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Why Im Not Doing Chemo

Hindsfeet
Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
edited December 2015 in Alternative Medicine

I respect everyone's choices. Some choose only conventional treatment, other chooses both, and the minority choose alternative only. I like to think I am somewhere in the middle, although closer to the alternative approach.

For those who insist I am out of my mind for refusing chemo, I'm posting this controversy topic so you can understand why I'm not doing chemo. This thread is not to debate the issue, rather to give an answer to those of you wanting to know why I am doing so.

I will be adding data and information as to how I came about the decision not to do chemo. With that said, I am sure there are those who chose "standard" treatment and are doing well. Again, we all must feel comfortable and be able to live with whatever decision we decide on.

First, for those who feel that I've been on alternative treatment, and for this reason I am now dx with idc & the her2+++ gene. This is not true. I have not yet been on alternative treatment...not yet.

 I was first dx the fall of 2007, Dec 2007 lumpectomy for high grade DCIS. The doctor said I was lucky because it was stage 0 and most likely with the clear margins I would never have to deal with it again. I felt that it was nothing more than taking out a bad spot on an apple. Initially, I did not do radiation because I was self-pay and didn't have the money to do it. Tamoxifen financially was also out of the question. I did a little research and learned that with stage o that the odds were that I wouldn't be dx with it again. I had one appointment with a radiation doctor and he too said for stage o that most women don't need to but want to throw the kitchen sink at it. He said that rads only gave me 5% advantage. So...I saw it wasn't absolutely necessary. After looking further into tamoxifen, I saw it too had risk that concerned me. So..the risk of side effects and a recurrence...hmm...There were risk either way. I didn't have the money anyway so it was an easy choice. I pretty much put it out of my mind and forgot about it all until my annual mammogram.

The very next year the mammogram showed more califications. Because of not having insurance I was forced with the same decision. The problem was the final pathology report was again high grade dcis, multifocal. The surgeon knew that money was an issue so she said she would watch me like a hawk. That was worrisome. I had to find out why my breast wanted to make cancer cells.

I went to a naturalpath. She did a blood workup and I discovered I'm hypothyroid. I learned that there is a link between breast cancer and thryoid problems. I hoped that in resolving the thyroid problem my breast would stop making cancer cells. But, that wasn't so easy. Even now my naturalpath is having a difficult time adjusting my thyroid hormones.

The last year and half I learned that I had a serious yeast problem. My primary care doctor had my blood tested for systemic yeast infection. Sure enough, high levels of fungal infection, past & present in my blood. I came back on bco and discovered impositive's thread on the fungal theory. I was then in the middle of a huge oral thrust infection so she had my attention. I knew there was something very wrong with my body and it could be related to fungus. Again, I had to find out why my body was broken...what is causing my body to fall apart? I wasn't about to do something because whoever tells me so. I have to know why, what and etc. So...I basically have been learning a lot this past year.

Six months later, I learned that the other breast was too infected with a new, different cancer, mucinious. Although it was invasive, stage 1, grade 1 it was a slow growing and more favorable cancer. The right breast mri and mammo's were clean. The right breast past high grade dcis dx worried me more than the new mucinious cancer. I had my fingers crossed that breast was done making cancer cells...and being high grade you would think in a few years the mammo would had shown more of it. The surgeon then seeing I had 3 bc dx in three years suggested a blmx. The cancers I had at that time didn't seem that serious to warrant losing both my breast. I seriously considered it. Now I wish I had. But, at that time, I thought if cancer hadn't showed up in almost three years in the right breast that I was in the safe zone.

I hadn't yet tried alternative medicine. I did take supplements hoping that would at least improve my overall health. I did take anti-fungal meds for the oral yeast and systemic yeast infection. It helped, but I know even now it's still there.

My goal is to build up my immune system. I know that chemo suppress the immune system. I need the killer cells to be strong, especially right now.

BTW...I now have Blue Cross and Blue Shield so I'm finally getting a mx. I'm open to herpectin. I' haven't yet, but if I need to will check into a alternative cancer to find natural ways to kill the cancer and become healthy.

So don't blame alternative medicine on me being dx with idc. The only thing I've done so far is to try to balance out my thyroid hormones and dealing with yeast overgrowth. Both of these issues are still unresolved.

I need support as I am about to face a uni or bilateral mx with reconstruction. I will be seeing an oncologist and go through further tests to see if the cancer has spread elsewhere.  

Beleive me not doing "standard" treatment it is not a thoughtless decision.

