Which Scan should I have – Navigating the Medical Imaging Maze

Each week in my team consultation practice with specialist GP Dr Bruce Whelan; we hear grave concerns from patients about the radiation risks from diagnostic scans. Unfortunately many cancer patients say no to two imperative diagnostics tools; biopsies and scanning procedures.

Each week in my team consultation practice with specialist GP Dr Bruce Whelan; we hear grave concerns from patients about the radiation risks from diagnostic scans. Unfortunately many cancer patients say no to two imperative diagnostics tools; biopsies and scanning procedures. Usually this is a result of consulting the doctor who never sees a patient and offers a one size fits all approach – yes it’s Dr Google! It is true that medical scans are a source of radiation – however the Health intelligence australiabenefits of knowing as much as possible about your cancer and where it might be located in your body far outweigh the risks. Death from Cancer is not such a great option either I tell my clients.

This is why I interviewed Dr Nevil Chimon on Navigating the Cancer Maze internet radio Select this link to listen

Dr Nevil Chimon researches and develops radio tracers for medical imaging. The science, processes & advances of imaging techniques, & the radio-pharmaceuticals that magically make our inner parts visible to doctors for more accurate diagnosis; is the topic for today’s Navigating the Cancer Maze. Dr Nevil Chimon shares his passion and invaluable information for cancer patients about the different types of cancer & the best medical imaging to assist diagnosis. This is information that you need to know! All patients become intimately involved with the process of cancer imaging, & the relationship often lasts for 5 or more years.

BIOGRAPHY:  Dr Chimon is a medical science graduate of UCLAN, BSc (Hons), Manchester University, MSc & NUS, PhD, with Post-Doctoral training in Molecular Imaging & Radiochemistry completed at the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research & Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre, UK. Nevil has over 10 years of experience within the pharmaceuticals industry. Holding positions of increasing responsibility within MNCs and SMEs has provided him with broad exposure to projects involving drug discovery & imaging diseases, including cancer & dementia. Strategically, he recognizes an opportunity exists to leverage on molecular imaging technology to both accelerate drug discovery and improve the healthcare of patients by using PET-CT and PET-MRI multi-modality imaging.

Dr Nevil Chimon BSc (Hons), MSc and NUS, PhD,
Dr Nevil Chimon BSc (Hons), MSc and NUS, PhD,

During his 7-years based in Singapore, Dr Chimon has established the first Preclinical CRO imaging facility, obtained GMP licensing for the RadLink cyclotron facility, performed the first clinical trial with a proprietary radio-tracer for Bayer Pharmaceuticals, & manufactured new tracers to detect cancer. To Listen to my interview with Dr Nevil Chimon: CLICK HERE

As a Cancer Patient – You need to Know your imaging options so you make an informed choice:

Different imaging methods use different technology and provide different types of images. This means they have different benefits for showing what is happening inside the body (e.g. for showing bone, soft tissue or tumours). Imaging methods also have different potential advantages and disadvantages, including exposure to radiation.

Here are just a few of the New Scanning devices and procedures  you need to know about:
Prostate CancerPSMA (Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen) PET-CT – A PSMA study, also called a ProstaScint® scan, is an imaging test to locate and determine the extent of prostate cancer. PSMA studies are performed on newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients to determine if the disease has spread to pelvic lymph nodes. The study is also performed on patients who have had their prostate gland removed (prostatectomy) and have an increase in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood levels.

The study involves a special molecule called a monoclonal antibody developed in a laboratory and designed to bind to the prostate-specific membrane antigen on cancer cells. This antibody is paired with a radioactive material called Indium-111 that can be detected by a gamma camera. When injected into the patient’s bloodstream, the radioactive antibody travels and attaches to cancer cells. The gamma camera then produces three-dimensional images of the tumor and its location inside the body. This study is performed over as many as three days. On the first day, the patient first receives an intravenous (IV) injection of the radioactive antibody. Imaging is performed in two sessions, separated by 24 or more hours. Each imaging session will last between two and four hours. The camera rotates around the patient, who remains still.

