Breast Cancer: A War Lost After Mastectomy, Reconstructive Surgery, Chemo and Radiation

Cellulitis After Breast Reconstruction Surgery and Chemo

The file of EC laid buried on my table for almost four years. At first I thought I wanted to write her story but then perhaps it was not necessary – let her secret go away with her, buried in her grave! But on 13 August 2012, a lady came to our centre for help. She too had breast cancer. And her story resembled EC’s case. This make me think again – I should write this story!

EC – an Indonesia female, was 40 years old when a mammogram on 29 August 2003, showed the following results:

Following further evaluation, EC was diagnosed with breast cancer. She subsequently underwent a biopsy leading to a right mastectomy with axillary clearance. At the same time she had a right breast reconstruction with latissimus dorsi flap and saline implant.

The histology reported a Grade 3 ductal carcinoma measuring 2.5 x 2 x 1 cm. Three of 17 dissected lymph nodes showed metastatic disease. None of the 2 lymph nodes in level 2 showed metastatic disease.

The immunohistochemistry showed the tumour had hormonal receptors as below:

Taking into account of the 3 involved lymph nodes, EC was started on adjuvant chemotherapy with Cyclophosphamide and Andriamycin (A + C) for 4 cycles. Another 4 cycles of taxol was schedule after the AC. However, the use of taxol had to be aborted due to severe reaction and complications as explained by her oncologist’s report dated 6 January 2004:

She tolerated chemotherapy fairly well with growth support using Granocyte. Although she is not diabetic on repeated measures, she unfortunately developed repeated episodes of skin infection following the last dose of Cyclophosphamide and Andriamycin. 

There was substantial celulitis over the implanted right breast. For that reason, EC is finding it difficult to proceed with further chemotherapy with the fear of recurrent flare of cellulitis. 

Since there is a fear of further exacerbation of her cellulitis with ongoing chemotherapy, Tamoxifen  for 5 years was proceeded instead.  As she has already achieved post menopausal status, there is no further recommendation for ovarian ablation at this stage.

EC took Tamoxifen from 2003 to 2005. She received Zometa injection (for bone) ever six-monthly.

Her progress was monitored regularly.

  1. 3 April 2004: Mammogram and ultrasound of her left breast and CT of thorax and abdomen showed everything in order. A bone scan on 5 April 2004 showed no specific evidence of bone metastasis.

21 March 2005:  Mammographic findings are unchanged. On the four-quadrant ultrasound examination, there are two hypoechoic nodules demonstrated within the left breast. These are benign looking lesions. These ultrasound finds are already present in a previous examination dated 3 April 2004 and allowing for technical differences, are essentially unchanged. CT scan of the thorax does not reveal any mediastinal lymphadenopathy or pulmonary nodules. Two hypodense lesions demonstrated in the liver were also seen previously with no significant interval change in size or in character. These may represent small hepatic cysts.  Bone scan showed no specific evidence of bone metastasis.

(Note: Tamoxifen was stopped and changed to Arimidex in 2005 until 2008).

27 March 2006: No suspicious lesion is seen in the left breast. A small cyst is seen at 9 0’oclock position. The other cyst demonstrated previously is not seen today.  Ultrasound of abdomen showed liver is normal in size and there are two small cysts present. These are likely to correspond to the hypodense lesions seen in previous CT scan done in March 2005. No solid mass seen. No pulmonary nodules demonstated. No hilar masses seen. No specific evidence of bone metastases.

5 July 2007: No mammographic evidence of malignancy. Tiny left breast cyst. No focal solid mass lesion is visualised. Ultrasound of abdomen showed a 1.9 x 1.7 x 1.5 cm anechoic cyst in segment 7 of the liver. This appears to have shown slight interval increase in size. The previously noted subcentimetre cyst in segment 6 is no longer seen. No other abnormality is seen.

17 December 2007: Bone scan showed no specific evidence of any new bone metastases. Ultrasound of liver showed no sonographic evidence of hepatic metastases apart from a 1.9 x 1.8 x 1.6 cm anechoic cyst in segment 7 of the liver.

15 January 2008: Due to rising tumour markers, PET was ordered to assess for recurrent disease. The cancer had spread to her brain.

EC underwent a craniotomy or brain surgery to remove the tumour.  Her tumour was consistent with metastatic carcinoma, possibly breast.

Oral drug Arimidex was abandoned and EC was given Aromasin instead. Zometa injection was continued as usual – every six-monthly.

11 February 2008: EC received 5 times of stereotactic radiotherapy to her brain.

17 July 2008: The cyst in her liver seemed to grow bigger.

EC received another 5 times of stereotactic radiotherapy to her brain.

20 October 2008: Her brain surgery and 10 radiation treatment did not cure her brain cancer. The tumour recurred.

24 October 2008: EC and her husband came to Penang to seek our help. EC was prescribed Capsule A, Brain 1 and Brain Brain 2 teas and Breast M, C-tea plus Brain Leaf Tea.

Comments

Unfortunately EC was not able to follow our therapy properly. We always tell patients – our herbal teas are smelly and taste awful. They have to be brewed and this could be a great chore indeed. And if you have undergone chemo and radiation, the chances are that you will suffer when you first start taking the herbs.  Well, but that could not be as bad as the chemo or radiation side effects. Nevertheless, some people are less tolerant when they come to us. The reality is – they expect magic even if medical science has failed them.

We did not get to meet EC and her husband again after their initial visit to us. They had decided to continue with more medical treatments. When nothing worked, EC decided to give up and turned to God for a miracle. She then died.

EC and her husband told us that after the reconstruction surgery and chemotherapy, her breast became red, swollen and painful. I wondered what could have caused this. If you read the oncologist report above, an innocent-sounding terminology was used –cellulitis. What doesthis actually mean? The word cellulitis means inflammation of the cells.  Specifically, cellulitis refers to an infection of the tissue just below the skin surface.

The following are information from the internet when I searched for breast reconstruction and cellulitis,and breast implant infection.

Someone posted this question – Is cellulitis of a reconstructed breast (after breast cancer) common?and she wrote: I have gotten cellulitis of my reconstructed breast three times in the last six months. The first time I was hospitalized for a week. I was very sick and it was very painful. Is this a common occurrence? http://www.medpedia.com/questions/1823-is-cellulitis-of-a-reconstructed-breast-after-breast-cancer-common

The Answers:

  • Cellulitis is an inflammatory reaction involving the skin and underlying subcutaneous tissue. Patients who undergo surgery for breast cancer, whether in the setting of breast conservation or mastectomy, are at risk of developing infection at the surgical site and in soft tissue. Surgical trauma predisposes patients to skin infection. Postoperative skin infections develop after 2%–7% of all surgical procedures. The incidence of surgical site infections is 12.4% following mastectomy with immediate implant reconstruction.
  • Infection following breast implants is an uncommon event. This is somewhat surprising, since the human breast is not a sterile anatomical structure. Treatment of the periprosthetic infection usually involves implant removal, but salvage by systemic antibiotics is sometimes possible. ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2663982)
  • Infection can occur with any surgery. Most infections resulting from surgery appear within a few days to weeks after the operation. However, infection is possible at any time after surgery. Infections with a breast implant present are harder to treat than infections in normal body tissues. Toxic Shock Syndrome has been noted in women after breast implant surgery, and it is a life-threatening condition. Symptoms include sudden fever, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, dizziness, and/or sunburn-like rash. A surgeon should be seen immediately for diagnosis and treatment for this condition. http://www.lookingyourbest.com/info/breastimplant-complications.php 

Complications of Breast Implants 

  • After having breast implant surgery, about 30% of women will require further surgery within 10 years of their initial operation.
  • Additional surgery may be needed as a result of complications such as capsular contracture (hardening of the scar capsule around the implant, see below), age-related changes to the breast or the shell of the implant rupturing (splitting).
    • If you are having an implant fitted for breast reconstruction following a mastectomy (breast removal) you may have a greater risk of infection and bleeding.
    • Most infections can be treated using antibiotics. But if your breast becomes severely infected, you may need to have the implant removed to prevent further complications developing. You should be able to have the implant re-inserted once the infection has cleared up. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Breast-implants/Pages/Complications.aspx 

Why not solve one problem at a time?

I am fully aware that for some ladies losing a breast is most traumatic. Many patients come to us with rotten breast and they still harbour the hope that I would say herbs can cure their breast cancer. When I suggested removal of their breast, they hesitated. To get the message across I said this: You choose – you life or your breast. In the 16 years dealing with cancer patients, I rarely come across patients who had breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.  I also understand some ladies are very sensitive about their body image. They want their breast replaced immediately after losing one.

One lady told us, she only agreed to undergo a mastectomy after her husband promised that she could go for a breast reconstruction. While writing this article, one lady came. She has just had a mastectomy. I asked her: How is it like – the mastectomy? She replied:  I don’t know. I went in and when I came out I felt one breast was gone. Then I knew that it was cancerous. This lady just laughed after that! To her saving her life comes first. She and her surgeon had made an agreement that she would not want a needle biopsy but rather the tumour be removed and tested immediately. If it was found to be malignant, the surgeon would proceed with the mastectomy right away.

I just wonder – why does someone want to rush into trying to fix problems all at once – immediately? Removal of the cancerous breast is not a cure. The cancer can recur. Would it not be sensible to wait until everything looks promising first before you move to the next problem of the missing breast? If there is a flare up of cellulitis as in the above case, are you not making your problem more complicated? Why not solve one problem at a time?

Breast Cancer: Herceptin and Brain Metastasis

She Might Have Won Many Battles But Ultimately She Lost Her War

The thick file of SA laid buried on my table for the past three years. Perhaps I should write her story. May be some patients can learn some lessons from her tragic experience.

SA’s problem started in 2006 when she felt a pea-sized, painless lump in her left breast.  She went to Singapore for evaluation.

Bilateral mammograms on 6 March 2006 showed an irregular solid mass, measuring 29.4 x 17 x 23.2 mm  with abnormal blood flow within it. Ultrasound of the liver showed normal size, configuration and echnogenicity. No focal lesions seen. Whole body bone scan was normal with no specific evidence of bone metastasis.

SA subsequently underwent a total mastectomy on 10 March 2006. The pathologist report indicated a poorly differentiated invasive ductal carcinoma with lymphatic and vascular infiltration. This was classified as T2NoMx (Stage 2A).

The tumour was negative for oestrogen and progesterone receptors. It was strongly positive for C-erb-B2 and moderately positive for P53.  These imply that the breast cancer is unlikely to show any response to tamoxifen / hormonal therapy.

After surgery SA underwent six cycles of chemotherapy with FEC (5-FU + Epirubicin + Cyclophosphamide).  No radiation or oral medication was indicated.

SA was well after the chemotherapy. She went back to her doctor every six months for routine checkup. Nothing was amiss.  But about two years later SA started to have coughs for about a month. SA went to Kuala Lumpur and underwent a whole body PET CT scan on 28 April 2008,

  • Her brain and neck showed no abnormality.
  • There were multiple nodules in both lungs.  Possibility of lung metastasis.
  • A 2.5 x 2.6 x 3.2 cm FDG-avid lesion was seen in the right lobe, segment of liver. Possibility of liver metastasis.
  • Extensive hypermetabolic nodal involvement in the thorax and left supraclavicular region.

SA was then advised to have chemotherapy but she decided to return to consult with her Singapore doctors.  An ENT surgeon detected vocal cord paralysis.  Another cancer specialist performed a biopsy of her left supraclavicular lymph node on 6 May 2008. It showed metastatic adenocarcinoma consistent with a primary from the breast.  The tumour was strongly positive for HER-2. SA’s Stage 2 cancer had turned into a Stage 4.

SA consulted another oncologist.

Subsequently SA underwent another round of palliative chemotherapy with Herceptin + Vinorelbine and Xeloda.

A repeat CT was done on 9 July 2008. The result showed a reduction in size of the pulmonary and liver masses and resolution of the mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathy (see below).

SA continued with her chemotherapy, as usual (from 8 May 2008 to 20 October 2008).

SA was again evaluated. X-ray, MRI and PET / CT scan done on 12 November 2008 indicated the following:

  • Chest X-ray showed lungs were well inflated. No focal mass lesion, lobar collapse or consolidation was seen. Normal chest radiograph.
  • CT brain is normal. No intracranial bleed or space-occupying mass lesion.
  • MRI of thoracolumbar spine showed no evidence of enhancing mass lesion in the distal spinal cord and conus medullaris. No bone metastasis was detected. However, there was abnormal soft tissue enhancement seen in the interspinous space from L2-L3 to L4-L5 levels. Mild disc protrusions were present at L3-L4 and L4-L5 levels.
  • PET / CT scan showed:

SA remained well and she continued to receive her Herceptin injections in Indonesia.  However, in the early morning of 2 January 2009, she fainted and was unconscious for a few hours. She was sent to a hospital where she  regained her consciousness.

SA suffered generalised epilepsy with dizziness. She had memory loss, confusion and vomiting. SA went back to her oncologist in Singapore on 12 January 2009. MRI of her brain showed the cancer had spread to many parts of her brain. The biggest of these multiple lesions was 3.5 cm x 3. 5 cm.

