Sarcoma Metastatised to Lung: Declined chemo. Still fine after 18 years!

In 2006 (wow! That’s about twelve years ago!) I wrote an article Healing of High Grade Soft Tissue Sarcoma Metastasized to Lung by Herbal Therapy in the Internet Journal of Health. 

http://ispub.com/IJH/5/2/11918.

This is a story about John (not real name) — 39 years old then. John’s problem started in February 1999 when he detected a small lump in his thigh. Since there was no pain he ignored it until the swelling increased to the size of a ping-pong ball some months later.

In March 2000, John underwent a surgery to remove the cancerous lump. The doctor resected quite a lot of the tissues out – the size of a “Milo tin”. The doctor tried to take out as much as possible, including the muscles – because it had already spread.

Histopathology report indicated a malignant tumour with features consistent with high grade soft tissue sarcoma. The doctor told John to get his papers in order and that he would probably have only 6 months to live.

About 3 months after the surgery, John sought a second opinion and was told by the second surgeon that the tumour was not completely removed during the first surgery. John underwent a second surgery. This was followed by 21 sessions of radiotherapy.

On both occasions – after the first and second surgeries, John declined chemotherapy.

About a year and half later, the cancer metastatised to his lung.

John underwent a third surgery to remove the nodules in his lung and the surrounding tissues. He again declined chemotherapy and opted for CA Care Therapy instead — that was in April 2000.Six years later, on 1 November 2006 I had the privilege of meeting John and interviewed him.

Chris: What made you so adamant in not wanting do chemotherapy?

John: I held on to my conviction of not doing chemotherapy after reading your book. You mentioned that after going through chemotherapy it does not really guarantee a cure or success. Chemotherapy kills both the good and the bad cells. The immune system will be weakened and compromised and you would probably succumb to the treatment rather than the disease itself. Based on that, I made my firm decision – no chemotherapy. If I had not read your book, I would have gone for chemotherapy because I had reached a point where I was about to say “yes” to chemotherapy. But then I pulled back. At that time the doctor was telling me that I could not afford to wait any more – he was putting pressure for me to go for chemotherapy.

Since then I have not heard from John and he was out of my “radar”.

Then came one blessed morning just before the Chinese New Year (2018).

A lady and her family came to seek our help for her cancer. As usual, my first question was, Who ask you to come here? 

The son replied, My friend. He was your patient many years ago. He had a lump in his thigh and then the cancer spread to his lung.

Chris: I can’t remember this case  … oh, oh … a man? I remember now — I think I talked to him once. You mean he is still alive? 

Son: Yes, doing well. He is a fighter and he takes care of his diet up to this day.

Listen to our conversation that morning.

 

 

 

Sarcoma: Without chemo die within 6 months! Six years on CA Care Therapy, still alive and well!

A few days ago, just before the Chinese New Year (2018), a couple from Indonesia came to seek our help. The husband, 58-years old was diagnosed with liver cancer.

As usual, my first question to patients who come to see us for the first time is, Who ask you to come here? The wife answered, H asked us to come and see you.

Chris: Oh H.  When did you last saw her? Is she still alive? Still healthy?

 Answer: Yes, she is doing very well. We communicate through handphone.  This is her picture she sent me yesterday.

C: I am really glad to know that she is alive! When you go home please tell her that I was thinking of her. I have not heard from her for a long time. I thought she had passed away.

Listen to this conversation this morning!

 

What is so special about this case you may want to ask. Oh yes, very special indeed.

About 6 years ago, H was diagnosed with a rare cancer — sarcoma “sitting” on top of her lung. The oncologist in Singapore said, Without chemo, 6 months to live. With chemo, you may live up to 2 years. But no cure.

H refused chemotherapy and came to seek our help instead. She was well. But we did not get to see H for some time already. The question in my mind, How is she doing? Still alive? Probably dead.

So, this is a miraculous case — thank God for such a blessing!

Below is her full story.

 

 

 

After radiation treatment for his NPC he had radiation-induced sarcoma 17 years later

The year 2018 started badly and sadly. I have many “sad” stories to share with you.

 

This is an e-mail I received on 1 January 2018.

Dear Dr Chris,

I know you are reluctant to take on emails with regards to consultations, but please at least hear my case first.

I was diagnosed with NPC in 1999, and gone through a course of radiotherapy in Melaka then.

In August last year (2017), I had a lump at the neck and had that lump surgically removed in early September in
Melaka. It turned out to be liposarcoma, as mentioned in the three attached histopathology reports.