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Comments

  • gutsy
    gutsy Member Posts: 26
    edited November 2011

    I am all for alternative, complimentary treatments in addition to standard treatments. However, to solely rely on alternative treatments is taking a huge risk. However, it is your life

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
    beesie.is.out-of-office Member Posts: 1,434
    edited November 2011

    eve,

    I can't speak for anyone else but I certainly have never thought that your IDC was caused by alternative medicine.  I don't think that alternative medicine causes recurrences or the progression of cancer. I just don't know that any alternative medicine has as yet been proven to be as effective as conventional medicine at stopping a recurrence or progression that might otherwise occur.  

    Recurrences and cancer progression happen because cancer cells are still in the breast or the body, and they are able to continue to multiply and spread.  I think some recurrences and cancer progression occur because adequate actions were not taken to kill off those cancer cells that remained. So it's not that something caused the recurrence or the progression; it's that something wasn't done that could have stopped the recurrence or the progression.  

    You have decided that you will not do chemo, although conventional treatment guidelines suggest that chemo should be done for those with a diagnosis such as yours. That is your decision to make and I truly hope that it turns out to be a good decision and your cancer does not progress. But if it does, I won't blame alternative medicine.  I will however wonder if chemo might have been able to stop the progression before it happened. So it won't be what you did; it will be what you didn't do. I don't say that to argue with you or try to convince you to do chemo.  I'm just explaining how I see the choice and how I'll assess the outcome. 

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Member Posts: 10
    edited November 2011

    evebarry, for now you may want to just focus on building your immune system. That's important for the MX and your overall health.

    Although I like the fact that this board alllows people to share information and offer support, I would never ask patients on the internet for serious medical advice or care what they think. They simply are not qualified. 

    Do your own research and rely on the professionals such as your ND and onc to help you make important medical decisions. You don't want to make any irreversible mistakes.  

      

  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited November 2011

    Thanks Beesie, your responses are always thoughtful. Someone on another thread pretty much put the blame that my recent dx is do to choosing alternative treatment. I wanted to make it clear it wasn't alternative treatment that is to blame especially when I haven't yet done alternative treatments. My second surgeon (2nd dx)  said besides the one lieson, when one quarter of my breast removed that it was all dotted with high grade dcis cells. If I had the money, she would had encouraged me to then do a mx. I should had :(

    Forgive me for my simplicity here...but this is what I understand. I read that cancer cells are smart and can fool the immune system to believe it is one of our normal cells. The herpectin antibody connects to the outside of the cancer cell locking it so it can't multiply. When the herpectin locks onto the cancer cell our then killer cells see's the antibody herpectin and attacks the cell, exploding it, bringing the cancer cell to death. So, herpectin seems to be enough. I am open to herpectin.

    If you use chemo it supprsses your immune system, the killer cells need to kill the cancer cells that the herpectin locks onto. You need the killer immune cells...which are the fastest multiplying cells we have. Chemo kills fast growing cells. For this reason chemo doesn't make sense to me. Why would we want to destroy our immune killer cells when we need it the most?

    I also read that most of the side effects occurs when chemo and herpectin are used together. I should find those sources and post them here so you can see what information I've read.

    I have had several friends in my life time take chemo from dx to death. It was horrible. I also known people who five years were dx with another cancer after taking chemo. One died this summer, and I recall when she bragged that she reached her five year mark only to be dx.

    Impositive mentioned that she is now taking a low dose chemo that is natural. I am open to that...something that isn't poison.

  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited November 2011

    Thanks Princess...I hope that we all come her mostly for support. I don't mind being challenged at times...not harassed. I am trying to build my immune system for the upcoming surgery. I'm trying to put on a little more weight...leaving out the sugar :)

  • Unknown
    edited November 2011

    I am REALLY new to this don't even have an appt with oncologist yet BUT have chosen to use nutrition in conjunction with modern medicine.......it certainly can't hurt right??  Anyone heard of Gerson's Therapy??  Besides chemo trashes your immune system, so why not build it up first right?

    Cindy 

  • Patriotic
    Patriotic Member Posts: 30
    edited November 2011

    Well, the bottom line is that you do what you want and what your comfortable with. It's your life, after all.



    I think my only comments are: What if BC has nothing to do with diet, thyroid, infection, inflammation, weight, breastfeeding, HRT or any of the other bullshit "risk factors" we've been brain-washed about? What if it is caused by a genetic predisposition and nothing more? When can/will we stop blaming ourselves for these "sins?" If the evidence were so strong, why isn't there a definitive cause and cure? Answer: they do not KNOW.