MRI Report 13 January 2009

As a result of the above, the neurologist started SA on Keppra (leveticetam) – an anti-epileptic drug to treat seizures. She was also referred to the radiation oncologist for whole brain radiotherapy.

This was what her oncologist wrote:

Impression: Metastatic HER 2 positive breast cancer with multiple brain metastases.

SA was started on Xeloda and Tykerb

Tentative Chemotherapy Schedule  1 April 2009

A PET / CT scan was done on 8 July 2009. Unfortunately the nodules in her lung showed increase in FDG activity. And some of the lung nodules had grown in size.

PET / CT Study  8 July 2009

In July 2009, SA fainted again while at home. This time it took a longer time for her to regain her consciousness. Nevertheless she continued taking her medications.

SA and her husband came to seek our help on 24 August 2009. She was unable to walk straight. She could not focus her eyes and her angle of vision was narrow.

She was prescribed herbs: Capsule A, Breast M, Lung and Brain Teas. Unfortunately, no long after her visit, SA died.

Comments:

SA was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in March 2006 and about two years later, it progressed to Stage 4 – with metastases in her lungs and liver. How and why could this happen? Perhaps her breast cancer was of an aggressive kind?

Treatment of Stage 4 is just palliative as stated by her oncologist’s report. Do patients understand what palliative means? Perhaps patients need to take note of what Amy Cohen said:

Herceptin and other drugs were used after the discovery of SA’s metastases.  The treatment probably cost a lot of money. And this was just to keep her alive for a while more? Not to cure her, of course. Please understand that!

SA was on Herceptin from May 2008 to December 2008 – a three weekly treatment.  A CT scan of her brain on 12 November 2008 did not show any abnormality.  However, less than two months later, 2 January 2009, SA fainted and was unconscious.  The cancer went to her brain. The multiple lesions in her brain were mind boggling. How could this happen so fast?  Why did the cancer spread to the brain in no time?

I must admit I feel a chill in my spine whenever patients come to me after being treated with Herceptin for their breast cancer.  I have two patients like SA before this.

Fransiska, an Indonesian lady, was thirty-two years old when she found a 1.6 cm lump in her breast. She underwent a lumpectomy in a Singapore hospital in November 2004. Some lymph nodes in her arm pit were also infected. After surgery, Fransiska received 35 radiation treatments. She was well after the treatment. About two years later her cancer spread to her lungs. She underwent chemotherapy and received six cycles of Taxol plus eight injections of Herceptin. A bone scan showed the cancer had spread to her spine. In January 2008, a scan showed a  8 x 7 mm mass in her brain and a 1.4 x 9.0 cm mass in her liver. She was prescribed Xeloda and Tykerb (lapatinib). The last email I received from Fransiska was on 30 October 2008. Soon after this, Fransiska slipped into coma and she died in mid-December 2008 – four years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.  https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2010/12/09/fransiska-died-after-surgery-radiotherapy-chemotherapy-herceptin-tamoxifen-xeloda-and-tykerb/

Yee was 40 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2005. She underwent a mastectomy. It was a Stage 2 disease with no lymph node involvement. The tumour was 3 x 2 x 2 cm in size. After surgery, Yee received six cycles of FAC chemotherapy (5-FU, Andiamycin and Cyclophosphamide). No radiotherapy was indicated. After chemotherapy she was started on tamoxifen. Yee was well for about 9 months. In January 2007, she noted a swelling in the right side of her neck. The cancer had spread to her lungs. Yee was given eight cycles of taxane-based chemotherapy but the treatment was not effective. Yee received more chemotherapy – six cycles of Navelbine + Herceptin. Yee was also on the oral drug, Tykerb. The treatment failed again. Yee received 28 times of radiation treatment while at the same time continuing with Tykerb. A CT scan done on 19 December 2008, indicated multiple brain metastases. Yee diedin early February 2009. https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2010/12/08/yee-died-after-extensive-and-costly-medical-treatments/

Doing the Same Thing and Expecting Different Results?

Study the three tragic cases above. Do you see a common trend?  Fransiska – with Stage 2 breast cancer with some node involvement – underwent surgery and received chemotherapy, radiotherapy, Herceptin, Tykerb and Xeloda. The cancer went to her brain. Fransiska died.

Yee had Stage 2 breast cancer without lymph node involvement. She underwent chemotherapy – FAC,  and later taxane- based drugs, and lastly Navelbine + Herceptin – at different stages of disease progression. She also took Tamoxifen and Tykerb. The cancer spread to her brain. Yee died.

In this case, SA had Stage 2 breast cancer with node involvement. She had chemotherapy, Herceptin, radiotherapy, Xeloda and Tykerb. She too had brain metastases and died.

Einstein once said:  Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Herceptin and Brain Metastasis

The analysis of 231 patients who received trastuzumab as first-line therapy and 61 who did not receive the drug showed that patients who received trastuzumab  (Herceptin) had nearly a threefold higher risk of developing CNS (central nervous system) metastases  compared with patients not receiving trastuzumab. http://www.cancernetwork.com/display/article/10165/61283

A posting in the internet by Gregory Pawelski said: In regards to Herceptin, you might want to note that past studies have suggested a potentially very serious weakness in the drug, the problem with central nervous system (CNS) metastasis. Patients receiving Herceptin as first-line therapy for metastatic disease frequently developed brain metastases while responding to or stable on Herceptin at other disease sites.

Herceptin combined with standard chemotherapy will have as many as 4% of women who take the regimen develop symptoms of congestive heart failure, compared with less than 1% of women given chemotherapy alone. Herceptin has been in use only a few years. We don’t know what will happen 10 or 20 years from now. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/10503/

Japanese researchers wrote this: A high rate of brain metastases has been reported among patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2)-over-expressing metastatic breast cancer who were treated with trastuzumab (Herceptin).

In their research they found that patients with HER2-overexpressing breast cancer treated with trastuzumab had a high incidence of brain metastases (36.3%). http://www.springerlink.com/content/t377q1587m66n0m3/ Brain metastases in patients who receive trastuzumab-containing chemotherapy for HER2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancer.

Brain metastases are increasingly reported as a site of first relapse in breast cancer, particularly among women receiving trastuzumab (Herceptin) for HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/management-of-brain-metastases-in-breast-cancer

This is a write up in the website of City of Hope  (a well known cancer hospital in California, USA):

Physicians know it. Researchers know it. Breast cancer patients learn it quickly after diagnosis. Cancer isn’t one disease with one cure for everyone. That helps to explain why some treatments don’t work against breast cancer, even when they seem like they should.

A patient whose breast cancer is HER2-positive is often treated with the drug Herceptin. But some HER2-positive patients don’t respond to Herceptin. There’s currently no easy way to tell in advance whether the drug will work for each HER2-positive patient. So how can a woman avoid the side effects and cost of the drug if it’s unlikely to work?  http://breakthroughs.cityofhope.org/tag/herceptin/

Look At the Big Picture

After the mastectomy and chemotherapy, SA was well for two years. Ask this question: Even WITHOUT chemotherapy could she not be well for two years? Anyway, let us give everyone the benefit of the doubt (let’s say that you need chemo to live for two years, without chemo you are dead right away). In this round one, SA won a battle.

SA’s cancer recurred and spread to her lungs and liver. Why?

Dr. Barry Boyd (in The Cancer Recovery Plan) said: Once cancer treatment is completed, most patients are left on their own to cope with the rest of their lives. This is what I call falling off the cliff. Patients are left in free fall. I would call this MISMANAGEMENT or BAD MANAGEMENT. Often patients are told to go home – eat anything they like and live the old-lifestyle that had brought about their cancer. In short, patients are not taught to change and live a healthier life.

After the metastasis, more chemos were given. The tumours in her lungs and liver decreased in size. Again another battle appeared to have been won. The idea that after treatment the tumour has shrunk in size is very attractive indeed – to both doctors and patients alike. The point not clearly told to patients is that the shrinkage of tumour may   eventually turn out to be meaningless. Shrinkage may not translate into cure or prolonged survival. It is true in this case – and it is equally true with many other cases that I have seen. A PET scan in July 2009 unfortunately showed that the lung nodules had increased activity and had grown in size. The earlier good and encouraging results are just meaningless.

In the earlier stages of treatment, SA seemed to have won some battles but she lost the war against her cancer. Not long after her apparent victory SA died.

A Desperate Grandson Searching for Help for Grandpa’s Pancreatic Cancer

Let me reproduce our email exchanges with one grandson who is desperately in need of help. His emails are reproduced as it is, with no editing done.

8 July 2012:  i have problem my grrand father  diagnosis got  pancreas cancer stadium 4 and have spread at liver we have pat ct mri and all and the result my grand father proven got that cancer. now my grandfather at china but  here is still the same  china doctor talk  pancreas  cancer there is no medicine. i have read http://cacare.com/indonesia/component/option,com_easyfaq/task,view/id,212/Itemid,108/  there was a way about  pancreas cancer. so doctor  can help my  grand father?  you have phone or  messenger so we can talk easly.  thx

Reply: No … I cannot help people so far away …there is no cure for pancreatic cancer. Chris

no problem about far  we willl go to your  hospital if  there was a way about pancreatic cancer.no cure? so  why  http://cacare.com/indonesia/component/option,com_easyfaq/task,view/id,212/Itemid,108/  can be heal? sorry doctor im really need the medicine about  pancreas  cancer there was a away? you have phone number or  messenger so we can talk?

Reply: No body can cure pancreatic cancer, that is my experience. Chris

9 July 2012:  what do you mean no cure ?  at your blog cacare.com the testimonial about pancreas cancer can be heal ? http://cacare.com/indonesia/component/option,com_easyfaq/task,view/id,212/Itemid,108/  that is ? LIE ?

Reply: Read this story, Computer Genius, Steve Jobs Died of Pancreatic Cancer – cancer patients can learn from is experience.  Click this link and learn for yourself: https://cancercaremalaysia.com/category/pancreatic-cancer/  Anyway, I don’t treat people via internet or just by writing emails. Come and see me if you think I can help you.

yes i know steve jobs died of pancrearit cancer. yes i know  you cant treatmen  by internet or mailing but i need your suggestion about my grand father heal i read your blog there filiphine  person can be heal by you  on this link http://cacare.com/indonesia/component/option,com_easyfaq/task,view/id,212/Itemid,108/   so, can you  help my grandfather too just that i want to ask doctor 

Reply:  You can learn from these stories: Miraculous Healing of Pancreatic Cancer turned Rotten

yes i have learn its about herbal, about  medicine you give so you can help my grandpa?
 if yes  i will go Penang  from guang zhou tommorow or day after really i neeed medicine to heal my grandpa

Reply: I only see patients on Friday at 3 pm to 5 pm or Sunday at 7 pm to 9 pm. The whole of July I am not free on other days. I cannot cure your grandfather so don’t say that I am cheating you if he dies or do not benefit from my herbs. Or that you are wasting your time or money. There is no cure for pancreatic cancer. That is why Steve Jobs died — he has all the money in the world. He can go to any doctors in the world…but he still died. I must see all the medical reports and scan. No use coming without such data. Chris

10 July 2012:  but i dont know about the testimonial ,  the patient can  heal   by your herbs? but now you say no  medicine about the  pancreatic cancer. please doctor give me the true answer i very need that 

Reply:  I have herbs for pancreatic but they cannot cure —- healing and cure are not the same. Cure means the disease goes away and disappears. That is what you want, I cannot do that. Chris

Comments

Let me relate a case I encountered many years ago.

Peter was a very rich, 59-year-old man from Hong Kong. On 28 June 1999, he was diagnosed with cancer at the head of his pancreas. Subsequently he underwent a pancreatico-duodenectomy. This procedure is also known as Whipple procedure. The surgeon would remove the distal half of the stomach, the gall bladder, cystic duct, the common bile duct, the head of the pancreas, duodenum, proximal jejunum, and regional lymph nodes. You would probably end up with a Mercedes Benz scar in your abdomen after the surgery.

After the surgery, he underwent the following treatments:

August 1999 to September 1999: Peter underwent concurrent chemotherapy with 5-FU and radiotherapy.

14 October 1999: The doctor said there was no solid evidence that the treatment would help.

19 October 1999 to 14 March 2000: Peter had finished a total of 13 cycles of chemotherapy. The drug used was Gemzar. He suffered neutropenia, i.e., low white blood count. The initial Gemzar dosage used was 1400 mg. This was then reduced to 1260 mg, 1000 mg and subsequently settled at 800 mg.

28 June 2000: His CA 19.9 started to rise from 4.67 to 41.3, indicating occult recurrence.

8 September 2000 to 12 February 2001: Chemotherapy using Gemzar was again started. A total of 13 cycles were given until 12 February 2001. The dosages used ranged from 1000 mg, 1400 mg to 1760 mg.

19 February 2001: The result was disappointing. His CA 19.9 shot up to 473.

26 February 2001: Peter underwent chemotherapy again. This time with Gemzar at 1780 mg plus Xeloda, an oral chemo-drug often used for breast and bone cancers. He was on Xeloda for 10 days.

26 March 2001: It was Gemzar plus Xeloda for 14 days.

25 May 2001: Peter had completed 20 cycles of chemotherapy with Gemzar.

28 June 2001: His CA 19.9 was at 586. Peter developed SVCO (superior vena cava obstruction). A CT scan showed the obstruction was due to the mediastinal nodes.

3 July 2001 to 15 August 2001: Peter underwent radiotherapy to take care of the SVCO.

9 October 2001: His CA 19.9 was at 558. Peter decided to take a break and came to find treatment in Malaysia. He again underwent chemotherapy in a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

4 March 2002: It was at this point that I met Peter in Kuala Lumpur. He was indeed a jovial man. During our conversation Peter joked that he had told his doctors that with the amount of chemo-drugs being pumped into him, he would die of the drugs rather than the cancer. Indeed, Peter could qualify for a listing in the Guinness Book of Record for having the capacity to endure more than 50 cycles of chemotherapy and numerous radiation treatments and still remained alive.

25 March 2002: Peter underwent chemotherapy again. This time the drugs used were CPT-11 plus oxaliplatin. He suffered intense abdominal pains, nausea and vomiting.

18 May 2002: The doctor confirmed that Peter had suffered metastasis to the bones. Peter underwent 10 times of radiation treatment to the spine and 10 times to the two lumps found on the left neck.

23 May 2002: Peter was admitted to the hospital because of fluid in his lungs. Tapping of lung fluid was done.

20 June 2002: Peter was hospitalized again due to fluid in the lungs. His wife said he was giving up.

1 July 2002: Peter died in a hospital in Kuala Lumpur. He was then still on chemotherapy. I was told that Peter’s brother, who is a medical doctor , flew in from London to be at his bedside when he died.

Comments

This is indeed a classical example of how a war against cancer is being carried out. I am reminded of what John Robbins (in Reclaiming Our Health) wrote:

  • Very often, the effort to “destroy the enemy” at all costs ends up counterproductive.
  • Chemotherapy practitioners do not want to think that the weapons they employ to kill cancer cells are of little or no use to their patients. They want to believe they are helping people.

When we take a closer look at what were used as weapons for this war, I cannot help coming to a conclusion that Peter was made a subject of experimentation. The initial drug used was 5-FU. Since it was not effective, Gemzar was used instead. The dosage of Gemzar used was initially high and was subsequently lowered. This showed that the oncologist was not really sure of what was best for Peter. Since Gemzar by itself did not do any good, the oncologist added Xeloda to the recipe. Even that, it did not work. Then back in Kuala Lumpur, Gemzar and Xeloda were abandoned – why not try something more powerful? So, Peter was given CPT-11 and oxaliplatin.

 Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard-trained medical doctor (in Health and Healing) wrote:

  • There is a never ending struggle … Patients are sucked into the same way of thinking … Finding themselves more and more dependent on the system giving one treatment after another.

In the course of the treatment, Peter suffered SVCO (superior vena cava obstruction) and he had to have radiotherapy to alleviate this problem. The superior vena cava is the main vein which drains blood from the head, neck and arms into the heart. It lies in the upper part of the chest. Unfortunately, this vein was blocked in Peter’s case. Why was this so?

When the war was about to be over, Peter had bone cancer and his lungs were filled with fluid. Could this represent the ultimate and fatal side-effects of the aggressive treatments he was subjected to earlier?

After three years, the battlefield was quiet. Death prevailed. Peter found peace in death. It was a medical failure – perhaps from the very start failure was apparent, if we care to objectively evaluate it.

Dr. Jerome Groopman, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (in Second Opinions) related his experience with what he thought as medicine being omniscience – doctors having all the answers. This is what he wrote:

  • I wanted an immediate remedy and stubbornly believed I knew what was best. After all, my medical training had been as a student at Columbia, an intern and resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and a fellow at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles). Waiting patiently for nature to heal me seemed passive and paltry. 
  • I finally realised that my desperate belief in a perfect solution was a fantasy. 
  • I also realised that it was up to me, in part, to try to rebuild myself … 
  • But what is the “best” hospital or the “best” doctor? … specialist touted as at the top in his field, based at a prestigious medical center … this distinguished doctor proved far from the best …

Let me conclude this article by quoting what Dr. Martin Scurr wrote in an article: Why MOST doctors like me would rather DIE than endure the pain of treatment we inflict on others for terminal diseases: Insider smashes medicine’s big taboo, in the Daily Mail, UK, 14 February 2012.

  • Should I discover tomorrow that I have advanced, life-threatening cancer, I won’t go rushing to the doctors for a heavily invasive course of medical treatment. No, I will shut up my London surgery, head to my home in Norfolk, stock up on gin and tonic and have a jolly good time until I meet my end. 
  • Like most doctors, I understand that much of the care we offer patients who have serious, life-threatening illnesses is ultimately futile. 
  • Worse, it can involve many months of gruelling treatments that might possibly extend the length of one’s life, but do nothing for its quality.

 

Breast Cancer: The Story of Two Sisters

On 20 May 2012, RO (B-696) came to our centre. It has been some years since we last saw her.  Anyway, we were glad that RO is still doing fine.  RO came with her blood test results (see table) and we read RO’s meridian using the AcuGraph. Basically the results were alright. RO also felt that she was doing fine without any complaints whatsoever.

We told RO, “There is nothing much to worry about. Do what you are doing and keep it that way!” She had “won” the battle against her breast cancer – without chemotherapy or radiotherapy of course!

The Story of RO

Sometime in 2001, RO felt a lump in her right breast.  The lump was mobile and it came on and off. There was no pain. RO was only 36 years old then. A year later, on 9 October 2002, she went to consult a doctor in a private hospital. An ultrasound indicated an irregular mass with an approximate size of 1.7 x 1.4 x 1.1 cm. Multiple small microcalcification are noted in this lesion, very suspicious of a primary malignancy. A tru-cut biopsy was performed and confirmed an invasive mammary ductual carcinoma, Grade 3.

RO subsequently underwent a right mastectomy. The pathology report dated 16 October 2002 indicated an infiltrating ductal carcinoma with presence of tumour cells close to the deep surgical margin. All six right axillary lymph nodes are free of tumour. The tumour cells are moderately positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors. There is an over expression of P53 in about 40% of the tumour cells. There is focal membrane positivity for c-ErbB2 oncoprotein in the tumour cells.

Comment by Consultant Pathologist:  An ER and PR positive tumour is likely to respond to hormone therapy and is associated with a greater probability of a disease-free survival. ErbB2 (neu/HER-2) is an independent prognostic marker, and overexpression is correlated with a poor prognosis. It is generally associated with a shorter disease-free interval and lower overall survival rate. In some studies, p-53 has been shown to be an independent marker of adverse prognosis.

An ultrasound on 17 October 2002 indicated presence of a 3.4 x 2.5 cm uterine fibroid. There was no evidence of metastatic disease.

RO was referred to an oncologist for further management. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy were suggested. She refused further medical treatment and came to seek our help on 1 November 2002. She was prescribed Capsule A, C-tea and Breast M. In addition she was asked to take GY 5 and GY 6 for her uterine fibroid which she continued to take for a while and then stopped.

Since October 2002 until 2012, we got to see RO once a while. Her blood test results over the years (from November 2002 to May 2012) are as follows:

11 Nov02 12 Nov03 29May04 26Aug06 4Jun08 10 Oct10 8Jun 11 16May12
ESR 22  H 10 4 24 H 2 33 H 22 H 20
RBC 4.6 4.4 L 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.8 5.0 4.0
Haemoglobin 9.4 L 9.9 L 10.4 L 8.9 L 9.6 L 8.9 9.6 L 7.3 L
Platelet 390 332 394 359 385 469 H 487 H 397
WBC

6.1

6.0 8.6 7.2 5.4 4.7 5.2 5.0
CEA 0.1 1.3 0.8 0.2 <0.5 1.1 1.5 1.4
CA 15.3 14.0 11.2 12.1 10.5 7.7 10.9 13.5 11.7
CA 125 n/a 49.1 H 65.3 H 108.4 H 99.9 H 53.5 H 74.3 H 156.6 H

 

The Story of RA (sister of RO)

In mid-July 2004, we received a fax from RO requesting us to help her sister, RA (T-20), who had just discovered a lump in her right breast. RA was 41 years old then. A biopsy was performed followed by a right mastectomy.  According to the pathology report of 6 July 2004, the tumour was about 4.0 x 30 x 25 mm in size. It was an infiltrating ductal as well as intraductal and comedo type carcinoma. There was lymphatic vascular embolization of tumour with metastases to four out of thirteen right axillary lymph nodes. There was also Paget’s disease of the right nipple.

RA was asked to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She refused and came to seek our help on 17 July 2004. She was prescribed Capsule A, Breast M and C-tea.  RA took our herbs for more than a year and was doing alright.

1 Oct 04

24 Jan 05

24 Dec05

ESR

6

2

5

RBC

4.4

4.3

4.5

Platelet

193

192

232

WBC

5.9

5.7

7.3

Alkaline phosphatase

65

78

59

AST

21

26

21

ALT

28

27

36

GGT

9

11

11

CEA

20

2.4

1.8

CA 15.3

6.9

4.1

7.1

In 2004 (from July to December) we got to see RA only three times. In 2005 RA came to see us five times. We suspected from then on she defaulted taking the herbs and also did not take care of her diet. Her first visit to us in the year 2006 was in July.  She told us that she felt like there was a “hard bone” in her right breast. We suggested that she go and check it out with her doctor. She was reluctant. We got to see RA again three months later, in October 2006. After that she disappeared from our “radar.”

On 10 June 2007, RA came back to see us again. She told us of what had happened the past one year. The “hard bone” which she told us earlier was actually a recurrence and this occurred at the previous operation scar. But there was also a lump under her right armpit. Since she ignored it for a while, the lump “burst” and left a hole in her breast. She went back to her surgeon and was referred to an oncologist. So from January to May 2007. RA underwent six cycles of chemotherapy. On completion of the treatment RA was awarded a “Certificate of Achievement” below.

The chemo treatment cost  RM 18,000. After the chemo, the lump in the armpit shrunk.  She was then referred to the government hospital for further management. The doctor at the government hospital told her that radiation was not necessary in her case. A bone scan showed that the cancer had spread to her bones. She was put on Tamoxifen and had been taking it when she came to see us.

On 2 December 2007, RA came back to see us again with her CT scan report done on 21 November 2007. The study showed presence of 0.5 and 0.7 cm nodules in the apex of her right lung and a 0.3 cm nodule in the apex of her left lung.  There is a 0.9 cm node seen at the right side of her chest wall which could represent recurrence. There is a 1 cm hypodense cyst in Segment 2 of her liver and multiple hypodense lesions in Segments 3, 4, 5 and 8. These represent liver secondaries. 

RA was told that her cancer was a Stage 4. She had to undergo more chemotherapy. We did not get to see RA again. We came to know from her sister that RA went for more chemotherapy and died after that.

Comments

Breast Cancer Recurrence – Choosing the Road to Disaster

Mary (not real name) was a forty-six year-old lady. She was diagnosed with right breast cancer in October 2004 and underwent a mastectomy. She was asked to undergo chemotherapy but declined, preferring to follow the CA Care Therapy. She was started on the herbs: Capsule A & B, LL-tea, Liver-P and Breast M on 28 November 2004. She was doing very well while on our therapy. On 28 November 2006 we interviewed Mary about her health. For full details of her story read Chapter 9 of Breast Cancer: The Herbal Option.

 

Breast Cancer:  Well After Two Years on CA Care Therapy

Chris: How are you, today?

Mary: Do look at me. No words can describe how well I feel. Actually before this medical report was out (showing her latest blood test results), my heart already knew that it would be better than the last time because I could feel it myself. I feel better although I am tired at times. But with the right balance of food, and a little bit of rest in between, I am up and about again. Fifteen minutes nap and a few deep breaths – even though I might be very tired, I would be up again.

C: Compared to the days before you had cancer, are you just as good?

Husband: Her health condition was very bad before that. She would have constant flu which would last up to three months.

Mary: In terms of health, I think I am better now. I am healthier. Before the cancer, it was terrible. I had backaches. After I had walked a little bit, I had to sit down. My heels were hurting. I always had headaches. I often had flu and coughs. I was always sick – like going down and down. It would start with a sore throat, then runny nose, fevers and finally coughs. It would go on and on for two to three months. The doctor gave courses of antibiotics. At one time, the doctor wanted to take out my tonsils but I said no, no, no. Somehow, something made me say no. I had to take antibiotics. I recovered for a short while after all the medications the doctor had given. They made me so blur and not know what was going on. Then I got sick again. I had been ignoring all these problems for two or three years and my health then was up and down. My body was sort of trying to cope.

C: With cancer, you changed your diet and lifestyle? What happened to all the problems you had before your cancer?

Mary: For the past two years, I only have had two flu attacks. I was careless. I was pushing myself too hard. When I realised what was happening, I pulled back, had more rest and did a little bit more exercise – then I was back on top again.

Cancer Returned

We met Mary again on 22 April 2009 (about five years after her diagnosis). She had bad news for us. The cancer had recurred to her bones.  This happened all too often. But the question we want to ask is – why? Must this happen?

In an earlier article, I have written about MT, a lady with breast cancer.  She underwent a mastectomy, 6 cycles of chemotherapy, 30 sessions of radiotherapy and 5 years of Tamoxifen. She also had a recurrence. So this is not a matter of Mary not receiving all the “total ingredients” of medical treatment and that she was taking herbs instead. It does not matter, MT had done all that were needed to be done. She also ended with bone metastasis (for her full story, click this link When a so called “cure” is not a cure).

So, the question is why – the recurrence? MT’s doctor said this, “I do not know why. But don’t blame yourself. It is your fate.  Also the recurrence has nothing to do with what you eat. It is just your fate.” That unfortunately is a doctor’s view. Unfortunately too, I don’t find such answers convincing or intelligent.

My message to all of you is this. There must be a reason why this happened. Second, you are not helpless. You can do something for yourself to minimize the chances of recurrence happening to you. But, it is your choice.  It is up to you. Let Mary tell you why she had a relapse. This video was recorded in the late evening of 22 April 2009.

 

Breast Cancer Recurrence

The gists of our conversation:

  1. Complacency:  In 2005 (when first diagnosed) and 2006 she complied fully with our therapy. In 2007, she started to become adventurous – hovering around In the forbidden territory. And in 2008, she totally forgot about what CA Care Therapy was all about.
  2. No herbs, bad diet:  In December 2008, cancer reared its ugly head again!
  3. No monitoring:  She did not even do any blood test in 2008.
  4. Pushing the Boundary: What prompted her to try push her boundary? She was overconfident! She felt she was already well and therefore “cured.”  Her explanation was, “I was trying to live a normal life.”  She wanted to go into the “main stream” and behaved like others who did not have cancer.
  5. The Gathering Storm:  Cancer did not strike back like a thunder bolt. There were clear signs that the storm was gathering. In December 2008, she was not feeling good – feeling bloated, winds in the stomach, started to have coughs and flu, and her blood test results were not good.  In March 2009, a CT scan showered recurrence. She had severe pains after pushing her car. Disaster struck.
  6. Returned to CA Care For Help:  She was weak and thin, had severe pains and had difficulty breathing. After a week on the herbs (again!) she got better.
  7. Did you realize your mistakes? Mary said, “ I never take time to take care of myself and never slow down.” Her business took priority over her health causing a lot of stress. In addition she did not take the herbs and ate anything she liked, etc. etc. My advice: You know how to take care of yourself. Go back to Step 1 and start all over again! 

It is with regrets to note that we never get to meet Mary again. She died not long afterwards.

 

Pancreatic Cancer: Chemotherapy, Cryotherapy, Immunotherapy and Radioactive Seeding Could Not Cure Her. What if she did nothing?

Han (S121) was a70-year old lady from Indonesia. Some time in June 2011, she went for a medical checkup in her hometown before a planed holiday trip to Korea. Unfortunate her CEA was high – at 25.0. The doctor did a CT scan and found that Han had a cancerous pancreas.

Han went to Singapore for further management. A blood test done on 7 July 2011 showed elevated liver function enzymes. Her tumour markers –  CEA, CA 125 and CA 19.9 were also  high.

Alkaline phosphatase 228     High
AST / SGOT  50      High
ALT ‘ SGPT 67       High
GGT 209     High
CEA 19.6    High
CA 125 141.5  High
CA 19.9 Recorded as >100 + (actual value 236,000)

PET scan done on 8 June 2011 showed:

  1. A 9 x 6.2 x 7.2 cm mass with irregular margins at the upper abdomen. This represents a FDG avid tumour arising from the pancreas.
  2. Multiple foci mesentery / peritoneum ranging from 1 to 2.5 cm.
  3. Mild ascites.
  4. Hydronephrosis at left kidney.
  5. Liver with multiple foci of FDG ranging from subcentimetre to 36 cm, the largest being at Segment 6.
  6. Lymphadenopathy with possible left supraclavicular spread.

Han subsequently underwent a total of 10 cycles of chemotherapy, 6 of which were with Gemzar + Taxol + Avastin. Each treatment cost S$7,000. Han was told that chemotherapy would not cure her – only prolongation of her life by 6 months to a year. Without chemo she would only have 4 months.

Since the treatment in Singapore could not cure her, Han went to China for more treatments in October 2011. She underwent the following treatments in China.

  1. A CT guided cryotherapy for her liver metastases.
  2. Immunotherapy.
  3. Iodin-125 seed implantation – a total of 80 seeds were implanted.
  4. Chemotherapy with Gemzar and Cisplatin.

The first visit to China was for 3 weeks. The subsequent visits were shorter. In total Han went to China five times. Her last visit was in February 2012. Her CA 19.9 on 11 February 2011 was written as > 1000 (note: earlier in Singapore >100 means 236,000. So > 1000 could be any number. Her CEA was at 387.6. In fact, the doctors in China did not think that Han need to come back to their hospital again for further treatment. The doctor said Han probably had only three more months to live.

On 23 February 2012, we received this e-mail.

Hi Dr. Chris, Good afternoon.

My name is Alu from Jakarta, Indonesia. I was introduced to you by Mr.HM from Indonesia. Dr. Chris, my mom has pancreatic cancer (diagnosed last year June 2011). She already got chemotherapy treatment in Singapore from June until October 2011. In November 2011, she went to a hospital in China to undergo Cryosurgery, Nano Chemo. She already received several times of nano chemo treatment in China.

Last week, she went to do a PET/CT scan in China and found out that the cancer has metastasied to her colon and liver.

The doctor did cryoablation for her liver cancer but for the other tumor cancer, it can’t. So they planted Iodine-125 seeds. But today, the doctor said that probably my mom has only three months to live.

So our family is looking for alternative treatment and we’re told about your treatment in Penang. Dr. Chris, could you please advise what to do next? Should we bring our mom to Penang to see you? She’s still in good condition. Can walk, can eat, etc. She is now 70 years old.

Btw, my mom’s condition now is still OK. The last condition of my mom, her stomach was a bit bloating. So the doctors in  China released the fluid from her stomach through a tube (from stomach) into a bag. The fluid color is a bit brown (old yellow). The doctor  said it is probably due to liver problem (?). Thank you Dr. Chris.

Han and her family came to seek our help on 2 March 2012.

 

 

Her PET scan results were as follows:

Han was prescribed herbs and the only message we could impart to Han was that we would try our best to help her. There was far too much damage for us to handle. Anyway, We prescribed herbs for her to try.

On 29 April 2012, we received this e-mail.

Dear Dr. Chris,

My mum has finally ended her sufferings in fighting pancreatic cancer. On Thursday morning 4.10 am, Apr 26, 2012 she passed away in a very peaceful way. All our family member were around her, praying with her, singing a hymn and read Bible together. She has been laid in bed for around ten days – almost no energy to do any activity. During those ten days, I was beside her and we talked much about the Bible. She’s ready to go to her Creator …. Thank you for all your kind support during my mum’s heavy days.

We appreciate your kindness during those days.  Regards.

Comments

There is an important lesson we can learn from this case. For those with serious cancer, such as pancreas, the options are extremely limited. I can only say this. If you do something – go for whatever medical treatments you can find –chances is that you will die. If you opt to do nothing – or go for alternative medicine – you also die. I am sorry I cannot offer you comforting words. If I try to paint a more optimistic scenerio than this, I am cheating you and I am also cheating myself.

Han was told by the oncologist in Singapore, before the treatment, that chemotherapy would not cure her – only prolongation of her life by 6 months to a year. Without chemo she would only have 4 months.  The reality was Han survived 10 months even with the best of treatments. The family has spent probably no less than US$ 100,000 for all the treatments in Singapore and China. In addition, she had to endure the side effects of the treatments. When Han was here, I asked her and her family members – Would you rather die in 4 months peacefully or try medical treatments to prolong your life for 6 to 12 months? And with that suffer all the side effects besides spending all the money?  The answer was they wanted to try medical treatments in spite of all the odds.

Everyone should respect that decision. By doing that everyone involved would be satisfied, “I have done my best to fight the disease.”

Some of you reading this article would not like what I wrote. You want to win – or at least have a chance to try. I understand that. I cannot tell those who go to the casinos that it is futile trying to earn easy money that way!

Over the years, I have come across cases of pancreatic cancer and all of them don’t survive long no matter whatever medical treatment they undergo. For some examples: https://cancercaremalaysia.com/category/pancreatic-cancer/

Sometimes I would like to pose this question: What happens if the patient opted to do nothing invasive? Meaning just take herbs, change lifestyle and diet? Can she/he live longer and without suffering? Nobody can answer that. It is  entirely for the patient and her/his family to decide.

Let me end by quoting what some experts have got to say.

The three slides below are quoted from How Doctors Die by Dr. Ken Murray, M.D.

Dr. Murray is a retired family medical physician who had a private practice of general medicine in Studio City, California for about 25 years, until his retirement in 2006. He also held a Clinical Assistant Professorship in Family Medicine at the University of Southern California.

Stomach Cancer: Fainted and In ICU After One Chemo, Now Surgeon Said Go For More Chemo

Lisa (not real name, M805) is a 35-year-old Indonesian lady. In October 2009 she passed out black stools. She came to Penang for a medical check-up. An upper endoscopy showed acute gastric ulcer but the rapid urease test was negative for H. pylori.  Her blood test showed low levels of haemoglobin (8.3), red blood cell (2.9) and high platelet count (431). She was prescribed medication for gastritis and was told to come back for further observation after a month.

On 3 December 2009, another endoscopy was performed. It showed an almost completely healed ulcer.  A repeat rapid urease test again was negative for H. pylori. A gastric biopsy was also performed and indicated an adenocarcinoma, diffuse type.  A CT scan on 11 January 2010 showed a thickening of the gastric antral wall consistent with the clinical finding of carcinoma. The diffuse hypodensity of the liver parenchyma was in keeping with fatty liver change. No mass lesion was seen in the liver. There was no evidence of any focal lung lesion or lymphadenopathy.

Lisa underwent an operation to remove her stomach. The histopathology dated 12 January 2010 confirmed a diffuse type adenocarcinoma of stomach, T3N1M1, Stage 4. Lisa was asked to go for chemotherapy.  She returned to Jakarta and received one cycle of chemotherapy. The treatment was a disaster.  She fainted and had to be admitted to the ICU. She was discharge after four days but could hardly remember many things. She only recovered after a month.

Lisa returned to Penang for a follow-up examination with her surgeon. A CT scan on 21 July 2010 showed no evidence of pancreatic, splenic or renal mass lesion. There was no evidence of any lymphadenopathy. There was no obvious recurrence in the surgical bed.

Lisa and her husband came to seek our help on 23 July 2010 as she was not prepared to go for any morechemotherapy. She was prescribed Capsule A, Stomach 1 and Stomach 2 teas and C-tea.

Sometime just around the Chinese New Year (end of January 2012) Lisa felt a small lump in her stomach. She returned to Penang on 20 February 2012. A CT scan showed the following:

  1.  Fatty liver change.
  2. Mild to moderately dilated intrahepatic ducts.
  3. Ill-defined enhancing soft tissue around the pancreas and common bile duct which extends inferiorly along the right retroperitoneum, right paracaval and ilio-psoas down to the right inguinal and upper anterior thigh region. This has infiltrated the right upper ureter. Features are suspicious of tumour/metastatic deposits.
  4. Moderate to gross hydronephrosis of the right kidney with diffuse cortical thinning.
  5. Mild ascites.

Blood test showed elevated liver function enzymes:

Alkaline phosphatase 188.74   H
GGT 102.44   H
ALT 48.1
AST 47.77     H
CEA 1.23
CA 19.9 36.2

Lisa and her husband met with the surgeon. The surgeon said it was not possible to undergo further surgery. She was told to go for chemotherapy. That was the only option left.

The following is the transcript of our video-taped conversation on 22 February 2012.

Wanting a cure, whatever it may cost

Husband: January 2011, she had the surgery.

Chris:  Her stomach was removed. Before the surgery, did you ask the surgeon if the operation could cure her?

H:  He told us after the removal of her stomach, she would be okay. Then we need to go for chemotherapy.

C: Did you explicitly ask if after the surgery, she will be cured?

H:  He did not answer that question. The surgeon explained that after the surgery, everything would be clean. The cancer would not spread anymore.  We believed whatever he said. The reason why we went to him was because we wanted to find a cure.

C:  Yes, I understand – all patients who come here (from Indonesia) are searching for a cure. So whatever answers you get or what the doctors said, you all would believe them. And also pay whatever it may cost. What you all want is a “cure.” I understand that. So, after the operation, how long was she in the hospital?

H:  About two weeks.

Health worsened after the surgery

C:   How was her health before and after the surgery?

H:  After the surgery she became weaker – she was worse off. Before the operation, she was okay- okay, normal and there was nothing wrong.

C:  Why did you go for the surgery then?