Due to the involved margins, I was advised to go for a wider resection, and I did so at NCCS in late.

September 2017). The histopathology report from the second surgery, also attached, showed that the regions are clear. I have attached also the operation report from the second surgery for your reference.

Just a few days back, a CT scan showed that there is a recurrence at the neck near where the earlier tumor was. And for that, I will be travelling to Singapore tomorrow to consult the doctors again; I will most likely need a further surgery to remove the tumor, so said my doctor in Melaka too.

I guess you may well ask that I visit you personally, and that I almost certainly will after the second surgery when I regain my strength, but please at least let me know for now, if you may, the options/paths that are open to me. I have read the testimonies of sarcoma patients at your website, and they offer me glimpses of hope in these dark days of mine.
Thanks,   (p/s: Sorry for spoiling your new year with a mail like this)

I got to meet this patient end of January 2018.

Let me briefly outline what had happened.

  1. 1999 – diagnosed with nose cancer, NPC, Stage 3 and undergone 30 plus sessions of radiotherapy. No chemo.

Side effects of radiation: dry mouth, thyroid function deteriorated and right shoulder “dropped” down. Study the picture above. His right shoulder is lower than the left.

  1. Patient was okay.
  1. August 2017 — swelling in the right neck. It was malignant.

  1. Early September 2017 — did an operation in Melaka — margin was involved.

  1. End September 2017 — did second surgery in Singapore to remove a  wider margin.

6.   Mid-December 2017. Recurrence — a lump at the back of the neck.

  1. PET scan on 3 January 2018 confirmed nodal disease.

  1. January 2018 — third surgery was done. After surgery, the right cheek was swollen but is starting to get smaller.

 Total cost of the surgeries: About RM 200,000.

Lessons we can learn from this case 

  1. If you or your doctors think that you are done with your cancer, unfortunately cancer is not done with you yet. 

Many patients don’t want to hear or don’t want to know this — After undergoing all medical treatments you are often told you are cured. To those lucky ones, yes — it may be true especially when patients die first before experiencing any side effects or recurrence!

But if you live long enough, you may learn the sad truth that the cancer is not done with you yet. I have seen cancer comes back again even after 5, 10 or 14 years after an apparent “cure”.

  1. Radiation can cause new cancer down the road.

In this case, the patient had NPC in 1999 and in August 2017 the cancer came back again. Then there is an added dimension to his problem.  This is not a recurrence of this previous NPC but another new cancer — radiation-induced sarcoma.

Many patients are not told or are not aware that radiation itself is cancer causing. Many patients after chemotherapy and radiotherapy may end up with another medical-treatment-induced cancer such as leukemia, lymphoma and in this case sarcoma.

Patient had to undergo three operations over the past five months. I took some pictures below — indeed a tragic sight and indeed a sad morning for me.

  1. What can CA Care do to help? 

No, I cannot cure him. I have no magic bullet. But I hope to be able to help make his life a bit better. As it is now, he had difficulty swallowing as a result of the surgery. He can only take liquid food. If he drinks “pure” water he coughs. If there is something in the water, then it is okay. Mind boggling indeed. I only hope that our Oral Tea and Throat & Oesophagus Tea can help him in some ways.

In addition, movement appears to be difficult due to the tense muscles. There is no pain but the entire head and neck feel numb. He was put on the e-therapy as a trial. He felt “loosen up” — less muscular tension. I have a feeling that this etherapy would be useful for him.

If patients come to me earlier, before undergoing too much treatments, I guess I could do better. I recall having many patients with NPC. Some have undergone medical treatments mid-way and gave up. Some did not undergo any chemo or radiation. They took herbs and took care of their diet. They survived and did not suffer like this patient.

Well I guess, you think such good results are just fluke shots or these people are just lucky! I have learned early — For those who believe, they believe. For those who don’t want to believe, don’t waste time trying to convince them!

 

They went for chemo and they died

  1. Bile duct cancer

Dear Dr. Teo,

My dad (aged 75) has been diagnosed with bile duct cancer – advanced stage. He has Hepatitis B, so the liver is functioning at only 20% of normal capacity. The oncologist has suggested chemo as the only option and it is scheduled on the 14th of June. My family and I are trying to explore other options, or at the very least, want him to be nourished and protect the body from the ill-effects of chemo.

Would you be able to help? I am based in London, but I am heading back to Kuching early next week. Looking forward to hearing from you. Best regards.

( No news after this!)

