Stage 3B Colon Cancer Spread To Lung After Surgery. Chemo Failed.

Harry (not his real name) felt breathless sometime in May 2021. An examination by the doctor in a private hospital indicated three of the heart blood vessels were blocked. In June 2021, Harry underwent coronary angioplasty – i.e., a procedure using a tiny balloon catheter that is inserted in a blocked blood vessel to help widen it and improve blood flow to the heart.

While in the hospital Harry also suffered altered bowel habits and rectal bleeding. A colonoscopy was done and showed transverse colon (hepatic flexture) tumour and hemorrhoid.

Harry underwent a right hemicolectomy and omentectomy on 28 June 2022.

The histology report confirmed:

  • mucinous adenocarcinoma of colon with tubulo-villous adenoma at its edges.
  • Invasion of mesocolic fat, pT3 tumour.
  • Three of 8 lymph nodes are involved by metastatic tumour, pN1.
  • One microscopic focus of serrated  adenoma found at the tip of appendix.

Comment:  The  combination of mucinous adeonocarcinoma, tumour in the right colon and presence of serrated adenoma in the appendix is uncommon.

Stage 3B – T3N1M0

Harry was told to undergo chemotherapy in the same hospital where he had surgery. However, he was not happy with what he had gone through in that hospital and decided to take a break and ask around for various  opinions. Two months later, he decided to go for chemotherapy at  another hospital.

Before starting chemotherapy a PET scan was done. The PET scan report dated 9 September 2021 showed:

  • A focus tracer accumulation seen anterior to the third part of the duodenum (0.8 x 1.0 x 0.9 cm). This FDG avid lymph node likely represents metastasis.
  • Patchy ground glass opacity seen in the left lower lobe of the lung.
  • There is no evidence of metastasis to the brain, nodes,  neck, thorax, mediastinum, pelvis, thyroid, lung, stomach, liver, pancreas, spleen, adrenals and bones.

Harry underwent 8 cycles of chemotherapy.

He did not suffer any severe side effect except a little numbness of his hands.

The chemo treatments was completed in April 2020. A PET scan done on 7 April 2022 indicated:

  • Comparing with the scan done on 9 September 2021, the present scan indicate complete metabolic response to the treatment. Problem solved!
  • Patchy ground glass opacity seen in the left lower lobe of the lung is unchanged in appreance.
  • No evidence of FDG avid lesion seen in any other parts of the body.

Six months later, Harry did another PET scan. PET scan report dated 13 October 2022 showed:

  • Patchy ground glass/consolidative opacity seen  in the left lower lobe of the lung was grown larger.
  • New patchy nodular opacity seen in the anterior segment of the right upper lobe.

Harry was told to undergo another 8 cycles of chemotherapy using the regimen – TS 1, Irinotel + Avastin. The estimated cost of this second round of chemo would be about RM 66K as outlined  below (a note given to by the hospital).

Harry declined to undergo further chemotherapy.

Chris: Why did you not want to go for more chemotherapy?

Harry: I have done that before and it did not work!

C: When you did the first round of 8 cycles of chemo, did you ever ask the doctor if the treatment is going to cure you?

H: No. I did not know anything. I just followed what I was told to do.

C: In all, including  your heart operation, how much have you spent?

H: Roughly about RM200,000.

Comment

One big lesson we can learn from this case is that surgery and chemo did not cure Harry’s Stage 3B colon cancer.

After the completion of chemotherapy, Harry had a PET scan which showed everything was clear – no more cancer! So the treatment was effective. But that was just a …. (put in any word you like)!

About 6 months later, another PET scan showed that the cancer had recurred. Harry was asked to do more chemo.

Ask these questions:

1. What is the use of doing a PET scan when the result is so short-lived. A “success” had turned into a “disappointment” within 6 months.

2. Harry was asked to go for another round of 8 cycles of chemo which is going to cost him another RM 66K at least. Is that going to be a good investment for him?

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Breast Cancer: Part 2. Chemotherapy rescued her!

Part 1: Disaster – twenty months after surgery!

Part 2: Chemotherapy rescued her.

Part 3: After chemotherapy she opted for CA Care Therapy.

Due to the massive metastasis as shown in the PET scan done on 10 December 2021, Lucy had no choice but to proceed with chemotherapy. Indeed the cancer had spread extensively.

Lucy wrote:

1. On 11 December 2021, I received the 1st cycle of chemotherapy. The regimen used was: Daxotel (taxotere), Endoxan (cyclophosphamide) and Herceptin.

2. My  naturopath doctor advised that my diet needs to include fish, meat, melon, veggies, sea salt, brown sugar, good oil!

3. On 31 December 2021, I had the 2nd cycle of chemo.

4. On 21 January 2022, I had the 3rd cycle of chemo.

5. On 11 February 2022, I had the 4th cycle of chemo.

6. On 4 March 2022, I  had the 5th cycle of chemo. I suffered water retention.

7. On 25 March 2022, I had the last or 6th cycle of chemo. Water retention was more serious.

8. PET scan on 14 April 2022 showed good response indeed.

Comments

1. Amazing results of chemotherapy. Compare these three pictures –

Left: After surgery Lucy was on alternative therapy, refusing to undergo chemotherapy. The result was extensive metatastasis (middle). Right: Lucy has no choice but to go for chemotherapy. The outcome of 6 cycles of chemotherapy was just fantastic! In my 25 + years dealing with cancer patients, I have never seen such a great outcome of chemotherapy. Salute the oncologist! You rescued her!

In fact, the results were so unbelievable that one is tempted to ask if it is for real and not a fake? My answer is NO, detailed study of the PET scan results below are real! Study the images carefully – those before and after  chemotherapy.

The one lesson I learnt is that while chemotherapy had earned bad reputation there are times that chemo did help and can save your life. So let us be open minded. There is no one rule for treating cancer.

2. Is Lucy cured of her cancer? Even though PET scan showed complete response to the treatment, does it mean Lucy is cured? Unfortunately, the answer is NO. The cancer may come back after a period of time.

Below is the blood test results over a period of time. It is indeed most baffling. Even when she was diagnosed with breast cancer her CEA and CA15.3 (these are the normal tumour markers for breast cancer) still remained within normal range. When Lucy suffered extensive metastasis her CA15.3 reading was also normal while CEA went up to 8.3 (normal value is 5.0).

After 6 cycles of chemotherapy her CEA went down to less than 0.5 and CA15.3 dropped to 10.8. But 3 months later, in July 2022, the CEA had increased to 2.5, while CA15.3 dropped further to 9.2.

Indeed readings like these are mind-boggling.

3. More treatments needed. Since no one can predict if the cancer can recur or not, as a precaution the oncologist said Lucy will have to undergo treatment with Herceptin for life! This treatment is going to cost a tidy sum of money!

Nancy said, Since I have used up all my medical insurance I declined further treatment from him.

 The oncologist (from the private hospital) then referred Nancy to the government cancer hospital for further treatment due to this financial constrain.

Nancy wrote:

1. On 19 April 2022, I was started on an oral drug Letrozole. This was prescribed by the oncologist from the government hospital.

2. On 9 May 2022, the doctor in the government hospital said the use of Herceptin is optional. If I wish to use it I need to buy from the pharmacy. It costs RM1,500 per dose.

3. On 2 June 2022, I was started on Zometa for bone metastasis. It costs cost RM200 per dose every 3 months.

4. On 25 August 2022, I had the second dose of Zometa. My next appointment is in November 2022.

The Tumour Shrunk but The Patient Died

Documenting His 21-Day Chemo Experience

On 25 March 2022, I received this email.

Doctor, I need your help. My 15-year-old son has lymphoma, 4th stage. Diagnosed last year October (2021). I did NOT send him for chemo or radio in hospital. None at all.

Currently he is taking some anti-cancer products. Initially it worked. But in the past two months, my son’s condition had worsened.

  • His face was swollen, starting 3 months ago.
  • There are a lot of tumors in the mouth.
  • The gums are swollen and painful.
  • His teeth are loose, and he can’t bite food.
  • He can only swallow liquid food for two months. 
  • These few days his right eye started to swell.
  • His ears can’t hear clearly.

I am from Penang Island. My son is now at home. Please advise me, what should I do to help him.

I told the patient’s mother the best option to take care of the swelling is to go for chemotherapy. She flatly refused.

Our herbs would not be able to cure her son’s lymphoma. However, since she still wanted to try our therapy, I prescribed herbs for two weeks and  we shall monitor the progress. If the herbs do not help her son, then he should stop taking our herbs and go to the oncologist for help.

Patient was on our herbs for about 3 months. His problems did not go away.

16  June 2022

7:20 PM. Mother: He wants to go Hospital. Now at General Hospital

Chris: Okay, let him decide. Doctors will chemo him and the lump may reduce in size.

8:23 PM. M: Hopefully, thank you doctor.

17 June 2020

C: What did the doctor say or do?

1:23 PM. M: In hospital, admitted since yesterday. Doctor still checking, most probably do chemo, high dose.

6:46 PM. M: Doctor said lymphoma stage 4. Spread to brain, sinus and lungs. Other parts of body not sure, need further checking.

C: Already long time went to lung. Brain? Something new. Usually he would have headache and even vomit in the morning if brain cancer.

9:36 PM. M: Got vomit once, every day headache. Doctor said spread to brain behind his right eye. He can’t open his eye.

9:52 PM. C: They are not going to start chemo yet?

9:56 PM. M: This Sunday start. Today start oral medicine for chemo – Prednisolone.

18 June 2022 (Saturday)

C: That medicine is a steroid — trying to reduce the swelling

11:29 AM. M: Last night only doctor inform me my son going for chemo tomorrow. 2nd dose will be a week later. They said better stay in the hospital until 2nd shot. . After that he will have chemo every 3 weekly shot.

