Stephen Fry recovering from cancer op

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Media captionStephen Fry: “It’s a bit of a business having an operation like that”

Stephen Fry is recovering from surgery for prostate cancer and said “it all seemed to go pretty well”.

The broadcaster, who had his operation in early January, said on his website: “They took the prostate out,” adding: “So far as we know it’s all been got.”

He said it was an “aggressive” cancer but it “doesn’t seem” to have spread.

The former QI host added: “For the moment I’m fit and well and happy and I just wanted to let you know because rumours had started to swirl.”

In the video on his site, he said: “You have to recover and that’s what I’ve been doing.”

He said his family and “my darling, darling husband” Elliott Spencer had been “just marvellous”.

“Here’s hoping I’ve got another few years left on this planet because I enjoy life at the moment and that’s a marvellous thing to be able to say, and I’d rather it didn’t go away,” he added.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fry stepped down as Baftas host last month

His condition was given a Gleason Score – a scale used to rate the aggressiveness of prostate cancer – of nine out of 10 before the operation, in which surgeons removed 11 lymph nodes.

Fry added that he had to get used to the idea of the diagnosis, saying: “I went around saying to myself, ‘I’ve got cancer. Good heavens, Stephen, you’re not the sort of person who gets cancer.’

“I know it’s an old cliche but you don’t think it’s going to happen to you.”

He urged men to get their PSA [prostate specific antigen] levels checked with a doctor.

“I generally felt my life was saved by this early intervention, so I would urge any of you men of a certain age to get your PSA levels checked,” he said.

NHS Choices says there are pros and cons of having the test, which can be unreliable and cause unnecessary worry.

What is prostate cancer?

Fans, including some famous names, sent good wishes on Twitter:

Fry’s wide-ranging career

The 60-year-old stepped down last month as host of the Bafta Film Awards. He was replaced by Joanna Lumley at last week’s ceremony.

A prolific broadcaster and writer, he hosted BBC Two’s irreverent quiz show QI for 13 years, and starred in ITV’s comedy series Jeeves and Wooster as well as BBC comedy Blackadder with Rowan Atkinson.

His mellifluous tones were used for the Harry Potter UK audiobooks, while his own books include three volumes of autobiography.

In 1997, he played Oscar Wilde in the film Wilde, and directed Bright Young Things in 2003.

His documentary Stephen Fry’s The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive won an Emmy Award in 2007.

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Finding the Fastest Bartenders on Earth

I found the perfect Singapore Sling in, of all places, the middle of the desert.

In less than three minutes and ten seconds, New Mexico bartender Carla Gilfillan turned out four drinks: my cocktail, a Pia Colada variation, an ad-hoc mocktail and an Espresso Martini. She made them all for the finals of the Southwest regional round of the bartending contest Speed Rack. (Ultimately, Gilfillan was defeated by Vanessa Vara, pictured above, who won the whole competition.)

Top bartenders Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix (twin sister of my colleague, Tess Mix) dreamed up Speed Rack seven years ago. The event empowers female bartenders and also raises about $100,000 every year for a number of breast cancer charities.

Across the country, in regional rounds, female bartenders go head to head making four cocktails as quickly as possible. But the drinks, of course, need to taste good, which is what brought me to a sunny Phoenix ballroom packed with dozens of cheering spectators. The judging panelnational president of the United States Bartenders Guild Pam Wiznitzer, talented Santa Cruz bartender Kate Gerwin, William Grant & Sons director of brand advocacy Charlotte Voisey and mewas tasked with evaluating the drinks.

The winner in each region goes on to a national championship round. While I had seen the grand finals and the New York-area round many times since 2011, I had never been a judge. To be honest, I was a bit nervous. Speed Rack is wonderful to watch, since its part old-school game show, part Nascar race, part Top Chef quick-fire challenge. (Throw in the prison drama Oz for good measure, since fans are known to go to battle over their favorites.) Each match is non-stop action, packed with exciting moments as contestants channel their inner Cocktail-era Tom Cruise to make several drinks at once. The ice and alcohol fly through the air in beautiful arcs. And, as you can imagine, things dont always go as plannedglasses are knocked over, fingers are cut, peaty Scotch gets splashed into ones face. But the show must go on!