    I attended a conference last week where we were told that BC is up by 25% in BOTH women AND men. What accounts for that? BC has been around long before any of these so-called environmental causes/factors. I guess I am not buying any of it until I see the cold, hard facts. Hopefully, it will happen in my lifetime but, I really doubt it.

  • D4Hope
    D4Hope Member Posts: 37
    edited November 2011

    I had a high grade tumor and three young children. I threw everything at it, yes even chemo. I did not consider is poison, It so far has saved my life. I don't think that anyone who has BC did anything wrong, I ate right, breast fed my kids and had no history of BC in my family.  I think whatever path we choose should be a personal decision, nobody is right or wrong on the decisons they make for themselves.

  • voraciousreader
    voraciousreader Member Posts: 3,696
    edited November 2011

    Eve...I hate to tell you this but Warfarin....also known as Coumiden is a poison, used initially as a pesticide for rats....The use of it has saved millions of people from getting strokes......

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warfarin

    Without a doubt there are many drugs that can be labeled as "poisonous,"  but at clinically proven therapeutic doses, they can be life savers.... 

    I remember when the doctors and researchers were trying to figure out a therapeutic dose of my husband's "Lorenzo's Oil."  The thought of putting even a drop of the oil in his body frightened the heck out of us.  We now know what a clinical therapeutic dose is and it has saved his life as well as the lives of the few dozen people that are taking it.  Met with the parents of a 14 year old boy who is taking the oil and he is now attending a mainstream school. Nothing short of a miracle.

    Do people die after taking chemo.  Sure.  But when the dust settles and you look at the evidence, many people flourish....

    Talk to your doctor.  Read the Robert Bazell book about Dr. Slamon and then decide.  Good luck!

  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited November 2011
    edited out.


  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited November 2011

    Before adding more here, I admit that I am no expert. I am only bringing to the table what has influenced me to question chemo besides the friends that suffered from dx to death.

    I've read that chemo kills only the fast growing cells. It does not kill the stem cells. The stem cell eventually causes the cancer to return. It's like picking a dandylion. You pick the flower, which prevents it from seeding or growing, but left the roots of the weed, which will in time bring about more flowers. Here is one source ... fromhttp://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2009/08/14/cancer-stem-cell-breakthrough/

    Although they're elusive, many researchers think cancer stem cells are the driving force behind many cancers.  Certainly, they're resistant to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The theory goes that these treatments kill off the ‘normal' tumour cells but don't touch the stem cells. Eventually these start growing again and the cancer comes back.

  • suzieq60
    suzieq60 Member Posts: 1,422
    edited November 2011

    Eve - Herceptin was not available to early stage bc patients when that study was conducted. Also, your Natural News article was quite amazing - what a lunatic.

  • AnnNYC
    AnnNYC Member Posts: 236
    edited November 2011

    Eve -- the paper you cite above

    The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA." [Royal North Shore Hospital Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol) 2005 Jun;17(4):294.]http://www.naturalnews.com/023689.html

    was based on 1998 data from the United States -- and of course, as you mentioned, it was a summary of studies in 22 different malignancies.

    More relevant to breast cancer might be this study of breast cancer only, published in The Lancet in 2005, which found that "Allocation to about 6 months of anthracycline-based polychemotherapy (eg, with FAC or FEC) reduces the annual breast cancer death rate by about 38% (SE 5) for women younger than 50 years of age when diagnosed and by about 20% (SE 4) for those of age 50-69 years when diagnosed, largely irrespective of the use of tamoxifen and of oestrogen receptor (ER) status, nodal status, or other tumour characteristics."

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15894097

  • baywatcher
    baywatcher Member Posts: 50
    edited November 2011

    Eve-

    I just wanted to offer support and tell you that I am thinking of you.

    I'm like you, I just can't wrap my head around chemo. It seems like the smartest thing to do is build up your immune system, not destroy it.  I know that you do a lot of research and I'm sure what ever path you take will be the right one for you.

    Cancer sucks. I'm sorry you are going thru it again.

  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited November 2011

    How Cancer Stem Cells Could Support Metastasis

    Metastasis is a complex, multi-step process that involves a specific sequence of events; namely, cancer cells must escape from the original tumor, migrate through the blood or lymph to a new site, adhere to the new site, move from the circulation into the local tissue, form micrometastases, develop a blood supply, and grow to form macroscopic and clinically relevant metastases.9,34,35 Perhaps not surprisingly, metastasis is highly inefficient.9 It has been estimated that less than 2% of solitary cells that successfully migrate to a new site are able to initiate growth once there.34,36,37 Moreover, less than 1% of cells that initiate growth at the secondary site are able to maintain this growth sufficiently to become macroscopic metastases.36 These observations suggest that a small, and most likely specialized, subset of cancer cells drives the spread of disease to distant organs.

