Ask the Cancer Coach-Melanoma, stage 1B, surgery plus supplementation?

Dear Cancer Coach, 

Thank you so much for returning my email.  They have caught it early on and it would be between 1 -2 cm deep and have two proposals.  The first is under local to cut a wider incision to make sure all the cancer is gone.  The second is to do the wider incision and also under general anaestetic check the lymph nodes in the under arm​ for further cancer.  My problem is the general anaestetic which most times I have a hard time coming out of and also leaves my head foggy for months.  At present I am looking to do only the first option and go with natural options after that. 

Do you have any further information?  The only problem with the first option is that the cancer was replicating a little faster than they felt comfortable with so the reccomendation of 50/50% of whether or not to check the lymph nodes at this time.   

I believe the stage is 1b.   Thanks,  Lynn

Hi Lynn,

After re-reading your first email and now your second email I want to confirm your thinking. You will remove the melanoma surgically, it’s a matter or lymph node involvement and the need for anesthetic?

You may appreciate reading this email thread about a situation similar to yours.,27582,0.htm

As for non-conventional therapies for melanoma I think this article will be helpful. My BMT left me prone to skin cancer and I supplement accordingly-

Melanoma/Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Supplementation Therapy

I would add moderate frequent exercise, lots of fruits and veggies, little alchohol, don’t smoke, but this is my own thinking, I have no studies to support my advice.

Let me know if you have any questions.


David Emerson

Posted in non-conventional therapies Tagged with:

Ask the Cancer Coach-Breast Cancer ES=PG-HER2+3* Stage 3B

Dear Cancer Coach-

I feel bullied by oncologists and insurance companies to use conventional treatments but I don’t believe they are for me.
I am trying infusions of Vitamin C plus and also supplementation for cellular strengthening. Every night I use an oxygen concentrator and feel great in the morning.
I had a bilateral Mastectomy in November 2014 and as of today have not had any chemo or radiation. I am scared of how good I feel.
My pathology report said the cancer was in my lymph nodes. Was ductile invasive at the time and removed by surgery with negatives nodes?..
Have you any suggestions for me to lead a long health life..I am 59 and want to live much much longer..x

Hi Maria-

I am sorry to read of your breast cancer diagnosis however I am happy to read that you are feeling good! I will reply to each of your comments below.

Feeling bullied… yes, I understand your feeling this way. I don’t really know how to deal with oncs and health insurance cos other than to tell myself that we will agree to disagree. At least this is how I deal with it. Oncs are highly educated and often feel strongly about the therapies they recommend. You and I may disagree but all we can do is agree to disagree.

Non-toxic therapies- when you say “infusions” do you mean intravenous vit. C therapy? I have read studies about this but I would like personal accounts like yours to listen to. Also an oxygen concentrator. There is good reason why you “feel great in the morning” and good reason why you may be taking oxygen as a cancer therapy. See the link below. (I have/use one too)

If you were staged at 3b and your pathology report cited cancer in your lymph nodes then there is a pretty good chance that your BC is “systemic” and therefore you are at high risk of relapse.

While intravenous vit. C and oxygen are non-toxic therapies if you choose not to undergo chemo then please consider the other non-toxic therapies listed in the post below.

Slash Your Breast Cancer Risk Now!

Further I would give serious consideration of establishing a diagnostic regimen. Please talk to your onc about those tests that will help you the most.

Also, as a form of bone protection please read and consider bisphosphonate administration. Please discuss this therapy with you onc.

Skeletal metastases develop in up to 70% of women who will die from breast cancer” Bisphosphonate therapy should be considered-

Maria, please understand that I lead my life as a cancer survivor in much the way you do. However you and I must be aware that we are both at a high risk of relapse and therefore work at remaining cancer free.

Let me know if you have any questions

David Emerson

Posted in non-conventional therapies, Survivors

Thyroid Cancer-nodules, needle aspirate, benign?

The NCI reports that the number of newly diagnosed thyroid cancer cases in 2014 was 61,980. Between 1992 and 2011 newly diagnosed thyroid cancer cases almost tripled.

If you have nodules in your thyroid or if you have already been diagnosed with thyroid cancer the question you may ask yourself is about the risks and benefits of treatment? The studies linked below talk about potential risks now and in the future.

Questions for you and your doctor to discuss are below:

  • If you have a nodule in your thyroid how big is it? How many are there?
  • Can I observe these nodules?
  • What if the nodules recur?

To learn more about both conventional and non-conventional cancer therapies scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

Long-term cancer survivor, creator, director PeopleBeatingCancer

Thyroid cancer over-diagnosis and over-treatment- do you care?

