Meridian Patient Feedback Blog

Dr. Chang / Prostate Cancer

Posted on: April 23, 2013

Most prostate cancer cases are relatively easy to manage as there are effective upfront treatments (surgery, radiation) as well as long term management options (hormones etc). Indeed, some might argue that prostate cancer can be controlled by a rigorous dietary regimen alone. But there are some difficult cases.

One patient (ST below) who is an engineer did detailed charting illustrating our combinatorial “cocktail” approach and the charts he made are illustrative.  He could not insert the graphics into the feedback posted below, and we take the liberty of posting it for him to illustrate his case (by the way, his PSA remains at 0 3 years now in Jul 2016 after the original post):

Fig 1 (CLICK to enlarge)

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 1.09.43 AM

Fig 2 (CLICK to enlarge)

PSA vs. Treatment

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4 Responses to "Dr. Chang / Prostate Cancer"

Submitted on 2013/06/23 at 6:17 pm

June 23/2013

I first met Dr. Chang in November, 2012. I am a physician myself with advanced prostate cancer. I had been interested in dendritic cell therapy for about 5 years, and was not sure how to go about to pursue this. A friend referred me to Dr. Chang, and I immediately made an appointmet for a consult.

I am 5 yrs plus with my diagnosis. I have done some conventional therapy including radiation, androgen deprivation therapy, and some low dose chemotherapy.

I have done a variety of alternative treatments including some with Dr. Burzynski in Houston, some IPT ( insulin potentiated therapy using very low dose chemo) IV Vit C , IV peroxide, a host of herbals, etc.

At my first appointment I was pleased to enjoy a frank candid discussion about the various approaches we could consider. I believe, as does Dr. Chang (you can read his book as I did), that a patient should think beyond the “Magic Bullet” concept and be more inclusive using a variety of strategies. Dr. Chang suggested using Interleukin-2 with Zometa (iv drug for cancer with bone metastases, which was my case) . Why? Becasue he knew of studies that showed a remarkable potentiation effect of the 2 combined. I had not heard of this before, despite my own research. I returned to him the very next day to start this and have been doing it almost monthly since.

I am also now planning to do the dendritic approach as well and the 2 approaches combined may well be an even better approach.

In a nutshell, I like Dr. Chang as a patient and more so as a physician. As a patient he has been very responsive to me via communications, and not just because I am a fellow physician.
As a physician I am impressed at his fund of knowledge. Far more than my own. He knows contemporary conventional therapy such as current chemo or drug approaches, as well as the off-label and “integrative” approaches that can be very valuable. He knows what is new in research as well.

The Bible says ” in an abundance of counselors there is wisdom”. I consider Dr. Chang to be one of my most valued “counselors” and look forward to his wisdom and advice in the future.

RM, MD

I am writing to encourage you, the reader, toward the active management of your condition. I have had a remarkable response to Dr. Chang’s “Cocktail” for cancer treatment. Whether my response is caused by physical (Dr. Nesselhut & Dr. Chang’s treatments), or spiritual means I do not know, but I thank God for these great results every day.

I am an engineer by training, working for 36 years in the automotive industry. I am not a doctor. My comments should be understood to be lacking the benefit of formal health care training. These are my opinions, observations, and reflections. My goal is that my comments here may benefit you in some way.

My prostate cancer diagnosis was made in March of 2010. My wife had just completed 9 months of chemotherapy after surgery for stage IIIC ovarian cancer. As I recovered from prostate surgery, and my wife recovered from chemotherapy, the phrase “post-traumatic stress disorder” seemed to describe what we were experiencing. I do not mention this to gain your pity, but rather to communicate how completely broken and humbled we are by this disease. It has changed our perspective on life forever. Emotionally, we were both a wreck. Our priorities were turned upside down. Our life plans were turned inside out and would be forever conditional based on our unknown future. Our possessions were suddenly meaningless; and at that time, we would have traded everything for a cure for this disease. It was shortly after my wife’s surgery, and well before my diagnosis that I began to study alternative medicine for cancer treatment. Once we realized that traditional medicine was only going to take us so far, we started looking for other options. I’ll come back to alternative medicine later.

