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Combating Ovarian Cancer

Robert S. Fritzius

Installed 07 Apr 2007. Latest update 05 Jul 2017.
New or changed text is in bold.


Myra 2005

Myra Fritzius (2005)

In March 2006 my wife, Myra DaVault Fritzius (age 62), underwent surgery for what was thought to be colon cancer. Two masses on her colon (including two segments of her colon), and several involved lymph nodes were removed. During surgery it was discovered that her left ovary, which was in contact with one of the colon tumors, was also cancerous. The ovary was removed as well.

Note: For three months prior to the above mentioned surgery, Myra and her family physician had been trying, through a series of tests, to ascertain the cause of her recently acquired gastro-intestinal problems. Finally she was scheduled for an upper GI tract endoscopy on one day, with a CAT scan and colonoscopy on the following day. When she checked in for the colonoscopy, her doctor told her that when the procedure was over she wasn't to go home, because the CAT scan had revealed a grapefruit sized tumor located on the right side of the upper transverse part of her colon, and a tennis ball sized tumor, near her left ovary. ... She was instructed to check into the hospital for surgery, which had already been scheduled for the following morning. [Added 26 Apr 2007. Edited on 03 May 2007]

I had already been pumped up on reports about the track record of the antioxidant BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) in combating lipid enveloped (fatty coated) viruses such as Influenza, Herpes Simplex, and the Epstein Barr Virus (which is said to cause stomach cancer).

Note: According to a 2007 clinical study done in Linxian, China, it was found that Epstein-Barr virus (which is linked to some lymphomas and head and neck cancers) is not associated with stomach cancer. Please see: Epstein-Barr Virus Not Associated with Gastric Cancer Reference: Koshiol J, Qiao Y-L, Mark S, et al., Epstein-Barr virus serology and gastric cancer incidence and survival. British Journal of Cancer. 2007; 97:1567-1569. [Added 05 Dec 2009.]

I asked Myra's oncologist, Dr. John P. Whitecar, Jr., Columbus Hematology & Oncology Clinic, Columbus, MS, if, based on the chance that a fatty coated virus (name unknown) was a causal factor in her cancer, would it be OK for us, in addition to whatever they were going to do chemotherapy-wise, to put her on a daily oral intake of BHT. (I had just given him a soapbox session about BHT versus fatty coated viruses.)

The doctor didn't give us his blessing or urge us not to do it. Rather, he said, "It won't hurt her."

So, what follows is not meant to imply that BHT was a factor in Myra's recovery, but I think that her remarkable progress (with BHT as a possible factor) merits a few remarks.

The day after Myra checked out of the hospital, with us still not knowing what kind of cancer she had (tissue samples had been forwarded to the Mayo Clinic for analysis), we started her on a regimen of 125 milligrams of BHT per day, which she took orally with meals containing animal fat. (Later on we reduced her daily intakes as noted on the graph below.)

Based on the tissue analysis, Myra's cancer turned out to be ovarian which had metasticized to the colon, and not the other way around. The final diagnosis was Stage IV ovarian cancer, so Taxol and Carboplatin were selected for her chemotherapy.

Three weeks after surgery Myra got her first of six chemotherapy infusions. These were given every three weeks.

Myra's CA 125 Decrease Curve

The tumor marker CA 125 is not a good indicator of cancer activity for all women, but in Myra's case it was. Her initial reading, immediately prior to her first chemo infusion, was 1512. Her second CA 125 reading, three weeks later, was 357. When compared to the initial level, the second reading indicated that her tumor marker had decreased by a ratio of 4.24:1. Between the second and third infusions, her CA 125 level dropped from 357 to 52. That corresponds to a 6.87:1 decrease ratio. Expessed on a percentage basis, these decreases were 76 and 85 percent respectively.

The following graph shows Myra's CA 125 levels and her average daily intakes of BHT. The 1512 reading at Week 0 corresponds to her first chemo session. [Added 12 Feb 2010.]

mdfca125

The graph shows one CA 125 reading done a week prior to the start of her chemo but I do not recall that test being done. (I had been asking for a CA 125 reading to be done two weeks earlier but was told that it made no sense to do so prior to starting chemo.) I am not confident that the test in question was done on Myra. [Added 22 Dec 2007. Ammended 12 Feb 2010.]