Dear Dr. Teo,

I hope this finds you well. I got in touch with you earlier about my dad. Sadly he lost the battle with cancer. He went down the chemo route and we lost him pretty soon after.

A friend of mine who is based in America (HK Chinese born in the UK) is wondering if you are able to help her friend who has just been diagnosed with stomach cancer stage 1b. This will be reconfirmed soon after a laparoscopy surgery which is scheduled to take place soon. My friend is now in HK to sort out a few personal thing and is wondering she could visit you in Penang in the next week or so to get some help for her friend (based in the US). She has all the relevant information with her including medical records. Please could you assist? Blessings.

  1. Sarcoma

Hi, think you should know this. My cousin sister’s husband just passed away two days ago. His condition deteriorated after chemo, How I wish he didn’t undergo any chemo…..Thanks

More details …..

Aug 23, 2017 Dear Dr Chris,

Good day! My cousin sister’s husband who is only 32 years old is suffering from sarcoma, final stage. He was diagnosed with it in late March (due to coughing non-stop) and is now in final stage. They just got married last year and my cousin sister just gave born to a baby boy (one month old).

He has undergone treatment (previously surgery done in China) and chemotherapy (for 1 time) only in GMC. His condition deteriorate after the chemo while my cousin was in confinement. He couldn’t walk now due to edema.

I came across your blog and I am impressed with your ideology, probably we can alleviate the condition by using herbs. I myself believe herbs can create miracles. There must be something which can help to suppress the development of sarcoma or even reduce the extension of it.

It’s sad to see a good family in bad shape. Hope to receive your feedback. Thanks.

Dear Dr Chris,

I myself believe in herbs. I would like to ask can he take both, meaning undergoes chemo and take herbs at the same time?

Reply: Go and do all the chemos first …. no need to take my herbs

Which means you only help those who don’t do or has stopped chemo?

Reply: Better… anything wrong they all blame me not the chemo.

Hmmm…… Understood

Comment

Many people write to ask me if they should undergo chemotherapy or not. No, I cannot and would not answer such question.

Read what chemo is all about and you make your decision. In this way, if there is something wrong, you or others around you, cannot blame me.

Read this ….

 

 

Mary’s Story: A Family’s Journey With Cancer

by Sue Stedman (Author), Jim Stedman (Contributor), Matt Stedman (Contributor), Anne Stedman Herwick (Contributor)

This is a unique diary, principally written by Sue Stedman (mother) about her daughter’s (Mary) cancer journey. This is a sad, heart-breaking story that kept me awake, on certain days to read up to 2.30 a.m.

This was what happened ….

  • In early July 1986, 22-year-old Mary went water skiing with some friends. She fell several times. The doctor suspected she had a hematoma (a localized collection of blood outside the blood vessels) in her leg.
  • Mary underwent an operation. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a low-grade malignant tumour of a type that particularly afflicts young people and she had a 60/40 chance.
  • The type of tumour Mary had was so rare, they would have to call around the country to get some consensus about what treatment they might try and what the percentages on its success might be. 
  • What came back was that we were in deep shit. This was a sarcoma — the type of cancer that is not responsive to radiation or chemo … rare, stubborn and aggressive.
  • Anyway, there was not much choice. Mary underwent about 6 weeks of radiotherapy.
  • It was too much to do the radiation and chemo simultaneously, but it was the doctors’ opinion that we had no time to lose. If there were metastases in the bloodstream, and they grow into tumours, chemo wouldn’t help — our only chance was to try to zap the little suckers now. He (oncologist) was convincing, Jim and I (both parents) were solidly together in urging it as “insurance”.
  • Chemotherapy was then started.
  • Mary shared her initial chemo experience.
  • It all went downhill. All night long I was so sick. I felt very nauseated. I had never been ill (vomited) that many that many times in my life. I almost wanted to end it I felt so terrible.
  • Then they gave me some medicine, and I finally started feeling better.
  • I took a shower today and then started to brush it slowly. I looked at my brush and there seemed to be a few extra hairs in it. Then I pulled at the hairs in my head and sure enough 15 or so were coming out at a time. It’s happening … I/m losing my hair! Over the days more and more came out.
  • I’m going to do it! Mom and I went into the bathroom and she started to cry …. We used the shears and cut, cut, cut …. I was standing there bald as a billiard ball.

 

  • The next “crisis” .. the effects of the radiation were like a gigantic sunburn. This played havoc with her just-barely-healed surgery scar, making it swell and weep.

