Stage 2 colon cancer spread to liver, bones and lymph nodes less than two years after surgery, chemo and radiation. What had gone wrong?

When I first came to Penang some forty plus years ago, I met a lawyer — let’s call him Mark. Since then we became friends.

About a year or so ago, Mark suddenly dropped by the centre — it had been many years since we last met. Mark was diagnosed with colon cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy at a hospital which is supposed to be the “best” in the country (one doctor told me this!).

After relating his story, Mark left. No, I did not give him any herbs. Neither did I give him any advice. This is because from our conversation, I sensed that Mark seemed to know what he was doing. And during our conversation Mark did not ask for any advice or help either. So I just left it at that.

One of our principles that we uphold at CA Care is this: If you are still on chemo or radiotherapy (or are planning to do chemo or radiotherapy) or are taking other treatments elsewhere, please go ahead and continue with these treatments first. Do not take our herbs yet. We do not wish to intervene. 

If you have done everything and have nowhere else to go and need help, when you come to us, we shall try our best to  help you.

In early March 2018, as  I walked into our centre, someone greeted me but I could not recognise him, not until my wife told me that it was Mark who said hello. No, I was not being “arrogant” but Mark had “changed” a lot. He looked “much older”.  Perhaps I should not say that. My faulth, because I did not put on my glasses that morning (but generally, I don’t need to do that!).

Briefly, this was what happened to Mark.

  1. In 2016, Mark was diagnosed with cancer of the rectum. Surgery was not done. Mark was fitted with a colostomy bag.
  1. In September / October 2016, Marked received 25 sessions of radiotherapy and 2 cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy with FOLFOX.
  1. In early January 2017, Mark underwent a surgery. The tumour was removed. It was a moderately differentiated colo-rectal cancer, Stage B2.
  1. On 3 August 2017, Mark had his stoma reversed and the colon rejoined. A colonoscopy was done a day before the reversal procedure. There was NO sign of malignancy.
  1. Everything seemed okay.
  1. Disaster — 30 January 2018. A follow up CT scan showed:
  • Tumour recurrence at the anataomosis site and 6.5 cm anal verge. Biopsy of anal verge done on 8 January 2018 showed NO malignancy.
  • Multiple ill-defined lesions at both lobes of liver – confirming the cancer has spread to his liver.
  • Extensive intraabdominal and pelvic lymphadenopathy.
  • Bone metastasis — both iliac bones, both sacral alae, right and left femoral heads were invaded by the cancer.

The cancer is now TxN2bM1b — call it Stage 4 if you like.

Comments

In an earlier posting, I wrote about AB who had Stage 3 cancer. She declined chemotherapy and opted for the CA Care Therapy. It has been three years and she is still doing great. Mark had Stage 2 cancer — appeared to be less “dangerous” than AB’s cancer — but problems appeared within less than two years of treatment.

Do you ever ask why? Medical treatments for cancer are supposed to be proven and scientific — but why the metastasis so soon and so seriously?

Herbs and alternative therapies are supposed to be unscientific and unproven — yet patients like AB did so well.

Take time to understand the implications of the following quotations:

Dr. Richard Horton is the  Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, a very prestigious medical journal. In 2015 he wrote this:

  • A lot of what is published is incorrect ….The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.
  • Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.

Marcia Angell is the former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journal. In her article, Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption she wrote:

  • … conflicts of interest and biases exist in virtually every field of medicine, particularly those that rely heavily on drugs or devices. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. 
  • I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. 
  • One result of the pervasive bias is that physicians learn to practice a very drug-intensive style of medicine. Even when changes in lifestyle would be more effective, doctors and their patients often believe that for every ailment and discontent there is a drug.

 

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Stage 3 Colon cancer: Surgery but NO chemo. Three years on, still doing fine

About two years ago, I wrote the case of AB, a 77-year-old Indonesia lady. She had a 4 cm tumour in her colon. In May 2015, she underwent an operation at NUH Singapore. Nine of the 27 lymph nodes were with metastatic carcinoma. This was considered a stage 3 cancer.

After the surgery, the doctor suggested a follow-up chemotherapy but AB and her family members refused the treatment. In March 2015, AB’s son came to seek our help.

AB was started on the herbs for colon and lymph nodes. Although her liver function enzymes were not within normal range, we only put her on Capsule A + B only. AB also took herbs for appetite.

AB’s conditions improved significantly. Her son said, “My mother is doing good!”

In mid-2017, AB’s liver function seemed to have deteriorated. We put her on Liver Tea.

It has been three years now and AB is doing fine. Now, her liver function seemed to improve.

Comments

While writing this story, I received an email below:

Dear Dr. Chris Teo,

Selamat malam, saya A dari Bali Indonesia. Ayah saya terkena kanker colon stadium 3. Pada akhir tahun 2016 ayah saya sudah melakukan operasi pengangkatan kanker dan kemoterapi sebanyak 5X setelah operasi. Namun awal tahun 2018 ini perut ayah saya tiba-tiba terasa sakit, lalu kami cek lab ke rumah sakit dan dari hasil MRI ditemukan kalau terjadi penyebaran kanker ke tulang, dan dokter berkata untuk segera kemoterapi 12X.Sekarang ayah saya sudah menjalani kemoterapi 4X, dan dia sangat kesakitan menjalani ini.

Translation: 

Dear Dr. Chris Teo,

Good evening, I am A from Bali Indonesia. My father had stage 3 colon cancer.

At the end of 2016 my father had an operation to remove his cancer followed by 5 cycles of chemotherapy. 

But in early 2018, my father suddenly had stomach pain. A check up and MRI showed that the cancer had spread to the bone. The doctor said he needed chemotherapy immediately, this time 12 cycles. After 4 cycles of chemo, my father suffered badly from the treatment. 

Just a few days before this, I received this e-mail from Singapore.

Dear Dr Chris Teo,

My mum was diagnosed with advanced stage rectum cancer spread to the liver in May 2017. After going through chemo for 9 months, recently her oncologist told us that her liver had worsen and even chemo won’t help.

We will like to bring her to consult you. She is 62 years old and still mobile but weak at times. She has bloated abdomen and is on a pipe to drain out the fluid 2 times daily.

No doubt the Singapore case is more serious — Stage 4 but whatever it is, can you learn some lessons from the above three cancer cases?

Lesson One: After surgery (which I urge you to do if the cancer has not spread yet) the doctors would invariably recommend chemotherapy. Often patients are told, You don’t do chemo, the cancer will spread fast. You die soon.  So that is the golden rule you must follow! Is there any other way out — another option? Of course no other way!

But look at the reality. AB too had Stage 3 colon cancer. Nine out of 27 lymph nodes were infected with cancer. In addition, AB also had a total hysterectomy.  In short, her cancer was also a serious one. But AB did not follow the golden rule. She refused chemotherapy. She opted for the CA Care Therapy. Three years on, AB is still doing fine.

You may wish to ask, where is the “scientific” proof? She is able to lead a normal life without pain — can eat, can sleep and can move around. That is proof, simple!

So, is chemotherapy the only answer to your cancer problem?

Ask you doctors these questions:

  • Would chemotherapy cure your cancer?
  • What are the side effects? What are the unintended (collateral damage) toxic effects of the treatment?
  • Enquire about the “financial toxicity” — how much does it cost? Do you need to sell your house or a piece of land to pay for the treatment?
  • Think again — would you subject your 77-year-old mother to chemotherapy?
  • Think further — what could have happened if AB were to go for chemotherapy?

Lesson Two:  Often patients are told medical treatments are scientific and proven methods of treatment, while herbs or other alternative therapies are just hocus pocus — quackery! Not proven.

AB’s son regularly monitored his mother’s progress through blood tests. I would NOT encourage her to go for CT or PET scan due to radiation risks.

Let us examine the above data critically.

  1. Initially when AB came to see me, her liver function was within normal range except with a slight increase of GGT. I was not alarmed by that and prescribed her the normal herbal teas for colon cancer.
  2. A few months later (September – December 2015), her liver function showed more deterioration. That was when I prescribed her Capsule A & B to take care of the problem. Her situation improved!
  3. In March 2017, again her liver function deteriorated. This time, in addition to taking Capsule A & B, she was asked to take Liver tea. Bravo by March 2018 her liver function was back to normal (except with a slight increase in SGOT).
  4. We need to be take note that colon cancer has a high chance of spreading to the liver — sometimes within 6 months. It is already THREE years and AB is still fine. Is that quackery? Look that at happened to those who had chemotherapy.

Lesson Three: Yesterday a medical doctor came to seek our help for his wife. His question before he left, Will the herbs harm the liver or kidney? Exactly, most patients are being told that — herbs can cause damage and are toxic to the liver, kidney, etc. This is the mantra held by the noble profession, perhaps they believe that only their prescribed chemical drugs are safe — but don’t these drugs cause a lot of damage?

