This is the recording of my talk at Universiti Teknologi Mara in Penang. Those of you who have “sharp” eyes would know that this talk was given many years ago — 2007! Nevertheless, if I were to give another talk to-day, I would have said the same thing! What I have said some years ago are just as valid today!
1: The Hunt for the Elusive Magic Ingredient
2: Illusion — They Believe They Can Be Cured
3: Common Sense and Cancer Treatment
4: Commonsense and Chemo-drugs
5: CA Care Therapy for Colon cancer
6: CA Care Therapy for Metastatic Colon Liver Cancer
7: CA Care Therapy
Pt 1 Get The Best Of Both Worlds
Pt 2 Die of Cancer or Of Treatment
Pt 3 Overblown Statistics and Empty Promise
Pt 4 Doc, Give Me An Honest Answer
Pt 5 Beware Expensive and Dangerous Drug That Does Not Cure
Pt 6 Does Chemo Make Sense? Are Doctors Truly Honest?
Pt 7 Chemo Treats or Promotes Cancer?
Pt 8 Don’t Panic, Heal Yourself
Pt 9 Believe the Diagnosis Not the Prognosis
Pt 10 Chemo Almost Kill, Herbs Kept Him Alive
Pt 11 To Live or Die Is Your Choice
Pt 12 Recovered: Even After Doctor Said No Chance
Pt 13 Doctor’s Bullying Ways and Self-interest
Pt 14 The CA Care Therapy
Yesterday I got a shock when I received an e-mail informing me that Dr Albert Lim Kok Hooi died of cancer. The first thing that struck my mind was: How could this be? Is it a hoax? I wrote back to the one who sent me the email that I could not believe the information. He then sent me this link: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/3/9/nation/12815175&sec=nation
In the article is the photo of Dr. Lim, the oncologist – this is my first time knowing how he looks like. From the article too I learned that his funeral was held at Trinity Methodist Church, Petaling Jaya. If this was in Penang, this is also the church Im and I worship in every Sunday – Trinity Penang.
I must say I do not know the late Dr. Lim at all, but I suspect we have “heard “of each other through our mutual cancer patients – he, an oncologist and I an alternative medicine practitioner (often referred to as quack or snake oil peddler) who is on the other side of the great divide. Our patients went to see him for consultation and his patients came to see us after all those “scientific” treatments have failed them.
I also “know” him through his writing in the Star column. Dr. Lim was a prolific writer. And from his writings I learnt that his was an ardent and staunch supporter of “scientific medicine.” I first learned of Dr. Lim as being the leading oncologist in Malaysia some 16 years ago when patients came to see me after consulting him.
As I surfed the Internet, I also stumbled onto what Dr. V. M. Palaniappan,Ph.D. (I also do not know him as a person) wrote in http://ecohealingsystem.blogspot.com/
I read a sad news today in The Star (Malaysian, p.16, Saturday, 9 March 2013). This reports the death of Dr. Albert Lim Kok Hooi, a great Consultant Oncologist who was just 60, due to CANCER. It seems he was passionate about many issues, including animal and human rights, the rights of underprivileged, unhealthy lifestyles and habits of people, and the like. Reading all about Dr. Lim, it appears he had been a wonderful human being, and has contributed to the society to the fullest. If he lived for another one or two decades, with this caliber and good soul, he could serve a lot more to humanity. I sincerely regret his loss. May God bless his soul, and to rest in peace!
Likewise, I too felt sad to know that Malaysia has lost one of its outstanding sons “too soon”. At age 60 because of cancer. Allow me to extend our sincere belated condolence to his beloved family. As children of God, we believe his soul now finds rest and peace with the Lord.
I spent days surfing the Internet trying to find out more details or hints of what had really happened. Unfortunately, I was NOT fortunate. I could not find any information about his illness, although I had access to the articles that he wrote. The link to the 10-page listing of his articles are in: http://archives.thestar.com.my/search/?q=Dr%20Albert%20Lim%20Kok%20Hooi
Dr. Lim also has his own blog: http://dralbertlim.wordpress.com/page/6/ And his most recent posting was on 13 January 2013. And he died on 9 March 2013 – that is, just about two months after that posting? Sounds like a heart attack rather than cancer.
The questions that strike the mind are: When did he get his cancer? What cancer? What treatment did he undergo? These, I believe, are fair questions to ask. I went through his articles trying to find out if he ever disclose or give any hint that he had cancer in his writing. I do not seem to find any.
Let me say that even though I have never met Dr. Lim, I found some of what he had written interesting, especially coming from an oncologist! I wish many doctors and oncologists have similar views like him. Let me highlight what Dr. Lim wrote over the years in his articles in the Star. In fact, he was spot on regarding the issues below – and I hope cancer patients do take note of his advice seriously. These are good advice!
Cry me a river, 9 December 2012
Something about Dr C, 6 January 2013
Only human, 10 June 21012
Of course, I must say you cannot expect me to agree with everything that Dr. Lim wrote. That is understandable. We stood at the opposite, extreme ends of the pole. Nevertheless, let not our differences of knowledge, training or upbringing divide us. As human beings we are merely travelers on a journey of learning experience as we walk through life on this earth. Once our job is done, we are called HOME. No one lives forever. Doctors also get sick like any other mortals. And CANCER doctors do get cancer too. And they also can die of cancer. This is the reality or irony of life.
I am not a medical doctor. After teaching and researching in the university for 26 years I got involved with the alternative management of cancer. I used my scientific knowledge trying to find truth through a non-conventional view.
Dr. Lim’s death had brought forth one question I often ask myself. If one day I were to be inflicted with cancer – like those thousands who have come and to seek my help – would I keep this illness a secret? My blunt answer is: NO. This is because I am here on earth for a reason – and I am on a journey to gain experience. I would want to share my trials and tribulations with my fellow travelers. I believe it is important and fair on my part that I share with you not only my successes but also my bitter experiences. I take the view that my experiences would be useful lessons or examples for others to learn from. If I fail I have to tell you and warn you of the pitfalls of my journey. Some of you may not agree with my personal beliefs. That is perfectly okay with me too.
Recently, I interviewed a cancer patient and at the end of our conversation I asked if he would want me to cover his face for our video presentation. He said NO, there is nothing to be ashamed about if you have cancer. I did not commit any crime! I have full respect for this patient and am very impressed and proud of such an attitude. To me, failure to win over cancer is not a failure. I come to this conclusion because I have learned early in my cancer career that there is NO such thing as a (permanent) cure for cancer. You get cancer, you die. You may have a remission but that is not a cure. That seems to be the scenario all over the world today.
President Hugo Chavez died of cancer after four surgeries and lots of chemotherapy. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and she died after much chemotherapy. Ted Kennedy died of brain cancer. In this blog, I have written about Tony Snow who died of colon cancer that had spread to his liver. Then there was a story about Steve Jobs who died of pancreatic cancer. In fact the list goes on.
The world’s most iconic scientist of our time, Nobel laureate James Watson also has (prostate) cancer. And I was told he refused to undergo the standard medical treatment. In his recent talk, Dr. Watson said: There’s now pretty good research that suggests that if you take a baby aspirin a day, you get less cancer … So every morning, I take an anti-inflammatory, to the laughter from the audience. He joined in with his own distinctive, raspy chuckle and shrugged, asking: Why not? Watson also takes Metformin. The drug is normally taken by people who have type-2 diabetes, but research shows that fewer of those taking the drug get cancer. He said: If this is right, this is a bombshell, and all chemotherapy should be done with Metformin.
In his blog, Dr. Palaniappan raised some interesting questions about Dr. Lim’s “secret adventure” with his cancer. This is what he wrote (http://ecohealingsystem.blogspot.com/):
You may wish to ponder what Dr. Palani’s said. You may agree or disagree with him.
