It is obvious from some of the calls received at the FACT office that many people do not quite understand that an alternative cancer therapy should be based on an alternative concept of cancer, not the same old failed system that concentrates on tumor reduction but ignores the well-being of the host. When FACT was first organized as the Foundation for Alternative Cancer Therapies, it was in order to support a system where the focus was not on tumor reduction but on repairing the breakdown in body chemistry which was responsible for the production of abnormal cells. This concept seems to be too difficult for many people to accept Evidently, they are too frightened and their prior conditioning makes it impossible for them to make a complete transition in their thinking.
I answer numerous calls that come to the FACT office that leave me puzzled as to how to deal with the person. Recently, I answered a call from a woman who is about 50 years of age who attended the FACT CANCER/NUTRTION CONVENTION about 2 years ago. She now has bone metastasis. The only reason that I am writing about this is because it typifies so many of the calls. She never quite grasped the direction of the convention although we go to great pains every year to emphasize FACT’S alternative concept of therapy and select outstanding physicians and recovered cancer patients who make FACT’s position clear.
This lady followed her experience at the convention by selecting the Burzynski clinic in Texas for what Dr. Burzynski calls antineoplastins. We have never supported Dr. Burzynski’s work, therefore, he has never been a presenter at a FACT convention. This is not because we feel that he is doing anything wrong for which the authorities have the right to punish him but because it does not fulfill FACT’s design of an alternative cancer therapy, i.e., restoring the breakdown in body chemistry, repairing any malfunction that is causing the body to produce abnormal cells and boosting immune activity.
At one time I agonized over these failures, assuming that some of the books on alternative cancer therapies left a distinct impression that dramatic results could be achieved by accepting any of the eighty or so currently touted “alternative” therapies as alternatives. I felt these created confusion for the cancer patient. I also felt that perhaps FACT was remiss in not making our policy clear enough for the novice’s understanding. I now recognize that the failure was not our presentation nor the plethora of published material, but the mind-set of the patient and that is usually not in our power to change. These patients want an alternative that focuses on the tumor as though the tumor functions independently of the body – a deeply ingrained concept that should have been rethought when a link between cancer and immunity was discovered. From our experience tumor reduction will not be the answer to cancer if one uses an alternative substance anymore than it will be with a conventional system. Tumor reduction or just killing cancer cells does not correct the malfunctioning of the cell production mechanism. I often compare the technique with taking an aspirin for a headache; the headache comes back again and again because the cause has not been corrected. Even if the tumor is reduced to zero but the breakdown that is responsible for developing the tumor has not been corrected, one can expect a recurrence. Duplicating the conventional medical model produces the same inadequate results. Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, the standard conventional treatments, are all focused on this shortsighted goal of tumor reduction.
Not too long ago a letter appeared in Lancet, a medical journal, captioned“Rethinking Cancer.” The writer, an oncologist from St. Vincent’s hospital in New York City, tells about a colleague who announced with great excitement that a patient of his who had widespread cancer had died but was “cancerfree.” This begs the question: if tumor reduction is the key to cancer cure, why did not this patient survive? Contrast that with the experience of one of the founders of FACT. Rae Zucker was diagnosed with colon cancer and refused surgery. Because she had a background in natural healing she felt it would be best to treat the problem biologically. She was not the most conscientious patient but was competent enough and experienced enough in following a good metabolic program, as well as sound detoxification procedures, and stress management techniques to control the tumor for years. Twenty-three years after the diagnosis, she died from heart failure at the age of 82. The cancerous tumor did not Id11 her.
IS THE VEGETARIAN DIET THE ANSWER?
When I take a call at the FACT office, I try to get a picture of the cancer problem , what the patient is doing and what he/she is most likely to understand and accept I got a call from a woman whom we shall call Marion. I explained that a balanced dietary regimen was a basic part of a competent alternative and that without it the body would not be getting the elements required for building healthy cells. She proudly stated that she already had a healthy diet; she was a vegetarian for eight years. I said that perhaps her body was not adaptive to vegetarianism and therefore was out of balance or was not receiving all the required nutrients. I could not possibly have known that her commitment to a vegetarian diet was nearly like a religious faith. For her the belief in the health value of a vegetarian system could not be questioned. She felt that I was so wrong that nothing could be gained from an association with FACT. Instead she chose to follow the conventional system by taking chemotherapy. You can understand the gap in our thinking: I would have preferred meat to chemotherapy!
It is now three years from the time of her diagnosis. She has suffered the discomfort of chemotherapy, alopecia (hair loss), three hospitalizations, bone metastasis, struggling with a walker and a return to the hospital. This lady started with a very small tumor. It is quite possible she could have survived these same three years and possibly up to five years or more without doing anything. It seems obvious that her ego got in the way of better judgment.
A RECOVERED PATIENT’S FRUSTRATION
When one overcomes a serious cancer problem, he or she usually wants to help the rest of the world. Very often it is impossible to influence someone even closely related.
Harold (not his real name) had cancer of the spine. After two years of struggling under conventional care and being hospitalized, he was given a short-term prognosis. A close friend convinced him to leave the hospital by saying, “What have you got to lose?” He left by ambulance as he was flat on his back because of the spinal deterioration.
Harold soon found a doctor who monitored his progress. He used as his guide the book, How to Always Be Well, by William Howard Hay, M.D. His basic program was a balanced diet, carefully determined supplements, detoxification – healthy lifestyle. Recovery was not easy. It took about three months before he could sit in a wheelchair with a brace. Ultimately, he was able to use crutches, then two canes and finally he was ambulatory – functioning normally. This was quite a success story. Harold always made himself available to anyone who was willing to listen. He was anxious to help everyone change their lifestyle but his most acute frustration was with his wife, Martha. She refused to adopt any of the changes necessary for health improvement.
She suffered from a number of minor health problems for which she took a conventional pathway. Then her situation became more serious and he became more concerned. She continued to negate his help even though she developed a heart problem for which she had angioplasty. She continued to ail in spite of medication and the angioplasty. The next step was a heart bypass. Well, Martha died and her husband, the seriously ill cancer patient, outlived her. She chose her lifestyle which was her privilege. He died in his eighties after 27 years from the time of the cancer diagnosis.
SOMETIMES IT’S GOOD NEWS
The caller said, “I am just calling to see if FACT still exists. A friend of my daughter’ s needs help. FACT helped my brother twenty years ago and he is fine.”
This kind of call comes in every now and then these days. It’s impossible for us to keep tabs on all those who have called FACT for help, but there are many who have followed up successfully on the advice we’ve offered over the years. It’s refreshing to hear that many have grasped the alternative concept and made it work for them. Of course, I’d like to hear the same from everyone!