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Breast Cancer: What Now?
What to do after surgery?
What to do when all treatments have failed you?
This book in a continuation of my earlier book Your Breasts – What to do if you find a lump and What to do if it is cancerous. The main problem at CA Care is not dealing with patients with breast lumps. Our main problem is dealing with patients who have already gone to see their doctors, undergone all the necessary medical treatments and failed. Now, they come to us for help.
Chapter 1: Pressure From Those Around You
In my first book Your Breasts - What to do if there is a lump and What to do if it is cancerous, I told the story of Ina, our friend. She had a lump in her breast which later was found to be cancerous. She underwent a mastectomy. After the surgery, her doctor referred her to an oncologist who recommended that Ina undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Ina was also told to take Tamoxifen, a hormone drug, for five years. Ina refused all these and she opted for our CA Care Therapy.
Ina had been on CA Care Therapy for the past one year. So far so good. She has been taking life easy, exercises regularly and takes care of her diet.
Let me get back to Ina's case. I knew she was not at ease after the last meeting with her surgeon. So, I took time to explain one issue after another.
1. Ina is not the only one who opted for CA Care Therapy.
2. Medical treatment is not necessarily the best option.
3. Tamoxifen can cause cancer!
4. Medical radiation can increase cancer risk!
5. Cancer-free or not cancer-free.
6. You are now cancer-free, eat whatever you like!
Of all the follies, I told Ina this one is the greatest of them all.
Dr. Russell Blaylock (in Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients) wrote:
"Oncologists harm their patients by giving them cancer-promoting nutritional advice."
I have learned that if you want to be popular with your patients or make them happy, tell them what they want to hear. Ask them to go back to their old ways of life after you have treated them. When they get sick again, they will surely come hunting for you. Indeed this is a good way of ensuring that you are always in business.
Chapter 2: Recurrence
Ina, our friend and our breast cancer patient, has been on our CA Care Therapy for more than a year now. She is doing fine. There is nothing else I can offer her. If she is happy and is doing fine she should continue to do what she is doing and stay on course. I am aware that deep down in every patient's heart, there is the feeling of fear, i.e. the fear of recurrence. The possibility of recurrence is real. Patients have to learn to live with it. Only time can tell if you are cancer-free or not.
At CA Care we do not intend to mislead you. We want you to know that there is no cure for cancer. Living your life chasing after a permanent cure for your cancer could be miserable. We urge you to learn how to live with your cancer. That is more realistic. The only way that I know how to reduce the chances of recurrence is to make sure that you lead a healthy, happy and stress-free life. I tell patients to take care of their diet. Avoid foods that cause inflammation to the body. Of course this advice is not welcomed by many people. But take it from me. Food plays a major role in whether your cancer comes back or not. Very often I can trace recurrences back to bad diet. So you have a choice to help yourself! According to medical literature, recurrence occurs in the first three to five years after initial treatment. The highest risk of recurrence is said to be during the first two years following treatment. Recurrence is never zero but as time passes the risk goes down.
Chapter 6: Insanity
The only difference between doctors and lawyers is that laywers merely rob you, whereas doctors rob and kill you too
~ Anton Chekhov, Russian physiciain, dramatist and author
Dr. Jerome Groopman of Harvard Unviersity (in How Doctors Think) wrote:
"If you do an experiment two times and you don't get results, then it doesn't make sense to do it the same way a third time. You have to ask yourself: What am I missing? How should I do it differently the next time?"
"It is much easier both psychologically and logistically, for a doctor to keep treating a serious disease with a familiar therapy even when the disease is not responding."
"How an oncologist thinks through the value of complex and harsh treatments demands not only an understanding of science but also a sensibility about the soul – how much risk we are willing to take and how we want to live out our lives."
Life on earth is a living experience. Let the death of these patients be a useful lesson for many of those who come after them.
