Alternative/Complementary Cancer Therapies

This year, one million Americans will learn they have cancer. Roughly two out of three cancer patients will die of the illness (or related therapy) within five years of diagnosis. While the news media periodically announce major cancer breakthroughs, the cures are occurring mainly in the press releases. The “war on cancer. has been a colossal failure despite hundreds of billions of dollars spent on research and treatment.

The three “proven” methods of treating cancer-chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery-may actually shorten your life in many instances. Each of these treatments is invasive, has devastating side effects, and treats only symptoms. Each can cause the spread or recurrence of cancer. While these immunity-damaging approaches may at times be necessary, their successes have mostly been limited to relatively rare forms of cancer or the early stages of the disease. For most adult cancers, the orthodox therapies are virtually noncurative, though they may buy some time. For many patients, the standard therapies shorten the life span: “Most cancer patients in this country die of chemotherapy,” observes Dr. Alan Levin of the University of California Medical School. “Chemotherapy does not eliminate breast, colon, or lung cancers. The fact has been documented for over a decade…. Women with breast cancer are likely to die faster with chemotherapy than without it.”1

Only 2 to 3 percent of the nearly one-half million Americans diagnosed of cancer every year are being saved by chemotherapy, according to Dr. John Cairns of the Harvard University School of Public Health.2 Yet over half of all cancer patients routinely receive chemotherapy drugs, which can cripple a person’s chance of survival. All chemotherapy drugs are toxic and many are carcinogenic-they can cause cancer. The overuse of chemotherapy-a $750 million-a year racket in drug sales alone-is a national scandal.

Disillusioned with standard cancer treatments-which often have devastating side effects and typically cost $30,000 or more-thousands of patients are turning to alternative or nontoxic therapies. Often called complementary, unorthodox, or nonconventional, these therapies include nutritional, herbal, metabolic, immune-enhancing, biologic, nontoxic pharmacologic, and psychological-behavioral approaches. While the alternative therapies exhibit great variation, all of them are rooted in the idea that a truly healthy body will not develop cancer. Alternative practitioners believe the cause of cancer is often found in a disorder of the immune system or a bodily imbalance that allows the tumor to develop.

Alternative therapies share certain common features. They are relatively nontoxic, unlike chemotherapy and radiation, which destroy normal cells. They aim to cleanse the body, to stimulate its natural defenses and tumor-destroying capacity. They have relatively high safety levels compared to the orthodox treatments. Many or most alternative therapies combine special diets; supplementation with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes; detoxification; oxygenation measures; immune stimulation; and psychological or spiritual regimens to promote gentle healing.

To mainstream doctors, cancer is a localized disease, to be treated in a localized manner. By cutting out the tumor, irradiating it, or flooding the body with toxic (and often carcinogenic) drugs, the orthodox physician hopes to destroy the tumor and thus save the patient. But all too often, the cancer is still present and has metastasized (spread elsewhere). The allopathic, conventional approach, for all its high-tech trappings, is based on a primitive medical philosophy: aggressively attacking an “enemy” disease. Often, the patient is devastated in the process, while the cancer and its underlying causes remain.

In contrast, the alternative healer regards cancer as a systemec disease, one that involves the whole body. In this view, the tumor is merely a symptom and the therapy aims to correct the root causes. Instead of aggressively attacking the tumor, many alternative therapies focus on rebuilding the body’s natural immunity and strengthening its inherent ability to destroy cancer cells. A number of alternative therapies also include natural measures to directly attack and destroy the tumor, whether by herbs, enzymes, or other means.

Many cancer patients who were pronounced “terminal” or “hopeless” by their orthodox doctors went on to use alternative therapies, recovered fully, and are alive and well five, ten, twenty, or more years after their fatal diagnoses. Other patients who follow alternative protocols experience prolonged survival times and relief from pain and suffering. Not everyone does well on alternative cancer therapies; many die. There are no “magic bullets,” no guarantees. Unfortunately, there are no reliable statistics on the results of alternative treatment. Some of the therapies work some of the time for some people.

