This being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all, stories about breast cancer are frequently sent my way. This one is depressing and sad, mainly because it’s the story of death from breast cancer. From what I can gather, it is the story of a death from quackery, a death that didn’t have to occur. Even worse than that, it appears to be a death facilitated by the daughter of the deceased, a woman named Jessica Ainscough, who bills herself as the “Wellness Warrior.” It’s a horrifying story, the story of a woman who followed her daughter’s lead and put her faith in the quackery known as the Gerson therapy. Unfortunately, it’s more than just one story. It’s the story of the daughter as well, who, although she has cancer, is still alive. Her story is yet to be finished, but her mother Sharyn’s story is over:

As many of you know, my Mum had breast cancer for the past few years. She was diagnosed about a year after I started Gerson Therapy, and seeing how much the therapy helped me, she went straight on it herself. However, unlike my journey, Mum’s was fraught with complications. She had been doing well and seemed to make it through her obstacles, however a few months ago it became clear that the cancer was getting ahead of her. She was in pain, lost a lot of weight, lost all energy, and her health quickly deteriorated. We explored lots of options however Mum choose to see out the final months of her life in a way that was exactly right for her.

Last Friday, after putting up the bravest fight I’ve ever witnessed, my mum passed away. She went peacefully and was comfortable with no drugs, which is what she always wanted. Her whole family was in the room, my dad and I were holding her hands and Edie was at the foot of her bed. She flickered her eyes, took one last gasp and then went off to sleep.


Stories like this sadden me greatly. Even if her mother wasn’t potentially curable when diagnosed (and, as you will see, that wasn’t the case), to put her through the rigors of a useless therapy like the Gerson therapy through the last stages of her life was criminal, particularly if she wasn’t given access to modern palliative therapy, which is frequently the case.

Before I delve into this tragic tale, let me first provide a bit of background. I’ve written about the Gerson therapy before in the context about a medical propaganda movie extolling its virtues and discussed it again when a clueless Fox News host did a segment It’s basically a protocol developed by a man named Max Gerson back in the 1920s that is based on diet and “detoxification.” His protocol included a high potassium, low sodium, fatless diet regimen that incorporated mineral and vitamin supplements, and crude liver injections (preparations of raw calves liver). Also included in the regimen were (and are) coffee enemas, sometimes as many as one ever four hours. Gerson’s rationale for the enemas was that they helped to stimulate the flow of bile, thereby increasing the rate of excretion of toxic products from the body. As I’ve discussed before, liver “detoxification” and liver flushes do not do what they are claimed to do; in fact, they tend to be the purest manifestation of quackery. The current version of Gerson therapy, which has evolved since his death, is now claimed to involve an intensive “detoxification” program to eliminate “toxins and waste materials” that allegedly interfere with healing and metabolism coupled with an “intensive nutrition program.” As described at Quackwatch, the dietary part of the Gerson protocol involves low-sodium, low-fat, low animal protein foods high in carbohydrates with copious amounts of mineral supplements, as well as pancreatic enzymes and Lugol’s solution (an inorganic solution of iodine plus potassium iodide). You get the idea.

Now let’s go back to the beginning. To do this, you need to know a bit about Jessica Ainscough. It’s actually hard to find much in the way of details on her website and blog. The “about” section, where she tells her story, lacks much in the way of details, but there is an article entitled I’m healing myself from cancer naturally that tells more. Both articles reveal that Ainscough was diagnosed at age 22 with a rare sarcoma known as an epithelioid sarcoma. In 2008, lumps had been popping up on her left arm and hand, and she had them biopsied. Make no mistake, this is a rare cancer; recent figures for incidence are on the order of 0.1 to 0.4 per million. It’s a tumor of young adults, which fits with Ainscough’s presentation, and it nearly always appears on the upper extremities. Unfortunately, wide excision is the only effective treatment, as Ainscough herself relates:

Epithelioid sarcoma doesn’t respond to chemotherapy or radiation, and my only chance of prolonging my survival would be to have my arm amputated at the shoulder. But essentially, my condition was incurable.

None of this made any sense to me. I felt so healthy, and I looked healthy. I could not understand how my life had come down to a decision about whether to have my whole, fully functioning arm chopped off.

I’m not entirely sure why she would have been told that her condition was incurable unless the tumor had spread to her axillary lymph nodes (the lymph nodes under her arm), because amputation would have been a very wide excision. Be that as it may, it’s hard not to feel great sympathy for Ainscough. It’s hard to imagine having to lose one’s arm at age 22 as the only chance to survive. She was even ready to have the surgery, but her doctors came to her at the last minute with an alternative, which was to do isolated limb perfusion. Basically, this is a technique sometimes used for soft tissue sarcomas of the extremity or multifocal melanoma that can’t be resected without amputation to try to destroy the tumor. As its name implies, isolated limb perfusion involves isolating the limb from the systemic circulation and infusing it with very (and I do mean very) high doses of chemotherapy. That’s what necessitates the isolation of the limb’s circulation; the dose of chemotherapy is so high that if it leaked back into the rest of the circulation the consequences could be disastrous. Isolated limb perfusion can often cause seemingly near miraculous results, and apparently that was the case for Ainscough. Unfortunately, tumors tend to recur, and that’s exactly what happened to Ainscough about a year later, which led to the doctors recommending an amputation of her arm at the shoulder again. So this is what she did:

I began looking at the different ways I may have contributed to the manifestation of my disease and then stopped doing them.

I swapped a lifestyle of late nights, cocktails and Lean Cuisines for carrot juice, coffee enemas and meditation and became an active participant in my treatment.

This research led me to Gerson Therapy which ensures you have a perfectly balanced diet for optimum health, assisting your body to flush out nasties whilst feeding it with all the goodness it needs to flourish.

The therapy involves drinking 13 fresh organic veggie juices per day (yes that’s one an hour, every hour of my waking day), five coffee enemas per day and a basic organic whole food plant-based diet with additional supplements.

For two years I devoted my entire life to healing, to the extent that I was effectively housebound.

I am ecstatic to report that it has worked for me. I have had no cancer spread, no more lumps pop up (they were popping up rapidly before) and I can actually see some of my tumours coming out through my skin and disappearing.

Since the Gerson therapy is not an effective treatment for cancer, what we are looking at is basically the natural history of the disease. One thing that is clear is that epithelioid sarcoma is not among the most aggressive of sarcomas. Its ten year survival overall is on the order of 61%, and for patients between 17 and 30 years (i.e., patients like Jessica Ainscough), it’s approximately 72%. Of course, that is with treatment with surgery; without surgery, five year survival is 35% and ten year survival is 33%. This implies that there is a subset of these cancers that is fairly indolent, as the vast majority of patients who are going to die of their disease do so within five years, with additional deaths after five years being relatively few. What this further implies, given that Ainscough never underwent surgery, is that she was lucky enough to be in this group. In other words, she’s another case in which the quackery didn’t save her; she was fortunate enough to have slowly progressing disease. Although her sarcoma is very likely to result in her demise; it may not happen for several more years. Worse, however, by refusing surgery, she decreased her chance of surviving 10 years by at least half. It’s very, very hard to say. This tumor is so rare that there just aren’t a lot of data about it. It’s also unclear what Ainscough’s clinical status is; if her tumors are still confined to her left arm, radical amputation might still greatly increase her chances of long term survival or even cure. If they have metastasized, as they are prone to do, then it’s too late.

Since 2009, unfortunately Ainscough has built quite the woo empire for herself. I don’t know, but I’m told by my Australian friends, that she is quite famous Down Under. Her website, The Wellness Warrior, is loaded with paeans to quackery, particularly coffee enemas, as can be seen in this video:

Note: In this video Ainscough shows how to give a coffee enema, although she doesn’t actually take it. I also note that two years ago, at least, she had several clearly visible lumps on her left arm that appeared to be ulcerating.

Unfortunately, Ainscough’s propensity for quackery has now claimed the life of her mother, who followed her daughter’s example and paid the ultimate price. Here’s what Ainscough wrote when her mother was first diagnosed:

My family has been pretty much consumed by this disease for almost four years, so when my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in April this year we knew exactly how to deal with it. Following her diagnosis, my mum refused any sort of conventional interference. She said no to a mammogram and a biopsy, told them that she wasn’t interested in going down the path of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, and instead chose the same therapy as me.

Which involved:

My mum, who has been my primary carer for the past 14 months, has just been told she has breast cancer. The carer suddenly becomes the patient and the former patient is now gearing up to become the primary carer. And because I’m still on the therapy myself, my amazing dad has stepped into the carer role as well (while still working six days a week). Mum is also on the full Gerson Therapy and she will have to stay on it for the next two years. She is now drinking 13 juices per day, having five coffee enemas per day and – much to her disgust – taking castor oil every second day. We’re now in this together! Our solid routine gets us through, but it’s just days like yesterday when I was sick and mum was feeling crook from castor oil that the pressure is on my dad to care for us both.

But what was her mother’s stage when she was diagnosed? We really don’t know. The video included with this post is private, and I can’t watch it. The best I can do is to make inferences from the limited information on the website. For instance, what we are supposed to learn from this video includes:

  • What my mum believes triggered her cancer.
  • The role hormones play in disease manifestation.
  • Why we believe that mammograms are useless, and even dangerous.
  • Why my mum refused to have her breast tissue biopsied.
  • Why she would refuse to have a lumpectomy (removal of the lump) and a mastectomy (removal of one or both of the breasts), and refuse to have chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Why Mum is so confident that Gerson Therapy will work.
  • The number one message she would like to get out to people watching this video.

