Who is Ina? She is our patient and also a friend. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2012, almost 3 years ago. She had a mastectomy but declined chemotherapy, radiotherapy and taking of Tamoxifen. Indeed a daring lady!
Ever since after her surgery to this day, Ina had been under pressure from her doctor urging her to go for chemo and radiation. Ina flatly refused! Then the doctor insisted that at least she should take Tamoxifen!
Why was Ina so excited and wanting to see us? Two reasons.
Reason number two. Her liver was just doing fine! Now, her doctor did not bring up the subject of her liver metastasis and this time did not “pushed” her to go for chemotherapy!
A misdiagnosed liver metastasis?
For the past two years Ina had been living under stress. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2012 and had a mastectomy, her doctor insisted that she undergo chemotherapy. Her doctor was unhappy that Ina was adamant not to follow his advice! In fact, the doctor was also not happy with a Chris Teo for not pushing Ina to go for chemo!
Ina’s doctor became more unhappy after the result of an USG on 20 January 2013. The doctor told Ina that her cancer had spread to her liver based on the result below:
A few hypoechoic cysts measuring 9.6 to 18.4 mm are seen in the right and left lobe of liver. No solid component is seen within these cysts. No other focal liver lesion is seen.
Ina was asked to go for a PET scan, and an X-ray. Ina refused these procedures.
Then, about a year later, a follow up USG showed the following:
- The right lobe of liver shows mildly hyperechoic module close to the IVC and the medial part of the right hemidiaphragm. This measures about 38 x 27 x 36 mm. Apart from this, there is at least another mildly hyperechoic solid nodule in the right lobe in segment 8, measuring about 12 mm.
- Smaller nodules cannot be excluded in the right lobes of the liver.
- There are two simple cysts in the right and left lobes of the liver, measuring about 25 and 12 mm.
Impression: In view of past history, I would suggest further imaging to exclude metastatic disease. Haemangionmas may also give a similar appearance.
The doctor insisted that Ina go for a PET scan! Ina again refused. The doctor asked Ina, Don’t you tell Chris Teo that the cancer has already gone to the liver? The doctor wrote Chris Teo a letter below!
It is nice of her doctor to caution me with this note. But yes, I was very much aware that breast cancer can spread to the liver, bone, lung or the brain. I have also seen cases after cases of metastatic cancer before (agreed, not as many as the doctors!). Let me remind you what I wrote in my book, Your Breast (pg.120, 135 and 139).
The questions we posed to Ina were basically this:
- Okay, you were asked to do the PET scan – to know if the cancer had spread to any other parts of the body. But do you want to follow up with medical treatments. Go for chemo or radiation or even surgery again if there was a spread to somewhere? Ina said, NO – I would not want any more medical treatments. That being the case, why go for a PET scan then? What benefit do you get from just wanting to know?
- Now, the doctor implied said that there were secondaries in her liver. Ina needed chemotherapy right away. Ask the doctor first, Can chemotherapy cure her metastatic liver cancer?
Before her death, Amy Cohen Soscia – a breast cancer patient in the US, said: There is no cure for metastatic breast cancer. It never goes away. You just move from treatment to treatment.
Was Ina’s liver metastasis a misdiagnosis?
In May 2015, we requested Ina to go for a checkup since at that time she was concerned about a lump in her right breast (Part 1 of this story). USG of the abdomen was done and the following were the results.
- The right lobe of the liver shows a simple cyst measuring about 28 mm. There are two mildly hyperechoic solid right lobe hepatic nodules which are probably haemangiomas. They have not changed significantly in sizes since the previous examination.
- The larger lesion seen near the IVC measures about 37 x 28 x 37 mm. The smaller lesion seen more peripherally measures about 9 mm in the right lobe of the liver.
- The left lobe of the liver also shows a small cyst measuring about 9.8 mm in size.
The results of Ina’s liver function test were as follows:
Based on the above results, the doctor “stopped” talking about Ina’s liver problem. The question of her undergoing chemotherapy for her liver metastasis just vanished! Ina was very much at ease. So happy — NO more pressure from her doctor!
After about 3 years later, someone has decided that the “perceived” liver metastasis is probably not a cancer after all. The question which I would like ask is this, What could have happened to Ina if she were to follow her doctor’s advice and went for chemotherapy for the “perceived” liver metastasis? Would she be as healthy as she is today or dead? Your guess would be as good as ours!
Bravo, after taking the liver herbs the results were clear. The liver nodules have not changed significantly in sizes since the previous examination. If the herbs were not helpful, the nodules would have grown bigger. Right? No? And more important, if the herbs were useless, Ina would have been very sick by now! No?
We always tell patients to learn to live with their cancer! We praise God for this blessing.
Ina’s liver nodules are not giving her any problem – and she is well, healthy with no pain; can eat, can sleep and can go about doing her normal daily routine – what else does she want? That is looking at the bigger picture! She need NOT do things to please her doctor!
As a gentle reminder, can you learn something from these two sad stories? Or do we have to write more of such stories to make you understand?
2.3 cm Malignant Breast Lump: Surgery, Chemo and Radiation — Disaster
Selling Empty Promise ?: https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2014/05/21/breast-cancer-part-23-does-chemotherapy-make-sense/
(The above failed treatment in Singapore cost about RM 500,000)