Chemotherapy – friend or foe?

My friend, a nurse, shared a comment she heard in the cancer ward last week.

“Chemo is government-sanctioned genocide,” the person said. “I’ll never inject that poison into my body.”

Comments like this really get under my skin. Is it poison? Absolutely. But its purpose is positive, and it has the power to save and prolong lives.


I’ve been following along the last couple of days, with much sadness, as actor Tom Long has opened up about his terrifying cancer ordeal. Sharing his story with The Sunday Project over the weekend, he revealed that in December, he was given a prognosis of just three more months.

He’s about to embark on an experimental medical trial that could see his T cells harvested and genetically modified, to then attack his cancer cells.

This is an incredible opportunity and a testament to power of medical research, in my books. And here’s what really stood out in Tom’s story; he’s already beaten the odds.

When he was first diagnosed with terminal blood cancer back in 2012, he discovered that that the usual prognosis is death within 2-3 years. Since then, he’s had all manner of treatment, including chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants and natural therapies. Almost 7 years later, he’s still battling ahead – broken and bruised, but he’s still here.

These are the types of stories we need to keep sharing. Because when you (or a loved one) are dealing with a cancer diagnosis, it’s so important to remain hopeful.

In December 2017, my dad died after a diagnosis of terminal stage 4 pancreatic cancer. When the tumours were first detected, doctors found them in his pancreas, his chest, his oesophagus and his shoulder.

He was given a very short timeline. When I mentioned to his oncologist that we were planning a tropical family holiday together, he said, “Go now.”

Yet, somehow, with a treatment plan including chemotherapy, radiation and a host of healing alternative therapies, my dad survived another four-and-a-half years.

Gold Coast mum Kate was diagnosed with incurable cancer last year. She turned to alternative treatment in Mexico, which has seen her tumours shrink 75%.

Of course not all cancer patients see these results. But to demonise chemotherapy, radiation, and the vast ocean of other medical advances that are helping people to positively respond to these diseases, is unhelpful and short-sighted.

Try anything. Try everything! And share the stories of hope. They mean everything to those who are ‘in it’. I wish Tom all the luck in the world with this new treatment program and can only hope for the very best outcome for him, his new wife and their families.