CANCER’S COLLATERAL DAMAGE: PART 4–WHY THE RICH AND FAMOUS DIE FASTER WHEN THEY HAVE CANCER

by Yeong Sek Yee & Khadijah Shaari

Yes, the rich and famous (and insured) do die faster when they have cancer…more from the collateral damage due to the conventional (and scientifically proven?) cancer treatments than from the original cancer itself. A classic example is the sad story of Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in January 1994 and died in May 1994, just barely 5 months after diagnosis.

In the best-seller, HOW WE DO HARM, Dr Otis Brawley, an oncologist and Vice-President of the American Cancer Society, bluntly stated that….”If you are rich and insured, you face another menace. Ironically wealth can increase your risk of getting lousy care. When wealthy patients demand irrational care, it’s not hard to find a doctor willing to provide it. If you have more money, doctors tell you more of what they sell, and they just might kill you. “

Below is a list of 15 (there are many, many more) rich and famous personalities who have succumbed to cancer and the average period from the date of diagnosis to death is less than 2 years. How is it that the scientifically proven/tested conventional cancer treatments did not help them? Did their cancer treatments come along with excessive collateral damage to their body system or were their cancers just too aggressive?

Likewise, you may remember that Malaysia’s most famous and leading oncologist, the late Dr Albert Lim, succumbed to prostate cancer on March 8th 2013 after less than a year of scientifically tested cancer treatments. He had metastasis to his pelvic area, liver and lungs as well. Was there excessive collateral damage or was the prostate cancer too aggressive??

HERE ARE THE 15 RICH AND FAMOUS WHO TRIED BUT DID NOT SURVIVE:

1) JO ANN DAVIS, 57

Jo Ann was a US Republican Congresswoman for Virginia and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. She underwent chemotherapy treatments and a mastectomy. In early 2007, she suffered a recurrence. When the cancer returned, she underwent chemotherapy again. Jo Ann died on Oct 6, 2007.

Summary Point—From diagnosis to death: 2 years

2) LINDA McCARTNEY, 56

Linda McCartney, wife of Paul McCartney died in April 1998, less than three years after it was announced that she was treated for breast cancer. Although her chemotherapy treatments had seemed to have her cancer in check, she took a turn for the worse in March 1998 when the disease spread to her liver.

Summary Point—From diagnosis to death: Less than 3 years

3) HEATHER CLARKE, 39

Heather was the wife of Darren Clarke, a PGA Golfer. She died in August 2006 after a two year battle with breast cancer that had spread to her bones and liver. She was treated at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

Summary Point—From diagnosis to death: 2 years

4) MIRIAM ENGELBERG, 48

Miriam, a well-known US cartoonist was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 at the age of 43. Three years later, the cancer had spread to her brain and she died at age 48.

Summary Points—a) From diagnosis to recurrence: 3 years  b) From diagnosis to death: 5 years 

5) ELIZABETH EDWARDS, 57

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of John Edwards (a US presidential candidate) was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and was treated with a combination of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. In March 2007, a recurrence was discovered after she cracked a rib and a subsequent X-ray showed spots on another rib, on the other side of the chest.

Summary Point—From diagnosis to bone metastasis: Less than 3 years.                            

6) KING HUSSEIN OF JORDAN, 63

In July 1998, King Hussein was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) and immediately underwent chemotherapy at MAYO Clinic in US. He was treated there for six months and returned to Jordan in January 1999.

In late January 1999, King Hussein returned to MAYO after his doctors found evidence that the lymphatic cancer had recurred. King Hussein underwent two bone marrow transplants with cells from his younger brother and sister (in December 1998 and January 1999).

In February 1999, King Hussein returned to Jordan for palliative care and subsequently passed away on February 7, 1999.

Summary Points—a) From diagnosis to recurrence: 6 months  b) From diagnosis to death: 7 months. 

7) FREDDY FENDER, 69

Freddy Fender, singer of hits like “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” and “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” was diagnosed with lung cancer (two lemon-sized tumors) in January 2006. He underwent chemotherapy but later decided to stop treatment because of severe effects on his body. Following Fender’s initial round of chemo, he had a PET scan which showed that the tumors had shrunk, but also revealed that he had nine other tumors. Freddy Fender died on October 14 2006.

Summary Point—From diagnosis to death: 9 months. 

8) SUZANNE PLESHETTE

On August 11, 2006, Suzanne Pleshette was treated for lung cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre and the hospital claimed that the cancer was the size of “a grain of sand” when it was found during a routine x-ray, that the cancer was “caught very much in time,” that she was receiving chemotherapy as an outpatient. She was later hospitalized for a pulmonary infection and developed pneumonia, causing her to be hospitalized for an extended period ……as part of her treatment, a part of her lungs was removed… Pleshette died in January 19, 2009of respiratory failure.

Summary Point—From diagnosis to death: 1 year 5 months

9) DAN FOGELBERG, 56

Dan Fogelberg, a singer and songwriter, discovered he had advanced prostate cancer in 2004. He underwent hormonal therapy and achieved a partial remission but failed to completely eliminate the disease. Dan subsequently died on December 15, 2007.

Summary Point—From diagnosis to death: 3 years

10) LUCIANO PAVAROTTI, 71

Pavarotti, opera singer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2006 and required emergency surgery to remove the tumor. On September 5, 2007, Italy’s AGI news agency reported that Luciano Pavarotti’s health had deteriorated and the singer was in a “very serious condition”. He was reported to be in and out of consciousness multiple times, suffering kidney failure. He finally passed away on September 6, 2007.

Summary Points—From diagnosis to death: 11 months 

11) DANA REEVE, 44

Dana Reeve, wife of Christopher Reeve (Superman), was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2005 and passed away on March 6, 2006.

Summary Point—From diagnosis to death: 7 months only 

12) TONY SNOW, 51

Tony Snow, a White House spokesman, was treated for colon cancer in 2005 at which time his colon was removed and subsequently underwent six months of chemotherapy. In March 2007, doctors determined that the cancer had spread to his liver. He died in July 2008.

Summary Points: a)   From surgery/chemotherapy to liver metastasis: 1 ½ years  b)   From surgery /chemotherapy to death: 2 ½ years

13) MICHAEL LANDON, 54

Michael Landon was the star in the hit series “Little House on the Prairie” and “Bonanza”. On April 5, 1991 he was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver and lymph nodes. He underwent three sessions of chemotherapy but subsequently died on July 1, 1991.

Summary Point—From diagnosis to death: 2 months 

14) ARCHBISHOP CHRISTO DOULOS, 69

The Archbishop fell ill in June 9, 2006 and medical tests showed that he suffered from advanced cancer in the LARGE INTESTINE (COLON) and an unrelated malignant growth in the liver. A first operation to remove the intestinal cancer was deemed successful but later a liver transplant in the US was abandoned after discovery that the liver cancer has spread. The Archbishop passed away in January 2008.

Summary Point—From diagnosis to death: 1 ½ years 

15) MARTIN D. ABELOFF, 65

Dr Martin Abeloff, an international authority on the treatment of breast cancer and chief oncologist and director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Centre at John Hopkins University for the past 15 years, died of leukemia on September 14 2007. His leukemia, a form that is sometimes slow to grow, was diagnosed a year before that (i.e. approx September 2006).

Summary Point—From diagnosis to death: 1 year 

In his book, Dr Otis Brawley revealed a secret: Wealth in America (and elsewhere as well) is no protection from getting lousy care…in fact, wealth can increase your risk of getting lousy care.

Do you fancy getting some collateral damage?

 

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