To me, Malaysia has lost a good doctor. If Dr. Lim were to leave behind his legacy by writing about his “battle” against cancer it would be a greater help to all of us. If scientific medicine, which he believed in so ardently, has been so effective against cancer, what is it that went wrong that he had to die of cancer? I am sure this is the question that most, if not all, cancer patients want to know.
I am reminded of what happened in France in the 19th century at the time of Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard – two great scientists of that period. Pasteur was a chemist and microbiologist, who put forward the germ theory. According to him diseases are caused by infectious microbes, that impair the functioning and structures of different organ systems. This paradigm is the basis for the use of antibiotics today.
Pasteur’s contemporary and friend, an equally great scientist, Claude Bernard was a physiologist. He argued the germs are not as important as the body’s internal environment – what he called le milieu intérieur. According to Bernard, The constancy of the interior environment is the condition for a free and independent life. Bernard thought that the body becomes susceptible to infectious agents only if the internal balance – or homeostasis as we now call it – is disturbed. After all, there are billions of microbes and bacteria inhabiting our guts, our blood, our whole body. Why do we sometimes get sick from them and sometimes not? When a bacterial or viral agent is “going around,” as we say, why do some people fall sick while others remain healthy?
History has it that when Pasteur was on his death-bed, he said: Bernard is right. The microbe is nothing. The environment is everything. With that confession, the world is left a bit wiser!
Author: This book is written by Thomas Syefried, Ph.D. He has taught and conducted research in the fields of neurogenetics, neurochemistry and cancer for more than twenty-five years at Yale University and Boston College. He has published more than 150 scientific articles and book chapters and is on the editorial boards of Nutrition & Metabolism, Journal of Lipid Research, Neurochemical Research, and ASN Neuro. Supported by evidence from more than 1,000 scientific and clinical studies, Dr. Syefried provided evidence that cancer is primarily a metabolic disease (NOT a genetic disease).
The author dedicated his 438-page-book to: The millions of people who have suffered and died from toxic cancer therapies.
Do you get his message? The present day cancer therapies are toxic! And millions die – from the cancer or from the toxic treatment? Do you ever wonder why the present day cancer treatment has come (or allowed to come) to such a tragic state of affairs?
Mitochonrdia – the Energy Production Houses of the Cell
The last time I sat in class (Universiti Malaysia) learning about energy production by mitochondria was in early 1970. That’s a long time ago. When I taught Plant Physiology at USM, I dabbled a bit here and there with energy pathways and that too was many years ago! So to fully comprehend what Dr. Seyfried said and then write this article – trying to put things in layperson’s language – did take a rather longer-than-usual-time for me. I have to go back to my textbooks again!
Let’s start from the basics!
Mitochondria are unusual organelles found in the cytoplasm and they are the powerhouses that generate energy for the cell. They have their own genome and they can divide independently of the cell in which they reside. Mitochondrial division is stimulated by energy demand, so cells with an increased need for energy contain greater numbers of these organelles than cells with lower energy needs. http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/mitochondria-14053590
A typical animal cell may have anything from 1,000 to 2,000 mitochondria. Indeed there are a lot of these structures in a tiny cell. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/biology/mitochondria.html.
The mitochondria produce the energy-rich molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is required to drive all the cellular activities. Indeed ATP is the energy currency of the cells. ATP is like petrol, without it your car cannot move.
The process of energy production in cell is called cellular respiration. It involves a range of metabolic pathways and processes that take place in the mitochondria to convert biochemical energy from nutrients that we eat – sugars, amino acids and fatty acids – into ATP and other waste products.
This energy production (respiration) in cell can take place with or without the presence of oxygen.
If the energy production process occurs in the presence of oxygen it is called aerobic respiration. This process is up to 15 times more efficient than anaerobic metabolism (respiration without oxygen).
This is what happens in aerobic respiration: C6H12O6 (sugar) + 6 O2 (gas) → 6 CO2 (gas) + 6 H2O (water) + heat + ATP
Without oxygen the process of energy production is called fermentation. It is a less efficient way of producing energy because only 2 ATP are produced per glucose molecule (compared to 38 ATP per glucose produced by aerobic respiration).The waste products of fermentation still contains plenty of energy. However, this process creates ATP more quickly. During short bursts of strenuous activity, muscle cells use fermentation to supplement the ATP production from the slower aerobic respiration.
Beside energy production, mitochondria are also involved in the process of cell division and apoptosis (or naturally occurring process of programmed cell death).
In this book, Dr. Seyfried provides us with information saying that mitochondria are also deeply implicated in the initiation, growth and proliferation of cancer.
Energetics of the Healthy Living Cell
In order for cells to remain viable and to perform their functions, they must produce usable energy – and to do so as efficiently and economically (no wastage) as possible.
The other remaining 12% of energy is produced about equally by:
It is obvious that substrate-level phosphorylation and TCA cycle area less efficient method of energy production since only 2 ATP are produced per glucose compared to 38 ATP per glucose by oxidative phosphorylation.
When AT P is hydrolysed (hydro =water, lysis = separation) the high energy stored in the ATP is released. The standard free energy change (ΔG) for the hydrolysis of the terminal pyrophosphate bond of ATP under physiological conditions is tightly regulated in cells between -53 to -60 kJ/mole.
The ∆G’ ATP among cells irrespective of how this energy is being produced is similar. For example, the as ∆G’ ATP in heart, liver and erythrocytes are approximately -56 kJ/mol despite of having very different electrical potentials.
The constancy of the ∆G’ ATP of approximately -56kJ/mol is fundamental to cellular homeostasis. Any disturbance in this energy level will compromise cell function and stability.Cells can die from either too little or too much energy.
Mitochondrial Dysfuction (or Defective Energy Metabolism) May Mean Cancer
Cancer cells produce more energy through substrate-level phosphorylation while normal cells produce most of their energy through oxidative phosphorylation. This goes to say that cancer cells are not efficient energy producers.
A major difference between normal cells and cancer cells is in the origin of the energy produced. Regardless, all cells – normal or cancer cells – require approximately -56 kJ/mol for their survival.
Against Current Mainstream Thinking
As far back as 1924, Nobel laureate Otto Warburg postulated that cancer was principally a disease of mitochondrial dysfunction. To Warburg, the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar.
The question which needs to be asked is: Is it genomic instability or is it impaired energy metabolism that is primarily responsible for the origin of cancer?
Metabolic studies in a variety of human cancers showed that the loss of mitochondrial function preceded the appearance of malignancy. However, the general view over the last 50 years has been that gene mutation and chromosomal abnormalities underlie most aspects of tumour initiation and progression.
Gene theory of cancer would argue that mitochondrial dysfunction is an effect rather than a cause of cancer, whereas the metabolic impairment theory would argue the reverse.
It is suggested that genomic abnormalities found in the majority of cancers can arise as a secondary consequence of mitochondrial dysfunction. Impaired mitochondrial function can induce abnormalities in genes and oncogenes. Once established, somatic genomic instability can contribute to further mitochondrial defects. For example, impaired mitochondrial function can induce abnormalities in p53 activation, while abnormalities in p53 expression and regulation can further impair mitochondrial function.
Implications for Treatment and Prevention of Cancer
Interview with Thomas Syefried
Dr. Thomas Seyfried believes that cancer is primarily a metabolic disease and so should be tackled as such. Cancer cells have high metabolic needs and so by manipulating the energy balance in the body through diet restriction, Dr. Seyfried is convinced that these malignant cells would suffer more than normal cells and even be killed.
Pauline Davies: Well let’s go right back to the beginning, tell me why is cancer a metabolic disease?
