Pleomorphic Sarcoma: Tumour shrunk after 3 months on herbs!

On the last day of 2017, I received an email from a Malaysian lady in Germany. Let’s call her May. This is what she wrote:

Dear Mr. Chris Teo,

…. I would like to tell you a bit about my case. All our reports are in German. We will translate them and bring them back to you.

  • December 2016: I was diagnosed with undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma at blood vessels, which was near to my heart.  The tumor grew from my right upper pulmonary vein through the mitral valve into my left ventricle of my heart. Via complete sternotomy, the tumor was excised.(Sternotomy — surgery where sternum or breastbone in centre of chest was divided or cracked).

Sternotomy was done one more time to stop internal bleeding and to remove a hematoma.

  • January – June 2017: Cytostatic chemotherapy was done with Doxorubicin and Ifosamid for 6 cycles.
  • October 2017: From standard checkup (CT scan and MRI), it was confirmed that a tumor, 2.4 x 2.2 cm is growing close to the right upper pulmonary vein and it presses onto the vein.

This result highly indicates a local  recurrence. Sample of the tumor was taken via Endobronchial Ultrasound to pathology and it was confirmed it is the same high graded sarcoma.

  • November – December 2017: Chemotherapy (Gemcitabin and Docetaxel) for 2 cycles were done. Along with the chemotherapy, I took part in a double blind clinical study for Antibodytherapy Olaratumab).

During chemotherapy and antibody therapy  the tumor had shrunk to 1cm (result from a CT scan).

  • 27 December.2017:A CT scan of the whole body was done and metastasis was found in my brain. It was located above my left eye.
  • 2 January 2018: It is planned now to remove the tumor, as the tumor has caused brain edema which can cause stroke or bleeding anytime.

If the recovery process and the operation turns out successful and I still can fly, we will come back to find you to try your method to control the primary tumor near my heart.

Regards.

This was my reply to May.

Thank you for your email. Actually I was wondering who you are and why you want to come and see me. You are from Germany and I am in Malaysia, half a world away. 

Since Netherlands is so near you, why don’t you see Dr YY below. You can get her contact from the internet. I have read her 2 books but I have never met her personally. But that is the way to start … see her and ask for her advice. 

I also know Germany is very famous for alternative cancer therapy — why don’t you  scout around to go to these clinics — if you need help to find where and what, let me know. I may be able to help.  

Sarcoma is a very difficult problem … see, even chemo and chemo … did not work. You asked to see me in Penang — you are welcome to see me. Are you from Penang? 

Dear Mr Chris Teo,

I am from Kedah. If I am fit and the operation goes smoothly, I will come and meet you. Thank you and Happy new year.

In early February 2018, May, her husband and her mother came to our center.

https://youtu.be/k9D0BGSH5DI

May was prescribed a variety of herbal teas for her brain and sarcoma. Once in a while, I received updates of May’s progress.

Hello Uncle Chris,

8 Feb: I started soft tissue tea. My thigh has less pain. A bit pain at my left chest.

9 Feb:  I feel some short pain at my left chest. When I first swallow food or water, my tracea is pain.

10 Feb:  Same like 9.2

11 Feb:  My thigh is less pain. But still pain when I swallow food or water.

12 Feb:   My thigh still has a bit pain. Still pain when I swallow food and water.

13 Feb:   still pain when I swallow food and water.

14 Feb:   My cheek and neck is itchy and red. My thigh has no more pain.

15 & and 16 Feb:  My cheek and neck still itchy and red. Still a bit pain when I swallow food.

17 Feb:   No more pain when swallow food or drink water. My cheek and fore head are still itchy and red.

18 Feb:  Still itchy at fore head and cheek.

19 Feb:  Light pain at my left chest. A bit hard to explain.

On 28 March 2018 May, her husband and mother dropped by the centre before returning to Germany. And while in Germany May did write once a while to update us.

On10 May 2018, this is what she wrote:

Hello Dr.Teo,
I have check up and it shows that the tumour has reduced its size to half and no metatasis. A very big thanks to you from me and my whole family. My oncologist here in Germany is so curious about my therapy and would like to know more. So I gave him your website.  They haven’t see such improvement before with chemo and radiation especially with my rare sarcoma. Thank you once again.

Reply: You wrote: I have check up and it shows that the tumour has reduced its size to half and no metatasis.

Can you tell me what does this mean? Before the herbs you have tumour ? Where? What is the size?

