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

Belle Gibson cancer entrepreneur | “I would say that it was more of a misdiagnosis than completely fictional.”Grace Gawler

My internet Radio show from the Voice America network; I encored a very relevant interview with Dr Julie Crews – who takes an investigative look through the magnifying glass to examine new scales-of-justicetrends in cancer entrepreneurship where patients who are either still in recovery themselves or who claim they have beaten the odds without medical evidence, are influencing the treatment choices of millions of other cancer patients around the globe.

On Today’s Navigating the Cancer Maze – My internet Radio show from the Voice America network; I encored a very relevant interview with Dr Julie Crews – who takes an investigative look through the magnifying glass to examine new scales-of-justicetrends in cancer entrepreneurship where patients who are either still in recovery themselves or who claim they have beaten the odds without medical evidence, are influencing the treatment choices of millions of other cancer patients around the globe. Another group of patients influencing choices are those who have had adequate medical treatment for their cancer, but then champion their ‘cure’ to the use of dietary regimens, alternative medicine, meditation and other healing forms.This was recorded last year – but is very relevant in Today’s Media.

To listen to the interview – select the URL:
http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/84053/special-encore-presentation-navigating-the-cancer-maze-with-dr-julie-crews-why-we-need-to-search-for

Please see also the following link from Today’s Australian re Belle Gibson – written by Richard Guilliatt. This is a brilliant article that points out all the warning signs when examining anyone promoting a natural cancer cure.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/a-healthy-dose-of-scepticism-about-belle-gibson/story-e6frg6zo-1227261880798

Note- You may have to subscribe a fee to view the above article online – or purchase today Australian Newspaper to read.

What Questions should the Cancer consumer be asking and why? What action can you take.
1. The first question is for consumers to carefully look at what the person is saying and promoting – look at the language the person is using and the claims they are making – a big one is they put down their cancer as a lesson….the fact is cancer does not discriminate. It affects good people who live healthy lives – It can affect anyone.
2. What is the background of the person(s) offering the cure-all?? Qualifications? Institutions?
3. If a person is claiming to have cured their cancer naturally, ask to see their medical records from diagnosis to recovery – remission. Ask to see medical verification. After all “Exceptional Claims require exceptional evidence” said Carl Sagan. Anecdotes and stories should not too be mistaken for truth.
4. If I follow this person’s advice – will they have any responsibility regrading my outcome? As happens in the medical profession or other qualified professional health fields- Will their insurance cover me in case of failure? (Not likely)!
3. If they are promoting products which cost money, are they receiving a ‘kickback’ or indeed do they have shares in the company?
4. What do they do when people ask questions and it challenges things they may promote? The more they have invested in the promotion the more they have to lose and will fight very hard to discredit anyone who may disagree with them.
5. Check out what they do if someone posts something that doesn’t maintain the image they are promoting!
6. Email them and ask questions and see what responses you get.
7. If they do speak of ‘medical’ doctors, they may use terms like ‘intuitive practitioner’ ‘integrative practitioner’ – the thing is, you only get THEIR version of their disease – it could be wrong…… and often is!

More in next blog

Cheers

Grace

Black Salve|Holistic or Hole-istic? – Naturopathic Medicine was Never Meant to do This! Grace Gawler

In the Australian Media this week, Medical Reporter Julia Medew writes: A 55-year-old man recently presented to a Brisbane hospital with a black hole in his temple after applying an unproven alternative medicine known as “black salve” to a lesion on his face, which he believed was cancerous. I discussed this media piece and so called remedy in my last segment of Navigating the Cancer Maze on Voice America today.

Holistic or Hole-istic? – Naturopathic Medicine was Never Meant to do This!

In the Australian Media this week, Medical Reporter Julia Medew writes: A 55-year-old man recently presented to a Brisbane hospital with a black hole in his temple after applying an unproven alternative medicine known as “black salve” to a lesion on his face, which he believed was cancerous. I discussed this media piece and so called remedy in my last segment of Navigating the Cancer Maze on Voice America today.

BLACK SALVE
Results of Using Black Salve

Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia, doctors from the Princess Alexandra Hospital said the man had been applying the unlicensed product, which is sold online as an alternative skin cancer treatment, to his face for four months.