    Some researchers have proposed that these unique cells may be CSCs.9,30,32,33,38 In this hypothesis, metastatic inefficiency may reflect the relative rarity of CSCs combined with the varying compatibilities of these cells with destination microenvironments. Researchers have demonstrated that stem cells and metastatic cancer cells share several properties that are essential to the metastatic process, including the requirement of a specific microenvironment (or "niche") to support growth and provide protection, the use of specific cellular pathways for migration, enhanced resistance to cell death, and an increased capacity for drug resistance.9 There is emerging, albeit limited, evidence that these properties may also hold for CSCs.9 Metastatic sites for a given cancer type could therefore represent those tissues that provide or promote the development of a compatible CSC niche, from which CSCs could expand through normal or dysregulated cellular signaling. Moreover, normal stem cells tend to be quiescent unless activated to divide.39 If the CSC hypothesis holds true, then undifferentiated, dormant CSCs would be relatively resistant to chemotherapeutic agents, which act mainly on dividing cells.10 As such, this subpopulation could form the kernel of cells responsible for metastasis and cancer recurrence following treatment and remission.

    http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/2006report/2006chapter9.htm

  • suzieq60
    suzieq60 Member Posts: 1,422
    edited November 2011

    The inclusion of 22 different malignancies would totally skew the results eg - liver cancer - not a great survival rate, pancreatic cancer - a really poor survival rate. These cancers would pull the overall survival way down so it cannot be used as a guide. One of my favourite books was "How to Lie with Statistics".

  • baywatcher
    baywatcher Member Posts: 50
    edited November 2011

    I somehow repeated the same post so that is the reason for the edit.

  • Fearless_One
    Fearless_One Member Posts: 905
    edited November 2011

    Eve, I just want to say I am glad you have insurance now and are getting the mastectomy.  How scary for you to have been diagnosed and not had insurance!   I am glad you can get the treatment you need now - whatever those choices may be.

  • 1Athena1
    1Athena1 Member Posts: 672
    edited November 2011

    Evebarry - I, too, chose to not have chemo and thank God for my decision regardless of what may happen. I chose to not do chemo because I do not believe the science shows it helps for carcinoma of the breast in particular (for a few other cancers it may be a life saver) regardless of what carefully constructed statistics may purport to show. Chemo has never been properly tested mathematically because it has not been judged against placebo for a number of reasons which I will not go into here.  An additional consideration was that chemo might have ended up costing me my life because of my particular profile.

    If I get mets, I won't regret my decision because I preserved my health to the end, but I KNEW that if I had done chemo and had gotten mets - like so many, many women have on this board - I would have been furious. Hopping mad, actually. I respect others' decisions and beliefs and wish people would stop feeling free to question ours. Good luck with your surgeries.

    Surgery continues to be the single most effective treatment for early stage breast cancer.

    I believe in science for medicine (not in maths) and in both conventional and complementary therapy. I am not going to argue with anyone - don't have the energy for it tonight. But everbarry, kudos to you!

  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited November 2011
    Resistance of Human Glioblastoma Cancer Stem Cells to Standard Radiation Treatment


    Is there evidence that current therapies are missing the seed of the tumor?

    This is a case involving human glioblastoma, a solid tumor of the brain. It's a horrible disease with very low survival rate.

    It has been found that surgery to remove the tumor never removes the cancer. It always grows back. After surgical removal of the tumor, patients undergo radiation therapy, which hopefully removes the rest of the mass. This de-bulks the tumor to the point that you don't see it anymore.

    Anyway, human glioblastoma was transplanted into mice. 1/2 the mice were given no treatment. The other 1/2 of the mice were treated with radiation, which largely reduced the tumor.

    These different mice's glioblastoma tumors were extracted and analyzed to see how many of the glioblastoma cells, in treated and untreated mice, were cancer stem cells. It turns out that the mice who were treated with radiation and had their tumors reduced had a much higher percentage of cells left over that were cancer stem cells.

    The conclusion of the experiment is that radiation therapy selectively kills the cancer non-stem cells. Paradoxically, it enriches the percentage of seed cancer stem cells in the tumor, which is the most dangerous kind of cancer cell.

    Remember how the relapse is a much more aggressive disease? How it kills much more quickly than the initial cancer? The explanation is here: the second bout of cancer is an enriched "All-Star" team of sorts, consisting only of the tumor's most prolific players.

