After Spending Two Billion Rupiahs on Chemotherapy in Singapore
Soon after undergoing chemotherapy in Singapore in December 2011, she ended up in a hospital in Medan. Is this the final destination after a long journey – one and half years of chemo and spending about two billion rupiahs? On 17 December 2011, all family members from various parts of Indonesia flew home to be with her. She was gasping for breath and unable to recognise people around her – her eyes rolled upwards and were not responsive. The doctor told the family members to just pray.
On 18 December 2011, a miracle happened – three days after taking Lung 1 and Lung 1 plus Lung Phlegm. Breathing normalized and she did not need oxygen anymore. On 20 December 2011 she and her family flew to CA Care Penang. For more, read Part 2 & 3 of this story.
Quotation: According to Big Pharma and the cancer industry, death from chemotherapy is acceptable as long as standard chemo protocol has been adhered to ~ Dr James Forsythe, The Compassionate Oncologist, pg. 91.
RJ is a 55-year-old female. She was a tennis champion. Sometime in April 2010 she accompanied her daughter to Penang. Her daughter came for a checkup regarding her pregnancy. RJ ended up undergoing a checkup herself. The gynaecologist suggested that RJ remove an 8 cm tumour in her uterus. So, RJ underwent a THBSO procedure (total abdominal hysterectomy-bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy). There was no mention of cancer after the surgery.
About 3 months later, RJ was asked to do a CT scan and PET scan. It was then that she was told she had cancer. She was asked to undergo chemotherapy. She refused.
Not satisfied, RJ went to Singapore for consultation. A PET scan indicated metastasis to her lungs. RJ underwent chemotherapy — a total of about 20 cycles (not sure, lost count) spread over a period of over one and half years. The drugs used were: Gemzar & Docetaxel and Doxorubicin & Avastin. The family was told with chemotherapy, there was a 40 percent chance of cure.
A PET scan on 16 February 2011 indicated:
- Multiple bilateral nodules in the lungs (3.2, 2.1 cm) while the smaller ones are likely below the resolution of FDG PET.
- No pleural or pericardial effusion noted.
- FDG uptake in the rim of a nodule in the right side of the pelvis, abutting the sigmoid colon and superior to the bladder.
- Paraaortic and mesenteric nodules.
The doctor told her that her lungs were clear of cancer. But in spite of that, RJ was asked to take the oral drug, Iressa for 3 months. She suffered severe Itchiness throughout the whole body.
She went back to Singapore again – and this time to another hospital. She was told that her problem was due to Iressa and she should stop taking the medication.
A CT scan on 29 September 2011 indicated:
- Nodules of sizes ranging from 0.5 cm to 2.9 cm in both lungs. The largest mass in the lingual lobe measures approximately 7.2 x 5.8 cm. This abuts the adjacent pericardium. There is also small amount of pericardial effusion.
- There is also a tiny left pleural effusion.
CT of 29 Sept 2011
A medical report written on 5 October 2011 reads: “Depression Counselling: Cannot accept impending demise. Can’t sleep. Hoping for cure.”
RJ was asked to undergo more chemotherapy. She did as told. She received her last chemo in early December 2011. Two days after returning home from Singapore she started to cough and had fevers. She was hospitalised in Medan on 8 December 2011. While in the hospital her condition deteriorated and she became breathless. In spite of being given oxygen, her breathing was difficult and she was breathing like a fish gasping for air. Her eyes rolled and she was unable to recognize people around her.
At that point, a visitor told her family: “Why don’t you go and see Dr. Teo?” The next day, 14 December 2011, her two daughters flew to CA Care Penang to seek our help. The following is our conversation that day.
Acknowledgment: Permission to use videos and pictures without having to mask the patient’s face is granted by the family.
Cost of Medical Treatment
The daughters told us that in all the treatment cost almost 2 billion rupiahs. Below is the cost to undergo chemotherapy in Singapore (value in Singapore dollars. S$1.00 = RM 2.43, S$1.00 = 6,991 IDR).
Table 1: Estimated cost for chemotherapy with Docetaxel + Gemcitabine.
Table 2. Cost of a cycle of Gemcitabine (Gemzar) + Docetaxel
From the above a cycle of chemotherapy would cost approximately S$5,000. For a regimen of 6 cycles the total cost would be about S$45,000. Plus expenses for scanning etc. add in another S$3,000. So all in all, a patient should expect a total cost of about S$50,000 or RM 120,000 or IDR 350 million for the first round of chemotherapy. But first round may not be good enough. Patients may need more rounds.
The cost goes through the roof when Avastin is used like in this case. But what actually is the benefit of Avastin? Do you know? Click this link to know: http://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/05/27/dissecting-chemotherapy-part-6-avastin-does-not-cure-cancer/
Table 3. Cost of a cycle with Avastin was about S$ 12,000 (RM 29,000 or IDR 84 million).
Some questions for you to ponder on
- Having spent about one and a half years on medical treatments in addition to a big bundle of rupiahs – what do you think of this case? They say the treatment is proven and scientific – but what is the reality? What is proven?
- Being alive for one and half years but spending most of the time in and out of the hospital – is it worth it? Have you read this posting – How much is life worth? http://cancercaremalaysia.com/2011/05/27/dissecting-chemotherapy-part-4-how-much-is-life-worth-erbitux-for-lung-cancer/
- Do you believe that chemotherapy has a 40 percent chance of cure as claimed by the doctor? What percentage of success would you give in this case? What does the medical literature say about cure for lung cancer?
- This is an era of information technology. Check with the internet and ask if chemo-drugs such as Gemzar, Docetaxel, Doxorubicin and Avastin ever cure this kind of cancer? Patients – you should empower yourself!
- Often, alternative practitioners are accused of being charlatans, snake oil peddlers and worst of all provider of false hope! In this case, is the pot calling the kettle black? Who is actually giving false hope to patients?
- Does it ever occur to you to ask this question – What if I just DO NOTHING? Do you think you would end up almost dead after one and half years? Read this story about Ella http://cancercaremalaysia.com/2010/12/11/an-evening-with-ella-our-patient-our-friend/
When RJ’s daughters came to us on 14 December 2011, this was what I told them: “In such a situation (mother about to die in the hospital) I really don’t know what to say or do. I can give some herbs and you go home and try them. If she survived, come back again with all the medical reports. Now, what I can say is – just try. If you are lucky and with God’s blessing she might come out of the hospital alive, otherwise I really don’t know.”
This is not the first “about-to-die” case being brought to us. We encounter such cases very often. When nothing else can be done, family members come to us for help. What can I do? Pretending that I am a superman? Or, a god of some kind? Since CA Care’s mission is to help the helpless and the lost, we generally do not turn them away. Make no mistake at all – we do not promise you a cure. We also do not promise we can resolve your problems. What we can do is try our best to help you the way we know how. We understand that you have suffered enough and also have spent enough money on those medical treatments. CA Care is not here to “suck you dry” of your last dime before you die. We have no intention of misleading or cheating you. If we can provide you with some sense of “last” hope, we are here ready to help – often at the “risk” of being labeled a charlatan or quack. Nevertheless, the risk we take sometimes turn out to be a satisfying success – a miraculous blessing as you will see in this case.
Update: We received a sms informing us that the patient died in the early morning of 21 February 2012.