Risks and Benefits of Chemotherapy vs. Risks and Benefits of Natural Cancer Treatments


Our clinic studied the results of treatment of all 379 consecutive cancer patients, all types of cancer, all stages, without exception, who came to our clinic over the course of 8 years and stayed at least two weeks in our care. We opened our clinic in 2006, and began to collect data from the patients who came to us. We stopped collecting data in 2014 due to the cumbersome nature of trying to reach a quickly increasing number of people. Patients did not necessarily continue with the same doctor as we grew, which impaired continuity of care. Also, voice mail and competition with enormous amounts of spam e-mail further hindered efforts at ongoing contact with patients who had left our clinic years earlier. So we stopped looking at this particular information in 2014.

However, every year we now survey patients while they are at our clinic, and ask more limited and more focused questions than we used to, every year focusing on a somewhat different topic. In 2015, we asked questions regarding a long list of foods and beverages. In 2016, we asked questions regarding outlook: optimism vs pessimism. Most years we ask questions regarding nutrition and exercise.

This article addresses specifically the difference in outcome between those patients that had chemotherapy and those who did not, among those who chose to come to our clinic and had natural treatments for cancer. Of course, those who did not come to our clinic did not have information that was available to us for our study. So all of the following patients had natural treatments for their cancers, and are therefore not representative of the whole of US cancer patients. Let’s compare those who had chemotherapy with those who did not.

Summarized outcomes of naturopathic treatment of 379 consecutive cancer patients

Table A


Number of patients

Average number of months this group of patients stayed for treatments *

Number in each group also receiving chemotherapy

Number in each group also receiving radiation

Number in each group also receiving surgery


Remission or assumed remission







Still being treated, not yet in remission







Died while still only in our care, following all of our protocols







Iatrogenic death in hospitals, conventional medicine







Of those who left early, number who died after leaving (except for DDD)**







Death after dietary dispute


No data





No current information but never known to be in remission







Remission occurred elsewhere


No data





Waiting to know status, or conflicting information


No data









*This column has not been updated since 2010, due to the labor-intensive nature of this research, and not much expected change or significance of any change.

** Please see legend of abbreviations at the head of Table 1. For example, DDD: death after dietary dispute.

Now let’s summarize the above table to look at all of those in remission, and whether they had chemotherapy or not:

If we look at the two shaded columns of Table B, chemotherapy was far more correlated with death, and not having chemotherapy was far more correlated with remission.

Table B


of patients

Number also receiving chemo-therapy

Number not receiving chemo-therapy

Ratio of those not having chemo-therapy to total

% of total not having chemo-therapy

% of total having chemo-therapy

Remission or assumed remission







Iatrogenic death in hospitals, conven-tional medicine







All patients







We see in Table B that 88% of all the patients we treated did not have chemotherapy. However, 93% of those patients in remission did not have chemotherapy. Therefore, remission was more highly correlated with not having chemotherapy treatment than in the average patient. However, it is even more likely that chemotherapy was not helpful, or was harmful to cancer patients generally for this reason: People who choose to have naturopathic treatment for cancer are probably the least likely people to have chosen to have chemotherapy treatment. So therefore, the 88% figure is artificially high, and again not representative of the US cancer population as a whole.

The cornerstone of conventional treatment of cancer patients in the United States and many other countries is chemotherapy treatment. Of those who attended our clinic, and who later died in hospitals or conventional medicine clinics, only 32% did not have chemotherapy. 68% (=15 of 22) of those dying in conventional medical settings had received chemotherapy treatment.

Let’s look more specifically at what happened to the patients who left to have chemotherapy:

Table C:

Results for patients who left our treatments in order to have chemotherapy prior to 2013

Went into remission following chemo-therapy

Died following chemotherapy

Not in remission, but surviving both chemotherapy and cancer as of mid-2013 Evidence of remission from our treatments alone prior to starting chemotherapy Total who left our clinic to have chemotherapy (total of all outcomes)






This table has not been updated since July 2013. It shows that leaving our treatments to pursue chemotherapy only possibly benefited 4 of the 24 patients who had left (17%), but 9 others died after leaving for chemotherapy (38%). However, it is possible that those 4 would have gone into remission if they had continued with our treatments alone. This table has not been updated since 2013, because others who were thought to have left for chemotherapy could not be reached by phone. As of now, we have not attributed either pessimistic or optimistic outcomes to those we cannot reach; we simply record “NFI” for “no further information” in Table 1 of our long paper.i Sometimes good or bad information comes much later. In 2014, we were absolutely delighted to welcome to our clinic visits from two cancer survivors, after only our treatments, who had not been in contact with us for 5 years and 4 years respectively (Patients #288 and 295 of Table 1). One lives in an RV trailer, and happened to be passing through our area again. Similar long absences have ended in unexpected and very pleasant visits in each year since.

Of the patients who left our treatments to pursue chemotherapy, comparing only those who then went into remission or died, (13 total), 4 went into remission and 9 died. This is a 31% short-term success rate for chemotherapy, and a 69% fatality rate for chemotherapy among those who left to pursue it. This is similar to the figure of 68% in Table B, for those who died in hospitals at some point in time after having chemotherapy treatments.

Chemotherapy is known to be toxic, life-threatening and at times fatal. It is known to have a very poor track record long-term.ii

It is a long-held (and heavily purchased) dogmatic belief that chemotherapy is the weapon of choice against cancer. There are some problems with this:

One, there usually is no choice given. Newly diagnosed cancer patients are not told that there are any options other than chemotherapy. If a patient suggests to the oncologist that alternatives exist, that patient is usually told: But your cancer would respond especially well to chemotherapy; therefore, that is the treatment that you should have.

Two, chemotherapy is been oversold for its anti-cancer effect, and has been falsely promoted as effective against all cancers. A July 2017 article in Science Translational Medicine iii found that chemotherapy actually increases the risk of metastasis. This progression to metastasis is what makes cancer especially deadly and beyond medical control.

Although chemotherapy generally dramatically reduces the size of tumors, not only does the remaining cancer metastasize more readily, but it also becomes more resilient to subsequent treatment.

After 10 years of working with cancer patients, I have become more and more convinced that the worst thing a cancer patient can do is choose to have chemotherapy. Those are the people who get sick and die, in my experience. Whereas those who avoid it have generally had much better successiv in eliminating cancer from their bodies for the long-term.

Chemotherapy has been a financial boon to hospitals. Whereas “health” insurance has been slow or stubborn about paying for cheaper alternatives, those same insurance companies lavish enormous sums on oncology clinics for exorbitantly priced chemotherapy drugs, some of which can cost tens of thousands of dollars per dose.

The chemotherapy paradigm has been a misguided paradigm for cancer treatment, ever since it was first recycled from World War I and II chemical weapons. Isn’t it time to consider the many safe and effective natural alternatives v that exist?

The above information should give people pause before choosing to embark on chemotherapy.

This article was adapted from Chapter 6 of Manifesto For A Cancer Patient

i Huber C. Defeating cancer requires more than one treatment method. 2016 Dec. https://natureworksbest.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/2016_Cancer_Treatment_Paper.pdf

ii Morgan G et al. The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies. Clin Oncol 2004 Dec. 16(8). 549-60. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15630849

iii Karagiannis G, Pastoriza J, et al. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy induces breast cancer metastasis through a TMEM-mediated mechanism. Science Translational Medicine. 05 Jul 2017. Vol 9, Issue 397. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5592784/

iv Huber C Defeating cancer requires more than one treatment methods: a 10-year retrospective case series using multiple nutritional and herbal agents, 2016 update. www.NatureWorksBest.com

v Naturopathic Cancer Society. Naturopathic Medicine works best to eliminate bladder cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, etc. www.NatOnco.org.

The Problem With Chemotherapy


The Problem With Chemotherapy

An increasing number of scientists over recent years have dared to speak up regarding the obsolescence of chemotherapy. Although their hope is usually for adequately targeted gene therapy, which is a dead-end, as explained in Chapter 9 of Manifesto for a Cancer Patient, it is an acknowledgment of the unacceptable problems of chemotherapy. I have even heard a number of chemotherapy oncologists admit this in medical conferences in small conversations with their colleagues. Dwight McKee MD is one of the few medical oncologists to go on record with this prediction.i

Modern chemotherapy was born in World War II, November 30, 1943, in Bari, Italy. The event was an air attack by the Luftwaffe on Allied warships. Unfortunately, one such ship was stockpiled with an agent of chemical warfare: mustard gas, despite an agreement by both sides not to use war gasses. As Allied servicemen found themselves blown from their ship and into the now contaminated water, an oily residue clung to their skin and clothes. Over the next few days, following rescue from the cold water, they complained of burning skin and blindness. One thousand Allied servicemen lost their lives from this exposure.

Over the next few days after the attack it was discovered that another effect of this gas exposure on the men was that their white blood cells were greatly reduced. Later, the same chemical was then given deliberately and experimentally to lymphoma and leukemia patients, and it was discovered that their cancer burden regressed considerably. This discovery was especially exciting, because conventional medicine had not yet offered any effective treatment at all for any cancer, except for radical surgery and radiation. Neither of those was applicable to such an elusive and scattered blood disease, such as the leukemias. So here was something that appeared to be a viable and promising alternative.

