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Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

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Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Lindsey [6.8119] on October 24, 2009 at 11:11:31:

We had great news that my sister in law's cancer showed no evidence of spread and the tumor itself (less than 1 centimeter -- it was caught on MRI) was completely removed by surgery (she opted for double mastectomy because of family history -- her mother died of breast cancer.) She mentioned that in light of the foregoing, she may not have to have chemo. I held my tongue but wanted to say that she doesn't "have to" have chemo -- it's her body and her decision. But I kept my trap shut -- however, I am wondering why chemo would be used as a "preventative" measure in someone with such early breast cancer when there is no sign of spread and she already had a double mastectomy? She is 47. I want to support whatever decision she makes as it is her body and when it comes to cancer treatment -- I think there are many ways to conquer it. But it seems to me that she has been through tremendous trauma (major surgery, emotional stress of cancer diagnoses) and that given the very early stage of her cancer and the fact she head her breasts removed, I don't see why she needs to rush to make the decision about further "treatment." I admit I'm biased because my father had several rounds of chemo for prostate cancer which ruined the quality of life he had left...


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Walt Stoll [93.7902] on October 24, 2009 at 11:43:32:

In Reply to: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Lindsey [6.8119] on October 24, 2009 at 11:11:31:

Lindsey,

I definitely agree with your assessment.If it were me,I would definitely not opt for the chemo. Even the bilateral mastectomy, with a lesion this size and extent, was an over reaction, in my opinion.

She has to do whatever she feels comfortable with even though it may be the wrong decision. One would hope that her docs would FULLY educate her to the realities.

There are many resources where she could educate herself but SHE is the one who has to do it. You cannot be her savior.

Walt


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Ron [3468.8172] on October 24, 2009 at 13:12:38:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Walt Stoll [93.7902] on October 24, 2009 at 11:43:32:

Hi Walt,

Is it possible that the statistics for Cancer Cures are being manipulated by the practitioners... to create the impression that there are great strides being made in the fight against cancer mortality?
I wonder how many benign cysts were treated with Chemo
and then called a CURE.

They ALSO make a lot more money and keep the system
busy with a steady flow of patients at the Chemo centers.



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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by jennyS [80.706] on October 24, 2009 at 13:17:50:

In Reply to: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Lindsey [6.8119] on October 24, 2009 at 11:11:31:


With or without the chemo, she could get sick again 10 or 20 years down the road. If she opts for "no chemo" due to your coaxing, then who is she going to blame in 20 years? She'll blame you, or she'll blame herself for listening to you!
Actually, I wouldn't think that they are going to order chemo for her and if she researches she will probably decide against it on her own. But then I don't know the whole pathology report.

Better to urge her to continue her follow-up doctor's appointments, especially a few years down the road when she may feel she's home free. And you may want to get an MRI yourself if you haven't already, since this runs in your family. All the women in your family should be urged to be proactive in my opinion. They may say that you can wait until the age of 40 but I would think it would be much younger in your family's case, to at least start thorough self-checks on a r
egular basis. Maybe you and your sister could plan a get-together for younger cousins etc where a nurse comes and demonstrates for everyone. I know they probably have this in school, but it would help your sister get back in the swing by doing something proactive for others, and you might just get big thank-yous down the road when someone else in your family catches it early. Wouldn't hurt to include neighbors and friends in your "breast party" as this disease sure hits a lot of people. Best of luck...sure is good to hear success stories.


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Ms. D. [634.8059] on October 24, 2009 at 14:57:31:

In Reply to: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Lindsey [6.8119] on October 24, 2009 at 11:11:31:

Refer her to www.breastcancerchoices.org, particularly the section on iodine.


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Walt Stoll [93.7902] on October 24, 2009 at 15:04:54:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Ron [3468.8172] on October 24, 2009 at 13:12:38:

Thanks, Ron.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, there is some truth in what you say. I think that it is rare, if ever, that a "cyst" would be mistaken for a malignancy but the general atmosphere for treatment is much too often biased towards the most expensive approach. After all that is where the money is and most physicians would rather opt for what is "safe for the physician"; the most involved treatment possible--again, in my opinion.

