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

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

Grace Gawler Learning the Art of Survivorship | How to Navigate the Cancer Maze

The cancer journey begins with one step – diagnosis. Learn how to walk the path to Survivorship. Remember that there is no substitute for early diagnosis and intervention in Survivorship. The aim of today’s Navigating the Cancer Maze internet radio show is to help you find a path through the cancer maze by learning how to become an exceptional patient with the possibility of living through and beyond cancer.

The cancer journey begins with one step – diagnosis. Learn how to walk the path to Survivorship. Remember that there is no substitute for early diagnosis and intervention in Survivorship. The aim of today’s Navigating the Cancer Maze internet radio show is to help you find a path through the cancer maze by learning how to become an exceptional patient with the possibility of living through and beyond cancer. Like many of life’s major crisis events; cancer is a daunting prosjourney of a thousand miles begins with one small steppect. In order to survive and thrive; a cancer diagnosis requires you to learn & develop a new skill set; a new way of prioritizing self, time to deal with the trauma of diagnosis and what it might mean for you in terms of accepting change, being adaptable and flexible. Decisions can feel overwhelming because your life depends upon those decisions & the consequences of making them.
There is an immediate need to focus, plan, question, set goals, prepare for setbacks etc.

Whether or not you are first time cancer patient or dealing with a second or third recurrence, if you have been battling on your own – there can still be much to learn.

Find an experienced cancer navigator to help you along the way.

Be effectively  case managed and take the extra stress out of cancer.

FREE chapter download: As mentioned on today Navigating the Cancer Maze.
The Three Essential Stages of healing:  Select URL below for PDF
Insights of a Survivor who has known Survivors as mentioned on today Navigating the Cancer Maze internet radio.

Defining Survivorship
Surviving cancer or “survivorship” can be defined in different ways. Two common definitions include:
• Being disease-free after the completion of treatment,
• Living with, through, and beyond cancer includes people who continue to have treatments to either reduce risk of recurrence or to manage chronic disease. By this definition, cancer Survivorship begins at diagnosis and survivorship is a state that continues throughout your life.
• Bernie Siegel described this group as EXCEPTIONAL Cancer Patients.

Because we are talking about the precious lives of cancer patients – as a part of today’s subject, I hasten to add here that it is important for those interested in surviving cancer that I discuss where NOT to put your energy if you want to be a survivor. Yes modern medicine is not perfect – but it is the best we have and it it is improving all the time.

If you are seeking Survivorship through and beyond cancer – please use every means possible from the best that conventional medicine has to offer in combination with the best of scientific complementary medicine and complementary therapies.

baby-bathwaterPlease “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”! Conventional medicine is a gift. Cancer is tricky – you can’t outsmart it with juices, meditation and positive thinking. How “you be” with a cancer diagnosis – i.e. – your attitude, strategies, will to live and will to heal – contribute tremendously – but you need to partner with the best that conventional medicine has to offer. If cancer patients understood the scientific basis of cancer – how it behaves and operates for it’s own survival; different choices might be made- conquering cancer is not that simple!

 I must mention Jess Ainscough here because of the influence she has had on cancer patients young and old in terms of promoting one type of Survivorship approach. Surviving through and beyond cancer is not the simple 123 steps that entrepreneurs such as Jess promoted.

Cancer entrepreneurs like Jessica Ainscough AKA The Wellness Warrior has influenced thousands, maybe millions to take the alternative path to cancer healing. Sadly it all went wrong for her mother who had breast cancer. She died last year. Jess remained struggling with advancing fungating cancer until this week when she died from her epitheloid sarcoma. Sadly I see patients like Jess every week. I conduct an Alt med cancer rescue practice with my Specialist GP colleague Dr Whelan. We see so many scales-of-justicepatients influenced to take the natural path to cancer recovery – influenced by Dr Google and the plethora of misleading books by cancer entrepreneurs.

Jess became a crusader for the Gerson diet and might I add, was also influenced by my ex-husbands ‘cancer recovery’ story. During the past few years his story has been challenged by myself and more recently; by two Melbourne oncologists who published their findings in the internal Medicine Journal. Once they discovered there was no biopsy performed for Ian’s condition at the time which was thought to be secondary bone cancer they began an independent investigation into why he recovered. In 1978, here was no other explanation offered and to all and sundry it appeared as though the impossible had been achieved – a full remission from metastatic osteogenic sarcoma. However with a thorough review and missing pieces of the Gawler healing puzzle put in place – a new diagnosis was suggested.  IMJ HAINES AND LOWENTHAL

Jess Ainscough’s approach to her cancer was clearly influenced by Ian Gawler’s recovery, the diagnosis which was highly likely to have been advanced TB with calcified abscesses – not metastatic bone cancer as had been reported over the decades. (see the menu for more on this subject).