  • Molecular imaging and prostate cancer? Molecular imaging is used to:
    stage treatment: by determining the exact location of a tumor, the extent or stage of the disease and whether the cancer has spread in the body and plan treatment by selecting the most effective therapy based on the unique molecular properties of the disease and of the patient’s genetic makeup
  • Choline C-11 PET scan is an imaging test used to help detect sites of prostate cancer that have returned despite treatment (recurrent prostate cancer). It may be used when other imaging has not been helpful. Choline C-11 PET scan is a positron emission tomography (PET) scan that uses a special chemical tracer called Choline C-11 Injection.
  • Valuable links:
    11E_The use of Choline PET_CT in prostate cancer imaging_Tara Barwick

    Targeted therapies offer new options for prostate cancer treatment
  • Breast Cancer:  MRI:  Some women, particularly those under the age of 50 and who are at high risk of developing breast cancer due to a strong family history or a genetic mutation, are encouraged to undergo annual breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as part of their regular screening routine. MRI is sometimes a more effective screening tool for younger women, especially those with dense breasts. MRI scans are very expensive — up to $700 AUD per scan. There is a Medicare rebate for women at high risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Mammograms A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast and is the most common form of breast imaging. There are two types of mammogram — screening and diagnostic.
    Screening mammograms: Screening mammograms are used for women who do not have any symptoms of breast cancer and who have not had breast cancer in the past. If you are aged 40 or over, have never been diagnosed with breast cancer and currently have no symptoms of breast cancer, you can be screened free of charge at a BreastScreen Australia clinic.
    Diagnostic Mammograms Diagnostic mammograms are recommended for women who have a previous history of breast cancer or who are at high risk of developing breast cancer. Several X-rays are taken in order to obtain views of the breast/s from different angles. You will need a referral from a doctor for a diagnostic mammogram.
  • More info at http://www.bcna.org.au/living-breast-cancer/follow-care/breast-imaging

Diagnosing NETS (neuroendocrine tumours).

  • Ga68 DOTATE is a somatostatin receptor agent used in the imaging of well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumours. For poorly differentiated neuroendocrine tumours; standard F18 FDG-PET remains the imaging of choice for diagnosis. Dr Nevil Chimon discusses NET imaging options and the latest developments in my interview with him on Voice America.

Different types of imaging

  • X-rays (plain radiography) – Uses X-rays to show images of bones, tumours and other dense matter
  • Advantages: Quick, non-invasive and painless
    Can help diagnose various diseases and injuries, including broken bones, cancer and infections
    Disadvantages: Very small increased risk of cancer in future from exposure to ionising radiation (x-rays). Risk is greater for children
  • Computed tomography (CT scans) Uses multiple X-rays to produce cross-sectional layers that show detailed images inside the body, including bones, organs, tissues, and tumours.
    Advantages*Quick and painless
    *Can help diagnose and guide treatment for a wider range of conditions than plain X-rays
    *Can detect or exclude the presence of more serious problems
    *Can be used to check if a previously treated disease has recurred
    Disadvantages*Small increased risk of cancer in future from exposure to ionising radiation (X-rays). Risk is greater for children
    *Uses higher doses of radiation, so the risks (while still small) are in general greater than other imaging types
    *Injection of a contrast medium (dye) can cause kidney problems or result in allergic or injection-site reactions in some people -Some procedures require anaesthesia.
  • Nuclear medicine imaging including positron-emission tomography (PET) Involves injecting, inhaling or swallowing a radioactive ‘tracer’. The gamma-rays emitted by this material are used by the scanner to show images of bones and organs:
    Advantages*Usually painless
    *Can help diagnose, treat, or predict the outcome for a wide range of conditions
    *Unlike most other imaging types, can show how different parts of the body are working and can detect problems much earlier
    *Can check how far a cancer has spread and how well treatment is working
    *Involves exposure to ionising radiation (gamma-rays)
    Disadvantages A PET scan can take 3 to 4 hrs from arrival to departure
  • *Radioactive material may cause allergic or injection-site reactions in some people
    *PET scanners cause some people to feel claustrophobic, which may mean sedation is required
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) Uses magnetic fields and radio waves to show detailed images of organs, soft tissues, bones, ligaments and cartilage
  • Advantages*Usually non-invasive and painless
    *Uses no ionising radiation
    *Can help diagnose and guide treatment for a wide range of conditions
    *Can provide similar information to CT in some types of investigations
    Disadvantages*Can be a lengthy and noisy procedure
    *Slight movement can ruin the image, requiring retesting
    *Can make some people feel claustrophobic
    *Sedation or anaesthesia may be required for young children or others who can’t remain still
    *Injection of a contrast medium (dye) if needed can cause kidney problems or result in allergic or injection-site reactions in some people
    Can’t be undertaken in some situations (e.g. when a heart pacemaker is present)
  • Ultrasound Uses high-frequency sound waves to produce moving images onto a screen of the inside of the body, including organs, soft tissues and bones
  • Advantages*Usually non-invasive, safe and relatively painless
    *Uses no ionising radiation
    *Does not usually require injection of a contrast medium (dye)
    *Can help diagnose a range of conditions in different parts of the body, such as the abdomen, pelvis, blood vessels, breast, kidneys, muscles, bones and joints
    Disadvantages*Quality and interpretation of the image highly depends on the skill of the person doing the scan
    *Other factors can affect image quality, including the presence of air and calcified areas in the body (e.g. bones, plaques and hardened arteries), and a person’s body size
    *Use of a special probe (e.g. for the oesophagus, rectum or vagina) is required in some ultrasounds
    *Special preparations may be required before a procedure (e.g. fasting or a full bladder)
  • Bone scan? A bone scan is a diagnostic imaging test used to determine whether cancer has spread to the skeleton. A tiny amount of radio-tracer is injected into the patient’s bloodstream and accumulates predominantly in the bones where it can be detected by a specialized imaging device called a gamma camera. The resulting two-dimensional or three-dimensional images can reveal various processes such as bony fractures, infection or inflammation or the likely presence of cancer cells.

