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Even High-tech Treatments Do Not Guarantee That Cancer Can Be Cured or Will Not Spread

In early August 2007, Swee (not her real name, a 71-year-old woman from Indonesia) was coughing up with stained blood. He consulted with a general practitioner who ordered an X-ray, suspecting that he may have tuberculosis. An x-ray showed a tumor in her lungs. He then referred to an expert who performed a CT scan and found "a 4.8 x 3.9 cm mass of soft tissue with right lung lymphadenopathy." It's 3A cancer. A biopsy was suggested but Swee declined and decided to come to Penang for a second opinion.

In Penang, bronchial biopsy was performed and the results confirmed the initial diagnosis. It is "infiltrating carcinoma, less distinguished." Swee was referred to an oncologist for chemotherapy.

The day before Swee was scheduled to undergo chemotherapy, he received a phone call from a relative telling him to get treatment in China. This he did without hesitation.

Swee was treated in a private hospital in China for twenty-eight days. She underwent the following treatment:

1. Chemotherapy with Navelbine.

2. Cyroablation using Argon-helium. Three cryoprobes were inserted into the lesion and the entire frozen process was monitored by CT scan until the "iceball" completely covered the target mass. After two freezing cycles, cryoprobes were withdrawn.

3. Radioodative seed implantation of iodine. Under guided CT examination, 15 iodine-125 radioactive seeds were grown into tumor mass.

The doctor concluded that the treatment was successful. Swee is allowed to return to Indonesia.

In November 2007, Swee returned to China for a second treatment. The tour lasted for fifteen days. He underwent the same treatment: chemotherapy with Navelbine, cryoablation implant and iodine seed. According to the doctor, the second procedure was successful and the patient's condition improved.

According to his son who accompanied him to China, Chinese doctors suggested that Swee undergo six treatments. Her son said: "The doctor assured us that the tumor would disappear but at the same time warned that the cancer could spread to other parts of the body. There was no guarantee that it would not spread. His body would spread."

After Swee returned to his home, his family members were in a dilemma. They do not have the funds to pursue further treatment in China. The cost of the first treatment was 87,000 Yuan. The second treatment is 57,000 Yuan. Swee wants to sell the house he lives in to fund his treatment. Her five children (two sons and three daughters) are not sure if this is the right thing to do. This is because there is no guarantee that Swee will recover.

Swee's son came to see us in December 2007 and wanted to know the following:

1. What to do?

2. Whether it may take our herbs and at the same time undergo Chinese treatment, should they decide to go to China again. This is in the hope that herbs will help Swee in some ways where medical treatment is not possible.

I tell my kids that the main thing to consider seriously is the possibility of cancer spreading to the brain. No one can stop it and the chances of this metastasis are very high. To that end, the boy said: "Yes, when I was in a hospital in China, I saw some patients who suffered like my mother and underwent the same treatment, about six months after the cancer treatment spread to the brain. I have a very aggressive and 90% chance it will spread to other parts of the body. There is no guarantee it will not spread. "


It is very difficult for me to advise on this case, except to say that from my reading of medical literature, lung cancer is deadly and the chance of healing is zero. But how can I convey this message in a non-traumatic way to patients and / or their family members?

Alexander Spira and David Ettinger (Management of various disciplines of lung cancer, New England J. of Med 350: 379-392) write: "Despite years of research, the prognosis for lung cancer patients remains poor."

According to Stephen Spiro and Joanna Porter (lung cancer - where are we today? J. Respiratory and Critical Care Med 166: 1166-1196): "Although chemotherapy may be a logical approach, there is almost no evidence that it can cure NSCLC. The financial costs ... high, the cost of other chemotherapy is its toxicity and its potential loss of quality of life. It's frustrating as it may sound, it is a reality. "

Although what I say (lung cancer cannot be cured) may be true, in general the patient will not take it well or trust me. They want to be cured and they want the medicine with the treatment offered to them. If we offer herbs and teach them to change their lifestyle in hopes of extending their lives or promoting their quality of life, they will insist that we tell them about the opportunity to heal.

Emailing me is a great example of what I mean. "Patients put their full confidence in doctors to determine the best method of treatment, which is to put their lives in the hands of medical doctors. Large pharmaceutical companies ... have proven to be quite convincing in their scientific explanations to this day. Many patients still prefer medicines. In contrast, herbal treatments do not explain how herbs work and how well they help patients. In other words, there is no guarantee that taking herbs will make you feel better If I ask you personally, how and to what extent you can help the patient, I don't think I can expect a concrete answer. Again, you might say that it's up to the person to make the decision and put his / her faith in whatever decision they make. It's like telling the patient to choose what he or she thinks is the right remedy. I don't think so is true.If I know directly something that works - whether it's a herb or a drug, I will not be afraid to make myself and support the fact that it will work.