Thomas Seyfried: Well, all cancers suffer from the same kind of problem; they have inefficient respiration. The inefficiency of respiration forces those cells to use an alternative fuel which is fermentation, and it can happen in cytoplasm or even in the mitochondria. It’s the fermentation that compensates as an alternative source of energy for damaged respiration. This leads to genomic instability, local inflammation and the features that we see as the hallmarks of the disease.
Pauline Davies: Because cancer cells are growing very rapidly, they need a great amount of energy to respire, to actually grow, and that’s where the stress comes from?
Thomas Seyfried: Well actually they need a great amount of energy because they’re not effectively metabolizing all of the energy in the molecules they take in. Cancer cells release significant amounts of un-metabolized molecules … the cancer cells are wasting this, and this is an indication of an inefficient respiratory system. And it’s the fermentation that drives the proliferation of the tumor cells and also it’s the fermentation that makes the cancer cells drug resistant.
Pauline Davies: Can you, in a very simple way, explain why the fermentation actually drives the cancer. Does fermentation give them more energy to do that?
Thomas Seyfried: Well, you know, we have liver regeneration, the division of normal liver cells to regenerate, they’ll actually grow much faster than a cancer cell and they don’t ferment. The cancer cells are locked into a fermentation profile because they have lost their ability to respire. Cells that can respire will stop their fermentation once the cell becomes more differentiated. The differentiation is also controlled by the energy efficiency of the mitochondria, and if that organelle is damaged in any way, it makes it incapable of using respiratory energy, the cells get locked into a primitive form, the way life was on the planet prior to oxygen. All the organisms were highly fermentative and highly proliferative. The cells were highly proliferative cells in a fermentation reduced environment. Oxygen then brought in stabilization and differentiation and this became the result of having mitochondria in our cells. When those organelles become damaged, these cells revert back to a proliferative condition as they were in ancient times before oxygen came onto the planet. And they will continue to do this now even in the presence of oxygen, because the respiration is deficient and cannot stop this fermentation process. So these cells, as long as they have access to the fuels that drive fermentation, which is glucose and glutamine, they will continue to proliferate and it becomes very difficult to kill them.
Pauline Davies: So you came up with some suggestions for actually controlling cancer. What did you say?
Thomas Seyfried: Our approach to managing cancer will be effective against all forms of the disease, because we view the disease as a singular disease of energy metabolism. So they all suffer from the primary inefficiency of respiration. Now knowing that, can we manage the disease? This becomes not an insurmountable problem. The first step you have to do is you have to treat the whole body, not just the tumor. The body has to be brought into a new metabolic state of metabolic stress where the evolutionary programs for our survival have evolved over millions of years, where we can then tap into alternative fuels due to the genomic flexibility that we have in our systems. Once our body gets into one of these metabolically, or I should say, an energy stress condition, which is actually very healthy, it’s not a painful or harmful situation, the cancer cells now become more stressed than the normal cells because they lack the metabolic flexibility. So the first things we do is put the patients in a state of energy stress by restricting the amount of calories they eat. We bring blood glucose down and ketones up. Blood glucose is the major fuel for the cancer cells and most other cells, especially brain cells. But many normal cells will transition to fat ketones, breakdown product of the fat, which cancer cells have great difficulty utilizing. So putting the patient into a global state of energy stress, puts great pressure on the metabolism of the tumor cell while making the normal cells healthy. The mutations that the tumor cells have, makes them restricted in their ability to adapt to this new energy state. Once we hit those fuels, we can manage the disease; patients can live a lot longer.
Pauline Davies: So what does it actually mean for a patient? How much do they have to restrict their diet?
Thomas Seyfried: Well this is an important point and this is one of the reasons it’s a stumbling block. Some patients have to realize they have to stop eating for several days, and get their blood sugar down to 55 to 65 milligrams per deciliter and their ketones up to about 3 to 2 millimolar and then they know they’re in the state. So we have clear biomarkers for patients to get into this particular metabolic state. The problem is a lot of patients are reluctant, they have other thoughts, the issue of cachexia always comes up and they say, “How could you have a patient who’s losing weight stop eating?” And as I said, they’re losing weight because the tumor cells are mobilizing glucose from their tissues of fats and protein. So by lowering the glucose in the patient, you are actually killing tumor cells that are releasing those cachexic factors, so you will lose additional weight at the beginning, but then the body will regain weight and become far more healthy. So it’s a whole systems physiology that has to be used, together with those drugs that target the ability to use glucose and glutamine.
Pauline Davies: So what should people do … What sort of food should they be eating after starving themselves for three or four days?
Thomas Seyfried: Well it various from one person to the next; people have to know what their own bodies are capable of doing. They just have to measure their blood glucose and ketone levels which gives them an idea as to, you know, does this food help or not help. You know some people just have to stop eating for a week, it sounds terrible but it works, I know it works, we’ve seen many people benefit from this.
The biggest obstacle to this is the medical establishment is clueless as to how this works. It’s totally different than the way people view the disease; the disease is not viewed as a metabolic disease. If you’re not viewing the disease as the nature of what the disease actually is you’re going to be doing things that are irrelevant to the nature of this. I mean there are some people who are cured by the standard of care and current therapies, but they pay a price for that. They have all kinds of other health issues in those who do survive the treatments. And you know, 60 percent of the people treated with cancer do survive. So you have these many survivors but they pay a price for that survival, they’re debilitated in many ways for the rest of their life if they don’t get a recurrent tumor some other time in the future. We want to eliminate that, we want to eliminate the tumor and keep the body healthy, and that’s what our therapy and understanding will do.
Pauline Davies: Why are we not doing this?
Thomas Seyfried: Because the physicians and oncologists are not trained to do this. If they were trained to do this they would be instituting this. This is not part of the medical practice of the field. Cancer is viewed as a very different kind of disease that needs to be treated with toxic chemicals and radiation. No one is talking about the nutritional metabolic approaches to managing the disease because the physicians themselves are not trained in this. If you’re not being trained to do this, how could you institute this, or even understand the principles and concepts? This is a major stumbling block for the improvement of cancer. We’re not going to make any major advances until the physicians in the field understand that this is a metabolic disease.
Pauline Davies: What I don’t understand is why people haven’t looked at cancer as a metabolic disease so much in the past. Why are they focusing on the nuclear problems?
Thomas Seyfried: Well that took place over a many year period, it really kind of exploded with the discovery of DNA in the 1950’s as being the genetic material, and you find broken chromosomes in cancer. It was a natural connection to say, “Oh this is the hottest area in biology; cancer cells have broken DNA; everybody’s looking at gene transcription,” all this kind of stuff. It was only natural course of action to go that route. But Otto Warburg had clearly defined what the nature of the disease was many years ago, and that was kind of considered not important for a variety of reasons, but it was the core issue here.
Pauline Davies: So is there any way of preventing cancer in the first place? What would you suggest, that people starve themselves for a couple weeks a year? Thomas Seyfried: Well I don’t like to call it starving because starving is a pathological condition which is very unhealthy. But if you stop eating for three days, two to three days, and see your blood glucose go down and your ketones go up, you already know you’re enhancing the health and vitality of your mitochondrial system. The inefficient mitochondria undergo autophagy, they’re consumed by the cell for the good of the whole. So the body has an internal control system to purge any cell inefficient in its metabolism. The best way would be to one-week fast once a year, would probably be the singular best way to prevent cancer. This is hard for most people, so maybe three days twice a year, something along this. And as I said you dovetail it in with a religious experience for whatever and it makes everybody feel happy. You can do this with whatever culture or whatever religion; it can be worked in for most people. Let’s put it that way.
