Pancreatic Cancer: Is There Another Option?

Pancreatic Cancer is one of the deadliest cancer, killing 95 percent or more of it’s victims within five year of diagnosis. Dr. Martin Scurr wrote in an article: Why MOST doctors like me would rather DIE than endure the pain of treatment we inflict on others for terminal diseases: Insider smashes medicine’s big taboo, in the Daily Mail, UK, 14 February 2012.:

  • … having illnesses such as advanced pancreatic cancer means there’s only a tiny chance of survival.
  • But most people — patients and their relatives — have hugely unrealistic expectations about what modern medicine can do to help those with life-threatening illnesses.
  • With pancreatic cancer, for example, which is often diagnosed late, the average length of time between diagnosis and death is usually less than six months.
  • If I had the disease, I would not attempt any of the treatments for it, such as chemotherapy, because it can be gruelling and misery-making, and the success rate is extremely low. I would rather have painkilling palliative care, which can do great things in helping to make you feel comfortable while you are dying.

Is There Another Option?  Yes, there is but you need to understand your responsibility, your commitment and your reality. There are two stories for you to ponder on.

Story 1: Pancreatic cancer – declined medical treatment – lived for over three years 

Chai was 39 years old when he was diagnosed with carcinoma of the pancreatic head on 16 September 1999. MRI done in Singapore on 21 September 1999 indicated an irregular mass in the head of the pancreas measuring 4.4 x 5.7 x 4 cm. The doctors gave Chai three months to live.

Chai declined further medical intervention and opted for herbs.

On 30 May 2003,Chai’s sister told us that Chai had died in April 2003, ten days before his forty-third birthday. He complained of pains in the chest a week prior to his death but he ignored the symptoms. His sister also told us that Chai put on weight since he started taking herbs. He was doing very well and went around telling his friends that he did not have cancer any more. Unfortunately, being a vibrant young man, Chai did not follow our dietary advice. He ate whatever he liked. On top of that, he also smoked and drank liquor. He paid for his misadventure dearly. For example, on 3 January 2001, his sister informed us that Chai had pains in the abdomen and was hospitalised. His face was swollen and he was severely jaundiced.

Comments

A terminal case of pancreatic cancer with a prognosis of only three months to live survived for more than three years without any medical treatment but by just taking herbs. This is indeed an amazing healing.

No medical intervention means no costly medical bills to settle, no suffering and an ability to lead a normal life. This is a great blessing indeed. We could not have asked for more.

I am reminded of what Claude Bernard wrote in 1865:

  • A physician who tries a remedy and cures his patients, is inclined to believe that the cure is due to his treatment. But the first thing to ask them is whether they have tried doing nothing, i.e., not treating other patients, for how can they otherwise know whether the remedy or nature cured them? 

Story 2: Healing of Pancreatic Cancer Turned Rotten

This is a letter we received from Ms. Koreena Mabalot Locke (use of real name with permission), on 27 February 2003.

Dear Dr. Teo,

I am writing to thank you for all the help your organization and herbs have given to me and my father. My father, Conrado Mabalot, who is from the Philippines, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in mid-2002. The tumour was very large, 18 x 13.4 x 2.4 cm and was pressing on all the other internal organs. The doctor in Baguio City, Philippines said it was inoperable and wouldn’t suggest further chemo as he is already old.

(In our conversation: Koreena said that the doctor did an open and close operation. He fitted a by-pass tube which hangs out of the stomach. The doctor also told her mother that the patient has only 3 to 6 months to live and said: Whatever he wants to eat, just give him. Sounds like a desperate advice!).


I came to know about CA CARE through two of your books that were lent to me by a pharmacist friend. At that time she advised me that your methods were rather radical if compared to the medical profession. Your use of the rodent tuber as part of your herbal remedy was not really accepted.

My husband urged me to contact you after reading your books. As the prognosis given by the Philippines doctors was 3 to 6 months to live, my husband said that there could be no harm in trying something radical. So I sent you a fax, to the number that was printed in the books. I got a reply that directed me to Khadijah and Johan and I then turned to them for further help.

We sent your herbs to the Philippines and then a month later we visited him at his home in Agoo, La Union, Philippines. (This was perhaps the last time that I would be able to see my father alive, so we made this special trip to the Philippines, since the doctor said he is to die very soon). I explained the method of brewing the tea and how to consume it. Of course, all these were explained to me by your very helpful group in Subang. We kept sending a monthly batch of herbs and capsules regularly.

(After taking the herbs: Rotten-minced-meat-like tissues flowed out through the tube. It was very smelly. The colour was very dark brown. This rotten tissue kept flowing out of the tube for a few weeks).

My father’s recovery has been, if I may use the word, MIRACULOUS. After two months on the herbs he began to eat and put on weight. He gained his strength in leaps and bounds. At the end of the fourth month, my mother and relatives told me that he was stronger than he was a year ago. In January 2003, my father had gone for his check up (ultra sound scanning). As my mother explained, the doctors themselves could not believe the result. There was absolutely no sign of the tumour or growth. I was jumping with joy. I must confess that before the ultra-sound scan, we were just happy that my father was feeling good, but to be told by the astonished doctors that they could not find anything wrong with him, well, that was simply astounding.

All family members of anyone that is diagnosed with the big C cannot but feel helpless. Even with the conventional therapies given by the hospitals, total recovery is never assured. After reporting to you personally the diagnosis of my father’s latest check up, I realized that even you did not want to admit that the cure is 100%. … I wish to thank everyone at CA CARE at Subang – Khadijah, Johan and Patrick and most especially you, Dr. Teo, for the help and understanding that was shown to me and my family in my time of need.

Thank you very very much. KML

Medical History

Name: Conrado Wania Mabalot Male, Age: 68  Address:  La Union, Philippines.

First week of June 2002: Experienced pain around abdomen, Pain killer was prescribed. Mid-June 2002, ultrasound revealed a mass around pancreas. Doctor said it started from the tail.

Late June 2002: Specialist advised CT scan which confirmed growth in pancreas and advised surgery to remove it. Prior admittance to GH, test indicated enlargement of the heart.  

CT scan report dated June 26, 2002:CT scan of the upper abdomen … reveals a 18 x 13.4 x 2.4 cm mixed density irregularly enhancing mass with loculations in the left hemiabdomen involving the pancreas and stomach. Impression: pancreatic carcinoma infiltrating the stomach. 

Upper Abdominal CT scan dated July 2, 2002: Re-evaluation of outside upper abdominal CT scan taken June 26, 2002 shows the following significant findings:  Large mixed isodense and hypodense mass lesion … the mass intimately related to the tail and distal body of the pancreas. Contiguous body of the pancreas is also enlarged.The mass is extragastric with the mass encroaching the greater curvature of the stomach and displacing it medially, the transverse colon is also compressed posteriorly. Nodule component of the mass impinges and extends into the lumen of the distal body of the stomach. The mass measures 12.4 x 13.4 cm in its widest diameter, its height is 18 cm. Findings are consistent with pancreatic body and tail neoplasm.

9 July 2002: During surgery, growth was found to be too advanced and clinging to the other organs. Doctors could not remove the growth.

16 July 2002: Discharged from hospital, not given any medication.

 Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center: Summary and Discharges, dated July 16, 2002

Impression: Pancreatic CA Important treatment: laparotomy, gastrojejunostomy, placement of drain, biopsy.Final diagnosis: Pancreatic CA Remarks: May go home.

18th July 2002: Started to take spirulina at the same time came to CA Care, Subang Jaya.

Koreena wrote again in reply to our clarification:

His condition before taking herbs:
a. He slept so little , 2 to 3 hours and then got up.

b. He could walk a few steps only because he felt tired. Then he would sit down and most of the time he was lying down.

c. He couldn’t eat much; maybe 2 – 4 tablespoons of food then would stop because he felt something blocking every time he tried to eat.

His condition after taking herbs:
a. He started to eat more and then he gained weight.

b. His skin colour changed, in fact, even better than two years ago.

c. His can even work, repair aircons, fridge, etc.

d. He can sleep in any position.

After the ultrasound in January 2003, the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with him and everybody couldn’t believe what had happened. Even the doctor who did the surgery couldn’t figure out what happened. Then, for the first time my mother told my father that he had pancreas cancer, Stage 4 and that the doctor told her that he got only 3 to 6 months to live!

Now my father is home and is doing all the work that he used to do. He is still taking all the herbs, spirulina and an iron vitamin.

Ultrasound report dated January 27, 2003: The liver is not enlarged with smooth borders. The intrahepatic bile ducts and vessels are undilated. The gallbladder is not enlarged. The spleen is normal. The pancreas is not enlarged. The head measures 1.6 cm, the body measures 1.05 cm, the tail measuring 1.65 cm. with smooth borders and homogenous parenchymal echopattern. Impression: normal liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys and urinary bladder.

Healing Turned Rotten

It was 8 p.m., Friday 26 March 2004 when I got a call from Koreena. She told me that her father’s pancreatic cancer had recurred sometimes in December 2003. (Note: He started taking herbs in July 2002).

This relapse did not surprise me at all, for we knew that he had stopped taking the herbs after he became well and after the doctor certified via an ultrasound finding that the cancer was gone! Bravo – he was cured and he went back to his old ways – old lifestyle and took in all the bad food all over again.

The doctor told the family that his condition this time was worse than the previous time – it would be lucky if he could last till his next birthday; that was in May.

Comments 

This case is one of the best results we ever had with pancreatic cancer. But unfortunately it turned rotten rather fast. However, if we view this case positively, it was not bad at all. The patient survived one and a half years!  The doctor gave him only 3 to 6 months to live when he was diagnosed with this late stage cancer.