From the limited information I can find about Sharyn Ainscough’s cancer, it seems to me that it was probably fairly early stage and therefore treatable with multimodality therapy including surgery plus chemotherapy, radiation, and/or hormonal therapy with a high probability of success. Unfortunately, Sharyn Ainscough followed her daughter’s path and opted for quackery. Once that happened, the end was inevitable. In fact, the natural history of untreated breast cancer is a median survival of 2.7 years. Her mother was diagnosed in April 2011. She died a few days ago. That’s roughly two and a half years, very close to the expected median survival of untreated breast cancer. Along the way, mother and daughter made the same rationalizations that I’ve seen from people who have chosen quackery time and time again. For instance, a few months after her mother began the Gerson therapy, Jessica Ainscough reported that her mom was having “flare-ups“:

When you choose Gerson Therapy as your weapon of choice, you must make peace with the fact that you are going to be in for some whopping healing reactions or “flare-ups” – how, where and the severity of the reaction is exclusive to each person. I guess I have been lucky because my flare-ups have been quite mild. My left arm swelled up (about a year ago and still hasn’t deflated), I’ve had headaches, a little nausea, a few days where I’ve been too exhausted to get out of bed, and countless days where I’ve cried uncontrollably and been moodier than a storm season, but the physical symptoms have been limiting. My mum, on the other hand, is having ALL of the textbook reactions. If we hadn’t gone to the Gerson clinic or spoken to fellow Gerson patients, I don’t think we would have been quite as prepared for what she’s been going through.

That “swelling” is probably lymphedema caused by her cancer obstructing the lymph vessels of the arm; so it’s not surprising that it’s never “deflated.” As for Sharyn Ainscough, she reported:

  • The left boob (the one with cancer) has what mum calls a string of pearls at about 12 o’clock high, a row of three or four small palpable lumps. She can feel action in this boob.
  • The right boob has also flared up, which was frightening at first before we realised that is was a healing reaction. Mum says it feels like a thickening with a swollen gland under the arm. She had a benign lump taken out of this boob about 15 years ago, so it is very likely that this is flaring up again as she heals.

No, what was likely happening is that the cancer in the left breast was growing and forming satellite lesions. What’s truly depressing about this post, however, is that virtually anything that a Gerson patient experiences is attributed to a “healing reaction” or a “flare-up.” For instance, in July 2012, when her mother wasn’t getting any better, a quack did a hair test and claimed that she was “copper toxic.” He also did live blood analysis (more utter quackery) and applied kinesiology (even quackier quackery) and concluded that she was suffering from candida. The result? Her mother was subjected to chelation therapy and “anti-candida” treatment, while Jessica Ainscough revealed her utter lack of understanding of cancer:

If Mum had followed conventional orders and had surgery or drug interference, there is no way that these underlying issues would have been addressed. Yet another reason why it is SO important to deal with the cause and not just eradicate the symptom. Lumps in breasts are not the issue. It’s the toxicity and deficiency of our bodies that cause an imbalance and lead to dis-ease.

How many times have we heard cancer quacks say this, that the cancer is not the problem but rather a “symptom” of the “real” problem or a “protective reaction” to the real problem? German New Medicine, Robert O. Young’s acid-base woo, Andrea Moritz’s quackery, Hulda Clark’s claim that liver flukes cause cancer, or many other alternative cancer cures, it’s a common theme in cancer quackery to claim that the cancerous tumor is not the “true problem,” a theme that the daughter echoes at every turn.

In the end, I have very mixed feelings here. As a cancer surgeon, I’ve made it very clear, particularly when it comes to Stanislaw Burzynski’s patients, that I don’t like to criticize cancer patients who choose quackery. I can completely understand why in their desperation they would be vulnerable to the blandishments of preachers of false hope. It’s ignorance and desperation, rather than ill intent. That resolve, however, wavers when I encounter a person like Jessica Ainscough. Think about it. She’s become a media figure in Australia because of her promotion of “natural” healing. She promotes Gerson therapy to cancer patients, and if you read the comments of some of her blog posts you will find people praising her for “changing their lives” by persuading them to choose “natural treatments” like the Gerson therapy (although how it is in any way “natural” to shoot coffee up one’s rectum has always evaded me). That means she might well have led cancer patients with potentially curable cancers to choose quackery instead of effective medicine, leading them to their deaths. Worst of all, her example led her mother, who, unlike her, appears to have had a very treatable, potentially curable breast cancer, to eschew surgery and other effective treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy. The end result was a dead mother, while Jessica Ainscough saying:

I do want to say this though. I know some of you have cancer and are on Gerson Therapy or you love someone in this position, and I don’t want this news to deter you from believing in what you are doing. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the past few years it’s that no one cancer therapy is right for everyone, just the way no one diet is right for everyone. We all have different bodies, different minds, different histories, and different journeys.

As angry as this makes me, surprisingly I still don’t have it in my heart to be too hard on Ainscough. You might think that, seeing her mother die might have been a wake-up call that leads her to change the course she’s on, but I know human nature. She won’t. After all, if she admits that Gerson therapy is useless, even harmful, quackery that failed to save her mother, then she would be forced to acknowledge her role in the death of her mother. She would also be forced to accept that Gerson therapy can’t save her, either. These are both conclusions that Ainscough would likely find too painful to accept. On the other hand, such a jolt might be a good thing. She might not be beyond salvaging with a radical amputation. At the very least, it would be a very good thing if Jessica Ainscough stopped dissuading cancer patients from undertaking conventional therapy and persuading them to pursue the same self-destructive path that claimed her mother and is likely to claim her.

Comments

  1. #1 JGC
    November 11, 2013

    Blockquote> It worked for Jessica but not for Sharyn. “
    But there’s no real evidence that it workd for Jessica –that she benefited in any way from the alternative regimen she embraced and promotes–is there?

    Just remember that Sharyn and Jessica did what they believed was right.

    That they believed what they’re doing is right isn’t a plus—alt med has a long and deep history of people doing what they believe is right that is in fact either completely ineffective (e.g., homeopathy) or is actually harmful (e.g., MMS).

    She proved them wrong.

    The evidence that she’s cancer free because of the alt med regimen she embraced rather than simply lucky enough to be part of the 33% of all epithilioid sarcoma patients whose disease is slowly progressing would be what, exactly?

  2. #2 Shannon
    Australia
    November 12, 2013

    Very sad about her mother. Ive been quite interested in her “healthy lifestyle” for a while now and whilst im happy to introduce some of her practices into my life, there is no way I would shun traditional treatment if I was to suffer a life threatening illness.

  3. #3 Zoe
    November 15, 2013

    What you are forgetting is that, it is personal choice at the end of the day. How do you know what is best for another person? You don’t. If that is what someone chooses to do, then you need to respect it. Disagree as much as you want, but at the end of the day it comes down to personal choice.

  4. #4 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    November 15, 2013

    Zoe: I absolutely respect the right to personal choice. However, I do not respect the willful propagation of dangerously false advice. I see people who follow this path as victims.

  5. #5 Vicki
    November 15, 2013

    Zoe:

    Your argument implies that Jessica Ainscough should not be giving people advice on how to treat their cancer, because “how do[es she] know what is best for another person? [She doesn’t.]” If even having a medical degree doesn’t mean Orac knows what’s best for another person, not having one certainly doesn’t mean Ainscough knows.

    Yes, we have the right to ignore advice, even good advice. That doesn’t mean we have the right not to be told “you are giving bad advice.” Freedom of speech doesn’t just mean that the first person to discuss something is allowed to say whatever they feel like; it includes the right to say “you’re wrong” and “if you follow her bad advice, you are more likely to die.”

  6. #6 pip cornall
    Queensland
    December 1, 2013

    Hi All. I’m a director of the Grace Gawler Institute and a partner to Grace Gawler. Grace was the devoted wife and care giver to the cancer cult figure Ian Gawler. She is approaching her 40th year of cancer service.
    Grace became widely attacked in the media after highlighting errors in Ian Gawler’s medical journal article (MJA) of 2008. She was motivated to go public because she saw the problems myths and inaccuracies created for patients. (similar to Jessica’s mother). The MJA report implied meditation and a vegan diet cured Gawler’s cancer along with coffee enemas etc only after chemo and radiation failed.
    Grace pointed out that Gawler was never a vegan and that in truth he tried the chemo and radiation after the vegan diet and meditation failed to relieve symptoms – not as it was written in his MJA report. Since his secondary cancer was never biopsied and since he concurrently had TB, (which was omitted from his books) it can’t definitively be proven that he had secondary bone cancer and was cured from it in the way he describes.
    Yet millions have read his books and he was elevated to guru status, enhanced by his signature robes or kaftans. Gawler has also been a proud promoter of young Jessica Ainscough because she champions veganism and the Gerson Diet, even though both failed to work for him.
    As Orac points out, we can’t definitively say that Jessica is curing herself from a slow growing cancer but meanwhile, like Gawler, she is rapidly attaining cult figure status.
    The problem has grown so big that In our charity we provide an ‘alt/med rescue service,’ nursing patients back into the best of the medical system while providing support and guidance. We are fortunate to view the scans and blood tests of many who followed extreme diets like Gerson and have frequently witnessed horrifically constipated and semi blocked colons above the point where the coffee enemas have reached.
    It appears too much fibre is problematic like too little. In fact that sums up diet for cancer patients. I. It must be personalized for the bio-individuality and ability to absorb certain foods and 2. It must be personalised for the individual’s psychological makeup. Cancer patients suffer from both the cancer itself and the varying forms of trauma induced disorders linked to the fear of the big C.
    The good news is that new cancer medicines that are less invasive are approved and in use in Europe. The future looks good for cancer patients
    I only hope balance can return to the cancer self help forum and patients can learn to spot flimsy evidence in the miracle cure stories that abound, especially if they are about to do a ‘trial and error’ experiment with their own lives – like Jessica Ainscough’s mum.

  7. #7 Kristen Graham
    Australia
    December 2, 2013

    I am very sad to read this article. Jess is a wonderful woman and I believe her Mum was actually the one that suggested Gerson Therapy to her in the first place. Jess’s Mum chose to do this treatment herself and that is in no way Jess’s fault.

    This therapy is working well for Jess. We are all unique and our bodies react so differently to treatments. I know for me, changing my entire lifestyle has lead to me finally being free of Myasthenia Gravis.

    I would also like to mention that people die from having conventional treatment as well and the ones who dont often have serious complications later in life from what radiation and chemotherapy has done to their bodies.

    We are all entitled to make up our own minds and do what works best for us.

