Sunday, 21 September 2014

Why Oncologists do not support alternative therapy as the only treatment of cancer?

You will always find oncologists not supporting traditional medicines and other stuff, as the main or only treatment for cancer (Mark this word - 'main or only treatment'. No oncologist will have a problem, if the patient takes alternate therapy in conjunction with standard scientifically proven treatment, though it is discouraged, as it can interfere with effects of standard drugs). There is a clear reason to it.

Study of cancer does not occur in a day. An Oncologist spends a total of 12 to 14 years in becoming an oncologist (MBBS + MS/MD + Surgical/ Medical Oncology). A background of MBBS and MS/MD helps in understanding cancer better. It took years to really understand how a cancer cell forms, reading all the research, trials, theories and everything; and most importantly, rationalizng them. And it is after this knowledge is imbibed, any oncologist knows very well that nothing works on a cancer cell. Cancer cells have IRREPARABLE genetic mutations (changes in a gene pattern) in them. By no means on earth, can one repair those genetic changes. They are permanent. When a gene rearranges itself, the original info is lost. Forever. It is not like a computer, where you press the 'back' key and you go one step back. It can never happen. Once you understand this concept, you will realize that, once a cancer cell is formed, you cannot get the original cell back from it; that cancer cell will keep on multiplying and all that you can do to a cancer cell is - kill it. If you achieve killing all cancer cells in body, you may achieve a cure. If some cancer cells survive somewhere, they will cause a recurrence. The Oncology that we practice, is based on logic. Just look at us - we are so crazy - we operate and knock off the whole organ, even if cancer is small - why?
A small lump in breast and we remove the whole breast (just an example).
A cancer in stomach, and we remove most of it.
A small ulcer in mouth, and we remove half the jaw bone or even more.
Why?? It is logic. We know it is an overkill, but we are so afraid of a cancer cell that we want to make sure the entire cancer cells in that area are removed.
Then we are worried, what about the cancer cells moving in blood and elsewhere? So we give chemo. Since cancer cells are absolutely normal cells, the only difference being they multiply fast, there is no way to identify them. So chemo drugs kills all fast multiplying cells, causing collateral damage. Cancer cells are killed. But cells of hair, which multiply fast (and deposit keratin), are affected. Cells of inner part of mouth are affected (oral ulcers), cells on intestine are affected (diarrhoea), wbc's get affected (neutropenia and fever), systems get depressed (weakness).

Butt why, why all this?? Just because we have no means of differentiating a cancer cell from a normal cell. But we want to kill cancer cells. So even at the cost of some damage of normal cells, we generally bombard everything to make sure cancer cells get cleared.

It is this concept, which takes time to imbibe. And it is for this reason, that oncologists, who during their degree studies, have read all this, and know it, that they do not support alternate treatments. Oncologists treat cancer AFTER they have achieved understanding of how it occurs and spreads. People who preach alternate treatments, by no means, have studied how a cancer occurs, nor have read (some might have read). They have just anecdotal knowledge and passed on knowledge that give this and it may work in cancer. Most people practicing alternate treatments do not even know how does their medicine act and what will it do to a cancer cell. If they say, they will 'cure' a cancer cell, they are fooling, as even God cannot do it. As I mentioned earlier, all you can do to a cancer cell is - kill it. And it is a known fact, that many alternate medications contain steroids, which temporarily can slow down cancer growth and also produce a 'good feeling'. But that causes more harm than benefit.

It is common to see people selling medicines which 'increase' immunity. This is sheer nonsense. There is no tablet in the world which will increase your immunity (and there is no tablet in the world, which will reduce weight either, one has to burn calories for that). Immunity depends on body's inner strength and a healthy well being with a balanced state of mind. But these alternate treatment preachers, take advantage of hopeless situation of a cancer patient, especially those in terminal stages, giving false hopes, and extract money from them. I had one of my own patients, who confessed of having brought a bottle of ten capsules for Rs. 5000/ at least five times from a local hakim!! Can you believe this! He spent 25000 in those capsules which he does not even know what it contains.

If someone tells you, he has found a cure for cancer and his tablets work, think twice.

If you really want to know, what alternate treatments do to a cancer patient, just come one day and sit at the registration counter of Tata Memorial Centre. Practically, every third or fourth patient coming to Tata, has taken some alternate treatment for cancer for a few months and then the cancer progressed to such a stage, that it is incurable now (it would have been curable earlier), and we usually end up sending them back home the same day, as it has progressed beyond all forms of treatment in those few months. Don't take my words for this. Go for yourself and see.