Have a close look at AB’s blood test results again. From the beginning after her surgery, certain liver enzyme were elevated — GGT = 48 in May, SGOT and SGPT were elevated in September 2015. Then in March to December 2017, her SGOT and SGPT were out of range. This time around, it seemed to be more serious! What could be the reason? We know that colon cancer can spread to the liver rather soon. Could this be a beginning of liver spread?

I prescribed herbs for her liver. In March 2018, her liver function enzymes were back to normal (except for a slight increase of SGPT). If herbs damage the liver, taking more herbs means more damage done to the liver, right? You don’t need to go to a university to understand this logic. But in this case AB’s liver became better not worse.

Related story:

https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2016/04/01/colon-cancer-surgery-but-declined-chemo-my-mother-is-doing-good/

P/S: In response to this story, this is what AB’s son wrote:

Dear Prof Teo,

Thank God for His grace in sustaining my mom.

We appreciate your help in treating her. It was by God’s providence that we found your website, while we were not actually looking for a herbal treatment. I was curious with a link that said after $100,000 there was still no cure. From there, I found your blog and read up. Glad that you were willing to extend your help to us.

Reply: Praise God for this blessing!

Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption

A Review by:  Marcia Angell

Read more: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2009/01/15/drug-companies-doctorsa-story-of-corruption/

Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial

by Alison Bass Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 260 pp., $24.95

Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs

by Melody Petersen Sarah Crichton/Farrar,  Straus and Giroux, 432 pp., $26.00

Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness

by Christopher Lane, Yale University Press, 263 pp., $27.50; $18.00 (paper)

Indeed, most doctors take money or gifts from drug companies in one way or another. Many are paid consultants, speakers at company-sponsored meetings, ghost-authors of papers written by drug companies or their agents,4 and ostensible “researchers” whose contribution often consists merely of putting their patients on a drug and transmitting some token information to the company.

Still more doctors are recipients of free meals and other out-and-out gifts. In addition, drug companies subsidize most meetings of professional organizations and most of the continuing medical education needed by doctors to maintain their state licenses.

No one knows the total amount provided by drug companies to physicians, but I estimate from the annual reports of the top nine US drug companies that it comes to tens of billions of dollars a year.

By such means, the pharmaceutical industry has gained enormous control over how doctors evaluate and use its own products. Its extensive ties to physicians, particularly senior faculty at prestigious medical schools, affect the results of research, the way medicine is practiced, and even the definition of what constitutes a disease.

Consider the clinical trials by which drugs are tested in human subjects.5 Before a new drug can enter the market, its manufacturer must sponsor clinical trials to show the Food and Drug Administration that the drug is safe and effective, usually as compared with a placebo or dummy pill.

The results of all the trials (there may be many) are submitted to the FDA, and if one or two trials are positive—that is, they show effectiveness without serious risk—the drug is usually approved, even if all the other trials are negative.

Drugs are approved only for a specified use—for example, to treat lung cancer—and it is illegal for companies to promote them for any other use.

But physicians may prescribe approved drugs “off label”—i.e., without regard to the specified use—and perhaps as many as half of all prescriptions are written for off-label purposes.

After drugs are on the market, companies continue to sponsor clinical trials, sometimes to get FDA approval for additional uses, sometimes to demonstrate an advantage over competitors, and often just as an excuse to get physicians to prescribe such drugs for patients. (Such trials are aptly called “seeding” studies.)

Since drug companies don’t have direct access to human subjects, they need to outsource their clinical trials to medical schools, where researchers use patients from teaching hospitals and clinics, or to private research companies (CROs), which organize office-based physicians to enroll their patients.

Although CROs are usually faster, sponsors often prefer using medical schools, in part because the research is taken more seriously, but mainly because it gives them access to highly influential faculty physicians—referred to by the industry as “thought-leaders” or “key opinion leaders” (KOLs). These are the people who write textbooks and medical journal papers, issue practice guidelines (treatment recommendations), sit on FDA and other governmental advisory panels, head professional societies, and speak at the innumerable meetings and dinners that take place every year to teach clinicians about prescription drugs. Having KOLs … on the payroll is worth every penny spent.

A recent survey found that about two thirds of academic medical centers hold equity interest in companies that sponsor research within the same institution.6 A study of medical school department chairs found that two thirds received departmental income from drug companies and three fifths received personal income.

Because drug companies insist as a condition of providing funding that they be intimately involved in all aspects of the research they sponsor, they can easily introduce bias in order to make their drugs look better and safer than they are.

Before the 1980s, they generally gave faculty investigators total responsibility for the conduct of the work, but now company employees or their agents often design the studies, perform the analysis, write the papers, and decide whether and in what form to publish the results. Sometimes the medical faculty who serve as investigators are little more than hired hands, supplying patients and collecting data according to instructions from the company.

In view of this control and the conflicts of interest that permeate the enterprise, it is not surprising that industry-sponsored trials published in medical journals consistently favor sponsors’ drugs—largely because negative results are not published, positive results are repeatedly published in slightly different forms, and a positive spin is put on even negative results.

The suppression of unfavorable research is the subject of Alison Bass’s engrossing book, Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial. This is the story of how the British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline buried evidence that its top-selling antidepressant, Paxil, was ineffective and possibly harmful to children and adolescents.

Bass, formerly a reporter for the Boston Globe, describes the involvement of three people—a skeptical academic psychiatrist, a morally outraged assistant administrator in Brown University’s department of psychiatry (whose chairman received in 1998 over $500,000 in consulting fees from drug companies, including GlaxoSmithKline), and an indefatigable New York assistant attorney general. They took on GlaxoSmithKline and part of the psychiatry establishment and eventually prevailed against the odds.

Many drugs that are assumed to be effective are probably little better than placebos, but there is no way to know because negative results are hidden.

One clue was provided six years ago by four researchers who, using the Freedom of Information Act, obtained FDA reviews of every placebo-controlled clinical trial submitted for initial approval of the six most widely used antidepressant drugs approved between 1987 and 1999 — Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Serzone, and Effexor.10 They found that on average, placebos were 80 percent as effective as the drugs.

The difference between drug and placebo was so small that it was unlikely to be of any clinical significance. The results were much the same for all six drugs: all were equally ineffective. But because favorable results were published and unfavorable results buried (in this case, within the FDA), the public and the medical profession believed these drugs were potent antidepressants.

Clinical trials are also biased through designs for research that are chosen to yield favorable results for sponsors. For example, the sponsor’s drug may be compared with another drug administered at a dose so low that the sponsor’s drug looks more powerful. Or a drug that is likely to be used by older people will be tested in young people, so that side effects are less likely to emerge.

A common form of bias stems from the standard practice of comparing a new drug with a placebo, when the relevant question is how it compares with an existing drug.

In short, it is often possible to make clinical trials come out pretty much any way you want.

Conflicts of interest affect more than research. They also directly shape the way medicine is practiced, through their influence on practice guidelines issued by professional and governmental bodies, and through their effects on FDA decisions.

A few examples: in a survey of two hundred expert panels that issued practice guidelines, one third of the panel members acknowledged that they had some financial interest in the drugs they considered.11

In 2004, after the National Cholesterol Education Program called for sharply lowering the desired levels of “bad” cholesterol, it was revealed that eight of nine members of the panel writing the recommendations had financial ties to the makers of cholesterol-lowering drugs.12

Of the 170 contributors to the most recent edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), ninety-five had financial ties to drug companies, including all of the contributors to the sections on mood disorders and schizophrenia.13

Perhaps most important, many members of the standing committees of experts that advise the FDA on drug approvals also have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.14

In recent years, drug companies have perfected a new and highly effective method to expand their markets. Instead of promoting drugs to treat diseases, they have begun to promote diseases to fit their drugs.

The strategy is to convince as many people as possible (along with their doctors, of course) that they have medical conditions that require long-term drug treatment. Sometimes called “disease-mongering,” this is a focus of two new books: Melody Petersen’s Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs and Christopher Lane’s Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness.

To promote new or exaggerated conditions, companies give them serious-sounding names along with abbreviations. Thus, heartburn is now “gastro-esophageal reflux disease” or GERD; impotence is “erectile dysfunction” or ED; premenstrual tension is “premenstrual dysphoric disorder” or PMMD; and shyness is “social anxiety disorder” (no abbreviation yet).

Note that these are ill-defined chronic conditions that affect essentially normal people, so the market is huge and easily expanded.

Melody Petersen, who was a reporter for The New York Times, has written a broad, convincing indictment of the pharmaceutical industry.16 She lays out in detail the many ways, both legal and illegal, that drug companies can create “blockbusters” (drugs with yearly sales of over a billion dollars) and the essential role that KOLs play.

