Part 2: What did you get out a failed, RM150,000 treatment?

zebra

We felt sorry for SF, her hope crushed. After 12 cycles of chemo and spending RM 150,000, she was told the tumors had shrunk and she was cured! (Or did she misunderstood her doctor’s message?). But after one month at home, she had bleeding and came back to her doctor again. Her tumour had grown back to its original size. It was a failure. Her doctor did not have time for her and hurriedly told her to for surgery.

With wounded feelings she and her husband left the hospital and sought the help of another oncologist in another hospital. She was started on radiotherapy to be followed by chemotherapy. We felt SF should just continue with her medical treatment and not take our herbs yet. We sent set her away without any herbs.

SF and her husband came back to see us again after a few days. We spent almost 2 hours talking. It was a “heart-breaking” morning for me. I laid out my advice as clearly, honestly and bluntly as possible.  But I was mindful not to cause panic or to instill fear in her. Many times during our conversation,  I asked her and her husband to think clearly and deeply the implications of what she wanted to do. She should then make her own decision based on what her heart wanted, after considering various points I raised.

What did you get out of your failed RM150,000 treatment?

 

 

  1. Diarrhea after radiotherapy

Patient: I had diarrhea after the radiation.

C: Did you have any diarrhea before you went for radiation?

P: No, the diarrhoea started 2 days after the radiation (note: it continued as of this writing — already 3 weeks).

C: I really cannot tell you what else can happen after this. Did you ever ask the doctor if these treatments — radiation and chemotherapy — are going to cure you?

P: No, we never ask.

C: You should ask before you undergo all these!

  1. Tumor shrunk after the first round of chemotherapy!

P: After 6 cycles of chemo, I was told the tumour had shrunk. And I needed another 6 more cycles. The doctor said I was cured. I requested the doctor to do a CT scan for me to confirm the result. The doctor said, No need, you are already cured. Go home.

C: What? He said chemo cured you?

P: He asked me to come back after 2 months for review. But one month at home, I had bleeding and we brought forward our travel and came back to see the doctor again.

Husband: The tumour had grown bigger (back to its original size, see table below).

pelvic-mass

C: Did you ask the doctor why? Only last month he said you were already cured. Now, what happened.

P The doctor was angry.

C: Har?

H: We were confused. We returned to see the doctor one day before he was to go on leave. It seemed he was “uncomfortable” and told us crudely — You just go for the operation! We then went to see another oncoloogist in another hospital.

  1. Elevated liver function parameters

C:  Let’s look at your liver function results (table below).

liver-function

On 8 June 2016, after finishing 6 cycles of chemo, your liver function was still okay. But you see what happened after you did 12 cycles of chemo. All the liver enzymes values were elevated. Your liver was going downhill. Okay, some people may want to rationalize that it is normal after chemotherapy. The liver function enzymes will go back to normal again after you stop chemo. Well, I don’t know if you want to believe that or not.

You are going to be given more chemo. I cannot tell you what is going to happen to your liver after this. I don’t know how many more cycles of chemo they are going to give you, and what drugs they want to use. If they give you the more toxic or aggressive drugs, what is going to happen to your liver?

They want to give you more chemo because they hope to shrink the tumour before they proceed with surgery. You have already done 12 cycles of chemo in Hospital A before. The tumour shrunk and grew back after a month. Think carefully, what do you hope to achieve this time with chemotherapy? Shrink the tumour again?

  1. Lung nodules disappeared

P: The doctor told me that the nodules in my lungs were all gone after the chemotherapy. At least, my lungs are free of cancer.

C: Wrong Ibu (mama)! Yes, the lung nodules were completely gone after the chemo but in the October 2016 scan, there was again a 0.6cm nodule in your lung. So the impression you had was wrong.

P: I did not know this. I did not understand all this. Only now that you have told me this.

lung-nodule

  1. Chemotherapy means sufferings

C:  Two days ago, a lady came to see me on behalf of her elderly father who had lung cancer. She consulted the same oncologist (the second oncologist, not the first oncologist in Hospital A) that you went to. This oncologist told the lady that her father needs chemo but chemo is going to cause many side effects and he would suffer. The oncologist also said that the father could go for oral drug. But oral chemo-drug can also cause sufferings.

On hearing this, the daughter “ran away” and would not want any more medical treatment for her father! At least we should be glad that this oncologist was honest to tell us this.

Patients are an ignorant lot!

C: This episode really make me sad. For years I have been trying to “educate” patients. I wonder if I have failed miserably? I understand all that you have said and gone through. You put your full trust in your doctors — they are your gods — and the gods failed you!

docs-are-gods

Also, unfortunately some of these gods are not honest. They don’t tell you the whole truth that you need to know.

doctors-lie

P: Indeed I don’t understand all these.

C: You came to see me twice. I have explained to you what I know and I ask you to think carefully what you want to do.

H:  Before this I believed that after the surgery — the tumour gone —  all problems would be solved! That was what I thought. I did not know all these before your explanation. Now, I understand and realise the implications.

P: I was hoping that after the chemo, I would be cured. I did not want to go for surgery!

 

 

 

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Breast Cancer: IDR 4 Billion Gone, One Breast Lost

Jenny (not real name) was 44 years old when she found a lump in her right breast. A mammography done in a Singapore hospital on 21 December 2009 indicated no mammographic evidence of malignancy.

An ultrasound done on 22 December 2009 in another hospital showed the following:

Right breast

  • 1 o’clock palpable nodule, 2.15 x 1.8 x 0.9 cm
  • 2 o’clock nodule, 0.72 x 0.56 x 0.39 cm
  • 12 o’clock nodule, 0.36 x 0.54 x 0.29 cm

Left breast

  • 4 o’clock nodule, 0.84 x 0.72 x 0.41 cm
  • 10 o’clock nodule, 0.45 x 0.74 x 0.22 cm

Bilateral axillary lymph nodes

  • Right – 1.07 x 1.35 x 0.66 cm
  • Left – 1.31 x 1.44 x 0.55 cm

A lumpectomy was done and the histology report showed:

  • Extensive high grade ductal carcinma-in-situ with foci of stromal invasion.
  • Largest grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma is 12 mm across.
  • Lymphovascular involvement suspected.
  • Multiple resection margins involved.
  • Tumor is positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors.
  • There is HER2 and p53 over-expression.

In September 2010, Jenny and her husband came to seek our advice. We told Jenny to go and have her entire right breast removed. She hesitated and we did not get to see Jenny again until 5 years later.

In November 2015, Jenny and her husband came to seek our help again and shared with us her IDR 4 billion adventure with the oncologists in Singapore.

Listen to our conversation that day.

 

 

Gist of our conversation.

Chris: You came in 2010.

Husband: Dr. Chris asked to go for mastectomy. My wife did not want to go for the operation. She had chemo.

C: Wait, first there were lumps in her breast. Why did you not want to go for operation?

H: Afraid.

Chemo and More Chemo — Bleeding Financially

C: After you consulted us, you went home and then went to see an oncologist in Singapore. You had chemo. Did you ask if the chemo was going to cure you?

H: The doctor said, yes can cure — guarantee!

C: Oh, that oncologist guaranteed that the cancer could be cured? Another breast cancer patient also went to this same oncologist — also guaranteed a cure! But unfortunately, after chemo and more chemo the cancer went to her brain. She eventually died (see story under comment). So for you, chemo after chemo — also can cure?

H: The lump was gone.

Jenny: Normal.

H: Normal but the oncologist kept wanting us to have more chemo. So we ran away from that oncologist.

C: Why did you run away from that oncologist?

H: Cannot afford to pay anyway — we were bleeding financially.

C: Oh, you ran away because you could not afford paying for the treatments. That was after how long of receiving the chemo?

H: Almost one to one and half years of chemo like in the chart below (chart prepared by husband).

1-chemo-injections

Note: From 25 October 2011 to 14 June 2012, Jenny received:

  • 12 injections of Herceptin.
  • 16 injections of Navelbine.
  • 20 injections of 5-FU.
  • In addition, she was given Eprex and Gran (self administered at home) to deal with her low blood counts. Refer to comment section to know what this blood boosting injection is all about.

Another oncologist: Don’t worry. We have a lot of medicine to treat you!