It is indeed frustrating. Human beings don’t learn. I have been telling all cancer patients this: Never ever think that your cancer is cured. It can come back. Do not be complacent. You must not go back to your old lifestyle and start taking those rubbish food again. This kind of message often always never gets into their heads. The moment a test or scan shows that the cancer is gone or is under control, they forget everything that I told them. I told Koreena this: God has given one chance and her father did not wake up to this call. He took this blessing for granted. I don’t know if there is going to be another chance. I have many more frustrating stories like this.

In my work, I take comfort in this prayer (by Reinhold Niebuhr): O God, grant me the courage to change the things I can, change, the serenity to accept the things I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference. Your will be done!

I realize that it is impossible to change human beings. They need to change themselves.

A Desperate Grandson Searching for Help for Grandpa’s Pancreatic Cancer

Let me reproduce our email exchanges with one grandson who is desperately in need of help. His emails are reproduced as it is, with no editing done.

8 July 2012:  i have problem my grrand father  diagnosis got  pancreas cancer stadium 4 and have spread at liver we have pat ct mri and all and the result my grand father proven got that cancer. now my grandfather at china but  here is still the same  china doctor talk  pancreas  cancer there is no medicine. i have read http://cacare.com/indonesia/component/option,com_easyfaq/task,view/id,212/Itemid,108/  there was a way about  pancreas cancer. so doctor  can help my  grand father?  you have phone or  messenger so we can talk easly.  thx

Reply: No … I cannot help people so far away …there is no cure for pancreatic cancer. Chris

no problem about far  we willl go to your  hospital if  there was a way about pancreatic cancer.no cure? so  why  http://cacare.com/indonesia/component/option,com_easyfaq/task,view/id,212/Itemid,108/  can be heal? sorry doctor im really need the medicine about  pancreas  cancer there was a away? you have phone number or  messenger so we can talk?

Reply: No body can cure pancreatic cancer, that is my experience. Chris

9 July 2012:  what do you mean no cure ?  at your blog cacare.com the testimonial about pancreas cancer can be heal ? http://cacare.com/indonesia/component/option,com_easyfaq/task,view/id,212/Itemid,108/  that is ? LIE ?

Reply: Read this story, Computer Genius, Steve Jobs Died of Pancreatic Cancer – cancer patients can learn from is experience.  Click this link and learn for yourself: http://cancercaremalaysia.com/category/pancreatic-cancer/  Anyway, I don’t treat people via internet or just by writing emails. Come and see me if you think I can help you.

yes i know steve jobs died of pancrearit cancer. yes i know  you cant treatmen  by internet or mailing but i need your suggestion about my grand father heal i read your blog there filiphine  person can be heal by you  on this link http://cacare.com/indonesia/component/option,com_easyfaq/task,view/id,212/Itemid,108/   so, can you  help my grandfather too just that i want to ask doctor 

Reply:  You can learn from these stories: Miraculous Healing of Pancreatic Cancer turned Rotten

yes i have learn its about herbal, about  medicine you give so you can help my grandpa?
 if yes  i will go Penang  from guang zhou tommorow or day after really i neeed medicine to heal my grandpa

Reply: I only see patients on Friday at 3 pm to 5 pm or Sunday at 7 pm to 9 pm. The whole of July I am not free on other days. I cannot cure your grandfather so don’t say that I am cheating you if he dies or do not benefit from my herbs. Or that you are wasting your time or money. There is no cure for pancreatic cancer. That is why Steve Jobs died — he has all the money in the world. He can go to any doctors in the world…but he still died. I must see all the medical reports and scan. No use coming without such data. Chris

10 July 2012:  but i dont know about the testimonial ,  the patient can  heal   by your herbs? but now you say no  medicine about the  pancreatic cancer. please doctor give me the true answer i very need that 

Reply:  I have herbs for pancreatic but they cannot cure —- healing and cure are not the same. Cure means the disease goes away and disappears. That is what you want, I cannot do that. Chris

Comments

Let me relate a case I encountered many years ago.

Peter was a very rich, 59-year-old man from Hong Kong. On 28 June 1999, he was diagnosed with cancer at the head of his pancreas. Subsequently he underwent a pancreatico-duodenectomy. This procedure is also known as Whipple procedure. The surgeon would remove the distal half of the stomach, the gall bladder, cystic duct, the common bile duct, the head of the pancreas, duodenum, proximal jejunum, and regional lymph nodes. You would probably end up with a Mercedes Benz scar in your abdomen after the surgery.

After the surgery, he underwent the following treatments:

August 1999 to September 1999: Peter underwent concurrent chemotherapy with 5-FU and radiotherapy.

14 October 1999: The doctor said there was no solid evidence that the treatment would help.

19 October 1999 to 14 March 2000: Peter had finished a total of 13 cycles of chemotherapy. The drug used was Gemzar. He suffered neutropenia, i.e., low white blood count. The initial Gemzar dosage used was 1400 mg. This was then reduced to 1260 mg, 1000 mg and subsequently settled at 800 mg.

28 June 2000: His CA 19.9 started to rise from 4.67 to 41.3, indicating occult recurrence.

8 September 2000 to 12 February 2001: Chemotherapy using Gemzar was again started. A total of 13 cycles were given until 12 February 2001. The dosages used ranged from 1000 mg, 1400 mg to 1760 mg.

19 February 2001: The result was disappointing. His CA 19.9 shot up to 473.

26 February 2001: Peter underwent chemotherapy again. This time with Gemzar at 1780 mg plus Xeloda, an oral chemo-drug often used for breast and bone cancers. He was on Xeloda for 10 days.

26 March 2001: It was Gemzar plus Xeloda for 14 days.

25 May 2001: Peter had completed 20 cycles of chemotherapy with Gemzar.

28 June 2001: His CA 19.9 was at 586. Peter developed SVCO (superior vena cava obstruction). A CT scan showed the obstruction was due to the mediastinal nodes.

3 July 2001 to 15 August 2001: Peter underwent radiotherapy to take care of the SVCO.

9 October 2001: His CA 19.9 was at 558. Peter decided to take a break and came to find treatment in Malaysia. He again underwent chemotherapy in a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

4 March 2002: It was at this point that I met Peter in Kuala Lumpur. He was indeed a jovial man. During our conversation Peter joked that he had told his doctors that with the amount of chemo-drugs being pumped into him, he would die of the drugs rather than the cancer. Indeed, Peter could qualify for a listing in the Guinness Book of Record for having the capacity to endure more than 50 cycles of chemotherapy and numerous radiation treatments and still remained alive.

25 March 2002: Peter underwent chemotherapy again. This time the drugs used were CPT-11 plus oxaliplatin. He suffered intense abdominal pains, nausea and vomiting.

18 May 2002: The doctor confirmed that Peter had suffered metastasis to the bones. Peter underwent 10 times of radiation treatment to the spine and 10 times to the two lumps found on the left neck.

23 May 2002: Peter was admitted to the hospital because of fluid in his lungs. Tapping of lung fluid was done.

20 June 2002: Peter was hospitalized again due to fluid in the lungs. His wife said he was giving up.

1 July 2002: Peter died in a hospital in Kuala Lumpur. He was then still on chemotherapy. I was told that Peter’s brother, who is a medical doctor , flew in from London to be at his bedside when he died.

Comments

This is indeed a classical example of how a war against cancer is being carried out. I am reminded of what John Robbins (in Reclaiming Our Health) wrote:

  • Very often, the effort to “destroy the enemy” at all costs ends up counterproductive.
  • Chemotherapy practitioners do not want to think that the weapons they employ to kill cancer cells are of little or no use to their patients. They want to believe they are helping people.

When we take a closer look at what were used as weapons for this war, I cannot help coming to a conclusion that Peter was made a subject of experimentation. The initial drug used was 5-FU. Since it was not effective, Gemzar was used instead. The dosage of Gemzar used was initially high and was subsequently lowered. This showed that the oncologist was not really sure of what was best for Peter. Since Gemzar by itself did not do any good, the oncologist added Xeloda to the recipe. Even that, it did not work. Then back in Kuala Lumpur, Gemzar and Xeloda were abandoned – why not try something more powerful? So, Peter was given CPT-11 and oxaliplatin.

 Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard-trained medical doctor (in Health and Healing) wrote:

  • There is a never ending struggle … Patients are sucked into the same way of thinking … Finding themselves more and more dependent on the system giving one treatment after another.

In the course of the treatment, Peter suffered SVCO (superior vena cava obstruction) and he had to have radiotherapy to alleviate this problem. The superior vena cava is the main vein which drains blood from the head, neck and arms into the heart. It lies in the upper part of the chest. Unfortunately, this vein was blocked in Peter’s case. Why was this so?

When the war was about to be over, Peter had bone cancer and his lungs were filled with fluid. Could this represent the ultimate and fatal side-effects of the aggressive treatments he was subjected to earlier?

After three years, the battlefield was quiet. Death prevailed. Peter found peace in death. It was a medical failure – perhaps from the very start failure was apparent, if we care to objectively evaluate it.

Dr. Jerome Groopman, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (in Second Opinions) related his experience with what he thought as medicine being omniscience – doctors having all the answers. This is what he wrote:

  • I wanted an immediate remedy and stubbornly believed I knew what was best. After all, my medical training had been as a student at Columbia, an intern and resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and a fellow at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles). Waiting patiently for nature to heal me seemed passive and paltry. 
  • I finally realised that my desperate belief in a perfect solution was a fantasy. 
  • I also realised that it was up to me, in part, to try to rebuild myself … 
  • But what is the “best” hospital or the “best” doctor? … specialist touted as at the top in his field, based at a prestigious medical center … this distinguished doctor proved far from the best …

Let me conclude this article by quoting what Dr. Martin Scurr wrote in an article: Why MOST doctors like me would rather DIE than endure the pain of treatment we inflict on others for terminal diseases: Insider smashes medicine’s big taboo, in the Daily Mail, UK, 14 February 2012.

