Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs recent death from neuro-endocrine pancreatic cancer has once again highlighted the need for more public awareness surrounding issues of alternative medicine and the role of belief systems in cancer treatment choices i.e. alternative versus conventional medicine – when ideologies take over, negating logic and scientific evidence. Steve Jobs was not alone; our institute is very concerned at the large numbers of cancer patients trying alternative medicine as their first-line treatment option.
I say this with respect – but the question begs – what drove a man like Steve Jobs to believe he could beat operable cancer by using the same “alternative” tools he had been using for most of his life? Albert Eistein said: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” In my clinic I see many patients who have been loyal to an alternative lifestyle ) including alt med, for most of their life and when they get cancer diagnosed – they simply do more of it in pursuit of a cure! Almost a pray harder mentality.
Apparently, even a close friend with prostate cancer who was in remission, advised Jobs not to take the alternative medicine path – yet at great personal risk, he refused surgery to experiment with natural therapies. Natural Health News editor – Mike Adams was quick to gain kudos and write about Job’s death on October 5 stating that he died because of conventional medicine – however information released from Apple Corporation soon revealed a very different story – Adams had incorrectly reported the story – indeed it was quite the opposite.
Steve Job’s case is an interesting one because even with his high IQ he was still influenced, as are many, by new age philosophies that fly in the face of knowledge and evidence-based science. As the story goes in his earlier days, Jobs had been a Hippy, enjoyed Ashram life and was a Buddhist and vegetarian – he had money, power and amazing creativity. But sadly, about 9 months after his original diagnosis; alternative medicine and his dietary treatment regimen were shown not to be working – his tumour had spread. Conventional treatments were then employed and apparently Jobs then gave it his all – but it was likely that delay was a huge cost. It is noteworthy that Jobs survived for almost eight years after his diagnosis and that he did this with the aid of conventional cancer treatments. Without conventional intervention, he would likely have died much earlier.
With respect for Steve and based on my experience in advising and case managing for patients over nearly 4 decades at the cancer coalface, this has also been my experience. The majority of patients who consult with me have also chosen alternative medicine as their first port of call inspired and supported either by books and advice on the internet provided by non medically trained self–styled cancer entrepreneurs like Bill Henderson, Don Tolman, websites such as ‘Cancer is Curable Now’, the One Minute Cancer Cure, the ‘New German Medicine’ or the many viral emails we all find in our email inbox about the next “miraculous cancer cure”. Many Integrative medical doctors and naturopaths have also been heavily influenced by bad science and anecdotes and have thrown medical and scientific knowledge out the window. I have had cases where patients have ceased taking hormonal therapies for hormone dependent cancers with alt med replacements advised instead by integrative doctors – to the patient’s demise.
Sadly most of these alt med patients reach my office when they have massive tumour spread and stage 1v cancer. For many, had they come earlier their cancer journey would be very different. If I turn my mind back to the Gawler Foundation, that I co-created in the early 80’s following my then husband’s recovery, for what had been diagnosed as a terminal illness; there is one thing that stands out – almost everyone had some form of conventional treatment in combination with our program. This concept is still reflected in my work and is displayed on the front page of my website that highlights: ‘using the best of both worlds’. This approach, where conventional meets complementary combined with psycho oncology often gets results far beyond clinical/medical expectations.
With genetic and molecular science advancing fast, we now know that when a cancer has grown larger than 1 mm, that it is already shedding tumour stem cells
into circulation(CTCs). These cells have potential to create new tumours. This is one of the best arguments to say that early detection and treatment yields the best life–preserving results. The longer a tumour stays in the body – the more CTCs you will have. With this background knowledge, why would anyone want to jeopardise their life and spend months experimenting with unproven remedies when potentially life saving treatment is on offer.
The Job’s case puts the spotlight on a person’s right to choose whether or not to undertake a particular treatment. I believe it is imperative that patients examine the reasoning behind their choices. The same people if they were shopping for a car or an insurance policy would want to get the best deal based on all their research – they would look out for rip-offs and high interest rates, loan sharks and shonky dealers – but strangely when it come to us – our own one e precious life – these parameters get lost in the mystical and vague promises of people whom we don’t know and with whom there is little if any relationship!
Informed choice or conscious choice depends on the sources a person has accessed, second or third opinions they have sought, statistical outcomes and research. Many patients are influenced by anecdotes without evidence that the “recovered” patient actually had cancer in the first place.
Having been in this position personally, aside from Ian Gawler’s illness, I searched and researched my options when faced with a life challenging condition. Staying focused and centred throughout my 13 years of adversity – I was led to Holland for my world first bionic implant that returned bowel function and gave me my life back! Although trained as a Naturopath and despite many natural remedy recommendations from colleagues for remedies to heal my severely damaged nerves; had I not taken that initiative to seek smart conventional medicine, I doubt whether I would be sitting here writing this blog.
Steve jobs leaves a legacy for all cancer patients:
- You have one precious life – what will you do with it? Will your risk using unsubstantiated treatments?
- Can you afford to take the risk of wasting time while trying out “cancer cures” ?
- If diagnosed with cancer: will you make choices based on fear of medicine, conspiracy theories, anecdotes, the internet and poor science? OR
- will you make choices from a place of logic, knowledge and evidence-based information?
- Will you put beliefs and ideologies ahead of saving your life? OR
- Will you question the validity of all treatments offered or found?
Cancer treatment choice will be the most important choice you will ever make – get the facts – consult an expert in complementary cancer medicine and in conventional medicine and be sure they will all collaborate on your behalf for the best outcome.
Cancer is becoming more prevalent – so If you don’t have cancer now – will you make a plan about how you might approach cancer if you were diagnosed? Perhaps some lifestyle changes help with early onset or prevention – but how do you know what to do? There are now Genetic early detection tests that can provide valuable information about your genes and DNA and cancer – These are offered as a part of the Institutes advisory and referral service – Contact for more info: Email firstname.lastname@example.org