For the past few weeks, patients who came to seek our help presented with very depressing stories. For a start let us highlight two cases of breast cancer — among the many more other stories.
Patient from Sabah
This is an email.
Hi Dr Chris Teo,
How are you? I have heard of your cancer treatment through a friend, and would like to consult you for my mom. She is currently residing in Sabah and is 60 years old.
Please allow me to describe the situation for your understanding:
- Mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 right breast cancer on 09 May 2015, metastasis to axillary, supraclavicular nodes, right hilar nodes and lungs.
- Right mastectomy on 13 May 2015. Specimens report – Invasive ductal carcinoma, no specific type (NST), Grade 3 (Bloom and Richardson), largest tumour diameter 85mm, 9 out of 24 lymph nodes show tumour metastasis with largest tumor deposit of 20mm.
- Did not proceed with suggested chemotherapy. Did Gerson therapy for 6 months, including Essiac tea, with monitoring of blood tumor markers every 2 months. No improvement, tumor marker CA 125 on increasing trend, latest report dated 02 Feb 16 results is 316..
- Weakness and fatigue last week. Saw doctor and CT scan showed more metastasis to brain, lungs, lymph. Doctor prescribe Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy immediately. First Radiotherapy started today.
Can we arrange an appointment with you for consultation and your suggested treatment as soon as possible? Thank you for your time, please let me know as soon as possible.
Patient from Indonesia
This is a 57-year-old Indonesian lady. Sometime in 2010, she found a small lump in her right breast. She came to a hospital in Penang for consultation. The doctor told her the lump was not cancerous. Happily she went home rest assured that it was all fine. With time, the lump grew bigger.In July 2014, she went to a hospital in Surabaya. By that time, the lump was already 5 cm in size. A biopsy confirmed that it was cancerous. Patient underwent 4 cycles of chemotherapy. The tumour shrunk and in November 2014, she underwent a mastectomy.
After the operation, patient received 4 more cycles of chemotherapy followed by 30 times of radiation. Then she was put on Tamoxfen and took this pill for 1 year.
A follow-up check in October 2015 showed normal results. But this turned out to be untrue because 3 months later, January 2015, patient had breathing difficulties and abdominal discomfort.
She went back to her oncologist again. Her CEA was 1.55 (normal) but her CA 125 was 88.8 (high). A PET scan showed extensive metastasis to the lymph nodes, lung, liver, bone and left adrenal. There was fluid in the lung and the pericardium.
Her cancer had metastasized extensively (images above). The patient was asked to undergo 12 cycles of chemotherapy. She had one cycle of chemo on 5 February 2016 and gave up. Her condition deteriorated ( dropped) after the treatment. One cycle of chemo cost her family IDR 12 million.
She also underwent pleural tapping — about 1000 ml of fluid was removed from her lung.
The daughter was told that her mother would have only six months to live.
In late February 2016, patient came to Penang for further treatment. The oncologist in Penang suggested the following treatments:
- Undergo 6 cycles of chemotherapy. Each cycle cost about RM 14,000.
- Take injection for her bone.
- Take hormonal pill, possibly Fermara.
It was at this point that the daughter of the patient wrote us an email asking to see us. It was surprising that the patient was rather “healthy-looking” and did not have much complaints. She felt a slight tightness in her chest (previous operation site) and was breathless when walking.
Lessons We Can Learn From These Cases
- Dr. David Agus, an oncologist said this in his book, The End of Illness: Don’t put blind faith and trust in your doctor. Be your own doctor first. When this Indonesian patient found a lump in her breast, she came to Penang and consulted a doctor. There was nothing wrong! She went home with full faith that the doctor was right. But with time the tumour in her breast grew bigger. Why allow it to grow bigger? This is human attitude — people want to believe only in good news. They want to hear or believe what they only want to hear or believe. My doctor said this, my doctor said that — after all my doctor said I have no cancer. Within 3 years the breast lump grew to 5 cm. The doctor was wrong! That was what happen if you put blind faith and trust in just one so-called “expert”.