  • Should I discover tomorrow that I have advanced, life-threatening cancer, I won’t go rushing to the doctors for a heavily invasive course of medical treatment. No, I will shut up my London surgery, head to my home in Norfolk, stock up on gin and tonic and have a jolly good time until I meet my end. 
  • Like most doctors, I understand that much of the care we offer patients who have serious, life-threatening illnesses is ultimately futile. 
  • Worse, it can involve many months of gruelling treatments that might possibly extend the length of one’s life, but do nothing for its quality.

 

Part 1: An Encounter With An Oncologist – A Great Disappointment

Corinna is a 51-year-old Singaporean lady banker. On 5 May 2012 she was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas. From the pancreatic tail the cancer has also spread to her liver and also the posterior aspect of her stomach. Her blood test results on 6 May 2012 are as below.

Alkaline  Phosphatase 168  H
AST 49    H
ALT 29
GGT 174  H
Alpha-fetoprotein 2.7
CEA 1770.7   H
CA 125 2172.7   H
CA 19.9 48660.7 H

The surgeon who did the biopsy told Corinna that medical treatment would not be able to cure her. Nevertheless she was asked to seek further opinion from an oncologist.

Listen to what Corinna told us about her experience with her oncologist.

Acknowledgement:  Thank you for your permission to share this story without having to hide your real identity.

Chris: You went to see the oncologist. What did he do?

Corinna: He said, “Oh, you stay in Sea View. What are you working as? I am a forex trader (in a bank). Do you buy health insurance? Yes, I did.

C: What has all these got to do …?

Husband: That is the Singapore way of thinking.

Sister: He talked nonsense. He called me and my (other) sister “ke-po” (busybody). Five of us went to see him. There were Corinna, husband and daughter. He said, “What about these two “ke-po.” He referred to me and my other sister as ke-pos. So angry!

C: You know, when you come and see me, I would want you to bring along all your whole family members. This is because I want to explain to everybody. You (the patient) will not be able to understand me – as far as your head is concerned it is all blank! Someone else around you is the one who will be able to pick up what I say. You (patient) listen to me but nothing gets into your head. So bringing others along is not “ke-po”.

Cor:  He asked me to lie down. Checked here and checked there.  He saw the scans. He put on his computer and showed four patients. One was a miracle case – he survived 6 years with no sign of cancer coming back. He said there are 3 types of people that he treated. The one type is completely cured. The second type is in remission and the third type is just wasting his time. He is suggesting that I am type that is wasting his time. He said, “I can’t cure you.” But he asked me to go back and think and decide. He then said, “I can start you on chemo. Chemo is every week, for 8 times. (My husband) asked about the side effects. He replied, “Nothing.”

H: He said to us, “If you go for chemo, you must eat a lot of meat. And we will be generous with the painkiller.

C:  Why did he ask you to take a lot of meat?

S: Because to build up the strength.

Cor: I was a bit shocked.

C: Why were shocked?

Cor: Because he said there is no more cure of me. Second, they way he talked to me, more or less indicated that I am the one who is wasting his time.

C: Ya, there is no cure. It is fair to say that. You have been told this earlier (by the surgeon who did the biopsy). But the point is, the impression he gave to you was that …

Cor: I am wasting his time.

C: But he has already collected SGD700 from you anyway! You are wasting my time if you don’t pay me anything and I sit down the whole day talking to you! (Now, I know how much I have missed out every day! For whole day and whole night I talk for free!).  So, all these took up 10 to15 minutes already and the results were that: He cannot cure you. Go eat a lot of meat, and I f you are in pain take a lot of painkiller. If you think that you want to do chemo – you can come back and the bank will pay for you.

C: Were you happy after seeing him?

Cor: No, I was totally lost. He said there is no cure for me. I know there is no cure but at least I may be able to extend my life a bit longer.

C: When you went to see him you were full of hope?

Cor: Yes.

C: When you came out of his office, zero hope? Why in the first place did you go and see him?

Cor: My staff said he was good and told me that she knows his wife very well.

C: What difference does it make if she knows the wife very well?

Cor: I thought he was the best oncologist …

Si: If I can understand Corinna here. He is famous … bla, bla. So Corinna thought that it is better for her to go and see him first. She didn’t know what was going on. She was lost. At least she could find some hope.

C: You were full of hope but you end up with nothing after meeting him. Do you want to go and see another oncologist?

Cor: I am very confused.

C: Fair enough. You have seen an oncologist. You now know what he can do for you. Let me ask you – what is in your mind now? What is it that you want?

Cor: To be able to extend my life a bit longer.

Comments

If you only have 10 to 15 minutes with your oncologist – and have to pay SGD 700 for that – you probably need to be more organized before meeting him – so as to get the most of his valuable time.  Unfortunately, what you want from your oncologist differ greatly from what your oncologist wants from you! In that precious 15 minutes that you have with him, I can see a clash of interest and concern!

As a desperate person, you go to your doctor to find “hope” and encouragement.  You want to know what he is going to do to help you. These are questions you need to ask your oncologist: Can you cure me with your treatment? What are the chances of success (what ever that means!)? What are the side effects of the proposed treatment? How much would all these cost? You don’t have to ask the last question if you are loaded! See if he can answer these questions to your satisfaction. Take time to evaluate what he said – there is no rush into doing something that you may regret later. From the way I see it, it would take more than 15 minutes for a compassionate doctor to answer these important concerns that you have!

I believe it is important that the facts are stated clearly and truthfully.  Call a spade a spade.  If there is no cure, admit that there is no cure.  But present this reality with compassion!

Patients go to their doctors wanting only to hear the good news – any else never get into their heads. It is therefore important that you bring along your friends or concerned family members who can help take note of what the oncologist is saying to you. Often as patients, you only hear what you want to hear! So, who tagged along with patients are not “busy bodies” – far from it doc! They go there out of love and concern for their loved one who is sick.

But the oncologist is not interested in your concerns.  His initial queries are – where you live, where you work or do you have a health insurance to take care of his hefty bills. Some patients told me some really sad stories. One lady was told by her oncologist, “Ask your husband to go and rob the bank, if you don’t have the money to pay me.” A son of a patient was told, “Go home and sell your house and come back and pay me.” Sadly, these patients have been undergoing chemo after chemo without success. In spite of that they are asked to do more chemos.

Without hesitation most oncologists that you consult with tell you to go for chemo. But does that cure? That is not their main concern!  Does it hurt? Not much – that is what most will tell you. And they assure you that lots of pain killer will be able to take care of that problem.

What is going to happen to you after the chemo? Well, do first and find out later!  There is no need to downplay the side effects of chemotherapy. Undergoing chemo is not like going on a honeymoon trip. The devastating side effects are real and can even kill.

Diet is the most “frustrating” topic when it comes to cancer. Your oncologist tells you to eat anything you like – food has nothing to do with your cancer! You believe that? At CA Care we tell you to take care of your diet! Click this link to see the many articles that we are written of this subject: http://ejtcm.com/category/dietnutrition/  Decide for yourself what you want to do with yourself!

Read what other have to say below:

Her full story:

 

Part 1: An Encounter with an Oncologist – A great disappointment

Part 2: Conversation with Chris Teo in Penang

Part 3: She found Hope in CA Care 

Pancreatic Cancer: Chemotherapy, Cryotherapy, Immunotherapy and Radioactive Seeding Could Not Cure Her. What if she did nothing?

Han (S121) was a70-year old lady from Indonesia. Some time in June 2011, she went for a medical checkup in her hometown before a planed holiday trip to Korea. Unfortunate her CEA was high – at 25.0. The doctor did a CT scan and found that Han had a cancerous pancreas.

Han went to Singapore for further management. A blood test done on 7 July 2011 showed elevated liver function enzymes. Her tumour markers –  CEA, CA 125 and CA 19.9 were also  high.

Alkaline phosphatase 228     High
AST / SGOT  50      High
ALT ‘ SGPT 67       High
GGT 209     High
CEA 19.6    High
CA 125 141.5  High
CA 19.9 Recorded as >100 + (actual value 236,000)

PET scan done on 8 June 2011 showed:

  1. A 9 x 6.2 x 7.2 cm mass with irregular margins at the upper abdomen. This represents a FDG avid tumour arising from the pancreas.
  2. Multiple foci mesentery / peritoneum ranging from 1 to 2.5 cm.
  3. Mild ascites.
  4. Hydronephrosis at left kidney.
  5. Liver with multiple foci of FDG ranging from subcentimetre to 36 cm, the largest being at Segment 6.
  6. Lymphadenopathy with possible left supraclavicular spread.

Han subsequently underwent a total of 10 cycles of chemotherapy, 6 of which were with Gemzar + Taxol + Avastin. Each treatment cost S$7,000. Han was told that chemotherapy would not cure her – only prolongation of her life by 6 months to a year. Without chemo she would only have 4 months.

Since the treatment in Singapore could not cure her, Han went to China for more treatments in October 2011. She underwent the following treatments in China.

  1. A CT guided cryotherapy for her liver metastases.
  2. Immunotherapy.
  3. Iodin-125 seed implantation – a total of 80 seeds were implanted.
  4. Chemotherapy with Gemzar and Cisplatin.

