Video Transcript: How the Standard of Care Can Cheat You From Getting the Best Cancer Care
Ty Bollinger: So you talk about a standard of care. What do you mean by standard of care with cancer treatments?
Dr. Bradford Weeks: It is a really problematic reality. The standard of care is something which is not definable and yet it is used as an instrument for keeping doctors compliant with maybe what could be called consensus. The real definition is what a reasonable doctor would do in a situation. But it’s always something which the innovative doctors have to really exceed in order to stay helping patients. Conventional doctors are held to a conventional standard of care, but if we are doing something different we have to be much safer and much more effective in order to be able to offer that to patients. And what irritates me, Ty, is that it really should be between the patient and the doctor.
If I can explain a concept to a patient where I clarify the risks and the benefits, even if it’s for example a non-conventional cancer treatment. Not chemo, not radiation, not surgery. I think, in America still, the patient should be allowed to choose that.
The standard of care says no. There is a standard of care and the doctor must not vary his or her practice from that. I think the real issue is that the
patient should be able to choose once they’re fully and freely informed. Not happening today. It’s a big challenge as you know.
Ty Bollinger: Yes it is. So the standard of cancer care in traditional—well I say traditional. It’s funny, the treatments that have been going for less than a 100 years are not really traditional. But in the typical treatments for cancer in the United States: chemo, radiation, and surgery.
Dr. Bradford Weeks: Right. And it’s illogical because most cancer patients will say “I went for chemo and the doctor and the nurse told me any calorie is a good calorie. Eat this cake, eat this cookie, eat this doughnut, just keep the weight on.” Totally oblivious to the very well articulated, clearly demonstrated bio-chemical truths about don’t eat sugar, don’t feed the cancer. I’m not a fan of the current standard of care for cancer.
I can assure you that most oncologists, if they are honest with you, would say the same thing. They might say it is the best they have but they are not happy with it. I don’t think anybody is happy with 2.1 or 2.3 percent benefit over five years, which is what the research shows chemotherapy will give to an adult.
My situation is that the standard of care is clearly something which needs to be improved upon with cancer. No one would disagree with that. The question is how can we let science and reason bring us forward into a new era of patient care?