C: In the ward got many people stay?

11:30 AM. M: Yes, full of chemo patients, all children. This is the children’s cancer ward.

.19 June 2022 (Sunday)

C: How is the chemo? Can he take it? How long it takes to finish the chemo? You know what drugs combination?

3:16 PM. M: Viscristine 20ML /30 minutes.

 Mesna 100mg

Cyclophosphermide 100ML/ 1 hour

He feeling numbness – left hand and leg. Chest pain.

Got another chemo injection to his back side.

4:32 PM: Now on drip. Sodium chloride for 24 hours.

20 June 2022 (Monday)

11:19 AM. M: Doctor, 1st chemo normally ok. My friend said normally after 2nd chemo has a lot of side effects. What I should do?

Doctor come over to explain the need to draw the bone marrow blood to check whether brain got cancer or not and mention injection of chemo at back to protect the brain.

C: Good if they allow you to stay in the hospital. In case of emergency, they know what to do.

Is  the condition in the hospital okay?

11:55 AM. M: Yes, hospital ok.

21 June 2022 (Tuesday)

C: How is he today? Did you see if the lump gets smaller?

3:12 PM. M: This morning fasting.  Doctor injected chemo to his back bone. Now not feeling well.

C: You know what drug they use?

3:49 PM. M: MTX (Methotrexate).

C: Do you see if the swelling is smaller or not?

3:51 PM: M: Got small a bit.

22 June 2022 (Wednesday)

C: Is he doing okay? Any pain anywhere? The chemo helps him or not?

7:08 PM. M: Waist pain, because inject chemo from his back bone. His swelling face – size smaller.

C: What about the inside of his mouth?

7:19 PM. M: Smaller a bit.

C:  Can see better, can hear clearly?

7:22 PM. M: Cannot see better, cannot hear clearly.

23 June 2022 (Thursday)

C: How is he today?

4:33 PM. M: Another IT injection.

Swelling face reduced a lot.

He wants to vomit.

Eyes sights still not ok.

Doctor said next week will give higher dose of chemo.

Will be suffering.

24 June 2022 (Friday)

2:56 PM. M: Dr mention later do immunotherapy – Rituximab. Medicine to boost his own immune to fight his cancer cell. 

C: What about the lump today — smaller? what about the inside of his mouth?

5:30 PM. M: Small a bit, inside mouth also smaller.

8:43 PM. M: Chemo 5 hours already.

9:11 PM. M: GH doctor said after one month, want to do operation to put chemo pot. Currently cannot operations because my son’s nose blocked, cannot breathe.

C: Chemo ports make it easier for him, but the danger is INFECTION.

9:13 PM. M: Yes, many had infection. Yes, doctor said many died because of infection and fever.

GH said my son need to stay till 4 July 22. Another 10 days.

Today he feel very weak

26 June 2022 (Sunday)

12: PM. M: IT injection to his back. Tomorrow 2 am start fasting. 4 pm 2nd chemo

Yesterday he vomit, stomach pain, can’t eat much

7:39 PM. M: Past 2 days already stomach pain.

The son of my wife’s friend ….kena skin problem. Now doctor also gives MTX

27 June 2022 (Monday)

1:03 PM. M: Fixed PICC line for this afternoon chemo.

C: For first chemo also like that? PICC?

2:35 PM. M: 1st chemo not like this.

Dr said last week they do the check and found the cancer already spread to brain, kidney and lungs (lung got see 2 big lump insid.).

C: Now what drugs are they giving him?

5:10 PM. M: Vincristine -20ml.

Rituximab – 420ml.

Methotrexate –  500ml.

28 June 2022 (Tuesday)

9:43 AM. M: This morning he diarrhea 2 times.

Tired

Swelling smaller — outside and inside. Both sides.

4:15 PM. M: Chemo again Cyclophosphamide – 100ml

Doxorubicin – 50ml.

5:01 PM. M: Doctor said will do IT on Wednesday and Friday. Next week Monday only can go home.

C: Now they give him R-CHOP,  normal chemo for lymphoma. R-CHOP stand for R – rituximab. C – cyclophosphamide. H – doxorubicin (hydroxydaunomycin) O – vincristine (oncovin).

8:00 PM. M: Diarrhea, vomit.🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

C: Anyway, by Monday next week, he can go home already. We see what happen in the next few days.

8:10 PM. M: Thank you Doctor

29 June 2022 (Wednesday)

1:12 PM. M: This morning fasting, on drips, diarrhea nonstop. Now very weak.

Doctor said will do blood test whether the chemo toxic got too high in his body or not.

His urine acid.

2:57 PM. M: Now he has fever.

Just done IV injection.

IV chemo — Methotrexate + cytarabine + hydrocorp

3:30 PM. Ok. No fever already.

His stomach very pain.

8:28 PM. Doctor said he diarrhea because of methotrexate toxicity.

Now inject medicine to reduce the toxicity.

10:24 PM. No lao sai (diarrhoea) already,The rice + red dates water really work. Doctor gave medicine also helps.

C: What you prepared the rice and red dates — brought to the hospital?

10:56 PM. M: My aunty cook.

C: Very good. I hope he is not suffering too much.

10:57 PM. M: Ok, thank you very much

My son’s body feels a bit heaty.

How to prevent vomit?

C: Aya. Fever is a bit difficult. I have tea forAppetite & Fever …also good…but it is a bit messy. How to drink in the hospital? If at home okay.

.30 June 2022 (Thursday)

4:41 PM. M: Now start chemo Cyclophosphamide – 100ml for 1 hour

Today he feeling ok

Doctor said this Monday will do CT scan to compare with the 1st CT scan. His face tumor size reduce 68.7%.  His lungs tumor size smaller than that day.  Kidney tumor smaller than that day. Blood test results – everything normal. But still need to take bone marrow to check when he ok

C: Very good. We wait and see the CT scan again.

5:25 PM. M:  My son sore throat, tonight chemo postponed.

8:57 PM. After chemo with cyclophosphermide – 100ml for 1 hour, had diarrhea nonstop again.🤦🏻‍♀️

C: Aya, not good. Drink rice water again!

1July 2022 (Friday)

10:04 AM. M: Whole night lao sai (diarrhoea)  nonstop till now🤦🏻‍♀️

C: Hope his lao sai improved?

9:20 PM. M: Nope, very serious.

Today whole day nonstop, and sore throat, ulcer

C: Did you give him the rice water?

9:23 PM. M: Gave. Can’t help.

2 July 2022 (Saturday)

3:34 PM. M: Today every hour lao sai, mouth ulcer

C: The doctor cannot help? What did they say?

6:30 PM. M: Wait for his stool results

C: Has the lau sai improved compared to yesterday?

6:30 PM. M: More serious.

C: I hope he gets over this problem.

11:44 PM. M: Hopefully.

3 July 2022 (Sunday)

12:04 AM. M: Doctor gave him morphine to reduce his pain.

He has fever.

Doctor gave antibiotics.

His white blood cells drop to 0.5.

Doctor gave stronger antibiotics.

12.20 Injected strongest antibiotics.

Inject anti-vomiting drug.

Inject medication to increase white blood cells.  

12.45 PM.  Give oxygen.

12:52 PM. Blood pressure drop to 77/42.

1:39 PM. Going to ICU, waiting for bed in ICU.

C: Has he gone to the ICU? His condition getting worse?

3:19 PM. M: Yes.

His heart beat too high.

Blood pressure too low.

White blood cells 0.

Every hour diarrhea .That’s why sending to ICU.

C: Okay, better in ICU. If you have a chance to talk to any friendly nurse, ask what they say about this?

3:24 PM. M: They said don’t worry. In ICU 1 nurse taking care 1 patient.

9:27 PM. Just now doctor injected 3 dose to increase his heart beat. His blood pressure suddenly down after diarrhea.

4 July 2022 (Monday)

11:25 AM. M: Last night doctor called to say it is critical. His heart beat stop. Doctor did CPR for nearly 5 minutes. Now still in ICU.

C: Is he recovering? Is he conscious?

7:28 PM. M: Nope. Unconscious.

Need support

His condition very serious.

5 July 2022 (Tuesday)

C: Is he recovering and is conscious?

1:20 PM. M: No.

Diarrhea stopped.

Now he needs oxygen support.

Needs heart medicine support.

Needs blood support.

C: What did the docter/nurse say? Your son can recover or not?

8:21 PM. M: His heart already weaken. No power or unable to contract and expand fully to pump blood to sustain the blood pressure. Currently use medicine to force the heart to pump at high frequency 167/min,. Will try another medicine these few days. Doctor mentioned the only chance is to try.

6 July 2022 (Wednesday)

Is he improving today? better than yesterday?

1:03 PM. M: His eyes turned yellow. His liver got problems already

Doctor said his pulse stopped few days ago course his liver could not function properly.

C: Are they giving him any treatment?

4:20 PM. M: Not yet.

They use nutrition use drip directly to his blood.

Stomach empty.

Unconscious.

Cannot move his hands or legs.

Cannot open his eyes at all.

C: I am sorry. What about the swelling in his face — has it gone smaller?

4:37 PM. M: Yes, smaller.

7 July 2022 (Thursday)

C: How is he today? Any improvement?

4:20 PM. M: Still need all the support. A little bit improvement.

8 July 2022 (Friday)

2:12 PM. M: His internal organ weaken.

Got bleeding.

They added blood.

9 July 2022 (Saturday)

2:44 PM. M: My son passed away at noon today.                                                                                        

C: I am sorry and sad to know this news.

Part 1: Lymphoma: Chemotherapy Failed.

Sold a house to pay for medical expenses. Last hope – CA Care!