The first visit to China was for 3 weeks. The subsequent visits were shorter. In total Han went to China five times. Her last visit was in February 2012. Her CA 19.9 on 11 February 2011 was written as > 1000 (note: earlier in Singapore >100 means 236,000. So > 1000 could be any number. Her CEA was at 387.6. In fact, the doctors in China did not think that Han need to come back to their hospital again for further treatment. The doctor said Han probably had only three more months to live.

On 23 February 2012, we received this e-mail.

Hi Dr. Chris, Good afternoon.

My name is Alu from Jakarta, Indonesia. I was introduced to you by Mr.HM from Indonesia. Dr. Chris, my mom has pancreatic cancer (diagnosed last year June 2011). She already got chemotherapy treatment in Singapore from June until October 2011. In November 2011, she went to a hospital in China to undergo Cryosurgery, Nano Chemo. She already received several times of nano chemo treatment in China.

Last week, she went to do a PET/CT scan in China and found out that the cancer has metastasied to her colon and liver.

The doctor did cryoablation for her liver cancer but for the other tumor cancer, it can’t. So they planted Iodine-125 seeds. But today, the doctor said that probably my mom has only three months to live.

So our family is looking for alternative treatment and we’re told about your treatment in Penang. Dr. Chris, could you please advise what to do next? Should we bring our mom to Penang to see you? She’s still in good condition. Can walk, can eat, etc. She is now 70 years old.

Btw, my mom’s condition now is still OK. The last condition of my mom, her stomach was a bit bloating. So the doctors in  China released the fluid from her stomach through a tube (from stomach) into a bag. The fluid color is a bit brown (old yellow). The doctor  said it is probably due to liver problem (?). Thank you Dr. Chris.

Han and her family came to seek our help on 2 March 2012.

 

 

Her PET scan results were as follows:

Han was prescribed herbs and the only message we could impart to Han was that we would try our best to help her. There was far too much damage for us to handle. Anyway, We prescribed herbs for her to try.

On 29 April 2012, we received this e-mail.

Dear Dr. Chris,

My mum has finally ended her sufferings in fighting pancreatic cancer. On Thursday morning 4.10 am, Apr 26, 2012 she passed away in a very peaceful way. All our family member were around her, praying with her, singing a hymn and read Bible together. She has been laid in bed for around ten days – almost no energy to do any activity. During those ten days, I was beside her and we talked much about the Bible. She’s ready to go to her Creator …. Thank you for all your kind support during my mum’s heavy days.

We appreciate your kindness during those days.  Regards.

Comments

There is an important lesson we can learn from this case. For those with serious cancer, such as pancreas, the options are extremely limited. I can only say this. If you do something – go for whatever medical treatments you can find –chances is that you will die. If you opt to do nothing – or go for alternative medicine – you also die. I am sorry I cannot offer you comforting words. If I try to paint a more optimistic scenerio than this, I am cheating you and I am also cheating myself.

Han was told by the oncologist in Singapore, before the treatment, that chemotherapy would not cure her – only prolongation of her life by 6 months to a year. Without chemo she would only have 4 months.  The reality was Han survived 10 months even with the best of treatments. The family has spent probably no less than US$ 100,000 for all the treatments in Singapore and China. In addition, she had to endure the side effects of the treatments. When Han was here, I asked her and her family members – Would you rather die in 4 months peacefully or try medical treatments to prolong your life for 6 to 12 months? And with that suffer all the side effects besides spending all the money?  The answer was they wanted to try medical treatments in spite of all the odds.

Everyone should respect that decision. By doing that everyone involved would be satisfied, “I have done my best to fight the disease.”

Some of you reading this article would not like what I wrote. You want to win – or at least have a chance to try. I understand that. I cannot tell those who go to the casinos that it is futile trying to earn easy money that way!

Over the years, I have come across cases of pancreatic cancer and all of them don’t survive long no matter whatever medical treatment they undergo. For some examples: http://cancercaremalaysia.com/category/pancreatic-cancer/

Sometimes I would like to pose this question: What happens if the patient opted to do nothing invasive? Meaning just take herbs, change lifestyle and diet? Can she/he live longer and without suffering? Nobody can answer that. It is  entirely for the patient and her/his family to decide.

Let me end by quoting what some experts have got to say.

The three slides below are quoted from How Doctors Die by Dr. Ken Murray, M.D.

Dr. Murray is a retired family medical physician who had a private practice of general medicine in Studio City, California for about 25 years, until his retirement in 2006. He also held a Clinical Assistant Professorship in Family Medicine at the University of Southern California.

Pancreatic Cancer: Fool’s Paradise: More Money or Your Life

Tony was a 49-year old male. A CT scan of the abdomen done in November 2002 indicated mild dilatation of the biliary tree and pancreatic duct, likely due to a peri-ampullary neoplasm.

Tony went to Singapore and underwent an operation on 15 November 2002. A part of his stomach, duodenum, proximal jejunum, head of the pancreas and gall bladder were removed.

The histopathology report indicated moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma at the ampulla of Vater with ulceration of the duodenal papilla. After the surgery, the doctor told Tony that everything was removed clean. It was all clear. The operation was very successful. This made Tony very confident when he came home to Penang.

On 3 January 2003, Tony came to see us and was started on the herbs. On 14 January 2003, he went back to Singapore again for a review. A CT scan of the abdomen showed no evidence of local recurrence or metastases.

As a base line for monitoring his progress, I requested that Tony carried out blood tests regularly. The first test was done on 8 January 2003, five days after he first started to take the herbs and thereafter every three months. The results are as follows:

Parameter

8Jan03

10Mar03

6Jun03

2Nov03

ESR

40 H

40 H

30 H

49 H

RBC

4.5

4.7

4.2 L

4.2 L

Haemoglobin

12.5 L

13.0

13.4

12.9 L

Alk phosphate

97

107

106

186 H

AST

31

37

27

56 H

ALT

36

42

34

58 H

GGT

21

24

52 H

171 H

CA 19.9

3.1

1.8

1.0

417.4 H

 The results for the first six months after taking herbs had been most encouraging. In fact we would say Tony’s condition improved with time. Then a bomb shell fell on 2 November 2003. Tony, his wife and sister-in-law came and presented the results of his blood test (see column 4) and wanted to know why everything suddenly had become bad. Can anybody explain that? I often tell cancer patients: I am not god and I do not know everything. Worse still, I cannot fix everything when things go wrong! You have to pay the penalty for what wrong you have done! 

I drew the graph below on a piece of paper:

This was what I told Tony, point by point:

a)     Engineers (and Tony was one of them) were taught that 2 + 2 = 4. Take x buckets of sand, y bucket of pebbles and z kilos of cement, they can make a building according to the engineer’s specification. Unfortunately, this thinking does not necessary work in biology – when you are dealing with the science of life. Good blood test result does mean cure. It does not mean there is no cancer!

b)     Look at the graph. In January, March and June, the CA 19.9 was almost zero. But from June to November, the value had shot up to 417. Why? How could this happen? I asked Tony: Can you tell why? You are a professional. An educated man.

c)     We all can agree that the graph does not tell a lie. Honestly, tell me, what you did differently in July, August, September and October? I did not know what you did, so I cannot guess. Tell me honestly what happened in those months.

Reluctantly, Tony told me that in August 2003, he moved his job position from Penang to Kuala Lumpur because he has just won a project. In January to July he lived in his home in Penang with his family. His wife took care of him and kept an eye on his diet. In August he had to live in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur and needless to say, he was living on hotel food. Although he did not tell me, I came to know that he also traveled to some countries in Europe on business trips. All this happened after August 2003. And in November – barely three months after that, we could see the damage done.

Many cancer patients told me that it takes about two to three months after their misbehaviourbefore they suffered serious relapse.

As much as we would like to help, there was nothing much that we could do for Tony. The last time I saw him was on 2 November 2003.  Tony died in March 2004.

Comments: I am often faced such situations – patients coming to me and asked why their condition had deteriorated. My standard question is: What “sin” have you committed?  Go back and think about what you had done – what you ate and what you did that you were not supposed to do – the answer is there. There is no need to pretend or try to play innocent.

For the record, let me tell you my impression about this patient.

  1. This is a man who kept everything close to his chest. He would not tell you anything unless you pry it out of him. Even when he came for consultation with me, his favourite remark was:My doctor said there was no more cancer. He had taken it all out and I am now clean. Sadly, Tony was lulled and was living in a fool’s paradise.
  1. The feeling I got after talking with him was that I did not expect him to keep to his diet. I don’t believe that he was totally committed to his healing. He wanted healing on his own terms.

Again, I say, we at CA Care are here to help you only. Your healing is yours to seek and achieve. To those who truly need our help, we say this: Live and don’t give up hope. There is a choice and there is an option. There is a hope. But if you want healing on your own terms and refuse to learn and change, then there is nothing much anyone can do to help you.

Pancreatic Cancer: Severe Pains and Died After PET Scan

Yoke (not real name, H-469) was a 54-year-old female. Sometime in October 2010, she had on and off pains in her abdomen. Later, the pains extended to her lumbar region. The pains deprived her of sleep. Yoke went to a private hospital for a checkup. Ultrasound, CT scan and blood tests were carried out.

Blood test showed CEA = 38.3 (high); CA 19.9 = 40,003.44 (high); Total bilirubin = 4.6 (low) and GGT = 72 (high).

Ultrasound done on 22 November 2010 showed: “hypoechoic lesion in the pancreatic body … measuring 5.8 x 4.4 x 2.6 cm. There are multiple, well-defined hypoechoic nodules in the liver – the largest seen in the right hepatic lobe, measuring 2.5 cm. Impression: pancreatic body hypoechoic mass is likely a neoplastic lesion with metastases in the liver.”