Dr. Whitecar has told at least two of his cancer treatment/research colleagues that, for Stage IV ovarian cancer, Myra's CA 125 curve decreased the fastest he's ever seen.

Myra finished her chemo series and checked back into the hospital in September 2006 to have her remaining ovary, uterus, and other ovarian-cancer prone tissues, removed. (These would have been removed during her original surgery if it had been known that her cancer was ovarian.) The surgeon who performed this second operation also looked for visual evidence of any further cancer. He said, "I saw places where cancer had been, but it's not there now."

This second surgery was especially tough on Myra in that she was physically at a low point from her recent chemo series and further so because the surgeon, in removing some adhesions that had occurred following the first surgery, perforated her colon. That necessitated a new short resection of her colon. Her digestive track took a long time to re-establish a revised operating procedure. (Actually, it hadn't attained full functionality before this surgery took place.) Thank God that Zelnorm (for irritable bowel syndrome) was still on the market. [Added 03 May 2007.]

Based on her excellent response to the chemotherapy, Myra's oncologist recommended that she do one year of what's called consolidation, in which she gets just Taxol once a month. She elected to do that, and things appear to be coming along fine. With half of these sessions completed, her CA 125 is currently hovering in the 6 - 8 range on that original scale. All of her CT scans since the first surgery have shown no evidence of cancer.

Back in the middle of the series of Taxol plus Carboplatin, one of Dr. Whitecar's nurse-practioners was trying to help me adjust my enthusiasm for the possible effects of BHT on cancer. He mentioned the necessity of conducting a double-blind study before anything definitive can be said about any new or modified kind of procedure. I totally agree.

Let the tests begin!

In 1988 a researcher in Czechoslovakia published the results of a study in which BHT, and it's kindred antioxidant, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), had been added to human and animal food. He found evidence that these chemicals led to a lowered incidence of cancer(1). He also established what he considered an acceptable daily intake rate of BHT or BHA. That rate was 0.6 mg of either chemical for each Kilogram of body mass. That rate corresponds to 0.27 mg for each pound of body weight.

During Myra's chemotherapy, she weighed about 200 pounds (90.7 Kg). So, for her, that acceptable daily rate (.27mg/lb x 200 lb) would have been 54 mg. Not knowing about the aforementioned study at the time, we gradually tapered Myra's daily intake of BHT to 80 mg. (A future entry will explain our reasons for the reduction.)[*] [These two paragraphs were added on 13 Apr 2007 and reworked on 15 Apr 2007.]

[*] I had been orally injesting 250 mg of BHT per day since October 2005, but Myra wouldn't touch the stuff, at least not orally. She did find it was great for rapidly clearing up cold sores, (mix a tiny bit in some butter and dab it on) but none of it got past her lips!

I was taking Plavix and baby asprin, per doctor's orders. (Best I can tell, both of these are also blood thinners.) About the time we started Myra on the BHT ("It won't hurt her.") I had become prone to bruising easily and in a number of cases, small dings on the back of my hands produced blood oozes. We figured that there was too much blood thinning going on, so we began reducing the amount of BHT that I was using. We'd share a 250 mg capsule. One day I'd get the big end and Myra would take the small end. Next day we'd switch. That way we each got an average of 125 mg per day. My ooziness stopped. Later on we reduced both of our intakes to a third of a capsule per day (80 mg).

Chemo typically causes a reduction in a person's blood platelets. For Myra the low point occured about a week after her chemo. At those times she tended to get minor nose bleeds. We opted to curtail her BHT intake during the low point timeframes. [Added 15 May 2007. Updated 10 Jan 2010.]

Here is an expanded graph showing a time-line of Myra's CA 125 readings. [Added 22 Dec 2007. Periodic updates.] Platelet counts have been added at the top of each CA 125 graph. These are not exhaustive.

