SARASOTA, Fla., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Riley Powell taught high school English, and spent her summers training horses at a nearby dude ranch. When she noticed blood in her stool, she thought it was hemorrhoids, from spending so many hours on horseback. But when it persisted, she saw her doctor. At age 34, she was diagnosed with colon/rectal cancer, and was advised to have surgery and a colostomy. Powell opted to travel out of the country for non-invasive treatment that would eliminate the need for a colostomy bag. According to TMD Limited, a medical tourism company, Powell was one of nearly a million Americans seeking alternative treatment outside the US last year.
Over a hundred thousand Americans will be diagnosed with colon/rectal cancer this year, and half of them will die of the disease. This is the fourth most common cancer in the US, and usually strikes older Americans. There is no known cause, and early colorectal cancer often has no symptoms.
When symptoms do develop, they include blood in the stool, diarrhea or constipation, narrow stools, gas and cramping, fatigue, weight loss and nausea or vomiting.
Powell had a fecal occult and a carcinoembroyonic antigen (CEA) blood test, a colonoscopy, digital rectal exam and an endorectal ultrasound. A chest X-ray was done to look for spread to the lungs.
When cancer is confined to the colon, surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy is the standard treatment in the USA. Powell's cancer was in both the colon and the rectum. When the cancer is in the rectum, a colostomy is also recommended.
The surgeon creates a stoma, or new opening in the abdomen called a colostomy. A bag is fitted over the stoma to collect waste. Complications include being unable to control bowel movements or urine, vomiting, bloody stools and tender skin.
"My grandfather had a colostomy when I was barely a teenager. I remember that my grandmother had to help him with it, and he was humiliated. I remembered how he looked going through chemotherapy – he was miserable, looked like a skeleton and lost all his hair. I didn't want to go through that," Powell said.
Powell spent weeks researching alternative treatments. She spoke to her acupuncturist, a nutritionist and her gynecologist. She talked with a friend who had gone to Mexico for breast cancer treatment, and finally sent her test results to Hope4Cancer Institute in Baja, who had helped her friend.
The Hope4Cancer Institute offered an intense program combining local and whole body hyperthermia, SonoPhoto Dynamic Therapy, IV therapy, detoxification, PolyMVA, enzyme therapy, cancer vaccines, nutrition and a host of other non-invasive treatments. "The doctor assured me there would be no side effects. He felt confident these treatments would shrink my tumors and heal the cancer," Powell said. "It was a two week inpatient program, with a home program that followed for several months. I figured it was worth a try."
Hyperthermia uses precise frequencies of heat waves to kill cancer cells. This therapy has been the cancer treatment of choice in Europe for over 25 years. Specific sound frequencies heat and kill cancer cells, without harming normal cells. Hyperthermia exposes tissues to high temperatures (up to 133 degrees) to damage and kill cancer cells. During local hyperthermia, heat is applied to a very small area (tumor). With a rise in temperature to 106 degrees for one hour within a tumor, the cancer cells are destroyed. Different types of energy may be used to apply heat, including microwave, radiofrequency and ultrasound, depending on the tumor location. The treatment is non-invasive and painless.
Indiba hyperthermia applies deep heat to local tissue areas. Scientists think that heat may help shrink tumors by damaging cells or depriving them of substances they need to live. The National Cancer Institute is studying local, regional and whole body hyperthermia using external and internal heating devices. It is well known that heating areas of the body that contain a cancer may help kill cancer cells without harming healthy tissue.
SonoPhoto Dynamic Therapy uses sound and light to activate a natural sensitizer, which causes free radical oxygen to 'explode' into cancer cells to kill them. According to Dr. Antonio Jimenez, medical director of Hope4Cancer Institute, combining hyperthermia and SonoPhoto Dynamic Therapy with immune support, proper nutrition and aggressive detoxification (massage, infrared saunas, coffee enemas, IV therapy) to eliminate the dead cancer cells, patients normally regain their energy, appetite and strength and feel better right away.
"After 3 days of treatment, my bleeding stopped," Powell said. "I stayed at the clinic two weeks, and continued my home program for almost 6 months. That was 4 years ago, and my scans are still clean. I'm so glad I didn't rush into surgery, even though some members of my family were concerned about me heading to Mexico. I took a girlfriend for moral support. We walked on the beach every day, the organic food was terrific and we both learned so much about cancer prevention. The lectures on nutrition changed our way of thinking about what we put in our bodies, and we both feel healthier now that we follow an organic diet."
According to Dr. Jimenez, Powell's case is typical. "Our treatments work well with soft tissue cancers," he says. "We work with the body's immune system to attack the cancer, and we address the emotional and spiritual aspects of the disease also. Riley had a great attitude, and that also helped her beat the disease. "
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends colonoscopies beginning at age 50, and earlier if there are risk factors present. Pre-cancerous growths can be easily removed during a colonoscopy, and according to the NCI is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer. Yet over 40% of Americans over 50 have not been screened. New digital colonoscopy, or CTC, is done without sedation and recovery is quick, but can be uncomfortable when the bowel is briefly inflated with carbon dioxide. Both procedures require a strong liquid laxative to cleanse the bowel. There is less risk of a bowel puncture and significantly less cost with a CTC, but if polyps or lesions are discovered, a standard procedure must be done to remove them.
Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are still the standard colorectal cancer treatments in the USA. According to the medical tourism company TMD Limited, nearly a million US citizens leave the country each year seeking less invasive, gentler treatments. Those numbers just keep increasing, as patients find alternative treatments that let them enjoy life, continue to work and improve their health. Freedom of choice, for many, is choosing a clinic outside the country.
Author Marla Manhart is a health writer and patient advocate. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE TMD Limited