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Curiosity...Farrah Fawcett...?

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Re: Curiosity...Farrah Fawcett...?

Postby CaliforniaBagMan » Thu May 17, 2012 11:25 am

There was much discussion about this previously and there was a lot of interest in this just as you have now.

I was late to this same discussion back when it originally took place, but found a great deal of material here using the search feature of the forum.
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Re: Curiosity...Farrah Fawcett...?

Postby ams5796 » Thu May 17, 2012 11:27 am

Actually, Farrah had anal cancer. I think that she wanted to try some alternative treatments that were offered in Germany.
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Re: Curiosity...Farrah Fawcett...?

Postby Grace14 » Thu May 17, 2012 12:49 pm

I had read somewhere that she didn't want to have surgery. I did hear that she didn't want a colostomy! I can't remember where I read that!
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Re: Curiosity...Farrah Fawcett...?

Postby jeanette57 » Thu May 17, 2012 1:02 pm

did you know Roger Moore 007 had a bag while filming 007. also europe has great pain meds you can not get here- they have pain patchs put nex to operation and it stops all pain in that area and buffer zone- hip replacements and knee surgery no longer suffer morphine pumps- patches should be in US in 5-10 years. my surgeon knows about them.

my family in germany sent the best butt paste and has helped with the burns from rad. they also have great toothpaste.
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Re: Curiosity...Farrah Fawcett...?

Postby weisssoccermom » Thu May 17, 2012 1:35 pm

Yes, she had anal cancer (she was actually on a different forum that I used to frequent) which is entirely different from rectal cancer. Just some info on anal cancer v rectal cancer. Almost exclusively, rectal cancers are classified as adenocarcinomas - whereas anal cancers are squamous cells. Different types of tumors that react differently to different drugs, etc. In addition, treatments are vastly different. Anal cancer generally respond extremely well to chemoradiation - so much so that oftentimes that is the only treatment. I haven't been on that other forum in years, but when I was mitomycin and cisplatin were the drugs that seemed to be used most often with 5FU and sometimes with Xeloda. There is a form of squamous cell rectal cancer - keep in mind though that the rectal cancer that's talked about almost exclusively on this forum is adenocarcinoma. It's not fair to say that Farrah Fawcett didn't want a colostomy - initially, because of the type of cancer she had, it wasn't deemed necessary or warranted. Please remember that the 'normal' treatments are for rectal adenocarcinoma are NOT the same standard of care treatments for anal cancer. Two different cancers - two different classifications, two entirely different ways they are tackled. It's like saying that colorectal cancer mets to the lungs aren't treated the same way as primary lung cancer. Just because a cancer arises in the same proximity does NOT mean that the two are the same or even similar.

The treatments that she sought Germany were treatments that yes, we have here in the US but were not used (and I don't know if they are now or not) for anal cancer. It was my understanding from the other forum that what she was receiving was a form of SIRT spheres. Keep in mind that just because SIRT spheres (or one of the other similar treatments) that are used for mets from say colon or liver cancer may not be approved for anal cancer here in the US. There were also some other treatments that were 'alternative' in nature that no, are not approved here in the US.

You need to understand that just because high profile people go to other countries, it doesn't necessarily mean that the treatments in those other countries are better or are more 'cutting edge'. Look at all the people, some high profile (for example, if memory serves me correctly, Corretta Scott King was one of them as was Steve McQueen) who traveled to Mexico for some high priced laetrile treatments in hopes of a 'cure' for their disease. The US is not necessarily the first country to always receive approval for new treatments/new drugs. An example would be Xeloda, a drug which while approved here in the US, was approved in Europe a good year or more before it was granted approval here. The TME (total mesorectal excision), a gold standard for rectal cancer surgery was first developed and utilized extensively in England before becoming a standard surgical procedure in the US. When I was researching my particular surgical choice and it's treatments, the worldwide expert was/is a surgeon located in Brazil. There is cutting edge research/treatments/drug discoveries, etc. going on around the world - we share expertise and ideally all the various doctors, scientists and researchers work together to help erradicate this disease.
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Re: Curiosity...Farrah Fawcett...?

Postby JerseyGirl » Thu May 17, 2012 5:10 pm

I just read Ryan O'Neals article in People magazine last week, in which she stated she had a very rare/aggressive form of anal cancer. Her first symptom was her one thigh being larger than the other. Maybe that's why she went somewhere else since the rarity of it all?
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Re: Curiosity...Farrah Fawcett...?