The medical establishment ignores the existence of these cancer survivors or contemptuously dismisses them as “anecdotal evidence.” Another establishment trick is to claim that people who got well through alternative therapies somehow magically recovered due to prior treatment-even if the toxic chemotherapy or immunity-destroying radiation that had been administered months or years earlier was of absolutely no benefit in slowing a rapidly advancing or metastasized malignancy.

Another favorite establishment ploy is to say that cancer patients who were cured through alternative therapies simply underwent “spontaneous remissions.” This is medical lingo for “unexplained recovery,” a fig leaf to cloak doctors’ ignorance of what happened. Actually, there is no such process as spontaneous remission, as many doctors acknowledge. There must always be a cause or mechanism for the seemingly spontaneous tumor regression.3 The most comprehensive study ever undertaken on the spontaneous remission of advanced cancers turned up a paltry total of 176 such cases in the world medical literature from 1900 to 1965. This means the odds of a doctor meeting with several spontaneous remissions in one lifetime are virtually zero.4 Yet there are alternative doctors who have hundreds of so-called spontaneous remissions of advanced cancer to their credit.

Reviewing 200 cases of so-called spontaneous regression of cancer, Canadian professor Harold Foster, Ph.D., found in 1988 that the great majority of these people (88 percent) had made major dietary changes-usually switching to a strictly vegetarian diet and avoiding white flour, sugar, and canned or frozen foods-before their dramatic tumor regression or complete remission occurred.5 Most of these patients also used vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements as well as detoxification measures. These are all prominent features of several of the alternative cancer therapies discussed in this book.

Cancer is a biologic puzzle. There is no unanimous agreement on what makes cells grow abnormally, in endless, uncontrolled multiplication. There could be many different valid ways to treat cancer. According to Michael Evers, executive director of Project CURE, “There are serious, scientifically based approaches to cancer which do not happen to fit the mainstream model. We’re not talking about quackery or snake-oil medicine here.” A patient advocacy group, Project CURE supports “a pluralistic medical system” that would make nontoxic cancer therapies available to patients as part of standard medical practice. Most Americans, it seems, endorse this goal. An Associated Press-Media General national poll in September 1985 revealed that half of all Americans believe alternative cancer clinics should be allowed to operate in the United States-even if the treatments they offer are opposed by the orthodox medical establishment. Over half of the respondents said they would seek such treatment themselves if they were diagnosed with cancer.

Despite the public’s support and growing interest in nontoxic, noninvasive alternative approaches, the medical establishment has waged a fierce campaign against such therapies, labeling them quackery. Treatment centers have been padlocked. Doctors who prescribe nutrition or herbs have been thrown in jail. Responsible, caring physicians who verbally support or practice alternative therapies have been fired, demoted, or ostracized or have had their medical licenses revoked. While official medicine suppresses or thwarts promising alternatives, it pours billions of dollars into narrow research supporting chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery as the major weapons in the “war on cancer.” That war has been a total failure in slowing the death rate. The overall age-adjusted cancer death rate has risen by 5 percent since the war against cancer began.

“Everyone should know that the ‘war on cancer’ is largely a fraud,” wrote Dr. Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel Prize winner. Another Nobel winner, Dr. James Watson, codiscoverer of the DNA double helix, put the matter more bluntly. Watson served for two years on the National Cancer Advisory Board. Asked in 1975 what he thought of the National Cancer Program, he promptly replied, “It’s a bunch of shit.”6 Death rates for the most common cancers-cancers of the lung, colon, breast, prostate, pancreas, and ovary-have either stayed the same or increased during the past fifty years. As noted in the September 22, 1986, issue of Business Week, “Surgery, radiation, and highly toxic drugs all tend to fail for a stunningly simple reason: a tumor the size of your thumb has one billion malignant cells in it. Even if a treatment gets 99.9% of them, a million remain to take root all over again.”

You may live longer by having no conventional treatment at all. That was the conclusion of the late Dr. Hardin Jones, professor of medical physics at the University of California at Berkeley. After carefully analyzing the cancer survival statistics for twenty-five years, Jones told an American Cancer Society meeting in 1969 that untreated patients do not die sooner than patients receiving orthodox treatment-and in many cases they live longer.7 Three studies by other researchers support this negative assessment, which has never been refuted.