The doctors, Natalie Ong, Eric Sham and Brandon Adams, said black salve preparations often contained an alkaloid derived from bloodroot and zinc chloride which could both eat away at tissue, leading to significant scarring and disfigurement. “In the absence of a biopsy, some patients may commence alternative treatment before attaining a diagnosis of skin cancer, and a very real risk of recurrence and metastasis (cancer spreading) remains….

Having worked with cancer patients for most of my naturopathic life; I am well aware of the nature of cancer and the inherent dangers in applying Black Salve to human or animal tissues. Far too many times I have seen first hand the destruction caused by this so called natural remedy.

( Folks there is nothing natural about zinc chloride which is often compounded with Bloodroot to create the paste – that is recommended to be applied to many different types of skin lesions). Zinc Chloride is an escharotic and tissue fixative; not to messed with! It is claimed by proponents that “the cancer salve made from zinc Chloride and Bloodroot is safe and effective, and has never harmed anyone, in thousands of years of use”.

The photograph above is just one small example of the damage I have seen from applying this paste. Cancer patients have used it on breast tumors, all kinds of skin tumors malignant and benign. One client used it on her genital area for an SCC ( squamous cell carcinoma)! The erosion and pain was horrendous. My own patient records with photographs of tissue damage are vile viewing. Many melanoma patients are delaying treatment  due to this remedy and their belief in it to “cure cancer”. Professor Dr Alexander Herzog, Germany keeps a photo album of the black salve disasters he has to try to repair when it all goes belly-up for patients. Gaping holes in breast tissue, some  large enough to insert a fist are displayed page after page…and then there is the mother who applied the Black Salve paste to a  melanoma located on her son’s skull. She used the paste for 6 months – you could see his brain through the hole! Professor Herzog says he cant understand why cancer patients are using this paste.

The whole history of  Moh’s chemo-surgery – margin controlled microscopic surgery using zinc Chloride – an interesting read.

http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/mohs-surgery/evolution-of-mohs

What is about this preparation that gives it allure? Is it the mystique of purported native American history? Is it the supposed safety level that is claimed? Is it because a former Hollywood movie star has promoted it?  Is it because we hate science and love cottage medicines?

Scab created by black salve
Scab created by black salve

The allure has even defied logic as many of Naturopathic friends, not only cancer patients believed in the salve to the extent that the paste “got it all” only to die from their metastatic melanoma and squamous cell carcinomas. Why is it that even bringing science and logic to this preparation will generate hate mail?

Personally I am tired of attending Black Salve funerals. I am glad it is banned in Australia however you can find it all around the internet still and even in the back end under the counter of some health food stores! My best advice – DON’T GO THERE! First and foremost – Find out what you are dealing with before embarking upon any treatment and please realize that this can be a sinister remedy with associated complications that make chemotherapy side effects look like a walk in the park!

In 2012, the Therapeutic Goods Administration warned people to avoid black salve, which is also known as red salve, Cansema, or Bloodroot.

More coming soon about discussions from today’s Navigating the Cancer Maze on Voice America- please visit again……

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Dr Julie Crews| Why We Need to Search for the Truth in Cancer Cure Stories on Navigating the Cancer Maze Radio

The search for truth in healing stories is imperative for patients whose lives really depend upon it. Diagnosis cancer! It may be you or your husband or wife or father or mother. It may be your children or friends. People who are near and dear to you. When it comes to a diagnosis of cancer, the stakes are particularly high. So – the question is straightforward really – Do we want to be told lies or truth?

This year marks my 40 years working with cancer patients.The search for truth in healing stories is imperative for patients whose lives really depend upon it. Diagnosis cancer! It may be you or your husband or wife or father or mother. It may be your children or friends. People who are near and dear to you.  When it comes to a diagnosis of cancer, the stakes are particularly high. So – the question is straightforward really – Do we want to be told lies or truth?

If asked about buying a product in a store – do we accept being lied to about its efficacy? No – most of us would be angry, depending on the cost of the product we might feel so cheated , we make a complaint to the Australian Consumer watchdog, the ACCC  for making claims that are untrue….that is the product did not live up to its claims as advertised and the expectations of the purchaser.

Well the equivalent is happening right under our noses with  society’s most highly vulnerable group of people – cancer patients!

Dr Julie Crews PhD
Dr Julie Crews PhD- Searching for truth in cancer healing stories.

