Helping Patients Navigate the complex maze of claims of dietary cures for cancer

Whether or not you have cancer and searching for the diet that promises cure or if you are trying to be healthy and avoid cancer; there is one question that needs to be asked: Are You confused?

FAdDiet-BAd-DietWhether or not you have cancer and searching for the diet that promises cure or if you are trying to be healthy and avoid cancer;  there is one question that needs to be asked: Are You confused?

If you have answered YES – then you may be on the road to discovery by reassessing the loads of misinformation written and spoken about diet and cancer cures. Over 40 years in cancer medicine – I have seen most fads and “cancer cure diets”. Longevity in the field is a wonderful teacher as you have the luxury of seeing repetition over the years. What works and what doesn’t work!

I see “cancer cure diets” recycled each decade to a new group of enthusiasts who promote the very things that did not work back then but, they don’t know that and so they regurgitate the information to a new group of desperate patients seeking a cure. The newbie enthusiasts believe the old and tired hype and try to make it new and sexy. But as they say You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear!

So, if you are confused, I encourage you to develop your critical thinking skills and question the different ways that are promoted to help you beat cancer and especially to beat cancer naturally with diet and without the help of modern medicine. Most cancer patients believe that with a diet change you can do no harm; but they could not be more wrong!

All things in Balance - So important when dealing with cancer
All things in Balance – So important when dealing with cancer

 The list of “healthy diet health issues” is long…but perhaps the most recent destructive dietary change for cancer patients is the Vegan diet. Regularly in my practice I see patients who have lost 10-20 kg plus following a vegan diet because they went to a workshop program, read it in a book or found it on Dr Google. They have applied a one size fits all approach to their diet, not personalized. When we measure their blood – we find severe deficiencies in critical areas including immunity and vitamin B12 to name a few – the complete opposite of their goal- but often we also find dangerous levels of selenium, zinc, Vit D & A as they have tried to use supplements to adjust for dietary lack. Faecal retention and constipation is common on low fibre diets.

The natural therapies movement has convinced patients that their bodies can no longer be trusted to function and that they are toxic and must detox from very pore and orifice. As well they must do the same with their “emotional baggage”if they want to recover from cancer! This is a sad indictment of a supposedly health promoting profession.

Apart from diets where Juicing reigns supreme with 8- 10 juices a day; vegan and raw vegan seem to create the most most destructive side effects for cancer patients. Many patients who have written blogs and books on the subject have sadly died following the wrong dietary advice. Yes – patients die from cancer too….but in my experience those who engage in the fad cancer cure diets do far worse than those who just have medical treatment.

I was in a local Homestyle-Kitchen store recently and on the shelf I discovered several new copies of Jess Ainscough’s (Wellness Warrior’s) book – “Make Peace with your Plate”.  It is well documented – Jess and her mother both died by adhering to their singular dietary cure for cancer. The store concerned was not interested to know that Jess had died as a result of her choices.

If patients have delayed treatment or delayed seeking a proper diagnosis – the consequences can be horrendous. SEE Delayed treatment World Journal of Psycho warning graphic image in this Journal article.

One question to ask yourself is “Do I have time to experiment with this one one precious life?” All that myself and my colleagues can do is keep on educating cancer patients – but sadly by the time some patients visit – there is little than can be achieved.

A recent paper published in the MJA by Professor Ian Haines takes a look at this issue from the perspective of the oncologist. The paper is written to assist oncologists to develop better communication with patients who take the this  alt-med-dietary path to cancer recovery.

Resources – please pass on:

  1. See Prof Haines’ paper at: https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2015/203/4/negotiating-complex-maze-claims-dietary-cures-cancer   Also download the PDF version: ian haines mja aug 2015
  2. Visit my podcast website to hear my interview on BBC Bristol UK: http://www.navigatingthecancermazeaustralia.org/grace-gawler-bbc-interview-the-role-of-mind-body-medicine-in-recovery/
  3. http://www.gracegawlerinstitute.com/alternative-medicine-rescue/

Cancer Patients: If you need assistance with personalizing your diet or if you help due to delayed diagnosis – please contact me via the Contact page

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

So – where are we at as cancer myth after cancer myth is dismantled and shattered. As Phillip Adams points out in his interview with the Australian newspaper’s Richard Guilliatt last Thursday night on Radio National “Late night Live”; the Wellness industry is well overdue for a makeover. Watch for Richard Guilliatt’s article in today’s weekend Australian newspaper magazine….” Wellness Inc”.