C: You ran away from the first oncologist and found another one. This oncologist once told a patient, “Don’t worry, we have a lot of medicine to treat you!” And this oncologist gave you one drug after another? When one medicine is not effective, change to another one? So you were started on oral drugs. Was it cheaper?

H: Ya, much cheaper because my wife just need to swallow the pills.

Jenny: Cheaper!

C: Did you ask the oncologist if the medicines were going to cure you?

J: Just to control.

C: How long were you taking these medicines — one type after another?

H: A long time, from January 2013 to November 2015. When the first round of oral drugs failed, the oncologist started her on Herceptin injections as well.

2-Oral-1

  • January 2013 to November 2013: On Cyclophosphamide + MTX. PET scan showed failure.
  • December 2013 to July 2014: On TS1 + Herceptin injection.
  • July 2014 to October 2014: On Herceptin injection + Kadcyla (Trastuzumab emtansine)
  • October 2014 to November 2014: Back to oral drug TS1 again + Tykerb (lapatinib).

3-Oral-2a

  • January 2015 to June 2015: On Herceptin injection + Tykerb (lapatinib) again.
  • July 2015 to September 2015: On Herceptin injection + Perjeta (pertuzumab) + Taxotere + Filgratim (Gran).
  • November 2015: On Aromasin (exemetane).

C: What happened after taking all those oral drugs for more than a year?

H: The cancer came back again. The oncologist then started her on Herceptin injection again. She had a total of 7 injections.

C: Did you ask if this kind of injection was going to cure her?

H: The oncologist said the medicine given earlier did not work. Because of that the medicine had to be changed and changed. After one medicine failed another different medicine was tried. Then the doctor tried Kadcyla injection. This too did not work and the doctor changed to lapatinib. After lapatinib failed it was back to chemo injection again.

C: Then what eventually happened?

H: When the cancer did not go away in spite of all those treatments, Jenny had to remove her breast. After the mastectomy the doctor wanted to continue giving her chemo again — more Herceptin and pertuzumab (Perjeta).

Confused

C: I am really confused!

H: Me too. I also know that Herceptin can adversely affect the heart.

C:  When you first came to see us, I asked you to remove your breast. But you did not do that. You opted for chemo. Then after chemo and more chemo and also spending a lot of money you also lost your breast. How much did you spend for all those treatments?

H: A lot of money, about IDR 4 Billion.

C: Do you think the oncologists are good?

H: They spin money!

J: More and more chemo, until we have no more money!

Comments

When injecting toxic chemo drugs into patients, the oncologists also gave their patients Eprex and Gran. These are blood boosting shots. Perhaps this was done as a precaution because chemo could make the platelets, red and white blood go down. Perhaps too this is also a way to keep patients happy and well. Of course patients pay for such injection. But what is not known to patients is that this “red juice” and “white juice” may encourage tumor growth! Dr. Otis Brawley is an oncologist. Read what he wrote below:

Read juice

Different Oncologist, Different Business Model but Similar Pathetic Story

  1. Cure Guaranteed!

APT 1 APT 2 APT 3

From: http://bookoncancer.com/productDetail.php?P_Id=76

 2. We have a lot of medicine to treat you!

Hw 1

Hw-Composite-1 Hw-Composite-2

Hw 2

From: http://bookoncancer.com/productDetail.php?P_Id=75

One final note. IDR 4 billion — I could not imagine how “big a sum” this is. A patient who went to China for treatment of his lung cancer also spent a similar amount. And he came home just as disappointed. According to his wife, IDR 4 billion is worth 2 bungalow houses if you live somewhere around Medan.

 

 

 

Chemo Kills

Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a neurosurgeon and author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That KillsHealth & Nutrition Secrets to Save Your Life and Cancer Strategerieshttp://www.russellblaylockmd.com) wrote an article: How Modern Medicine Killed My Brother.

Let me quote some of what he wrote:

  • Earlier this month, I traveled to Monroe, La., to bury my dear older brother, Charles. Charles, unfortunately, began smoking when he was in law school, something I warned him about repeatedly.
  • After misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis, Charles was eventually diagnosed with lung cancer. Once the diagnosis was made, an oncologist was naturally called, who wanted to start a complete course of chemotherapy drugs.
  • I advised my brother against it, knowing the cancer would not respond and the toxic drugs would dramatically increase his breathing difficulties, hastening his death. He took my advice.
  • Then, a radiation oncologist suggested radiating the tumor to shrink it. I wasn’t supportive of this treatment, but my brother wanted something done. Soon afterward, he started five and a half weeks of radiation treatment.
  • The oncologist told Charles he was losing too much weight and he needed to eat more bread, pasta and even sweets to gain weight. …I told him that losing the weight would make it easier for him to breath. I had given him a copy of my book on the nutritional treatment of cancer and told him it was critical he follow the advice exactly.
  • Unfortunately, Charles decided he didn’t like the taste of the blenderized vegetables and would do what the oncologist suggested. He began to eat ice cream, cookies and other items that cancer patients should never eat. Once he finished the radiation treatments, he developed fever, severe shortness of breath and had to be admitted to the hospital… he had to be intubated and placed on a respirator.
  • The practice of medicine has changed drastically in the world, especially in this country.
  • The new breed of doctor, like my brother’s doctors … are convinced this “cookbook” medicine is superior and their elite journals and medical associations know best… they are mere cogs in the wheel …They are unable to think for themselves.
  • Unfortunately, doctors, like those who killed my brother, are being turned out of medical schools all over the country like robots.

Read carefully what Dr. Blaylock wrote and you will soon realize that such tragedy can happen anywhere and everywhere; over and over again. And yet no one seems to learn.

Let it be known, this is how the world operates — misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis; surgery, chemo or radiation if it is  cancer; eat anything you like, etc. etc. It is all the same in every hospital you are in no matter where you are. Then the patient may eventually dies! For those who can afford, not before spending a pile of money. Yes, the family feels good for putting up a great fight — heroic act, so to say, in trying to save their loved one.

I can fully understand how frustrated Dr. Blaylock felt having to go through the experience he had described — seeing first-hand how modern medicine killed his brother but being unable to do anything to help even though he himself is a medical doctor.

Chemo Kills

I decided to write this article to share with you my own experience, which is somewhat similar to Dr. Blaylock’s.  No, it did not happen to my own brother or sister, but a very close dear relative, two years younger than me.

Not too long ago (June 2015) this dear relative was diagnosed with a recurrent cancer. Unfortunately the cancer had spread to her liver which had ruptured, spilling fluid in the abdomen and pelvis. The cancer could have infiltrated the pancreas as well. The right lung was filled with fluid and the cancer could have also spread to her lungs.

Her CA 125 = 775.6; CA 15.3 = 234.5; and CA 19.9 =171.2

No doubt, to anyone who knows something about cancer, this is a very serious case with no chance of a cure. Her doctor wrote: she is not a candidate for surgery due to the advanced disease and also her poor general condition. However, she may perhaps benefit from systemic therapy. In simple language, she had to undergo chemotherapy (what else?).

I was not involved in any decision that the family made — rightly, this is what it should be.  Everyone in the family should have a say but no outsider involved!

Perhaps, as a matter of “courtesy”,  I received a call informing me that she was going for chemotherapy as advised by the “best oncologist in the best hospital” in the country.

On hearing this, I did my part — not to object to chemotherapy but to explain what chemo is (even if I am aware that the family consists of medically educated members). It took me more than an hour to deliver my simple but crude message: Chemo is going to kill her.  My estimation was she would not go pass three rounds of this poisonous treatment. She will die.

Round one of chemo caused much misery.

Round two of carboplatin resulted in an almost total disaster. She had to be hospitalised — she was weak, unable to walk, was very fatigued and had very poor appetite. All along, she was on morphine due to severe pain.  Her blood was low and she needed blood transfusion. Fluid had to be tapped out of her right lung.  At last, the doctor’s recommendation —  supportive cares, no further chemo.  In simple layman language they gave up on her after two shots of chemo.

It was at this point that the family went into a frenzy and started to call me for help. Needless to say, I was glad that the doctor had come to realise the folly of giving chemo to terminally ill patient. Chemo had been shown to add misery to the already miserable patient.