My cancer story started in February 2010, my family doctor found irregular bumps and hardness on my prostate during an annual physical. My PSA from this same appointment was 5.6. Twelve months prior in 2009, I had a PSA (1.6) and a prostate digital exam which was “unremarkable” from the same doctor. As you will see from my graphs (Figs 1,2 above) that follow, my PSA closely indicates the status of my PC. Unfortunately, this is not true for all men. I was referred to a urologist who performed a 12-sample needle biopsy in March 2010. The results were; 3 of 12 tissue samples positive for PC. My Gleason score from this institution was 7 out of 10. The urologist was obtuse in feeling as he explained from a chart the high likelihood that my PC had spread beyond the prostate. I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t assemble all of the information I had been given several days, maybe even weeks. I didn’t have a good feeling about this urologist which caused me to seek a more academic and knowledgeable treatment center.

I just wanted the cancer out of my body, so I sought out a urology/prostate “Center of Excellence” in my region. I selected a surgeon who had completed over three thousand robotic surgeries. The hospital was impressive in their dedication and support for PC patients post-op, in my opinion. Prior to my surgery, the biopsy slides were reviewed by the lab at this new institution and the Gleason score was re-classified as 9 of 10, significantly more advanced and aggressive than the original institution.

My robotic prostatectomy took place on May 21, 2010. My post surgery diagnosis was stage III (pT3b) prostate cancer. The lab reported that the margins of the prostate and seminal vesicles were clear, meaning that the cancer had not worked through the outer layers. The PC had entered the seminal vesicles and three lymph nodes near the prostate which were all removed. After surgery, my case was reviewed by a tumor board which recommended use of Lupron Depot 30 (hormone) therapy, but not radiation. The surgeon said that the Lupron would treat the whole body and the radiation would therefore be unnecessary. Although this made sense to me at the time, it would have been a good time for a second opinion from another institution, and another tumor board. My advice: Don’t ever worry about hurting your doctor’s feelings by getting a second opinion. It’s your life which is at risk here. In hindsight, I wish I had insisted on radiation, because eventually, the tumor grew back and I received 35 radiation treatments anyway. I have since learned that this institution now uses radiation after all PC surgeries.

A month after surgery, my PSA was 0.4. It should have been zero. Thinking it must be a mistake; the PSA test was repeated a week later and was confirmed at 0.4. In November 2010, Five months after my first Lupron injection, My PSA was not zero as the surgeon had predicted. Instead, it was 0.2. I could tell he was surprised and concerned, but he said “Let’s see where it is after another injection and another 4 months” which we did. Eight months after surgery, my PSA did drop to zero or 0.1 in March of 2011, but it didn’t stay down. In November of 2011 it was back up to 0.2 again, and 0.3 later that month. I was assured that it would not climb quickly; it might stay at 0.2 but would not climb rapidly. This is what I wanted to hear, just like I wanted to hear that I didn’t need radiation after surgery. My PSA was 0.5 a month later in December of 2011. After brief success for 3 months on Casodex with Lupron, my PSA came down to 0.2, but began to climb again, slowly at first, but then it began to accelerate. On May 2012, my PSA was 0.9, and by September, it was rising exponentially through 8.5. Within days, it would become double digit, and triple digit within another month (See Fig. 1 above) I was heading for stage IV. At this time, my surgeon advised me to “get acquainted” with an Oncologist.