Part ONE: At the beginning of the wellness industry birthed during the 1970’s, one could not have foreseen the journey that lay ahead. Born during the freedom movement alongside the emerging hippie culture; the wellness movement had all the potentials to supersede the medical culture of the time that appeared to be struggling in one particular area – cancer treatment. At that time chemotherapy was crude as was radiation and surgery when compared to today’s medicine.

Me on my wedding day February 1976 when Ian Gawler was given 6 weeks life expectancy.
Me on my wedding day February 1976 when Ian Gawler was given a 6 week prognosis after Gerson diet and intensive meditation failed to impact his illness. TB or Cancer?

Diagnostic equipment was also basic; in particular those affected by cancer were looking for a new way forward. Others who had no apparent mainstream medical treatment options during the 1970’s, were willing to try whatever might help.   As mentioned by Richard Guilliatt in his interview with Phillip Adams; the history of Ian Gawler’s disease and highly likely misdiagnosis of secondary cancer, has been crucial to the birthing of the Wellness Movement both in the 70’s and today in 2015.

Listen now to the interview – live streaming on Radio National:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/the-wellness-industry/6367962

As we know, history and details often become confused as time goes by. At the end of 1975 Ian Gawler and myself were in a situation where there was no treatment on offer for him. Having had his left leg amputated a year prior in Jan 1974; what was thought to be development of a secondary cancer in November 1975; was not thoroughly investigated.  If the new bony lump in his groin was a metastasis of the original osteogenic sarcoma then according to his doctors, medical treatment was futile apart from some radiation therapy. The path and behaviour of this bony lump and other lumps that were to follow; with retrospective knowledge; were atypical of metastatic osteogenic sarcoma. The mere fact of his recovery should have demanded rigorous investigation and research when his “remission” was declared – but it did not! The story grew and morphed and has even been misreported in credible medical Journals.

The story of the man who cured himself of metastatic osteogenic sarcoma became famous worldwide – the story was largely anecdotal, complex and difficult to track over the years – this is how myth and folklore is born and how others are influenced to follow.

Here is what happened on The Gerson Diet & intensive meditation 1975-76:

After 3 months on the Gerson Therapy concurrent with intensive meditation sessions with the late Ainslie Meares; there was massive deterioration in Ian’s condition.

The Gerson Diet caused massive weight loss aided by horrendous night sweats and then immobility due to pain from nerve compression in the spinal column (caused by the rapid weight loss). Clearly, two of the mainstays diet and meditation that have been promoted as pivotal in “curing” Ian’s cancer; failed at the critical time when a solution was needed the most!  Yet somehow, the new breed of young 2015 Cancer Warriors and social media/internet entrepreneurs were under a misapprehension regarding the actual events of Ian Gawler’s recovery that took place between November 1975 and June 1978. Many have since built both lucrative businesses whilst jeopardizing their lives – based on incorrect information. The late Jess Aincough (Wellness Warrior) was quoted as saying at the Gawler Foundation’s Survivors Conference “If Ian Gawler did it – then I can do it too”. DOWNLOAD  JESS ainscough Gawler healthtalks

Gerson’s therapy appeared to have some scientific Basis – however in later years I read some of the early Gerson Material – A summary is included here: The claims for Cure being quite different that what is commonly thought of Max Gerson’s Diet and Research: pdf link included below

original MAX GERSON DIET SUMMARY gawler

So – where are we at as cancer myth after cancer myth is dismantled and shattered. As Phillip Adams points out in his interview with the Australian newspaper’s Richard Guilliatt last Thursday night on  Radio National “Late night Live”; the Wellness industry is well overdue for a makeover. Watch for Richard Guilliatt’s article in today’s weekend Australian newspaper magazine….” Wellness Inc”.

To listen to the interview select the audio file below.