My advice to the family were:

  1. Let her stay in the hospital for a while more to stablize her condition after all the damage done.
  2. Okay, put in the blood because she is anemic.
  3. Take care of the diet …no rubbish food.
  4. Bring the house maid to our centre so that we can teach her how to cook “healthy food.”
  5. Drink juices. But can take porridge BUT no meat, egg, sugar, oil, etc. … a bit of fish okay.
  6. Once she is stable then we can slowly give her the herbs.
  7. From the medical reports, she needs a lot of herb teas but I am not going to be too ambitious or aggressive because after the chemo had destroyed the stomach lining, she may react badly to the herbs.
  8. Slowly, later, I shall replace the morphine with Pain Tea. But for now she can still take the painkiller because of the pain.

We need herbs for her liver, pancreas, lymph nodes, lung (even fluid in the lung) and abdominal distension / ascites. I have herbs for all these problems … but as I have said let her recover from the chemo damage first otherwise she would throw out all these.

Please let me know how she is recovering after the transfusion. Be sure that I am ready to do my best to help in whatever way I can.

Sadly, a day after I wrote the e-mail, a message came through that this dear relative died.

I took this news with a heavy heart but I expected this tragic end all along. I was sad at the same time angry because I felt helpless.

Nevertheless, after seeing deaths like this happen a hundred and one times, it dawned on me that the ultimate and  true healing for any terminal cancer patient is death. If possible, let death comes without pain or any added man-made sufferings.  Let us die with  dignity surrounded by our loved ones. Let us not die as a rotten vegetable. That is what I would want it to be — for me.

Do you really know what chemo is?

Onco dont tell the truth about chemo

Chemo one poison combination

Chemo kill  Compassonate onco Chemo kill patient

Chemo-MORE Harm than-g

Chemo-drug-makes-cancer-wor

Chemo drugs 3 percetn effective

 Chemo-and-Prolong-Life

Ang Peng Thiam

Chemo-Suffer-near-death

Wrong

Lies-Damned-Lies-and-Medica

Let me end by asking you to reflect on what Henry Ford and Albert Einstein said:

 Insanity both

To my dear relative. Now that you are gone, rest in peace with the Lord.

Heaven is such a beautiful place. In the not too distant future, we shall meet again.

Related articles:

https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2015/09/16/what-really-matters-at-the-end-of-life/

https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/11/26/the-cold-hard-facts-about-the-us-cancer-program-part-2-misguided-and-ineffective/

https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/11/03/dissecting-chemotherapy-11-no-chemo-for-dad%E2%80%99s-liver-cancer-%E2%80%93-wisdom-of-a-daughter/

https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2014/06/01/using-emotions-of-fear-or-hope-to-sell-cancer-treatments/

 

 

 

Why do cancer drugs get such an easy ride?

BMJ 2015350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2068 (Published 23 April 2015)Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2068

Donald W Light, professor and Joel Lexchin, professor 

Rushed approvals result in a poor deal for both patients and cancer research

Unlike most other diseases, cancer instils a special fear and “is treated as an evil, invincible predator, not just a disease.”

The ability of drug companies to charge very high prices, even when most approved cancer drugs provide little gain for patients, drives much of the research, as desperate patients lead some governments and private insurers to pay whatever companies charge.

Officials within the US Food and Drug Administration are enthusiastic about new cancer drugs. Richard Pazdur, who oversees oncology activities for the FDA says that new cancer drugs are so effective that “We don’t have a lot of questions on [these] drugs because they’re slam dunks. It’s not if we’re going to approve them. It’s how fast we’re going to approve them.”

The methodological weaknesses in oncology trials do not support such enthusiasm.

Trials for cancer drugs were 2.8 times more likely not to be randomised, 2.6 times more likely not to use a comparator (single arm), ….

and to READ MORE ….. Article access for 1 day: Purchase this article for £23 $37 €30 * http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h2068

If you don’t have the money to pay for a one day access to this article, try “googling” the subject matter, and with some luck you get a “free ride” and enjoy comments from various sources.

From http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150507135917.htm: Highly priced cancer drugs get rushed approvals despite poor trial methodology and little effect on the longevity of patients, cautions York University Professor Dr. Joel Lexchin in the School of Health Policy and Management.

“Patients and their doctors should demand that regulators require pharma companies to provide clear evidence of clinical effectiveness of the drugs, resulting from rigorous methodology,” suggests Lexchin. “Drug agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicine Agency (EMA) don’t actually look at whether people live longer.”

In an article in the British Medical Journal, titled “Why do cancer drugs get such an easy ride?,” Lexchiin and co-author Donald Light, a professor in the School of Osteopathic Medicine, Rowan University in New Jersey, note that accelerated approval and shortened review times also make it a smooth sail for cancer drugs.

Lexchin cites earlier research reviewing solid cancer drugs within 10 years of EMA approval to point out that these drugs improved survival by just over a month.

“Similarly 71 drugs approved by the FDA from 2002 to 2014 for solid tumours have resulted in median gains in progression-free and overall survival of only 2.5 and 2.1 months, respectively,” he says adding, “Also, only 42 per cent met the American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer Research Committee’s criteria for meaningful results for patients.”

From: http://www.yourhealthbase.com/ihn260.pdf: How Effective Are Newer Chemotherapy Drugs?

  • An editorial in the April 23, 2015 British Medical Journal examined the recent accelerated drug approval process for cancer drugs in both the US and Europe. The subtitle was “Rushed approvals result in a poor deal for both patients and cancer research.”
  • This editorial contains some extremely disturbing statistics and information the authors obtained from reviewing the chemotherapy clinical study literature and other papers over the last 8 to 10 years.
  • Between 2007 and 2010, … almost 9000 oncology clinical drug trials were compared with trials for other diseases, the former were 2.6 times more likely not to use a comparator and 1.8 time more likely not be blinded (open to bias from the investigators) … this undermine the validity of the outcomes, it also reflect what regulators will allow. (In lay man language this means bad research. And the regulators — FDA, allows that!).
  • The European Medicine Agency … found that new oncology drugs improved survival by a mean of 1.5 months and a median of 1.2 months.
  • The 71 drugs approved by the US FDA from 2002 to 2014 for solid tumors have resulted in median gains in progression-free survival of 2.5 months and overall survival of 2.1 months. (Pay thousands of ringgit plus suffer side effects and you live 2.5 months longer? Not cured? As you told about this before you started paying though your nose?).
  • Post-marketing changes in the package insert (so-called label) were substantially greater for oncology drugs given priority approval as compared to those going through the much longer standard process, which the authors suggest reflects deficiencies in the accelerated review process. (In layman language it means, quicky, sloppy job — a rush to make quick bucks?)
  • Both the European and US regulators allow companies to test cancer drugs using a surrogate endpoint rather than survival or other more patient-centered outcomes. Tumor size is given as an example of an unreliable endpoint since it is highly variable in predicting overall survival. (In layman language the measure of trial outcome is not reliable. Just making the size of tumor smaller — or tumour shrinkage — may not mean anything. Surely it does not mean the cancer is cured! So, the measure of effectiveness is faulty).
  • In 2013, two peer-reviewed papers appeared where a total of over 100 oncologists protested against the high prices being charged for cancer drugs when 11 out of 12 approved in 2012 provided only small benefits for patients. (Do you realize that chemo drugs are getting more expensive …the prices of the newer drugs are beyond our imagination. But are they effective? Yes, make you live longer by 2 or 3 months????? But patients want a CURE)
  • The authors term the approval process an “Easy Ride” and suggest that this serves both patients and research badly.
  • It can also be argued that the majority of cancer drug development research currently leading to new drug approval is bogged down in merely getting more ineffective drugs approved in the hope that marginal improvements in survival will lead to enhanced profits. (The root of this evil is greed! They go after your cancer or after your money?)
  • … generally priced so high that the choice is between bankruptcy or declining treatment except for the wealthy.
  • The results discussed above are consistent with those presented in 2004 by Morgan et al14. Based on reports from Australia between 1992 and 1997, the contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was 2.3% whereas in the US it was 2.1%. These results suggest that over this period in these two countries chemotherapy made little contribution to cancer survival. (Yes, they tell you … chemo will give 60% chance, 99% chance, bla, bla …the Australian showed chemo is only 2 or 3% effective).
  • Furthermore, not much appears to haves changed between 1992 and 2014 from the patient’s perspective. It is important to note that we are talking about cancers that involve solid tumors. (Why change or improve? As it is – the drug companies are happy, hospitals and doctors are happy! And patients believe and trust them!)
  • BOTTOM LINE: When offered one of the new “wonder” chemotherapeutic drugs, it is important to ascertain the actual expected life extension in order to weigh this against the side effects. Trivial life extensions are sufficient to gain regulatory approval and allow patients to be told the treatment will extend their life. Unless carefully qualified, such an approach appears unethical.