But the excitement was short-lived, because the cancer regression only lasted weeks. The nitrogen mustard in mustard gas attacks DNA, which greatly inhibits cell reproduction.

However, and this is the problem with chemotherapy generally, cells mutate, and are all too soon resistant to the chemotherapy drug that they were exposed to. So the cancer grows once more. But this time, the cancer is a bit less vulnerable. The cancer has seen its attacker and endured and in some non-conscious way (of course), has “learned” from it. I tell my patients that it is a similar situation to taking too little of an antibiotic. By teasing bacteria with too little of an antibiotic, or too-short dosing, you have trained it to become stronger and more resistant. This is obviously not a desirable situation when managing infectious disease. Why then should we allow cancer to learn and fortify itself from our mistakes?

An equally serious problem is that anti-DNA strategies of cancer treatment inevitably hurt the entire body. With conventional dosing of chemotherapy, initially, nausea and vomiting wrack the body. All of the cells of the blood: red and white blood cells and platelets drop to dangerous levels. The GI tract from mouth to anus becomes excoriated with scattered bleeding, as this normally quickly reproducing tissue is stopped from producing more tissue. Finally, after a few weeks the hair cannot make new cells, and the already produced hair falls out.

Much has been made of this loss of hair as being the only horrifying effect of chemotherapy, yet in essence a merely cosmetic inconvenience. However, if you see such drastic destruction as this overall alopecia – no head hair, no eyebrows or eyelashes, and all the way down – on the surface of the body, what kind of destruction do you suppose is taking hold on the inside? Given these devastating effects, is it really any surprise that an agent of war, a chemical poison, was the first chemotherapy agent used?

Later in 1947, methotrexate was developed. Having learned from the temporary remission, relapse and then ultimate failure of the nitrogen mustard in leukemia, scientist Sidney Farber looked for a way to interfere with folic acid use or uptake by the body. Folic acid was necessary for proper DNA function and normal cell replication. Farber wanted a molecule that looked a little like folic acid by the body, enough to be attempted in use by the cells. However, what he mostly wanted was a molecule that would gum up the works, a Trojan horse into a cell. Methotrexate was similar enough to folic acid to be accepted by all the necessary receptor sites, but not similar enough to function adequately as folic acid. Therefore, like the mustard gas, it stopped cell division, and it led to the same devastating effects, with only temporary remission from leukemia.

In 1951, 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) developed by scientist Gertrude Elion, performed a similar function. As with the two predecessor drugs, remission could be achieved, but only for weeks.

With these three, however, Sidney Farber’s goal of amassing an arsenal of multiple chemotherapy drugs was beginning to be realized. That is, Farber had written of inspiration from recent productive developments in antibiotics. A strength of the new arsenal of antibiotics was to have multiple weapons with which to defeat a multi-faceted problem: bacterial resilience. The thinking was that when one antibiotic weakens a bacterium, the next one in a therapeutic series may be likelier to finish the job.

Farber dreamt of a similar arsenal for chemotherapy, enough weapons to be able to eliminate cancer for good. Or at least an ability to switch from one agent to another in the face of resilient cancer growth.

As it turned out, this was later achieved in an area that Farber never thought of looking: the natural world. However, Otto Warburg, who had figured out the nature of cancer over a decade earlier, would likely not have been terribly surprised.

In 1957, two colleagues, Emil Frei and Emil Freireich, were able to realize Farber’s goal of combining chemotherapy drugs for more intense impact. Methotrexate and 6-MP were each quite harsh drugs alone. Now in combination, they were so toxic as to bring cancer patients, in this case, children with leukemia, to the brink of death. However, that toxicity also was somewhat effective against the cancer. Remission rose from less than 20% to 45%.ii

But the price paid for that increase was morally reprehensible: a slow poisoning of children compounding the misery of their already devastating disease. How could their doctors put them through such torture?

Oncologist Max Wintrope of the National Cancer Institute Hospital observed that “These drugs cause more harm than good, because they just prolong the agony. The patients all die anyway.” iii In this bleak environment, the goal was to rid the body of every single cancer cell, in the belief that even one such cell remaining in the body could bring a return of the cancer throughout the body.

Yet the combinations of chemotherapy drugs multiplied, with Freireich’s strategy of combining drugs of different types of toxicity, so that a child with leukemia was not attacked so harshly in one particular organ system, but rather with the misery spread throughout the body.

In the 1960’s chemotherapy and the field of oncology generally was new, with the first of that field including Frei, Freireich and Vincent DeVita, a cardiologist who joined them in 1963. At the time, they were very much outsiders in the medical field, viewed askance and skeptically by their colleagues who disapproved of the severe toxicity of chemotherapy. Yet each time a cocktail of chemo drugs was given to the children with leukemia, their leukemia at first abated and then came back, usually to the brain, where it was not so accessible to any known treatment, and gradually the patients of the three researchers died of recurrent leukemia. However, by the end of the sixties, with even larger combinations of drugs and targeted to the neurological system, where the leukemic cells were sequestered, children with leukemia were finally going into remission.

Thus chemotherapy entered its long heyday. It seemed that with appropriate combinations of drugs, childhood leukemia could be put into remission. The zeitgeist in the early 1970’s was, more than anything else, confidence. A man could walk on the moon. And finally, cancer, one of the most devastating diseases in human history, was being held at bay by pharmaceutical innovation. The budget for drug development at the National Cancer Institute grew to $ 68 millioniv and vetted 40,000 drugs every year. The standard mechanism for the drugs was the same very time: tangling DNA into an unworkable knot, so that cell reproduction was prevented. This stopped all growth, including cancer, and led to the familiar side effects of hair loss and GI tract excoriation, as well as damage to major organs.

James Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix, and physician/author Eric Topol spoke out against the indiscriminate destructive forces of the chemotherapy regimens, which held the patients on the edge of life and death. He and many others questioned the ethics of delivering the patient to the brink of death, in order to pound the cancer as hard as possible. As a result, Watson was quickly sidelined from those front lines, getting kicked off the advisory board of the National Cancer Institute.

But despite the criticism, NCI’s position grew bolder. Instead of only targeting leukemia and other blood dyscrasias, NCI pushed for also using the toxic cocktails with solid tumors, which accounted for the majority of cancer deaths by far.

When the results of all this intervention were finally tallied by statisticians in the mid-1980’s the numbers were bleak. Death by cancer had actually increased by 9%. Then more bad news surfaced by the 1990’s regarding the survivors. Those treated for Hodgkins lymphoma were 18 times more likely to later develop secondary cancers, and 75 times as likely to develop breast cancer as patients never treated for lymphoma.

This disappointing news renewed calls among the public and the scientific community for more precisely targeted therapies, chemotherapy that could be more of a ‘magic bullet.’

That particular prescription was expected by all to be filled by conventional medicine. It wasn’t. It is beginning to be filled by natural medicine, as we will see in Part Two.

Common Questions New Cancer Patients Ask Me

Who are you, and what do you do?

I am Colleen Huber, NMD, a Naturopathic Medical Doctor, a licensed physician in Arizona. In my case, I completed the Fellowship of the Naturopathic Oncology Research Institute (FNORI), and so my work is with cancer patients, for the most part.

My clinic, Nature Works Best, is of licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctors (NMDs) at the same address in Tempe, Arizona, USA, for the 11 years of our existence. As of 2017, we are:

Featured in the documentary Cancer Can Be Killed

Featured in America’s Best Cancer Doctors

Featured in Defeating Cancer

A+ rating at BBB (Better Business Bureau)

Our goal is to make sure that the cancer patient gets stronger, while we fight the cancer at the cellular and molecular level, until that patient arrives at remission with:

Evidence of absence of tumor burden, and

Vitality and strength restored, at least equal to the condition of before the cancer diagnosis.
Our goal is for this to happen with every patient, but many patients must stop the treatments earlier, because insurance coverage is still underperforming for the natural treatments for cancer. Other patients, many others, arrive to our clinic later than optimal timing, after cancer has already spread relentlessly through their bodies. Nevertheless, we do not reject patients for being too sick, and we try our best for all who come to us.

How do you treat cancer?

We are licensed as Naturopathic Medical Doctors and primary care physicians. We use natural treatments only for cancer and other diseases. That is, we use no chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. However, if a patient requests it, we do work with surgeons and oncologists, the formal name for doctors who are cancer specialists. And they work with the mainstream treatments, as well as imaging and labs showing what happens with tumors over time.

If a patient prefers to work only with us, that is okay too. We can order all imaging and labwork. All of that is usually covered by insurance, or at least would apply toward the patient’s deductible in many cases. Medicare is an exception, because Medicare does not yet recognize naturopathic medicine.

Do you work with medical doctors? Does any entity oversee your work?

