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

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

To Meditate or Medicate – That is the Question? Voice America Experience with Meditation and Cancer Recovery

Can meditation be powerful enough to impact chronic illness? Is there any conclusive evidence that the mind via meditative practices can “cure” or influence the growth of cancer”? With rising healthcare costs more and more people are turning to self-help books and natural methods in an attempt to ‘cure’ cancer.

PART ONE : Can meditation be powerful enough to impact chronic illness? Is there any conclusive evidence that the mind via meditative practices can “cure” or influence the growth of cancer”? With rising healthcare costs more and more people are turning to self-help books and natural methods in an attempt to ‘cure’ cancer. ‘The mind can cure cancer concept’ is not new. Every few decades, the notion of meditation as a ‘cure’ for cancer, seems to be recycled into public awareness. In today’s show, with 40 years experience, I will share personal insights from clinical practice & discuss the historical timeline of meditative practices and cancer. I also discuss in general terms, the realistic impact of meditative practices on health and wellbeing and help to put into perspective; it’s role in healing.
Listmeditationen free to air or download from iTunes:

http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/78194/to-meditate-or-medicate-that-is-the-question-experiences-with-meditation-and-cancer-recovery

Background:

As I researched the latest finding on what meditation can and cant do; the aspects that stood out are as follows:

1. When we look at stories of ‘cures’ associated with Meditation or other event such as prayer healing  etc – There are many anecdotes where blind faith comes into play. Over centuries people have had a need to believe in a greater force that gives us faith and hope to go on and to make sense of life. When we examine these stories we often have no idea of their true origin. Was someone mistaken when they diagnosed a cancer? Beliefs run strong, as do people’s ideologies and need to see & believe in miracles; it is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Just because something is written or appears to be so – doesn’t mean it is fact.

A humorous story illustrates how easy it is to base an opinion on incomplete facts. John Locke (1632-1704) related this story about the Dutch ambassador and the king of Siam: While describing his country, Holland, to the king, the ambassador mentioned that at times it was possible for an elephant to walk on water. The king rejected the idea and felt that the ambassador was lying to him. However, the ambassador was merely describing something that was beyond the king’s personal experience. The king did not realize that when water freezes and becomes ice, it can support the weight of an elephant. This seemed impossible to the king because he did not have all the facts.

The issue with meditation in terms of health value  is that it has been promoted in some literature and journals to be a cure or a significant part of a cure for cancer.  A wide range of meditative practises clearly can assist cancer patients or those with serious illness – helping with improving life quality and awareness contemplation as life itself is challenged – that is by a diagnosis of a serious illness. However, Claims of cancer being cured by meditation alone are often misguided or misreported.  Look for the science. Was there proof by biopsy? Has the whole story been reported? Could there be other logical reasons for a recovery? This is important as for example, cancer patients quote again and again … “If Ian Gawler can do it ( cure himself of cancer ) then I can do it too”. More on this in next blog.

That brings me to looking at some the facts of how meditation/stress reduction techniques can be proven to impact the miracle of mindfulnesssome of our body’s restorative systems and how it can be simply and practically used everyday by simply being you. See Resources below. I like what Thich Nhat Hanh, author The Miracle of Mindfulness said  about meditation:

“Hanh warns that meditation should not be an escape from reality. On the contrary, it should lead to an increased awareness of reality.

Hanh summarizes the lessons by presenting a story about the three wondrous answers to the questions — What is the best time to do a thing? Who are the most important people to work with? and What is the most important thing to do at all times?


Hanh suggests that we treat each of our activities as an opportunity for being aware: Walking, we should be aware that we are walking. 

Breathing,-we should be aware of our breathing. We should not focus on anything other than the thing that we are doing.  One of the key methods that Hanh presents is learning to be aware of breathing.

Resources to read:

http://www.globalhealthandtravel.com/health/TheBenefitsofDeepBreathing   Value of Breath

http://www.relaxationresponse.org/  Herbert Benson studies and book

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Kabat-Zinn

Thich Nhat Hanh

To Be continued……..More Tomorrow on meditation and cancer with Resources.

Enjoy ……..

