A patient recently submitted the following question:

One of the main things I am struggling with is my decision not to do chemo.

I am not against chemo and radiation and I feel like it has a time and place.
If I can heal my cancer without it I would like to.
However, if the majority of people with my type of cancer can’t heal without it
then maybe I should go forward with it.

Am I doing the right thing?

This is such a tough dilemma, I can understand the ever-present fears associated with a decision like this and I can understand that deep desire to erase any “what if’s” from one’s mind and heart.

Although I do not have the legal right to tell a patient to do or not to do chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, prescription medications or any other form of western medical intervention, what I can do is provide patients a breakdown for deductive reasoning, that they might reach a place where they feel better equipped to make such a tough decision.

The following is a list of steps I’ve encouraged patients to take as they decide whether adding _______ (insert chosen therapy) is right for them:

Step 1. Assess Your Current Symptoms and State-of-Health

  • Are my symptoms consistently worsening, even with everything I am currently doing to support my immune system?
  • If my symptoms are worsening, how rapid are the changes? Do I feel rushed for time or do I notice the progression is more gradual?
  • If my symptoms are not worsening, do I still have fears/concerns with holding “stasis” in this state-of-health?
  • Do my scans & labs confirm my current symptoms or is what I’m physically experiencing in-contradiction to the trending results?
  • Do I have quality-of-life?

Step 2. Assess Your Current Protocol

  • Have I reached a plateau with what I can currently do ‘naturally’ to support my immune system?
  • Am I interested in or even capable of adding in more alternative therapies to my current protocol?
  • Is there another alternative clinic/practitioner that I might benefit from consulting with?
  • Do I have more time in my day/week to add more alternative therapies?
  • Do I have the financial capacity to support a continued expansion of out-of-pocket expenses?
  • Am I reaching a place of mental/spiritual burnout or overwhelm in my current regimen?

Step 3. Know the Facts

  • How does my type/stage/grade of cancer typically respond to traditional therapies?
  • What does the research say?
  • What are the 5-year survival rates?
  • What is a detailed breakdown of the recommended protocol {s}: drug names, # of infusions/treatments, time-span between each infusion/treatment
  • Does the suggested protocol seem reasonable, taking into account my needs as an individual?
  • What are the expected effects {including side-effects} of those treatments?

How to Know If Chemo or Radiation the Best 'Next Step' {Patient Question Series} 1

Step 4. Address “Side” Effects Head-On

  • Am I willing to risk experiencing all of the potential side effects {even those listed as rare}?
  • How does my body currently handle modern medical interventions?
  • How do I currently tolerate chemical exposures: am I sensitive to them or do I not notice any difference?
  • What does my genetic report say about my methylation pathways, specifically my detoxification genes?
  • Am I willing to adjust/add to my current therapy regimen to accommodate additional support in light of potential side effects?

Step 5. Consider Your Support System

  • Am I experiencing pressure or encouragement/support from others?
  • If I am experiencing pressure, what is their motive {whether intentional or unintentional}? Is it fear? Love? The desire to have their way? Is their pressure founded in research-supported wisdom?
  • Walk through all individuals who currently bear influence in your life: spouse, oncologist, primary care practitioner, immediate/extended family, friends, spiritual community, coworkers, etc.
  • If at any point in the future I decide to change course, will I continue to be supported in my decisions?

Step 6. Finding Peace

  • Where is my current state of mental health at?
  • Do I have more peace if I DON’T or if I DO pursue Western Medical Treatments? There is a major difference!!

Not every question listed above needs to be answered before a person might reach a final decision and choose which way to go. Some people might only need to ask themselves the very first question: Are my symptoms consistently worsening, even with everything I am currently doing to support my immune system? For others, it might take many more questions and conversations to reach that place.

Take an appropriate amount of time, seek wisdom from a multitude of counselors, and make your decision based upon that wisdom and the peace you experience as a result.

For a more detailed explanation of these steps/questions, you can watch the video presentation here: https://youtu.be/B3G_iV3shiE