As the groundswell of would-be cancer entrepreneurs & patient experts claiming “I cured myself Naturally from Cancer”  gains the momentum of  a tsunami, one Western Australian woman, DR JULIE CREWS, a doctor of Business Ethics, is questioning why so many people have jumped on the ‘cure-all bandwagon’ to earn their living and why it has been allowed to go unchecked and under the radar for so long.

On today’s Voice America Radio show “Navigating the Cancer Maze, Dr Julie Crews takes an investigative look through the magnifying glass to examine new trends in cancer entrepreneurship where patients who are either still in recovery themselves or who claim they have beaten the odds without medical evidence, are influencing the treatment choices of millions of other cancer patients around the globe. Another group of patients influencing choices are those who have had adequate medical treatment for their cancer, but then champion their ‘cure’ to the use of dietary regimens, alternative medicine, meditation and other healing forms.

Authentic hope is a powerful ally, but false hope as a recent article published in the West Australian suggests, provides More Hype than Hope by CATHY O’LEARY, MEDICAL EDITOR  February 22, 2014 Dr Crews contributed to that media piece. Select the following link to read article.
MORE HYPE THAN HOPE THE WEST AUSTRALIAN DR JULIE CREWS

THE FOLLOWING IS SUMMARY OF DR CREWS TIPS as hear on Voice America’s Navigating the Cancer Maze today.

What Questions should the Cancer consumer be asking and why? What action can you take.

1. The first question is for consumers to carefully look at what the person is saying and promoting – look at the language the person is using and the claims they are making – a big one is they put down their cancer as a lesson….the fact is cancer does not discriminate. It affects good people who live healthy lives – It can affect anyone.

2. What is the background of the person(s) offering the cure-all?? Qualifications? Institutions?

3. If a person is claiming to have cured their cancer naturally, ask to see their medical records from diagnosis to recovery – remission. Ask to see medical verification. After all “Exceptional Claims require exceptional evidence” said Carl Sagan. Anecdotes and stories should not too be mistaken for truth.

4. If I follow this person’s advice – will they have any responsibility regrading my outcome? As happens in the medical profession or other qualified professional health fields- Will their insurance cover me in case of failure? (Not likely)!

3. If they are promoting products which cost money, are they receiving a ‘kickback’ or indeed do they have shares in the company?

4. What do they do when people ask questions and it challenges things they may promote? The more they have invested in the promotion the more they have to lose and will fight very hard to discredit anyone who may disagree with them.

5. Check out what they do if someone posts something that doesn’t maintain the image they are promoting!

6. Email them and ask questions and see what responses you get.

7. If they do speak of ‘medical’ doctors, they may use terms like ‘intuitive practitioner’ ‘integrative practitioner’ – the thing is, you only get THEIR version of their disease – it could be wrong…… and often is.
More soon on this important topic…..

Please listen in to this interview or download for later at Voice America:
http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/76576/navigating-the-cancer-maze-with-dr-julie-crews-why-we-need-to-search-for-the-truth-in-cancer-cure

Other Blogs of interest in the news about this topic: In particular a young woman who calls herself the wellness warrior. The following is some intelligent debate on this topic. Jessica Ainscough went public about her quest to cure her cancer. See the Australian: Title “Holding out for a Miracle ” Richard Gulliatt.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/editors-letter-cancer-miracles/story-e6frg8h6-1226489003339#

2014/02/21/the-wellness-warrior-denial-delusion-or-dishonesty/

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

http://rosaliehilleman.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/the-wellness-warrior-denial-delusion-or-dishonesty/

TB or not TB? A second opinion on Ian Gawler’s cancer ‘cure’

TB or not TB? A second opinion on Ian Gawler’s cancer ‘cure’

Today Tonight segment; Cancer ‘guru’ miracle worker?

It is hard to believe that one year on from http://www.smh.com.au/national/cancer-experts-challenge-gawlers-cure-20111230-1pfns.html that Channel 7’s Today Tonight (TT) recently chose to run a story that yet again smokescreens the actual question of TB or not TB-in other words; a diagnosis of secondary bone cancer or TB?  Writing recently in “The “Conversation”online Prof George Jelinek and Guy Allenby
author of Ian Gawler’s Biography – The Dragon’s Blessing made a creative play on those famous words from Hamlet….To be or not to be with their TB or not TB.

