If I was given the choice between dying and chemo, along with its constant companions of surgery and radiation, I would definitely choose the former. Its not that I want to die but when I do, I would like it to happen with a bit of dignity. Ive never understood ridiculous predictions like Youve got six months to live or Without treatment, you will die. We are all going to die but deciding when is not within the purview of mere mortals. My argument is that we should be talking about having a good death rather than desperately clinging to a life made unlivable through chemical intervention.
Weve been hoodwinked. You cant say cancer without thinking chemotherapy, pink ribbons and walking for the cure. People think they are terrified of cancer but really they are terrified of the conventional treatment for cancer because somehow the line between the two has blurred in the public psyche.
In Struggling to Stay Human in Medicine, David Reiser says: we learn in medical school that the drugs used to treat cancer may cause emesis, alopecia, ulcerative stomatitis and hemorrhagic desquamating enteritis. We all know what these words mean, but our feelings would be vastly different if we consciously thought to ourselves: These drugs make my patient vomit a lot. His hair falls out and his mouth becomes filled with open sores. If Im not careful, his intestinal lining may slough off and his guts fill up with blood.
But were all okay with this because weve watched countless movies and read countless stories in novels and magazines about brave people battling cancer with drugs. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose but the important message is that they fought. The media is saturated with tear-jerkers that tell us over and over again in a million different ways that cancer is chemotherapy. Cancer means losing your hair, puking, feeling awful, fighting a horrendous disease and maybe coming out the other side of the battle victorious.
No, its the treatment that causes your hair to fall out. Its the treatment that makes you puke your heart out. Its the treatment that decimates your immune system, leaving you powerless to fight anything. Its the treatment that exhausts you to the point where death must seem like a blessed relief.
This brainwashing has been going on for so long that most people assume that their only hope is chemotherapy. After all, its the gold standard of conventional cancer treatment. The fact that it doesnt work very well seems to be taking an awfully long time to filter down to people like us, to the ordinary man in the street. Despite billions of dollars being thrown at cancer research, theres no cure in sight but people are flocking to chemo as if it were a cure.
As far back as 1991, Albert Braverman MD, said in Medical oncology in the 1990s Many medical oncologists recommend chemotherapy for virtually any tumor, with a hopefulness undiscouraged by almost invariable failure. (Lancet 1991)
Things havent changed much since then. In a 2004 study, the authors noted: 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. They concluded: it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival.
Did you read that? It says minor contribution but its the major offering for cancer by mainstream medicine. We cant blame the doctors though. They are forced to tiptoe around the unrealistic expectations of their patients and families on the one hand, insurance companies on the other and operate under the ever present threat of litigation.
They Know it Doesnt Work
The pharmaceutical companies know chemo doesnt work. Youd think they would just pack it in but they havent missed a beat. Instead they have come up with a whole new set of strategies and yet more drugs. One strategy is multiple rounds of drug treatment. If you survive stage one and stage two, theres always stage three and even stage four waiting in the wings.
The other strategy, proudly backed by the FDA to bring lifesaving drugs to patients, involves fast tracking new drugs through Accelerated Approval. I dont know about you but my alarm bells rang rather loudly when I read that.
A number of these hastily approved drugs are for cancer, including Erivedge, the first FDA approved drug for late-stage (metastatic) basal cell cancer but FDA did not require a showing that Erivedge improved survival. Ill let you draw your own conclusions from that.
Stivarga, a drug developed for advanced colorectal cancer, was approved in 5 months from the date of submission on the strength of this: The median overall survival was 6.4 months for the Stivarga arm versus 5.0 months for the placebo arm.
So you can buy one whole month, one week and five days, on average, for a mere $10,000 plus some small change. Permonth. During this time you could look forward to feeling as weak as a kitten, looking a tad skeletal from the combination of weight and appetite loss while your blood pressure goes north and your voice goes south. And then there are the possible joys of the jolly-sounding palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia.
This charming condition only seems to accompany chemo, go figure, and involves your hands and or feet turning into itchy, tingling, burning lobster look-alikes filled with blisters, ulcers, sores, calluses and pain. Of course you can manage this with more medication like corticosteroid creams, pain relievers, topical anesthetics (if you still have any place left on your night stand) and avoiding hot baths, saunas, the sun, garden and household tools, knives, screwdrivers, tight clothing and shoes, cleaning productsa life.
