This article, first published in our official F.A.C.T. magazine, Cancer Forum, is now included in our latest book, Healing Cancer -The Unconventional Wisdom of Ruth Sackman.
How do you decide what to do when your doctor says, “It’s cancer”? You’ve heard about alternatives, but there are so many and the claims of efficacy sound so dramatic. Can it all be true? You know that the conventional cancer treatment of surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy has an overall claimed cure rate of 50%. You find yourself in a panic about making a decision. Let me try to clarify the information for the lay person and dispel the myths perpetuated by both the conventional adherents and alternative supporters.
First, we’ll start with the information based on the orthodox view:
The 50% cure rate does not actually represent “cure.” Rather, it is the medical yardstick for 5-year survival (calculated from time of diagnosis). Since the figure represents an average for all types of cancer, it is important to understand the survival rate of the different types of cancer. For instance, the survival time for a patient diagnosed with breast cancer, found early when the tumor is the size of a pea, is well over the 5-year mark — very often even without any treatment. The statistics, however, aren’t anywhere near as good with many other types of cancer, i.e., liver, pancreatic, brain, acute leukemia, lung, colon and others.
Conventional treatment buys time. There is nothing about surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or hormone inhibitors, the conventionally-approved modalities, that restores the well-being of the host. There is nothing in the treatment that supplies the body with the materials needed to build healthy, normal cells. There is nothing in the treatment that improves immune function. Chemotherapy and radiation do the reverse; they depress immunity by destroying cancer cells with toxic substances. Cancer cell destruction is what these treatments are designed for.
It is only fair, given the present limited ability of standard treatment to cure cancer, that patients be competently informed so they can make knowledgeable decisions. Out of compassion, doctors sometimes feel compelled to withhold grave information while urging patients into uncomfortable treatments attempting to extend life as long as possible, if only measured in weeks or months.
I, for one, feel that an informed patient, in control of decisions, will do better than the patient who feels helpless and in the dark as far as the facts of the situation. Research has shown this to be true. It may not be applicable to all, but it is to most patients.
We need to examine alternatives with the same critical approach. Many people have written books listing a whole litany of cancer therapies labeled “alternative” principally by virtue of the fact that they are not sanctioned by orthodox medicine. Their writings are based on interviews or reading material which is sometimes exaggerated or based on the enthusiasm of inexperienced suppliers and practitioners or the premature judgments of cancer patients. I am always shocked and dismayed to hear of another book published by a patient claiming to be cured of cancer after a year or so of some new “alternative” treatment. That is not enough time and certainly the experience of one patient does not necessarily apply to all. Wading through the vast amount of information and misinformation which is now available about alternative cancer therapies must be an ordeal and probably impossible for someone with no prior experience to judge for efficacy.
Since F.A.C.T. has been in existence for over twenty years [editor’s note: this was written in the mid 1990s], we have been able to spend the time required to determine whether the claims made about so-called “alternative” therapies actually are accurate. The time factor cannot be ignored. The success or failure of any cancer treatment must be judged in terms of results over time. A treatment must sustain; it must also maintain the well-being of a patient until death from other causes. It should not be evaluated simply because a patient claims to be feeling better. That is too subjective. Nor can a treatment be considered efficacious simply because a patient has surpassed the conventional doctor’s yardstick that he/she will only survive for a given period of time. There are many instances where the patient has outlived the doctor’s prediction. Long-term survival under generally healthful conditions is the soundest method of evaluating a therapy. We do not put any recovered patient on our convention platform before 10-12 years of good health.
Something has been lost in the spate of alternative cancer therapies that one reads or hears about over the radio, TV and now Internet. That is the biological aspect of treating the patient with only nontoxic substances which is the very reason for the existence of F.A.C.T.. Some of the therapies categorized as alternative are toxic and based on the same principle as chemotherapy. For example: one therapy mentioned in a book by Ralph Moss and picked up by other authors is hydrazine sulfate. This is a toxic chemical used in the production of rocket fuel. It performs exactly like conventional chemotherapy by depriving the cancer cells of a needed element — in this instance, glucose. It mimics chemotherapy by depriving healthy cells of the same nutrient which they need for survival. It was roundly rejected by the medical established, then picked up alternative outlets. It had the additional virtue of being relatively inexpensive.
We recognized the failure of the conventional system to actually cure cancer and discovered that there were many well credentialed, nontraditional biologically-oriented practitioners who were curing cancer as well as other chronic degenerative diseases by shifting their attention away from the symptoms to the restoration of the host. Instead of focusing on the tumor, which they considered the symptom of disease, they focused on the cause, the biochemical breakdown, an area neglected completely by traditional therapy. Instead of treatments focused on killing cancer cells, they concentrated on rebalancing and strengthening body function — on doing no harm.
Supporting this more logical concept, we have seen long-term patient recovery. For those whose problem is too far advanced for complete recovery, we have seen them benefit by adding time, quality time.
To judge an alternative therapy you need to be armed with as much accurate information as possible. During F.A.C.T.’s existence we have had to conclude that the system that produces the best results is the one that addresses the physiology of the body, not the one that merely attempts to reduce the size of a tumor. Reducing the size of a tumor does not correct the breakdown in body chemistry responsible for producing abnormal cells. The therapies we support are sometimes referred to as Biological or Metabolic Therapies. They are very complex, requiring a drastic change in lifestyle from the one that allowed the disease to develop to one that restores normal function and produces only healthy cells. A basic tool is a balanced dietary regimen of natural, whole foods that provides the body with all the essential elements required to build healthy cells.
Substances such as Carnivora, Cancell, Laetrile, 714X, selenium, megadose Vitamin C and others, cannot possibly fulfill the cells’ requirements. Detoxification is a companion tool that relieves the body of accumulated carcinogens and other waste materials that tend to interfere with normal body function. Without a sound Biorepair/metabolic program the body usually continues the production of abnormal cells which makes cancer recurrence more likely than not.
To choose a biologically-sound system designed to restore and maintain the well-being of the patient is a real option, not a variation of a conventional theme. The choice is yours.