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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources:

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

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

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

Weekend Australian:

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

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/