elynjacobs

Behold the Guinea Pigs: Cancer Treatments Fail Patients

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Cancer treatment has not advanced much since 1971.  We have plenty of drugs, many of which have failed–but not until they were “tested” on patients before proven safe and effective.   I find that interesting.  Chemo was never proven safe or effective in most cases and is still being used.  On Friday, I attended the MSKCC Health Education Seminar.  Dr Alexandra Heerdt, MD, MPH, FACS, gave an excellent presentation on the history and failure of chemotherapy for the treatment of breast cancer.  Okay, so her intent was not to point out the failures, but rather the need for new drugs and increased surveillance. She also gave a thorough  presentation on surgical options for breast cancer. But my take home was that we are testing drugs on humans—humans who have husbands, wives, children and parents; humans that don’t want to die of their cancer, but also do not want or deserve to die of the treatment; humans who are led to believe that these drugs will cure them; humans who deserved to know that cancer treatments encourage more cancer.

Heerdt commented that in the past, chemotherapy was given to most women, but sadly was not beneficial (there was a benefit for ER negative patients).  She stressed that Oncotype DX testing is helping to screen out those who would not benefit from chemotherapy and should be spared the toxic drugs.  We can hope and pray that our numbers indicate that we should not be coerced into accepting drugs. We can hope and pray that more doctors will use chemotherapy with caution and only with the use of integrative support. We can hope and pray that scientists will come up with drugs that cure cancer.

The Melanoma-Sun Myth

We also heard from Dr Daniel Coit, MD, FACS.  Did you know that most melanomas are not related to sun exposure and that therefore sunblock or avoidance does not prevent melanoma? Melanoma is directly related to family history; a disease of gene mutations.  Dr Coit presented some startling evidence and cleared up important myths regarding melanoma.  He identified the gene mutations which are responsible, and provided valuable information on the various skin cancers and the treatments for them.  He thoroughly explained the shift form treating the diagnosis (the cancer) to treating the genes. He reminded us that responsible sun exposure is still important to prevent basal and squamous cell carcinoma, and uh, wrinkles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADermatologists would like you to lather on toxic sunscreen should you even consider walking outside for even a few minutes.  Would you trade a few wrinkles for a cancer-free life?  I would.  Coit showed a picture of Brigitte Bardot; a stunning sunbather.  He then showed a picture of her later in life, full of wrinkles, and suggested that she is an example of why you should not sunbathe.  However, yes she is old and wrinkly, but that is just it–she is old and wrinkly and enjoying a long life without cancer I would like to have heard him acknowledge that sunlight prevents cancer, but sadly I did not hear that. Not one word was mentioned about the need for sufficient vitamin D. While I certainly believe that we should avoid excessive sun exposure and should never visit a tanning booth, a reasonable amount of sunlight on a daily basis can go a long way in the pursuit of a healthy life—for both body and soul.  So skip the gym and go for a run on the beach. Responsible sun exposure will prevent many cancers; commercial sunscreen will contribute to it—despite what your derm tells you.

Coit also spoke on the failure of past treatments and the hope for new ones. He explained that chemotherapy has not been effective for melanoma.   Currently doctors are using immunotherapies as well as targeted therapies, but used alone, neither of these is very effective.  Immunotherapies afford a dramatic effect immediately, but the results are unsustainable.  They take the brakes off the immune system so it can fight the cancer, but the effects don’t last. Targeted therapies are then introduced to focus on gene mutations; the goal being to attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells.  Ideally, they should be used together, but this would be too toxic to the patient. I would argue that consecutively they are too toxic, and the side effects are horrific– double the side effects; double the resulting effects.

               ~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

Scientists want to cure cancer; it’s just a formidable foe.  We roll out their “cures” perhaps out of desperation; we cling to the hope that with each new drug, it will be the one. But drugs have under-performed and cost us many lives.  Before you accept any treatment, bypass meaningless statistics and ask yourself and your doctor the following questions:

  • Will this treatment cure me?
  • Could it kill me?
  • What are the possible side effects and resulting effects?
  • What is your downside to refusing the proposed treatment?  Is it measurable?
  • Are there reasonable alternatives?

Eastern and Western medicine has yet to become fully integrated.  Conventional doctors consider “alternative” therapies to be dangerous.  Certainly some can be, but many are quite safe and effective.  Conventional medicine continues to offer new options–perhaps one day East will meet West. Empower yourself to get the best treatment for your cancer. As I always say–if you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.

You may also want to read this article:

Medicine’s House of Cards – What Happens When We’ve Got It All Wrong

Elyn

~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist, radio talk show host, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She mentors women who are coping with issues of well-being associated with breast cancer and its aftermath; she is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health, and Breast Cancer Answers and has written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, and writes the Options for Life column for the Natural Healing-Natural Wellness Newsletter. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys.

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  1. […] a recent conference I  attended, the speakers asserted that chemotherapy has not been effective for many cancers. […]

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