Select the following URL to learn about the impact of radiation from Medical Scanning:

Medical imaging and Theranostics (developing molecular diagnostic tests in tandem with targeted therapeutics) are medical sciences that are moving forward at a rapid pace.  Ask your oncologist/radiologist for the latest information about new  scanning machines and techniques for your particular type of tumour.

We see many patients who have foregone critical diagnostic scans due to fears about radiation from scanning devices; mainly after reading  poorly researched information on Dr Google. All cancer situations need proper diagnosing and monitoring. Most medical scans carry a small long term risk from radiation exposure – but to not know about a burgeoning cancer is a far greater risk to life and longevity.

If you need assistance and case management – you can consult with myself and specialist GP Dr Bruce Whelan in a team consultation at our Gold Coast, Qld Practice. I am also available for Skype consultations for distance Clients – We are able to offer world-wide referrals. To Contact myself and Dr Whelan:  Email institute@gracegawler.com

Until next Time….


Black Salve|Holistic or Hole-istic? – Naturopathic Medicine was Never Meant to do This! Grace Gawler

In the Australian Media this week, Medical Reporter Julia Medew writes: A 55-year-old man recently presented to a Brisbane hospital with a black hole in his temple after applying an unproven alternative medicine known as “black salve” to a lesion on his face, which he believed was cancerous. I discussed this media piece and so called remedy in my last segment of Navigating the Cancer Maze on Voice America today.

Holistic or Hole-istic? – Naturopathic Medicine was Never Meant to do This!

In the Australian Media this week, Medical Reporter Julia Medew writes: A 55-year-old man recently presented to a Brisbane hospital with a black hole in his temple after applying an unproven alternative medicine known as “black salve” to a lesion on his face, which he believed was cancerous. I discussed this media piece and so called remedy in my last segment of Navigating the Cancer Maze on Voice America today.

Results of Using Black Salve

Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia, doctors from the Princess Alexandra Hospital said the man had been applying the unlicensed product, which is sold online as an alternative skin cancer treatment, to his face for four months.

The doctors, Natalie Ong, Eric Sham and Brandon Adams, said black salve preparations often contained an alkaloid derived from bloodroot and zinc chloride which could both eat away at tissue, leading to significant scarring and disfigurement. “In the absence of a biopsy, some patients may commence alternative treatment before attaining a diagnosis of skin cancer, and a very real risk of recurrence and metastasis (cancer spreading) remains….

Having worked with cancer patients for most of my naturopathic life; I am well aware of the nature of cancer and the inherent dangers in applying Black Salve to human or animal tissues. Far too many times I have seen first hand the destruction caused by this so called natural remedy.

( Folks there is nothing natural about zinc chloride which is often compounded with Bloodroot to create the paste – that is recommended to be applied to many different types of skin lesions). Zinc Chloride is an escharotic and tissue fixative; not to messed with! It is claimed by proponents that “the cancer salve made from zinc Chloride and Bloodroot is safe and effective, and has never harmed anyone, in thousands of years of use”.

The photograph above is just one small example of the damage I have seen from applying this paste. Cancer patients have used it on breast tumors, all kinds of skin tumors malignant and benign. One client used it on her genital area for an SCC ( squamous cell carcinoma)! The erosion and pain was horrendous. My own patient records with photographs of tissue damage are vile viewing. Many melanoma patients are delaying treatment  due to this remedy and their belief in it to “cure cancer”. Professor Dr Alexander Herzog, Germany keeps a photo album of the black salve disasters he has to try to repair when it all goes belly-up for patients. Gaping holes in breast tissue, some  large enough to insert a fist are displayed page after page…and then there is the mother who applied the Black Salve paste to a  melanoma located on her son’s skull. She used the paste for 6 months – you could see his brain through the hole! Professor Herzog says he cant understand why cancer patients are using this paste.

The whole history of  Moh’s chemo-surgery – margin controlled microscopic surgery using zinc Chloride – an interesting read.


What is about this preparation that gives it allure? Is it the mystique of purported native American history? Is it the supposed safety level that is claimed? Is it because a former Hollywood movie star has promoted it?  Is it because we hate science and love cottage medicines?