Kathleen Phalen, in Integrative Medicine, wrote: We’ve been misguided into thinking that our doctors … are deities capable of performing the greatest of miracles.
Our advice: Don’t just doze off after hearing what you want hear. Watch out if your condition has turned worse or better. Go for second or third opinion.
- Ask this question before you undergo any treatment. What is the aim of the treatment being offered? This is what patients want to hear and believe. It is going to cure your cancer. It is going to stop the cancer from spreading. It is going to prolong your life. With such sweet assurance, patients are “bought” wholesale. They would jump into the “sea” when told to do so. Read the story of this unfortunate young man below.
So, evaluate what you are told carefully. It is good if you can tap into your own commonsense and ask — Is this guy after my cancer or my money? For all the promises made, ask — At what cost — physically, emotionally and financially?
Remember, cancer is a big business — there is plenty of money to be made in the cancer healing industry. The young man above, found out that he had been sold an empty promise after spending RM 500,000. And his wife died. An expensive mistake indeed.
- Surgery does not cure any cancer if it is done too late. And surgery could be just meaningless if the cancer has already spread. Take the case of this Sabah patient. She had 4th stage breast cancer. The cancer had already spread to the lungs. She underwent a mastectomy and was told to undergo chemotherapy which she refused. Ask — what is the aim of the surgery? Can it not make the cancer more aggressive? Can it spread more cancer?
The Indonesian lady also had surgery followed by chemo, radiation and Tamoxifen. These treatments did not work either.
- When first and/or second line of treatments failed, you may be offered more of the same treatments — more aggressive, more expensive drugs, more of the so called targeted “magic” drugs. Ask — would this make any difference to your condition? Are these “additives” going to cure you? Learn from the experience of the late Amy Cohen below:
- If there is anything we learn about the treatment of breast cancer, here are what the experts said:
- What then is the role CA Care with regards to the above two cases who came to seek our help?
These are what we usually tell patients when they come to us.
- We cannot cure you. There is no magic bullet to cure your cancer — Worse still, most of you come to us when all those standard treatments failed! Nothing else worked, then you come expecting us to cure you. No way! We know many leave our centre disappointed. Yes, it is better to be blunt and honest rather than taking you for a ride.
- At CA Care we try to help you heal yourself — we don’t cure any cancer because cancer is not the real problem. Cancer is just a symptom that something had seriously gone wrong within your. For that reason, just removing the tumour does not always work. And radiation or chemo does not work most of the time.
- While you are told that chemo or radiation is done to kill all the remaining cancer cells or to stop the cancer cells from spreading, we believe you are being mislead. Diligent search of the medical literature shows that sometimes radiation makes cancer more aggressive! Similarly, chemotherapy has been shown to spread and makes cancer more aggressive!
- Knowledge is power — it can save your life and your money. But it is up to you to work hard to find your own solution to your problem after you have read. But unfortunately, most patients or their loved ones who are not sick, don’t want to know or read. Sad.
- At CA Care, we tell patients to accept reality and learn how to live with their cancer. If after following our therapy, you can eat, can sleep, can walk and have no pain — what else do you want? In a situation when no one can cure your cancer, perhaps that is the only alternative you have — to be able to lead a normal, pain-free life for the remaining time that you have on this earth. Remember, no one lives forever. All of us will have to die — irrespective of whether you have cancer or not.
- Patients heal yourself. No one can heal you except you, yourself. We realise this is a tall order. Many patients just don’t know how to take care of themselves to get well while some don’t even want to put in any effort to get well — they just want to find the easy-to-swallow-magic bullet that does not exist! To be able to heal yourself means, you have to change your lifestyle, your diet and your mental attitude. After seeing cancer patients for well over 20 years, we came to a conclusion that healing cancer is about healing a human being, the tumour is secondary. There is something in you that is not right that creates the cancer. Are you prepared to change?
Let’s ponder the following quotations: