Here’s the short form for those who are in a hurry: My father was treated with radiotherapy, after only a few sessions the esophagus was already apparently severely damaged. He wanted to stop, but was unfortunately persuaded to continue. After that, “radiation pneumonitis” developed very quickly, which then quickly led to acute lung failure and ended his life prematurely. Conclusion: I have the feeling that cancer therapies are nothing but cold-hearted money machines, and that life has little value in oncology practices. Especially for patients who have advanced stage cancers, I caution against endangering your health with risky treatments, even if they are part of the standard of conventional medicine. You will find lots of people online claiming that their cancer therapy worked for them. Unfortunately, the others, who are in far greater numbers, who could tell you otherwise, are all dead.
And the long version is as follows:
At the top of their website of the radiology practice that my father visited, it says, “99% would recommend our practice.” The 99% are probably only selected patients who were still alive when they were surveyed.
My father was anxious to travel from Greece to Germany for treatment when he felt he needed to see a doctor. I told him, what for? Then I had explained to him that the idea that German doctors are better qualified is racist, because money-grubbing, incompetent idiots are everywhere in the world.
Because after completion of the “high-tech radiation therapy” my father died quickly and painfully. Yes, it’s one of those things that happen with cancer. Nobody is responsible for anything. After all, one speaks of “treatments”, not “cures”. You get kicked out of university if you use the word “cure” as a medical student. Cancer is always to blame for everything. No one is liable for anything. Hardly any doctor I know has ever heard of “Primum non nocere.” No one really knows anything, neither about the disease, nor about the patient, nothing really matters. The main thing is to follow “the treatment protocol”; otherwise, there are indeed legal risks for the doctor, but in Germany this is by far not as bad as in the USA in terms of liability. But be careful: you must not accuse the doctor of incompetence, that would be legally problematic.
And that’s the way it is. The irresponsibility of the doctors has a purpose, so that no one is left alone if something goes wrong. One covers for the other. An elaborate system of the medical world and other industries to be able to hide incompetence and botch well. By rotating doctors, hardly any doctor spends more than a few minutes with the patient. An elegant way to justify the general incompetence.
One may not insult the physicians however as incompetent, money-greedy idiots, my lawyer reminded me, because that would be legally complicated, even if it’s true. So you can’t just say what should be said, not without risking legal retaliation….
In any case, after only a few treatments (“irradiations”, or better perhaps “burns”) at the “high-tech radiology” practice he visited, his esophagus was severely injured. He thought he was experiencing a heart attack, the pain was that bad. Another doctor later confirmed visually that there were tears in the esophagus. This is a very inconvenient place for a tear and increases the risk for sepsis. Moreover, he could hardly eat or drink after that. Breathing also became increasingly difficult for him because obviously it wasn’t just the esophagus that was damaged. This went on not only for days, but for several weeks, until his death, which consequently led to dehydration and malnutrition and malnutrition.
Does this sound like a therapy respecting the “Primum non nocere” principle?
What kind of clever doctor came up with such a therapy? When we look at a patient and the development of his condition, as in my father’s case, it quickly becomes clear that this cannot end well. But the typical doctor (Colonel Narcissus Maximus) will then quickly instruct you in case you doubt his decisions with “official statistics” that somewhere in the world someone has actually survived this therapy, at least for 5 years. In patients who were diagnosed with NSCLC St 3B like my father, it is said to be as high as 7%. This means 7% are still alive after 5 years after “successful” treatment. I do not believe this statistic because it is not based on data from the entire population, but from a “selection” of patients. Also, a patient is an individual, not a statistic, and should be treated as such. However, it appears people are indeed mostly treated like statistics.
“Don’t make such a fuss, Mr. X! Ignore the pain. Be a man! How else are you going to get better?” That’s not what they literally said, but you get the point.
The burns then developed into radiation pneumonitis. He could hardly breathe until he died of acute respiratory failure in the intensive care unit. It all happens in a flash and no one is responsible for anything. It is always the disease’s fault. One often hears “Yes, I’m sorry that it happened this way, but…” followed by doctors’ jargon packed with almost delusional ideas about the efficiency of the therapies used. And yes indeed, the disease is really bad. One could believe that some doctors do not live on this planet and had their heart amputated somewhere right after their high school graduation in order to be allowed to study medicine.