Scab created by black salve
Scab created by black salve

The allure has even defied logic as many of Naturopathic friends, not only cancer patients believed in the salve to the extent that the paste “got it all” only to die from their metastatic melanoma and squamous cell carcinomas. Why is it that even bringing science and logic to this preparation will generate hate mail?

Personally I am tired of attending Black Salve funerals. I am glad it is banned in Australia however you can find it all around the internet still and even in the back end under the counter of some health food stores! My best advice – DON’T GO THERE! First and foremost – Find out what you are dealing with before embarking upon any treatment and please realize that this can be a sinister remedy with associated complications that make chemotherapy side effects look like a walk in the park!

In 2012, the Therapeutic Goods Administration warned people to avoid black salve, which is also known as red salve, Cansema, or Bloodroot.

More coming soon about discussions from today’s Navigating the Cancer Maze on Voice America- please visit again……

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Groundbreaking Cancer Immunotherapy Grace Gawler interviews Dr Horst Lindhoffer Munich

On today’s edition of Navigating the Cancer Maze, Grace Gawler interviews Dr Horst Lindhoffer PhD about one of the most innovative and exciting cancer immunotherapy treatment breakthroughs in many years. Visit germancancertreatments.com for more information.

On Navigating the Cancer Maze – Cancer Immunotherapy – Ground-breaking treatment in Cancer Medicine Grace Gawler -August 2, 2013

 “Destroying cancer stem cells means fighting cancer at its roots”, says Horst Lindhofer, CEO of TRION Pharma. “Catumaxomab’s efficacy against this particularly aggressive and resistant population of cancer cells further supports its therapeutic potential for the treatment of EpCAM-positive carcinomas.”

On today’s edition of Navigating the Cancer Maze, I interview Dr Horst Lindhoffer PhD about one of the most innovative and exciting cancer treatment breakthroughs in many years. We know that The human immune system is usually quite effective at identifying and eliminating abnormal cells.

dr horst lindhofer
Dr Horst Lindhofer

 Cancer cells, however, can form tumors and spread throughout the body. Although chaotic in their behavior, cancer cells operate with high level intelligence to escape detection by our immune system’s control mechanisms. Often misunderstood, this is a fundamental principle in understanding how cancer cells behave and how immune recognition can be assisted. The new breakthrough cancer treatments capitalize on that information. It has been a long-standing vision of physicians and scientists to develop a treatment that can put the immune system back on track. TRION has achieved the goal with its trifunctional Triomab® antibodies. Listen to learn more or contact grace@germancancertreatments.com for further details.

Listen to this interview at:
Catumaxomab (Removab®) is presently the only approved therapeutic antibody targeting EpCAM, a surface antigen that is widely expressed in the most frequent forms of human cancer. On April 20th this year, Removab® received EU approval for the intraperitoneal treatment of malignant ascites in patients with EpCAM-positive carcinomas. Removab® is the first product world-wide to receive a regulatory approval for this indication. With its trifunctional mode of action, Removab® represents a new generation of antibodies using the body’s own immune system to help fight the tumor cells.

For more information visit www.germancancertreatments.com Enquiries: To discover more about Horst Lindhoffer’s work with Trifunctional antibodies  – please email grace@germancancertreatments.com

EpCAM: EpCAM or epithelial cell adhesion molecule is a pan-epithelial differentiation antigen that is expressed on almost all carcinomas, such as breast, lung, colorectal, gastric, prostate and ovarian cancer. Catumaxomab (Removab®) is the only approved anti-EpCAM antibody available.

Triomab®: Trifunctional antibodies : Triomab® antibodies bind to cancer-specific surface antigens and recruit both T cells as well as accessory cells, such as macrophages, dendritic cells and natural killer cells, to the tumor site. As a result, they provide for a new quality of cancer cell killing, activating both arms of the immune system – the adaptive one with cytotoxic T cells as effectors and the innate one including accessory effector cells.

dendritic cell image
dendritic cell image

Triomab® antibodies are therefore very effective in destroying cancer cells and show a therapeutic effect at very low doses. Triomab® antibodies are a development of TRION Pharma GmbH Catumaxomab was invented by TRION Pharma and has been developed with Fresenius Biotech.