[ ‘The Conversation” is an online independent source of analysis, commentary and news from the university and research sector viewed by 550,000 readers each month.}

I had decided that I was not going to write on this subject on my blog again, however TT and the Conversation both appeared to misrepresent Ian Gawler’s recovery story Haines Lowenthal 2012 IMJand promote the implication yet again “If Ian did it I can do it too” theme. This in combination with TT”s cursory glance at a well written hypothesis by eminent professors of Oncology that lasted but a few seconds, left many wondering what the segment was trying to achieve. Anyway the segment concerned me so deeply that to end 2012 –  I thought it necessary to make what I hope is a final comment on this subject.

To begin with there are two crucial points to address:

  1. TT gave neither professor a right of reply to address their reasons for the hypothesis they published. Rather we see Prof Ian Olver from the Cancer Council making an unrelated comment about the use of alternative medicine!
  • In the TT interview Ian Gawler states: “It is clearly a personal attack on his story and his Integrity.”

If patients could access the 2012 IMJ Haines and Lowenthal Hypothesis – They would find in fact that Professors Haines and Lowenthal approached Ian Gawler and his story in a  somewhat kindly and dignified manner. Certainly not a Spanish Inquisition or a personal attack as has been claimed! It is on the record in fact that Prof Haines politely asked to review Ian Gawler’s case – and as should have happened in such a public health matter, Ian Gawler accepted then withdrew and the matter was in the hands of a litigator. The Hypothesis paper was then forwarded to the Internal Medicine Journal who appropriately believed it to be in the public interest to publish. Surprisingly, there had never been a medical investigation into the reasons why Ian Gawler recovered.

To quote from Haines and Lowenthal’s controversial IMJ Hypothesis:

“In presenting this hypothesis, we emphasise that we are not in any way criticising the patient’s medical attendants who unquestionably acted fully in accordance with the standards of the time. Indeed, the need to consider obtaining histological confirmation of presumed metastatic disease is only now becoming part of standard oncological practice. We note that one of the leading textbooks of oncology states in its latest edition in relation to possible cancer recurrence: ‘Whenever possible, tissue acquisition for diagnostic confirmation . . . should be considered.’

Whatever the correct diagnosis, we acknowledge the courage and determination of the patient that allowed him to recover from a prolonged and very debilitating illness. We especially note the psychological resilience that enabled him to overcome the dire prognosis he was given that fortunately turned out to be inaccurate.

Nonetheless, there is an aphorism, attributed to the late Carl Sagan, that exceptional claims require exceptional evidence. We contend that unequivocal evidence that the patient was cured of widespread metastases is lacking, and that the unusual treatments that were employed in this case cannot be held out as an example of a path to be followed by other patients with metastatic cancer.” Continue reading “TB or not TB? A second opinion on Ian Gawler’s cancer ‘cure’”

Gawler MJA a personal perspective on programs and what were the dates of those famous chest wall photographs?

Gawler evidence and errors highlight the fact that more investigation is needed….

Since 31 December 2011 the Australian public has seen an unprecendented series of quality news articles questioning Ian Gawler’s cancer remission in 1978. Professionals and patients are now asking why it has taken so long to fact-check the most famous cancer recovery story in Australia and perhaps – the world. With new evidence, researchers have now gone beyond anecdotal storyline to a view of the science of what actually occurred in Ian’s case.  A recent MJA article has some sensible dialogue around these important cancer survival issues – although the author psychiatrist Tanya Hall steers clear of the misdiagnosis issue, she discusses an important perspective regarding psychological impact that the Gawler program can have on cancer patients. “Healed or Hungry – a personal perspective on the Gawler program” was published in the MJA last Monday 21 May 2012.

It is a pity that this article is not available to be read outside of MJA subscribers. Tanya Hall tells us that she attended the 12 week support group and a 3 day Ian Gawler meditation program & she read You Can Conquer Cancer.  She eloquently discusses the issues with guilt, the vegan diet, (which Ian never followed) and a litany of issues that the program brought up for her as a doctor and patient. A few of Tanya Hall’s perceptive comments are outlined below :

1. “…. My concern is that in my opinion the Gawler program goes too far, making far reaching suggestions that do not appear supported by evidence….”