 

 

Stomach Cancer: No to surgery and chemo. Why?

EK is a 66-year-old female. About 2 years ago, she felt stomach discomforts after eating. If she had soft diet, then she was okay. She did nothing about this problem. During the Chinese New Year, 2015, she felt something blocking when she took food. Then she vomited. The problem went away after that. In June 2015, she went to a medical clinic and the doctor said she might have thyroid problem. However, an endoscopy and biopsy in July 2015 indicated stomach cancer.

EK and her son came to seek out help after being told that EK had to undergo chemotherapy followed by surgery. EK did not want to undergo these procedures. Why? Listen to our conversation that day.

 

 

Summary of our conversation

Chris:  Does your mother know about this?

Patient: Yes. When doing the scope, the doctor told me on the spot that I have cancer. The doctor then asked me to undergo chemo. Must decide immediately. Chemo is to shrink the tumour first. After that, they will operate me, to remove my stomach.

Son: He was trying to convince her to immediately proceed with the treatment. But when I did research on line the chemo does not work so well with diet causing cancer.

C: I understand. You are not the only one. Many others are like you too. You do not get cancer only yesterday. Perhaps it has been there for the past 5 or even 10 years already.

P: Only 2 years ago.

C: Perhaps 5 years ago it was already there but it did not show up and you did not feel anything. Most people do not “listen” to their body. For you, only now it shows up. What do you want to do? You have to decide. Correct, on the one hand you can have it removed and maybe it is gone. Do you want to operate?

P: I don’t want to operate. The doctor told me if I do not operate the tumour will grow. It may cause blockage and  bleeding. And it is going to be very painful.

C: The doctor said you have to do chemo first and then surgery. Did you ask him if these procedures are going to cure you?

P: No doctor would guarantee that.

S: Why I feel not satisfied is every time we discuss with the doctor — he never want to tell us the probability. They don’t know. Depend on patient, this can happen, that can happen. They don’t know and dare not go into this subject.

P: The doctor told me it is going to be 50: 50.

S: They never tell us about the side effects. What can happen after that? I spent about 2 weeks researching (in the internet) I know that there are a lot of (side effects).

C: Okay, take it easy. Relax. Go home and think about it and decide. Listen to your heart and not your head. If your heart says operate, then go for the operation. If your heart says no operation, then don’t do the operation.  Take it easy.

This is a major surgery. The whole stomach has to be removed. Understand this. If the cancer does not spread, then removing it is good. Clean and throw it away and it is gone. But if the cancer has already spread, that is where the problem is. If it has already gone to the liver, what do you do? Cut the liver also? It is hard for us to decide what is the best thing to do now.

After removing your stomach, you can’t eat anything you like any more. You need to adjust your diet. It is going to be a bit difficult.

Then that 50:50 chance — may be it may not end up 50:50 at all — we don’t know.

You can’t blame the doctor because that is all they know.

Then, back to this again. What if you do not do operate? First, the tumour may grow and block (the passage way). You cannot eat and vomit. So, you may have to face these problems.

All these basically mean — you cut, you die; you don’t cut you also die. But everybody also has to die. The question to ask is: How do you want to die? That is the most important thing.

If you go for surgery, you may die on the table. We don’t know.

P: Yes, that was what the doctor told me. If something goes wrong, you die.

C: You also need to know this. If you cut, you also need to suffer later … due to the chemo, etc. Go through all these sufferings and die. May be not worth it. This is one scenario. Another scenario is, now you are still well with no problem. If you can take care of yourself, maybe you don’t have to die sooner, may be you don’t have to suffer so much. But know that one day you have to die. So, which one do you want” Think for yourself.

You come and see us — can we cure you? No, we are not god. But we also know that we have helped a lot of people already. They don’t die that soon. But they have to learn how to help themselves. Learn how to live with your cancer. Tell your cancer — you stay in there but don’t disturb me, and I don’t disturb you. If I die, you (cancer) also die.

If there is blockage, then you have to go for surgery. If not, relax.

We know this is dangerous, we know this is a rare cancer. In one year, we do not see many case like this.

Okay, do you want to go home and think first what you want to do?

P: No, I don’t want surgery. Then go for chemo — no, my whole body would collapse! The doctor also told me that even if I did the operation, he would not be able to remove everything. May be something may be left behind. Because of that, I want to go for natural therapy.

C: Do you understand that it may not cure you? People come and ask us to cure them. Our answer is, No we cannot cure you. Because we know that cancer cannot be cured, but to help you — YES. But you have to want to help yourself first. But how long you want to help yourself is up to you. Some people get well after 6 months — they forget what we taught them after that!

S: Professor. Thanks for reminding us. I know in terms of diet, it is not easy to change.

Comments

EK and her son were desperate. And they need help. The doctor wanted her to go for chemo and surgery for her stomach cancer that had probably spread to the liver, pancreas, spleen and lymph nodes. In simple language, this is an advanced cancer,  where surgery alone cannot cure her.  The cancer cannot be totally removed. That means, the chance of recurrence is very high. In addition EK has to undergo chemotherapy. EK knew what she was asked to go into and decided not to follow the medical way.

EK and her son clearly need help. CA Care was set up to exactly to do this — to help those in need of direction and help. And we are ready to help. But for those who come to CA Care in search of “magic bullet” or any easy way out, then we say you have come to the wrong place. Please go elsewhere to shop for your cure.

EK’s son took time to browse the internet for more information. He was clearly unhappy that he could not discuss anything with the doctors. Understandable, doctors are busy people and they don’t have the time to explain things to the patients or their family members.  Read what Dr. Heymann wrote:

Doctor visit 12 minutes

It is unfortunate that doctors do not have the time to show much concern about the patients. EK was told right there and then, while doing the scope, that she has cancer and chemo has to be done immediately. The message came like a bomb. No doubt about, the “death sentence” as many like to call it, caused much anxiety and distress not only to the patient but also the entire family. Patients and their family members want to know MORE, but they cannot get much information from the doctor. At CA Care, we try our best to answer your concerns and provide information as honestly as we can — to empower you with knowledge so that you can make informed decisions.

Bill-Henderson-Informatin-i

While in the midst of writing this story, a patient came to our centre. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread extensively to his liver. After the CT scan, the doctor told him: We cannot operate you. We cannot chemo you. Go home, eat anything you like and go and play as much golf as you like. The patient told us, I know what that mean. The doctor virtually told me to go home and wait to die. It was indeed a great let down. We don’t know how he took it, knowing that this man was once the deputy head of a state government, a VVIP.  He and his wife spent about one and half hours at our centre. We answered everything that they wanted to know. No doubt, they were satisfied. They now know what they CAN and NEED to do next.

Read again what Dr. Jody Heymann wrote:

Hospital not concern of patients

Pose this question to the Power-that-Be, Given the above situation, what can we do to improve the situation? Is building more hospitals  the answer? Perhaps we don’t need expensive hospitals but train people who run hospitals with a more “human heart”.

I am fully aware too that during our consultation, I am often very blunt. To most people, may be the mention of the word “death” is a taboo and is very objectionable. But at CA Care, we often bring this subject up with the patients. This is because we want them to understand the bigger picture of the problem. We fully understand, ALL patients want to be cured of their cancer, no matter how advanced their disease may be. Many patients say they want to “fight” to the end. Well said, but do you still want to fight with the SAME weapons,  if you know with almost certainty that you are going to lose the war. In addition, you  suffer as a consequence. Some even leave a “big hole” in their bank account for the next-of-kin to settle. The only winners in the game are the doctors, hospitals and drug companies!

Perhaps you may wish to reflect on these two quotations:

47-Late-stage-cancer-no-tre

 

Chemo-Suffer-near-death

We are not implying here that patients with terminal cancer should just give up — go home and wait to die like the case of the VVP above. Far from it. Perhaps the question to ask is, If the expensive, scientific medicine cannot cure your cancer, can there be another option? At least another option which can allow patients to live in peace without suffering, even though we all know that cancer cannot be cured.

