Do you know somebody who has breast cancer? Serious question.

Being told by your trusted physician you have the Big C is always going to be a shock, but try to empathise with a colleague in another company who was testing the settings on her own ultrasound machine and found the tumour *herself*: that's got to be downright devastating.

One of the stages of grieving is, as we all know, Denial. It's one you can get on stuck on. Really bogged down... I've seen people not attend for medical diagnosis and treatment until the breast cancer was so advanced it was stealing food from off their dinner plate.

Unfortunately there are some cultural differences which allow Denial to masquerade as Action. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a classic case. This one has got my colleague (a trained allied-health professional, a practical physicist). I believe she's waiting for some foul-tasting "anti-cancer" tea she is paying some TCM Master to concoct, to make the problem go away. The "Doctor" refuces to even examine the lump in her breast as he claims merely touching the region could cause it spread. [Wow, that must enhance the repertoire in her sex-life...]

Can you guess what I think about all this?

Utter quackery and horseshit. The FDA is trying to cut this rubbish for sale on the Internet, but amongst the Chinese, who have had weird Ying/Yang Chi bullshit opinions for millennia about how the body works and like-for-like treatment and similar Old Auntie Tales, the "truth" of such Snake-Oil stuff touches them deeply in the Chinese racial identity.

Unfortunately for 1.2 billion believers, it's almost always scientifically, medically useless. Placebo effects and self-hypnotism do not make much of a rational treatment plan in my 30 years of medical-experience-generated opinion.


She's done the right thing in thats she has managed to FIND IT EARLY, with the tumour quite small, what she has to do is go and TREAT IT EARLY, not have a cup of medicine-man shake-a-rattly-stick, herbal concoction.

I can see what's going to happen here and it is not pleasant.

I'll come back to this later as I realize that there is no EASY treatment for this, and it's a major MAJOR thing she has to consider.


(p.s. If she reads this and feels offended and never talks to me again for as long as she lives, I'll be happy, so long as she lives a long long time.)


Posted by: expat@large on Jun 18, 08 | 10:21 am | Profile


Well seeing that ALL the women in my family (ha, what do you reckon my chances are??) have got b-cancer, I might have an advice or five for your colleague - if she ever needs any.

Posted by: Scotch on Jun 18, 08 | 11:33 pm

I know that feeling, but different pathology. My father had a heart attack at 38, two of my uncles died of heart attacks at 57, and my third uncle had quad bybass surgery at 57 and died at 61. And I am obese and unfit at 51. They all smoked though (apart from one who didn't).

Posted by: expat@large on Jun 19, 08 | 1:01 am


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