How Much Should A 5 25 Year Old Female Weigh Breast Cancer – When Chemotherapy Is Necessary

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Breast Cancer – When Chemotherapy Is Necessary

Anna / M241, is a 50-year-old woman from Aceh, Indonesia. She had a lump in her right breast sometime in 2000. She refused medical treatment. Instead she went to Jakarta to seek alternative treatments. This did not help him. The breast lump became larger and in December 2004, it developed into a lacerated and bleeding wound. He returned to Acheh and asked for the help of a doctor to take care of his wound. At the same time, he continued with other alternative treatment. Unfortunately, this doctor had been swept away by the tsunami that hit the city not long ago.

In February 2007, Anna came to Penang to seek medical treatment. Due to the advanced stage of the disease, no radiotherapy or surgery was indicated. Anna was asked to chemotherapy. She underwent four cycles of chemotherapy at a private hospital. She experienced total hair loss but no other adverse side effects. Each cycle of chemotherapy, given at three-week intervals, costs RM3,000. However, each trip to Penang for this treatment comes to about RM 7,000. It is really hard to imagine such a financial burden borne by a family that had lost their home to the tsunami. Because of this, Anna’s husband explained that they could no longer pursue chemotherapy and asked if she could return to our therapy instead.

Anna came to see us on August 5, 2007. She seemed healthy and had no problems. Chemotherapy had helped her. His lacerated wound had dried up and the tumor had shrunk significantly. The pains she suffered earlier subsided. She had more weight and felt much better than before chemotherapy.

A CT scan done on May 9, 2007, however, was more disappointing. It showed extensive metastases to the pectoralis muscles and ribs. There were numerous well-defined nodules from 4 to 25 mm scattered throughout both lungs. The cancer had also spread to the lymph nodes. I asked Anna if the oncologist had told her the results of the scan. Her husband replied, “No. The hospital gave us the films and we went home. We didn’t understand what it was about.”

He asked, “What did you expect when you arrived at the hospital for chemotherapy?” They both answered, “I was waiting to be healed.”

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It took me a while to regain my composure after seeing his scan. I wasn’t sure how to explain the results. I didn’t want to make his life miserable by telling him the bad news – after all, isn’t that his oncologist’s responsibility? I hesitated but her husband probed me to tell them the truth, which I did. The metastases in Anna’s lungs were too numerous to count. While the chemotherapy had helped her with the lacerated wounds, it was obvious that the treatment was not helping her lung metastases.

Chemotherapy had helped improve Anna’s life. The lump is also reduced. If four cycles were good for her, does that mean more chemotherapy (up to eight cycles) would be better? Actually this is debatable – more does not necessarily mean better! While the chemotherapy didn’t hurt Anna, it certainly hurt the pocket – I wouldn’t say “bank balance” because I’m not sure if there was a bank left after the tsunami.

I pointed out to Anna that it was a mistake not to remove the knot (or her breast) when she first detected it. Surgery could have saved all the misery that followed. In this regard, I advise women to remove the lumps in their breasts, if possible. I asked Anna’s husband why they continued with ineffective treatments after knowing that the lump had gotten bigger. Why wait so long? Common sense should tell us that if after trying an alternative therapy for a month or two and it doesn’t work or the condition deteriorates, patients should reevaluate their strategies – move on to something that is more effective or based on evidence.

However, I also highlighted the good side of what he did. I am one of many patients who have died within two to three years of doing what their doctors told them to do – mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Some even suffered severe pain and had swollen bellies before they died. Therefore, undergoing medical treatment does not guarantee that everything will go well.

Anna had a breast tumor in 2000 and it is now 2007 and she is still alive and has not suffered any difficulties. She should be grateful for this blessing. I remembered from what I read. In a lecture at the American Cancer Society Conference in New Orleans on July 3, 1969, Professor Hardin Jones, University of California, Berkeley, was said to have said: “My studies have shown conclusively that the victims of cancer without treatment live up to four times longer than. If one has cancer and chooses to do nothing, he will live longer and feel better than if he is subjected to radiation, chemotherapy or surgery.”

In Malaysia, as elsewhere too, doctors often blame herbs when things go wrong. Doctors want to have the first shot at the cancer with their chemotherapy or radiation therapy. And if these fail, they advise patients to go home and seek “hospice help” or go for herbs. Over the past decade, CA Care has been the recipient of these terminally ill and medical waiver cases. I’m starting to get the impression that going for invasive treatments at the first sign of cancer might not be a wise move. Sometimes, patients die because of the treatment rather than the cancer. Anna took the road less traveled. She sought alternative treatments and, when these failed, turned to invasive and toxic medical intervention—perhaps treating her last card. Seven years have passed and she is still alive. I repeat, many who have taken the well-trodden path hardly manage to live three or four years. So, Anna’s adventure is not wrong, no matter how “crazy” the doctors think it is.

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