EK and the VVIP above did not give up. At least they came to CA Care and they found “peace” and a new “hope”.

 

 

 

When Chemotherapy Does More Harm than Good

Chemo-MORE Harm than-g

One of the news reports above was written by Alice Park,  Time: 23 July 2015. You can read it here: http://time.com/3968918/when-chemotherapy-does-more-harm-than-good/

Some points highlighted in the article:

  • Latest data suggests that chemotherapy can also do more harm than good for some patients.
  • Holly Prigerson, director of the Center for Research on End of Life Care at Weill Cornell Medical College and her colleagues studied the use of chemotherapy among a group of 312 terminal cancer patients. All had been given no more than six months by their doctors, and had failed at least one if not multiple rounds of chemotherapy. About half were on chemotherapy, regardless of its ineffectiveness, at the time of the study.
  • Despite the common assumption that any treatment is better than none, there is not much evidence that chemotherapy is the right choice in these cases—and it may very well be the wrong one.
  • Prigerson’s analysis showed that these patients experience a drop in their quality of life if they get chemo, and that they are therefore worse off than if they hadn’t opted for the treatment.
  • Prigerson said: “The finding that the quality of life was impaired with receipt of the toxic chemotherapy was not surprising. The surprising part was that people who were feeling the best at the start of the therapy ended up feeling the worst. They are the ones most harmed and who had the most to lose.”
  • In other words, the chemo made the patients feel worse without providing any significant benefit for their cancer.
  • Previous studies have shown that chemotherapy in terminal patients is essentially ineffective.
  • And whatever tumor shrinkage occurred wasn’t linked to a longer life.
  • The decision about how long to continue care, including chemotherapy, is up to each cancer patient.
  • Despite explanations from their doctors, many cancer patients still believe that more rounds of chemo will provide some benefit to them, and are therefore reluctant to stop receiving therapy. But at some point, the data shows, more treatment is not better.
  • For patients with end-stage cancer who are still relatively healthy and not feeling sick, additional chemotherapy will likely make them weaker, not to mention eat up more of the precious time they have left traveling to and from infusion centers.
  • Prigerson … hopes the latest findings at least convince doctors to reconsider how they advise their terminal patients about end-stage chemotherapy.

For those who want to believe only in “scientific papers”, let’s go to the study of Dr. Prigerson et al., published in JAMA Oncology: 23, 2015: http://oncology.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2398177

Chemotherapy Use, Performance Status, and Quality of Life at the End of Life

Holly G. Prigerson, PhD1,2; Yuhua Bao, PhD3; Manish A. Shah, MD4; M. Elizabeth Paulk, MD6; Thomas W. LeBlanc, MD, MA5; Bryan J. Schneider, MD7; Melissa M. Garrido, PhD8,9; M. Carrington Reid, MD, PhD2; David A. Berlin, MD10; Kerin B. Adelson, MD13; Alfred I. Neugut, MD, PhD11,12; Paul K. Maciejewski, PhD1,14

  • Physicians have voiced concerns about the benefits of chemotherapy for patients with cancer nearing death.
  • In 2012, an American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) expert panel identified chemotherapy use among patients for whom there was no evidence of clinical valueas the most widespread, wasteful, and unnecessary practice in oncology.
  • Despite the lack of evidence to support the practice, chemotherapy is widely used in cancer patients with poor performance status and progression following an initial course of palliative chemotherapy.
  • Available data for patients with NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer) show a response rate of 2% for third-line and 0% for fourth-line chemotherapy.
  • Although many patients with end-stage cancer are offered chemotherapy to improve quality of life (QOL), the association between chemotherapy and QOL amid progressive metastatic disease has not been well-studied.
  • The goal of palliative chemotherapy for patients with incurable cancer is to prolong survival and promote QOL.
  • We have shown that chemotherapy use among patients with metastatic cancer whose cancer has progressed while receiving prior chemotherapy was not significantly related to longer survival but was associated with more aggressive medical care in the patient’s final week and heightened risk of dying in an intensive care unit.
  • The objective of this study was to examine the effect of chemotherapy use on patient quality of life in the last week of life — QOL near death (QOD). Patient QOD was determined using validated caregiver ratings of patients’ physical and mental distress in their final week. QOD scale: 0 (worst possible) to 10 (best possible).

The results of this study showed that:

  • Chemotherapy use was not associated with patient survival.
  • Among patients with good (ECOG score = 1) baseline performance status, chemotherapy use compared with nonuse was associated with worse QOD.
  • Although palliative chemotherapy is used to improve QOL for patients with end-stage cancer, its use did not improve QOD for patients with moderate or poor performance status and worsened QOD for patients with good performance status.
  • The QOD in patients with end-stage cancer is not improved, and can be harmed, by chemotherapy use near death, even in patients with good performance status.
  • Patients receiving palliative chemotherapy with an ECOG performance status of 0 or 1 had significantly worse QOD than those who avoided chemotherapy. No difference in QOD scores was observed by chemotherapy use among those with ECOG performance status of 2 or 3.
  • Given no observed survival benefit in the studied patients with refractory metastatic disease and the observed significant association between chemotherapy use and worse QOL in the final week of life among those with a baseline ECOG score of 1, these results highlight the potential harm of chemotherapy in patients with metastasic cancer toward the end of life, even in patients with good performance status.
  • Chemotherapy use in patients with metastatic cancer with chemotherapy-refractory disease is common. A recent study found 62% of NSCLC patients received chemotherapy within 60 days of death.The trend toward more aggressive care of terminally ill patients is increasing and has been noted as a serious problem in the Institute of Medicine’s 2014 report Dying in America.
  • Our results raise questions about the benefits and use of chemotherapy in patients in the end-stage of their illness regardless of their performance status.
  • Our study does highlight the danger of continuing chemotherapy as patients approach the end of life.
  • Results of this study suggest that chemotherapy use among patients with chemotherapy-refractory metastatic cancer is of questionable benefit to patients’ QOL in their final week. Not only did chemotherapy not benefit patients regardless of performance status, it appeared most harmful to those patients with good performance status.

Let us look at another published article.

Chemotherapy Near the End of Life: First—and Third and Fourth (Line)—Do No Harm

Charles D. Blanke, MD1; Erik K. Fromme, MD.

JAMA Oncol. Published online July 23, 2015. http://oncology.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2398175

  • In reality, only 2 major reasons exist for administering chemotherapy to most patients with metastatic cancer: to help them live longer and/or to help them live better.
  • In exchange for treatment-related toxic effects (as well as substantial time, expense, and inconvenience), chemotherapy can prolong survival for patients with a variety of—though not all—solid tumors.
  • Chemotherapy may also improve quality of life (QOL) for patients by reducing symptoms caused by a malignancy.
  • In this issue ofJAMA Oncology, Prigerson and colleagues report some troubling trial results: chemotherapy administered to patients with cancer near the end of life achieved neither goal.
  • Patients might live longer at the cost of a brief decline in QOL from toxic effects. Patients might also feel better from a reduction of malignancy-related symptoms, even if they do not enjoy improved survival.
  • It is disturbing that this trial demonstrated no benefits of chemotherapy for patients with solid tumors or poor prognosis.
  • And it is disconcerting that oncologists still recommend and use systemic therapy so close to patient death.
  • What does this mean for clinical practice? Must we then just say no to late-line chemotherapy?
  • Patients often want systemic treatment until the bitter end. We have long known a substantial minority of patients with incurable NSCLC would desire chemotherapy, even in the setting of severe toxic effects for a 1-week gain in survival. Similar data exist for patients with breast and large bowel cancers.
  • It is hard to say no to chemotherapy, because doing so could potentially make an oncologist feel they are depriving the patient of all hope.
  • Importantly, this does not mean that the oncologist cannot have a meaningful conversation with most patients about prognosis, especially when there is suspicion that time is limited.
  • These data from Prigerson and associates suggest that equating treatment with hope is inappropriate. Even when oncologists communicate clearly about prognosis and are honest about the limitations of treatment, many patients feel immense pressure to continue treatment.
  • Patients with end-stage cancer are encouraged by friends and family to keep fighting, but the battle analogy itself can portray the dying patient as a loser and should be discouraged.
  • Costs aside, we feel the last 6 months of life are not best spent in an oncology treatment unit or at home suffering the toxic effects of largely ineffectual therapies for the majority of patients.
  • Oncologists with a compelling reason to offer chemotherapy in that setting should only do so after documenting a conversation discussing prognosis, goals, fears, and acceptable trade-offs with the patient and family.
  • Let us help patients with metastatic cancer make good decisions at this sad, but often inevitable, stage. Let us not contribute to the suffering that cancer, and often associated therapy, brings, particularly at the end.