For confirmation, a CT scan was performed the next day, 23 November 2010. The report indicated: “hypodense mass on the body / tail of the pancreas – measuring approximately 6 x 3 cm. The second hypodense nodule … is also seen more distally in the pancreatic tail. There are a number of hypodense lesions in the liver – the largest lesions are in segment 8, measuring 2.5 cm each. Other lesions are in the caudate lobe, segment 7 and segment 5.

Impression: Carcinoma of the body and tail of pancreas with infiltration of the splenic vein, encasement of the roots of the portal vein and multiple hepatic metastases.

Surgery was not indicated in this case, since the cancer had already spread to her liver. The only option left was to undergo chemotherapy. Yoke was told that she needed to receive seven weekly cycles of chemotherapy. With such treatment, Yoke was told there would be a sixty percent chance of suppressing the cancer (whatever that means?). The oncologist also said that the smaller tumours would not spread after the chemo-treatment.

Yoke refused chemotherapy. She came to seek our help on 20 November 2010. She presented with the following:

  • Pain in the abdomen and lumbar region. She had to take the painkiller, Tramadol.
  • Unable to sleep if there were pains.
  • A bit tired.

She was prescribed Capsule A and B, LL-tea, Liver 1 and Liver 2 teas, Pancreas 1 and Pancreas 2 teas, and Pain Tea.

A week on the herbs: Yoke felt more “cheng sin” (more energetic). Her sleep improved. In the first four days taking the herbs, Yoke suffered the healing crisis. She had intense pains. But the pains gradually subsided and by the fifth day the pains were gone.

Two weeks on the herbs, 10 December 2010: Yoke informed us that she had totally stopped taking the Tramadol prescribed her doctor.  She did not have any more pains but she continued taking the Pain Tea. Her sleep was good. Her appetite improved.

Three weeks on the herbs, 17 December 2010: Yoke stopped taking the Pain Tea. And she did not suffer any pain. She said she was always felt hungry after taking the herbs. Our answer to this “problem” –  go ahead and eat!

Yoke appeared to be doing well with the herbs. She was then busy making arrangements for her daughter’s wedding. We did not get to see much of Yoke for some months even though we knew that she still continued taking our herbs.

About six months later, May 2011: Yoke came to our centre and she was in severe pains. Why and what had happened?

Yoke said her friend encouraged her to go for a PET scan in order to know what was going on inside her. After all she had been doing well. So Yoke went for a whole body PET/CT scan without seeking our advice. This procedure cost her RM 4,662.

Immediately after the procedure, Yoke suffered severe pains in her abdomen and lumbar region. It was back to the same old problem again.

Let Yoke explain what had gone wrong.

Our conversation

Chris: You went to do a PET scan?

Yoke: Yes and the doctor asked me to eat meat for two days.  I was told not to eat rice, fruits, juices and vegetables. I must eat only meat, egg, mushroom and porridge. I was asked to eat these for two days before I went for the scan.

Did he tell you why you need to do that?

So that the pictures would come out clearer.

Did you suffer after taking all these food?

Yes after I took meat, I started to have pains – more pains.

How much did you have to pay?

I put in RM 5,000 and I got back RM 338 (so the cost of her PET scan was RM4,662). If I knew  all these, I would not have gone for the scan. They asked me to eat meat for two days – damn it!

But why did you go and do it in the first place>

I have a group of cancer friends. They too went for PET scan. They told me CT scan is not clear and PET scan is clearer – you will know if the cancer is active or not.

So, you follow their advice?

Yes, I was real dumb and went for it.

There is no” meaning” for you to do that!

As you had said. I had pains after that and they could not “repair” me. I had more pains and I was also not able to sleep. More problems for me.

Daughter: They said the cancer had spread to the liver.

Yes, we already knew that anyway. And they asked you to take meat?

That was why the cancer became more active.

They Asked Me to Go for Chemotherapy

They asked me to go for chemo.  But the doctor said this was not going to cure me – only maintain. The doctor also said only 25 percent of patients who had chemo lived for two years. So I asked what happened to the remaining 75 percent – “went off”?  When the cancer recurs, I would need to do more chemo.  No, no – I told the doctor I do not want any chemo. When I told him that, he ignored me – not interested to talk to me anymore.

Let me ask you this – let’s assume that you have two years to live with chemo, and you only have one year if you take herbs. Why one would you choose?

I want to take herbs. May be I might just die sooner with the chemo. I told the doctor, “I might just die while undergoing chemotherapy.” He said, “No, no such thing. I would give you the drug bit by bit.” But I did not want to hear from him anymore.

She Died Soon Afterwards

After the PET scan, Yoke had pains and these got worse by the day. She was unable to sleep or walk by herself, and became weaker. Her stomach was bloated and she was in severe pain. Finally she died not long afterwards.

Information about PET scan from the Internet

  • X-ray, CT scan and MRI show the anatomy and structure of the organs examined. In contrast, PET scan reveals the metabolic activity and function of the organs. So, X-ray. CT and MRI scans assess the size and shape of different organs in the body. They do not assess function. While a PET scan looks at the body or organ function.
  • When we go for an X-ray, x-rays are generated from a machine and these rays go through our body and an image is formed on a film. In PET scan a radioactive material, called a radiopharmaceutical or radiotracer, is injected into our bloodstream. The commonly used radiotracer is fluorodexoyglucose (FDG). This is a glucose molecule which has been tagged with a small amount of radioactive element. The radioactive glucose is taken up by cancer cells. Tissues that are active accumulate a large amount of the radiotracer and they show up as “hot spots.” Thus, hot spots indicate high level of chemical or metabolic activity. Less intense areas, or “cold spots,” indicating a smaller concentration of radiotracer and less chemical activity.
  • PET scan is now considered a new technology. It helps doctors to locate the presence of cancer/infection anywhere in the body. Because cancers are multiplying and require energy for growth, PET scan is designed to detect any mass that is growing fast. The PET scan can also detect the spread of cancer in other parts of the body.

Do you learn any lesson from Yoke’s story?

Yoke learnt her lesson the hard way. Unfortunately it was too late. But can you learn any lesson from Yoke’s experience?

Ask these questions:

  1. The doctor asked Yoke to eat meat, eggs, etc., so that the “picture” will come out clear and nice? Do you know the reason for this after reading the information above? Was he not trying to “wake up the sleeping cancer cells” to make good pictures? It is good for him but this caused more harm to the patient.
  2. What is the “useful” purpose of doing the PET scan anyway – in this case?
  3. To have supportive friends is great but some can lead you to your doom. So before you embark on something, read first. If you cannot read – ask those who really know! 

Reflect on the quotations below:

Pancreatic Cancer: Severe Itch Disappeared and Health Improved After Herbs and the e-Therapy

Bak (M952) is a 56-year-old male from Indonesia. Sometime in November 2010, he complained of itchiness but he did nothing about it. In April 2011, he went for a checkup in a hospital in Aceh, North Sumatera. He was told there was a tumour in his bile duct. On 8 April 2011, he came to Penang for further checkup. CT scan of his abdomen and pelvis indicated the following:

  • A rounded hypodense lesion seen in mid-transverse colon measuring 10.5 x 21.3 mm. The doctor was unsure of what it was polyp ?
  • Pancreatic head and uncinate process carcinoma with distal CBD (common biliary duct) obstruction.
  • Left inguinoscrotal hernia.

His liver function results on 8 April 2011 are as follows:

Parameters

8 April 2011

5 October 2011

Total protein

79  H

76

Albumin

26  L

34

Globulin

53  H

42

A/G ratio

0.5  L

0.8  L

Total bilirubin

284.4  H

62

Direct bilirubin

212.2  H

Indirect bilirubin

72.2    H

Alanine transaminase

90   H

44

Alkaline phosphatase

222 H

62

GGT

67   H

68  H

AST

110 H

46  H

Alpha-fetoprotein

4.62

CEA

3.5

CA 19.9

1569.55

7.9

Bak was asked to undergo an operation for his pancreatic cancer. He declined, but he opted for ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography). This is a specialized technique to clear off the bile duct obstruction. Three plastic stents (tube) were installed to help with the flow of the bile. The total cost of hospitalization came to RM 4300.

After this procedure, Bak was asked to undergo chemotherapy. He refused. Instead, on 10 April 2011, he came to seek our help. He presented with the following:

  • Severe itch throughout the whole body
  • No appetite
  • Fevers, unable to sleep
  • Diarrhoea
  • Yellow urine

We had no choice but to put Bak on the e-Therapy hoping to help him with the itchiness. After one session of the e-Therapy, the itchiness was reduced. After two sessions, his itch was reduced by 50 percent. After four sessions of the e-Therapy his itch was totally gone. Bak had fevers. We prescribed him with Appetite & Fever tea. After taking a glass of this tea, his fevers were resolved. Then he went home to Aceh.

On 7 July 2011, Bak came back to see us again. He said for the past two weeks, he started to itch again. It came on and off and affected the palms, elbows and feet.  We were not able to put him of the e-Therapy because he had to go home the next day.

On 5 October 2011, Bak showed up at our centre again. This time he came specifically for the e-Therapy. Bak said that since taking the herbs in April 2011, his health had improved. He felt more comfortable, his sleep was better and he felt more energetic. Previously he had to wake up 4 to 5 times a night to urinate. After taking the A-Kid-6 tea his urination frequency has reduced to only once a night. He started to itch again but this was not as serious as before the e-Therapy. Before the e-Therapy the whole body was itchy and he had to scratch until the skin bled. Now the itch was confined to his elbows and feet only.