In the foreword of the book, Dr. Peter Pedersen, Professor of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA wrote:
From the internet I have obtained the following comments:
Let’s again highlight some of the important messages that Dr. Syefried wants us to know:
A study of medical history tells us that new ideas will be rewarded with toxic reactions by the Vested Interest. I am glad that Dr. Syefried has the guts to speak out. And he spoke with scientific evidence and data. Of course many self-serving researchers may label him as yet another quack or charlatan! That is the way most scientists behave anyway.
In reading this work of Dr. Thomas Seyfried, I am particularly disturbed with the following findings:
The question I would like to pose is: In the light of Dr. Seyfried work, can we honestly say that chemotherapy and radiotherapy help cancer patients? Will these treatments do more harm than the cancer itself?
They say, ignorance is bliss but I also learnt from my observation that ignorance kills and it kills mercilessly.
To conclude, let me ask you to reflect on the quotations below:
The information in this article are extracted from:
1. Thomas Seyfried & Laura Shelton, Cancer as a metabolic disease http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/7/1/7
2. Interview with Thomas Seyfried: http://cancer-insights.asu.edu/2012/05/asu-psoc-worksop-wednesday-march-21st-friday-march-23rd-2012-2/
We would like to recommend that you visit the website put up by
Professor Gershom Zajicek, The Hubert H. Humphrey Center For Experimental Medicine and Cancer Research, Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. (http://www.what-is-cancer.com)
The following are some salient points raised by this learned professor.
What is cancer?
Wisdom and the Healing Power of the Body
We Need to Empower Ourselves
Failure of Medicine
Mind Disease and the Cancer Mask
Cancer is a Chronic Disease
What to Do If You Are Diagnosed With Cancer?
1. First find a good doctor with the following qualities:
2. Take time to look for the best qualified, and don’t rush to the first one you encounter.
3. The medical establishment regards your lump as an emergency. You are rushed to the ward, sign consent-papers, and you nearly lose your mind. Remember this ancient Arab saying: haste is from the Devil. This advice is indeed highly appropriate for this situation.
4. You need time to decide what treatment is best for you.
5. The tumor is only one expression of your chronic condition and its removal does not assure yourcure.
6. Modern medicine is trying to treat your cancer as if it is an infectious disease and everything must be done to immediately kill the bug. This is a false, panic metaphor that medicine wants you to accept. Cancer does not behave like an infectious disease. A bug is not involved here, and no antibiotics or toxic drugs help. In most patients, cancer is incurable.
7. Chemotherapy, like antibiotics in infection, is the main treatment in cancer. Yet it has the same drawback as antibiotics. With time the tumor becomes resistant to treatment and the patient dies. Medicine believes that the patient is utterly helpless and depends solely on chemotherapy. Yet our Wisdom of the Body is smarter than academic medicine.
Blind Spot of Medicine
Very often we take good health for granted – especially when we have never landed in the hospital before! I have seen faces of the sick and shared their pains – I imagined what it was like, though I have not experienced it myself before.
On 9th February 2000, it was my turn to get sick. That morning, I tried to shift a packet of herb, which blocked the door. “Cluck” came a sound from my backbone and I was almost immobilized. The whole of that Wednesday I was confined to the chair, unable to pick things from the floor, could not walk properly, etc. Mentally, I felt frustrated for not being able to do all that I had always taken for granted. Of course, such problem is nothing compared to the ordeal the cancer patients suffer.
Take painkiller to relief the pain was one advice. No, thank you. Why cut off the signal that tells me that something was not right with my back?
Rush to the hospital? My past experience with an orthopedic regarding the same problem was enough bad lesson. So, no thanks too!!
Deep down in me, I know, however, that God will help me. I visualized that I would be well the next morning! It was not to be. I was unable to bring myself up from bed.
I thought of calling a friend who knows of one person who is good at massaging. At about 11 a.m. this very friend called us instead. She wanted to drop by our house with her brother-in-law from Singapore who has been taking the herbs. What a “coincidence”.
About noon, my cousin dropped by and told us of a chiropractor in town who has done a wonderful job for her friend. She called the chiropractor’s office for appointment but was told that there was no slot free until a week later. Aya! Mana boleh – can’t wait that long! Anyway, after an explanation my cousin was told that the doctor might be able to squeeze me in the next day. Hai, but what about this very afternoon? Ha, ha, come immediately was the answer! So, by about 3 p.m. I was on his table “for repair”.
At home Im boiled the herb we bought earlier which was supposed to be for backache and muscle pain. Then, I applied a wine herbal extract that my Auntie gave us that had proven to be good for my sprained toes.
The morning of Friday, 11 February, I was back on the chiropractor’s table again for another fix. By 3 p.m. I was back at my table in the Cancer Centre for the regular Friday session. By Saturday morning, I felt rather well. I was able to walk up the stairs, bend down, etc, etc. Sunday night was the usual routine and I don’t think anybody noticed that I had a problem.
God does answer prayers but He does so in His own way, that man often cannot understand or see. Does a miracle happen only when the wind blows and someone gets well for no apparent reason? In a more subtle way, God works miracles by “opening doors and opportunities” at the correct time and brings you to people whom you need. Some may like to call that coincidence. We call it miracle.
More importantly is that when we call Him in despair, He provides us with the courage to face reality like never before. Deep down in my heart I know that I will be alright. I could sense that feeling – the optimism that is so vital for healing.
Often we interpret sickness as a misfortune. Why not look at the positive side of things. When I was immobilized, I decided that the best use of my time was to write and I worked on the book: Food & Cancer. By the time I became well, I almost finished writing the whole book. Then, I researched to find herbs to cure my ailing back, I “discovered” two things – the Pain Solution and the Backache Wine. These two helped me tremendously. And that’s besides having the opportunity to know the chiropractor! So, could my sprained back be a blessing rather than a curse?
I have no doubt, it was a blessing!
The Perfect ATTITUDE to Heal Cancer Successfully!
There are in general 3 sorts of patients and only one of them is likely to overcome and heal cancer long term. All doctors agree on, that the attitude of the patient is one of the most critical elements in the healing process.
CANCER is curable NOW with Perception
Everything is just as you perceive it. If your subconscious memory tells you this is bad you will believe it and not even question your beliefs. If your subconscious memory tells you that it’s good you like it even though it can be bad for you.
Mind Over Matter. Healing Emotions!
My real passion is to turn anguish, pain and suffering into gratitude. It’s as beautiful as seeing a sun rise in the early morning, when darkness gives way to an awakening consciousness.
What is overdiagnosis?
Overdiagnosis is the diagnosis of “disease” that will never cause symptoms or death during a patient’s lifetime. It’s a side effect of our relentless desire to find disease early through annual checkups and screening. Overdiagnosis occurs when a disease is diagnosed correctly, but the diagnosis is irrelevant. A correct diagnosis may be irrelevant because treatment for the disease is not available, not needed, or not wanted.
What’s the problem with wanting to know if there’s a cancer or disease lurking in our bodies?
The problem is, we all harbor abnormalities. Today with our technology we have all sorts of tests that are increasingly able to find our potential health problems, yet most of these abnormalities will not go on to cause disease.
Jennifer Durgin wrote: “Due to the sophisticated scanning technology, like computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we’re able see ourselves at a level of detail that has never before been possible. Dartmouth radiologist William Black, M.D, said.”Because we’re now able to see every millimeter of the body, we of course find a lot more abnormalities in the body than we ever knew existed. Oh, there is this ton of tumors out there and other diseases, so disease must really be increasing in frequency.'” But is it?”
But because doctors don’t know which abnormality will and which will not develop into full blown disease, they tend to treat everybody. That means doctors are treating those who cannot benefit because there’s nothing to fix, and these people can be harmed.
