Colon Cancer: Surgery and chemo failed to cure him. Part 1: So, what’s next?

Guna is a 45-year-old Indonesian. He was diagnosed with colon cancer and had an operation.  Guna then came to CA Care but decided to undergo chemotherapy instead. He received 8 cycles of chemotherapy. Each cycle cost about RM5,000. Every six-monthly follow-up examination showed he was well.

However, in March 2017, i.e. about two and half years later, a CT scan showed the following:

  1. An 8 mm nodule in left lumbar region, marginally increased in size. This could represent mesenteric lymph node.
  2. There is a 2.2 x 2.1 cm hypodense lesion in the left lower lumbar region, increased in size. Tumour deposit is considered.
  3. There is a 8 mm nodule in the left upper lobe of lung. This is suspicious of tumor or metastasis.
  4. Prostate is enlarged, measuring 3.4 x 6.8 x 4.6 cm.

The oncologist suggested that Guna do a PET scan to assess if there is any further spread of the cancer. If the metastasis is not extensive, Guna needs another surgery. If the metastasis is extensive, Guna has to undergo chemotherapy again.

Not knowing what to do, Guna went back to consult the surgeon who operated on him. He was given the same advice — go for a PET scan. A PET scan would cost RM4,000 plus.

Confused and not knowing what to do, Guna’s wife consulted the medium of two Buddhist temples in Medan. She was told “not to undergo further medical treatment and should see Dr. Chris instead.”

So, it was. A sad morning indeed. How did I handle such a case? Listen carefully to the video below.

 

 

Gist of our conversation

Guna: The oncologist asked me to go for a PET scan. If the result shows no extensive spread, then I need an operation. If the cancer has spread extensively, then no operation. Just chemotherapy.

Chris: PET scan can  show if there are any more cancer somewhere else. But after knowing this, what do you want to do? I don’t know what to say. I agree, you can go ahead and do the PET scan if  you like. This is to know exactly what is going on in your body. Correct logic – go ahead.

But after spending RM4000 plus for the PET scan what benefit do you hope to get? What if after the scan shows there are many more tumours. What do you want to do? Or what can you do?

The doctors say, go for another operation. Do you want that? You have to decide for yourself.

Or you have to go for more chemo. Do you want that?

Wife: My idea is this. We do not go for all these. Just take your herbs. May be that will help (cure?).

C: I don’t have any magic herbs to do that. You have already done 8 cycles of chemo and paid RM40K for that treatment. It did not cure you. It is not right for me to tell you that my herbs will make the tumours go away. How can? No, just not right and not honest! I am not god.

If you were to come and see me earlier — immediately after your operation —  and you started to take the herbs, maybe the story would be different. But you did not believe me then.

Now the cancer had metastatised and you expect my herbs to cure you. No way. But I am not blaming you. Cases like yours are very common! Operate, chemo and the cancer recurred. That is nothing unusual.

At CA Care, I want to be honest with my patients. I don’t want to mislead you. From my experience, I know that there is NO cure for cancer. Now, you have experienced this yourself. You have undergone the operation, had chemotherapy and spent so much money — did these treatments cure you? No, right? Now, you understand what I mean.

Most patients came here after their medical treatments have failed them. Then, they expect me to cure them! What can I do?

So, what do you want me to do for you?

As far as the oncologist is concerned there is a CT scan in the hospital. Okay use it. You pay RM4000 plus for that. I cannot dispute that suggestion. I also want to know what is going on in you. The scan can tell you that.

But think for yourself first, what do you want to do after the PET scan? Operation? Chemo again?

So, to ask you to go for the scan is not right. Not to ask you to go for the scan is also not right. My main concern is not to spend too much money to do something which may not benefit you.

So, what do you want to do now?

G: I really don’t know what to do now.

C: I too don’t know what to do. But I know the doctor knows what to do. He will ask you to go for more chemo.

Ask if Chemo Can Cure You

The last time you had your chemotherapy (two and a half years ago), did you ask the doctor if the treatment was going to cure you? Did you ask?

G: I did. The doctor said if no chemo, the chances of recurrence is higher. With chemo, the chances of recurrence is lower.

C: Chemo is said to reduce the chances of recurrence only? Reduction of a recurrence is not necessarily a cure. Right?

G: Yes.

C: Of course no one is going to say things honestly. Actually reducing the chances of recurrence also implies there is “no cure.” No guarantee that the cancer goes away.

Did the oncologist tell you about the percentage benefits you would get from chemo?

G: If no chemo, the chances of recurrence is 50:50. If chemo the chances of recurrence is 40:60, meaning 60 percent no recurrence.

C: This seems to say that the benefit of chemotherapy is only 10 percent. Chances of recurrence reduced from 50 percent to 40 percent. Right?

It also means that even with chemo there is still a 40 percent chance that the cancer can recur and the treatment will fail. Is that not what it means?

But cancer patients like you want a 100 percent chance of no recurrence, 100 percent of cure. Right?

Now you understand what I mean when I told you that there is no cure for cancer.

So, what can I do for you now?

Most patients who come to see me are asking for a cure. They expect the cancer to just disappear. Correct? It is not fair. You have undergone the surgery and had chemo and these did not cure you. Now, you expect the herbs cure you?

G: I am just a layman. I just did everything that the doctor wanted me to do.

C: I understand. Now, tell me what can I do for you? I am not god. I also feel very sad to hear your story. It breaks my heart.

G: I am confused.

C: I understand. I am also confused.

Comments

I am aware that some of you reading this would not like what I said. Surely you are entitled to your opinion. Most patients come wanting to hear what they want to hear only — they want to hear me saying that I can cure them.

If you belong to this group of patients, let me tell you. I know of some herbalists who can guarantee that their herbs can cure your cancer! You want to go there? Come and see me personally and I can show you the way to them if you like!

Take it from me, facing patients like this one is heart breaking. If I could have my way, I would want to send them away “empty-handed.” Go home and think first what you want to do. Or I would say, go to someone else who can help you. This is to say, I am being polite and indirectly telling you not to come and see me.

But for Guna and his wife this morning, it did not turn out that way. Both the patient and his wife went away rather satisfied. Part 2 of this story tells you why!

 

 

 

 

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