College Essay Examples


Sample by My Essay Writer

A family member of friend comes to you to discuss a curable cancer for which they are considering alternative/complimentary medicine options. What would be your next steps?


I would advise the family member that 40% of people who suffer from an ailment use a treatment that isn’t taught in Western medical schools, and there are many available, but none that has been outright proven to cure any type of cancer. It is in the family member’s best interest to listen to their doctor and to undergo the therapy that the doctor is prescribing. They also have the option of undergoing complimentary treatments that would supplement what their doctor is prescribing, but they should be cautious, as the two treatment methods could result in conflicts between the medications.

However, if they were very interested in finding out more about alternative forms of medicine that could cure some cancers, I would need to know more about the specific kind of cancer they are suffering from before recommending any alternative treatments to the usual radiation therapy, chemotherapy or surgery. The mission to seek out new types of therapy is a natural reaction after being diagnosed with cancer, and I would need to understand the reasoning why the family member would want to seek out alternatives. Once I have a better understanding of how determined the family member is to fight on their own, I will have a grasp of the extremes of the treatment I can recommend. In essence, I need an idea of what types of treatments should be considered and how much is the family member willing to spend on these treatments.

When researching the alternative treatments, I need to assess the potential success rate of the treatment. That’s difficult to answer, given the many varying experiences that people have had, and the fact that the treatment hasn’t been proven in the medical field. The family member should also be aware that they may be able to take advantage of medical coverage. This is particularly useful if the type of cancer is one of the more common ones, as these are often paid for by the government.

If I discovered that the cancer was one of the more common ones, which is likely, I would especially recommend that they try treatments that are prescribed by the doctor, and not attempt to find an alternative form of care. Seeking alternative medicine in addition to the standard treatment could interfere with how effective the treatment is. Furthermore, ailments such as prostate cancer are making major breakthroughs, and being a part of trials could substantially increase the success rate. For example, if the family member was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the early stages, they could benefit from a new drug called “Provenge.”

I would recommend this drug for several reasons, but mainly because it is much more likely to deal effectively with the cancer than alternative treatments. This is why it is so important to know why the family member is seeking alternative treatment. In approximately 10 per cent of cases, the man will refuse treatment for other forms, and this is often against the opinion of the doctor and family members. The man could continue to suffer severe pain due to the presence of the cancer, though this is not enough of a hindrance for many people. A “watchful waiting” strategy would mean that doctors simply treat for the pain that is caused by not eliminating the cancer. Any one of these strategies could be more effective than alternative medicine, and the family member needs to know their options before opting for alternative treatments.

The Provenge vaccine, however, also has its problems because there is not enough of it to go around. Dendreon, the manufacturer, cannot produce enough of the product to fill all the orders. The price is also extremely high, which will cause many people to be left out of the purchase. In the U.S., Medicare and other insurers have contemplated whether or not to cover the drug. This drug has been shown to be extremely effective, but it is not funded by the Canadian government, as there is not enough of it to go around, and that drives the price up. Therefore, it is important to establish whether the family member has enough money to afford many of the treatments that are not suggested by Canadian doctors because they are not funded by Health Canada.

Business-Level and Corporate-Level Strategies Assignment

Before introducing the solutions, it is important to establish the foundation in which the Provenge vaccine was developed. In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine Dendreon Corporation’s Provenge. This vaccine is not considered a definitive cure, but men who have limited treatment options have hope that it will work. A study showed that men who receive the Provenge live about four months longer than those who do not receive it – 26 months compared to 22 months.

Doctors hypothesize that the vaccine can destroy the advanced prostate cancers and the healthy tissue is left unharmed. When the vaccine is injected into the blood, rather than into the tumor itself, the body’s immune system did not go into overdrive, which is what it was doing when the vaccine was injected directly into the tumor. The vaccine can work by triggering the body’s immune system to become familiar with antigens and to recognize them. These are distinctive proteins located on the surface of cells. It should be noted that only some men with prostate cancer will benefit from this treatment.

A New York Times article describes the test that developed the vaccine, where thousands of snippets of genetic codes were taken out of healthy prostates and then they were inserted into a virus. The virus was then injected into a mouse that had prostate cancer. Before each dose a prostate cancer patients white blood cells were taken and they were combined with a protein to create a dose of sipeuleucel-T. The mouse produced an array of antibodies that were keyed up to recognise a different antigen that is at the surface of the prostate cancer cell. “Each dose of sipuleucel-T contains autologous mononuclear cells, including antigen presenting cells, that were activated ex vivo via culture with a recombinant fusion protein consisting of prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) linked to granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), an immune cell activator.” Having many proteins in the immunogenic viruses led scientists to be able to better understand the immune system. When injected into the mice, its body suspected that it was being invaded by the virus, in which case it attacked and destroyed the cells, or prevented the onset of cancer cells. In other words, the immune system was able to identify the menacing cells before they had a chance to become cancer cells. This was all due to the fact that the antigen was generated. When applied to humans, it is suspected that this will result in decreased size and number of cancer sites and an increase in the time it takes for cancer cells to develop. This could also help increase the survival time or rate of the patient. The family member needs to be made aware of this research in order to make a decision whether to continue to attempt to find alternative forms of treatment.

However, if the family member were insistent about pursuing alternative forms of medicine, despite many of the new products being developed by companies with billions of dollars with which to invest in research and development, I would let them know that there are claims that many of the alternative treatments available can have a more active role in treating cancer, though this has not been proven and could in fact cost as much, if not more, than the treatments that are doctor-prescribed. Furthermore, the family member needs to be aware that the alternative form of medicine is not necessarily natural, like many people believe, and there can be as severe, if not worse, side effects. The research behind these alternative forms of medicine is limited, and this could mean the side effects are unknown, making the alternative option much more risky. Therefore, I would recommend to the family member that before looking for alternative medicines, they should seek out medicine that is in its developmental stage, or ones that are formally approved, but not recommended by doctors due to their price tag or regulatory factors.

Despite giving all this information to the family member, I would need to establish that I am not a medical expert, and my advice should not be held in higher esteem than the advice of a doctor. Furthermore, it needs to be restated that it is exceedingly difficult to give the family member advice when the form of cancer, as well as the stage of development, is unknown. Before investigating specific alternative treatments, I would need to know what treatments the family members is currently undertaking. The family member has the right to decide what treatment method they will take, but a full review of the pros and cons is needed before they should make the final decision. The family member should also discuss allopathic treatments with their doctor in order to gain a better understanding of their options and the possible results of those decisions.

I think as a final piece of advice for the family member, I would attempt to put myself in their shoes. While it is tempting to seek out alternative forms of treatment, there is often a good reason why doctors are not recommending such treatment. In the end, I would not want to choose alternative medicine at this stage, unless the mainstream options have proven ineffective.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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