My daughter Samantha is applying for a scholarship toward her Master’s Degree–she wants to go into cancer research and was asked to write about the use of alternative therapies in place of orthodox medicine for cancer patients. She used me and my experiences as part of her essay:
At age 61 James “Rhio” O’Connor received a diagnosis of Mesothelioma and given only one year to live from diagnosis. Like many cancers, Mesothelioma is not easily diagnosed or widely understood. It is linked to asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is a very aggressive cancer effecting the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Knowing the intensity of this cancer, Rhio felt the need to find his own promising treatment outside of orthodox medicine. He knew he was going to be a survivor so he found options for treating his mind and body in a positive way. Rhio treated himself with a mostly a vegetarian diet, vitamins, fatty acids, minerals, amino acids, herbs, enzymes, and a positive mental state. Through this Rhio found his body becoming reinforced to out live his diagnosis.
Many people just like Rhio and myself feel that doctors should be able to treat cancer however they see fit with in guidelines of the needs and wants of the patient. Doctors should be able to give patients all treatment options traditional and non traditional as well as the pros and cons of the options. Final treatment decisions should always be left to the patient and family. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she chose the traditional route of treatment. She did chemotherapy as well as radiation. Now she is free of breast cancer, but after the treatments she is currently dealing with irreversible effects on her body like mild cardiomyopathy. She will have to be monitored the rest of her life because of chemotherapy and radiation. In December of 2013 she was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Like Rhio the doctors estimated a short time frame of a max of 10 months to live. It was not an easy for her to agree to do traditional treatments. The long lasting effects were obvious and the treatments this time would be much more intense. After weighing her options, she did the intensive chemo and radiation but supplemented it with her own homeopathic treatments she and family members had researched.
In many patients’ scenarios they are given a short time frame of life after diagnosis. This can drive some people to find a way to beat their cancer. Sometimes the timeframe for the FDA to approve a treatment option is a long narrow road. Many cancer patients would not be alive still by the time a promising treatment is approved. Thus, time drives patients and families to take matters into their own hands. The herbal supplement my mother started taking, Moringa, has positive effects and no negatives, plus it is fairly inexpensive. Thus, there was no reason to at least try the method. With doing treatment she was given 10 months to live. She has beaten her odds and is on month 25. She has inoperable stage 4 pancreatic cancer, one of the hardest cancers to overcome. Since my mother’s diagnosis just a few of the many other studies I have read are: controlling ones body’s pH, raw diets, medicinal marijuana, iodine, meditation, and Antineoplaston therapy. All of these have seen positive results in research and a lack of negative results. These non- traditional options are typically less costly compared to the high cost of traditional cancer medicines. Medicinal medicines especially are currently very controversial. I have heard and read interesting facts about the positive impact marijuana oils have on many diseases and cancers. This has pushed people to move their families to places like Colorado to treat their sick child. Not all medicinal or folk medicine is valid but some have shown good results in studies. All of these non traditional routes have proven to be promising in many patients and definitely in Rhio’s case. I believe treatment should start by looking at what we are putting in and on our bodies.
The FDA and laboratories work together doing a large amount of work to bring a new cancer drug to the market. Time is money and this process takes a long time. Patients with Mesothelioma or other aggressive cancers do not have time to standby. The wide range of cancer drugs does not often encompass alternative therapies. This keeps doctors from being able to use treatments that they feel are helpful to their patients because of not being FDA approved. Independent laboratories and companies often have to find their own funding for alternative therapy research. This causes a major roadblock between the FDA research verses independent research. Society needs to change their outlook on cancer. Often the traditional treatment for cancer is what leads to death in many patients. The healthcare system should put more attention in cancer prevention. People need to take care of their bodies before cancer can have a chance to strike. Everyone lives with cancer cells in their body daily. It is just a matter of keeping ones body strong and healthy enough at all times so the body can fight them off naturally. Our government needs to put more emphasis and focus into research. I do not feel that the focus should be on a particular cancer. Instead scientists should be finding how cancers are similar, to then fight more cancers at one time.
As an adult I have seen the widespread impact of cancer on the world. I have also seen there start to be a great deal of change especially in Rhio’s and my mother’s circumstances. I have seen the positive impact that education and research can have on humanity. Many people are starting to see the benefits of non-traditional medicine. With properly educating people all over the world we can eradicate cancer. Education can go a long way but the need for continuous research backing is a must. The more research that can be done will provide society with a chance to get closer to a real answer. I want to be a part of this ever changing world of research and education. I hope to get to see the day that we live in a world where we can prevent cancers instead of having to treat them after the fact.