What’s the harm?
Overdiagnosed patients cannot benefit from the detection and treatment of their “cancer”, because the nature of the cancer was never destined to cause symptoms or death in the first place. So patients can only be harmed instead due to the following.
Who benefits from overdiagnosis?
A lot of people: drug companies, device manufacturers, imaging centers, hospitals and of course the doctors. The easiest way to make money is not to make a better drug or build a better device—it’s to expand the market for existing drugs and devices by expanding the indication to include more patients. Similarly, for hospitals, the easiest way to make money isn’t to deliver better care; it’s to recruit new patients—and to make patients to come for regular checkups.
Early detection of cancer – the cause of overdiagnosis
Overdiagnosis is the side effect of the systematic evaluation of asymptomatic patients to detect early forms of cancer, as in the widely promoted “Early Detection” or “Screening” for cancers (in breast, prostate, etc.). This procedure may detect abnormalities that meet the pathologic definition of cancer as seen under the microscope and interpreted by the pathologists. But these abnormalities will not progress to cause symptoms or death during a patient’s lifetime.
A patient once said this to me, A cancer is a cancer. And like it or not it must be taken out. There is this long-standing assumption that all cancers when found early will inevitably progress to become full blown cancer. This assumption does not hold true all the times. Some pre-clinical cancers will not progress to cause problems for patients.
It has long been known that some people have cancers with short pre-clinical phases (fast growing, aggressive cancers), while others have cancers with long pre-clinical phases (slow growing cancers). Pre-clinical phase is defined as the time period that begins with the onset of an abnormal cell and ends when the patient notices symptoms from the cancer.
The figure below depicts the heterogeneity of cancer progression using 4 arrows to represent 4 categories of cancer progression.
Source: Gilbert Welch, Should I Be Tested for Cancer? pg.55
Some cancers outgrow their blood supply and are starved, others are recognized by the host’s immune system and are successfully contained, and some are not that aggressive in the first place. They don’t need to be treated and are harmless.
From the above it is clear that all cancers are not created equal. Some grow rapidly and invade other tissue, others grow slowly and remain noninvasive, and some don’t grow at all or may even recede. So many of the cancers that doctors are finding and treating today are what’s called “pseudodisease”—tumors that will never cause harm, let alone kill you.
Nonprogressive cancers and very slow growing cancers are collectively referred as pseudodisease (meaning “false disease’). Pseudodisease is, therefore, a type of cancer that need not be treated. Steven H Woolf, MD, MPH, writing in the British Medical Journal, 18 November 2003, said, “Pseudodisease is the portion of the iceberg below the waterline. Modern medicine is too ignorant to know for sure which of the submerged parts are worth detecting. Doctors of the future will know better. Until then, caution is warranted as we probe beneath the water. (http://www.bmj.com/content/327/7418/E206.full)
Dr. William Black said, “It should be pointed out that pseudodisease is almost impossible to document in a living individual. When pseudodisease is treated, as it almost always is, long-term survival is attributed to the treatment and is labeled a cure. In the rare instances when it is not treated because of old age or other contraindication, pseudodisease cannot be confirmed as such while the patient is still alive because, by definition, it must remain asymptomatic until the patient dies of other causes. These problems with documentation probably explain why pseudodisease has received relatively little attention.”
The medical community doesn’t know enough about some cancers to predict how they will behave over time. So it’s safer, they reason, to label a questionable abnormality as “cancer” and to treat it, than it is to risk its growing out of control. Only after an untreated person dies from other causes can a cancer be declared pseudodisease. Only then is it clear that treatment of the cancer would have provided no benefit, only potential harm.
Examples of cancers that don’t progress
1. Neuroblastma: This is a rare form of cancer that typically affects young children. This cancer generally starts near the kidney. It can grow to as large as a grapefruit, can invade major blood vessels and can metastatasize to major organs like the liver. They can kill children. In Japan, parents of 11 six-month-old infants declined surgery or chemotherapy for their infants. Instead they opted for watchful waiting. This decision turned out to be a blessing. The cancers in these 11 children began to grow smaller and eventually regress.
2. Kidney cancer: Radiologists at New York University Medical Center reported the growth of 40 small kidney tumours (less than 3.5 cm in diameter). The three fastest-growing tumours increased in diameter by about 1 cm per year. The remaining 37 grew considerably slower – less than 0.6 cm per year. Some did not grow at all. Twenty-six of the tumours grew large enough that they were ultimately removed, but fourteen never grew large enough for the doctors to recommend surgery. More important , no one developed metastases or any symptoms from their cancer and no one died of renal cell carcinoma.
3. Breast cancer: The incidence of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) rose dramatically in the US after mammography screening became widespread. DCIS now accounts for 1 out of 5 newly diagnosed breast cancers.
More than one half million women have been diagnosed with DCIS in the past 20 years in the US. Virtually all of them were treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy as if they had invasive breast cancer. DCIS is actually quite prevalent in the population and is present in 40% of the findings of autopsies conducted in middle-age women who die of other causes.
Most DCIS is psedodisease. Although rarely done, watchful waiting may be a reasonable strategy for many women with DCIS.
4. Prostate cancer: Autopsy studies had shown that elderly men who died of other causes often had histologic evidence of prostate cancer, latent disease that was clinically silent while these men were alive. Introduction of a screening test (prostate-specific antigen – PSA) in the late 1980s brought an “epidemic” of prostate cancer to the United States in the early 1990s.
“The most compelling evidence that pseudodisease is a real problem comes from the experience with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in American men, and over the last 30 years, more and more of it has been found. In 1975, about 100,000 new cases were diagnosed; in 2003, about 220,000. At first glance, one might conclude that prostate cancer is on the rise. However, if a cancer is “really increasing,” you’d expect death rates to rise. And that hasn’t happened with prostate cancer. The death rate has remained more or less constant, hovering around 30,000 deaths per year in the U.S.
5. Lung cancer: Swensen describes the pseudodisease that emerges when computed tomography (CT scan) is used to screen for lung cancer. It detected 56 lung cancers over 4 years at the Mayo Clinic, but also a much larger number of uncalcified chest nodules, 98% of which were benign. He notes that wedge resection carries a 4% mortality rate, raising the prospect of patients’ dying on the operating table in the pursuit of pseudodisease.
Twenty years ago, Yale researchers examined the autopsy reports of patients (generally over age 60) who died at Yale-New Haven Hospital and who were not known to have lung cancer during life. The rate of surprise cases of lung cancer in these autopsies was 10 times the rate of lung cancer diagnosed in the general population. What does this mean?
If pathologists found very few kung cancers in patients not known to have cancer in life, doctors could expect that most small lung cancers they do find will progress to be the type of lung cancer we all fear.
However, if pathologists find a high incidence of lung cancers in patients not known to have cancer in life, doctors need to recognize that many small lung cancers detected by CT scan may be pseudodisease.
6. Thyroid cancer: Pathologists in Finland examined the thyroid gland in 101 autopsies. Over a third of the autopsied patients had thyroid cancers! But thyroid cancer is rare in Finland as well as in the United States. However, many of the cancers they found were small, some as small as 0.2 mm in diameter. The researchers concluded that virtually everybody would have some evidence of thyroid cancer if examined carefully enough. Put another way, we might say that the smallest forms of thyroid cancer are so common that they should be regarded as normal.
Let me end this discussion with the following statements by Dr. Gilbert Welch:
Points for You to Ponder On
Have you read our earlier write-up: The Cold Hard Facts About the US Cancer Program, Part 1: Misguided and Ineffective?