There are medical doctors who have referred patients to us, and there are medical doctors to whom we have referred patients, based on need. Medical doctors neither supervise us, nor take direction from us, because we are an independent clinic of Naturopathic Medical Doctors (NMDs). The government agency that oversees licensed naturopathic physicians is the Naturopathic Medical Board of the state in which those physicians are licensed. In the case of our clinic, that governing body is the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Board.i

Our work is also overseen by the Investigational Review Board (IRB) of the American Naturopathic Research Institute / Naturopathic Oncology Research Institute. IRBs were established to protect the rights of human patients. Following the International Declaration of Human Rights and in order to avoid the worst kind of horrors of human experimentation that had been perpetrated throughout the worst periods of human history, IRBs were established in the US – teams of peer clinical researchers as well as at least one non-clinician – as established by the law  – that would evaluate the use of medical treatments or procedures with human beings, according to the specifications of the federal code.

Unfortunately, the prohibition against forced medical treatments is widely ignored in the US medical community, as cancer patients are told every day that they must have chemotherapy, whether they want it or not. For many cancer patients, nobody informs them that there are much safer alternatives to that in natural medicine.

The IRB overseeing our work has submitted our data-gathering from our patients to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP), both of which have granted approval, including all previous years in which we applied, and up to the present.

Do you work with oncologists?

There are 2 types of oncologists in our experience: the old-fashioned kind, those who only know about chemotherapy and radiation and surgery, and who are not interested in natural treatments for cancer. Some have shown a lot of hostility toward natural treatments. They have not been very cooperative with us regarding the patients that we share. And this has been detrimental to the patients’ wellbeing, because necessary information such as PET scans, MRI’s etc. have been delayed and withheld by them.

However, there is a new forward-thinking, well-informed and open-minded type of oncologist, and they are taking an interest in the tumor regression and remission that we have experienced with natural treatments. These oncologists have been helpful and cooperative about sharing information from CT scans, PET scans, blood work, etc., and the patient benefits from this shared information. Fortunately, some of our patients have these newer kinds of oncologists. One such oncologist even told one of our patients that he would do what the patient is doing – that is, the natural treatments – if he himself had cancer, and that he had nothing better to offer for this patient’s particular cancer. Another specifically recommended our treatments to another patient as the only therapy. Three other oncologists specifically instructed the patients to continue our natural therapies. That kind of honesty is very welcome to the patient, as well as to the public. Certainly, oncologists can offer some help to some patients. But when they cannot help, it makes most sense for them to welcome other treatments that can make a difference. There is a genuine desire on the part of many mainstream doctors to act with the patient’s best interests as a priority, regardless of where that road may go.

If a patient wants to consult with an oncologist who will be open-minded to the natural treatments that the patient chooses, we can refer to any of a number of different oncologists if the patient requests the referral.

Why don’t you advertise on billboards and the radio, like Mayo and others?

MD Anderson, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Mayo and other cancer conglomerates seem to be advertising everywhere. You can hardly turn on a radio or TV without an ad from a cancer hospital. Their billboards are all over our most congested highways. Their soundbites are everywhere.

Soundbites may work well enough to advertise for chemotherapy, because everybody has an idea of what it is. However, natural treatments for cancer are still unfamiliar to much of the American public, and require more of an introduction than simply a commercial. This is why we explain on our website what we do and the results that we have had, while preserving patient anonymity.

What natural treatments do you use?

It’s important to understand that that depends entirely on the patient. Each of our cancer patients came in with a different type of cancer and even different metastases.

As for an example of a specific treatment, let’s say a cancer patient has lung involvement. Then we will deliver natural treatments to the lungs by way of a nebulizer. This has been helpful with both primary lung cancers as well as secondary metastases to the lungs. What we put in there is a combination of herbs and nutrients, in a form that is tolerable to the airways, and with specific attention to the patients’ needs.

We also offer intravenous anti-cancer nutrients, such as high doses of Vitamin C and other anti-cancer nutrients that benefit normal cells while killing cancer cells.

Linus Pauling is the only person in history to be awarded two solo Nobel prizes. His work with Vitamin C and cancer was groundbreaking decades ago. Now we know that we can use much higher doses of Vitamin C than at that time without side effects, when we use it intravenously, and get even better results than previously.

Certain herbs have shown a tremendous effect in slowing the growth of cancer or shrinking tumors and inhibiting metastases, so we use those when appropriate. Renée Caisse was a Canadian nurse who worked with the Ojibwa people, and together they put together a formula of herbs that has shown good results for many patients, called Essiac, so we often use that, but I prefer not to use those herbs alone.

Several other cancer-fighting strategies are available from nature. Cancer creates an acid environment, and seems to adapt to it, which I will discuss later on. Therefore, we incorporate alkaline treatments, because most types of cancer cells seem to thrive in acidity.

Dr. Tullio Simoncini is well known for his work with sodium bicarbonate and cancer. He sees cancer as closely related to fungal conditions, which are intolerant of an alkaline environment. So he uses sodium bicarbonate by injection. Although Dr. Simoncini has done groundbreaking work, this is one piece of a very large and complex puzzle. We do need the other treatments as well to be really effective. Several other natural substances will also provide helpful alkalinity. We use some intravenously, and some are taken orally. The ones we like best are the ones that are attracted to the tumors and more active there, with least disturbance to other cells.

The different treatments for different patients can be expensive for some patients, which then further limits the number of treatments that they opt to receive.

How successful have you been?

You can view our detailed results at natureworksbest.com. Of those going into remission, it has taken an average of 3.7 months from when we first met with them to confirmation of total remission (no tumor load left in the body, or in the case of lymphoma or leukemia, normal labs). Very few patients whom we have gotten into remission have had a recurrence of their cancer, except for those who disagreed with our main dietary recommendation, and another who had undiscovered metastases prior to treatment, which in her case had been too short, and others for whom current imaging and other findings are ambiguous.

How do you handle safety at your clinic?

Safety at our clinic, and in natural medicine generally, is far easier to achieve than with chemotherapy. At our clinic, we have given over 31,000 IV nutrient treatments, and we have never had to call 911 for a patient receiving an IV. The close attention of our doctors, registered nurses and medical assistants to the patients has ensured that they do well and that they are tolerating our treatments. Patients who have sensitivity or intolerance to one or another component of the treatment, which is a relatively unusual occurrence, discontinue that part of the treatment. This is still generally successful, because there are a number of safe and effective ways to fight cancer from nature.

Does insurance cover any of this?

Things are changing very rapidly here. Recently, the major insurance companies have begun to cover naturopathic treatments more than before, as they realize that we save them quite a bit of money over mainstream medicine. Unfortunately, Medicare and Medicaid are still not covering natural treatments.

United Health Care, Health Net and Humana have been somewhat better at covering naturopathic medicine. Others are starting to catch up. Even Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which never used to cover naturopathic services are beginning to bring themselves up to date. The most common objection of the insurance companies to the natural treatments is that they are “experimental.” However, many of these treatments have had a better history of sustained remission from cancer than a lot of the chemotherapy drugs.

We submit our bills to insurance. Although payment is due for each treatment at the time of service, we try to get a patient’s insurance company to reimburse by submitting the proper codes for diagnosis and treatment.

Does the FDA approve of any of this?

The scope of practice for a Naturopathic Medical Doctor in the State of Arizona as well as a number of other licensed states includes the following: primary care practice (office consults, physical exams, laboratory tests and imaging), natural medicine (nutrition, IV nutrients, herbs, acupuncture, homeopathy, physical medicine, hydrotherapy) as well as some of mainstream medicine (minor surgery, prescription of pharmaceuticals if indicated).

For cancer, all treatments that we use are natural unpatented substances, and all are available in some form or other to the general public, over the counter. However, the quantities and form differ greatly, if you really want to have a fighting chance against such a vicious disease as cancer. Some of this has to be given intravenously in order to be really effective against cancer. You can’t just get enough or the right amounts and proportion and form of these simply by taking them orally. Although for certain items, we ask all of our patients, whether they have cancer or not, to go buy this or that item at the health food stores. So we located our office near a number of health food stores.

So yes, it’s all legal, all within the scope of practice of naturopathic physicians here in Arizona, licensed by the State of Arizona, with oversight by the Naturopathic Physicians Board of Medical Examiners, and our medical schools are accredited by the US Department of Education. At this writing, there are 20 states and 3 additional US jurisdictions that license naturopathic medicine. They are:


New Hampshire
North Dakota
Rhode Island
Washington, DC
Puerto Rico
Virgin Islands

What happens to the patients?

First, they start feeling better and their energy comes back. The vitality of the patients usually begins within several weeks after we start treating them, long before we have evidence from ultrasound or CT scans, MRI or PET scans of tumors turning necrotic, or shrinking tumors, or tumors turning to inactive tissue. We look for evidence coming back of shrinking tumors or tumors that are no longer there.

There are also many patients who do not have successful results. The more damage that cancer has caused to the body and the more widespread metastases prior to diagnosis, the harder it is to defeat.

Every year, we survey patients to determine ongoing remission or recurrence, and various parameters of health, such as frequency of exercise and dietary choices.

Profiles of some of our patients

The following dozen cases are listed in no particular order, but are a representative sample of the experiences of our patients.