    I hope Jess doesn’t see this article. Can you just imagine for a moment how she is feeling after loosing her Mum. As I read this article I felt as though it was very much saying this may as well be her fault. I think you could have been more sensitive with this.

  8. #8 warren
    December 2, 2013

    Thanks for posting Pip, I admire the work you and Grace are doing and I think you are in a strong position to counter the growing status of “the wellness warrior”. Have you tried contacting her ? It is sad to see how many people are drawn in by this kind of holistic natural healing message when it comes to cancer. Given she is about to do a book tour I’d suggest getting your message out there to the same media outlets that might be inclined to promote her new book. It’s dangerous the way various media keep calling her a cancer success story with no proof or even attempt to show the other side of the story.

  9. #9 Russell
    Hunter Valley Australia
    December 4, 2013

    I wish people would do some home work before commenting in the negative to the decision Jess’s mum made. If you research for yourself you would find that the chance of dying with current day pharmaceutical type medicine including chemo and drugs is far higher and short term and consistent to fail. Some gain short term health with usually a retracted lifestyle until the day inevitable comes. If we to look to more of a lifestyle in which our for fathers lived we would require less if not no pills as we would have a body that will heal itself as it was designed in the first place!

  10. #10 JGC
    December 4, 2013

    This therapy is working well for Jess.

    But we don’t know that, do we? And the lesions on her left arm visible in her facebook photos argues strongly against such a conclusion.

    We are all unique and our bodies react so differently to treatments.

    With respect to many characterisitics we’re unique as individuals but in terms of human biology, biochemistry, physiology, etc.—all the parameters relevant to health and medical intervention—we’re all far, far more nearly identical than otherwise.

    I know for me, changing my entire lifestyle has lead to me finally being free of Myasthenia Gravis.

    I’m curious how you know this—the basis for your being diagnosed as having MG, how it’s been established you no longer have MG, and how it’s been demonstrated these life style changes are responsible for your cure?

    I would also like to mention that people die from having conventional treatment as well and the ones who dont often have serious complications later in life from what radiation and chemotherapy has done to their bodies.

    It’s neither surprising that we lack the ability to cure every single disease or injury human beings suffer. The fact that we do doesn’t argue that alternative therapies like the Gerson-like protocol Jess is following are capable of curing anything.

    And yes, conventional chemo and radiation may cause complications later in life, but the key phrase there is “later in life”, not “complications”. Surely you’ll agree it’s better to live long enough with good quality of life to have to address these potential complications than to avoid them by dying much younger of the original disease?

    We are all entitled to make up our own minds and do what works best for us.

    The question then becomes “How can we determine what works best for us?” Science based medicine does so by carefully and continually comparing outcomes across large populations receiving treatments, determining which are safe and effective and which are not. Alt med does so by—well, I’m not convinced that it does so at all rather than taking claims “This works best for me, and it will for you too!” on faith.

    As I read this article I felt as though it was very much saying this may as well be her fault.

    If she was influential in her mother’s decision to eschew standard of care medical intervention and instead pursue unproven alt med treatment she does bear at least some responsibility. That may indeed represent a painful realization, but that’s simply reality.

  11. #11 Lawrence
    December 4, 2013

    Making a personal choice is one thing (as uneducated as that choice is), but encouraging others to make the same choice, without the evidence that it was be effective (at all) is what puts the responsibility firmly on the side of the recommending party.

    That’s why Jess has a measure of responsibility here – and why her recommendations to others is dangerous.

  12. #12 JGC
    December 4, 2013

    If you research for yourself you would find that the chance of dying with current day pharmaceutical type medicine including chemo and drugs is far higher and short term and consistent to fail.

    Citations needed, please: exactly what evidence argues that science based medical intervention (including chemotherapy) conveys a greater chance of dying than either no treatment or alt med intervention? Be specific.

    If we to look to more of a lifestyle in which our for fathers lived we would require less if not no pills as we would have a body that will heal itself as it was designed in the first place!

    The human body did not arise as the result of a design process, and does not possess the ability to heal any disease or injury it might experience. It certainly does not possess an innate ability to heal cancers. If either was the case there would have ben no need to develop science based medicine in the first place.

    And that ‘golden age’ lifestyle you advocate—the onr our fore fathers supposedly lived—demonstrably resulted in greater infant and child mortality, shorter adult lifespans, more frequent chronic illness than is the case today.

  13. #13 JGC
    December 4, 2013

    dang! Blockquote fail.

  14. #14 jenny
    December 4, 2013

    How come no one blogs about all the daily horrible deaths people have suffered while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Have any of you worked at a cancer clinic or seen the state of patients that have “survived”? Every single member in my family that has been diagnosed with cancer has been treated with conventional treatments and died within the year of treatment. I’ll take my chances with Gerson therapy.

  15. #15 jenny
    December 4, 2013

    Most common chemotherapeutic drugs targets fast dividing cells which include, not just the cancer cells, but also hair cell (loss of hair), cells on the lining of the stomach (causing nausea and vomiting), red blood cells (anemia), white blood cells and other immune system cells (causing you to be susceptible to a host of other disease) and don’t forget the chemo and radiation itself are carcinogens.

    I’m not ignorant on the subject. I’m a medical student. Most of the drugs used today for chemotherapy are derivatives of pesticides and other chemicals. Chemotherapeutic drugs have the lowest safety index (that is the difference between the amount of the drug you need to fight the disease and the amount that can kill you). There are plenty of studies in medical literature citing “spontaneous regression” of cancer when in fact the patients made extreme dietary changes very similar to the Gerson diet. As far as I’m concerned when it comes to chemo and radiation it is a matter of what will the chemo and radiation kill first, the tumor or the patient. Unless you’ve been in an oncology ward (which I have) and/or had family go through chemo/radiation and subsequently die a very painful death from symptoms of these therapies (which I’ve also experienced), you should not judge others who choose a different route.

  16. #16 Orac
    December 4, 2013

    Have any of you worked at a cancer clinic or seen the state of patients that have “survived”?

    Um, helloooo! I’m a surgical oncologist and have spent my entire post-graduate career working at NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers, where I’ve both run labs and taken care of cancer patients and (most recently) become highly involved in a statewide quality improvement initiative. I have lots of patients who survived their cancers and are doing just fine.

  17. #17 Orac
    December 4, 2013

    I’m not ignorant on the subject.

    Gee, you could have fooled me, what with your endorsement of the quackery known as the Gerson protocol and all.

    I’m a medical student.

    I’m so sorry for your medical school.

    There are plenty of studies in medical literature citing “spontaneous regression” of cancer when in fact the patients made extreme dietary changes very similar to the Gerson diet.

    Oh, really? Cite a few, and let’s see if they are of any scientific value.

  18. #18 Lawrence
    December 4, 2013

    @Jenny – it really pays to figure out who you are talking to before you spout off a bunch of easily debunked nonsense.

  19. #19 Shay
    December 4, 2013

    Perhaps jenny is studying acupuncture or homeopathy, and believes this entitles her to call herself a medical student.

    Oh, jenny? Every single member of my family who has been diagnosed with cancer and treated with conventional treatments has survived. My anecdote trumps yours.

  20. #20 Lawrence
    December 4, 2013

    @Jenny – I have numerous friends (and now a couple of family members) who went through conventional Cancer treatment & are still alive today (years after the fact)….

  21. #21 herr doktor bimler
    December 4, 2013

    How come no one blogs about all the daily horrible deaths people have suffered while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

    Feel free to link to your blog where you do that.

  22. #22 Sarah A
    December 4, 2013

    I’m not ignorant on the subject. I’m a medical student

    And I’m Batman! Isn’t the internet fun? Rather than unverifiable claims and anecdotes, how about some links to those studies you mentioned?

  23. #23 AnObservingParty
    December 4, 2013

    @ Jenny

    Unless you’ve been in an oncology ward (which I have) and/or had family go through chemo/radiation and subsequently die a very painful death from symptoms of these therapies (which I’ve also experienced), you should not judge others who choose a different route.

    You clearly aren’t familiar with this blog, its author, and its readers and commenters. I am typing this from my desk at the NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center.

    Pop quiz hot-shot medical student! Name those other “immune system cells” affected, and which chemo regimens reduce them. I’ve never heard them described with such lack of specificity if they’re mentioned at all. And….GO!

    Also, *sigh*, [citations needed]

  24. #24 Chris,
    December 4, 2013

    jenny: “Have any of you worked at a cancer clinic or seen the state of patients that have “survived”? ”

    Here is some reading for you:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/category/cancer/

    jenny: ” I’m a medical student.”

    Woot! So you would prefer the result without chemotherapy?

    By the way, click on the author’s name under the title. Then think very carefully about where you do your residency.

  25. #25 Rose Taberner
    Sydney, Australia
    December 4, 2013

    @ Jenny

    How absurd. You have had the wrong calling in life. I pity your future patients.

    Yes, I have spent time in an Oncology Ward, in fact I have seen the four seasons through the window of one and am about to start the seasons all over again. The patients there are suffering from a horrible illness but heck, they all have big smiles. laugh, interact with the wonderful nurses and we have a camaraderie that is palpable. How much more pleasant and social this is rather than sitting on a toilet numerous times a day.

    Coffee…yes please!

  26. #26 linda
    December 4, 2013

    @Jenny you don’t seem to have robust enough research skills to find out who authored this blog post, let alone support your statements with evidence.

    Either you’re lying your head off about being a medical student, or you’re not going to make it thru training. Both of which are good news for health consumers.

  27. #27 Sarah
    December 5, 2013

    Well said Russell! The outcome is not certain via either avenue but the pain and trauma path can be vastly different.

    @Jenny – you are a breath of fresh air and the knowledge and experience you have in both medical and natural medicine is a credit to you – hopefully more like you in the future….don’t let these fools deter you!

    @Orac – you are an arrogant person. Who would blog about the tragic chemo related deaths – seriously – Doctors and Pharmaceutical companies have a beautiful marriage involving prescribing drugs and making money. Of course there are exceptions – I am not anti-drug for all cases – but its a drug giving easy answer out there in most cases!