No oncologist has any grudge against alternate medicines, we just request, why don't you prove it! It takes a few hundred stage 4 cancer patients with their due permission (after ethical committee permission) and some years, thats all!! One homeopathy centre chap from Mumbai was spamming this forum with homeopathy medicines. I had to ban him. Since he was from Mumbai, he traced my mobile number, called me and abused me a lot on phone. I didnt retaliate, I just told him, I trust you, I will help you conduct a trial, I will start it for you, lets do it and you can prove your medicine is working; but he continued to abuse me and spoke irrelevantly, telling me "You Oncologists dont trust us, you do not care for patients, you dont want progress, you just want a dying patient's money, its because of you all cancer is still not curable and blah.... blah..." and the language he used was not even suitable for a doctor. I never lost my cool. But he didnt agree for a trial and why?? Even he knows, his medicines don't work.

I am not saying all oncologists are good.
I am not saying that everything that an oncologist does is correct; there are many errors they also learn from. Life is a continuous process of growth and learning.
I am not saying oncologists are not corrupt. Many of them are very money minded and do not have a human touch.
All I am saying is, if someone claims treatment and 'cure' of cancer from his alternate medicines, just be aware. Try to think. Our discussion is between alternate treatment and standard scientifically proven treatment over last 80 years, which has shown it's result in the form of almost 80 percent overall ten year survival rate from breast cancer in the West! India is nowhere near that and we have a long way to go. If we give in to unproven treatments, we will never achieve that. It will take us a minimum 30 to 40 years to achieve the same, provided, atleast 75% patients report on time and atleast 75% patients take standard treatment on time. Till then, we will keep on losing a large number of women to breast cancer, who end up late or who do not take standard treatment.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


There are so many things that are essential for our body and we all know the importance of exercising, then why do we keep putting it off? Is it the word itself that makes us so tired just thinking of it?

We are Dads, moms, daughters, sons....we are busy with office, home, school. But why are we so busy? We are trying to make a career, make money so we can all live comfortable lives. How can one be so sure of comfort when the body inside is facing discomforts such as stress, obesity, high blood pressure or cancer?

I always hear doctors say that Exercise is as essential for our bosy as food or water. But exercising does not mean heavy weight lifting or running a marathon. Taking a 30 minute walk around the block is counted as exercise. Dancing and moving around is exercise too. Exercise could be as hard or as easy as you make it. We can do so much for our body by changing our habits that lead to lazy behaviour. Get up...get going. It can save your life. :)

Share your thoughts

Hello friends,
I apologize for being busy and caught up, but I never see anyone in this group ever posting their thoughts or opinions or questions, doubts, concerns...anything about Breast Cancer. I wish there was an open dialogue on this blog and opinions and concerns that could have been shared.
I invite you all to "EXPRESS YOURSELF"!!
When you do that, you become a part of the awareness campaign this Breast cancer Awareness month!! Not just by donating to anything pink, but by really getting it out there!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Life, Then and Now

How something like Cancer changes you as a person is what this blog is about today.

The love and support of your loved ones puts you on such a pedestal that sometimes it is too overwhelming to be the hero you're expected to be. When you're going through a really rough time in life, the support and love from people around you is just so important. At that time you have abundance of it. Sometimes after you've been through all there is that cancer throws at you, people have faith in you and expect from you that you have moved on just like they have.
But does it ever end for someone who has been there?
I am not being negative, but emotionally something like cancer does change you. You are the same person, but there are so many lessons learned and so many things endured that there is an extra room in your brain and heart that thinks more and feels more than it did before. I have always wondered if people who keep their suffering to themselves ever recover from the emotional aspect of it? I wish I could do that. I am sure that they are stronger than me.
I know that there is a part of me that was never there before. But that part of me is not the person who is strong and enduring. That person is very needy. It wants reassurance like everyone else and wants people to understand that.
After treatment and recovery and the numerous surgeries, I have poured my heart and I have given back more than I can to help and it makes me look like I am the strongest person post recovery. I will continue to give back and try my best to be a source of positivity and I love doing that. But I cannot always be the hero that is expected from me.I break down, I have nightmares, I look out for extra care and support, I have motion sickness, I over-think, I over-react, I get really anxious, I have a pounding heart and I still continue to live and play the part I have to. I do not ever think of people sympathizing with me, but sometimes I wish I'd get some extra time to soak in all that life had thrown at me and resurface when I have had some time to myself. I wish people could understand how vulnerable I was and how that changed me. I am never confrontational, Tears flow faster through my eyes than words come out of my mouth. I am irritating and over-emotional, even melodramatic. I explain myself in long emails and say extra "Thank-You"s and "Sorry"s. I am unable to rise and breakthrough at times.
But, I am stronger than a lot of people who cannot admit or express themselves like I can.
Life, Then and Now is never the same for anyone...

