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Breast Surgery or Not?
By Leslie Langham

This is not a cancer therapy.

Leslie Langham's story is presented in "Cancer Forum" because we found the evidence of a patient participating in her own medical decisions most interesting and we know you will too. But, we want to emphasize that there was no clinical evidence of cancer and to emphasize that a vitamin supplement which might be of benefit to one person because of a special need or deficiency might have the opposite effect for another person. Excesses or deficiencies can upset the balance in body chemistry. Also, Dr. Gerson found that oil-based vitamins burdened the liver of cancer patients.

Leslie Langham was sensitive to her own needs as you will discover reading about her experience.

This story goes back more than forty years, when I was in my late twenties, living near New York City.

I suffered much from menstrual pains, and was persuaded by a wealthy friend to go see her doctor, a New York gynecologist, with offices, and high fees commensurate therewith, on Park Avenue.

The doctor told me of a new treatment for menstrual difficulties and gave me some pills, representing this new treatment. He did not explain what the pills contained. I got the pills on his prescription from the drugstore.

When I had taken this medication about a month, I noticed a swelling in the left breast; a kind of mastitis. I had had a mastitis before, and without associating this with the medication, tried by diet to clear up the bloodstream. The diet did not help. The lump in the breast became larger and hard. In alarm, I now realized an association with the doctor's prescription and the condition. I called for an appointment to see this doctor, was delayed getting one, as the doctor was not immediately available. On instinct, I stopped taking the pills. The lump seemed to grow even a little more. By now it was as large as a very big orange, and steadily growing harder. It was in the one breast
only. The other was clear.

When I finally visited the doctor's office, he was not there. He was in the hospital having gallbladder surgery. Another doctor was taking his place. I explained my problem, was examined, and when I dressed and returned to the doctor's consulting room, was told that I must have immediate surgery. "That breast will have to come off."

I come from a family which had produced some fine doctors. My reaction at once was that I must have a clear understanding of the reason for such surgery. The doctor began to look annoyed. "It could be cancer," he said, "and even if it isn't, it could turn into cancer in time. It should be removed."

I said, "This lump has arisen because of my taking, at Dr. X's direction, these pills. The lump should be examined on that basis. If this is cancer, then these pills produce cancer. They should not be given to women at all."

It is needless to detail the conversation that followed. This doctor was the kind who resorted to surgery with little excuse, obviously. He denied at once that the pills could have caused the lump. I myself denied at once the possibility that he was correct. "In any case," I said, "before I, or any member of my family, would resort to surgery, we would get two opinions," and with that, I got up and left. I arrived home and threw the expensive pills into the trash, after having discovered that they were made of, or consisted of, hormones. I began a waiting, watchful concern. I hoped, since the lump had come up most certainly in connection with taking these pills, that by discontinuing them, the lump might go away.

But it did not, and a year passed, then another, then five, ten years, and I still had the lump. I did not consult another doctor about it. I developed a philosophy, that if I was to die of cancer, I would die of cancer. After a few years I had grown accustomed to having one breast as hard as a rubber ball, and the other in its natural state.

Then came a time when I had to have a job, and the job I got required a physical examination. The doctor examining me was a woman, kind and understanding. She at once said she could not give me a certificate of perfect health; that I would first have to have surgery to remove the breast.

At this I became, though still polite, a trifle vehement. I told her I was desperately poor, I had no people to help me, I could not possibly undergo surgery, and I needed this job for mere survival. I practically demanded that she sign the certificate of health, and after I had told her the lump had, to the best of my belief, arisen as the result of a couple of months of hormone pills prescribed by a doctor, and that the lump was not in the least painful, she gave in and gave me the necessary certificate.

Some twelve to fifteen years after this, the lump still in its hard, large state, I fell ill of a cystitis, went to a doctor some hundreds of miles south of the New York specialist on Park Avenue. This doctor made a urine analysis and called me in for a general examination. I must mention here that I never once in seeing doctors subsequent to the original consultation in New York which had been, obviously, the cause of the lump I never once said anything to any examining doctor about it. I let the doctors make their discovery for themselves. On this occasion I went through the usual experience.

"This lump how long have you had it?" I told him, maybe fifteen years.

"Well, it will have to be removed. We shall have to arrange for surgery." He told me to dress and come through to his office, and when I did, he reached over for his telephone to call for the surgery appointment he had proposed.

I quite firmly told him I would not submit to surgery, and did not feel it necessary. He was less sarcastic than the last doctor I had consulted. "You feel you know better than the doctor?" he asked.

I had to restrain myself, and answered, "In this case, indeed I do. The breast will not be removed. And as to the cystitis, I will go home and try a well-known remedy for that - blackberry wine." This I did, and cured the cystitis.