    Love how the scientists are asking for citations but aren’t offering any themselves. There is not likely going to be the research into the alternative route for cancer because there is no money in it – some courageous people are going to be the human research purely due to their educated decisions that the usually adopted path is not working….the accumulation of this evidence will take time.

    The people choosing the alternative path or semi alternative path are not attacking the scientists – they are defending their CHOICE – despite your “certificates” you do not know everything but the all-knowing attitude will only prevent you from discovering the real cures. Chemical Poison doesn’t cure in all cases! Seems logical doesn’t it?

  28. #28 Sarah
    December 5, 2013

    And as for some you who continue to criticise Jess Ainscough……..Anyone can promote what THEY BELIEVE in – what is despicable is that an air of arrogance, superiority and narrow mindedness seems to come with your education.

    Discussion and information equals progress – you can’t stop this revolution! You miss the point with Jess – her information about true inner health will help so many people to avoid cancer….and that is news worth spreading! She is not a cancer fighting expert – she is a healthy person promoter!.

    You scientists / oncologists / Drs – have nothing to challenge her on – she shares her experiences – you don’t need to feel threatened and attack her!

  29. #29 AnObservingParty
    December 5, 2013

    *sigh*

    ……..Anyone can promote what THEY BELIEVE in – what is despicable is that an air of arrogance, superiority and narrow mindedness seems to come with your education.

    Once again….”you are entitled to your opinion, you are not entitled to your own facts.”

    Also, there’s that pesky word, “believe.” It does not belong in a science-based discussion. Also, the citations have been given many, many times in this blog, by Orac and commentators. We’ve read them. You are free to use the search button, and visit PubMed.

  30. #30 Calli Arcale
    December 5, 2013

    Sarah, well, you would know arrogance, superiority, and narrow mindedness, wouldn’t you? Facts don’t sway you. Evidence doesn’t sway you. Conformity to your expectations, however, that *does* sway you. I would not call that open minded or humble.

    “her information about true inner health will help so many people to avoid cancer”

    Yeah, about that . . . you’d have a point if she really had true health (or I guess you do have a weasel word there, with “inner” — is “inner health” different than actual health?) but she clearly doesn’t, and her advice has killed her mother already. How many more have to die because it’s “arrogant” to point out when someone is giving dangerous advice and that their “evidence” appears to be a combination of wishful thinking and denial?

  31. #31 linda
    December 5, 2013

    @Sarah

    If there’s no money in alternative treatments, how come (just one example) Gerson treatment costs tens of thousands of dollars (the info is provided on the wellness warrior’s website, if you want a reference)? PLUS the cost of organic vegetables, expensive juicers, and all that wasted (organic!) coffee (all self-administered of course)?

    Who gets those tens of thousands of dollars? Nobody knows, because there is no accountability. One thing is certain – someone’s raking in the dough by giving false hope to desperate people.

    I’d much rather people like Orac and pharmaceutical researchers make a living from providing treatments, because they’re 100% accountable for their failures as well as their successes.

  32. #32 herr doktor bimler
    December 5, 2013

    Most of the drugs used today for chemotherapy are derivatives of […] chemicals.

    Repeated for hilarity.

  33. #33 jenny
    December 9, 2013

    No, I don’t attend a “quack” school or a naturapathic school. I have a Bachelor’s in chemistry.I’m enrolled at a 4 year allopathic u.s. school. I obtained a 35R on my MCATs. I worked for over 5 years in toxicology as a necropsy technician doing preclinical trials on many of the drugs being sent into the market by many pharmaceutical companies. I worked on mice, rats, rabbits, even primates and I’ve seen the toxicity of many of these drugs. The data I collected was made part of the reports being sent to the FDA.

    I spoke in lay terms, because I’m speaking to a general audience here. I guess if you want to test me on immunology I’ll list the 5 basic leukocytes (aka while blood cells) : Let’s see, let me pull out my immuno book: we have lymphocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils.

    I’ll mention one drug used on my aunt for her lung cancer carboplatin (Paraplatin)- cis-Diammine(1,1-cyclobutanedicarboxylato)platinum(II)- causes low platelets and neutropenia.

    The oncologists here cannot deny that they have to employ the most toxic drugs that we have in our arsenal.

    Here is an nci citation on Gerson therapy:

    In 1995, the Gerson Research Organization did a retrospective study of their melanoma patients who were treated with the Gerson therapy. The study reported that patients who had stage III or stage IV melanoma lived longer than usual for patients with these stages of melanoma. There have been no clinical trials that support the findings of this retrospective study.

    •A case review of 6 patients with metastatic cancer who used the Gerson therapy reported that the regimen helped patients in some ways, both physically and psychologically. Based on these results, the reviewers recommended that clinical trials of the Gerson therapy be conducted.

    Of course no one will fund a dietary regimen to treat cancer. Who will make money from that?

    I have professor who is a retired urologist who believes in many cases patients are better off without chemotherapy.

    I won’t argue with the oncologist here, but if I’m striken with the big “C” I will take my chances with the Gerson therapy.

  34. #34 Chris,
    December 9, 2013

    jenny: “I have a Bachelor’s in chemistry.I’m enrolled at a 4 year allopathic u.s. school”

    So why can’t you provide a proper citation? It should at least clearly show the title, journal and date.

    By the “allopathic” is an insult term invented by Hahnemann. If you wish to be taken seriously here you would not use that term, use actual citations, and would not depend on anecdotes.

  35. #35 Lawrence
    December 9, 2013

    @Jenny – anyone using the term “allopathic” just can’t be taken seriously…..

  36. #36 AnObservingParty
    December 9, 2013

    @Jenny

    I’ll accept it, even though macrophages are only macrophages once monocytes enter the tissues from the blood.

    Everything else, however, is suspect. And what makes you think you’re speaking to a general audience?

  37. #37 jenny
    December 9, 2013

    On a sadder note. I am surrounded by the big “C.”

    I have another family friend that was just diagnosed 4 weeks ago with lung cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes. She will be undergoing chemotherapy this Wednesday. I’m already feeling depressed. I’ll just pray for her and pray she does well. They removed the tumor, but she will undergo chemotherapy as a precaution.

    My Mom has a friend that was diagnosed this summer with stage III lung cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. At the moment, he is too weak to talk and lies in bed all day. He can’t eat, has mouth sores and developed a liver infection during treatment. The good news is that his tumor markers are going down, hopefully he will be able to handle the next few rounds of chemo he has left. We are just keeping our spirits high and praying that he does well.

    I also know someone who’s friend passed away 2 weeks ago from cholangiocarcinoma. Only lasted 8 weeks after chemo began.

    Forgive my cynicism on the miracles of chemotherapy and radiation. Maybe the oncologist here is 100% right and my family friends will be just fine. I hope so. I truly hope so.

  38. #38 jenny
    December 9, 2013

    @AnObservingParty thank you for correcting me and yes I do know that macrophages start out as monocytes. Would you like me to send you a scanned copy of my student i.d. or maybe email you a copy of my CV? Obviously, I would not recommend to patients to do Gerson therapy. I have to follow protocol. I am excited that many reputable cancer centers, including Yale Medical Cancer Center, are focusing on the nutrition of their patients. I know a few doctors and nurses that have switched to plant based diets to treat their type II diabetes and cholesterol, but they can’t really recommend diet to patients and many patients are not willing to make major lifestyle changes. I think we all need to become a little more open minded and explore other options for treating cancer. At least fund studies to examine therapies like Gerson, because from my personal experience, when chemotherapy doesn’t work it is a horrible and painful way to die.

  39. #39 jenny
    December 9, 2013

    I thought I was speaking to a general audience, but I see that I’m not.

  40. #40 jenny
    December 9, 2013

    @AnObservingParty I have not always felt this way. I’m currently studying for step I. I plan to take it next summer. I’ve been using the First Aid book throughout my classes. I only want to take it once.

    Originally I wanted to specialize in oncology, but every single person that has been close to me that has been diagnosed with cancer, has been treated with chemotherapy and subsequently died. I have seen people deteriorate after just 1 round of chemo. If I had 1 personal survival story to tell you, I might agree with everything you’re saying. I have not had the pleasure of seeing 1 person I know survive cancer.

    As a result of my personal experience I don’t plan to get into oncology. Now I just want to do internal medicine and maybe affect some change in patients before cancer and other chronic disorders develop. My internist told me I should definitely specialize in something beyond internal medicine. We’ll see what I do, but it definitely will not be oncology.

  41. #41 Lawrence
    December 9, 2013

    @Jenny – I now know numerous individuals (both friends and family) that went through conventional Cancer treatments, including extensive treatments with Chemo – and with one exception (because my friend had multiple aggressive Cancers and was already end-stage by the time he finally went to the hospital), all of them are alive and well today.

  42. #42 Lawrence
    December 9, 2013

    @Jenny – when you come to a blog run by a Cancer Surgeon, you should expect that the level of discussion by the regulars is going to be somewhat elevated over the general population….not a put-down, just reality.

  43. #43 JGC
    December 9, 2013

    Love how the scientists are asking for citations but aren’t offering any themselves. There is not likely going to be the research into the alternative route for cancer because there is no money in it

    jenny, you seem to be suggesting that people who are skeptical of alternative treatments should be conducting studies to assess if’s efficacy, but won’t because they don’t see a profit in it. Surely you realize that it’s the proponents of alt med who should be conducting studies to prove it’s efficacy?

    And clearly their reluctance to do so isn’t because they don’t see profits to be made, since hundreds of purveyors are already marketing alt med (homeopathic solutions, MMS, black salve, etc.) aggressively.

  44. #44 JGC
    December 9, 2013

    Of course no one will fund a dietary regimen to treat cancer. Who will make money from that?

    Someone is clearly funding such studies, jenny–typing ‘diet’ and ‘cancer’ into Pubmed brings up more than 34,000 publications.

  45. #45 Lawrence
    December 9, 2013

    @JGC – people who don’t consider “alt-med” to be big business are idiots….supplement manufacturers alone generate billions of dollars in sales every single year, not to mention all of the money wasted on homeopathy, etc….all of that garbage you see crowding up the Pharmacy shelves nowadays is basically pure profit – since it isn’t like these guys are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on research, clinic trials, and safety trials, right?

