Saturday, May 23, 2009

What doctors are able

to do if they go beyond the conventional treatment:chemotherapy.

Bone marrow is the power house of the human blood. It is possible to remove some bone marrow before chemotherapy, and the bone marrow can be put back after wards. Such bone marrow will be undamaged by the chemotherapy poisons, and it can be an aid to recovery.

Dr Peter Dottino : Bone marrow transplant allows us to give an essentially lethal treatment . . .We take out some of your own marrow, freeze it in liquid nitrogen, and when you're sicker than shit, we give it back. We haul you to the brink, push you a bit over, and then pull you back. (No time to Die, p.221)

This procedure also allows doctors to use more poison. And they consider this is an improvement when in actuality it is just going back to square one prior to the treatment.

Dr Bart Barlogie , eminent specialist at the University of Arkansas Cancer Research Center describes the process in less feisty language : The whole concept behind bone marrow transplantation is to allow the administration of much greater dose intensity in order to kill more cancer cells and to thereby decrease the tumor burden down to the level where perhaps the immune system can cope with it. (Transcript,p.11)

'Knowing that myeloma is rather resistant, the treatment one gives with one bone marrow transplant is not that much more effective . . . So we doctors decided OK we will just do two transplants ... and we have criteria where, if we don't achieve what we want to accomplish after one transplant, we modify the treatment going along with the second transplant, to include total body radiation. (Transplant, pp.13-14)

Patient: You're the only person doing that?
Dr Barlogie: I think so.

In the transcript, Dr Barlogie says that he is himself 'perhaps a little more adventurous in terms of treating than some'(p.10).

Let the patient find out bit by bit how bad things are. This is identified as 'the principle of gradual disclosure' and John Diamond* maintains that 'almost all doctors practise it' (in his heroic account of cancer, C: Because Cowards Get Cancer Too.p.63)

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