“Education has failed in a very serious way to convey the most important lesson science can teach: skepticism.” ~ David Suzuki (Canadian environmentalist, broadcaster and scientist)
The oncologist appointment went well. Dr. Jones is thoughtful, kind, calm, and really cares about his patients. He is really the first person other than the enterologist who gave us the initial diagnosis of cancer, who has treated us with any dignity, respect, compassion, and understanding.
Dr. J seemed appalled by the way in which the surgeon Mr. H treated us at each step along the way and was quite surprised I have a transcript of what exactly was said and took place in the exam with the surgeon.
NEVER allow the ones you love to go to any doctor's appointment alone. The accompanying person needs to be able to take detailed notes because we don't hear and cannot take in everything thrown at us. So I was able to provide a very clear picture of what has taken place to date. The oncologist will be calling the surgeon to discuss things, and we may be asking for a new surgeon.
He laid out three treatments and said Les and I, in conjunction with him, would make the final determination of what--if any treatments--Les chose. The tumor is quite nasty. It has progressed to angiogenesis--establishing a blood supply to feed and spread to other parts of the body. The CT scan also found a small node on Les' left lung which the oncologist is sure is not cancer but caused by exposure to TB as a child. He says all Brits of Les' age have had exposure to TB and these lung nodes are frequently seen, however it will bear watching. So the treatment choices we were given are:
1. short course radiotherapy of five days (1 fraction of radiation exposure per day) with surgery to follow one week later to remove the tumor. Rob says this will not shrink the tumor but keeps it from spreading and in his experience it keeps the cancer from returning to the area. He used the analogy of a sunburn. If you stay outside all morning and get sunburned, you will feel the consequences far more if you wait to engage in activities the next day as opposed to that same afternoon. Following the radiotherapy with immediate surgery will remove a lot of the irradiated tissue before the side effects are felt in the extreme.
2. Long course chemo/radiation of five weeks with administration of chemo drug 5FU (flourouracil) and radiation treatments. Les would have to recover sufficiently from this treatment before surgery could occur some 3-5 months later. We made it clear this would not be an option we would ever consider. Dr. J was surprised at our choice and said patients usually deal with the pill form called Capecitibane just fine and that radiotherapy was the more difficult one to overcome.
This is when I established my credentials as an academic researcher which made him take a second look at me and Les. When I mentioned my research on the MD Anderson cancer center website in conjunction with research on the NIH site (National Institute of Health U.S. medical library, and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the oncologist sat straight up and said, "Well it doesn't get any better than MD Anderson."
This was my quiet way of establishing to Dr. J that the use of partial disclosure of treatment effects was not going to wash with me and Les, especially when I brought up the issue of second line cancers known to be a long term side effect of 5FU. The oncologist said to his knowledge this wasn't an issue in bowel cancers....and this is directly in opposition to what I have found in my research....so the doctor rubbed his face with his hands, leaned back and said, "There is a third way to go and it has been studied by oncologists at Karolinska. They stole it from the Russians..."
3. Is known as 5 by 5: five days of radiotherapy and five weeks of waiting for the tumor to shrink, followed by surgery.
Les has chosen option 1. The long term side effects of any radiotherapy to the bowel are a frequent need to urinate, a small bit of anal leakage which may require wearing a pad in one's underwear, and impotence. We feel these are thing we can live with and I am hoping the administration of Essiac and following the Gerson regimen with some other supplements will ameliorate the worst short and long term effects of radiation exposure.
What the oncologist did not tell Les--as it is not pertinent to his specific situation at this point--is that if the tumor was inoperable they would have still recommended option 2 but it would not cure this cancer. I think radiation drives cancer deeper into the body's cells and both chemo and radiation cause second line cancers down the road: breast, Leukemia and Hodgkins Lymphoma to name a few. I believe we can stop any cancer recurrence by adhering to a strictly vegetarian diet, getting daily exercise and taking certain supplements as prophylactics, including Essiac every three months for two weeks.
