ST is a 62-year-old man from Perak. Two years ago (May 2018) he was diagnosed with cancer of the appendix and adjacent caecum.
He underwent a right hemicolectomy in a private hospital in his hometown. It was a Stage 2 cancer. This operation cost him RM50,000.
A CT scan of the chest, abdomen and pelvis did not show the cancer had spread to other parts of the body.
After surgery, ST underwent six cycles of chemotherapy. He received treatment every three weeks. The chemo regimen used was Mayo Clinic Regimen – consisting of 5-FU on day 1 and day 5 and folinic acid on day 1 to day 5. Chemotherapy was completed on 1 January 2019.The total cost of treatment was about RM40,000.
ST was well for about a year. He continued to lead his “old lifestyle”. No, he was not told to take care of his diet – the doctor said You can eat anything you like! Indeed this is the advice most patients and their family members like to hear!
In March 2020, ST started to have abdominal pain and at times, he vomited. He went back to the same hospital where he had his surgery. A CT scan was done and revealed:
- Acute small bowel obstruction with no evidence of tumour recurrence.
- Liver lesions – cyst or metastasis ?
- Bilateral small renal cyst.
On 25 April 2020, ST went back to the hospital again due to small bowel obstruction. He underwent a laparotomy on 29 April 2020.
Intraop finding: Jejunoileal junction tumour infiltrated by posterior abdominal wall.
Histopathology of small bowel, retroperitoneal nodule and omentum: Adenocarcinoma with lymphovascular invasion.
On 8 May 2020 ST suffered bile leak from the wound site. He had to undergo another operation – relaparotomy, jejunostomy done stoma created. This means ST had to wear a bag.
ST was discharged from the private hospital on15 May 2020. The total cost of these two operations came to about RM80,000.
RM190,00 gone – but ST’s problem was not yet solved. Four days later ST had to be admitted into a government hospital duet to:
- electrolyte imbalance and
- severe AKI (Acute kidney injury- sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or a few days. AKI causes a build-up of waste products in your blood and makes it hard for your kidneys to keep the right balance of fluid in the body).
ST recovered and was discharged and was given the following medication:
- Liquid morphine – he has to take morphine every four hours.
A CT scan done on 4 August 2020 showed:
- Progression of disease evidenced by increased number and size of cystic liver lesions – likely metastasis.
- No evidence of recurrence.
ST was told to undergo more chemotherapy! This time the treatment would be 12 cycles and drugs to be used are:
- Folinic acid
ST decided to give up chemotherapy and came to seek our help.
Chris: Who asked you to come and see us?
Daughter: The owner of a bookshop in our hometown!
C: Why don’t you want to go for chemotherapy?
D: My uncle (my father’s elder brother) had chemotherapy for his lung cancer. He was 58 years old then. Just after two shot of chemo he died.
Watch this video:
Lessons We Can Learn From This Story
- Surgery did not cure him. ST underwent three operations and has spent about RM130,000 (RM 50K + RM80K) for the procedures. The procedures helped him for about a year. Then the cancer came back. It had spread to his liver.
- Chemotherapy did not cure him either. After surgery, ST underwent chemotherapy using a Mayo Clinic regimen – using 5-FU plus folinic acid. Unfortunately, the treatment failed.
ST was told to undergo more chemo – this time using a “better” combination of drugs – 5-FU + folinic acid + oxliplatin. Study the names carefully, it is about more of the same – you agree?
Chris: Did you ask the doctor in the government hospital if the chemo that he is giving your father is going to cure?
Daughter: No, cannot cure. It is only to prolong life.
Well, think for yourself too – do you think it is worth it – enduring all the sufferings? Prolong life for how long?
Let me share with you what we wrote in this book (Pages: 210-211):
When we first started CA Care, we encountered many cases of colorectal cancer. The first to come to mind was Yeoh, a man of great wealth. He had colon cancer and went to the top oncologist in Singapore for treatment. He was fitted with a pump in which the toxic chemodrug,5-FU was delivered at regular intervals. He even went to Sydney to consult another famous oncologist. One day, he suffered complications from the treatment and died.
Then there was Leong who was the owner of a construction company. He too had colon cancer and died while undergoing chemo with 5-FU. At that time the gold standard for treatment of colon cancer was 5-FU. One day before he died he called his daughter and told her. If Dr. Teo needs help with renovating his house or the cancer centre, please help him. I still remember this episode up to this day.
Then one day, I received a call asking me to meet a VVVIP ( I am sorry, with due respect, it would not be proper for me to identify this person). I prescribed herbs for this person who had cancer of the colon or rectum. The person got better but one day the person’s personal doctor called me to complain about me giving herbs to the “boss”. Later, this VVVIP went to Singapore for chemotherapy and died.
During those early days. What we “saw” and knew happened appeared acceptable. We just accepted it as the way it is. We learned that chemo can kill. As we get to see more patients over the years, we learn of many more reasons why patients don’t want to go for chemo.
Julie’s husband died within minutes after completion of his sixth cycle of chemo.
Julie, a lady from Indonesia came to seek our help after being diagnosed with lung cancer. She was asked to go for chemotherapy which she refused to do. Why? Julie had a bitter experience to share.
About five years earlier, Julie’s husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. He underwent an operation – performed by one of the best colorectal surgeons in Singapore. He was then sent to a well known Singapore private hospital for chemotherapy. Chemotherapy was started in June and by December Julie’s husband was dead. Julie: After receiving three cycles of chemo, he had difficulty walking.
Chris: And he still continued with the chemo?
In spite of the early warning that something had gone wrong, the oncologist still wanted the patient to finish the scheduled six cycles. Julie’s husband eventually completed the six cycles of chemo. Within a few minutes of completing the last cycle – after the “needle” was removed from his arm – he died.
C: Did you ask the oncologist why your husband died?
J: The oncologist said his heart could not stand the toxic drug.