(Emails translated from Bahasa Indonesia)

Greetings Dr. Chris,

I am DT from Indonesia. I want to consult about my mother – 71 years old. This is her medical history:

1. In 2007 she had lymphoma. A biopsy was done and the result was a Stage 2 cancer. She underwent treatment at Hospital No.1 (not real name) in Singapore by a renowned oncologist, Dr. No.1 (not real name).

I do not have her medical reports because these were kept by the Singapore doctor. A chemo port was installed and she received a total of about 10 cycles of chemotherapy.

The doctor did not tell us the name of the chemo drugs used. After chemotherapy my mother suffered loss of appetite and hair.

2. In 2012 during a routine PET scan in Singapore, my mother was found to have Stage 1 breast cancer.

Mom underwent 5 radiation treatments in addition to surgery to remove the tumour.This treatment was done at the same Hospital No.1 in Singapore.

3. After that mom was on tamoxifen for about 5 years.

4. Every 3 to 6 months mom went for routine check-up in Singapore and did a PET scan every year.

5. In 2020 after a PET scan, the doctor said my mother had lymphoma again.

Because we couldn’t afford to undergo more chemotherapy with Dr. No.1 of Hospital No.1, we switched to another oncologist.

6. We went for treatment at Hospital No.2, also in Singapore. The oncologist, Dr.No.2 advised us to go for more chemotherapy.

After some negotiations, Dr. No.2 arranged that the expenses for chemotherapy could  be paid by instalments.

Dr. No.2 also advised my mother to undergo chemotherapy in Indonesia to save costs, but using the regimens she prescribed below:

• Day 1 Gemcitabine + Carboplatin.

• Day 8 Gemcitabine + Zometa.

Mom underwent chemotherapy using the drugs Gemcitabine and Carboplatin from 31 January 2021 to 11 April 2021.

These treatments were carried out in a clinic in Indonesia as recommended by Dr.2. Mom had a total of 10 cycles of the above treatment.

7. While undergoing chemotherapy, my mother’s condition became weak and her platelets count often dropped to a low level. She had to have blood transfusions.

Lately, my mom had been feeling dizzy and she felt like she was “floating” because of the side effects of chemotherapy.

8. A PET scan done on 2 Sept 2021 at Siloam Hospital Jakarta slowed that the lymphoma did not go away.

Dr.No.2 suggested a change of chemo drug.

Mom had to continue with more chemotherapy.

9. Dr. No. 2 suggested using Brentuximab 100 mg or Adcetris. This is a new drug specifically for relapsed lymphoma cancer. The price for each cycle is 100 million rupiah (RM30,000).

10. Mom underwent treatment with Adcetris from 19 September 2021 to                                       14 November 2021. She had a total of 4 treatments.

The treatment was also carried out in Indonesia undergo the direction of Dr.No.2.

On 15 December 2021 a CT scan was done. The treatment results were not satisfactory. There were still new tumours developing.

11. We were at a loss. If we were to undergo more chemotherapy using this new drug, the financial toll would be very heavy indeed. The final cost could run to hundreds of million rupiahs.

We were not able to afford it. We had already sold a house to pay for the costs of the earlier treatments.

The above is a brief outline of my mother’s medical history. And if my mom wants to take herbs from Dr. Chris, what should we do?

Best Regards / God Bless You All.

Following Our Therapy is Not Easy!

Below was our initial reply to DT.

Please read the following first. After that, ask if you want or can follow our therapy?

1. CANCER CANNOT BE TOTALLY CURED

a) Most of the patients who came to seek our help had undergone medical treatments and they were still not happy. For some patients, the treatments failed or did not cure them.

b) So, if you come here expecting me to cure you, know that I can’t cure your cancer either. From my experience, no one on earth can cure cancer – cancer will generally come back after “sleeping in your body” for some years.

c) But if you want me to help you – that is, to give you another option and to have a better quality of life – maybe it is possible. But it all depends on YOU alone. Because your health is your responsibility. Are you willing to help yourself? Are you willing to change your lifestyle, diet, etc. to heal yourself?

2. OUR HERBS ARE BITTER

a) In addition to the unpleasant taste and smell, you will need to boil the herbs several times a day – it’s a lot of work!

b) You need to take two, three or four kind of herbal teas every day.

3. YOU MUST TAKE CARE OF YOUR DIET – abstain from taking “unhealthy food.”

a) Can’t eat things that walks – that is, can’t eat meat, eggs, milk, etc.

b) Don’t take white sugar.

c) Do not take oil or fried food and table salt.

4. TRY OUR THERAPY FOR 2 to 4 WEEKS FIRST

a) For the first week or two after taking the herbs, you may feel more sick, more tired, etc. This may be due to healing crisis, so don’t stop taking the herbs.

b) You may feel much better after this initial healing crisis.

c) If your condition does not improve after 4 weeks, then you may wish to find someone else to help you and stop following our therapy. But if you feel better, then continue with what you are doing.

My Mom Wants to Follow Dr. Chris’ Therapy

Good Evening & Healthy Greetings Dr. Chris,

First, I wish to say a thousand thanks to Dr. Chris for replying my email.

After some discussions, our family decided to follow all the things that Dr. Chris had suggested in the email. My mom was also ready to follow Dr. Chris’ instructions as in Dr. Chris’ email.

So, when can my mom start this therapy? Now my mother’s condition is rather worrying since new tumours have started to appear. So she would like to undergo the therapy from Dr. Chris as soon as possible.

Best Regards. GBU All.

Comments

Patients are told that if they have cancer, the only scientific and proven method to “cure” or “fight” cancer is by undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. Lately to make things more impressive patients are told to undergo targeted therapy,  immunotherapy, etc.

In this case study, this 71-year-old lady believed her doctors. So she went to the best doctor in the best hospital in Singapore. She received about 24 cycles of chemotherapy using the scientifically proven drugs. Her treatments failed. The cancer did not go away. More tumours grew.

What say you now?  Some would say: Wah, don’t be bias, this is an exceptional or rare of failure. There are many others who are cured by such treatment. She was just unlucky.

There is no need for me to argue if your have been ingrained with this perception. Anyway, in this case – a failure is a failure. And this case study is a true story, written by the patient’s daughter. There is no reason for her to bluff.

From the story we can learn three things:

1. Chemotherapy did not cure the patient.

2. The treatment made the patient’s life more miserable – suffering from the side effects of the chemo.

3. This proven and scientific treatment cost a lot of money (but did not work). The family had to sell a house to pay for the medical bills.

Are these conclusions true? You decide.

Let me conclude by presenting you with a few quotations to reflect on.

Not all chemo drugs are effective!

Glaxo-SmithKline is one of the world’s biopharma company. Ask this question: What made the vice-president of Glaxo-SmithKline made such damaging statement?

How scientific is chemotherapy? What about the side effects?

Dr. Warner was an unconventional oncologist. Read what he wrote:

Read what Dr. Cynthia Foster, a medical doctor wrote in her book:

Costs of medical treatments for cancer

Let me end this article with this quotation:

The Cancer Industry: Hype vs. Reality

Cancer medicine generates enormous revenues but marginal benefits for patients

BIG PROBLEM, BIG BUSINESS, BIG HYPE

By John Horgan on 12 February 2020

Source:  https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/the-cancer-industry-hype-vs-reality/

Basic Facts

  • Cancer is the second most lethal disease in the U.S., behind only heart disease.
  • More than 1.7 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer in 2018, and more than 600,000 died.
  • Almost four out of ten people will be diagnosed in their lifetime.

Big Business

  • Cancer has spawned a huge industrial complex involving government agencies, pharmaceutical and biomedical firms, hospitals and clinics, universities, professional societies, nonprofit foundations and media.
  • Total research spending since Richard Nixon declared a “war on cancer” in 1971 exceeds a quarter trillion dollars.

Big Bluff

  • Cancer-industry boosters claim that investments in research, testing and treatment have led to “incredible progress” and millions of “cancer deaths averted,”
  • Cancer experts and the media often describe new treatments with terms such as “breakthrough,” “game changer,” “miracle,” “cure,” “home run,” “revolutionary,” “transformative,” “life saver,” “groundbreaking” and “marvel.”
  • There are 1,200 accredited cancer centers in the U.S. They spent $173 million on television and magazine ads directed at the public in 2014.
  • 43 of the 48 top spenders “deceptively promot[ed] atypical patient experiences through the use of powerful testimonials.” A 2014 studyconcluded that cancer centers “frequently promote cancer therapy with emotional appeals that evoke hope and fear while rarely providing information about risks, benefits, costs, or insurance availability.”

Little Net Progress After 90 Years

What’s the reality behind the hype?  Azra Raza, an oncologist at Columbia, in her book The First Cell: And the Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last wrote:

  • No one is winning the war on cancer, Claims of progress are mostly hype, the same rhetoric from the same self-important voices for the past half century. 

Azra Raza, an oncologist at Columbia. She  has watched too many people die from cancer — her patients and her husband, also a cancer specialist.

New Treatments Yield Small Benefits, Big Costs

  • Pharmaceutical companies keep bringing new drugs to market. But … 72 new anticancer drugs approved by the FDA between 2004 and 2014 prolonged survival for an average of 2.1 months.
  • Most cancer drug approvals have not been shown to, or do not, improve clinically relevant end points, including survival and quality of life … the FDA may be approving many costly, toxic drugs that do not improve overall survival.
  • Costs of cancer treatments have vastly outpaced inflation, and new drugs are estimated to coston average more than $100,000/year.
  • More than 40 percent of people diagnosed with cancer lose their life savings within 2 years.

Immunotherapy

Immune therapies, which seek to stimulate immune responses to cancer, have generated enormous excitement.

Drugs firms aggressively market immune therapies, and patients are “pushing hard to try them, even when there is little to no evidence the drugs will work for their particular cancer.”