Up to this point I had been reading intensely about alternative treatments. My wife and I had transitioned to a vegetarian diet; we eliminated as much sugar and fat from our diet as possible. We started walking, running, biking, and weight lifting. We stayed away from processed foods and alcohol, and began juicing with organic vegetables. Every time I would read about something else we could do to filter out toxins or eat healthier, we would begin to add that to our routine. We both lost weight, I lost 51 lbs. My wife seemed to recover from chemo and get healthier every month. She does especially well with the exercise and can out work women 15 years younger than she is. We tried several alternative therapies which I won’t go into. The problem was, my PSA was continuing to rise and no one knew why. I was improving the condition of my body, but the cancer wasn’t going away. None of the healthy living or alternative treatments I had tried were curing my cancer.

The graph in Fig 1 above shows a PSA scale on the left, and the blue line shows my PSA trend. The Lupron and Casodex lines do not have a vertical-axis value, they merely represent the duration of the treatment. Lupron was taken continuously, where the Casodex was stopped when it ceased to add benefit.

In February of 2012, my wife and I met with my first oncologist; it became very clear that her plan was to try a series of drugs, one at a time, and receive whatever short duration (3-5 months) of benefit they may offer, and then move on to chemotherapy. She showed me a flow chart of standard treatment on the NCCN web site:
She recommended that if we liked to travel, we should do so now, because that would not be possible once chemotherapy started. You can log on to the site above and look at the recommendations for yourself. It was clear that she intended to follow this recommended course of action, and had no ear for alternative medicine. I am going to hold back my emotions and practice benevolence and kindness here. I will simply state that I was not satisfied with a 2-3 year plan that ended with continuous chemotherapy and my demise. Maybe I was in denial, but I was looking for someone with a different bag of tricks. I moved on to a second oncologist, older and more experienced. I was looking for someone with a sincere interest in the latest treatments for the PC disease, someone more in a legacy phase of their career, someone sincerely trying to advance the successful treatment of the disease rather than just make a living off of it. Overall I am satisfied with her care, but when I tried to talk with her about alternative treatments, she once said, “I don’t know about all that, I do chemo”.

Again, I had read enormously about alternative medicine. My wife and I had tried a number of treatments that are commonly known to desperate researchers like us. Then, one Sunday at church service I heard this statement; “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What this means to me is that we spend our time, talent, and treasure on what is most important to us. Picture the guy who buys an expensive car, and then treats it like a baby. He washes and waxes it, parks it away from other cars to avoid damage, and won’t allow muddy shoes on the floor mats. That car is where his heart is. The sermon was about worshiping false Gods, God of wealth, Gods of Status, Gods of Health. At first I rejected the idea that I was making a God of health; after all, we were just trying to survive a life threatening disease! In time however, it started to sink in. Truth was, I was making a false God out of alternative treatments. I was spending all of my time talent and treasure curing myself with my feable power, and very little time seeking God’s help.

Around April of 2012, I changed my approach. I changed my focus from 90% alternative medicine, to a primary focus on God. I quit spending so much time reading, printing, and note-booking articles about treatments. Instead, I started reading about God and really started praying to God after reading. We maintained our healthy eating and exercise routine, however this became an important but secondary focus.

Frustrated and exhausted with my own research, I finally called a “Cancer Coach” for advice around April of 2012. I knew of a web site called CancerDecisions.com and arranged a consultation with Ralph Moss PhD. Dr. Moss spoke with me for a little over an hour, and advised me that I should look at three treatments for my disease, and he specifically matched me up with a Dr. Thomas Nesselhut’s Institute for Tumor Therapy in Duderstadt, Germany for treatment. One advantage of this clinic over other German alternative treatment clinics is that follow up Dendritic Cell (DC) vaccinations maybe guided through a Dr. Raymond Chang. Mr. Moss explained that of all the alternative treatments out there, several were showing good promise for use on prostate cancer and they are close to crossing over to traditional medicine treatment in the U.S. They include Dendritic Cell Therapy and Hyperthermia. Given together, these therapies may have synergy, improving the efficacy of Dendritic Cell Therapy alone.