Myths Surrounding Alternative Cancer Therapies

Many myths and misconceptions surround alternative cancer therapies. What follows is an attempt to clarify the most common.

Myth #1: All alternative cancer therapies are worthless.

This is the official position of the $80 billion-a-year “cancer industry,” which has a vested stake in the orthodox therapies. But the facts tell a very different story. Patients with advanced, metastasized cancers, given up as medically incurable by their conventional doctors, have reversed their illnesses using alternative therapies and are today completely cancer-free. Many more patients on nontoxic therapies have at least been able to keep their cancers under control and lead active, productive lives. Some alternative physicians have amassed clinical evidence, including studies and carefully documented case histories, to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of their methods. This evidence is routinely rejected by the medical orthodoxy on the grounds that it does not meet certain criteria, such as double-blind controlled trials (in which half the patients do not receive the treatment in question).

These cures do not mean that all of the nonconventional methods work. Some may by ineffective or fraudulent. “Most alternative therapies are almost totally useless–just like the conventional therapies,” says Patrick McGrady,Jr., founder of CANHELP.

Estimates of success rates with alternative therapies vary widely. What works for one patient or type of cancer may fail with another patient having the same or a different malignancy. Holistic health advocate Gary Null, who spent years investigating alternative clinics and interviewing patients, claims that success rates have ranged “from 2 to 20 percent” in cases of terminal cancer. Some alternative practitioners exaggerate their results, claiming five-year remission rates of 60 percent or more. Patrick McGrady is skeptical of all such claims. “It would be good, if it were true.”

“My subjective impression,” says Ralph Moss, publisher of The Cancer Chronicles newsletter, “is a baseline 4 to 5 percent five-year remission rate in all of the alternative clinics. Then the figure goes up with less severe cases. If I found a 20 percent rate of five-year remission, that would be really exciting.” But Moss feels that this posited success rate is highly significant. “After all, these therapies are not supposed to cure anybody, according to orthodox medicine.” He points out that the chance for recovery in many patients has been undercut by prior radiation and chemotherapy, both of which can severely damage the body’s immune response and normal functioning.

Myth #2: Alternative cancer therapists are quacks-unscrupulous, unlicensed, untrained in medicine, out for a fast buck

This stereotype may apply to some practitioners. Too often, though, it’s used to paint with one brush all doctors and therapists who work beyond the limits of conventional medicine. The reality turns out to be just the opposite.

In a 1984 study in Annals of Internal Medicine, Barrie Cassileth, Ph.D., and fellow researchers found that 60 percent of the 138 alternative cancer practitioners they investigated were medical doctors (M.D.’s). Of the remaining 40 percent, many held doctorates in biology, chemistry, or other related sciences and had extensive research backgrounds.8

The American Cancer Society (ACS) maintains a compendium of “Unproven Methods of Cancer Management,” which serves as the cancer establishment’s chief tool to label alternative therapies as pseudoscience. To the ACS, unproven means disproven. Yet the ACS judges’ pronouncement that “there is no acceptable evidence” for a particular therapy usually amounts to a blatant disregard of all the supporting data.9 The inclusion of a doctor’s name and therapy on this ugly official blacklist leads to loss of funding, a sudden inability to get articles published, the rejection of testing applications, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) harassment, if not jail. The ACS blacklist “resembles the list of ‘subversive’ organizations once maintained by the House Un-American Activities Committee,” notes Ralph Moss in his hard-hitting expose The Cancer Industry (see Appendix A). “Merely including a scientist’s name on the list has the effect of damning that researcher’s work and putting the tag of quackery on him and his efforts.”~10

Moss’s analysis of the unorthodox therapists whose names appear on the ACS Unproven Methods list reveals that 65 percent of them were M.D.’s, many from prestigious medical schools; an additional 13 percent held Ph.D.’s in medical or scientific disciplines.