  46. #46 AnObservingParty
    December 9, 2013

    @jenny

    At least fund studies to examine therapies like Gerson, because from my personal experience, when chemotherapy doesn’t work it is a horrible and painful way to die.

    They funded these studies, particularly about one big aspect of Gershon therapy, the coffee enemas: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=coffee+enema+cancer

    Your subsequent comments are a far cry from your original post. And, since we’re going for anecdote here, I invite you to contact any NCI-designated cancer hospital to find out when their “Survivor’s Day” is. The most moving ones are those who suffered from, and beat, cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. Without any further clinical knowledge, I would venture a guess that those you witnessed were very far along in their cancer, perhaps even end-stage. But chemotherapy has given many a chance at life, and I’d thank you to realize that if you are going to come here and make statements like what you did, realize that many of us are health/STEM professionals who will call you on it.

    And please, look up a survivors day celebration and attend.

  47. #47 Chris,
    December 9, 2013

    jenny:

    Originally I wanted to specialize in oncology, but every single person that has been close to me that has been diagnosed with cancer, has been treated with chemotherapy and subsequently died

    I am sorry to see that, but the plural of anecdote is not data.

    Here are a couple of articles by the blog owner you might want to look at:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/10/30/so-chemotherapy-does-work-after-all-revisited/

    and:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-not-so-beautiful-untruth-about-the-gerson-therapy-and-cancer-quackery/

    I would also suggest during the winter holidays that you get a copy of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Then find a cozy spot to read the entire thing.

  48. #48 jenny
    December 9, 2013

    I hope that the chemotherapy works for my mom’s friend (with stage III lung cancer) and for my family friend (recently diagnosed with lung cancer and going into chemo this Wednesday). I’m only voicing my personal thoughts on the subject here. I would never suggest anything other than the standard route to anyone. I’m not supposed to. I hope @Lawrence that I see recovery and remission in the most recent people in my life diagnosed with cancer. I’m happy to hear that most of your friends and family faired well with standard treatment. I haven’t had the pleasure yet. I hope I get to post a success story very soon. I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart.

  49. #49 Lawrence
    December 9, 2013

    @Jenny – I hope so as well – remember that she has access to the best treatments that we currently have available, that have been rigorously tested and are known to be effective….that’s something we can’t say about the alternative treatments you mentioned – not that they haven’t been tested, but that they have & have not been shown to work….big difference.

  50. #50 AdamG
    December 9, 2013

    There are plenty of studies in medical literature citing “spontaneous regression” of cancer when in fact the patients made extreme dietary changes very similar to the Gerson diet.

    So you pretty much made this up then? Wow, I’m shocked.

  51. #51 jenny
    December 9, 2013

    @AnObservingParty I like the idea of attending a survivor day event. I’ll look it up at my hospital. It’s a good suggestion. I really need to see some successes, because I’m honestly losing my faith. It’s one thing to read about the side effect of chemo drugs and it’s a whole other ball game to see it in your loved ones. I’m just praying for my family friend and for my mother’s friend, because at the end of the day, no matter what we do only God knows. My friend is going into chemo this Wednesday and I’ve been putting on a very brave face and telling her that everything is going to be fine. I’m just going to pray that it is.

  52. #52 jenny
    December 9, 2013

    @AdamG.
    I guess I misrepresented. They’re not from the bible (aka JAMA), but peer-reviewed journals nevertheless.

    Regression of choriocarcinoma during diet theraphy. Journal of Nutritional Medicine, Sep 1, 1991, Vol. 2, Issue. 4, p411-415, 5p

    Foster, HD, Lifestyle influences on spontaneous cancer regression, Int J Biosoc Res, 10:1:17-20, 1988

  53. #53 lilady
    December 9, 2013

    “There are plenty of studies in medical literature citing “spontaneous regression” of cancer when in fact the patients made extreme dietary changes very similar to the Gerson diet.”

    Perhaps the chemistry undergrad would like to explain to us just how the Gerson Therapy works;

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/gerson/patient/page2

    “….The Gerson therapy is based on the idea that cancer develops when there are changes in cell metabolism because of the buildup of toxic substances in the body. Dr. Gerson said the disease process makes more toxins and the liver becomes overworked. According to Dr. Gerson, people with cancer also have too much sodium and too little potassium in the cells in their bodies, which causes tissue damage and weakened organs.

    The goal of the Gerson therapy is to restore the body to health by repairing the liver and returning the metabolism to its normal state. According to Dr. Gerson, this can be done by removing toxins from the body and building up the immune system with diet and supplements. The enemas are said to widen the bile ducts of the liver so toxins can be released. According to Dr. Gerson, the liver is further overworked as the treatment regimen breaks down cancer cells and rids the body of toxins. Pancreatic enzymes are given to decrease the demands on the weakened liver and pancreas to make enzymes for digestion. An organic diet and nutritional supplements are used to boost the immune system and support the body as the regimen cleans the body of toxins. Foods low in sodium and high in potassium are said to help correct the tissue damage caused by having too much sodium in the cells…”

  54. #54 Denice Walter
    December 9, 2013

    Here’s the problem with personal stories-
    esp when they’re about people we know –
    they’re emotionally loaded and we may wind up giving more weight to their significance IRT estimating general rules about treatments’ efficacy than to those about people we don’t know. One person knows of three cases with awful outcomes, another has three cases with much better results- still, that’s only a minuscule sample.

    That’s why it’s important to look *dispassionately* at DATA- a collection of myriad personal ‘stories’ controlled for cognitve biases as well as the many vicissitudes of illness and treatment: the measures are applied and recorded by people who DON’T have an emotional relationship to the patient ; outcomes are not based on what someone feels but upon measurable events for the most part ( altho’ ‘quality of life” may be used surveyed).

    Research is a way for anyone- including physicians who actually work with people- to go beyond one’s own personal experience into the realm of *populations*-
    we know that large samples will more nearly approximate what transpires in ‘reality’ because at some point, sample size hypothetically increases enough to include ALL of the population being studied.

    Thus if you want to know about a group of patients who are diagnosed with a specific type of cancer, you need to look at research which includes a very large sample and examines different stages, differing groups of patients as well as diverse variables that could conceivably affect outcomes as well as variables which might be implicated in causation. All of which necessitates LARGE NUMBERS of subjects.

    One of the major flaws in altmed proselytisation ( perhaps by design) is reliance upon stories, testimonies and the limited experience of specific, single providers / observers. That’s why these proponents ALWAYS scoff at SBM’s methods- because large and repeated studies hint at reality whereas small samples and n-1 stories never will.

    First Rule of Woo:
    get your audience to doubt the valiidity of large trials and consensus information, Keep them AWAY from the data.

  55. #55 JGC
    December 9, 2013

    the first article is actually from the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental medicine, and it certainly isn’t JAMA or the equivalent–isn’t indexed onPubmed.

    It’s a case report describing a single 31-year old patient who’d had previosuly undergone chemotherapy, and reports only that a biomarker (beta HCG) became stable and remained stable for a year after opting for a dieatary alt med regimen. Hardly strong evidence that the diet chosen (Soemthing called a Moerman diet) is effective treatment for choriocarcinoma.

    The second journal similarly isn’t indexed on Pubmed, and author Harold D.Foster is a Geologist, not a phsyician, who believes AIDS; Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia are all caused by improper diets

    For example, his book What Really Causes AIDS?

    “[P]roves that while HIV plays an important role in the causation of AIDS, it is only one factor, and perhaps least important, since it only attacks in the absence of the essential components of glutathione peroxidase, especially selenium, the key variable. Much as the addition of niacinamide in 1942 to white flour by the US government eradicated pellagra from the South East United States, so will the addition of selenium to our staple foods lead to the eradication of AIDS. The virus may still spread and attack, but in the presence of ample amounts of selenium and three amino acids in the body it will do little harm.”

    I have to believe that you never actually examined either citation yourself before offering them, or you would not have cited Foster to support your position–he goes beyond simply failing to be evidence that dietary changes are effective treatments for cancers to bringing the crazy home big time.

  56. #56 JGC
    December 9, 2013

    Obvious blockquote fail should be obvious (I hope)

  57. #57 AnObservingParty
    December 9, 2013

    @Jenny

    I like the idea of attending a survivor day event. I’ll look it up at my hospital. It’s a good suggestion. I really need to see some successes, because I’m honestly losing my faith.

    Please do, from a center who uses evidence-based treatment. Nobody is saying chemo is a picnic, but it has been shown to work. Two people who both survived long-term on the same regimen may even have different impressions of how the chemo was, because as Denice said in #255, experiences are emotionally charged, whether we see them from the inside or the outside. That’s why we look at the data, rather than the anecdotes.

    Something else, The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, gives a decent background of cancer treatments for the masses. He’s a hematologist and writes a biography of treatments and non-treatments, and is very uplifting when he discusses just how far the science has come for being as efficient as possible.

  58. #58 Dangerous Bacon
    December 9, 2013

    Jenny: “I’m only voicing my personal thoughts on the subject here. I would never suggest anything other than the standard route to anyone.” (followed by a dubious journal citation involving a single patient whose choriocarcinoma supposedly regressed during “diet therapy”).

    Seeing that uterine choriocarcinoma is a an aggressive disease with high metastatic potential (but which is extremely chemotherapy-sensitive and curable in 90-95% of cases), it is extremely irresponsible to promote “diet therapy” when a good life-saving treatment is available.

  59. #59 Antaeus Feldspar
    December 9, 2013

    the first article is actually from the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental medicine

    It looks like it was the Journal of Nutrional Medicine when the article was published, but changed to its current name in 1995.

  60. #60 LW
    December 9, 2013

    jenny,

    I know a few doctors and nurses that have switched to plant based diets to treat their type II diabetes and cholesterol, but they can’t really recommend diet to patients and many patients are not willing to make major lifestyle changes.