Walt


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Lindsey [15.8119] on October 24, 2009 at 17:36:09:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Walt Stoll [93.7902] on October 24, 2009 at 15:04:54:

Thanks everyone for your opinions. I agree with Walt and Ron about overtreatment -- this is also happening with men with regards to prostate cancer. Last week, Dr. Ron Hoffman (of NYC) had a terrific radio interview on his show HealthTalk with urologist Dr. Anthony Horan, author of The Big Scare: The Business of Prostate Cancer. Lots of great info for fellas worried about their prostate glands. I'm going to order the book for my husband. You can listen to the free podcast of the Oct. 21 interview at the link below -- just scroll down to podcasts:

http://www.wor710.com/weekday-personalities/Health-Talk-with-Dr--Ronald-Hoffman/3600642




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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Lindsey [15.8119] on October 24, 2009 at 18:42:45:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by jennyS [80.706] on October 24, 2009 at 13:17:50:

Thanks Jenny -- I appreciate your thoughts but would never suggest to anyone else what they should do. I feel breast cancer screening is a highly personal decision. I also don't necessarily agree that breast cancer "runs in my family." My grandmother is the only blood relative that got and that was after a decade of the mandatory HRT she got after the mandatory hysterectomy she received when this kind of thing was routinely forced on women of a certain age. She was 60 -- felt a lump (not at all early by today's standards) -- and was given a mandatory unilateral mastectomy -- no radiation, no drugs, no chemo. She lived to 100. Her daughter never got breast cancer. Her 2 sisters who did not have children (supposedly a risk factor) lived to their 90s and never got breast cancer. I think that how and when one decides to get screened is a highly personal matter and there is no right or wrong answer. Each woman must decide what is right for her. Much interesting research published abroad is buried here or not taken seriously. Example: women with BRCA gene 1 or 2 mutation have been shown in German studies to be more sensitive to radiation damage yet these are the very same women that the US docs insist must be screened earlier and more frequently with mammograms. That's insanity in my view. I am also not sold on earlier detection being the holy grail with all the invasive interventions that entails ie repeated mammos, biopsies, drugs, fear etc -- I'm not convinced this necessarily improves overall survival statistics. Mammos are great for women with less dense breasts - - most premenopausal women have a great deal of density. My sister-in-law started digital mammos and utrasounds at earlier than usual age because her mother had breast cancer. None of these picked up this tumor -- only the MRIs which she stared a few years ago as adjunct screening. These are $1,500 per pop -- not cheap and not covered by insurance. MRIs are highly sensitive and can cause false positives (this also happened to her with further biopsies before her eventual diagnosis) -- biopsies, more scans etc etc. If one can live with this -- fine. But again, this is a highly personal decision. The notion that early detection saves lives is not necessarily true. Many early interventions involve treatments that are harmful and cause other problems down the road. You might increase survival from breast cancer but inadvertantly decrease overall survival. Nobody can say for certain how fast a tumor will grow. The reality is that everybody over the age of 40 has precancers and small cancers which the body can keep in check -- in other words, you can live a full lifespan with them and not even know they are there. Don't believe me? Ask the people who do autopsies. You'll be amazed. I do appreciate your thoughts though but would never suggest a screening party for breast cancer detection. Also, self-examination has not been shown to increase breast cancer detection but has been shown to increase biopsies and worry -- especially for younger women whose breasts are naturally denser. Also, the American Cancer Society juggles numbers and statistics. For example - if someone survives 5 years -- they are statistically "cured." If that person relapses in year 6 -- they are not subtracted from the original statistic. The increase in healthy young women voluntarily getting "preventative" mastectomies I believe has been caused by an overkill of "awareness." There isn't a person on the planet who is unaware of breast cancer but women are being awared to death -- scared and screened at earlier and earlier ages. I don't mean to sound glib or rant, but I am angry at what I see as a totally failed model of medicine that has done little to find real prevention techniques and non-toxic cures for this disease. The standard of care has effectively silenced any opposition despite this failure. I believe money and ego have much to do with this. The so-called list of risk factors is a joke when 80%+ women who get this disease do not have any of the purported risk factors. But again, I thank you all for your ideas and suggestions. PS: I have known women who have had radiation and/or chemo as well as two who refused all treatment except for surgery and they are are all doing just fine -- so I don't want alarm or spread any negativy to women who may have had treatments that I am dubious of. It's a personal choice. A woman knows herself best and what is right for her.


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by maryb [11189.7997] on October 24, 2009 at 20:13:05:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Lindsey [15.8119] on October 24, 2009 at 18:42:45:

Lindsey, I loved this post! Thank you for saying so clearly what I've felt for a long, long time. I am just so sick of hearing about all my risk factors & doctors acting like I am doomed! I have a very active, healthy lifestyle, and I just can't do a thing about starting my periods at age 10, having no children, or now having a sister in her 60s with breast cancer. Just having the awareness of these risks is enough to bring on chronic stress, like living with a subliminal scary movie soundtrack in my head all the time.

The diagnostics my sister had to endure were AWFUL, second only to the relentless vomiting from chemo that they couldn't seem to manage properly. The stereotactic biopsy made her pass out, the needle placement was painful & scary, the radioactive PETscan, every single procedure freaked us all out. The biopsy required her breast to be under constant compression for over an hour in a mammography machine. That part was very disturbing, knowing that those plates were probably crushing her tumor & releasing cells inside her chest.

