CHEMOTHERAPY AND THE GERSON PATIENT

During the mid-fifties, just as Dr. Gerson was demonstrating some of his most dramatic results with a nutritional treatment for cancer, chemotherapy started to be used by establishment medicine. The reason was the general disillusion with the results of surgery and radiation in the treatment of cancer patients. The chemotherapeutic drugs were supposed to stop the fast reproduction of tumor cells -- and thus stop cancer. Originally, these highly toxic agents were based on the mustard gas of warfare of which there was a huge remaining supply after the end of World War II. When these drugs soon were found to be too toxic and at best only temporarily effective. new combinations were compounded all supposedly stopping or slowing the multiplication of fast growing tissue. But since there are various tissues in the human body which must multiply rapidly (bone marrow producing red and white blood corpuscles which constitute a large part of the immune system) other very serious side-effects were always present with the chemotherapy treatments: damage to bone marrow: poisoning of the liver and often destruction of the kidneys, not to speak of damage also to the heart.

In spite of over 30 years of use of chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer patients, and in spite of its status as a `proven' cancer treatment, these drugs have never been officially accepted nor do they have the full approval of FDA. Chemotherapy is still an "experimental" treatment, largely because it has never undergone `double blind' studies. Why not?

Chemotherapy was just being introduced toward the end of Dr. Gerson's practice in New York, shortly before he died. He talks about his experience with Johnny Gunther in Appendix II of A Cancer Therapy -- Results of 50 Cases, p. 415. (See also John Gunther's book. Death Be Not Proud) Johnny was possibly the only patient Dr. Gerson treated after he had been given chemotherapy. The book describes the terrible response, the swollen arm, the severe bone marrow depression -- and the doctor's expectation that Johnny would quickly die. Nobody suspected that Dr. Gerson could reverse some of the damage. But Dr. Gerson could not have known what the Gerson doctors in Mexico have discovered after years of working with cancer patients who had previously been given chemotherapy, namely that these heavy drugs are released back into the system and cause the prior poisoning symptoms to show up once more. This generally happens after some six months on the Gerson Therapy. That was also Dr. Gerson's experience with Johnny Gunther -- but he did not know that it was due to the prior chemotherapy treatment. He took the blame for Johnny's death, assuming that the only cause was the treatment with hormones which he had applied.

Oncologists using chemotherapy drugs in the treatment of their cancer patients are told that the body, in time, excretes these drugs, and that the damage is thus overcome. It is true that many patients grow hair again after they have lost it; that their blood count comes back up to near normal and their mucous membranes heal after breaking down with ulcers due to the chemotherapy treatments. They overcome the terrible nausea and vomiting caused by the toxic drugs, the weakness and depression, etc. (Of course if they suffer also the loss of kidney function due to the chemotherapeutic drugs, this does not reverse. The kidneys, once destroyed, do not recover..) But overcoming the immediate toxicity does not prove that all the toxic materials have left the body. On the contrary, the Gerson doctors' experience with patients who have had prior treatment with chemotherapy gives an entirely different picture.

When the Gerson Therapy treatment facility in Mexico (La Gloria) was first started in 1977, we went as closely as possible by Dr. Gerson's directions in his book, A Cancer Therapy. But since Dr. Gerson didn't have any experience with chemotherapy patients, his book contains no special directions regarding such patients. No special adjustments were made by the Gerson doctors at La Gloria for such patients. Our first serious shock came when, at almost the same time, two patients with previous chemotherapy treatments were admitted and started on the Therapy. They received the full intensive treatment, including the starting medications, five coffee enemas a day, and the castor oil treatment every other day. As the bodies of these two patients detoxified intensively, they had all the symptoms of a chemotherapy overdose. Of course the Gerson physicians had given none of these drugs. So the only conclusion was that the drugs still remaining in the body from treatments many months earlier, were being released rapidly, in large amounts, poisoning these patients a second time! They landed in intensive care, they were so ill. The Gerson doctors were shocked into the realization that chemotherapy patients could not be treated with the same protocols as those who had received none of these toxic drugs. It must also be understood that patients treated with chemotherapeutic agents often had recurrences which caused them to seek alternative therapies.

