The purpose of this blog is purely educational. It does not advise any reader to forgo medical treatment for any condition. It describes methods that have not yet been proven effective through widespread scientific testing. Readers who are concerned about their health are advised to contact their physician.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Iatrogenic disease - Part 3

In parts 1 and 2 I discussed instances where medical (mis)treatment resulted in patient harm. In this post I will discuss a case of potential harm not due to mistreatment but to inadequate information being given to the patient.

An elderly gentleman I know, who is closing in on 90 years of age (89 this year), was recently diagnosed with stage-3 colon cancer. He had surgery to remove a tumour and was informed by his oncologist that without further treatment he had a 44% chance of recurrence in 5 years. Because the elderly patient was not fit to withstand the rigours of intravenous chemotherapy, his doctor recommended a six-month course of Capecitabine, which would reduce the likelihood of recurrence to 29%. Capecitabine comes in pill form, and the patient would be taking two pills a day, two weeks on, one week off. The side effects are said to be diarrhea, fatigue and pain in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

An internet search of Capecitabine turns up an interesting discussion on CancerCompass, a terrific resource for both patients and care givers on all forms of cancer. While many entries are positive, there is an extremely alarming one (please note that Xeloda is another name for Capecitabine):

We have lost our Mom. She was an active 73 year old with stage 3 colon cancer. She went into the hospital to begin a combination of Xeloda and radiation therapy. Three days later, she's dead! She grew increasingly "sick" immediately following the very first pill of Xeloda. We thought it was an allergic reaction. She worsened every hour and finally on day 3, passed away. We were shocked. Apparently, she was never tested for an enzyme that is crucial to this medicine working. The doctor told us that he has had another patient who had some difficulty with Xeloda and the lack of this enzyme, so isn't there a test for DPD(deficiency) levels? I have checked the web, and Roche does document the need to test for DPD (long chemical name) before administration of Xeloda. In fact, if you lack this enzyme, Xeloda is CONTRA-INDICATED.
No one mentioned to my elderly acquaintance the need to test for this enzyme. Is it the case that his doctors don't know about DPD or that they don't care? Another poster in the discussion wrote about asking the oncologist for this test and being refused because it was expensive, and because the deficiency is supposed to be relatively rare. However, DPD deficiency apparently accounts for 43% of high toxicity reactions to Capecitabine, which clearly can result in significant suffering and death. My elderly acquaintance is going to ask for the DPD test, but he shouldn't have needed the internet to tell him what he trusted his doctor to know.

Why am I bringing this up on a blog about bioenergy healing and cancer? Because I believe, and I have said so in many instances on this blog, that in many cases patients would do better with various forms of energy healing to boost well-being and immunity than with debilitating chemotherapy which is detrimental to both. An 89-year-old man with a 44%/5-year chance of recurrence which a chemo drug would only reduce by 15% is probably one of them. And need I comment on the irresponsibility of doctors who throw the decision on him without even recommending a crucial test that might prevent him dying from the cure?