Grace Gawler Grace Gawler Institute – why alternative medicine is often not enough in cancer treatment.

Part one of Understanding Cancer:
A key function of the Grace Gawler Institute is education about cancer. Being a veteran – I have seen a lot during my 35 years of working with cancer patients. Most cancer patients I see in my practice have foregone conventional therapy for what appears to be the more logical solution of natural remedies. Some choose not to have surgery and go totally natural while others have their initial surgery and refuse further treatments or future diagnostic monitoring. Surely our bodies know what to do – the theory being that if we can just get our bodies nourished by a flood of good food, juices and doses of mega supplements – that it will fix the multitude of dietary and lifestyle sins we have committed in the immediate past and the damage passed on to us via genes and damaged DNA – add to that mix the environmental pollutants of the present. Believe me – it is not that simple!

I was raised believing that good food and a healthy lifestyle can prevent certain illnesses and I believe that is a possibility; however times have changed and so has the environment we live in. We are often exposed to hundreds – maybe even thousands of cancer causing substances as we innocently go about our daily lives – it is a cost of the conveniences that we love, the products we use and the 20th and 21st century lifestyles we’ve lived.

Unlike 35 years ago when I began working with cancer patients, many patients who contact me now seem to have had quite reasonable diets; they are disappointed because they had tried in earnest to cancer-proof their lives by becoming vegetarian, vegan, juicing daily, exercising at the gym going to yoga and practising meditation daily and positive thinking etc. They are surprised to learn that yogis, naturopaths, meditators & natural lifestyle folk can all succumb to cancer. There must be more to this cancer riddle than seems obvious.

These pro natural clients are often inclined to feel that more must be better so they throw every juice and natural remedy they can get their hands on at their cancer – they become natural healing zealots while many times those few cancer cells that escaped surgery or those that were travelling via circulation and lymph from a primary tumour not removed, are finding their place to live. If lucky and clever enough those cells will evade our surveillance brigade – the immune system – multiply and create their own blood vessels allowing more spread. These cells may have quite disrupted DNA and may even differ from the original tumour. These are called metastases or secondary tumours. I have noticed that these patients often feel quite well for some time then suddenly – cancer symptoms can be so dramatic that they can be hospitalised in days or weeks. I have seen this pattern all too often – and the last thing patients need to feel is they have been a failure of the natural therapies cause.

I really want to encourage cancer patients to make intelligent and well thought through decisions about treatment options. Please don’t believe all you read about remissions due to natural therapies – I personally know many people whose stories are not accurate or medically documented and who have large followings. MJA 2010
Also remember that all cancers are different as are all people – there is no one size fits all – so individualising your treatment – both complementary and mainstream oncology is essential. 

My absolute message is that by understanding the nature of cancer at the cellular/ DNA level and by understanding how these cells spread – you may be empowered with knowledge to seek medical help earlier and make different choices in your recovery plan.
There are many people walking around today who have had a primary cancer experience and survived and thrived. The more advanced a cancer has grown – the harder it is to eradicate. This information is not meant to instil fear;  based on patient’s responses when they have advanced illness, I explain how cancer spreads – they all tell me that they wished they had known this information earlier.

The first video below demonstrates –  The nature of cancer and how it spreads. The second video focuses on the immune system. The blue round spiky images in this video represent your immune system – natural killer cells and T-killer cells attacking and dissolving the cancer ( the purple-coloured mass). 
If you know someone with cancer – please forward the url of this blog. You just might save a life! Please visit again see – also visit if you or someone you love has cancer. With modern technology – distance is no barrier for receiving help.

 ( Next time – How emotions can affect the healing and recovery process in cancer)