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Monday, December 27, 2010

Avastin: conflicting information

It's really hard to find reliable information about drugs that are comparatively new, especially when you start to review what people like me, who aren't experts in the field, say about their experiences.
   For example, I just wanted to know for sure whether or not Avastin had been approved for cancers apart from bowel cancers in Australia in the latest round [November] of the approval committee's proceedings - the Pharmaceuticals Administration Board I think it is - and I can't find a definitive statement about it. Maybe I'm just tired but I would have thought there would be something around online about that. I THINK I heard on the radio that it was not approved for anything but its current use on the PBS. 
   Not that that would have helped me anyway, as it has already been paid for in my case, but its denial to others is sad, because it's only affordable for people with other types of tumours if you have money and/or the wonderful friends and family I have.
   Still, I would like to know exactly what the decision was. I know I can get the information from Nicola Roxon's office but it must be out there somewhere!
   As to conflicting information, you come across plenty. For example, regarding green tea, one person with significant experience wrote in a forum:
   With the advantage of hindsight, if I was in her situation there are a few things that I would do: 

  1. Buy some vitamin D3 supplements and get her to spend 15-20 mins in the sun as many days as there is sunlight; without sunscreen. 
  2. Purchase the book "Anticancer" by David Servan-Schreiber, a brain cancer survivor himself. 
  3. Eat more fish and take fish oil tablets. 
  4. Eat 9-11 servings of fresh fruit and veges a day minimum. 
  5. Drink green tea and take green tea extract. 
  6. Exercise daily and try meditation or deep breathing.
Pretty good advice, I think. Then you find this, admittedly in an article about lung cancer and not brain tumours:

Next, the concerning news. Components present in green tea may block the anticancer effects of a category of drugs known as "boronic acid-based proteasome inhibitors." This category includes medications such as bevacizumab (Avastin).
See what I mean?

You really need to work out a lot based on your own experience and instinct!


  1. I think it would more honest if David Servan-Schreiber actually revealed what grade of brain cancer he had instead of making money and giving false hope to a whole load of people with a grade 4 tumour.

  2. Seems this is fair enough comment. I went and did a search and I could not find a reference to the grade of his tumour. There's a world of difference between a Grade 3 and Grade 4, for example. Not that this negates advice he may give.
    People can also be lucky with where the brain tumour is/was located as may be seen in the story of a GBM Grade 4 survivor where the whole of the tumour was removed with the surgery.
    I also find the treatment and follow up interesting:
    I've no doubt that diet is very important in defending the body against recurrence.
    This is actually ME, Denis, but now I understand why people have trouble posting comments, because this comment box is seriously misbehaving!


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