The late Jess Ainscough wellness warrior gawler gerson
The late Jess Ainscough wellness warrior

 Importantly –  If that is so – then the basic premise and promise upon which Jess Aincough based her recovery from cancer plan was false. Jess was quoted as saying: ” Ian Gawler was diagnosed with bone cancer and had his right leg was amputated in 1975. However, the disease recurred later that year and began ravaging his body. Ian’s story of recovery, employing an integrated approach driven predominantly by dedicated meditation, is truly remarkable. It was my anchor to a future the doctors had pretty much ruled me out of having. I thought, If Ian can do it, so can I. His book, You Can Conquer Cancer, was my Bible”. Source:  JESS ainscough Gawler healthtalks;

Clearly patients like Jess are looking for options and they will often choose the seemingly softer options that the one size fits all alternative approach offers. Cancer education is imperative and sadly lacking in the patient world. Cancer is not a generic disease that can be simplistically tackled with food and copious juices. I think this is a very sad indictment of what true Survivorship is really all about. Like many of the patients I see in my practice, Jess Ainscough only embraced conventional medicine when the path she had followed failed her.
It is my hope that Jess Ainscough’s story and life serves as a teaching story for all who want to walk the path to cancer Survivorship – please use critical thinking to assess information on the internet and consider a best of both worlds approach for best outcome.

More on Wellness Warrior: ORAC ( Oncology surgeon) – Science based Medicine Below:
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/12/16/jess-ainscough-finally-admits-her-condition-is-deteriorating/

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/10/17/sharyn-ainscough-dies-tragically-because-she-followed-the-example-of-her-daughter-the-wellness-warrior/#comment-297256

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/02/27/the-wellness-warrior-jess-ainscough-has-passed-away/

The following Survivorship links will be helpful:

 http://www.cancerbridges.ca/

http://www.amazon.com/Survivorship-Living-During-After-Cancer/dp/1938170350

SURVIVOR TRAINING COURSE: Queensland

http://www.gracegawlerinstitute.com/survivor-training/

Listen to Navigating the Cancer Maze – Today’s show.
http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/83721/learning-the-art-of-survivorship-how-to-navigate-the-cancer-maze

Until next time – Be safe in your choices – cancer is a tough opponent- choose your course wisely!

Grace

The Dangers of Meditation. Advice for Meditators. An interview with Leigh Brasington by Willoughby Britton.

Meditation can open a can of worms in our psychology. This is a surprise to many people. I have often asked my self the same question that is explored in the first paragraph of this blog. For people who are dealing with illness, such as cancer; care must be taken whilst developing a practice that will assist and not detract from their recovery. Many people around the Globe are turning toward Buddhist practices of meditation. This excellent blog brings to light something that is little discussed in meditation circles – the dangers and issues that can be associated with meditation.

Meditation can open a can of worms in our psychology. This is a surprise to many people. I have often asked my self the same mindfulnessquestion that is explored in the first paragraph of this blog (see below).

For people who are dealing with illness, such as cancer; care must be taken whilst developing a practice that will assist and not detract from their recovery.

Many people around the Globe are turning toward Buddhist practices of meditation.

This excellent blog brings to light something that is little discussed in meditation circles – the dangers and issues that can be associated with meditation. I also suggest that you read http://youreternalself.com/meditation.htm

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’”

Truth in cancer cures holding out for a miracle

Cancer cures Holding out for a miracle

The Weekend Australian Magazine Richard Guilliatt

Source ‘The Australian’ newspaper or online at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/holding-out-for-a-miracle/story-e6frg8h6-1226476739168  You can take advantage of the Australian’s free offer for one month’s digital access to read the entire article.

September 22, 2012

In Today’s Australian newspaper weekend magazine Richard Guilliatt has travelled to the world of alternative versus conventional treatments for cancer patients. The alternative medicine trend has been gaining momentum around the world as more self proclaimed cancer entrepreneurs don the mantle of promised ‘cures and personal remissions.

