1. What type and stage is the cancer? And are there other disease conditions ?
This is an important first question to ask one’s oncologist because his-her treatment plan will be based on the diagnosis. Most oncologists are fixated on the cancer and fail to identify other health conditions and mechanisms, in particular those that may be responsible for tumor growth. It’s important from the start to have a holistic approach to health.
2. What are all of the patient’s credible scientifically proven options, the consequences thereof ?
In this inquiry, the effects of not activating any treatment plan should also be addressed. With and without lifestyle change.
3. What are the first proposed steps ?
Asking what the first steps are after the diagnosis will help to know is the treating physician and oncologist are competent. Patients often feel confused by the complexity of cancer care. Cancer care and treatment often require many different disciplines of medical care, and it can be all the more difficult to navigate that many integrative and conventional oncologists are not up to speed with the research.
4. What will the timeline of the proposed treatment plan look like?
Each cancer diagnosis is unique, and each patient is different, from when they need to start treatment to how soon they can get back to their normal life and what to expect along the way. The patient should always have an open critical mind and question the doctor’s protocol, in particular by asking him-her for evidence and following up with questions on why this piece of evidence is clinically superior to that piece of evidence.
5. What is the goal of treatment? The proposed outcome ?
Too often, patients are led to believe that the goal of treatment is to get rid of tumor (s). But this is not the major issue. Micrometastases complications are what most patients die from, then comes the issue of iatrogenic complications, clots and infections as well as a few other elements.
6. Who can be called upon to help answer questions?
Navigating one’s diagnosis, treatments, doctor visits can be daunting. Bringing a trusted friend or family member to the doctor’s meeting can help to take some of the pressure off. This support person can also make sure your questions get answered.
B. Life-saving & Lifespan Questions
“The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA”. Cf. Morgan G1, Ward R, Barton, The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies. M. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2004 Dec;16(8):549-60. (Source)
1. If chemotherapy is the chosen treatment modality, chemo-sensitivity testing to determine which drugs are most effective should be considered. Just like a good immunologist will perform a cutlure test to determine what antibiotic may work best, a good oncologist should use these DNA testing procedures.
2. If radiation and chemotherapy are chosen, the oncologist should be asked how she-he will protect the patient’s body from side effects, in particular from cancer-causing free radicals and oxidative stress that come from these procedures ? Among other procedures, anti-oxidant, hyperthermia and some form of fasting have been shown to be protective, so the patient should ask his-her oncologist about these modalities.
To our knowledge, most conventional oncologists have not been educated with regard to these protective modalities, if that is the case, this would be a reason to find another health-care professional. Or at least, to convince the oncologist to incorporte these protective therapies in his-her protocol. Likewise with surgery, there are holistic modalities to avoid the surgical spread of cancer cells and to minimize immune depression.
3. What the oncologist’s plan is for addressing cancer stem cells. Many oncologists have none, this would be a clear sign of incompetency because the key reason that explains cancer recurrence is based on the migration and metastasis formation of cancer stem cells, including after the five years cut-off date.
4. How the oncologist plans to support the immune system ? What she-he is planning with regard to the cancer’s underlying inflammatory processes ? Among other questions on mechanisms.
5. Then the patient or caretaker could test the oncologist to see if she-he is up to speed with regard to innovative cancer therapies and research, including, but not limited to products like magnesium, haelen, mistletoe, herbs, vitamin C IV therapy etc.
6. For advanced cancer, the patient should ask about the oncologist’s plan for pain medication, their side effects and alternatives. Weakening one’s immune system with certain pain meds should be seriously questioned in terms of benefits-risks, and all the more so that there are credible alternatives. Many advanced cancer patients die from the morphine drip.
7. How does the proposed treatment plan affect cancer recurrence ? This is one of the key Achille’s heels of both conventional and integrative oncology. There are many metastasis drivers, cancer stem cells being only one of them.
8. How does the cancer treatment plan under consideration affect the patient’s lifespan ? This is a relevant question because most conventional anti-cancer treatments shorten lifespan. When conventional oncology measures relative lifespan benefits, it is in relation to conventional life expectancy with a given cancer and a given treatment plan. In this context, there can be some improvement, though usually in months. Holistic oncology is less interested in a few months or even years than in a few extra decades in terms of lifespan of the general population.