“If you are diagnosed with  cancer your world may be turned upside down. But if you are told that your cancer is very low-risk and will probably never kill you, how do you feel? If you are given treatment that

Long-term follow-up of benign thyroid nodules shows favorable prognosis

“After five years of follow-up, a majority of asymptomatic, benign thyroid nodules exhibited no significant change in size, or actually decreased in size, and diagnoses of thyroid cancer were rare, according to a study…

However, little is known about the actual frequency and magnitude of nodule growth, and there is no reliable method for identifying patients likely to experience growth…

The study involved 992 patients with 1 to 4 asymptomatic, sonographically or cytologically benign thyroid nodules

Nodule growth occurred in 153 patients (15.4 percent). One hundred seventy-four of the 1,567 original nodules (11.1 percent) increased in size. Nodule growth was associated with presence of multiple nodules. In 184 individuals (18.5 percent), nodules shrank. Thyroid cancer was diagnosed in 5 original nodules (0.3 percent), only 2 of which had grown. New nodules developed in 93 patients (9.3 percent), with detection of one cancer…

 “Thyroid nodules are pervasive, whereas thyroid cancer is not.”

The incidence of carcinoma in cytologically benign thyroid cysts.

“The management of cytologically benign thyroid cysts is controversial. Treatment options include observation, chemical sclerosis, and surgery. This study was undertaken to determine the incidence of carcinoma in cytologically benign thyroid cysts that recur after complete aspiration and to determine the indications for surgery in these patients…

The incidence of malignancy in cytologically benign thyroid cysts that recur after aspiration is high enough to warrant surgical excision, especially if the cyst is greater than 3 cm in size.”

Approach to cytologically-benign recurrent thyroid cysts.

“The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of carcinoma in cytologically-benign recurrent thyroid cysts and to evaluate the surgical indications in these patients…

Intraoperative biopsy revealed benign lesions in 91% and was inconclusive in the remainder; no cases of carcinoma were identified…In all these patients intraoperative biopsy showed benign disease

The risk of malignancy was higher in cysts larger than 3 cm…

Given the incidence of carcinoma, surgical resection should be considered in recurrent cystic thyroid nodules, especially in those larger than 3 cm, regardless cytological study.”

Fine-needle aspiration

“A needle aspiration biopsy is safer and less traumatic than an open surgical biopsy, and significant complications are usually rare, depending on the body site…”




Posted in Newly Diagnosed Tagged with:

Ask the Cancer Coach-“Does baking soda work (as cancer therapy) and if so what kind of mixture?”

Hi John-

I have been asked about sodium bicarbonate aka baking soda as a cancer therapy several times before. I have researched baking soda extensively on the internet and to be honest, there are anecdotal testimonials yet no confirming sources that I consider broadly “evidence-based.”

To answer your question “does the baking soda work and if so what kind of mixture.” I just don’t know. There is not enough sound evidence either way. Two articles that are in favor of baking soda therapy are linked below.

There are other non-conventional, non toxic lung cancer therapies- if you are interested in learning more about them let me know.

David Emerson

Posted in Newly Diagnosed Tagged with:

“Carfilzomib Doubles PFS Over Bortezomib” but what about the side effects?

It’s right there in black and white. The president of Onyx is touting the benefit of one chemotherapy over another saying that it is “increasingly important to help physicians make informed decisions about the optimal care for patients…”

I am a long-term survivor of multiple myeloma. I see things a lot differently than Dr. Cagnoni. If a mmer has already undergone 1-3 therapies for mm, he/she is already weakened by toxic therapies.

Therefore when I read the article below I skip right to the information about side effects and “Adverse event (AE)–induced treatment discontinuations and on-study deaths.” Meaning mmers who had to stop taking chemo due to side effects or because they died.

I’m not saying that mmers should not undergo chemotherapy. If your mm is overwhelming your body you may have to. I am saying that side effects MUST enter into your decision-making. Yours not your oncs.

Please consider anti-oxidant supplementation to enhance the efficacy of chemo while reducing toxicity. To learn more about antioxidant supplementation that may help your “overall survival” please scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

Creator, Director PeopleBeatingCancer

“As new treatment options become available to patients with relapsed multiple myeloma, comparative trials, like ENDEAVOR, are becoming increasingly important to help physicians make informed decisions about the optimal care for patients,” said Pablo J. Cagnoni, MD, president of Onyx…
Enrolled patients were required to have received between one and three previous treatment regimens…
Adverse event (AE)–induced treatment discontinuations and on-study deaths were similar between the two treatment groups. The rates for cardiac and renal failure were higher in the carfilzomib arm versus the bortezomib arm…
The most common grade ≥3 hematologic adverse events with carfilzomib compared with the control arm were neutropenia (29.6% vs 26.5%), anemia (17.9% vs 17.2%), and thrombocytopenia (16.6% vs 12.3%). The most common grade ≥3 nonhematologic side effects were pneumonia (12.5% vs 10.5%), hypokalemia (9.4% vs 4.9%), and hypophosphatemia (8.4% vs 4.6%).

