My Mom’s cancer changed my life

Senior writer Andy Ho wrote in the Straits Times (August 27, 2013, P.A21) and suggested that oncologists make it clear to cancer patients that conventional treatments such as chemotherapy do not cure cancer. I totally agree with him.

Indeed, a review of randomised controlled trials, ‘The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA… it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival (Reference: Morgan, G., Ward, R., Barton, M. (2004) The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies. Clinical Oncology, 16(8), 549-560. Retrieved from ).

My mum was diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer in 1992. She was given 3 months to live and expected to suffer in great pain. The oncologist was kind enough to refuse chemotherapy. Like everyone else, I was desperate for help; not so much to cure her but to ease her suffering. After 9 days of prayer, an inner voice told me that she would not suffer in great pain.

Based on my limited knowlege, I gave her all kinds of nutritional and herbal remedies to help her. True enough, she did not suffer from any pain, lived for another 9 months and passed away peacefully on Easter Sunday, surrounded by her grandchildren, children and husband. This incident eventually led me to natural medicine and my present vocation.

In my view, suffering and pain are not curses, bad karma, bad luck or punishment from God. There is a spiritual or healing lesson both for the sufferer and the caregiver. It is in the midst of suffering, that we are challenged to ask these questions:

What can I learn from this person or event?
– What can I do to love more? (Read my book From Leaf to Life on Love).

Life will have a meaningful purpose and having a meaningful life leads to wholeness.


About sliew

I am a practicing Medical herbalist and doctor of naturopathy from Singapore.
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