As a judge, you almost need two sets of eyes in order to keep track of the movements of both competitors as they furiously race around their bars. (In one round, I dually noticed a Queens Park Swizzle wasnt actually swizzled.) Aesthetics, temperature and flavor are all analyzed.

At times, the whole thing seems absurd given just how quickly the bartenders work. Did I care if the garnish was upside down or the stem of my glass was sticky? Not really. But duty called and I carefully added penalty seconds for every infraction I spotted. (The aim of the game is speed, so a perfect score means no additional time.)

But I had more compassion for the contestants than they no doubt realized. Several years ago, I foolishly agreed to compete against Marrero in a Speed Rack round for a Facebook Live segment. Even though there was no screaming crowd that day or row of judges to impress, it was ridiculously difficult to mix four drinks at once at top speed. There is, of course, some strategy to competing in Speed Rack, like grouping the bottles as you need them and adding a common ingredient to every mixing tin before moving on to the next one. To say I was humbled is an understatement. Marrero was able to produce four gorgeous drinks and still have time to playfully make fun of me like an older sister needling a struggling younger brother.

I couldnt imagine doing it on stage or through several potential rounds. During a break, Voisey confessed to me that she secretly feared being challenged to compete on the spot without any preparation. I couldnt have agreed with her more, though given her excellent bartending skills and years behind the stick, I secretly would love to see her compete.

Judging with my friends certainly helped me to settle in and my nerves quickly dissipated. I followed my fellow judge Wiznitzers lead, looking for serious problems and deductions, but being fair and supportive of efforts that didnt quite hit the mark.

Over the years, Ive judged all types of bartending contests and not all of the drinks Ive tasted are ones Id like to have againor even wished to have tasted in the first place. But amazingly the 14 cocktails I tried as part of Speed Rack were all drinkable, some absolutely delicious. (The competitors are given the recipes for dozens and dozens of drinks beforehand, and each judge picks a different one from that list for each round.)

Competing in Speed Rack is not for everybody. While I appreciate a measured and methodical approach to making drinks, watching these extremely talented bartenders work proved that you can crank out so-called craft cocktails at dive-bar velocity.

Fortunately, I didnt keel over after the seventh and final round. Ill credit my ability to function to my modest sipping of the drinks, guzzling of Perrier and some pizza slices enjoyed in between matches.

Despite a number of after parties taking place that night, I headed back to my hotel, still dreaming about my delicious Singapore Sling.

Try making these drinks as quickly as you can:

Singapore Sling


2 oz Fords Gin

.75 oz Lime

2 oz Pineapple juice

.25 oz Grenadine

.25 oz Cointreau

.25 oz Bndictine

.5 oz Cherry Heering

1 dash Angostura Bitters


Glass: Highball

Garnish: Lime wheel


Add all the ingredients except the Perrier to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass. Top with Perrier if youd like. Garnish with a lime wheel.

La Paloma


2 oz Olmeca Altos Blanco Tequila

.75 oz Lime juice

.5 oz Simple syrup or agave syrup

1 oz Grapefruit juice

pinch of Salt, optional

Perrier or Perrier Grapefruit

Glass: Collins


Add all the ingredients, except the Perrier, to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with Perrier or Perrier Grapefruit.

I was a guest of Speed Rack for the Southwest regional final.

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus posts stunningly defiant post-surgery Instagram photo

Julia Louis-Dreyfus announced her breast cancer diagnosis in September 2017.
Image: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has posted a stunningly defiant photo of herself following surgery for breast cancer, alongside a “fuck you cancer” message. 

In September 2017, the Veep star announced her breast cancer diagnosis, and called for universal health care. 

Louis-Dreyfus has shared updates on Instagram throughout her treatment, including a video her sons made to celebrate her last day of chemotherapy. 

Now, months after her diagnosis, Louis-Dreyfus has shared her first photo taken after her surgery, stating that she’s “feeling happy and ready to rock after surgery.” 

“Hoorah! Great doctors, great results, feeling happy and ready to rock after surgery. Hey cancer, ‘Fuck you!’ Here’s my first post op photo,” she wrote. 

Hoorah, indeed!

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‘My sister died of lung cancer but never smoked’

Image copyright Julie Brown Harwood

In December my younger sister Sarah died of lung cancer, two years after first being diagnosed.

She had led an admirably healthy life, didn’t drink and had never smoked.