2.  “….Of most concern to me was hearing our program leader state that there was no evidence that chemotherapy was effective. This was nothing less than astonishing, patently untrue, and highly disrespectful to those of us undergoing chemotherapy….”

3.  She says of the programs “… In fact while criticism of conventional medicine is noticeable, there is an almost complete lack of critical analysis among participants of Gawler’s methods — which are supported in a quasi-religious fashion. There seemed to be a worrying tendency to unquestioningly quote Gawler as though his words were above scrutiny, and certainly carrying more weight than the views of any number of esteemed oncologists.

3. “….Reading some of the testimonials, it struck me that those participants whose outcomes were poor still wrote positively about the program. It puzzled me as to why this was so; if anything, Gawler’s program seems to me to invite what may be irrational hope and promise far exceeding what most oncologists would offer…”

From its inception in the early 80’s until 1996 when I resigned from the organisation, the Gawler approach mirrored what we had done to help Ian recover. As a co founder, it was sad to see the emphasis and the story change – accelerating after I left. Just to complicate the issue,  new theories suggest there is a high probablity that Ian had TB in December 1975 and not secondary bone cancer. At 21 years of age I was the sole carer/nurse for Ian. He was very ill that is true – but with current knowledge there was certainly not enough tumour load at the time of his major demise Feb-March 1976, to produce the symptoms that he had…..symptoms that were not congruent with osteosarcoma but were very congruent with a diagnosis of TB. (He was treated medically for TB July 1978 for one year).   There was no biopsy to prove secondary cancer so with new information and this – can you believe it – first investigation of this famous remission, we cannot say with any certainty, that it was cancer that almost killed him.

It is I believe no one’s fault – misdiagnoses happen frequently – even in medicine today, but I am left with Carl Sagan’s quote ringing in my own ears – “Exceptional claims require exceptional evidence”. While evidence has been building supporting a paper published in the IMJ (Internal Medicine Journal 2011/12) there have, I am pleased to say, been notable positive changes with doctors and patients questioning Ian’s recovery in an unprecedented manner.

There have been however, some quite bizzare claims and “faceless” cowardly personal email attacks on me since the science of Ian Gawler’s remission has been questioned; this includes a recent Facebook comment by a pro-Ian Gawler supporter,  unfortunately a patient with stage IV breast cancer whose comments were so damaging as to cause legal intervention. Unbelieveable!! The last thing anyone wants! It seems emotions are running high in the face of facts and science.

Now to patient’s questions this week….

There is one question that I am repeatedly asked…What about the disputed date of Ian Gawler chest wall photographs? Why are these dates so important? To answer this I will refer  to: Continue reading “Gawler MJA a personal perspective on programs and what were the dates of those famous chest wall photographs?”

Too Good to be True-Melbourne Age: Grace Gawler Answers Readers Questions

The Melbourne Age has alerted Cancer Patients patients across Australia and around the globe that Ian Gawler likely had TB and not secondary cancer during the 1970’s. Patients are confused, shocked, alarmed and asking questions about the recent controversy

The Melbourne Age has alerted Cancer Patients patients across Australia and around the globe that Ian Gawler likely had TB and not secondary cancer during the 1970’s. Patients are confused, shocked, alarmed and asking questions about the recent controversy. Does Ian Gawler’s ‘cancer-cure’ program work or not?
gracegawlermediablog readers have emailed a number of  questions which I will answer during the next week…..

Mary writes: I attended early groups at the Gawler Foundation; the diet was really helpful to me ,but it seems that at some point, the thrust of the Gawler message changed. I did not have a vegan diet but found the relaxation good. Grace, I am struggling to understand what has happened and why?

Hello Mary….The work of Ian Gawler, myself and the Foundation we co founded in the early 80’s; set a precedent in the way that lifestyle factors could be incorporated into a cancer recovery program. During those early days, the majority of our patients were having conventional therapy or had completed conventional therapies; adding our lifestyle changes as an adjunct to treatments.  Patients were assisted by stress reduction strategies, sensible changes to diet i.e. lowering saturated fats and processed foods, increasing fruit & vegetable consumption and fibre, while lowering red meat & increasing fish consumption. Basically a mediterranean style diet.  We made no claims that the lifestyle cahnges in themselves could or would cure cancer.
I eventually qualified in nutritional studies at distinction level in 1986 and had significant input into the diet presented  at our  residential programs during  the  founding years and up until I resigned in 1996.