OR go to the page at Radio National:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/the-wellness-industry/6367962

DOWNLOAD ORIGINAL MAX GERSON RESEARCH INFO Gerson JOURNAL DietaryConsiderations

Grace Gawler Learning the Art of Survivorship | How to Navigate the Cancer Maze

The cancer journey begins with one step – diagnosis. Learn how to walk the path to Survivorship. Remember that there is no substitute for early diagnosis and intervention in Survivorship. The aim of today’s Navigating the Cancer Maze internet radio show is to help you find a path through the cancer maze by learning how to become an exceptional patient with the possibility of living through and beyond cancer.

The cancer journey begins with one step – diagnosis. Learn how to walk the path to Survivorship. Remember that there is no substitute for early diagnosis and intervention in Survivorship. The aim of today’s Navigating the Cancer Maze internet radio show is to help you find a path through the cancer maze by learning how to become an exceptional patient with the possibility of living through and beyond cancer. Like many of life’s major crisis events; cancer is a daunting prosjourney of a thousand miles begins with one small steppect. In order to survive and thrive; a cancer diagnosis requires you to learn & develop a new skill set; a new way of prioritizing self, time to deal with the trauma of diagnosis and what it might mean for you in terms of accepting change, being adaptable and flexible. Decisions can feel overwhelming because your life depends upon those decisions & the consequences of making them.
There is an immediate need to focus, plan, question, set goals, prepare for setbacks etc.

Whether or not you are first time cancer patient or dealing with a second or third recurrence, if you have been battling on your own – there can still be much to learn.

Find an experienced cancer navigator to help you along the way.

Be effectively  case managed and take the extra stress out of cancer.

FREE chapter download: As mentioned on today Navigating the Cancer Maze.
The Three Essential Stages of healing:  Select URL below for PDF
Insights of a Survivor who has known Survivors as mentioned on today Navigating the Cancer Maze internet radio.

Defining Survivorship
Surviving cancer or “survivorship” can be defined in different ways. Two common definitions include:
• Being disease-free after the completion of treatment,
• Living with, through, and beyond cancer includes people who continue to have treatments to either reduce risk of recurrence or to manage chronic disease. By this definition, cancer Survivorship begins at diagnosis and survivorship is a state that continues throughout your life.
• Bernie Siegel described this group as EXCEPTIONAL Cancer Patients.

Because we are talking about the precious lives of cancer patients – as a part of today’s subject, I hasten to add here that it is important for those interested in surviving cancer that I discuss where NOT to put your energy if you want to be a survivor. Yes modern medicine is not perfect – but it is the best we have and it it is improving all the time.

If you are seeking Survivorship through and beyond cancer – please use every means possible from the best that conventional medicine has to offer in combination with the best of scientific complementary medicine and complementary therapies.

baby-bathwaterPlease “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”! Conventional medicine is a gift. Cancer is tricky – you can’t outsmart it with juices, meditation and positive thinking. How “you be” with a cancer diagnosis – i.e. – your attitude, strategies, will to live and will to heal – contribute tremendously – but you need to partner with the best that conventional medicine has to offer. If cancer patients understood the scientific basis of cancer – how it behaves and operates for it’s own survival; different choices might be made- conquering cancer is not that simple!

 I must mention Jess Ainscough here because of the influence she has had on cancer patients young and old in terms of promoting one type of Survivorship approach. Surviving through and beyond cancer is not the simple 123 steps that entrepreneurs such as Jess promoted.

Cancer entrepreneurs like Jessica Ainscough AKA The Wellness Warrior has influenced thousands, maybe millions to take the alternative path to cancer healing. Sadly it all went wrong for her mother who had breast cancer. She died last year. Jess remained struggling with advancing fungating cancer until this week when she died from her epitheloid sarcoma. Sadly I see patients like Jess every week. I conduct an Alt med cancer rescue practice with my Specialist GP colleague Dr Whelan. We see so many scales-of-justicepatients influenced to take the natural path to cancer recovery – influenced by Dr Google and the plethora of misleading books by cancer entrepreneurs.

