A mother with breast cancer has turned down NHS treatment and is living a vegan and holistic lifestyle instead.
Katie Britton-Jordan, 38, from Dalbury Lees, Derbyshire, was diagnosed with stage 2a triple negative breast cancer in July last year.
She discovered a lump in her breast while feeding her daughter, Delilah, three.
Doctors told her she could be treated with a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but she ignored their advice and started researching alternative methods.
Doctors initially found three lumps but a fourth was discovered after she took up the vegan diet and alternative therapies so she increased the number of supplements she was taking.
Among her holistic supplements Katie has been taking iodine rich brown seaweed, raw turmeric and black pepper capsules.
She is also looking at mistletoe therapy and has used a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.
Her friends have criticised her decision, but she said: ‘I feel really fit and well and I’m still able to work and look after my daughter. My diet, which involves mainly raw fruit and vegetables, has really helped.
‘If I had chemo, I think I would be almost bed-ridden. I have seen friends have chemotherapy and they are affected for life by it. It’s horrible.
‘You are poisoning your body. In my opinion, there are lots of options out there that I think are much more valuable than poisoning yourself.’
Katie feels she has made an informed decision about her very individual approach to cancer, after becoming fully acquainted with NHS advice and treatment options.
She said: ‘I have looked at medically-based books and films that shows if you remove the primary tumour, it gives off cancer cell inhibitors and removing it can activate circulating cancer cells that are in the body and there is nothing to stop them.
‘If you remove it, it can come back much more aggressively. I believe what I am doing is the best option for me.’
After discovering the lumps on her breast, doctors told her there were three tumours and the best course of action would be to remove it. Without treatment, they told her, she would die.
Katie added: ‘It all happened really quickly. I went home in a bit of a daze and tried to digest everything.
‘I have always been into alternative health. I started researching and decided there was no way I was having chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Initially I wasn’t sure about the surgery.
‘I didn’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing but the more I read into it, the more I decided I didn’t want to do it either.’
Katie said her husband Neil, 52, supports her decision.
She said: ‘I had always had a healthy diet and I didn’t eat red meat but I decided that I would go completely vegan and cut out sugar and gluten. I eat mostly raw food.’
Instead of having CT scans on the NHS which involve radiation she has decided to go for private thermographic imaging scans.
These scans, which she has roughly every three months, use a heat camera to show if new blood supplies are being formed, indicating tumour growth.
Initially, the scans showed that her condition was stable but in March, a scan showed new blood supplies and she went to hospital for the first time since diagnosis for an ultrasound scan.
She said: ‘The others are fairly stable and haven’t changed much but I have introduced other supplements since we saw the new tumour.’
She now wants help paying for alternative treatment in the UK and abroad.
‘I want to fundraise for other alternative treatments as well now,’ she said. ‘There are so many things available.
‘With conventional treatment, the common feeling is that if you don’t do surgery, chemo and radiotherapy, that is it. Anything else is seen as quackery.
‘I’m looking into mistletoe therapy, where extracts of the plant are injected into the body. It is believed to boost the immune system which helps the body fight cancer itself.
‘I have had a few sessions in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, which involves breathing pure oxygen at higher than atmospheric pressures in an enclosed chamber. This process causes oxygen to be absorbed by all body fluids and by all body cells and tissues. It was quite claustrophobic as you are locked in so I am having hypotherapy booked to try and get over that.’
All these treatments cost £10,000, but her main fundraising is for immunotherapy, which she hopes to have in Austria or Mexico and costs £30,000.
‘The most expensive thing is immunotherapy,’ she said. ‘It is designed to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer itself.’
She added: ‘My mum Carole, 70, dad Ron, 70, and husband have been incredibly supportive. My mum has been helping me with the food side of things. She has looked into recipes and things that I can eat.
‘My dad is an artist and he has been selling some of his paintings to help raise money for me.
‘But I do have messages almost daily from friends or people I know, saying they are worried about me. As time has gone on, they’ve said things like “Surely it’s time to start conventional treatment”. There are some misconceptions that I am doing this because it’s a vanity thing and I don’t want to lose my breasts.
‘But I have far more messages from other friends and even complete strangers telling me how inspiring this is and supporting me every step of the way.
‘If I really believed that having the surgery would be my best chance of survival, I would have done it by now. I have a three-year-old girl and I want to see her grow up. This is the best option for me.’
Dr Catherine Zollman, a GP for over 20 years and medical director of Penny Brohn UK, said: ‘Penny Brohn UK is a charity that promotes an integrative approach to cancer care. We’ve learned over 35 years of supporting people affected by cancer that you can combine the best of the lifestyle, dietary and complementary treatments alongside conventional treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and by doing this, you can reduce side effects, improve wellbeing and have a better chance of long-term survival.
‘In the case where the treatment offered on the NHS is potentially curative, treatment and monitoring are really important. If you miss that window, the potential for cure may no longer be there.
‘Nutritional approaches, physical activity, mindfulness-type training and complementary treatments can have an important place in helping people to take back some control over their health, helping to manage the side effects from the conventional treatment and supporting mental and physical wellbeing. With the correct support, you can have a very helpful combination of the two approaches and, for many people, this integrated approach works much better than either approach on its own.’