At our residentials, a lacto-ovo vegetarian style diet was utilised for convenience- some people on chemo were sensitive to cooking smells such as fish so we did not include it. However a vegetarian diet was recommended as a short-term option for those whose diet was sub optimal before attending a program. I counselled patients in one on one sessions about how they could individualise their diets for optimum help when they returned home. I also referred patients to oncologists, radiation therapists, endocrinologists and GPs recognising they would likely need ongoing assistance and monitoring.

 I resigned in 1996.  In 1997 I was occupied with my own survival and recovery from complications associated with a routine surgery that had left my entire pelvic area and colon paralysed. During the following years significant changes had occurred that deviated from our original story –  the things that Ian and I did to help keep him alive and bring about his recovery had been changed.

A 2008 MJA “True Stories” article was reproduced on the Gawler Foundation website. A former patient alerted me to anomalies in the story and suggested I should investigate. Although I was in recovery from my last surgery performed in Singapore, I researched the article and was shocked by what I read. I wrote to the MJA and suggested they had to correct the errors in the story – lest it become an inaccurate record thereby negatively influencing choices that desperate cancer patients might make. The premise of the article was that:

1. “…Meares and the patient attributed the remarkable recovery to intensive meditation….” 
2. “…He still regularly meditates and teaches others with cancer to do so. His fastidious adoption of the Gerson diet for 3 months, followed by adherence to a plant-based wholefood ‘vegan diet’ may also have played some part. Such a lifestyle approach, incorporating meditation and a vegan diet, has recently been shown to cause significant modulation of gene expression and biological processes associated with tumour growth…”

Regarding these points

1: As a result of my refute letter MJA 2010 – Ian admitted that Meares published incorrect timelines in his 1978 MJA abstract that implied Intensive Meditation had been associated with his remission. The timelines were inverted making it appear that Ian had more ‘tumours’ than he actually did when he first saw Meares. Please refer to Ian Gawler Cancer “Cure’  on the main menu. This fact significantly alters the entire history. It also appears Meares was not informed of Ian’s TB diagnosis in 1978 and the fact it had been present for more than 2 years  as he did not mention it in his abstract. Thirdly, Ian attended Meares sessions for just 6 weeks and could not continue as meditation had not helped his condition-in fact his deterioration caused us to move on from Meares. Against Meares specific advice; Ian experiemented with imagery, mindfulness and many forms of meditation….yet claimed Ian’s recovery was associated with his style of meditation.
Relaxation is very helpful for cancer patients – but I do not believe it to be in any way curative for cancer.

2. Ian never had a vegan diet during the time of his recovery 1975-1978….through until 1997. I pointed this out in my refute letter published in the MJA September 2010. Ian has  since conceded in one of his blogs, that he has never had a vegan diet.

3. His adherance to the Gerson diet played no part in his recovery…he lost weight and deteriorated to the point of being immobilised while on the diet. following our experience, in the early days Ian and I strongly advised cancer patients not to follow the Gerson Diet Regimen.

Meryn writes: Did Ian really have TB or are these oncologists out to get him?

Hello Meryn – I am pleased you asked this question. I am the only living person who was present 24/7 for Ian throughout his illness and so the only one that can truly speak to this controversy. First of all –  It was presumed Ian had secondary cancer- but there were not proper investigations – no biopsy, but his condition was deemed at the time as “not typical of secondary osteogenic sarcoma“. Back then – this was no one’s fault – biopsies weren’t as routine as they are now.

No one is doubting Ian had primary osteogenic sarcoma- he may have even had TB in his bone way back then as we had lots of exposure to Tuberculin, used in our veterinary work to TB test cows. He was likely cured by his primary treatment – leg amputation. Many people were cured by leg amputation in the 1970’s and before that time. But when someone has such an influence on thousands maybe millions of cancer patients saying:  “If I can do it you can do it to…” and… if there is reasonable doubt that the diagnosis even 30 years on was incorrect – this becomes an important public health matter.