Postby frances » Thu May 17, 2012 7:48 pm

Farrah Fawcett was advised by her US doctors to get a colostomy months after her first line treatment, when her cancer returned. She refused and sought alternative treatment in Germany, but ironically not the treatment that Germany is best known for. She survived about two years after her recurrence. She strongly criticized a lack of alternative treatments in the US, calling for their availability.

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Re: Curiosity...Farrah Fawcett...?

Postby karguy » Fri May 18, 2012 4:23 pm

Farrah Fawcett went to germany because they are using stem cell treatment there.Last year january they treated a man for a skin cancer,and cured that and his aids.They can also cure diabetes with it,and it's being used in other countrys.In this country the fda still won't approve it.There was an article about it in web md. about 4 years ago.
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Re: Curiosity...Farrah Fawcett...?

Postby chessamay » Fri May 18, 2012 8:26 pm

weissoccermom is right.

Anal cancer is mainly squamous cell and USUAL (not all) treatment is chemo/radiation and people do fairly well.

We don't do much anal cancer in our operating room,
but we did have one pt who had it. I was probing the surgeon,
and he said anal cancer is much better to get than colon or rectal (no cancer is better in my book!).

hers might have been diagnosed late considering one thigh was bigger (maybe lymph node involvement????)
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Re: Curiosity...Farrah Fawcett...?

Postby cptmac » Sat May 19, 2012 3:52 pm

I truly believe we have the best medical care in the world. Leaders, billionaires, etc, come from all around the world to seek out the doctors in our country.

Look at what happened to Steve Jobs.

According to Steve Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson, the Apple mastermind eventually came to regret the decision he had made years earlier to reject potentially life-saving surgery in favor of alternative treatments like acupuncture, dietary supplements and juices. Though he ultimately embraced the surgery and sought out cutting-edge experimental methods, they were not enough to save him.

Jobs’ cancer had been discovered by chance during a CT scan in 2003 to look for kidney stones, during which doctors saw a “shadow” on his pancreas. Isaacson told CBS’ 60 Minutes last night that while the news was not good, the upside was that the form of pancreatic cancer from which Jobs suffered (a neuroendocrine islet tumor) was one of the 5% or so that are slow growing and most likely to be cured.

But Jobs refused surgery after diagnosis and for nine months after, favoring instead dietary treatments and other alternative methods. Isaacson says that when he asked Jobs why he had resisted it, Jobs said “I didn’t want my body to be opened…I didn’t want to be violated in that way.” His early resistance to surgery was apparently incomprehensible to his wife and close friends, who continually urged him to do it.

But there seemed to be more to his resistance than just fear of surgery.

“I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something,” Isaacson told CBS, “if you don’t want something to exist, you can have magical thinking. And it had worked for him in the past.”

It worked in business, anyway – and brilliantly. Jobs’ employees had joked that surrounding him was a “reality distortion field,” which allowed him to make his own rules, and conjure up new products for which there was no precedent or apparent market. His capacity to create the reality he envisioned – and convince others of it – was a large part of his business success.

Another element of Jobs’ decision-making process was, according to Isaacson, his trust of his own instinct. Jobs had spent time studying Buddhism in India, and he felt it served him in his work. “The main thing I’ve learned is intuition, that the people in India are not just pure rational thinkers, that the great spiritual ones also have an intuition.”

But however well his intuition and “magical thinking” may have worked for him at work, Jobs’ postponement of surgery in favor of alternative means was a bizarre executive decision. “We talked about this a lot.” says the biographer. “He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it. … I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner.”

By the time Jobs finally opted for surgery, the cancer had spread. He had an under-the-radar liver transplant and began putting a lot of energy into researching the most sophisticated experimental methods, making a complete about-face from how he began his treatment years before.

According to the New York Times, Jobs was one of the few people in the world to have his genome sequenced. Collaborating researchers at several institutions sequenced his DNA in order to develop a treatment that would target his specifically mutated cell pathways. He went for an experimental treatment in Switzerland in 2009, which involves using a radioactive isotope to attack the faulty hormone-producing cells of the body.


These treatments may well have extended his life, but nine months is a long time to wait in cancer time. And while there’s truth to the notion that food and supplements can aid a body’s repair mechanisms, there’s a limit to what they can do. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most insidious forms of cancer, and has few survivors.

Isaacson says Jobs started talking about an afterlife more and more towards the end. On one of the interview recordings, Jobs says, “Maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on.”

But he adds, “Yeah, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone. And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.”

It’s impossible to know what went into Jobs’ decisions at work and at home, and whether his unexpected medical decisions were in spite of or because of his business brilliance. But for a man who revolutionized the way we work, communicate, and play, it’s certain that his life was too short
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