conventional versus alternative theraphy
After 270+ pages of debate in a breast cancer forum, I found that even if women from both sides disagree on so many issues (conventional, integrated or pure alternative) -they found something in common. I find it hard to read all posts and let everyone relax a bit – so that we all know we should not be fighting against each other, but rather collaborate and demand that an honest, unbiased approach to research should be done for Breast Cancer.
no reference to names of the people “quoted” on this entry to protect their privacy”
What we agree on
1. all of us with BC struggle with the same questions we may never have the answers to. We can research, question and make the best decisions to treat or not to treat. There are no wrong moves in that process as each of us are as individual as our cancers are.
2. The woman i know who has had mets for 25 years is an outlier, most women with mets fall within the 2 to 5 year range. However, the number of women living longer than that, sometimes much longer than that, with mets is growing. But I also agree with you that it is NOT acceptable. NOT good enough.
3. we never know whether a treatment is going to work. Then you get into the quality vs. quantity of life issue. You may do chemotherapy and become very sick and then go onto progression. If you are triple negative and go to stage 4, you may only have a few months.
4. Actually, if you leave a tumor in the breast, with no other treatment,it frequently becomes ‘fungating’, which means it breaks through the skin and becomes ulcerated and stinking. And the infection therein can kill you. (Nanay: the infection will kill you not the cancer. I am not saying not to use SURGERY at all—but to decide when is the best time to do it, and not to always say that it has to be the FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE. I agree that surgery should be done for infected area of the body – but for the smallest tumour—not showing infections am not really sure about it being the first line of defense – the 3 ladies I know who was at this stage actually had surgery in the end—and they are still alive now)
5. The Tailor X trial. It will show which of the ER+ patients does well with and without chemo based on the Oncotype test, which has been a revolution in cancer care. It took what looked like a really bad situation in my case and showed that I have a swinging chance at being cancer free in 10 years. Is is 100%? Of course not. But it is a massive, aggregated database of profiled women, and I happen to look like some genetically and therefore I was able to be diagnosed differently than I would have been 15 years ago.
Doctors operate on statistics because they are, to some degree, reliable. They may not be what we want them to be–higher percentage difference in outcome with endocrine therapy, for instance, but they ARE measured. This is, from the logic standpoint, just not the same as saying “you get it or you don’t”. Cancermath and Adjuvant may be faulty, but they are not made from nothing. Many will argue them, but the are the foundation for every one of our oncologist’s approach to our treatment.
5. I see FAR more fundraising for breast cancer than any other disease. I’m not going to disagree with the idea that the organizations have become rich and pompous, but geez, they are still out there beating the bushes.
6. Finally, i can get frustrated with Big Pharma and the profit motive too but I truly don’t buy that they find the lack of a cure more lucrative. The company that develops the cure will reap enormous, enormous, financial benefit. A more realistic concern is that they will develop such a cure and make it prohibitively expensive
7. You die because there is cancer in your vital organs. At that time, you are no longer Stage IIB. You are Stage IV. People who die as a result of breast cancer are all stage IV. Never stage 0, 1 or 2.
Another way to say it It’s not a stage of cancer that kills you, it’s the cancer itself. Stage only indicates how far along the cancer is when you catch it. (nanay: however it can only kill you when the cancer has been attached to a vital organ)
8. The main obstacle to achieving a cure for breast cancer is that it is not one disease; the distinctions between ER+/ER-/HER2+/TN etc etc are only a part of the picture.Each individual tumor is made up of several different oncogenes, and until these are all identified and mapped, sucessful treatments will remain haphazard.Some will effect a cure, others will not.
We can but hope that this line of research will yield results in the very near future.
This conversation made me curious about government funding for cancer, so I looked it up. Interestingly, even though breast cancer is only the third most common cancer, it gets twice as much government funding as any other cancer type — about 600 million per year. By contrast, lung cancer, which is the most common type gets about 247 million dollars per year.
9. So true….I cringe every time I see another ‘pink’ offering…and the people who feel so virtuous for buying it.
And the general perception at large that perpetuates the myth that once you reach the magical 5 years you are cured. And the strange looks you get when you try to correct that falsehood, knowing that they probably think you are being paranoid and ‘negative’.
And being told that none of us knows what the future holds…..why, a bus might be on the horizon…….
Sorry, I digress…..but maybe we really do all need to get angry and kick up a storm to get the appropriate attention that breast cancer research requires.
9.. But, you’re all right. We need a cure. And I feel science is probably getting close, now that we have the ability to observe genes within cancer cells and understand how they operate. The emergence of “targeted” therapies like Herceptin, Gleevec….all bode well. I think we’ll have a cure for cancer this century, though probably too late (in more ways than one) for all of us. I don’t know how to speed up the process.
10. No, that lump alone will not kill you. It’s what happens to the cells that have already gone rogue and run off the nodes or the blood stream. (Nanay: exactly the same meaning of what, we are talking about—I don’t understand why so sound like all 3 of you are arguing when you all mean the same thing)
12. We could have avoided this by not abusing antibiotics in animal feed and for the common cold. I’d like to know of one illness that is curable other than infections (that anti-biotics, anti-fungals or anti-virals can cure). Surgery can cure many things, and in some rare cancers or early cancers we can cure them. (Nanay: I agree that surgery can cure many things like an infection- but it should not always be the first line of defense for all cancers—it should be a selective process). Vaccines prevent many serious illnesses but mostly cannot cure them once infection has set in.
Asthma, diabetes, arthritis, the common cold, skin conditions, malaria, Aids… The list is huge. We can treat them but not cure them so they remain at some level or return again.
my few cents worth:am so tired of reading all the arguments here.. I just would like to end my time here to say that although am not purely convinced to go conventional for my mother and honestly not 100% convinced that my mother will live a longer life because of alternative theraphy (100% agreeing that she have better quality of life with alternative approach)…
I TRULY BELIEVE that there are so MANY THINGS THAT WE AGREE ON, despite of all the things we disagree on– these points that we agree on are very important for us to take ACTION together– to DEMAND for honest, unbiased research on both conventional and alternative approach and that diagnostic tests/treatments be made affordable for everyone..
whilst everyone agree that my mother’s cancer is agressive based on her diagnosis. Most people who see her everyday, would not believe their eyes, as she really look healthy.. its actually one of the issues am facing now with the Singapore immigration because I cannot justify why she need to stay longer with me here in Singapore.
its fine to be suspicious ive been suspicious too..anyway, there are really things that we cannot possibly explain due to lack of clinical studies in cases such as my mother’s case
if I did not see my mother getting well even better prior to being diagnosed, I would have been skeptical, but she really had remarkably improved well being.. she can sleep well now, her liver spots are gone, skin more supple, arthritis gone, her mood swings gone (oh really good for me– coz I am her favorite target for her mood swings)..
I am glad I did not make the decision for her.. she did,, I just supported it.. and at nights when just like you I cannot make terms with that decision, I probed deeper and asked and probed some more.. until I have thought this is enough… and probably a coincidence ive seen that remarkable improvement in her well being…
then I stopped all the crazy late night research finding everythign to support her decision.. for whatever its worth, we have had the best year so far, the best year in all of my 36 years on earth
we dont have to deal with nausea, hair fall and other SE of chemo & rads. and now am convinced we could have prevented her ordeal during and after surgery.