Yesterday, my newspaper presented with a screaming headline above the fold: ‘Cancer pill denied to 500,000 women’. It was a great headline, inasmuch as it did exactly what headlines are supposed to do, that is, grab your attention, make you want to buy the paper to learn more, and preferably get you worked up in a lather before you actually read the story. So, of course, I read the story and it turned out that it’s not so much that patients are being denied the pill in question (the breast cancer preventative tamoxifen) as a case of their doctors not knowing that it’s been recommended.
And after reading the first few paragraphs I started to feel angry.
Firstly, I am angry for the women who have not received the treatment they need. I can only try to imagine the devastating effect of a cancer diagnosis: its vile and violent insertion into every aspect of one’s life. If there is any way to avoid that potential, it should be offered and accepted with open hands.
Secondly, I am angry for myself and the thousands of women (and men) who are routinely being denied – actually denied – treatment to correct a life-changing illness, in silence.
As someone with hypothyroidism, I am very familiar with the received wisdom around treatment. Take synthetic thyroxine (known as L-T4) in the right dose and all your health problems with be resolved. In practice, this is all-too-often far from the truth. There is a growing body of evidence that T4 alone cannot resolve all the health issues related to hypothyroidism in all patients, and that the synthetic formula is nowhere near as effective for those patients as the natural product which was used for something like 150 years before the organic chemists got involved. There is a wealth of information about this on the internet, and obviously some sources are more reliable than others. Perhaps the most well-known is Stop The Thyroid Madness: its content can appear a little overwhelming for the uninitiated, so I would recommend going to Wisdom > Things Patients Have Learned if you would like to know more.
The short version is that there is an alternative to the regularly-prescribed but frequently ineffective synthetic hormone. It is available to NHS patients on a Named Patient Basis. But, when asked, GPs and endocrinologists routinely refuse to prescribe, or even countenance prescribing, it – even for patients who are clearly suffering all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, whose quality of life and long-term health are being severely compromised, and who are getting worse year on year.
Big pharma? Apathy? Ignorance?
Where are the newspaper headlines for this story?
© Lipgloss and Wellies 2017