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Thunder Bay
Summer Newsletter 2015
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How To Talk To Your Doctor
by Beth Long
Dr. Jaro Kotalik was the guest speaker for the General
Meeting on Thursday, April 16, 2015. He gave an
enlightening presentation on “How To Talk To Your
Doctor”, offering sound, practical and helpful advice
on how to get the most out of a visit to your doctor. Dr.
Kotalik is a retired Radiation Oncologist and former
CEO of the Northwestern Ontario Regional Cancer
Centre; an active Physician-Bioethicist and founder
of the Center for Health Care Ethics at Lakehead
University; and a Professor in the Northern Ontario
School of Medicine, the Department of Philosophy,
Lakehead University and the Department of Medicine, McMaster
University. He has been on both sides of the desk in the physician’s
office: as the physician and as the patient.
Dr. Kotalik began by giving us a view of the physician’s role in our health
care system. In Canada, physicians are private practitioners even
though they are publicly funded. In essence they are entrepreneurs,
having to earn a living and to pay for their own benefits. The physician’s
practice is controlled by many laws, regulations, financial arrangements
and practice guidelines, and these parameters determine much of what
happens between the patient and physician. Physicians in Canada have
a kind of tension in their work. Traditionally physicians were altruistic in
their practice, considering the well being of the patient first. The Code of
Ethics of the Canadian Medical Association reiterates this as its primary
ethic. However, the publicly funded health care system in Canada puts
the physician in the role of gatekeeper of the health care system. In
each encounter with the patient, then, the physician is challenged to
find a balance between what is best for the patient and what is the best
for the health care system in order to keep it economically sustainable.
Thus, the demands for health care are constantly being frustrated by the
scarcity of resources, such as is the limit on the number of hospital beds
and on the funding of some medications.
Continued on Page 2
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Annual Beef on a Bun Social
Location: 55 Plus Centre, 700 River St.
Time: 5:30PM
How To Talk To Your Doctor (continued)
Dr. Kotalik explained how doctors work during a patient visit. The physician takes a history of past
illnesses; a history of the present health problem; does a functional inquiry of all other systems;
and looks at signs of the current health problem and may do a physical exam. Test results will be
reviewed and further investigations may be ordered. The physician will give the patient a list of
possible diagnoses, in order of probability. The diagnosis on the top of the list becomes the working
diagnosis and further tests, prognosis and treatment are based on this working diagnosis.
It is helpful to both the patient and physician for the patient to prepare for his/her visit to the doctor.
It is important to keep in mind the scarcity of time of the physician and to use this time efficiently and
effectively. Bring a written health history and any records of your current health problem. Make a list
of your objectives for this visit to your doctor and prioritize them. Ask someone to go with you and
take notes for you. Consider how you will describe your symptoms. Bring all medications, including
herbal and homeopathic medications, or a list of these. Make sure that your appearance (dress and
hygiene) shows that you care about your body and yourself.
At the visit to the doctor, the patient should state the purpose of the visit. Be honest and frank about
what you think may have caused the problem. Besides the physical problem, mention any serious
emotional problem (family, financial issues, etc.) you may be experiencing and make it clear how
important this problem is: how concerned you are; what you fear about it. The doctor has to deal
with your illness, but also to deal with you as a person. It helps to give the physician a complete
picture of you and your health needs. Ask for copies of any test results, consultation notes, etc. Ask
the physician to write down any word or term with which you are not familiar.
Upon leaving the doctor’s office, make sure that you understand your diagnosis. Do you have the
information needed to answer these questions: Is my diagnosis probable or certain? Do I need tests
to clarify the diagnosis? Does my condition need treatment? What are the treatment options? What
is the next thing that should happen after this visit? Do you have some unvoiced concerns? Are they
serious enough to voice them or to get another appointment?
Dr. Kotalik summed up his presentation with some final comments. Build a good relationship with
your physician. Strive for good communication. Be assertive short of being aggressive. Consider
how much you wish to be involved in making decisions and gradually work towards this level of
comfort. In our health care system, you need to be a manager, or at least a co-manager of your
health. “You are your own expert.”
Dr. Kotalik’s presentation was live streamed and is available for viewing on our website at www.pccnthunderbay.org.
In Memoriam
Bill Mokomela passed away on Saturday, March 14, 2015. Bill was a Professional Engineer, working for the
City of Fort William in the Engineers Department and then as Assistant City Administrator in charge of Homes
for the Aged. He went on to work for Fednor until his retirement in 1997. Bill was a devoted family man and
an active community minded leader and volunteer, including founder of the “Fame 500 Club” fundraiser for
the Sports Hall of Fame. He was 76.
Antti “Andy” Haapa-aho passed away on Thursday, March 26, 2015 at St. Joseph’s
Hospital. Antti worked in construction as a supervisor in commercial, industrial and
institutional settings. He was highly regarded by his co-workers. Antti was a genuine
individual, devoted husband, father and adored Pappa, committed to his family,
always putting them first and giving his best. He was 73.
