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Cancer Detection & Treatment

Any cancer diagnosis is traumatising to both the patient as well as the family members and friends. Most people are thrown off guard, with grand life plans coming to a screeching halt in order to decide what is the next course of action for treatment.

Should one go through conventional treatment, ie surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy or should one opt for traditional holistic treatments? It is often a very tough decision to make. The patient may sometimes let the immediate family member/spouse/children make the decision. And the decision maker is filled with worry and fear, for the wrong decision can cause the cancer to spread and becomes untreatable- and if that happens, the person will be filled with guilt for the rest of his/her life.

Recently, an ex-colleague of mine was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. She opted for the conventional treatment- and anyone who have to go for surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy will have to suffer terribly for months, as the aggrestive conventional treatment will totally break down the body’s immune system in order to kill the cancer cells.

She told me that each time she literally shivers before the chemo section because they will put in the chemo cocktail mixes in a drip mixed with glucose water (it was too strong to go through via injection through her veins), and she will really suffer terribly days after the jab. She will also have to go back after 4 days for another 3 jabs through her stomach to boost her immune system (jabs are administered at areas where there are lots of adipose cells).

I really admire her courage when going through this terrible ordeal- the time I managed to catch up with her (she came back for a day to settle some issues with HR), she told me in detail about the treatment and the fact that she’s trying to stay as positive as she can.
Truth to be told, I used to be in very bad terms with her boss as we never see eye to eye. But the care and concern that he had shown to her turned me around and we subsequently parted in good terms.
Despite being very busy and with the team having too much of work to do, he told her to take it easy, and make arrangements for her to do easy work that does not involve working with computer. Even know he knew that he could not get a temporary head count to cover her work, he still insisted that she take off and stay at home to rest, and come back till she is fully recovered. He just wanted her to be well as she has 2 young school going children.

Even after the first chemo shot, all her hair fell off after 14 days. How did she combat the situation? She wore a partial tudong (head veils wore by Muslim women) and wore a baju kurung so that she does not get stares over her bald head. She also maintain a cheerful disposition.

I brought her story to point is because the initial months of conventional treatment is very tough and just very, very horrible (no words could ever describe the feeling). However, in early diagnosis, opting for conventional treatment would be the best option other than going 100% holistic or organic.

Many people will say that chemo and radiotherapy is like injection poison into the body. In fact, the traditional treatments will advocate that surgery, chemo and radiotherapy should not be done as it will cause the cancer cells to spread throughout the body and result in reoccurance and secondaries years down the line.

There are also claims that the chemo/radiotherapy treatments result in the highest mortality rates- but my mom’s friends who were ex- staff nurses and one who is active in Hospis mentioned that the high mortality rate is normally attributed to patients refusing conventional treatment during early stage. Instead, the patient tries all kinds of holistic cures, organic diets, etc and when it does not work, the patient turned back to conventional treatment. By the time, it is already too late as the cancer is already end stage.

Alternative healing like qi gong, reiki, tai chi, exercise, etc should compliment the conventional treatment and not done only exclusively. One also need to consider carefully before going organic or vegetarian- no doubt, vegetarian and organic diets are healthy- provided if our bodies are healthy. Once diseases cells come in, our immune system need to survive on nutrients provided by a balanced diet.

Personally, I believe that when our time is up in this world, we have to go. No matter how much of money we have, we cannot cure or prevent death.

If our time is not up, we will survive even natural disasters (2 years ago when I was in Penang, I personally saw the ‘miracle baby’ whose parents operate a drink store at Batu Ferringhi- the baby was swept away by the tsunami waves, only to be returned back unharmed, on a matress!).

The older generations also mentioned that each one of us have “hurdles” or “danger” during certain stage of our lives and that we need to be careful- if we get over the hurdle, we will be ok but if not, then it’s …..

Therefore, we need to increase chances of survival during early stages of cancer diagnosis, the safer bet may be to opt for conventional treatment, and compliment with alternative therapies such as energy healing and balanced diet with strong doses of positive thinking and daily prayers.

Recommended further reading:
1. Cancer: Being Early Counts … a cancer survivor emphasises that the key to the battle against cancer is early discovery and proper treatment (The Sunday Star, 6 July 08)
2. The age of reason by Dr Albert Lim (The Sunday Star, 29 June 08)
3. Cancer Cure: Traditional Chinese Medicine vs Western Medicine by Dr Albert Lim (25 Jan 08)

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