Dr. James Forsythe: Why I Abandoned Conventional Oncology

Take-control-of-your-cancer

Who is Dr. James Forsythe?

Dr James Forsythe earned his MD from the University of California at San Francisco. He is a board-certified oncologist and also a board-certified homeopath which makes for an interesting mix of Western and alternative medicines. The combination of the two allows Dr. Forsythe to be extremely creative in his approach to cancer. He is an integrative oncologist providing the best of what both worlds have to offer. Today, Dr. Forsythe enjoys a successful career as a medical oncologist who utilizes alternative treatments

In the Introduction chapter of his book Dr. Forsythe explained why I abandoned conventional oncology. Here is what Dr. Forsythe wrote:

  • Oncologists usually dismiss any anecdotes about miraculous remissions and cancer cures, even though most of them have encountered cases of remission they can’t explain.
  • Not only do conventionally trained cancer specialists not want to hear about (such) case … they are hostile toward any physician (like me) who takes an interest in these anecdotes.
  • We knew that chemo was killing good cells, but we just hope it was killing enough bad cells too.
  • All of the patients became horribly sick from the treatment and most of them relapsed within a few years.
  • It was during my training at UC San Francisco that I discovered how arbitrary the cancer treatment protocols we were learning had become. Someone higher up in the field would get an idea that we should prescribe a particular drug twice a week for this or that cancer and it should be the standard dose.
  • Many times there was no scientific evidence behind what they were saying. Because we were trainees, we had to follow their exact protocol, whether it was evidence based or not.
  • And despite the lack of evidence, these physicians and administrators were declaring the protocol to be an exact science, a sort of gold standard for medical practice. The obvious shortcomings bothered me a lot.
  • When I attended oncology conventions there would be an exercise in which a cancer case would be presented and everyone would vote how they would treat that particular case. There was never a consensus about treatment.
  • Of the specialists present, 60 percent might say one type of drug should be used, while 40 percent voted otherwise.
  • I would think to myself: How can this be? These physicians were all oncologists. They should have been on the same page. But they never were; unfortunately for cancer patients, they still aren’t.
  • More than 100 cancer drugs are out there today (some in use without FDA approval), and there is no consensus on which drugs to use, what dose to  use, how long to give them, or which types of cancer respond best to those drugs.
  • All these decisions are made arbitrarily, turning the patients into virtual guinea pigs.
  • An article written in the Journal of Oncology in 2004 noted … the overall survival rate for patients with Stage 4 cancer receiving chemotherapy was only 2.1% in the United States.
  • This finding showed me that the over-treatment approach and the treatment protocols using so many toxins constituted a failing strategy.
  • Even if you were lucky enough to be one of the two out of a hundred who survived, you would probably have chemo brain symptoms, you might have heart and liver problems, and you would probably experience constant pain and the loss of feelings in your feet and toes. These were just accepted side effects.
  • Oncologists didn’t want to think about this dismal 2 percent survival rate after five years. Understandably, they didn’t want to acknowledge that they were doing any harm to their patients.
  • What further disturbed me was the astounding escalation in patient treatment costs, especially when they were being directed to use toxic or ineffective cancer drugs following surgery.
  • These high-dose drugs are expensive and often problematic. One lung cancer drug was on the market for almost five years and cost patients $25,000 (approximately RM 75,000) a year, based on them taking one pill a day, yet studies found the drug to be no more effective than if the patients had taken a placebo sugar pill every day.
  • This amounted to a royal fleecing of the people who had been rendered vulnerable and fearful by the prospect of a painful death.
  • Those individuals who were lucky enough to survive Stage 4 cancers often suffered from many of the symptoms of toxic chemotherapy …. The quality of their lives, even though they may have survived cancer, was oftentimes dismal.
  • I found myself wondering if survival was worth the price. There was a morbid saying at some of our oncology meetings: We cure the cancer, but the patient died.
  • They labeled my method a pseudo-science, something that isn’t evidence based. Because they didn’t learn about it in medical school, they considered it mere quackery.
  • The bottom line is that they simply didn’t – and many still don’t – have the courage to deviate from Big Pharma’s indoctrination and drug-obsessed dogma.

