Creating Waves of Awareness
An old woman, aged 80 years, was brought to me by her daughter-in-law. The presenting complaints include constipation, heaviness of head, loss of appetite, and loss of interest to talk with others. As per the daughter-in-law, all complaints started when she was taken to a doctor for a general checkup. He did not prescribe any medicines except some tonics. On further discussion with the lady, she told me that the physician had strongly advised her to stop tobacco. Since then, the whole family is not allowing her to chew tobacco, which she actually started since the age of 15.
I could make out that all her troubles are due to withdrawal of tobacco, which is also a restriction to the individual’s freedom. It is proven beyond doubt that tobacco can induce cancer. But, here the same tobacco, which did not produce cancer in this particular case, even after repeated use of tobacco for 65 years, should not be restricted abruptly. The tendency to develop cancer is more important that the cancer causing agents. She is now almost 80, so why should we trouble her by restricting her habit for the remaining days of her life? The best option is to allow her to use the same in moderate doses.
When I told the daughter-in-law to allow her to chew tobacco once or twice daily (in moderate amount), I could notice the old lady smiling for the first time during the case taking. Her face started shining like a hundred watts bulb.
I did not prescribe; only placebo was given, because I was very sure about the result.
Next week, I got feedback that she is very fine.
If it was a young patient, I would have asked her to stop it gradually, because the youngsters are more susceptible to all cancer inducing substances, especially tobacco. That is the science. But sometimes, common sense is more important than science!