“A number of the scientists on the ACS Unproven Methods list were undoubtedly persons of genius,” observes science writer Robert Houston.11 ~ Among the examples he cites is Max Gerson, M.D., whose dietary treatment of cancer anticipated many current research trends. Gerson was hailed by Nobel laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who wrote, “I see in him one of the most eminent medical geniuses in the history of medicine.”

These practitioners hardly fit the image of snake-oil salesmen.

Myth #3: Patients who seek alternative therapies are driven by desperation. They’re ignorant, gullible or both.

Contrary to the stereotype, recent studies have shown that alternative cancer therapies are more popular among affluent, well-educated patients-and that some conventional physicians are surprisingly supportive of them. “The stereotype of the less-educated, poor person succumbing to the sideshow lures of the quack has been exploded,” Dr. LaMar McGinnis told a San Francisco conference organized by the American Cancer Society in 1990. McGinnis, ax-chairman of the ACS Committee on Unproven Methods and no friend of alternative treatment, based his remarks on an unpublished ACS study of 5,047 patients.

“Many patients receiving alternate care do not conform to the traditional stereotype of poorly educated, terminally ill patients who have exhausted conventional treatment,” wrote Barrie Cassileth in her landmark 1984 study (see Myth #2). She found that cancer patients on alternative therapies were significantly better educated than were patients on conventional treatment only. Many were attracted to therapeutic alternatives emphasizing personal responsibility and nutrition and moving away from what the patients viewed as deficiencies of orthodox medical care. Most of the patients paid less than $1,000 for the first year of alternative treatment. Even taking into account inflation and sharp variations in fees, these costs are modest compared to the expenses of $2,500 per day that the medical establishment demands for its invasive procedures. Cassileth also found that alternative therapy was actually approved by patients’ primary physicians 30 percent of the time.

Myth #4: Alternative cancer therapies are “unproven, ” therefore untested and unscientific.

The American Cancer Society has seventy-two alternative cancer therapies on its Unproven Methods list. In his revealing analysis of the ACS blacklist, Ralph Moss notes that for 44 percent of these condemned therapies, no investigation at all had been carried out by the ACS or any other agency. For another 11 percent, the investigations had actually yielded positive results. Inconclusive findings were reported for 16 percent. And for the remaining 29 percent, the ACS judges had determined the methods in question to be ineffective, yet, as Moss points out, “Virtually all of the ACS judges are orthodox physicians with a vested interest in the system. In making their assessments, they rely on second- or third-hand reports like magazine articles and foreign medical associations.”

Hyperthermia, or heat therapy-once branded as a “worthless remedy” and “quackery” by the ACS-was removed years later from the Unproven Methods list. Today, hyperthermia is in trial use at major medical centers; it has been hailed by some oncologists as the fifth modality in cancer treatment after surgery, radiation, drugs, and immunotherapy. This is the same method that the ACS banished into limbo in 1967.

Four other unorthodox cancer treatments once stigmatized by their inclusion on the ACS blacklist were later removed from it: hydrazine sulfate, the Coley therapy, the Lincoln therapy, and Hendricks Natural Immunity therapy. Their Stalinist-like “rehabilitation” came about through pressure from prestigious researchers and institutions with a keen interest in exploring these methods.

These examples demonstrate the bias built into the ACS’s unscientific system, which is largely designed to protect the monetary interests of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. One should keep an open mind about all the available options.

The Myth of “Proven” Therapies

Most of the everyday practices of modern medicine are unproven if we go by the government’s own standards. In 1978, the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), an arm of the United States Congress, issued a major research report that concluded “only 10 to 20 percent of all procedures currently used in medical practices have been shown to be efficacious by controlled trial.” In other words, 80 to 90 percent of what doctors do to you is scientifically unproven guesswork. By this government-supported definition, most of modern medicine is quackery.~12

Chemotherapy and radiation, two of the three principal “proven” methods of treating cancer, seem to fall within the OTA definition of unproven, potentially dangerous quackery, at least in much of their current usage in the United States. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are all harmful to the body as well as to the tumor and all cause physical suffering and emotional trauma that frequently make them an excruciating ordeal. Each of these methods deserves a closer look.