2 Chemo-is-odd-UK-doctor

1 Chemo-worthless

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Malaysia’s Well Known Oncologist Died of Cancer

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

  • The cancer has been growing in your body for decades. It takes 10 to 20 years for the first cancer cell to transform to a mass of detectable and diagnosable cancer.
  • Take at least two weeks to a month to work things out. Do not embark on any treatment – surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy – until most of your questions are answered. And until your emotions are no longer on a roller-coaster.
  • Never be pushed to see any doctor against your wishes.
  • Choose your surgeon wisely. You should also choose your radiologist and your pathologist.
  • Needless to say, you choose your oncologist. Change your attending oncologist by all means if you are not satisfied with him/her.

http://thestar.com.my/health/story.asp?file=/2012/12/9/health/12417247&sec=health

A sickly sweet life, 7 October 2012

  • Sugar is as harmful to our health as tobacco and alcohol, and yet, by comparison, so little bad press is given to it. There is much science behind the harm of sugar.
  • All the food we take (even if it does not taste sweet) has sugar in it. Fruit and vegetables contain sugar to a varying degree. Eating fruit (whole, not canned or bottled) and consuming a healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grain, blah blah blah) is more than sufficient for our caloric requirement.
  • The sugar and the sweetened condensed milk we spoon into our coffee and tea are harmful. And so is the sugar in sodas, rose syrup and other sweet drinks. Not to mention the sugar in candy, sweets, chocolates, doughnuts, cakes, nyonya kuih and biscuits encrusted with sugar.
  • All this sugar is refined sugar as opposed to unrefined sugar, which is found naturally in fruit, vegetable and meat. Refined sugar is usually made from cane sugar, but stripped of all its natural goodness.
  • The copious amounts of sugar we consume through all the sweet drinks and food make up another approximately 90 pounds (40.8kg) or more of sugar a year. This 90 to 100 pounds of refined sugar (whether sucrose or fructose) is, to use an accurate term, a poison, i.e. a harmful substance that has no benefit.
  • For starters, we should avoid all processed meats, including bacon (bak kua in our local context) and most sausages.

http://thestar.com.my/health/story.asp?sec=health&file=/2012/10/7/health/12127186

Fat chance of cancer, 13 July 2008

  • It also advises against eating more than 6 gm of salt per day. I can’t imagine what 6 gm of salt is but I do not add any salt at the table and I would reject all foods that taste perceptibly salty.
  • How do you tell the common folk that their 10 favourite foods are a no-no from the scientific health-wise point of view? Nasi lemak, roti canai, curry mee, wanton mee, burger, doughnuts, fries, char kuay teow, chicken rice and mee goreng are out.

http://thestar.com.my/health/story.asp?file=/2008/7/13/health/1567884&sec=health

Something about Dr C, 6 January 2013

  • Dr C also taught me a lesson in healthy eating. Whenever we dine together, I notice he attacks fruit and vegetables before all else. I begin with the canapés, he starts with the fruit. I end with the Coeur a la Crème, he ends with fruit.
  • You don’t know how very guilty I feel whenever I dine with Dr C. He tells me that the fruit will fill him up. That would make it difficult for him to consume much else. He drinks water mostly.

http://thestar.com.my/health/story.asp?sec=lifeliving&file=/2013/1/6/health/12522144

Only human, 10 June 21012 

  • My failing as a doctor is my impatience with the pronouncements of alternative and traditional medicine. I feel bad each time I try to explain science to my patients and know that at times I have hurt their feelings.
  • The rights of a patient matter a lot to me. This includes the right of privacy, and the right not to undergo treatment.
  • To me, it was her fundamental human right: to be treated, not to be treated, to map the rest of her life, to die at a time and manner of her choosing.

http://thestar.com.my/health/story.asp?file=/2012/6/10/health/11421917&sec=health

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.