Townsend Letter, the Examiner of Alternative Medicine, is a magazine published in Washington, USA. It is written by researchers, health practitioners and patients. Its editorial staff is headed by Jonathan Collin, a medical doctor. The aim of this magazine is to provide a forum for discussion on the pros and cons of alternative medicine.
The October 2011 issue of The Townsend Letter has another (continuing) article, The US Cancer Program and Specific Types of Cancer, 1975–2007: A Failure – Part 2. This article is written by Anthony D. Apostolides, PhD, and Ipatia K. Apostolides, BA. (Part 1 and 3 of their papers were published earlier). You can access their papers by clicking this link: http://www.townsendletter.com/Oct2011/cancer1011.html#.TsDAmpB2S7A.email
Dr. Anthony D. Apostolides is a researcher and teacher of health-care economics. He received a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Oxford, UK, and a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Ipatia K. Apostolides has more than 15 years of experience in the field of cancer (Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati). She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Case Western Reserve University.
The authors assessed the US cancer program by analyzing the overall incidence and mortality rates of 24 specific types of cancers. The assessment, based on a long time period (1975–2007), provides results that are more comprehensive and thus more reliable than those based on shorter time periods.
The criteria used for assessing the effectiveness of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) program were:
Definition: A cancer incidence or mortality rate is the number of newly diagnosed cancers or number of reported cancer deaths of a specific type occurring in a specified population during a year (or group of years), usually expressed as the number of cancers per 100,000 population at risk.
Here are some of the facts that the authors presented regarding some of the common cancers that we hear of in Malaysia (read the authors’ three papers to know more on other types of cancer).
Brain Cancer (Invasive)
Cancer of the Female Breast
Cancer of the Colon and Rectum (Invasive)
Cancer of the Liver and Intrahepatic Bile Duct (Invasive)
Cancer of the Lung and Bronchus (Invasive)
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)
Cancer of the Ovary (Invasive)
Cancer of the Pancreas (Invasive)
Cancer of the Prostate (Invasive)
Cancer of the Stomach (Invasive)
On 23 December 1971, President Nixon declared War on Cancer. He promised the American people and the world that victory against cancer would be achieved within five years. Forty years have passed. That declaration still remains an empty promise, typical of statements made by politicians everywhere. Billions and billions of dollars have been poured into this War with no victory in sight.
In 1975, Nobel Laureate James Watson said, It produced no promising leads. It‘s a bunch of shit. Linus Pauling, a two-times Nobel Prize winner said, Everyone should know that the War on Cancer is largely a fraud. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine came to a similar conclusion, Cancer remains undefeated … and the war on cancer is a qualified failure.
Dr. Richard F. Taflinger wrote, “Statistics are a prime source of proof that what you say is true. Statistics are based on studies. There are, of course, problems with using statistics as evidence. Let me remind you of a famous saying: “There are three ways to not tell the truth: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” http://public.wsu.edu/~taflinge/evistats.html
In this case, can we ever lie with such hard facts? Actual numbers tell better truth than the manipulated and massaged statistics put out by drug companies and their cohorts. Ask this question – Is the US War on Cancer a roaring success or a great dismal failure?
Daughter: My father was diagnosed with liver cancer in August 2011.
The doctor wanted him to do chemotherapy. We did not allow him to do so. I argued with the doctor.
The doctor did not get angry with you? Yes, he was but I did not bother. Since we did not want to go for chemo (injection) he was asked to take an oral drug for his liver. This cost RM 20,000 per month.
Wait, wait. Let’s start from the very beginning. Actually what happened and when? D: My father had winds in his stomach. This was in August 2011. He consulted a doctor who told him that he had a gallstone. His liver had some shadows. The doctor then suggested that my father do a CT scan. He went to do a CT scan and the result showed a Stage 2 liver cancer. The doctor suggested chemotherapy. We told the doctor we wanted to go home first and consult with all the members of the family. After that we went to seek a second opinion from a liver specialist.
The Second Opinion – the Liver Specialist
D: The liver specialist studied the CT scan. He also suggested chemotherapy. This time I accompanied my father to consult with this specialist because I did not want him to undergo the chemotherapy. I told the doctor, “We do not want chemotherapy.” When the doctor saw my father, he encouraged him to get admitted into the hospital. He said, “Uncle get admitted immediately and tomorrow we shall start with the chemo.”
I was not happy. The first doctor we consulted with told us that my father had to stop all his heart medications before undergoing chemotherapy. My father had a heart by-pass before. But this liver specialist did not even consider this. He was pushing my father to do chemo quickly. But I refused.
Okay, you refused chemo. What did the doctor say? D: I argued with him. Then I requested that he do another CT scan for my father. So, a second scan was done.
Did you ask the live specialist if chemo can cure your father of his liver cancer? D: Cannot. I asked him, “Doctor, you want to give chemo to my father – can you cure him?” The doctor could not give me an answer. He just kept quiet – no answer. Then he said. “It all depends on the patient himself.”
What ? It now depends on the patient? D: I asked the doctor further – “ You give my father the chemo, what can happen to him after that?” He answered, “The liver may become hard, the patient becomes yellow (jaundice). And his eyes may become yellow.” I countered the doctor, “Okay doctor, my father currently has no pains, can eat, can sleep, can walk and move his bowels – after the chemo, his health is jeopardised and he may not be able to do all these – what’s the whole idea?
What did he say to that? D: The liver specialist said, “I have found the best oncologist to do the chemo for your father, do you know that? I have already made the necessary arrangements for your father to do the chemo tomorrow. Now you tell me you don’t want to do it.” But I said, “In the first place, we never ever agreed to undergo chemo.”
But he told you, There is no cure and the patient becomes yellow – why do the chemo then? D: I eventually told the doctor very bluntly, “My father doesn’t want to do chemo.” My mother also said, “The patient refused chemotherapy.”
How did he respond to that? D: Okay, if the patient did not want chemo, there is nothing we can do.
Did you ask him how much the chemo is going to cost you? D: No, we never get into that. He did not tell us about the cost and also how many cycles of chemo he was going to give.
Assistant to the Liver Specialist: Patients come in healthy, they go out yellow! Why not try the RM 20,000-per-month oral drug for liver cancer?
D: The second CT scan report was ready after two weeks. I requested to have a copy of the report so that I can bring it to you (CA Care). I went to the hospital and met the assistant of the liver specialist. He is also a medical doctor – a nice person. I asked him, “From your experience giving chemo to so many patients, how many really do well? This nice and friendly doctor answered, “To tell you the truth, patients come in looking healthy, but they go out looking yellow after the chemo.” This is what the assistant told me. Then the assistant said, “If you don’t want to do chemo, why don’t you take the oral drug instead. “ This drug cost RM 20,000 per month. But I told the doctor, “But doc., this drug has so many severe side effects” (Read this post: Benefit and side effects of Nexavar).
My Friend’s Husband Took the Oral Drug for Liver Cancer, He Vomited Blood and Died Within Two Weeks
D: The doctor replied, “ No, no serious side effects – you only feel itchy and have reddish palms.” I told the doctor, “My friend ‘s husband had liver cancer. He took the oral drug that cost RM 200,000 per month. He vomited blood and within two weeks was dead.” The doctor went silent. He kept his cool and smiled. The he asked, “If you don’t want to do chemo for your father, what do you want to do then?” I replied, “I am going to bring my father to take herbs.”
What was his response? D: He said, “Go ahead and try it.”
He did not get angry with you? D: No, he was not angry.
Did you know what is the name of that oral drug? Nexavar? D: I did not take note of that. I only know that it can damage the liver and kidney. I read this on the packaging of the medication.
They Just Want You To Do Chemo – That is the way it is
D: Unfortunately, that is the way it is with doctors today. They just want patients to do chemo. After injecting the chemo into you, the poison is already in the body – if you die, you die. That is your business.