Trifunctional Antibody Catumaxomab Triggers Vaccination Effect Against Cancer: On June 06, 2011 Munich, Germany TRION Pharma GmbH released and announced new information – the results from two different studies demonstrating catumaxomab’s capacity to activate the immune system in a way that can otherwise only be achieved through vaccination.  Continue reading “Groundbreaking Cancer Immunotherapy Grace Gawler interviews Dr Horst Lindhoffer Munich”

Grace Gawler blog – cancer survival

There is nothing quite as compelling as a personal story well told – Listen to stories from Rev Ian Mavor and Deirdre Hanna on this week’s Navigating the Cancer Maze- Voice America internet radio:

Surviving cancer at all costs often dominates the world of a cancer patient. In the alternative medicine movement in particular; blogs and websites – little if any attention is given to the “failure” factor – not popular on these sites for obvious reasons. Just imagine someone trying to sell you a “Cure for Cancer” – potions, tea, supplements and dietary regimens; if there was an “out-clause” – errr if this doesn’t work for you…here is what to do!!! It somewhat destroys the ‘faith factor’ doesn’t it.

Cancer counsellors, cancer entrepreneurs, cancer authors must be more responsible and address the issue of what to do, what strategies to employ just incase things don’t work out as hoped for – the possibility or probability of not making it through cancer or some other life threatening challenges is real for many people. Denial and avoidance are not useful ways of dealing with a truth that will – at sometime confront. Let’s face it we are all going to go at some time! Most of the people who have died in the past 12 months that I know have not been cancer patients! There have been heart attacks, accidents and other unexpected life events. So Death – the great adventure is something we all need to be prepared for….as many have said – dealing with death fees up more energy for living. This is especially important if you have been diagnosed with a life challenging illness.

This week on Navigating the Cancer Maze I interviewed Rev Dr Ian Mavor and Deirdre Hanna from Hopewell Centre on Australia’s Gold Coast. http://www.hopewell.org.au/ http://www.paradisekids.org.au/ I chose to interview this couple because they do not give lips service -they know what it is like to work at the coalface of life’s big issues ….end of life experience, grief and loss with adults and children. Their work is important and they reach many – but their concept could reach further into our society. Of course their work goes far beyond cancer. How we all deal with grief, loss, shock, betrayals etc can form the substrate of who we present to the world. I believe, and many would agree, that the way we learn to deal with life’s big issues can significantly affect health in all manner of ways.

So Paradise kids is a creative and compassionate vehicle for children to talk about, share and acknowledge how they feel about the loss and grief they have incurred whether through death in a family, divorce etc … Click here to donate to and Support Paradise Kids

Navigating the Cancer Maze Voice America Grace GawlerThis interview is highly recommended as the subject is often avoided.

Navigating the Cancer Maze The most important issue we can address – death; the great adventure

January 18, 2013

Today on Navigating the Cancer Maze we are going to talk about one of the most if not THE most difficult issues for discussion for cancer patients, families and friends of cancer patients. This an episode to bookmark for if and ever you are faced with helping someone with an end of life experience. Talking about palliative care, grief, loss and death is often seen as an unpalatable subject for cancer patients who want to be pro active with searching for the “cure”. But the reality is not everyone makes it through the journey of cancer and one thing is certain; we all must die at some time. What can be done to prepare? How can dealing with death free up energy for living? Rev Dr Ian Mavor and his wife Deirdre Hanna have chosen one of the most challenging vocations. Hospice, palliative care and helping people through loss and grief is their daily menu. Together they founded the Hopewell Centre and Paradise kids on Australia’s Gold Coast. www.hopewell.org.au              www.paradisekids.org.au


Rev. Dr Ian  Mavor

Rev. Dr Ian Mavor, OAM, FACE A Uniting Church Minister, much of Ian’s professional life has been in specialist roles. Co-Founder Rev Dr Ian Mavorand Executive Director Ian serves as Executive Director of Hopewell Hospice Services Inc which includes Hopewell Hospice, Paradise Kids, the Living Well Centre and the Hopewell College of Transformative Education. He is a member of the Health Community Council-Gold Coast Health District and a member of the State Council of Palliative Care Queensland. In 2002, Ian was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) “For service to the community through a range of church, social welfare, education and health groups”. http://www.hopewell.org.au


Deirdre  Hanna

Deirdre Hanna is founding President and Executive Director of Children’s Services (Paradise Kids) and Spiritual Care. Deirdre’s Deirdre Hanna Paradise kidsbackground includes Bachelor of Theology (B.Th), Certificate in Transpersonal Psychotherapy and Counselling; Doctoral Student, University of Creation Spirituality; Multi-Disciplinary Certificate in Hospice Care, St Christopher’s London; Certificate in Mindfulness Meditation, Massachusetts Medical School Mind-Body Stress Reduction Clinic; Certificate in Spiritual Retreat Leading and Direction. Diploma of Nutrition and Dietetics; Diploma in Swedish Massage. Zonta Gold Coaster of the Year, (1994) Winston Churchill Memorial Fellow 1995 (Spiritual Care for Cancer Patients), The City of Gold Coast Women at Work wonderful 20th Century Gold Coast Women Award, Gold Coast Bulletin Community Service Medal, 2007; Member of the Churchill Fellows Association; Princeton Global Network. http://www.paradisekids.org.au

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Steve Jobs case reveals alternative medicine dangers in cancer treatment-Grace Gawler

 Biography reveals that Apple’s Steve Jobs refused potentially life-saving surgery on his pancreatic cancer because he felt it was too invasive. Nine months later, he got the operation but it was too late.

