Henry (T 546, not real name) is a 52-year-old male. Sometime in August 2004, his problem started with changed bowel habits and there was blood in his stools. An endoscopy revealed sigmoid colon cancer. Henry underwent a surgery to remove 10 inches of his infected bowel. It was a Stage 2 cancer. CT showed that his liver and spleen were normal in size and appearance. Both kidneys and adrenal glands were also normal in appearance. The urinary bladder was normal. There was no pelvic mass or lymph node enlargement. The lung bases did not show any nodule. Based on these findings, the doctor concluded that there was NO evidence of distance metastasis.
Following standard protocol, Henry underwent six cycles of chemotherapy. The treatment lasted six months and was completed in February 2005. A follow up CT scan on 18 March 2005 revealed "possible metastasis in the left lung base" but the liver, both kidneys and urinary bladder were all normal.
In October 2005, Henry suffered severe pains due to suspected urine infection. A CT scan on 8 October 2005, indicated "left hydronephosis", which according to the doctor could be due to "a mid ureteric stone." However, the CT of the chest revealed at least five well defined nodules in both lung fields. This result clearly showed that Henry suffered multiple lung metastasis.
Earlier, the doctor suspected kidney stone. But it was not to be. A more detailed examination showed tumor in his left kidney. A biopsy report dated 31 March 2006 indicated moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma of the left lower ureter. This was suggestive of metastasis from colonic primary. Henry was asked to undergo another surgery to remove the infected kidney but he declined.
On 4 April 2006 a colonic biopsy showed recurrence of the colon cancer. The doctor had to install a stent in his colon to prevent tumor from blocking the passageway. CT scan also showed presence of a 1.5 cm nodule in segment 8 of his liver. There was a tiny hypodense focus in segment 3 suspicious of a new lesion.
On 15 July 2006, a CT scan of the chest, abdomen and pelvis was done. It showed a 2 cm mass in the mid rectum extending up to the rectosigmoid junction. The report confirmed once again a recurrent carcinoma of the rectosigmloid region with local infiltration and metastasis to the lungs, liver and left ureter.
Henry underwent three cycles of chemotherapy and each treatment cycle cost him about RM 15,000. Unfortunately the treatment was not effective. The oncologist suggested more chemotherapy using a different drug regiment. This new treatment costs RM 25,000 per cycle. Henry had two cycles of this treatment and became completely bald. He developed acne with pus all over his face and some parts of his body. He was given antibiotics by a dermatologist but his condition worsened.
On 7 March 2007, MRI of the lumber spine indicated multiple focal bony metatasis involving the sacrum and illium. There was also direct involvement of the urinary bladder. A biopsy of the bladder tumor done on 30 March 2007 indicated a moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma and was likely to be an extension from a colorectal tumor. In essence, Henry ended with more cancer spread – this time to his urinary bladder and bone.
Henry said his doctors installed three stents in his body – two colonic stents and one stent for his kidney to prevent further tumor blockage. Henry was asked to undergo more chemotherapy or radiotherapy. He declined and came to seek our help instead.
Comments: This is a sad story indeed. Let me point out that Henry started off with a Stage 2 colorectal cancer without any metastasis whatsoever. After surgery and chemotherapy his fortune turned for the worse. Compare this story with other cases that I have related earlier. These people had more serious cancer than Henry but they declined chemotherapy. And they did not have any recurrence or metastasis. The question is: "Why not recurrence or metastasis."
This has always been my hunch all along after observing patients for more than a decade: "Could chemotherapy have caused all these metastasis and havoc?" I have no way to argue because I have no data to support by observation. However, let me alert you to the three quotations below:
A small, insignificant column in The Star on 7 April 2007 had this heading: "Study: Treatment may fuel cancer's spread." The study reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation by Dr. Kevin Carlos Arteaga and colleagues at Vanderbilt University, USA, showed that treating cancer with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation may sometimes cause tumors to spread. In their work they used doxorubicin (a common chemo-drug used for breast cancer) or radiation and found that these treatments raised levels of TGF-beta, which in turn helped breast cancer tumors to spread to the lung. The researchers wrote: "The repopulation and progression of tumors after anti-cancer therapy (such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery) is a well-recognizedised phenomenon." Is this research relevant to Henry's case?
Andrew Weil wrote (in Health and Healing): "There is never ending struggle. Patients are sucked into same way of thinking, finding themselves more and more dependent on the system giving one treatment after another." How true are these words as applied to Henry's case?
Professor Jane Plant (in Your Life in Your Hands) wrote: "This sounds like a battle between the disease and the treatments – with the patient as the battle ground. Conventional cancer treatment can process patients to the extent that they no longer understand what is really being done to them. "
Let me end by these words: For colon cancer, the way to go could be just a change of one's lifestyle and diet besides taking herbs. It could prove to be far more effective and humane than the so-called scientific medicine. Read the cases I have presented so far and make your own conclusion.
Note: After three weeks on herbs, Henry reported that his health had improved and he decided to continue taking the herbs.