No to chemo after breast surgery

But she had 30 x radiation and took tamoxifen for 10 years

This is an email I received on 14 May 2022. 

Hello Dr Chris,

My name is Lili and I am your previous patient whose used your herbal treatment for my breast cancer. This time it is my sister-in-law who has recently been diagnosed with Klakskin tumor by the doctors in Penang. The surgeon asked my sister to undergo surgery as soon as possible – to remove some part of her liver, gallbladder, etc. This is to be followed by chemo and radiation treatments. She was told if she did not go for surgery she has zero chance of survival. However  based on my experience, we would like to go for herbal treatment. 

Thank you in advance for your help and kindness Dr Chris.  God Bless. Best regards. Lili

Reply: Thanks for your email. Before we discuss your sister’s case, let me ask you about your case first.

a) You said you were my patient — when did you first come to see me? 

b) Where are you from?

c) How are you now?

Hello Dr Chris

Thank you very much for your quick response and we really appreciate your help. 

I went to see you in early 2010. I had breast cancer and had just finished surgery at that time. My doctor also told me that I have NO chance to live if I didn’t go for chemo, Herceptin treatment, etc. 

However I followed your suggestion and declined chemo and Herceptin. I consumed your herbal and also changed my diet and life style.

However, I went for 30 times of radiotherapy followed by consumption of tamoxifen for 5 years. I was lucky that the oncologist allowed me to consume your herbs while I was taking tamoxifen. I had her full permission to do that.

After 5 years I stopped taking your herbs. At the time the oncologist told me research has shown that taking tamoxifen for 10 years could cure the cancer. So I continued to take tamoxifen for another 5 years. So in total I was 10 years on tamoxifen.

Thank God for His blessing through you, I am enjoying my life until now. Never been better.  I am currently living in Sydney but originally I am from Indonesia.

Reply: Appreciate if you can you answer the following questions:

1. How old were you when you were diagnosed with breast cancer?  I was 39 years old at that time and was living in Sydney, Australia.

2. How big was the tumour? What stage of your cancer? It’s about 3.5 cm in size. According the doctor it was Stage 2B.

USG of the breast tumours done in Sydney, Australia 2010.

3. Did the doctor remove the whole breast? Where was this done?  I did surgery on the left one. 

the doctor did a lumpectomy to remove the lumps and then did a second surgery because there was still a 2 mm tumour left in there. The second surgery was to make sure the cancer cells were totally cleared off.  All these were done in Sydney. 

4. The oncologist wanted you to do chemo and take Herceptin — you refused. Why?  I rejected the chemo and herceptin treatments because I was well aware of my health condition.  However they asked me to do radiotherapy. Considering that I was still very young at that time. I had radiotherapy.  

5. What was the total cost of all these treatments? As I am an Australian PR (permanent resident) I didn’t need to pay at all.

6.  Did the doctors tell you by doing all these your cancer can be cured? They only said I am too young and have better chance to live, so better follow their suggestion. And the survival time will be around 5 years. 
7. Did they tell you if you don’t do all these — what is going to happen? How many months to live?  They told me if I did not follow the treatment then most likely the cancer will recur after 2 to 3 years and by that time it may be a bit harder to treat.

8. Then you came to see me for advice. Why didn’t you believe in the doctor? Why did you come and see me? Afraid of chemo? At the beginning I agreed with doctor because of my chance of living after their explanation.  However, I kept praying to God if it was possible that I don’t want to go for chemo, etc. Then until the last day, they told me my vein for chemo drip was too small. They need to do another surgery to insert the tube near my chest so that it is easier to inject the chemo drug and Herceptin medicine there. At that point I knew this was the answer to my prayer. It was at the time that I sent an email to you. 

9. How do you know about CA Care? From friends or internet? One of my mom’s friend mentioned your name. Then I went to your website and did a bit of research at the same time kept on praying. 

10. You decided to follow our Therapy and did not go for chemo – were you not afraid that you could die soon by not following the doctor’s advice? As a human, of course I was afraid. To be honest sometimes negative thoughts came to distract my mind as well. However, I promised to myself to do my best for my body without putting any harmful chemicals. 

11. After you followed our therapy and took the herbs — were you happy? Did the therapy help you? Yes I am very happy.  I believed it worked for me and I also changed my diet, life style, my vision and thinking. To be honest, I am happier than before as I consider breast cancer as my turning point to make my life more meaningful for myself and hopefully can help others too. 


12. It has been 12 years since you first came and see me, did you suffer any pain? So far. thank God I am ok. 

13. Was there any time during these 12 years that you encountered problems? As I am getting old, I think it is very reasonable, that I have osteopenia (bone loss).  I was aware of this bone loss because the medication that I took can cause early menopause. They found out this osteopenia in 2017 and now I am on medication for this condition.

