The Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy (FACT) has long worked to educate cancer patients about alternative therapies, enabling them to make informed decisions on treatment options. Unfortunately, there still remains a major gap in the distribution of information. To meet this challenge, Ruth Sackman has written Rethinking Cancer. Here, you’ll find pertinent information on a wide range of topics, including the role of nutrition in health and strategies for achieving detoxification. The author provides both valid research and specific advice.
Ruth Sackman has been the co-founder and president of the Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy, a consumer advocacy organization that provides information on alternative cancer therapies. Ms. Sackman dedicated her life to the pursuit of nontoxic approaches to the treatment of cancer.
1. Toward an Understanding of Health and Disease
2. Cancer: the Total Person Approach
3. Repairing the Biological Breakdown
4. The Symptoms Associated with Biological Repair
5. Balanced Nutrition for Better Health
6. Detoxification: Prerequisite for Repair
7. Some Psychological Considerations
8. Some Physical Considerations
9. Metabolic Programs and Adjunctive Therapies
I. Case Histories
II. Questions and Answers
For a number of years many of my associates at the Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy (FACT), doctors, friends, members and others in the health field, have urged me to write a book that would systematically document all the knowledge I had acquired about the biological approach to cancer, health and disease. It was their feeling that what I had learned through my extensive experience as president of FACT should be made readily available to the largest possible number of patients and practitioners. I was extremely reticent about introducing a revolutionary concept of cancer to a population accustomed to the present concept of cancer as an inviolate truth. Letting go of established ideas can be very difficult.
Even so, periodically, I had promised myself to take off the considerable time that would be necessary to think through and carry out such an ambitious undertaking. For, indeed, I had felt all along that there was a great and growing need to help a broader spectrum of people learn about biological approaches to cancer treatment and other degenerative ailments that have developed over many decades, than was possible through the often hectic daily operations of the foundation. More than that, I had been troubled not only by a lack of popular understanding of this important subject, but also by the enormous amount of misinformation that is now being disseminated under the banner of so-called “alternative therapies.”
With these ends in mind, I spent a number of years compiling information. This book is based on my experiences, investigations, observations and conclusions gathered over the past 30 years on this subject. The outcome of this labor is this volume, Rethinking Cancer: Non-Traditional Approaches to the Theories, Treatments and Prevention of Cancer.
My colleagues and I at FACT firmly believe in the public’s right to be fully informed about the biological approach to the restoration of health, non-toxic cancer therapies and alternatives to orthodox treatments for cancer. To help make this possible, I shall try to pass on to you, the reader, all of the considerable information about the biological concept of health care collected by FACT under unique conditions. I have acquired this knowledge through direct contact with many thousands of cancer patients, with many doctors (clinicians) who are practicing this therapeutic direction and my visits to the many clinics in Europe, Mexico and the United States. By bringing this in-depth material together in one place, I hope that it can be more effectively utilized by the practitioner, the patient and their family.
I cannot emphasize strongly enough that the purpose of this book is not to give advice or recommend specific procedures to anyone. My aim is, rather, to make available carefully scrutinized information based on my years of experience. Once he or she has acquired sufficient information, he or she should be in a position to make intelligent decisions as a medical consumer. Although I believe that the ultimate responsibility for getting well lies with the patient, I urge him or her to seek the help of a competent advisor.
It is not FACT’s intent to discredit practitioners of standard medicine. Nor do we question the skill, sincerity or integrity of physicians. We have excellent relations and work cooperatively with qualified doctors in the United States, Canada, Europe and other areas of the world. Over the years FACT has given financial support to a number of biological investigations by men and women of science at established research institutions.
