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Dr. Sanjoy Kumar Pal

Refused from Tata Memorial, Doctor please help


I am refused from Tata Memorial Hospital, Doctor what to do, please help...

I receive many phone call from care givers of desperate cancer patients in advance stages of their malignancy. Their stories are almost similar i.e., the conventional therapy is not responding or not in a position to undergo conventional therapy. Now what to do? I saw your blog you have researched in the area of alternative cancer medicines .... can I try this or that therapy....if this alternative therapy will work for me. I have to counsel them over phone; hence, I thought I should write more about it so that it could help the needy patients.  

Cancer is a natural phenomenon

First of all one must understand that cancer is absolutely a natural phenomenon. And fighting cancer for most Indian can be considered as fighting an African lion with bare hands in the Serengeti. No doubt there is a remote possibility that we may win over the lion, but the prize we have to pay for this achievement is too high. Moreover, in the fight against the lion the winning ratio is too small as compared to loosing. Despite of all the advances in medical science for the last 65 years there has been modest improvement in the mortality statistics. One has to understand that cancer is a natural body phenomenon and not a disease as oncologist tells us. Our body is made up of trillion of cells and the DNA inside each cell have a tendency to mutate and become cancerous when the cell environment becomes toxic or change. Everyday we developed many mutated cells in our body that have the potential to become cancerous. However, the immune system of our body clears these cells; but there are some instances that this clearing system get compromise or develop faults. This is when a cancer/tumor starts developing in our body. Recent studies have also identified many gene mutations associated with cancer. And this is the reason that no two cancers in the world are similar at the genetic level. Hence, no specific medicine could be developed for such a complex genetic problem. In present time the choices of cancer treatment are primarily through surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. May be in 20-25 years time we may develop mutation specific targeted cancer therapies and chemotherapy and radiotherapy could become obsolete. But, those targeted therapy could be very costly and unaffordable to many living in the developing world. To know more about cancer please view these videos:

What is Cancer......

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer....

Soon We'll Cure Diseases with a Cell, Not a Pill.....

Are Alternative cancer therapies useful

One has to understand that if alternative therapies were able to cure cancer then it would have replaced conventional therapy by now. Moreover, many alternative therapies are mild form of chemotherapy derived from herbs, shrubs, chemicals and natural toxins. No doubt there are many success stories associated which these therapies that made them popular. But if one analysed the success rate of this therapies it will not cross 2-3%. I myself had done extensive research on some alternative cancer therapies and found that in very few patients it was effective without any serious side effects. Why these patients got cured still remains a mystery, may be these patients had similar type of genetic mutation in them and the medicines given somehow stopped the expression of the rogue genes. There are over 100 types of natural substances that are given to patients in the name of alternative therapies. Seldom will the providers of alternative therapy tell you the details of the therapy they are giving. Everything is hidden from the patients. It is also very difficult to predict in advance that which patients are going to respond to a certain therapy. Moreover, some alternative cancer therapies are very expensive. Very few alternative therapies are really put to clinical test to validate their potential. When people are rejected from a conventional hospital, they are then ready to try anything at any cost. Here they are more likely to get cheated in the name of alternative treatment. There is a human tendency to try everything before dying, who knows that something might help. I have seen dying cancer patients purchasing stones worth thousands of rupees on advice of astrologers.     

When no therapy is the best therapy for cancer - story of a Professor

The problem with cancer is that it progresses silently. Finally, when it is diagnosed it becomes too late for any curative treatment to be initiated. Almost 80% of patients in our country first present to a clinic when their malignancy has reached stage 3 or 4 (very advanced). Now as per the protocol established some form of therapy has to be given so the oncologist start with some form of chemotherapy despite knowing that this is not the appropriate medicine for cancer.

Let me tell the story of Professor Subhash R Naik, who was the head of the department of Gastroenterology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences when I rejoined the institute in 2000. He was one of the finest gastro physicians of our country; and was diagnosed with stomach cancer at the age of 58. To our surprise he did not want to take any chemotherapy; however, due to tremendous pressure from his peers and well wishes he went for a single round of chemotherapy that proved to be very toxic for him without providing much benefit. He then strictly ordered that no more chemo should be given to him. With proper supportive care he survived for over one year with active cancer and no treatment. He proved that in terminal stages of cancer you can do well without any aggressive treatment. However, lay public cannot act likewise because of lack of proper knowledge about cancer. They always see that there could be always a remote possibility.

To fight cancer don’t lose everything – spend wisely

It is really painful so see someone very dear dying in front of you. Our million years of human evolutionary history suggest that you are bound to act when you see fellow human being suffering. May be this is how thousands if not millions of medicinal herbs were discovered by our ancestors. This benevolent behaviour is deeply imbedded in our DNA and we are not ready to accept and see a person die without treatment. It is this very trait that the big Pharma companies and the alternative cancer industry are cashing upon. The Pharma companies are minting billion by selling the dream of ‘magic bullets’ and alternative industry in the name of ‘there is always a possibility.’

