A remarkable recovery, but was it mind over matter or modern science?
Anita Moorjani claims she cured herself of cancer after she underwent a near-death experience. Not surprisingly, doctors take a different view. But they concede that she appeared to be dying and that her recovery was remarkable.
Oncologist haematologist T.K. Chan was one of those who treated Moorjani last February when she was admitted to the Hong Kong Sanatorium Hospital and says she was close to death.
Chan and the other specialists tapped her chest to drain her lungs, which he says probably saved her life. They then began chemotherapy, a treatment she had refused for 31/2 years.
'Hodgkin's disease is quite curable,' says Chan. 'It can have a dramatic response to chemotherapy. If it had been another cancer patient in her state, I wouldn't have expected her to survive, but with lymphoma, it's never too late.
'Whether the spiritual experience helped, I'm not in a position to say. Let's just say she did do a little better than expected as a patient who was critically ill. It was a remarkable recovery. But I feel it was the chemotherapy, definitely, and the emergency draining of the chest.
'To be scientific, if she refused treatment from us and recovered, it could be due to her experience, but she did receive chemotherapy so it's not something absolute.'
Brian Walker, Moorjani's GP, treated her with an 'alternative support' cancer treatment which is said to work by helping the body's immune system to recognise cancer cells and deal with them naturally.
He says his treatment modified the cell structure to such an extent that the chemotherapy was able to work.
Hong Kong-born oncologist Peter Ko, who works at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, arranged to see Moorjani and all her medical notes on a visit last November.
'I find myself becoming more and more intrigued with her fantastic experience and especially the message she brought back,' he says.
'I have difficulty with terms such as 'miraculous cure' and 'spontaneous remission', but her recovery was remarkable.'
Ko says chemotherapy could not have caused such a dramatic recovery and could have been highly toxic, considering the state of Moorjani's failing organs.
He says something either switched off the mutated genes or caused them to commit a sort of cell suicide.
'Either her mind or body was able to send a message to the cancer cells to turn off the mutated genes. Chemotherapy does work well with Hodgkin's but I've never seen it work like this.'