Oncologists Nathan Gay and Vinay Prasad estimated that fewer than 10 percent of cancer patients can benefit from immune therapies, and that is a “best-case scenario”.

Immune therapies trigger severe side effects, and they are also extremely expensive, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Subsequent hospital stays and supportive care can drive the total costs to a million dollars or more … If widely prescribed, immune therapies could bankrupt the American health-care system.

Corruption In The Cancer Industry

The American approach (to cancer treatment) fosters corruption.

Many cancer specialists accept payments from firms whose drugs they prescribe. This practice leads us to celebrate marginal drugs as if they were game-changers. It leads experts to ignore or downplay flaws and deficits in cancer clinical trials. It keeps doctors silent about the crushing price of cancer medicines.

Top officials at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center “repeatedly violated policies on financial conflicts of interest, fostering a culture in which profits appeared to take precedence over research and patient care.

 

 

 

Chemotherapy Spreads Cancer

Chemotherapy spreads cancer!  You get the message? Is it a joke of some kind? And in this present age, is it fake news? Many people would argue — if chemo is that bad as implied by the title of this article, why then governments all over the world endorse such treatment? Chemotherapy for cancer is supposed to be proven and scientific, right? Why do doctors give chemo to their patients if it is that bad? Do I need to answer such questions?

Here are some facts presented by scientists.

On 30 December 2018, a group of medical researchers from the School of Life Sciences, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland; Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA and Department of  Developmental and Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY, USA, wrote an article in the Nature Cell Biology journal: Chemotherapy elicits pro-metastatic extracellular vesicles in breast cancer models https://www.nature.com/articles/s41556-018-0256-3.

Below is the abstract of this research report:

  • Primary tumours release extracellular vesicles (EVs), that can facilitate the seeding and growth of metastatic cancer cells in distant organs.
  • Two classes of cytotoxic drugs broadly employed in pre-operative (neoadjuvant) breast cancer therapy, taxanes and anthracyclines, elicit tumour-derived EVs with enhanced pro-metastatic capacity.
  • Chemotherapy-elicited EVs are enriched in annexin A6 (ANXA6), a Ca2+-dependent protein that promotes NF-κB-dependent endothelial cell activation, Ccl2induction and Ly6C+CCR2+ monocyte expansion in the pulmonary pre-metastatic niche to facilitate the establishment of lung metastasis.

Don’t blame yourself if you don’t understand what these researchers are talking about. You and me are just laymen — how are we to understand such scientific language? Moreover, some of us don’t read English!  How to understand if you only learn your native language in school? Such is our world today.

Let me try to explain what these researchers are trying to tell us by reproducing what others wrote about this particular research results. Perhaps it is easier to understand if it is written in layman’s language.

On 1 January 2019, the Science Daily posted this article, Tumors backfire on chemotherapy.  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190101094531.htm.  There is another article in the Daily Mail, UK –   Chemotherapy may cause breast cancer to SPREAD: Two commonly used drugs encourage the disease to develop in the lungs. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6542277/Chemotherapy-cause-breast-cancer-SPREAD.html

If you have breast cancer, chemotherapy is often given before surgery. This is called neoadjuvant therapy. The idea in this case is  to shrink the tumour and make  it easier to remove. Or the chemotherapy is given to “weaken” the cancer. After chemo, the patient’s remaining tumor is removed by surgery.

Unfortunately, the treatment does not always shrink the tumour. If the growth resists neoadjuvant therapy, the cancer is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.

Basically these are what can happen when patients undergo chemotherapy:

  • The commonly prescribed chemo drugs: paclitaxel (or Taxol) and doxorubicin (or Adriamycin) cause breast tumours to release small fluid-filled sacs called exosomes.
  • Chemo-treated tumours makes exosomes that contain a protein called annexin-A6. Annexin-A6 is not found in sacs released from untreated tumours.
  • Once released from tumours, exosomes circulate in the blood until they reach the lungs.
  • They then give out annexin-A6, which stimulates lung cells to release another protein called CCL2.
  • CCL2 then attracts immune cells called monocytes, which fight certain infections and help other cells remove dead or damaged tissue.
  • This immune reaction can be dangerous, because those monocytes can facilitate the survival and growth of cancerous cells in the lung, which is one of the initial steps in metastasis.

Is this the only research showing the chemotherapy spreads cancer? NO – there are many more researchers in the US who have also reported the same message — chemotherapy spreads cancer!

On 6 August 2012, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, USA, published their research results in Nature Medicine. https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.2890. These are what they said:

  • Cancer cells inside the body live in a very complex environment or neighborhood. Where the tumorcell resides and who its neighbors are influence its response and resistance to chemotherapy.
  • In the laboratory, you can “cure” almost any cancer — you just give a huge dose of toxic chemo-drug to the cancer cells in the petri dish and the cancer cells are destroyed. But you can’t do that to patients, because the high dose would not only kill cancer cells but also healthy cells. The dose you would need to give the patient to wipe out the cancer would also kill the patient. So in real life, if you want to kill all cancer cells, you can also kill the patient at the same time!
  • So chemo treatment of common solid tumors has to be given as smaller doses paced out in cycles, to give healthy cells time to recover in the intervals. But the drawback is that this approach may not kill all the cancer cells. Those cancer cells that survive can become resistant to subsequent cycles of the chemotherapy.
  • Normal, non-cancerous cell, the fibroblast, that lives near cancer tumors are important for healing wounds and producing When their DNA is damaged, by chemotherapy, fibroblasts can release a broad range of compounds that stimulate cell growth. So you see, in the process of trying to kill cancer cells, chemotherapy may also spur healthy cells in the neighbourhood to release a compound that stimulates cancer growth, eventually leading to treatment resistance.
  • The researchers examined cancer cells from prostate, breast andovarian cancer patients who had been treated with chemotherapy. They found that when the DNA of fibroblasts near the tumor is damaged by chemotherapy, they start producing a protein called WNT16B in the microenvironment of the tumor.
  • When the protein reaches a high enough level, sometimes increased by thirty-fold. This protein, WNT16B, when secreted, would interact with nearby tumour cells and cause them to grow, invade, and importantly, resist subsequent chemotherapy.

Read these articles:

  1. Can chemotherapy before surgery fuel breast cancer metastasis? https://www.facingourrisk.org/XRAYS/neoadjuvant-chemotherapy-and-metastasis

2. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy induces breast cancer metastasis through a TMEM-mediated mechanism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28679654

3. Chemotherapy could cause cancer to SPREAD and grow back even more aggressive, new study claims

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4669152/Chemotherapy-cause-cancer-SPREAD-new-study-says.html

  1. Can chemotherapy before surgery fuel breast cancer metastasis?

https://www.facingourrisk.org/XRAYS/neoadjuvant-chemotherapy-and-metastasis

Scientists at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, US,  have found evidence that chemotherapy is only a short-term solution  and can be dangerous. In their study they investigated chemotherapy-induced cancer cell dissemination in breast cancer.

  • While chemotherapy may shrink the tumors, chemotherapy could causecancer to spread and become more deadly.
  • And once cancer spreads to other organs it becomes almost impossible to treat and is often fatal.
  • Three standard chemo-drugs used in neoadjuvant treatment for breast cancer are: paclitaxel (Taxol), doxorubicin (Andriamycin) and cyclophosphamide. They are shown to increase the number of microscopic structures in breast tumors called tumor microenvironment of metastasis (TMEM), as well as the number of tumor cells circulating in the blood.

How chemo spreads cancer: Scientists believe that in order for metastasis to occur, three types of cells must come in close contact with each other on a blood vessel wall:

  1. tumor cells, that produce high levels of a specific protein.
  2. immune cells called macrophage, and
  3. endothelial cells (cells which line organs such as blood vessels).

These spots, called “tumor microenvironments of metastasis” or “TMEMs” are found on blood vessels within tumors.

To enable the cancer cells to spread, the macrophages in a TMEM loosen the normally tight connection that exists between endothelial cells, creating a temporary opening in the wall of a blood vessel for the tumor cell to squeeze through and enter the bloodstream, facilitating its spread to other parts of the body.

Watch this video. Hopefully it can  help you better understand the complicated process. https://www.youtube.com/embed/IvyJKrx5Xmw?feature=plcp&rel=0&showinfo=0&autoplay=1

This article, Is an anticancer drug helping cancer to spread? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318846#1

reported the work of  another group of scientists at the Ohio State University (OSU) led by Tsonwin Hai, a professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology at OSU. They studied the effects of the commonly used chemo-drug paclitaxel (Taxol) on the spread of  breast cancer cells to the lungs. Taxol is also commonly used as a frontline medication in treating ovarian and lung cancer (besides breast cancer).

How a chemo drug can help cancer spread from the breast to the lungs? You can get the answers by reading these two articles: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-08/osu-hac080417.php, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318846.php#1

  • Paclitaxel may activate Atf3 (Activating Transcription Factor 3) gene: In those who had received chemotherapy, the gene Atf3is overexpressed, compared with patients who were not administered chemotherapy. ATF3 is overexpressed in a large fraction of various cancers including solid tumors in the breastlungspancreas, and colon. ATF3 is hyperactivated in most cells in Hodgkin’s disease. Overexpression of ATF3 in cancer cells have been proposed to promote proliferation and inhibit cell death.
  • According to the OSU researches, the findings suggest that paclitaxel may have a carcinogenic effect by activating this gene. This gene seems to do two things at once:
  1. essentially help distribute the ‘seeds’ (cancer cells)- increasing “the abundance of the tumormicroenvironment of metastasis, and 
  2. fertilize the ‘soil’ (the lung – by improving “the tissue microenvironment (the ‘soil’) for cancer cells (the ‘seeds’) to thrive” at the level of the metastatic lung. 