Her main example is Neurontin, which was initially approved only for a very narrow use—to treat epilepsy when other drugs failed to control seizures. By paying academic experts to put their names on articles extolling Neurontin for other uses—bipolar disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, hot flashes, migraines, tension headaches, and more—and by funding conferences at which these uses were promoted, the manufacturer was able to parlay the drug into a blockbuster, with sales of $2.7 billion in 2003.

The following year, in a case covered extensively by Petersen for the Times, Pfizer pleaded guilty to illegal marketing and agreed to pay $430 million to resolve the criminal and civil charges against it. A lot of money, but for Pfizer, it was just the cost of doing business, and well worth it because Neurontin continued to be used like an all-purpose tonic, generating billions of dollars in annual sales.

er their other properties, are sedating, and nearly all of which have potentially serious side effects.

Similar conflicts of interest and biases exist in virtually every field of medicine, particularly those that rely heavily on drugs or devices. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.

One result of the pervasive bias is that physicians learn to practice a very drug-intensive style of medicine. Even when changes in lifestyle would be more effective, doctors and their patients often believe that for every ailment and discontent there is a drug.

Physicians are also led to believe that the newest, most expensive brand-name drugs are superior to older drugs or generics, even though there is seldom any evidence to that effect because sponsors do not usually compare their drugs with older drugs at equivalent doses.

In addition, physicians, swayed by prestigious medical school faculty, learn to prescribe drugs for off-label uses without good evidence of effectiveness.

It is easy to fault drug companies for this situation, and they certainly deserve a great deal of blame. Most of the big drug companies have settled charges of fraud, off-label marketing, and other offenses.

Physicians, medical schools, and professional organizations have no such excuse, since their only fiduciary responsibility is to patients. The mission of medical schools and teaching hospitals—and what justifies their tax-exempt status—is to educate the next generation of physicians, carry out scientifically important research, and care for the sickest members of society. It is not to enter into lucrative commercial alliances with the pharmaceutical industry.

As reprehensible as many industry practices are, I believe the behavior of much of the medical profession is even more culpable.19 Drug companies are not charities; they expect something in return for the money they spend, and they evidently get it or they wouldn’t keep paying.

So many reforms would be necessary to restore integrity to clinical research and medical practice …. Members of medical school faculties who conduct clinical trials should not accept any payments from drug companies except research support, and that support should have no strings attached, including control by drug companies over the design, interpretation, and publication of research results.

Medical schools and teaching hospitals should rigorously enforce that rule, and should not enter into deals with companies whose products members of their faculty are studying.

Finally, there is seldom a legitimate reason for physicians to accept gifts from drug companies, even small ones, and they should pay for their own meetings and continuing education.

After much unfavorable publicity, medical schools and professional organizations are beginning to talk about controlling conflicts of interest, but so far the response has been tepid. They consistently refer to “potential” conflicts of interest, as though that were different from the real thing, and about disclosing and “managing” them, not about prohibiting them.

But if the medical profession does not put an end to this corruption voluntarily, it will lose the confidence of the public.

Source: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2009/01/15/drug-companies-doctorsa-story-of-corruption/

 

Hope for the best and plan for the worst!

by: Erik Peper, Professor of Holistic Health at San Francisco State University, USA.

Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States!

Read what had happened to Professor Peper.

It is now two years since my own surgery—double hernia repair by laparoscopy.  The recovery predicted by my surgeon, “In a week you can go swimming again,” turned out to be totally incorrect.  

Six weeks after the surgery, I was still lugging a Foley catheter with a leg collection bag that drained my bladder.  I had swelling due to blood clots in the abdominal area around my belly button, severe abdominal cramping, and at times, overwhelming spasms.  Instead of swimming, hiking, walking, working, and making love with my wife, I was totally incapacitated, unable to work, travel, or exercise.  I had to lie down every few hours to reduce the pain and the spasms. 

Instead of going to Japan for a research project, I had to cancel my trip.  Rather than teaching my class at the University, I had another faculty member teach for me.  I am a fairly athletic guy—I swim several times a week, bike the Berkeley hills, and hiked.  Yet after the surgery, I avoided even walking in order to minimize the pain.  I moved about as if I were crippled.  Now two years later, I finally feel healthy again.

How come my experiences were not what the surgeon promised? 

All those who cared for me during this journey were compassionate individuals, committed to doing their best, including the emergency staff, the nurses, my two primary physicians, my surgeon, and my urologist.

However, given the personal, professional, and economic cost to me and my family, I feel it is important to assess where things went wrong.

The research literature makes it clear that my experience was by no means unique, so I have summarized some of the most important factors that contributed to these unexpected complications, following “simple arthroscopic surgery.”

  • Underestimating the risk. Although the surgeon suggested that the operation would be very low risk with no complications, statistically, the published research data does not support his optimistic statement.  Complications for laparoscopic surgery range from 15% to as high as 38% or higher, depending on the age of the patient and how well they do with general anesthesia (Vigneswaran et al, 2015; Neumayer et al, 2004; Perugini & Callery, 2001).
  • Inappropriate post-operative procedures. In my case I was released directly after waking up from general anesthesia without checking to determine whether I could urinate or not.  The medical staff and facility should never have released me, since older males have a 30% or higher probability that urinary retention will occur after general anesthesia.   However, it was a Friday afternoon and the staff probably wanted to go home since the facility closes at 5 pm.  This landed me in the Emergency Room.
  • Medical negligence. In my case the surgeon recommended that I have my bladder in the emergency room emptied and then go home.  That was not sufficient, and my body still was not working properly, requiring a second visit to the ER and the insertion of a Foley catheter.  Following the second ER visit, the surgeon removed the catheter in his office in the late afternoon and did not check to determine whether I could urinate or not.  This resulted in a third ER visit.
  • Medical error. On my third visit to the emergency room, the nurse made the error of inflating the Foley catheter balloon when it was in the urethra (rather than the bladder) which caused tearing and bleeding of the urethra and possible irritation to the prostate.
  • Drawbacks of the ER as the primary resource for post-surgical care. Care is not scheduled for the patient’s needs, but rather based on a triage system.  In my case I had to wait sometimes two hours or more until a catheter could be inserted, which expanded and irritated the bladder further.
  • A medical system that does not track treatment outcomes. Without good follow-up and long-term data, no one is accountable or responsible.
  • Assuming the best and not planning for the worst.

Can I trust the health care provider’s statement that the procedure is low risk and that the recovery will go smoothly?

The typical outcome of a medical procedure or surgery may be significantly worse than generally reported by hospitals or medical staff.  In many cases there is no systematic follow-up nor data on outcomes and complications, thus no one knows the actual risks.

In the United States medical error results in at least 98,000 unnecessary deaths each year and 1,000,000 excess injuries (Weingart et al, 2000; Khon et al, 2000).

The Institute of Medicine reported in 2012 that one-third of hospitalized patients are harmed during their stay (Ferguson, 2012; Institute of Medicine, 2012).

To quote Dr. Marcia Angell (2009), the first woman editor of the highly respected New England Journal of Medicine“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.  I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

Many published studies on the positive clinical outcome of pharmaceuticals are suspect.  As Dr. Richard Horton (2015), Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, wrote in 2015“A lot of what is published is incorrect … much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.  Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

Source: https://peperperspective.com/2018/03/18/surgery-hope-for-the-best-but-plan-for-the-worst/

Comment

My friend, Phillipe, came to the centre and said, “Chris, I have already fixed an appointment with my doctor to go for surgery for my backache. Don’t worry he is an expert and he knows what to do.”

I too have backache since I was in my forties (now I am 74) and I learned how to live with it. Admittedly, in Philippe’s case, his backache caused him a lot of problem.

I did not say much upon hearing this “news” except to enquire when, so that I could visit him in the hospital.

My wife and went to see Phillipe one night after his “successful” operation. We stayed on until late that night, talking about his experience. Phillipe was happy and explained to us what his surgeon did for him. “The surgeon was a real expert!”

A week later Phillipe was discharged. We had lunch together one afternoon. Everything seemed to be okay except that he walked with a walking stick.

Phillipe then started to have pain. One leg was painful, then went off. Then the pain moved to the other leg. In spite of that he was able to drive home to KL from Penang.

Then I received a message that Phillipe had to return to Penang to see his surgeon because of the severe pain. On arrival at the private hospital, he was told the surgeon was on leave. Phillipe was then sent to the government hospital. The Penang GH doctor was not able to handle his case and immediately sent him off to a KL hospital in an ambulance.

Two days later, my wife and I flew to KL and saw Philippe in the coffin. His face was bloated. I did not know why he died. But one fact is clear, as they always say — the surgery was a success but the patient died.

Sad.

Take note of what Professor Erik Peper said, Hope for the best and plan for the worst!

 

Liver cancer: Doctor said: “Don’t take Nexavar!”

In my earlier posting, I wrote about one “rotten” morning I experienced. Now, let me share with you what a “weird or cuckoo” morning was like.