At one point, the results of the Gerson Therapy in patients with previous chemotherapy treatments were so poor that we refused to accept such patients. However, in time, some patients begged to be allowed to come. Others, after chemotherapy, felt that the Gerson Therapy was so logical and basic that they tried the Gerson Therapy at home on their own -- and, to our great surprise, succeeded! So, it became clear that it could be done.

With this empirical evidence in hand, the Gerson Therapy physicians began to treat patients who had received prior chemotherapy. These patients were given less intensive medications; they were given only two or three coffee enemas daily instead of the regular five. They were not given castor oil treatments, in order to avoid sudden and intensive detoxification -- and they improved. It was now a questions whether this less intensive treatment would work fast enough and well enough to stop the advance of the cancer, yet not so fast as to cause an overdose of the chemotherapeutic chemicals being pushed out of their systems. In many cases, it worked. Admittedly, the results in cases where patients had received prior chemotherapy were sharply reduced compared to those who received no such toxic drugs. But, in many cases, we were still able to obtain recoveries.

We did find out, however, that certain cancers do not respond after chemotherapy. Pancreatic cancer, which shows excellent results on the Gerson Therapy, does not respond after the patient had received chemotherapy. The same goes for cancers that have extensively metastasized (spread) into the liver. Leukemias, after heavy chemotherapy, are also difficult to reverse with the Gerson Therapy. Brain tumors fall into the same category. Melanomas, which usually respond exceptionally well to the Gerson Therapy, do relatively poorly after chemotherapy. All types of lymphomas do relatively well on the Gerson Therapy despite chemotherapy: the same goes for ovarian cancers. Of course, all types of cancer respond much better with no prior toxic drug treatments.

According to various sources. after the administration of chemotherapy, the patient's body excretes somewhere between 35 and 50% of the drugs given. The problem for a researcher is to prove this statement. Unfortunately, there are no true tests for toxicity in the system. I personally feel that the remaining toxic drugs could be lodged in the connective or fatty tissues. They cannot possibly remain in the liver; this essential organ would be poisoned beyond function. But all drug tests are performed on serum or blood samples, not solid tissues. Fluids do not show positive for these agents simply because the drugs are not circulating, but are lodged in some tissue.

The reason we feel so certain that poisons remain in the body after chemotherapy treatments, even up to two years later, is that we see the patients excreting them. In the course of the Gerson Therapy, patients typically go through healing crises, or "Flare-Ups." described by Dr. Gerson in A Cancer Therapy, pp. 201-203. During these flare-ups we see that the patient's body excretes many accumulated toxins. Often, these toxins are readily identifiable by their odors. When patients who had prior chemo go through these detoxifying `flare-up' days, they experience the same symptoms they originally felt while they were receiving the chemotherapeutic agents: they feel nauseous, taste the chemicals, smell the drugs in their stool, have some loss of hair, mouth ulcers, and temporarily depressed red and white blood cell counts. Since we have learned to treat and detoxify these patients cautiously, we find that the heavy chemotherapy drug releases can happen at about six months into the Gerson therapy At that time the patient either recovers or goes into decline.

Since our experience with patients who have had prior chemotherapy is always questionable, we have often refused to admit patients who had received a "bone marrow transplant." These patients are treated extremely heavily with chemotherapeutic chemicals, after their bone marrows is removed. The marrow is then returned, on the theory that since it has remained free of the toxic drugs, it will continue to function. In fact, that does not happen, since the drugs continue to circulate in the body and, of course, soon contaminate the `clean' bone marrow.

One patient, suffering from ovarian cancer, and showing poor results after several courses of chemotherapy, was given a bone marrow transplant at a cost upward of $150,000.00. This treatment did not control her cancer, which continued to spread. She then called us and wished to be admitted to the CHIPSA Hospital for the Gerson Therapy. However, while she admitted to being heavily treated with chemotherapy, she did not tell the CHIPSA physicians about receiving a bone marrow transplant. So, with a warning that chemotherapy patients do not respond as well as those who have not been pretreated, she was accepted for the Gerson Therapy. She was given the less intensive therapy, developed specifically for patients who have had prior chemotherapy, and responded quite well. Her symptoms and blood counts improved. However, as expected, after six months from the start of the Gerson Therapy, she went into a heavy `healing reaction'. In her case, this consisted of abscesses breaking out all over her body. These boils released pus, and, of course, she was very uncomfortable during a few weeks. Nevertheless, she worked through it -- and after it was over, was much better. We have to assume that, in her case, much of the heavy poisoning was excreted through the skin.

