse this Trend
Written Transcript at https://www.cancerabcs.org/transcript-racial-disparities-in-prostate-cancer-clinical-trialsJoel T Nowak interviews Emily Rencsok, an MD/PhD student at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  They discuss the findings of a recent publication which she was the first author that analyzed 59 prostate cancer clinical trials based in North America and Europe.Overall, Rencsok and colleagues looked at 72 global phase 3 and 4 prevention, screening, and treatment clinical trials for patients with prostate cancer that enrolled patients between 1987 and 2016. Of the 72 trials, 59 had race data available; corresponding with a total of approximately 844,000 participants.When the researchers analyzed the diversity of enrollment over time, they found that the proportion of black men who were enrolled in prostate cancer clinical trials decreased from 11.3% in 1995 to 2.8% in 2014. Even further, the investigators found that the proportion of white participants in these clinical trials has primarily remained above 80% since 1990.Joel and Emily also discussed the Iron Man study that has been making strives to reverse this trend.  They also discussed implicit racial bias in both clinical trials and treatments offered to black black individuals (Rencsok EM, Bazzi LA, McKay RR, et al. Diversity of Enrollment in Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials: Current Status and Future Directions. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-1616.)Support the show (https://www.cancerabcs.org/new-page-2/)
Jul 6 2020
42 mins
Prostate Cancer Treatment in the COVID-19 EraUnderstanding the Real Survival Advantages Provided By  Provenge (Sipuleucel-T) for Men with Metastatic Prostate CancerProstate Cancer Surgical Incontinence SolutionsUsing the Oncotype DX Genomic Prostate Score to Decide if You Are A Candidate for Active Surveillance
Jul 19 2019
21 mins
Using The Genomic Health ARV-7 Test When You Are Taking Xtandi, Zytiga or ErleadaLearning About Oligometastatic and Metastatic Prostate Cancer and How Cancer MetastasizesMark Hall's Metastatic Prostate Cancer Journey with Dr. Snuffy Meyers and Provenge (sipuleucel-T)How To Help A Person Diagnosed With CancerRemediating Hormone Therapy (ADT) Side Effects for Men with Prostate CancerBeing Diagnosed and Living with Male Breast Cancer - Michael Singer Shares His Story
Joel Nowak from Cancer ABCs interviews Michael Singer, a male breast cancer thriver. Michael, diagnosed at age 50, shares his journey and his advocacy as a man with breast cancer. Three years before learning that he had breast cancer his sister, with whom he lived, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She succumbed to the disease one year after receiving the diagnosis. So, when Michael learned about his diagnosis, he assumed that he too would live for only one year.Like many other men, Michael did not know that men get breast cancer, so when his doctor told him that he had breast cancer, he thought that the doctor was mistakenly looking at his sister’s chart. Michael shares that it took two visits to his doctor’s office before he told the doctor that he had a lump under his nipple. When first diagnosed, he was too embarrassed to tell his friends or family that he had breast cancer, but instead told them that he had chest cancer. Michael also shares the frustrations and unhappiness he experienced in the breast cancer oncologist and surgeon’s offices and clinics where he was segregated and treated differently from the other breast cancer patients because he was a man. He talks about how “pink; pink balloons, pink ribbons, and pink medical forms” asking him if he was breastfeeding and when was his last menstrual cycle made him feel like a freak. Because of a television show he saw Michael shared how he finally came to grips with being a man with breast cancer and how he came to understand that he isn’t a freak because he has breast cancer. He realized that he could improve his life by connecting with many different advocacy organizations including the Male Breast Cancer CoalitionMichael is now THRIVING with cancer. He has developed systems and tricks, which he shares in the podcast, to deal with having to go to a breast cancer clinic and be the only man there for a mammogram (Mike refers to them as a menograms). He also shared information about the great work that both he as an individual and the Male Breast Cancer Coalition do to support men with breast cancer and advocate for the inclusion of men in breast cancer research and clinical trials. Support the show (https://www.cancerabcs.org/new-page-2/)
Aug 10 2018
1 hr 3 mins
How a Drug Gets Developed and Tested