At this time I encountered, through a chiropractor, the work of the doctors Shute, of Toronto, Canada. The chiropractor gave me some literature on Vitamin E. He said, "Since you come from a medical family, you can probably understand this paper. It is a new field of research."

I read the research, got some Vitamin E, and returned for my next chiropractor appointment in excitement. I said, "I never in my life have felt such a rejuvenating pickup! My whole body seems glad to be alive!" How much was I taking? I was taking 300 IU's of Vitamin E per day. The manufacturer was Thompson, USA.

At this point the chiropractor said that since Dr. Shute was still much in the experimental stage of this E work, he would probably be glad to receive a report from me. I sent it. Dr. Shute wrote me suggesting that I take 600 IU's for the rest of my life. I did this, and got into the habit of taking it, but at one point got careless, and dropped it for perhaps two years. My health reflected the lack, and I certainly lacked intelligence too, in not noticing the connection. I still had the lump, still the same; had twice been examined by orthodox doctors, to whom I said nothing whatever of the lump. They themselves found it, both suggested immediate surgery, and both got huffed when I said no. I now slid back into my 600 IU's per diem of E.

One day I was in a health food store, noticed a book by Herbert Bailey, "Vitamin E: Your Key to a Healthy Heart" bought the book. I did not get to reading it for some time, and meantime I was now in a large southern city which had a famous medical school and once more a friend persuaded me to go to her gynecologist. I went, largely to please the friend. This man was a most noted doctor.

Once more I went through the ropes. After the examination this man reached across his desk, phoned, smiled into the instrument, and said, as though he and the other doctor were out duck hunting: "Doctor, I have a patient for you-surgery, tumor, breast." When he hung up I said, "If you were making that appointment for me, please, cancel it. I do not intend to submit to surgery." This man virtually resorted to threat. He said that the condition was, at my age, very ominous. If it wasn't cancer already, it could easily move into it. I left while he was still fuming.

"My health reflected the lack, and I certainly lacked intelligence too, in not noticing the connection."

Business now took me back to New York. I had known a fine doctor there for many year-she too, like me, given to writing-a very intelligent and humane individual,. a personal friend. I now went to see this man for a "general checkup." I did not mention the lump in my breast. He found it. He said to get dressed and come through to his office. I did. He said, "I have known you for a long time."I will give you pills to alleviate the pain, and as the pain gets worse I will increase the strength. All I can do is help you with the pain."

I know your mettle. I am your friend and I will always help you. At this point, I must help you through cancer."

"Cancer?"

"Yes-you have cancer."

I asked him, did he recommend surgery. Mind you-he knew nothing whatever of my previous consultations about this lump. "No," he said. "It is too late for surgery. The tumor is very large, and at your age, I am against the violence of surgery. I will give you pills to alleviate the pain, and as the pain gets worse I will increase the strength. All I can do is help you with the pain."

I took the prescription from my doctor friend. "Take it easy," he said. "I have continually advised you not to overdo the way you do. Take it easy. Enjoy what life you have left before the pain gets you."

I went out on Fifth Avenue, New York, to take it easy - before the pain would get me. I walked blindly up one street and down another. One thing kept hammering at my brain... the pain-the pain-pills for the pain "before the pain gets you." I stopped cold, right at the drugstore where I was to get the pills for the pain that would get me. "But," I told myself, I have no-pain. I have no pain!" I went in and got the prescription filled. If anyone would like to see this bottle, containing these pills, I still have it, unopened, all the pills inside intact. The label is now very old and dingy.

After this experience, one day I picked up the Herbert Bailey book on Vitamin E, and began to read it. As I read along, I learned that Bailey owed a tremendous debt to Dr. Shute of Canada, who had saved him from a lethal heart attack by giving him thirteen hundred and fifty IU's of Vitamin E per day. I put the book down. I thought, well, if Bailey can take thirteen hundred and fifty per day, so can I. I got up and began right off.

Approximately two weeks after that, I was bathing when I felt at the back of my neck a small, movable tumor that my mother had said I was born with. I had gotten into the habit of feeling this tumor almost unconsciously. On this day, feeling for it, I could not locate it. I felt again, and again. The tumor was gone.

At this point, as a writer, I feel I should continue this story in the dramatic vein it deserves. On the other hand, it is a medical story, and I was taught in my youth that the scientist gives mainly the facts. The conclusion arrives from the facts.

I wrote Dr. Shute telling him that the Vitamin E dose of 1350 IU's per diem had apparently dissolved a tumor on the back of the neck the size of a small walnut, extending out about 50%, the other half embedded. Dr. Shute answered me graciously.

I was taking a hot bath one day, and in towelling, suddenly saw my reflection in the bathroom mirror. I stopped, astonished. The bath towel fell to the floor. My left breast seemed to have a sag, like the right. Almost frightened at the seeming miracle of this, I touched my breast. The tumor was gone!