Now, what did the doctor do? CT or MRI … then what is the size?

10 May 2018:

Dear Dr.Teo,

I had recurrence before I came to see you.  The primary tumour is located in the lymph node near my heart. The cancer metatasized to my brain. When I first met you in January. The doctor had removed the tumour in the brain but not the primary one.

The primary tumour in December was 5.5 x 3.2cm. Now it has become 3.2 x 1.9 cm. 

Comments

  1. When I received May’s email, my first reaction was to ask her to see other alternative healers — Germany is so famous for alternative medicine — why come to CA Care? But since she insisted of following our therapy, I could not turn her down. Perhaps she missed “home” too. Good to be back in your own “kampong” and be among your loved ones when you are ill — right?
  1. Below are pictures of the mass around her heart (top) and a tumour in her brain (below). After seeing this I shook my head in despair. As I told May, in my twenty plus years helping cancer patients, this is my first time seeing such a cancer. I really don’t know what I can offer May. But as you can see from this report, the herbs gave very encouraging results.

Sarcoma in blood vessel around heart

Sarcoma spread to brain.

Note:  Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS), is a type of soft tissue cancer. The word “undifferentiated” means that the cells don’t resemble the body tissues in which they develop. The cancer is called pleomorphic because the cells grow in multiple shapes and sizes.

While sarcomas are rare tumors, they do represent one of the most common soft tissue malignancies in adults. Soft tissue sarcomas can develop in blood vessels and in deep skin, fat, muscle, fibrous or nerve tissues. The cancer typically becomes quite large over a period of weeks or months, sometimes growing quite rapidly. The cancer can spread to other locations in the body, most often the lungs.

  1. May told her German doctor that she wanted to come home to undergo our therapy. The doctor did not object to her taking herbs! After all the doctors in Germany had done their best — even surgery and chemotherapy failed — what else could they offer her except more of the same treatments.

From the start, I make it clear to May that I would not be able to cure her — to help her, probably yes. I know sarcoma is a very difficult cancer to handle. But, right in my head, I know that I had some wonderful successes with sarcoma. Read these stories if you want to know more: https://cancercaremalaysia.com/category/sarcoma/

  1. Now that the tumour has shrunk rather significantly, just after three months of herbs, I pray that things become better and better with time. But May will have to help herself. She should keep on doing what she has been doing after seeing us. Don’t ever think that she can do and eat anything she likes!
  1. This statement that May wrote, My oncologist here in Germany is so curious about my therapy and would like to know more, tickled me a bit! Most doctors/ oncologists generally don’t want to know! If you don’t want to know you are like “a frog under the coconut shell”, right?
  1. I must say frankly, I would not know what is May’s future but for what it is we need to lift up our eyes to Heaven and praise the Almighty God for this healing. God bless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2.3 cm Malignant Breast Lump: Surgery, Chemo and Radiation — Disaster

This is a tragic story which I find it real hard to “understand.” WF is 32 years old. In early 2014, WF felt a lump in her left breast. At that time she was pregnant and was about to deliver her baby. So nothing was done until after the birth of her baby.

On 14 March 2014, WF had an ultrasound of her breasts. “There is a 17 mm x 9.6 mm lesion at 2 o’clock position of left breast, 4 cm from the nipple.” A FNAC (Fine needle aspiration cytology) done in a Taiping private hospital showed “benign breast lesion.”

WF did another FNAC in April 2014. This time it was done in a private hospital in Penang. Unfortunately, the result showed “atypical cells … Highly suspicious of an infiltrating duct carcinoma.”

A trucut biopsy was done on 12 April 2014 confirmed an invasive ductal carcinoma.

WF consulted another doctor in another private hospital.

25 April 2014Ultrasound of Both Breasts Irregular hypoechoic lesion between 1-2 o’clock. It measures 23 x 18 x 12 mm. Some microcalcifications seen. In keeping with a neoplasic lesion.

Based on the above, WF had surgery. A wide local excision of the left breast mass was done (lumpectomy). The tumour removed was 23 mm in size. Two of the axillary lymph nodes were involved. All resection margins were free of malignancy. Immunohistochemical study indicated a triple negative tumour: ER negative, PR negative and c-erb-B2 negative. It was a Stage 2B cancer.