The disease seemed to come out of nowhere, shattering the life of a brilliant and much loved mum, wife and writer.

Sarah had been working on a historical novel for the past eight years and her death meant that she missed its publication by a few days.

Before her illness I knew very little about lung cancer and probably shared the common view that it was a smoker’s disease.

I had no idea how many healthy people who had never smoked got it, and how in the UK it kills more people than breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer combined.

Targeted therapies

Sarah’s cancer was caused by a non-inherited genetic mutation.

She was treated with a number of the relatively new targeted drugs available.

What was so frustrating was that when they worked they could shrink a tumour the size of an orange to nothing.

But Sarah was particularly unlucky.

With some people these drugs work well for quite some time, but the nature of her cancer meant that she burned through a number of them very quickly.

When the drug stops working, the tumours spring back almost immediately to the size they were before – or worse.

Like my sister, Joanna Marshall is a young mother to two children, has never smoked, and yet has stage four lung cancer because of a non-inherited fault in her genes.

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Media captionThe UK’s biggest cancer killer

She has also been treated with targeted drug therapies.

“They provide a very effective stay of execution. So for me, for example, I have been on a targeted therapy for about a year which meant that I could live essentially a normal life,” she said.

“I was very active. I could breathe properly but they don’t last for ever. The problem is that cancer tends to be one step ahead.

“My husband – his life has completely changed and it’s not what I wanted for him; but you know, if we get through this, we’ll be so strong,” she added.

‘A disaster’

According to the leading medical charity Cancer Research UK (CRUK), 98 people die of lung cancer in the UK each day – making it the country’s biggest cancer killer.

In around 14% of cases, those who get the disease have never smoked.

Despite this, there is no screening programme for the disease, something which the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, the UK’s only charity exclusively dedicated to lung cancer, is campaigning for.

Cancer Research says there is no national programme in part because it is not clear that screening would save lives, the tests have risks and they can be expensive.

Plus, there is a concern screening could cause over-diagnosis – meaning some people may have treatment they do not need.

Dr David Gilligan, a consultant oncologist at Addenbrookes and Papworth hospitals in Cambridge, says late diagnosis is a disaster for patients.

“It’s a massive problem because these people who are diagnosed with lung cancer and have never smoked are really quite angry that they are assumed to have smoked and they have self-inflicted this cancer… when clearly they haven’t,” he said.

“Because of the way that the disease behaves, and that these people are not expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer, they are not high risk, they are usually diagnosed at a later stage and therefore treatment can often not be curative, which is a complete and utter disaster for them.”

Most lung cancers are diagnosed at stage four, which means that the tumours have spread.

Sufferers often experience no symptoms and many of them are first diagnosed when they present at Accident and Emergency departments.

The average prognosis is 200 days but if caught early, there is up to a 73% increased chance of surviving over five years.

The British Journal of Cancer predicts that lung cancer cases in the UK will double from 65,000 in 2010 to 137,000 in 2040 and that women will be worst affected.

The number of women with lung cancer is expected to almost quadruple within the next 30 years, from around 26,000 in 2010 to about 95,000 in 2040.

In contrast, the figures for men are predicted to increase by 8%, from 39,000 to 42,000 over the same period.

However, partly due to the negative associations of smoking, lung cancer remains the poor relation in the cancer family.

It receives a fraction of the research funding of other cancers.

Just £708 is spent on research per lung cancer death, compared with £3,570 for breast cancer, £7,640 for leukaemia and £10,116 for testicular cancer.

The entertainer and host of BBC TV’s “Record Breakers” Roy Castle, also a lifelong non-smoker, died of lung cancer in 1994.

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, paints a stark picture of why research and treatment is so poorly funded.

She argues that it is almost a “Cinderella” disease, because of the stigma that comes with the idea that it might be self-inflicted.

“A lot of patients believe that it is their fault as well,” she says.

“But it doesn’t matter if you are a smoker, non-smoker, or ex-smoker, if you have lungs you can get lung cancer, it does not discriminate.

“Sadly we don’t have that army of advocates or those ex-patients who can help us raise the profile because it does have poor survival rates, she adds.

Image copyright Genetech

A cure or effective long-term drug therapy for lung cancer in both smokers and non-smokers remains a way off.

There will be many more cases like that of my sister Sarah before this disease, which can strike down healthy young people indiscriminately, is tackled and beaten.

