SARASOTA, Fla., Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dave Kyle had suffered from heartburn for years. When he started to have difficulty swallowing food and began to lose weight, he saw his family doctor. After medical testing, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. His prognosis was grim, and conventional treatments offered little chance of recovery. Extensive research brought Kyle to Baja California, Mexico for a new treatment that targets only cancer cells and does not have side effects. According to TMD Limited, a medical tourism company, Kyle became one of half a million Americans annually who seek treatment outside of the United States.
The esophagus is a hollow tube in the throat about 10 inches long. When a person swallows, the muscular walls of the esophagus contract to push food from the mouth into the stomach. Glands in the esophageal lining produce mucus, keeping the passage way moist and making swallowing easier.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there will be 16,980 new cases of esophageal cancer diagnosed this year in the US, and 14,710 deaths. Symptoms include heartburn and regurgitation of food, difficulty swallowing food or liquids, weight loss, chest pain unrelated to eating and sometimes vomiting blood.
Esophageal cancer strikes mostly men over fifty. There are two main kinds of esophageal cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell is linked to smoking and alcohol or smokeless tobacco use. This cancer begins in the squamous cells that line the esophagus, usually in the upper or middle esophagus. Barrett's esophagus, a complication of gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD, increases the risk of adenocarcinoma, the most common type. Obesity is another risk factor for this disease.
Kyle's oncologist first ordered a barium swallow x-ray, then a chest MRI and thoracic CT scan to determine which type of cancer he had. Then he used a procedure called esophagogastro duodenoscopy to obtain a biopsy.
Treatment is the same for both types of esophageal cancer. If there is no spread, doctors recommend surgery, sometimes preceded by chemotherapy and radiation to make the surgery easier to perform. If there is metastasis, only palliative care is offered. Esophageal cancer spreads to the lungs, lymph nodes, liver, brain and bones. Kyle's cancer had already begun to spread when he was diagnosed.
Kyle's oncologist explained that an open esophagectomy is major surgery. The cancerous tissue is removed, and the esophagus is rebuilt from tissue from part of the stomach or large intestines. During this surgery, patients are at risk for fatal blood clots, heart attacks or stroke during surgery and breathing problems. Patients stay in ICU about 3 days, and then about 2 weeks in the hospital. If caught at an early stage, some people can recover and eventually eat normally again. Newer procedures include laparoscopic or robotic surgery to remove the esophagus.
After meeting with the oncologist, Kyle and his wife researched the surgical procedures, risks and complications and cancer statistics, and came to the conclusion that the odds were not in their favor with conventional treatment. They did not know what to do, but they knew they did not want this surgery.
As they told their friends and family about Kyle's diagnosis, they were surprised at how many people suggested they look outside the US for treatment. It seemed everyone knew someone who had been treated in Mexico. So they Googled Mexican cancer clinics and found a wealth of information.
"One treatment that caught my eye was SonoPhoto Dynamic Therapy, which uses sound and light to kill cancer cells," Kyle said. "I knew about photo dynamic therapy – that has been used in the USA for decades, but it uses a chemotherapy agent as the sensitizer. SonoPhoto uses natural chlorophyll, so there are no side effects, and it works quickly."
Antonio Jimenez, M.D. and founder of Hope4Cancer Institute in Baja, Mexico, is the world's leading expert in SonoPhoto Dynamic Therapy (SPDT). "This treatment targets only cancer cells," Jimenez explained. "At our clinic, we usually see a size reduction of 25-30% in tumors during the first 2 weeks of treatment. We combine SPDT with medical hyperthermia, natural IV therapies, vaccines, nutrition and detoxification. SPDT is especially effective in esophageal, breast, ovarian, prostate, bladder and lung cancers."
SPDT is used in China, the UK and Mexico and is approved for use throughout Europe. "This is not an alternative treatment," Jimenez says. "This is mainstream medicine which differs only from conventional therapy in that it has not yet been recognized in some countries such as the USA. However, in the 25 countries of the EU - population 370 million – every registered and licensed physician is allowed to use the sensitizer system under certain highly defined guidelines."
After contacting Dr. Jimenez, Kyle and his wife eventually went to Hope4Cancer for treatment. "The clinic was small – they have 8 doctors and they only take 10 patients at a time, so we got lots of attention," Kyle said. "They did medical tests – sonograms, ultrasounds, labs – when we got there, and again before we left. There was a significant improvement right away, and we continued treatment for a total of 3 months. I am eating normally again, gaining weight and feel good."
Kyle's wife JoAnn agreed. "I thought the best part was the classes and counseling that helped us recognize the importance of nutrition and how diet affects our health. We walked on the beach every day for exercise, and since there is no smoking allowed at the clinic, Dave had to quit cold turkey. It some ways, his diagnosis was a blessing. We are both going to pursue a healthy lifestyle and do all we can to stay healthy. They gave us the tools to do that."
Marla Manhart is a health write and patient advocate. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE TMD Limited