There are all kinds of ways a cancer patient might be misled about chemotherapy.
Usually, it’s unintentional. But it can still lead to unrealistic treatment choices that can be disastrous.
A recent news article contains information that might create false expectations about chemo. Ironically, it appears in a report about patients who have false expectations about chemotherapy.
No wonder patients are misinformed.
No comfort from chemo
In a new study, researchers surveyed patients who had advanced cancers that had spread to other locations. Doctors considered these patients terminal. Yet, nearly three out of four believed their chemo regimen would probably cure them.
The report shows how easy it is to mislead.
The article states that in terminal cancer patients, “chemotherapy can alleviate pain and extend life by weeks or even months.”
Chemo can alleviate pain? Seriously. That’s a stretch!
In some cases, chemotherapy shrinks tumours. That might relieve pain. But there’s another, more common source of cancer pain relief. Painkillers.
Dr. Alan Spreen, world renowned alternative health specialist, says that virtually all advanced cancers cause pain. That’s why doctors almost always prescribe powerful painkillers in these cases.
Meanwhile, chemo invariably compromises quality of life and pain plays a key role in that equation.
Here are just three potential side effects of a new colon cancer drug I told you about last year:
* Serious bleeding in the stomach or brain – sometimes fatal
* Kidney problems – sometimes fatal
* Vision disturbances – including blindness
The article’s second claim – that chemotherapy might extend life for months- is off the mark. Yes, some patients may get a few more weeks or months. But the opposite is true in many cases.
Previously, I told you about a review of 600 cases in which terminally ill cancer patients died within 30 days of receiving chemo. In 40 per cent of these cases, patients experienced “significant poisoning.” Treatment actually accelerated or caused about one-in-four deaths.
Finally, some chemo drugs won’t work at all.
A few years ago, an oncologist examined the medical records of almost 8,000 cancer patients. In cases where patients received chemo in the final six months of life, ONE-THIRD had cancers that were unresponsive to chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is enormously complicated. Every cancer is different. Every chemo regimen is different. There are many ways misconceptions can creep in.
So if you ever have to discuss chemo options with a doctor, go on high alert. That might be difficult if you’re sick. So bring someone with you. Record the conversation if you can. Ask as many questions as you can think of. Take notes and don’t be afraid to call your doctor the next day with follow up questions.
Likewise, if a friend or family member gets a cancer diagnosis, offer to go along for the doctor’s meeting. In
fact, insist that they don’t go alone.
The more you know, the better you’ll be able to protect yourself (or a loved one) from misconceptions.
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“Many With Incurable Cancer Think They Can Be Cured” Denise Mann, WebMD, 10/24/12, webmd.com
“Patients’ Expectations about Effects of Chemotherapy for Advanced Cancer” New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 367, No. 17, 10/25/12, nejm.org
“Bayer absolutely open to further acquisitions after 1.2bn Schiff” NutraIngredients-USA, 10/30/12, nutraingredients- usa.com