Mike Koppenhaver passed away peacefully in St. Joseph’s Hospice on May 4, 2015,
after a five year battle with prostate cancer. Mike loved his job as Sales Manager at
George Hill and Intercity Supply, and many of his customers became his life-long
friends. His children were his pride and joy, especially his 5 year old granddaughter,
Sydnee. Mike loved egg salad sandwiches, 60’s music, live theatre, golf, scrabble,
bocce, and words with friends and family. He was 71.
We at PCCN-Thunder Bay send our condolences to their families.
Nutrition For Prostate Cancer Survivors: What’s New?
by Beth Long
Sue Pienig was the guest speaker for the General Meeting on Thursday, March 19, 2015.
Ms Pienig is a Registered Dietitian with the Cancer Centre at the Thunder Bay Regional Health
Sciences Centre. She gave an informative and well received presentation on what is new in nutrition
for prostate cancer survivors, drawing numerous questions from members in attendance.
Ms Pienig described diet as a way to live stronger and live better. She stated that there is always
something new on diet coming out in the media. This makes it confusing as to what to believe and
what to do about our diets. To know what is legitimate, it is important to look at evidence based
research. “Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Prostate Cancer”, released in November 2014 by the
World Cancer Research Fund International, is the most rigorous, in-depth, systematic global review
to date of the scientific research currently available on prostate cancer and lifestyle factors. In its
2014 update, its recommendations show: strong evidence that body fatness increases the risk of
advanced prostate cancer only; limited evidence that diets high in calcium, dairy products, low blood
vitamin E and selenium levels increase risk.
The recommendations for all cancer survivors are:
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Be physically active every day.
Limit foods and beverages with added sugar.
Eat more plant foods.
Eat less red meat.
Avoid processed meat.
Limit alcohol.
Limit processed foods with added salt.
Ms Pienig explained how body fat probably leads to prostate cancer. With excess weight, the
pancreas produces more insulin and increased insulin levels in the blood (insulin resistance) may
potentially lead to the production of cancer cells. As well, fat cells produce pro-inflammatory factors,
which lead to chronic inflammation, which can lead to changes in normal cells, which in turn can
lead to the development or growth of cancer cells.
Studies of a healthy weight use the Body Mass Index, waist hip ratio, and waist circumference.
These do have some limitations so that they are not a perfect measure of healthy weight. If a person
needs to lose weight, Ms Peinig stated that some weight loss is better than none. She informed us
that in older people, a little more weight is better than being underweight.
The two hot topics currently in the field of nutrition are eating more plant based foods and the
reduction of sugar intake. Plants have anti-inflammatory compounds. Three-quarters of your plate
should be plant products (one-half vegetables and one-quarter grains), and one-quarter may be
meat/meat substitute. Sugar is the bad guy now. It is not benign and may be pro-inflammatory. You
should have no more than 10%, and preferably 5%, of added sugar in your daily caloric intake.
Ms Pienig stated that changing one’s diet and eating patterns involves behavior change. To set the
stage for success, the change has to be important to you. You need to ask yourself if you are ready
to make the change and if it is a good time to focus on yourself. Building confidence in changing
your behavior around diet and eating patterns is enhanced by taking small achievable steps and
having a plan for roadblocks. She encouraged us with her words, “Do it long enough so that it
becomes a routine”.
Summer Newsletter 2015
Talking With The Funeral Director Before You Have To
by Beth Long
Michael Sargent, a Funeral Director with Sargent & Son Funeral Home, was the guest speaker at
the General Meeting on Thursday, May 21, 2015. With over twenty years of experience in the funeral
business, Michael gave us an informative, interesting, and sometimes humourous, presentation on
funeral planning. Numerous questions were forthcoming from members attending the presentation.
Michael describes himself as being passionate about his job. A Funeral Director is “an unexpected
wedding planner”, having to arrange a major life event in a very short time period. He/she is also
a technician, having to prepare the body and set things up. A Funeral Director is a caregiver and
an educator as well. As a Funeral Director, Michael has an opportunity to make a difference at a
critical time in a person’s life. He believes it is important to provide people with information about
their options in funeral planning, including clarifying any misinformation or misgivings that they may
have, in order for them to make the best decisions possible about their arrangements.
Michael explained that the role of the funeral is an opportunity for family and the community to come
together to celebrate a life lived. It provides support for the family. It provides an opportunity to start
the grieving process. Private family funerals affect the people who are not there, as they have no
closure and their grief is left in a void. Private family funerals also prolong the acute grief of the
family; as they meet people in the community afterwards, they have to go over the story again and
again. Funerals are becoming more personalized, with DVDs showing pictures at the service and
favourite music being chosen.
Michael shared some insights from his experience with people in dealing with burial/disposal of
the ashes (cremains, which are really just bone fragments). Immediate burial of the ashes is best if
possible because the family members are usually all there at the time of the service, and because
it brings closure. Scattering the ashes lacks a place for family members to go to talk to a loved one.
A gravesite gives a family member a definitive place to go.
Michael explained the differences between a transfer service, a funeral home and a cemetery. A
transfer service has the ability to do a basic transfer of the body and to take it for cremation. A funeral
home is a full service provider; but it can do a basic transfer service if that is all that is desired. A
cemetery is a separate entity that provides a place for the final disposition of the body/ashes.