Provenge is a form of Dendridic Cell Therapy that you may have seen advertised on TV. It has recently (2010) been approved for treatment of prostate cancer in the United States, but to my knowledge, it is only available for advanced disease where radiation and chemotherapy have failed. It is very expensive and therefore it may be difficult to get insurance approvals. Dendritic Cell Therapy in Germany is less expensive per treatment, but your insurance may not pay for it. Dr. Nesselhut has been developing Dendritic Cell Therapy for 10+ years, and he publishes his work with colleagues regularly. Dr. Nesselhut’s DC therapy may be superior to Provenge because it has been developed continuously, and you would receive the latest formulation. Provenge is approved as tested in a clinical trial which probably lags behind Dr. Nesselhut’s research team. Becoming convinced that I should follow the advice of Dr. Ralph Moss, I scheduled treatment with Dr. Nesselhut for late June of 2012.

Once this decision was made, I felt no need to research further. My PSA was rising; it was 1.6 by June of 2012, and it was accelerating. Look at the PSA trends in Fig 2 above
. They closely match what was happening in my body. My bone and CT scans had been negative, but in September of 2012, a CT scan showed a tumor which measured 4.2cm X 2.5 cm in the prostate bed. It was as if a fragment of cancer tissue had been left behind at surgery. This may have been what caused my PSA to stay above zero after my first Lupron injection. At least now we knew what was driving the PSA up, and, the radiation oncologist had a tumor to shoot at.

Months before I started radiation, I was treated at Dr. Nesselhut’s clinic in Duderstadt between June 25 and July 3, 2012. I received all of the treatments recommended by Dr. Moss. I then received follow-up treatments at Dr. Chang’s office in New York City, along with a “cocktail” of supporting treatments from Dr. Chang. I received follow-up therapy in August, September, October, and December of 2012. It takes 3 to 4 treatments for DC therapy to start working. My PSA continued to climb to 8.5 by September 10, 2012. Finally, on October 2, my PSA came down to 5.5, a significant drop. I want to point out that I had a tumor recurrence at this point which was 4cm X 2.5 cm in area on a CT scan, yet my PSA was starting to fall!. Also, I did not start radiation until the day after I received the 5.5 PSA lab results, so the radiation cannot be credited for the drop in PSA to 5.5. What exactly caused it to drop? I don’t know, DC therapy, other drugs in the cocktail, prayer, only God knows.

Take a look at the Fig 2 chart above (click to enlarge) which shows treatments applied vs. PSA response. As you can see, my PSA continued to fall rapidly, and I have had five straight PSA readings of 0.1 to date (Aug 2013), a remarkable outcome!

I am now returning to Dr. Chang’s office once every three months for follow up treatments. Eventually, if my PSA stays low, I will be backed off to every 4 months. After 5 years, I graduate. I have had 8 treatments as of August 2013. As you can see from the Fig 2 above, my PSA was measured at 0.1 on May 28, 2013. This was the fifth consecutive test at 0.1.

At my October 2012 treatment with Dr. Chang, I had just received the lab results showing that my PSA had dropped from a peak 8.5 to 5.5. This meant the “cocktail” (including prayer) was going to work for me. Pointing to the 8.5 PSA lab result in September, Dr. Chang said to me “You saw the Devil”. I thought to myself, “The devil will never see me, because I really got close to God”. If you haven’t been to the brink as my wife and I have, you will probably read this and think “He’s one of those Jesus guys.” Please read on and try to understand where I am coming from.

This is one situation (and there are many in life) where we really don’t have the power to control our circumstances. When my condition was getting worse rapidly, I felt completely helpless and broken. One can choose to get really close to God in a crisis, and that’s what I did. I prayed a lot, I asked God for peace and healing. I read one page a day from a simple book called “Jesus Calling” that really seemed to help me through each day. It is written in the first person as if Jesus were speaking directly to you. Some days it just seemed perfect for what I was facing that day. For example, this was the entry I read on the morning I was to receive treatment at Dr. Nesselhut’s clinic in Duderstadt. I had just traveled from Detroit to Amsterdam, to Hanover, then by train to Gottengen, then by cab to Duderstadt. It was a long and stressful trip.