Note: My post is just a page in a Diary of a survivor and in no way do I intend to be negative for those going through hard times in life. I just want to share my thoughts. That, to worry and be needy is normal :)

Saturday, 10 December 2011

There are Ups and Downs in life. Just the indicators of a true, normal life.

Everybody goes through hard times and some really good times. We must cherish every single moment that we are surrounded with smiles and happy thoughts in our good times. And bad times are there to tell us that we have had better moments and there are still better times that are waiting for us right around the corner.
The above said, it is very normal to have a bad phase and be miserable when you're going through it. Even when you're miserable, there is a strong person inside you. You are strong which is why you are the one who is able to tell the world that you are going through hard times. Most people would hide their weaknesses and never be able to share their fears. I feel the same way sometimes. I feel that there is so much pressure to be strong and motivate others with your strength that its shameful to feel bad for yourself. That doesn't help me and never gives me the positivity to help and motivate others. I guess it is alright to be nervous about your fears and concerns. I think its alright to share if sharing will comfort you.
What I am trying to say today is that every person should be able to express themselves irrespective or their faith or beliefs or society. Do not let people judge you in your hard times.
I always open up to everyone about my experience with cancer and it may make some feel that I am seeking sympathy, some feel that I am making a career out of it; still others who feel that I am more outspoken than I should be... given that I am a mother, a wife and a daughter from an Indian background. Today, I feel like I am in a dilemma. I have conflicting thoughts regarding my health decisions. I want to be able to share more and I have not found the right words or the resources to say more about how I feel and how would sharing my thoughts benefit me or others who I try to help or reach out to? I am as positive about my future as I could be and yet I know there are things that need to be taken care of. I thought that by sharing what I am going through, I should be able to tell people that its normal to be worried and to express that worry or concern.
I hope more people would speak their mind and try to find solutions for their concerns without thinking about what opinion others may have of them.
Still very positive... still the same...Shikha :)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Its December......

Hello friends,
We are in December and its getting chilly. Warm thoughts and warm wishes are always good during the cold winter season. It is Holiday Season where I live and all the malls are decked up. It feels great to see happy faces everywhere. Amongst these people I see everyday, there are faces of those who are currently going through Cancer or are helping others who are going through this damn disease and yet others who may be grieving or missing their loved ones.
My heart goes out to everyone who is going through this painful phase or has someone in their family or friends going through it.
When I look back and think of my time going through my diagnosis, treatment and the consequences thereafter, I always think that no matter how strong I was and how positive everyone around me has been; I still hope and wish for a world that is free of any kind of diseases. There is so much that can be done if each one of us pledges to remind another of the benefits of good health. We all treasure our friends and family and want to see them live longer, happier life. How many times has a conversation circled around the weather? This conversation could have been about annual physical check ups too!
We girls talk to our mothers about so many things, most often complaining about petty things in life. I wish we could just every now and then ask our mothers or aunts if they had gotten a mammogram done or if they were due for one now?
Its so easy to reach out to our loved ones. Why is it then so hard to get this to be a part of everyone's routine?
If you really love someone and want them to stick around longer, ask them - When did you last get your physical check up? Should I call your doctor to set up an appointment for you? Do you need a ride to the doctor's?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

November is also awareness month everybody :)

Even though October's status has been updated to being the past month, our bodies have moved on to November and our minds are open to information and we hope to create more and more awareness throughout the year.

As long as we live, we must take care of our body and must strive for it to function well. A healthy body is a happy body!

Breast Cancer awareness around the world has been very good and responsive in the month of October and that is definitely a good sign. I had so much on my hand in October and I am aiming at having more and more to do in November 2011. I know that I am giving away stuff for auction so that the money generated can help the uninsured and underinsured popultaion. I am also speaking at an African American Health Fair this month. I am so happy to see that there has been a lot of activity in India this past month! I feel proud that young doctors are taking resposibility for a better and healthier India.

On this happy note, let me leave you with a question that you need to ask your mother, wife or friends.... when did they last discuss their Breast Health with a doctor?

Also, Early Detection is your best protection!!!

Keep healthy,

Shikha :)