 

  •  Mary had a high fever. Their suspicion was that the inside tip of the catheter had gotten infected. Mary was put on antibiotics.

 Mary shared more of her experiences.

  • My hair is slowly but surely growing back. It is now 1/4 of an inch high.
  • I went to try to start my 3rd treatment. My blood count was still too low!

 4 March 1987: Mary completed her final 4th cycle of chemo.

 4 June 1987 (three months later): CT scan showed three small dots on her left lung and one in her right lung … they compared it to a previous CT scan … but, no, it was new. 

25 June 1987: They told us if we did nothing more, Mary would have about a year to live … there were now 4 or 5 (spots) in her left lung. There was a remote chance surgery would help.

 2 July 1987: Mary underwent an operation of her left lung. The surgeon found 12 tumours instead of 3 or 4. I became convinced there was no way this was going to be a cure. 

18 September 1987: The oncologist said, it was growing in the right lung and already showing up again in the left one … we were not talking about surgery as a possible cure … they really didn’t have a cure …. surgery might add weeks or months, but it would be one surgery after another … I ‘d rather live whatever time I had left doing what I enjoy. it seemed to me like it was time to put it in God’s hand.

 17 January 1988: Mary suffered internal bleeding.

 26 January 1988: Mary had a second surgery. It was a mess. It was so bad …. The bottom lobe of her right lung was removed. 

  • Mary lost a lot of weight and we tried to at least push Instant Breakfast to get a few pounds on her … she began vomiting and vomiting .. she couldn’t keep anything down.

 10 February 1988: Admitted to hospital for pneumonitis.

 30 March 1988: Need oxygen for breathing. She was having an anxiety attack, primarily from oxygen deprivation … and couldn’t sleep well at night.

 5 April 1988: One symptom or another …. nausea had been a major one …. Mary practically didn’t eat anything — it was too hard to swallow — too much trouble — and she wasn’t hungry. She had nausea pills, sleeping pills, cough medicine.

7 April 1988: Mary really couldn’t talk now — she could whisper out a few things .. but couldn’t make herself understood.

8 April 1988: 8:45 a.m. She was all practical purposes in a coma. Her breathing was labored … she couldn’t be roused when you called her name. Occasionally Mary’s breathing would kind of hitch — she’d stop breathing for a few seconds — and then start up again. Finally came a “hitch” that didn’t restart. Then it was over. No trumpets, no screams, nothing dramatic … the entrance or exit of the breath of God in a human being.

 It has been a long 20 month’s journey, and it was time to rest.

For her Holy Card for the funeral, Mary personally chose these words from the Bible – James 4:13-15.

Now listen to me, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will travel to a certain city, where we will spend a year, and go into business and make much money. You do not even know what your life tomorrow will be like! For you are like a thin fog, which appears for a moment and then disappears. This, then, is what you should say: If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this and that.

We might want to ponder on the words said by family members after Mary’s death.

  • Why? Why her? Why so young? “Why?” is a question with no answer — and a dangerous one. It’s the question that’s the cutoff line between those who get bitter and those who grow.
  •  The question has to be: “now that this situation is here, how will I chose to deal with it? As a family, we couldn’t control the “why” of it, but we could control at least some of the “how”, by trying to do as good a job as we were capable of in dealing with it. 
  • Cancer is a type of thing that can tear a family apart. The constant barrage of chemotherapy and surgeries followed by the possibility of more bad news becomes very stressful. Our family worked to support each other as we went through various stages of exhaustion and grief … It’s easy to become bitter and turn your back on religion in these difficult times, but we chose to put our faith in each other and God to help get us through. 

Mary’s story happened 29 years ago. This book was published in 2015. You might want to ask: Why take so long to write? This is what the author said: Maybe it’s that we’re now a lot older, in our 70s and feel a need to tell the story.

Jim (Mary’s brother wrote): For 27 years, only the family had copies of this journal but recently we thought it might help others going through similar circumstances and decided to make it available to anyone who wanted it. Hopefully, our story can help with whatever you’re needing at the time that you read it.

Comments

For over 20 over years, I have been helping cancer patients. I have talked to patients about their problems. I have heard all kinds of sad stories. But this book stands out to be one of its kind. Each page consists of a day to day “no holds barred” account of what and how 22-year-old Mary went through her cancer treatment.

As I read this book, I could also feel the anger, fear, frustration, disappointment, helplessness, acceptance and eventually peace. Mary had good, dedicated doctors to help her. But there was that much any human being could do. Even up to this day, we know that surgery, radiation, and chemo would not cure sarcoma.