 

 

 

Follow your heart not your head when it comes to deciding whether you should go for chemo /radiation or not

TT is 56-year-old Indonesia lady. She presented as a easy going, cheerful lady who takes care of her health rather seriously. One late morning we got a phone call from her requesting to see us immediately. Her urgency was rather understandable since she was to start her radiotherapy on Monday. We waited for her to come, even though our centre was about to be closed for the day!

This is her story.

In 2013, TT had her routine pap smear. According to her doctor, there was nothing, except some kind of fungus infection. She was given antibiotics. She was okay for 6 months. A checkup 9 months later showed fungal infection again. She was on antibiotics again and was better. But her problem persisted after that. TT was not happy and wanted to solve her problem. She was referred to another doctor. She was found to be positive for HPV (human papilloma virus — a virus associated with cervical cancer).

TT was referred to an oncologist who recommended surgery. TT came to a private hospital in Penang and  underwent a radical hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (that is the removal of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes (salpingo), and ovaries (oophor) and  omentectomy. Histopathology indicated squamous cell carcinoma, Stage 2B with pelvic involvement.

The operation cost about RM 25,000.

TT was asked to undergo follow up chemotherapy. She met up with 2 oncologists in the hospital. One oncologist suggested 6 cycles of chemo and 30 times radiation. Another oncologist offered 4 cycles of chemo and 20 times radiation plus 2 times of brachytherapy, also known as internal radiotherapy. Obviously, TT was drawn to the second oncologist because of less severe treatment.

During our conservation, we asked TT: Did you ask the oncologist if he could cure you with that treatment? She replied: 60 to 70 % chance of cure. When she asked the oncologist if there was any other option, the answer was: No, no other way. Must do chemo and radiotherapy as soon as possible. It you don’t do quickly the cancer is going to spread and will be more serious.

TT agreed to undergo the recommended treatments. She was scheduled to start treatment on 15 June but unfortunately the oncologist was on leave and her treatment was brought forward to 23 June 2015.

TT came back to Penang in mid June. However, TT said she was not satisfied and felt heavy in her heart. She was not sure if these treatments would be good for her or not. She was in a dilemma and went to see the oncologist again. The oncologist said these to her:

  • Don’t listen to what other people say.
  • The dosage you are going to get is only small dosage.
  • Your hair don’t drop.

TT had no choice. She paid RM 13,000 as an advanced payment for the radiation treatment. Then she drove to a cancer hospital to have her “marked.” TT said as she drove to that hospital she felt she was led to the “slaughter house.” When the young technicians removed her clothing to make markings on her body she felt she was being “processed” for a death. But again, she had no other choice.

Then she went back to the hospital where she was supposed to undergo chemotherapy. She met someone who told her: Let us sit down and pray together. After the prayer this someone said: Why don’t you go back and see the oncologist again and ask him again if you can skip chemotherapy. But for radiotherapy, you have already paid for it.

For the third time, TT went to see the oncologist and express her reservation about chemotherapy. The oncologist told her again:

  • Don’t worry I guarantee that you would not loose even 1 kg after the treatment.
  • If you have no appetite, I shall give something to help you with that.
  • If your blood count is low I will give injections to help avoid infection.

TT was not convinced with the above assurance because staying in the same boarding house was a patient who was undergoing chemotherapy. He was once a very strong man but with the treatment he lost 16 kg and lost his appetite and could not eat. He told TT, if I know I have to go through this, I would rather die.

The next day (i.e. Thursday) after meeting the oncologist, TT decided to go shopping — a way to take pressure off her. On Friday morning, while she was preparing food in her boarding house one person told her this:

  • Who is sick? You are not sick. Don’t go for chemo. It would be a disaster.
  • Before you proceed further with your treatment, go and see this Chris Teo first and talk to him.

So, that Friday, late morning we got a call from TT requesting to see us urgently.

At CA Care, we spent almost an hour talking to TT and her husband.

Knowing that TT was under so much stress and jittery about what she was going into, it would not be fair or ethical to put more pressure on her. In situation like this, we know patients are generally vulnerable and we don’t intend be become “vultures” taking advantage of such desperate patients.  So basically our advice to TT and her husband were as follows:

  • Relax and take it easy. Go home and talk to your God. It’s Friday and you still have until Monday morning to listen to what God has to say. God will not shout out loud to answer you but I believe He will touch your heart in one way or another. Listen to your heart.
  • We tell everyone who comes to us, God will answer your prayer if you sincerely ask Him for guidance. And if He does not answer you, in time of desperate need like this, then there is no reason why you should worship Him day in and day out.
  • Go home first and don’t make any decision yet, not until you have done your part. Read these two comic books: Knowing The Truth May Save Your Life And Money and The Treacherous Journey. At least before you ask God to help you, you need to help yourself first. Go home and read. At most you need only 1 or 2 hours to understand the messages in these books.
  • Come and see us again if you decide you don’t want to follow up with your oncologist. But if you decide you want to go ahead with your chemo /radiotherapy, then go ahead.
  • Nobody should decide for you what you should do.
  • Follow what your heart says for that is where God speaks to you.
  • For now, there is no need to take any herbs — why the rush? You do not get cancer only yesterday!
  • There is no need to pay any consultation fee. God bless you and guide you.

TT and her husband understood our message and their facial expressions showed they felt very happy indeed. There was no compulsion, no threat, no sales talk! This has always been our way — to help those who need our help as honestly as we know how.

Monday — TT and her husband came back to see us again. The first word that out of her husband was, God has spoken to us. The husband read the books aloud while TT relaxed and listened. The story of Ella inspired her a lot, No chemo you live only three months, with chemo two and a half years! 

Tuesday — We chatted with TT and her husband to know more of what had happened. Watch this video (in Bahasa Indonesia) to get more details.

TT was determined that she was not going for chemotherapy or radiotherapy as recommended by her oncologist. By reading and knowing more she and her husband felt that there is another option — not radiation or chemo. We make it clear to them that this important (life and death) decision has to be TT’s decision. She had made her choice and she should be prepared to enjoy or suffer the consequences of that decision. TT said, I felt very much relief. Peace! The heavy load in my heart has been lifted away.

You have already paid RM 15,000 as a deposit for your radiotherapy. What has happened to that money? That’s another story to follow.

 

 

 

NPC: Chemo — 80 percent cure! No thanks. Mom died after 5 cycles of chemotherapy

Ju (not real name) is 36 years old. Her problem started with severe headaches. Then both sides of her neck became swollen, making it difficult for her to turn her head. She had to take painkiller everyday.

Ju consulted an ENT specialist in a private hospital. She was told that she had either NPC (nose cancer) or lymphoma. Whatever it was, Ju was asked to undergo six cycles of chemotherapy. She would probably have to undergo radiotherapy as well. The doctor told Ju that with the treatments she would have a 80 percent chance of cure. Ju promptly rejected medical treatment and came to seek our help.

Gist of our conversation.

Chris: What did they want you to do?

Ju: Chemo (6 times) and radiation (did not ask how many times).

C: Did you ask if chemo and radiation are going to cure you?

J: Eighty percent chance of cure.

C: Eighty percent?

J: Yes.

C: What happen if you don’t do the treatment?

J: May be die la! No, I did not ask.

C: Do you believe that success rate is 80 percent?

J: No!

C: Why don’t you believe the doctor?

J: Because of bad past experience. My mother also had chemotherapy for her lymphoma. She was 63 years old then. She was supposed to do 6 cycles of chemo but she died after finishing 5 cycles.

C: She died?

J: Yes.

C: Where did she do the chemo?

J: In Penang (the same oncologist that Ju went to). That was 5 years ago, in 2010.

C: So you know that chemo does not cure cancer but can also kill.

J: She was bald.

