The little town of Bracebridge, Ontario, a two-hour drive north of Toronto houses a registered nurse named Rene Caisse, who will celebrate her 90th birthday on August 1 lthfifty of those years fighting to have an Indian tonic recognized as a cure for cancer.
While working in a hospital at Haileybury in 1922, another nurse summoned Ms. Caisse to examine an unusual scar on a patient she was bathing. After examining the scarring, Ms. Caisse found out the woman had been diagnosed as having cancer of the breast 20 years before with no treatment. Her husband, a logger in Canada, had no money for the necessary surgery, and took his terminal wife back to the logging camp with no hope for her survival. An Indian at the camp told them of a remedy his tribe used and the patient gladly passed the tonic on to Rene.
It wasn’t until 1924 when Ms. Caisses’s aunt was diagnosed terminal cancer that Rene thought to try the tonic. She told her aunt’s doctor the story and asked if she might try it on her aunt. Having no alternative, the doctor agreed and her aunt was cured and lived 20 additional years.
Her mother, at age 72, was diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the liver. She was treated with the tonic and lived another 18 years before succumbing to heart disease.
Rene followed her nursing career by day and worked in a laboratory she fashioned on her parents’ back porch at night. Rene and medical associates experimented on twice and perfected the tonic called “Essiac.” Doctors started referring their terminal patients to her with amazing results.
Word of Rene Caisse spread throughout Canada, and the town of Bracebridge gave her a brick, three-story building to use as a clinic, where several doctors worked with her.
Patients arrived from far and wide asking for her services, which Rene readily gave. On many occasions, while treating a patient, she would hear the scream of a siren, excuse herself, pick up her bag and treat the patient right in the ambulance, thus reducing the added discomfort of being moved.
In 1938, with hundreds of testimonies to her credit, she approached parliament for recognition of her now perfected Essiac and lost by only three votes. One of the reasons she lost was that she steadfastly refused to release her formula to them because “while governments are testing mice, thousands of cancer patients are dying.”
Testing has been done both in the United States and Canada: Sloan-Kettering in New York City; North Western University, which was then in Chicago; and the Brusch Medical Center in Boston are only three of the medical centers that have tested and used her formula.
Homemaker’s magazine did an article on Rene Caisse in their June-July 1977 edition. This article spurred 13 terminal cancer patients, all contributors to the Foundation for Alternative Cancer Therapies (FACT) to file a Class-Action suit in the Eastern District Federal Court on December 5, 1977. These terminal patients were demanding the right to use Essiac as an alternative cancer treatment because there was nothing available left.
Rene Caisse has spent over 50 years of her life fighting for her right to use Essiac, a harmless combination of herbs, in the treatment of cancer. She has never sold her treatment to anyone. She has given Essiac to all who have been in need and asks only for a letter from a medical doctor in return.
Movies saw Greer Garson fight as Madame Curie. We watched Rosalind Russell fight the medical profession for the Sister Kenny cure. We watched Patti Duke as Helen Keller rise above her animal status with the help of her dedicated and unorthodox nurse. Are we hearing about the Sister Kenny of our time? Will Rene Caisse be as recognized and accepted as Madame Curie? Does she truly have a cure for this most dreaded disease, cancer? Will the remaining eight patients be given the right to try Essiac before it is too late?
Who will play the part of Rene Caisse in future movies?
You may not think that cancer is your problem yet but if the trend continues, none of you will escape its clutches. At the turn of the century, cancer was a disease only of the elderly. It is now the leading cause of death among children, ages 3 to 14, and babies are being born with it. The number one killer of women, ages 35 to 55, is breast cancer. Two of every three families in the United States will be affected by cancer and one out of three persons will eventually contract it. Just think! Less than 8% will survive once cancer is diagnosed.
On the second floor of the Federal Building in Downtown Detroit, Monday, June 26th, I and over 200 people crowded into Judge Phillip Pratt’s courtroom, which comfortably seats 100, while others overflowed down the hall and demonstrated in the street below. The security guards told me later they had never had such a thing happen before nor had they worked so hard in the past ten years.
We had gathered together to hear the trial for Essiac, a non-toxic herbal cure for cancer which has been used with documentation of safety and effectiveness not only on laboratory animals but, more important, also on thousands of humans in hospitals and clinics both in Canada and the United States for over 50 years and doubtlessly hundreds of years prior to that by the Canadian and American Indians. Contrary to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) often repeated statement that Essiac has never been tested, it has actually been tested more often than any other chemotherapeutic drug used and accepted by the American Medical Association (AMA). Some representatives of the Canadian FDA recently admitted it.
A class-action suit has been brought against Mr. Joseph Califano, United States Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare by 13 terminally ill cancer patients who are unable to import Essiac legally from Canada, where it is made by a nurse, Rene Caisse. (Mr. Califano was the attorney who lobbied so hard in 1976 to block federal prosecution of the manufacturer of P.B.B., the Michigan Chemical Corporation.) Five of the 13 people have died since entering the suit on December 5, 1977. Ms. Caisse had been given the formula over 50 years ago and will soon celebrate her 90th birthday.