Case 1:

A woman with endometrial cancer came in with a tumor the size of a grapefruit, with such a deadly form of this particular cancer that there are no survivors of it in the medical literature except for this patient. Neither chemotherapy, nor radiation nor surgery could eliminate it. It grew back each time. The tumor was eliminated in 2008 with our treatments, and the patient has kept her very active career ever since. There is still no evidence of any recurrence.

Case 2:

A woman in her fifties had malignant melanoma, which is one of the most dangerous kinds of cancers and the most dangerous of the skin cancers. By the time we met her, it had already metastasized to her brain. This patient chose a combination of surgery, radiation and our natural cancer-fighting treatments, which we continued until she went into remission and continued an active life with recreational travel.

Case 3:

A man in his fifties had prostate cancer and chose only our natural treatments in 2008. He did not want to have any of the mainstream treatments. After less than three months of natural treatments, he is still in remission. He continues to ride his bicycle several miles a day and worked two strenuous jobs and now one strenuous full-time job.

Case 4:

This is a patient who eventually died of cancer. It was inoperable pancreatic cancer, and the two tumors had actually shrunk considerably, with one disappearing completely, during the course of our natural treatments alone. This patient enjoyed a high quality of health, very active physically and feeling good during the first few months of our natural treatments. However, as things started to look very good, there arose different viewpoints about the best way to proceed throughout the healing process, particularly dietary choices, and the initial success turned to very aggressive metastases throughout the body. We can help patients avoid this outcome.

Case 5:

A man in his fifties with colon cancer chose a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and our natural treatments. Among all these interventions, the patient experienced a reduction in his cancer of 80% from chemotherapy and natural treatments alone, beginning after the initial surgery. However, at the same time, complications from his surgery took him back into the hospital with a very high morphine dose, and without recovery. We can help discuss the risk of adhesions with your surgeon prior to surgery, to help avoid this excruciatingly painful adverse result of certain surgeries.

Case 6:

A woman in her fifties with breast cancer is considering all options and for right now just receiving our natural treatments and remains stable and well with a high quality of life and activity.

Case 7:

A woman in her seventies with breast cancer also considered all her options and decided to just receive our natural treatments. She is now in remission with a high quality of life and wellbeing.

Case 8:

A woman in her forties with breast cancer chose lumpectomy and our natural treatments. She is now in remission, and she has resumed an active life with recreational travel.

Case 9:

A man in his seventies has lung cancer, which has now reduced in volume more than 90% with a combination of radio ablation and our natural treatments.

Case 10:

A man in his seventies with leukemia has been through chemotherapy and a number of natural treatments. After treating him for some months, his numbers remain stable. Although not yet in remission, this man’s quality of life remains quite high. He is very physically active, and rides his bicycle several miles a day and helped a friend build a cabin with their own hands.

Case 11:

This patient in her forties has had primary colon cancer, primary ovarian cancer and primary uterine cancer. When she came to us after surgery, there were metastases as well, and her condition was weak, fatigued and delicate. With only our natural treatments, the metastases disappeared and the patient’s improved vitality and new robust energy was quite dramatic. Her travel schedule is active. She is still in remission over seven years later.

Case 12:

A man in his forties with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma came to us for natural cancer treatment. He had already been through chemotherapy. With the natural treatments that we have used, he maintained a high quality of living, active in his work and hiking in the local mountains. He went into remission while continuing the natural treatments alone. Then we did not hear from him for several years. Then he came back with a widely-metastasized cancer, having resumed chemotherapy. This time, we were not so fortunate as to be able to help him. We can help advise future patients how to avoid this outcome.


Cancer Politics

Cancer Politics: A Cynical View of the Current State of Cancer Treatment in the US



Are submissive people more prone to cancer diagnosis?

I used to wonder if cancer could possibly prey on the most soft-spoken individuals, because of the preponderance of such personality types among the cancer patients at our clinic. When the doctors at my clinic met on initial consult a couple who demonstrated obviously unequal power, with one dictating what will happen, and the other quietly taking orders, it was almost certainly the case that it would be the passive, submissive one that came in with the cancer, rather than the domineering spouse or family member. It was almost as if the disease itself had chosen which type of person to afflict. We saw this again and again. Our doctors and nurses observed this so often and found the pattern so predictable that when a new couple came in, and one was barking at the other, we’d whisper to each other, let me guess which one of those two has the cancer. It was almost as if either a domineering spouse was a resident carcinogen, or a submissive personality pre-disposed the person to cancer, a more predictable and frequently observed risk factor to our observation than even smoking.

However, I no longer think that. Enough strange things have happened to the submissive cancer patients, that I have a more cynical point of view now. I will illustrate with an unfortunate series of events that transpired in the spring of 2016.

Do hospitals have an interest in positive cancer diagnoses ?

A colon cancer patient, whom I’ll call Sarah, had achieved remission with our treatments in 2014, without history of chemotherapy or radiation, had an active lifestyle following her bout with cancer, including among many other things, bicycling and some snow shoveling at her home in the mountains. Then she came back in to see me in March 2016. She had sudden onset of lower abdominal pain. On physical exam, I palpated a taut lower abdomen without defined masses. There was tenderness generally through the left and right lower quadrants, as well as more acutely at the site of an abdominal wall hernia that had occurred with her colon resection surgery. Inguinal lymph was not noteworthy. There had been a history of constipation in this patient, but stools had been normal recently. Sarah was pre-menopausal, and this pain was unlike any menstrual cramps she had previously. Specific exams for appendicitis, McBurney’s and Rovsing’s points were negative, as well as Murphy’s point, which tests for appendicitis and gallbladder inflammation, or cholecystitis, respectively, all of those being less likely problems.

There was a possibility of recurrence of colon cancer as the cause of Sarah’s pain, but cancer pain is unlikely to have such sudden onset or to worsen so quickly.

An ultrasound may have been adequate to show the cause of the pain, but I knew I could get a lot more information from a MRI. However, health insurance is not so fond of MRIs, and the insurance company dithered, and unfortunately the weekend began without the MRI. On Sunday morning the pain worsened again, and the worried patient and family went to the ER of a large local Phoenix area hospital.

Then, while in her Emergency Room cubicle, no fewer than five doctors walked in and announced to Sarah that her cancer was back, and that she would have to begin chemotherapy and radiation. They had not yet done any imaging or biopsy, yet they announced this diagnosis to the patient. Sarah replied that she wanted to talk to me first, and that she would think about it.

When Sarah called me on Monday morning to tell me what had happened, I said that nothing of that sounded right. By that time, a CT scan had been done in the hospital. Sarah had asked for the disk to look at on her laptop, but was not able to open it. So I hurry over to the hospital with my laptop, as soon as my patient appointments for the day were finished. We open up the CT on my laptop, and all look at it together. What do you know? No cancer visible anywhere! All we saw were two huge fluid-filled ovarian cysts, obliterating each ovary. No wonder the pain was so intense and was worsening so quickly. No wonder no solid mass was apparent to palpation on my physical exam. Ovarian cysts can grow large in a short span of time, quite a bit faster than cancer, and this is likely what happened, since abdominal imaging of several months earlier did not show them at all.

Well, what do you know? Ovarian cysts rather than tumors. Suddenly the doctors who so urgently had to begin chemotherapy and radiation treatments on Sarah were nowhere to be found. Now the hospital admitted that there was no visible cancer, and oophorectomy (surgery to remove ovaries) was now available. And there was no further mention of chemotherapy.

So Sarah then had the surgery to remove the cysts, as well as the ovaries that were completely blown out by the cysts. Follow-up imaging through early 2017 again confirmed no visible tumor burden.

However, the hospital’s mischief was not finished: After the surgery, the hospital pathologist alleged that there were cancer cells in the tissue that was removed from Sarah. So Sarah, now starting to become as cynical as I already am, requests the slides from pathology, so that she and I can study them together.

Once I have the slides in the office, Sarah and I look at a few of them, taking turns examining each field of view at the microscope, but it is very time-consuming to study all fields of some two dozen slides. So after Sarah left, I looked at the rest of them alone. I did not find any cells appearing to be cancer cells on any part of any of the slides.

Interestingly, the hospital made several phone calls to our office demanding the slides be returned to them, even though my understanding – although I am not an attorney – is that legally they are Sarah’s property. Therefore, if Sarah ever wishes to prosecute the hospital for misrepresenting the slides, Exhibit A has been stored in a safe place by a third party. How unfortunate that one must take so many precautions because of the dishonesty in hospitals. As of this writing, the hospital has still not accepted our answer, and is still demanding all of the slides. This is even though the slides legally belong to the patient, and her insurance paid the hospital for them.

Cancer treatments- a hospital’s money maker

But of course, such level of corruption should not be surprising, and given my experience with them, is to be expected. Hospitals are required to help anybody stumbling into their emergency departments. This service is an enormous revenue loss, and as the hospitals bleed money out their emergency room doors, there is another sector of the hospital that is the big rainmaker: Oncology. One chemotherapy treatment can be charged to a patient’s insurer for up to $50,000 or even $100,000. A cancer patient is worth $180,000 or more to a hospital or cancer clinic. The National Institutes of Health estimate the cost for the first 2 years of breast cancer treatment is $159,442 and $182,655 for Stages III and IV respectively.i This is where the hospitals get their largest source of revenue, and this, as you might expect, is why you hear such relentless and aggressive advertising for chemotherapy treatments on the radio.