June 27 “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young
REST WITH ME A WHILE. You have journeyed up a steep, rugged path in recent days. The way ahead is shrouded in uncertainty. Look neither behind you nor before you. Instead, focus you attention on Me, your constant Companion. Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on your journey.
I designed time to be a protection for you. You couldn’t bear to see all your life at one. Though I am unlimited by time, it is in the present moment that I meet you. Refresh yourself in my company, breathing deep drafts of My presence. The highest level of trust is to enjoy me moment by moment. I am with you, watching over you wherever you go. No matter what happened, day by day as I read this simple book, I gained understanding about who God is. I have come to believe that he pursues us, and wants a relationship with us. He lost something in the Garden of Eden, and he wants it back. He loves us, just as we love our own children, and he desires a relationship with us. Sometimes when I exert too much authority at home, my son says “It’s your world Dad, I’m just living in it”. (I guess this means “back off”). Read the first ten words of the Bible and tell me if this isn’t God’s world, and we are just living in it. It took me a while to accept this as truth, being an engineer and a skeptic.

In summary I believe that traditional medicine stops far short of fully treating cancer and other diseases. Some amount of physical improvement of our bodily terrain is helpful, but it does not bring us the peace and healing that God can give. All cancer patients could use some peace of mind and rest from worry!
“For while bodily training is of some value, Godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life, and also for the life to come.”
You can guess where I found that quote. Bodily training is the physical treatment including traditional and alternative medicine, diet, exercise, etc. Godliness is the pursuit of a relationship with God and our acknowledgement of who he is. Alternative medicine alone did not control my cancer. However, everything started to change for the better as I began to strengthen my relationship with God.

Over the last year, I have read almost the entire Bible. I bought a version I could understand (NLT), and found it full of adventure, humor, and profound wisdom. Most importantly, the Bible is God’s revelation of himself to mankind; who he is, what he is like, and what his plan is for mankind. I believe that prayer moves God’s hand, and that he has made me well enough to serve some purpose for him. I give God all the credit for my current well condition. Whether he lead me to this treatment or healed me himself, I don’t know.

August 20, Today’s reading from “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young
I AM A GOD WHO HEALS. I heal broken bodies, broken minds, broken hearts, broken lives, and broken relationships. My very presence has immense healing power. You cannot live close to Me without experiencing some degree of healing. However, it is also true that you have not because you ask not. But there is more – much more – available to those who ask. The first step in receiving healing is to live every so close to me. The benefits to this practice are too numerous to list. As you grow more and more intimate with me, I reveal my will for you more directly. When the time is right, I prompt you to ask for healing of some brokenness in you or in another person. The healing may be instantaneous, or it may be a process. That is up to Me. Your part is to trust Me fully and to thank Me for the restoration that has begun. I rarely heal all the brokenness in a person’s life. Even my servant Paul was told, “My Grace is sufficient for you,” when he sought healing from the thorn in his flesh. Nonetheless, much healing is available to those whose lives are interwoven with Mine. Ask, and you will receive.

I hope this blog entry will help you understand one patient’s experience with alternative medicine and Dendritic Cell Therapy. I am very happy that I called Ralph Moss when I did, and I am very pleased with the treatment I am receiving from Drs. Chang and Nesselhut. I encourage you to quit spending all of your time reading and researching, trying to figure it all out for yourself. Instead, consult with someone who has researched all of these alternative treatments and can match you up with the best option for you. Then you will have the time to focus instead on a relationship with God, and see what he will do!