Most of us present at the trial have had a personal encounter with cancer and are seeking natural harmless therapies as opposed to surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. We listened with careful restraint as Mr. James Wells, attorney for the plaintiffs, stated that 39 drugs, presently accepted and used for cancer in the United States, are known to cause cancer. He specifically cited the chemical Fluorouracil (5 FU) which is the cancer drug most widely administered and for which patients must be carefully screened. He quoted from the manufacturer’s brochure which accompanies the drug:
“Precautions: Fluorouracil is a highly toxic drug with a narrow margin of safety. Therefore, patients should be carefully supervised since therapeutic response is unlikely to occur without some evidence of toxicity. Patients should be informed of expected toxic effects, particularly oral manifestations. White blood counts with differential are recommended before each dose. Severe hematological toxicity, gastrointestinal hemorrhage and even death may result from the use of Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil) despite meticulous ‘selection of patients and careful adjustment of dosage. Although severe toxicity is more likely in poor risk patients, fatalities may be encountered occasionally even in patients in relatively good condition.”
L. Michael Wicks, attorney representing the case for HEW, stated that Essiac was being op-/ posed because all “drugs” used for cancer must be proven “safe and effective.” I wonder how in the world, under these conditions, such a poison as 5 FU ever gained such acceptance by the government and among the medical profession. It is a known fact that the American Cancer Society (ACS) has a vested interest in 5FU and receives a remuneration when it is used. I wondered as I sat and watched the hearing how long it would be before the two young lawyers representing the government (with our tax dollars) would be in the position of James Wells. And I wondered what their approach would be if and when they are stricken with the horrible disease.
Over the years, until recently, all forms of news media have chosen to either give unfavorable reporting on non-toxic cancer therapies or else to do a total black-out, resulting in a population that is uninformed and, therefore, incapable of making determinations in their own best interests. Until recently, people were not made aware of the great risks of the therapies given not only the poisoning of chemotherapy but the destruction of radiation in which important tissues are burned and patients’ natural immunological system is destroyed. With radiation, cancer of the bones frequently results. Granted, some who were given radiation several years ago are still surviving, but doctors tell me that at that time only small doses were administered. I thank God my doctor said I was too far gone to have radiation or chemotherapy! I know I would not be here today if I had had it.
Since the time that medical doctors have heard of my cancer recovery and activities in education, others, an increasing number, have been contacting me to encourage me to continue the good fight. In fact, many doctors have sought my knowledge on natural therapies for themselves or members of their families. They repeatedly have stated that radiation and chemotherapy are nothing more than slow murder.
After the trial, as we milled around the halls and steps of the Federal Building, I looked at the strained faces of the people around me and heard my own thoughts being expressed over and over. Why, since it is my body, am I not allowed to make the final decision as to what I will take? Since I am free to smoke any number of cancer-causing cigarettes and drink alcohol in copious amounts, endangering the safety of others, why am I denied the freedom to use harmless Essiac? Why should we have to come to a court to fight and plead for that which is already our God-given constitutional right? Why more needless delay while, daily, thousands of cancer patients are agonizing and dying while their families must stand by helplessly? Who are the people behind the runaround the public is getting? Since present cancer therapies are so costly, who will be financially hurt should the relatively inexpensive Essiac be approved? Why has the Government repeatedly refused to unbiasedly test the natural harmless therapies? And why doesn’t the American Cancer Society support this kind of research? The National Cancer Institute stated last fall that there had been no change in cancer survival statistics for the past 25 years. Then I wonder why the researchers are not willing to investigate new fields? Why do the majority of the people accept without question what they are told and not seek the truth for themselves?
After all, it is their lives! Why does the ACS call this type of therapy, but not 5FU, “quackery”? Why do people accept their doctor as their “God” until it is too late?
Attorney Wells, himself a victim of cancer and radiation, pointed out that we are not dealing with the health of the populace, but with the life and death of individuals. Judge Luther Bohanan, in ruling on Laetrile in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Order No. CIV-75-0218-B, filed also on December 5, 1977, stated under Section 4:
“The Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and his subordinates in the Food and Drug Administration are hereby permanently enjoined and restrained from interfering with the use of Laetrile (Amygdalin) for the care or treatment of cancer by a person who is, or believes he is, suffering from the disease.”
Hopefully, Judge Pratt, who is presently taking the matter under consideration, will make the same provisions for Essiac. Then all who wish to simply take a cup of herb tea every other night for from three to six months, not only as a cure but as a preventative, will be free to do so. Unfortunately, those who have already submitted to extensive chemotherapy do not generally respond well to Essiac, according to Rene Caisse.
Should Judge Pratt not see fit to free Essiac, the contributors of FACT will not give up but continue to fight so that all may have the constitutional rights guaranteed them to treat their bodies as they see fit. I urge everyone to join us!