Metastatic Melanoma-Lung Cancer

Guat (T672) is a 53-year-female. In 2006, she had been coughing out blood for the whole year. In September 2007, Guat underwent an operation to remove her appendix. Her throat was swollen after this operation. MRI of her neck on 7 October 2007 showed normal nasopharynx and thyroid. However, there was an irregular lesion at the right upper lobe of her lung.

A CT scan on 9 October 2007 showed 2 focal cavitating lesions at the right upper lobe and left lower lobe of her lung, suggestive of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). There was also a small fluid density collection at right iliac fossa probably due to hematoma from previous appendix operation.

A biopsy of the right pulmonary nodule done indicated malignant melanoma. A second opinion was sought and Guat was subsequently diagnosed with malignant tumour metastatic to lung. Possibility of malignant melanoma is very strong.

The doctor told Guat that her condition was very serious. She had a Stage 4 cancer. The doctor also said, In my 15 years of experience, this is the only case that I have seen. According to the doctor this cancer originated from a mole but Guat searched her entire body and could not find any mole. Surgery is not indicated for this cancer. However, the doctor stressed that it is better to start treatment. Without radiotherapy it may spread to her brain. Currently, medicine is much more advanced and Guat might benefit from this treatment. Guat refused and came to seek our help on 2 November 2007.

She presented with the following:

  1. She had been on high blood pressure pill for the past one year and is now suffering from headaches.
  2. There was burning sensation in her chest.
  3. She was unable to sleep well, worried.
  4. She was very tired.
  5. She had coughs with yellow phlegm and sometimes with blood.
  6. Her breathing was not good.
  7. She had wind in her stomach.

After a year on herbs, Guat reported improvements. Her headaches were gone and she felt better. After she took Insomnia Tea, she was able to sleep well. Her breathing was better.

The following are excerpts of our conversation in December 2008.

Chris: It has been more than a year since you first came.

Husband: Yes.

Guat:  When it was about one year, there was fear. And we kept saying, Haven’t died yet, haven’t died yet. (laughing happily). Do I need to go and have a scan?

C: No, there is no need to. What is the point? If it were smaller, you would continue to take the herbs. If it were bigger, what to do? Also continue with the herbs. The important thing is this. How do you feel now compared to one year ago when you came to see me?

G: Better. Last time, I could not sleep well. I do not know how to explain – like there is so much discomfort around this part. Now, I can sleep better.

C: When you first came to see me, you complained of a fiery feeling at your chest. How is it now?

G: Now, I am much better. This feeling comes only once in a while. Last time, it was an almost daily occurrence. Now, I get it only once or twice a week.

C: Can we say it is better by 50%.

G: Certainly, more than 50%.

C: How is your sleep problem?

G: I no longer need to take the Insomnia tea.

C: You used to feel lethargic and breathless.

G: Much less lethargic now. When I walk, only sometimes do I feel this breathlessness.

C: Looks like there is improvement.

H: Yes, there is a lot of improvement.

G: Sometimes the throat feels a bit dry. A few days ago, while I was sleeping, I got a fright and suddenly woke up (due to a fright) and felt a lump at my throat. On clearing my throat, a lump of sticky phlegm with blood came out. It is very sticky – so sticky that it can stick on to the paper. Last time, the blood was thin and appeared fresh. This time it is phlegm with blood.

H: One month before, she also cleared out some. This happens once a while.

G: But this time, it is the most.

C: We had patients who cough out pieces of flesh.

G: No, not flesh. It is just very sticky. I also have small pimple like vesicles on my arm and face at times. If I break it, a liquid with a spot of blood will come out. The scar took a while to disappear. These appear at different places on my body.

As of this writing, April 2009, it is one and half years since Guat first came and was started on the herbs. She is doing well.

Comments

This is the second case of its kind that we, at CA Care, have encountered. However, it is so satisfying to see that Guat is doing well.

The doctor advised Guat to undergo radiotherapy – take note, radiation to her lung. What could such a treatment lead to? As it is now, Guat leads a normal, pain-free life by refusing radiotherapy. She took a right path! The proof that herbs are effective is seen in the face of the patient herself. She is alive and that is all that matters.

As of this writing, April 2009, it is one and half years since Guat first came and was started on the herbs. We could not ask for more.

A search in the internet yielded the following facts about metastatic menaloma.

  • Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that develops in the melanocytes, the pigment-producing skin cells.
  • It may spread by the lymph system or the bloodstream to the liver, lung, bone and brain. Pulmonary metastasis occurs in 11% of patients.

Prognosis

  • The prognosis of metastatic melanoma is dismal – a five-year survival rates of 2-3%.
  • The median survival time is 7 months in patients with a single site, 4 months with two organ sites and 2 months with more than two organ sites. Patients with lung metastasis have a longer median survival of 11 months.
  • The one-year survival rate is 36% with one metastatic site, 13% with two organ sites and less than 1% with more than two organ sites.
  • Metastatic melanoma is generally incurable.

Treatment

  • Meaningful therapeutic options are limited in metastatic melanoma.
  • Treatment focuses on shrinking or eliminating the metastatic lesions, preventing further spread of the disease and maximizing patient comfort.
  • The chemotherapy drug often used for melanoma is Dacarbazine (DTIC). Only about 1-2% of patients treated with DTIC sustain long-term complete response. Other chemo-drugs used include nitrosoureas, vinca alkaloids and platinum compounds. They provided similar response rates with few long-term survivors.

Note: As of this day (December 2010), Guat is as healthy as ever – like you and me. She has no complaints. Once day she jokingly told us: My friends were asking me why I did not die yet!

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