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Breast Cancer: There Must Be Another Way!

by Chris KH Teo(more info)

listed in cancer, originally published in issue 133 - March 2007

Cindy said: “Something happened on 29 August 1994. I was 34 years old then. Dr Singh, my surgeon, told me that I had ductal carcinoma of the left breast. That news hit me hard in my face.”

It was indeed my privilege to be able to meet Cindy on 1 August 2006. We chatted for almost four hours. This interview was actually a part of our on-going research to find out what lies beneath the success of every cancer survivor. As of this date, Cindy is leading a healthy life without any recurrence or metastasis. Everything went well right from the very beginning. It was 12 years ago that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The following are some excerpts of our conversation:


Cindy: I just had a lumpectomy. The doctor said: “You need to come back for more surgery. The margin was not clean.” He then went on to tell me that it was not only my left breast. If possible the right breast also – OUT! I said to him: “Doc, I am not coming in for any more surgery.” His reply to me was: “Look, don’t be silly. You are still young.” I was really sure that I did not want to go for surgery. I did not want to go for radiotherapy or chemotherapy. No, none of these.

Chris: Why were you so sure?

Cindy: Somehow my heart told me that there was another way. I was very sure, Prof, that there must be another way. With that I never went back to see my doctor ever again. I told myself, should I need to die I would like to die with everything intact. You don’t take anything from my body. Two, you don’t destroy my body. I don’t want anybody to destroy my body, which means you don’t take any part of my body away from me. Should I die, I want to die whole.

Chris: If someone is going to cut off your breast, and you are going to lose that breast – how would you feel?

Cindy: I would feel lost. I would feel an incomplete woman.

Chris: That is the reason? That is the reason why you did not want to go for further surgery?

Cindy: Yeesss! I am a woman. Breasts to me are important!

Patient Strategy Options

It never occurred to me, being a male that breasts to a person like Cindy are all important in preserving her self-esteem as a woman. I wonder how many surgeons realize the emotional turmoil that may result and the distress caused after each mastectomy? I recall another woman who told me this: “I have nice breasts and I love them. I would not want my surgeon to do mastectomy on any of them. The problem with my surgeon is – though she is a woman, she is flat-chested – no breasts!”

During this interview, Cindy presented to me as a proactive person who is sure of her footing. This is a characteristic of a winner! Lame ducks do not win a war, or any war for that matter. It is the brave and the committed who win. There is an old Roman saying:
The crowd, the world
And sometimes even the grave,
Step aside for the man,
Who knows where he’s going,
But pushes the aimless drifter aside.

When the doctor tells you that you have cancer, you have only two choices: to go through the ‘recipe’ of his medical treatments or to resist and say: “No, I am going to fight back and find my own healing path.”

Over a decade of helping cancer patients, I have encountered many accounts of people fighting and winning this cancer war. These people possess one common characteristic. They all have fighting spirit and they just don’t passively follow what they were told to do. And they won the war. The fight against cancer is never easy, but as the old Roman saying goes, even the graves will step aside to make way for those who know where they want to go!

If we want to win, we need to learn how to think ‘outside the box’. Often what we read or learned in school tends to imprison us rather than liberate us. We are drawn into the same way of thinking as everyone else. Unfortunately in cancer, doing the same thing as others do need not necessarily bring us success. One lung cancer patient (SK) told me: “I saw the oncologist. He told me to do the chemo… when I saw everybody do chemo, everybody do radiotherapy, I told myself… This must be the only way. I went back to the doctor and asked him to do the chemo on me.” SK underwent both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He did not get well but instead ended up with three tumours in his liver. And they were growing in size. SK said: “I knew then that I had taken the wrong path. I started to find other ways.” So, SK set out on his own healing journey, following the so-called ‘unproven path’and found relief. Not all patients are like SK and not all patients are as wise as SK, who knew that he had to get out of the ‘box’ and seek new hope elsewhere.

Cindy is a different person. From the very beginning, she was determined to find her own healing path. In her heart, she knew that there must be another way, although at that time she did not know what that ‘other way’ exactly was. But she was sure that it was not chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Cindy made her decision based on her intuition. She wanted to follow her heart’s desire, not what her brain thought was the right thing to do. Then, when she was asked to remove the whole left breast she flatly refused. As a woman, her breasts were important. To remove the breasts would have devastated her emotionally. Again, Cindy came to the decision of foregoing surgery based on her emotions.

Unfortunately, most of us use our brain to think and on that basis make our decision. To an intelligent mind the decisions that Cindy made were illogical and “unscientific.” Her surgeon was very correct. Since the lumpectomy done did not yield a clean margin, another surgery was required to remove whatever might be left behind in the breast. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy were also required to mop up whatever was left behind. The medical books say so. To the educated mind, that is the logical and necessary thing to do. But in reality it turned out that Cindy’s decisions made based on intuition and emotion were well rewarded.

Mei’s Story

Let me relate another story – a sad story for that matter, for a comparison. Mei (not real name) was a 34-year old female nurse. She was diagnosed with carcinoma of the right breast. She underwent a right mastectomy and axillary clearance on 18 August 2003. This was followed by six cycles of chemotherapy using FAC (5-FU, andriamycin and cyclophosphamide). From 1 March to 19 March 2004, she underwent radiotherapy on the right chest wall. She was started on tamoxifen from May 2004.

Barely eight months after the completion of her treatment, in November 2004, Mei had a 3 x 3 cm soft tissue mass associated with bony destruction in the sternum. In addition, there were multiple nodules scattered in both her lungs. Mei underwent chemotherapy again, using Taxol. After five cycles, the use of Taxol was terminated because of disease progression. The lymph nodes in her right collarbone seemed to have been infected. Mei was given another cycle of chemotherapy using Navelbine. After the first treatment, chemotherapy was abandoned due to severe side effects.

In April 2005, Mei was given an oral drug, Arimidex (anastrozole). From 25 May to 31 May 2005, she was on radiotherapy again, as the sternal mass was increasing in size. In spite of these treatments, the swelling of the right collarbone grew bigger. The use of Arimidex was discontinued and replaced with Xeloda.

Mei decided to stop further chemotherapy. On 23 June 2005, she developed right pleural effusion (fluid in the lung). The doctor tapped out 5.5 liters of fluid from her lung and she felt better. On 23 July 2005, I received a fax asking for help. Unfortunately, Mei died a month later – it had been much too late to help her.

According to Mei’s sister, upon diagnosis of breast cancer, Mei’s boss, who is a doctor, handed her my book (Cancer Yet They Live) and said: “Read this, and if you believe in what the author said, go and see him. But don’t tell people that I give you this book.” Mei was a nurse. Her training had placed her in a ‘box’ with a fixed mindset that only modern medicine has all the answers to cancer. To her, the only right way is surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and follow-up on drugs. Other ways are hocus pocus.

Treatment Choices

Many people would argue that there is no basis for comparing these two cases because the severity of the disease is not the same for both of them. This again is an ‘academic’ argument. Over the years, I have helped more severe cases than these and the outcomes were not as tragic as Mei’s. Perhaps we need to be reminded of what has been written in the medical literature: 20% to 85% of patients diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer will develop recurrent and/or metastatic disease despite undergoing the required treatments.[1] Unfortunately, metastatic breast cancer is generally considered incurable and the median survival is 2 to 4 years.[1,2,3] In tracing the history of breast cancer wars in the US, Lerner concluded that “in contrast to what we had come to believe, chemotherapy and other therapeutic interventions actually ‘cure’ only a fraction of those who received them. Other women would have recovered even without such treatment. Rather than feeling compelled to make decisions that are objectively right, women should choose what is right for themselves”.[4] In short, women ought to use their intuition and emotions, not their heads, when making such life-and-death decisions.

Suffice for me to emphasize once again what Cindy had said. For her breast cancer, there must be another way!

As we concluded our conversation, I posed this question to Cindy:

Chris: So, as a summary what would you say are the things that you did that had helped you along this 12-year journey with cancer?

Cindy: First, it was the early detection of the lump in my breast. This, I believe, was the most important thing. Then, my acceptance of the diagnosis followed immediately by action. I had this strong belief in what I was trying to do – that was to decline further medical treatments and opt for alternative therapy. I would do anything to heal myself, but not mastectomy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. If I have to die, I would like to die as an intact person, not to be mutilated or destroyed in any way. Coupled with all these basic beliefs, I had strong support from my colleagues and friends whom I could rely on. All these resulted in me being a changed person with new views about life and living. I had grown very much spiritually and I am still on my journey.

Coping Strategies

Different people use different strategies in trying to win their wars. There is no one fixed “formula.” The following are what Cindy did:

Step 1: She accepted the fact that she had breast cancer. It is only by accepting what had happened to her that she was able to proceed to the next step to heal herself;

Step 2:
She was proactive and took the necessary actions.

She decided to go for alternative therapies all the way. She had strong commitment to what she wanted to do. She had a strong belief that she was able to heal herself by whatever method she chose; She was sure that neither chemotherapy nor radiotherapy nor further surgery was going to do her any good. The alternative therapies she chose were: Homeopathic Treatment, Qi Kung Exercise (in the morning), strict Diet to cleanse the body, Positive Thinking, Regular Prayer and Meditation.