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? 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

Ian Gawler 'Cancer Cure': report TB mimicks cancer Professor Alex Herzog – Grace Gawler comments

Professor Alex Herzog is recognised by most cancer patients who have researched integrative oncology or hyperthermia (oncotherm) in Germany. Professor Herzog’s paper “Dangerous Errors in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Bony Tuberculosis” describes a patient who was misdiagnosed with metastatic cancer when in fact he had TB of the bone.

Multiple foci TB spine compression fractures vertebrae

This case demonstrates that even today, misdiagnoses can be made.  Professor Herzog’s report, published in 2009, makes for fascinating reading in relation to the recent case of Ian Gawler.

Since the 31 st December 2011 when the Melbourne Age published the headline: Cancer experts challenge Gawler’s ‘cure’   there has been interest from cancer patients, the general public and some doctors, as to what happened in Ian Gawler’s case. How could TB be mistaken for cancer and the obvious question; why it has taken 30 years to explore an unexpected remission from Australia’s most famous cancer patient?

To answer the above as briefly as possible. No one questioned Ian Gawler’s diagnosis. It was presumed he had metastatic disease. There had only been one diagnostic biopsy in Ian’s medical timeline 1974 – 1978 and that was in January 1975. That biopsy positively identified as osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer), resulted in his right leg being amputated. From those times there is a lot of evidence in the medical literature, that amputation alone was a cure for some with this disease. 

Because Ian’s prognosis was thought to be poor (if in fact it had been bone cancer) very few medical practitioners became involved in his case during that period; we were mainly in charge of whatever resources we could muster! When Ian first consulted Ainslie Meares in December 1975, Meares also presumed Ian’s illness to be metastatic cancer. When he wrote his famous MJA published abstract in 1978, Regression of osteogenic sarcoma metastases associated with intensive meditation;  it is likely he had no idea Ian had suffered from TB, he certainly had little of the case history; Ian had only attended Meares groups for 6 weeks, stopping the sessions due to his rapid deterioration. His symptoms at that time were not typical of osteogenic sarcoma but with later knowledge were symptoms of TB. Unknown to Meares, Ian had practised a smorgasbord of techniques including imagery, yoga and Buddhist methods forbidden by Meares, as his method was based on stillness and silence. Without an adequate medical history and  background, as well as publishing copious errors of fact;  Ainslie Meares’ acknowledgement and endorsement of Ian Gawler, gave his ‘remission’ story great credibility and served as the fuel that fired an entire alternative medicine movement.

That credibility has never been questioned until now; Prof Haines and Lowenthal have come forward as the only two oncologists who had followed the story, throughout the decades suspecting error. My 2010 MJA letter addressing errors in the story provided them with a series of anomalies that they suspected existed, but were never able to track down.

Famous photos:July 1977 Advanced TB or cancer?

The question of timing – why now? Why explore a remission from 30 years ago? If Haines and Lowenthal are correct with their recent IMJ published hypothesis; and I believe from first-hand  being there experience, that they are; then the medical history books must be re-written and Ian must subject himself to appropriate medical scrutiny with regards to his history, presenting his samples for independent pathological examination. Cancer patients base their treatment decisions on Ian Gawler’s story; I hear it in my practise from people with advanced cancer at least 4-5 times per week – “Well if Ian did it , then so can I!” If it wasn’t secondary cancer that he had – cancer patients must know this fact.

This is a scan of a person with TB - mediastinal calcifications are evident

It is interesting to compare these two images. Above left Ian Gawler’s chest wall 7 July 1977. Left: Scan image of a patient with TB (not Ian Gawler) Note: tubercular adenopathy  – abscesses of the lymph nodes. These can become calcified abscesses.

Now – back to Professor Herzog’s paper: This is a medical journal report that highlights the fact that TB can mimick cancer Please select the link to read the PDF: Herzog – Dangerous Errors in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Bony Tuberculosis

In brief: Prof Alex Herzog published a journal article about a patient with tuberculosis of the bone mistaken as metastatic cancer.
The patient had been in a University hospital in Germany and had started induction chemotherapy before he visited Professor Herzog who diagnosed that there was no metastatic cancer but tuberculosis. The patient received treatment and was cured with a combination of antibiotics over 2 years. The article can also be found on the public medical record at:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19890413  The message is clear – biopsies and accurate diagnostics are necessary when dealing with any cancer related situation.