Part TWO | Sickness in the Wellness Industry | Wellness Inc a time for Truth-Telling and Common Sense | Grace Gawler

If you had told me 30-40 years ago I would be spending most of my working life shepherding cancer patients back into mainstream medicine; I would have thought it a ludicrous idea. But – this is what I do. The movement that I was a part of from the 1970’s forward was inclusive of conventional medicine. It was about improving lifestyle, good nutrition, stress reduction and how to develop strategies that work whilst you had mainstream medical treatments. The work then was a value add to to the best conventional medicine available.

 Part Two: In this Easter edition of The Australian Weekend  Magazine, (available online by subscription or in the Magazine) Richard Guilliatt in his article Wellness Inc. takes us on a journey of reality into the current day wellness industry. You can also try the following link to read this story.

Investigative journalist Richard Guilliatt writes for the Australian Weekend Magazine - Wellness Inc
Investigative journalist Richard Guilliatt writes for the Australian Weekend Magazine – Wellness Inc

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/weekend-australian-magazine/belle-gibson-amanda-rootsey-jess-ainscough-and-others-fight-cancer-with-wellness/story-e6frg8h6-1227288347595

The Wellness Industry is laced with promises and certainty; New Age philosophies and platitudes. Which sounds lovely, but it is not a replacement for conventional medicine. Many young cancer entrepreneurs are following the premise popularized in the last decades–that the mind can change everything. Try focusing on a mole on your body for a day , week month or year and see what influence the mind can have? Let me know if it goes away because you asked it to!  You can change anything with your mind is a dangerous premise that has winded its way in the wellness movement. I have had patients who have believed implicitly in the power of the Course in Miracles and studied it intensely as the only treatment for breast cancer. Unfortunately like most patients who neglect medical treatment, they died due to painful, fungating tumours.

Then, there are young women who have had cancer and who claim to have had cancer.  One such newsworthy young woman Belle Gibson; who claimed to have had many cancers, when exposed now says she was misdiagnosed. In a strange way Belle has helped to lift the lid on the wellness industry that she desperately wanted to be a part of and is responsible for breaking the bubble of deception that cloaks the wellness movement.  All is not as it seems. The Wellness Industry is ill and for our physical and psychological wellbeing – we need to take a long hard look at the remedies.

If you had told me 30-40 years ago I would be spending most of my working life shepherding cancer patients back into mainstream medicine; I would have thought it a ludicrous idea. But – this is what I do. The movement that I was a part of from the 1970’s forward was inclusive of conventional medicine. It was about improving lifestyle, good nutrition, stress reduction and how to develop strategies that work  whilst you had mainstream medical treatments. The work then was a value add to to the best conventional medicine available.

Over the years the concept changed; influenced by idealism – not fact. Cancer patients were becoming vegan, raw vegan and juicing and green smoothies became fashionable, positive thinking, meditation, colonics and enemas were all geared at effecting the perfect remission from cancer as well as promises of “awesome wellness”.  Just when you think you have heard it all – “people are going bananas – literally!

Yes – you read correctly, people have started eating just one fruit, the return of the mono diet eg Freelee the Banana Girl http://abc.net.au/news/6360232 and then the banana runner who claims her diet and lifestyle influenced her cancer : Her book “Raw Can Cure Cancer” is a claim that must be substantiated along with her reported cancer-related medical history. If you feel tempted to try any of the whacky fad internet/book diets – Please take a look at the following site first – testimonials from folk who tried the whacky diets with dire consequences:   http://www.beyondveg.com/

Back to Richard Guilliatt’s article where he talks of young “life” coaches, meditation teachers and health and wellness bloggers within the Wellness mix. A harmless business? Far from it.

Keep your Fraud-o-meter active and Alert!
Keep your Fraud-o-meter active and Alert!

There are many more out there that would fit the bill for inclusion into Guilliatt’s news piece and no doubt there will be more revelations to come. Far from harmless; these sweet faced ill informed young women I’m sure, or at least I hope, have no idea of the influence and impact they are having on the lives of cancer patients. Their blogs tell similar stories; their cancer cure lifestyle changes sound so easy, so right and so non toxic; after all how can vitamins, attitudinal healing or a green smoothie harm anyone?

We live in times when anyone can make themselves famous without having earned their stripes, studied or even had a life long enough to be qualified to advise people what they should do with their lives.