AKS is a 57-year-old Indonesia. His problem started with a fever a few months ago. He went to a hospital in Jakarta for help. He was told nothing was wrong with him.

AKS was not satisfied and consulted another doctor — an internist. Again he was told there was nothing wrong with him. Still not satisfied, he consulted a stomach specialist. He was told something was in his liver!

AKS came to a private hospital in Penang for further consultation in February 2018. He saw one doctor and did an endoscopy. The result indicated esophageal varices, gastritis. Negative for Helicobacter pylori. 

A CT scan was done and showed the following:

  • Coarse liver parenchyma suggestive of underlying cirrhosis.
  • Ill-defined mass in the right lobe of liver measuring 10.5 x 9.5 x 7.8 cm.
  • Smaller lesions scattered in both lobes of liver ranging from 1.0 to 3.5 cm in size.
  • Features suggestive of multicentric hepatoma.
  • Mild ascites.

Blood test results were as follows:

Alkaline phosphatase 198 H
GGT 178 H
ALT   63 H
AST 112 H
Alpha-fetoprotein 354.4

AKS was told to undergo a procedure called TACE (transarterial chemoembolization). He refused and went home to Jakarta.

In March 2018, AKS came back to Penang again. This time, he consulted an oncologist in another hospital.

His blood test showed deteriorating liver function.

Alkaline phosphatase 249 H
GGT 323 H
ALT   60 H
AST 143 H
Alpha-fetoprotein 617.7

AKS was prescribed Lenvima (or Lenvatinib). For 20 days the drug cost him RM5,000. The doctor said this drug would not cure him!

I asked AKS. The doctor did not ask you to take Nexavar? His reply, The doctor told me not to take Nexavar!

AKS took Lenvima for two days and felt nauseous and dizzy (as before). He and his family decided to seek our help.

Comments

  1. AKS went to see two doctors. They couldn’t find anything wrong. The third doctor said there was something in this liver. Then he came to Penang and the first thing the doctor did was endoscopy! But there was something in his liver? Why endoscopy? Is this procedure just a matter of routine? More procedures better?

Do you think all these make sense? Ask again, do you really need an endoscopy?

  1. As you can see, AKS went round and round, and only then a blood test and CT scan were done. Sure enough the results indicated tumours in his liver.
  1. AKS was asked to go for TACE. AKS refused.

For whatever treatment suggested, it would be wise if patients were to ask their doctors these questions:

  • What is this treatment for? Can cure you? Prolong life? Improve quality of life?
  • How much does the procedure cost?

There is a 10.5 x 9.5 x 7.8 cm tumour in his liver. In addition, there are smaller lesions scattered in both lobes of the liver ranging from 1.0 to 3.5 cm in size. Do you think TACE can help the patient? In what way?

Over the years, I have come across many patients who did TACE but did not benefit from this treatment.

  1. AKS was prescribed Lenvima (or Lenvatinib) for his liver cancer!

I have never heard of this drug before! I told AKS usually doctors would ask patients to take Nexavar. This was when I got a shocking reply. The doctor told AKS not to take Nexavar!

How could that be? What has happened? Does the doctor NOW know something about Nexavar that we all do not know?

For the past two months, I have liver patients coming to me and they were taking Nexavar — why the change of “heart”? There must be a reason for this change from the standard practice.

Let me say that those patients on Nexavar suffered severe side effects and gave up on the drug. That was why they came to us for help. I have written some cases about Nexavar and I am going to write more cases later.

There was one lady who paid RM 20,000 for a month supply of Nexavar. She was told that when she comes the next month, she will get one month supply of Nexavar for free (promotion — buy one, free one).  According to her son, after taking this drug for a week, she landed in the hospital and died.

So the question is, why was AKS told not to take Nexavar now? It is because of such experiences above or something else?

But  more tragedy to come. Instead of Nexavar, AKS was described Lenvima  or lenvatinib. I had to go into the net to find out what that is.

Lenvima, a drug made by Eisai Inc. was approved by US – FDA for the treatment of locally recurrent or metastatic, progressive, radioactive iodine-refractory differentiated thyroid cancer.

Lenvima is also used in combination with the drug everolimus, for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma.

Here are the side effects of Lenvima:

Less common side effects (occurring in about 10-29% of patients) are:

Source:

http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/lenvatinib.aspx

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fda-approves-eisais-lenvima-lenvatinib-for-the-treatment-of-patients-with-locally-recurrent-or-metastatic-progressive-radioactive-iodine-refractory-differentiated-thyroid-cancer-300036074.html

There is a fine note which says: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful. Is this not what is happening now? Liver patients is given a drug for thyroid or kidney cancer?

Its sounds like an “new experiment” on patients! Giving  a chemo-drug that is approved for the treatment of thyroid or kidney cancer to liver cancer patient … to see what happen?

I went cuckoo this morning! Oh, it is just a weird morning. My first time to learn such thing.

 

 

Rotten Breasts, “Rotten Morning.”

This morning, 8 March 2018, is indeed a “rotten” morning. Why? Two patients came, one after another, with a rotten breast. It was so sad. Why do women allow such thing to happen to them?

After that a young lady came on behalf of her sister who had breast cancer. She had undergone all medical treatments — surgery, chemo and radiation. Less than three years later, the cancer spread to her liver. She was admitted into a hospital to drain off fluid from her abdomen. The oncologist asked her to do chemotherapy right away. The family hesitated and wanted us to help her.

I told the sister, I am afraid I cannot help her. She is in the hospital  under the care of an oncologist. How could I interfere? Also, I have no magic cure. The sister broke down and cried, pleading that her sister’s children are still small. Sad. But this is the reality. Such thing happen very often — I have seen enough of them.

Learning about three disasters in one morning is about the limit! No more please!

The fourth breast cancer case this morning is about a 69-year-old lady who had a mastectomy. After the surgery, the doctor referred her to an oncologist for follow-up chemotherapy. The family refused the treatment. On the next follow-up with the doctor, the daughter asked the doctor to suggest an alternative therapy. Apparently this doctor understood the predicament the family was in. He sent the family to see CA Care! (such a thing rarely happens! Unique! More on this in later posting).

Now, let us talk about rotten breasts and how some naive women end up with it.

Ibu A is 69 years old. She found a lump above her breast about three years ago. She did nothing about it. The lump grew bigger. In early 2018, she went to a doctor and did a biopsy. It was cancerous. The doctor suggested an operation but Ibu A refused. She came and seek our advice.

This was my advice to her that morning.

 

Ibu B is 51 years old. About two years ago she felt a big lump in her breast. She does not know when this lump came about. After the discovery of the lump, she refused to seek medical help. Instead, she went to an acupunturist-cum-herbalist. She was prescribed herbs and she had been taking the herbs until a wound developed in her breast like below.

She was adamant of not wanting to see any doctor and came to seek our help. (Note: I came to know later that her sister is actually a medical doctor who also has breast cancer in both breasts. The medical doctor sister is now undergoing chemotherapy. But Ibu B chooses not to follow her sister’s path).

This was my advice to her that morning.

 

Comments

Both these ladies came to seek our help, hoping that we can cure their already rotten, cancerous breast. No, we cannot cure.

To both of them (and also those ladies out there, harbouring the same attitude) I have this advice:

  1. If you find a lump in your breast, it is best that you see a doctor. Determine if it is cancerous or not. If it is, have the lump removed cleanly. I stress, CLEANLY. Because of that I would suggest that you go for a mastectomy rather than a lumpectomy.

I am aware that research has shown that a lumpectomy is just as effective as a mastectomy. But, that is when the doctor removes the lump cleanly — what if the doctor leaves some cancerous tissues behind?

Don’t ever believe that herbs, taking supplements, etc., etc. can make the cancerous lump go away. You will be taking a great risk. My twenty-over-years of experience tells me that herbs may make non-cancerous lump or cyst in the breast  go away but not cancerous lump.

  1. After the surgery, you are often told to go for chemotherapy, radiotherapy or hormonal therapy. If you want to follow your doctor’s recommendation, it is your decision. But if you want an alternative path, you can come and see us.
  1. In the case of Ibu A, the situation is rather tricky. She is already 87 years old. Can she survive a mastectomy? I don’t know. Let the medical experts decide on that.

After the surgery, Ibu A can come back to see us again for help. This is because she and her family would not want further treatments like chemo or radiation.

On the other hand, if Ibu A is asked to undergo chemotherapy before the surgery, this is another tricky matter. In fact Ibu requested that I prescribe her herbs instead asking her to see a surgeon. I told her that I would give her the herbs if the surgeon does not want to operate on her or ask her to do chemo first.

But for Ibu B. The situation is different. She is still young. She must get the rotten mass removed first before starting on the herbs.

  1. If patients want know where to go for the operation in Penan, I suggest that they go to Dr. A of Hospital B or Dr. C of Hospital D. Over the years, patients tell me that these two doctors are good, considerate and compassionate. Go to these doctors.