Actually, attitudes toward biological concepts on the part of many within the medical profession are much better today than they were even a short time ago. For example, we at FACT are beginning to find that information about cancer coming to us from conventional sources confirms what we have been saying to the cancer patient and the public-at-large for years. FACT has always considered a balanced metabolic program the backbone of biological therapy—the nutrients in the food supply are the essential elements for building normal healthy cells. More than a decade ago the National Cancer Institute established a department of diet and nutrition (now dissolved) and published a pamphlet with nutritional guidelines which is still available to the public, whereas, several decades ago conventional medicine negated any cancer/diet link. I am also pleased to note that the American Cancer Society, one of the major bastions of orthodox cancer therapies, held a seminar on the subject of nutrition and cancer. In these and many other ways, we think that the climate is moving—albeit far too slowly to be sure—toward acceptance of the biological repair system as a valid direction in cancer treatment.
The Concept of Biological Repair
How do FACT’s views on cancer treatment differ from those held by traditional medicine? Briefly, the conventional approach believes that the tumor itself is, in effect, the disease and that cancer can be efficiently controlled by directing the therapy toward destroying the malignancy. The treatments most frequently used are radiation, chemotherapy, surgery and hormone inhibitors, or a combination of these procedures. Thus, the major focus of this traditional approach is tumor destruction.
We at FACT, on the other hand, support a concept of cancer as being a systemic malfunction which requires a biological repair. According to this concept, cancer cells are only a symptom of a dysfunction of the organism, resulting from a steady breakdown in the balance of body chemistry. Only by restoring the balance through safe and sound biological means can the disease be truly controlled. Conjointly, we believe that if given the proper support and a better lifestyle, the body’s own inherent ability to repair itself could prevent cancer in the vast majority of cases. The major focus of the biological approach, therefore, is host integrity.
This is not a lay point of view, but an approach held by many practitioners over many decades who treated degenerative diseases by restoring the balance in body chemistry to its recovery potential through the use of biologically sound techniques—balanced nutrition and other forms of non-toxic, non-invasive therapies. After a thorough investigation of the writings of scientists and doctors, and close contact with many of them as well as with recovered cancer patients, I have concluded that these views offer the cancer patient an opportunity for a realistic, long-term recovery.
There exists a long list of highly competent practitioners—some going back to the latter part of the nineteenth century—who treated disease by optimizing the body’s ability to repair itself. There was Max Gerson, M.D., a man who was lauded by Dr. Albert Schweitzer as “one of the most eminent geniuses in medical history.” Other notable doctors include: John H. Tilden, M.D.; Benedict Lust, M.D.; I. Duncan Bulkley, M.D.; John Harvey Kellogg, M.D.; Are Waerland, Ph.D.; Norman W. Walker, D.Sci.; William Howard Hay, M.D.; Henry Bieler, M.D.; Max Warmbrand, N.D.; Andrew Ivy, M.D.; William Frederick Koch, M.D.; Julian Baldor, M.D.; Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, M.D.; as well as many others.
Today immunotherapeutic techniques are recognized as a valid treatment in medical circles. Drs. Andrew Ivy and William Frederick Koch were supporters of immunotherapy early in the twentieth century. It is important to note that practitioners came to similar conclusions while working independently of one another—some in the United States, others in Europe and elsewhere. This phenomenon is evidence that helps to validate the biological repair approach to cancer treatment.
Hunger for Health
Today the public’s hunger for health information is enormous. To a greater degree than ever before, people are deeply concerned about a wide range of factors that might affect their well-being: the air they breathe, the foods they eat, the water they drink, and the quality of medical care they receive. To answer this thirst for knowledge, a flood of material is now available on every conceivable health question—from environmental problems to dietary regimes, from cancer to high blood pressure, from meditation techniques to proper breathing, from spinal alignment to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) adjustment. A glance at the bookshelf in any health food or book store will confirm that publications relating to health are among the most saleable commodities.
What accounts for this tremendous surge of interest in matters dealing with health? In my opinion the reason for this interest is—to put it bluntly—the increasing sickness of our population. In alarming numbers people are not well—and I am referring not only to the virtual epidemic of cancer, but to every other form of degenerative illness as well. I came across a book written by a German scientist, Dr. Johannes Kuhl, which documents the total number of individuals who are being treated for all kinds of major degenerative diseases. Let me assure you that the statistics in this book make for pretty grim reading!
