Lung Cancer: After One-and-half Years of Iressa, He Moved to Tarceva

SS is a 73-year-old male from Johor. He was a casual smoker of about 20 plus years. Sometime in early 2010, he experienced weight loss and lack of energy. There was no cough. He went to the general hospital and fainted while there. A CT scan on 13 May 2010 indicated lung cancer, as below.

SS was subsequently referred to the university hospital in Kuala Lumpur. He was started on the oral drug, Iressa, on 21 February 2011.

On 22 June 2011 another CT scan was done and the results showed:

  1. The mass in the left lower lobe has increased in size from 2.3 x 2.7 x 1.0 cm to 4.0 x 2.2 x 3.1 cm.
  2. The adjacent pleural base mass has increased in size from 6.8 x 2.1 x 8.0 cm to 6.9 x 2.1 x 6.7 cm.
  3. New lung nodule in the right upper lobe.

Impression: Comparison with the previous CT scan there is progression of the disease.

SS continued taking Iressa and was monitored regularly by CT scan.

CT scan done on 19 September 2011 showed the following:

CT scan on 12 December 2011 showed:

  1. A slight reduction of the pleural base mass.
  2. No significant changes in the size of the left lower lobe mass.
  3. Multiple liver lesions and solitary right lung nodule, no significant changes compared to previous study.

A comparison study with CT was done on 26 March 2012. The results showed:

  1. The lung mass in the left lower lobe is still seen and appears slightly increase in size – measures 3.9 x 2.9 cm (previously 2.6 x 2.5 cm).
  2. The adjacent bronchiectatic change remains.
  3. Three lung nodules seen in left upper lobe each measures 2- 5 mm; previously only one seen in the right apex.
  4. Multiple persistent hypodense lesions in the liver in segments 8, 5, 2, 3, and 4 remains similar in sizes and appearance.
  5. Underlying generalised osteopenia and degenerative spine changes.
  6. Left thyroid lobe hypodense lesions remain similar.
  7. No suspicious lytic bone lesions.

Scans on 13 May 2010 & 19 September 2011 (top) and 26 March 2012 (below)

SS came to seek our help on 19 August 2012. He was told by his doctor that Iressa was not effective and about a week ago he was asked to stop Iressa and this was replaced with Tarceva.

SS had been taking Iressa for almost one and half years at a cost of about RM 7000 per month. Tarceva costs him RM 8,900 per month.

SS said he wanted to try out herbs and would not wish to continue with his doctor’s medication.

SS’s  meridian bioenergy was read using the AcuGraph (below):

There is a marked energy imbalance between the upper   (left) and lower part of his body (right). We prescribed herbs to correct the imbalance of his LU and BL energy.  SS also told us that he has problems with his prostate. Unfortunately, no one has addressed this problem. For this, we prescribed Prostate A tea. In addition we prescribed SS Capsule A, C-tea, Lung 1 and Lung 2 teas, for his cancer.

Comments

As I was writing this article, a lady from Singapore wrote:

Dear Chris,

I am thinking of going up to Penang to consult you … I was diagnosed in December 2010, with lung cancer (adenocarcinoma), with metastasis to the brain, adrenal glands, lymph nodes and bone. I took Iressa for 1 year, then switched to Tarceva when the CEA started climbing up again. CEA went down from 400+ to 28 within the first few months of taking Iressa, then plateaued for a few months and then started climbing again from December 2011. I am currently on Tarceva.

The case of SS happened in Kuala Lumpur. Now you see a similar story repeated in Singapore! I am reminded by what was supposed to be said by Einstein below:

If you are following and reading this website you will know that cases like the above are not rare or exceptional! May be the results are and can be expected to happen to you! Read: https://cancercaremalaysia.com/category/lung-cancer/

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting anyone is insane here. What I am suggesting here is: Why don’t you be a bit WISER?

I remember my friend SK. He did not go to any university but he was wise. You don’t have to be a university graduate to be a wise person! SK had lung cancer that had spread to his liver. He said: I saw the oncologist. He told me to do the chemo. When I saw everybody do chemo, everybody do radiotherapy, I told myself this must be the only way. I went back to the doctor and asked him to do the chemo on me. So SK underwent both chemo and radiotherapy. He did not get well but instead ended up with three more tumours in his liver. And they were growing in size. SK told me: I knew then that I had taken the wrong path. I started to find other ways. You can listen to his story here.