These changes, include increased inflammatory monocytes and reduced cytotoxicity.

Prof. Hai says: What is surprising to us is the multitude of pro-cancer effects that paclitaxel has! It not only enhances the escape of cancer cells from the primary tumor but also facilitates the preparation of distant sites (lung in our case) in such ways that when the cancer cells arrive, they can set up shop and grow.

Chemotherapy is ‘a double-edged sword: Paclitaxel seems to set off a molecular chain reaction, the end result of which is the creation of a cancer cell-friendly environment in the lungs. Prof. Hai ventures a possible explanation for the study’s findings. She says, I think it’s an active process – a biological change in which the cancer cells are beckoned to escape into the blood – rather than a passive process in which the cancer cells get into the bloodstream because of leaky vessels.

Summary

  • Researchers found that the use of chemotherapy — extremely toxic class of drugs — can trigger the onset of new tumors in other parts of the body.
  • Chemotherapy drugs in breast cancer results in production of specific proteins. These circulate in the blood and, upon reaching the lungs, cause the release of further proteins and immune cells that can facilitate the development of metastatic cancer cells.
  • It is like, chemo makes the cancer tumor produce more seeds. These seeds are then carried away to other parts of the body. The chemo also makes the soil so fertile and conducive for the seeds to grow!

Why condone and still “selling” such therapy?

  • Through its continued sale and promotion of toxic chemotherapy drugs for cancer, the pharmaceutical industry is thus ensuring that, far from eradicating the disease, it continues to exist.
  • Small wonder, therefore, that the size of the global oncology market is expected to reach an eye-watering $200 billion annually by the year 2022.
  • The World Health Organization estimates that cancer is now responsible for 9.6 million deaths per year. Breast cancer and lung cancer are the most common forms of the disease, with each seeing over 2 million cases per year.
  • The total annual economic cost of cancer is equally startling, amounting to more than $1 trillion each year. Not only is there no sign of this decreasing, but with the price of some new so-called monoclonal antibodies or biosimilar molecules for cancer now reaching $700,000 per patient per year.

Cancer Drugs Are The Most Profitable For Big Pharma

https://www.dr-rath-foundation.org/2020/02/cancer-drugs-are-the-most-profitable-for-big-pharma/

Drugs for cancer have been the largest business sector of the global pharmaceutical industry for several years now. This is the real reason why cancer still exists.

With annual revenues from the disease exceeding $123 billion a year, drug companies have no interest in preventing the disease. Instead, they prefer to profit from it by selling patented chemical treatments that don’t address its primary cause.

For more information you can read our previous articles

Chemotherapy Spreads Cancer and Makes It More Aggressive: Articles From the Internet

Compiled by Yeong Sek Yee & Khadijah Shaari  

https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2013/05/14/chemotherapy-spreads-cancer-and-make-it-more-aggressive-articles-from-the-internet/

Chemotherapy SPREADS and MAKES cancer more AGGRESSIVE

https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2013/03/09/chemotherapy-spreads-and-makes-cancer-more-aggressive/

 

 

 

 

Colon Cancer: Surgery and chemo did not cure them – ended up in a more dire situation.

One morning in November 2019.

Two Indonesians came to seek our help. One of them is from Medan and  the other from Jakarta. Both of them had colon cancer. They had surgery followed by chemotherapy. The treatments did not cure them. Let us examine each case in detail. And let us hope we can learn something from their experiences.

Case 1: SPW is 53 years old. He is from Jakarta. About eight months ago, SPW passed out blood-stained stools.

A colonoscopy indicated tumour in his colon.

A CT scan done on 20 March 2019 showed gallstones, in addition to a tumour in the colon.  SPW underwent surgery to remove the mass in his colon and the gallbladder stones.

Pathology report confirmed cancer,  adenocarcinoma, pT3NxMx.

After the surgery, SPW was sent home without further treatment.

About two months later (Jun 2019), a PET scan was done. The result showed the cancer had recurred at the previous operation site. There was NO spread to the liver, lung, lymph nodes or bone.

PW underwent 6 cycles of chemotherapy, at a private hospital in Jakarta. The chemo was given every two weeks. The regimen used was FOLFOX-4, consisting of  Eloxatin (or oxaliplatin) + 5-FU + Leucovorin (folinic acid).

About five months later, in November 2019, another PET was done. The results were disappointing.

  1. The doctor suspected the cancer had spread to the liver.
  2. Metabolic activity of the recurrent mass in the colon was less intense but the cancer did not go away.
  3. PET scan showed reactive lymph node.

The oncologist asked SPW to undergo more chemotherapy but he refused further treatment. Why?

SPW said he suffered severe side effects during the chemo.

  • He lost 15 kg of body weight within that few months of treatment.
  • He was depressed.
  • He suffered severe fatigue.
  • He lost his appetite.
  • He could not sleep at night, and had to take sleeping pills.
  • His fingers were numb.
  • He had difficulty walking.

Current condition: He has to urinate four times during the night.

Case 2: Wongso is a 67 year-old from Medan. In March 2018 he passed out stools with blood. A colonoscopy was done in a hospital in Medan. There was a mass in his colon.

Wongson underwent an operation to remove the tumour in his colon in April 2018. The pathology report confirmed cancer – adenocarcinoma, pT4N1Mx. One of the two lymph nodes was affected. A CT scan on 9 May 2018, showed the cancer had spread to his liver.

Wongso underwent chemotherapy at the government cancer hospital in Jakarta. He received 6 cycles of chemotherapy. The regimen used was FOLFOX-4,  consisting of oxaliplatin, folinic acid and 5-FU.

A CT scan on 5 September 2018 showed that the tumour in his liver had shrunk from 2.49 cm to 2.06 cm. But it did not go away.

Wongso was prescribed an oral drug – Xeloda. He took the pill for two weeks followed by a week of rest. This constitutes a cycle. Wongso took a total of 12 cycles of Xeloda. His CEA was initially at 2.6 but this increased to 79.8 in November 2019.

CT scan on 29 October 2019 showed:

  • Mild ascites around the liver.
  • Multiple cyst in both lobes of liver.
  • Fractured compression at L4 vertebrae.

In spite of this failure, the oncologist still insisted that Wongso continues to take the Xeloda. Wongso was still on Xeloda when he came to seek our help. His complaints were: stomach pain, probably due to “wind”. He moved his bowels 3 to 4 times a day. He had to urinate 3 to 4 times each night.

Comments

The standard treatment recipe for colon cancer is: surgery, chemotherapy and oral drug such as Xeloda. Sometimes patient is also asked to go for radiotherapy before surgery. This is the cases where the tumour is too large.

If you have cancer, you have to go through these treatments no matter where you are – in the most famous  and expensive hospital or in just any ordinary cancer hospital. Yes, you need to undergo this so called proven method of treatment. But, the question you need to ask is: does this proven and scientific method of treatment works for you? I cannot answer that question! But if you come to see after being diagnosed with colon cancer, my only advice is to go for surgery to remove the tumour, that is if the cancer has not spread extensively elsewhere. If there is a widespread metastasis, the value of surgery is questionable. So, that is as far as I would go. In fact, after I met with the two patients above, the next day, there was another Indonesian who also had colon cancer. He has not undergone any treatment yet. My advice to him was: Go and have the tumour removed. Go to this surgeon X in Hospital Y in Kuala Lumpur. He is a good doctor. I think he would be able to help you.

Looking back over the past twenty plus years helping colon cancer patients, I could recollect many sad experiences. In the early years, I have a few patients who underwent chemotherapy with 5-FU after surgery. At that time the only drug deemed effective was 5-FU. One patient went all the way to Sydney for his 5-FU treatment.  He died while undergoing the treatment. Then there was this building contractor. He too had colon cancer and underwent chemotherapy after his surgery. He did not make it. Before he died he told his daughter to not forget CA Care and she should try to help us whenever we need to do any renovation work. Over the years, I lost many good friends.

Now, the chemo regimen for colon cancer has been “updated.” In the case of SPW and Wongso, the oncologists treated their colon cancer using FOLFOX-4 regimen, which consists of a combination of  fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin.

In fact, besides FOLFOX, there are other variations such as:

  • FOLFIRI – consisting of folinic, 5-FU and irinotecan.
  • CAPOX – consisting of capecitabine or Xeloda and oxaliplatin.
  • XELOX – consisting of Xeloda (trade name) and oxaliplatin.

If you study the above carefully, these are merely different combinations of the same five drugs below:

  • 5-FU.
  • Folinic acid or
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Irinotecan
  • Capecitabine or Xeloda.

One important question which most patients want to ask is: Can chemotherapy cure colon cancer? Or What is the success rate of chemotherapy for colon cancer. I tried to search the answers from the internet and these are what I got.