 Source: http://today.ucla.edu/portal/ut/PRN-watson-and-cancer-193383.aspx

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/):

  • With all the credentials, Dr. Lim must have been a real … capable radiologist and oncologist…. how can Dr. Lim, a CANCER SPECIALIST, die of CANCER?
  • If a heart specialist, a child specialist, a skin specialist … dies of cancer, he/she can be excused … How can a CANCER specialist die of CANCER? How can a cardiologist die of heart attack?
  • If such best brains do not have the capacity to guard themselves, how are they going to protect the common people? How can we accept them as guardians of our health? Great and disturbing doubts appear to have risen.     

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!

Source:  http://greenearthfound.blogspot.com/2009/09/louis-pasteur-versus-claude-bernard-on.html

Part 1: An Encounter With An Oncologist – A Great Disappointment

Corinna is a 51-year-old Singaporean lady banker. On 5 May 2012 she was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas. From the pancreatic tail the cancer has also spread to her liver and also the posterior aspect of her stomach. Her blood test results on 6 May 2012 are as below.

Alkaline  Phosphatase 168  H
AST 49    H
ALT 29
GGT 174  H
Alpha-fetoprotein 2.7
CEA 1770.7   H
CA 125 2172.7   H
CA 19.9 48660.7 H

The surgeon who did the biopsy told Corinna that medical treatment would not be able to cure her. Nevertheless she was asked to seek further opinion from an oncologist.

Listen to what Corinna told us about her experience with her oncologist.

Acknowledgement:  Thank you for your permission to share this story without having to hide your real identity.

Chris: You went to see the oncologist. What did he do?

Corinna: He said, “Oh, you stay in Sea View. What are you working as? I am a forex trader (in a bank). Do you buy health insurance? Yes, I did.

C: What has all these got to do …?

Husband: That is the Singapore way of thinking.

Sister: He talked nonsense. He called me and my (other) sister “ke-po” (busybody). Five of us went to see him. There were Corinna, husband and daughter. He said, “What about these two “ke-po.” He referred to me and my other sister as ke-pos. So angry!

C: You know, when you come and see me, I would want you to bring along all your whole family members. This is because I want to explain to everybody. You (the patient) will not be able to understand me – as far as your head is concerned it is all blank! Someone else around you is the one who will be able to pick up what I say. You (patient) listen to me but nothing gets into your head. So bringing others along is not “ke-po”.

Cor:  He asked me to lie down. Checked here and checked there.  He saw the scans. He put on his computer and showed four patients. One was a miracle case – he survived 6 years with no sign of cancer coming back. He said there are 3 types of people that he treated. The one type is completely cured. The second type is in remission and the third type is just wasting his time. He is suggesting that I am type that is wasting his time. He said, “I can’t cure you.” But he asked me to go back and think and decide. He then said, “I can start you on chemo. Chemo is every week, for 8 times. (My husband) asked about the side effects. He replied, “Nothing.”

H: He said to us, “If you go for chemo, you must eat a lot of meat. And we will be generous with the painkiller.

C:  Why did he ask you to take a lot of meat?

S: Because to build up the strength.

Cor: I was a bit shocked.

C: Why were shocked?

Cor: Because he said there is no more cure of me. Second, they way he talked to me, more or less indicated that I am the one who is wasting his time.

C: Ya, there is no cure. It is fair to say that. You have been told this earlier (by the surgeon who did the biopsy). But the point is, the impression he gave to you was that …

Cor: I am wasting his time.