    Have you ever actually gone to a doctor? Or at least talked to someone who has? “They can’t really recommend diet to patients”? Doctors recommend better diets to patients all the time. Of course, it is in fact true that “many patients are not willing to make major lifestyle changes”, which may, you know, explain why something like the Gerson protocol — which is astonishingly difficult, grueling, and time-consuming — would be unlikely to be used even if it worked, which it doesn’t.

  61. #61 TBruce
    December 9, 2013

    I guess if you want to test me on immunology I’ll list the 5 basic leukocytes (aka while blood cells) : Let’s see, let me pull out my immuno book: we have lymphocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils.

    (…must not snark…must not snark…)

  62. #62 Khani
    December 9, 2013

    I don’t think I’ve ever *not* been told to eat better and lose weight by a doctor.

  63. #63 LW
    December 9, 2013

    I’m always amazed by people like jenny, who pronounce so confidently that doctors can’t do this and must do that in talking to patients, when anyone who’s actually been a patient knows that nothing could be further from the truth. And she claims to be a medical student? Let’s just say that I think she needs some practical clinical experience.

  64. #64 herr doktor bimler
    December 10, 2013

    jenny@216:
    I’m not ignorant on the subject. I’m a medical student. Most of the drugs used today for chemotherapy are derivatives of pesticides and other chemicals.

    jenny @234:
    I’ll mention one drug used on my aunt for her lung cancer carboplatin (Paraplatin)- cis-Diammine(1,1-cyclobutanedicarboxylato)platinum(II)

    This might be a good time to tell us which pesticide gave rise to the whole Cisplatin family of chemo drugs.

  65. #65 Militant Agnostic
    December 11, 2013

    jenny

    I know a few doctors and nurses that have switched to plant based diets to treat their type II diabetes and cholesterol, but they can’t really recommend diet to patients and many patients are not willing to make major lifestyle changes.

    I am sure the paleo diet crowd also have their share of anecdotes about treating type II diabetes.

  66. #66 Robert
    December 13, 2013

    What a joke! How is Gerson therapy “death from quackery,” when dying from chemo (much more prevalent), is not? Are you insane?

  67. #67 novalox
    December 13, 2013

    @robert

    [citation needed] for your claims.

    Also, how in the world is putting coffee up one’s bum supposed to help? Unless, of course, you’re just a sadist who enjoys doing that.

  68. #68 Alain
    December 13, 2013

    @Robert,

    Do you have anything of substance to say? Something which wouldn’t show your total ignorance about research protocols and clinical trials or else, your curiosity to learn about these subjects.

    Alain

  69. #69 Shay
    December 13, 2013

    Novalox — only a sadist would do that to a nice cup of coffee.

  70. #70 Nikki Otto
    New Zealand
    December 14, 2013

    WOW I am shocked by your negativity on such an empowering and inspiring young woman! Life is about choices and Jess has made a choice to share her experiences which have changed her life and thousands of others….. it is up to people to research and then make up their own minds. Blaming her mothers death on her is disgusting and unfair! Her family have been through enough and writing these hurtful comments saddens me. I know so many people that have turned their and their families health around from Jess….. Carry on Jess you are an amazing young lady!!!

  71. #71 Narad
    December 14, 2013

    Blaming her mothers death on her is disgusting and unfair!

    Well, leaving aside the question who was the more credulous of the two to start with, if the cancer was treatable (you did read the post, right?), she effectively takes credit for it: “She was diagnosed about a year after I started Gerson Therapy, and seeing how much the therapy helped me, she went straight on it herself.”

    Of course, Jess’s story is itself incoherent. On the one hand, her mother “was in pain, lost a lot of weight, lost all energy,” yet “she went peacefully and was comfortable with no drugs.”

    Moreover, she urges other people to persist with this entirely useless “therapy”: “I know some of you have cancer and are on Gerson Therapy or you love someone in this position, and I don’t want this news to deter you from believing in what you are doing.”

    If you’re looking for something “disgusting,” you need look no further than that last bit.

  72. #72 Nikki
    December 14, 2013

    Nikki @271:

    I am not interested in inspiring people to die of curable diseases. “Empowering” sounds good, but like a lot of other personality traits, it is not actually a virtue. Diligence in trying to dig a hole to China with a toy shovel would be sad. The same diligence applied to undermining people’s homes with a steam shovel would be a bad thing.

    It isn’t sufficient to encourage, inspire, or empower people to decide what to do, if you give them no information on which to base that decision. It isn’t as simple as deciding you don’t want to die of cancer, if you have no idea what actions make you less likely to do so, and no idea of how to find out.

    “She has a nice smile” or “she seems so sincere” may be a good basis for asking someone to dance; it’s not evidence of medical knowledge or good judgment. Being sincere isn’t evidence of being well-informed or having good judgment: different people sincerely believe any number of different things that cannot all be true because they contradict each other.

  73. #73 Narad
    December 15, 2013

    Another rare left-arm FB photo was uploaded November 10. I can’t tell in comparison with the video, but might the hand be an excision scar rather than ulceration?

  74. #74 Militant Agnostic
    December 15, 2013

    @Narad

    Apparently Jess and Nikki think that evidence to the contrary should not deter someone from believing in nonsense.

  75. #75 herr doktor bimler
    December 15, 2013

    I am shocked by your negativity on such an empowering and inspiring young woman!

    Positivity and empowerment worked so well for her mother.

  76. #76 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 15, 2013

    @Nikki Otto – Evidence suggests that Jessica Ainscough’s choices will lead to an early, painful, and possibly unnecessary death.

    If you have evidence to the contrary, please share.

  77. #77 Rose Taberner
    Sydney, Australia
    December 15, 2013

    @ Nikki…………..WOW I am shocked as well. BUT shocked at how you can defend untested, misguided mumbo jumbo that is the Gerson Therapy.

    I agree that Jess is a beautiful, vital woman and I have even taken dietary hints from her site in order to improve my health….. post chemo, surgery and radiation. I even enjoy the daily green juice. BUT I also know Jess is in dangerous territory when she actively preaches to cancer patients telling them to avoid the science based route and opt for natural healing. How on earth is sitting on a toilet 5-6 times a day, taking a truck load of supplements natural?

    I don’t dispute that people have to make their own choices, but to operate a forum with over such a huge cult like following applauding her bravery and suggesting that her choice can cure cancer is bordering on criminal.

    Sadly, its too late for Sharyn but its not too late for some others that are focusing on her blog and taking her advice. This sort of quackery kills!

  78. #78 Janet
    December 26, 2013

    I am a believer in Gerson therapy for many illnesses, but not everything works for everyone the same.
    One person goes to Gerson with cancerand they die? And now the treatment is bogus? I have friends who have died from breast cancer and the “traditional therapy” so, are the Doctors that administer chemo, rad and other dangerous treatments, all fraudulant criminals? Please. get a grip! Cancer drugs are big business out there. Stop slandering Gerson!!! There are many folks who have been helped by Gerson, but I see that no where in this one-sided, closed minded and shut down post. I cannot believe this. Reminds me of a bunch of old hens trying to tear someone to shreds

  79. #79 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 27, 2013

    Janet – Gerson therapy is considered bogus because there is insufficient data that shows it provides any useful benefit and because of evidence that it can be harmful. If you have high quality evidence to the contrary, please share.

  80. #80 Lawrence
    December 27, 2013

    @Janet – people do get sick and die all the time – the difference between the quack Gerson & conventional therapies is that we know that conventional therapies can be extremely effective, because there is actual evidence….something that Gerson has never had.

  81. #81 Dangerous Bacon
    December 27, 2013

    Fortunately it is not necessary to be a “believer” in mainstream medical treatments which have been shown to work by research studies and good clinical followup.

    “not everything works for everyone the same”

    …is the standard altie excuse when quackery is ineffective. We are not all unique little snowflakes; evidence-based therapy proves itself in large populations.

    If you’d like more evidence that Gerson-style therapy is useless and harmful, here’s what happened when pancreatic cancer patients were enrolled in a study comparing mainstream therapy with Nicholas Gonzalez’s Gerson-inspired supplements and coffee enemas – the Gonzalez group died more quickly and with significantly worse quality of life.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/09/14/the-gonzalez-protocol-worse-than-useless/

  82. #82 Narad
    December 27, 2013

    Stop slandering Gerson!!!

    “Libeling,” Janet. And truth is an absolute defense to claims of libel.

  83. #83 TBruce
    December 27, 2013

    Reminds me of a bunch of old hens trying to tear someone to shreds

    Better an old hen than a gull.

  84. #84 Lee
    December 27, 2013

    Wow. From the vast majority of comments bashing Jessica, I’m not only incredibly embarrassed by society today but also amazed at your ignorance. Having both of my parents within 2 years of one another both get stage IV cancer, I watched my father go the traditional route because that’s what he wanted to do. Within 3 months of diagnosis, he was gone. My mother chose Gerson two years later when she was diagnosed. I helped her with the therapy for 2 years. Along with Gerson, she did a few other alternative things but she STUCK with Gerson 100%. She did not do ANYTHING conventional. No radiation, no chemo, not even an Advil. She had stage IV bone cancer with no pain solely from juicing and changing her eating. A few months ago, we found out that her cancer is gone. Might it come back? Sure. We live in a pretty toxic world but she did exactly what she wanted to do. Just like Jessica’s mom did exactly what she wanted to do. Shit, we ALL do what we want to do. After watching both of my parents struggle with death, I will always pick nutrition over medicine. Guaranteed. Each one of us is different. What works for one may not work for another. Every one needs to do what they think is best for themselves. All of you saying how green juices are ridiculous, essentially saying that Jessica “killed” her mother, that all of this is quackery, you need to get a life. People get so butthurt when others try new things, when someone changes their diet, when anybody tries to do ANYTHING different. What a disgusting article to read and a disgusting slew of comments (with the exception of a few). I’m surprised there’s actually people that still think like this.

  85. #85 Chris,
    December 27, 2013

    ” People get so butthurt when others try new things”

    Since when is Gerson “new”? Gerson himself died in 1959, surely in the last sixty years of his protocol there would be some evidence. And the pain in the butt must be from the coffee enemas.