The next time you hear of an miraculous natural cancer cure remember the words of the late Carl Sagan – “Exceptional claims require exceptional evidence.” Personally after nearly 4 decades of working in strategies to manage and recover from cancer, I remain surprised and shocked at the numbers of  patients refusing surgery or valid treatments only to try some miraculous cure based on anecdotes and with little or no evidence. If patients really understood the nature of cancer and how it behaves and metastasizes (spreads through the body) – I believe they would make different choices. (More on this topic next blog)

Take the example of two patients who 9 years ago were diagnosed with the same type of breast cancer with the same hormonal status and one positive lymph node. One patient went the conventional route – surgery, chemo and a hormone blocking agent – she remains well and vibrant to this day.

Breast Cancer Cell

The other lady – like Steve Jobs, believed surgery was too invasive so she chose to keep her lump and node after a she received her biopsy result. Rather than booking in for the surgeon, she fled  to a well known cancer naturopath who advised to her to fast, juice and take a variety of herbs and supplements as well as other treatments such as Scalar energy. Her  treatments cost her a small fortune. Although she had massive tumour development by the time she found me, 7 years on…she believed that the tumours were resolving by  simply “coming out” of her body, a theory condoned by the naturopath concerned who also  that said all her ‘test’ results were excellent, therefore she must need emotional healing. This lovely lady had more secondary tumours than I had seen in my 4 decades of working in this field.

Stage 1V breast cancer

She passed away this year after a hellish battle for her life – her final months extended by compassionate conventional medicine.  By the time she realised what she had chosen was not working and that she had listened to the wrong people – it was indeed too late. There is a mantra repeated daily in my practice.. “I wish I had come sooner!”
Recently while in conversation with a friend – another most unfortunate story came to light; sadly it is also a story I hear all too often and it has the same tone as  Steve Job’s outcome and my above mentioned patient. Continue reading “Steve Jobs case reveals alternative medicine dangers in cancer treatment-Grace Gawler”

Grace Gawler Institute – How emotions can affect the healing and recovery process in cancer

Part 3. The Importance of Emotions in Healing and Recovery

www.gracegawler.com/institute – Visit our jollyologist page

Continued from previous post.

Illness proved to be a great teacher for me although it was quite a shock  having been a supporter of so many for so long to find myself in a bubble of silence and isolation; made worse by living in the countryside. However, despite the situation – I considered myself lucky in that my background in supportive care and emotional therapies meant that I had ‘inner tools’ and knowledge just waiting to be accessed in my own crisis. I also knew I had the power of choice to move into victim or victor. The majority of my previous cancer patients had no such tool-kit of options – they had to start at the beginning – they had no dress rehearsals – no specific coping skills – cancer for them was a new and uninvited experience.

I now realise what a monumental quest it is to recover from a life challenging condition and how careful we as therapists must be when suggesting massive change whether it be dietary, social, emotional/psychological or physical. My professional training has had many highlights, but walking in the shoes of the patient has been my most profound and fertile learning field.  

 The Emotional connection: E-motions are energy in motion. That is… unless we repress them. When they are in movement and flowing we experience good psychological health and physical health. Albert Szent-Georgyi (1960) said “In every culture and in every medical tradition before ours, healing was accompanied by moving energy”.

This moving energy is also reflected in our bodies and immune system. In the video of real live blood (below) watch how an active neutrophil (one of our white cells) actively seeks and destroys bacteria (the black dot). This is not passive  – but pro active movement. When movement stops so does life.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnlULOjUhSQ&w=425&h=349]

When we experience a shock of some kind emotions can move with amazing force and rapid expression and can have physical consequences as in my case – my uterus literally fell out with a force that was dramatic. For someone else, an experience can be so shocking that emotions can ‘freeze’ – the condition eventually recognized as PTSD and or many dissociative states.   If we learn to deny and repress our emotional expression the chronic damming up effect can result in us becoming powerless. As I wrote in my Women of Silence poem – “Too much held too often can take its toll.”  This can reflect in a sense of deep hopelessness feeling unable to affect change and feeling “stuck” – thus our health becomes compromised.

Unresolved emotional, spiritual and physical pain results in an unrelenting ill ease. Repressed emotions can also result in withdrawal from life’s activities and create a void of loneliness and isolation from community. Sometimes this can be so powerful like ‘Bone-Pointing’ it can take away our will to live – our will to ‘be’. As a background intervention – emotional healing can have dramatically freeing consequences – the freedom to live and the freedom to die.

