Had a very disturbing case recently. A woman came into the clinic. She had been diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. She did not want to go the traditional medical route of treatments, but rather wanted to look at dealing with this holistically.
We discussed several protocol options. She decided to change her lifestyle, change her diet, and work with herbs and homeopathy. She also visited with a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor, had a thermography report, and visited with various other holistic practitioners. She was checking out all possibilities to get the best advice possible. She determined with all avenues exhausted, that she was on the right path.
About three weeks into the program, she received a phone call from her doctor, wanting her to come in for further evaluation. The original diagnosis showed the tumor to be 1.5 cm. After the second evaluation, her MD told her that the tumor was growing, and was now a 1.7 cm mass. As you might imagine, she was very concerned that with all her best efforts, the tumor had shown growth in a short amount of time. As you might imagine, her family was very concerned and press her to change her healing strategy, and opt for lumpectomy, radiation and chemotherapy.
She came into the clinic, and spoke with me about the medical options, the pressure her family was exerting on her, and the cumulative stress that a diagnosis of cancer brings. She told me that she was afraid, and that if she just had the lumpectomy, all her problems (stress from medical professionals and family) would be alleviated. I told her that I could support her nutritionally in the aftermath of the surgery.
Yesterday, she brought me the pathology report. She told me that she did not understand it, and would I explain it to her. I told her that I would. As I was reading the report aloud to her, I came to the part where the tumor was mentioned. ‘Sectioning shows a 1.5 x 1.1 x 1.0 cm……’ As I was reading through the report, my client stopped me, and told me that the original tumor size was 1.5. The doctor had told her that the tumor had grown to 1.7 cm. I looked back over the notes, and re-read the description: …..1.5 x 1.1x 1.0 cm…… She looked at me with shock, and told me that the doctors lied to her about the progression of the tumor. She realized that the tumor had not grown from its original size. She understood that she had been scared into taking action that she did not want to take.
As a naturopath, I am not allowed by the government to advise clients on their medical procedures. I do not have the tools to assess if there is a mass, and if so, is it malignant or benign. We both have to trust the medical professionals to understand their technology, and to report accurately their findings to their patients. Needless to say, my client left my office yesterday more than a little frustrated.
I have run into this attitude personally, as I have reported earlier, when dealing with Rx and an eye infection. After reading the patient insert for the medication, I learned that my doctor had over-prescribed dosage: too many drops too often for too many days. When I asked about this, I was told in no uncertain terms that HE was the professional, and I was to do as I was told. You know the rest of the story…..
What is the answer here? Medical tests are very important, and I do not want to discourage my clients or my family from taking advantage of the information that they contain. We depend on the doctors and their offices to give us accurate information. I understand that the doctors may be pressured by their malpractice insurance to make sure all due care is offered to their patients, and I believe that there might be some pressure exerted on them by their governing bodies to make sure that patients are gently pressed into following the ‘standard of care.’ How can we be our own best advocates for health?
Until next time,