    Could someone provide us with the scientific relevance and data that taking coffee up the bum is effective? This is the part of the Gerson protocol that baffles me the most.

  86. #86 Lawrence
    December 27, 2013

    @Chris – unfortunately, with quacks “everything old is new again.”

  87. #87 Lee
    December 27, 2013

    @Chris Oh sweetie, sorry for the miscommunication, I wasn’t referring to the Gerson as being new. I’m saying people get so uncomfortable (kind of like your response) when others do things that they are unfamiliar with. You guys sound like the quacks. If you want to pick apart another piece of what I said, feel free.

  88. #88 Eose Taberner
    Sydney, Australia
    December 27, 2013

    @ Lee – 2 questions.
    Your mother didn’t have chemo, radiation or an Advil. Did she have any surgery?
    If you were diagnosed with an aggressive type cancer and had targeted scientifically proven therapy (not chemo) that had statistics available of its effectiveness available to you, would you consider it? Keep in mind that 2 years, even 1 year of Gerson would be too long due to the agressivness.

  89. #89 Lawrence
    December 27, 2013

    @Lee – doing something that is unfamiliar, versus doing something that has been shown to have no supporting evidence is two different things.

  90. #90 Dangerous Bacon
    December 27, 2013

    ” Each one of us is different. What works for one may not work for another.”

    Ah, someone else who religiously reads the altie playbook.

    What this meme translates to for altie devotees is “Keep trying one useless remedy after another while your cancer has a chance to further invade and metastasize. We’re all different, one of these products might work someday if you’re not dead, dead broke, or both.”

    According to the American Cancer Society:

    “The Gerson Institute estimates the start-up cost and the first month or so of home treatment to be over $2000 to $4,000 for equipment, supplies, supplements, organic foods, etc., depending on the type of equipment purchased. Given the frequency and involvement of the juicing, meals, enemas, etc., most people will need help with shopping and preparation. In addition, the Gerson Institute recommends buying a second refrigerator to store the produce.”

    Add in costs for Gerson clinic treatment (can be over $5,500 _per week_, not including expenses for travel and stay in Tijuana or Hungary), and we’re looking at lots of money wasted on quackery.

    http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/dietandnutrition/gerson-therapy

    And no, your anecdote about an alleged Gerson cure is not evidence of anything but human gullibility.

  91. #91 Krebiozen
    December 27, 2013

    Lee,
    Most of the commenters here are all too familiar with Gerson’s methods. The only objections I have are:

    a) as I pointed out at #57 above it doesn’t work, even according to their own numbers,

    b) it can distract people from getting life-saving treatment and

    c) it can ruin the last few months of a person’s life. As someone else pointed out, a clinical trial of the Gonzalez protocol which is more or less identical to Gerson’s, found that not only did those on chemotherapy live longer, but they had a better quality of life.

    I pity those poor people who spent the last months of their lives juicing, cleaning their juicer, popping pills and having coffee enemas, in a desperate attempt to defeat the inevitable. I would prefer to be told I only had a few months, given effective palliative care and to spend those months with my loved ones, not cleaning a juicer and enduring countless enemas.

    You said your mother’s Stage IV bone cancer was cured using Gerson therapy. I find this very hard to believe. What type of bone cancer was it, and how was it diagnosed? Where had it spread to (metastasis is the definition of Stage IV)? Have these tumors also gone? How do you know the cancer has gone, particularly the metastases?

    If you can’t answer these questions I don’t think you should be spreading information that could encourage people to make very foolish decisions about their health. There are many testimonials like yours around, but in almost every case we find that either the patient may not have had cancer in the first place, or they had conventional treatment which may have been effective, or there is no good evidence their cancer is gone, so there is no good reason to think the alternative treatment they had did any good.

    You wrote, “She did not do ANYTHING conventional”, but did your mother have surgery? We often see people who have surgery and refuse radio and chemotherapy, using alternative treatments instead. What they don’t realize is that surgery is the most important part of conventional treatment, and the other therapies contribute relatively little to its success.

    I’m surprised there’s actually people that still think like this.

    I’m surprised and saddened that in the 21st century there are still people who reject science based medicine, despite its many astonishing successes. Why rely instead on a treatment that we have no reason to believe will be of any help at all? In 1975 two thirds of people diagnosed with bone cancer were dead five years later, today two thirds pf those diagnosed are still alive after five years. That doubling in survival is because of science based medicine; it certainly isn’t through eliminating imaginary toxins, drinking gallons of vegetable juices, swallowing handfuls of enzymes that get destroyed by the digestive system and squirting coffee up people’s rectums..

  92. #92 TBruce
    December 27, 2013

    Could someone provide us with the scientific relevance and data that taking coffee up the bum is effective? This is the part of the Gerson protocol that baffles me the most

    I think it has to do with coffee stimulating the gall bladder or the intestinal tract to excrete Teh Ebil Toxins. Coffee enemas were also mentioned in the Merck Manual many years ago. What more proof does anyone need?

    The thing I find ludicrous is “juicing”. What does “juicing” do besides getting rid of fibre and nutrients? You might as well claim that white bread cures cancer.

    Lee does not seem to be aware that “cancer” is not a single disease. There are stage 4 cancers that are lethal in months, no matter what treaments are given. There are others that will progress very slowly or not at all for years without treatment (low grade lymphoma, smoldering myeloma, low grade prostate cancer for example). What type of cancer is he talking about here?

    I guess you could sum up Lee’s advice for cancer patients as: “Shoulda had a V8 – and a coffee enema.”

  93. #93 Chris,
    December 27, 2013

    Lee: ” I’m saying people get so uncomfortable (kind of like your response) when others do things that they are unfamiliar with.”

    Oh, sweetie Lee, you may notice that this is blog run by a surgical oncologist who has been writing about cancer treatments for almost a decade (see his former blog home http://oracknows.blogspot.com/ ). I have asked many proponents of Gerson/Gonzalez many times what are the benefits of pushing coffee up their bum, and none have answered with sufficient science.

    It gets even more baffling after reading Gulp by Mary Roach. She writes that actually very little nutrient value is absorbed anally, though some does happen. It is just a waste of good coffee.

    Sure the Merck manual mentioned it years ago. But like all science, things change when you get more information. So when further research shows that shoving stuff up the bum does not cause much to absorbed, and that it can cause more harm than good… it gets dropped. Just anything else should be stopped because it is dangerous and ineffectual. Things like bleeding, mustard plasters, etc.

  94. #94 novalox
    December 27, 2013

    @lee

    [citation needed]

  95. #95 Johanna
    December 27, 2013

    @lee

    [citation REALLY ****ing needed]

  96. #96 Lily
    December 27, 2013

    There is now another “wellness warrior” in Australia by the name of Belle Gibson who has supposedly “treating” herself for a rare brain cancer through a natural diet. She started an app call ” the whole pantry” and has an even bigger following than Jess. The app itself is going International. What concerns me about Belle is there seems to be very little details about her illness. It would be interesting to hear your take on her. Perhaps, if these natural cures are so miraculous it would be good if Jess or belle would be willing to do an interview?

  97. #97 Mrs Woo
    December 27, 2013

    I’m really fascinated by the assertion, especially the stage IV bone cancer – i.e., how it was staged, etc.

    There is a friend of ours who developed pain in several bones and decided she had bone cancer after a few weeks of it. She says she never asked doctors to treat it, because it would have shown she didn’t have faith in God. She just fasted and prayed and Jesus took it all away… ~sigh~

  98. #98 Krebiozen
    December 28, 2013

    TBruce,

    What does “juicing” do besides getting rid of fibre and nutrients?

    It does enable people to ingest large quantities of antinutrients that have unknown and very probably damaging effects. There are good reasons for humans having cooked food for the past couple of million years.

    Fruit juice contains a lot of high GI carbs too, with a high proportion of fructose, which I really don’t think is very good for us. For example fructose is converted to triglycerides, unlike glucose, IIRC. I don’t understand why some people think that a huge dose of sugar is OK in a juice, but deadly in a candy bar. Or why a baked potato is considered so much healthier than sugar, when it has a higher GI, for that matter.

  99. #99 herr doktor bimler
    December 28, 2013

    It gets even more baffling after reading Gulp by Mary Roach. She writes that actually very little nutrient value is absorbed anally, though some does happen.

    I bought the Frau Doktorin a copy of Gulp for $mas. I am looking forward to reading it myself.

  100. #100 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    December 28, 2013

    Herr Doktor

    Be advised that Gulp starts slow, but picks up. Don’t give up until after 3 or 4 chapters. In fact, as I remember, you could skip the first 2 chapters and not miss a lot.

  101. #101 Maned Wolf
    January 2, 2014

    @Chris in #248

    Thank you for your winter break reading suggestion to Jenny of The Emperor of All Maladies. Definitely not light reading, but it’s been quite the education.

    (Blast not having a preview function! I think I figured out how to properly format comments, but I suppose we’ll find out as soon as I hit ‘submit’.)

  102. #102 sophie shepherd
    australia
    January 5, 2014

    People are so quick to stick their nose in other peoples business. Free will is a luxury most of us enjoy in Australia/America… it is our decision as individual to do with our body what we like.. weather that be squirting coffee up our arse, in our ears, mouths or nose..doesn’t matter really its our choice!. Why don’t people who are making judgements on jess and her mothers decisions forget about it and focus on your own health?

  103. #103 AdamG
    January 5, 2014

    Why don’t people who are making judgements on jess and her mothers decisions forget about it and focus on your own health?

    Why doesn’t Jess focus on her own health instead of peddling false hope to the uninformed?

  104. #104 novalox
    January 5, 2014

    @sophie

    Simple, because the pseudoscientific and false information that she spreads is liable to cause someone to die from something that can be treatable with proven treatments.

    Also, since she is the one peddling this nonsense, we have to right to speak out against this nonsense.

    Unless of course, you’re one of those nutters who believe that speaking against pseudoscience and nonsense should be censored.

  105. #105 Chris,
    January 6, 2014

    Ms. Shepard, would you prefer the Interne and World Wide Web be limited in Australia/America (wherever that is)?