Watch Clive Coleman’s full report on the Six O’Clock News on BBC One this evening.

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Experimental Stem Cell Cancer Vaccine Successfully Shrinks Tumors In Mice

Stanford Medicine (SM) are doubling-down on their work on so-called “cancer vaccines” – treatments that induce the body’s own immune system to annihilate cancerous cells. Following on from another slightly different vaccine study published earlier this month, this paper describes how stem cells have been used in mice to not just shrink tumors, but in some cases immunize their bodies against future reintroductions of the cancer.

This new work, published in Cell: Stem Cell, relies on the use of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs. These little wonders are derived from skin or blood cells that have been chemically reprogrammed to return to this primitive state. Given a little technical prodding, they can transform into any type of cell that’s required.

You can see why, given this ability, they’re being considered to game-changers in the world of regenerative, organ-growing research. An SM-led team wondered how they may fair when it comes to treating cancer, so they set to work.

Cancer cells are often left unchecked by immune systems. Despite their abnormalities, they are still our own cells, so they don’t register as foreign invaders. This camouflage means that even if they are identified as a threat, it’s often too late to stop it as their proliferation has spiraled out of control. Immunotherapy hopes to overcome this identification problem.

To wit, the team noticed that the gene expressions – the “on-off” state of a gene or series of genes – of cancer cells and iPSCs were fairly comparable, at least in mice. This suggested that both posses similar proteins on their surfaces, and it was suspected that because of this, the team could use the IPSCs as a warning shot: a passive blueprint that would tell the immune system what exactly it should be seeking to destroy.

In order to confirm the validity of this hypothesis, they injected tumor-bearing mice with genetically-identical IPSCs, irradiated to ensure they didn’t grow uncontrollably into tumors themselves. In some cases, they were also accompanied by an additional immune-stimulating agent.

It worked: given an injection of the IPSCs and the agent once a week for four weeks, the mice’s immune system registered the IPSC surface proteins, and subsequently destroyed the matching cancer cells. Out of 10 breast cancer-riddled mice in this vaccinated group, the tumors shrank in size in seven of them, and two were able to “fully reject” new cancer cells even after they were reintroduced to them a year later, according to the study – evidence of a cancer prevention mechanism at play.

The vaccine also appears to work somewhat effectively on both skin cancer and a particularly difficult-to-treat type named mesothelioma. Each time, the IPSCs had the potential to grow into that specific cancer type, but were irradiated to prevent them from doing so – and in turn, this provided the immune system with a safe way to identify the real threat.

Although the study describes this work as being in the “proof of concept” stage, the potential for this treatment is obvious. If this vaccine could be applied to humans, it may not only shrink or destroy tumors, but prevent future ones from arising, all using cells from the patient’s own body.

“We propose that immunotherapy – and especially our vaccine – be used in conjunction with established therapies,” senior author Prof. Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, director of Stanford’s Cardiovascular Institute, told IFLScience.

“Further development of immunotherapies with increased specificity to the cancer without (or with limited) adverse effects will hopefully one day limit the use of systemic therapies with significant side effects.”

Aimee Eckert, a doctoral researcher focusing on cancer biology at the University of Sussex – and who wasn’t involved in the study – tells IFLScience this is a “promising step,” but at this stage its likeliness to work in a human patient is uncertain.

The study notes risks of an immune system overreaction, as well as the danger of immune cells hidden with the cores of tumors “which are indoctrinated by the cancer cells to be less reactive against other cancer cells.”

So far, the work has only been conducted on mice – a useful but imperfect proxy to people. “They are going to test it on human tissue in a laboratory-based setting next, though, which is exciting,” Eckert noted.

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Avoiding A Compound Found In These Foods Could Slow The Spread Of Several Cancers

A new study has found that a chemical in our food could affect the speed at which several different cancers grow and spread.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge looked at the effect of the compound asparagine, commonly found in – you guessed it – asparagus, as well as things like poultry and seafood. Asparagine is just one of the many amino acids produced by the body to synthesize proteins.  

When asparagine was removed from the diets of mice with an aggressive form of breast cancer, those that would normally have died within a few weeks lived. The growth of their tumors had slowed dramatically.

The research, carried out by Cancer Research UK, found that restricting the amount of asparagine in the mice’s diet or blocking it using a drug called L-asparaginase greatly reduced the spread of breast cancer in the mice.

