ES was 49 years old when she was diagnosed with an invasive lobular carcinoma. The lump in her right breast was small, 15 x 10 x 10 mm. ES came to Penang for surgery. The doctor did a wide excision with right axillary sentinel node biopsy. The tumour was cleanly removed with margins clear of tumour. The four sentinel nodes removed from the armpit were also free of tumour.
The tumour was positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors and negative for c-Erb-2.
After the surgery, ES was asked to undergo follow-up treatment of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and oral medication, Tamoxifen. ES flatly refused and opted for CA Care Therapy instead. The doctor was unhappy her. He warned ES, I am your doctor. If you don’t want to go for chemo as I told you, I am responsible if anything happens to you. You take that risk.
ES went back to her doctor every year for check up. For the first two years, the doctor kept insisting that ES should go for chemo. At the third annual visit, the doctor stopped “pushing” ES to go for chemo.
ES went to see her doctor again in April 2016 — six years after the operation. The meeting with the doctor and an ultrasound cost her RM 212.00, The doctor said, Good. He was aware that ES was taking herbs instead of the chemo he had suggested. No, he did not ask ES about this “alternative treatment.”
Below is our conversation with ES and her husband in May 2016.
Some main points of our conversation:
Chris: Did the herbs help you?
ES: Yes. My blood pressure became normal, before it was always low, 90/60. I felt healthier.
C: During your six years after surgery, do you experience any problem?
ES: No. Happy, happy only.
C: Now, did you ever worry that the cancer can come back again?
ES: Before in the first two years or so, yes. Now, I have no fear.
C: Some patients are reluctant to take the herbs after some years. What actually is the problem?
ES: Lazy to brew them!
What could have happened if ES were to undergo chemotherapy, radiotherapy and took Tamoxifen as suggested by her doctor): Would her six years after surgery be a “happy, happy only” life?
- What would happen if she had chemo and radiation? Surely, she had to spend a lot of money. In addition she would suffer side effects. Seriously or not, no one could predict.
- Would she be able to have problem-free life after chemo and radiation? That depends on your “luck” (according to one onco).
3 Recent research result has shown that about 50% of women with breast cancer have been receiving chemo that they don’t need! So, is chemo given to women just as a matter of routine or SOP (standard operating procedure)?