CLL Advocates Newsletter Issue 9

Dear Friends,

I and two colleagues are in the final process of submitting for publication a paper on second primary malignancies (SPM) in NZers with CLL. I have mentioned this briefly previously in my newsletter and I will let you know when the paper is published. The NZ experience of SPM in CLL has not been studied before.

The commonest type of SPM in NZers with CLL was skin cancer in its various forms, which accounted for over 80% of SPMs. One of the bottom line messages from the study therefore was to use skin protection from the sun for prevention, and have a skin check twice a year if you have CLL.

And reflecting on prevention and early detection, we all also need to focus on a holistic approach to health issues and healthy living, oncology patients perhaps even more so, as well as accessing treatment for our CLL – the latter potentially being a distraction from a broad approach to the way we look after ourselves.

You will all be familiar with these lifestyle components, including the following:

  • Keep yourself lean, and, if you are overweight , take steps to get a healthier BMI (obesity in recent times has been shown to be a major element in risk of malignant disease)
  • Don’t smoke
  • Take alcohol in moderation, if you drink it
  • Exercise regularly (studies in recent times have shown extensive health benefits from exercising)
  • Keep happy, and keep your stress levels down
  • Eat healthily
  • Lead a balanced existence

In my career as an internal medicine specialist, I have always tried to encourage patient to focus on a broad approach to their disease, not just the main active problem, and have seen how much of a difference this approach can make.

Best wishes

Neil Graham