Grace Gawler – The Australian – Comments on Spontaneous Remission

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Adam Cresswell-Doctors attribute sudden cancer cures to biology, not God…And medical experts say the phenomenon, while little understood, is likely to have biological rather than spiritual explanations says an article in this weekend’s The  Australian.  CLICK HERE
Now this is a topic dear to my heart and one that has been topical in my own sphere of work; as outlined in the Australian – Friday 8 October 2010 in an article also authored by Adam Cresswell. CLICK HERE
These two stories are related whether we are examining cancer healing miracles of Mary McKillop by religious means or patients with advanced cancer who claim to have been cured by lifestyle and meditation, thus creating the link to a spiritual intervention causing the healing.
Here is where the waters muddy  – Are miraculous acts of healing associated with innate, natural biological responses and can these be triggered at a point in time when faced with death? Intangibles such as faith, will to live, love, hope, inspiration may weave a complex partnership between biology and spirit reaching a place where the criteria for healing can come together – AKA The Spontaneous Remission. 
The Australian quotes Sydney oncologist David Bell, co-wrote a book on so-called spontaneous remission. He said he knew of about 400 confirmed cases worldwide over the past 150 years.
For hundreds of years, the phenomenon of spontaneous remission has fascinated the greatest minds in cancer medicine. US researchers Caryle Hirshberg and Brendan O’Regan authored a classic which are a must have for anyone researching the subject: “Spontaneous Remission: An Annotated Bibliography“.

The book is 713-pages and published by the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 1993 and analyses over 1300 hundred references mostly from medical journals of recorded inexplicable remissions from many diseases throught to be incurable.
Caryle Hirshberg later wrote with Marc Ian Barasch : Remarkable Recovery: What Extraordinary Healings Tell Us About Getting Well and Staying Well.

I had the pleasure of getting to know Caryle, we lectured and travelled together in The Netherlands and the UK in 1995. I was also impressed that she was the only person to give credibility to TB being responsible for Ian Gawler’s cancer remission; an issue that I raised in the Medical Journal of Australia  20 September 2010 CLICK HERE
Martin Tattersall, professor of cancer medicine at the University of Sydney, said sudden remissions were particularly associated with melanoma and kidney cancers, even when these had spread elsewhere in the body. (Note: This phenomena is well recorded in Hirshberg’s book), said he was aware of four cases of metastatic cancer at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital this year in which patients had had “extraordinary outcomes” from treatment, including one of a man with metastatic stomach cancer that had spread to the liver, who remained alive against all expectation.
“A lot of things that in the past we interpreted as supernatural have been eroded away with better understanding of events,” Professor Tattersall said.
Christobel Saunders, professor of surgical oncology at the University of Western Australia, said an infection could sometimes kick-start the body’s immune system into attacking a tumour. (also recorded in Hirshberg’s book)
“Personally, I think there’s a natural explanation, because we’re only just beginning to scrape the surface of our understanding of human biology,” she said.