Recently I was asked to visit a young woman in hospital she was struggling for her life – too tired to lived – too fearful to die. I will call her June.  June had 5 children – her youngest was 18 months. Her family of origin are amazingly supportive. Diagnosed with kidney cancer – she had a kidney removed 2 years ago, declined chemotherapy, followed the books and internet advice and spent a small fortune on natural therapies. June became pregnant and then had a horrific delivery and emergency caesarean.  She kept up with the natural way to cure her cancer until advanced secondary tumours were diagnosed in her abdomen and lungs.  She then travelled to an expensive overseas clinic for treatment, with some improvement but deteriorated again as soon as she arrived back in Brisbane. Admitted and discharged by several hospitals and deemed palliative – she found her way to an oncologist who was willing to treat her. Her weight had plummeted to less than 40 kgs. 

Now there was no choice but to try chemotherapy. Her life hung in the balance for many days as her lungs slowly filled with fluid. This beautiful young woman was suffering deeply from an ailment that no-one had addressed in her recovery plan because no one had asked her about her life or emotional state….Silence. No one had dared to go there and she deteriorated. As it turned out June was in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship and had been for the course of her marriage. Her spirit and hope for a future had shattered – she was stuck – sick and tired of the battle. She almost died late last week and needed fluid drained from her lungs. She decided she wanted to live but didn’t know what to do or how to go about it.

We had a heart to heart – soul to soul discussion – and she spoke of her life.  Together we worked out a plan of intention for how her future might change in other words…. was there a possibility for things to be different.  Although too ill to act or do anything now – she now has a ray of hope and a plan to see her children grow.

Importantly – there is no chemotherapy – no natural substance with miraculous healing powers than can cure or heal this malady which is most accurately termed soul sickness.

Since these extra interventions – her oncologist reports she has turned a corner & he believes she might make it! June has gained weight, looks brighter and is keen to engage in life once again for however long that might be.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote “Life is like a card game, it is not about being dealt a good hand but how you play a band hand well!”  Some issues in life do just appear out of left field and depending how much spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical credit that we have in that very ‘personal bank account’, we may look at the glass as being half full or half empty.  If that “bank account” is empty when trauma pays us a visit – and…If we are spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and physically bankrupt; then we will have little resources (“credit”) left to withstand the onslaught. In June’s case she was emotionally, psychologically, physically and spiritually bankrupt.

This often presents as difficulties with personal boundaries, feeling empty (a shell) and or a feeling of being numbed to life. This can be identified as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

We are often tested in life as to how well we can play that ‘bad hand’. Preferably when traumas or shocks occur we can act from the place of the fullness of our being rather than as a victim of life dwelling on the emptiness of our being. In the early stages of healing the effect of the trauma needs to be dealt with in order to move emotional energy, place some deposits in the “bank account” and reframe the experience of life.

Next post – recognising emotional trauma in cancer patients and what to do about it – how to put deposits into your ‘bank account’.

www.gracegawler.com/institute  Visit our jollyologist page

Grace Gawler – Grace Gawler Institute: How emotions can affect the healing and recovery process in cancer patients

Part 2. The Importance of Emotions in Healing and RecoveryPlease pass on this blog URL to anyone you know who is dealing with cancer
help can also be found at www.gracegawler.com/institute

It is challenging to find the words to discuss emotional material. Our feelings and emotions are so personal, internal. Emotions – be they positive or negative – up or down, have an influence on the brain and brain chemicals. Those chemicals, neuro-peptides, hormones, endorphins to name a few, can influence the body’s chemistry. Day to day more flippant emotions are natural – they come and they go. Where emotions begin to be significant in terms of our health, is in the areas of chronic stress and trauma especially long term or unrelenting trauma. Feelings and affects associated with traumatic events can alter chemistry in mind and body. Below I relate my own experience around this important issue as an example. When talking of emotions and illness it is important not to lean into self-blame or the “I caused my cancer” trip. This article is adapted from my previously published article in the British Holistic Medical Journal. For more on emotions see Reviews on the menu or purchase  Women of Silence the Emotional Healing of Breast Cancer – book and eBook format. Continue reading “Grace Gawler – Grace Gawler Institute: How emotions can affect the healing and recovery process in cancer patients”

Breast Cancer eBook – Women of Silence – The Emotional Healing of Breast Cancer – Grace Gawler

 Women Of Silence -The Emotional Healing of Breast Cancer … Now for the first time this breast cancer recovery classic, updated and including videos, is available for worldwide distribution in eBook format. (239pp) Click here to purchase – $9.99