Jess became a crusader for the Gerson diet and might I add, was also influenced by my ex-husbands ‘cancer recovery’ story. During the past few years his story has been challenged by myself and more recently; by two Melbourne oncologists who published their findings in the internal Medicine Journal. Once they discovered there was no biopsy performed for Ian’s condition at the time which was thought to be secondary bone cancer they began an independent investigation into why he recovered. In 1978, here was no other explanation offered and to all and sundry it appeared as though the impossible had been achieved – a full remission from metastatic osteogenic sarcoma. However with a thorough review and missing pieces of the Gawler healing puzzle put in place – a new diagnosis was suggested.  IMJ HAINES AND LOWENTHAL

Jess Ainscough’s approach to her cancer was clearly influenced by Ian Gawler’s recovery, the diagnosis which was highly likely to have been advanced TB with calcified abscesses – not metastatic bone cancer as had been reported over the decades. (see the menu for more on this subject).

The late Jess Ainscough wellness warrior gawler gerson
The late Jess Ainscough wellness warrior

 Importantly –  If that is so – then the basic premise and promise upon which Jess Aincough based her recovery from cancer plan was false. Jess was quoted as saying: ” Ian Gawler was diagnosed with bone cancer and had his right leg was amputated in 1975. However, the disease recurred later that year and began ravaging his body. Ian’s story of recovery, employing an integrated approach driven predominantly by dedicated meditation, is truly remarkable. It was my anchor to a future the doctors had pretty much ruled me out of having. I thought, If Ian can do it, so can I. His book, You Can Conquer Cancer, was my Bible”. Source:  JESS ainscough Gawler healthtalks;

Clearly patients like Jess are looking for options and they will often choose the seemingly softer options that the one size fits all alternative approach offers. Cancer education is imperative and sadly lacking in the patient world. Cancer is not a generic disease that can be simplistically tackled with food and copious juices. I think this is a very sad indictment of what true Survivorship is really all about. Like many of the patients I see in my practice, Jess Ainscough only embraced conventional medicine when the path she had followed failed her.
It is my hope that Jess Ainscough’s story and life serves as a teaching story for all who want to walk the path to cancer Survivorship – please use critical thinking to assess information on the internet and consider a best of both worlds approach for best outcome.

More on Wellness Warrior: ORAC ( Oncology surgeon) – Science based Medicine Below:
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/12/16/jess-ainscough-finally-admits-her-condition-is-deteriorating/

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/10/17/sharyn-ainscough-dies-tragically-because-she-followed-the-example-of-her-daughter-the-wellness-warrior/#comment-297256

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/02/27/the-wellness-warrior-jess-ainscough-has-passed-away/

The following Survivorship links will be helpful:

 http://www.cancerbridges.ca/

http://www.amazon.com/Survivorship-Living-During-After-Cancer/dp/1938170350

SURVIVOR TRAINING COURSE: Queensland

http://www.gracegawlerinstitute.com/survivor-training/

Listen to Navigating the Cancer Maze – Today’s show.
http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/83721/learning-the-art-of-survivorship-how-to-navigate-the-cancer-maze

Until next time – Be safe in your choices – cancer is a tough opponent- choose your course wisely!

Grace

The Dangers of Meditation. Advice for Meditators. An interview with Leigh Brasington by Willoughby Britton.

Meditation can open a can of worms in our psychology. This is a surprise to many people. I have often asked my self the same question that is explored in the first paragraph of this blog. For people who are dealing with illness, such as cancer; care must be taken whilst developing a practice that will assist and not detract from their recovery. Many people around the Globe are turning toward Buddhist practices of meditation. This excellent blog brings to light something that is little discussed in meditation circles – the dangers and issues that can be associated with meditation.

Meditation can open a can of worms in our psychology. This is a surprise to many people. I have often asked my self the same mindfulnessquestion that is explored in the first paragraph of this blog (see below).

For people who are dealing with illness, such as cancer; care must be taken whilst developing a practice that will assist and not detract from their recovery.

Many people around the Globe are turning toward Buddhist practices of meditation.

This excellent blog brings to light something that is little discussed in meditation circles – the dangers and issues that can be associated with meditation. I also suggest that you read http://youreternalself.com/meditation.htm