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Topic: Oncologist pushes Avatar course at me: borderline unethical?

Forum: Complementary and Holistic Medicine and Treatment — Complementary medicine refers to treatments that are used WITH standard treatment. Holistic medicine is a term used to describe therapies that attempt to treat the patient as a whole person.

Posted on: Oct 24, 2016 10:13AM

claireinaz wrote:

Dear all,

First, I trust my oncologist; I vetted her over 5 years ago when I began to evaluate treatment, and weighed her against my second opinion doc from MD Anderson. My MO came highly recommended by friends and others who had heard of her or worked with her. But in the past years she periodically pushes this "avatar" course at me.

When I met with her at my regular check-up last Friday, I asked her if there was anything I wasn't doing to try to keep myself safe (I keep my BMI around 19-20%; eat clean, no meat, low fat, plant-based, take my AI regularly, exercise, meditate, blah blah). I've asked her in the past if there is something else I should be doing. Instead of being a doctor, she handed me this brochure about Avatar, and try to talk me into it.

When I tell her I'm anxious about being there to see her, she tells me that's normal yet pushes this Avatar course at me, too.

On Friday she gave me her private cell # and wanted me to call this past weekend to talk for an hour about the course. (I didn't) When I've told her I can't take 9 days off and pay $$ to do this course--they only have it in Orlando--she blows by it and continues on her enthusiastic, "selling the course" pattern. Last Friday she told me there was a woman who did the course and has lived with metastatic cancer for 20 years (implying that the course is helping keep her alive?).

I like my MO but I find this really unethical. What do you think? Anyone know about this course? I looked it up online and this program/course has some markings of cult behavior--if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is....and the website is not transparent about cost, or what they do in the course, etc.

Claire

9/29/11 ILC, 2 c. stage II grade 1, ER/PR+ HER2-, 6/11 nodes, lumpectomy, DDAC x 4, Taxol x 12, 33 rads, Tamoxifen/arimidex/aromasin, BMX/immed recon 7/3/13 "In the midst of winter, I found in me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus
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Oct 24, 2016 10:17AM - edited Oct 24, 2016 10:34AM by pupmom

What is Avatar? I was able to find a link. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_C... Seems like a Scientologist scam. I would run, not walk, away from that MO.

Life is what happens while we're making other plans. Dx 10/18/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 24, 2016 10:32AM ksusan wrote:

Yes, it sounds out of her scope of practice and not competent.

Mutant uprising quashed. Dx 1/2015, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/2015, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Oct 24, 2016 10:33AM seachain wrote:

I just looked it up, it just looks like snake oil crap like LeVel Thrive. I had a dr. trying to push on me one of those one time and I looked her in the eye and told her that by my knowledge my insurance doesn't pay for that type of stuff, but I'll be happy to inform them that when I came to have a consultation they pay for, I was offered this as part of the consultation and the discussion took so many minutes out of the x minutes billed to the insurance. She didn't know how to backpedal faster.

If you want to know about risks with LD Flap reconstruction, ask me. Everything that could go wrong... well, did. Surgery 10/18/2009 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Latissimus dorsi flap, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap, Silicone implant Dx 10/19/2009, LCIS/DCIS/ILC/IDC/IDC: Cribriform, Right, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/19/2009 Reconstruction (left): Latissimus dorsi flap; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap Chemotherapy 5/3/2010 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 8/11/2010 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Hormonal Therapy 8/31/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole) Surgery 9/14/2010 Reconstruction (left): Latissimus dorsi flap; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap Surgery 3/16/2011 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction Surgery 1/6/2016 Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap, Nipple reconstruction, Nipple tattoo
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Oct 24, 2016 11:30AM - edited Oct 24, 2016 11:31AM by pupmom

Thank you kayb! I have problems with links, probably just me, on this website.