So is it the timid patient who is more inclined to get cancer? One might think that cancer then offers some protection from a psychic wound, or is like a pearl built by an oyster around an irritating grain of sand. If the cancer patient were so submissive and suppressed that he or she had not expressed himself or herself adequately or cathartically in the past, then maybe that psychic pain needed to be expressed, even if the only alternative, the only feasible means of expression, was to grow a tumor. If one is unable to rebel against one’s oppressor, self-inflicted wounds may be the only cathartic release available to the desperate sufferer.

In fact, because passivity seemed to be such a co-morbidity with cancer, I had imagined that it was something that I should also treat, along with the cancer. The way that I did that was, as a typically assertive person myself, to sit back, speak quietly and seldom, assure the cancer patient that he or she was in the driver’s seat, and basically try to ease them into a dominant role in the conversation, hoping that it would help to liberate them and allow them to try on a role other than the passive / obedient one for size.

That is, the passivity of cancer patients was just that predictable. Perhaps one out of eight would be assertive, and the rest passive. When almost every cancer patient seems to be less assertive than their family members, the observer begins to think that this cannot be coincidence, that there is something timid or passive about cancer patients in general, as if it were a predictable personality trait, or that passivity itself predisposed a person to have cancer. Or perhaps their pain and pathology made them too glum to talk much.

But as I said earlier, I no longer think that.

Because chemotherapy brings in enough money to turn the heads of the corruptible, I now think that a more likely scenario is this: Patients who give the appearance of being obedient are easier marks for enterprising oncologists. After all, when a doctor has a business to run, it is a lot easier for the doctor to hear, “Yes, Doctor, I’ll do as you say,” rather than to hear, “You want me to take what kind of poison, doc? Are you out of your mind?” Chemotherapy may be a bit harder to sell to the more assertive members of the population. And those of us who know better than to have any of it would be more of a headache for an oncologist to deal with than an obedient patient, a submissive patient who is inclined to say, “Yes, doctor.” So perhaps chemotherapy finds its target market in the more submissive souls among us.

I once had an oncologist call me saying, “This woman must begin chemotherapy right now! She has to start tomorrow.” The patient had Stage 1 breast cancer, DCIS, just diagnosed less than a week before. Whose urgency was at work? The patient’s? Not so likely as that of the doctor.

I am not alleging any more of a conspiracy theory than would be warranted regarding any other marketing strategy. Ads tailored to your demographic come up on your web browser for similar reasons. Candy is sold in brightly colored packages at kids’ eye levels for similar reasons. Halloween costumes are marketed more in October than March for similar reasons, and the reason, as everybody knows is this: Marketing is most effective when its targeted, and if you want to get away with making a lot of money by legally poisoning a person, you’ll have an easier time of it with an obedient person rather than a short-tempered, or outspoken, or outside-the-box or in-your-face type person.

And, in my opinion, that is likely why we keep seeing the submissive one of a couple having the cancer diagnosis.

Playing right into their hands

There is one other cancer type, as predictable and easily identified when you meet them as the submissive type. And that is the Pessimist. The Pessimist shows up at our office telling us that they have a terminal cancer, which has us thinking Uh-oh, we’re going to have a challenge here. Then often we find out from imaging or pathology that there is a small or easily resected or already resected tumor burden. But more characteristically, we see the scenario described below.

Blood labs are notoriously unreliable with regard to cancer. Imaging can be contradictory or ambiguous. Physical exam has severe limitations, but we do these anyway, on initial consult and then periodically, for further data and information. Thus, over time, we acquire accumulating data points and evidence of which course the disease takes, as the patient’s file thickens.

You will recognize the Pessimist by this behavior: The news comes in, arriving in this order: good, ambiguous, good, good, bad, excellent, good, good, and ambiguous. And the Pessimist says, “Aha, bad!” sometimes almost sounding relieved or satisfied. Working with this kind of patient as their health improves can be awkward, because their improving prognosis almost seems disorienting to them, as if they had made some comfort or acceptance or even end-of-life plans with their disease, and now things have to be thought through all over again.

So then if the Passive Type does not necessarily have an active case of cancer, and the Pessimist does not necessarily have an active case of cancer, how much cancer is really out there in the population? Didn’t you ever think it odd – and we all know people who have said this – “Thank goodness they did that CT of my abdomen after the car accident, because that’s when they found the cancer! And the doctor said if it hadn’t been found right then it might’ve killed me in a few months!” Didn’t you ever think it odd that we hear that kind of story so often? At least I hear it from every few new patients. Doesn’t it seem a bit statistically improbable that imaging just happened to catch the cancer just in the nick of time to save the patient with chemotherapy?

Might this just have something to do with a story told to me a long time ago by an Emergency Room nurse:

She said when the hospital beds are all full and the waiting room chairs are overflowing, you could be openly bleeding on the floor, and you’ll be told, “You’ll be fine; you can take care of that at home.” Yet when the hospital is empty, “the census is down,” as they say, and if you have the misfortune to walk into the ER with a sniffle, it turns out it’s the worst thing they’ve ever seen, and you need a complete workup and to possibly be admitted. If cancer / chemotherapy / radiation are the most lucrative aspect to hospital finances, then are you more likely to be “found” to have cancer when their census is down than on a busy day?

This of course begs the question: If certain patients are singled out to receive the cancer diagnosis because they are more receptive to it, then did those people really have cancer at all?

Who audits the auditors?

My question is: Who is auditing the pathologists? The hospital described above that Sarah went to was very eager to have their slides back, slides that their pathologist alleged to demonstrate cancer, but which on careful examination showed no cancer at all to us. They called about once every two weeks for a few months to demand the slides back, that were not their property, from a patient who had not been there since months earlier. We thoroughly examined this patient’s slides, because of what had happened with her and the hospital, and we found no cancer. So therefore, is it possible that the massive amount of money that has been flowing through the chemotherapy industry has found its way also to the pathologists? After all, if a pathologist says: clean as a whistle, no cancer here, that is potentially up to a few hundred thousand dollars lost to the institution. And if that same pathologist looks at those same slides of patient tissue and pronounces the presence of cancer, there is all that much more income to be had. Are we so trusting to say that no pressure is ever exerted, no bribe has ever been placed before the pathologist? Is such a suspicion only the subject of fiction? The Fugitive was a film with Harrison Ford, which contained the idea of switching normal and abnormal pathology reports, expressed in a fictional context.ii

Pathologist Laura Spruill, MD, PhD, of University of South Carolina has acknowledged overdiagnosis of cancer in histopathology labs, and points out very similar appearances of cancerous and non-cancerous tissue, which is commonly deemed cancerous by default.iii

Certainly, there are people who have cancer, many of them. We find individuals who came in with hard palpable lumps in the breast, bleeding tumors in the colon, massive lumps bulging out the liver, prostate cancer metastasized to the lumbar vertebrae or huge, hard lymph nodes, to name a few types. The pathologist’s role here not only confirms what is overwhelmingly likely to be malignancy, but the pathologist lets us have more and more helpful information, especially regarding likely origin of the biopsied tumor.

Another series of incidents that has made me more cynical over time is the eagerness I’ve seen in oncologists to exploit the pessimism of their patients. Many patients have come to me saying, “It’s a good thing I had all that imaging! My tumor wasn’t seen on ultrasound or MRI or . . .” Finally, it was this other procedure that found it.”

Well, my response to that is that photographs do not lie. If neither the ultrasound nor MRI found your tumor, I would be more inclined to question the existence of that tumor than if it had shown up on such imaging. Certainly, it is theoretically possible for a tumor to escape imaging, but with the sophistication of contemporary imaging technology, this is less likely all the time. If you keep going back for imaging, repeatedly, and of numerous body parts, I think your risk of having something “discovered” increases all the time. If you consider that our ancestors did not have anywhere near the amount of imaging that our current generations indulge in, it seems very likely that they had lumps and bumps all over that nobody had imaged, and that they lived with and likely died with when succumbing to another cause of death. Autopsies often turn up such incidental and benign hematomas, fibroids, adenomas, cysts and such.

Whereas the pessimistic patient assumes that the most pessimistic imaging must be the true one, invalidating other reports, I take all of that imaging as important data points in trying to find out what is really going on with that patient’s cancer, especially as it is repeated over time. This is because time, long periods of time, tell the most truth. I may be uncertain today of the tumor burden of the patient in front of me. But five years from now we will be able to look back fairly certain of what this year’s situation really is.

Assume nothing

And, having been trained in cynicism by repeated strange occurrences in the conventional medical world, I assume nothing. Rather, I look for a preponderance of evidence in order to determine what is happening with a cancer patient. Some of that evidence is what we observe of the money trail and where it may lead. Cancer is such massive business, shouldering the work of keeping hospitals – the nexi of one of the largest growth industries in the US – in the black. It would be naïve to assume that all decisions made with regard to cancer were simply independent of that money, and only related to the best interests of the patient.

Let them not make merchandise of you. Follow the evidence and leave the emotions at the door.