Extended CA 125
graph for Myra Fritzius


Bob & Myra Sep 2009

Bob and Myra - Sion, Switzerland - 19 Sep 2009

We have both continued to take about 80 milligrams of BHT daily. We found, as advertized, that spending time at higher altitudes seems to help Myra's red blood cell count. [Added 13 Feb 2010]

In July 2010 we cut back our daily BHT intake to about 50-60 milligrams, each. This had to do with the blood thinning aspect of BHT. Myra began bruising too easily. Her bruising dropped off after the reduction.[Added 11 Aug 2010.]

On 11 Jan 2011 an enlarged lymph node (17mm dia) was found in Myra's lower left abdomen during a CT scan. In the past two to three months we have been falling behind on our BHT regimen. (Have been "dosing" about half to one third of the time.) In light of the enlarged lymph node, and on the possibility that BHT may beneficial, we have returned to our every-day (27 mg per 100 pounds body weight) intakes. [Added 28 Jan 2011.]

On 17 Feb 2011 Myra had emergency surgery to repair an incarcerated hernia. Her oncologist and family physician have long known that two abdominal hernias had developed along her 2006 surgeries incision line but she had been advised to refrain from surgery as long as neither hernia was was being "problematic." In early February, the lower (larger) hernia had become incarcerated, which led to the emergency surgical repair. (It did get her excused from jury duty!) [Added 05 Mar 2011.]

Somewhere along the way we had, again, cut back on our BHT intake. I estimate that we were averaging 2-5 "intakes" per month in 2012.

A CAT Scan done on 15 Aug 2012 showed that the enlarged "node" had grown to a one inch "mass." Her CA 125 reading that day was 49.35. Myra's oncologist scheduled her for an OB/GYN consult and "we" renewed our daily BHT "intakes." (We went back to the 80 mg per day that we had settled on during the 2006 chemo.)

Myra's gynecologic oncologist recommended a CT-scan - guided needle biopsy of the mass.

27 Aug 2012 CA 125 = 45.22, two days prior to the biopsy.

29 Aug 2012 - Needle biopsy. Biopsy was positive for ovarian cancer.

11 Sep 2012 - CA 125 = 61.2, just prior to the first session in her "new" chemo series. (Patient request)

The fact that the CA 125 reading increased by 16 units in a two week period (compared to the gradual increase over the past year) suggests, to me, that the biopsy may have produced what some sources call "needle track metastasis." (See the CA 125 Historical plot above.)

The chemo protocol this time (six sessions, spaced three weeks apart) includes the original Taxol and Carboplatin plus Avastin.

Notes pertaining to Myra's second round of chemo
11 Sep 2012 - 27 Mar 2013

The patient must have a platelet count of at least 100 K/uL to receive a chemo infusion. A platelet count plot has been added to the CA 125 plot. This plot shows why the chemo sessions in this series are spaced out.

11  SEP 2012 - First chemo. Taxol, Carboplatin and Avastin
25  SEP 2012 - CA 125 = 19.19.
02 OCT 2012 - Second chemo. Taxol, Carboplatin and Avastin
16 OCT 2012 - CA 125 = 14.53 - CT scan was "clear."
01 NOV 2012 - Two units of plasma. Low Hemoglobin.
13 NOV 2012 - CA 125 = 8.96 - (Patient request).
27 NOV 2012 - Third Chemo - Taxol and Carboplatin - 60% doses.
11 DEC 2012 - CA 125 = 9.0
02 JAN 2013 - CA 125 = 6.0 - (Patient request).
30 JAN 2013 - Two units of plasma. Low Hemoglobin.
06 FEB 2013 - CA 125 = 10.4 - (Patient request).
13 MAR 2013 - CA 125 = 13.1 - (Patient request).
13 MAR 2013 - Fourth Chemo - Taxol and Carboplatin - 40% doses.
15 MAR 2013 - CT Scan was "clear."
27 MAR 2013 - CA 125 = 10.6 - Oncologist says "Enough chemo."