Chemotherapy has scored dramatic successes in treating cancers of the lymph and blood cells: the leukemias, the lymphomas, and Hodgkin’s disease (a type of lymph cancer). These cancers are treated by combination chemotherapy, which uses “cocktails” of several different toxic drugs at once. Chemo cocktails, when preceded by surgery and radiotherapy, have achieved significant cure rates, mostly with rare types of solid tumors such as choriocarcinoma.

The Janker Klinik in Bonn, Germany, is famous for its short-term, high-dosage chemotherapy, usually administered over a one- or two week period. Published (but nonscientific) reports credit the Klinik with an incredible 70 percent remission rate and cures in patients who had widely metastasized cancers. This figure seems questionable because most patients go there as a last resort, their systems already devastated by conventional treatment. Skeptical American doctors say that the remissions are very short-lived and that when the cancer returns, it is quickly fatal.~13

Virtually all of the anticancer drugs approved by the FDA are toxic at the applied dosages and markedly immunosuppressive, destroying a patient’s natural resistance to many diseases, including cancer. Most of these FDA-approved chemo drugs are also carcinogenic, that is, highly cancer-causing in lab animals and capable of causing cancer in human beings.

All these drugs are poisonous not as a side effect but as a primary effect. Because these poisons cannot distinguish between cancerous and normal cells, they disrupt or kill normal, healthy cells throughout the body besides attacking the tumor. They attack the bone marrow, thereby destroying the white blood cells, which fight infection; the red blood cells, which carry life-sustaining oxygen to the body’s organs; and the platelets, which help the blood to clot. Unfortunately, these immune-system cells are a major part of the body’s built-in defense against cancer.

Patients undergoing chemotherapy-with their immune systems completely destroyed or compromised-frequently die of pneumonia or common infections. Death from toxicity is also quite common. In one study, 10 percent of 133 patients using the chemo drug 5-FU (5-fluorouracil) died as a direct result of the drug’s toxicity.~14 Doctors jokingly refer to this popular chemotherapy drug as “Five Feet Under.” Chemotherapy patients come down with the whole range of blood diseases, such as aplastic anemia, in which the bone marrow can no longer make blood cells; leukopenia, an abnormal decrease in the amount of white blood cells; and thrombocytopenia, an abnormal reduction in platelets. The long-term effects of chemotherapy can include heart damage weeks, months, or years after treatment; loss of fertility; and an increased risk of recurrence of cancer.

Most chemo drugs cause secondary cancers, especially of the gastrointestinal tract, ovaries, and lungs. These are among the most difficult cancers to treat. They can appear five, ten, fifteen years after the “successful” chemotherapy. In one study, 18 percent of the survivors developed unrelated cancer up to fifteen years later. Reports like the following are fairly typical: “Secondary cancers are known complications of chemo therapy and irradiation used to treat Hodgkin’s and non- Hodgkin’s lymphomas and other primary cancers” (New England Journal of Medicine, September 21, 1989) . “Chemotherapy drugs that were long ago used to treat ovarian cancer may have done as much harm as good by sharply increasing the risk of leukemia.. .. Among women treated from 1960 through 1985, the risk of leukemia was 12 times higher in those who received chemotherapy than in those who only under went surgery” (Associate d Press ,January 5, 1990) . Between 5 and 10 percent of all patients who survive chemotherapy die of leukemia in the first ten years after treatment, according to Harvard micro biologist Dr. John Cairns. When chemotherapy and radiation are given together, secondary tumors occur about 25 times more than the expected rate. This depressing assessment was made by Dr. John Laszlo, the American Cancer Society’s senior vice president for research.15

Chemotherapy can be one of the most physically and emotionally devastating of all treatments. Most of the forty FDA-approved chemo drugs on the market cause baldness; hair may take years to return to normal. Other common side effects include extreme nausea and vomiting, bleeding gums, sores around the mouth, bleeding and ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract, and candida (thrush). Numerous patients say they find the side effects worse than the disease itself. A number of autopsy studies have shown that many patients die from the standard treatment they receive before the tumor has a chance to kill them.16

