Cancer Survival and Attitude with Hamilton Jordan (cont.)

Moderator: Did you ever consider any alternative therapies?

Hamilton Jordan: Alternative therapies mean different things to different people. I did a lot of things to supplement my treatments. Visualization, various things, but I was always careful that these things I did did not undermine my basic medical treatment. If you're going to go to the trouble to go through chemo, as I did with my first cancer, it's foolish to simultaneously be doing things that undermine the effectiveness of the chemo.

Hamilton Jordan: After my prostate cancer, I had to wait 5 weeks for my surgery. It drove me crazy to think that I'd sit around for five weeks doing nothing, while the cancer might be spreading through my body. A molecular biologist who is a friend of mine, sent me a study of green tea, which demonstrated that there's a very low incidence of PCa in areas of Asia, and many believe it is because of green tea. A friend sent me 70 lbs. of green tea. When I read the study closely, which had been done on mice, I determined I had to drink about 10 gallons of green tea a day to be on the same scale as mice. I only drank 5 or 6 cups a day leading up to my surgery, but it gave me a feeling that I was doing something to fight the cancer. By the way, after my surgery was over, my friend sent me more information, which indicated I'd been drinking the wrong kind of green tea.

Moderator: What motivated you to keep fighting during your first bout with cancer?

Hamilton Jordan: Self-preservation. People often tell me how brave I am. Hell, all I'm doing is fighting for my life, like anyone else would do. I'm not -- I don't consider myself brave, just very, very lucky and blessed. Not depression. Anybody that faces a life threatening illness goes through fear, anguish, you worry if you'll see your kids grow up, but no, I tried to use all of my emotional and spiritual resources to focus on the disease, on being cured and well.

Moderator: Can you briefly go through your "Top Ten Tips for Cancer Patients"?

Hamilton Jordan: Tip No. 1: Be an active partner in the medical decisions that are made about your life!

Hamilton Jordan: Don't be passive. Learn about your disease, and participate in the decisions that are made. First of all, I researched my options, and with two of my three cancers, I refused the first treatment offered and went to other doctors and medical centers for other treatment. If I had accepted the -- for example with my lymphoma, if I would have accepted the first treatment offered, I'd be dead today. It was assumed that I only had a mass in my chest. I later learned that the lymphoma was all through my body.

Hamilton Jordan: Tip No. 2: Seek and know the truth about your illness, and prognosis.

Hamilton Jordan: If you don't have the facts, and don't know the truth, you won't make good decisions. It takes courage to ask questions about statistics and your prognosis. You need to know where you stand. If you don't know the truth, you are not likely to make good decisions about your treatment.

Hamilton Jordan: With my lymphoma, the hospital where I first went did not do a procedure called lymphangiogram. Because it was considered an old fashioned test. But it's the only way to look internally into the lymphatic system. Without the lymphangiogram, I was a stage 1 lymphoma patient, and would have received radiation. When I insisted on going somewhere to have this old fashioned test, I learned I had lymphoma throughout my body. I was a stage 4 and needed industrial strength chemotherapy.

Hamilton Jordan: Tip No. 3: Get a second opinion.

Hamilton Jordan: As I said earlier, we wouldn't buy the first computer or cell phone we looked at. Shop around when your life is at stake. Someone tells you you have a serious life threatening disease, you want to have that confirmed by someone else. I got second opinions on all of my cancers.

Hamilton Jordan: Most good doctors do not mind a patient getting a second opinion. If your doctor objects to you getting a second opinion, get another doctor. Prostate surgery is a very delicate, and major surgery. You don't want someone doing that surgery that has not done it 100s of times, and who does it regularly. You don't want to be the 10th person that someone does a surgery on. This is true with all types of surgery. You want a surgeon who is very skilled at the surgery, and who does it every week, and maybe every day. When I had PCa, I shopped around for people who had the broadest experience with this surgery.

Hamilton Jordan: Tip No. 4: Determine upfront how broad or narrow your physicians' experience is

Hamilton Jordan: That's the point I just made. If you have something that your doctor says, I've never seen this before, get another doctor. You want your doctor to be very familiar with your disease.

Hamilton Jordan: Tip No. 5: If you have a poor prognosis, or a rare form of cancer, try to get to a center of excellence.

Hamilton Jordan: If your doctor doesn't believe he/she can cure you, you won't believe you'll be cured. If you're given basically a death center, or if your doctor says this is very rare, you want to go to a center of excellence where these cancers are treated, and they have a broad experience with it.