 

Breast Cancer: Should I go for radiotherapy after my surgery?

One morning, a couple flew in from Kuala Lumpur specifically to seek our advice. He is a Datuk, and following the norm, his wife is referred to as Datin. But for this story, let us call her Ms B. 

Listen to what Ms B and her husband told us this morning:

 Comments 

In an earlier posting I wrote about Ms A — whether she should take tamoxifen after her lumpectomy. As a follow up, this story about Ms B is whether she should go for radiotherapy after her breast surgery. First, put these two stories side by side, what can we learn from these two stories?

  1. There is a striking difference with the attitude of Ms A and Ms B. I have often said, cancer is about human being. It is not just about a lump in your breast. Ms A came to see us as a side line while on a home coming trip for the Chinese New Year. Ms B and her husband specifically flew from Kuala Lumpur just to consult with us and flew home immediately after that. 
  1. While Ms A came willingly, trying to seek our opinion, I was not too sure if she had the full support of her husband. He could even be hostile to the idea of his wife taking herbs and not taking tamoxifen as recommended by the doctor.

On the other hand, Ms B’s husband was solidly behind his wife’s desire to find another alternative to the recommended radiotherapy.

No, the subject of radiation being “scientifically proven” never cropped up at all. The couple came with a certain degree of belief in whatever they are seeking from us. What they needed is the extra “confidence” to go forward.

As a result, they wanted to give our therapy a try. On the contrary, I sent Ms A home without any herbs!

Okay, what is my answer to their question: Should I go for radiotherapy as recommended by my breast surgeon (the same surgeon that operated on Ms A).

  1. I am sorry, I cannot answer that question out right. Because in the healing of cancer, there is no right or wrong way. It just has to be your own way. You have to make that decision yourself.
  2. At times when you are lost, I ask you to pray to your god. In this case, Ms B needs to see the answer from Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.
  3. However, let me say that radiation itself causes cancer. There is no doubt about this.
  4. Patients need to understand that they need to learn how to heal themselves. Change your lifestyle, your attitude in life and your diet. Don’t stress yourself too much.
  5. You are going to face a lot of pressure around you for not taking the “medical path”. There are enough “professors” giving you all kinds of advices. You need to be strong and firm in your decision. In this case, Ms B’s daughter is a doctor! Indeed, it is a difficult situation for her.

Besides coming to talk to us, I suggest that you read what is written in the internet. Here are some examples. 

Forum Topic: Long Term Radiation Side Effects 10+ years After? https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/70/topics/816658

Barbarella 60 wrote:

I am new to this forum and I am looking for others and help in what I am now experiencing.  I had left breast Stage 1, ductal in situ, 1cm in size about 18 years ago. I had a lumpectomy … 3 treatments of chemo consisting of Adriamycin, Cytoxin, and 5 fu, followed by 7 weeks radiation, then 3 more treatments of chemo.

I was given extra doses of radiation because of a hospital confusion. I also had 5 years of tamoxifen. Do you think overkill?

Now 18 years later I am experiencing severe left breast fibrosis with major dimpling at the lumpectomy incision site, hardening and swelling of the breast.  I thought my cancer had returned but negative.

Also having stabbing left chest pains occurring occasionally.

Now 2 years after the onset of the fibrosis I am having shortness and trouble breathing, dizziness, tired with no absolutely no energy.  I had all heart tests including cardiac catheterization angioplasty.  All negative.

I am grateful for my life, but all the side effects from the chemo & radiation have had a significant effect on my health.

Has anyone experienced side effects becoming major health issues years after the treatment? I don’t know where to go, since no one seems to know about this.

CessaLyn wrote:

I was diagnosed w/ right side, stage 1 ductal in situ 3 cm, estrogen positive, breast cancer, with no lymph nodes involved, on Dec 27, 2004, had lumpectomy 17 days later on Jan 13, 2005, followed by 12 weeks of radiation.

I’m here over 7 yrs later, w/ no reoccurrence, yet still suffer greatly from underarm & chest wall/muscle/rib pain, with swelling! Hurts to raise my arm above my head, or to wash the back of my hair, or to stretch in any fashion? I’m told it is probably costochrondritis … began almost immediately with the start of the rad treatments.

…  Please, Please, Please, – anyone who is newly diagnosed, in early stage, take the time to do the research, read personal experiences and not just what the radiologist/oncologist is telling or not telling you, I sometimes wonder if it was a $ issue not to bring up other types of rad treatment since the final bill to my insurance co. For just the rad treatments was close to $79,000 – YOU have to live with the side effects, they don’t! Happy to be here, but would like a little less pain.

… You are right.  They need to give you truthful, information on the treatments and the side effects.  Back 18 years ago lumpectomy & radiation.  I remember not having a second thought in having radiation.  Now my armpit is swollen, pain & fibrosis in left breast and possible heart & lung damage.  If I had it all to do over again I would have a double mastectomy.  No radiation.  But what’s done is done.  Gotta go on from here, no redo. They know a lot more information today than then. But our decisions should be discussed by independent parties with no financial involvement.

Gilbert wrote:

I had a lumpectomy followed by 31 rad treatments that ended Jan10,  I am really sore over my whole breast, thought about calling the doctor, but not sure what he could do anyway.  He wasn’t very helpful when I was going through treatment. They sure don’t inform us very well about the effect that the radiation will have on us.  I think it it’s all about the money.  Every time I would ask about a certain problem They would tell me the only side effects were just fatigue.[bs] and that could last for awhile after rads were over. I seem to be getting sorer by the day, I hate to think that this could go on for years..

I do remember how tight and red and burning it was for a while afterwards.  I think it took quite a while for my skin to feel like it wasn’t going to rip.  I know but that is how tight it was.  I was very diligent in using all the cremes they recommended.  I also had 3 months (9 weeks), 5 days a week, of radiation. Then immediately after radiation I started the 2nd series of 3 treatments for 7 weeks of chemo. After that 5 years of tamoxifen.

Believe it or not, my whole arm pit and back towards my shoulder blade is still numb.  If I have an itch I have to use a wooden back scratchier and just scratch as hard as possible to feel it.  It is very uncomfortable having an itch that can’t be satisfied! Just one of the sides I’ve had for 18 years.

Sunny1012 wrote:

I am new to this nightmare.  I had a lumpectomy on January 8, 2014 for ILC Stage 1 and sentinel lobe removal.  I had a long consultation with the radiation oncologist and did not leave feeling convinced about radiation treatment.  I am considering skipping radiation and just doing the Tamoxifen even though I am not crazy about that either.

I have read every piece of research I can on radiation and its a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation.

I also would like to hear from survivors who can share the pros and cons of radiation in their choice and life to this point. The decisions we must face on this journey are overwhelming .  Please share your thoughts. Thank you

Desalonde wrote:

I am a bit further along than you are but can only share your sentiments and not really shed much light. I have read lots of medical articles going back years and consulted 3 rad oncs and it seems clear there is no consistent “prescription” even for same person…. different docs give different opinions depending on where they trained so a lot of it is culture and custom not hard science about what is minimum effective dose.

That means making decisions with blinders on.

What is worse…. RO may be ( mine is) defensive and irritated when you quote a literature info of concern to you and insist that you” trust” their experience……even though they disagree among themselves and may contradict the literature.

It’s primitive and makes me mad because women deserve better science to reduce the suffering that accompanies these treatments! 

Here are what researchers and doctors said about radiation for cancer!

 

 

 

 

Breast Cancer: Should I take tamoxifen after my lumpectomy?

The year 2018 started with a common but peculiar phenomenon which we long know. What is that? For the past two months, most of the patients who came to seek our help either had breast cancer or liver cancer! Later we will see this trend changes to some other cancers.

Breast cancer patients who came fall either one of these two groups.

  1. Those who found lump (s) in their breast. Did a biopsy followed by surgery. Then doctors asked them to go for chemo, radiation and/or take tamoxifen. That’s the classical standard recipe. What to do now after the surgery?
  1. Those who have undergone all the medical treatments — surgery, chemo, radiation and hormonal therapy. These treatments failed. So, what to do now?

Let me share some stories. By doing this, I hope you can learn from the experiences of others. In life we don’t need or don’t have time to repeat the mistakes that others before us go through. So, be wise.

This is the story of Ms A.

About 20 years ago Ms A had a 5 mm lump in her breast. A biopsy was done and the result turned out to be negative. Unfortunately the so-called non-cancerous lump was not removed.

Fast forward to January 2018, Ms A felt the lump which she was keeping in her breast was not “normal” in size. She went to consult a surgeon who did a lumpectomy (removal of the lump only). Some of the lymph nodes were removed and were found to be “clean”.

Unfortunately, the tumour was malignant and was positive for hormone receptors. Because of that the doctor wanted Ms A to take tamoxifen for 5 to 10 years.