    So our current therapies actually only serve to strengthen the cancer in time, poising it to be much more aggressive the next time around.
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Member Posts: 10
    edited November 2011

    New study finds that chemo targets cancer cells that were dying anyway
    Researchers in a new study have found that cancer cells best targeted by chemo are already on the verge of self-destruction. In the study, published online by the journal Science on October 27, researchers found that cancer cells that are closer to the threshold for programmed death via apoptosis are more susceptible to chemotherapy than other cancer cells that have yet to reach that stage.....

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/034075_chemotherapy_cancer_cells.html#ixzz1dABmTYjF

    Research makes it possible to predict how cancers will respond to chemo

    ...The findings suggest that the conventional wisdom about why cancer chemotherapy works needs to be reconsidered, the study authors say. The traditional explanation - that chemotherapy targets fast-growing cells such as cancer cells - has some merit, Letai remarks, but it has never been entirely satisfactory from a scientific viewpoint....

     http://www.dana-farber.org/Newsroom/News-Releases/Research-makes-it-possible-to-predict-how-cancers-will-respond-to-chemo.aspx
     

  • thenewme
    thenewme Member Posts: 174
    edited November 2011

    Some people are going to believe what they want to believe, but for those interested in facts, the "article" cited above is misleading at best. 

    Re:  "The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA." [Royal North Shore Hospital Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol) 2005 Jun;17(4):294.]http://www.naturalnews.com/023689.html"

    This has been discussed many times here and elsewhere.  LindaLou, in particular, presented a really helpful post on it in this thread:   http://community.breastcancer.org/forum/69/topic/738576?page=1

    And there's a great fact-based analyis of the study here: http://anaximperator.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/only-3-percent-survive-chemotherapy/

  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited November 2011

    The whole idea that we can't destroy the cancer until we get rid of the stem cells makes me wonder why chemo in the first place. From what I've read it seems as if chemo and rads only make the problem worse. I don't want a bandade, I want a cure or quality of life.

     Then there are the side effects. Your body has to be very healthy before taking chemo. And like baywatcher said, I too can't wrap my head around knocking out my immune system when I now need it the most. I truly believe if I took the chemo, I would go down, I would die from the treatment. My immune system is already compromised.

    Because I have the her2+++ gene, I am considering herpectin...and if I take that I don't want to be taking anything else that will negatively effect my body.

    Obviously chemo seems to have helped a lot of women here at bco. I hope it has, and I hope none here has a recurrence. I truly do support your choice...you are really neat women.

    I just don't want to be seen as a idiot for my choice.

  • gillyone
    gillyone Member Posts: 495
    edited November 2011

    A "medical" article written by a "medical intuitive" doesn't hold much credibility for me.

  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited November 2011

    thenewme...I have no problem removing that link I posted if you have new data proving differently. It was something I read. I am not an expert, just searching. But, in my life experience most of my friends dx with stage IV cancer after chemo died within the five year period. Maybe things are changing.

  • msmpatty
    msmpatty Member Posts: 35
    edited November 2011

    Me neither, Gill!  I keep thinking of Steve Jobs who rejected traditional treatment of his cancer for nine months...and it spread.  I say do whatever else you want, but do the treatment too!

  • Suze35
    Suze35 Member Posts: 559
    edited November 2011

    eveberry - I am not HER+, so I can't say this with certainty, but it is my understanding that Herceptin alone is not nearly as effective as when paired with chemo.  Perhaps someone with better research skills can back this up for me?

    I'm not sure there would be much value in just doing Herceptin, and I know other women have struggled to get their doctor to agree to it.

    I respect every woman's choice - as long as it is informed.  We have to be advocates for ourselves in many ways, and as long as you can live with the consequences of your choice, that is your decision. 

    Best wishes.

  • mags20487
    mags20487 Member Posts: 1,092
    edited November 2011

    I believe that we each have to make our own choice.  If no chemo is right for you then don't do chemo.  None of us can judge the other for a decision that we personally made for ourselves regarding our own bodies.  I went with chemo and I too do not regret my personal decision.  Life is always full of choices.  Sounds like you have done your research Eve and I respect your choice. 

    Maggie

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Member Posts: 10
    edited November 2011

    evebarry, along with Herceptin, which alternative or integrative  therapies are you considering, and why?

  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited November 2011

    Thank you Maggie, and all the others that respect my choice. That means a lot!  Others bc sisters,who choose alternative medicine, all want the same respect. They want the freedom to share what we are learning, and altherative ways to approach our disease. Nothing more.