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This book documents our ten years’ experience with
This book is not about who is better, nor is it about who is right or wrong. The language of love and compassion is about recognizing limitations and exploring opportunities.
The book is about options and alternatives. Caring and compassion for the suffering patients; seeking to promote a fuller understanding of patients’ preferences; respect for patients’ autonomy or patients’ empowerment; trust and integrity; and tailoring management to patients’ preferences are concepts associated with the currently emerging medical ideal termed as patient-centred care, which is often talked about, but rarely put into practice.
Chapter 1 Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer …........1
Chapter 2 Breast Cancer .........................................................21
Chapter 3 Literature Review ....................................................30
Chapter 4 Breast Cancer Stories .............................................75
Chapter 5 Experience of a Breast Cancer Survivor ...............120
Chapter 6 Authors’ Comments ..............................................141
In this book, we have documented 40 breast cancer stories. What do we do with them? There are a few options.
1. Read and forget about them. Treat it as an entertainment – something to do to kill time.
2. Read them and cast doubts about them – label them as anecdotes or grandmothers’ tales that do not have any scientific significance. Dr. Edward Bach wrote: Ignorance is the failure to learn – the refusal to see truth when the opportunity is offered..
3. Read them , and learn from the experiences of others so that we don’t have to make the same mistakes all over again. According to Albert Einstein, Insanity (is) doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
4. Read them, then put on your thinking cap and use your common sense to analyse the implications of these cases. We can see many scientific values in many of these cases.
Stories 1 to 5 plus summaries of 20 other patients concern patients who had undergone standard medical treatments. After diagnosis, they underwent mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and may or may not be on hormone therapy like tamoxifen, Fermara, etc. Unfortunately, they did not find the cure that they seek. Some patients need more than medical treatments and they came to see us, often as a last resort. Unfortunately many came a bit too late. We were not able to help them in any meaningful way.
In writing these stories, we are mindful of what doctors often tell us. You only write about medical failures and only write about your successes - what about your failures? We agree absolutely. Most patients who come to us are generally those who had failed to find a medical cure. If they have been cured by modern medicine, they have no reason to come to CA Care in the first place. Indeed, we would love to know the good side of cancer cure if we can. We would also like to know how many are cured of their breast cancer. I (Chris) wonder aloud if the hospitals would agree to open their records for me to study and analyse? We would be too happy to write about the medical successes and cures of breast cancer, if we are given the chance to do so.
In our earlier book (Understanding, Prevention and Overcoming Breast Cancer: Perspectives of Medical Science and Holistic Healing), we posed the following questions:
For all the surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy (and tamoxifen) that have been administered to patients:
· How many patients were cured?
· How many died?
· Did they die of the cancer or of the treatment?
· How many survived after one, two, three, five or ten years after the treatments?
· How many contracted metastases of the liver, bone, lungs, etc?
· What are the treatments they received vis a vis the metastasis they suffered?
· Is there any correlation between the treatments received and the metastases?
We cannot find answers to such questions in the medical literature that we have read. The authors don’t seem to address such questions when they write their research papers. They tend to be preoccupied with terminologies like: response, tumour shrinkage, five-year survival rate, etc., which do not mean “real cure” at all. There seems to be no clear cut answer in terms of permanent cure which we, the laypersons, are looking for.
There is not even one study made that compare the efficacy of medical treatment of breast cancer versus best supportive care. That is to say, a study to compare the effectiveness of chemotherapy, radiotherapy or hormonal therapy against doing nothing or against non-medical therapies. Why is there no such study done? To assume that medical treatment is always superior to other therapies in the absence of experimental data is bad science or no science at all.
The questions I (Chris) posed are relevant and pertinent to all people. I am a man with a wife, daughter, sisters and aunties. We want to know the truth. Perhaps, every one of us may face this problem of breast cancer in one way or another and at some point of time in life. We will then need to know the answers to these basic questions, to be able to make some kind of informed decisions. Of course, on the other hand, we may subscribe to the attitude that doctors know best. So, there is no need to be too clever!
After a decade of experience talking with patients, we tend to feel that most patients went through their breast cancer treatments with total ignorance, but with the high expectation that their cancer can be cured. Their perception is: After surgery and six shots of chemotherapy, I am done. The cancer has been taken care of and I am cured. Such a perception is indeed tragic. Many suffered great disappointments and felt let down, and were devastated, after some months or years when the cancer recurred. On top of that, medical treatments nowadays are expensive. To many patients, the expenses for a round of treatment may represent their entire life-time’s savings. After spending everything, they could not find a cure. It is so sad! We feel that what patients want is an honest, straight forward, down to earth answer to their questions: Can the present method of treatments cure breast cancer? If they can, what is the rate of cure? Where are the answers? We cannot find any. The nearest hint we get is that even if your breast cancer is at an early stage, 20 % to 85% of that early stage cancer could turn out to be recurrent, advanced or metastatic disease after a few years down the road - despite the medical treatments. With metastatic breast cancer, the chance of a cure is remote indeed. In fact, most authors said that metastatic breast cancer is incurable.