9 May 2014Ultrasound of Thyroid Multiple tiny nodules seen on both thyroid lobes, likely benign.

WF subsequently had 6 cycles of chemotherapy. Neither she nor her husband knew what drugs were used. Anyway, each cycle cost RM 6,000. WF lost her hair, felt tired and nauseous during her treatment. Chemotherapy was completed by October 2014. Then WF received 20 sessions of radiation and this was completed in November 2014.

About a month later, in late December 2014, the cancer spread to WF’s brain. There were 3 lesions in her brain. WF received 2 sessions of radiation to her head in January 2015.

Two months later, March 2015, CT scan showed the cancer had spread to her lungs, bone and liver.

WF was again asked to undergo 4 cycles of chemotherapy. WF did one cycle after which she and her husband came to see us and decided not to proceed with the treatment.

Chris: Did you ever ask the doctor if surgery, chemo and radiation were going to cure your cancer?

Husband: The doctors said there is a  80 percent chance of cure?

Chris: Did you ever ask what happen to the remaining 20 percent?

No reply.

Study the numbers of her blood tests.

Date CEA CA 15.3 (normal 0-32)
5 June 2014 Less 0.5 12.3
18 Nov 2014 0.4 9.7
10 Feb 2015 Less 0.5 13.2
10 March 2015 n/a 20.3
24 March 2015 n/a 37.0
7 April 2015 n/a 96.1
22 April 2015 1.4 142.6

In March 2015, WF was started on chemotherapy again because her CA 15.3 started to rise, indicating that the earlier chemotherapy had failed. Therefore, the answer is more and more chemo?

The following are results of her CT scan and MRI.

  1. Before chemotherapy
9 May 2014CT scan of Brain, Neck, Chest, Abdomen and Pelvis Recent wide local excision of left breast carcinoma and left axillary clearance.Brain: There is no shift in the midline structures of the brain. No mass or abnormal enhancement. No extracerebral fluid collection.Lymph nodes: There are no enlarged supraclavicular, axillary, internal mammary, mediastinal or pulmonary hilar nodes.Lung: There is no pulmonary nodule or other significant pulmnary abnormality.

Liver:  Liver parenchymal density is normal. Two small hypodense lesions in segment 8, both measuring 4 mm and another two hypodense lesion in segment 7, both measuring 3 mm. Likely represent small cysts.

Bone: no significant lytic or sclerotic bone lesion seen.

 

  1. After chemotherapy
9 January 2015MRI of brain Bilateral cerebral metastases.Left frontal cortex – 21 x 16 x 15 mm well defined multilobulated massLeft basal ganglia – 9 x 8 x 9 mm.Occipitotemporal cortex – 8 x 8 6 mm.

Lesions also associated with perilesional oedema.

10 January 2015CT scan Neck, Thorax and Pelvis There is no evidence of local recurrence.Interval development of a few small lung nodules within the right lower and left upper and lower lobes. They are too small to characterise but may represent secondary deposits.Apical region of left upper lobe – 3 mm noduleRight lower lobe – 3 mm nodule

Basal segment of left lower lobe – 4 mm nodule.

10 February 2015MRI of brain Partial regression of bilateral cerebral metastases.Left frontal cortical lesion – 11 x 8 x 10 mmLeft basal ganglia – 7 x 6 x 5 mmRight occipitotemporal cortex – 6 x 5 x 4 mm

There is no associated perilesional oedema.

No new nodule seen.

24 February 2015MRI of brain Cerebral metastases increased in size.Left frontal cortical lesion – 17 x 11 x 15 mmLeft basal ganglia – 8 mmRight occipitotemporal cortex – 9 mm

Perilesional oedema has also increased.

24 March 2015MRI of brain Cerebral metastases minimally increased in size. Reduced perilesional oedema. There are likely post radiation changes.Left frontal cortical lesion – 16 x 13 x 16 mmLeft basal ganglia – 8.3 x 8.0 mmRight occipitotemporal cortex – 9 x 9 mm
7 April 2015CT scan Neck, Thorax and Pelvis Increased size of pulmonary metastases. Interval development of hepatic and skeletal metastases. And mild retroperitoneal lymphadenopathy.Lung: Apical region of left upper lobe – 4 mm nodule with central cavitation.Right lower lobe – 4 – 5 mm noduleBasal segment of left lower lobe – 4 – 5 mm nodule.

Liver:  Numerous small hypodense lesions inn both lobes of liver. Larger lesions measuring up to 15 mm.

