Recent studies and reports have revealed that terminal cancer patients are frequently given harsh chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatments long after they have been diagnosed as hopeless. In many instances such treatments continue up until the moment of death. As a result, many cancer patients are subjected to needless expense and suffering and little time is left for alternative treatments that otherwise might have saved their lives.
The Oncologist reported that about one in five dying cancer patients are given chemotherapy within 14 days of their deaths. The report also stated that one-third of terminal cancer patients are not sent to a hospice until they have less than three days left to live. Last year, Virginia Commonwealth Massey reported that 25% of Medicare expenses for terminal cancer patients are spent in their final month.
A study published in the journal Cancer found that radiation treatments were given to 91 percent of dying cancer patients. Half of those patients spent more than 60 percent of their remaining lifespan undergoing radiation treatments and most were unable to complete their treatments because they died. The study also found that rather than reducing pain, most often the treatments actually increased pain.
Perhaps those figures help explain some other disconcerting figures about cancer treatment in the United States. For example, the United States spends twice as much per person for cancer care for the same results as other countries that spend less. Another example is the fact that oncologist salaries have increased 86% in the past 10 years even though the number of patient visits has increased by only 12%. Notably, the large majority of most oncologists’ income is derived from markups on chemo drugs.
Far too often there may be an even darker side to doctors hanging on to cancer patients they had given up on besides the needless suffering and expense: preventing the chance of a cure outside mainstream treatments. Though not recognized by mainstream medicine, natural and alternative cancer treatments are often successful when mainstream medicine has admitted defeat. However, the longer a person is kept on mainstream treatments the less chance they have of finding success with alternative treatments.
Radiation destroys the immune system, especially the bone marrow that lies at the very heart of the immune system. It is the immune system which heals cancer and keeps it at bay – not radiation or chemotherapy drugs which merely treat the symptoms (tumors) of cancer. Radiation and chemo alike often inflict major damage on healthy cells and organs, further weakening the body and in many instances causing damage so severe that it ends up killing the patient. In many forms of forms of cancer more patients die of liver and heart failure than are saved by chemo or radiation.
Part of the problem is oncologists’ reluctance to tell patients if and when they have been diagnosed as terminal. Instead, many patients continue to hear optimistic reports about “response rates”, “tumor reductions” and “cancer control”, as they have from the outset. Left untold is that their oncologist has determined that their cancers are beyond their ability to control or cure.
Another problem is the willingness of insurance companies and Medicare to pay for hopeless treatments long after the doctors have given up hope. The biggest problem, however, is doctors and the cancer industry failing to treat cancer patients as human beings who need and deserve to be told the truth and given proper care instead of treating them as profit centers to be milked of every dollar possible.