Volume 4 Issue 4 - Nurse Patricia Peat

Originally published in Issue 4 2005 icon

Nurse Patricia Peat

Patricia Peat is a registered nurse. Following years of experience in oncology, combined with research into natural approaches to cancer she now runs Cancer Options.

Cancer Options is a specialised team of practitioners who provide individual consultancy and coaching into treatment and making decisions for all approaches to cancer.

Details of their services are available at www.canceroptions.co.uk or by calling 0845 009 2041.

I know this subject has been covered often, but having been in hospital and been told to eat all the things I feel are bad for me now I have cancer, I wanted to ask your opinion. Why, after all we read about nutrition, are dieticians giving out this information? I come away each time feeling totally confused. Do they know something we don’t, are the doctors correct in saying taking supplements is nonsense and it doesn’t matter what you put in your body?

Having worked in hospitals, why do you think this situation persists?

This is probably the question I get asked more in my working life than any other. My clients, like you, are completely baffled by the current situation, and frankly so am I.

In the health service today, we are told our practice must be evidence based and this is what we strive to achieve. Doctors frequently tell us there is no evidence to support the use of natural compounds in supporting the body during cancer; well of course if you don’t look for it you will not see it.

We recently compiled a comprehensive diet and supplement programme for somebody undergoing extensive oesophageal surgery to support his body and aid his recovery, particularly while he could not eat. The hospital dietician told his family it was nonsense and completely unnecessary and recommended the usual "eat lots of rubbish" diet. We offered her our supporting research for every step of our programme, and asked to see the research that supported her ideas that a diet high in saturated fat and sugar aided someone’s recovery from cancer. She never called us back.

I know lots of excellent nutritionists such as those at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre who study the extensive science which is now food nutrition; their work is supported by good research and they achieve measurable results. My personal view is that despite everything, nutrition and cancer are still not taken seriously in the hospitals, but I may be wrong.

To be fair, I would be interested to know what are the standards laid down for dieticians working in oncology, how they are measured and how successful they are in achieving them. If any dieticians in this area would like to contact me and discuss their recommendations, I would love to hear from them.

I have a discharge from my penis and am worried I have cancer. I have heard that cancer of the penis is a virus and I may have caught it. If I do have it,will they have to remove my penis? I am too scared to go to my doctor about it.

Cancer of the penis is a rare problem thankfully and there are many other things which cause a discharge. I appreciate the difficulty in discussing this with your doctor but none of the causes of discharge are things which should be left unattended for long.

There does appear to be a link with the same virus which causes cervical cancer, the human papilloma virus. Surgery is not always necessary for penile cancer. If it is a small surface cancer, a chemotherapy cream can be sufficient. And the quicker it is attended to, the less you are likely to need to have any surgery. I would urge you to see someone very soon; there is a good chance it is not cancer and very treatable. If the thought of seeing your own doctor is too unappealing, you might consider the STD clinic at your local hospital; the anonymity will be much greater there which may make it easier. Nobody you see will care about anything other than ensuring you are well looked after and I am confident you will find the thought of examination was much worse than the reality.

I had breast cancer over two years ago, and thought I was clear. I now have developed what the doctors call small nodules of cancer across my chest, which seems to be spreading quickly and is very frightening. Have you heard of this?

Yes, it is termed local recurrence and is one of the things oncologists are usually trying to prevent when they recommend radiotherapy after surgery. It happens in a small number of cases, and more frequently with some forms of breast cancer than others. It is a difficult problem once it starts, and I appreciate how alarming it is. It is a localised problem and not indicative of the spread of cancer in other parts of the body.

The orthodox approach to dealing with it is to use radiotherapy to the area or chemotherapy. Recent research showed the use of Doxil, combined with hyperthermia directly to the chest wall worked more effectively than chemotherapy alone.

On the integrative front, Dr Etheridge who works with me, has had marvellous results with this and other skin cancers with a herbal topical preparation, which you put directly on to the area; contact me if you would like more details.

Advice from The Cancer Experts - your questions answered
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