There is one way to solve the issue but unfortunately Ian has refused to have the “bone spicules” he coughed up during his recovery, examined. He also has a remaining calcified lymph node in his groin – the first ‘bump’ to appear  in November 1975. This could be biopsied – plus his actual history from the 1970’s could be examined if he wanted to set the record straight.  The latter day accounts of medical interventions that Ian is quoting as proof of his illness are of little relevance to what happened during the 70’s as he had no bony deposits in his lung or chest from 1978 until he left our marriage  in 1997.

In my practice I see a large number of patients who present with horrendous tumours. They have tried meditation, veganism, positive thinking and alternative medicine instead of conventional medicine. Many have spent tens of thousands of dollars on alt med supplements and infusions. Many die as a result of their choice – we help them where possible- but many become palliative patients. This is very sad as some of them would have high potential to be cured by conventional medicine instead of the pain, depression and misery that often results.
As an original inspirer and founder of the Gawler Foundation and the person who assited Ian throughout his illness – I have a public duty of care to raise concerns should any new and plausible view of Ian’s condition be put forward as has been done by Haines and Lowenthals IMJ paper.

Read more at http://gracegawler.com/Institute/?page_id=3454
The Gawler Story is recorded in my Memoirs:  Grace Grit and Gratitude – a self published book.  You can read most of this book online for free via Google books. It is also available from Brumby books Melbourne or via my website Bookshop.

 

 

Too Good to be True? Ian Gawler ‘Cure’ Mebourne Age today: Grace Gawler

Too Good to be True? Ian Gawler ‘Cure’ Mebourne Age today: Grace Gawler comments
http://www.theage.com.au/national/health/too-good-to-be-true-20120420-1xcgn.html

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

Following on from “Cancer cure” claim – Ian Gawler – A Current Affair, Good Friday;  http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article/8447811/cancer-cure-claim
this week saw the Melbourne Age newspaper publish not one, but two articles on the controversial subject of Ian Gawler’s remission from bone cancer in 1978.

On Monday 16 April, Dr Rod Anderson, a Melbourne GP said “…he had supported Dr Gawler since he read You Can Conquer Cancer, in which Dr Gawler tells of how he survived secondary cancer, despite being given just months to live. Among other things, Dr Gawler, a veterinarian, says meditation, coffee enemas and controversial alternative healers in the Philippines and India helped cure his cancer. Having been diagnosed with melanoma, Dr Anderson said he wanted to know that there was another option if he ever suffered advanced cancer, but had changed his attitude towards Dr Gawler’s story since he studied the tuberculosis hypothesis.”
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/gawler-did-not-have-cancer-gp-20120415-1x1vi.html

Today the Melbourne Age published their third article; an in depth feature story about the likelihood that Ian Gawler suffered from advanced TB and not cancer. Gathering more support from various doctors including the eminent integrative  oncologist Prof Alex Herzog from Germany who has revealed a similar case of advanced TB masquerading as bone cancer that he also published in Medical journal said: ”It was clear from the beginning the Gawler case was TB. This was a misdiagnosis.” Herzog said “Gawler’s patients may have been ”misled” into believing they too could be cured by alternative means.”

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

Today’s article provides several opinions that lend weight to the fact that Ian Gawler was critically ill with advanced TB and not cancer. Although I was involved with Ian Gawler’s case first hand/24/7, a fact which many seem to ignore; I have always suspected that TB played a role in his recovery. In these early days there was no internet – so research had to be carried out in libraries. I have always been interested in the science aspect of healing and recovery and thrived on the teachings of Prof Julius Sumner Miller’s TV program ‘Why is it so’ when I was in primary school.

I have always asked this question around Ian’s recovery. This whole scenario began without intent to mislead anyone. Misdiagnoses happen all the time – it’s a fact of life. But when we know or suspect there has been an illdocumented case- it is a serious matter…. especially if it becomes famous.
The case demonstrates why I practise the way I do today.

1. Ongoing collaboration between treating practitioners is essential
2. Accurate case notes and records of scans etc need to be catalogued
3. Second or third opinions need to be sought after if any doubt re diagnosis
4. Biopsies must be used to rule out other conditions especially in difficult cases
5. Patient authenticity and disclosure is essential for best results
6. Conventional and complementary treatment concurrently is essential.
7. Consistent monitoring and follow up is necessary – wishful thinking that all is well – is dangerous

As stated before – this is not an attack, not a Spanish Inquisition, not a personal issue from a past marriage breakdown – this is a much overdue scientific appraisal of an issue that affects the decsion making of  the cancer public. In my practice – 4-5 times each week I hear patients saying ” If Ian did it – then I can do it too.” Well – if Ian was misdiagnosed – then surely this has to be the public health issue of the century. The Melbourne Age with true investigative journalism has done a valuable service in letting the public know. More on this in next blog.