  106. #106 AntipodeanChic
    January 6, 2014

    @Ms. Shepard, I am all for a lack of censorship & “freedom of Health choice” but it seems very much to me that Ms. Ainscough is quite intent on “converting” as many people as possible to her way of life – particularly so if they just happen to purchase items of dubious provenance & quasi-medical usefulness via her website.
    She is doing this from behind the ethically reprehensible shield of “being a Cancer victim”: behold all of her activity seems to gone ahead with nary a word of concern from the Australian media. Indeed, too many of them seem to court her appearances “shilling her wares” – for example Channel 7 in Queensland & their irresponsible “interview” on “The Great South East” where she was allowed to rant, unchallenged, straight to camera for around 10 minutes about how she had “cured her cancer” in front of a “Health Food Store” (which I’m pretty sure she must have a fiscal interest in*).

    This particular TV appearance notwithstanding, I hope I don’t have to spell out how dangerous allowing people to promote their pet quackery on the Internet, complete with a swathe of products to use at home could potentially be to the most vulnerable members of society.

    *I could, of course, be mistaken…

  107. #107 Gemman Aster
    January 8, 2014

    How can anyone, ANYONE claim with a straight face that carrying out a ‘coffee enema’ is a legitimate therapy? Honestly, how CAN they? A coffee enema… The sheer juvenility is astounding.

    And then this bullshit argument from antiquity… How exactly were out ‘ancestors’ – at least the western Europeans among us – even going to come by coffee to introduce to their anus?

    People certainly have a right to choose this for themselves. Other people have the same right to campaign against this pretentious madness.

  108. #108 tom
    January 9, 2014

    I have seen Jessica several times in person and her arm is definitely getting worse.

  109. #109 Amanda
    BC
    January 9, 2014

    Thank you so much for the fascinating blog!

    I am currently 1/3 of the way through my chemo treatment – Carboplatin (was excited to see the shout out above!), Docetaxel, with some Herceptin on the side, which is the chemo I chose for myself – with my oncologist’s approval, of course. I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone here what type of cancer I had.
    I say had, because I had a lumpectomy with clear margins, nodes were cancer-free, and my PET scan was clear. I’m aware this is not a guarantee.
    Chemo was not an easy decision, and one which I was on the fence about for some time. This blog entry along with the “Chris Beat Cancer” one has helped me feel 100% confident in my choice, and for that I am very, very grateful. Thank you, Orac!!!

    It’s saddening that the people challenging this blog can’t even form proper sentences or spell words correctly. It takes the excitement out of their attempted debate. Doesn’t it bother anyone else? Or was it useless to even mention?

    I browsed around Jessica Ainscough’s blog, and found this gem:

    “What about mastectomies?
    I’m so shocked to read about women who actually have their breasts removed as a preventative measure against breast cancer. And so many other women are saying that they would do the same thing if breast cancer ran in their family. As a result of mammograms and MRI’s, many women, with the advice and consent of their doctors, opt to have radical mastectomies, which involve removal of one or both breasts along with underlying muscle tissue and lymph nodes under the arm. Gosh. Not only is it extreme mutilation but, again, it is unnecessary.

    A study of 1,851 women at the University of Pittsburgh found that having a mastectomy would barely improve chances of survival. According to researchers, survival does not depend on such surgery because breast cancer is fundamentally a systemic disease, not one that simply spreads from an initial site. Duh!

    So here’s my idea. Why not raise awareness of the real causes and ways to prevent cancer. Sure, these methods may not be as lucrative as the conventional treatment as it stands today, but they will save a heck of a lot more lives. These include exercise, detoxifying your liver, eating an organic plant-based diet, achieving alkalinity in your body, meditation and relaxation. These methods are not only free (except for food, but everyone has to eat anyway right?) but they will not impinge on your quality of life at all. They will actually improve it. So let’s raise money for appropriate charities like the Gerson Institute and the Gawler Foundation and host Girl’s Nights In where we indulge in healthy food, organic teas and fresh organic veggie juices. That is what Breast Cancer Awareness Month should be about.”

    Did I mention I am BRCA1 as well as BRCA2?
    Even though the BRCA2 mutation I have has no known risks associated with cancer, what are the odds? I should be winning the lottery any day now, right?

    Obviously the plan for me is a bilateral mastectomy (not radical). I am 30 years old, and a few months ago could have easily fallen prey to Jessica’s blog (thank goodness I didn’t see it then!), in the confusion and time-constrained panic to make treatment choices. I am someone who rarely takes a painkiller; accepting chemo was a challenge. It terrifies me that there might be other girls like me out there, less inclined to research aspects of their disease, and more susceptible to regarding her blog as truth.

    I wrote a post underneath, essentially asking for advice, genuinely concerned if she would actually advise someone who is BRCA1 and BRCA2 to NOT get a bilateral mastectomy at age 30, with already one cancer occurrence under her belt.

    I have seen 2 people post in the comments on Jessica’s blog that their mothers have passed after doing Gerson’s for breast cancer as well.

    It’s all so mind-blowingly frustrating! For me, anyway…

    Thank you again for the fantastic read!

  110. #111 herr doktor bimler
    January 9, 2014

    this bullsh1t argument from antiquity

    If Spike Milligan is to be believed, the bullsh1t is a time-honoured Ayurvedic treatment for baldness, though turmeric is also part of the recipe.

  111. #112 janerella
    January 9, 2014

    Ah, well, argument from Montypythoniquity is always valid.

  112. #113 janerella
    January 9, 2014

    Or should I say – Gooniquity!!!!!

  113. #114 herr doktor bimler
    January 9, 2014

    Fingers crossed, Amanda.

  114. #115 Liz
    January 9, 2014

    Best wishes Amanda. I just had a nosey at the wellness warrior site and now I need some brain bleach…

  115. #116 Renate
    January 9, 2014

    @ Liz
    Try some MMS 🙂

  116. #117 Liz
    January 9, 2014

    @ Renate, in order for it to reach my brain, do I administer it to my ears or do I snort it? Or are we talking eyeballing (where you do shots via your eyes rather than drinking them…and end up blind the next day.) :p

  117. #118 Amanda
    BC
    January 9, 2014

    Thanks guys 🙂

    Lisa, I’m sure somehow administering it rectally would be the ideal option, if this thread has taught you anything.

  118. #119 Amanda
    January 9, 2014

    Liz! Autocorrect massive fail, sorry.

  119. #120 tom
    January 9, 2014

    Sadly I really can’t see Jessica lasting much longer. Here is a photo of her recently at a launch for an organic cafe notice her arm. The man she is talking to is from foodmatters. Another beacon of absolute nonsense. Her arm is now rapidly getting worse. In public she is quite shy about it and covers it but this is much much worse than it was even 6 months ago, she still attributes the damage to chemo but that line is getting hard to use now. I really really wish she would see reason. Although it doesn’t excuse her damage she is actually a very nice person but she needs rescuing from her own self assembled cheer squad and her own ideology.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=357669094377574&set=pb.144015072409645.-2207520000.1389313909.&type=3&theater

  120. #121 Mrs Woo
    January 10, 2014

    @Amanda – best wishes on the fight! Lots of cancer in my family, and my mother’s sister is a breast cancer survivor (mother passed of lymphoma in the 70s). I’m astonished at how much better cancer treatment is currently, and grateful for this blog, as well. Not only does it give me numerical data about some ‘alternatives,’ it, plus witnessing first hand cancer success stories in recent years gives me a lot more hope for a positive outcome if I am ever diagnosed.

  121. #122 Evidence-based
    January 11, 2014

    Thanks for the link to that photo Tom. I managed to find an older one for comparison and it does indeed look much worse recently. http://www.thewellnesswarrior.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Oncology-massage.jpg

  122. #123 Lawrence
    January 11, 2014

    @Tom – thank you. That photo does look much worse…

  123. #124 Amanda
    January 11, 2014

    Thanks Mrs Woo! My grandma is a 25 year IBC survivor – sans BRCA, believe it or not.

  124. #125 pip cornall
    Queensland, Australia
    January 12, 2014

    Thanks for your comment Warren. As we can see from the 325 so far comments this is a very emotive topic. Can we bridge the great chasm that separates conventional medicines from alternative or even CAM?
    As usual we humans often have the same goals but differ on the methods of achieving them. I’m assuming we all wish to prevent or heal from cancer but many of us are dismissive to those with differing points of view.
    I’m guilty of that. I had organic farms, extremes diets, spent decades in Oregon where the ‘consensus reality’ supported ‘natural medicines’ and slammed ‘big bad pharma.’
    That changed after working alongside Grace Gawler at her institute. As I said in my last comment (Dec 1) most of our new patients had tried all the latest ‘natural’ diets and supplement regimes. We never observed any notable slowing of tumour progression despite the time and money they had spent.
    I had to change my views faced with such overwhelming evidence.
    One German doctor we work with said recently…”Nobody should give cancer healing advice unless they are prepared to be responsible for the person they are advising. Will they look after them if the advice fails to work – pay their medical bills – look after their children – help pay their expenses?
    Another doctor said… “It troubled him to see cancer patients experimenting with their one precious life, based on what a friend told them or they had read from a cancer entrepreneur whose credentials were questionable.”
    A study by BR Cassileth et al (from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in NY) supports what I have observed in hundreds of patients and what Grace has observed in thousands patients she has worked with in her 40-yrs of cancer service. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12565991
    My personal story shows we can hold strong beliefs about cancer healing and ‘proselytise’ same without medical training or the experience gained from working with cancer patients.
    When my beliefs did not hold up working at the cancer coalface with Grace, I had to adapt and examine my long held and deeply cherished assumptions.
    Upon closer examination, the miracle cancer cure stories that sound too good to be true are just that – too good to be true. This was the case with Australia’s most famous cancer patient – Ian Gawler.
    Based on what I’ve witnessed it will be the case with Jessica Ainscough. It will be the case with the raw vegan marathon runner whose breast cancer was likely cured by surgery and removal of her ovaries. Like Ainscough and Gawler she too has written a book about her cancer cure – Raw Can Cure Cancer
    I rest my case.

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