I had hot flush and mild headache (sometimes only) after taking tamoxifen. Sometimes I cannot recall my favorite singer until a day or two, then it came back. I also believe this is part of the ageing process.

14.  Was there any time when you felt that you were not going to make it? I believe in God’s will and have faith. I also realised that someday for sure I will go as well. But before that happens, I will keep going to cherish every moment that I have, and do the best for myself. And if one day I must go, I will go without any regret. 

Thank you for Sharing

Thank you very much Lili for sharing your experience with us.

  • Your success is also our success!
  • Your blessing is also our blessing.
  • Let us hope that your experience will be a blessing to others as well.

The message of this healing story is – No, when you are diagnosed with cancer, you need NOT think of dying yet even if you don’t go for chemo.

Over the years, we have shown that taking herbs, change of diet and lifestyle are equally effective options. By taking this alternative route, you need not suffer from the unwanted severe side effects of the treatments. Also, alternative treatments are far cheaper than medical treatments.

Many patients came to seek our help after medical treatments have failed them. And they were often left with a big hole in their bank account. Some even have to sell their house or land to pay the medical bills.

Unfortunately, alternative therapies are often considered “unscientific”.  Many patients would not believe such therapies. But some fortunate and blessed few would opt  for alternative treatment and were happy with the results.

Radiotherapy and Bone Loss

In my email to Lili I asked this question:  Was there any time during these 12 years that you encountered problems? This is her answer:

  • As I am getting old I think it is very reasonable, I have osteopenia. 

For your information, osteopenia is a loss of bone mineral density (BMD) that weakens bones. Osteopenia has no signs or symptoms, but a painless screening test can measure bone strength. 

This is my response – No, Lili you are only 51 years old. Still young. I am more inclined to ask this question – is your osteopenia related to the radiation treatment you had 12 years ago?

Please goggle this: Radiotherapy and breast cancer and you get these results:

The National Institute of Health, USA in an article What Breast Cancer Survivors Need To Know About Osteoporosis  (https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/conditions-behaviors/osteoporosis-breast-cancer) said:

  • Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become less dense and more likely to fracture.
  • It is known as a silent disease because, if undetected, bone loss can progress for many years without symptoms until a fracture occurs.
  • Osteoporosis often can be prevented.
  • Women who have had breast cancer treatment may be at increased risk for osteoporosis and fracture.
  • Results from the NIH-supported Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study (WHI-OS) found an increase in fracture risk among breast cancer survivors.

The website of Breast Cancer.org carried this message:

  • Certain breast cancer treatments can speed up bone loss or cause you to lose more bone than you normally would.

Does radiation for breast cancer affect bone density?

  • Exposure to chemotherapy and radiation leads to bone loss and increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Rafael Pacheco & Harlan Stock wrote an article Effects of radiation on bone  and said:

  • Specific bone complications of radiation include osteopenia, growth arrest, fracture and malignancy. Some of these complications, such as osteopenia, are reversible and severity is dose dependent. Insufficiency fractures are a common complication after radiation therapy . (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24057133/).


John Hopewell (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mpo.10338) wrote:

  • Only limited data are available on the effects of radiation-therapy on the mineral content of the bone of children treated for malignancy. The incidence of osteopenia varies between 8 and 23%.
  • The factors influencing bone atrophy are no more clearly defined in adults treated for cancer by high dose local radiation-therapy.

If you’ve had radiation, you may be more likely to develop bone loss.

Bone loss from radiation treatments is often delayed for several years.

That’s why screening and follow-up care are important for maintaining healthy bones.

Side Effects of Tamoxifen

Tamoxifen was once a failed contraceptive pill but it was turned into the world’s best-selling breast cancer medicine. Tamoxifen is now considered a “gold standard” treatment for millions of breast cancer patients. 

But ever since its introduction, the use of tamoxifen is fraught with controversy.  Whether tamoxifen is good or bad much depends on who you talk you.

Professor Jane Plant (in Your Life In Your Hands) wrote:

  • I was recommended to take tamoxifen, but I declined on the basis that I knew … it had been linked to increased risk of other types of cancer, such as endometrial cancer.

Dr. Barbara Joseph (a breast cancer patient) in her book My Healing From Breast Cancer wrote:

  • Currently, tamoxifen is being offered to just about every woman with breast cancer after her dues are paid in the surgery, radiation and chemotherapy departments. Doctors who have nothing else to offer in terms of treatment now have this …. to prescribe to all takers. There are many unanswered questions regarding tamoxifen.