Therefore, esteemed readers, just to keep things as honest as possible, let us, you and I, take responsibility for keeping a vigilant eye on such a financially robust industry, just to make sure that our acquaintances, our loved ones, our patients, who are suffering a cancer diagnosis, from possibly a real cancer or perhaps an alleged cancer, are not deceived or otherwise victimized by those with pecuniary priorities.

i Blumen H, Fitch K. et al. Comparison of treatment costs for breast cancer, by tumor stage and type of service. American Health Drug Benefits. 2016 Feb; 9(1):23-32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822976/

ii StudentDoctor.net. Pathology movie coming to theaters. https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/pathology-movie-coming-to-theatres.1158889/ Aug 2015.

iii Spruill L. Pathologic assessment of breast core biopsies: limitations and pitfalls. 6th World Congress on Breast Cancer and Therapy. October 16 – 18, 2017. San Francisco, USA. https://breastcancer.conferenceseries.com/america/scientific-program#tab1

Double-Blind Study II

Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trials of Herbs Against Cancer

Colleen Huber, NMD

The following studies are some randomized and double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of various botanical medicines against a number of cancers.

Ginger’s effect against colorectal cancer

In 2013, a pilot trial of ginger was done with individuals who had been found by genetic markers to be at increased risk of colorectal cancer.  The experimental group received supplementation of the common culinary and medicinal herb ginger, the well-known ginger that is available to consumers in markets throughout the world, and that grows easily in the wetter regions of the world.

In the study[1] 20 people were randomized into two groups, those who received 2 grams of ginger or placebo daily, for 28 days.  At the end of that time, biopsies were performed of the rectal mucosa.  During that time, in the group receiving ginger, biopsies showed that pro-cancerous genes Bax, hTERT and MIB-1 decreased in the crypts of the rectal mucosa.  The authors concluded that ginger may decrease proliferation and increase apoptosis and differentiation in colorectal cancer.

Ukrain against colorectal cancer

Ukrain is a derivative of the plant Chelidonium majus, which is the Latin scientific name for the plant greater celandine.  It’s use was pioneered by Wassil Nowicky of Ukraine, then Austria.

A randomized study of 96 colorectal cancer patients found a strong effect of Ukrain against their cancer.[2]

Ukrain against pancreatic cancer

Ukrain showed remarkable effect in the following randomized, controlled trial of pancreatic cancer patients.[3]  Of those receiving Ukrain plus low-dose Vitamin C, their rate of remission was remarkable compared to the control group that only received low-dose Vitamin C: 81% survival in the Ukrain group compared to 14% survival in the control group.  It would have been interesting if this study had incorporated high dose Vitamin C, as opposed to the 5.4 g Vitamin C that the patients received.    The two year survival was 43% in the Ukrain group, compared to 5% in the control group.  At two years of the standard gemcitabine and 5-fluorouracil (Gemzar and 5-FU chemotherapy), 0% survived; all of the chemotherapy patients were deceased.  In fact, none of the chemotherapy pancreatic cancer patients survived beyond 19 months.   The longest survival in the Ukrain group was 54 months after start of therapy.

Ukrain treatment is well-tolerated, without known side effects.

In fact, in a randomized, controlled study of Ukrain in breast cancer, Ukrain was given along with chemotherapy and mastectomy.  The Ukrain patients had better wellbeing and faster recuperation from surgery and better tolerance of their chemotherapy treatments than those who did not.[4]

Other randomized trials of Ukrain in various cancers are described in this meta-analysis.[5]

Combination plant extracts against prostate cancer

A meta-analysis of five randomized trials of various plant extracts, such as pomegranate, soy, lycopene, turmeric, green tea, broccoli found the following:  Serum PSA levels either stabilized, decreased or rose more slowly in a significant number of men, compared to controls.[6]

One of these studies was a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial involving 199 men with prostate cancer for 6 months.  Men in the experimental group were given foods rich in polyphenols, such as pomegranate, green tea, broccoli and turmeric.  The experimental group had a 14.7% rise in PSA, as opposed to a 78.5% rise in the placebo group.[7]

Astragalus against lung cancer

A meta-analysis of 17 randomized studies, representing 1552 non-small cell lung cancer patients, showed significant improvement in survival for chemotherapy patients having astragalus supplementation over those have chemotherapy alone.  This was the case with 1-year, 2-year and 3-year overall survival rates, as well as performance status and tumor overall response rate, as well as tolerance of chemotherapy side effects.[8]

[1]  Citronberg J, Bostick R, et al.  Effects of ginger supplementation on cell-cycle biomarkers in the normal-appearing colonic mucosa of patients at increased risk for colorectal cancer: results from a pilot, randomized, and controlled trial.  Cancer Prev Res (Phila).  Apr 2013 6(4).  271-81.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23303903

[2] Susak Y, Zemskov S, et al. Comparison of chemotherapy and X-ray therapy with Ukrain monotherapy for colorectal cancer.  Drugs Exp Clin Res.  1996; 22:115-22.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8899313

[3] Zemskov S, Procopchuk O, et al.  Ukrain (NSC 631570) in the treatment of pancreas cancer.  Drugs Exp Clin Res.  2000; 26(5-6): 179-90.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11345025

[4] Uglyanitsa K, Nefyodov L, et al.  Comparative evaluation of the efficiency of various Ukrain doses in the combined treatment of breast cancer.  Report 1.  Clinical aspects of Ukrain application.  Drugs Exp Clin Res.  2000; 26(5-6).  223-30.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11345029

[5] Ernst E, Schmidt K.  Ukrain – a new cancer cure?  A systematic review of randomized clinical trials.  BMC Cancer.  2005; 5:69.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1180428/#B120

[6] Van Die M, Bone K, et al.  Phytotherapeutic interventions in the management of biochemically recurrent prostate cancer: a systematic review of randomised trials.  BJU Int.  Apr 2016; 117 Suppl 4:17-34.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26898239

[7] Thomas R, Williams M, et al.  A double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial evaluating the effect of a polyphenol-rich whole food supplement on PSA progression in men with prostate cancer – the UK NCRN Pomi-T study.  Prostate Cancer Prostatic Disease.  Jun 2014; 17(2): 180-6.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24614693

[8] Wang S, Wang Q, et al.  Astragalus-containing Traditional Chinese Medicine, with and without prescription based on syndrome differentiation, combined with chemotherapy for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer: a systemic review and meta-analysis.  Curr. Oncol.  Jun 2016; 23(3).e: 188-95.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27330356


Double-Blind Study I


Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trials of Nutrients that Kill or Prevent Cancer

Colleen Huber, NMD


“The good thing about science

is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

–  Neil deGrasse Tyson


Science is a word used in various contexts much more often than it is defined.  Science as an idol is sometimes vehemently defended or just as vehemently derided, without regard for what science actually is.  Let’s review what constitutes science.  Science is the observation of our surroundings, with no or minimal bias, along with the formulation and testing of hypotheses about the nature and function and interactions of our surroundings.  That’s it; no ideology, no agenda, no strong emotions.

Strictly objective pursuit of science is usually cumbersome, time-consuming and often expensive.  As a practical matter, only a researcher or a student has time to pursue small areas of the vastness of all potential science.  The rest of us work with what we know of established fact, or assume of established dogma, and most people don’t usually take time to re-examine and re-test our cherished hypotheses; we simply act on them.

This haste is prevalent in medicine, because the health insurance industry pressures caregivers to hurry through each patient’s visit and care: physical exams, lab tests or imaging, diagnoses and treatment, all within a short period.  Therefore, some leaps of faith are necessary.  Doctors simply do not have time to test hypotheses with the pressures of the daily workload confronting them.   The only expedient way to get through an entire day full of patient appointments is to keep the scrip pad close at hand.

Conventional “standard of care” physicians place their faith in drugs on two things:

(1) the familiar, friendly pharmaceutical representative and the industry behind those drug reps, and

(2) the assumption that at least once in a while the drugs that they sell have been subjected to double-blind or at least placebo-controlled trial.

Most cancer patients, and many doctors as well, would be shocked to learn that chemotherapy drugs have not passed the “gold standard” criteria for drug testing: the double-blind, placebo controlled trial.  There are two reasons that these double-blind studies are not done for chemotherapy drugs:

(1) With life-threatening illness, it is considered immoral to have a placebo group, in which no treatment is given, and

(2) The one available study that compared a chemotherapy drug to no treatment at all did not appear flattering for the chemotherapy drug or the industry behind it:

That study[1] found that lung cancer patients treated with the chemotherapy drug Docetaxel survived an average of 7.5 months, whereas those receiving merely supportive care with no chemotherapy or other treatment at all survived an average of 4.6 months.  If patients knew of this small difference in survival, would they opt to lose their GI tract function, hair, neurological health, cardiovascular health and other wellbeing?

Worse yet, this study found that the group receiving Docetaxel faced the life-threatening conditions of febrile neutropenia and non-hematologic toxicity.[2]

Was all the misery of chemotherapy worthwhile, not to mention the medical bankruptcy that so many families suffer following chemotherapy – was all of that worthwhile, simply in order to gain 3 more months of life?

