Don’t Waste Your Cancer! — A must-read essay on God’s plan for your cancer.

David Powlison was on the eve of prostate cancer surgery when he and John Piper, a noted Christian author, penned the following ten (10) very relevant points. The following is an excerpt. I suggest you read the relatively short essay in its entirety. See “Don’t Waste Your Cancer”.

  1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God. God has allowed your cancer and has a specific reason for it.
  2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift. In His beloved children, our Father works a most kind good through our most grievous losses: sometimes healing and restoring the body (temporarily, until the resurrection of the dead to eternal life), always sustaining and teaching us that we might know and love Him more simply.
  3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God. With God, you aren’t playing percentages, but living within certainties.
  4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death. Cancer is merely one of the enemy’s scouting parties, out on patrol. It has no final power if you are a child of the resurrection, so you can look it in the eye.
  5. You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.  To ‘beat’ cancer is to live knowing how your Father has compassion on his beloved child, because He knows your frame, that you are but dust. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. To live is to know Him, whom to know is to love.
  6. You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God. It is not wrong to know about cancer. Ignorance is not a virtue. But the lure to know more and more and the lack of zeal to know God more and more is symptomatic of unbelief. Cancer is meant to waken us to the reality of God. For every one sentence you say to others about your cancer, say ten sentences about your God, and your hope, and what he is teaching you, and the small blessings of each day. For every hour you spend researching or discussing your cancer, spend 10 hours researching and discussing and serving your Lord.
  7. You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection. The kind of heart God is aiming to create with cancer is a deeply affectionate, caring heart for people. Don’t waste your cancer by retreating into yourself. Our culture is terrified of facing death. It is obsessed with medicine. It idolizes youth, health and energy. It tries to hide any signs of weakness or imperfection. You will bring huge blessing to others by living openly, believingly and lovingly within your weaknesses.
  8. You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.  Jesus’ final promises overflow with the gladness of solid hope amid sorrows: “My joy will be in you, and your joy will be made full. Your grief will be turned to joy. No one will take your joy away from you. Ask, and you will receive, so that your joy will be made full. These things I speak in the world, so that they may have my joy made full in themselves” (selection from John 15-17).
  9. You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.  Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sins such as pride, greed, lust, hatred, unforgiveness, impatience, laziness, procrastination—all these are the adversaries that cancer is meant to attack. If you are God’s, then suffering in Christ’s hands will change you, always slowly, sometimes quickly. You come to terms with life and death on His terms. He will gentle you, purify you, cleanse you of vanities. He will make you need Him and love Him. He rearranges your priorities, so first things come first more often. He will walk with you.
  10. You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.  Jesus is your life. He is the person before whom every knee will bow. He has defeated death once for all. He will finish what He has begun. Let your light so shine as you live in Him, by Him, through Him, for Him. In your cancer, you will need your brothers and sisters to witness to the truth and glory of Christ, to walk with you, to live out their faith beside you, to love you. And you can do same with them and with all others, becoming the heart that loves with the love of Christ, the mouth filled with hope to both friends and strangers.

Colon cancer-a side effect of hormonal therapy.

A recent study published in the November 10th issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that prostate cancer hormone treatments may raise the risk of colorectal cancer.  Lowering the male sex hormones by treatment with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists (hormonal therapy) or surgical removal of the testicles to lower testosterone and PSA levels led to an increased risk of colorectal cancer of about 20-40%.  The risk increased from about 19% to 31% with the increased duration of hormonal therapy. (See the NCI Cancer Bulletin, November 30th, 2010.)

Abiraterone acetate, an oral agent for hormone-resistant prostate cancer reaches a Phase III expanded access program in preparation for FDA review in 2011.

Abiraterone (from Johnson & Johnson) will soon be available at clinical recruitment centers to treat patients with metastatic hormone therapy-resistant prostate cancer who have progressed after taxane-based chemotherapy. Centers are currently recruiting in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and New York. (See the ZeroHour newsletter and action advisory  from the ZeroHour Newsletter, the project to end prostate cancer.)  Abiraterone acetate is a once-daily oral agent for hormone-resistant prostate cancer. It is currently in Phase III clinical trials for men who are hormone resistant and who have had previous exposure to Taxotere. It is now believed that hormone-resistant cells still require testosterone to grow. The cells synthesize an abundance of testosterone receptors and they may even synthesize their own testosterone inside the cancer cell. Abiraterone blocks this production of testosterone within the cell. Thus, abiraterone works not only in blocking the generation of these hormones in the testes, but also elsewhere in the body, including generation of the hormones in the cancer itself. Specifically, it works by blocking the activity of CYP17, a key enzyme that helps cells produce androgen and estrogen. In an earlier Phase I trial in the United Kingdom, abiraterone significantly shrank tumors in men with advanced prostate cancer who had not responded to other treatments. The study found that the drug delayed worsening of the disease by an average of 400 days. Approximately 70-80 percent of men in the Phase I study showed declines in PSA levels and their tumors shrank, even when cancer had spread elsewhere in the body.