The cancers from which most people die-the big killers like breast, colon, and lung cancer-generally do not respond to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has only a limited effectiveness against any tumor that is large or has spread; its successes are generally with small, very early tumors. Several studies indicate that chemotherapy has no survival value in breast cancer. “Survival may even have been shortened in some [breast cancer) patients given chemotherapy,” according to six British cancer specialists writing in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet.17

“Practicing physicians are intimidated into using regimes which they know do not word. One of the most glaring examples is chemotherapy, which does not work for the majority of cancers,” Alan Levin, M.D., told a national conference on abuses in medicine held in 1985. A distinguished professor of immunology at the University of California at San Francisco Medical School, Levin added, “Despite the fact that most physicians agree that chemotherapy is largely ineffective, they are coerced into using it by special interest groups which have vested interest in the profits of the drug industry.”18 Prescribing chemotherapy when it has little or no chance of working “is at best stupid and at worst criminal,” notes Dr. Robert Atkins, well-known practitioner of complementary medicine.19 Yet mainstream cancer doctors do this on a daily basis.


Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, used on about half of American cancer patients employs high-intensity X-rays to cripple cancer cells’ ability to reproduce. Radioactivity emanating from artificial implants- such as cobalt-60 or radium “seeds” inserted directly into the cancer-is also used. The problem with radiation is that like chemotherapy, it damages normal, healthy cells in the process of killing cancer cells. Radiation severely depresses immunity and can cause serious chromosomal damage at both diagnostic- and therapeutic-dose levels. Radiotherapy is a powerful carcinogen; it causes secondary cancers in many patients exposed to it. In one study, as many as 17 percent of the patients treated with radiotherapy developed secondary cancers within twenty years in the sites exposed to the radiation.

Radiation can achieve five-year remission in 80 percent of very early Hodgkin’s disease patients and is effective in treating Iymphosarcoma, inoperable local prostate cancer, and localized tumors of the head, neck, and cervix. It is probably preferable to surgery for some cancers, such as cancer of the larynx or prostate. In treating breast cancer, lumpectomy combined with radiotherapy appears to decrease the chances of recurrence in the affected breast, although this is disputed since later cancers can occur ten years after exposure.

Other than these successes, radiation appears to be of limited value in the treatment of cancer and often does more harm than good.

Several studies have shown that people who undergo radiation therapy are more likely to have their cancer metastasize to other sites in their bodies. This was noted by oncologist Dr. Lucien Israel, consultant to the National Cancer Institute, in his book Conquering Canecr.20 The radioactivity used to kill cancer cells can also trigger the process of mutation that creates new cancer cells of other types.

Radiation therapy causes damage and dysfunction in body organs and tissues. Various studies have shown that it offers no survival advantage for most cancers. “The majority of cancers,” writes John Cairns in the November 1985 issue of Scientific American, “cannot be cured by radiation because the dose of X rays required to kill all the cancer cells would also kill the patient.” Cairns is a professor at the Harvard University School of Public Health.

Radiotherapy following breast surgery increases death rates, according to several clinical trials and a study published in The Lancet.2~1 Yet 50 percent of radiologists still radiate women following surgery for breast cancer. “Complications following high-dose radiotherapy for breast cancer are: fibrous, shrunken breasts, rib fractures, pleural and/or lung scarring, nerve damage, scarring around the heart . . . suppression of all blood cells, immune suppression,” according to Robert F. Jones, M.D., writing in the Seattle Times on duly 27, 1980. “Many radiation complications do not occur for several years after treatment, giving the therapist and the patient a false sense of security for a year or two following therapy…. The bone marrow, in which blood cells are made, is largely obliterated in the field of irradiation…. This is an irreversible effect.”

There is very little agreement in the medical fraternity about the proper role of chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy in the treatment of malignant tumors. Opinions among oncologists range from enthusiastic approval to strong condemnation. As noted earlier, people who undergo both chemotherapy and radiation experience later cancers twenty-five times more often than the general population.

