Alternative treatments & German clinics

Posted: March 22, 2016 in Round IV
Tags: , , , ,

Alternative or Integrative Treatments

Those of you who follow my blog will know that I’ve been exploring alternative treatments (treatment not available on the NHS) for some time. However, there’s a lot of quackery out there in cancer world and you have to tread carefully if you don’t want to be ripped off. I myself was recently fleeced (thankfully by only a few hundred pounds) by one such ‘guru’.

477px-WPA_quack_poster

I use the word alternative loosely, because the treatments I’m exploring are more integrative than alternative. They include innovative conventional treatments such as Peptide Vaccines and Immunotherapy along with evidence-based supportive therapies such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Hyperthermia. Whackier alternatives like shark cartilage and snake venom don’t appeal to me, unless of course there is evidence backing them up.

Proactive patients looking for viable alternatives and the newly diagnosed often find themselves swamped with information. Panic sets in and internet research becomes an obsession. Hours and days are spent trawling science journals and chat forums for the latest developments in treatment and clinical trials. This is mostly how I spend my time.

Cancer treatment in the UK is strictly regulated. All treatments have to be clinically proven before becoming available to the general patient population. This is good in lots of ways, because not only do patients know they are getting evidence based treatment, but that they are protected from quacks and charlatans. On the other hand, it means that doctor’s are restricted by the treatments they can offer.

A good example of this is the growing use of ‘off-label’ or repurposed drugs by many patients. The drugs I get from the Care Oncology Clinic in London are all prescribed ‘off-label’, which means they are prescribed for an alternative use. Metformin is one such drug, which as well as being a diabetes drug has shown anti-cancer properties in numerous trials.

I’m lucky to be treated at one of the best cancer centres in the world (The Christie), however even they don’t have access to every new development. Immunotherapy drugs already approved in the US, are still being trialed in the UK.

Immunotherapy is the ‘magic-bullet’ all cancer patients are chasing today, however being accepted onto a clinical trial is often a case of luck. You have to be in the right place and have the right cancer at the right time. Even if you find a suitable trial, the eligibility criteria are so strict that many patients are deemed ineligible. In my case, brain metastases rule me out of the majority of trials.

German clinics

Despite having disease in my liver, lungs, bones and brain, I’ve been able to enjoy a reasonable quality of life until recently. Unfortunately the last two drugs have failed and CT scans have shown progression in all areas of my body.
The disease and it’s treatments are beginning to take their toll. This has forced me to explore treatments not currently available in the UK.

Germany has one of the highest cancer survival rates in Europe. Their clinics offer a more integrative approach along with a wider variety of treatments and off-label drugs than the UK.  Peptide Cell Vaccines, ImmunotherapyOzone Therapy and Photophoresis are offered alongside more conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

There are no guarantees with any cancer-treatment, however I feel that going to Germany will give me the opportunity to tackle the disease in a different way, whilst giving my immune system a much-needed boost.

This is where I need your help. Treatment at a private clinic in Germany doesn’t come cheap and having been a cancer patient for nearly 4 years, I’m not in a position to fund this myself. I do have some pride so it’s taken a lot of courage to ask for your help.

So here it is my latest fundraiser: https://www.youcaring.com/killerkath

You were all so generous two years ago when I asked for your help in raising funds for my Tumour Profiling.

I’d be so grateful if you could help me again xxx

PS. For those in the Manchester area, friends are organising a charity ceilidh on my behalf. Come along and have a twirl!!

 

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