Dr. Aly is medical director of Tallmo garden, a Swedish health spa and center for alternative medicine. This is a lecture given at the 1985 FACT convention in Philadelphia on July 26, 1985.
There has been and still is an intense debate in Sweden about alternative cancer therapies after several TV programs about the story of a breast cancer patient, her feelings, her treatment and the alternative treatment given to her at Tallmogarden. After the TV program was shown several times at prime time, there was intense debate in our biggest daily newspaper Dugens Nyheter between representatives of unorthodox medicine and oncology. The holistic view on cancer and cancer therapy cannot be suppressed any longer and our methods be ignored, as they now have been discussed widely and publicly and the counter arguments against our holistic view are not convincing. Furthermore, the discussion has had the positive “side effect” of the leading Swedish oncologist, Professor Jerzy Einhorn of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, having invited Tallmogarden to have a scientific collaboration to prove our methods on motivated patients from that internationally and highly respected hospital and clinic.
Is there any need of alternative cancer therapy? Well, you and I apparently feel yes! Why? The traditional (orthodox medical) view on cancer is that cancer is a local disease which in later stages is spread throughout the whole body by means of metastases. It is the single cell that is considered to be aberrant along with a deranged metabolism, and it is the sick cancer cell, or rather conglomerations of sick cells, that have to be fought and eliminated. And with regard to the seriousness of cancer, preferably methods and treatments which affect the tumor are mainly approved and used, even if they are aggressive and highly toxic. At the center of orthodox medical interest is the tumor and how it can be destroyed, preferably, by means from the outside almost at any price! But what about the patient attached to the tumor?
No doubt, modern medicine has been successful in treating certain cancers in accordance with the “localistic” theory and utilization as its main strategy : surgery, radiation and chemotherapy (cytostatics). But that strategy is apparently not sufficient, as approximately only about 50% of all cancers achieve 5-year survival (which is the yardstick for cure). But still at least 50% of all cancer victims face a dreadful fate, and many of the survivors are frightened and or mutilated. The price for survival is often very high and the quality of life not always the best after all conventional treatments. No wonder people and especially cancer victims are looking and asking for alternative therapies or at least supplementary therapies. No doubt, many cancer patients feel painfully that it is not they who are in the center of interest; it is their tumor! They feel that it is the tumor and the cancer that are treated, and not the sick and suffering patient. Although conventional medicine admits that it doesn’t know the reasons for cancer, its practitioners have to treat the cancers (and as almost no causes are accepted) independent of and with no regard to the many possible and probable causes of the disease. Insofar as medicine is searching for one single cause of cancer, such as a special cancer-producing virus, they will never solve the cancer problem and never be able to give a really successful and nontoxic therapy. It is a pleasure for me to notice and to state that there is a growing awareness, also in orthodox medicine, that cancer etiology is multifaceted, that is to say, probably all cancers have many causes. More and more it is accepted that environmental factors play the main role in cancer development, and that it is especially our lifestyle that decides whether we get cancer or not. Among the most important lifestyle factors are diet, alcohol-drinking and smoking. Between 70% and 90% of all cancers are considered to be related to lifestyle factors. Other causative factors are: air and water pollution; occupational risk-factors such as radiation and asbestos; different drugs such as tranquilizers and estrogens; certain food additives; excessive exposure to sunlight; sexual behavior; living conditions, and of course heredity too (but probably less important than usually assumed). Very important in this connection are, furthermore, psychological factors such as severe emotional stress, loss of close relatives, and mental depression. A general “I am always a loser” attitude is often connected to the breakout of cancers.
As far as tobacco and especially cigarette-smoking is concerned, we can only state that even the medical establishment now at last after more than 60 years time of consideration agree that tobacco smoking “might be dangerous to your health.” Dear friends, it not only “might be,” it is, and is very dangerous, and not only related to lung cancer but also with regard to all the many toxic and carcinogenic substances in tobacco smoke to all other types of cancer. The question is no longer: tobacco and health, the question now is: tobacco or health! And I think there is not now and never will be any successful treatment of any cancer whatsoever without immediate and complete cessation of smoking.
Let me put this very clearly! Alcohol too is a systemic poison; it destroys cells, especially brain, nerve, and liver cells. And the nervous system as well as the liver are of great importance for our immune defense. Alcohol, even in moderate quantities is noxious and detrimental to the cancer patient and should be avoided by all of them.
As to the importance of diet/nutrition, there is now a large body of scientific evidence, founded on many epidemiological and experimental studies, that the traditional viewpoint of orthodox doctors that nutrition and diet are of no value for cancer patients or in cancer prevention is no longer credible and cannot be maintained any longer on a scientific basis. In order not to be considered as partial and just a believer in this question, I would like to cite some of the highly interesting statements made in the fairly sensational (in view of former attitudes) report from the Committee on Diet, nutrition, and Cancer, 1982. There are some very essential statements from that scientific report that cannot be denied any longer by anyone. What is interesting in this report are primarily the review facts but not always the conclusions.
[At this point Dr. Aly read directly from the report to prove his statements. It is too lengthy to reprint here but the report can be obtained from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20418].