The research, published in Nature, also looked at patients with breast cancer and other types of malignant tumors, including kidney, head, and neck cancers. They found that the more asparagine in the diets of mice with breast cancer, the more likely the cancer was to spread around the body. Looking at data on several other types of cancer, the researchers found that the cancer of patients who naturally produce more asparagine was more likely to spread.

They believe that, along with chemotherapy, reducing asparagine in the diet could be used as a way to slow the spread of the disease, and improve patient outcomes.

“This finding adds vital information to our understanding of how we can stop cancer spreading,” Professor Greg Hannon, lead author of the study, said, “[which is] the main reason patients die from their disease.”

“In the future, restricting this amino acid through a controlled diet plan or by other means could be an additional part of treatment for some patients with breast and other cancers.”

At this stage, it’s important to remember that human trials have not yet been conducted, so if you do have cancer, you shouldn’t restrict your own diet until the evidence suggests you should. The researchers say that the next step will to be to conduct a trial using human patients.

“Research like this is crucial to help develop better treatments for breast cancer patients,” Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK’s head nurse, said.

“At the moment, there is no evidence that restricting certain foods can help fight cancer, so it’s important for patients to speak to their doctor before making any changes to their diet while having treatment.”

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79-year-old gets his first driver’s license, and all in the name of love

A 79-year-old British man has passed his driver’s license test for the first time, but he didn’t do it for himself.

Keith Limbert finally got behind the wheel because his wife of 58 years, Anne, suffered a stroke recently and could no longer get around on her own.

Keith drives his wife Anne to the hospital for cancer treatments, and out for coffee and scones.  (SWNS)

“My wife drove me around for 40 years, she passed first time in 1972 and I didn’t know how good I had it,” Limbert told SWNS.

He said she used to chauffer to the horse races where he could have a drink (or two) without having to worry about driving home.

But getting the license wasn’t easy.

Limbert said that he spent “a fortune I don’t have” on 40 lessons, and that he failed the test on his first two tries, once for speeding. He thanks his “brilliant instructor” for his ultimate success.

“I take Anne out every day to have a coffee and a scone, either to a garden center or somewhere else. We would go stir crazy if we were stuck in the house all week,” the Garforth resident said.

Avid bike rider Keith Limbert now has a Vauxhaull Corsa to drive his wife around in.  (SWNS)

Along with dealing with complications from the stroke, Anne is fighting breast cancer for the second time and Limbert can now take her to treatments, but it’s important for him that she can go “anywhere where life is going on” and “watch the world go by.”

Limbert is himself a colon cancer survivor and lifts weights and bikes to stay fit. His daughter encouraged him to take up driving while he’s still healthy, and says it has given the couple a new lease on life.

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Donald Trump’s unrelenting war with the NFL

(CNN)George Popson, a Republican from El Paso, Texas, has always been a football fan. He enjoyed watching NFL games and rooting for the Houston Texans and the Los Angeles Chargers.

“I stopped watching football this current NFL season after President Trump made his remark about team owners kicking out and firing any player who kneeled during the National Anthem,” the 56-year-old told CNN. “… I will continue to boycott NFL games and if I happen to be found in front of the TV during the Super Bowl, it will only be because I am at a Super Bowl party with food and drink and more importantly, friends and family. I won’t be focused on the game. Patriotism factors into this decision one hundred percent.”
Popson said that although he agrees “that people of color are targeted more and unjustly by law enforcement,” the football field is not the place to make this statement.