But you will still be alive, heavily out of pocket, hanging on by a thread and feeling like death but alive! The dosage instructions for Stivarga are Continue treatment until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. In other words, until the cancer kills you or you just cant stand it anymore. By this time, surely you would be welcoming death with open arms.
Killing you Slowly
Modern cancer medicine has the dubious honor of surpassing most other forms of torture because its presentation is so disingenuous. Even the name chemotherapy is an outright lie, selling hope where there is none. Therapy stands for cure, healing, remedy or treatment. This is hardly an accurate description for the cruel practice of injecting noxious, carcinogenic chemicals into the human body.
Chemo is inherently toxic, thats how its supposed to work against cancer cells. Now if it kills cancer cells, you have to ask yourself what it does to normal cells. It damages them because it aint fussy; it doesnt selectively pick the bad from the good. Chemotherapy drugs are so dangerous that the people administering them have to wear protective clothing.
Even if chemo appears to shrink the original tumor, it flattens your immune system and initiates the production of a protein in healthy cells which feeds tumors. It also sets the stage for resistance to future chemotherapy treatment. Most cases of secondary cancer are caused by medically sanctioned cancer treatment.
If by some miracle you survive the cure, your body will never be the same. Cognitive impairment, known as chemo brain, is a common side effect and brain cells continue to die, even after the treatment has stopped.
Smoke and Mirrors
How have we been persuaded that fundamentally poisonous chemicals that are known to be carcinogenic can possibly cure cancer? Its completely insane. In late stage cancer, how can prolonging a life by a few months with a drug that will make those few months utterly miserable even be a viable choice?
Theres nothing like a bit of guilt and fear to keep you in line. People are always talking about beating cancer or kicking cancers butt. Cancer is the enemy which must be vanquished. This is handy for the pharmaceutical industry because it can whip out the weapons, at a price of course.
Its no accident that chemo drugs are ridiculously pricey, pharma companies arent stupid. They know that if the drugs were cheap, we wouldnt place much faith in them. The very fact that they are insanely expensive is deliberate and it has nothing to do with research and development costs and everything to do with psychology. As pharmaceutical giants typically spend twice as much on marketing and promotions than on R&D, they have plenty of dosh to figure out what makes us tick.
The placebo effect is very annoying to drug companies except when it comes to price. As it is human nature to think that the expensive drug is better than the cheap one, the perception about the most expensive drug is that it must be the best. The Rolls Royce of drugs is the specialty ones developed for rare diseases.
Its actually the height of brilliance to persuade people to submit to being poisoned, with absolutely no guarantee that the poison will do anything other than make them throw up and then charge them a princely sum of money for the pleasure. Its a bit like the guy who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that makes you look forward to the trip. Its all smoke and mirrors folks.
Once you start on the chemo route theres that little thing known as cognitive dissonance that ensures you will keep going. The more money, time and effort you invest in something like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, the less you are likely to be willing to admit that its not a good idea. Youre in too deep.
Besides, if you have used up all your savings or gone into debt to save a loved one, you will be so busy trying to keep your head above water and taking them for treatments that you wont have the time or energy to stop and question the wisdom of your choices. You cant stop because of the money either because who can put a price on life.
The patients have to live with the guilt of knowing how much their families have sacrificed for them. They often feel morally obliged to suck it up and see the treatments through to the end. Chemo gives people a sense that they are doing something, taking action and not giving in or giving up but in many cases doing absolutely nothing has a better outcome. Even if you dont change your diet, your outlook or address your emotional state, you will still be in a better position than if you had chemo. Statistics show you will probably live longer too.
There isnt a cure for cancer there are hundreds of cures. Cancer isnt the enemy, its the messenger. Its there to tell you something is out of whack in your life. Instead of just focusing on a disease, you can start focusing on health whole body health, which must incorporate the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. You are more than just a collection of cells.
Instead of flooding your body with poison, you can flood it with nutrients like wheat grass and real food. Instead of flooding your mind with aggression, guilt, worry and fear, you can relax, meditate, laugh, love and enjoy the present moment. At the end of the day, you can only live one moment at a time so feeling good now is your only option.
So yes, if I ever face the choice between death and chemo, Im going with death. It doesnt scare me half as much as modern medicine. At the very least, I bet it would be a far nicer death than the chemically hastened one and it would be on my terms.