Guilliatt’s well crafted article highlights areas not previously discussed in the world of alternative versus conventional and that is the many cancer patients are lulled into a false sense of security by the alt-med treatment regimens in the belief that they will cure themselves. He quotes me as saying:

“I do see that people can get increased levels of wellbeing from alternative treatments, but that can also be a problem – because people can feel well and think their cancer is getting better, when in fact their cancer is rocketing along in ways that medical science would have expected. And by the time they have secondary tumours in their liver or their lymphatic system, it’s too late.”

In addition patients who choose the alternative to mainstream approaches to cancer treatment often do not know the walkway and behaviour of their particular cancer. When they begin to feel well, through some type of lifestyle or diet change they often believe that because they feel well they are well. Scans, X-rays or measurements of circulating tumour stem cells that can identify how the cancer is behaving at the DNA level are most times declined with patients preferring to believe that all is well.

So – declining a monitoring process for cancer regression or progression is where much of the real trouble begins for many patients.

 As a health practitioner I have a duty of care that I take seriously to provide patients with the best possible advice. True it is their choice what they do with that advice – but equally on the other side of the fence there are the many cancer entrepreneurs, including some natural therapists with little experience of cancer; or the online cancer charlatans advising “go natural” from an unqualified position. By qualified I mean more than “paper qualifications”; that is having worked with many hundreds or thousands at the coalface level for many years getting a real appreciation of the consequences of poor choices.  I have seen enough in 38 years and if patients could see my album of “alt med casualties”, and realise the pain and disfigurement these patients endured, they might think differently in this 21st century of modern medicine. I have had many patients who refused all pharmaceuticals – preferring the pain because of an idealogy.  Cancer Patients often have no idea of the game of Russian roulette they are playing.

Guilliatt’s article is written with a view from both sides and demonstrates the level of psychological/emotional commitment to an ideal. It opens a previously closed door of why people become so committed to an ideal that they ignore this one precious life. But that is it – an ideal. Would one trust losing their life for an ideal that was borrowed from someone else? How many more Steve Jobs, Athena Starwoman and the many unnamed thousands do we have to see or read about before we get the message: Middle path is best. Best of conventional and best of complementary medicine = better outcomes. The equation is not difficult. Personally when I go to the horse races I take each way bets – it is no different with health and survival.

Having been in a similar situation when I had to deal with real physical issues after nerve damage complications from routine surgery in 1997 – left me without bowel function. After an horrendous 13 year period and 21 surgical procedures it was a breakthrough bionic surgery that gave me back the life that had been taken. If anyone should be anti conventional medicine it should be me – however if I was to find my solution, it was not going to be an alternative medicine solution as was suggested by many of my colleagues.

At the time when I was going through that experience my only sister who had believed in natural medicine and who had not disclosed her health problem; died from a liver treatable cancer that was treatable. Like Steve Jobs had it been found and treated early she would not have succumbed to it.. By the time she asked me to be involved, her liver was 5 times its normal size. I set about advising her on tests and getting a proper diagnosis. It was devasting to discover what she had and she too felt let down by a system she had believed in.

Guiliatt  also writes a poignant piece about Athena Starwoman; what I would call yet another teaching story for the alternative medicine people to take on board.  “

In the New Age firmament, few shone more brightly than Athena Starwoman, the Australian spiritualist who built a global business as an astrologer and author. When she died of breast cancer in 2004, at 59, her fans were shocked, for she had given no hint of her illness. Earlier this year her closest friend, Deborah Gray, revealed that Starwoman in fact died after rejecting medical treatment in favour of “mind-body” healing, a decision she profoundly regretted at the end of her life.

Gray says she tried and failed to dissuade her friend from taking the non-medical path. After seven months of using herbal remedies, meditation and other alternative techniques, Starwoman was suffering such unbearable pain that she had to admit herself to hospital, and her condition was by then untreatable.

“Athena was very logical, she was very practical, she was not a hippy-dippy dropout,” Gray tells The Weekend Australian Magazine. “But I think what happened to her is what happens to a lot of people who get diagnosed with cancer: she went into shock. And rather than face up to what can be a very long and arduous treatment which can make you feel very sick and is very frightening, she lost her sense of what to do. She didn’t regret her beliefs, because she used her metaphysical training to face the end in an amazing way. The regret she had was that she didn’t try everything, including standard medicine. She knew that was a mistake.” Read more at the Australian Weekend Magazine.

www.gracegawlerinstitute.com

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