When she had her stent installed in her upper chest, right before the procedure, the anesthesiologist grumbled about the line being blocked, & they had to wait while he allegedly 'cleared' it. Then they covered her face & chest to keep a sterile field, which made her very claustrophobic. You would think this would not be too big a deal, once she went under...BUT...the line turned out not to have been cleared at all. She had this entire procedure sans anesthesia, or at least, inadequate anesthesia, felt the whole thing, panicked from being intubated, & now has nightmares from that godawful experience.

The lumpectomy & unilateral mastectomy have been the least awful of the whole drill. And ALL of this happened within 2 months: biopsies, needles, stent, lumpectomy & mastectomy. Then the first phase of chemo. Now she has begun the second phase, taxol & whatever the rest of the anti-estrogen drugs are in her infusion. At least no more vomiting, for now.

I find this whole odyssey incredibly medieval and shocking. Because cancer cells were found in her blood & lymph systems (but not in her lymph nodes, which I can't quite figure out), she felt she had no choice but to go along with the chemo recommendation. In her shoes, I am just not at all sure what I would choose.

So, thanks again for your informative, well-reasoned post. I'm going to pass it along to her & my other sisters, who likewise feel doomed.

best,
mary


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by AT [7059.4426] on October 24, 2009 at 20:17:14:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Lindsey [15.8119] on October 24, 2009 at 18:42:45:

Lindsay, Suzanne Somers was on Larry King Live with four oncologists, well, two used alternative methods for cancer. Her latest book gives facts about other options instead of chemo for breast cancer.



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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Walt Stoll [93.7902] on October 25, 2009 at 07:47:51:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Lindsey [15.8119] on October 24, 2009 at 17:36:09:

Thanks, Lindsey.

I lived through this exact thing with my best friend (a college professor) who was diagnosed with prostate cancer 5 years ago. He became a student of the situation and opted to have radiation and hormonal therapy. Within 5 years he was dead, in my opinion, due to the treatment whereas he would likely have lived 20 years without it. Within 2 years of his treatment, he develped colon cancer--probably, in my opinion, from his radiation therapy,

He was a national champion swimmer nearly every year, for his age group, from his teen age years to his `70s, so he was in wonderful physical condition.

Walt


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Lindsey [6.8119] on October 25, 2009 at 10:18:47:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by AT [7059.4426] on October 24, 2009 at 20:17:14:

Thanks AT. I saw that show. What I liked about the 2 alternative guys is that they both have radically different therapies and both have shown good results - yet they seemed supportive of each other's innovations. They possessed intellectual curiosity and realize there are many ways to solve a problem. Not so with conventional standard of care which demonizes independent thinking or anything they did not learn in medical school as quakery. Nothing is perfect and works 100% of the time for everyone - not with alternative nor with conventional medicine. Yet the alternative practioners seem to be held to an artificially high, unfair standard. Simply, they are not allowed a single death while conventional medicine continues to kill thousands of people each year. I think Somers is herioc because she gets a lot of flack for merely pointing out that there are alternatives and adjunctive therapies that people are simply kept in the dark about. Certain adjuncts can help protect the body and/or build it back up in the event one chooses to go the radiation or chemo route. My sister in law told me today that she is having her test results sent to a lab in CA where they can determine if chemo would even be effective against her tumor type -- that sounds like the test Somers was talking about that she said an oncologist told her isn't widely done because it takes so much time(!). Most people would have no idea that some tumors are totally unresponsive to the chemo they are prescribed by rote and just follow their docs orders. The one conventional oncologist on Larry King's show was so condescending and couldn't even pronounce one of the alternative doc's names. I doubt he had the intellectual capability to even understand that alternative doc's work let alone critique it. I applaud all minds who are trying to think out of the box and come up with alternatives for what has largely been a failed, expensive model of medicine. They risk ridicule, persecution and even prosecution. The fact that the one alternative doc is limited in his current trials to only test people who have exhaused all conventional means ie they've endured radiation and chemo seems to stack the deck unfairly. This was true also of trials I looked at for my father. How can any new modality be given a fair chance if they can only be tested on people who have been radiated and chemoed nearly to death first?? I sure wish Somers or one of the alternative docs would have asked why the majority of oncologists would not take chemo if they had cancer -- that survey was widely publicized not too long ago. That would have been a great question. Somers should have a show where alternative and complementary modalities are presented. I don't want to discourage women from getting screened or treated conventionally -- I just want those of us who are sick and tired of continually being bombarded with awareness campaigns that make us terrified of our own body parts to be heard too. We're not just a collection of body parts -- the organism (body) must be treated as a whole. Words have power and docs who say things like "it's your funeral" or "you are stupid/foolish etc" because of choices you make about your body should not be docs. Oh - Somers is on Fox right now. Interesting -- she's asking why she's getting attacked for simply putting out info. She is also is talking about how deceptive and manipulated the so-called "complete response" to certain chemo drugs can be within the standard of care. This means that if a tumor shrinks within x time - it is considered a "complete response" despite the fact that the tumor could continue to grow at a time shortly thereafter. Same fuzzy logic used with respect to how "cure rates" are determined. This is deceptive to patients. Funny how one of the traditional oncologist's on the Larry King show actually referred to chemo as "palliative" in most cases other than testicular cancer, leukemia and lymphoma where all the docs agreed standard chemo has had some real success rates. So for other diseases-- the standard oncologist called chemo "palliative" so that the family and patient feel something is being done...that is horrific in my view.