Ms A was referred to an oncologist. She told the oncologist that she preferred to take herbs instead of tamoxifen. The oncologist replied, It is up to you to decide. 

Ms A was unsure which path to take. She wrote me an email. Since she was coming home to Penang for the Chinese New Year, she wanted to drop by our centre to ask for advice. Okay, that was fine with me.

Ms A and her husband came. They wanted to know my view on tamoxifen. Listen to our conversation that morning.

 

Comments 

What do I do now? Follow what my breast surgeon asked me to do or follow my heart? 

My response:

I am afraid I cannot give an outright answer. You have to make your own decision and you bear the consequences of that decision. If the cancer comes back again or your suffer the side effects of the treatment, it is you who have to suffer, not others.

But to help you get out of this dilemma I suggest you do the following.

  1. Discuss the problem with your family members. Ms A has three children and one of them is a pharmacist. According to the pharmacist daughter, that is what breast cancer patients do — they take tamoxifen!

But more important is your husband. If you cannot get your husband on your side — to give you a hundred percent support — then, your “battle” is lost even before going to the battle field!

Accordingly to Ms A’s husband, tamoxifen is scientifically proven and herbs are just supplement. If this is what it is, my advice is don’t ever think of taking herbs! Go for the “scientific” stuff.

  1. To get a balanced view, my advice is to read as much as you can! Educate yourself. It is your health and it your life.

But the problem with most people is they don’t like to read — they don’t want to learn the truth for themselves. They prefer to just listen to way others say and do what others tell them to do. That is, to led by the nose.

Of course, there are others who believe they are already smart and they don’t need to know more, especially if it is not seen to be “scientific” (whatever that means!).

  1. When in this desperate situations when you don’t know what to do, I suggest that you turn to your god for help. Pray and ask for guidance. Of course, some people will laugh at me! There also some people who are already angry with god for “giving them this cancer” — why pray some more?

Well, I understand. Each of us has our own ideas about the Divine. For me, I know that there is a God who is loving enough to help you — to help and guide if you sincerely ask for His help — the way that this same God helps me in my work with cancer patients for the past twenty over years.

With these three suggestions I told Ms A to go home, without prescribing her any herbs. If you need my help in the future, you can come back and see me again. 

Let me remind everyone who wants to come and see us. Our therapy is not easy to follow. If you are not fully committed or are half-hearted in your belief, my advice is to go and see someone else for help.

For those who believe that tamoxifen is “scientifically proven” and herbs are hocus pocus, you may wish take a pause and read a bit more.

  1. Go to the net and read what others, you are in the same boat like you, wrote about tamoxifen: https://community.macmillan.org.uk/cancer_types/breast-cancer/f/38/t/140439

Posted by Lizzy4u, 19 October 2017

I’ve been on Tamoxifen for 10 months and have awful side effects. The worst being joint pains, so bad that I can hardly move at times. My oncologist said to stop the Tamoxifen for 6 weeks and see if there is a difference… I am stiff when I wake up, then once I get moving it eases off but then if I’ve been on my feet longer than an hour it get worse and worse. My daughter said to me the other day she has not seen a day go past that she’s not seen me limping. I’m also experiencing the most awful hot flushes that I get no sleep and I’m exhausted all the time, have itching when I have these flushes. Etc

Posted by LondonLass, 19 October 2017

Hi Lizzy4u, I had exactly the same issues as you. I lasted 20 months but that was only because my oncologist kept pushing me to keep going, his view was the first 2 years were the most important. I won’t go into what happened with me as it doesn’t help you. I will however say there are other options!

However, I think you have to bear in mind that all of these treatments will cause menopausal symptoms and of course it’s worse for us as we are being forced into menopause! …. Worth discussing everything with your oncologist, the more information you can get the better. You need to be able to make an informed decision. At the end of the day it’s your body, your life and your decision! I know how it feels to feel so old and unhappy!

  1. If you want to know what happened to those patients who came to CA Care after being on tamoxifen … read these two stories …..

No more tamoxifen for me

Breast Cancer: Part 4: Radiation Helped but Did Not Cure, Tamoxifen Disastrous

 3. If you think alternative healers are just quacks, read what some researchers and doctors have got to say about tamoxifen.

Pierre Blais, a well known drug researcher, said: Tamoxifen is a garbage drug that made it to the top of the scrap heap.

And here are more for you to digest ….

 

 

 

 

 

Who asked you to come here?

Two sisters came to seek our help.

Younger Sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone a mastectomy. She was then asked to go for follow up treatments — 6 cycles of chemo and 26 sessions of radiation. Then she needs to take tamoxifen for five years.

Younger Sister lives in Hong Kong and she does not know what to do next. She decided to come to Penang and ask our opinion.

As usual, my first question is: Who asked you to come and see us?

Younger Sister: My mom used to see you!

Elder Sister explained: About 15 years ago, I came to see you with the medical reports. My mom didn’t come. My mom consumed your medication for like a year. She is still alive until today. She is 85 something now.

(Note: Mom had breast cancer when she was 69 years old).

 

 

A few days after the above episode, another two sisters came with their mother.

Chris: You are from Medan. Who asked you to come here? 

Daughter: A relative. She came here for her treatment. Now cured! 

C: You know her personally? 

D: Yes.

D2: Praise God she is cured!

C: And she is still alive?

D: Ya, alive.

C: Healthy?

D: Yes, healthy.

C: What cancer?

D: Breast.

C: When was that?

D: About two years ago.

 

Comments 

At CA Care — sometimes the morning is most depressing — to see how patients suffer after all the treatments that they had gone through — but sometime it could be a blessed morning, knowing that some patients benefited from our therapy.

When we first started CA Care in 1995, we were confronted with strong opposition that herbal therapy is just quackery!  Not proven, not scientific. If at all there is good result, it is due to luck.

Watch this video!

We have come a long way since this video was broadcast live over the national TV in 1999.

Over the past twenty plus years, I have produced almost a thousand videos in YouTube and written over seven hundred case studies to show that the results we achieved are real. Herbal therapy is not quackery! To me, it is all about God’s blessing.

Let me close with these quotations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liver Cancer: Took Nexavar for about a week. Wife said, “Disaster!”

Shah (not real name) is a 57-year-old Indonesian. He was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis in 2010. He came to a private hospital in Melaka and was prescribed Legalon or milk thistle. He did not take his medication seriously. His problem became more serious and in 2015 his problem developed into a full blown liver cancer or hepatoma.

He was admitted to a hospital in Jakarta for treatment. He did TACE (transarterial chemoembolization) twice followed by four times of RFA (radiofrequency ablation). RFA cost him IDR 35 million each session.

In addition Shah had to take the following 11 medications, one of which is Nexavar – a oral chemo-drug for his liver cancer.

Nexavar — IDR 200 million (??) 

Listen to our conversation of what happened.

 

Chris: Did the doctor tell you why he gave you Nexavar?

Wife: To make sure that the cancer is under control.

C: How long were you on Nexavar?

W: Just about one week, and the supply was for a month.

C: What happened?

W: Disaster! (BadanNya hancur!) He gave up and did not want to take it anymore.

C: Did the doctor say how long he has to take Nexavar?

W: For as long as he lives! Now the doctor said take a rest first. After the side effects subside, continue with Nexavar again.

C: What are the side effects?

Wife and patient: Vomiting, loss of strength, giddy, fever, hard stools.

C: How much did you pay for this drug?

W: IDR 200 million per month.

Comments

I am not sure if the figure, IDR 200 million for Nexavar, is correct. This is equivalent to RM 57,000 ringgit.

The wife must have been confused. It could have been the total cost of his hospitalization, including other drugs as well.

In Malaysia, Nexavar cost about RM 20,000 per month. Sometimes you get an offer: buy one, free one! That is you pay for the first one month, then you get free supply of the drug for the second month. One patient took this drug for a week and died. So she lost her deal for a free supply!

Is this the first case of Nexavar giving problems to patients? No. Many patients told me similar stories of side effects.

So, why do the doctors keep on prescribing Nexavar? Well, I really don’t know. Perhaps Nexavar is more “scientific” than herbs. If you don”t die from it, keep taking it — that’s the message given to Shah and his family.

As I am writing this story, here is an email I received.

Dear Dr Teo, 

I am writing to you with regards to my father, aged 82 years old. In December 2017, he was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma  (liver cancer). Tumor was approximately 7 cm in size. He has subsequently went for TACE early January 2018. The latest CT scan has showed that there is necrosis of the tumor. However, the APF reading this week shows a level of 2,000+. 

His hepatologist and us agree that we should take action to find a way to heal and hopefully, prevent the recurrence of tumor again. He has recommended that we think about Nexavar or  seek alternative herbal treatment. 

My father has indicated that he would like to start on herbal treatments.  

I am wondering if you would be available to meet us next week? 

