The big C

The big C – not cancer, but chemo.

In the last 24 hours I received a detailed response back from the Oasis of Hope. I had contacted this clinic in Mexico as it kept coming up in different places – at the evening seminar the other week as well as in a couple of books I read. The place was set up by Dr. Contreras, who is an authority on alternative cancer treatments. When I initially researched the clinic, the fact that it integrates holistic and conventional treatments particularly appealed to me. There are many so-called ‘retreats’ and other clinics out there offering natural therapies etc. but this place seemed to take the best of both worlds – conventional approaches (chemo) as well as other treatments.

Following my initial query and a chat with one of their administrators last week, I was asked to submit my pathology report and the results of the recent Endopredict. Yesterday, 3 days later, I received a letter – together with an outline of a treatment plan. The letter read:

“Dear Mrs. Cizgenakad:

I have carefully reviewed the medical records you sent and found that you were diagnosed with a stage II breast cancer  ER+ ( 100%) PR+ Her-2 -.  S/p mastectomy. Multifocal Tumor size 36 and 2/15 LN +

The type of cancer you have is moderately aggressive and in a treatable stage. You are only 41 and all efforts should be made to provide you with the most effective therapy possible to maintain complete remission and there is no question that a mastectomy was the best option to achieve it.

These malignancies have a high rate of recurrence. The standard of care in the UK, and many other countries, to reduce this risk is adjuvant chemo and radiation. This conventional approach is quite aggressive, immune suppressive, and capable of adding insult to injury with very little benefit, about 10% recurrence risk reduction. The type of cancer that you had, your oncologist will tell you, suggests that chemo is very advantageous for you over hormone blocking only.

I suggest that our treatment would substitute the assumed benefits of chemo, without the inherent risks and drawbacks. We have developed a comprehensive non-toxic, adjuvant therapy, our three week in-hospital oxidative protocol with Contreras Metabolic Integrative Therapy (CMIT), Hyperthermia plus our powerful immune stimulating Dendritic Cell Vaccine (DCV) that provides anti-tumor
action to kill any remaining malignant cells after the surgery while, at the same time, strongly stimulating your immune system. The DCV is developed from your own blood and specifically activated to fight your tumor.

This protocol will be followed by a very comprehensive, personalized home anti-oxidative treatment program. Because your tumor is hormone dependent, the home treatment protocol might include a hormone blocker such as Tamoxifen, Arimidex or Faslodex. This regiment works in tandem with the in-hospital protocol to enhance efficacy. After 12 weeks of home therapy you come back to the hospital for a one, or two week inpatient oxidative CMIT and Hyperthermia booster. At this time, we will thoroughly and objectively evaluate results and, if needed, treatment adjustment will be done. This toggle protocol of oxidative/anti-oxidative/oxidative therapy increases efficacy because it keeps the tumor off balance significantly reducing its capacity to develop resistance to therapy. It is because of this novel approach that our results in patients with breast cancer are 2 to 3 times better than those obtained in the US and other countries with
conventional therapies (see our results @ oasisofhope.com).

I hope this information is helpful and we want you to know that we are ready, capable and willing to partner with you in your efforts to regain your health.

Sincerely
Dr. Contreras”

I was impressed with both the tone of the letter as well as the outlined treatment plan that they had sent through to me. The treatment is not cheap of course but what is the price of health? Also, there may be some potential insurance pay out which (serendipity?) comes to almost the exact same amount as the fee of this clinic. So, money aside I explored the feeling of what it would be like to take this approach and decline the recommended route of chemo. It felt good, I felt curious, excited and started researching the clinic and people who had gone there a little more.

In the meantime, my oncologist’s secretary contacted me yesterday to make an appointment to insert the port for the upcoming chemo. I politely declined and said I would like a further conversation with Dr. Cleator next Monday.

In addition to that, I sought a second conversation with a different oncologist this afternoon. She already had access to all my documents and was fully informed. She asked me a few questions about me, my life and then reviewed some of the pathology results again and confirmed that her recommendation would also be chemotherapy. I expressed my concerns and my issues around suppressing my immune system and basically potentially making me ill. She understood these concerns of course and tried to address them. She said that the reason as to why we have seen a big improvement in breast cancer care is due to success in chemotherapy. Various studies have proven that chemo works. She clearly felt that I hadn’t got my head around chemo. I carefully asked her questions about high-dose Vitamin C and possible alternative treatments but being an oncologist, she of course highlighted that these were hear-says and not scientifically proven. “Do you believe in science” – she asked. Well…. yes I believe in science but there’s more to life than science surely.

I asked about sphero, a test that determines which drug is best used for which cells, and she said that not enough evidence had been collected to suggest that this was a reliable test. If it was, then we would have found the ultimate treatment of choice. I suppose that’s true.

I asked her whether she would choose to have chemotherapy if faced with a similar decision and she said she would. Yes there are side effects but they are temporary and even the immune system recovers very quickly (one of my concerns). She also said that, compared to years ago, these regimes are very well managed. In a nutshell, for ‘someone like me, at my age and fit/ strong’, it would offer benefits and may lower risk of re-occurrence, although who knows ‘I might already be cured’. This is exactly what doesn’t sit right. The ‘let’s clear things up just in case’ approach which is so toxic.

We then discussed a couple of regimens, similar to the ones I heard before with slight adaptations. We’re still talking about 16 weeks of more intense dose vs. 24 weeks of lower dose but more frequent drugs. Efficacy being the same.

She had a very kind approach to the conversation and asked me a lot about how I feel. I suppose for that reason, I got very emotional and ended up crying again. She understood that I felt rushed into things, having been told to start treatment asap. I keep thinking that if I had not had my surgery that quickly, I would have only just had it a week ago on the NHS, which means any other treatment wouldn’t start until the new year. We concluded that for a decision to go with their recommendation of chemo, I would need to get behind the idea. I’m clearly not there yet. And why do oncologists seem so scary? Maybe I need to work on this massive fear that I have around the c word. It towers almost higher than the other c word.

I walked out of the consultation both confused but reassured that in the field of oncology, there’s only one treatment path. And then there’s Mexico.

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