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by AT [7059.4426] on October 25, 2009 at 10:43:30:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Lindsey [6.8119] on October 25, 2009 at 10:18:47:

Dr. Black didn't help his cause with that performance. The oncology question would have been good. I also wish that when they accused the one doctor for charging $60,000 for his treatment, if they had asked what the cost of several rounds of chemo would be. Did you catch the dig about taking vitamin C along with their drug? Only the AMA has the license to kill, I guess.
Walt knows firsthand what happens when you try any sort of innovation in this business.


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging - HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS. Archive.

Posted by Walt Stoll [93.7902] on October 25, 2009 at 10:44:03:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Lindsey [6.8119] on October 25, 2009 at 10:18:47:

Thanks, Lindsey.

Wonderful summation of the problem. If you would like to see more of "how the system works" I would suggest you get a copy of "Who Killed the Electric Car" (CD) from your lending library.

Comments?


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by jennyS [80.706] on October 25, 2009 at 14:42:37:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Lindsey [15.8119] on October 24, 2009 at 18:42:45:


Thank you, Lindsey.

I believe that it is the American Cancer Society who is coming out with an announcement regarding mammogram screenings and how they're not all they were cracked up to be. Some of what you stated is mentioned in the report. So at least they're keeping themselves in check?


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Lindsey [15.8119] on October 25, 2009 at 19:59:50:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by jennyS [80.706] on October 25, 2009 at 14:42:37:

Thanks Jenny. The screening guidelines are the same on their website despite their own admission that overscreening is happening. No way will they "keep themselves in check" when billions of dollars in screening modalities are at stake. "Early detection" is the mantra now and therefore screening younger and younger people for all kinds of diseases is recommended. Docs will follow the standard of care recommendations for fear of being sued if a patient later gets cancer. Much of the esteemed medical journals have become nothing more than mouthpieces for Big Pharma. The FDA and FTC are totally corrupt with power grabs and grotesque conflicts of interest with Big Pharma. Some recent rulings against the FTC give me a glimmer of hope... but only a glimmer. Most people are in the dark about how are health care freedoms are under real threat. I know, because I used to be in the dark too. I just couldn't believe that the FDA and FTC didn't have the citizens' best interests at heart. Then I started researching for myself and looking at cases brought by and against the FDA and FTC and understanding how they both completely overstep their authority. The big question in my mind now is not whether or not everybody is entitled to health care insurance under this horribly failed model of medicine, it's whether or not alternative modalities including the present wide availability of herbs/supplements/natural remedies/natural thyroid hormone/bio-identical hormones etc. could become criminalized and/or regulated out of existence. Nobody is asking that crucial question. They seem too worried about whether the latest greatest screening modalities, drug du jour and surgical procedure will be covered under their insurance...They shouldn't worry about those things because if we follow the European model of healthcare -- most docs here will quit anyway. The way medicine is currently practiced under the standard of care -- it may be a good thing if care is "rationed." Sorry to sound bitter and jaded but I am. We all have to speak out and write our representatives. As bad as things are now, they can get a heck of a lot worse. We must demand choice and freedom to be able to control our own healthcare as we each see fit.


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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Ron [5412.8172] on October 25, 2009 at 22:22:27:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Walt Stoll [93.7902] on October 24, 2009 at 15:04:54:

Hi Walt,

Remember a month or two ago, when I suggested that
the Early Detection of cancers only increases the likelihood of a Five Year Survival, but may not stop the patient from dying in the 6th or 7th year
whether they were treated with poisons or not?



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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Ron [5412.8172] on October 25, 2009 at 22:32:36:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Lindsey [15.8119] on October 25, 2009 at 19:59:50:

Hi Lindsey,

Do you think that taking $500 Billion out of Medicare to be applied to Bama-Care will be spent on the young and on screening... or will it be spent to cover
10 to 15 million of the uninsured?

Just think of how many new doctors will be needed
and how much they will earn...
Will the Public Healthcare system also assign them
to parts of the country where doctors will not live?




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Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging

Posted by Walt Stoll [93.7902] on October 26, 2009 at 07:54:28:

In Reply to: Re: Follow-Up On Breast Cancer Staging posted by Ron [5412.8172] on October 25, 2009 at 22:22:27:

Yup, Ron.

I have been saying that for years.

Walt


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