    Trump opens the floodgates

    This may very well go down in history as the season that changed football. The President of the United States declared a political war on some of the most visible players. And he wouldn’t let it go.
    In an off-the-cuff speech at a rally in Alabama in September, the President unleashed a highly public crusade against black players who took a knee during the National Anthem to protest institutionalized racism and police brutality.
    Trump lambasted team owners for allowing the protests to take place, urged fans to walk out of games and told owners they should respond to the protesting players by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”
    The President’s comments launched the National Football League, which has generally managed to keep politics at bay, into a heated and highly public debate on racism and patriotism in America.
    That weekend, owners, coaches and players of various teams joined hands and collectively took a knee in a remarkable and unprecedented show of defiance.
    And there’s no sign that Trump — who kept coming back to the issue on Twitter throughout the football season and even, obliquely, during his State of the Union address Tuesday — is letting up. He made a spectacular patriotic show of going down on the field for the NCAA championship game in January, standing there for the National Anthem. But he’s opting out of the traditional presidential pre-Super Bowl interview this year. Last year he sat down with Bill O’Reilly, then of Fox News. This year NBC is broadcasting the game.
    “Because (Trump) is this polarizing figure who chose to draw a line in the sand, it just shone a spotlight on the debate and gave it a kind of national profile that it might not have had if he hadn’t actually entered the fray,” Dr. Theresa Runstedtler, a history professor at American University who studies the intersection of sports, race and politics, told CNN.
    Trump forced coaches and owners to pick sides.
    New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch expressed disappointment over the President’s comments. Meanwhile, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, after an early show of support, taking a knee with players before the National Anthem during a game, later sparked boycotts when he said he would bench players for “being disrespectful to the flag.”
    Amid the upheaval, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tried to have it both ways.
    He said the league wants players to stand for the anthem but stopped short of saying the NFL would institute an NBA-like policy that would force them to stand or penalize them if they don’t. However, it’s important to note that despite the fact that NBA players did not participate in protests on the court, coaches and players — from stars like the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry to coaches like Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr — have been more outspoken and public in their criticism of Trump.
    “(Trump) created a situation where that veneer of the invisibility of politics and the invisibility of race in the Super Bowl has been shattered in a lot of ways,” Runstedtler said. “Regardless of which side you’re on, you kind of have to actually confront the fact that the event is laden with racial politics.”
    A group against the protests called “Standing for America” has nearly 300,000 followers on Facebook, and so far 26,000 people indicated they will participate in their event, “NFL Boycott — 2018 Super Bowl,” to voice their support for veterans.
    And as the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to take on the New England Patriots — Trump’s favorite team, given his friendly relationship with owner Robert Kraft, his golfing relationship with Tom Brady and the notes he’s exchanged with Bill Belichick — at the Super Bowl this weekend, Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith, who raised his fist on the field to express solidarity with the “Black Lives Matter” movement, has already indicated that he will refuse an invitation to the White House if his team wins.

    Bigger than football

    Even before Trump got into a fight with the NFL, sparking a boycott by conservatives, a boycott of the league among progressive and black activists was already in full swing.
    In Greensboro, North Carolina, a group of young activists started a “Kickball for Kaepernick” league to protest the perceived shunning by league owners and coaches of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
    “I was an avid football watcher before I began my boycott against the NFL and its repression of Kaepernick and the league’s contempt for those who demand justice and an end to state violence against working class communities of color,” Demetrius Noble, a 38-year-old professor, told CNN.
    “I have been and am boycotting the NFL because of the structural racism that apparently permeates throughout a league that is majority black and because of the lack of attention paid to state sanctioned violence on the part of the NFL,” LaKeisha Williams, a Philadelphia Eagles fan who is part of the league, told CNN.
    When Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem in September 2016 to protest racism, he quickly became one of the most controversial figures in sports, like several others before him, and sparked a wave of protests on the field that spread from professional football to college and high school and even to other sports.
    But according to Runstedtler, Trump elevated Kaepernick’s national profile.
    “If nobody had made a big deal out of it and turned it into a spectacle the protests would have been meaningless,” she said. “It was actually the backlash against (Kaepernick) not standing for the anthem that ironically rained more awareness about (why he was protesting).”
    One month before he picked a fight with the NFL over the protests, Trump had stoked racial tensions deeply when he repeatedly appeared to suggest there’s a moral equivalency between white supremacists and those who oppose them while responding to violence that erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
    “His commentary just provided additional talking points and reinforcement concerning how the highest office of the USA is out to repress and castigate those who dare to stand for justice and the most vulnerable,” Noble said, adding that Trump’s rhetoric “reinforces why Kaepernick chose to kneel” in the first place.
    The President’s comments — upon which he doubled and tripled down — prompted an onslaught of bipartisan criticism and fueled a barrage of new protests on the field.
    “Athletes, especially black athletes, realize that no matter how much money you make and how famous you are, when we have a president who constantly diminishes you and your people, it’s time to step up and do something,” NBA legend and civil rights activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told CNN’s #GetPolitical at the time.
    Amid bipartisan outrage over Trump’s response to the violence that transpired at the rally, about a dozen members of the Cleveland Browns, including Seth DeValve — the first white player to join the protest — took a knee and prayed before a preseason game against the New York Giants on August 21.