  • Chemotherapy is used after surgery in many colon cancers which are stage 2, 3, and 4. It has been shown that it increases the survival rates. This is not the case in stage I cancers, and therefore chemotherapy is rarely used in this setting. The vast majority of stage I cancers are cured with surgery alone.
  • Although clinical trials have demonstrated that adjuvant chemotherapy improves survival for stage-III colon cancer, the benefits remain controversial for stage-2 lesions. Stage-2 colon cancer patients receive adjuvant chemotherapy despite its uncertain benefits.
  •  Surgery is the primary curative modality in 70–80% of colon cancer patients who present with a non-metastatic disease. However, recurrence is common and is seen in nearly 30% of stage 3 cases after 5 years.
  • Nearly a quarter of all colon cancer cases are stage 3 at diagnosis.
  • Chemotherapy does not cure metastatic colorectal cancer, but it can improve symptoms and prolong life. 
  •  Upon diagnosis, 20% of newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients present with metastatic disease (Stage 4) with no curative treatment options currently available. 
  • The overall five-year relative survival of colorectal cancer patients in the US is 64% and in England it is 50.7%.
  • Below is the survival rate in England, based on the stage of disease at diagnosis.
Stage at diagnosis Number of cases 5-year relative survival (%)
Dukes A / Stage 1 26,727 93.2
Dukes B / Stage 2 74,784 77.0
Dukes C / Stage 3 72,806 47.7
Dukes D / Stage 4 28,377 6.6

 

  • The above data are obtained with patients in the US and England. We need to take note that survival rate does NOT mean cure. Unfortunately many patients are told that if they can live five years and more you are considered “CURED”. Unfortunately this is a wrong advice.
  • Take note also that the above result need not apply to you. You may respond differently from these people. The above result should be treated as just an indicator of what can happen to you.
  • In summary, if you are diagnosed with advanced or Stage 4 cancer, you chance of survival is probably 10 to 15%, no matter what you do. On the other hand, if you have a Stage 1 cancer, you don’t need chemotherapy at all after surgery. Even for Stage 2 cancer, chemotherapy is of doubtful benefit.
  • Overall, that data tells that for colon cancer, you have a 50:50 chance with chemotherapy if your cancer is at Stage 3.

Most patients believe that surgery and chemotherapy can cure their cancer. Unfortunately this is often not the case. In the case of SPW and Wongso, were they ever told the truth about their chances? Unfortunately, they had to learn the hard way.

 

 

 

 

Pancreatic Cancer: Can Chemo Cure You? or Can the Treatment Kill You or Bankrupt You?

SH is a 62-year-old Singaporean. Many years ago, his father had lung cancer. He underwent chemotherapy and according to SH’s wife, “it was very fast, within a year he died. He had chemo.”

Fast forward to early 2018.  SH had difficulty moving his bowels which led to pains in the abdomen and loss of appetite. The problem persisted for some six months.

Sometime in June 2018, SH went to a government hospital and did a colonoscopy. There were some polyps. USG showed “air bubbles” in the intestine. Nothing was done and SH was asked to go home. Not satisfied, SH went to a “well known” private hospital (in Singapore). A CT scan was done, followed by a biopsy.

SH was told he had pancreatic cancer, Stage 3. The cancer might have spread to the small intestine.

On 1 July 2018, SH sent me an email:

Dear Dr. Chris,

I am SH from Singapore I want to check with you how can I come and consult you in Penang?

I have done a CT scan and  found to have “abdomen/pelvis: mass in neck of pancreas, encroaching the portal vein causing portal obstruction with cavermosum formation. Also abutting hepatic artery and SMA”.

May I know how to make an appointment to see you? I look forward to your reply.

My reply: Go and see the doctors first and find out what they can do for you.

Dear Dr. CHRIS,

Thank you for your advice. I will discuss with my doctor first. I understand that he recommends chemo followed by surgery. I will come back to you once I have gone through the treatments and assess my health condition.

From 11 July 2018 to 9 July 2019, SH underwent chemotherapy. This was done at the clinic of a “famous Singapore oncologist”.

In total, SH received 11 cycles of chemotherapy using the drugs, Gemcitabine + Abraxane. This is the standard recipe used to treat advanced pancreatic cancer.

This treatment was stopped after 11 cycles because, according to SH, the treatment was not effective. For this treatment alone, SH spent about SGD100,000.

In November 2018, SH underwent treatment with HIFU – high frequency focused ultrasound.

Then from end of July 2019 to end of August 2019, SH received 28 cycles of radiotherapy. This treatment cost him SGD20,000.

On Jan 19, 2019, I received this email from SH.

Dear Dr. Chris Teo,

I am SH from Singapore. I contacted you in July 2018. You asked me to see my oncologist first. I did that. I would like to visit you to seek alternative herbal treatment. I have completed 13 chemo sessions for treatment of my pancreatic cancer. Please advise how to make appointment to see you?

On Nov 4, 2019 SH again wrote:

Dear Chris Teo,

Can I come to see you in November (date to be confirmed)? My chemo treatment is not working for me. I will not hold you responsible. I am desperate to seek alternative treatment. Can you agree to see me? Thanks.

When SH came to seek our help in November 2019, he said he had learned from his father’s bitter experience about chemotherapy. From the beginning he was not happy to undergo chemotherapy but he had no choice. In the end, he decided to give up chemotherapy because of the severe side effects.

Did chemo and radiation treatments cure his cancer?

Take a look at the CA19.9 values during the course of his treatments:

SH was scheduled for a third cycle of chemo in mid-November 2019 but he decided to give up further medical treatment.

In fact SH was told that if he was to continue with chemotherapy, the drugs to be used would be changed to: 5-FU +irinotecan or 5-FU + irinotecan + oxaliplatin.

Alternatively, SH could opt for targeted therapy using Olaprarib.

If you check the internet, Olaprarib is a drug used to treat ovarian and breast cancer!!!!!!!

How much does Olaparib cost? In the US, the cost of Olaparib (internet information) is estimated to be USD3,000 per month!

SH’s blood test results on 5 November 2019 is a follows:

RBC 3.14  low
HGB 9.3    low
Platelet 86     low
eGFR More than 60 high
Alk phos 55
AST 32
ALT 24
GGT 50

Below are the results of the PET scan done on 1 October 2019 (top row) compared to the one done on 15 July 2019 (bottom row). It is obvious that his cancer did not go away in spite of the treatments given.

My Comments

One question I asked SH (and his wife). Before you undergo the chemotherapy, did you ever ask the oncologist if the treatment is going to cure you? Yes, they asked that question. And the answer was, “No, cannot cure. It is just to prolong life or to promote quality of life.”

Is that what patients want — no cure but prolong life? Ask these questions — prolong life for how long? And at what cost in terms of suffering or money?

What about chemo promoting quality of life? Someone must be joking! SH said, “spend money is okay” but it is the suffering that he could not endure.

At the end of it all, ask yourself, Is it worth it? I can’t answer that question – only the patient who suffered the consequences would know better.

I always tell patients, understand that the decrease of tumor markers (in this case CA19.9) is meaningless! But many patients don’t want to understand this. To them if the tumor marker comes down, it means the treatment is effective! So patients like to go for blood test or do a CT scan soon after each or a few shots of treatment. Some even do the most crazy thing — doing a PET scan every month!

Let us look at SH’s case.

  1. On 5 July 2018 before chemo, SH’s CA19.9 was at 5,248. That was high! Okay, after a shot of chemo, his CA19.9 went down to 1,658. Hooray, the chemo worked! That was what SH thought and it was probably what his oncologist also thought and wanted SH to believe — the chemo was very effective!

So go for more and more chemo — good, isn’t it?

  1. By 28 February 2019, SH’s CA19.9 went down to its lowest level, at 206. Wonderful achievement.

But was that really wonderful? Don’t be fooled. If you have enough experience or if you are observant enough, know that this decrease of tumour marker may not last. It could be just an illusion; a temporary relief and a good start to make patients excited and spend their money. But it may not last. I have seen enough cases like this happen.

  1. See, from the lowest CA19.9 level of 206 in February 2019, SH’s CA19.9 started to increase again. By July 2019 it went up to 500 – 600. That was just within five months.

It was at this point that the doctor told SH that the Gemcitabine + Abraxane concoction did not work anymore!

SH needed to be given another “magic” concoction of Oxaliplatin + 5-FU (or + irinotecan).

  1. By October and November 2019, even with the new concoction, SH’s CA19.9 shot up to 4,329.

Remember before SH was started on chemo in July 2018, his CA19.9 was at 5,2438. After spending more than SGD120K for the treatment, he was back to square one — that was just 15 months later.

  1. SH suffered severe side effects. In spite of not seeing meaning benefit, the oncologist would not want to give up yet. If SH had already developed a phobia for the needle, he can go for a “high sounding name treatment called Targeted Therapy”. This is to take an oral drug called Olaprarib. This is the first time I have heard of this drug. So I goggled to find out more about this. I learned that this drug costs a bomb — USD3,000 per month in the US?!? I have no idea how much this cost here.

But what is most bewildering about this drug is that it is meant for ovarian or breast cancer!!!!  Has someone forgotten that SH has pancreatic cancer? That being the case, how good can this new drug be for SH?

So let’s go back to the title of this post — Can chemo cure you? Can the treatment kill you? or Can the treatment bankrupt you? I would not be able to answer that question. Patients, you answer that question!

 

 

 

 

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Magic? Fluke Shot? Hocus pocus? or God’s Blessing?

Status

Jim (not his real name) is a 29-year-old Indonesia. He is an engineer – a graduate of one of Australia’s prestigious universities. He and his wife, Grace (not her real name) came to seek our help. Let me briefly relate to you his story.

Some time in January 2019, Jim went out with friends for a drinking session. He vomited blood.  Later, he passed out blood in his stools. Jim has a history of gastric ulcer.

Jim went to a private hospital in Melaka and did an endoscopy and CT scan. The result showed:

  • Enlarged liver with multiple solid nodules in both lobes. The largest in the right lobe is about 6 x 6 cm.
  • There is an enlarged perigastric node about 2 cm.

Jim went to Hospital A in Singapore for a second opinion where an endoscopy was again done followed by a PET scan and a biopsy. The results showed:

  • The 1.8 x 1.3 cm lesion in the gastric fundus, represent the known primary neuroendocrine neoplasm.
  • Pericoeliac and paracaval lymph nodes are likely nodal metastases.
  • Numerous lesions in the liver, representing metastases. The largest lesion is approximately 6.8 x 5.9
  • There a several 0.2 to 0.4 cm nodules in both lungs. Lung metastasis remain a consideration.

After being told that he had neuroendocrine cancer, Jim and his family decided to go to Koh Samui, Thailand to undergo a 11-day detox program. This cost him SGD5,000.