There are more and more reports by establishment oncologists doubting the value of chemotherapy, even to the point of rejecting it outright. One of these, cancer biostatistician Dr. Ulrich Abel, of Heidelberg, Germany, issued a monograph titled Chemotherapy of Advanced Epithelial Cancer in 1990. (See Healing Journal, No. 1-2, Vol.7 of the Gerson Institute.) Epithelial cancers comprise the most common forms of adenocarcinoma: lung, breast, prostate, colon, etc. After ten years as a statistician in clinical oncology. Abel became increasingly uneasy. "A sober and unprejudiced analysis of the literature." he wrote, "has rarely revealed any therapeutic success by the regimens in question in treating advanced epithelial cancer." While chemotherapy is being used more and more extensively, more than a million people die worldwide of these cancers annually -- and a majority have received some form of chemotherapy before dying. Abel further concluded, after polling hundreds of cancer doctors. "The personal view of many oncologists seems to be in striking contrast to communications intended for the public." Abel cited studies that have shown "that many oncologists would not take chemotherapy themselves if they had cancer." (The Cancer Chronicles, December, 1990.) "Even though toxic drugs often do effect a response, a partial or complete shrinkage of the tumor, this reduction does not prolong expected survival," Abel finds. "Sometimes, in fact, the cancer returns more aggressively than before, since the chemo fosters the growth of resistant cell lines." Besides, the chemo has severely damaged the body's own defenses. the immune system and often the kidneys as well as the liver.

In an especially dramatic table, Dr. Abel displays the results of chemotherapy in patients with various types of cancers, as the improvement of survival rates, compared to untreated patients.

This table shows:

- In colorectal cancer: no evidence survival is improved.

- Gastric cancer: no clear evidence.

- Pancreatic cancer: Study completely negative. Longer survival in control (untreated) group.

- Bladder: no clinical trial done.

- Breast cancer: No direct evidence that chemotherapy prolongs survival; its use is "ethically questionable." (That is particularly newsworthy, since all breast cancer patients, before or after surgery, are given chemotherapy drugs.)

- Ovarian cancer: no direct evidence.

- Cervix and uterus: No improved survival.

- Head and neck: no survival benefit but occasional shrinkage of tumors.

More recently, the Nov. 17, 1994 Wall Street Journal, in a front page article on political pressure being exerted for insurance companies to pay for bone marrow transplants in advanced breast cancer, experts give a totally negative report on this approach. The procedure, called ABMT (Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant) involves temporarily removing some of the patient's bone marrow, applying a potentially lethal dose of chemotherapy, then returning the marrow to the patient's body. The cost of this procedure is in excess of $100,000.00.

The University of Colorado's Dr. Jones, continues the Journal, claims that, with conventional chemotherapy, not more than 2% of patients with spreading breast cancer get a positive response. A nonprofit independent technology assessment agency, the Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI), says that for the average woman with the most advanced form of breast cancer, the high dose ABMT procedure is not only worthless, but also likely to shorten her life. This report by the ECRI is based on an analysis of 40 studies of ABMT and similar procedures involving a total of 1,017 patients, and 61 studies covering 4,852 patients who had conventional chemotherapy Dr. Nelson Erlick, the project's lead analyst, concluded that "many patients are led to believe that this (ABMT) is a successful therapy. We found no evidence whatsoever that it provides any benefit."

Since the Gerson Therapy is often described by orthodox oncologists as `quackery', we'd like our readers to consider this: If quackery describes an expensive treatment that the technician knows ahead of time to be ineffective (or even harmful), what is ABMT (bone marrow transplant)? Yet Health Plan providers are being ordered to pay for it by the Office of Personnel Management, a federal agency.

Article copyright The Gerson Institute.

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By Charlotte Gerson

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