Think about it: His hepatologist recommended Nexavar or herbal treatment! What say you?

 

 

 

Extensive Liver Cancer: TCM University Hospital prescribed chemo drugs! After three days patient gave up due to side effects!

Henry (not real name) is a 58-year-old Indonesian. In 1994 he was diagnosed with Hepatitis B. He took herbs and was okay. But about three to four years later, a checkup showed the virus count has gone up high. He did nothing about it. In September 2017, Henry started to have bloated stomach. The doctor in Indonesia diagnosed it as gastritis. Later he went to the hospital and was told that he had liver cancer. He was prescribed some drugs.

No satisfied, Henry went for further treatment in China in early January 2018. He ended up in a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) University Hospital.

A PET scan was done and the results showed the cancer had spread from the liver to his lung and lymph nodes around his neck.

Henry was prescribed three drugs to take:

  1. Adefovir (or Hepsera) – pharmaceutical drug
  2. Bicyclol – drug from a Chinese herb
  3. Sorafenib (or Nexavar) – pharmaceutical drug

A two-day consultation together with the above medication cost IDR 50 million (approx. RM 15,000).

Not satisfied, Henry went to another hospital (not a TCM hospital) for a second opinion. A blood test was done and the results were as below:

ALT 29.0
AST 40.0
Alk phosphatase 332.0
GGT 548.0
Alpha-fetoprotein 275,330.70
CA 125 278.50
CA 19.9 7.36
CA 15.3 24.80

The oncologist in this second hospital told Henry to go for chemotherapy. He refused and went home to Indonesia. 

What happened after taking the chemo-drugs?

Listen to his conversation with us this morning.

Excerpts

Chris: You took the three chemo-drugs that the doctor in TCM University hospital gave you. Then  what happened?

Patient: Not suitable for me! Just after three days, I had severe pain in my abdomen. This was after taking the Nexavar.

C: You itch too?

P: Yes, after taking the first two drugs (Adefovir and Bicyclol).

C: Then you gave up?

P:  Yes, we went to another hospital for blood test.

C: Did the doctor prescribe any medication (after they know that the AFP was 275,330.70)?

P: No medication. He asked me to go for chemotherapy. I refused and returned home to Indonesia.

Information from the internet 

It is not difficult in this information age to know what the drugs prescribed by your doctor would do to you. What you need to do is read or have the desire to “know”. The problem with most patients is they don’t want to know! They believe that doctors know best.

These are what I got from the internet.

Adefovir (Hepsera)

This drug is used to treat a chronic viral infection of the liver (hepatitis B) in people 12 years of age and older. It is not a cure for hepatitis B and does not prevent the passing of hepatitis B to others.

The possible side effects are:

  • muscle pain or weakness
  • numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs
  • trouble breathing
  • feeling dizzy, light-headed, tired, or very weak
  • stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, or
  • fast or uneven heart rate.

Bicyclol 

This is a novel, drug derived from Fructus Schisandrae (Wu Wei Zi), a Chinese herb for treating hepatitis B and C.

Sorafenib (Nexavar) 

This drug is commonly prescribed by oncologists worldwide to treat:

  • kidney cancer that has spread outside the kidney and who are no longer being helped by other treatments.
  • liver cancer that can’t be removed with surgery.
  • thyroid cancer that is no longer being controlled by radioactive iodine treatment.

The possible side effects are:

  • Rash
  • Hand – foot syndrome (Palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia or PPE) – skin rash, swelling, redness, pain and/or peeling of the skin on the palms of hands and soles of feet. Usually mild, starting 5-6 weeks after start of treatment. May require reductions in the dose of the medication.
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure (particularly in first 6 weeks of treatment)
  • Hair loss (thinning or patchy hair loss)
  • Nausea
  • Itching
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Low platelet count
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding
  • Increased amylase/lipase blood counts
  • Low phosphorus level
  • Constipation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Numbness, tingling or pain in hands and feet.
  • Dry skin
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bone, muscle, joint pain
  • Headache
  • Weight loss

These side effects may occur in 30% of patients taking Nexavar. Some patients or their family members shared their experiences with Nexavar.

  • From Hepatitis to Liver Cancer: Nexavar for Free – No Thanks

https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/11/06/from-hepatitis-to-liver-cancer-nexavar-for-free-%E2%80%93-no-thanks/

  • Liver Cancer: Benefit and Side Effects of Nexavar

https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/02/14/liver-cancer-benefit-and-side-effects-of-nexavar/

Comments

This is a sad  and pathetic story! Let’s start thinking a bit and ask some questions.

  1. Henry went to a TCM university hospital and he was prescribed pharmaceutical drugs. Does this sound right? Why do you need a TCM hospital then? Don’t you think the oncologists in a modern medicine hospitals are better trained and educated than those TCM professors or sinseh when it comes to prescribing pharmaceutical drugs?

Personally I was really disappointed after hearing this story. When I started CA Care more than twenty years ago, I learned and read a lot about TCM from the Chinese. My experience showed me that the traditional wisdom of healing can help cancer patients. And up to this day, I know I am still not wrong!

I would want to believe that those trained in TCM — in TCM university mind you — should be better and well placed to help cancer patients than me. To dish out chemo drugs to cancer patients is indeed a “betrayal” of sort. Hello TCM professors (I know that most TCM practitioners like to be called professors!) you can do better than that! 

Another disappointing thing is, even with TCM experts, they never teach patients that to get well patients need to take care of their diet and change their lifestyle. This is a real let down. What has gone wrong here?

Sun Simioa, China’s great physician said, Only those who apply diet for treatment are superb physicians. Doctors should first understand the cause of disease, then treat it with diet. Medicine should only be used if diet fails.

Indeed, you don’t have to be a TCM professor or scholar to understand this. Even some oncologists in the Western world know this very well.

  1. Sun Simiao also said, Whenever a great physician treats diseases, he should not give way to wishes and desires, but has to develop first a marked attitude of compassion. Above all, keep an open heart. “As I move on the right path I will receive great happiness as a reward without asking for anything in return.

From this great master of Chinese medicine, I learned about medical ethics, Sun Simiao was especially concerned about physicians being influenced by a desire for rewards, including financial rewards, fame, or favors granted to them: they should not have these as their goal. In the same note physicians should be honest — especially to their patients.

So, do you think the TCM doctor gave Henry an honest advice?

Take a look at the PET scan done in the TCM university hospital. His cancer is serious. His liver is badly damaged. And the cancer has spread to his lymph nodes and lungs. What is his chance of cure? Can we be honest about it?

Let’s be honest professor, what do you think can be achieved by asking Henry to shallow Adefovir,  Bicyclol and Sorafenib?

I believe this TCM professor would be able to help Henry better if he is well armed with the real art and deep knowledge of TCM. There is no need to “ape” what the western doctors do.

After looking at Henry’s PET scan and his blood test results — take note his alpha-fetoprotein was at 275,330 — I frankly told Henry no one on earth can ever “cure” him. He has to be realistic and know that his liver cancer is incurable. If he is able to live a quality life — can eat, can sleep, can move around and no pain — then be grateful and don’t ask for more.

This I believe can be achieved with the proper guidance of TCM principle and use of TCM herbs. For the past twenty plus years, I have given terminally ill patients herbs and taught them to change their diet and lifestyle. The results were amazing.

Let me end with this story …. A Tale of Two Patients: Alive and healthy — miraculous healing or fluke shot?

https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2017/05/20/a-tale-of-two-patients-alive-and-healthy-miraculous-healing-or-fluke-shot/

 

Health improved after two weeks on herbs. But will this healing last?

Two weeks ago, I posted the story of Rose, a 49-year-old Indonesian lady who had a big lump in her breast. She underwent surgery twice because the lump kept recurring. Then the non-cancerous massed turned cancerous. It spread to her lungs.

Rose was told to go for chemotherapy. She refused and came to seek out help.

Two weeks on our therapy, Rose got better. Listen to what her husband told us.

1. The swelling of her hands and feet subsided.

2. She can now stand up without difficulty and can walk around the house compound. This is something that she could not do earlier. Also before the herbs, she would feel breathless and sweat a lot even with a little bit of movement. All these are gone!

3. Her appetite has improved.

4. Her cough with itchy throat was gone.

5. Her sleep has improved.

Improvement does not mean cure!

I cautioned Rose’s husband that improvement does not mean cure. The family must always be careful — try to maintain this healing momentum so that more healing can go on without any disruption. Take care of the diet and do not eat anything you like even if you feel great.

My experience over the years tell me that most patients take things for granted after feeling better. Let me relate two stories which are still fresh in my mind that make me real “sick” — to be more precise, they break my “heart” !

A lady came after 10 chemos and 2 surgeries did not help her. Her oncologist told her that she would be lucky if she could live to celebrate Christmas (i.e. just a few months). She wrote me an email asking for help. I told her I would not be able to help her since she is from a faraway country. She insisted on coming to see us. Okay, come!