As I am writing this review, I have three files of sarcoma patients in front of me: a four-and-half-year old  girl, and two ladies, thirty years old and fifty-three years old. They had gone through what Mary had gone through. Now, they came to CA Care for help, as a last resort. It is sad indeed.

The basis of the so-called scientific treatment of cancer remains unchanged over the decades, so is the result! Let me end this article with the following quotations ….

 

 

 

 

After All Else Failed He Came to CA Care Case of Soft Tissue Sarcoma: He believed “science” would cure him

BY DOCUMENTING THIS STORY IT IS OUR HOPE THAT YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONES CAN LEARN SOMETHING MORE THAN JUST “GOING TO THE DOCTOR OR HEALER” TO SEEK TREATMENT.

Alex (not real name) is 63 years old. His problem started about 3 years ago, in 2012 while visiting Australia he had severe pain in his right forearm. He was admitted into a hospital. An X-ray showed a growth in his lung.  On returning home, Alex had a biopsy and was told that he had a high-grade undifferentiated soft tissue sarcoma in the right chest. The tumour was lodged behind the sternum but had spread onto the first rib. It was stage 3 cancer.

Alex underwent chemotherapy in December 2012. The regime used was Doxorubicin and Ifosfamide.  The tumor shrank a bit. Then Alex had a surgery. This operation was done in a heart hospital in early 2013. During this surgery the doctor also did a by-pass for his heart. (Note: Alex underwent an angioplasty in the same hospital in 2004).

After the surgery, Alex had 36 sessions of radiotherapy.

A small tumor on the first rib was not removed during the surgery and this started to grow again. Alex underwent another surgery in June 2014. This time the surgery to remove the first rib and part of second rib was done in  Singapore. After the surgery, Alex received another 36 sessions of radiation in October 2014 in a Malaysian hospital.

Hardly 2 months later, the tumor spread to the right lung membrane, spewing fluid into three-fourth of his right lung. Alex had to be hospitalised and fluid was tapped out. This happened  in late in November 2014.

On 11 December 2014, Alex was started on a new sarcoma drug called, Pazopanib. Alex wrote, I did suffer side effects such as , nauseating, vomiting, developing  blisters on my fingers and feet, tender skin, pains in my right forearm and coughing out blood which I was had to be hospitalized.  

A CT scan in mid-March 2015, showed no improvement  and the drug treatment was stopped on 26 March 2015.

Alex said, All this while, I was treated in the hospital and I have not started any herbal treatment.  Only when I was discharged recently did I start to drink some (black faced General) herbal drink and some root herb, which name I don’t know (to show you when we meet).

Comment

The next day after receiving an e-mail with the above story attached, Alex with his wife and 3 children (lawyer, engineer and allied health-professional) showed up at our cancer. What did this mean? We felt he was desperate and wanted us to help him. The entire family sat down and listen to what we have got to say. Then we asked them to take a break, sit down among themselves and make their own decision, what to do next.  

The first message we gave to the entire family. We cannot cure your cancer! Any person with any common sense will know that saying otherwise is not being truthful. Surgery (twice), chemotherapy, radiation (twice) and brand-new oral chemo drug could not help, what do you expect when you come to CA Care? We do our best to help but we would not be able to promise any positive outcome in anyway.

There are three points which we would like to share to you. Perhaps you may learn something from these.

  1. The Working of So Called Scientific Mind & Why I came to see you!

Alex told us that he was a student at USM doing chemistry. Alex said he believes in science and everything to be done must be “scientific.”

Naturally when Alex had cancer, he turned to scientific medicine; fully believing that science has the answer to his problem. Hence, surgery after surgery, radiation after radiation and chemo after chemo. Unfortunately the god called science did not deliver its promise.

After science failed, Alex turned to so the called “unproven and unscientific ” remedy. He took herbs, probably learned through friends or “newspaper cuttings.”  That was indeed a reversal of “being scientific.”

Then Alex stumbled into CA Care website. He said, “I went through what you wrote and found it to be organised and “scientific” in your presentation.” On top of that Alex said that he knew about Chris Teo while he was a student at USM. So that attracted him to come and see us.

  1. My World View as a Biologist

I told Alex, if he was doing biology in USM , he would have been my student.  I also told Alex that I would not blame him for believing is science. I understand science is the present god of modern day innovation. After all, this is what they teach students in school anyway.