Unfortunately, medicine doesn’t have much to offer in lung cancer and in other areas that I researched and, for example, my father was given exactly the same therapies as were given 45 years ago: Cisplatin and radiation therapy. Cisplatin has been around since the 1970s and radiotherapy, of course, for longer. One would think that in 2022 there should be better things, such as “high-tech radiotherapy”, which is being touted here. But that is nothing more than sophisticated marketing. We are still in 1979 as far as cisplatin plus radiotherapy is concerned, at least if things stand as they do with my father.
This combination of therapy (cisplatin plus radiation, which literally burns your lungs and almost completely suppresses their immune system) gives an average of a full 2.5 months of life expectancy in NSCLC St. 3B, according to several studies! Note that this is an average, because many die sooner with this therapy than if they had had no therapy at all! And that was clearly the case with my father.
Yes you should definitely be told that it may happen that you would have lived longer without therapy. Or conversely said that radiotherapy could shorten your life significantly. But no matter what, the bills will be paid by your health insurance in any case. So either way, the doctor is protected from all risks and can continue to pay his loan on the expensive Mercedes without worry.
Maybe you are lucky and you can successfully hold the doctors responsible in court. With the 5,000 Euros compensation for pain and suffering you can then pay for the flowers at the funeral. Yes this is the legal reality in Germany. If you insulted a doctor you would certainly have to pay a higher sum. Therefore, I would never want to call a doctor an incompetent idiot.
In my father’s case it would have been clearly and without any doubt the better choice not to see a doctor at all. Neither chemo nor radiation. And if you have seen someone die in the ICU because they can no longer breathe, you will agree with me that this is not a humane way to depart from life.
The health insurance company would have saved a lot of money and my father would be in less pain. Ergo, the problem with cancer treatments is actually that they are a form of insurance fraud, because the whole thing wouldn’t go on so conveniently for decades if patients had to pay for everything out of pocket. Because then people would ask a lot of questions about the efficacy of these therapies. Doctors would then have to invent even more statistics to hide this fraud that usually goes on.
I object here that not enough information was given. That instead of stopping the therapy, as he correctly did, he was then persuaded to continue with the therapy despite the injuries. “Sufficient” I would define essentially as follows: “Mr. X, you must be aware that in up to 40% of patients in your situation this therapy leads to radiation pneumonitis, which can quickly end your life. If all goes well, you could live up to 2.5 months longer. Are you sure you want to start this therapy?”
And who would answer “yes”?
With his diagnosis, radiation therapy was really nothing more than money-making. Just count the number of physician assistants in the photo on the practice website. These salaries cost quite a bit of money every month, and the money has to come from somewhere. There are many cancer patients, so they don’t necessarily have to be cured, as long as the health insurance company pays, the business runs and it runs well…
Here is an example of how numbers can quickly give the wrong impression. On the practice’s web page it says, quote:”On average 98% were highly satisfied with all questions about waiting time, hygiene, friendliness of staff and medical care.” Waiting time, hygiene, friendliness, that’s enough to run a radiology practice. Not a word about cure, success rate of treatments, chances of survival, etc. I have no doubt that the people there were friendly. But the consequences of the treatment have nothing to do with the friendliness of the staff.
Unfortunately, one cannot publicly call these cancer therapy methods a fraud scheme, because the “legal system” stands fully behind the pharmaceutical industry and hence also the doctor, and one would be soon terrorized by an army of lawyers. Yes, indeed, fraud is a heavy legal word and I am not a lawyer. I’m just someone describing the obvious here: how unsuspecting patients are mislead not just by their physicians, but the entire medical system.
No, I want to let my father rest in peace here. He really had hope that this therapy would help him. After all, it was the only therapy offered. There was nothing else to choose from. So he had a choice: have your thorax burned or die slowly of cancer. The latter would have given him additional painless months. But he believed the doctors. Unfortunately.
I can only recommend to every patient out there to get independent double, triple and quadruple opinions about the risks and actual benefits of radiation therapy. Ideally, this shouldn’t be done where it radiology or oncology are practiced. Otherwise, that would be like a student grading himself. Look at detailed statistics that describe the prognoses of the various therapy options in detail and independently. Note that even in some studies statistics “stretched” a bit to make the prognosis look better than it really is. It’s like the old saying: “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” Statistics are often a tool of camouflage and deception.
Better than statistics, in my opinion, are testimonials from patients who have been in a similar situation. So, now you have one, which I hope will help you.