Michael encouraged some kind of pre-arrangement of a person’s funeral plans. At the very least, it
is important for people to talk to their spouses and children about what they want at the time of their
death and to ask the family what they need; this precludes differences between family members
at the time of making the funeral plans. The more complete the pre-arrangements are (instructions
regarding the service and burial, and pre-paying the costs), the less stress for the family at the time
of death. Funeral services in Ontario are the most regulated in the world. Funeral costs are itemized,
so people can choose what they want to pay for.
Northwestern Ontario Mines and Minerals Symposium
PCCN Thunder Bay showcased an educational display table at the 2015 Northwestern Ontario Mines
and Minerals Symposium at the Valhalla Inn on April 14 & 15. Threehundred and fifty (350) registrants at the symposium had the opportunity
to become aware of current information about prostate cancer and its
treatment. Thank you to Bob Danylko, Jim Holmes, Bill Horde, and Ed
Long for attending our display table. Picture from left to right: Garry Clark,
Executive Director of the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association;
PCCN Board Members – Bill Horde, Bob Danylko, Ed Long.
News From The Region
Marcel’s Morsels
by Marcel Girouard, Hearst, ON
How long will you live if you’ve been diagnosed with prostate
One survivor told me recently that when he was diagnosed, the
oncologist told him he had five years to live. Today, five years later, he
is in his mid-70s, and during a recent visit to his oncologist, he jokingly
asked him for another five years!
Many prostate cancer survivors die from non cancer-related diseases. As baby boomers are
advancing in age, longevity seems to be in the news more and more these days. In her February12
Time magazine article, Laura Carstensen explored the many factors that influence how long we live.
In Newsweek’s March 5 issue, Betty Isaacson’s article focused on ambitious research programs
for new drugs to slow the ageing process. The June issue of Zoomer, the magazine for CARP
(Canadian Association of Retired Persons) members, contains many articles about today’s science
of longevity.
In his May 12 video talk, urologist Dr. Charles Myers, a prostate cancer survivor and editor of
the Prostate Forum Newsletter, talks about aging with prostate cancer. Men who have non-lethal
prostate cancer should be more concerned about other old age diseases that can kill you - such
as hypertension, arterial stiffness, diabetes and cardiovascular complications - and get proper
treatment. He favours vaccines for preventable diseases and conditions such as shingles, flu,
pneumonia, etc. Life of course is finite, yet there is very little research being conducted to extend
life beyond the maximum death due to old age, which he claims is 114. Furthermore, Dr. Myers
mentions that biological age and chronological age can vary between humans.
Zoomer Magazine’s May 14 Newsletter (everythingzoomer.com) features award winning writer
Lisa Bendall, who researched the literature and identified the top nine super foods that you should
include in your diet. These foods are proven to fight diseases and promote cardiovascular health
and potentially add years to your life: olive oil, berries, salmon, whole grain fibre, dark chocolate,
nuts, greens, legumes, and yogurt. She writes that an active lifestyle, as well as a balanced and
varied diet, are important to have quality of life in old age.
If all of that doesn’t work and you wish to survive prostate cancer longer, ask your doctor for more
life years.
55 Plus Health & Wellness Expo
PCCN-Thunder Bay participated in the 55 Plus
Health & Wellness Expo on Thursday, April 23.
The Expo saw a huge turn out of visitors, and the
volunteers attending our awareness and educational
display table experienced many people stopping to
chat, ask questions, and pick up literature. Thank
you to the volunteers who set up and attended to
our table: Ray Dafoe, Marg & Steve Dychko, Jim
Holmes, Rose & Bill Horde, Bob Lavoie, Beth & Ed
Long, Denis Perron, and Lorne Sampson.
Summer Newsletter 2015
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Upcoming Events
Thursday, June 18:
Annual Beef On A Bun Social (PCCN Members & Families)
5:30 pm, 55 Plus Centre, 700 River St.
Friday, June 19: Relay For Life: Car pool 5:30 pm at 55 Plus Centre. 6:00 pm to 12:00 am
at Fort William Historical Park.
Thursday, July 16:
Speakers: Jim Hyder & Ed Long on “The Importance of Telling Our
Stories”. 7:00 pm, 55 Plus Centre, 700 River St.
Saturday, July 25:
Used Car Superstore Truck Wash.
11:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Thursday, August 20: Members Helping Members Session.
7:00 pm, 55 Plus Centre, 700 River St.
Newsletter Committee
Email: [email protected]
Beth Long 629-4774 Brian Scott Grant & Marilyn Arnold Marcel Girouard Ed Long 983-2033
933-4214 (705) 362-8154
Board Members
Ed Long
Grant Arnold
Bill Bartley
Ray Dafoe
Jim Holmes
Bill Horde
Denis Perron
Lorne Sampson
Contact Us
Bill Vantour
Vice President
Past President
Bob Danylko
Bob Lavoie
Thunder Bay
1100 Memorial Avenue - Suite 374
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 4A3
[email protected]
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