Chemo or not?

Big decisions to make… I am considering not having chemo as treatment and thinking of choosing the protocols recommended in the book How to Starve Cancer by Jane Mclelland. 

Is this a mistake? Chemo is so brutal and it won’t cure me…

Grateful for any thoughts. 

Good wishes to everyone

I guess at the end of the day this is a personal decision for you to make. I would urge you to have a good talk with your oncologist / breast care nurse before making any decisions. What I would also say is that whilst stage 4 might not be curable many ladies live with it successfully for many years - we’re talking up to 15 years. It can be managed successfully for a long period of time and depending on your type of cancer most of the new treatments are very easy to manage. I haven’t changed my life at all since my diagnosis and still work full time etc. It might also be having a look at a recent BBC documentary before making any decisions. It called ‘False hope? Alternative cancer cures’. It is available on the iPlayer and watching it might also help inform your decisions about treatment. 

Hi Susie

Just checking whether you have secondary BC or not. Unfortunately the title heading of this section is misleading as it doesn’t state it’s in the secondary part of the forum, it just says ‘Treatments and Medical issues’ so from a quick search of appropriate places to add a new post this would seem the right one. 
The answers you get will be quite different depending on the stage of your BC, whether it’s primary or secondary. We can help either way with your question once we know more.

Nicky x

Hi Susie

As far as I’m aware, Jane McLelland’s protocol was created to be used alongside cancer treatment and not instead of it.

Have you spoken to your Oncologist about different treatment options? Some treatments are kinder than others.

Best of luck to you whatever you decide to do.

Hi Susie,

It sounds like you have perplexed the medics and I can understand why you want to try the COC protocol instead of chemo.  I would also be asking the same questions as you if the cancer is stable and not aggressive.  Either your Oncologist hasn’t given you the full picture and reasoning as to whey they want to give chemo or they really are over-treating you.  It might be worth you speaking to your Oncologist again and getting him to put everything in a letter to you about the rationale for why the want to give you chemo at this point as perhaps there are future concerns that they are thinking of but haven’t properly communicated to you.

I don’t have any experience of the COC protocol myself however like many others, I have seriously looked into it.  I hadn’t made my mind up about it yet as I couldn’t find anyone online that has actually been doing it for SBC and had successful results with it.  I also noted from their website there is a cost and they also won’t accept new patients without approval from their current Oncologist.

Have you thought about getting a second opinon from a different Oncologist (at a different hospital)?  I always think in cases where you have some confusion or doubt about what is being suggested and why, its handy to get a second opinion.

Your Oncologist wouldn’t be allowed to stop you from trying the COC protocol but you might hit a barrier if you decided to go ahead and the COC clinic want approval from your Oncologist.  I have read of cases where some patients have had to get a different Oncologist who was aware of the COC protocol and willing to give their consent.

The main thing to be aware of with COC or any of these alternative medicine routes is to do thorough research beforehand (and not go off anecdotes on the internet!) as unfortunately, there really isn’t enough proper clinical evidence to prove that alternative treatments work at all, or work well for everyone.  Hence why maybe getting a second opinion may help as not every Oncologist holds the same view and some might share more information than others. 

Best wishes to you and good luck, whatever you decide! xx

Hi Susie,

Just to share my experience.

I am type II diabetic and have been on metformin (500mg twice daily) since 1999. My mammogram in Oct 2010 came back clear. In Dec the same year I found a lump (about marble size) in my breast. The walk-in clinic physician (probably based on the mammogram result)told me it was cyst and could be absorbed automatically by the body. In March 2011 I felt the lump had grown to about 1.5 inches. My GP examined both my breasts and my armpits. He sent me for the ultrasound/biopsy.  In about 1.5 week the biopsy result came back as positive. I then had my mastectomy in 3 weeks time. stage 3 with 5.5 cm tumor, 8 out of 27 lymph nodes were affected. In a post surgery follow up appointment with my GP, he said he was very surprised so many nodes  were affected and he didn’t feel any when the first time he examined my armpit. I also felt the lymph nodes had grown one by one during the waiting time. That means, the cancer had spread to 8 lymph nodes in 4.5 weeks time.  Personally, I really can not agree metformin has any ability to kill the cancer cells or maybe, even to slow down the aggressiveness. At least I can not see.

My mom was type II diabetic and had high cholesterol. She was on metformin and Lipitor when she was diagnosed stage 1 ER+ bc in 2004 and sbc (met to colon and blood vessel) in 2012. She only had 1 round of chemo and chose not to have any more chemo due to her age (70 yo) and also the side effect (not able to recognize her family and friends for 1 month).

My dad had been on Lipitor for 25+ years when he was diagnosed secondary colon cancer spread to liver (initial 2 cm tumor) with unknown primary (primary not found). He did not have any treatment but only lipitor. When he passed away after 3 months, his liver tumor grown to 9cm.

I understand Taxol treat both breast cancer and lung cancer. I had 8 rounds of THP (and ??maybe with metformin??)  which cleared all the lesions in heart(?)/lung/sternum/abdominal lining.

ps. I am not any medical. I just feel COC protocol may work being a complementary therapy but can not look it as the main treatment.