But What Could Have Happened If She Continued With Chemotherapy?
NAM (T225) was 49 years old when she discovered a lump in her left breast. A tru-cut biopsy in April 2005 indicated invasive ductal carcinoma, Grade 2. She subsequently underwent a surgery at a government hospital. The HPE confirmed infiltrating ductal carcinoma. One of the axillary lymph node was positive for cancer.
On 25 May 2005, NAM underwent one cycle of chemotherapy using FEC (5-FU, Epirubicin and Cyclophosphamide). She suffered total hair loss. Her heart beat was rapid and this caused breathing difficulty. Her stomach was uncomfortably “gassy.”
NAM came to seek our help on 3 June 2005. She presented with:
- Pulling pains on her head.
- Stomach uncomfortable due to wind.
- At times, breathing was not comfortable.
- Nails were dark, black circles under the eyes.
About five weeks on the herbs, NAM came back and said that the pulling pains were gone. She informed us that she had decided not to continue with the chemotherapy. She had only done one cycle and was supposed to do six.
Blood test done on 8 August 2005 showed elevated liver function values. She was prescribed liver herbs in addition to the herbs for her breast cancer. So in all, NAM had to take: Capsule A and B, LL-tea, Breast M and Liver-1 teas.
Looking at her records over the past five plus years, there are only two significant events.On 14 January 2011, NAM came back to see us and reported that she has been doing well. She looked good and had put on weight. For some time she lived in Kuala Lumpur, baby-sitting her two grandchildren.
- On 11 December 2005, NAM suffered from hot flashes – one of the symptoms of menopause. Her menses had stopped since May 2005 after her first cycle of chemotherapy. NAM was prescribed Menopause Pills and her problem resolved.
- On 31 March 2006, NAM reported that she had her menses – the first since May 2005.
NAM has survived more than five years. Patients tell us that their doctors say if they survive five years, they are considered cured. Some patients also tell us that they spent sleepless nights looking forward to crossing this “cure-cut-off-point.” After they cross this point, some become reckless.
How wrong these people can be. Experience tells us that cancer can recur even after five years. Our auntie had lung metastasis (from cancer of cervix) after 13 years. A breast cancer survivor in our church had brain metastasis after nine years. According to Dr. Karrison, patients need to survive for 20 to 25 years before we can say they are cured (J. Nat. Cancer Inst. 91:80-85).
So, what is this idea about five years as being a cure? Know that the number five is just an arbitrary figure. There is no scientific basis for choosing this number. Dr. David Johnson, deputy director of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center explained it this way: The five-year benchmark becomes a balm for doctors and patients who find the unpredictability of their situations intolerable. Physicians are reluctant to say you might recur, so they would rather use these terms like: “OK, in five years, you’ll be cured.”
So, in reality, to say that medicine cannot cure cancer is unthinkable. And to ask patients to wait 20 to 25 years before being considered cure is far too long a wait. Surely, these truths, if revealed, would be bad for business!
NAM had her first cycle of chemotherapy. She suffered badly. Her liver functions were derailed. She decided to stop further chemotherapy. And even without chemotherapy she survived. The herbs and healthy diet helped her.
According to normal protocol, in a case like NAM’s, in addition to six cycles of chemotherapy, she would probably have to undergo radiation plus consuming Tamoxifen, knowing that one of her lymph was positive for cancer. Let us pose this question: What could have happened if NAM were to continue with her six cycles of chemotherapy or undergo all those treatments? Would she be around today? Probably yes, or probably not. Or, even if she is around, could she have collected more cancer in other parts of her body, such as bone, liver or lung? Or even brain? Read what we wrote about the many failed medical treatment for breast cancer.
The most important message of this case is not about who wins or who loses; who is right or who is better. Take note that even if NAM has so far survived her breast cancer, we did warn her not to be complacent. She would have to continue doing what she has been doing all these years. Do not deviate from this healing path. Keep going and be happy.