    Trump’s relationship with the Patriots looms large

    It doesn’t help at all that Trump’s all-time favorite team — the New England Patriots — has been so dominant.
    Last year, football fans compared the Patriots’ historic comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl to Trump’s unexpected win against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election.
    At the time, the President congratulated the Patriots and his “friend” quarterback Tom Brady, tweeting, “What an amazing comeback and win by the Patriots. Tom Brady, Bob Kraft and coach B are total winners. Wow! #SuperBowl.”
    But Brady, who had received backlash in 2015 when a “Make America Great Again” hat was spotted in his locker, has been evasive when asked about his relationship with the President.
    And in a highly publicized move that likely embarrassed Trump — although the President chose not to address it publicly — the five-time Super Bowl champion surprised many when he skipped his team’s visit to the White House last year, citing “family matters.”
    At the time, the Boston Herald reported that Brady was spending time with his mother, who was battling an illness later revealed to be breast cancer.
    Several of Brady’s teammates had refused to go for the White House visit, citing their opposition to Trump. The smaller attendance by the Patriots for Trump than for former President Barack Obama, when he had hosted the team, drew scrutiny and an excuse from the team.
    And two days after Trump urged owners to fire players who won’t stand for the anthem, the Patriots took a stand against Trump. Three dozen players took a knee, while the rest locked arms on the field.
    Trump put the Patriots in the political spotlight repeatedly over the past two year, announcing a day before the general election that Brady and coach Belichick were supporting his campaign for president.
    The President also said at a pre-inaugural dinner that Brady and Patriots owner Kraft called to congratulate him.
    While he did not deny it, Brady played down the claim during an interview, saying, “I call a lot of people.”
    “I have called him, yes, in the past,” Brady said. “Sometimes he calls me. Sometimes I call him. But, again, that’s been someone I’ve known. I always try to keep it in context because for 16 years you know someone before maybe he was in the position that he was in. He’s been very supportive of me for a long time. It’s just a friendship. I have a lot of friends. I call a lot of people.”
    A lot of people still watch the NFL, but viewership is down. And while various factors could be in play, thousands of Americans from the left and the right have expressed that they stopped watching to make a statement about the debate on race and patriotism in America, which was intensified and elevated by the President’s unrelenting war with the NFL.

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    Prostate cancer deaths overtake breast cancer

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    Media caption‘I didn’t want to be a statistic’

    The number of men dying from prostate cancer has overtaken female deaths from breast cancer for the first time in the UK, figures show.

    An ageing population means more men are developing and dying from the disease.

    Prostate Cancer UK says advances in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer are paying off, and increased funding could benefit prostate cancer.

    The biggest cancer killers in the UK remain lung and bowel cancer, with prostate now in third place.

    The latest figures from 2015 show there were 11,819 deaths from prostate cancer compared with 11,442 from breast cancer.

    Although deaths from prostate cancer have been rising over the past 10 years or so, the mortality rate or the proportion of men dying from the disease has fallen – by 6% – between 2010 and 2015.

    For breast cancer the mortality rate has come down by 10%, meaning deaths in women are declining more quickly.

    Image copyright Prostate Cancer UK
    Image caption Gary Pettit works in the City of London

    Gary Pettit was 43 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, five years ago, after a routine medical through work.

    He had no symptoms – only an abnormally high PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test, which led to further tests and biopsies.

    Within weeks, he had a seven-hour operation at the Royal Marsden in London to remove the cancer.

    “I’m a lucky boy. I stored my sperm before the op and now we’ve got a little seven-month-old miracle baby, called Teddy. I can’t say how lucky I’ve been.”

    Gary says recovering from the surgery took quite a while and there were some side-effects which he is still getting used to – but he is clear of cancer and keen to raise awareness among other men.

    “It is still a taboo subject with men. They get shy and embarrassed, but it’s so important to get checked out.”

    ‘Tremendous progress’

    Angela Culhane, chief executive of the charity Prostate Cancer UK, said the disease currently received half the funding and half the research that is devoted to breast cancer.

    She said developing better diagnostic tests that could be used as part of a nationwide screening programme would be a priority.

