Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Tuesday 27/01/09

Prostate cancer is meant to be the most common form of cancer among men. It has received enormous attention from the media of late to the extent that men over 50 live in mortal fear of it. The fact that as I entered my 50s I started to get up half a dozen times in the night to have a pee worried me to the extent I asked my doctor for a prostate check last week, just as a precaution.

Hay, who understands these things from a bio-chemical perspective, tells me that the actuality is very different from perception, as the chance of dying of prostate cancer, even if you have it, is phenomenally low. This is because one will rarely get prostate cancer before the age of 60 combined with the fact it is one of the slowest growing cancers. Believe it or not, the average age at diagnosis is 70 with the consequence that you’ll probably die of something totally unrelated before the cancer could feasibly get to the stage of having a chance of carrying you off.

On Saturday Hay and I had dinner at the Alba restaurant in St Ives (on the corner opposite the lifeboat station). I know nouvelle cuisine portions are the butt of many a joke, but the size of this soup portion is ridiculous.

To be honest, we were given a free ‘taster’ while waiting for the starter – it being a rather delicious mushroom soup. I’m not going to way lyrical about the Alba due to time constraints; suffice it to say the food is extremely good and reasonably priced and I would recommend it to anyone with a hundred quid to spare for a well presented three course meal for two with wine (lots of it), 4 coffees and 4 liqueurs (including the tip). We had the special set menu at £16.50 per person, but you have to be there before 6:45pm to take advantage of it.

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but Hay is one of those rare individuals who can look in a fridge and make a mouth-watering meal from the most incongruous list of ingredients. She maintains that if you have an understanding of chemistry then you’re a natural cook. I’ve set her a challenge to make a meal from a bag of ingredients I bring home. Readers’ suggestions as to ingredients are welcome, but they must be sensible – even Hay cannot make a meal from a lump of coal (I think).

The reactionary forces of Creationism received a setback last week. 15 members of the Texas State Board of Education elected to get rid of wording which invited teachers and students to debate "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories. In practice, this was used as a pretext to attack evolution in lessons and textbooks by inventing completely bogus weaknesses.

If you’re interested in looking at bogus Creationist claims then you should have a read of this.


  1. Phil, I think still more could be done to publicise the issues regarding Prostate Cancer - so many men are still in ignorance of it - If I could wear a sandwich board in the street to raise awareness, I would. The demon carried off my beloved dad nearly 3 years ago.

    As for the portion control, was that the brown sauce condiment?

  2. Woman (you don't mind me calling you by for first name, do you?),

    The mortality stats for prostate cancer in the UK for 2006 were 0.03% of the male population, which is extremely low compared to other cancers.

    There were 154k + deaths from cancer in total, of which 7% were prostate, compared to 22% lung, 10% bowel and 8% breast.

    That's around 10k men.