For the 3-drug regimen versus the 2-drug regimen, respectively, all-grade acute renal failure occurred in 8.4% of patients versus 7.2%, cardiac failure was seen in 6.4% of patients versus 4.1%, and ischemic heart disease was experienced by 5.9% of patients compared with 4.6%.”

Posted in Survivors Tagged with:

Are “basket studies” a better type of clinical trial for cancer?

Cancer patients face three big challenges.

  •  conventional oncology generally offers toxic chemo and radiation based on what organ the cancer originated in even though it is understood that genetic mutations drive cancer not organs.
  • if the patients cancer does not respond to the “standard-of-care” chemo or radiation the patient faces a “double blind, placebo-controlled” clinical trial system that is woefully inadequate.
  • if “standard-of-care” therapies don’t work for the patient and the patient is facing an end-stage cancer, he/she wants to undergo an untried, unproven therapy (at the patient’s own risk)- something called “right-to-try” he/she cannot.

The article linked an excerpted below talks about a possible solution to the challenges listed above. The article talks about “basket studies.” A sort of clinical trial that studies cancers based on genetic mutations rather than where the cancer came from.

It is important to remember that basket studies are new. Like most new things in oncology there are challenges. But if you are a cancer patient talk to your onc about basket studies.

For more information on both conventional or non-conventional cancer therapies, or clinical trial help,  scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

Long-term cancer survivor, creator, director PeopleBeatingCancer

A Faster Way to Try Many Drugs on Many Cancers

“She is part of a new national effort to try to treat cancer based not on what organ it started in, but on what mutations drive its growth….

Cancers often tend to be fueled by changes in genes, or mutations, that make cells grow and spread to other parts of the body. There are now an increasing number of drugs that block mutations in cancer genes and can halt a tumor’s growth…

And this spring, a federally funded national program will start to screen tumors in thousands of patients to see which might be attacked by any of at least a dozen new drugs. Those whose tumors have mutations that can be attacked will be given the drugs.

The studies of this new method, called basket studies because they lump together different kinds of cancer, are revolutionary, much smaller than the usual studies, and without control groups of patients who for comparison’s sake receive standard treatment.

The new studies pose new problems. With no control groups, the effect has to be enormous and unmistakable to show it is not occurring by chance. When everyone gets a drug, it can be hard to know if a side effect is from the drug, a cancer or another disease. And gene mutations can be so rare that patients for a basket study are difficult to find…”

Posted in Survivors Tagged with:

Yes, “Younger men are more bothered after prostate cancer treatment”

There are very good reasons why “younger men are more bothered after prostate cancer treatment.” The reasons are called “side effects” leading to a low quality of life.  Urinary incontinence, impotence, radiation damage, etc.

The problem with prostate cancer today, prostate cancer that “has not spread” meaning that the cancer is not systemic, has not metastasized, is that a urologist or onc may only mention those conventional therapies listed in the article below:

  • surgery,
  • brachytherapy,
  • external beam radiation,
  • androgen deprivation,
  • active surveillance.

In fact, there are other prostate cancer therapies that are evidence-based, effective, may have fewer side effects, yet are not the “standard-of-care.”

To learn more about non-toxic supplementation, HIFU therapy and cryotherapy for prostate cancer, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

Long-term cancer survivor, creator and director PeopleBeatingCancer

Younger men more bothered after prostate cancer treatment

Determining quality of life priorities is vital to ensuring that patients make well-informed treatment decisions, said Hampson, a urologist at the University of California San Francisco…

The researchers reviewed national data on 5,362 men diagnosed between 1999 and 2013 with aggressive prostate cancer that had not spread. The men received various treatments, including surgery, brachytherapy, external beam radiation, or androgen deprivation, or active surveillance.

Posted in Newly Diagnosed Tagged with: ,

Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma- clinical challenges

The two oncologists featured in the video linked below, Dr Robert Orlowsk and Dr Paul Richardson are two of the giants in the conventional world of multiple myeloma. Also, the cancer institutions where they practice, M.D.Anderson and Dana-Farber respectively, are to of the best conventional cancer centers in the United States today.

If you have multiple myeloma then you have been told that myeloma is “incurable.” If you are reading this post you may be relapsed/refractory meaning that you have already undergone a great deal of chemo, your body has withstood a great deal of toxicity.

Knowing that you have already undergone much of what conventional or traditional oncology has to offer myeloma patients and you have relapsed, perhaps you are open to the idea of integrative or complementary therapies that may enhance additional chemotherapies.