Step 3: She opened herself to others, ready to receive support from friends, colleagues and relatives.
In conclusion, let me pass on Cindy’s message to us all in her own words:

“There are four important areas in my life which I observed carefully and did the best I could to maintain a holistic balance, even till now. I am still practising them today.”


I cultivate and maintain my positive thinking that every day is a good day. Whatever the outcome, at the end of each day, I would accept everything with grace and understanding. For peace of mind, I meditate and listen to good music for these are food to my soul. I enjoy going to the movies too. I read to keep my mind active and occasionally play card games to stimulate my mind.

Physical well-being

Every fortnight I either do lymphatic drainage or foot reflexology. Ever day, I go for a 45-minute walking exercise with a trusted buddy. This buddy-system is very important. She also belongs to my inner circle of friends who render both emotional and spiritual support.


I emote quite easily, be it on happy or sad occasion. Previously, I tended to contain or confine these emotions within myself. I found that to do so was very harmful and overwhelming for my well being. Now I am more at ease and share my emotions (good or bad) with my inner circle of friends whom I consider to be my pillars of support. The catharsis of emotions helps lighten the burden to bear for me to carry alone. The philosophy is: “the more I share, the lighter the burden.” It is the same with good emotions: “the more I share, the more love is experienced among friends.”


I am so fortunate and grateful to be alive today. Every day is an opportunity for me to give thanks and to share my belief in moderation. Having a lot of faith in myself and working with the Universal Energy that surrounds me is a great help. My prayer is: “I’ve done my best, please help me to do the rest.” This helps all the time. I accept whatever outcome that presents itself and move on from there. By knowing where I am now, I’ll know where to go for my next step in life. I make do with whatever I have and be grateful for it.

I know now why I have survived breast cancer. This is because I have detected it early by doing regular breast self-examination (BSE). I am still doing it now. BSE was so important and every woman must and should know how to do it regularly. That reality gave me a lot of hope. It also provides me a choice to follow a non-invasive method of monitoring my well-being.

By changing my lifestyle, living within my means and adopting an attitude that life should be simple, has given me the freedom to enjoy life to the fullest.


This article is for information only. It should not be construed as medical advice.

This is a true story of Cindy’s healing journey. As said earlier, I conducted this interview in the context of our over-all study to find out why certain cancer patients survive and why some do not. Does this imply that I urge you not to go for chemotherapy/radiotherapy or go against your doctor’s advice? Not at all. Over the years, I have hundreds and hundreds of cancer patients who came to ask exactly this same question. Must I go for chemotherapy/radiotherapy? This is my standard answer to all. In cancer, it is worth noting that ignorance kills. To be able to find healing, patients should realise that they must do something for themselves, not to rely entirely on others to help them. Read as much as possible and gather information from different sources. You will not learn much if you confine your reading about a subject only from one viewpoint. Get out of the box and view your problem in a different light. The decision of what to do for your cancer must be a decision that you are comfortable with. I am aware that different countries have different civil liberties. Therefore exercise that right accordingly. After having made a decision that you are comfortable with, do not ever look back and blame yourself or others, if somehow that decision does not give you the desired outcome. Take comfort that you have done your best. Never ever regret and say: “Oh, I should or should not have done this or that.”


1.     Bernard-Marty C, Cardoso F, Piccart M. Facts and Controversies in Systemic Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer. The Oncologist. 9: 617-632. 2004
2.     Jassem J. Chemotherapy of Metastatic Breast Cancer: Is More Better? Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 81: S37-S42. 2003.
3.     Chung C and Carlson R. Goals and Objectives in the Management of Metastatic Breast Cancer. The Oncologist. 8: 514-520. 2003.
4.     Lerner B. The Breast Cancer Wars. Oxford University Press, New York. 2001.

Further Information

Additional Sources for Cancer Information

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About Chris KH Teo

Chris KH Teo is a practising Herbalist. Together with his wife, Beng Im, Chris founded CA Care in 1995 ( to help cancer patients. As of this date, they have helped thousands of people who have cancer. Chris and Beng Im have written 12 books ( on various aspects of cancer management. In recognition of their work, Chris was awarded a DSc in Alternative Medicine and an honorary degree in Natural Medicine. Chris was a Professor of Botany at University of Science in Malaysia where he taught and researched for twenty-six years prior to his retirement. He may be contacted via Tel: 604-6595881; Fax: 604-6580422;

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