Secondary Breast Cancer: The latest revolutionary ‘cure’
One of the first things that happens when people hear you have secondary breast cancer – or any cancer for that matter – is they offer you ‘advice’ on the latest revolutionary cure they have heard about.
I’ve been pointed in the direction of them all; from green juices to alkaline diets to no dairy to Soursop fruit to cannabidoil (otherwise known as medical marijuana) and on and on the list goes. I know people are trying to help and are well-meaning but it leaves me in a total turmoil – spending hours on the internet trying to pick through the articles, trying to work out what is decent research and who are just plain crazy! I’ve read everything from ‘big pharma is pure evil trying to take over the world’ to all the dietary and lifestyle advice and guidance that one person can take in a life time.
My very well-meaning uncle has sent me lots of information on the Burynski Clinic (a cancer centre based in Houston, Texas) over the years. Recently I looked into it more closely and my first view is they clearly spend a lot of money on Google as the first few pages were all very glowing and positive. It took me a while but I finally found the other side of the coin, someone who was writing a blog against the clinic and its work. It was enough for me to stop looking at flights to Houston, Texas and instead ask my oncologist, the wonderful Prof. He gave me a fabulously arrogant but in a good way doctor answer: “let’s put it this way, I’ve never heard of him so that’s all you need to know”. I told this to my uncle and we agreed to ‘move on’ then coincidentally a few weeks later it was featured on Panorama.
The programme highlighted what worries me most about all these miracle cures and treatments: they are praying on the hope of those most desperate. While they might have the solution or the cure, instead of opening it up to the wider research community they are keeping it private for their own profit and that fundamentally is wrong.
I know what desperation feels like. When I had active cancer in my lungs, liver and bones and all my Prof could say was: “I’m confident I can get you into remission”, despite us both knowing it was a long shot, I was willing to listen to anything. I even read David Icke and his lizard views and found myself nodding along in earnest. When faced with no hope you will do anything and sadly there are people who are prepared to profit from that. Cancer is a massive industry for lots of people, from the hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry all the way to all the diet and advice books.
I am happy with the treatment the Prof is giving me and I have to trust him. But part of me keeps wondering, by not jumping on every new ‘cure’ which comes my way, am I signing my own death certificate? What if cannabidoils are the cure and by not taking it now I could be too late and then it’s my own fault for dying? What if it is all about green juices and by not finding the time to juice a litre of organic vegetables a day means it’s my fault? It’s an emotional minefield on top of what is already an emotional minefield.
These feelings were all stirred up again when I read about another new ‘cure’ called Photodynamic therapy. It’s an expansion of a treatment already available worldwide and treats the whole body rather than the skin surface. But this development is only in China and £11k a round (most need three rounds of treatment).
It all looks very legitimate but again I ask myself if this is the cure then why is it being limited to a private clinic? Surely they should make it available to research so we can all benefit? Not just those with a spare £30k? And by not hassling my family for the money to go and be treated am I committing suicide in a back door way?
I want this to be true, I want this to be as good as it seems and I want to go. I want nothing more than a future, the chance to meet that man with no noose around my neck, the chance to claim my pension. But I don’t know how much hope I can afford to spare in case they are just trying to sell snake oil.
For more information on secondary breast cancer visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk/secondary
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