Women of Silence
Women of Silence

I have personally assisted more than 4000 women with breast cancer around the globe by means of residential retreats, consultations and support groups. This book reflects wisdom from their stories as well as their successes and day to day challenges. Realistic and powerful – Women of Silence is a book that has already changed the lives of women around the world. The new affordable eBook format gives women greater access in their home to read and study these life saving strategies.
Women of Silence remains the only book written solely about the importance of emotional healing in recovery from breast cancer. Described as a timeless classic, Women of Silence remains a valuable tool in every woman’s breast cancer Recovery Kit. The book also discusses prevention. There is a section for carers and lists of questions to ask your medical practitioner.
The book is indexed so that it is easy to find relevant topics for a brief read – very important when women are traumatised from the diagnosis alone as well as from treatments.

“This book is full of thoughtful, practical insights to everyday living with cancer. I would like all my colleagues to read it.”                 
Professor R.R. Hall- Lead Clinician, Northern cancer Network, NHS – UK (now retired)


“An essential companion for all women, it answers all the questions you often don’t want to ask. Packed with useful exercises to help you regain control of your situation, it will help you begin the healing process during the emotional turmoil that surrounding breast cancer.”  Professor Karol Sikora Professor of Cancer Medicine, Imperial college Hammersmith Hospital London UK – Integrataed Cancer Trust UK 
Dr Ruth Sewell- Former Senior psycho-therapist at Penny Brohn Centre (Bristol Cancer Help Centre) – Pill Bristol UK  2009 – Course Tutor: Diploma in the Study of Integrated Medicine, Integrated Health Trust, Bath UK, had this to say about ‘Women of Silence: the Emotional Healing of Breast Cancer …

‘Women of Silence’ provides a practical and thoughtful approach to understanding the emotional consequences and responses women affected by breast cancer can experience.
It is book that answers questions that women often don’t get to ask, or even want to ask as they approach the psychological, emotional and spiritual challenges that this all too common disease creates. There are exercises to help in the process of rebuilding confidence and taking back emotional control.
Grace is a highly experienced therapist and teacher and makes no apologies for ‘saying it as it is’. This book will prove an invaluable asset to all therapists who want to really understand how to support their clients and their carers during and after the time of breast cancer.
NEW eBook format     $9.99 Instructions for download provided.**

“Grace writes with authority and compassion. She provides women with an opportunity to regard their adversity as a great opportunity.”  Professor Neville Davidson, Professor in Clinical Oncology, Bloomfield Hospital Essex. Chairman H.E.A.L Cancer Charity and Helen Rollason Cancer Care Appeal.

Soft cover book $25.00 includes P&H within Australia

 or Visit   www.gracegawler.com  www.gracegawler.com/institute

**At online shop scroll for product, select secure paymate icon, provide details, submit payment. On receipt of payment you will be emailed a URL which takes you to secured eBook (Book Guard Pro). You will be asked to add your name and email. You will then be given your personal security code enabling you to download your eBook. Simple,secure & efficient.

Conquering Cancer – Survivor’s Secrets – Grace Gawler eBooks

This book not only inspires – it provides tools & thought provoking concepts for taking the journey of cancer

Grace Gawler – “I believe that modern medicine provides one side of the ‘healing coin’. We as patients, provide the other side. By accessing our innate skills we can powerfully contribute to our recovery.
The subject of this eBook is how you can learn to value-add to your recovery. For over 35 years I have investigated key elements that enable cancer patients to survive & thrive or prolong their life way beyond expectation. One theme that holds true for thousands of survivors and thrivers was their ability to use the experience of cancer to transform their lives in order to survive and thrive! In other words, losing your life in order to find your life!
eBook format means that cancer patients anywhere in the world can now benefit from my experience for little more than the cost of two coffees!
You will refer to this eBook again and again – it is always there as your support and guide.”

Purchase Now $9.99

Conquering Cancer Survivor's Secrets

Conquering Cancer – Survivor's Secrets – Grace Gawler eBooks

This book not only inspires – it provides tools & thought provoking concepts for taking the journey of cancer

Grace Gawler – “I believe that modern medicine provides one side of the ‘healing coin’. We as patients, provide the other side. By accessing our innate skills we can powerfully contribute to our recovery.
The subject of this eBook is how you can learn to value-add to your recovery. For over 35 years I have investigated key elements that enable cancer patients to survive & thrive or prolong their life way beyond expectation. One theme that holds true for thousands of survivors and thrivers was their ability to use the experience of cancer to transform their lives in order to survive and thrive! In other words, losing your life in order to find your life!
eBook format means that cancer patients anywhere in the world can now benefit from my experience for little more than the cost of two coffees!
You will refer to this eBook again and again – it is always there as your support and guide.”

Purchase Now $9.99

Conquering Cancer Survivor's Secrets