C: But he has already collected SGD700 from you anyway! You are wasting my time if you don’t pay me anything and I sit down the whole day talking to you! (Now, I know how much I have missed out every day! For whole day and whole night I talk for free!).  So, all these took up 10 to15 minutes already and the results were that: He cannot cure you. Go eat a lot of meat, and I f you are in pain take a lot of painkiller. If you think that you want to do chemo – you can come back and the bank will pay for you.

C: Were you happy after seeing him?

Cor: No, I was totally lost. He said there is no cure for me. I know there is no cure but at least I may be able to extend my life a bit longer.

C: When you went to see him you were full of hope?

Cor: Yes.

C: When you came out of his office, zero hope? Why in the first place did you go and see him?

Cor: My staff said he was good and told me that she knows his wife very well.

C: What difference does it make if she knows the wife very well?

Cor: I thought he was the best oncologist …

Si: If I can understand Corinna here. He is famous … bla, bla. So Corinna thought that it is better for her to go and see him first. She didn’t know what was going on. She was lost. At least she could find some hope.

C: You were full of hope but you end up with nothing after meeting him. Do you want to go and see another oncologist?

Cor: I am very confused.

C: Fair enough. You have seen an oncologist. You now know what he can do for you. Let me ask you – what is in your mind now? What is it that you want?

Cor: To be able to extend my life a bit longer.

Comments

If you only have 10 to 15 minutes with your oncologist – and have to pay SGD 700 for that – you probably need to be more organized before meeting him – so as to get the most of his valuable time.  Unfortunately, what you want from your oncologist differ greatly from what your oncologist wants from you! In that precious 15 minutes that you have with him, I can see a clash of interest and concern!

As a desperate person, you go to your doctor to find “hope” and encouragement.  You want to know what he is going to do to help you. These are questions you need to ask your oncologist: Can you cure me with your treatment? What are the chances of success (what ever that means!)? What are the side effects of the proposed treatment? How much would all these cost? You don’t have to ask the last question if you are loaded! See if he can answer these questions to your satisfaction. Take time to evaluate what he said – there is no rush into doing something that you may regret later. From the way I see it, it would take more than 15 minutes for a compassionate doctor to answer these important concerns that you have!

I believe it is important that the facts are stated clearly and truthfully.  Call a spade a spade.  If there is no cure, admit that there is no cure.  But present this reality with compassion!

Patients go to their doctors wanting only to hear the good news – any else never get into their heads. It is therefore important that you bring along your friends or concerned family members who can help take note of what the oncologist is saying to you. Often as patients, you only hear what you want to hear! So, who tagged along with patients are not “busy bodies” – far from it doc! They go there out of love and concern for their loved one who is sick.

But the oncologist is not interested in your concerns.  His initial queries are – where you live, where you work or do you have a health insurance to take care of his hefty bills. Some patients told me some really sad stories. One lady was told by her oncologist, “Ask your husband to go and rob the bank, if you don’t have the money to pay me.” A son of a patient was told, “Go home and sell your house and come back and pay me.” Sadly, these patients have been undergoing chemo after chemo without success. In spite of that they are asked to do more chemos.

Without hesitation most oncologists that you consult with tell you to go for chemo. But does that cure? That is not their main concern!  Does it hurt? Not much – that is what most will tell you. And they assure you that lots of pain killer will be able to take care of that problem.

What is going to happen to you after the chemo? Well, do first and find out later!  There is no need to downplay the side effects of chemotherapy. Undergoing chemo is not like going on a honeymoon trip. The devastating side effects are real and can even kill.

Diet is the most “frustrating” topic when it comes to cancer. Your oncologist tells you to eat anything you like – food has nothing to do with your cancer! You believe that? At CA Care we tell you to take care of your diet! Click this link to see the many articles that we are written of this subject: http://ejtcm.com/category/dietnutrition/  Decide for yourself what you want to do with yourself!

Read what other have to say below:

Her full story:

 

Part 1: An Encounter with an Oncologist – A great disappointment

Part 2: Conversation with Chris Teo in Penang

Part 3: She found Hope in CA Care