You can read the majority of my self-published  memoirs Grace, Grit and Gratitude online at google books for free It is also available from Brumby books Melbourne or on my website in hard copy or e-Book at www.gracegawlerinstitute.com  Email : institute@gracegawler.com

Too Good to be True? Ian Gawler 'Cure' Mebourne Age today: Grace Gawler

Too Good to be True? Ian Gawler ‘Cure’ Mebourne Age today: Grace Gawler comments
http://www.theage.com.au/national/health/too-good-to-be-true-20120420-1xcgn.html

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

Following on from “Cancer cure” claim – Ian Gawler – A Current Affair, Good Friday;  http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article/8447811/cancer-cure-claim
this week saw the Melbourne Age newspaper publish not one, but two articles on the controversial subject of Ian Gawler’s remission from bone cancer in 1978.

On Monday 16 April, Dr Rod Anderson, a Melbourne GP said “…he had supported Dr Gawler since he read You Can Conquer Cancer, in which Dr Gawler tells of how he survived secondary cancer, despite being given just months to live. Among other things, Dr Gawler, a veterinarian, says meditation, coffee enemas and controversial alternative healers in the Philippines and India helped cure his cancer. Having been diagnosed with melanoma, Dr Anderson said he wanted to know that there was another option if he ever suffered advanced cancer, but had changed his attitude towards Dr Gawler’s story since he studied the tuberculosis hypothesis.”
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/gawler-did-not-have-cancer-gp-20120415-1x1vi.html

Today the Melbourne Age published their third article; an in depth feature story about the likelihood that Ian Gawler suffered from advanced TB and not cancer. Gathering more support from various doctors including the eminent integrative  oncologist Prof Alex Herzog from Germany who has revealed a similar case of advanced TB masquerading as bone cancer that he also published in Medical journal said: ”It was clear from the beginning the Gawler case was TB. This was a misdiagnosis.” Herzog said “Gawler’s patients may have been ”misled” into believing they too could be cured by alternative means.”

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

Today’s article provides several opinions that lend weight to the fact that Ian Gawler was critically ill with advanced TB and not cancer. Although I was involved with Ian Gawler’s case first hand/24/7, a fact which many seem to ignore; I have always suspected that TB played a role in his recovery. In these early days there was no internet – so research had to be carried out in libraries. I have always been interested in the science aspect of healing and recovery and thrived on the teachings of Prof Julius Sumner Miller’s TV program ‘Why is it so’ when I was in primary school.

I have always asked this question around Ian’s recovery. This whole scenario began without intent to mislead anyone. Misdiagnoses happen all the time – it’s a fact of life. But when we know or suspect there has been an illdocumented case- it is a serious matter…. especially if it becomes famous.
The case demonstrates why I practise the way I do today.

1. Ongoing collaboration between treating practitioners is essential
2. Accurate case notes and records of scans etc need to be catalogued
3. Second or third opinions need to be sought after if any doubt re diagnosis
4. Biopsies must be used to rule out other conditions especially in difficult cases
5. Patient authenticity and disclosure is essential for best results
6. Conventional and complementary treatment concurrently is essential.
7. Consistent monitoring and follow up is necessary – wishful thinking that all is well – is dangerous

As stated before – this is not an attack, not a Spanish Inquisition, not a personal issue from a past marriage breakdown – this is a much overdue scientific appraisal of an issue that affects the decsion making of  the cancer public. In my practice – 4-5 times each week I hear patients saying ” If Ian did it – then I can do it too.” Well – if Ian was misdiagnosed – then surely this has to be the public health issue of the century. The Melbourne Age with true investigative journalism has done a valuable service in letting the public know. More on this in next blog.

You can read the majority of my self-published  memoirs Grace, Grit and Gratitude online at google books for free It is also available from Brumby books Melbourne or on my website in hard copy or e-Book at www.gracegawlerinstitute.com  Email : institute@gracegawler.com