I stood there in the bathroom a long time, confirming and reconfirming the fact. I began counting back - twenty, twenty-five, thirty yearsI could not at the moment remember the exact time I had taken those pills. One symptom remained. Tumors in the breast apparently produce an inversion of the nipple. This one did, anyway. While the lump was gone, the inversion remained. I told myself this too would probably correct itself.

It didn't though. The nipple has not come back in all the ensuing years maybe fifteen or so and if a doctor were to examine me tomorrow, he would say, as they all do, "There is an inversion of the nipple here. This is usual with a growth. But I find no growth."

"Yes," I would say, "I cured the growth."

He would then give me the kind of look these doctors do when a patient dares to have his own opinions. I would tell my story; he would listen patiently, and dismiss me as a puzzle. He had not been taught about Vitamin E.

A few months after the breast cure, one day I had a pain in the chest. I was traveling, far from my home. I found the first liquor store and went in. I told the proprietor that I had at one time had a heart attack and the doctor had told me if ever I felt the pain come on again, to take a good swallow of brandy. "I do not drink anything," I said, "but I suppose I had better get some brandy. Would you make it something pleasant, like apricot."

He brought out the brandy and I apologized for taking the swig in his store, but, I said, "It is possibly necessary." Having got the swig down, I said, "Do you think I look ill?" He laughed. "I was thinking how very well you look," he said. We stood there pondering this thing, and suddenly I said, "I think I know what it is! I am taking too much Vitamin E!" This was Greek to him, but I told him the story. By the time I left, the pain had subsided. Next day I took no Vitamin E. The following day, I took eight hundred IU's, and I have maintained that level ever since. Apparently too much could cause that peculiar chest pain. But less than that certainly would not have dissolved the tumor. And if the editors of this magazine would give thought to this story, they would have some qualified person do a report on Vitamin E and the lymph glands. Thereby, I think hangs the tale!

Some time a year or so after I had dissolved the lump, a friend, also a writer, called me and asked if I would go to her house and stay with her animals while she went to the hospital. She was going to have surgery. I went over and talked with her. She had "little lumps" in the left breast. I asked if she had had two opinions as to the necessity of surgery. No, she trusted this doctor, and he was said to be the best available for the job. I told her of my own experience. She reflected and said, "You just happened to be lucky. It might have been cancer with you-you might have died of it because you didn't get it removed."

"Kay," I said, "you have an intelligence far above average. Look at the logic of this. First, nobody should have surgery without a second diagnosis and consent. Second, if you should try the simple resource of taking Vitamin E for, say, two months - what possible harm could that do you? If you have cancer of the breast, how much could it grow in two months? If you haven't, what pain and misery and expense might you not save yourself by simply trying the experiment."

She refused to listen. She trusted this doctor; he knew his business; she was afraid of cancer; she would have it off. So she did.

This woman weighed around two hundred pounds. The breast they took off was as big as a smoked ham. They operated up under the arm too. She was a mass of stitches. And when I went to the hospital to see her, they had already supplied her with a huge rubber simulation to put inside her bras on the left side. She was amused at it, lying on the bedside table.

"Did they," I asked her, "find it was cancer?" "Not yet," she said.

"What do you mean, not yet? It seems to me it's cancer, or it is not."

"They can't decide all at once. There were a number of small lumps."

"You mean you could have two types of lumps in the breast, and one type could be cancerous?"

"That's what they tell me." I restrained further comment.

Before this friend left the hospital, I visited her there three more times. Each time they -Wad "not yet" found cancer. Each time there lay the rubber simulation on the side table, big as a ham. When she finally came home, they had still "not yet" found cancer. "They kept on analyzing the little lumps," she said. "But they didn't find any."

I said, "I'm sorry you had to go through it, Kay. From the evidence, it looks as though it was not necessary. I hope, if you meet someone else in the same fix, you will advise her to give the Vitamin E a trial. The point is, it cannot possibly harm. And it might utterly heal."

And what moves me to tell this story now is an encounter in the past month with a woman of about thirty-five who works as a checkout girl in a supermarket. She was missing quite a while, and returned thin and sick-looking. When I questioned her, she said she had had a breast removed. I asked her, did she have cancer.

"No," she said. "They found it was a negative tumor. But the doctor said it was just as well to have it taken off."

Poor girl poor girl...

Sprouting

  1. Soak seeds in a jar overnight. Start with one tablespoon.
  2. Cover jar top with cheese cloth or nylon mesh and secure with a rubber band.
  3. In the morning, pour off water and rinse. (Distilled water is best.)
  4. Place jar on its side out of sunlight until seeds open and growth appears. When the leaves open, the jar can be placed in the sunlight for them to turn green.
  5. Rinse the seeds as often as needed for them to remain damp but not soaked.
  6. Refrigerate when the sprouts are ready to be eaten.

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