Why Choose Alternative Cancer Treatments?

"A Dose of Reality: Losing William to the Big Business of Cancer in America"

A book extract showing that standard treatment decisions may not be taken in view of the cancer patient's survival or quality of life but according to monetary and insurance considerations.

Copyright © by HCN 2012, book excerpts reprinted with special permission

"A Dose of Reality" is a unique book written by Deborah Walters Childs about the life and death of the "love of her life" who was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, received the conventional highly toxic treatments, developed secondary tumors in due time, and after more noxious treatments, died.

People typically suffer and die "noiselessly" following a cancer diagnosis - and their subsequent journey on the conveyor belt of standard treatments (usually surgery, chemotherapy, then "experimental chemo" where they serve as voluntary guinea pigs for new drugs, and/or radiotherapy). This author, however, decided not to allow the life, suffering and death of her soulmate to vanish without a trace...

"A Dose of Reality" poignantly exposes many facets of cancer treatment as usual - on the one side the utter naive trust in (and passive submission to) doctor's orders of a "patient" in the very face of the (apparently frequently encountered) arrogance, disinterest, negativity and aloofness of the oncologists in charge, and on the other the gargantuan struggle and ultimate helplessness of the "next of heart" frantically trying, on her own and to the best of her ability, to save her beloved both from the disease and the noxious treatments offered as (presumably but erroneously) the only viable option.

The following extract from the book "A Dose of Reality" (with emphases by Healing Cancer Naturally) highlights an unsuspected facet of orthodox cancer treatment which may come as a surprise even to those who already know about the business of cancer - money interests actually overriding consideration of the patient's best interest (as seen from an allopathic viewpoint)...

Update February 2016: The book was recently updated and published under a new title (see below under "Book"). As the author explained to me, "I just felt the world, or my world, wasn't ready for a dose of reality, so I changed the title..."

[Beginning of excerpt:]

"Everything continued to move in fast motion now. Whole brain radiation was recommended to start three days later on June 18, 2007. Everyone was still overwhelmed by the fog-inducing news. I couldn't stop thinking, "Who gets nine brain tumors?" I didn't know anything about treating the brain, so it was back to the research library for me.

I thought there was no choice but to do what the doctors said to do in such a devastating situation. Later, I would learn that there were viable options and alternatives to consider, if we had not been so stunned and afraid to take the time.

Had we been exposed in written form to the common side effects as described in the hospital's own brochures about whole brain radiation, we may have insisted on time to think things over. But I never saw a brochure that day. The doctor may have mentioned there were a host of worst-case scenarios associated with the treatment, but we didn't hear about any other treatment options to choose from, except radiation.

I know for certain I would have remembered reading whole brain radiation literature which stated, "patients treated in this way have an expected median survival of only four months," and "new metastatic tumors may occur as soon as whole brain radiation therapy is discontinued." Wow; four months! Not to mention its warnings that radiation to the brain can produce "permanent long-term side effects and can include the development of severe radiation-induced dementia, memory loss, speech impediments and loss of eyesight, which will impair the ability of the person to function in a meaningful manner." Who would knowingly take a risk like that?

I discovered further through online research that whole brain radiation can alter taste buds, kill good brain cells, and may end the patient's ability to swallow and go to the bathroom independently. Again, who would choose these possibilities over the independence William had with the brain tumors?

If all the specific horrors that I later read about whole brain radiation had been disclosed to William and me that day in written form, it would certainly have taken more than three days to agree to that treatment.

Focal radiation or gamma knife technology brought the first detectable upward curl of the doctor's lips on the day he delivered the bad news to us. It did not occur to me that day to ask why the targeted treatment could not have been used as a first response to William's tumors, rather than destroying unaffected matter in his most vital organ. It didn't register as a question, because I had not yet seen the marketing brochure that touted the gamma knife radio-surgery this way: "Repeated radio-surgery for brain metastases is effective and some patients experience relatively long survival. Repeated radio-surgery is associated with a low risk of radiation-induced injury." Four months versus relatively long survival — which one would you choose?

If the difference in the two treatments had been shown to us that day, I think anyone would have asked why it made sense to first radiate the whole brain rather than use focal radio-surgery. I do recall the doctor saying that whole brain radiation was recommended first because there were so many tumors, indicating his whole brain was affected, rather than one or two spots. From the brochure, I also gathered that some of the tumors may have been too small to be effectively treated by the focal radiation equipment. Still, if we'd had more time to think, and if we had the brochure before both radiation treatments were performed on William, an entirely different conclusion may have been drawn about how to tackle the tumors and the effect on his quality of life.

Later, after both procedures had been performed on William, and he started experiencing extreme fatigue and other side issues, I encouraged him to ask the oncology radiologist who authorized whole brain radiation, why focal radiation had not been used first. I listened as he said in loose terms that sometimes protocol determines the order and because insurance companies don't always allow gamma knife radio-surgery unless whole brain radiation has been delivered first. So, to use the super-performance radiation tool that the doctor wanted to use on William, they had to first risk his brain and quality of life to appease the insurance companies. Whole brain radiation promised zero results except four extra months of severe fatigue. Only, William didn't get four months. He didn't even get three.

The bottom line is that insurance companies drove William's treatment decisions, rather than doctors. With nine brain tumors, I suspect that William was not a financial bet many insurance companies would be willing to take. Since the gamma knife surgery was scheduled just one month from the last whole brain radiation treatment, perhaps insurers thought it was unlikely William would live through the short time between the two surgeries. The insurance company would certainly save money if William died before the expensive gamma knife treatment was performed. But he did not. He lived long enough to receive both radiation treatments to his brain. Apparently, the medical community underestimated both William's great physical strength and his gargantuan desire to live. He may have been treated like a statistic, but William was not one of many. He was one-of-a-kind.

Clearly, the best chance for the patient's survival or quality of life is not always the driving factor behind the chosen treatment. Perhaps more often than we know, it is a monetary decision between the insurance company and the hospital, rather than a patient's ability to beat the odds."

Book

Last Promise: Losing My Heart ~ Finding My Soul

by Deborah Walters Childs

Formerly published under the title: "A Dose of Reality: Losing William to the Big Business of Cancer in America", this is the updated version of the book.

Please note that you can support this humanitarian site at no extra cost to you by shopping for this book (or any other item) via Healing Cancer Naturally’s Amazon links.

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