Lymph nodes: Multiple mildly enlarge para-aortic lymph nodes – measuring up to 12 mm. Smaller lymph nodes are present along the aortocaval space.

Bone: There is an irregular poorly defined lesion in the manubrium sterni eroding the bony cortex. There is also suggestion of similar lesions in the lower cervical spine.

We need to acknowledge that the oncologist did a “good” job of taking the base line of WF’s health before chemo and radiation were started. Yes, before the treatments, WF’s brain, lymph nodes, lung, liver and bone were all clear! Meaning at that point in time, her cancer did not spread anywhere! So the doctor confidently told WF and her husband that there was a 80 chance of cure!

Then chemotherapy and radiotherapy were started.

Barely a month after treatments were completed, problems started to show up.

First, the brain. There were 3 metastatic spots in the brain. There was no such tumour before right?

Radiation was given to the brain.  The tumours shrunk a bit —  by just a bit — and then started to grow again.

By end of March 2015,  WF’s CEA started to increase telling us that chemotherapy / radiation had failed.

Then, more chemo was suggested. WF had one cycle of this second-round chemo.

In April 2015, CT showed the cancer had spread to her lung, liver, lymph nodes and bone, besides the brain.

1-Mouth-sores

Sores causing difficulties to eat

2 Compo-Brain-Lng

Brain and lung

3 Compo-Liver

Liver

Ask these questions.

  1. April 2014 she was diagnosed with a 2 cm malignant breast lump. A year later, April 2015, the cancer had spread to her brain, lung, liver, lymph nodes and bone. She did surgery, chemo and radiotherapy as dictated by the doctors. How could this be? Why do the treatments when the cancer cannot be contained or cured?
  2. Dare you ask, what if WF were to do nothing? Just leave the lump as it is. Would she end up the way she is now – with more cancer all over in the body?
  3. Is WF’s case unique or exceptional? There are many more tragic stories like this. Here is another example, click this link: Does chemotherapy make sense?
  4. When asked if the treatment would cure her cancer, WF was told, There is a 80 chance of cure. Do you believe this prognosis? Listen to another story: Breast Cancer: Do this chemo – 100 percent cure! You believe that?
  5. In WF’s case, what made the cancer so aggressive? Do you dare ask this question? Read this: Chemotherapy SPREADS and MAKES cancer more AGGRESSIVE,

Is The Present Day Cancer Treatment Based on Faulty and Inadequate Science?

  1. Some people may wish to say this is a triple negative cancer. So it is an aggressive type! Some people may say it is just your luck! My response: Many patients live a healthy life by making a CORRECT choice! It is your life.

Paula Black was given 3 to 6 months to live after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She declined chemotherapy!  Read more https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2015/01/15/advanced-breast-cancer-part-1-you-need-not-have-to-die/ and https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2015/01/19/advanced-breast-cancer-part-2-to-die-or-to-heal-is-your-choice/

Jane had a 1.2 cm lump in her right breast. Like WF above, she did a lumpectomy. Her tumour was a double negative type — negative for ER, negative PR but strongly positive for c-erbB-2. P53 was strongly over-expressed.

Jane was told to undergo chemotherapy. The package of chemotherapy + Herceptin would cost RM 120,000 while radiotherapy cost an additional RM 35,000. Jane was told that the benefit of chemotherapy and radiotherapy would be 16 percent – i.e. 16 out of 100 women are alive and without cancer because of the combined therapy.

To Jane the benefits of chemo and radiation did not make sense. She promptly refused further medical treatments and came to seek our help on 10 January 2010.

Jane told us that she refused chemotherapy because she did not want to lose her hair. In addition, her mother-in-law had lymphoma and died after two cycles of chemotherapy.

It is now 2015 (five years plus),  Jane is still doing fine. Yes, your life is in your hands – to stay healthy or to die is your choice! More about Jane: https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2013/06/10/breast-cancer-does-chemotherapy-and-radiotherapy-make-sense/

 

 

 

The Story of Mom’s Lung-Brain-Bone Cancer

This is the story of a 66-year-old lady who had lung cancer. The cancer has spread to her lymph nodes, bones and brain.

This is what her daughter wrote about her mom.

Mom who cooked and ate meat, dairy, eggs, honey, garlic and onion as part of her diet since young, became a vegan since 3 years ago when she started to follow Master Ching Hai’s teachings.