On his return from Koh Samui, Jim decided to seek further treatment in Hospital B in Singapore. On 12 February 2019, he did a PET gallium dotatate scan – an imaging procedure specially for neuroendocrine cancer.

Note:  A small amount of a radioactive drug called Dotatate is given by injection before the PET scan. Dotatate attaches to neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) and shows up on the PET image as bright spots.

Below are the results:

On 13 February 2019, Jim was started on chemotherapy. The drugs used were: Cisplatin + Etoposite. In addition, he was also given Denosunab,  an injection for his bone.

(Note: Denosumab (trade names Prolia and Xgeva) is a human monoclonal antibody for the treatment of osteoporosis, treatment-induced bone loss, metastases to bone, and giant cell tumor of bone).

Jim continued to receive another shot of chemo with Cisplatin + Etoposite. But for the third shot, the drugs were changed to Irinotecan + Temodal.

(Note: Temozolomide or Temodal is used to treat brain tumour – glioblastoma multiforme or recurrent  anaplastic astrocytoma. It is sometimes used to treat bone cancer that has come back. This drug is usually used with irinotecan).

So from the third to eighth chemo, Jim received Irinotecan + Temodal.

Together with chemo, Jim also received Neulastim Booster.

(Note: Neulastim Injection is used for boost production of white blood cells, to help with fever due to low WBC in patients undergoing chemotherapy).

After the seventh chemo Jim’s started to have problems. He developed skin rashes, intially under his arm and parts of the body.

On 29 June 2019, Jim received his first shot of hormone injection called Lanreotide Autogel. Thiis cost SGD4,000 each injection and he had this twice.

(Note: Lanreotide lowers many substances in the body such as insulin and glucagon (involved in regulating blood sugar), growth hormone, and chemicals that affect digestion. It is used to treat acromegaly (increased level of growth hormone), carcinoid syndrome and a certain type of pancreatic or digestive tract tumor that may spread to other parts of the body).

(Note: Carinoid syndrome – signs and symptoms of carcinoid tumors in the digestive tract include: Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and inability to pass stool due to intestinal blockage (bowel obstruction), rectal bleeding, rectal pain and redness or a feeling of warmth in your face and neck (skin flushing).

After the eighth chemo Jim started to have more rashes. They spread throughout the body from head to toes and hands.

On 12 July 2019, Jim was give another type of hormone injected called Sandostatin.

(Note: Sandostatin is given to control symptoms such as diarrhea or flushing in patients with tumors such as carcinoid, pancreatic islet cell tumors, gastrinoma, or vasoactive intestinal peptide-secreting tumors.It is also used to treat acromegaly, when the body produces too much growth hormone, and the hands, feet, face or head grow too large).

On 12 Septermber 2019, Jim decided to give up medical treatment and he and  wife Grace flew to Penang seeking our help.

Take a quick look at the time line Grace prepared for this article.

1 4 &5 Sep-17 Endoscopy Melaka Hospital
2 10-Jan-19 Gastric pain, cold sweat, throw out blood & black stool
3 19-Jan-19 CT Scan, Blood test, Endoscopy & Biopsy Melaka Hospital
4 23-Jan-19 Re-do Endoscopy & Biopsy Singapore Hospital
5 23-Jan-19 PET Scan Singapore Hospital
6 29-Jan-19 Positive Biopsy report Singapore Hospital
7 29-Jan-19 Detox program for 11 days Resort, Koh Samui
8 8-Feb-19 Consult to Dr. X for another Singapore Hospital Singapore Hospital B
9 12-Feb-19 PET Gallium Dotatate Scan ( special for Neuroendocrine ) S’pore Hospital B
10 13-Feb-19 1st Chemo (Cisplatin & Etoposite) 3 days/cycle + Neulastim Booster S’pore Hospital B
11 13-Feb-19 1st Bone Injection Denosumab (xgeva)
12 5-Mar-19 2nd Chemo (Cisplatin & Etoposite) 3 days/cycle + Neulastim Booster
13 26-Mar-19 3rd Chemo (Irinotecan & Temodal) 5days/cycle + Neulastim Booster
14 27-Mar-19 Insert Port a cath Surgery Centre, SG
15 1-Apr-19 Hydration 1day S’pore Hospital B
16 12-Apr-19 Hydration 2 days & Albumin IV S’pore Hospital B
17 15-Apr-19 4th Chemo (Irinotecan & Temodal) 5days/cycle + Neulastim Booster
18 17-Apr-19 Start taking herb 2x a day Herbalist Singapore
19 6-May-19 5th Chemo (Irinotecan & Temodal) 5days/cycle + Neulastim Booster S’pore Hospital B
20 20-May-19 Hydration 1 days 1 L Hospital in  Melbourne
21 27-May-19 6th Chemo (Irinotecan & Temodal) 5days/cycle + Neulastim Booster S’pore Hospital B
22 17-Jun-19 7th Chemo (Irinotecan & Temodal) 5days/cycle + Neulastim Booster
23 26-Jun-19 Skin rashes started come out at under arm & body side
24 29-Jun-19 1st Hormone Injection Lanreotide Autogel (1 month dose 1 syringe) S’pore Hospital B
25 29-Jun-19 Hydration 1day S’pore Hospital B
26 2-Jul-19 Albumin IV 4 days S’pore Hospital B
27 3-Jul-19 Kidney USG S’pore Hospital B
28 8-Jul-19 8th Chemo (Irinotecan & Temodal) 5days/cycle + Neulastim Booster S’pore Hospital B
29 8-Jul-19 Hydration & Albumin IV 5 days S’pore Hospital B
30 12-Jul-19 Rashes spread to head , toes, palm hands
31 12-Jul-19 3days Hormone Injection Sandostatin ( 3x injections daily ) S’pore Hospital B
32 16-Jul-19 Hydration 2 days S’pore Hospital B
33 29-Jul-19 Hydration & Albumin 3 days S’pore Hospital B
34 30-Jul-19 1st Consult Dermatology Dr. Y S’pore Hospital B
35 31-Jul-19 2nd Bone Injection Denosumab (xgeva) S’pore Hospital B
37 31-Jul-19 2nd Hormone Injection Lanreotide Autogel (1 month dose 1 syringe) S’pore Hospital B
37 12-Aug-19 Very tired, almost black out, skin getting worse, water retention
38 20-Aug 2nd Consult Dermatology Dr Y S’pore Hospital B
39 21-Aug Hydration & Albumin 3 days S’pore Hospital B
40 2-Sep Hydration & Albumin 4 days S’pore Hospital B
41 9-Sep 3rd Consult Dermatology Dr Y, Steroid Injection S’pore Hospital B
42 11-Sep Did IgG Food Sensitivity test Diagnostic, Singapore
43 12-Sep Consult with Dr Chris Teo, taking herb CA Care Penang
44 19-Sep Consult Dr Z for blood test Melaka Hospital
45 3-Oct Shingles Infections Skin Clinic Melaka
46 7-Oct 2nd consult with Dr Chris Teo CA Care Penang
47 16-Oct Low Albumin, IV 100ml a day x 3days Melaka Hospital

 

Was Jim cured by those highly scientific, up-to-date medical treatment in Singapore?

You make your own conclusion after seeing the photos below. By the way, for all the adventure in Singapore Jim spent no less than SGD100,000 (that is 0.3 million ringgit).

Feb 2019 before chemotherapy ——– Feb 2019 to Sept 2019, after chemo and hormone injection. SGD 100,000 gone. Ended up bald, severe skin peeling, severe diarrhoea, swollen feet, etc. Worth it?

Jim said the severe peeling of the skin  was indeed a very painful experience. His skin peeled and peeled for about 10 to 13 times. It addition, he suffered severe diarrhoea – about 20 times a day to the extent that he said he virtually fell “asleep” in the toilet. Jim will share his experience in the next posting.

Let us look at the results of his PET scan.

Comparison of scan results: 29 July 2019 (top row) vs 12 February 2019 (bottom row)

Comparison of scan results: 29 July 2019 (left row) vs 12 February 2019 (right row)

Something wrong with the bones? Scan on 29 July 2019 (left column) seemed to be more serious than scan done on 12 Feb 2019 (right).

Did the cancer go away after all the treatments?

Again, ask this question: From the above, do you see any improvement? And what had  scientific, modern medicine done to him? Study what the reports carefully and you will know the answers.

My comments

Most patients who come to see us are like Jim and Grace. They have come to the end of the road as far as medical treatments are concerned. Where else can they go to for help? Yet the medical world sees alternative medicine as hocus pocus. They call people like me snake oil peddlers!

When I first saw Jim in such a  pathetic condition, I was really upset. Here is a young man being subjected to such torturous treatments in the name of “science.”  But deep in my heart, there was a feeling that I would be able to help him — no, not to cure him but to help and make his life a lit bit better.

Each morning, as I prepare to come to the centre to see patients, my prayer to God, the Almighty Healer is always  this — God show me your way. Teach me what I have to do to help people in need. This is what I call  asking for God’s blessing for whatever happens after that!

In the next posting I shall present  you videos of our conversation. You will learn about the traumatic experience that Jim went through.

I prescribed Jim some herbs and was very concern if the herbs would help him or not. Below are some of the emails for you to evaluate.

 Sun, Sep 15, 2019:  Hi Dr Chris,

Currently Jim’s face & toes got water retention due to lack of albumin. This has happened 5 to 6 times  already since the past 4 months. This water retention is followed by tiredness, swollen & not feeling well.

Doctor at SG will give Albumin IV usually 2 bottles for 5 days. But it will become low again after 1-2 weeks & he need another albumin again. Which is not helping at all.