I recall one USM student who wrote me. He wanted to come and work with CA Care. I asked him what he wanted to do? He said he wanted to extract the herbs and find the active ingredients — the stuff that make the herbs effective. I told him, “But I don’t believe that is the way to go. In herbal medicine we don’t talk about active ingredient like they teach you in chemistry or pharmacy.” Then he asked me to explain why. I replied, “I cannot explain this. You have learned the wrong things in school for years, how to make it right in just an e-mail?”

I told Alex this. As a chemist, you see 1 + 3 = 4. There is no two ways about it. It is definite, it is correct, any other answer is wrong. I understand you, for you are trained that way. Unfortunately, in biology 1 + 3 may turn out to 0 or 8 or 10 not necessarily 4 like you think. It is hard to explain this — you need to be wise and have some “scientific” experience to understand this.  Taking herbs A + X + Y will do good for some patients. But giving the same herbs to the next person with the same cancer can result in a total failure. Why? Because biology is about life! I have often told patients, Healing cancer is about you — your attitude, your lifestyle, your mind. All these imbalances or things that go wrong in you do not show up in the CT scan or PET scan.

Starting a war in your body “sounds scientific.” But cutting, poisoning and burning does not guarantee you win the war. My observation about the world is this — nonbody wins in a war. The generals don’t get killed, only the helpless civilians. The same applies to the war on cancer in your body. It is better to learn how to live with your cancer. Cancer is not something you “catch” like the germs. It is the result of something that has gone wrong within your body, probably even caused by your own doing.

As I was writing this, I remember a lady who cried yesterday. She has breast cancer. I told her, You make your own cancer. She broke down and cried and said, Doc, you are correct! (That needs another article to explain that).

So my view on cancer is “opposite” of the medical views. You are welcome to accept or reject it.

So I told Alex, if you want to heal yourself, you need to realize that health is your responsibility. No one can heal you except you, yourself. To do that you need  to initiate changes in your life.

By all means stick to your “science.” The next time your computer breaks down, fix it “scientifically.” But if your body breaks down due to cancer, I am afraid, you need more than science to fix it.

  1. Work for Your Healing – If you want to eat anything you like, there is no need to come and see us.

To follow the CA Care Therapy is not easy. The herbs have awful smell and lousy taste. There are several herbal teas to be brewed a day. This becomes a difficult chore if you don’t like to work in the kitchen. But the most difficult is, You must take care of your diet. You have been advised to take 10 or 30 eggs a day, or eat a lot of meat to boost your energy, etc. etc. We are sorry, we tell you the opposite. None of these! If you don’t want to take care of your diet, there is no point coming to see us. You cannot eat anything you like.

Let me end by sharing with you what I read from the medical literature.

In Your Medical Mind, by Dr Jerome Groopman and Dr. Pamela Hartzband, the authors wrote about Decision Analysis Meets Reality. They related a patient who used his scientific analytical knowledge to make decisions about his medical treatment. I am a scientist. I understand how research is conducted, what statistics show and don’t show. I was well aware of all the garbage that’s out there on the Internet. So I decided to go with top-tier journal, well-accredited papers, authored by specialists who are at recognized institutions.

After experiencing the medical system himself this patient suddenly came to this conclusion.

Clinical medicine is an area that moves away from clarity, an area that I think of as having higher uncertainty. You can’t really make rational decisions in this world. Doctors like to have what I call a “badge of rationality,” because it gives them authority, and they try to appear competent for the patients … even if the situation is highly uncertain, they go out of their way to appear certain, to ooze rationality?

They told me I had a 50 percent chance of getting graft-versus-host disease, with a 10 percent change of it affecting my liver, a 40 percent chance hurting my intestine, a 30 percent change involving my skin. I have no way to understand what all that means.

Dr. Manoj Kapoor, in The Wrong Prescription, wrote:

  • Medicine still remains an art in applied common sense while treating most ailments. The moment we leave reasoning and correlation out and start applying modern technology advances, we get trapped in misdiagnosing.
  • Science has progressed by leaps and bounds. A paradigm shift has happened. It is ” I treat and I cure”. However, the irony is that a cure for diseases like the common cold has still not been found.
  • Science has fantastic treatments for all the symptoms, but the disease has not been eradicated…. and new ones are emerging.

Reflect on these quotations and ask, Where is the science?