If you are following or encouraging someone else to follow their unqualified information and lifestyle advice you will likely exacerbate illness. Their influence may even contribute to your death or the death of a loved one. If this occurs – will the blogger or author take responsibility for their poor advice? If this were your wife or husband or child or sibling – how would you feel? Cancer is complex. Conventional medicine doesn’t have all the answers either – but early diagnosis and early treatment by conventional medicine clearly leads to life extension across many cancers. This I know having seen tens of thousands of cancer patients in my 40 year career who recovered from cancer following the middle-path approach. Holistic medicine in order to be ‘whole’ must be inclusive of Conventional Medicine.

We Pied-Piper-of-Hamelinare now seeing hundreds of Wellness “Cancer-cure” bloggers who can appear to have knowledge merely because they have had or still have cancer. Walking experiments themselves, they advise with surety gathering followers along the path like in the fairytale – The Pied Piper of Hamelin

 Richard Guilliatt poses the question – What do these people have in common – they are young, new age, savvy with the internet and social media and they are a  part of dangerous sisterhood peddling unqualified natural living and “cure cancer” philosophies to the online masses.

The message is clear for anyone dealing with cancer – Buyer beware! Be careful from whom you are taking advice. Where cancer is concerned – never compromise on qualified advice.

A more senior element quoted by Gulliatt, an elder of TV fame who has influenced many cancer patients to take the road to healing Cancer with the now illegal Black Salve – Tony Barry is one of those all Australian ‘larger than life’ fellows that has appeared on our TV screens for decades. He promotes the use of black salve and although he continues to have melanomas that he treats with Black salve, he is still singing the praises of it’s success as a cancer cure. The fact that he has had a leg amputated due the advancement of his disease seems to pass by as it was written in to the last TV series  screened on ABC TV: The Time of Our Lives. As the character Ray – a car on a wheel jack drops on his leg – and as a part of the show – his leg is damaged and he undergoes an amputation.

As Richard Guilliatt reports, the real story is that a fungating tumour (melanoma) the size of a mandarin, burst through the skin on his leg. Surgeon’s accordingly amputated the leg. At that time in 2013, for 6 years the actor had refused surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Is the melanoma being held at bay by applying Black Salve which apparently he still uses? I don’t know what Tony Barry’s brand of melanoma is – but all cancers are different and by nature – some grow slowly.  Superficial spreading melanoma; the most common type can be slow growing.

Superficial spreading melanoma is a form of melanoma in which the malignant cells tend to stay within the tissue of origin, the epidermis, in an ‘in-situ’ phase for a prolonged period (months to decades). At first, superficial spreading melanoma grows horizontally on the skin surface – this is known as the radial growth phase. The lesion presents as a slowly-enlarging flat area of discoloured skin.

An unknown proportion of superficial spreading melanoma become invasive, i.e. the melanoma cells cross the basement membrane of the epidermis and malignant cells enter the dermis. A rapidly-growing nodular melanoma can arise within superficial spreading melanoma and start to proliferate more deeply within the skin.   SOURCE: http://www.dermnetnz.org/lesions/ssm.html

bullshitLike Jess Ainscough (Wellness Warrior) whose slow growing epitheloid sarcoma progressed at the expected rate – so too melanoma’s follow a similar pattern. I have been to too many “Black Salve” funerals – including naturopathic practitioners, naturopathic teachers and integrative doctors who succumbed to its undelivered promises.

I have always liked Tony Barry as an actor. People with such a public persona have a big influence on society. His position as narrator in the DVD One answer to Cancer has influenced perhaps millions of people to use Black salve on cancers. Some may be benign whilst others have the potential to spread into the lower layers of skin and through the lymphatics. In the public interest questions must be asked about the efficacy of this treatment (developed would you believe out out an early Medical technique – Moh’s chemosurgery!!)

It was disappointing and to me rather obnoxious; that when questioned about Black salve Tony Barry’s response was that his survival shows that the “cancer industry” doesn’t have all the answers. “People need to take control of their lives” he says “Because if you put it in the hands of these buggers  ( meaning the medical profession); their model isn’t based on wellness – it’s based on sickness.”

With regard to Tony Barry, Jess Ainscough and others – If people wish to experiment on themselves – well it is their right even if misinformed. But when they peddle their “cures’ to the masses while still a  walking experiment themselves –  that I have a problem.

When the surgeon who amputated Tony Barry’s leg below the knee read the Weekend Australian Magazine, he must have sat down shaking his head in disgust! Another doctor whom I know who featured in the DVD One Answer to Cancer lost his life to a brain tumour refusing conventional treatment with a belief that natural medicine would cure him. One answer to cancer doesn’t seem to have the answers to cancer.