H:  She was okay, she could eat – there not nothing wrong with her. She was told that she had cancer and we were afraid that disease would spread.

C (to patient):  Can you tell me – before the operation, you were okay?

Patient: Nodding vigorously.

H:  Nothing wrong with her except she passed out black stools. Then they did a biopsy after a scan and said it was cancer.

C:  That was all?

H:   Nothing – no pain, nothing. If she had pains it would it would have been a different matter. But she was able to eat well.

C:  And when the doctor asked you to operate, you went ahead with the surgery? And after the surgery, she was not getting better?

H:  No, not better.

Surgery – a RM 20,000 adventure

C: How much did the surgery cost you?

H. About RM 20,000.

First Chemo – she fainted and four days in ICU

C:  After the surgery, she had chemo?

H:  Three months later, she had chemotherapy in Jakarta. There was no problem on the first day after the chemo. The night of the second day, she had a seizure and her hands were shaking vigorously and she fainted.  She was admitted into the ICU and was there for four days.

C (to patient):  Did you remember anything when you were in the ICU? Did you remember going off or flying away somewhere?

P: No (shaking her head).

H:  After coming out of the ICU she could not remember things – memory loss. She could only recognize me. But gradually her memory started to come back. It took about a month for her to become normal again.

C:  Did the doctor want you to continue with the chemo after this episode?

H:  At first he said she had to do 3 cycles of chemo, but after seeing what had happened, the doctor did not ask her to continue with her chemo anymore.

No more chemo for me

C (to patient):  If you were asked to go for more chemo – do you want to do it again?

P:  No, I don’t want any more chemo.

After extensive recurrence – the only solution is chemotherapy

H:  Now, the only solution is chemotherapy.

C:  You went to talk to the surgeon. He told you she should go for chemotherapy. Did he know what had happened to your wife after the first chemo?

H:  He knew. But he did not have any more words to say. He told us, there was nothing else he could do except chemotherapy. But how are we to go for chemo after such a bad experience? We are afraid. She is going to lose her hairs and what not.

C:  Loosing hair is not a problem at all – it will grow again. But what we need to worry is if she would “fly away.”

Next-bed-patient became blind after two chemo and died after three

C:  You told me earlier that there was another patient in the next bed. She also had chemo when your wife was having hers.

H:  After the chemo, she became blind. Her eyes could not see anymore.

C:  What? Before the chemo, were her eyes okay – could she see?

H:  Yes, her eyes were normal. After two chemos her eyes could not see anymore. She died after the third chemo.

C:  What? She died after the third chemo? After the second she became blind – why did she continue with the third chemo then?

H:  Her husband made that decision. Because of what I have seen, I would not want her to do any more chemo.

C:  Did you really talk to her husband?

H:  Yes, I talked to him.

C:  Even after becoming blind, the husband still wanted her to continue with the chemo?

H:  Yes, he wanted to continue with the treatment.

C:  Did he tell you why he wanted to do that?

H:  No and I did not ask.

Comments

1. Lisa passed out black stools, otherwise she was okay. What could have happened if she did nothing? Do no surgery or chemo? How bad could she be?

2. Lisa and her husband asked the surgeon if surgery would cure her. The answer was rather evasive – He told us after the removal of her stomach, she would be okay. Then we need to go for chemotherapy. We believed whatever he said. We would like to believe that whatever doctors say or do, it is always for the best interest of their patients. But let’s not be naïve. At time it is good to be reminded of what Dr. Mendelsohn  said:
3. Lisa had her first cycle of chemotherapy and she fainted and lost her memory.  Her next-bed fellow patient was blind after two chemos and was dead after the third. This clearly shows that chemo is not for everybody.
4. The story of Lisa clearly showed that surgery did not cure her cancer.  She expected a cure but she was short-changed. In fact she became weaker and was worse off.
5. As it is now, after two years, the cancer had metastatised extensively – could her cancer be worse than this if she did nothing?

Cervical Cancer, Stage 2B Gone Wild Within Six Months – Why?

Amy (not real name) is a 39 year old lady from Indonesia. She came to seek our help on 13 January 2012. She had severe discomforts – her stomach was bloated, very tired and afraid of the cold – even unable to withstand the air-conditioning in our centre.  The first words to me were, “Please help me get rid of the wind in my stomach. I was not able to pass out any gas. And I did not have my bowel movements for the past few days.”

Generally for such a case, I would advise the patient to go back to their doctors. Let their doctors help them. At CA Care we want to heal the whole person – and we don’t know how to “repair your problem” through piece meal effort.  So I told her, “Before I try to help you, please tell me what have you been doing? Only then I can understand what have gone wrong.”

This is her tragic story.

1. In May 2011, Amy had vaginal bleeding once and then there was watery discharge.  A biopsy was done at a hospital in Indonesia. It was confirmed carcinoma of the cervix.

2. Amy came to a private hospital in Penang for further investigation. Physical examination showed presence of a huge mass arising from the cervix involving the left parametrium.  The doctor indicated it was a cervical adenocarcinoma, Stage 2B.

3. She also had a 1.9 x 1.5 x 2.0 cm mass in her left breast. A lumpectomy was performed for her breast. She was started on Tamoxifen.

4. Amy was referred to a cancer hospital for radiotherapy of her cervical cancer. She underwent 25 sessions of radiotherapy and at the same time received 5 cycles of chemotherapy. The drug used was cisplatin given at weekly interval.

5. Amy   also underwent 2 sessions of brachytherapy (internal radiotherapy). This second treatment was done on 2 August 2011. Amy refused a third session of brachytherapy.

6. Her medical report on 9 November 2011 stated,

  • “ There was suboptimal response during brachytherapy which patient was aware of.
  • ”“She was psychologically frail towards end of treatment.”
  • “She still has persistent vaginal mucoid discharge.”

7.  After radiotherapy in Penang, Amy still had vaginal bleeding. She went to a specialist centre in PJ, Selangor for second opinion. The oncologist said, “She came to see me on 24 August 2011 for profuse vaginal bleeding. There was an area of ulceration in the right vaginal vault. I managed to stop the bleeding after using vaginal tampon. Then I referred her to another professor in Kuala Lumpur.”

8. Amy returned to Penang and underwent an operation – TAHBSO (Total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy) on 14 November 2011. “The histopathology report showed well differentiated endocervical adenocarcinoma of the cervix. There is metastasis to both ovaries. There is no tumour response to chemo-radiation therapy.”

9. Back in Indonesia, Amy suffered abdominal pains in mid December 2011. This was what her doctor in a Indonesia hospital wrote, “A recent CT scan was done which showed:

  • Pulmonary metastases – i.e., the cancer has spread to both her lungs.
  • Bilateral hydronephrosis – i.e., swelling of both kidneys due to build-up of urine. This was later found to be due to blockage of the urinary tract.
  • Mass in pelvis with suspected infiltration to bladder and rectum, peritoneum and omentum with ascites.”

The doctor in Indonesia prescribed pain killers and antibiotics.

10. In January 2012, Amy went back to a university hospital in Kuala Lumpur. A CT scan on 4 January 2011 indicated “recurrence of CA cervix with widespread metastasis with IVC (inferior vena cava) thrombous.” AMY remained in the university for 10 days and underwent two surgical procedures;

  • Installation of two stents to relieve the blockage of her urinary tubes.
  • Installation of IVC filter – an “umbrella” structure to reduce the incidence of arterial blockage caused by a blood clot. The device is made from very thin wires, having a mesh-like structure which resembles an umbrella.

In spite of all the above “treatment” and “rescue” procedures, Amy  did not get well.

On 13 January 2012 Amy and her husband came to seek our help – complaining of gas accumulation in her abdomen and not being able to move her bowels for the past few days.

Comments

Let me ask you to reflect on these questions.

  1. What do you think are the causes of all these problems? Is it the cancer or the treatments?
  2. What would happen if she just did nothing? Would she be in trouble within six months like she is in now?
  3. Is this the first “tragic case” that such a thing happened?
  4. The surgeon wrote a significant comment after the surgery – There is no tumour response to chemo-radiation therapy.” Think hard – is this the first time someone had realized that chemotherapy and radiotherapy were not effective? If they were not effective, why was the patient subjected to such treatments?  Think again – besides being  ineffective, don’t they do more harm? 

At CA Care we often come across such cases. Take time to reflect on the following cases.

They Died Soon Afterwards – After Radio-Chemotherapy

1. Cervical Cancer Stage 2A – After Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy, She Died Within 1 year 8 months

Mother was 64 years old and was diagnosed with cancer of the cervix, Stage 2A in December 2000. She underwent 26 times of radiation and 6 cycles of chemotherapy. The cancer recurred after a year. She had radiotherapy again for 11 times. Her health deteriorated and she was in severe pain. Mother died 1 year and 8 months after being diagnosed with cervical cancer.

What had gone wrong? Was it the treatment or the cancer that killed her?

Listen to what the daughter said.

 

 

2.    The Biggest Mistake I Have Ever Made

In his book: Cancer Recovery Guide, pg. 28, Jonathan Chamberlain wrote:

When my wife Bernadette learned that despite all the surgery, radiation and chemotherapy her tumour had returned, she was informed that she had three months to live. She was told this on 17 January. She died on 16 April. Three months  exactly.

In our conversation that evening, Jonathan said:

  • From my own experience with my wife, we were in awe of the doctors …. We were in awe of our ignorance. We assumed that the doctors were best … I realized that was the biggest mistake I have ever made – to do what the doctors advise. You learn the hard way. 
  • She (wife) suffered from chemotherapy and it killed her. She died not just from cancer. She died from cancer plus chemotherapy. She died within one year because she did everything that doctor advised her. 

 

 

Melisa Abandoned Medical Treatments, After Much Damage Being Done

Melisa-A61, was a 44-year old female.  She underwent a hysterectomy for her cancer of the cervix, Stage 1b (take note – early stage).  After the operation, she underwent 25 times of radiation treatments and one time of brachytherapy (internal therapy). Melisa ended up having to go in and out of the hospital due to pains, fevers and temperatures. Later, a scan showed that there was pus in her abdomen. A scan revealed that the cancer had spread to the lungs and liver.  Melisa ended up in a hospital in Singapore – in search for a cure. The doctor at first suggested that she undergo surgery to remove the infected parts. Melisa reasoned out how surgery could have helped her when the entire liver and lungs were infected with cancer? She declined surgery but went ahead with chemotherapy. The first shot of chemotherapy was tolerable but the second and third shots were real bad. She preferred to die rather than complete the treatments.

Listen to what she said in the following videos:

 

 

 

What if the patients forgo medical treatments?

1.    Cervical Cancer Stage 2A –Survived Five Years With Herbs Only, Refused Radiotherapy

This was a 70-year-old lady. She was diagnosed with cancer of the cervix, Stage 2A, in May 2000. She declined medical treatments and came to seek our help. She was on herbs. Watch the video clips below – they were recorded on 9 November 2001, 6 September 2002, 9 January 2005 and 3 February 2005. Patient had survived about five years – she did not die like the above lady who had the same type and stage of cancer and died 1 year 8 months after undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Unfortunately, in November of 2004, this patient had to take care of her grandchild, was under a lot of stress, decided  not to take her herbs that kept her alive all these years. Then she started to take all the “bad food.” About two months later, she suffered a relapse. Later we learned that she died.

 

 

2.  You Can Give Me Anything But Not Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy

Yin was diagnosed with cancer of the cervix in 1999. This was followed by an operation. Since everything was clean, no further treatment was indicated. Barely four years later, in August 2003,Yin suffered severe pains in her backbone. The CT scan indicated a small right thyroid nodule and bilateral pleural effusion (fluid in both lungs).

Yin was 67 years old when she suffered this recurrence. Consultation with three oncologists in Kuala Lumpur yielded the same opinion – Go for chemotherapy and radiotherapy.  However, the treatment would be only palliative. It would not cure her. At best it was only to promote her quality of life. The prognosis by these cancer experts was six months to live! Yin said she would rather die than undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She had seen how two of her brothers suffered and died while undergoing these treatments.

Yin’s son decided to bring her mother to see us on 23 September 2003. Yin was started on Capsule A, Cervical Tea, Utero-ovary Tea, Bone Tea, Lung Tea and C-Tea. Within six months after taking these herbs, Yin’s life was restored to normalcy and she was free of pains.

Yin died in 2011 because of a heart attack,  not because of her cancer.  She had been taking the herbs for EIGHT years.

 

 

What the Experts Said

 

Lymphoma: Chemotherapy Failed, Life Was Miserable But Herbs and e-Therapy Revived Her

Acknowledgment: The patient granted her permission to use this video without having to mask her face.

1.  A Long Journey From Home to Penang

MN (S-81) is a 56-year-old lady from Indonesia.  She and her husband came to a private hospital in Penang to search for an alternative treatment for her Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  But there was none. She was given the same option – undergo chemotherapy again.

They live in Labuan Batu, a town south of Medan. Coming to Penang is a long journey indeed. From home, first they had to travel for 9 hours by bus (or 6 hours by train) to  Medan. After an overnight stay in Medan, they took a plane to Penang.

