About a year ago, we documented the story of AS in our posting, Liver Cancer: 3 cm Tumour OUT, 8 cm Tumour IN After 9 Months and S$28,000-Surgery.
Briefly these were what happened to AS.
- He underwent a cholecystectomy on 31 December 2011 in Indonesia due to gallstones. During the open surgery the surgeon also did a liver biopsy for suspicious liver lesions.
- AS went to Singapore for a second opinion. A review of his biopsy tissues showed poorly differentiated liver tumour.
- PET/CT scan revealed a mass in the left lobe of his liver, measuring 3.2 x 2.6 cm
- AS subsequently underwent a liver surgery in Singapore.
- CT scan on 16 August 2012 showed no evidence of recurrent HCC.
- However, PET/SC scan on 11 March 2013 revealed recurrent HCC with mass measuring 0 x 4.8 cm.
- Trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE) of the liver tumour was attempted but failed.
- With no other option left, the doctor suggested chemotherapy or Nexavar.
- AS promptly rejected chemo and came to seek our help on 14 April 2013.
- His alpha feto-protein on 15 April 2013 was at 1,064.
Video 1: Liver tumour: Surgery and TACE failed.
The question we all wish to ask is, What happened to AS after taking the herbs? The answer is, He is well and very much alive. CT in December 2013 (8 months after taking herbs) indicated the tumour had shrunk to 5.2 x 2.2 x 3.9 cm in size.
About 2 years later, 18 January 2015, AS and his wife came to visit us. AS’s wife was very agitated and upset. Since the past few weeks AS had been taking “bad food” – food that we tell patients not to eat. On top of that AS sometimes was not taking the herbs as he used to do.
Listen to this video.
Video 2: To live or to die is your choice!
Briefly my message to AS (and also all cancer patients) that night was very clear, crude and blunt.
- When patients are “half dead,” they would follow our advice without protest. But when they get well, most of them will “misbehave.” That is normal.
- To live or to die is your choice.
- There is no need to be upset about the patient’s choice. If he wants to die, let him die.
- My experiences have shown that if a patient eats anything he/she likes, this “good time” would probably last about 2 months. After that the cancer would recur and he/she cannot “enjoy” food anymore.
- I also told AS, Perhaps it is time you stop taking the herbs. Go home and eat a lot of what you want to eat and “go” faster.
- AS had lived for almost 2 years. He should be grateful that he is still alive – healthy and without pain. What more do you want? Be grateful for what you are now!
I wish to state too that telling AS the above was not done with anger! I have learned a lesson from one of our patients earlier on. His argument for wanting to eat anything he likes is because he does not want to go hungry. After all he is going to die anyway, so why go hungry and die with an empty stomach? He would probably become a hungry ghost! (Click this: Liver Cancer: Better to become a full-stomach ghost than a hungry ghost).
I am equally glad that AS took the message sportingly. He was not upset and only smiled. So let us respect his choice!
Study the data below critically and then try to reflect on the questions posed.
|2 February 2012||Post-cholecystectomy. Left hepatic lobe tumour, 3.2 x 2.6 cm.|
|3 May 2012 – liver surgery – hemihepatectoomy|
|16 August 2012||THREE MONTHS: CT abdomen/pelvis showed no evidence of recurrent HCC or focal liver lesions.|
|11 March 2013||TEN MONTHS: Interval development of an intensively hypermetabolic measuring 8.0 x 4.8 cm at the hepatic resection site consistent with recurrent disease.|
|22 March 2013 – TACE, blockage, procedure aborted|
|Declined chemotherapy or Nexavar|
|14 April 2013 – Came to CA Care, Penang. Started on liver herbs|
|26 December 2013||EIGHT MONTHS ON HERBS: CT done in Jakarta: Hepar: Tampak lesi dengan enhance minimal ukuran 5.2 x 2.2. 3.9 cm disekitar klip lobektomi. Dibandingkan dengan CT scan Mei 2013 tampak menencil secara signifikan.Liver lesion is 5.2×2.2×3.9 cm. Compared to CT scan of May 2013, significant decrease in tumour size.|
|18 January 2015||Almost TWO YEARS ON HERBS: Patient still well and healthy.|
- Can surgery cure liver cancer? In this case, the answer is plain and simple. Surgery cannot cure liver cancer. For the initial 3 months, there was reason to be happy because CT showed no recurrence. The operation was a great success! But this success lasted only a few more months. The cancer came back. Is this not expected — a norm?
- Before surgery the tumour was only 3.2 cm. After surgery it grew to 8.0 cm. TACE was attempted and failed. The doctor suggested chemotherapy or taking of Nexavar. AS rejected further medical treatment. He and his family came to CA Care instead. He was started on herbs. What can you expect if you do nothing (medically) after that? At best within 3 or 6 months AS would be dead. That is what the medical literature would tell you.
11 March 2013. The liver tumour recurred and grew to 8 cm in size (initial size was 3 cm)
- AS did not go for any more medical treatment. He said he had lost confidence in the doctors who failed him twice. He only took herbs and changed his diet according to our advice. It has been almost 2 years now. He is still alive and well – leading a normal, pain-free life. Herbs are said to be “unproven and unscientific.” What say you now? Or is this recovery merely due to “pure luck” (another favourite medical argument)? Or is this recovery merely due to luck – yet another favourite medical explanation!