Follow up with Avastin only
03 Apr 2013 - 19 Jun 2013

03 APR 2013 - Avastin
25 APR 2013 - Avastin
08 MAY 2013 - CA 125 = 10.1
15 MAY 2013 - Avastin
05 JUN 2013 - Avastin
12 JUN 2013 - To boost platelets started vitamin C and decreased caffene intake.
19 JUN 2013 - CA 125 = 12.1
19 JUN 2013 - Stopped Avastin regime due to suspected side effect,
                         i.e., shortness of breath following infusions.
- - -
05 JUL 2013 - Started Oxygen therapy.
24 JUL 2013 - Started Respiratory Rehabilitation - two sessions per week.
20 AUG 2013 - CA 125 = 13.2
12 Nov 2013 - CA 125 = 14.8 - CT scan clear.
15 JAN 2014 - Concluded 36 Rehabilitation sessions - breathing greatly improved.
                         Only using oxygen at night while sleeping.
04 FEB 2014 - CA 125 = 34.8 - CT scan clear.
                         After seeing the elevated 04 Feb CA 125 reading, we elected
                         to reduce our intake of refined sugars
                         and boosted Myra's intakes of BHT to an average of about
                         70 mg per day. As long as she wasn't bruising we would use
                         about 80 mg/day. When bruising appeared we dropped back
                         to about 50-60 mg/day.
28 May 2014 - CA 125 = 29.0
14 Aug 2014 - CA 125 = 44.0 - CT scan clear.
06 Nov 2014 - CA 125 = 52.0 CT scan shows 3.4 cm irregular shaped mass in left pelvic area.

Third round of chemo infusions (with Taxotere)
13 Nov 2014 - 06 Mar 2015

13 Nov 2014 - First chemo (Taxotere) [Related to Taxol.]
02 Dec 2014 - CA 125 = 32.0
                        Ratio of CA 125 drop (value 02 Dec/value 06 Nov) = 32/52 = 0.61
                        Should have been 0.5 or lower for treatment efficacy.
04 Dec 2014 - Second chemo
23 Dec 2014 - CA 125 (not submitted) CT scan shows size of mass is 2.0 cm.
29 Dec 2014 - Third chemo
13 Jan  2015 - CA 125 = 9.0 CT scan shows size of the mass is unchanged.
19 Jan  2015 - Fourth chemo
                        Myra's platelets count, ten days after the fourth chemo, was only 26 points below
                        the value just before the fourth chemo. I estimate that the expected difference,
                        based on other infusions in this series, should have been on the order of 80 points.
03 Feb 2015 - CA 125 = 12.0
09 Feb 2015 - Fifth chemo
23 Feb 2015 - CA 125 = 10.0
02 Mar 2015 - Sixth chemo
- - -

16 Mar 2015 - CA 125 = 23.0   CT scan shows size of mass is 1.6 CM.
18 Mar 2015 - Resumed oxygen therapy (for chemo induced interstitial fibrosis).
20 Mar 2015 - Started Respiratory Rehab.
24 Mar 2015 - Started reliv® epigenetic dietary supplement shakes. (Continuing BHT.)
                        [Initially Myra was drinking four shakes per day.]
                        These are our reliv® shake details for Myra's body weight of 200 lbs.
                        Stir the following supplements in 8.0 oz water (or a mix of water and fruit juice)
                         Supplement       Scoop Fraction
                         NOW®                       1
                         innergize!®               1/2     Eliminated on 08 Sep 2016. (13 grams sugar per scoop.)
                         fibrestore®                 1       Changed to 1/2 scoop on 4 Jan 2016.
                         soy sentials®*           1/3     Eliminated on 29 Nov 2016.
                        Take two capsules of LunaRichX® with the shake.
                         *Women's daily protective dietary supplement.

