Breast Cancer

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Faerie (February 23, 2010, 12:17:32 PM):
My mom's been diagnosed with breast cancer late last year and underwent a masectomy in December, she is now receiving a course of chemotherapy at the Jo'burg Gen due to the lack of a medical aid.

At any rate, in Jan when she had to go for her first treatment, she was told to go with a chap with her file in hand and were taken by taxi (!!!!!) to another part of town (the importance of someone going with to these places has become apparant here). Here she was taken to a room full of "first time diagnosed" cancer patients and addressed by a heavy accented Italian. They wanted them to sign on for a trial treatment - AND THATS NOT ALL FOLKS! - they'll get the pricely sum of R50 per treatment if they do.....

At this point my mom, exhausted, stressed and near tears insisted to be taken back to the Jo'burg Gen, as she readied herself for the chemo and not to be a guinnea pig for a lot of Italians (her words). She got back too late to have the treatment and had to return the next day BUT she was also the only one that went back for the chemo.

She chucked the pamphlets she received away before I could lay my grubby hands on it, and I cant find anything on alternative treatment offered via the Jo'burg Gen. Does anybody here know anything about it?

I hate the fact that our country are being used as cheap fertile ground for unproven treatments, our people are ignorant and uneducated and opportunities for life are being risked with these treatments.
mdg (February 23, 2010, 12:46:34 PM):
Faerie, first of all, I'm sorry to hear about your Moms diagnosis and I wish her well.

Second of all, I'm horrified to read what happened to her. Is there any way that she can get hold of the pamphlets again? Perhaps if someone goes with her for her next treatment, they could enquire about it? It sounds very suspicious and I think someone should look into it.

Jane of the Jungle (February 23, 2010, 19:43:57 PM):
Faerie I’m also sorry to hear about your Mom’s cancer and can also understand your concern.
I’ve googled a bit and came across these.

Maybe you would be lucky on google to find their email address and
Find out if they perhaps are busy with trials in Jhb. Google: Dr. Angelo Di Leo of Prato in Italy trials in South Africa

It seems very interesting though, just very difficult to allow our own families to be guinea pigs. But I guess we must keep in mind that, if they were successful with trials on animals, they must at one stage start on humans. I would say they must rather test it on patients whose chemo treatments were unsuccessful.

Good luck
BoogieMonster (February 23, 2010, 23:54:42 PM):
Here is where the ethics get a but fiddly for me.

In a study like this it is inevitable that there are going to be placebo's given out. Is it morally OK to give a cancer patient a placebo instead of chemo, in the name of science?
Mefiante (February 24, 2010, 18:13:20 PM):
For these kinds of studies, placebo controls are not always necessary or desirable. With cancers in particular, there are clear, objective, historical criteria for judging the effectiveness of a treatment, for example spontaneous vs. treatment-induced remission rates, the size and extent of the cancer, and so on. This means that the whole study group can be given the new treatment and, provided the group is large enough in number, the results can then be statistically compared for effectiveness with respect to those criteria. Another option is to administer existing treatment regimens to a randomly-selected subgroup as the “placebo” control, and then to compare the results of the new to the existing. In both cases, the moral dilemma of using a placebo doesn’t arise, which is not to say that it never arises in such studies.

Duly informed, it’s up to the individual to decide whether they wish to participate or not. It’s also worth bearing in mind that it depends which phase of clinical evaluation a study is located at. Not all of them make use of placebos.



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