Volume 6 Issue 2 - Nurse Patricia Peat

Nurse Patricia PeatPatricia 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  am halfway through my chemotherapy for oesophageal cancer and am losing a lot of weight and spend days in bed feeling absolutely awful. I am trying very hard to be positive but every time I go to the oncology clinic I come away feeling less so.

I have on a couple of occasions attempted to broach the subject of diet and complementary treatments such as herbal medicine with my oncologist as I am convinced I could feel better if I can finds ways of helping myself, but he is so dismissive he makes me feel ridiculous. Do you have any tips for how I could pluck up the courage to present my case more strongly?have got prostate cancer and have been on hormone therapy for two and a half years, my PSA is starting to rise and I am also getting lots of feminising side effects from the treatment.  I have heard of Pfeifer therapy, would it be a good idea to stop my hormone therapy and start that?


I think it is an enormous shame that you have to use words like ridiculed and plucking up courage in order to have a discussion about how you care for your body with your oncologist. I wish all medical professionals would think very carefully about how they deal with this area with their patients because they are frequently have little appreciation of the importance of this to the individual, and the consequent damage to the relationship.
People often relate their experiences to me where they feel their doctor views them as a simpleton who just believes any piece of information they pick up off the internet. People who are looking to integrate good diet, and complementary approaches are generally intelligent and discerning, not gullible fools. One could question how intelligent it is to accept the hospital advice to eat sugar and saturated fats for which there is no evidence that they are beneficial and much evidence that they are harmful. Doctors often say nobody knows whether there will be interactions with their treatment, yet there is actually very little real research on the interactions between the numerous pharmacology products prescribed by doctors and how many problems that causes. Thankfully several hospital pharmacies are now offering to check for interactions, which is both a safe and very supportive thing to do. Many integrative doctors and nutritionists are able to suggest safe approaches and will happily pass this information to the oncologists.

It is difficult if you have a doctor who is particularly determined not to listen to you, even if you turn up with lots of good supporting data, he is unlikely to read it. I would first of all suggest you speak to one of the oncology nurses or your support nurse. Ask them if there is another doctor in the team you can see who may be more supportive. See if you can find an open-minded nurse and if they will join your consultation to support you. If you don’t think that will work with your doctor, consider consulting a well-qualified nutritionist or integrative doctor who will be able to help you with your regime and communicate with your oncologist for you.



 I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer, I am yet to have surgery, and I am finding the thought of going on to chemotherapy very frightening. Do doctors have any way of telling whether it is going to work or not, or is it just given on cancer type?


At the moment the choice of chemotherapy is decided firstly upon tumour type, but with the increasing knowledge of breast tumours, there are different treatments chosen for different types, which means it is less generalised than in the past. There is, in clinical study a new test of chemosensitivity, which can establish to a high degree which chemotherapy may be most successful, and equally important, which ones will not. There are a lot of interesting findings coming out of this work such as identifying the mechanisms behind resistance and trying different combination of chemotherapy to break down the resistance. This has to be carried out from tumour tissue, there is no other way of doing it, and the sample has to be larger than is available from biopsy, therefore needs to be arranged before initial surgery or if secondary surgery is being considered. Obviously a lot of treatment protocols are dictated by NICE, and it will vary on how much flexibility an oncologist will have to prescribe drugs, even with this information avaiallbe, but if they are willing it can provide valuable information. If studies continue successfully it will hopefully result in people being given a personal prescription for their cancer that increases the chance of success. If you are interested in finding out how to access this, please call me.



 I have got prostate cancer and have been on hormone therapy for two and a half years, my PSA is starting to rise and I am also getting lots of feminising side effects from the treatment.  I have heard of Pfeifer therapy, would it be a good idea to stop my hormone therapy and start that?



Pfeifer therapy is a regime utilising a combination of herbal and glyconutritional supplements that has shown good results in Swiss Clinical trials with hormone refractory cancers. (Click here for more information.) 
There is a trial being done at St Barts in London and I believe a larger study of 200 is planned. You will not find it helpful if you have had a lot of prior radiotherapy or your PSA is very low.
When prostate cancer cells become resistant to hormones, it is a gradual build up, not something that happens overnight, and though your PSA may have started to rise, the hormones are likely to be having some control, though maybe not as much as before. Stopping dead would very likely result in a sharp rise in PSA and the danger of your cancer not being controlled.
If you are considering doing the Pfeifer protocol, you should do it in conjunction with a doctor who is familiar with the regime as, like your hormone treatment, it is dependant on PSA. The therapy is very expensive to do, approximately £400 a month, but one of the components Biobran is available on prescription if your doctor is willing or is available online, just click here.

Advice from The Cancer Experts - your questions answered
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