13-Same-treatment-different

3 No-right-or-wrong-journey    15 Groopman Choice within you

 

 

Chemotherapy for Sarcoma: He died after 8 months

In an earlier posting, I related the story of a 16-year-old son of Pak X. He had soft tissue sarcoma and went for treatment in China. His leg was amputated and he received chemo. These treatments did not cure him. The cancer spread to his lung and he died (2 years after his diagnosis).

Pak X related the story of another 16-year old boy who had soft tissue sarcoma like this son. He had chemotherapy and died within 8 months.

Listen to what Pak X said:

Pak X: Living in front of my house was a boy of 16 years old. He was also diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma – exactly like my son. His father came to ask me for advice. His father asked: “What treatment did your son had?” I told him: “I have failed, no result. I have made a mistake. Please don’t ask me about my son’s treatment because I did not succeed. I have made a mistake.”

Chris: No. Don’t blame yourself.  Tell me, when did this happen?

P: About 4 years ago.

C: What happened to this boy? Did he go for chemo?

Daughter: He went to Singapore and had chemotherapy.

P: He died after 8 months.

C: Only 8 months.

P: My son died after 2 years of treatment (in China). In a way, I have more success. I felt grateful because for the herbal treatment (in Beijing). So now in my head, I always believe in herbs.

C: Again, this boy you told me about was your neighbour? He stayed just in front of your house?

Daughter: Yes.

C: And he did chemo in Singapore and he died 8 months later?

P: It started as a small green-pea size lump. A month later it grew into corn-size. Two to three months later it became marble-size. Every day he cried in pain.

C: I understand. This is a similar story of sarcoma.

Related stories:

Regretted for not giving mom chemo for her sarcoma

Sarcoma: Son died after leg amputation and chemotherapy

Sarcoma: Son died after leg amputation and chemotherapy

Pak X, an Indonesian from Medan came to seek our help. His wife had a big,cancerous lump in her breast. She refused surgery. I told them: “If you don’t go for surgery, I would not be able to help you.” Reluctantly the patient agreed to a mastectomy. However, she refused chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

One day, I asked Bapa X why he was so adamant about not wanting to go for chemotherapy. Listen to what he said:

 

 

Gist of what Pak X  said:

  • I don’t want chemo. This is based on my son’s bad experience. I now know chemo is not effective. My son was 16 years old when  he had a painful, reddish rash on his shin. This was later diagnosed as soft tissue sarcoma.
  • I brought my son to Guangzhou, China for treatment. They amputated his leg up to the thigh. Then they gave him chemo – 5 or 6 times (I am not sure now). We stayed in Guangzhou for about 6 months. The treatments were not effective.
  • I then brought my son to Beijing for further treatment using herbs. This was done in a hospital. We stayed in Beijing for about one and a half years. The treatment failed, the doctors surrendered.
  • I brought my son home to Medan. He died after 4 months. The cancer had spread to his lungs.
  • At least I was grateful that my son survived for one a half years with the herbs.

Chris: When you were in Guangzhou – they cut off his leg and gave him chemo – did you ever ask if the treatments were going to cure him?

Bapa: Yes, the doctor said the treatments can cure him.

C: When the treatments failed, did you ever ask the doctor again why he was not able to cure your son?

B: I did not ask that question. I just packed off and went to Beijing instead. We did not return to Guangzhou again.

C: In Beijing, did you ask the doctor if the herbal treatment was going to cure your son?

B: “Diusaha” (we’ll try our best).

C: How much did it cost you to undergo all those treatments?

B: I cannot remember now, but I have to sell a house to pay for the medical expenses.

(Bapa broke down in tears after this. This was not the first time Pak cried. Earlier, while taking a ride in our car to his apartment, he broke down  and cried when relating his son’s story. Now, it is his wife who has breast cancer and they refused chemotherapy or radiotherapy).

C: I am very sorry to bring this matter up. It stressed you a lot. Please don’t regret for what you have done. Don’t blame yourself. You have done your best. Also know that things like this happen to many people – having to sell their house or land to pay for medical expenses.

B: You asked me earlier why I did not want my wife to go for chemo. No, she is not going to do that. No chemo – anywhere! Property gone, life also gone after chemo, besides having to suffer. No. No to chemo. If we take herbs, life may go but at least there is no suffering!

Related stories:

Regretted for not giving mom chemo for her sarcoma

Chemotherapy for sarcoma: He died after 8 months

 

Regretted for not giving mom chemo for her sarcoma

The husband of one breast cancer patient from Indonesia told us that he regretted for not subjecting his mother to chemotherapy after she had undergone surgery for her sarcoma. After the surgery, the cancer recurred and she had two more surgeries before she died.