On the other hand, many nutrients and herbs have been shown effective and safe against cancer.[3]  Let’s examine some of these cancer treatments that do not damage vitality or quality of life, and some double-blind, placebo controlled trials of those substances:

Gastric and esophageal cancer rates in Linxian, China are among the highest in the world.  In 1994, a randomized, placebo controlled trial was conducted among 29,584 adults, in a general population study.[4]  The experimental group was given one of four nutrient treatments for 5.25 years.  The doses were the same or double the US recommended daily allowances of the time.  It should be kept in mind that the infamous old “RDA” figures were notoriously low, barely enough to prevent vitamin deficiency.

Even with the very low doses of the supplemented nutrients, it was found that the group having Vitamin A and zinc had 62% less gastric (stomach) cancer than the placebo group.

The group receiving beta-carotene (a small component of all of Vitamin A), Vitamin E and selenium had 42% less esophageal cancer than the placebo cohort.  These are statistically significant results, and easily adopted interventions that should have been publicized much more broadly around the world, so that the use of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and minerals would become more widespread and available.

In another double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of nutritional supplements,[5] 5141 men were given either a placebo or a single capsule with a very low dose of each of the following sub-optimal forms of generally recognized nutrients:

Vitamin C, alpha-tocopherol (the least effective form of Vitamin E), beta-carotene (one of the least effective forms of Vitamin A), selenium and zinc.  They took these daily for 8 years.

There was a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of prostate cancer in the experimental group among the 94% of the men who began the 8 years with a low PSA (<3 micrograms/L). One has to wonder if therapeutic forms and doses of these nutrients had been used, the results may have been even more remarkable.

In another study, which was retrospective, rather than randomized and placebo-controlled, of 37,916 US women, dietary folate and vitamin B-6 was found to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer over the 10 years of the study.[6]

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been shown to be effective against cancer by a number of mechanisms and against a wide range of cancers.

Research has confirmed the essential role that Vitamin D plays in cancer prevention and treatment.[7] [8] [9] [10]

The following randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials show Vitamin D to be effective against the following cancers:

Cervical cancer[11]

Colorectal cancer[12] [13]


Prostate cancer[15]

Overall cancer risk in women over age 55[16] [17]

A study that found low levels of vitamin D intake had no effect against cancer mortality in this randomized trial[18] may have come to a different conclusion if therapeutic doses had been used.

Other smaller studies and animal studies have shown benefit of 1,25-D3, the active form of Vitamin D, against the following cancers.  Here are a few of those:

Gastric cancer[19]

Liver cancer[20]

Breast cancer[21]

Vitamin D metabolites have been shown to have cancer-disrupting effects by several key mechanisms.  Vitamin D has been shown to induce differentiation,[22] and apoptosis,[23] to reduce proliferation by effect on signal transduction,[24] to improve intercellular communication by means of gap junction communication preservation,[25] to inhibit angiogenesis,[26] [27] and to inhibit metastasis.[28]

Very promising research abounds regarding synergistic effect between Vitamin D and Vitamin A.  Each of these nutrients used alone induces differentiation – which is a way to normalize the nature and function of cancer cells – in a dose-dependent way.  The more consumed, the more differentiation observed, for each of the two vitamins.  But this differentiation effect was significantly enhanced when Vitamins A and D were combined [29] [30]

It may be even more helpful that the synergistic effect of Vitamin A and D together produced permanently ongoing differentiation of cells, even after both nutrients were discontinued, and even though the differentiation achieved by each of those vitamins used alone was reversible.[31]

This synergy of nutrients should of course come as no surprise to those who understand the metabolic pathways in the human body.  These pathways, as filtered by our still limited academic understanding of them, make clear that the nutrients are synergistic in their effects on the cells in our bodies.  Just as a well-balanced meal is not all one nutrient alone, optimal nutrition is always multi-faceted.

Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of any therapy are highly risky in cancer patients due to the higher mortality awaiting the group that fares worse.  Clinical trials are ended early if it is clear that one group is benefitting much more than the other cohort, in order for both groups to benefit from the more effective treatment. Therefore, I do not encourage or condone further double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of cancer treatments.  The consequences of suffering or death in the less fortunate cohort of cancer patients is unacceptable under any circumstances.

However, now that some of these trials have been done, it is very important that we not allow ourselves to forget the knowledge gained from them, because such knowledge may be decisive in saving the lives of cancer patients.

For optimal dosing of the above nutrients in either cancer treatment or cancer prevention, there is no substitute for consulting a licensed naturopathic physician.  At our clinic we schedule a lengthy (one hour) initial consult, in order to begin to evaluate the specific nutritional needs of the individual.  Other naturopathic physicians whose practices focus on cancer patients may be found at Naturopathic Cancer Society, at www.NatOnco.org,  and at Naturopathic Oncology Research Institute, www.NaturopathicStandards.org.

[1] Fossella FV.  Docetaxel for previously treated non-small-cell lung cancer.  Oncology. Jun 2002. 16 (6 Suppl 6): 45-51. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12108897

[2] Shepherd F, Dancey J, et al. Prospective randomized trial of docetaxel versus best supportive care in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer previously treated with platinum-based chemotherapy.  J Clin Oncol, 18(10) 2095-2103.  May 2000.  Pub Med 10811675.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pubmed/10811675-prospective-randomized-trial-of-docetaxel-versus-best-supportive-care-in-patients-with-non-small-cell-lung-cancer-previously-treated-with-platinum-based-chemotherapy/

[3] Naturopathic Cancer Society.  Which cancer are you researching?  www.NatOnco.org.

[4] Taylor P, Li B, et al.  Prevention of esophageal cancer: the nutrition intervention trials in Linxian, China.  Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials Study Group.  Cancer Res.  Apr 1994. 1;54(7 Suppl): 2029s-2031s.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8137333

[5] Greenwald P, Anderson D, et al. Clinical trials of vitamin and mineral supplements for cancer prevention.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Jan 2007.  85(1); 3145-3175.  http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/1/314S.full#ref-21

[6] Zhang S, Moore S et al.  Folate, vitamin B6, multivitamin supplements and colorectal cancer risk in women.  Am J Epidemiol 2006; 163:108-15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1363749/

[7] Giovannucci E.  The epidemiology of vitamin D and cancer incidence and mortality: a review.  Cancer Causes Control.  2005 Mar; 16(2):  83-95.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15868450

[8] Wei M, Garland C, Gorham E, et al.  Vitamin D and prevention of colorectal adenoma: a meta-analysis.  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev.  2008 Nov; 17(11):  2958-69. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=.++Vitamin+D+and+prevention+of+colorectal+adenoma%3A+a+meta-analysis.++Cancer+Epidemiol+Biomarkers+Prev

[9] Garland C, Gorham E, Mohr F.  Vitamin D for cancer prevention: global perspective.  Ann Epidem 2009 Jul;19(7):468-83.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=.++Vitamin+D+for+cancer+prevention%3A+global+perspective.++Ann+Epidem

[10] Giovannucci E.  Vitamin D and cancer incidence in the Harvard cohorts.  Ann Epidem.  2009 Feb 19(2):  84-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Vitamin+D+and+cancer+incidence+in+the+Harvard+cohorts.++Ann+Epidem

[11] Vahedpoor Z, Jamilian M, et al.  Effects of long-term vitamin D supplementation on regression and metabolic status of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.  Horm Cancer.  Feb 2017.  8(1): 58-67.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28050798

[12] Bostick RM.  Effects of supplemental vitamin D and calcium on normal colon tissue and circulating biomarkers of risk for colorectal neoplasms.  J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol.  Apr 2015,  148:86-95.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25597952

[13] Fedirko V, Bostick R, et al. Effects of supplemental vitamin D and calcium on oxidative DNA damage marker in normal colorectal mucosa: a randomized clinical trial.  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. Jan 2010.  19(1): 280-91.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20056649

[14] De Smedt J, Van Kelst S, et al.  Vitamin D supplementation in cutaneous malignant melanoma outcome (ViDMe): a randomized controlled trial.  BMC Cancer. Aug 2017.  17(1): 562. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28835228

[15] Jarrard D, Konety B, et al.  Phase IIa, randomized placebo-controlled trial of single high dose cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and daily genistein (G-2535) versus double placebo in men with early stage prostate cancer undergoing prostatectomy.   Am J Clin Exp Urol.  Sept 2016.  20;4(2): 17-27.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27766277.