2.  Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Sometime in early 2011, MN felt lethargic. Her stomach was painful. She had profuse sweating, specially her head . For the past one year she had been coughing. Doctors were unable to cure her coughs.

In May 2011, MN was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She underwent six cycles of chemotherapy with CHOP.

After the completion of the chemo treatment the cancer recurred in the form of a small swelling at her left collar bone – at the same spot where she did a biopsy earlier. MN was asked to undergo another round of chemotherapy. She refused and came to Penang looking for alternative medicine.

(Note: CHOP regimen consists of four drugs – Cyclophosphamide, Doxorubicin (or Adriamycin), Vincristine and Prednisolone. The first three drugs of the CHOP chemotherapy regimen are usually given as injections or infusions in veins on a single day, while prednisolone is taken as pills for five days. Each cycle is repeated every 3 weeks for 6 to 8 cycles).

MN received her treatment in a government hospital in Medan. Each treatment required a two-day stay in the hospital.

 3.  Life was Difficult During and After Chemotherapy

The first five chemos seemed to help MN. Her health seemed to improve. However, the sixth chemo was “bad”. Her health deteriorated – “dropped”. She had no strength and was not even able to climb out of bed by herself. She had to be hospitalized for two weeks. After being discharged from the hospital, she regained some strength. She was able to walk for about 10 metres and had to stop. At home she was not able to do anything. Her husband had to do all the house chores.

She said, “I walked a bit, my feet felt numb. My hands felt numb. I felt difficult, nauseous. I was bald.”

After chemo, her stomach pains disappeared but her one-year-old problem of coughs and profuse sweating persisted.

4.  Recurrence

One and a half months after the completion of her chemo, a small lump appeared at the collar bone – the same site where she first had her biopsy. The doctor in Medan confirmed it was a recurrence. She was asked to undergo a second round of chemotherapy.

5.   More of the Same Advice in Penang

MN said, “I do not want any more chemo. That is why I come here.”

MN and her husband came to a private hospital in Penang in December 2011 in the hope of finding an alternative treatment to chemo. But she was told to do more of the same thing – undergo more chemotherapy!

Husband: “No point. If we wanted to do chemo, we could have stayed back in Medan (treatment was given free-of-charge because he was an ex-government staff). In Penang, I have to pay for the treatment.”

The oncologist suggested two options. The first option is to use drugs that cost RM 7,000 per cycle. This means, the six-cycle-treatment would come to about RM 42,000. The oncologist told them that this treatment will cure her cancer. The second option is to use cheaper drugs costing RM 3,000 per cycle. But the effectiveness is uncertain.

Chris: Well, that means you have to sell your house to pay for the treatment?

MN: “No, we have no house to sell. Even to come here now – the expenses are provided by our children.”

Chris: Do you believe what the oncologist told you  – that the expensive chemo can cure you?

MN and Husband: “No, we never believe what he said.”

MN: “I refused to do more chemo. I can’t stand chemo any more. I can’t walk, I can’t eat. I am still bald now.”

6.  Disappointed – But Later They Found CA Care

MN and her husband were disappointed. They did not find the alternative treatment they wanted from the hospital. They did not know what to do next. However, a day later a lady told them about CA Care.

Chris: So you came to see us (on 18 December 2011).

MN: “Actually my son also asked me to find for an alternative way. He said I should find that herbalist in Penang. But he did not know who.”

7.   CA Care’s Herbs and e-Therapy Restored Her Health

MN was prescribed Capsule A, Lympho 1 and Lympho 2 teas, C-tea and Cough No 3, 5 and 11 for her problems. She was also told to take care of her diet.

Husband: “Her health improved within three weeks.”

Chris: Yesterday you told us that before you first came to Penang (in December 2011), all your friends who saw you cried. Why did they cry?

Husband: “They looked at her – her health was so bad. She was so weak. When we went home all her friends were smiling. She looked better.”

MN: “ I was so full of hope after meeting you, doctor.”

Chris: Are you sure that after taking the herbs for three weeks you are really better?

MN: “Yes.”

Husband: “Now she can walk for some distance without any problem. Before she had difficulty after walking 10 metres.”

MN: “My husband had to massage my legs every day.”

Husband:”Every time after she walked I had to massage her legs. Now I don’t have to do that anymore. She had not recovered 100 percent yet but her health has recovered by some 75 percent now.”

MN:”I had coughs for a year. I did X-ray three times and I saw all these doctors. The cough persisted. I took your herbs for four days and the coughs were almost gone!”

Chris: Praise and be thankful to God for this blessing.

MN: “When I first came here in December and was in the hospital, there was this patient who also came from Medan. She came to my room and help massaged my legs. She felt sorry for me. My legs were numb. That was before I came to see you. After I took your herbs there was no need for anyone to massage my legs any more.”

Chris to Husband: Ho, ho, you don’t have to do any more work! Very good, very good.

NM and husband returned to Penang after taking three weeks of herbs. This was in January 2012. She underwent three days of treatment with the e-Therapy.

MN:”My health improved further. I don’t feel numb or tired anymore. Instead it is my husband who felt tired when we walked this morning.”

Chris: Oh no – I have to take care of your husband too?

8.  You are Blessed! 

Chris: You are indeed blessed. After seeing the oncologist in the hospital you all were disappointed because you could not find what you wanted from the hospital. You did not know where else to turn to. But a day later – after you prayed – an “angel lady” appeared and told you about CA Care.

Husband:”We were ready to go home “empty handed.”We did not have the funds to pay for such expensive treatment which we did not come for anway.” 

Chris: Indeed it was a blessing from God. I fully understand the situation you are in. 

9.   Go Home and Be Careful – Take Care of Yourself

Chris: I am so happy that I am able to help you. This is my advice – please go home and take care of yourself well. Take care of your diet, exercise and take the herbs. My herbs are not magic but I believe they do help you.

MN and her husband returned to CA Care on 8 January 2012 and underwent the e-Therapy.

Watch this video.

After three weeks of herbs

She reported her health had improved:

  • Her coughs were almost gone – now she coughs once a while. Previously it was continuously.
  • She had more energy.
  • Her appetite improved.
  • The “heaty” feeling in the left side of her abdomen comes once in a while. Previously it was often.
  • Profuse sweating in the head was much less. Previously it was soaking wet and happened often, day and night.
  • She slept well. Before it was difficult.
  • Numbness of her fingers was gone but the numbness of her legs persisted although there was improvement.
  • She had more strength to walk. She could walk 100 metres without feeling tired. Previously even doing 10 or 20 metres was difficult.
  • The only problem she has now is a feeling of “ discomfort /numbness” in her right shoulder.

After first session of e-Therapy

  • She felt real good.
  • The body felt lighter.
  • Numbness of the legs was much less.

After second session of e-Therapy

  • She felt better.
  • Numbness of her legs had improved further.
  • Urination and bowel movements were better.
  • She had more energy.
  • She had no more coughs.
  • Discomfort in the left shoulder still persisted.

After third session of e-Therapy

  • The discomfort in the left should was gone.

Comments

Many Indonesian patients who come to seek our help need to travel from afar.  We empathize with them. This is indeed a test of their commitment and a testimony of their real desire of wanting to help themselves. In contrast, we have phone calls and e-mails from patients who live just a few miles away and yet they complained that it is difficult to come and see us. They prefer consultation over the phone. Similarly we have patients from Sarawak, Sabah or Singapore who only want us to help them through the phone or internet. Unfortunately, we cannot help such patients. It is better that they go and seek help from herbalists nearby their homes. Life is easier that way – for them and also for us.

But for those like MN, who have travel so far to come and seek help, we pray that we never let them down. We shall do our utmost best to help them. Indeed this case is an example of a wonderful and rewarding effort that makes our day real great. We thank God for His  blessings – and hope many more cases like this will continue to come by our way.

Nose (NPC) Cancer: Chemo and He was Dead Six Months Later – Why?

LCC (H412) was a 54-year-old male. He was a welder when young. Later he had his own business –   involved in steaming “kuih” (local dessert). Sometime in early 2010 he had mild bleeding from his nose. But by March 2010, the bleeding became serious. Later a lump appeared at his neck.

A CT scan on 2 April 2010 showed multiple lesions in the right and left lobe of his liver. The largest was in Segment 6 measuring 3.1 x 4 cm in diameter. Conclusion:  Features suggestive of liver metastases. His cancer was diagnosed as NPC (nasopharyngeal carcinoma) Stage 4.

LCC subsequently underwent 6 cycles of chemotherapy using Gemcitabine + Cisplatin. This treatment cost him RM 6,000 per cycle (total cost RM 36,000).

After the chemo, LCC felt better and his nose block resolved. But this “feel good” did not last and the treatment did not cure him at all. A bone scan on 6 September 2010 – i.e. barely 5 months after treatment – showed extensive bony metastases involving both the clavicles, multiple bilateral ribs, multiple thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, both humeri, both sacro-iliac joints, both ischii, both femurs and both pubic bones.

LCC was asked to undergo more chemotherapy. The oncologist offered three options as below:

LCC agreed to undergo the second round of chemotherapy. Unfortunately this second round proved to be a disaster. His white blood counts dropped, so were his platelet count, red blood count and haemoglobin.

Blood test results on 28 September 2010

Haemoglobin 11.6   Low Normal  13-18
Red blood cell count  4.1    L 4.5 – 5.9
Platelet count 139    L 150 – 450
White blood cell count  1.9    L 4.3 – 10.5

The doctor told the patient and his family that chemotherapy had to be abandoned because the drugs were not suitable for him. LCC was asked to take oral chemo-drug instead. The total cost of this treatment was going to be RM 83,000.

On 14 September 2010, K the patient’s cousin wrote us an e-mail.

Hi Prof Chris,

My cousin … has just finished his second round of chemo. He is quite weak and needed blood transfusion before they could complete the second course of chemo. He has decided to discontinue the chemotherapy and would like to come up to Penang to meet you at any time convenient to you. They plan to fly up in the morning and back to KL on the same day.

The patient, his sisters and K flew to see us in Penang on 26 September 2010. Below is our conversation that day.

Gist of our conversation

  • Did you ever ask your doctor if chemo was going to cure you? Never ask.  But my brother believed in what the doctor was going to do for him.
  • Did he believe that the doctor was going to be able to cure him? Yes.
  • Your Aunty had lung cancer. She did not go for chemo and was doing well.
  • Patient lost confidence in his oncologist after the chemo did not cure him.
  • He looked forward to meeting us – CA Care was his last one stop.
  • Soon after he died. He received his first chemo on 6 April and by  15 October he was dead – within 6 months after chemo.

Acugraph Study

The Agugraph above showed low qi energy –  total 23%. His Lung qi was low, while the Heart, Small Intestine, Triple Energizer, Spleen, Liver Bladder qi were split. Those who have undergone invasive medical treatments suffer from such problems. His yin-yang balance was slanted towards yang – 43%.

e-mail  2 October 2010

Thank you once again for receiving us last Sunday out of the normal operating hours. Just to give you an update on cousin’s progress. The herbs are doing wonders for my cousin. He finds much relief from the herbs, especially the Pain Tea. Since taking the teas on Monday, the pain has lessened tremendously. However, this morning, he developed a slight fever. The fever is gone now but in the afternoon, he started to purge – at least seven times thus far. There was no tummy upset though and he was eating his usual meals. He also has a bit of phlegm – there were some traces of “black threads.” Is there any course of concern?  Kind regards, K.

e-mail 5 October 2010

On behalf of my family we would like to thank you again for receiving us on that day and we really appreciate your  advice. My brother is doing much better after taking those herbs. Best regards, F (sister).

e-mail 9 October 2010

Want to update you on my cousin’s condition. The swelling on his legs has reduced a lot. Brother said he is a little breathless at times and I noticed that too. Prof., is there anything that we could give him to help? Other than this, he said he is doing fine. Thanks and regards, K.

e-mail 15 October 2010

Sorry to bring you this bad news. My cousin passed away early this morning. Although he was eating, he was getting very weak. At least his suffering was short. Thank you both for all assistance. Regards, K.

e-mail: Hi Im and Prof. Chris,

I have just got back from my cousin’s place. My cousin sisters and cousin’s family would like to express their sincere thanks and appreciation for all your help, support and advice given. The herbs really helped to ease his discomforts. He did not suffer much pain towards the end. In fact, he was really high in spirit wanting to fight on and continue with the teas, but the body failed him. Thank you once again for all the help. Kind regards, K.