My story with prostate cancer is as follows. In 2003, my PSA was 5.4. I felt invincible, so I ignored it. In 2005, it was 9.5. I had a biopsy that yielded a 4-3 Gleason score, a digital exam, and I met with the doctor who had administered those tests. He advised surgery or radiation. I told him I was not interested. I went to a friend who is an acupuncturist, and he, besides giving me some treatments, suggested I find a doctor who could at least monitor the cancer. Someone suggested Dr. Chang, and I heard his views on off-label uses of pharmaceuticals on a website. I was not a fan of pharmaceuticals, but I met him. Dr. Chang fully informed me of the “sure” method of surgery, and radiation, and even testosterone lowering drugs. I told him I was not interested, and only then did he talk about his off-label use ideas, and the necessary dietary changes. I have met with him several times in each of the last ten years. He has guided me through many difficult times. I went from a 245 lb. glutton (eggs, cheese, bacon, muffin, coffee with cream 6 times a week) to a 173 lb. 62 year old, much more healthy, and most importantly, I had survived ten years of prostate cancer with a very good quality of life. I probably do not remember most of the things that Dr. Chang has said as he initially coached me into changing my terrible food habits. And then, as my PSA raised 20; he coached me into getting even more healthy and worked it back down to around 9. If you are where I was in 2005, I suggest you meet with Dr. Chang, and I would be very happy to answer any of your questions through Dr. Chang’s office. -Sean

I highly recommend to anyone with any type of cancer to receive care and advice from Dr. Raymond Chang. His knowledge of cutting-edge, holistic cancer treatment is amazing. Here is my story:

My first baseline PSA (3.9) was taken 12/20/2007 during an annual physical; follow up PSAs were 3.8 on 5/28/2008 and 5.8 on 10/12/09. My internist referred me to urologist who performed a biopsy of my prostate on 11/3/2009. Initial report showed cancer in 6 of 6 samples on the left side with a Gleason score of 4+4=8, with no evidence of cancer in the right side.

After interviewing several surgeons I had robotic surgery on 12/07/2009, age 49. Prior to surgery, an additional reading of the biopsy showed cancer in 60% of tissue with Gleason 4+5=9 (not good) on the left, and cancer in 1% on the tissue with Gleason 3+3=6 on the right. Bone Scan on 11/10/2009, CT scan of my abdomen (with and without contrast) and CT of my pelvis (with contrast) on 11/18/2009 all showed no evidence of metastasis.

After surgery, the margins of my prostate, the surrounding lymph nodes and seminal vesicles were all confirmed clear. From that point, no further treatment, other than periodic PSA tests, were recommended. The lab I use is sensitive to .04 ng/ml, and all tests were less than .04 ng/ml (undetectable) until 06/03/15 – at .04 ng/ml. Then, .05 ng/ml on 09/01/2015, and .07 ng/ml on 12/04/2015, which confirmed a recurrence. On my own, I tried to eliminate processed sugar from my diet, and started using Stevia as a sweetener.

On 12/18/2015 I had another bone scan, and CT scans of abdomen and pelvis, and all were clear. I then met with a medical oncologist and a radiological oncologist to get their opinions on next steps. I was fully planning on radiation for 8 weeks of my prostate bed, but God had other plans. During a meeting that I wasn’t supposed to attend, a client of mine told me to watch the online film, “Surviving Terminal Cancer”. Dr. Raymond Chang is in the film being interviewed, and the film mentions his book, “Beyond the Magic Bullet”. After reading his book, I called his office in New York to see about a referral to someone close to where I live in CA that is using the “cocktail” approach. I was pleasantly surprised that Dr. Chang could treat me from afar by Skype or phone.

During my 1st Skype session on 1/23/16, Dr. Chang recommended a low-fat diet (less than 15% of my calories from fat) with plenty of Soy protein, a cocktail of two off-label prescription drugs and multiple supplements, and that I watch the documentary “Forks over Knives” (on Netflix). I quickly became a low-fat vegan (& remain low sugar) and (after gathering them all) started diligently taking the “cocktail”. My next PSA on 2/12/16 (after only 3 weeks on the diet & 2 weeks on the cocktail) dropped to .05 ng/ml. I am incredibly pleased to say that today (5/15/16) my PSA was less than .04 ng/ml (undetectable). Praise God! Hundreds of people have been praying for me and He is definitely hearing their prayers.

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