[16] Schumann, S, Ewigman B.  Double-dose vitamin D lowers cancer risk in women over 55.  J Fam Pract.  Nov 2007. 56(11): 907-910.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4294452/

[17] Lappe J, Travers-Gustafson D. Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial.  Am J Clin Nutr. Jun 2007.  85(6):1586-91.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17556697

[18] Brunner R, Wactawski-Wende J, et al. The effect of calcium plus vitamin D on risk for invasive cancer: results of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) calcium plus vitamin D randomized clinical trial.  Nutr Cancer. 2011.  63(6): 827-41.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21774589

[19] Li M, Li L, et al.  1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 suppresses gastric cancer cell growth through VDR- and mutant p53-mediated induction of p21.  Life Sci. Jun 2017.  179: 88-97.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=1%2C25-dihydroxyvitamin+D3+suppresses+gastric+cancer+cell+growth+through+VDR-+and+mutant+p53-mediated+induction+of+p21.++Life+Sci

[20] Pourgholami M, Akhter J.  In vitro and in vivo inhibition of liver cancer cells by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3.  Cancer Lett. Apr 2000. 151(1):97-102.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10766428

[21] Saez S, Falette N, et al. 1,25(OH)2D3 modulation of mammary tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo.  William L. McGuire Memorial Symposium. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1993. 27(1-2):69-81.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8260731

[22] Shen M, Yen A.  Nicotinamide cooperates with retinoic acid and 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D(3) to regulate cell differentiation and cell cycle arrest of human myeloblastic leukemia cells.  Oncology 2009; 76(2): 91-100.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Nicotinamide+cooperates+with+retinoic+acid+and+1%2C25+dihydroxyvitamin+D(3)+to+regulate+cell+differentiation+and+cell+cycle+arrest+of+human+myeloblastic+leukemia+cells.++Oncology

[23] Kizildag S, Ates H. Treatment of K562 cells with 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D(3) induces distinct alterations in the expression of apoptosis-related genes BCL-2, BAX, BCL(XL) and p21.  Ann Hematol. 2009 May 28.  (Epub ahead of print.)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Treatment+of+K562+cells+with+1%2C25+dihydroxyvitamin+D(3)+induces+distinct+alterations+in+the+expression+of+apoptosis-related+genes+BCL-2%2C+BAX%2C+BCL(XL)+and+p21.++Ann+Hematol.

[24] Wu W, Zhang X, Zanello L.  1alpha, 25 dihydroxyvitamin D(3) anti-proliferative actions involving vitamin D receptor-mediated activation of MAPK pathways and AP-1/p21 (waf1) upregulation in human osteosarcoma.  Cancer Lett.  2007 Aug 28.  254(1): 75-86.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=MAPK+pathways+and+AP-1%2Fp21+(waf1)+upregulation+in+human+osteosarcoma

[25] Fujioka T, Suzuki Y, Okamoto T, et al.  Prevention of renal cell carcinoma by active vitamin D(3).  World J Surg. 2000 Oct; 24(10): 1205-10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=.++Prevention+of+renal+cell+carcinoma+by+active+vitamin+D(3).++World+J+Surg

[26] Bao B, Yao J, Lee Y.  1alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 suppresses interleukin-8-mediated prostate cancer cell angiogenesis.  Carcinogenesis.  2006 Sep; 27(9): 1883-93.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=.++1alpha%2C+25-dihydroxyvitamin+D3+suppresses+interleukin-8-mediated+prostate+cancer+cell+angiogenesis.++Carcinogenesis

[27] Chung I, Han G, Seshadri M, et al.  Role of Vitamin D receptor in the antiproliferative effects of calcitriol in tumor-derived endothelial cells and tumor angiogenesis in vivo.  Cancer Res.  2009 Feb 1;  69(3):. 967-75.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Role+of+Vitamin+D+receptor+in+the+antiproliferative+effects+of+calcitriol+in+tumor-derived+endothelial+cells+and+tumor+angiogenesis+in+vivo.++Cancer+Res

[28] Yudoh K, Matsuno H, Kimura T.  1alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 inhibits in vitro invasiveness through the extracellular matrix and in vivo pulmonary metastasis of mouse melanoma.  J Lab Clin Med.  1999 Feb 133(2): 120-8.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=.++1alpha%2C+25-dihydroxyvitamin+D3+inhibits+in+vitro+invasiveness+through+the+extracellular+matrix+and+in+vivo+pulmonary+metastasis+of+mouse+melanoma.++J+Lab+Clin+Med

[29] Defacue H, Commes T. Synergistic differentiation of U937 cells by all-trans retinoic acid and 1 alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is associated with the expression of retinoid X receptor alpha.  Biochem Biophys Res Commun. Aug 1994. 203(1):272-80. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8074666

[30] Blutt S, Allegretto E. 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and 9-cis-retinoic acid act synergistically to inhibit the growth of LNCaP prostate cells and cause accumulation of cells in G1.  Endocrinology.  Apr 1997.  138(4):1491-7.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9075707

[31] Verstuyf A, Mathieu C.  Differentiation induction of human leukemia cells (HL60) by a combination of 1,25-dihydroxyitamin D3 and retinoic acid (all trans or 9-cis).  J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. Jun 1995. 53(1-6):431-41.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7626492


What Happens When a Person Is Diagnosed with Cancer?

Colleen Huber, NMD

“The Constitution of this Republic should make special provision for medical freedom… Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship and force people who want doctors and treatment of their own choice to submit to only what the dictating outfit offers.”

Benjamin Rush, MD, 1745 – 1813
Colonial Physician and Signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence

Chemotherapy oncologists tell a new patient:  “Chemotherapy and radiation are the only options available to you.  Nothing else will work against your cancer.”   And they hear, “Your cancer is especially sensitive to chemotherapy.  In the particular kind of cancer that you have, natural treatments do not work.”

How do I, a naturopathic oncologist, know that cancer patients routinely hear the above lines?  Because regardless of type or stage of cancer, almost all cancer patients who come to see me tell me that this is what the oncologist told them.  It’s kind of strange that everybody supposedly has the particular type of cancer that chemo would be great for and natural treatments would be bad for.

Then the patient is scheduled to begin chemotherapy treatments promptly.  The patient is not offered any of the following:

  • The opportunity to take time to look into alternative treatments for cancer,
  • The opportunity to get a second opinion from a different doctor,
  • The opportunity to simply take time off and think about how to proceed.

The rush job of hurrying as many possible customers into the maws of the cancer machine, the chemotherapy industry, which is a $100 billion dollar industry in the US[1], deprives patients of the opportunity to step back and assess their options.

In fact, the diagnosis and treatment of cancer are so rushed, that these often happen on consecutive days: “You will begin chemotherapy tomorrow.”  And, “No you can’t postpone chemo, because your insurance is already being billed for it.”

Said the spider to the fly.

Naturopathic physicians on the other option observe a higher standard of medicine than this kind of coercion.  Because licensed naturopathic physicians were trained, examined and licensed in both natural and conventional medicine, it is our practice to tell people about BOTH their conventional medicine options AND their natural medicine options.  Naturopathic physicians have approximately twice as many classroom hours and twice as many courses in medical schools as medical doctors.[2]  This is because we are required to rise to the standards of, and are licensed for, practicing both conventional medicine and natural medicine.  This is a much better basis from which to help the patient choose appropriate treatment than someone who was schooled in only one type of medicine.

It is also very important to naturopathic physicians to honor patients’ treatment choices.  There are naturopathic physicians who look to the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons for their honoring of patient rights[3] and these have been incorporated into some naturopathic physicians’ Informed Consent forms, in order to re-affirm patient rights.[4]

  • To seek consultation with the physician(s) of their choice;
  • To contract with their physician(s) on mutually agreeable terms;
  • To be treated confidentially, with access to their records limited to those involved in their care or designated by the patient;
  • To use their own resources to purchase the care of their choice;
  • To refuse medical treatment even if it is recommended by their physician(s);
  • To be informed about their medical condition, the risks and benefits of treatment and appropriate alternatives;
  • To refuse third-party interference in their medical care

[1] http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/02/the-worlds-2015-cancer-drug-bill-107-billion-dollars.html

[2] http://naturopathicstandards.org/naturopathic-medical-education-a-comprehensive-curriculum/

[3] American Association of Physicians and Surgeons.  All patients should be guaranteed the following freedoms . . . http://aapsonline.org/patient-bill-rights/

[4] https://www.natonco.org/informed-consent

Science-Based Medicine Usually Is Not


Colleen Huber, NMD

Most published articles in medical journals are “bogus,” according to science writer Richard Harris.  Fraudulent stories in medical journals about pharmaceuticals lead to enormous waste and misguided expenses.

Harris’ new book is Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions.  After three decades of reporting medical stories and pharmaceutical news on National Public Radio, Harris concludes, “Simply too much of what is published is wrong.”

The problem is most studies of pharmaceuticals just don’t stand up to investigation, and most of those studies cannot be reproduced by others.

Earlier, in a 2005 article, Stanford University professor John Ioannidis had looked at a number of previous studies finding that either most or the vast majority of published medical research is false.  This was even more likely to be true if financial and other interests and prejudices in a scientific field were present.  False results were also more common with the fewer subjects studied, and also more likely to be false with the more researchers working on the project.

A frequent technique is for pharmaceutical companies to approach physicians to ask if they would like their name on a research paper.  Physicians then sign on to a study that they are not even involved in, and have no direct involvement with, in exchange for the possibility of looking prestigious for publishing in a well-known journal.  As a result, a half dozen or more names may be given to a paper where the “co-authors” don’t even know each other.

The problem is research is honest when money is not present, when no bribe for certain results is on the table.  Yet without funding, nobody would bother doing research.  That is, nobody except those of us in clinics who see results that are better than at other clinics, and people should be informed about it.