Too many people who depend on conventional doctoring are not getting good results. They are discovering that the medications and other treatments they have been receiving are not restoring their health. These medications temporarily alleviate symptoms without getting at the underlying causes of the illness. Unfortunately, many of the medicines have side effects, and therefore, should be used only when absolutely necessary, not just to avoid minor discomfort.
Today there are simply too many sick people. Nature didn’t create a situation where so many human beings are doomed to suffer from all kinds of major ailments such as cancer, and to die in a slowly deteriorating, often agonizingly painful process, or linger on for years before death often thankfully comes. This condition was created by man.
We are no longer living in biblical times, when the lifespan allotted to humankind was threescore and ten. In our modern advanced technological age we ought to be able to live out a far longer and healthier lifespan. As a matter of fact I recently read a statement by a doctor in which he estimated that the average human being should live to be over a hundred years of age. Yet, only a small handful of people achieve that milestone. As far as the majority of the population is concerned, life expectancy is a little over seventy. Despite the vast amounts of money that we here in the United States spend on health, and all of the so-called medical miracles, our nation ranges about twenty-fourth in the world in the life expectancy rate.
When we look at the cancer statistics, then, of course, the picture is truly disquieting. Today the cancer incidence, according to the American Cancer Society, has risen to an estimated 1,334,100 new cases in 2003. In 1975 the insurance industry issued a statement to the effect that the cancer rate had risen by 5.2%. For a number of years previous to that, the rise in the rate had run somewhere around 1.3%. Instead of being alarmed by that tremendous increase, the U.S. Bureau of Statistics placed the figure at 3.2% by officially attributing the higher death rate to the flu epidemic of 1975. But the fact remains that those were cancer patients who died from the flu; they did so because of the extreme weakness brought about by the cancer condition. Too often death certificates read heart failure, renal failure, respiratory failure or malnutrition. No juggling of statistics, however, can alter the fact that cancer is at epidemic levels. The present research, in spite of the glowing media reports, is really no closer to a cure than it was 100 years ago. The solution is probably too simple for scientific minds to conceive that this treacherous disease, cancer, needs to focus on cell production rather than cell destruction. It’s a simple concept but it is difficult for people to shift their focus from killing what they have believed to be deadly cancer cells.
But these cancer statistics are not the only evidence of the abysmal state of health in our nation. All one has to do is look at the number of hospitals, the crowded hospital beds, their huge staff of doctors, the incredible sums of money spent on medical care, and especially the amount of drugs distributed by the pharmaceutical companies.
Is it not surprising that people are more health conscious than ever before, that they are searching for better answers to their health problems, and turning in other directions for health care? Those of us who are associated with FACT are in a particularly good position to observe the steadily rising number of individuals who are choosing biological repair systems, not only to deal with cancer and other degenerative diseases, but as a way of life to maintain their well-being.
The Dangers of Misinformation
Though the rise in the level of health consciousness among so many Americans is heartening, it has its built-in problems too. In their eagerness for more information and for biologically sound alternative therapies, many people turn to what are misnamed “natural” or “holistic” cures—many of which have not undergone the long-term clinical experience which is essential in establishing validity. Unfortunately, there are far too many people seeking biological therapies and not enough competent practitioners. Because of this, a number of individuals on the periphery of the health movement, who have little more knowledge than the average person, presume to give others advice or even set themselves up in practice. Hopefully, this book may be of some service in discouraging such people from misguiding others. Restoring health is a complex process requiring the guidance of competent people.
Since many people find it lucrative to deal with those who are desperate for help, it is important for the health-seeker to be very discriminating. Even with the best of intentions, overzealous persons may offer recommendations based on their own personal, though limited, experience. The therapeutic approach that may have worked well for them may be entirely wrong for another individual. I cannot begin to emphasize enough the serious consequences that can result from incompetent information involving biological therapies. In the case of a cancer patient, incompetent information can be particularly hazardous.
