YB is a 52-year old lady. About three and a half years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy in Kuala Lumpur. It was a triple negative tumour. YB went to Singapore for follow up treatments. She received 6 cycles of chemo using FEC. Then she had 12 more cycles of chemo using Taxol and Carboplatin. No radiation was indicated.
When YB started chemo, she also took our herbs and took care of her diet. The side effects she suffered was much less compared to others. She was alright after the chemo treatment.
Unfortunately things did not turn out right. YB took a trip home to Kuala Lumpur (she was staying in Singapore) to visit relatives. She felt dizzy and started to vomit. Her condition deteriorated. Whenever she moved her head, she would feel dizzy or had severe headaches and would start to vomit. She had to lie down. As long as she did not move her head, she was okay.
YB did a CT scan and MRI. There were tumours in her brain.
YB’s daughter wrote: 11 January 2014.
Dear Dr Chris,
My mother has a relapse of her cancer to the brain. MRI shows 3 lesions in her brain. One of them is approximately 3 cm which caused swelling and subsequently dizziness, vomiting and headache. Meanwhile, she’s been given steroid to reduce the swelling. We are planning to see you right after the full report is out.
12 January 2014::
Dear Dr Chris,
CT scan result is out and it seems that the primary tumor is from the left lung. However, my mom has not suffered any symptoms or difficulties with breathing.
What would you do if she was your mother and given the following details?
1. The neurosurgeon suggested surgery to remove the big tumour in her brain. According to him, the two small tumours cannot be removed surgically and YB has to undergo radiotherapy. Surgery would cost SGD6,500 and radiation cost SGD 2,000 to 3,000 (foreigner’s rate. Singapore citizen pay much less).
2. Can surgery cure her brain cancer? The surgeon said, NO, the tumour will recur. Because of that YB has to go for radiation. Whatever it is the family was told that YB will eventually die.
3. Did the doctor indicate how long your mom could survive? The surgeon said this,
a. If patient does nothing and is only on steroid, she has 2 months to live.
b. If patient undergoes chemotherapy and radiotherapy, she has 6 to 7 months to live.
c. If patient undergoes surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, she has 6 to 7 months plus 3 months.
According to the surgeon these are based on statistics and also on the assumption the surgery goes not well without any complications.
What does the family want to do now? Everybody in the family decided to give up further medical treatment. They would rather go on herbs.
Did the doctor give you such information out front? No. We have to ask questions after questions and we get answers bit by bit. Nothing is laid out neatly like the above.
Bravo to patient empowerment! For you to make a decision you need honest answers. You do not get honest answers if you dare not ask! So patients, learn how to ask questions. Don’t just be satisfied with just an answer! Ask and ask, dig and dig until you are satisfied. This is because it is your life and you have to bear the consequences of that intervention not your doctors.
After you get the answers, use your common sense to make your decision. Follow what your heart says.
It seems very clear. If doctors give honest answers … about surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy … the chances are high the patients will “run away”!
What would you do if you are told that chemotherapy spreads and makes cancer more aggressive?
What would you do if you are told the following about radiotherapy?
- Radiation makes cancer more aggressive.
- Radiation reprogrammed less malignant breast cancer cells into Induced Breast Cancer Stem Cells (iBCSCs). This explains radiotherapy actually enriches the tumor population with higher levels of treatment-resistant cells. Researchers UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center said radiation treatment killed half of the tumor cells treated. The surviving cells are resistant to treatment and become iBCSCs. They were up to 30 times more likely to form tumors than the non-irradiated breast cancer cells.
- Radiation gives a the false appearance that the treatment is working, but actually increases the ratio of highly malignant to benign cells within that tumor, eventually leading to treatment-induced death of the patient.