A RM150,000-Treatment That Brought Her Nowhere. Part 1

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SF is a 56-year-old Indonesian lady. She  and her husband came to talk to us, wanting to explore a way out of her dilemma.

SF’s problem started in February 2016, after she started to have bloated stomach with pain. She went to a hospital in Surabaya and was asked to undergo an operation. She decided to come to Penang to seek a second opinion.

A CT scan on 28 April 2016 indicated the following:

  1. Multiple metastatic nodules in both lung fields measuring 0.4 to 2.5 cm.
  2. There is an irregular complex solid and cystic mass in the retroperitoneum right lumbar region and hemipelvis. It measures 7.2 x 10.6 cm. The mass encases the right lower ureter causing severe right hydroureteronephrosis.
  3. The left kidney is normal.
  4. There are several enlarged para-aortic nodes noted measuring 0.6 to 1.0 cm.

Impression:

  1. Findings suggestive of right CA ovary or retroperitoneal tumour with encasement of right lower ureter.
  2. Subacute distal small bowel obstruction.
  3. Multiple metastatic lesions in both lungs fields and para-aortic lymphadenopathy.

According to the doctor in Penang the tumour was too big and surgery was not indicated. SF was asked to undergo chemotherapy instead. She had 6 cycles of chemo using Gemzar and Kemocarb. The treatment cost RM 3,000 per cycle.

A CT scan done on 29 June 2016 indicated the following:

  1. The urothelial carcinoma in the retroperitoneum right lumbar region is significantly smaller in size measuring 3.5 x 4.0 cm (previously it was 7.2 x 10.6 cm).

2.The metastatic lung nodules are completely resolved.

The oncologist considered the result a “great success”.  SF was told she need NOT have to undergo any surgery. SF underwent another 6 cycles of chemo. This round the cost of each cycle was RM3,000 to RM4,000.  The drugs used were the same as before.

SF was asked to go home and come back for a check-up after two months. But it was not to be, after a month at home SF had bleeding and she came back to Penang again on 4 October 2016.

A CT scan on 5 October 2016 indicated the following:

  1. The previously noted urothelial carcinoma in the retroperitoneum at right lumbar region is significantly increased in size measuring 7.7 cm x 9.2 cm compared to the previous measurement of 3.5 x 4.0 cm.
  2. There are multiple small subcentimeter para-oartic nodes noted, the largest measuring 12 mm in size.
  3. In the lung bases, the previously noted small nodules seen at the left lower lobe had slightly reduced in size measuring 0.6 cm compared to the previous measurement of 0.9 cm.
  4. A calcified uterine fibroid noted measuring 4.2 cm x 4.2 cm.

Impression:

The previously noted urothelial carcinoma in the retroperitoneum at right lumbar region is significantly increased in size with obstructive uropathy.

Unfortunately, the doctor who attended to SF was going on leave. Without much explanation, SF was just told to go and have an operation. SF consulted an urologist in the same hospital and was told the tumour was too big and surgery was not indicated. SF was asked to go for chemotherapy and radiation again.

Disappointed and not satisfied, SF went to see another oncologist in another hospital. She was told the following:

  1. Operation would be too risk.
  2. Not all tumour could be removed.
  3. The surgery would possible make the cancer spread faster.

The only option left was chemo and radiation. SF agreed to this third round of treatment. She received 5 sessions of radiation. This cost RM 6,700. The chemo was scheduled for 21 October 2016.

So while waiting  to start her chemo, SF and her husband came to seek our advice.

 

 

Chris: In total, so far how much have you spent on your medical treatment?

Husband: It came to about 400 to 500 million rupiah. Something like RM 150,000.

Patient: Our financial resources is drying up. We don’t have much left after this.

C: That is not the end yet, right? You still need to spend more for the radiation, chemo and surgery. And probably more chemo after the surgery.

This is indeed a sad case. After reading all the medical reports, I shook my head in despair. What can I say? What can I do to help? Probably nothing! From my experience over the past 20 years dealing with cancer, I know right in my heart that there is NO cure for cancer. I must be honest with my patients. To help may be possible, but not cure.

My advice to them that morning:

  1. Coming to see us and taking our herbs hoping to cure your cancer is just not right.
  2. Since you have already done 5 times of radiation and are now waiting to go for chemo, why don’t you stick to your planned path — i.e. Go and do the chemo and see what happen.
  3. In the mean time, while you still have a few days, why not read some of my books and understand the “truth” of what you are doing.
  4. After reading, make your own decision as to what you want do. It is okay for me, whether you want to continue with the chemo or not.
  5. For the moment, we shall not prescribe you any herbs. Go home and think first what you want to do.

Comment: This is the first time I have heard of a chemo drug called Kemocarb. From the internet, I learned that this is a platinum-based chemo-drug made by Dabur Pharmaceutical in India. The 450 mg /45 ml drug cost Indian Rupee 2400 or RM 149. Wow, I hope I am right in my calculation! Do you ever wonder why a shot of that chemo cost RM 3,000?

SF story does not end here. Some days later, she and her husband came back to see us again. They decided to forgo further chemo. Why?

 

 

 

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