There are questions that patients may ask when considering your herbs as alternative treatments such as: are you confident that your herbs work more effectively than modern treatments? "

I fully understand that patients want a guarantee or a promise to heal. But our experience tells us that there is no cure for cancer, either early or terminal. To tell patients otherwise, the amount of fraud by misleading or misleading them. To us, healing (note the use of word healing does not cure) cancer is not about taking herbs alone. Most patients miss the point that they must learn how to help themselves by changing their lifestyle, diet and mindset if they are to seek healing. Unfortunately, this change is very difficult for patients to make. In this case, his son tells us that Swee is not someone who is willing to change. She is not ready to change her diet and believes in eating whatever she likes. The argument is: "why can't I eat whatever I like - I'll die, too." It didn't occur to Swee that it could be a lifestyle and an unhealthy diet that led to her husband's death (complications of hypertension, diabetes, etc.). In addition, her sister died of colon cancer, her sister cancer and nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC).

Second, the herbs will not taste good and her son does not expect that Swee will want to drink it. In short, most patients like Swee are only interested in healing on their own terms. They find magic bullets difficult to make good.

Drs. Richard Deyo and Donald Patrick, professors at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, in their book, Hope or Hype: an obsession with medial advances and the high costs of false promises, write:

1. We are born "of our own faith in a medical society that burns our deepest fears, while at the same time striving to save us" by miraculous healing. "

2. "The combination of industry greed, media hype, political appropriateness and our own" techno-consumption "thinking has led to more dependence on the most costly - and sometimes dangerous - treatments.

3. "When the choice involves a new treatment, it is almost always the case that more and more newness can only be improved. Simply put, this attitude is almost always in line with one's self."

4. "It is said that doctors are always ready to prescribe the latest medicine without examining any evidence that makes them happy, making the patients happy and making the drug addicts happy."

We do not believe there is such a thing as a magic bullet for cancer. We are not true to our cause and betray our mission if we say or act as if we had one. It's hard for many to understand that we're here trying to help. We are not interested in rejecting our herbs. We do not set sales targets and do not intend to conquer new markets. Our work is motivated by love and compassion, not profit. If there is ever a guarantee or guarantee obtained from the patient, it is: "Try the herb for a week or two. If the patient does not get better, stop our herbs and seek the help of others."

Let me conclude with this story. Lung cancer was previously treated with Iressa. When Iressa first launched, she was greeted in the media as: The Drug of Tomorrow; The Miracle Drug; Smart Medicine; The Miracle of Healing - medicine rising from the ashes and other superlatives.

The message to the world is clear: "A breakthrough exists - great hope and great hope. Lung cancer patients do not have to die anymore. Magic drugs have been here a long time." The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use. This makes it more convincing. This is the kind of cancer patient who promised the world before they took their first pill - the author of the email above included.

In the article: Iressa should not have been approved ( ISDB-Feb-2.html) Rokuro Hama wrote: "It is estimated that 23,500 people have so far been administered to Iressa in Japan, 644 of whom have reacted out of 183 deaths. The drug was approved in July 2002 in Japan and at the end of January 2003 - almost six months later, deaths related to Iressa's adverse reaction reached 183. "

In Western countries, Iressa has been withdrawn and has been shown to be ineffective despite widespread news. But in Eastern countries, Iressa is still prescribed to cancer patients, even today. Patients need to spend about RM 7,000 to RM 8,000 for Iressa a month. With Iressa eliminated, some oncologists turned to another drug called Tarceva, a sister to Iressa. A Tarceva pill costs RM 270 worth RM8,100 for a month's supply. Is Tarceva effective? The company's website says it has proven to improve overall survival by 37% and has shown the benefits of key symptoms shown by prolonging the development of symptoms. Doctors and patients love such guarantees. The fact that the statistics are scientifically generated is very impressive. But what does 37% mean? Actually: if you take Tarceva, you can live 9.5 months and if you don't take Tarceva you only have 6.7 months. In real terms Tarceva only increased survival by 2.8 months.

How is this guaranteed to the patient? Does the patient know or know about this? Remember, this promise can last 2.8 months longer with a price tag of RM 8,000 a month.


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