Let me further illustrate why and how erroneous information can be harmful to one’s health. Because of the limited number of resources supplying biologically sound service, too many people with a great deal of heart, but with too little skill and knowledge, are trying to help others correct their health problems. Invariably, they do not have the experience acquired from serving a wide variety of patients; nor do they have the opportunity for consistent feedback to provide effective service. They may, for example, advise people to make major nutritional changes. As we will see later on in this book, food is a potent healer. Changes in dietary regimes can provoke profound adjustments in body chemistry that can be quite disturbing—and dangerous—to the uninformed cancer patient. Under no circumstances, therefore, should an individual begin a new nutritional regime without first consulting an experienced practitioner or an organization such as FACT which can provide guidance or recommend a resource best suited to a person’s needs.
Too often the assumption is made that because a doctor is sympathetic to the biological approach, he or she, therefore, has acquired adequate knowledge and clinical experience to guide a patient through the different therapies. Let me state here, unequivocally, that there is no way to validate the success or failure of a therapy without including the time factor. For some types of cancer this time factor may be as long as 6 to 10 years. A practitioner, for instance, can initiate a metabolic regime with excellent results for months or even a few years. The patient may feel better and continue to make good progress during that time. On this basis, the practitioner and patient assume that he or she has the universal answer to the cancer problem and very soon the patient begins to promote a prematurely evaluated therapy as a success story. However, a few years later there may be a complete breakdown—because it was actually a deficient or unsound system at the start. The time element is a crucial factor in evaluating the success of a biological therapy.
Sometimes well-meaning individuals recommend institutions to cancer patients without in-depth knowledge of the facility or how successful they are in treating cancer or if it is the correct choice for a particular patient’s condition. As we have seen at FACT, this type of advice could lead patients to inappropriate therapies that seriously jeopardize their health.
There are also individuals writing “one size fits all” books. They may be writing purely on the basis of theory, interviews, or from a background of nothing but laboratory work with mice or other experimental animals. Since the work has not been tested on human beings, there is no way of assessing whether it is sound or unsound. Let us say, for example, that the book is about vitamins or other forms of supplementation. In setting forth a specific program of food supplements the author cannot possibly take into account the state of health or the particular needs of each individual reader. One person may need one kind of supplement and not another. If someone advises him to take supplementation that his body doesn’t require, it may ultimately unbalance the system on the side of excess.
How, then, does one differentiate between accurate and misleading information? In large measure this is the purpose of this book: to provide you with carefully collected time-proven information from FACT.
At this point I think it appropriate to discuss the organization which, for three decades, has been a rich repository for the information presented in this book. FACT, an international organization, has executive headquarters in New York City. The Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy is a federally approved, tax-exempt, nonprofit organization which distributes information about cancer prevention and non-toxic cancer therapies. Our main goal is to change the direction of cancer treatment. In addition, FACT supports and funds biological and scientific nutritional investigations and works to eliminate carcinogenic substances from the environment. FACT was established specifically as a lay organization in order to insure freedom of expression without jeopardizing any individual’s medical license.
Among its many activities, FACT publishes the journal, Cancer Forum, and offers a carefully selected and frequently updated list of books, articles and tape recordings. Some of this material is specifically for doctors and other health professionals. We have sponsored Cancer/Nutrition Conventions, bringing together experts in the health field. And, periodically, I have presented information on television and have conducted a cancer/nutrition series on radio.
Whenever possible we refer patients to practitioners whose services have consistently produced good results over a considerable period of time. Many of the patients maintain close contact with FACT for years, sometimes on a daily basis if they are going through troublesome periods. In our years of existence, we have served literally thousands of patients and their families. The feedback we get from them is an invaluable yardstick in helping us to determine the effectiveness of the therapies, as well as to evaluate the professionals who are producing the best work in the field of biological repair. When we refer patients to a doctor, we choose professionals with sound and broad clinical experience—someone who can follow the patient’s progress carefully and make adjustments as needed. Someone, most importantly, who has treated patients with good results.
FACT is funded entirely by tax-deductible contributions. We maintain a standard: no one serving in the organization may have a vested interest in cancer; although members of the Board of Trustees are indeed well qualified to be health practitioners.