Mom had high blood pressure for about a decade now. She used to take medicine to control her blood pressure but has since stopped taking it about 6 months now. Mom is a non-smoker.

Since June 2013, mom started to complain about being tired and she slept a lot. She felt no mood or lazy to do housework. We thought all these were due to aging. She also tended to forget things, like misplacing items.

Sometime in early August 2013, she lost her balance and fell. Mom declined to see the doctor.

Mom started to look very tired. She also had a hard time formulated her speech and stammered. She started to take vitamin B12 pills in the hope of improving her condition. We all thought she might suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency being a vegan. Mom wanted to monitor for 2 weeks before seeing a doctor.

Walking extremely slow, one step at a time, and very tired, we brought mom to see a GP. The doctor advised blood test together with a CT scan at a hospital. The doctor suspected a minor stroke.

Mom Had Cancer

We brought mom to a university hospital. Her CEA was more than 1,000. She was referred to an oncologist who suspected mom had cancer. He prescribed mom Dexamathasone, to reduce swelling of the brain and Omezole – to take care of the side effects of the steroid medication.

CT/PET scan on 3 September 2013, confirmed that mom has Stage 4 lung cancer. The cancer had spread to her brain, mediastinal nodes and bones. The next day, she did a biopsy. The tissue was positive to EGFR.

Radiotherapy and Iressa

From 11 to 23 September 2013, mom had 8 session of radiation treatment to her brain. From 21 September to 11  November 2013 (about 7 weeks) she took Iressa.

Deceptive Positive Results

A second  MRI and PET scan was done on 13 November 2013. The results were great! Mom’s brain metastases reduced tremendously. Also the lesions in her lungs shrunk.

However, liver function test taken on 11 November 2013, indicated liver damage.

Mom had to stop Iressa.

Another blood test on 9 December (i.e. 3 weeks after stopping Iressa), indicated liver got better. Mom started to take Iressa again. This time, a table on alternate days. But in January 2014, mom started to take Iressa daily.

More of Deceptive Positive Results

During the Chinese New Year (February 2014) mom started to lose her voice. A third MRI/PET/CT scan was done on done. The results were:

  • The oncologist was pleased with the MRI result. The oncologist mentioned that in September 2013 MRI there were about 50 lesions in her pain. In this February 2014 MRI showed less than 10 lesions. The oncologist said when he first saw mom’s MRI, he did not think mom was going to make it.
  • However, the PET scan results showed a different story. In the September 2013 PET scan it was a nice result with much reduced lesions (almost not seen). But for this February 2014 PET scan results, some lesions had recurred near her right neck (near vocal chords — therefore loss of voice?).
  • The oncologist mentioned that he was very worried, “it looks like the cancer cells got smarter and tried to overcome the Iressa.” Mom was asked to continue with her Iressa.
  • The oncologist, however, suggested a few options:

1. Start chemotherapy on day 1 and day 8, then rest for 3 weeks. In addition, mom take another oral drug, Tarceva or Afatinib (which was recently approved and is now available for free). We told the oncologist that we preferred not to do chemotherapy. As such the oncologists suggested the following options.

2. Start radiotherapy to the body in addition to taking another type of oral drug similar to Iressa.

3. Take only Tarceva or Afatinib without chemotherapy. But the oncologist said this was not a viable option.

  • For  mom’s voice issue, we brought mom to see an ENT specialist. Endoscopy to the nose/throat showed the left vocal cord was not moving (paralysed?) but the right one was doing fine. The ENT specialist said the problem could be due to the cancer. There is no medicine that he could prescribe for mom.

March 2014 — Iressa failed, switched to Tarceva 

  • Blood test on 5 March 2014, showed the tumor markers were slightly higher. The oncologist said he was worried that the cancer cells were growing and spreading. He suggested chemotherapy. He said he would give mom a lower dosage, perhaps 80 percent strength instead of the normal 100 percent strength. However there will be side effects such as low white blood cell count but the doctor said this can be countered by taking medicines. He also mentioned that patients can get better after going through the “weak” phase.
  • As we were reluctant to undergo chemo, the oncologist suggested radiation treatment to the neck and the left side of the lung. This treatment cost RM 9,100. Mom received 10 sessions of radiation.
  • The oncologist switched mom to Tarceva since Iressa doesn’t seem to be effective anymore. Tarceva cost RM 8,000 per month while Iressa cost RM 7,000 per month.
  • On 24 March 2014, mom received her fist xGeva (denosumab)  injection to protect her bones. This cost RM1,600 per shot and mom is supposed to have it every month.
  • 28 March 2014, mom started to lose her appetite.