Curcumin, omega 3 fatty acids, resveritrol and other non-toxic supplements have a number of studies citing their ability to kill myeloma while they enhance specific chemos.

To learn more about non-toxic, anti-myeloma therapies, scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

mm survivor since ’93, creator, director PeopleBeatingCancer

Clinical Challenges in Patients With Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma


Before we begin our discussion, please take a moment to test your knowledge on this topic by answering a few questions. You will have another chance to answer these questions at the end of this activity to see what you have learned….

Posted in non-conventional therapies, Survivors Tagged with: ,

Radiation Used in Too Many Men With Indolent Prostate Cancer

Newly diagnosed cancer patients usually don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know what questions to ask to help them make the best decisions for themselves.

What Karim Chamie, MD, quoted below, is saying is that radiation oncologists are not guiding their prostate cancer patients with the patient’s best interests in mind. Quality of life and length of life- QOL and OS are the definition of patient’s best interests.

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, think about it. If radiation causes side effects that lower QOL, it is not in the patient’s best interest. If radiation does not lengthen life, increase overall survival, it is not in the patients best interest.

To learn more about prostate cancer therapies to both enhance quality of life and lengthen overall survival, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

Long-term cancer survivor, creator, director PeopleBeatingCancer

Radiation Used in Too Many Men With Indolent Prostate Cancer

“Men with low-risk prostate cancer — regardless of clinical characteristics or tumor biology — are being overtreated, often with radiation therapy, a population-based assessment has shown…

“By far the biggest predictor of someone getting radiation therapy is not how old they are or how sick they are or whether their Gleason grade or PSA scores are high or low, or even how aggressive their cancer is…” he (Karim Chamie, MD)  told Medscape Medical News. “The biggest predictor of someone getting radiation therapy is a referral to a radiation oncologist. Once a patient is referred to a radiation oncologist, there is an extremely high chance that they are going to get radiation therapy.”

Consultation with a medical oncologist resulted in an 83% increase in watchful waiting or active surveillance (OR, 1.83). However, consultation with a radiation oncologist decreased the likelihood of this approach (OR, 0.19)…

…”treatment with radiation therapy is often fraught with complications — bowel dysfunction, overactive bladder, incontinence, erectile dysfunction — and these things matter,” Dr Chamie said…”



Posted in Newly Diagnosed, side effects ID and prevention Tagged with:

Vincristine toxicity- side effects be damned, full speed ahead…

I underwent Vincristine chemotherapy in 1995. One of the side effects I live with today is extensive nerve damage. The article linked below tells me that I probably have the gene variant cited in the study.

Those who have the gene variant have a greater risk of experiencing this side effect,  nerve damage from Vincristine, and the side effect is much more severe than average patients.

I am all for personalized medicine. PM may lead to more cancer cures, longer cancer remissions, reduced side effects.

My beef is with the view expressed by Dr. Howard L. McLeod, below. Based on my experience, a view shared by much of conventional oncology. And the view is that there is “nothing worse than having therapy that’s successfully working, and then having to stop it because of neuropathy…”

To conventional oncology, too often “working” means killing cancer, toxicity and side effects be damned.

Oncology has it backwards. Side effects, quality of life, especially long-term, permanent side effects in a child or teen,  should come before the killing of cancer cells. The lead author of the study, William Evans, PharmD, expressed a subtle but critically different view of the same problem. ”

“If future studies confirm this finding, it may be possible to treat those patients with the high-risk CEP72 genotype with a lower dosage of vincristine to reduce this toxicity without compromising the anticancer effects of vincristine,”

Imagine that, a lower dose of a toxic chemo to reduce toxicity without compromising the anticancer effects. Now that would be revolutionary.

For information about reducing chemo toxicity while enhancing efficacy, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

Long-term cancer survivor, creator, director PeopleBeatingCancer

Gene Variant Linked to Increased Toxicity of Vincristine

“Children with the high-risk variant were between 2.4 and 4 times more likely to develop Vincrisine Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (VIPN). They also experienced from 2.4- to 2.7-fold greater severity of VIPN, compared with those with low-risk genotypes…

“It would be an advance if we could use the full dose of vincristine to get the best effect,” he added (Howard L. McLeod, PharmD, of the Moffitt Cancer Center, in Tampa, Florida). “There’s nothing worse than having therapy that’s successfully working, and then having to stop it because of neuropathy…”


Posted in side effects ID and prevention Tagged with: ,

Filter by category

Filter by keyword

Were we able to help?

If so, please consider sponsoring the work it takes to maintain this site by making a small donation. In doing so, you will help us to continue to provide advertisement-free, unbiased information to cancer survivors and their families. Thank you!