25 Mar 2015 - Myra's breathing depth (while asleep) has improved markedly.
29 Mar 2015 - Started Performomist and Budesonide nebulizer treatments
                         to wrestle with pulmonary interstitial fibrosis.
13 Apr 2015 - CA 125 = 27.0
08 Jun 2015  - CA 125 = 20.0   CT scan shows size of mass is still 1.6 CM.
                        Myra's CD1800 WBC, LYM, MID and PLT readings on 08 Jun
                        seemed (to me) to be unexpectedly low compared to readings
                        for 13 Apr, so we requested another CD1800 and CA 125 test
                        to see if the 08 June CA 125 reading was really indicative of
                        a downward trend.
22 Jun 2015  - CA 125 = 20.0 - (The green CA 125 curve shown for 16 Mar to 22 Jun is hypothetical.)
04 Aug 2015 - CA 125 = 21.0 -   CT scan shows size of mass is "tiny," still 1.6 CM.
13 Aug 2015 - Added reliv® "shakes" per day track to CA 125 History graph, above.
02 Sep 2015 - The CA 125 plot increased by one point between 22 Jun and 04 Aug. During this
                        time we had slacked off on the number of reliv® shakes per day, averaging less
                        than one shake per day. We are now trying to average at least two shakes per day
                        for Myra between 04 Aug and the next CA 125 test scheduled for 28 Sep.
28 Sep 2015 - CA 125 = 16.0 - CT scan shows pelvic mass to be "small," no change since August.
03 Oct 2015 - The increased daily intake of reliv® shakes (Aug-Sep) appears to have had
                        a positive correlation with a 25 percent drop in the level of the CA 125 tumor marker.
                        Since about the first of August we have let the BHT input dwindle to almost zero.
21 Dec 2015 - CA 125 = 16.0
                        We plan to raise the average number of reliv® shakes per day to three during
                        the next three months.
14 Jan 2016 - Restarted daily intake of BHT. Approx 100 mg per day.
10 Feb 2016 - Fell off the BHT wagon. (Not sticking to the regime.)
14 Mar 2016 - CA 125 = 27.0 - Pelvic mass size is 1.8 CM and better defined.
06 Jun 2016 - CA 125 = 39.0 - Pelvic mass size is 2.5 CM.
12 Jun 2016 - During the past year or so we have not been adequately restricting Myra's intake
                       of sugar and sugar producing carbohydrates. We now resolve to be more attentive to that matter.
                       [We have stopped using frozen strawberries or blueberries to sweeten our reliv® shakes.
                       Turns out that the shakes, when cooled, are quite tasty by themselves.]
30 Jun 2016 - We have increased our BHT intake to approx 125 mg daily. Most days!
29 Aug 2016 - CA 125 = 53.0 - Pelvic mass size is 3.0 CM.
08 Sep 2016 - Eliminated reliv® innergize!® from daily supplements intake. Each half serving has 6.5 grams of sugar.
26 Sep 2016 - CA 125 = 62.0 - Platelets count on 29 Aug may have been "Off." See graph, above.
                       Bloodwork was done using vein access in patient's hand. No port-clearing saline or blood thinner used.
24 Oct 2016 - CA 125 = 71
28 Nov 2016 - CA 125 = 76 - Pelvic mass size is 3.2 CM.
16 Jan 2017 - CA 125 = 76
13 Mar 2017 - CA 125 = 98 - Pelvic mass "stable" 4.0 X 3.1 CM
11 Jun 2017 - Revised reliv® intake to one shake one per day with 1.5 scoops of NOW®, 0.5 scoop of fibrestore®
                       complimented with three capsules of lunarichX®.
03 Jul 2017  - CA 125 = 99 - Pelvic mass "stable."

***

Special Acknowledgements

Myra and I thank God for the prayer, care and support which our family, friends, and our church family (Trinity Presbyterian Church of Starkville, MS) have given us. I especially thank Tony Hollick, of Bristol England, for telling me about BHT in 2005. Myra's oncology team has angels in it's midst. Thank you. [Added 15 May 2007.]

We especially thank Michael and Charlotte Fritzius of St. Louis, MO, for recommending the reliv® epigenetic dietary supplements as a possible means to quell the lingering cancer. [Added 28 Jun 2015.]

References

(1) Hocman, G., "Chemoprevention of cancer: phenolic antioxidants (BHT, BHA)," Int J Biochem, 20, 639-651 (1988) - PubMed Abstract

Related Links

Neal K. Clapp, Norman D. Bowles, Lou C. Satterfield and William C. Klima, Selective Protective Effect of Butylated Hydroxytoluene Against 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine Carcinogenesis in BALB/c Mice2 - Journal of the National Cancer Institute 63, 1081-1087 (1979). [Abstract]

Nutritional Supplements Safe And Beneficial For Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy And Radiation Therapy
    [News article has expired. Page provides a short summary.]

Graphically Tracking Tumor Markers

Filled-in Tumor Marker Series Graph

Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) - Antioxidant

Contact: Robert Fritzius

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