Life is what happens while we're making other plans. Dx 10/18/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 24, 2016 11:43AM sandcastle wrote:

I, just googled this course and it is for Profit....I think I would RUN from this Doctor and find a new one....Liz

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Oct 25, 2016 11:28AM claireinaz wrote:

Thanks ladies, because in my original post I explained why I can't run from this doctor, I simply wanted to know if you felt her periodic actions to suggest Avatar were borderline unethical. I'm glad you all agree with me.

I think I'll just stop asking MO what else I can do to protect myself from c that I might not be doing and check in with my ND more instead. If I stop asking, MO will stop pushing.

I still hope to hear from someone on these boards who might have actually taken the course, so I can hear a first-hand account of their experience, so I'll leave this open for a while.


Claire

9/29/11 ILC, 2 c. stage II grade 1, ER/PR+ HER2-, 6/11 nodes, lumpectomy, DDAC x 4, Taxol x 12, 33 rads, Tamoxifen/arimidex/aromasin, BMX/immed recon 7/3/13 "In the midst of winter, I found in me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus
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Oct 25, 2016 01:14PM Momine wrote:

Good heavens, I would report that to the medical board

Dx 6/1/2011, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 7/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 6/19/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/12/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy 1/8/2012 Surgery 3/7/2012 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2012 Femara (letrozole)
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Oct 25, 2016 04:49PM sbelizabeth wrote:

Wow, what a pickle. You trust and respect your MO, but she pressure-sells the Avatar Course, which looks like an expensive Scientology mumbo-jumbo scheme.

I once had a friend who was a big-shot in Mannatech, a vitamin/supplement pyramid sales organization. She was eager to get me signed up to sell this stuff, and I finally was very direct with her.

"I respect your choice to believe these products promote good health and to sell them yourself, but I have no interest whatsoever in them. I don't want to be involved in Mannatech in any way."

That helped, and she never approached me again. Perhaps a similar statement to your MO would put the Avatar Course out of the picture entirely.

pinkribbonandwheels.wordpress.... Dx 10/20/2011, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 12/15/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/21/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 7/19/2012 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/15/2013 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Oct 25, 2016 06:12PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

Unethical? I would certainly feel very uncomfortable with a doctor pushing any product on me, even Tupperware. Sorry, but I would report this conduct to your local or state governing board

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole)
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Oct 25, 2016 08:55PM mebmarj wrote:

Every health professional that works for any hospital or group facility has to attend annual compliance training. In the training you have to list any conflict of interest. It is completely unethical if the doctor in any way can benefit financially from you taking this outside course that implies longevity, she gave you her personal cell number and tried to sell it to you even outside of her regularoffice hours.

That's like working for a Chevy dealer but trying to sell a faithful Chevy customer on oil changes thru their family owned shop rather than the dealership. Use caution and listen to your gut.

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Nov 3, 2016 10:59AM claireinaz wrote:

Quite frankly I guess I posted this because I was shocked at her behavior. I've been seeing her for 5 years and this was the first semi-hard sell that she tried. I am not ready to fire her--trustworthy cancer care is hard to find even in my small Az city, and I drive 45 min one way to see her, because friends from Mayo in Phoenix recommended her to me.

But geez, at the very least unprofessional, and now appears rather unethical, too. I just wanted to know if I needed to step up exercise or stop eating some particular food, or share most recent research with me (she does cheerfully, when I ask) and instead she offers me this.

Claire

9/29/11 ILC, 2 c. stage II grade 1, ER/PR+ HER2-, 6/11 nodes, lumpectomy, DDAC x 4, Taxol x 12, 33 rads, Tamoxifen/arimidex/aromasin, BMX/immed recon 7/3/13 "In the midst of winter, I found in me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus
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Nov 3, 2016 11:22AM SusansGarden wrote:

Yeah, I would just stop asking her if there was anything else you can do and keep the lifestyle questions for your ND.