After four days on the e-therapy and herbs her pains were gone. She could go shopping the whole day. Before the therapy she could not even sit down without pain, let alone shopping!

She returned to her country and continued taking the herbs. Her condition improved. In December I reminded her to go and wish her oncologist “Merry Christmas” — after all she was NOT supposed to live that long anyway!

Then I sensed something was not right when she wrote to complain that she preferred taking the herbal extract instead of herbs that have to be brewed. I ignored her request. In the next mail, she wrote to say that she only wanted to take the capsules. She did not want the herbal teas anymore, giving the excuse that she could not afford to pay for the herbal tea — capsule okay! My reply: Please go and find someone else to help you. You can stop taking my herbs.

Not long after this “blow”, another lady came to seek our help. According to her husband, he found CA Care while browsing the internet trying to find a “cancer home” for his wife since no one is at home to take care of her. She was in severe pain and was not even able to sit down to talk to me without much discomfort. We put her on the e-therapy. Within a few days her pains were almost gone and she could sit down and talked like a healthy person. The e-therapy was discontinued since it was Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, she had pains again and we continued with the e-therapy. I think she got better.

On Tuesday she did not turn up saying that she had diarrhoea (healing crisis?). On Wednesday her husband came to take her file away. I did not even have a chance to meet him and know what has gone wrong. Anyway, the e-therapy that she did at our centre was free of charge!

In Rose’s case, it is wonderful to know that she has improved after just two weeks on herbs. But please don’t take for granted that we have a “magic portion” to cure her. Healing is your responsibility. We can help you but you must “work and earn ” for your well being. More important, don’t demand healing on your own terms! Please learn to be grateful for all the blessings that you receive. Don’t take your healing for granted!

 

Sarcoma Metastatised to Lung: Declined chemo. Still fine after 18 years!

In 2006 (wow! That’s about twelve years ago!) I wrote an article Healing of High Grade Soft Tissue Sarcoma Metastasized to Lung by Herbal Therapy in the Internet Journal of Health. 

http://ispub.com/IJH/5/2/11918.

This is a story about John (not real name) — 39 years old then. John’s problem started in February 1999 when he detected a small lump in his thigh. Since there was no pain he ignored it until the swelling increased to the size of a ping-pong ball some months later.

In March 2000, John underwent a surgery to remove the cancerous lump. The doctor resected quite a lot of the tissues out – the size of a “Milo tin”. The doctor tried to take out as much as possible, including the muscles – because it had already spread.

Histopathology report indicated a malignant tumour with features consistent with high grade soft tissue sarcoma. The doctor told John to get his papers in order and that he would probably have only 6 months to live.

About 3 months after the surgery, John sought a second opinion and was told by the second surgeon that the tumour was not completely removed during the first surgery. John underwent a second surgery. This was followed by 21 sessions of radiotherapy.

On both occasions – after the first and second surgeries, John declined chemotherapy.

About a year and half later, the cancer metastatised to his lung.

John underwent a third surgery to remove the nodules in his lung and the surrounding tissues. He again declined chemotherapy and opted for CA Care Therapy instead — that was in April 2000.Six years later, on 1 November 2006 I had the privilege of meeting John and interviewed him.

Chris: What made you so adamant in not wanting do chemotherapy?

John: I held on to my conviction of not doing chemotherapy after reading your book. You mentioned that after going through chemotherapy it does not really guarantee a cure or success. Chemotherapy kills both the good and the bad cells. The immune system will be weakened and compromised and you would probably succumb to the treatment rather than the disease itself. Based on that, I made my firm decision – no chemotherapy. If I had not read your book, I would have gone for chemotherapy because I had reached a point where I was about to say “yes” to chemotherapy. But then I pulled back. At that time the doctor was telling me that I could not afford to wait any more – he was putting pressure for me to go for chemotherapy.

Since then I have not heard from John and he was out of my “radar”.

Then came one blessed morning just before the Chinese New Year (2018).

A lady and her family came to seek our help for her cancer. As usual, my first question was, Who ask you to come here? 

The son replied, My friend. He was your patient many years ago. He had a lump in his thigh and then the cancer spread to his lung.

Chris: I can’t remember this case  … oh, oh … a man? I remember now — I think I talked to him once. You mean he is still alive? 

Son: Yes, doing well. He is a fighter and he takes care of his diet up to this day.

Listen to our conversation that morning.

 

 

 

Sarcoma: Without chemo die within 6 months! Six years on CA Care Therapy, still alive and well!

A few days ago, just before the Chinese New Year (2018), a couple from Indonesia came to seek our help. The husband, 58-years old was diagnosed with liver cancer.

As usual, my first question to patients who come to see us for the first time is, Who ask you to come here? The wife answered, H asked us to come and see you.

Chris: Oh H.  When did you last saw her? Is she still alive? Still healthy?

 Answer: Yes, she is doing very well. We communicate through handphone.  This is her picture she sent me yesterday.

C: I am really glad to know that she is alive! When you go home please tell her that I was thinking of her. I have not heard from her for a long time. I thought she had passed away.

Listen to this conversation this morning!

 

What is so special about this case you may want to ask. Oh yes, very special indeed.

About 6 years ago, H was diagnosed with a rare cancer — sarcoma “sitting” on top of her lung. The oncologist in Singapore said, Without chemo, 6 months to live. With chemo, you may live up to 2 years. But no cure.

H refused chemotherapy and came to seek our help instead. She was well. But we did not get to see H for some time already. The question in my mind, How is she doing? Still alive? Probably dead.

So, this is a miraculous case — thank God for such a blessing!

Below is her full story.

 

 

 

Woman, why do you allow this to happen to you?

The year 2018 started badly and sadly. I have many “sad” stories to share with you.

Rose is a 49-year-old Indonesian lady. About five years ago she had a swelling in her left breast. She came to a private hospital in Penang and have the lump removed. No further treatment was deemed necessary. The doctor probably thought it was just a fibroadenoma (a common non-cancerous breast lump).

Two years after the surgery, in 2016, the lump grew into a giant fibroadenoma and Rose underwent a mastectomy. Her whole left breast was removed. After surgery in Penang, she was sent home with no further treatment.

In early 2018, Rose started to cough and both her arms and legs are swollen. The lump in her breast grew back again. Rose came back to the same hospital and did a “health screening” test and paid RM 500 for a complied booklet about her health.

Her X-ray report said, “Lung metastasis from ? left breast carcinoma.”

 

Rose was referred to an oncologist of the hospital. She was told to undergo six cycles of chemotherapy.

Chris: Did you ask the doctor if chemotherapy is going to cure you?

Husband: We never ask.

Rose paid RM 160.00 for this consultation and was given a bottle of cough mixture to bring home!

What can we learn from this pathetic case?

  1. Your health is your responsibility. Many patients think that doctors know best and can fix all their problems. Once they go into the hospital, that’s it — they leave everything to the doctors! If that is your attitude, you will end up like Rose!

Rose found a lump in her breast. She had it removed. Hooray, it was not cancer — that is what everyone likes to hear. Then the lump grew back again — Rose went back to the same doctor and did a mastectomy. Did she ever ask any question — why this and why that? Probably not. The lump did not go away, as it grew bigger, Rose did not bother to consult another doctor — why did she allow the lump to grow so big like in the picture? Because it did not cause any pain, she said! When she started to cough and felt breathless, only then she decided to see the doctor again. She came back to the same hospital to do a “health screening” test. Is that the correct thing to do?

  1. Did Rose get the best of medical treatment? I am not too sure about that. A non-cancer lump became cancerous after two operations — is that a correct diagnosis? Did Rose go to the a “really good” doctor in town?

Remember, not all doctors are the same — in terms of experience, expertise and their empathy towards patients. As I was writing this story, one patient came. He said, The doctor told me there was about 5 liter of fluid in my lung. He tapped out 1 litre. I asked him why he did not remove the remaining 4 litre. He did not answer me. He was arrogant. What do you think of such doctors? Let him treat you again?

  1. Dr. Barry Boyd (in The Cancer Recovery Plan) wrote, “Most doctors don’t bother to counsel their patients after treatment. Once cancer treatment is completed, most patients are left on their own to cope with the rest of their lives. This is what I call falling off the cliff. Patients are left in free fall.”

Is this not what happened to Rose? Cut and cut, but was there any advice as to what to do to prevent or minimize the recurrence of the lump? No — just go home, do and eat what you like! Probably it is just your luck? If more problems crop up come back to us again and we cut you again or chemo you!

A taxi driver at the airport recommended that Rose come and consult us. When Rose came to see us, I thought it was a bit too late. Her health had deteriorated badly. I would try to help the best I can but I know I cannot make the big lump go away. I think it is not the lump that is going to kill her — it is the extensive lung metastasis.