April 2014 — 9 months Later 

  • Blood test on 7 April 2014 showed mom’s calcium level had gone down a little due the previous xGeva injection. She was prescribed medicine to bring up mom’s calcium level.
  • Mom was having frequent bowel movements. The oncologist said this might be due to the side effect of Tarceva, which causes minor diarrhoea.
  • Mom still had coughs and still choked when drinking fluid. The throat was dry and her voice hoarse. Her appetite was poor.
  • At this point, we discussed chemotherapy with the oncologist.

1. What after one session, we decided to stop the treatment. Any side effect / problem?

Oncologist: Of course we can stop at anytime, no problem.

2. How does the treatment work in terms of session, timing and rest period?

Oncologist: Do chemo on day 1 and 8 and this is considered as one cycle. Do 3 cycles first.

3. Drugs to use?

Oncologist: Two options. One, Carboplatin + Alimta which is more expensive, costing around RM 8,000 per cycle. Two, Carboplatin + Gemcitabine which cost about RM 1,000 per cycle. This option is much easier on patients but may be less effective (?). It it would be Carboplatin + Gemcintabine, the oncologist suggested that mom go for 4 to 6 cycles.

May 2014 — Tarceva Failed 

  • 5 May 2014, we told the oncologist about mom’s side effects. The oncologist recommended to stop Tarceva for 4 days and we were asked to come and see him again after that. He prescribed medications for insomnia, itchiness, and inflammation.
  • 9 May 2014, after 4 days not taking Tarceva, mom got much better. Acnes on scalp were drying up and there were not more rashes. But there seemed to be a new growth at mom’s neck. Oncologist asked mom to take Tarceva again but on alternate day.
  • MRI on 19 May 2014, showed disease progression. There were about 7 tumours.
  • PET/CT scan on 21 May 2014, showed disease progression:

1. Lymph node at the neck has enlarged.

2. Few new lesions at T9. 

The Final War Plan 

The oncologist laid out the following options.

  1. Tackle the brain first – and fast! He recommended that mom go for Cyberknife and then followed up with chemotherapy. After that mom continue taking the oral drug again after 4 months. If mom’s backache persist then we need to give radiation to that location.
  2. The oncologist also explained that giving mom whole brain radiation again would cause more side effects (e.g. sleepy, headaches) and only low radiation dosage could be give. If mom’s goes for Cyberknife she shouldn’t have such side effects because Cyberknife is more targeted.
  3. Cyberknife cost RM 67,000.
  4. Another option is to go for chemotherapy first. Do MRI after 1 or 2 months and if the tumour is shown to be growing very fast then go for Cyberknife.
  5. The oncologist assured us the mom would be able to tolerate chemotherapy. The only thing we need to really watch out is the white blood cell count.
  6. Mom will have to continue with her monthly xGeva injection to strengthen her bone.

One Final but Most Important Question

Can all these treatment cure mom?

The answer is: No cure. There is no guarantee that the cancer will not recur even after Cyberknife. 

CA Care – the Last Resort, 23 May 2014 

Patient came to seek our help and was prescribed herbs. On 8 June 2014, patient and her husband and daughter came to CA Care Penang and underwent the e-Therapy for her pains.

Comments

As I was about to upload this story, I received an email from Singapore. This is what it says.

Dear Mr Teo, 

My husband, age 61 was diagnosed with lung cancer 2 years ago. He was on Iressa since last year September 2013. Two months ago the oncology asked him to start chemo as he has developed tightness in the chest. We decline. So we just have to carry on with Iressa. Two weeks ago he developed bloatedness  in the stomach with  wind and fluid. Again oncologist scheduled him for chemo this coming Monday. Currently he feels  very fatigue and is too weak to go for chemo cause he lose a lot a weight. 

We are not in favour of chemo because in year 2012 he had gone through that already and we find it is too damaging to the lung and show no result because 10 months later lung had fluid. 

It is indeed sad.

1 Insanity-by-Einstein

Don’t those who are supposed to know, know that Iressa does not cure any cancer? And chemo does not cure lung cancer either? Click this link: https://cancercaremalaysia.com/category/lung-cancer/ and you will see that I have written no less than 70 stories about lung cancer and chemotherapy / Iressa / Tarceva, etc.