Since the NRC report so scientifically validated the cancer/diet connection, nobody can doubt any longer the fact that there has been a tremendous change in attitude on the cancer problem in regard to this question, and that more of the scientific evidence produced is very much in favor of the dietary program that FACT and representatives of the biological medicine and alternative therapies have maintained for decades.
In consequence of the biological view on humans, nutrition and cancer, our anticancer diet at Tallmogarden is very much consistent with the latest scientific findings. Our basic diet is mainly vegetarian, supplemented by dairy products such as sour milk, acidophilus milk and homemade cottage cheese. The vegetables are preferably if possible organically grown in our own garden, with no toxic additives or pesticides. Most of the green vegetables should be eaten raw if possible, but cooked foods such as millet, brown rice, buckwheat, corn and barley are included in the diet. Our diet is rich in natural fiber, e.g., foods high in fiber content such as whole grain products, pulses, green vegetables and fruits. Our anti-cancer diet is vegetarian, since meat produces toxins in our body, and is too rich in fat. Our diet is also relatively low in fat. The fats we use are mostly natural, from nuts and seeds, and only small amounts of high-quality minimum-processed fats such as fresh butter and vegetable oils, cold pressed and non-hydrogenated. We have a lot of sprouted seeds in our diet, similar to that used by Ann Wigmore in Boston. There are no charcoal-broiled or smoked meats. No salt, no white or brown sugar, no white flour, no refined carbohydrates or other refined or highly processed foods are used. There is no coffee, black tea, alcohol, soft drinks. Small amounts of naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut are part of the program. No eggs or fish are used in our place, though the nutritional value of these foods might be accepted in certain cases.
Generally speaking, our anti-cancer diet is much the same as that propagated by FACT, where you can get more detailed information. It is important to state that the diet has to be modified individually and in accordance with the nutritional state of the patient and his or her individual tolerance. The tolerances may be improved by and by, and can sometimes be facilitated by digestive enzymes and diluted lemon juice, in case of the absence of gastric juices (hydrochloric acid). It is also important to stress that this diet alone cannot cure cancer. As to vitamins and minerals, we prefer natural sources of these essential nutrients and have demonstrated scientifically that most essential nutrients (all those which have been measured) are found in optimal quantities in our special lacto-vegetarian diet. In many cases when the patients apparently are depleted in vital micronutrients, we may give supplements, carefully selected for the individual. Much of the food in our diet is rich in potassium, magnesium and trace minerals.
Diet therapy is often combined or started with a detoxification program to improve all excretional functions (bowel, kidney, skin sweating and sauna, and breathing.) Fasting as a rule is indicated only for a short period in special cases.
Furthermore, our therapy implements different kinds of psychotherapy, individually and in groups, in order to help the patients in crisis to help accept the disease and to strengthen their will to live, survive and fight, to visualize healing forces, to gain self-confidence and understanding (awareness of the underlying factors that promote cancer).
Furthermore, we use certain herbal medicines to stimulate the immune system, such as Iscador, Helixor, echinacea and others.
Withdrawal treatment from alcohol, coffee, drugs and tobacco are instituted.
Another of our therapies is hyperthermia. We also use exercise, hydrotherapy, massages and physiotherapy. Sometimes to relieve pain, acupuncture or neural therapy are necessary.
Change of milieu from the ordinary (stressful, urban, polluted) to a positive atmosphere dedicated to promoting health, with enthusiastic believers and promoters (including doctors), the stimulating atmosphere of an unspoiled, unpolluted natural rural environment in Sweden with no aeroplanes, noise, cars, are helpful. Also important is our health education and promotion program motivation by lectures and living examples.
In sum, then, this is our total therapy an attempt at holistic therapy. Generally speaking, I am not negative to conventional therapy, even if I am critical of indiscriminate radiation and chemotherapy, but I think that conventional therapy alone is not sufficient; it has to be supplemented with several biological methods and that is what we are doing. We are trying to activate the healing forces of the patient, to support the health-promoting endeavors of the cancer victim. We try to give them tools to work with around their disease and to give them all possible support in order to recover and survive! But it is not only the question of survival we have to die sooner or later. There is also the question of quality of life and growing mental awareness. Even if we cannot cure cancer patients, we can always improve the quality of life. We can make life at least somewhat easier to live, alleviate severe pain, and give our humane support and empathy. If aggressive treatment, such as cytostatics and radiation are necessary, and or already given, our therapy is of value anyhow. Iscador, for instance, may very well be combined with chemotherapy and radiation, and it apparently diminishes the severe toxic side effects of those treatments.
I do not think that our way and therapy is the only way; certainly much more could be done. But what we do provide is good, and almost all patients feel better and get into better shape after having been treated at our place. Many have survived and resumed a new quality of life and they are still our grateful and believing patients. Orthodox doctors, believing in our methods, come to us when they get cancer. We don’t maintain that you have to do all that we recommend. We say, try what you feel or what seems to be good for you. We do not advertise. We work on a non-profit basis.
I do not think that I, or we, have found the ultimate truth, we are continuing to search for it. In the meantime we are trying to do our best. What I think cancer patients and also other patients need is more natural science research. We also need more devoted doctors engaged in natural science research.
What we try to do is: not only treat the cancer and the tumor, but first of all to meet and treat the whole suffering human being.