Recently I got a telephone message for a complaint from my patient’s friend. Apparently, I missed the diagnosis of cancer with advanced stage IV abdominal lymphoma for her elderly dear friend. She left the message that the patient is not coming back to see me anymore since I missed the diagnosis of cancer. The message was somewhat accusatory and said I did not touch the patient nor did I palpate looking for cancer during her physical examination. The patient is scheduled to go through chemotherapy.
I was not automatically thinking malpractice but the message was rather unpleasant, more of an accusation. I reviewed her chart to see if I overlooked any clues for the missing diagnosis of lymphoma. I saw her for the first time 3 years ago, with the chief complaints of no energy, forgetfulness with poor memory, and no stamina. She had a history of thyroid problems, depression, and, osteopenia and neck pain. She had been getting physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments.
Her physical examination was unremarkable with no palpable lymph nodes. I noticed she had extensive dental work done. Her acupuncture meridian assessment indicated that her biggest problem seemed to originate from dental related problems. Dental X-ray showed five root canals. I told her that her medical conditions might be related to her hidden dental problems and referred her to a biological dentist. She also had very high mercury and lead levels indicated by provocation testing. Therefore, I put her on oral chelation therapy.
She had her dental work done and I saw her on a few occasions since. The last time I saw her was about a year ago. My examination indicated that she still needed more dental work to be done even though she already had gone through extensive dental work.
This is rather common. It is also one of the most difficult situations I see, where the patient has spent a great deal of money to get dental work done, only to be told that the dental work is not complete and requires more dental treatment. At that stage, the patient can be angry, with me and the dentist, skeptical, and accusatory that I am in cahoots with the dentist.
Detecting hidden dental problems has been the most daunting task I see as a physician. It is also often the most expensive part of the holistic medical care. I’ve written many articles on dental related medical problems including case studies. This case is no exception. Most adult cancer patients have multiple risk factors with a long list of potential causative factors for the development of cancer. Hidden dental problems, such as root canals, dental implants, mercury amalgams, and cavitations (jawbone infections) have often been overlooked as if dental and medical problems are not related as origins of illness.
Cancer doesn’t happen overnight. It takes some amount of time to develop. So, what are the early warning signs and symptoms for cancer? Often, there are no warning signs at all. Or it could simply be that an unsuspected, or undiscovered, dental problem, or a myriad of other problems, is the connection to cancer. Here are common early warning signs and symptoms for cancer that should not be overlooked if the symptoms are persistent.
• Chronic indigestion
• A sore that does not heal within a few weeks
• A change in bowel or bladder habits
• Persistent hoarseness or a cough
• Difficulty in swallowing
• Unexplainable weight loss and fatigue
• Subtle changes in behavior, headaches, and neurological symptoms
• A change in size, color, or discharge in skin or organ systems
• A lump that does not go away
Most of these early signs are subtle and insidious. We often overlook them for many years as just a nuisance or inconvenience while we look for a quick treatment to relieve the symptoms like indigestion with anti-acid medications.
If you need prolonged antacid medications, you are blocking the necessary acid production in the stomach that is critical for the breakdown of ingested food into protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as for killing bacteria and parasites. TV commercials are saturated with selling antacid medications with sleek, misleading information when often taking apple cider vinegar or digestive enzymes might be sufficient for the most common indigestion and acid reflux like symptoms.
It may take many years for the development of cancer as a palpable mass during physical examination. However, it may seem like the whole process happened overnight when, all of a sudden, you are able to, one day, palpate the lump or an X-ray or CT scan shows a tumor in your body.
I wished I could tell my patient, “I am sorry I missed the diagnosis for cancer,” and recommend reevaluating her situation, but it was too late. She decided for chemotherapy. The good news is that many lymphoma patients do relatively well with chemotherapy, however we still haven’t uncovered her potential causative factors for cancer. She may still have an unresolved dental infection that might be one of the triggering factors for the inflammation and development of lymphoma.
Don’t be frightened by a diagnosis of cancer. Don’t panic if you have some of the early warning signs. It does not mean you have cancer. Cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. Cancer is your messenger. It is the last messenger telling you to listen to your body and listen to your inner voice.
Cancer is a wakeup call to change your life. A cancer diagnosis gives you the opportunity to reexamine your life value system. You can embrace the messenger with utmost gratitude as a turning point of your life. For more reading on cancer, I recommend reading my articles, “Cancer and Cancerous Mind: Cancer as a Turning Point,” and “Nutritional Therapies for Cancer,” on my website.