Can we not learn something from these stories? 

More stories about this patient:

Lung-Bone-Brain Cancer: Pain Gone After 4 Days of e-Therapy

Pain Recurred After Eating Rojak

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.

Kidney-Lung-Brain Cancer: Sutent = Heart Damage

MF (H614) is a 49-year old male.  He and his family came to seek our help on 27 May 2011. Watch this video and listen to his story.

 

 

Gist of our conversation.

  • MF was diagnosed with kidney cancer in June 2004. As a result his left kidney was removed. This operation cost him RM 8,000. After the operation MF was told that everything would be alright since the cancer had been removed. He was told not to worry and could go back to his normal life again. After all, the cancer has been cured.
  • It was not to be.  Three years later, June 2007, the cancer had spread to his lungs. MF received 10 times of radiation treatments. Then he was told that there was no further treatment.
  • MF turned to herbs. He received fresh herbs from a farm in Johor. He took the herbs for almost one a half years. According to MF, his lung cancer did not improve, but he did not get worse either.
  • But a CT scan done on 1 April 2009 showed the mass had increased in size from 5 x 5 x 7cm to 4 x 11.5 x 6 cm. The lymph node increased (?) from 2.5 x 4.5 x 6 cm to 3 x 3 x 4 cm. Impression: Features are suggestive of progressive enlargement of the right hilaar mass with lymph nod metastasis. Suspicious right main pulmonary artery thrombosis.
  • MF turned to medical treatment again. In May 2009, he was accepted into a Patent Assistance Program on Sutent offered by a local university hospital. For the first three months on Sutent, MF had to pay a total cost of RM 51,000 for the drug. After that, Sutent was supplied free of charge.
  • A CT scan on 4 September 2009, i.e.,  after about four months on Sutent – showed the right lower lobe is much smaller now …  measures approximately 5 x 4.4 cm.  Impression: Left renal cell carcinoma with lung metastases post nephrectomy and chemotherapy showing good response to chemotherapy as evidenced by significant reduction in size of the lung metastases.
  • MF was on Sutent from May 2009 until March 2011. He took 4 pills a day for 4 weeks followed by 2 weeks of rest. Then the cycle was repeated. He suffered numerous side effects after taking Sutent. Among them are:
  1. swollen and bleeding gum
  2. fingers of skin became thin and peeled off
  3. legs with blisters with fluid. It was painful when he stepped on the floor.
  4. rashes on the body
  5. breathing was slow
  6. coughs with blood clot
  7. skin became yellow like jaundice
  8. his black hairs and eye brow turned white
  9. urine with bubbles
  10. the worse side effect was heart failure – currently on heart medications.

He wrote, “This problem (heart failure) was detected in February 2011. And the doctor advised me to stop Sutent indefinitely. Now, I am looking for an alternative treatment. Hopefully you can help me.”

Update

 

3 June 2011

Dear Dr. Chris,

My father, from Malacca who visited you last Friday (27 May 2011) at Penang was admitted to Melaka General Hospital today. He doesn’t have energy to walk, lost the power to speak and see everything in blur ways. May I know what causes all these? My mother gave him the herbal tea to drink as you told. And he lost his appetite. Thus when the doctor checked his sensitivity, his left side of body is less sensitive than his right side of body. Are these the symptoms of having mild stroke? Hope you can reply me as soon as possible. Thank you.

Reply: I cannot tell you exactly what happen — because I am not there to know what actually was going on … even more so when after all the drugs that he was taking …. he is the one who took Sutent and got the heart attack right?

7 June

Dear Dr.Chris,

My father’s cancer cells from the kidney which spread to the lungs a few years ago, now has spread to his brain. I found this from the doctor after doing the CT scan yesterday. The doctor says that there are many white spots on his brain and he has a high level of calcium. Doctor says that maybe it has spread to the bone too, but unfortunately, they don’t have the machine for the bone scan in Melaka General Hospital. And, my father keeps on complaining about his headache. What should my mother and I do right now?

Reply: I think I have already told you this … from the Kidney it goes to the lungs and from the lungs it goes to the brain. That is the way it goes and Suntent makes things worse. I am in the US now and shall only come home in July. I really don’t know what else to say.