One of FACT’s trustees, a woman with many years of experience in the health field, has studied iris analysis—a non-invasive form of diagnosis—at her own expense with Dr. Bernard Jensen, a master in this technique. The time and effort she put into this important training could have qualified her as a practitioner. She is a most competent individual who has helped people in whatever way she could, with no compensation whatsoever beyond the knowledge that she was serving cancer patients. This is typical of all of the trustees of FACT. Their dedication to our goals gave me the energy and inspiration to write this book.
A Personal Experience with Cancer
I have often been asked how I became involved, heart and soul, in an organization that has absorbed 5 to 6 days a week of my life, virtually twelve months a year for over 30 years. As the result of the agonizing experience of caring for a cancer victim in my own family, I came to FACT as did so many of my associates. Some time in early 1970 my daughter, Arlene, was diagnosed as having acute leukemia. As is true for so many people who seek help with cancer, my husband and I naively believed what we were told—that there was an 85% success rate using chemotherapy for leukemia—certainly a high percentage. At that time we felt pretty certain, actually, that this young woman of twenty-nine was not that ill and should be one of the 85% who were supposed to recover. We discovered the hard way that the image we had of the success of this traditional cancer therapy was simply not what people have been led to believe. In time, one finds that the 85% recovery rate is temporary—sometimes it is only a brief remission. One learns, too, what the term remission means: it is only a respite for the patient which can be as short as a day or two or as long as a few years. Ultimately, as we discovered, the acute leukemia patient dies, as did my daughter.
Later we came to understand that remission means one thing to conventional medicine and another thing to lay people—even to highly knowledgeable people like us. For most doctors, success is measured in survival time—even adding a few months to the average survival time for a particular form of cancer is hailed as an accomplishment. Statistically, the concept of a “cure” refers only to a five-year survival period. This means that some forms of cancer, notably Wilms tumor, skin cancer and Hodgkin’s can be managed for at least five years. More recently breast cancer has been added to the list, but only because improved diagnostic techniques make earlier detection possible. This merely starts the clock earlier. The five-year survival period is rare in acute leukemia, and for some other types of cancer, there is minimal or short-term survival. So you can see, the overall cancer situation is really very bleak.
When my daughter, Arlene, was released from the hospital, she was sicker than when we first brought her in. All of the hopeful words she had heard that had made her feel comfortable about submitting to chemotherapy suddenly had no value. In desperation, when we saw that Arlene was not responding to the therapy, we began to probe in every possible direction. First, we devoured all kinds of written material that was related to cancer—from the medical libraries, Reader’s Digest, Life Magazine, the newspapers, everywhere. And now that we were asking the doctor harder questions about Arlene’s condition, he became evasive. Actually, he avoided us because he didn’t have an answer to our queries.
At this point I called a friend who had taken an entirely different path to cure an ovarian tumor that had dropped her hemoglobin to the low level of 4.5 because of constant bleeding. Because of some traumatic experience in her life, she was terrified of surgery. Due to this intense phobia, she found a practitioner who placed her, instead, on a nutritional regime which stopped the bleeding in about three weeks. Her blood count, which had been dangerously low, began to return to normal.
Fortunately for us, her doctor was still practicing and, when we brought Arlene to see him, he was able to make a tremendous improvement in her situation by using a balanced nutritional program. Unfortunately, however, we were all working under severe handicaps. We were unfamiliar with the doctor’s health program and he was unable to be frank with us without jeopardizing his license, or to utilize hospital facilities to carry out his therapeutic system properly. After about ten months, Arlene’s condition became complicated—not due to the form of therapy he was using—but as a result of the disastrous effects of the chemotherapy administered earlier.
Given this situation, we panicked, Arlene panicked, and the doctor felt that he did not have the right to tell us to continue on the therapeutic regime. Because of the political climate in medicine, the responsibility for staying on the biological program had to be the patient’s. Had we known then what we know now, we would have realized that we should, indeed, have stayed with this biological therapy and taken our chances. The system had proven that it could work. Perhaps it should have been given more of a chance to overcome the toxicity of chemotherapy. And if it had failed, at least it would have failed using a path that could have saved Arlene’s life. Death certainly would have occurred with the conventional system, as indeed it did.