The Story of Amy Cohen Soscia
I learned about Amy Cohen from the Internet. She had breast cancer in 1998 when she was forty-three years old. Amy underwent a mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She received treatments in one of the world's outstanding cancer hospitals – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, USA. In spite of all the treatments, Amy's cancer spread to her liver and spine. The doctor tried Herceptin on her. Liz Kowlczyk of The Boston Globe wrote, "Miraculously, her cancer began to shrink, and Soscia began to let herself think that she would conquer the disease." But it was not to be. In January 2003, an MRI showed the cancer had spread to her brain. ''I hate this disease, I was so discouraged that I was on treatment for five years and I still got brain lesions."
Amy had twenty times of radiation to her brain. The treatment was exhausting. She lost her hair. The treatment seemed to wipe out one tumour, shrunk another but one tumour grew back. Amy took a new drug, lapatinib or Tykerb. Amy later stopped taking Tykerb because the brain tumour grew bigger indicating that the drug was not effective. Amy was not the only one who ended up with brain tumour after Herceptin or found that Tykerb was useless for them. Salvia, Fransiska and Yee also suffered a similar fate.
Amy received more treatment with high-intensity beam radiation that focused just on the tumor in her brain. All said, Amy lost her battle and died on 2 September 2001.
Chapter 7: Disaster
Doctors are blindly giving chemotherapy … while the cancer cells smile.
Doctors give chemo, chemo, chemo. And patients die, die, die.
~ Dr. Frank Daudert, Pro Leben Klinik, Austria
Death from chemotherapy is acceptable.
Each oncologist is truly shooting in the dark.
Hope is that the chemotherapy kills the cancer before it kills the patient.
~ Dr. James Forsythe (in The Compassionate Oncologist)
Reflect on the quotations above and the stories below. Ask yourself – what has gone wrong?
Chapter 8 Let The Truth Be Told: No Cure for Cancer
As doctors, we generally don't tell outright lies. We just don't speak the truth fully
~ Dr. Allan Hamilton (in The Scalpel and the Soul)
"I am no longer shocked by his fakery .... Fake science, fake researchers,
fake subjects ... is what American medicine has become.
Without actually intending it, we have constructed a medical system
in which deception is often not just tolerated but rewarded ...
You can see the same patterns of misconduct emerging again and again."
~ Carl Elliott, Professor of Bioethics, University of Minnesota, in White Coat Black Hat.
Most of what you have heard over your lifetime about cancer treatments
is not the truth. At the very least, you have received an incomplete picture.
If you believe that propaganda you have been fed when you develop cancer,
it can cost you your life ~ Burton Goldberg
The Story of Rose
As I am writing this chapter, Rose, an Indonesian, came to our centre and related her story. Perhaps, we can learn many lessons from her experiences.
Chapter 9 What Now?
In this book, I present to you real stories of breast cancer patients. It is up to you to learn from their experiences. Dr. Barbara Joseph was also a breast cancer patient. She said in her book, My Healing from Breast Cancer:
"Breast cancer brings with it a clear and very personal message. Something is not working in our lives. Something needs to be changed. Let's not be afraid of this message ... just allow yourself to take the message in. Our diagnosis can be a wake-up call, alerting us to alter our diet, our lifestyle, our relationships."
Unfortunately, not all patients realize this. They come to us and they expect us to cure their cancer, and if possible to do it quickly. I am sorry, I cannot do that. Not all patients who come to seek our help find their healing. Our data showed us that only thirty percent benefited in one way or another, the remaining seventy percent do not. I stress, DO NOT. I don't want to mislead you.
There is this quotation, "There is no incurable disease, only incurable people." By talking to patients for five to ten minutes, I can more or less know whether I can help them or not. How patients present themselves would indicate to me if they can make it or not. Their attitude, facial expression, emotional problem, lifestyle, commitment, family support, etc., all play important roles in helping patients overcome their cancer problems. Healing cannot be found in a "magic bullet." Patients need to be committed and work hard towards their own healing.