On a side note, I have a friend that lives in AZ (Phoenix) and I do notice that alternative treatments seem to be a lot more popular and widely available there. She doesn't have cancer, but tells me about how they offer cryotherapy at her local gym! She also gets prolozone and oxygen therapy regularly among other things. I've looked into prolozone (for knee pain) and it's not very common up here in Washington, yet it sounds like it's offered on every corner there!

"If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes." Dx 10/6/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/30/2010 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 2/1/2011 Surgery 7/10/2013 Prophylactic ovary removal
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Nov 3, 2016 07:45PM claireinaz wrote:

Susansgarden, Az is weird. We are ultra conservative, yet we offer medical marijuana legally. We also allow a lot of leeway for NDs to offering treatments, and a lot of those treatments are even covered by some major insurance companies.

Claire

9/29/11 ILC, 2 c. stage II grade 1, ER/PR+ HER2-, 6/11 nodes, lumpectomy, DDAC x 4, Taxol x 12, 33 rads, Tamoxifen/arimidex/aromasin, BMX/immed recon 7/3/13 "In the midst of winter, I found in me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus
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Jan 21, 2017 06:47AM Wildplaces wrote:

Ahhh if only it were that easy...and it only took one course.

Keep the oncologist if you feel comfortable with her and the rest of her management ( meanwhile stay informed) but rest assured that it is rather strange behaviour, and medicswho were great 5 years ago might not be so in 5 years.

Having said that it could be a personality quirk and outside Avatar she might be brilliant.

Dx 8/5/2016, DCIS/IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/12/2016 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic ovary removal Chemotherapy 9/11/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 2/21/2017 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Feb 6, 2017 07:20AM Fearless59 wrote:

Hi, I have been Scientology since 1999 and Avatar is not a Scientology program.

Scientology is "where science and religion meet," and is all about helping people become more able.

Scientology shows up in Wikipedia's definition of Avatar most likely because we had a legal case against Avatar's founder in connection with our copyrights and/or trademarks.

Unfortunately the Avatar Wikipedia definition has confused people a little and should be corrected so that people don't mistake Avatar for Scientology.

Thank you.

Dx 12/7/2016, DCIS/IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIB, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 6, 2017 09:27AM - edited Feb 6, 2017 09:27AM by ruthbru

It is at the very least borderline unethical. She is taking advantage of her patients at a vulnerable moment (if she is trying to 'sell' you, she is doing the same to others). If you have an otherwise good relationship with her, I would have a serious talk with her about this. If you don't turn her in, someone else down the line will do so (I, myself, would definitely be complaining to someone higher up the line), and she will be in serious trouble.

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche Dx 2/2007, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 6, 2017 09:42AM reflect wrote:

Nothing borderline about it, it's unethical. If you feel you can talk about this with her and salvage the doc/pt relationship, do it. Boundaries are critical for trust. As for me, I'd be running away.

Hormonal Therapy 9/20/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 10/1/2015 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 2/3/2016, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 7/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/25/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/13/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary
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Feb 9, 2017 09:31PM AKJ wrote:

Any chance your MO meant the nutrition plan? https://www.avatarnutrition.com


Dx 12/2/2013, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/20/2014 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 2/27/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 5/18/2014 Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 7/4/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Feb 22, 2017 09:06AM claireinaz wrote:

Hi AKJ,

She didn't mention it, but talked about scholarships for the course. So I I don't think so.

Thanks, though.

I have my 5 month check up this Monday. I'm going to give her one more chance then re-evaluate. And I'm not going to ask her what else I might be doing to protect myself--I already know what to do and I think I'm doing it as best I can. She's not great with advice, but she's great with treatment and being current on new developments.

Claire

9/29/11 ILC, 2 c. stage II grade 1, ER/PR+ HER2-, 6/11 nodes, lumpectomy, DDAC x 4, Taxol x 12, 33 rads, Tamoxifen/arimidex/aromasin, BMX/immed recon 7/3/13 "In the midst of winter, I found in me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus

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