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Cancer and tumeric

thunderrgd
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2017

Background:  Stage 3A NSCLC.  11 of 13 lymph nodes malignant.  LLL performed February 2016.  I'm a 59 yr old male.  All procedures from diagnosis, to surgery and follow ups have been done by the Veterans Administration.  Surgery in Richmond, Va at Hunter.  Follow up with the Oncologist at the Beckley, WV Veterans Administration. 

Upon my first appointment with the Beckley V.A. Oncologist, I was told "there's no point in treatment.  We can do chemotherapy, but most can't tolerate it and you have a 20% chance of surviving 5 years.  The chemotherapy would only give you a 5% increase in that."  OK.  I wanted to discuss my options and was met with that.  To be fair, I was leaning away from chemo...his approach just reinforced that decision.  In the 15 months since my surgery, I've seen this guy 4 times.  During the initial follow up, when I declined chemo,  I told him:  "I'll make you a deal...I'll not bemoan my fate and will get along as best as I can.  BUT, when the time comes for medication, I'll expect you to help me keep the pain under control and deal with whatever syptoms presents as they come."  He agreed and we shook on it.  Yeah, I know...these days worth the paper it's written on.

In January (2017) three "nodules" showed up in at CT scan.  I was told they were too small for a PET scan and advised by the Doc Onc (apologies, I read Spiderman comics in my youth) to wait and check again in 4 months.  Had the rescan done May 23...two weeks ago. The "nodules" have all doubled in size, and are located in each lobe of my right lung.  When I asked Doc Onc about radiation in January, he said to wait for a PET scan and then added:  "if it is malignant, radiation probably won't help either". 

I say all of that to get to this.  I just saw Doc Onc - May 23 - and informed him that in addition to the upper back pain I had complained about in January, I've developed a dry, non-productive cough that is ongoing.  I've tried treating with over the counter cough syrup, and that's just a waste of effort...might as well drink water.  He told me "cough syrup won't help."   He advised me to take "1 tablespoon of honey mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric.  It has anti-inflammatory properties and provides some pain relief, according to some of my other patients."  I then reminded him of our "deal" and told him that when I reach the end stage, I want to be made comfortable and not be in pain, nor even truly aware as I pass, I know...odds are I won't be anyway, but I'd rather not face it unmedicated.  Doc Onc told me "cancer doesn't cause pain" and the decison to medicate or not will be based on whether it's a physical need or a psychological one. "We only treat the physical."  I'm left wondering if cancer doesn't cause pain, why are drugs proscribed for "severe pain associted with cancer".    Honey and tumeric for this???

Summary:  I'd like to think that if the "nodules light-up" from the contrast with the PET scan (the largest is 9mm x 10mm, one in each lobe) radiation might extend my time a bit, I've still a few things I need to get off the bucket list but I've taken care of the most important ones, so it's ok if it's not to be.  Still, it's hard to just sit by and not fight it out.  I do stand by my decision, but recall a second opinion I sought after the January V.A. appointment.  It was with a priviate, civilain Dr.  who told me "if you had been my patient, we'd have started chemo and radiation immediately."  But this was a year after my surgery, and having never had cancer before I took Doc Onc's opinion as informed gospel.  I ask Doc Onc the question we all have:  "how much time have I got?"  I've asked him at each appointment and he refuses to answer.  He doesn't know that I had a bladder infection that sent me to the V.A. ER, and the Doc there treated prescibed the appropriate antibiotics and cured it...then referred me to a Pulmonologist.  He pulled up an actuary table "they" use and told me "based on all factors, you have 6 months to a year".  Good to know for planning purposes.  I've a feeling that when I start to go downhill, it'll happen fast.  Hence the need to get all of my ducks in a row.

So, your advice?  Thoughts?  Comments?  Am I wrong to suspect that I really need to find another Oncologist?

 

MyJourneywithCancer
Posts: 83
Joined: May 2017

I am so sorry to hear what you are going through lately.

I am not aware of any significant medical benefit of turmeric in cancer treatment, bio-avalibility and mode of action being two questionable factors. Secondly, when any doctor declares such-and-such life-span for any patient, (s)he should know that statistics does not work on individuals, and that the job in hand is to treat the patient, not to forecast the future.

I think you are thinking in right direction. I would get another doctor, who is aggressive and knowledgeable, and start the treatment immediately.

Six months ago, when a treatment with chemo failed for my wife, colleague of your oncologist told us there was nothing he could do anymore and that she had a few weeks. I insisted that doing nothing is not an option for us, and put her onto a therapy targeted against a genetic mutation she had. She joined her job a month ago.

I wish you good luck.

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