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From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: cancer treatment help needed
Date: 26 May 1995

In <> "Wesley J.
Kaufmann" <> writes:

>My dad has lung cancer that has metastsized to his brain. He feels that
>he wants to discontinue all of his treatments. The brain lesions are
>being treated but the doctor did not give much hope. Is it possible to
>treat both the brain lesions and his lung cancer at the same time? What
>are some good non-toxic treatments? He's almost getting to the point
>where he wants to discontinue all treatments and die quickly.

The usual medical mainstays for this are radiation to the brain, and
really powerful steroids (Decadron).  Pain can almost always be
controlled, and when thinking and consciousness is impaired by the
tumor, you can always stop the steroids then.  That usually results in a
pretty fast and painless passing (you should already be in a hospice
program).  There is usually no need to stop all (non-painkilling) meds
until you get to the point where he cannot communicate.   I hope he
doesn't want to die because of something more morphine might fix!  In
any case, I shall leave the alternative thoughts to my alternative

                                               Steve Harris, M.D.

From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: cancer treatment help needed
Date: 27 May 1995

In <3q6fc4$> (Zeda Ass'n
[Ralph Burr]) writes (of a man with terminal lung cancer):

>He may enjoy smoking some Mary Jane (or eating some Alice Toklas
>Brownies) and taking 1 oz colloidal silicates (at least 120 minerals),
>and Trivalent Chromium (800 mcg/day) along with about 3 gm/day of free
>aminos (18 in a blend) daily. Downside?: Might accelerate metastasis -
>no tests, no knowledge!! The above is surely flakey, but _might_
>increase awareness and pleasure for a while.

    Yeah, great idea, but the last time I suggested Mary Jane to an AIDS
patient who threw up everything and had intolerable hiccups and no
appetite, he said he'd tried to get it, but cocaine had driving just
about everything off the streets.  We'd got the relative penalties up so
high now, that factoring in bulk and risk and profit margin, cocaine is
the better risk/per buck for the dealers.  Way to go, Uncle Sam.
Brilliant as usual.

    I do agree that your regimen sounds worth a try.  On my last days,
if I can keep anything down, *I* want some Alice B. Toklas brownies.
Let em arrest me.

                                           Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Anorexia (in elderly cancer patient)
Date: 30 Nov 1998 12:09:11 GMT

In <> cogito <>

>This is for elderly man with cancer in digestive system (liver, bladder)
>The doctor told him to give up hope,
>so he has apparently done so -- now refusing to eat.
>He will eat and drink only very small amounts.
>I want to encourage his appetite.
>The best thing I know of is Dandelion tincture.
>Or would some (injectable?) drug or hormone be better?

   B vitamins sometimes stimulate appetite.  As do corticosteroids,
Megace, periactin, and a great many neuroleptic (antipsychotic) drugs.
Thalidomide in cancer patients can sometimes block TNF and allow weight
gain.  It's all worth trying if your patient is interested.  Some are.
Most (particularly the elderly) aren't.

   This kind of thing is not due to people deciding to give up because
their doctors told them to.  They do this no matter what anyone says or
does. A very large fraction of cancer patients, before the end, simply
refuse to eat and often also, for some odd reason, refuse to take all
pills (except pain pills and benzodiazepines).  If you try to force
them, you simply end up making yourself, the patient, the hospice
people, and everybody miserable.  Starvation, when you're not hungry,
is not a bad way to go. You get thinner and and weaker, and (to be
sure) more distressing to look at.  But it doesn't hurt, except for
possibly those bony protuberances which make sleeping difficult unless
you have a really good mattress.  Eventually, after you get down to a
critical weight, an infection then finishes the job quickly and
generally painlessly.  Understand that's very nearly the norm in cancer
death, not some kind of rare complication which you can expect to fix.

                                      Steve Harris, M.D.

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