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Discussion with Oncologist #3 and the Singapore Immigration Officers

April 20, 2011

Today, I brought Nanay to another Cancer Center for Cancer Screening. The Medical Oncologist was quite disturbed that she did not accept the standard treatment plan for Her2postive Breast Cancer (chemo, plus Herceptin and radiation). She felt a bit relieved though when Nanay told her that she did not take contraceptive pills, HRT, alcohol and cigarettes. She ordered the breast and pelvic ultrasound, Liver Function Tests and Tumour Markers (for the Liver, Breast, Ovaries, Colon). At this point, she said it might be too late to give her chemo, Herceptin and radiation as it is more than 1 year since her last surgery. Nanay breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that this Oncologist is not going to ask her to take conventional treatment at this point.

However, she said that my mother needs to be monitored by an Oncologist every 3-6 months even if she is taking only alternative cancer therapies and once all the results of the scans are out, she will see Nanay again on Monday. Visits to oncologists who believes that she will die or have recurrence if she did not accept standard treatment makes her so anxious and unable to sleep at night. It also puts me in an awkward position as I have to explain why she refused chemo, Herceptin and radiation.

The ICA Officers again asked her to come back next week and asked us for more evidence that she is receiving treatment here in Singapore (albeit the non-conventional way).

Its a tough time for all of us– we all wanted to see ‘No Evidence of Disease’ or NED (a term used by cancer patients to refer to that period when cancer seems to be dormant– before the next recurrence– or visible malignant tumours). However, NED or ‘No Evidence of Disease’ or NED- could probably mean she have to go back to the Philippines.

We probably need a letter from her original oncologist and this new oncologist to show that she really needs to be closely monitored here in Singapore. I cannot blame the Singapore Immigration for asking us for more evidence as Nanay really looks strong and healthy, 15 months after diagnosis of an agrressive breast cancer.

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