And while I am pleased Dr. J is a humane, kind individual who believes in the efficacy of his work in treating cancer patients, I am still not willing to trust him unequivocally. It would be one thing if there weren't adequate clinical studies and actual living cases of people like me who have used other treatments to a much better effect--driving cancer into permanent remission or healing from the disease, without the terrible side effects of traditional treatments. Gerson and Essiac are only two of these. There is also Dr. Charles Burzynski's work with antineoplastins.
The crux of the issue is the fact that Gerson, Essiac and Burzynski's antineoplastins cannot be copyrighted by the pharmaceutical companies which drive everything to do with traditional cancer treatment. It is a huge money making "industry" as the surgeon Mr. H. rightly called it. When making money drives the treatment then the cure will not be found because a cure will put the pharmaceuticals, radiologists, chemotherapists and foundations like MacMillan Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society out of business.
Macmillan is huge over here, with a slick company branding and charity status. They pay to place cancer nurses in British hospital oncology wards and in return they are given space in the hospitals for their brochures--created by them for handing out to patients. Looking very closely at their entire site provides an insight into how well engineered this charity is, to profit from this disease.
The cancer nurse who spoke to us after the surgeon rudely and indifferently put us in our places while she stood on and watched didn't even bother to take us to a private office--she took us to the Macmillan cancer center waiting room in the hospital and sat us down in public--in front of two strangers--who happened to be MacMillan community cancer volunteers--to commence discussing very personal and private issues with me and Les.
When Les told her we had done some research online she cut him off mid sentences saying, " You must be very careful about doing that. There is a lot of misinformation out there. I would recommend you stick with the Macmillan website." Of course, she as it turns out, is a Macmillan funded cancer nurse.
A visit to their website was quite informative for me. Slick branding which means they msut have hired a top notch PR firm and attorneys to vet it all, spending millions to create it.
I looked up the Board of Directors and found not surprisingly two members who have direct ties to the cancer pharmaceutical industry. One is the retired director of Novartis--the world's largest pharmaceutical company which rakes in billions in government funding from all over the world to "continue the fight for a cure..." as long as Novartis can patent it and make billions on it.
Novartis and other drug companies actively fight Dr. Burzynski in courts around the world because he owns the patent on antineoplastin therapy which just sailed through clinical trials in Japan with excellent results and which the medical journal Lancet refused to publish, saying they didn't have room for the data at this time.
Until the cancer industry and its adherents stop twisting the data and statistics to shore up their therapies, I will remain a healthy sceptic. An example is the fact that cytotoxic therapy as chemo and radiation are known in medical circles are absolutely deadly (which is why doctors jokingly refer to 5FU as 5 feet under) with not only long term side effects like additional cancers, but often these treatments so weaken the patient, he or she succumbs to death--from the treatment not the disease--but this is NEVER openly acknowledged by the industry or reflected in its statistics. These deaths are added into the general statistics for cancer deaths overall.
There is also the artificial five year cure rate. If one is diagnosed with cancer, receives treatment and lives without a recurrence then one is considered cured! But wait...if there is a cure why are so many foundations overseeing dragon boat races for funding, runs for a cure....if there is a cure why are all these companies in line with their hands out for donations from you, me and the world's governments to "fund a cure?"
The fact is frequently after traditional treatment cancer reoccurs but if it happens in year six, nine, or fifteen then it is not statistically related to the original incidence or the treatment modality--at all.
Nearly 70% of all cancer could be prevented with diet: mostly vegetarian, organic, occasional meals of chicken but no red meat, very little dairy, no refined white sugar, wheat, breads or pastas, sugar in very low moderate amounts, eating mostly fresh, raw fruits and vegetables which is closer to what humans evolved with in nature. Combined with a minimum of 20-30 minutes of daily activity such as walking, swimming, biking, gardening, humans have a much better chance of surviving on this polluted planet without developing this dreaded disease.
We hope we've found a middle ground--a way of combining traditional modalities with alternative therapies to provide what is known in the States as complimentary treatment for cancer. Les believes this is the best option for him and I am confident together we will find our way forward toward good health, remission, and getting on with our lives for many more years.