C: She had 5 cycles and that means about 5 months of treatment.

J: Yes. Each cycles cost IDR 5 million.

C: So for 5 cycles it cost IDR 25 million. Money gone, mother also died. I understand. It is very hard for me to push you to go for chemotherapy. It is difficult. You are still young — 36 years old. And now they tell you to go for 6 cycles of chemo.

J: No, I don’t want chemo. That’s why I am here.

Comments

In the internet chat room, one doctor wrote:

  • I was a cancer chemotherapy specialist doctor for twenty years.I treated thousands of people with various combination chemotherapy regimens. I don’t think I killed any of them with the treatment – though over two thousand died from their cancers.

I am going to ask the same question that I asked Ju: Do you believe what this “great” cancer doctor said?

One reader wrote this.

  • Nobody can or will give you any guarantees with chemotherapy.Why do think it will most likely kill you? What evidence are you basing this on? … Some people conclude that the treatment is worse than the disease, and myths about people being killed by chemo bolster this belief. It isn’t always effective. But in those cases it is the cancer, not the treatment, that kills the patient – they have died in spite of treatment, not because of it.

So now, the logic is …. it is the cancer that kills you, not the poisonous chemo! That is what they want  you to believe. Another good selling point.

Read what some other people said:

22 Toxci-MelGraves

4 Chemo die OK if follow protocol

30-Chemo-hell-wife-died-of-

12 Chemo-short-cut-to-make-mon

 

 

Metastatic Colon-Liver-Lung Cancer: Surgery, Chemo, etc., But Where is the cure?

LK is a 52-year-old male. His problem started in January 2014 when he had problems moving his bowels. Later, LK was told that he had cancerous tumour in his colon which blocked the passage of his stools.

LK underwent surgery. This cost him RM 19,000. After surgery he had six cycles of chemotherapy. Each treatment cost him RM 3,000 plus. LK and his family members, did not know what chemo-drugs were used. However, LK know that he was also on oral Xeloda.

Although LK was scheduled for eight cycles of chemotherapy, the oncologist stopped the treatment after the sixth cycle because the treatment was not effective. Then the oncologist offered LK two options:

  1. Continue with more chemotherapy using new drug regimen.
  2. Or no more chemotherapy and go home!

The following are details of his medical records.

Histopathology report dated 18 June 2014

Cancer of rectum, lower 1/3, left lobe liver nodule, biopsy taken.

Interpretation:

  1. a) Poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma with extensive infiltration into perirectal fat, pT3 tumour.
  2. b) Lymphatic and vascular channel invasion found.
  3. c) Six of 14 nodes involved by tumour.
  4. d) Liver nodule – metastatic adenocarcinoma confirmed.

PET scan dated 10 July 2014

  1. There is an FDG avid left paraaortic nodal metastasis.
  2. There are multiple FDG avid liver metastasis.
  3. There are multiple non-FDG avid lung nodules seen in both lungs which may represent garnulomata or early lung metastases.

Blood Test Results

Date Platelets CA 19.9 GGT AST ALT
8 August 2014 199 2,101 43 14 17
30 Aug 2014 151 740 47 18 18
20 Sept. 2014 117 775 47 26 25
9 Oct 2014 78 660 51 38 35
7 Nov 2014 86 n/a 64 42 35
6 Dec 2014 93 10,922 99 45 41

Note: With more chemo – the platelets diminished, CA 19.9 initially decreased but eventually increased 10 times the initial value. Liver function parameters (GGT,AST, ALT) increased.

CT scan on 11 December 2014

Liver nodules are larger and more in number compared with previously. Three largest nodules are 2.7×2.5 cm and 2.7×2.4cm in the right lobe and 2.7×2.2cm in the left lobe.

Lung nodules are seen in both lung fields and the largest is 1×1 cm. The rest all tiny nodules.

Rectum and colon wall at the anastomotic site appear thickened.

Impression

  1. Recurrent ca. colon.
  2. Worsening liver metastasis.
  3. Lung metastasis.

Comments

Based on the results above, the cancer had spread to the liver, lymph nodes and also the lung. This is a Stage 4 cancer that cannot be cured. But was the patient told about this?

The chemo treatment initially caused the CA 19.9 to decrease from 2101 to 740 and eventually to 660. As I have pointed out earlier this drop of the tumour marker is MEANINGLESS. In October, the CA 19.9 was 660 but with more chemotherapy the CA19.9 increased to 10,922 in December.

The blood test results also confirmed that with more chemotherapy the platelets dropped from 199 to 93. The liver function parameters – GGT, AST, ATL, deteriorated.

Eventually a CT scan in December 2014 confirmed that LK suffered recurrence of colon cancer. His liver metastasis worsened.

The game was up! The oncologist suggested “new bullets” probably more expensive as well. The patient declined and lost confidence in his doctor and came to seek our help.

I told the patient and his family, “I am not god and I cannot cure your cancer.” And I am telling this to all patients as well. There is no cure for cancer — you just move from treatment to treatment. And after spending you life’s saving you die.

 

Reflect on these quotations

17 One-thrid-dont-respond-to-c

10 Chemo-not-responsive-useles

8 Chemo-no-benefit-response-n

7 Chemo-good-moneyPatient-hop

 

 

 

THE SIDE EFFECTS OF CHEMOTHERAPY ON THE BODY

THE SIDE EFFECTS OF CHEMOTHERAPY ON THE BODY

Cancer cells divide more quickly than healthy cells, and chemotherapy drugs effectively target those cells. Unfortunately, fast-growing cells that are healthy can be damaged too. There are many different chemotherapy drugs with the potential for many different side effects. These effects vary from person to person and from treatment to treatment.

Chemotherapy in the Blood

Chemo Brain

Mouth Sores

Digestive Distress

The Signature Side Effect 

Balding:

Fingernail and Toenail Trouble

Chemotherapy and Fertility

Chemo in the Kidneys

Swollen Hands and Feet

Anxiety and Depression

Chemotherapy and the Heart

Muscles and Motor Skills

Nausea and Vomiting

Loss of Appetite

Skin in Need of Soothing

Sexual Dysfunction

Fast-Tracked Menopause

Chemo Effect on the Bladder

Chemo’s Long-Term Effect on Bones

Chemotherapy drugs are powerful enough to kill rapidly growing cancer cells, but they also can harm perfectly healthy cells, causing side effects throughout the body.

The Side Effects of Chemotherapy on the Body

Cancer cells divide more quickly than healthy cells, and chemotherapy drugs effectively target those cells. Unfortunately, fast-growing cells that are healthy can be damaged too. There are many different chemotherapy drugs with the potential for many different side effects. These effects vary from person to person and from treatment to treatment.

Factors that play a role in side effects include other ongoing treatments, previous health issues, age, and lifestyle. Some patients experience few side effects while others feel quite ill. Although most side effects clear up shortly after treatment ends, some may continue well after chemotherapy has ended, and some may never go away.

Chemotherapy drugs are most likely to affect cells in the digestive tract, hair follicles,bone marrow, mouth, and reproductive system. However, cells in any part of the body may be damaged.

Circulatory and Immune Systems

Routine blood count monitoring is a crucial part of chemotherapy. That’s because the drugs can harm cells in the bone marrow, where blood is produced. This can result in several problems. Red blood cells carry oxygen to tissues. Anemia occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells, making you feel extremely fatigued. Other symptoms of anemia include:

  • lightheadedness
  • pale skin
  • difficulty thinking
  • feeling cold
  • general weakness

Chemo can lower your white blood cell count, which results in neutropenia. White blood cells play an important role in the immune system: they help fight infection and ward off illness. Symptoms aren’t always obvious, but a low white blood cell count raises the risk of infection and illness. People with an immune system weakened by chemotherapy must take precautions to avoid exposure to viruses, bacteria, and other germs.

Cells called platelets help the blood clot. A low platelet count, called thrombocytopenia, means you’re likely to bruise and bleed easily. Symptoms include nosebleeds, blood in vomit or stools, and heavier-than-normal menstruation.

Some chemo drugs can weaken the heart muscle, resulting in cardiomyopathy, or disturb the heart rhythm, causing arrhythmia. This can affect the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. Some chemo drugs can increase the risk of heart attack.These problems are less likely to occur if your heart is strong and healthy at the start of chemotherapy.