A blood test was done on 5 October 2011. The results showed improvements in his GGT, AST and CA 19.9 (Table,   Column 3).  Bak underwent the e-Therapy again from 5 October to 11 October 2011. After two sessions, the itch reduced by about 50 percent. By 10 October 2011, six days on the e-Therapy, the itch was almost totally gone. What remained were the itches on his finger tips.

Over the past six months since taking the herbs, his health had improved, his sleep was good and so was his appetite. The e-Therapy had helped tremendously with his itchiness.

The video clip below documented his progress with the e-Therapy.

 

Computer Genius, Steve Jobs Died of Pancreatic Cancer – cancer patients can learn from his experience

Steve Jobs was born February 24, 1955, to two University of Wisconsin graduate students who gave him up for adoption. Smart but directionless, Jobs experimented with different pursuits before starting Apple Computers with Stephen Wozniak in the Jobs’ family garage. Apple’s revolutionary products, which include the iPod, iPhone and iPad, are now seen as dictating the evolution of modern technology (http://www.biography.com/people/steve-jobs-9354805).

In October 2003, while performing a routine abdominal scan, doctors discovered a tumor growing in his pancreas.  Eight years later, on 6 October 2011, Steve Jobs died. He was 56 years old. In a brief statement, Apple announced the death but did not say where he died.  You can read his full biography in this website: http://allaboutstevejobs.com/bio/long/01.html

I surfed the net to know more about his cancer. Everyone else is more engrossed with his inventions and successes. No much is being said about his medical history –  except for some bits and pieces about his health here and there.  I believe cancer patients throughout the world would want to know how he managed to “live well” after his cancer diagnosis.

His Health Problems

In a June 2005 commencement address at Stanford University Steve Jobs talked about his pancreatic cancer. In his speech, Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, urges us to pursue our dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself. It is a very good video – everyone should watch this!

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die.html

or:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

or: http://www.buzzfeed.com/gavon/steve-jobs-discusses-his-cancer-and-facing-death

This is the transcript of a part of his speech. 

My third story is about death

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960′s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

What kind of cancer did Steve Jobs have? (http://blisstree.com/live/what-kind-of-cancer-did-steve-jobs-have-795/)  In a message to his employees at the time, Steve explained:  I had a very rare form of pancreatic cancer called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which represents about 1 percent of the total cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed each year, and can be cured by surgical removal if diagnosed in time (mine was). I will not require any chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

According to the University of California Department of Surgery, Islet cell neuroendocrine tumors are rare. Only 2,500 people are diagnosed with them per year in the U.S. –so researchers don’t know nearly as much about the tumors as other more common forms of cancer. But in general, they are tumors that form out of the endocrine, or hormone-producing, cells in the pancreas.

How difficult is it to treat, and what are the survival rates?  The doctors initially told him he only had about three to six months to live. Steve far outlived his doctors’ initial prognosis, but the reality is that islet cell neuroendocrine tumors are malignant, which means they’re fatal for 90% of patients if left untreated.

 Did his cancer come back? The rarity of Jobs’ cancer left room for plenty of room for speculation about the likelihood of recurrence. In January of 2009, Jobs announced that he was being treated for a hormone imbalance, and later received a liver transplant.

More details of his cancer

Jobs was considering not having the surgery at all. A Buddhist and vegetarian, the Apple CEO was skeptical of mainstream medicine. Jobs decided to employ alternative methods to treat his pancreatic cancer, hoping to avoid the operation through a special diet. For nine months Jobs pursued this approach.  In the end, Jobs had the surgery  on Saturday, July 31, 2004, at Stanford University Medical Center.

In an article, The trouble with Steve Jobs, Peter Elkind wrote, http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/02/news/companies/elkind_jobs.fortune/index.htm,

Jobs sought instead to treat his tumor with a special diet while launching a lengthy exploration of alternative approaches. “The odd thing is, for us what seemed like an alternative type of thing, for him is normal. It’s not out of the ordinary for Steve ” says one person familiar with the situation.

By the standards of medical science, it was an open-and-shut case: There was no serious alternative to surgery. “Surgery is the only treatment modality that can result in cure,” Dr. Jeffrey Norton, chief of surgical oncology at Stanford, wrote in a 2006 medical journal article about this kind of pancreatic cancer.

The case seemed closed for a while, before it surprisingly resurfaced some three years later, in 2008. He obviously had lost weight in a substantial and even frightening way.

Steven made a personal announcement on 5 January 2009:  As many of you know, I have been losing weight throughout 2008. The reason has been a mystery to me and my doctors. A few weeks ago, I decided that getting to the root cause of this and reversing it needed to become my #1 priority. Fortunately, after further testing, my doctors think they have found the cause—a hormone imbalance that has been “robbing” me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis. Nine days later, in an email to all Apple employees he wrote: During the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.

In April 2009 Steve underwent a liver transplant. The transplant took place at the Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the nation’s leading center for such surgery. The transplant worked, and Steve went back to Apple in late June 2009.

In an article on 18 January 20ll, Steve Jobs went to Switzerland in search of cancer treatment, Doron Levin wrote, ( http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/01/18/steve-jobs-went-to-switzerland-in-search-of-cancer-treatment) How sick was he? Fortune reported Jobs also took an unpublicized flight to Switzerland to undergo an unusual radiological treatment at the University of Basel for neuroendocrine cancer.

In an article on 5 October 2011,Jobs’s Unorthodox Treatment, Sharon Begley, wrote, (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/10/05/steve-jobs-dies-his-unorthodox-treatment-for-neuroendocrine-cancer.html),  Although cancer of the pancreas has a terrible prognosis—half of all patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer die within 10 months of the diagnosis; half of those in whom it has metastasized die within six months. Unlike pancreatic cancer, with neuroendocrine cancer “if you catch it early, there is a real potential for cure,” says cancer surgeon Joseph Kim of City of Hope, a comprehensive cancer center in California. In part, that is because neuroendocrine cancers tend to be quite slow growing, or indolent. This kind of cancer can be so indolent that patients often die with it than from it. Although an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed every year with neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas, autopsies find the disease in hundreds more—people who were apparently not harmed by this very slow-growing cancer.

But Jobs’s was not such a simple case. He underwent an operation called a modified Whipple procedure, or a pancreatoduodenectomy. The surgery removes the right side of the pancreas, the gallbladder, and parts of the stomach, bile duct, and small intestine. The fact that so much more than the pancreas itself had to be removed suggests that Jobs’s cancer had spread beyond the pancreas. The cancer might have already spread by the time it was discovered in 2003. Alternatively, the cancer could have spread during the nine months that Jobs was experimenting with nonstandard therapies.

Within five years, it was clear that Jobs was not cured. He underwent a liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis in 2009. That strongly suggests the cancer had spread beyond the digestive system that was the focus of the surgery and into the organ that is one of the most common sites of metastasis.

Swapping out a cancer-ridden liver for a new one may buy some time, but not much. It can even be counterproductive. Transplant patients need massive doses of immune-suppressing drugs to keep their bodies from rejecting the foreign organ. A more standard treatment is to remove only those parts of the liver that contain malignant cells.

Jobs was relieved that, as he put it in that 2004 email, he did “not require any chemotherapy or radiation treatments.” He took that as a sign that the surgery “got it all,” as every cancer patient desperately wishes to hear. In fact, any surgeons who say they “got it all” should be slapped: no existing technology can detect micrometastases, let alone a few million rogue malignant cells floating in the bloodstream or lymph fluid and just waiting to invade some vital organ.

One of the few bright spots when it comes to neuroendocrine cancer was the Food and Drug Administration’s decision, in May 2011, to approve two new drugs against the disease. One, called Sutent, from Pfizer, was previously approved for the treatment of kidney cancer. The other newly approved drug, Afinitor,  from Novartis (See CA Care experience with these two drugs at the end of this article!).

Marilynn Marchione  of the Associated Press, (http://www.ajc.com/health/doctors-say-cancer-likely-1195337.html)  in Doctors say cancer likely killed Steve Jobs, wrote, Steve Jobs managed to live more than seven years with a rare form of pancreatic cancer that grows more slowly than the common kind. But his need for a liver transplant two years ago was a bad sign that his troubles with the disease probably were not over.

Medical experts unconnected with his care say Jobs most likely needed the transplant because his cancer came back or spread. They said his death could have been from cancer, the new liver not working, or complications from immune-suppressing medicines to prevent organ rejection. A liver transplant can cure Jobs’ type of cancer, but “if it were to come back, it’s usually in one to two years,” said Dr. Michael Pishvaian, a gastrointestinal cancer specialist at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Jobs would not say why the transplant was needed, though doctors said spread of his cancer to the liver was the likely explanation. Usually transplants aren’t done for people with cancer, but “there is some support for the idea that a liver transplant can be curative” for a neuroendocrine tumor as long as the cancer has not spread beyond the liver. Average survival for people with neuroendocrine tumors that have spread is seven to eight years, and some patients have survived 20 to 30 years, said Dr. Martin Heslin, cancer surgery chief at Vanderbilt University. It was not to be for Jobs.

Alice Part, in her article – The Pancreatic Cancer that Killed Steve Jobs, (http://healthland.time.com/2011/10/05/the-pancreatic-cancer-that-killed-steve-jobs/#ixzz1ZyGUwyUf)  wrote,  Pancreatic cancer is one of the faster spreading cancers; only about 4% of patients can expect to survive five years after their diagnosis. Each year, about 44,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S., and 37,000 people die of the disease.

