A conversation between patient and oncologist discussing alternative treatment.
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A conversation between patient and oncologist discussing alternative treatment.

Dr. X: I'm afraid your type of cancer is very aggressive and spread to your colon and lower intestine. And because we aren't absolutely sure that the testes are the origin, the cancer may come back. I'm afraid the prognosis isn't good but we'll do what we can.

Patient: What are my chances?

Dr. X: I think about 20%

Patient: Dr., do you know of any alternative treatments that I could try before going through chemo, radiation and surgery? I hear magnetic therapies, and even dietary changes can help. I hear hemp, marijuana and even hyperbaric or oxygen treatments work.

Dr. X: There are some who think magnetic therapy, and electromagnetic therapy are possible, but they have absolutely no clinical trials or scientific data to support they work. Some people have found relief, and there have been cases of complete cure, but no research has gone into it. Many other treatments have anecdotal evidence, but without scientific research, you just can't trust it. We think you should watch out for charlatans, they charge hundreds of dollars for pseudo-science. It could be dangerous.

Patient: I see. So let me understand; when you gave me only 20% chance of surviving my advanced cancer, you meant that even if I go through chemo, radiation and surgery, you don't expect me to survive? And these chemicals you will be injecting me with destroy not only bad cells but all of my cells. The radiation will bombard me with highly radioactive particles that will destroy my DNA, in hopes that it will also destroy the cancer genes? It will cause me to lose my hair, vomit violently for weeks, have me bed ridden for months, I will lose my testicles and lower intestine, and will have to defecate through a catheter for the rest of my life, if I'm lucky enough to beat your grim odds of survival? For all this, you will charge my insurance $50,000 for the chemo and radiation and another $100,000 for the surgery, yet trying magnetic therapy is not recommended because charlatans charge a couple hundred dollars for something safe and quite possibly more effective?

Dr. X: That's correct. So please go ahead and put this robe on, I'll be back in a few minutes.


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