C. Six Guiding Questions to help get at the Scientific Truth
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal Of Medicine”. (source)
1. Source of the Claim or Story: There are many claims and healing “stories” in medicine. One should also critically examine the Source of the story or claim. Is it based on a valid scientific study from a reputable institution, or is it anecdotal information from a non-scientist? Is there any reason to think that the writer might be biased ? Cancer treatment plans should be objectively demonstrated in the peer-reviewed scientific literature to be more effective than a placebo and without serious side effects that will shorten one’s lifespan.
2. Strength of the evidence. Was it a small preliminary pilot study or a large double-blind, placebo-randomized controlled trial? Was the effect a large one? Was it a clinically meaningful effect? Does it only report a correlation, or is there evidence of causation? Do they report relative percentages or absolute numbers? (Check out Cochrane for evidence weighing). These are a few of other “tests” the ACR Institute uses to ascertain the scientific validity of a claim.
3. Relevance (Salience): Is the study about similar patients or patients with another culture ? Medicine is as much a culture phenomenon as a scientific one. So it’s relevant to ask about culture. Secondarily, it’s relevant to ask questions about the gr0up that was studied. Often, cancer patients lifestyles differ and that difference may be decisive in terms of survival. Was the study a mice or test tubes one ? Did it come from human clinical trials and were these well designed and without flaws ? Etc.
4. Sides of the scale. Does the story provide a balanced view with input from experts not involved in the study? Are there legitimate disagreements?
5. Rationality and Common sense: Does the story make sense and fit with other relevant information or does the story sound too good to be true ? Does it use “red flag” words like “miracle cure”, “the truth about this or that” and other suspicious marketing formulas ? If the story claims that breatharians can live without food or water, a little digging will show that claim is exaggerated. Likewise with water being molecularly transformed and becoming healing just by thinking positive thoughts in the direction of the water. Research has shown that Demoto claims on this topic has never been scientifically replicated in an independent lab. Yet millions of people feel the need to believe in his claim. That does not mean that postive thoughts are not good. On the contrary, they are strongly relevant for any treatment success. But buying structured water whose crystals have molecularly changed to become super healing appears to be based more on marketing hype than on scientific truth. I’m writing “appear” because scientific humility is also important. We should stay open and curious with regard to all claims. But basing one’s cancer treatment on a claim that has little or no evidence to back it up can be risky. And if one does that, the patient should closely monitor its results. (1)
6. Salesmanship (Marketing): Is the purpose of the article to sell something or to promote a particular treatment or brand? If so, the information may not be trustworthy.
D. Basic skills in judging the validity and clinical importance of the Medical Litterature
Physicians must have basic skills in judging the validity and clinical importance of these articles…” Prim Care. 2006 Dec;33(4):839-62, vi. (Source)
As mentioned in the Institute’s Après-Diagnosis Guidance ebook, it’s important to confirm the doctor’s recommendations via Research and to know a few of the basic medical research skills the Institute teaches in order to ascertain relevance in the midst of millions of internet reference articles in medicine.
This question is all the more important because most conventional and integrative oncologists will usually only propose Research articles that support what they want to sell. Thus without more rigor and integrity to ensure objectivity, healthcare recommendations will not be informed by the best available research evidence.
“With Internet access available to all, patients are increasingly gaining access to medical information, and then looking to their primary care physician for interpretation. Physicians encounter an “information jungle”–there were 682,121 articles recorded in PubMed in 2005. If clinicians read two articles per day, in 1 year they would be over nine centuries behind in their reading! Although several excellent services that sift and critically assess medical literature are available to physicians, they are not helpful when a patient brings in the latest article. Physicians must have basic skills in judging the validity and clinical importance of these articles…” Prim Care. 2006 Dec;33(4):839-62, vi. (Source)
E. The ACR Institute’s Recommendation on Conflicts of Interests
To help expose some of the conflicts of interest corrupting the medical profession, the Drug Company Gift Disclosure Act was introduced in Congress where it died year after year until it was successfully integrated into the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) (Source) Now, there’s a database detailing which doctors get the billions of dollars that are dished out by the Industry, “permitting patients to make better informed decisions when choosing health care professionals and making treatment decisions.”
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To examen over one hundred references that confirm conventional oncology’s limits, click here (link reserved to registered coachees or consultees)
Despair wreaks havoc on the Milieu Intérieur, see the ACR Institute’s Booklet on this Topic