Why do people keep repeating the same, old “mistake”? Perhaps ignorance! Perhaps they are just being stubborn or even arrogant – believing that they know better! But often it is just plain powerlessness, being placed in a situation that a person does not know what else to do. SK knew he had a choice – to find other options and not repeating the same “mistake” which Einstein said is insanity

Like SK, you should know that you too have a choice. But for some people it is better to choose the devil that you know than the angel that you don’t know!

I have no problem with what you choose. My responsibility ends after telling you the truth the way I know it. So, be wise and make your choice.

What Your Need to Know About Iressa (or gefinitib)

  • The US-FDA approved Iressa for lung cancer based on the results of a study of 216 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), including 142 patients with refractory disease, i.e., tumors resistant or unresponsive to two prior treatments.
  • The response rate (defined as at least 50% tumor shrinkage lasting at least one month) was about 10%.
  • On September 24, 2002, the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) recommended that where there are no viable treatment options, a 10% response rate was reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit and recommended that Iressa be approved. Source: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=23250 

If you understand this statement correct, it just means this: Iressa does not cure lung cancer. Iressa  caused shrinkage of tumours for at least a month in only 10 percent of patients.  Many alternative practitioners (including me) will tell you that shrinkage of tumour is just plain meaningless. Ask yourself: Why do I take Iressa? Is it to cure my lung cancer? Is it to only shrink by lung tumour for a few months and then it grows back again? 

Possible side effects:  Each person’s reaction to any drug is different. Some people have very few side effects, while others may experience more:  Diarrhoea, acne-like rash, loss of appetite, feeling sick (nausea) and being sick (vomiting), tiredness, eye problems, change in blood pressure, breathing problems and it is potentially very serious, and a small number of people have died because of the lung problems they have developed while taking Iressa.  Source:  http://www.andygaya.com/chemotherapy/chemotherapy-gefitinib.html 

Cost:  About RM 7000 per month

What Your Need to Know About Tarceva (or erlotinib)

Between August 2001 and January 2003, researchers enrolled 731 patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease had progressed after one or two courses of chemotherapy. The patients were divided randomly into two groups. One group (488 patients) received Tarceva and the other group (243 patients) received a placebo.

Results 

  • Those who took Tarceva has a median survival of 6.7 months compared to 4.7 months for those on placebo.
  • At one year, 31 percent of the patients taking Tarceva were still alive compared to 22 percent of those taking the placebo.
  • The time it took before the cancer progressed was also longer in the Tarceva group – 2.2 months compared to 1.8 months in the placebo group.
  • Researchers found certain subsets of patients were most likely to respond to Tarceva: Asians; women; patients with adenocarcinoma; and those who had never smoked.
  •  Patients receiving Tarceva experienced more toxic side effects. For example, 9 percent of the Tarceva group suffered from moderate-to-serious rash while none of the placebo group did. Overall, 5 percent of patients stopped taking Tarceva because of toxic effects as compared to 2 percent of those taking placebo. Source: http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/results/summary/2004/lung-and-erlotinib0604

If you understand the results of the above research, you will know that Tarceva does not cure any lung cancer. Those who took Tarceva lived longer by 2 months (median survival 6.7 months vs 4.7 months). After one year, 31 percent of patients were still alive – meaning 69 percent of patients died even if they took Tarceva. If you take Tarceva, your lung cancer progression is delayed by 0.4 months — 0.4 months? What does that mean – the disease slowed down by just about 2 weeks only?

Study the numbers carefully. Ask yourself again: Why am I taking Tarceva? Is it going to cure me? And it is proven that Tarceva produced toxic effects on patients – 9 percent of patients in the study gave up taking Tarceva because of the side effects.

Possible side effects: Skin changes, tiredness (fatigue) and a general feeling of weakness, feeling sick and being sick, eye problems, changes in hair growth, sore mouth and ulcers, loss of appetite, and breathing problems. Source:  http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Cancertreatment/Treatmenttypes/Biologicaltherapies/Cancergrowthinhibitors/Erlotinib.aspx

 Cost:  RM 8,900 per month.

As a conclusion, you may ask: But what choice do I have?  There is no choice if you choose to remain deaf, dumb and blind to what is going on around you!  At least to start with read what I have written in here:  https://cancercaremalaysia.com/category/lung-cancer/

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