Dr. John Lee (in What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer) wrote:

  • In some women tamoxifen may put a breast cancer to sleep for a few years – it may slow the rate of recurrence for a few years. But in the long term it tends to do more harm than good.
  • The only reason this is such a popular treatment right now is that it seems to the oncologist to be better than doing nothing.

According to Lili’s oncologist in Sydney, by taking  tamoxifen for 10 years her breast cancer can be cured! Are you sure? Is this supported by research data? The oncologist must have based her opinion on the following research data.

 

Ten Years of Tamoxifen Reduces Breast Cancer Recurrences, Improves Survival (https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/research/10-years-tamoxifen)

Don’t be misled and let us use our head and study the above numbers critically.

  • If you take tamoxifen for 5 years the risk of recurrence was 25.1% but if you take tamoxifen for 10 years the risk of recurrence is 21.4%. So additional benefit of taking tamoxifen for another 5 years is only 3.7%.
  • Taking tamoxifen for 10 years does not stop recurrence of breast cancer! It just reduces your chance of recurrence. It does not mean total cure with no chance of recurrence!

I googled, Can tamoxifen cure breast cancer? I got no answer. Because there is NO such thing as a cure for breast cancer by tamoxifen. But I have these:

What happens after taking tamoxifen for 5 years?

  • Women who took tamoxifen for 5 years had a 17 percent lower risk of cancer recurrence and a 9 percent lower risk of death from breast cancer than women who took tamoxifen for only 2 years. They also had a 30 percent lower risk of developing cancer in the contralateral (other) breast.

Can you still get cancer while taking tamoxifen?

Because tamoxifen acts like estrogen in the uterus, it can increase your risk of cancers of the uterus, including endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma. The increased risk seems to affect women over 50, but not younger women.

Does tamoxifen always work?

  • Tamoxifen only works in half the women to whom it is prescribed. It may not work in some women. However, many women taking tamoxifen acquire resistance to it.

How much does tamoxifen reduce risk of recurrence?

Doctors have long known that 5 years of tamoxifen reduces recurrence by about half during treatment and by nearly a third over the next 5 years.

Let me repeat what Lili wrote to me about taking tamoxifen:

  • … after (taking tamoxifen for) 5 years, the oncologist said as the medicine is proven to cure breast cancer, she asked me to continue taking it until 10 years. And I made it to 10 years. 

Let me also repeat, there is nowhere in the medical literature saying that tamoxifen can cure your breast cancer!

While tamoxifen may be beneficial for some patients, we need to be reminded that it comes with a package of short-term and long-term side-effects , some of which can be serious and fatal.

Some of the side effects of tamoxifen are:

  • nausea
  • mood swings
  • fatigue
  • hot flashes
  • depression
  • hair thinning
  • foggy mind or memory loss
  • loss of sex drive / libido
  • dry skin
  • increased risk of needing cataract surgery
  • risk of blood clots in veins and lungs
  • increased risk of having a stroke
  • increased risk of cancers of the uterus, endometrium and uterine sarcoma.
  • liver problems.

According to Lili she suffered from hot flashes, mild headache (sometimes only) and not really forgetfulness but yes sometimes I cannot recall my favorite singer until a day or two, then it came back. So thought it is part of ageing. 

Here again I would disagree with Lili. These problems that you had were due to your tamoxifen consumption. No, you are still young and you need not put the blame to you being  growing old. You are not alone suffering such side effects. I have patients telling me about their foggy mind too! So talking tamoxifen is not like taking a walk in the park. It comes with risks. Read some of the comments made in the internet:

This is my final but most pertinent question: What if I don’t take tamoxifen? My answer: You don’t need to take tamoxifen to remain alive! Also you don’t have to risk your life with those side effects.

Over the years I have been helping breast cancer patients. Most of them did not take tamoxifen and yet they survive.  If you wish to know more click of this link: https://cancercaremalaysia.com/category/breast-cancer/.

The following are just 2 examples of what you can find:

Hopeless Case Restored to Normalcy

Surgery, chemo, tamoxifen, xeloda, etc. did not cure her breast cancer. She gave up medical treatments. She started on our therapy in August 2002. On 13 August 2018,  I received an email from her:

  • Oh, I  just visited Singapore and came back.  I turned down PET scan a number of times. My last blood test was in May this year. It is all normal. So far I am doing well. Thanks a lot for seeing me years ago and if you ever drop by Hong Kong, do contact me.  

Breast Cancer: Thirteen years, doing just fine

After one shot of chemo, she refused further medical treatment and came to seek our help on 3 June 2005. It has been 16 years, she is healthy and leads a normal life.