Resources:

Read about the real origins of Black Salve  here on this blog site:

http://gracegawlermedia.com/2014/04/12/black-salveholistic-or-hole-istic-naturopathic-medicine-was-never-meant-to-do-this-grace-gawler/

https://www.tga.gov.au/community-qa/black-salve-red-salve-and-cansema

Weekend Australian:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/weekend-australian-magazine/belle-gibson-amanda-rootsey-jess-ainscough-and-others-fight-cancer-with-wellness/story-e6frg8h6-1227288347595

If Ian Gawler did it then I can do it too | The Painful Unraveling of False Cancer Cure Claims

“If Ian Gawler did it, then I can do it too” is a worrying phrase; yet it is almost an expected mantra from patients who pursue the alternate cancer path or who have read You Can Conquer Cancer and consider taking the same approach.

Part 1:  “If Ian Gawler did it, then I can do it too” is a worrying phrase; yet it is almost an expected mantra from patients who pursue the alternate cancer path or who have read You Can Conquer Cancer and consider taking the same approach.

As someone who was personally involved in the Gawler recovery story from the very beginning; I consider I have a Duty of Care to patients and the community at large to keep on telling the story in context and correct the many errors and omissions made over the years in reporting it; even in medical journals! Being an advocate for patient rights and speaking the truth has come at great personal cost. It is also unfortunate that the young people who have been swayed by the natural cancer cure meme have paid a greater cost – they have paid with their lives.

The Ian Gawler cancer remission phenomenon is very much related to what has been happening in the Cancer “cure” news since my last blog on Survivorship where I discussed Jess Ainscough – alias The Wellness Warrior who recently died from her advanced cancer. A passionate follower of the modern Gerson Diet regimen – Jess was perhaps too young and easily influenced in her choices by elders in the “cancer movement” who should have known better. The best advice would be if you want to follow the Gerson Diet, do it in combination with the best medical treatment you can find!

Just as quickly as Social media viraling took patients like Jess to Facebook/internet fame – the materials and links associated with her Gerson diet cancer cure, have disappeared at the same light speed. I have just tried to download links to the following at: http://iangawler.com/youtube.html “A young person’s perspective- Interview with Ian Gawler by Jess Ainscough – Wellness Warrior: Jess chats on Skype with Ian informally about his experience with recovery and what was most important.” But – it has been taken down. The same of http://www.jessainscough.com/2013/03/healthtalks-speaking-at-ian-gawlers-surviving-cancer-event/ To read the actual PDF that has been removed: Select the following: JESS ainscough Gawler healthtalks

As you will read further in this blog, the same is happening with Belle Gibson Whole Pantry developer who claims she has had various cancers and, as a fundraiser, was supposed to donate large funds from her work to charity. Now the media has investigated her cancer claims – most of Belle Gibson’s 2010 – 2012 blogs are no longer available and a more in depth investigation is now underway.

Lantern Publishing stated that they published Belle Gibson’s recipe book in good faith without fact checking. For your interest, our own Grace Gawler Institute research into authors of natural cancer cure claims resulted in NOT ONE author who was able to substantiate their claims that they actually had cancer- although their books are written on how they recovered from it.  Astoundingly, no one could produce medical proof of diagnosis. There were a few others who claimed they had a natural cancer cure – but when there cases were examined  they had received medical treatments that they discounted as being helpful.

Maybe the dawn of ethics is upon us as we uncover the hidden truths about these people. Just check out the Lance Armstrong story to get a handle on that! Before publishing or promoting “stories” the media and book publishers surely have a duty to ensure that the “True Stories” they are publishing are indeed “true”.

Personally, despite the hype; in 40 years I have not seen the Gerson diet benefit cancer patients nor have I seen it create the remissions that are talked about and promoted. From personal experience; the Regimen is far too rigid and contains too many juices – I mean really; think about it –  is it natural to consume up to 9kg of vegetables in one day – juiced or otherwise?

Here is a brief summary of the story:
Early in Ian Gawler’s cancer diagnosis when it seemed that hope for his survival was exhausted; both he and I travelled the Gerson Diet path. I need to be clear that we did so because there was NO medical treatment on offer, so it wasn’t as if we had to choose one or the other……there was no other to choose from. It concerns me greatly that today cancer patients choose the Gerson Diet  INSTEAD of scientifically-based medicine.