The side effects of radiation therapy include severe, prolonged immune deficiency and chromosomal damage resulting in later cancer. “Even very moderate amounts of radiation of the testicles and ovaries may cause sterilization or induce genetic mutations,” notes Dr. Israel.22 Radiotherapy can permanently stunt growth in children. Its other side effects include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and excessive weakness and fatigue, sometimes rendering patients
  • “Sores or ulcers . . . in the mouth, throat, intestines, genital areas and other parts of the body….” (American Cancer Society, Cancer Book, 1986.) Mouth sores can make it difficult to eat.

  • Bone death in the mouth following irradiation of the tongue, mouth, or gums.

  • Temporary or permanent hair loss, depending on the dosage.

  • Welts and extensive burns of the skin and mucous membranes.

  • Permanent dilation of the small capillaries and arteries under the skin in patients who have a wide area irradiated, as with breast cancer.

  • Amenorrhea in women close to menopause who are exposed to as little as 400 reds of radiation. (Rad stands for “radiation absorbed dose,” which is the basic unit of ionizing radiation.)

  • “Rectal ulcers, fistulas, bladder ulcers, diarrhea, and colitis” in “women undergoing radiation of the pelvic cavity.” (ACS, Cancer Book, 1986.)

  • The swelling of tumors after a single large dose of radiation. This is especially dangerous for brain tumors. Patients may receive corticosteroids in an attempt to prevent this effect.

    Many doctors believe that radiotherapy is relatively harmless, so they continue to recommend this highly lucrative treatment to patients as a palliative. But even “safe” levels of radiation are suspect. Early studies at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York showed that radiotherapy was deadly and that patients who received no radiation lived longer than those who were irradiated. These and similar findings were presented to Congress in 1953 in the famous Fitzgerald Report, which charged that the medical establishment was actively conspiring to suppress promising alternative cancer therapies.28 But these important studies were ignored, and the radiotherapy industry got its way. “For 30 years radiologists in this country have been engaged in massive malpractice,” charged Dr. Irwin Bross in 1979.24 Bross, former director of biostatistics at Roswell Park Memorial Institute, was unable to get adequate funding to research the thirty-year cover-up of what he calls doctor-caused cancer from radiation therapy.


    Surgery is sometimes a necessary, lifesaving procedure in treating cancer. It is effective as a cure for early, small tumors that have not spread to other parts of the body. For example, surgery achieves roughly 70 percent five-year survival in uterine cancers, 85 percent in skin cancers, 60 percent in breast cancers, and 40 percent in colon cancers. But once a tumor has grown beyond a certain size or has spread to other sites, it is frequently inoperable. There is no reliable way to tell whether a tumor is localized or has metastasized. In early-stage breast cancer, 30 percent or more of women given a favorable prognosis after surgery experience recurrences of their cancer, according to the latest figures from the National Cancer Institute.25

    Surgeons routinely tell cancer patients, “I got it all,” but many studies have shown that some cancer cells are left behind in 25 to 60 percent of patients, allowing malignant growths to recur. Surgery itself is often responsible for the spread of the cancer, according to many physicians. A microscopic miscue or careless manipulation of tumor tissue by the surgeon can “spill. literally millions of cancer cells into the bloodstream. Surgical biopsy, a procedure used to detect early-stage cancer, can also contribute to the spread of cancer. “Often while making a biopsy the malignant tumor is cut across, which tends to spread or accelerate the growth. Needle biopsies can accomplish the same tragic results,” observed Dr. William Kelley.26

    Surgery weakens immunity, places great systemic stress on the patient, and can cause sudden death. Many cancer patients have died on the operating table, or shortly after leaving it, from complications of surgery. Some surgical operations are performed needlessly. “Even though it’s been proven conclusively that lymph node excision after radiation does not prevent the spread of cervical cancer, you will still see lymphadenectomies performed all over the country routinely. This despite the fact that lymphadenectomies make women feel so bad they wish they were dead-and are a proven useless procedure.”27

    Pain, disfigurement, and restriction of function often accompany surgery. Many cancer patients are left debilitated, crippled, traumatized, or humiliated after the operation. A surprising number of “cured” cancer patients have had their lives ruined by the “successful” surgery. For all these reasons, cutting up the body is not the final answer to cancer.