Nervous and Muscular Systems

The central nervous system controls emotions, thought patterns, and coordination. Chemotherapy drugs may cause problems with memory, or make it difficult to concentrate or think clearly. This symptom sometimes is called “chemo fog,” or “chemo brain.” This mild cognitive impairment may go away following treatment, or may linger for years. Severe cases can add to anxiety and stress.

Some chemo drugs can cause pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy). Muscles may feel tired, achy, or shaky. Reflexes andsmall motor skills may be slowed. It’s not unusual to experience problems with balance and coordination.

Digestive System

Some of the most common side effects of chemotherapy involve the digestive tract. Mouth sores and dry mouth can make it difficult to chew and swallow. Sores also may form on the tongue, lips, gums, or in the throat. Mouth sores can make you more susceptible to bleeding and infection. Many patients complain of a metallic taste in the mouth, or a yellow or white coating on the tongue. Food may taste unusual or unpleasant.

These powerful drugs can harm cells along the gastrointestinal tract. Nausea is a common symptom, and may result in bouts of vomiting. However, anti-nausea medications given in conjunction with chemotherapy drugs can help alleviate this symptom.

Other digestive issues include loose stools or diarrhea. In some people, hard stools and constipation can be a problem. This may be accompanied by pressure, bloating, and gas. Take care to avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Side effects involving the digestive system can contribute to loss of appetite andfeeling full even though you haven’t eaten much. Weight loss and general weakness are common. Despite all this, it’s important to continue eating healthy foods.

Hair, Skin, and Nails (Integumentary System)

Many chemotherapy drugs affect the hair follicles and can cause hair loss (alopecia) within a few weeks of the first treatment. Hair loss can occur on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes, and body. As troubling as it can be, hair loss is temporary. New hair growth usually begins several weeks after the final treatment.

Some patients experience minor skin irritations like dryness, itchiness, and rash. You may develop sensitivity to the sun, making it easier to burn. Your doctor can recommend topical ointments to soothe irritated skin.

Fingernails and toenails may turn brown or yellow, and become ridged or brittle. Nail growth may slow down, and nails may crack or break easily. In severe cases, they canactually separate from the nail bed. It’s important to take good care of your nails to avoid infection.

Sexual and Reproductive System

Chemotherapy drugs can have an effect on your hormones. In women, hormonal changes can bring on hot flashes, irregular periods, or sudden onset of menopause. They may become temporarily or permanently infertile. Women on chemotherapy may experience dryness of vaginal tissues that can make intercourse uncomfortable or painful. The chance of developing vaginal infections is increased. Chemotherapy drugs given during pregnancy can cause birth defects. In men, some chemo drugs can harm sperm or lower sperm count, and temporary or permanent infertility is possible.

Symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, and hormonal fluctuations may interfere with sex drive in both men and women. So can worrying about loss of hair and other changesin appearance. However, many people on chemotherapy continue to enjoy an intimate relationship and an active sex life.

Kidneys and Bladder (Excretory System)

The kidneys work to excrete the powerful chemotherapy drugs as they move through your body. In the process, some kidney and bladder cells can become irritated or damaged. Symptoms of kidney damage include decreased urination, swelling of the hands and feet (edema), and headache. Symptoms of bladder irritation include a feeling of burning when urinating and increased urinary frequency.

You’ll be advised to drink plenty of fluids to flush the medication from your systemand to keep your system functioning properly. Note: Some medications cause urine to turn red or orange for a few days. This isn’t cause for concern.

Skeletal System

Most people—and especially women—lose some bone mass as they age. Some chemotherapy drugs can cause calcium levels to drop and contribute to bone loss. This can lead to cancer-related osteoporosis, especially in post-menopausal women and those whose menopause was brought on suddenly due to chemotherapy.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), women who have been treated for breast cancer are at increased risk for osteoporosis and bone fracture. This is due to the combination of the drugs and the drop in estrogen levels. Osteoporosisincreases the risk of bone fractures and breaks. The most common areas of the body to suffer breaks are the spine and pelvis, hips, and wrists.

Psychological and Emotional Toll

Living with cancer and dealing with chemotherapy can exact an emotional toll. You may feel fearful, stressed, or anxious about your appearance and your health. Some people may suffer from depression. Juggling work, financial, and family responsibilities while undergoing cancer treatment can become overwhelming.

Many cancer patents turn to complementary therapies like massage and meditation for relaxation and relief. If you have trouble coping, mention it to your doctor. They may be able to suggest a local cancer support group where you can speak with others who are undergoing cancer treatment. If feelings of depression persist, professional counseling may be necessary.

Read more:  http://www.healthline.com/health/cancer/effects-on-body#nervous_and_muscular_systems

Three Options for Chemotherapy After Mastectomy


Mastectomy,  RM 12.000

Must undergo chemotherapy. Offered three options:

Option 1: 17 cycles, one year

4 cycles @ RM 2.000  = RM 8,000

4 cycles @ RM 4.000  = RM 16.000

9  cycles @ RM 11.000 = RM 99.000

Total cost RM 123,000

Option 2: Six cycles of chemo @ RM 7.000 to RM8.000

Total cost RM 45.000

Option 3: Six cycles of chemo @ RM 3.000 – RM 4.000

Total cost RM 20.000

Can chemo cure?

Option 1: Out of 10 patients, 6 were cured.

Option 2: Out of 10 patients, 5 were cured.

Option 3: Out of 10 patients, 4 were cured.

Was this patient told the REAL truth?

Consider these cases below:

Patient 1: Went to China for treatment  – 125 radio-iodine seeds, 8 cycles chemotherapy, 9 injections of stem cell. Total cost RM 300.000.

Result: Cancer spread to her bones, liver and lungs.

Patient 2. Went to China for treatment – radiotherapy,  6 injections of stem cell, 1 cycle of chemo, Tamoxifen and 6 cycles of Xeloda.

Result: Cancer spread to her bone and liver.

Quotations:

There is no cure for metastatic breast cancer. It never goes away. You just move from treatment to treatment ~ Amy Soscia who died after fighting breast cancer for 13 years.

The overall contribution of …chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated tobe 2.3 percent in Australia and 2.1 percent in the USA ~ Morgan, Ward & Barton. Clinical Oncology 16:549-560.

Leukemia: Chemotherapy – RM100,000 – Failed

 

May 2013, bloated stomach – diagnosed as gastric problem.

Gastric drugs did not cure.

Had consulted 7 doctors.

Consulted specialist in a hospital in Jakarta. Diagnosed as leukemia.

Came to Penang, Malaysia – bone marrow biopsy, confirmed Leukemia – AML.

Had chemotherapy – 6 cycles, from June 2013 until February 2014.

Costs almost RM 100,000.

Blood tests on February 11, 2014, fine.

Follow up after 3 months, May 6, 2014, Recurrence, extremely low platelets, only 4.

The doctor said chemo again, try 2 cycles first. Need to pay RM 50,000.

Before undergoing chemotherapy  did you ever ask the doctor these questions:

1. Can chemotherapy cure you?

2. What is the total cost of the chemo treatment?

3. How long would you have to undergo chemotherapy?

Breast Cancer: Why I Refused Chemotherapy: Mother died after surgery and chemo

 

 

• Diagnosed with breast cancer

• Undergone mastectomy, costing Rupiah 30 plus million.

• Doctor asked to do chemo – I refused.

• My mother had ovarian cancer, Stage 3B. She had surgery and chemothrapy.

• Prior chemotherapy, she was well.

• After chemo cancer recurred, lumps grow again.

• Doctor recommended surgery and chemo again.

• Mother was too weak and declined medical treatment.

• She died within a year.

Lung Cancer: Declined Biopsy and Chemotherapy – Money Gone Then Die

 

After an X-ray and CT scan, the doctor found a 7 cm tumour in my lung. It was a Stage 2 cancer. I refused to have a biopsy because I don’t want to undergo chemotherapy. I prefer to take herbs.

Why don’t you want to go for chemo?

No, no, it is not successful.

How do you know?

I have many friends – chemo, chemo, and 6 months later die!

One of my friend had lung cancer and he went for treatment in Singapore. He had to sell 2 houses to pay for the medical bills. He had chemo and chemo. Before 2 years were up, he was dead. Each chemo cost a few thousand dollars. He died and property also gone!