Lessons we can learn from this case

1. Surgery does not cure any cancer. It is a big mistake to think that after a surgery, the cancer is gone. It is most unfortunate that patients are not forewarned of this possibility of recurrence.  Even if you are told that the cancer has all been taken out, please take this with a pinch of salt! The cancer can come back again. And if you are told to go home and eat anything you like, remember that may not be a good advice at all as in this case. Read another story, Kidney Cancer Part 1: Get it removed! …….

2. MF was on herbs for more than a year. He was not getting worse. He said he was not getting better either. For sure, he did not suffer during those months while on herbs. Also he did not have to spend RM 51,000 on the herbs. MF turned to Sutent and he took the drug for over a year. He had to endure all the side effects. Sutent consumption had to be stopped after his heart was damaged. Which is more beneficial – the so called unproven herbs or the so called scientifically proven Sutent? In addition to those side effects, he had to fork out RM 51,000 –  worth it?

3.  After about four months on Sutent, the CT scan showed the lung mass became smaller. The CT scan report reads, “good response to chemotherapy as evidenced by significant reduction in size of the lung metastases”. Unfortunately, reduction in tumour size (although accepted by the US-FDA and medical community as an indicator of effectiveness) is meaningless. After a prolonged consumption of Sutent, in February 2011, MF suffered a heart failure and the doctor advised MF to stop taking Sutent indefinitely. So ended this sad story about Sutent.

4.  Before taking any chemo drugs – this is our advice to all patients. Ask some basic questions first  — such as, Can the drug cure your cancer? What are the side effects of the drugs?  Check with the internet to verify the information provided to you by the doctors.  Be reminded by what Professor Jane Plant said (in Prostate Cancer, page 231), “Much of the advice given to us, even from some government sources, cannot be regarded as reliable, because of the overwhelming influence of vested-interest groups. We must, therefore, rely very much on ourselves and our own efforts to safeguarding our health.”

Below are information obtained from the official website of the Sutent company http://www.sutent.com/

The possible side effects of Sutent are

  1. SUTENT can cause serious liver problems, including death.
  2. SUTENT may cause heart problems, including: heart failure, heart muscle problems (cardiomyopathy) and abnormal heart rhythm changes.
  3. SUTENT may cause high blood pressure
  4. SUTENT may cause bleeding sometimes leading to death. Serious bleeding problem such as painful swollen stomach (abdomen), vomiting blood, black sticky stools and bloody urine
  5. SUTENT may cause hormone problems, including thyroid and adrenal gland problem.
  6. Tiredness that worsens and does not go away
  7. Loss of appetite
  8. Heat intolerance
  9. Feeling nervous or agitated, tremors
  10. Sweating
  11. Nausea or vomiting
  12. Diarrhea
  13. Fast heart rate
  14. Weight gain or weight loss
  15. Feeling depressed
  16. Irregular menstrual periods or no menstrual periods
  17. Headache or change in your mental status.
  18. Hair loss
  19. The medicine in SUTENT is yellow, and it may make your skin look yellow. Your skin and hair may get lighter in color
  20. Weakness
  21. Fever
  22. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, upset stomach, abdominal pain, and constipation.
  23. Rash or other skin changes, including drier, thicker, or cracking skin
  24. Blisters or a rash on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet
  25. Taste changes
  26. Pain or swelling in your arms or legs
  27. Cough
  28. Shortness of breath
  29. Bleeding, such as nosebleeds or bleeding from cuts.

Alert … Beware

I accessed this link on 18 September 2011: http://www.druglib.com/adverse-reactions_side-effects/sutent/seriousness_death/

Sutent (Sunitinib) – Adverse Event Reports – Death

Cases resulting in death (704). You shall see the entry like this …

Suspect drug(s): Sutent

Possible Sutent side effects / adverse reactions in 52 year old male

Reported by a physician from United States on 2010-03-31

Patient: 52 year old male, weighing 70.0 kg (154.0 pounds)

Reactions: Renal Cancer, White Blood Cell Count Increased, Disease Progression

Adverse event resulted in: death

Suspect drug(s): Sutent

Read more: Sutent for Advance Kidney Cancer https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/09/18/sutent-for-advanced-kidney-cancer/

Kidney Cancer Part 2: Two Oncologists Two Different Opinions – Is Sutent indicated in this case? https://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/09/19/kidney-cancer-part-2-two-oncologists-two-different-opinions-%E2%80%93-is-sutent-indicated-in-this-case/

Read more about Kidney Cancer:  https://cancercaremalaysia.com/category/kidney-cancer/