Instead, we submitted to our panic and Arlene went back to the hospital. There, without my knowledge or consent since she was not a minor (although the law might consider her legally incompetent because she was desperate), the oncologist started her again on chemotherapy. From then on it was all downhill. Like so many others in the same circumstances, we still clung to the hope that Arlene would be one of the 85% who recovered.
After Arlene passed away and we had somewhat recovered from the period of unbelievable agony and shock, we began to assess what had really happened. Since we had experienced some success with the biological approach in repairing her body chemistry—despite the damage done by the chemotherapy—we knew that a biologically sound system induced a potent response. We then found that there was an organization of people who were already discussing and using other concepts of cancer therapy. Ultimately, we discovered that there was a whole range of non-toxic therapies (to be discussed in a later chapter) that were on a separate track from conventional procedures.
We began to investigate the long history of doctors and scientists who had developed a body of theory and practice around the concepts of biological repair—the idea that the human system has great capacity to heal itself if there is cooperation, rather than interference, with its natural processes. Because this approach ran counter to the established view of cancer therapy, it had not been given the fair-minded investigation it deserved, even though there was good clinical history on record—case records of patients who had successfully navigated the process of biological repair and were alive and well many years after the original diagnosis. Unfortunately, neither the government nor the medical establishment has up to this time carried on a dialogue with those who have long clinical experience with this biological approach.
Some time later my husband and I opened up discussions with a group of individuals who believed, as we did, that the non-toxic way of handling health problems did warrant further investigation. Among this group were those who had lost a loved one to cancer and somehow been exposed to biologically sound ideas, as well as two cancer patients who chose a biological direction instead of conventional therapy. Instead of letting our tragic experience rest where it was, we decided to turn it into something that would help cancer patients who wished to use non-toxic therapies and sought the right to make their own choices. Out of this pioneer group was born the organization now called FACT.
Looking back now, I can see that it was stubbornness in my psychological make-up that motivated my decision to become an integral part of FACT. There was something about the whole process of Arlene’s illness that was unreal. “This can’t be. This is not supposed to happen. We can’t allow our daughter’s life to slip away without a fight. There must be a better way.” These are the thoughts that go through stricken parents’ minds when their child is dying of cancer. It is as though we said: “This tragic situation has got to stop—not only for our own, but for all children.” We just knew then that we had the responsibility to pursue every direction that could offer a cancer patient hope. If the things we had learned from our bitter experience turned out to be invalid, well, at least these biological concepts had been given a chance to be proven right or wrong. But to negate this opportunity was—in our opinion—unconscionable.
I don’t often use strong language, but I sincerely believe that to ignore one’s obligation under these circumstances—with cancer at epidemic proportions and in view of the lack of success of conventional treatments—is really obscene, a violation of the human spirit. As I have already pointed out, over the years, the attitude of conventional practitioners has changed for the better, but at one time, not too far back, hostility to natural healing concepts was fierce. Despite the fact that they had helped many patients correct long-standing health problems, one doctor had to spend more than a million dollars in a court action defending his therapeutic approach and others spent time in jail because of their unorthodox ideas and practices.
Even today the cancer patient who wants to use a non-toxic treatment for his or her illness often has to travel far from home at considerable expense. This burden needs to be alleviated. The patient should have access to a doctor in his or her community, near to family, and with the cost borne by whatever health insurance he or she carries. Anything less is a violation of human rights.
There is beginning to be a meeting of minds with some doctors and scientists. With a sincere dialogue and proper research, the biological approach to cancer can prove its ability to achieve excellent results. I think the time is now to give the biological concept of curing cancer serious consideration.
Hopefully, this will happen rapidly. Until that time, however, organizations like FACT will still be needed to provide support for cancer victims, and a book like this will have to provide well-researched information which is still so difficult to find elsewhere.