Lung-Liver Cancer: Why Patient Refused to Undergo Chemotherapy, Part 4

This is an interesting e-mail we received on 16 December 2011.

Hi Mr. Chris,

Good Day, I’m H from Tanjung Pinang – Indonesia. I’ve visited you in 2007 when my late father suffered from Liver Cancer. However we did not revisit you since our first visit. Frankly I thank you for your help to heal my father. My father passed away in October 2008. I have faith and believe in you to help cancer patients.

Now my friend’s father suffers from lung cancer. His condition is very weak. According to the doctor, maybe he will only live for six months. Now his family decided to seek your help. And will visit you as soon as possible.

Since his condition is too weak, is there any possibility of not to bring him (patient) to visit you in Penang?

His son will bring his medical report and visit you in Penang. If the patient must come along, we will have to wait until his condition is better and pay you a visit. Now he has no appetite. So the condition is not good.

Hope you can understand our situation and give us your advice.

Thank You & Warmest Regards,

The writer of the e-mail and his friend came to our centre in Penang three days later, on 19 December 2011.

 

 

Guan (S-82) is a 58-year-old man from Indonesia. After having coughs for about two months, he went to see a doctor in his hometown. An X-ray was taken. The doctor suspected pneumonia with mass in his lung. Guan then went to a private hospital in Johor for further consultation. A CT scan done on 6 December 2011 indicated cancer in his right lung that had spread to his liver. There were also right pleural effusion and pericardial effusion.

 

Guan then went to Singapore where a biopsy was performed. This cost him about S$1,500 but the results were not definitive and rather puzzling.  This is what the doctor’s report looks like.

 

After the biopsy, the doctor suggested chemotherapy. He was told that with chemotherapy he would be able to live for another two years. Without chemotherapy, he would only have six months. His family refused to undergo any chemo. And the son said he would not even bother to ask how much the treatment would cost.

Why did the family refuse chemotherapy?

The friend who accompanied the patient’s son said, “My friend’s father also had lung cancer. He was around 50 years old. He underwent chemotherapy in Singapore. He died after receiving one cycle of chemotherapy.”

Chris:  What you have done was not right at all. If you have already decided not to go for chemo, why did you go for the biopsy in the first place? The procedure cost you money. It was just a waste of money doing the procedure if you did not intend to proceed to the next step. Also some patients told me that after a biopsy they suffer pains. Besides that some people say a biopsy can spread the cancer further. But for the CT scan, it is okay to do it once to know what is inside.

Friend: “Another friend of mine – he was about 30 years old. He had bone cancer. He went for surgery in China. He received one cycle of chemo. The doctor asked him to quickly go home. One week later he was dead.

Comment

I have only one comment to make in this case.  According to the good doctor the patient need to do chemo so that he would live longer – for another two years. Without chemo the patient would probably be dead by six months. But to the family members they have seen what happened to their two friends. Both of them died after just a shot of chemo. Perhaps to live six months without chemo is better than trying his luck on the deadly chemo. How trustworthy is the doctor’s prognosis?

Let me close by quoting what I have read in this book, “Doctors in general should be treated with the same degree of trust as used-car salesman.”

 

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