Last time you said you have herb for swollen face & toes. Please advice what herb to overcome this? Please advice.

Sat, Sep 21, 2019: Dear dr chris,

The past few days, 10 minutes after drinking the herb, Jim will need to go to the toilet. One day he can pass motion for around 7 times. Do you mind if we send you picture of the poop?

Lately, he is also feeling a bit tired. Is it the side effect of the herb? Should we be worried about it?

Also, we just started on Edema today. Will let you know how it goes in the next few days.

Tue, Oct 1: Hi Dr,

Thank you for your reply. After taking Lower Edema for 10 days until today, his leg still swollen, but not getting worse. And he still pee 6-7x a day (last time when his leg swollen he only pee 2-3x a day. Means all liquid intake become water retention. During that time we have no choice & did Albumin IV 10bottles 5 days in a row, then slowly his albumin level going up & he starting to pee 7- 8x per day & his water retention gone. But It will recurrence every 2 weeks time which make us worried.

Do you think this swelling due to his liver not good or what else?

The first 2 weeks he feels tired, skin still worse, sometimes nausea, & more bowl movements more than 5x. Every time he drink herbs, 10 mins later confirm go toilet.

But now after taking herbs for 3 weeks time, he is much better now. The skin, the energy, mood are better and can go out to do some activity which we are very happy to see his condition now.

Now only his leg swollen & still having lack of leg power (since few months ago).

He took the herbs regularly & diets following your cook book. Totally no meats except fish sometimes.

Please advice on this current condition.

Mon, Oct 21: Dear Dr Chris,

 I compiled Jim’s medical record since his first symptom until now.

– Medical Timeline (excel)

– All scans & Endoscopy

– Each month blood test

– Histopathology report

– Photos of his peeled skin

We are very happy if you can help us look through these file for your further analysis. His current conditions is much better after taking your herb, and we are very happy & thank you and auntie for your kind help.

Tue, Oct 22, 2019 : Dear Dr,

Thank you for your kind reply. He feels good, can do some activities & he continues  using the machine also. Overall the energy is good can go out around 5 hrs a day.

Thank you for your help.

Wed, Oct 23, 2019: Dear Dr,

We are the one should thank you because you help us through this struggling time. We are fine with the pictures, sharing with others.

Thu, Oct 24, 2019: Hi Dr Chris, 

After reading the story you wrote, I felt happy because now we are on the right track. After chemo  so many side effect & no improvement. We were really down at that time and luckily we came  to see you. Hopefully this story will help others patients too. We really appreciate your kindness & help.

Thank you Dr Chris!

He is doing quite well now, but I understand he can’t over do. So we trying to manage it.

  1. Now no more diarrhea problem. Only during 3rd to 8th chemo (Irinotecan side effect), diarrhea 15-20x a day (even after atrophine injection 1-2x a day). After stop chemo no more. Currently 4-5x a day. Not painful.
  2. His last Albumin IV on 16 Oct for 3 days. After that blood test shown still border line 33 L (range 35-50). But last 4 days we soaked his toes on warm water + Epsom salt. It’s help reduce the swelling. Now looks normal already. Hopefully will stay normal because it happened so many times already & no solution until now.
  3. Now, skin no more peeling off, only dry in some area (near lips, thigh). After taking herb about 2 weeks his skin does not peel off anymore.
  4. He can sleep well now, no more melatonin / sleeping pill this past one month until now.
  5. His shingles is gone, leaving scars only.

AFTER TAKING THE HERBS

 

Let me conclude by asking you to reflect seriously these words of advice:

   

Acknowledgment: Thank you Grace (not her real name) for your help in providing us with all the pictures and medical reports to enable us to write this story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surgery, 27 times radiation and 16 cycles of chemo failed. Oncologist shrugged and said, “Do more chemo. Try but at same time, just pray.”

More chemo and pray

LW is a 63-year-old lady from Indonesia. This is her sad story.

LW went for a Pap smear every year. Everything seemed okay. In 2014, she was told there was an infection but she need not have to worry!

Not satisfied LW consulted another doctor. She was told she had cancer of the cervix. Immediately she underwent an operation but refused follow-up chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

One year later, a check-up showed that the cancer was still there — meaning the operation did not cure her.

In early 2015, LW came to a private hospital in Penang and underwent 5 cycles of chemotherapy. She also had 25 sessions of radiotherapy and two times of brachytherapy (internal radiation).

In June 2016, examination showed LW still had cancer. She underwent another 6 cycles of chemotherapy. This time radiotherapy was not indicated.

After completion of the treatment, a PET scan on March 2017 showed the cancer did not go away. Again LW underwent another 6 cycles of chemotherapy. The treatment was completed in mid-December 2017.

A PET-CT scan on 9 January 2018 showed the following:

  • Metabolic active lymph nodes in both hila, subcarinal and middle mediastinum — slight decreased in size, measuring 1.6 cm.
  • Metabolic active lymph nodes at para-aortic and para-caval region and bilateral common iliac region — slight increase in size.
  • Metabolic active left cervical lymph node at level 2 — measuring 1.2 cm.
  • Metabolic active left cervical lymph node at level 4 — measuring 1.8 cm.

In simple language, the chemotherapy and radiation treatments thus far did not cure LW.

Chris: Did you ask your oncologist why he cannot cure you?

The oncologist shrugged and could not answer. He only suggested that LW undergo more chemo! Kita berusha saja sambil berdoa (we try and at the same pray!).

 

Comments 

What can cancer patients learn from this case — i.e. if you want to learn!

  • Ken Murray is a Family Medicine doctor. He said, Poor knowledge and misguided expections lead to a lot of bad decision. 

Kathleen Phalen in her book, Integrative Medicine, she wrote, We’ve been misguided into thinking that our doctors … are deities capable of performing the greatest of miracles. 

Dr.Edward Creagan (in How NOT to be my patient) said, The doctor does not always know the best … some (patients) still believe that the doctor knows best. We don’t … You can guard against being an innocent victim.

In simple language I would say, Read, educate and empower yourself. It is you and you alone who suffer the consequences of whatever treatments you undergo. Here again, I must say straight and blunt, Cancer patients do not read! They prefer to be led by the nose.

  • Three rounds of chemotherapy (in addition to surgery and radiotherapy) did not cure her cancer, yet LW was asked to more of the same. Is that logical? When will you stop putting poison into your body?

Remember what Albert Einstein said, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  • Think back, when chemo after chemo failed, did your doctor ever admit that what he was doing for you is wrong? No? And did he try to find a scapegoat? And why are you so dumb and “insane”?

An Indonesian lady had surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and Tamoxifen. After five years she was told by her oncologist that she was cured! One year later a bone scan showed extensive metastasis to the bones. The oncologist told her it was no fault of anyone, “it is just your luck.” Ho, ho, bad karma? 

Another Indonesian lady had similar treatment for her breast cancer. She had chemos after chemos for almost three years, yet the cancer did go away. Doc., why am I not cured? The oncologist said, Ibu, ini tidak bisa sembuh (Mama, this cannot be cured). This “confession” came after 3 years of chemo and the patient having to sell a piece of land to pay for the RM300,000-treatment. The question to ask, Why is the truth not told at the very beginning, and not after all treatments had failed? 

A young Malaysia lady had breast cancer and her husband brought her to a very famous oncologist. The oncologist told the husband and the patient, No problem the lump is small, Stage 2. I can cure her. Do chemotherapy right away — this afternoon.

The husband trusted this oncologist so much that in his heart he felt God had sent him to this “great” doctor and this doctor is the one who is going to cure his wife — not God. 

This young lady had chemo after chemo — and after spending RM500,000 — she was not cured. Within a year, the cancer spread to her brain. The husband asked the oncologist why? His reply, I am not Jesus. How do I know it will recur.

George Lundberg was fired after 17 years being the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Reflect seriously what he wrote in his book, Severed Trust, Physicians’ ego is enormous. The god image has been around for ages. They don’t like to make mistake. It’s even hard for them to acknowledge that they are capable of making mistakes. 

In his book, Second Opinions, Jerome Groopman, professor at Harvard Medical School wrote, Physicians are not used to admitting when they are wrong and plainly stating to the patients and family that an error was made … or an incorrect drug prescribed.

Harold Kushner is a Jewish rabbi who I have great respect for. In one of his books he wrote, Many people use God like an aspirin and some use God as antibiotics! 

  • There is no cure for cancer! I have been helping cancer patients for 20 plus years. I have come to the conclusion that there is no cure for cancer! It will come back — 5, 10,or even 20 years later, even after an “apparent” cure!

Let us not fool anyone. So when patients come to CA Care, the first information dished out to you is, If you come to us hoping to find a magic bullet to cure your cancer, then this is the wrong place. We don’t have any magic bullet. We want be honest and truthful from the very beginning.

No cure does not mean you are going to die soon. Far from it. We shall try our best to help you. I have patients who come to us after their doctors said they only 3 to 6 months to live! The reality is some of these patients are still alive after 3 to 10 years! What more do you want?

In this video, this is exactly what I told LW. Everyone has to die one day — it does not matter if you get cancer or not. For each day that you are alive, learn to be grateful to God for being able to see another day. Unfortunately not many patients have this sense of gratitude.

Yes, I believe in the power of prayer. I believe God heals you — not my herbs. I want to be careful not to use God as an aspirin or antibiotic. At CA Care we want you to learn to trust your God — whatever God you believe in, that’s okay with me (even though I am a Christian).

When you pray, ask God to give you the wisdom to do what is right. Ask Him to guide you and show you the correct path to good health. Don’t only ask, you need to WALK that path! Do something positive for yourself.

I think the key to any healing is to realize that good health is your responsibility. You decide whether you want to get sick or to be healthy. God is fair. Don’t blame God for your sickness or failures.

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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.