    At present, there is no single, reliable test for prostate cancer – the PSA test, biopsies and physical examinations are all used.

    Men with prostate cancer can also live for decades without symptoms or needing treatment because the disease often progresses very slowly.

    What are the symptoms?

    There can be few symptoms of prostate cancer in the early stages, and because of its location most symptoms are linked to urination:

    • needing to urinate more often, especially at night
    • needing to run to the toilet
    • difficulty in starting to urinate
    • weak urine flow or taking a long time while urinating
    • feeling your bladder has not emptied fully

    Men with male relatives who have had prostate cancer, black men and men over 50 are at higher risk of getting the disease.

    Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK

    Ms Culhane said: “It’s incredibly encouraging to see the tremendous progress that has been made in breast cancer over recent years.

    “The introduction of precision medicine, a screening programme and a weighty research boost has no doubt played an important role in reducing the number of women who die from the disease.

    “The good news is that many of these developments could be applied to prostate cancer and we’re confident that with the right funding, we can dramatically reduce deaths within the next decade.”

    Living longer

    Michael Chapman, director of information and involvement at Cancer Research UK, said: “The number of men getting and dying from prostate cancer is increasing mostly because of population growth and because we are living longer.

    “We’re dedicated to improving diagnosis and treatments for all cancers which is why we’re investing in research to help develop more treatments to give more people more time this World Cancer Day on Sunday.”

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    For Tom Brady, Super Bowl LII has family roots

    Bloomington, Minnesota (CNN)On Sunday, Tom Brady will play in his eighth Super Bowl. And this one is very special to the 40-year-old Patriots quarterback.

    That’s because Brady, even though he grew up in California, says he’s “half Minnesotan.”
    “I love coming back here,” Brady said in Minnesota this week. “I’ve got a lot of family here. It’s a great state. It’s pretty unbelievable to actually be playing here. I didn’t think about it at all until a couple weeks ago. I said, ‘Mom, you know where the Super Bowl is?’ She’s like, ‘Of course I do.'”
      Brady’s mother, Galynn Brady, grew up in Browerville, a small town 135 miles away from US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of Super Bowl LII. It’s a place Brady visited every summer, and sometimes in the winter, since he was a baby. It’s also where Brady’s parents got married in 1969.
      “To be here and to be in Browerville, that really is my roots, and it’s very much a part of who I am,” Brady said.
      Understandably, Brady has fielded several questions about his family ties. Standing out were the visits to his grandfather, who passed away last year.
      “Some of the great memories I had as kid were coming here and milking cows with my grandpa,” Brady recalled of life on the farm. “Hanging out in the silos up in the haystack up above his barn, going out to where he would pasteurize the milk and pull a lot of the cream off the top of the milk in the morning, and shooting his .22 at targets in his backyard.”
      There was also catching sunfish with his two uncles, who still live there, a process Brady gladly explained to reporters this week.
      “The great part about catching sunfish was you just sit in the boat and you have a rod and you basically put a worm and a bobber,” Brady said. “And when the bobber goes under, you set the hook and then you’ve got the fish. So the kids would catch all the fish, and then we’d get home and we’d scale the fish. Then my uncles would fillet the fish, and my mom and my grandma would fry them in the frying pan.”
      As he moved into adulthood, Brady had the opportunity to play in front of family members in his collegiate days, when he was at the University of Michigan, and in his professional career.
      “Any time we’ve played in Minnesota it’s always been very cool,” Brady said. “I’ve always had a lot of family come to these games, 50 to 100 people. We played against the University of Minnesota, we played against the Vikings a few times here, and it’s been very special. I know there’s a lot of fans in Browerville rooting for the Patriots, which is pretty unique.”
      This trip to Minnesota, however, is all business. Brady said he wouldn’t have a chance to get to Browerville this week as he prepares for the Super Bowl. As for tickets, they’re pretty tough to come by, Brady said, “but I’m trying the best I can to accommodate everybody.”
      Someone who definitely will be there is his mom. Last year, Galynn was battling breast cancer when she was at Super Bowl LI in Houston. This year, Brady said, she’s doing well.
      “To have my mom here last year — I had my whole family here — was very, very special,” Brady said. “Even all my kids here for the first time at the game, and we get a chance to do it a second time. I hope it’s a happy ending.”

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