I told this man, “You should not regret for not giving her the chemo. It is most likely that chemo would not be effective anyway.”

 

 

Review of Medical Literature on Sarcoma

Sarcoma is malignant tumor that can be divided into 2 groups:

1. Bone sarcomas, arising from bone or cartilage, and

2. Soft tissue sarcomas, arising from tissues such as fat, muscle, nerves and nerve sheath, blood vessels, and other connective tissues.

Soft tissue sarcomas are the most frequently occurring sarcomas. There are more than 50 different subtypes of soft tissue sarcoma. Some examples of soft tissue sarcoma:

  • Angiosarcoma arises from blood vessels
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma arises from blood vessels
  • Fibrosarcoma arises from fibrous tissue
  • Leiomyosarcoma arises from smooth muscle
  • Liposarcoma arises from fat
  • Malignant peripheral arises from nerve sheath tumor arises from Nerve tissue
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma arises from skeletal muscle.

Sarcomas are more common among children, accounting for 15% of pediatric cancers, but become less frequent with age, accounting for about 1% of all adult cancers.

They can occur anywhere in the body.  Around 60% of sarcomas develop in the arms or legs. The rest begin in the gastrointestinal tract (25%), the back of the abdominal cavity and its internal organs, called the retroperitoneum (15-20%), or the head and neck area (9%).

Treatment

1. Surgery

Surgery has been the preferred primary treatment for soft tissue sarcoma. The aim of surgery is to completely remove or excise the tumor. A border or margin of 2-3 cm of normal tissue around the tumor is also desirable to minimize the chance that tumor cells have been left behind.

Nonetheless, treatment with marginal surgery has been associated with local failure rates of 30 to 50 percent. Generally, small, low grade tumors can be treated with surgery alone.

2. Radiotherapy

The standard practice for the treatment of soft tissue sarcomas is radiotherapy in combination with surgical resection.

3. Chemotherapy

One of the major deterrents to adjuvant chemotherapy has been the difficulty in justifying exposure to the significant toxicities of these drugs for potentially non-responding patients.

Even in the best of circumstances, only 30 to 50 percent of patients with soft-tissue carcinomas will respond to standard chemotherapeutic regimen.

Systemic cytotoxic chemotherapy is generally not considered curative for patients with metastatic soft tissue sarcomas.

Treatment of patients with soft tissue sarcomas remains a challenge.

Recurrent Disease

There is always a possibility that a soft tissue sarcoma will recur.

Surgery may be possible if it is a limited recurrence.

It may be difficult to give additional radiation if the tumor recurs in an area that has already received maximum radiation in the past.

Chemotherapy is often offered.

Metastasis

The incidence of metastasis in high-grade soft-tissue sarcomas is 20 to  50 percent when the primary tumour diameter is greater than 5 cm.

Fifty percent of soft tissue sarcoma patients will die from distant metastasis.

One common site of metastasis (50 percent) is the lung, followed in frequency by liver, bone and to a lesser degree, skin.

Patients with retroperitoneal sarcomas had a greater tendency for local recurrence and disseminated disease throughout the abdomen.

Patients with head and neck and truncal sarcomas had a higher local recurrence rate than those with extremity sarcomas.

Prognosis

The overall relative 5-year survival rate of people with soft tissue sarcomas is around 50% according to statistics from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The 5-year survival rates for soft tissue sarcomas have not changed much for many years. The 5-year survival rates were:

  • 83% for localized sarcomas (56% of soft tissue sarcomas were localized when they were diagnosed)
  • 54% for regional stage sarcomas; (19% were in this stage)
  • 16% for sarcomas with distant spread (16% were in this stage)

References

http://sarcomaoncology.com/s_as_sarcoma.html

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/sarcoma-adultsofttissuecancer/detailedguide/sarcoma-adult-soft-tissue-cancer-survival-rates

I.J. Spiro et al. Soft tissue sarcoma (in Clinical Oncology, Ed. Philip Rubin. Health Science Asia, Elsevier Science).

A. Yasko et al. Sarcomas of soft tissue and bone (in Clinical Oncology. Ed. Raymond Lenhard, et al. Amer. Cancer Society).

Vernon Sondak & A. Chang. Clinical evaluation and treatment of soft tissue tumors (in Soft Tissue Tumours, Ed. Sharon Weiss and J. Goldblum, Heath Science Asia, Elsevier Science).