Wife: The doctor told us, my husband is still strong. He will be able to withstand the chemo – he can withstand the chemo. D: No, no, I think he will die.
This is the way our world is now. You need to take care of yourself. You have to be responsible for your own health and wellbeing. If not, it may be like “just jumping into the sea.”
Read related story: My friend – business partner – died after chemo for his liver.
Patient is a 55-year-old female. She had a lump in her right breast and underwent a lumpectomy in June 2011. Unfortunately the job was not done well. The resected margins were not clean. Patient had to undergo another surgery and this time the whole breast had to be removed. The histopathology report confirmed an infiltrating ductal carcinoma, grade 2 with high grade DCIS (more than 25%) with 1/9 lymph nodes shows metastasis. The tumour is ER +, PR + and C-erb-B2: 2+.
After the surgery, the patient was asked to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The son persuaded the mother not to go for further medical treatments. Patient came to us and was prescribed Capsule A, Breast M and C-Tea.
On 18 October 2011, I had the opportunity to talk with the patient and her son.
You were asked to do chemo? Patient: Yes, but I didn’t want to do it.
Why? P: (Looking towards her son) He did not want me to do it.
Ha, ha, he did not want to do it, not you didn’t want to do it.
How old are you now? P: Fifty-five years old.
Son: I did not have much confidence (in what they did on her). She went for an operation and after that the doctor asked her to do chemo. Before the surgery, I asked the doctor, “What is the reason my mother has breast cancer?” The doctor replied, “No reason. If it happens, it happens.” I don’t think this was a logical enough answer because any illness must have a cause. This doctor is an expert – so famous yet that was the answer he gave me – if the cancer is going to strike you, it strikes you.
Anyway, after my mother had the mastectomy, we were referred to an oncologist. She was told to undergo six cycles of chemo and fifteen sessions of radiotherapy. The doctor said, “You go ahead and do these treatments first. Later I shall inform you what else to do.” I asked the doctor, “She had just undergone an operation, can you confirm if there are still cancer cells in her?” The reply was, “No need to ask. You must go ahead and do these treatments.” I asked him back, “If there are no more cancer cells in her, why must my mother do chemo?” The doctor replied, “Patients overseas do the treatments. We must follow what they do. So your mother has to do the same treatments.” (Son shaking his head) I don’t think we have to follow what others do. It is illogical. As doctors I don’t think they should say such thing – other people do, so we must also follow. After all, all of us are different.
I again asked the doctor, “ If she were to do three cycles only and she is cured – do we still have to continue to do another three?” The answer was, “No, no, you must complete the entire six cycles. We must follow the protocol.”
According to my mind, this is not the right thing to do. I again asked the doctor, “After the chemo and radiation, do we still have to do other treatments.” The doctor answered, “Yes, yes, but let us not discuss that step yet.” I countered the doctor, “Does she need to go on receiving the treatment, one after another until she nearly reach the point when she is about to get into the coffin before the treatment ends?”
With such answers, I told my mother the way she is going does not seem right.
My Friend Died After Chemo for His Liver Cancer
I had a friend – my business partner. He had abdominal pains. A checkup showed liver tumour. The doctor asked him to go for an operation to remove it. He went for a second opinion. Another doctor told him surgery would be very risky. He might not survive. He should not operate. My friend went to seek the opinion of a third doctor. This one said he should undergo chemotherapy. My friend asked the doctor, “But doctor you only see the scan. You did not do a biopsy.” The doctor replied, ”If I do the biopsy, I might break the liver capsule.”
The family finally decided to undergo chemotherapy but they did not have any clue as to what chemo is. After the chemo, my friend’s abdomen bloated up. He could not eat or drink. He died within a few months. I saw with my own eyes what had happened to my friend. So I told my mother, “You don’t know what chemo is and you don’t know about the side effects that the doctor told us. Let us find another path. “
Chemotherapy and Radiation May Not Cure
They asked you to go for chemo and radiation – did you ask if these will cure your mother? Son: No cure. They said the cancer can come back again. They cannot guarantee anything.
Yes, right – no one can give you any guarantee. But I am a bit baffled. Just because others (Westerners) do these, we also must follow – we must do the same thing.
Parents Value Doctor’s Opinion More Than Their Son’s
My father and mother are not well educated. They only depend on the doctors to tell them what to do. As their son, they would not listen to my opinion. They believe the doctors more. There are things I can understand, but old folks do not understand even if you tell them. Sometimes relatives come – they give their opinions too. That complicates things even more. Uncle, auntie, neighbours come and put pressure on us. Until now, some people still come to me and asked me to send my mother for chemo. They said that so and so had chemo and was cured. But everyone of us is not the same.
I have read – there were people who died after chemo and there were people who were cure with chemo. I have read all these and told my parents about these. They responded, “Why go and read all these.” They do not have confidence in themselves.
Oh, they don’t want to learn for themselves? They only want to hear “good things” and only think that they can win? Son: Because they only believe in what the doctors tell them. Actually most old folks behave like this.
It is All About Money First
I checked all the information I got to see if they are true or false. It all boils down to money first. Like in my friend’s case, it is all about money when they discussed his case.
CA Care Website
You visited our website and watched the videos of patients telling their stories in Youtube. Can I ask you one question – do you believe what they said? Son: At least there is something in there – the information in there are better than what the doctor provided. These are real stories of people. I also want to find out if the information is true or false.
I put it to you – how sure are you that the videos are not fakes – made up stories with actors posed as patients? Someone wrote me an e-mail asking how much I paid each patient to talk or act like that? Son: That had never crossed my mind at all. No, no, I don’t have that kind of feeling at all. After all, doctors are also telling the same thing – there is no guarantee about anything. You want to do chemo or anything – there is no guarantee but money must come first. But for the side effects – that not their responsibility.
Advice to Patient
(Turning to the patient) What does your heart say Auntie? P: I never think about this at all.
Your friends or relatives may ask you to go for chemo – are you confused? P: No (shaking her head).
No one can help you except you yourself. So please take care of yourself. This is your illness. We can only guide you as what to do but you must be responsible for yourself. What I tell you may be different from what your doctors tell you. It is up to you to believe me or not. I advise you to take care of your diet. They tell you, you can eat anything you like. In addition I advise you to exercise, take the herbs and be happy – don’t think so much.
Over the past weeks many things happened that prompted me to write this article about Death. To many people, especially those with loved ones who have cancer, to read or talk about death is probably the last thing that they ever want to do. The subject about death is a taboo – they want to only hear how to cure their incurable cancer.
I jokingly tell patients – we are your last one stop. The cases that come to us are usually beyond us to cure. We trust and pray that God will do the miracle – this is His decision not ours. This is our motto – Our hands but God heals. When we first started CA Care, some critics say we are giving the dying false hope. Over the 16 years that CA Care is around, we are happy to say that many miracles did happen at CA Care. Make no mistake, we are under no illusion. Neither are we a religious fanatic. Over the years we always call a spade a spade and we face reality without any pretence. Death is a reality – it can happen to you or me, anytime – irrespective of whether you get cancer or not. Perhaps with cancer, the journey to the grave seems somewhat shorter!
Our struggle and responsibility is obviously beyond us to bear. We derive much comfort in Reinhold Neibuhr’s often quoted prayer,
God grant us the serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
For those who are more conscious, perhaps they might have read the small poster put up at our centre. This is what it says,
“No one lives forever,
Therefore, death is not the issue.
Death is not a failure,
Not choosing to take on the challenge of Life is.
Someday, when you’re tired, bored and sore,
And you want to leave your body,
Your death will be a healing ~ Bernie Siegel, 1990.