Comments

  1. Did chemo cure him? Helped him? Or killed him? You make your own conclusion!
  2. He did not believe in herbal therapy, in spite of the fact that his Aunty was doing alright with our herbs and had refused chemotherapy. (Note:  His aunty had Stage 4 lung cancer – an open-close case) and was given a few months to live. It has been many years now and she is still alive.) Nevertheless, we respect the patient’s belief and he paid dearly for this belief, in terms of money as well as his life. Most of us have to learn the hard way.
  3. Let us try to look at reality. Is there any “medical or scientific” evidence that chemo can cure a Stage 4 cancer? The patient had spent RM 36,000 for his first round of chemo. What did he get in return? More cancer in his bones! Why was the cancer spreading so widely in his body?
  4. Then the oncologist suggested more chemo after the extensive metastasis. Is there any evidence to show that chemo can give meaningful result? There was another RM 83,000 to spend for the treatment. What could anyone expect that?
  5. How much is life worth? When we first started CA Care in 1995, this is what I wrote in my book, Cancer Yet They Live, pg. 14. Many people would say that “Ah, another quack. This is giving us false hope. Another attempt to extort the last dime from a dying person. If doctors cannot help, do not tell me some insignificant herbs can do any good!  … I know we are not medical doctors but we are not money hunters either.” Be careful, some people are just after your money not your cancer! Reflect seriously on what I say!
  6. In the patient’s consent form (which is required to be signed before undergoing chemotherapy) is written: “Cancer drugs such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and other biological or genetic treatments, destroy cancer cells. They interfere with the activity of cancer cells such as cell division, metabolism, enzyme pathways, etc and in the process damage or “kill” the cancer cells. Sometimes the goal of cancer drugs is to cure, and when cure is not possible, cancer drugs can often prolong life or improve quality of life …” 

Do you see anything “wrong” or half-truths in the above statement? Lenin said, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” You get that message?

Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister also said, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

To know the other untold half of the whole truth of the above consent treatment, what you need to do is simply search for “side effects of chemotherapy” in the internet. You will get some interesting inputs. Just for  curiosity I searched this – “death due to chemotherapy”. Interesting enough there was no explicit answer to this all important question from the medical establishment or drug companies. No one talked about that!  But ask the family members of cancer patients and many of them can tell you that chemo kills! Click this link and hear for yourself what patients and their family say about chemotherapy: https://cancercaremalaysia.com/category/chemotherapy-2/ 

Let me end with the following quotations:

Cervical Cancer: My wife died

Jonathan Chamberlain’s wife, Bernadette, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1993. She underwent surgical investigation, radiation and chemotherapy and was dead exactly a year later. There is no doubt that she died as much from the treatment as from the cancer itself. Looking back, Chamberlain feels that the biggest mistake they made was to do what the doctors advised because Bernadette could not have died sooner if they had done nothing.

In his book: Cancer Recovery Guide, pg. 28, Jonathan Chamberlain wrote:

When my wife Bernadette learned that despite all the surgery, radiation and chemotherapy her tumour had returned, she was informed that she had three months to live. She was told this on 17 January. She died on 16 April. Three months exactly.

I had a chance to talk with Jonathan when he visited CA Care in 2009. In our conversation one evening by the beach, Jonathan said:

  • From my own experience with my wife, we were in awe of the doctors …. We were in awe of our ignorance. We assumed that the doctors were best … I realized that was the biggest mistake I have ever made – to do what the doctors advise. You learn the hard way. 
  • She (wife) suffered from chemotherapy and it killed her. She died not just from cancer. She died from cancer plus chemotherapy. She died within one year because she did everything that doctor advised her.

 

Link to Jonathan’s website: http://www.fightingcancer.com/biography.htm

Cervical Cancer, Stage 2: Died 1 year and 8 months after her diagnosis

RAM was a 64-year-old lady from Indonesia. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in December 2000. According to her daughter, the tumour was only the size of a green pea and was visible. RAM was referred to the cancer hospital for treatment. In January 2001, she was started on radiotherapy. Altogether she had 26 radiation treatments and this was followed by HDR brachytherapy (i.e., internal radiotherapy). She also underwent chemotherapy at the same time.

After the medical treatments, RAM was alright for a while. In March 2002, RAM started to have pains in the backbone and the abdomen. A CT scan done on 13 March 2002 showed the presence of at least three hypodense foci in segment 6 of right lobe of her liver suspicious of either cysts or metastatic deposits. Her uterus was distended with fluid within the endometrial cavity. There was mild thickening of the uterine cervix, post radiotherapy. Multiple sclerotic foci scattered in the lumbar vertebral bodies, iliac bones and right head of femur. These were suggestive of sclerotic bony metastasis.

RAM went back to the same cancer hospital. She again underwent 11 times of radiotherapy. After the treatment, RAM’s health started to deteriorate. Disappointed, she went to another private hospital in Penang. The medical report dated 22 June 2002 stated, “She consulted me for the first time on 17 June 2002 with complaints of severe pain in the back and right side of the face. X-rays confirmed secondary sclerotic lesions in the ribs, clavicles, scapulae, skull vault, upper cervical spine and lumbosacral spine suggestive of metastases”. This meant the cancer had spread extensive to her bones. The doctor  prescribed RAM a three-month supply of artificial saliva, amitriptylline, morphine sulphate and maxolon.

RAM stopped coming to Penang for treatment. She stayed home. Her entire right side of the body was in pain. She was not able to eat. She breathed with difficulty. Her daughter came to see us on 30 August 2002.


Comments

A small pea-sized tumour in the cervix had created havoc within a year. Are we made to believe that this is a natural course of event in cervical cancer – a pea-sized monster suddenly becoming ferocious and invaded the liver, ribs, skull and bones all over the body?

How could that be? Think carefully and calmly. Could it be due the chemo-drugs or the deadly radiation? If RAM was to take it easy – if she were to do NOTHING, would she be in her current situation? Would NO treatment at all make her worse off? What could have been  worse than the current situation?

Her daughter told us that RAM was a healthy lady and weighed 65 kg when she started with medical treatments. After the treatment she became a vegetable. In June 2002, the doctor told her family that RAM had only THREE months to live. RAM eventually died, 1 year and 8 months after her diagnosis.

Psoriasis and Myelodysplastic Syndrome: After chemo with Decitabine he has to undergo bone marrow transplantation

This is an e-mail I received from Singapore.

Dr Chris,

I am writing on behalf of a neighbour of mine who is suffering from a type of cancer that I have never heard of until now. It is called Myelodysplastic Syndrome (with AML transformation). He went on a clinical trial treatment using a drug called Decitabine.

He has gone for five cycles of the drug now and due for the last one in November 2011. His name is DT.

DT seems to be responding to this treatment because his blood count has gone back to normal. Only problem is this is only short term as the root cause of the problem is in his bone marrow. His doctor is recommending that he goes for a bone marrow transplant, which will cost him SGD 40,000. The current treatment would have cost him SGD 48,000 but since he does not have money, they offered him for free. Apparently in Singapore past clinical trial using this drug indicated that only 1 out of 20 responded positively to this drug. In this trial, he is the only ‘rat’ and seems to work on him.

He does not wish to go for the bone marrow transplant because he does not have the money and doctor told him the procedure is very risky and he may die during the process. So he called me and I am writing to you.

From talking to DT, I think he has poisoned his body from his past occupation working with chemicals in pest control, etc., which may be the cause of MDS.

I am checking your availability this week and next week so I can bring him to see you. He is still weak but at least he can walk now. The last time I saw him four months ago, he was in terrible shape. He is also suffering from psoriasis which was how they discovered his MDS during the psoriasis treatment.

Rgds, KG 

DT came to see us on 11 November 2011. Listen to our conversation that day.

 

 

Comments

Doctors are men who prescribe medicine of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing ~ Voltaire, author and philosopher, 1760

My first advice to patient, after having seen a doctor and been diagnosed with a disease, is to take care of yourself. Empower yourself with knowledge – meaning you have to do a lot of “homework” and read about your problem yourself. In this way you can understand what your doctor is doing to you. There are times when you need to make your own decisions.

Indeed we are lucky living today in an information technology era. Whatever you want to know can be obtained and answered with a “click of the mouse”. This is exactly what I did with the internet to learn more about the problems faced by this patient. So before we start to ask questions, let us know first.

About Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune chronic disorder of the skin caused by accelerated speed of skin reproduction. It manifests as scaly spots on the skin. One of the major symptoms of psoriasis is joint inflammation. Psoriasis is not a contagious disease.

The treatment for psoriasis includes the use of creams and ointments, oral medicines such as thioguanine, hydroxyurea, cyclosporine, methotrexate, etc. Phototherapy –  artificial or natural ultra violet light –  is another method used to treat psoriasis.

In spite of a range of options, there is no known cure for this disease. The disease is unpredictable, going through random cycles of improvement and worsening. The effectiveness of psoriasis treatments can be unpredictable. What works well for one person might be ineffective for someone else.

About Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)

MDS is formerly known as preleukemia. The prefix “myelo” means spinal cord or bone marrow, while “dysplastic” means abnormal development. So MDS is a diverse collection of blood-related medical conditions that involve ineffective production of the myeloid class of blood cells when something goes wrong in the bone marrow. The bone marrow does not make enough normal blood cells for the body

Patients with MDS often develop severe anemia and require frequent blood transfusions. Patients may also develop low blood counts due to progressive bone marrow failure.

Some types of MDS are mild and easily managed, while other types are severe and life-threatening. Mild MDS can grow more severe over time. About one third of patients with MDS may end up with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). This can happen within months to a few years.

Treatment: There is no cure for MDS. But there are three treatment options.

  1. Supportive care – patients with low-risk MDS are usually treated with supportive therapy such as blood transfusion, use of blood growth factors and antibiotics to fight infection.
  2. Chemotherapy – the chemo-drugs used include Lenalidomide (Revlimid), Decitabine (Dacogen), Azacitidine (Vidaza, Mylosar), Cytarabine (Cytosar-U, Tarabine PFS), Idarubicin (Idamycin), and Daunorubicin (Cerubidine, Rubidomycin).
  3. Bone marrow transplant (BMT) – this is a procedure to replace damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells.

In the case of this patient, DT first went to the doctor because of his long-standing skin problem, psoriasis. Although he was give a certain cream to apply it did not work for him. This is not unexpected because medical science cannot cure psoriasis.

From psoriasis, the doctors diagnosed DT with MDS – a preleukemia condition. DT was admitted into a chemotherapy clinical trial using the drug, Decitabine or Dacogen. After six cycles of Decitabine his blood parameters became normal. And here we can ask a few questions:

1.     Chemotherapy normalised his blood but did it cure his MDS? The answer is probably not. The doctors told him that the disease will recur within a few months if he does not undergo a bone marrow transplantation. So, one dangerous treatment leads to yet another dangerous treatment.

2.     Patient had psoriasis and he was treated for MDS. Okay, but did chemotherapy helped his psoriasis? The answer is also no. His psoriasis still persists (see photos).

3.     How effective is the chemo-drug Decitabine? And what are the side effects? Let’s go into the website and learn more.

Decitabine is a US-FDA approved drug for treating myelodysplastic syndrome. Before I was able to read the information on this drug from the company’s website, http://www.dacogen.com/, the following Safety Information popped out. I needed to click this “safety button” first before I could get to read the rest of the information in the website: Yes, I have read the DACOGEN Important Safety Information (below).

  • Treatment with DACOGEN is associated with neutropenia and thrombocytopenia – neutropenia (87%), thrombocytopenia (85%), febrile neutropenia (23%), and leukopenia (22%).
  • DACOGEN may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Men with female partners of childbearing potential should use effective contraception during this time.
  • Bone marrow suppression was the most frequent cause of dose reduction, delay, and discontinuation. Six patients had fatal events associated with their underlying disease and myelosuppression (anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia).
  • Of the 83 DACOGEN-treated patients, 8 permanently discontinued therapy for adverse events compared to 1 of 81 patients in the supportive care arm.
  • In the single-arm study, hematologic toxicities and infections were the most frequent causes of dose delays and discontinuation. Eight patients had fatal events due to infection and/or bleeding. Nineteen of 99 patients permanently discontinued therapy for adverse events.
  • Other commonly occurring reactions include fatigue, pyrexia, nausea, cough, petechiae, constipation, diarrhea, and hyperglycemia.
  • Because there are no data on use of DACOGEN in patients with renal or hepatic dysfunction, DACOGEN should be used with caution in these patients.

The following are the side effects of Decitabine:

Low blood counts, Fatigue, Fever, Nausea, Cough, Petechiae, Constipation,  Diarrhea, Hyperglycemia , Headache, Difficulty sleeping, Swelling , Low albumin,  Low magnesium, Chills, Low potassium, Bruising, Rash, Low sodium, Dizziness, Generalized aches and pains, Cardiac murmur , Poor appetite, Sore throat, Abdominal pain, High bilirubin blood level, High potassium, Mouth sores, Drowsiness, Abnormal liver function blood tests, Confusion, Anxiety, Itching, and Heartburn.

The overall response rate is only 17% consisting of 9% Complete Response (CR) and 8% Partial Response (PR).

That is the message I would like to impart to cancer patients.  Before you go into any invasive treatments, read first and know what you are up against. Know the risks and make your decisions accordingly. In cancer treatment, it seems there is no such thing as right or wrong answer. Take your risks and hope for the best.

After enduring the discomforts and “danger” of chemotherapy, DT came out of this experience rather well but the treatment did not solve his problem at all. He still has psoriasis and he was told that without BMT (bone marrow transplantation) he would suffer a recurrence of his MDS. DT did not want to proceed with BMT – in other words he wanted to give up medical treatment.

