75 Percent of Doctors Would Refuse Chemotherapy - The Same Percentage Recommend It To Patients
I ran across this statistic for the first time a few days ago and found it quite puzzling. Why would such a large percentage of doctors refuse a treatment that they would recommend to others?
The study that revealed this curious statistic was from Stanford, where more than 1000 doctors were surveyed.
The old slogan - "Cancer can be beaten"
"Cancer can be beaten", is what they used to say, when I was growing up in the late 1970's. It was a positive and a definite message to assure those who donated money that their money would find the cure and that cancer would be eradicated. Yet today, the most widely diagnosed treatment would be refused by the majority of doctors and oncologists.
Today, there doesn't seem to be any memorable slogans with any promises being touted. There are just new, creative ways to inspire people to give - ribbon campaigns, grow your mustache, take part in a run and a host of others with the hope that money for more research will continue to pour in.
In 1971, US President Richard Nixon declared a 'war on cancer', yet cancer is still the number 2 killer. I don't even want to get into the depressing amount of dollars spent trying to find a cure. One we start using the term billions, most of us average people can't comprehend that numbers anyway. So let's just say "billions and billions and billions and billions and billions" - every year - times more than half a century -just in the USA.
Also depressing, is the rate that chemotherapy actually cures cancer. It's barely over 2 percent.
According to this study, chemotherapy is of no use to someone with late stage cancer.
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
The list of possible side effects effects from chemotherapy is a long one.
Mouth and throat sores.
Causing damage the cells inside the mouth and throat, painful sores can errupt, which can get infected. Mouth stores appear 5 to 14 days after treatment and continue during chemotherapy, but usually cease when the chemotherapy is finished.
The pain from these sores can be treated with drugs.
This symptom can be treated with drugs.
Nausea and vomiting
This symptom can be treated with drugs.
Can be treated with drugs.
Your bone marrow makes new blood cells while chemo affects this process. The blood cells return to normal after chemotherapy. However, this condition can be treated with drugs. However, the side effects from the drugs used to treat the blood disorders can cause nervous system disorders.
Symptoms of the drugs that treat the nervous system disorders are:
- Weakness or numbness in the hands, feet, or both
- Weak, sore, tired, or achy
- Loss of balance
- Shaking or trembling
- Stiff neck
- Vision problems
- Hearing Problems
- Feeling clumsy and walking problems
- Changes in thinking and memory
- Sexual and reproductive issues
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Hair loss
- Damage to reproductive system
- Heart problems
Many of these side effects stop after chemotherapy, however, some of the damage, like damage to the heart, lung, liver, or reproductive system can be permanent. As well, for years or months after the treatment, some still report problems with their memory, concentration or thinking.
Obviously, chemotherapy is a process that will a serious toll on the cancer patient. And with a low success rate, it's no wonder why so many doctors surveyed would refuse this treatment. One might wonder why it is called a treatment at all.
Personally, I have already made the decision that if I ever get any kind of cancer diagnosis, I will not be doing any chemotherapy.
But what about others who opt to undergo this treatment. Are they hopeful? Are they too hopeful?
An interesting article from the website ChrisBeatCancer.com
delves into this matter of hope and what the cancer patient expects. The owner of the website, cites a study and survey, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and says this about it.
"The following survey and study mirrors what I experienced as a patient back in 2004. My onocologist was not honest with me about my chances of survival with chemotherapy and this study validates what I’ve been saying for years."
Findings from the study
1 ) A huge number of those with advanced cancer thought the chemo they were getting might cure them, despite the fact that the chemo they were getting was actually being done to buy them some time or make them comfortable.
"Comfortable?" Really? Reread above list of symptoms from chemotherapy.
2) Sixty nine percent of terminally ill lung cancer and 81 percent with terminal colorectal cancer did not realize that the chemotherapy would not likely eliminate their tumors.
It seems that many patients believe that they will beat the odds. Hossein Borghaei, an oncologist at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, elaborated about the problem, “What are you supposed to do, stand in front of someone with advance disease and argue with them? It’s not productive.... But I hear that all the time, especially from the younger patients.
Read this New York Times article about the huge profit, in the range of millions per year, that doctors can make on chemotherapy drugs. Then take a look again at the long list of side effects caused by chemotherapy.
Read here about a Michigan doctor who was falsely diagnosing people with cancer and recommending treatment for profit.
Or about this Michigan doctor who did the same thing.
And while this doctor's actions are reprehensible, what about those doctors who just make mistakes and make incorrect diagnoses of cancer. It's estimated that as many as 20 percent of cancer cancer are misdiagnosed, according to these studies.
What is going on? Why after the many decades of research do doctors still recommend treatments that cause so much damage to people, especially when they might not undergo that treatment for themselves?
The saying "get a second opinion" is rarely heard anymore, yet so important. If you were diagnosed with a serious illness, would you get a second opinion?
In speaking with some friends about the article, we got on the topic of conversation about senior patients, who will accept the word of their doctor without question. My friends were saying this was true of older patients, but is age really a factor in this blind trust of the opinions of their doctor?
Please weigh in with questions and comments.