My experience of The Gerson diet is best described in my Memoir Grace Grit and Gratitude: Contact me via the contact page and I will send you 2 free chapter downloads on this topic. We put a lot of effort into the Gerson Diet but Ian had a poor result. As Ian’s sole carer/girlfriend, at 21 years of age, it became my responsibility to organise the food and juices for him as he was too ill. It was the most stressful period of my life!

You can conquer cancer new edition
Me – Grace Gawler – disappointed with the new edition of You Can Conquer Cancer

As we progressed with the Gerson Diet and intensive Meditation that he practised according to the Meares method; his deterioration accelerated. He became bedridden. His weight peeled off day after day.  He experienced colic and severe pain with his condition deteriorating to such an extent that he was given a prognosis of 6 weeks. However, was his massive weight loss associated with his cancer? No: in reality it was a result of the Gerson Diet. We ceased the diet and over the coming months he gained weight although unknown to us at the time; he was carrying perhaps a far more silent and lethal killer than bone cancer; a condition that was to remain undiagnosed for the next 2.5 years!

To complicate things even further throughout the time of the Gerson Diet; there were other symptoms that were unaccounted for; massive night sweats, a productive cough and back pain, hydronephrosis; symptoms that were not medically related to Ian’s bone cancer. The fact is that Ian’s bone cancer diagnosis in 1975, proven by biopsy is likely unrelated to the development of the calcified masses in his groin, lung and on his chest that at the time were thought to be metastatic cancer.

Turn the clock forward to 2010, when two oncologists read my Correction of errors letter published in the MJA (Medical Journal of Australia). Once they knew there had been no biopsy for what was thought to be secondary cancer; the real diagnosis came to light. Amidst threats and controversy they eventually published their significant findings in the IMJ HAINES AND LOWENTHAL (2). What were the bony masses? They were calcified abscesses from Tuberculosis. The original TB remained undiagnosed for some time. The calcified abscesses were eventually dissolved by the body and the TB moved into his bones where it was diagnosed in 1978 and treated with conventional medicine.

I refer you to “Ian Gawler Cancer?” on the menu of this blog.

What really concerns me; I meet a lot a patients like Jess Ainscough who come to my practice with  the most horrendous of cancer conditions – mostly with weeping and  fungating tumours but also people ravaged by advanced cancer internally who have followed Gerson or similar to the exclusion of medical treatment.  Often they find me because of my “Gawler” name which I have kept intentionally to help put right the misconceptions about Ian Gawler’s recovery story. Because like Jess Ainscough they too believed they would be cured. They inevitably all say: “If Ian Gawler did it, then I can do it too!”

Moving on from Jess – yet another cancer entrepreneur hits the spotlight today and yesterday: Today’s Australian newspaper has a front page article about Belle Gibson titled: “Mega-Blogger casts doubt on Cancer Claim” by Richard Guilliatt: “A MELBOURNE social media entrepreneur Belle Gibson, whose story of miraculous survival from terminal cancer helped launch a global “health and wellness” business, has admitted that her claim of suffering multiple life-threatening cancers may be false”.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mega-blogger-belle-gibson-casts-doubt-on-her-own-cancer-claims/story-e6frg8zx-1227255933051

And…..Yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald also had an article – but the emphasis was different with funds to Charities not delivered by Bell Gibson:

http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/charity-money-promised-by-inspirational-health-app-developer-belle-gibson-not-handed-over-20150308-13xgqk.html

In recent times social media has played a pivotal role in the promotion of non proven cancer “cure” cases. It has become a breeding ground for spreading false stories and raising funds. It makes it challenging for genuine people seeking funding for cancer treatment. How does one separate the wheat from the chaff?  You need to use critical thinking skills and ask trusted sources. You might not always like what you hear. It’s hard to believe that people cheat, lie, fabricate, self delude, deceive through omission etc when it comes to cancer – but they do and it is not new! They used to be called Snake oil salesmen and saleswomen.

The recent exposure of deception and fraud in natural cancer medicine serves an important community lesson – buyer Beware!

Other Links of Interest:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/first-wife-disputes-cancer-guru-ian-gawlers-survival-story/story-e6frg8y6-1225935666765

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/too-good-to-be-true-20120420-1xcgn.html

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-advocates-of-alternative-therapies-are-gambling-with-patients-lives/story-fnihsr9v-1227252912780

Take care and be safe with your one precious life!

Grace