This is another message I would like patients to think about. Why abandon your medical treatment half way? To achieve medical success DT has to undergo BMT and if he does not do that the purpose of him having chemotherapy earlier becomes meaningless. If you do not wish to proceed with BMT would it be wise for you to undergo chemotherapy in the first place? I have encountered similar situations very often. Patients went to the doctors. They did CT scan, scoping, biopsy, etc. When asked to undergo an operation or chemotherapy, they backed out. It is good to do the CT scan or the scope to know what has gone wrong. But to do a biopsy? There is no need to do a biopsy if you have already decided not to proceed with surgery or chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It is meaningless.  

About Bone Marrow Transplantation

Let me be clear. I am not saying DT should undergo BMT after his chemotherapy. I know the risk and danger of such procedure. Let’s have a closer look of what BMT is all about first.

There are three kinds of bone marrow transplants:

  1. Autologous bone marrow transplant: “Auto” means “self.” Stem cells are removed from you before you receive high-dose chemotherapy or radiation treatment. After these treatments are done, your stems cells are put back in your body.
  2. Allogeneic bone marrow transplant: “Allo” means “other.” Stem cells are removed from another person, called a donor.
  1. Umbilical cord blood transplant: Stem cells are removed from a newborn baby’s umbilical cord immediately after being born. The stem cells are stored until they are needed for a transplant.

Before the transplant, myeloablative chemotherapy and / or radiation are given to kill any cancer cells that may be present. This allows new stem cells to grow in the bone marrow. In some cases, reduced intensity (or nonmyeloablative) treatment is done before a BMT. It is hoped that the newly implanted bone marrow will “match” and go to produce healthy cells.

Risks

  • Infections, which can be very serious
  • Bleeding in the lungs, the intestines, brain, and other areas of the body
  • Anemia
  • Stomach problems, including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Pain
  • Inflammation and sorenes in the mouth, throat, esophagus, and stomach, called mucositis
  • Damage to the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart
  • Cataracts
  • Early menopause
  • Graft failure, which means that the new cells do not settle into the body and start producing stem cells
  • Graft-versus-host disease, a condition in which the donor cells attack your own body

Prognosis

  • A bone marrow transplant may completely or partially cure your illness.
  • Complications or failure of the bone marrow transplant can lead to death.

From my experience, I know of patients who went through BMT and died. And I know of Peter (not real name) who was asked to under a BMT so that he could live ten or more years longer. He refused. Peter was on our herbs and it has been fifteen years now, and Peter is healthy. Click this link to read more, https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/09/18/nhl-kidney-cancer-free-after-six-months-on-the-herbs-2/.

But let not my experience influence you. Let us ask the computer these two questions:

  • What is the risk of dying while undergoing BTM? There is no clear cut answer. The following are some indirect answers:
  1. Two- to 5-year survival rates after transplantation plus chemotherapy range from 40 – 80%.
  2. Complications or failure of the BMT can lead to death (with no percentage given). BMT carries a risk of treatment-related death.
  3. The high-dose chemotherapy and total body irradiation required for BMT can have serious side effects. Before undergoing BMT, you will be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you have received verbal and written information to understand the risks and benefits of the proposed treatment.
  4. Organ toxicity — The lungs, liver, and bones are at greatest risk of damage as a result of treatments used with BMT.
  • What is the long-term survival of BTM patients?
  1. Although most were apparently well, survivors at 10 years and 15 years after BMT continued to have an increased risk of death. Causes of death were related to relapse of the underlying cancer, development of a second cancer, chronic GVHD, or transfusion-acquired viral infection.
  2. In patients who receive an allogeneic BMT as treatment for acute myelogenous or lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, or aplastic anemia and who are free of their original disease two years later, the disease is probably cured.
  3. Results of recent studies of allogeneic BMT for CML report long-term survival rates of 55%-80%, with median survival of more than 10 years.
  4. 3,788 patients had been observed for 10 or more years. The probability of being alive 10 years after HCT was 85%. The chief risk factors for late death included older age and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). For patients who underwent transplantation for malignancy, relapse was the most common cause of death

Having done all the reading, it is up to cancer patients themselves to make up their minds – to go for BMT or not. At CA Care we always say this, This is your life. It is you and only you, who can decide what you want to do with yourself. Others around you can only help but ultimately it is you and only you who will have to bear the consequences of your decision. So decide wisely.

 

Colon-Lung Cancer: Surgery, Twenty-seven Cycles of Chemo and SGD 100,000 Did Not Cure Her

Sar (S12) is a 63-year-old lady from Indonesia. She was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in 2008. Her daughter wrote, “ It was a shocking news. We decided to bring mom to Singapore to get the best possible treatment.”

Sar underwent a laparoscopic anterior resection for localized rectal cancer in April 2008. Four of 15 nodes were infected with cancer. Histopathology report confirmed a moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma – pT2N2. Sar did not receive any chemotherapy after the surgery.

About a year later, in June 2009, during a follow-up, the doctor detected her CEA was rising. Further investigation showed the cancer had spread to her lungs. Sar underwent chemotherapy. The regimen used was Xelox-Avastin (Capecitabine or XELODA +Oxaliplatin + Bevacizumab or AVASTIN). Sar received 6 cycles of this treatment. According to her doctor, the treatment helped stablised her disease. Unfortunately, such “fortune” did not last long. In less than a year, the cancer showed progression.

In January 2010, Sar underwent more chemotherapy. This time the regimen used was FOLFIRI + Avastin (Irinotecan + 5-FU + Lecovorin + Bevacizumab).  She received a total of 8 cycles of this chemo. Again, according to her doctor, the treatment stablised her disease.  But the doctor also suggested another new drug, Cetuximab (or Erbitux) to be added to the treatment regimen. But Sar could not afford the extraordinary high cost of this drug.

FOLFIRI + Avastin did not help Sar. The cancer continued to progress. In October 2010, a clinical trial comparing Cetuximab (or Erbitux) and panitumumab (or Vectibix) opened at Johns Hopkins Singapore.  Sar participated in this trial from November 2010 to June 2011. She received a total of 13 cycles of the treatment at Johns Hopkins. Sar had initial response. But that turned out to be meaningless because later the cancer started to progress.

A PET scan evaluation on 26 July 2011 showed lung metastases as well as lymph node involvement in the mediastinum and para-aortic region. The conclusion: “Overall findings indicate disease progression on comparison with the previous PET study.”

Sar was asked to undergo more chemotherapy. On 29 July 2011, she and her two daughters came to seek our help.  We prescribed her some herbs for her colon and lung. Unfortunately we do not get to see them again after this.

The only news we got was what we read in her daughter’s blog, “In total she (mom) has undergone 27 x chemo with three different drugs plus almost a SGD 100,000 loan. The debt is really pressurizing for her and her family who are average income earners. As for mom, she is still surviving in a fairly good condition and now taking herbs since the last chemo had stopped responding.”

Comments

It is indeed sad to hear such a story.  Patients and their family went to the “best” for their medical treatment but the “best” failed them. But such a story is not an exceptional story – or is it a norm that happens most of the time? The conclusion is yours to make.

What saddened me most when dealing with cancer patients is their “lack of knowledge.” We can understand if patients are illiterate and therefore have to depend entirely on others – the “experts” to help them deal with their problems. But if you are able to read what I am writing now – then it would be most unfortunate indeed if you still choose to remain “uneducated”, ignorant or “blind”.

Let me pose some questions for you to ponder on.

  1. Her daughter wrote, “We decided to bring mom to Singapore to get the best possible treatment.”  The patient received the best treatments alright – and the most expensive treatment as well? But what about the outcome? Did she get the best outcome?
  2. Do you still believe that money can “buy” the cure for cancer? I am reminded of what I wrote in the website earlier.  Click this link, https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2010/11/20/the-world%E2%80%99s-most-well-fought-battle-against-colon-cancer/ and you can read about the case of Tony Snow. I gave that article the title – the World’s most well fought battle… Why? This is because the man involved in this battle against colon cancer, Tony Snow, used to walk along the corridor of power in the most powerful political office on earth. He lost his battle against colon cancer and died. Did he not get the best – the best doctors, the best hospital and the “best” support from the most powerful man on earth? Why did he die? And if you have time, browse through the  same website and  learn for yourself why many patients who did not get the “best” still survive their colon cancer.
  3. Did it ever occur to you that before you undergo invasive treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy that you should ask your doctors if these treatments would cure you cancer? Most people don’t ask – they assume that since they get the best, the treatment outcomes would also be the “best”. I always remind patients – ask what the chances of you getting a “cure” are before you undergo any treatment. If you want make sure that you speak the same language like your doctor.  Cure means getting rid of your cancer altogether, not just “remission” or buying of time. If the “expert” you are dealing with do not give you a clear cut convincing answer, you might want to seek a second or third opinion from different sources. Weight out the pros and cons before you decide on the path to take.
  4. In this case, Sar was given 6 cycles of  Xelox-Avastin. Did it ever occur to you to check with reliable sources what these drugs can or cannot do for patients with lung metastases? Does Avastin ever cure lung metastasis? How effective is the Xelox regimen for metastatic colon cancer?

You can get all these answers if you spend enough time at your computer. Or do you prefer to remain blind and ignorant. For some the easy way out is to be ignorant – after all this is what they often say, ignorance is bliss.

If you have some money to spare, why not get some books and read. Take for example this one, https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/09/02/book-review-money-driven-medicine-%E2%80%93-chemotherapy-for-non-responsive-cancers-%E2%80%93-denying-reality/. Read what the author, a medical doctor said about chemotherapy for colon cancer.

  1. After Xelox-Avastin had failed. Sar underwent more chemo. But this time following the FOLFIRI + Avastin regimen.  Is this not doing the same old thing over and over again? Different combination of poisons but the mindset remains the same. This is what Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
  2. Avastin seems to be popular. And it is also expensive.  Exclusive and expensive stuff must be good, right?  If you read this article, https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/12/27/utero-ovary-lungs-cancer-part-1-she-almost-died-after-spending-two-billion-rupiahs-on-chemotherapy-in-singapore/ you will learn that a cycle of Avastin plus another drug cost about S$12,000. But is Avastin effective for cancer? You judge for yourself.
  3. From the internet, information on the effectiveness of Avastin and other expensive chemo-drugs are readily available. To get you started, just click the links below. From there, I wish you a happy journey – go, read more!

This is what her son wrote,

“My mom’s oncologist told us her cancer had recurred and if she does chemo it will extend her life by another six months, and if lucky another twelve months.  But the oncologist does not recommend chemo and thought the treatment would make her worse. He suggested waiting until her condition becomes painful or other symptoms appear. He told us chemotherapy does not cure her cancer and it does not make much difference.”

Hospital was Hell – My first cycle of chemo failed and my friend died after thirty cycles of chemos

Lan (not real name) came to see us on 14 November 2011. She had leukemia and had undergone one cycle of chemotherapy without success. Her doctors wanted her to undergo more chemos with more potent drugs. She declined. Listen to her conversation that day.

After having heard her story, I could not help but remember what Dr. Remen wrote in her book, Kitchen Table Wisdom.

“I have always assumed that a hospital was a healing environment. The first twenty years of my work with sick people was in hospitals, and by the time my training was completed I had worked in hospitals all over the United States.

All hospitals look, feel, and even smell the same. Once you are inside a hospital you cannot tell whether you are in Maine or in Mississippi.

I had always thought that this was an example of high standards and quality control. I now know that it is the reflection of the lack of connection between most hospital environments and the natural world around them.

This sort of disconnection from the natural world weakens everyone.

In 1988, during my last surgery, every plant that anyone brought to me in the hospital died. Day by day I would watch these plants dying all around me and worry: If plants could not seem to make it here, was this a good place for me to be?

One of the most common things people with cancer tell me is that experiences of hospitalization and treatment are profoundly isolating. I suspect that this sense of aloneness may even undermine the will to live.”

Dr Rachel Naomi Remen is one of the earliest pioneers of the mind/body medicine and was one of the first to develop a psychological approach to people with life-threatening illnesses and educate their physicians about their needs. She is cofounder and medical director of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program and is a Clinical Professor of the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

The title of her book does not sound “scientific” at all but for sure its content is not intended for house wives who mind the kitchen! Her book is for medical doctors and alternative healers – they should read it. Listen to her wisdom and her perceptions of what a holistic, honest and compassionate medicine is all about.

As a closing remark, let me quote what some doctors say about hospitals.

  • Hospitals can be dangerous places – protect yourself at all times ~ Edward Creagan, Mayo Clinic cancer specialist (in: How NOT to be my patient).
  • (Our) perception of a hospital is that it’s a safe place … we are surrendering ourselves to the loving care of substitute mommies in an all-protective environment where we will be treated for a disease and make well again. The reality is that, hospital-related errors in treatment kill an estimated 180,000 Americans each year and injure hundreds of thousands more ~ Sheldon Blau, professor of medicine, SUNY Stony Brook (in: How to get out of the hospital alive). 
  • Robert Medelsohn, chairman of Medical Licensure Committee, State of Illinois, USA; associate professor at University of Illinois Medical School and director, Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago. This was what he said: