To continue with the previous discussion of second opinions, I would like to tell you about a young lady who was suffering from synovial cell sarcoma — a rare form of cancer — in her chest wall; she was given just a 5 percent chance for five-year survival.
When the woman came to me, she was treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) before each of her radiation therapy treatments. She also underwent HBOT after surgical excision of the area of the chest wall where the sarcoma was.
Today, 30 years later, she is doing quite well.
Another patient with invasive bladder cancer was given a 17 percent chance for five-year survival. We treated him with interstitial radiation therapy using radioactive seeds in nylon tubing sewn into his bladder. He died 25 years after receiving this therapy, with an intact bladder and no bladder cancer.
The survival rate with this technique was 65 percent. Unfortunately, the only place I know of that is using the technique these days is the University of The Netherlands — where they are reporting a 75 percent five-year survival rate.
Another example of the value of a second opinion is my cousin’s wife, who was diagnosed with a nodular area during a routine chest film. Her doctor recommended a thoracotomy to remove the nodule.
However, I happened to be visiting in the area and asked to review her previous chest films. The nodular area was present on a prior chest film taken more than five years earlier, with no change in the interim.
My recommendation was to not operate at that time, but to watch and follow up should the nodule grow. The next 10 years showed no change in the nodule.
This points out how important it is when you obtain imaging to make sure that prior imaging studies are obtained for comparison.
Based on the cases I have presented in the last two weeks, you can see the importance of obtaining second and sometimes even third opinions prior to major medical treatment.
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