On 6 October 2011, Steve Jobs — the genius of Apple Computer died of pancreatic cancer. I have never heard of his name before, in spite of his fame. My son probably did because he is an iPad and iPhone fan. This time I was a bit curious why a man so endowed with wealth could ever die of cancer? Is it because of lack of chemo-drug, good oncologist or good hospital? If this happened to a common person, we can always shift the blame to something like no proper medical care, or health care professionals who are not competent enough, etc. etc. But these excuses do not apply to Jobs.
As I surfed the net, I stumbled onto what Jobs said at the Stanford University commencement speech in 2005. Let me quote what he said that day.
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away.”
What Jobs said impressed me indeed. These words came from him a year after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – a serious and incurable disease. He did realized from the very beginning how Nature operates. Like a big, growing tree – as new branches and leaves develop, the old branches and leaves will drop off to make way for the new. It is only in this way can the tree grow bigger and bigger.
Dr. Robin Kelly (in Healing ways – a doctor’s guide to healing) wrote, Fear of death is seen as a necessary part of modern medicine. All that can be perceived is loss and failure.
Those who have been spiritually awakened can appreciate the view that death is a natural process and is not a failure. Dr. Bernie Siegel (in Peace, Love & Healing) wrote, It is how we face up to our illnesses and how we take on the challenge of our mortality that determine whether we are successes or failures.
Some of us live our lives as if life is forever. We hear of others die – relatives, friends and celebrities, but how many of us ever thought or believe that it could be our turn the next time?
What Do We Really Know About Death?
The above question is posed by Dr. David Simon (in The Wisdom of Healing). He attempted to give his answers.
Just as a blazing fire can burn a log to a fine ash, by really experiencing everyday to the fullest we can eliminate regrets and residual guilt-ridden emotions from our consciousness. If we can fully process the events and relationships of our lives – really digest them – we can leave the table without hunger when the feast is finished.
Personal Life Experience – Do you really want to live?
David Tate (in Health, Hope and Healing) shared his healing journey with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He wrote,
Over these years, this is one lesson we learn – there is no cure of cancer! But there is healing and it is within you. There is no short cut. You have to work for it. Earn it the hard way. The most difficult thing to make patients understand is the need for them to change – change their perspectives about life, change their life style and habits, change their diet, change their attitude, etc. etc.
Many patients come to us with a one-track-mindset of wanting us to cure their cancer with minimal effort on their part and with the minimum of discomfort – never mind if they had chemotherapy before and suffered severely. Some even expect us to offer help via remote control and e-mail, in the comfort of their homes. If the words written by Tate above bring no deep meaning to your heart, your chances of winning over cancer is very remote indeed.
As I have told many patients. By talking to you for five minutes, my intuition will tell me whether I can help you or not. Similarly, by reading your emails to me and they way you write, I could roughly decipher to what extent I could help.
I often ask cancer patients – Do you love yourself? Of course the intelligent brain would say Yes, but I am too sure what your soul has to say. Another question would bring out the truth, Why don’t you drink your herbal tea? Answer: I have no time to boil it. How could you ever say you love yourself when you don’t even have time to take care of yourself? What do you do with all your time in this world? Of course you may have all your reasons – but where is your priority?
Take another example of a lady who wrote me these words. Her mom has lung cancer that has spread to her bones. She wrote, Per doctor’s advice, the lung cancer had spread to the pelvis in just a couple of weeks which accordingly is very fast. We will hand our mum in your good hands for us. Can we appeal for your help to assist our mum in the best way that you can please? Please do all possible to help us.
I replied, You are from Penang. If you want to take the herbs and take care of the diet, start now. Come and see me Sunday night and I shall prescribe the herbs.
Her response, By the way, we need not bring our mum over, will it be OK?
The above communication sent a chill into my spine! We can assist patients in need but to “hand over” the sick to us to care is beyond us. It has to be you and your brothers and sisters who should take the lead with our guidance. Then, another disappointment – she may have whatever reasons for not wanting to bring her mom to our centre. But is that the best thing to do? And she is from Penang. And she could bring her to the Hospital – why not to CA Care? Again, let me say, if patients or their care givers don’t understand that they have to change and work for their healings, our efforts to help others would be futile – a wasted effort.
Death is always stalking us, and this is the driving force to live a life of meaning, ever alert to the miraculous opportunities available at every moment.
In her 479-page book, Holding Tight, Letting go – living with metastatic breast cancer, Musa Mayer wrote, Many of the people I interviewed:
One patient wrote, I have been asked how I could achieve such calm while facing death. What is the alternative? The only other choice I can think of is to cry, to scream and yell, and just give up – but all that would be a waste of this precious gift of time.
Where does my strength come from? Nature – trees and hills, snow and flowers, the little animals. All these have been a source of solace … As a kid, I often found peace and comfort in the city park … Whenever I have turned to the natural world for guidance, I have not been disappointed … The trees do not mourn their autumn as the leaves fall at the appointed time. New ones are ready to replace them. Death and regeneration exist together everywhere I look in nature. Why should I be different?
Each of us can find meaning in different ways. Have courage and try to find something that bring most meaning and joy to your life during these last days on earth. When the time comes for you to go, Go in peace.
Dr. Robin Kelly (in Healing ways – a doctor’s guide to healing) wrote, Working with the dying, has given me more insights into spiritual matters … in dying, healing is at its most profound. Once the dying person has let go, a peaceful calm follows. This late stage can have a wonderfully soothing effect on those privileged enough to be present. I have felt the most relaxed in my life sitting alongside the bed of a dying person – no need to talk or plan, no better place to be.
Guide to visiting the dying:
Kenneth Caine and Brain Kaufman (in Prayer, Faith and Healing) had another perspective on how to care for the dying. Someone we love is dying … or confronted with a life-threatening illness. We feel empathy, certainly, but we may also feel awkward with them because we don’t know what to say or do. Do we talk about the situation or do we ignore it?
There is a tendency to treat dying people differently. Voices are often lowered. Don’t do that, says Dr. Miller. This loved one or friend is the same person they have always been. They are as full of life as we are. Treat them as equals. They don’t want pity; they want compassion. They want to be treated as very much alive. They want to live as fully as they are able. Here are other rules of thumb from Dr. Miller.
Townsend Letter, the Examiner of Alternative Medicine, is a magazine published in Washington, USA. It is written by researchers, health practitioners and patients. Its editorial staff is headed by Jonathan Collin, a medical doctor. The aim of this magazine is to provide a forum for discussion on the pros and cons of alternative medicine.
In October 2010 and August /September 2011 issues of The Townsend Letter are two interesting articles, The US Cancer Program and Specific Types of Cancer, 1975–2007: A Failure (Part 1 and 2) by Anthony D. Apostolides, PhD, and Ipatia K. Apostolides, BA.
Dr. Anthony D. Apostolides is a researcher and teacher of health-care economics. He received a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Oxford, UK, and a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Ipatia K. Apostolides has more than 15 years of experience in the cancer field (Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati). She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Case Western Reserve University.
You can read their papers by clicking this link: Part 2: http://www.townsendletter.com/Oct2010/cancerprogram1010.html
Here are some of the cold, hard facts about cancer today.
2. Mortality or Death due to Cancer
3. The US Cancer Program: Misguided and Ineffective
Cancer death or mortality relates to the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of treatments. An increasing mortality rate shows lack of effectiveness of the cancer treatment.
The authors wrote:
The authors, Dr Anthony and Ipatia Apostolides are not alone in calling for a radical change in the way we handle cancer today. Over the past years, many other brave souls have spoken up but unfortunately nothing had changed or are going to change!
Other Experts Echoed A Similar Message