According to experts, Jobs’ was an uphill medical battle. “He not only had cancer, he was battling the immune suppression after the liver transplant.  Most patients who receive liver transplants survive about two years after the surgery.

Because of the poor prognosis of pancreatic cancer, many patients elect to try alternative therapies, including a popular therapy known as the Gonzalez regimen, which involves fighting pancreatic tumors with pancreatic enzymes. Patients on the Gonzalez regimen also take a large number of nutritional supplements, including vitamins and minerals such as magnesium citrate, along with coffee enemas performed twice a day.

The treatment’s developer, Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez of New York, has claimed that the use of pancreatic enzymes is a powerful way to suppress the growth of advanced pancreatic cancer cells. Jobs is not reported to have tried the Gonzalez regimen, but he is known to have suscribed to alternative therapy. Whether these treatments helped to extend Jobs’ life or improve the quality of his last days isn’t clear. But cancer experts expressed surprise that Jobs survived as long as he did, continuing to fight his disease. Other pancreatic cancer patients typically aren’t as fortunate.

Watch these videos in the Voice of America website of 30 August 2011, (http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/Jobs-Pancreatic-Cancer-Led-to-Numerous-Health-Issues-128670148.html)   Jobs’ Pancreatic Cancer Led to Other Health Issues.  Oncologists say pancreatic cancer is hard to treat because it is difficult to diagnose. … since the early stages have no visible symptoms. Dr. Khaled el-Shami, a cancer specialist at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C said, “Neuroendocrine tumors tend to spread from pancreas to the liver.  Liver transplant is a radical way of removing cancer in the liver.” But el-Shami warns a transplant is not a guaranteed cure. “It’s a balance between removing a big chunk of cancer in the liver and the risk of having a weakened immune system, which can encourage not only the original cancer to come back but also emergence of other cancers.”

Lisa Krieger wrote an article, Rarity of Steve Jobs’ cancer and treatment provides few predictions, few options (http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_18758697). She said, Like everything else about him, Steve Jobs’ medical history has been singular — an uncommon treatment for a very rare cancer — so it’s tough to predict his fate. But experts suggest that he’s run out of good fixes. If the cancer has returned, he’s not a good candidate for a second transplant. Drugs can prolong survival, but they don’t cure. The average three-year survival rate for people with Jobs’ condition who receive a liver transplant is about 70 percent, said Dr. William C. Chapman, chief of the Abdominal Transplantation Section at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. By five years, about half are still alive, said Chapman and Dr. Simon Lo, director of pancreatic and biliary diseases at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. But there’s not much data — and there’s hardly any information at all — for 10-year survivors.

“In general, it’s pretty uncommon to perform a transplant for recurrence of malignancy,” Chapman said. That’s because if it has returned to the liver, it’s more likely to return to other places, too”. “When you’re dealing with a cancer that has metastasized, it means it might be hiding somewhere else in the belly,” Lo said. And immune-suppressing drugs reduce resistance, he said, “so there is always worry that the cancer could be encouraged to grow.”

Marilyn Linton wrote in the Toronto Sun (http://www.torontosun.com/2011/09/09/the-cancer-that-plagues-steve-jobs),  The carcinoid neuroendocrine tumours (CNETs), or alternatively called neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) – the same cancer that has struck Jobs is a malignancy of a unique system of the body.  Most worrisome is the fact that these tumours can be difficult to spot.  If doctors are aware of it, they may think of it and diagnose it more quickly – something all of us wish could have happened. Most of us were diagnosed after the tumour metastasized which, in the end, brings different challenges and prognosis.”

Liz Szabo of USA Today, (http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/medical/cancer/story/2011-08-24/Apple-CEO-Steve-Jobs-resigns-after-battling-pancreatic-cancer/50127460/1) wrote,  Steve Jobs has battled a rare form of pancreatic cancer for years, undergoing a series of aggressive treatments, including a liver transplant, and surviving longer than many others with the disease. Patients with the most common form of pancreatic cancer often live less than a year. Neuroendocrine tumors typically grow much more slowly, allowing patients to live at least two or three years. Unless the disease is completely eradicated, however, the cancer eventually takes a turn for the worse, growing much more quickly. If the liver begins to fail, however, “people can go downhill pretty quickly. When you hit the wall, you hit the wall.”

Patients who receive organ transplants must take drugs to prevent the body from rejecting the new organ. But because these drugs also suppress the immune system, they can allow the original cancer to re-emerge and attack either the new liver or other organs. In rare cases, a liver transplant may cure the patient’s cancer, if it hasn’t spread around the body,

Daniel DeNoon of WebMD Health news wrote ( http://www.webmd.com/cancer/pancreatic-cancer/news/20110825/faq-steve-jobs-pancreatic-cancer),  If Jobs had suffered the most common form of pancreatic cancer, adenocarcinoma, the chances are he would have died soon after his 2003 diagnosis. But as Jobs later revealed, he had an unusual form of pancreatic cancer known as a neuroendocrine tumor or islet cell carcinoma.

What is known about this kind of cancer? Can it be cured? What if it comes back? WebMD answers these and other questions.

What Is a Neuroendocrine Tumor/Islet Cell Carcinoma?  When doctors discover that a patient has pancreatic cancer, the outlook usually is grim. But once in a while — about 200 to 1,000 times a year in the U.S. — it turns out to be an islet cell carcinoma. But 90% of these tumors are malignant, meaning that they eventually are fatal if left untreated.

Can Neuroendocrine Tumors/Islet Cell Carcinomas Be Cured?  The first choice of treatment for islet cell carcinoma is surgery, says David Levi, MD, professor of clinical surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.”If it can be cured with surgery we try for that,” Levi says. “If not there are options: chemotherapy and a number of other options to try to control this tumor. Some of these cancers are not curable, but patients can do well for years and years.”

Why Did Steve Jobs Have a Liver Transplant? Although it’s now known that Jobs received a liver transplant in Tennessee, it’s not clear why. However, Levi says that a small number of patients with islet cell carcinoma may undergo liver transplant if their cancer has spread to the liver but does not appear to have spread elsewhere. It’s not a procedure for people who may have cancer remaining in their bodies. That’s because transplant patients must stay on immune-suppressing anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives. Without a functioning immune system, remaining cancer cells grow uncontrollably.

“The cancer can recur after liver transplant. When it does recur, it carries a pretty poor prognosis and ultimately is the cause of death,” Levi says.” We are limited in what we can do. The patient is immune suppressed. This usually means the cancer is aggressive, and once it recurs it usually is not curable.”

Facing Reality

Jobs outlived that initial prognosis by a lot, but at just 56, Jobs death still came young (the average life expectancy for American men is about 77 years old). As of now, there are few clues as to how his treatment or lifestyle really impacted his longevity post-surgery, but for patients who are diagnosed with the same type of cancer, the best hope of survival is to catch and treat the cancer early, and maintain optimal health through diet, exercise and lifestyle (http://blisstree.com/live/what-kind-of-cancer-did-steve-jobs-have-795/).

Now Jobs reminds us all of a harsh reality: even with access to the very best medical care, and even with Jobs’ reality distortion field, cancer survivors can’t always remain fine forever. And life’s change agent, as we all know and we all don’t like to remember, is merciless.

Matthew Herper wrote in  http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2011/10/05/steve-jobs-cancer-survivor/

Steve Jobs was another type of survivor: a cancer survivor. And in that role, he was a model for many. Steve Jobs represented the millions of cancer survivors who pursue their dreams, live their lives, and contribute to our world every day. Tonight, sadly, we know the answers. There is finality to the life of Steve Jobs in the physical sense, although his influence will be felt long after his passing.

Comments

It seems be the norm, in the face of total hopelessness, there would be someone who would come and offer you some “magical portions” to try. In this article, one writer mentioned that one ray of hope for Steve Jobs would be the new “magic bullets”,  Sutent and Afinitor. I am not sure if cancer patients need to be optimistic at all. These bullets might just turn out to be fatal bullets – to the patient and not the cancer.

When Suri had exhausted all possible medical treatments (after spending S$300,000 and no more chemo was indicated) her oncologist offered Sutent for her metastatic lung-brain cancer.  She suffered severe side effects ten days after consuming Sutent. Read her story here: http://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/09/10/lung-brain-cancer-an-impossible-healing-part-3-reflection-and-confession-of-a-husband/

MF (H614) is a 49-year old male. He had kidney cancer and was operated on. The cancer later spread to his lungs. He was on Sutent for one year plus. He suffered heart damage. Red his story here:  http://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/09/19/kidney-lung-brain-cancer-sutent-heart-damage/

TK826 was a 53-year-old male. He was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney. He received 20 radiation treatments. In spite of the treatment, the tumour grew bigger and spread to his liver, lungs and abdomen. He was started on Sutent in January 2009. He suffered severe side effects and died three months later,  on 30 April 2009. This is his story: http://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/09/18/sutent-for-advanced-kidney-cancer/

Ray  is a restaurant owner in Indonesia. In December 2007, at the age of 53, he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. He underwent a radical surgery. About seven years later, the cancer recurred in his lungs. Ray was put on Sutent and suffered severe intolerable side effects. Ray stopped taking Sutent.  The oncologist suggested a new oral drug, Afinitor (everolimus).  Ray suffered similar side effects from taking Afinitor – ulcerations of his mouth and itchiness of his head, etc. Read more of this story: http://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/09/18/everolimus-for-kidney-cancer-metastatised-to-lungs/

Our experience at CA Care tells that there is no cure for pancreatic cancer. For example, read this story: http://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/09/08/pancreatic-cancer-no-cure-after-surgery-gemzar-and-tcm-herbs/

Many patients who had surgery and chemotherapy died soon after the treatments. The result thus far for pancreatic cancer is dismal indeed. I must say it is an achievement that Steve Job was able to survive eight years battling with his pancreatic cancer. That’s a great achievement indeed.

What Steven Jobs said at the commencement address at Sanford University ought to be a great lesson for many of us.  Death… is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. It is important to realize that no one lives forever. Ponder seriously once again what Jobs said, Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition … Everything else is secondary.

Let me close by quoting Dr. Bernie Siegel (in his book, Peace, Love & Healing). It is important that we realize that we can never cure everything. We will never find … cures for all diseases. Dying can be a healing, ending a full, rich life for someone who is tired and sore and in need of rest. Facing death is often the catalyst that enables people to reach out for what they want. It makes us face up to the meaning of our existence. Illness and death are not failures. It is how we face up to our illnesses and how we take on the challenge of our mortality that determine whether we are successes or failures. No matter how sick we are or how close to death, as long as we are alive we have the chance to make something of our lives. Those who rise to the occasion will find that no matter what the outcome of the struggles, they have created something beautiful.

In this regards, Steve Jobs had lived to create something beautiful for our world.

Pancreatic Cancer: No Cure After Surgery, Gemzar and TCM Herbs

This is an e-mail I received lately.

Dear Dr Teo,

I happened to chance upon your blog while doing some searches online on cancer and read about the many success stories of cancer patients under your care.

My mum was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2010 and had undergone the Whipple’s procedure to remove the cancerous cells at the head of her pancreas.

In July 2010, she started her chemotherapy, and was put under 6 cycles of Gemcitabine. After completing 6 cycles, at the end of December 2010, CA19-9 has decreased from 5204 to 106.9. About 2 weeks later, CA19-9 value rose to 224.2. The doctor then suggested for my mum to go for a CT-scan. CT-scan result showed that there were several tiny nodules in her lungs. Apart from that, there were no other abnormalities.

Based on the CT-scan result, the doctor told us that he’s sorry and that he is unable to cure my mum anymore as the cancer cells have spread to her lungs. He then asked us to go for a 2nd round of chemotherapy, this time using the combination of 2 drugs with strong side effects to control the growth of the cancer cells. Since there is no guarantee on the success of the treatment and taking into account the stronger side effects, my mum rejected the treatment and has been consulting a Chinese physician specializing in cancer. After taking the herbs prescribed by the Chinese physician for 7 months, the CA19-9 did not decrease but rose exponentially to a value of 66,490 in late June.

My mum has been feeling fine at the start of the year, but somewhere in April 2011, she started having backache and bloatedness in her stomach. At around mid June, she started having diarrhea, followed by serve pain at her back, causing some difficulties in her movement. She has also started coughing about a week ago.

We know that the herbs prescribed by the Chinese physician are not working. But I know my mum has a strong will to live on. It would be really great if you can help us and I look forward to hear from you soon.

Thank you.

Reply:  Well, if you think we can help you, come and see me in Penang with all the medical reports and scan.

Daughter’s First Visit

On the afternoon of Friday 12 August 2011, the daughter of this patient came from Singapore. The following are additional details about her mother’s story.

  1. Her problem started with jaundice and after two weeks the patient went to see a doctor. She was diagnosed to have cancer of the pancreatic head with obstructive jaundice. Histology showed pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma with lymph node metastasis.
  2. She underwent six cycles of chemotherapy. Each cycle consisted of three injections split over a period of one month. So patient received a total of 18 injections. Each cycle cost about S$2,500.
  3. Before the treatment the doctor told patient that she had a high chance of cure. Things worked out rather well from Chemo 1 to Chemo 17. Her CA 19.9 was dropping. At Chemo 5, CA 19.9 dropped from 5204 to 106.9 plus. But a week after Chemo 18, CA 19.9 started to rise from 100 plus to 224.2. The oncologist said, “Something has gone wrong.”
  4. A CT scan on 18 January 2011 showed several new tiny pulmonary nodules in both lungs. The oncologist said she has to do more chemo. There was no guarantee, but just to test out if it works. Patient refused further medical treatment.
  5. While undergoing medical treatment, patients also took herbs from the TCM section of the hospital and she has been under the care of the TCM practitioners from the beginning until the present. TCM consultation cost S$80.00 each time and the herbs cost S$10 per packet – to be brewed into tea as a dose each day.
  6. The CA 19.9 now stands at 66,490.

Our advice: We told her it is indeed a difficult case to handle and please don’t expect us to cure her mother. We at CA Care believe that no one can cure cancer in the first place. But we can try our best to help.

Latest Update

Hi Dr Chris,

My mum has been taking cough No.5 & 6 and the diarrhea and indigestion tea since last Saturday (27 August 2011) until Wednesday (31 August 2011). However, her condition has not improved. Nevertheless, she’s still taking Capsule A, Pancreas 1, Pancreas 2 and Stomach Function Tea daily. I did check with her about how she felt after taking your pain tea, but she’s also not too sure if the pain tea is working on her as her back pain is on and off. Therefore, I still continue to give her the pain tea 3 times a day.

The hospice home care team came to visit my mum on Thursday (1 September 2011) and started her on the painkiller, hoping to give her some relief, allowing her to have some good rest since she has not been able to sleep since her back pain started. They tried Panadeine on her initially but it only managed to reduce her pain by half, so they started her on Tramadol and Durogesic. Apart from the pain, she’s suffering from the side effects of the painkiller now, feeling dizzy and has also been vomiting since this morning. But the doctor mentioned that the side effects will go off in a week’s time as her body tries to adjust to the painkiller. I’m feeling rather lost now and not sure what to do…

Hello Ying Lee,

It is a difficult problem — as I have told you earlier. You have done your best. I have tried to give you all that I have here. If it still does not work, you need to rely on the Hospice … and go on the painkillers. Yes, with all the side effects but what else can we do?If the herbs are not helping — no use taking them. I am sorry I cannot help you much at this point. If you are in Penang perhaps it would be bit different.

You can hear more details by watching this video clip.

 

 

Comments:

Can surgery cure pancreatic cancer? I typed this question for Google search. Read what it says:

From the American Cancer Society: Potentially curative surgery is used when imaging tests suggest that it is possible to remove all the cancer. Whipple procedure: For patients to have the best outcomes, they should be treated by a surgeon who does many of these operations … at least 20 Whipple procedures per year. At the time of diagnosis, only about 10% of cancers of the pancreas appear to be contained entirely within the pancreas. Only about half of these turn out to be truly resectable once the surgery is started. Still, even if all the visible tumor is removed at the time of surgery, some cancer cells may have already spread to other parts of the body. These cells may eventually grow into new tumors and cause many problems — even death.

From the Seena Magowitz Foundation – the Face and Voice of Pancreatic Cancer:  Whipple surgery is often a surgical option when pancreatic cancer is found in the head of the pancreas. It involves removal of the pancreas head, most of the duodenum (small intestine), a portion of the bile duct, gallbladder, part of the jejunum and the lymph nodes located near the pancreas. Sometimes a portion of the stomach may also be removed. The Whipple Operation does not cure pancreatic cancer. It is an option that has been positively demonstrated to extend survival with a better quality of remaining life. There are risks during surgery that includes chances of not surviving the operation. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments following surgery can increase life-span by about 10%. http://www.seenamagowitzfoundation.org/whipple-operation.html

Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez (http://www.dr-gonzalez.com), of New York, USA, in the book, Knock Out written by Suzanne Somers, said,

“It is hard for me to believe that an oncologist who has gone through four years of college, four years of medical school, three years of residency, and then three years of oncology postresidency training can’t connect the dots. You have to be an idiot not to be aware that for most of the cancers chemo isn’t doing anything. It’s in all the journals. It’s not like it’s a secret.”

“The fact of the matter is that 95 percent of the patients who call my office have been brutalized by the orthodox system … my staff just sits there dumbfounded by their stories, story after story, over and over again. Everyday.”

“Spend a one day in my office listening to the dozens of people who call in with these horror stories about the conventional therapies that were pushed on them with false hope, then you will see why we get upset when we are criticized as alternative guys offering false hope. These people come to me half-dead because they were promised that these treatments could work, and we see this in particular with patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer because we are known for treating pancreatic cancer.”

“They have compared Gemzar … Median survival improved from 4.2 months to only 5.7 months – about one extra month of life for this expensive drug. Not a single patient out of 126 in the study lived longer than 19 months. But Gemzar has been considered such an advance that the FDA approved it … Gemzar is used all over the world. One month improvement in survival and not one patient in the clinical study lived longer than 19 months, and that has been considered a major advance.”

In the same book by Susan Somers, Dr. Ralph Moss, a highly respected advocate of non-conventional cancer treatment, said,

“Gemzar … is relatively benign and also has minimal effects. You rarely hear about people having major side effects with Gemzar … (it is) a mild form of chemotherapy. (It is) given as a kind of placebo, meaning when they have nothing else to give and they don’t want to burden the patient with a lot of side effects, they give this drug and everybody is happy. The patients feel that something is being done for them, and the doctors gets paid for administering or prescribing something. Then the patients expire and the families feel that at least they tried.”

Response from Susan Somers:

“This is the part I don’t understand – the patient is given drugs that don’t do much and at the end the family is grateful. Recently a young friend of mine died of pancreatic cancer, stage IV. I have never seen such destruction of a human body as I watched him disintegrate and die in four months. Then a few weeks after the death, his wife called and asked if I would come perform for a fund-raiser for his doctor. And I thought, They just killed your husband.”