I have seen families of many poor patients virtually losing everything and coming on roads after about few months of conventional cancer treatment. And after the patient dies who in most of the cases is the bread earner, the family is virtually pushed into begging. Cancer treatment is a very costly affair in our country, so one has to be very careful and logical in the approach. If there is a girl of marriageable age in the family it is better to invest the saved money on her marriage rather than on cancer treatment. If there are children the first priority should be their education. Different families will have different priorities, but investing all the funds on cancer treatment is risky. However, if the cancer is detected in early stages then it is better to go all out for the treatment. But in terminal cases one has to be very careful not to waste hard earned money. Please always discuss the financial component of conventional treatment with your treating doctors beforehand.

Palliative care and cancer management

In recent years some natural therapies such as Yoga, Pranayam, Meditation, Exercise, Acupuncture, Hypnosis etc., has been shown to be effective in supportive cancer care. These therapies are 100% natural and do not require ingestion of toxic substances, but beneficial to cancer patients in palliative care. In terminal conditions the entire focus should be on palliative care rather than curative. It is better not to go for aggressive treatment when the treatment could itself become problematic for the patient. Moreover, toxic chemotherapy and radiotherapy are known to cause cancer and harm normal cells of the body. Providing palliative care to terminal cancer patients is a big challenge in our country. There are very few hospitals with hospice facilities and private doctors are not ready to venture in this area as profitability is less. In our country healthcare is run as business, and until government takes interest in this area, palliative care will remain poor.             

Planning your own death

Discussing the issue of death with patient is still a big problematic area for many doctors. Death is the most feared subject for any patient and no one like to discuss it. I recall when we went to see an 86 years old terminal cancer patients, he was requesting us that he wants to live for another 14 years to complete his century. His father and grandfather lived for 102 and 104 years, respectively. He feels that he should also complete his century and for that he is ready to spend anything. Whatever it may be people are just afraid of dying. Very few people accept death or plan their own funeral. I like to share the story of my mother how she faced her eminent death. My mom was patient of hypertension and diabetes and later she lost her kidney function and was on dialysis for almost 18 months. When she was in her final stages of her life she gave us strict warning that no one should cry or become sad after she is gone. She was 60 years old & had enjoyed her life and did all her duties, so when she is no more all should enjoy and not to follow the traditional rituals religiously that we do after someone dies. She also called the caterer and finalised all the party details that was to be done in her Śhrāādha. May be because my father is a doctor, death in our family was never treated as an unnatural event. It is a part of life and one should face, plan and enjoy it. There are many books, documentaries and movies made on cancer and terminal illness, I request the readers to see or read them in order to understand the terminal life better.

Documentaries on Cancer

What Is Cancer? Causes of Cancer? A Shocking Truth...
Alternative Cancer Therapy
Can You Cure My Cancer – BBC Documentary
Cancer: The Forbidden Cures
The Science and Politics of Cancer, G. Edward Griffin
Cancer Treatment Documentary: Conventional vs Natural 
Natural Defences in Preventing and Treating Cancer

Lectures on Cancer & Terminal Illness

Let’s Talk About Dying
Prepare for a Good End of Life
Dying to be Me
Is there scientific proof we can heal ourselves?

English Movies on Cancer and Terminal Conditions

The Bucket List
My Life Without Me
One Last Thing
One More Kiss
Fault in Yours Stars
Dying Young
Life as a House
The Medicine Man
The Doctor
The Cure
My Life
Now Is Good
One True Thing
A Walk to Remember
A Little Bit of Heaven 

Hindi Movies Revolving around Cancer

Akhiyon ke Jharokon se
Dard Ka Rista
Chinni Kam

Some Books on Cancer and Terminal Illness

When Breath Becomes Air
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Popular Terminal Illness Books
Saying Goodbye: A Guide to Coping with a Loved One's Terminal Illness 
Beating Cancer with Natural Medicine
The Probability of Miracles
The End of Your Life Book Club

Making your own Cancer Medicine

Cancer patients worldwide try various substances for treatment of their cancer. With the advent of Internet now any kind of alternative cancer medicine can be obtained from any part of the world. There is no need of any face to face interaction, and once purchased it is difficult to return it. Moreover, no one knows for sure if the medicines purchased are going to be effective. Everything runs on faith and advertisement. In order to leave no stone unturned cancer patients tries many types of alternative cancer medicines till they are alive. My own experience suggests that there are many herbs available in our own house/kitchen and if given in a proper dose could be effective in fighting cancer. Some of the herbs/vegetables known to be having proven anti-cancer properties are: Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum); Haldi (Curcuma longa); Neem (Azadirachta indica); Sadabahar (Catharanthus roseus); Amla (Emblica officinalis); Madar (Calotropis gigantean); Bhilawa (Semecarpus anacardium); Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) etc. If anyone interest to know more how to make a potent cancer medicine by used herbs grown in the garden and neighbourhood then please write to me. I will help them to make their own medicine.

Mail me: sanjoykpal@gmail.com
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