    1. Gary Null “Medical Genocide Part 16,” Penthouse, 1987, quoted in Barry Lynes, The Healing of Cancer (Queensville, Ontario: Marcus Books, 1989), p. 10. .

    2. John Cairns, The Treatment of Diseases and the War Against Cancer,” Scientific American, November 1985.

    3. W.H. Cole, “Opening Address: Spontaneous Regression of Cancer and the Importance of Finding Its Cause,” Conference on Spontaneous Regression of Cancer, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, Monograph 44, Department of Health, Education and Welfare Pub. No. (NIH) 76-1038, 1976, pp. 5-9. .

    4. Judith Glassman, The Cancer Survivors (Garden City, NY: Dial Press, 1983), pp. 323-324. .

    5. Harold D. Foster, “Lifestyle Changes and the ‘Spontaneous’ Regression of Cancer: An Initial Computer Analysis,” International Journal of Biosocial Research, vol. 10, no. 1, 1988, pp. 17-33, reprinted in Healing Newsletter, vol. 5, no. 3, available from the Gerson Institute. .

    6. Peter Barry Chowka, “The National Cancer Institute and the Fifty Year Cover Up,. East West Journal, January 1978, cited in Lynes, op. cit. .

    7. Hardin B. Jones, “A Report on Cancer,. speech delivered to the American Cancer Society’s 11th Annual Science Writers’ Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, 7 March 1969, published in The Choice, May 1977. .

    8. Barrie Cassileth et al., “Contemporary Unorthodox Treatments in Cancer Medicine,” Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 101, 1984, pp. 105-112. .

    9. Robert Houston, Repression and R~eform in the Evaluation of Alternative Cancer Therapies, Project CURE, Washington, D.C., 1987, p. 13. .

    10. Ralph Moss, The Cancer Industry (New York: Paragon House, 1989), p. 98. .

    11. Houston, op. cit., p. 7. .

    12. “Assessing the Efficacy and Safety of Medical Technologies,” U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, PB 286-929, 1978, p. 7. .

    13. Ken Wilber, Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilber (Boston: Shambhala, 1991), chap. 15. .

    14. New York State Journal of Medicine, March 1971, p. 554. .

    15. John Laszlo, Understanding Cancer (NewYork:~ Harper and Row, 1987). .

    16. Dick Richards, The Topic of Cancer: When the Killing Has to Stop (Oxford, England and New York: Pergamon Press, 1982). .

    17. T.J. Powles et al., “Failure of Chemotherapy to Prolong Survival in a Group of Patients With Metastatic Breast Cancer,” The Lancet, 15 March 1980, p. 580. .

    18. Dissent in Medicine: Nine Doctors Speak Out (Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1985). .

    19. Robert C. Atkins, Dr. Atkins’ Health Revolution: How Complementary Medicine Can Extend Your Life (New York: Bantam Books, 1990), p. 332. .

    20. Lucien Israel, Conquering Cancer (New York: Random House, 1978), p. 95. .

    21. Jan Stjernsward, “Decreased Survival Related to Irradiation Postoperatively in Early Operable Breast Cancer,” The Lancet, 30 November 1974; and Mark Fuerst, “Doctors Persist With Outmoded Cancer Therapies,” Cancer Forum, vol. 9, no. 7-8, Winter 1988-1989, p. 11. .

    22. Israel, op. cit., p. 95. .

    23. Ben Fitzgerald, Congressional Record, 28 August 1953; and see Lynes, op. cit. .

    24. Quoted in Moss, op. cit., p. 72. .

    25. “Primary Treatment Is Not Enough for Early Stage Breast Cancer,” Update, National Cancer Institute, Office of Cancer Communications, 18 May 1988. .

    26. William D. Kelley, Dr. Kelley’s Answer to Cancer (Winthrop, WA: Wedgestone Press, 1986), p. 11. .

    27. Patrick McGrady, Jr., “The Cancer Patient’s Quandary,” Townsend Letter for Doctors, no. 16, June 1984, p. 99.

    From Options: The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book by Richard Walters, © 1992. Published by Avery Publishing, New York. For personal use only; neither the digital nor printed copy may be copied or sold. Reproduced by permission.

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    Written by Richard Walters

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