Herman Cain’s Cancer Miracle — How He Did It

Friday, 21 October 2011 11:48 AM

Herman Cain credits a miracle from God for saving him from advanced colon cancer.

But a top colon cancer expert tells Newsmax Health that the Republican presidential candidate also benefited by acting quickly once his cancer was diagnosed in 2006 and by being smart about his choice of treatment centers.

David Maron, M.D., a colorectal surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic Florida, has treated many patients with stage 4 colon cancer such as Cain’s. "Herman Cain obviously didn't waste any time getting treated, and that certainly helped him survive," Dr. Maron said.

Cain, 66, a former pizza executive, describes himself as a Baptist preacher, and attributes his recovery to God. And, indeed, Cain recently passed the five-year survival point for colon cancer patients, and says he is now cancer-free.

Editor’s Note: Special: Herman Cain Unmasked. Read This Now.

According to his own account, Cain went to his doctor because he was experiencing lower abdominal discomfort. The tests came back with perhaps the worst possible news: that he not only had cancer but that it had spread to his liver. This type of cancer is considered stage 4, or advanced, and it seemed at the time that the businessman did not have much time left.
Cain says he was given only a 30 percent chance of survival.

But almost immediately after his diagnosis, he traveled for treatment to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, one of the top cancer treatment centers in the country. “Fast treatment by the right doctors can be vital” to survival, said Dr. Maron.

Recent reports state that Apple computer boss Steve Jobs delayed his surgery for pancreatic cancer for nine months after his diagnosis, leaving some to wonder whether faster action could have saved his life.

At MD Anderson, Cain underwent a single operation in which the cancerous parts of his colon and liver were removed. He also had two rounds of chemotherapy.

According to Dr. Maron, stage 4 colon cancer patients whose cancer is inoperable have an exceedingly poor prognosis. Fortunately, for Cain, his cancer was located in areas where it could be removed. “In patients (like Cain) where the cancer has metastasized (spread) to a local, isolated area, the survival rate is much better,” Dr. Maron noted.

Cain also benefited from improved surgical techniques, said Dr. Maron. He underwent an operation to remove the cancer from both the colon and the liver at the same time instead of having separate operations to remove the cancer from each organ.
These days, colon cancer patients are also helped from better treatments, including more effective chemotherapy drugs, to shrink tumors prior to surgery and to keep them from coming back.

Doctors also have other weapons that have been developed in recent years, including cryotherapy, which freezes cancer cells, or radiofrequency ablation, which uses heat to kill malignant cells that have spread to the liver.

Such progress promises to transform advanced colon cancer “from a terminal disease into a chronic, manageable one,” Dr. Maron said.

Still, the best way to treat colon cancer is to undergo screening so the disease can be caught before symptoms appear, giving patients a better than 90 percent chance of survival. Doctors recommend that everybody get a colonoscopy or other colon screening at age 50, or earlier if there is a family history of colon cancer.

There are expected to be more than 100,000 new cases of colon cancer diagnosed in the United States this year, with about 49,000 Americans dying from the disease. Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

The fact that Cain has been cancer-free since 2006 bodes well for his future, said Dr. Maron: “Typically, we follow these patients for five years and once they pass that mark, their risk of cancer recurring is exceedingly low.”

Editor’s Note: Special: Herman Cain Unmasked. Read This Now.

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Friday, 21 October 2011 11:48 AM
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