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Sharyn Ainscough dies tragically because she followed the example of her daughter, The Wellness Warrior

This being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all, stories about breast cancer are frequently sent my way. This one is depressing and sad, mainly because it’s the story of death from breast cancer. From what I can gather, it is the story of a death from quackery, a death that didn’t have to occur. Even worse than that, it appears to be a death facilitated by the daughter of the deceased, a woman named Jessica Ainscough, who bills herself as the “Wellness Warrior.” It’s a horrifying story, the story of a woman who followed her daughter’s lead and put her faith in the quackery known as the Gerson therapy. Unfortunately, it’s more than just one story. It’s the story of the daughter as well, who, although she has cancer, is still alive. Her story is yet to be finished, but her mother Sharyn’s story is over:

As many of you know, my Mum had breast cancer for the past few years. She was diagnosed about a year after I started Gerson Therapy, and seeing how much the therapy helped me, she went straight on it herself. However, unlike my journey, Mum’s was fraught with complications. She had been doing well and seemed to make it through her obstacles, however a few months ago it became clear that the cancer was getting ahead of her. She was in pain, lost a lot of weight, lost all energy, and her health quickly deteriorated. We explored lots of options however Mum choose to see out the final months of her life in a way that was exactly right for her.

Last Friday, after putting up the bravest fight I’ve ever witnessed, my mum passed away. She went peacefully and was comfortable with no drugs, which is what she always wanted. Her whole family was in the room, my dad and I were holding her hands and Edie was at the foot of her bed. She flickered her eyes, took one last gasp and then went off to sleep.


Stories like this sadden me greatly. Even if her mother wasn’t potentially curable when diagnosed (and, as you will see, that wasn’t the case), to put her through the rigors of a useless therapy like the Gerson therapy through the last stages of her life was criminal, particularly if she wasn’t given access to modern palliative therapy, which is frequently the case.

Before I delve into this tragic tale, let me first provide a bit of background. I’ve written about the Gerson therapy before in the context about a medical propaganda movie extolling its virtues and discussed it again when a clueless Fox News host did a segment It’s basically a protocol developed by a man named Max Gerson back in the 1920s that is based on diet and “detoxification.” His protocol included a high potassium, low sodium, fatless diet regimen that incorporated mineral and vitamin supplements, and crude liver injections (preparations of raw calves liver). Also included in the regimen were (and are) coffee enemas, sometimes as many as one ever four hours. Gerson’s rationale for the enemas was that they helped to stimulate the flow of bile, thereby increasing the rate of excretion of toxic products from the body. As I’ve discussed before, liver “detoxification” and liver flushes do not do what they are claimed to do; in fact, they tend to be the purest manifestation of quackery. The current version of Gerson therapy, which has evolved since his death, is now claimed to involve an intensive “detoxification” program to eliminate “toxins and waste materials” that allegedly interfere with healing and metabolism coupled with an “intensive nutrition program.” As described at Quackwatch, the dietary part of the Gerson protocol involves low-sodium, low-fat, low animal protein foods high in carbohydrates with copious amounts of mineral supplements, as well as pancreatic enzymes and Lugol’s solution (an inorganic solution of iodine plus potassium iodide). You get the idea.

Now let’s go back to the beginning. To do this, you need to know a bit about Jessica Ainscough. It’s actually hard to find much in the way of details on her website and blog. The “about” section, where she tells her story, lacks much in the way of details, but there is an article entitled I’m healing myself from cancer naturally that tells more. Both articles reveal that Ainscough was diagnosed at age 22 with a rare sarcoma known as an epithelioid sarcoma. In 2008, lumps had been popping up on her left arm and hand, and she had them biopsied. Make no mistake, this is a rare cancer; recent figures for incidence are on the order of 0.1 to 0.4 per million. It’s a tumor of young adults, which fits with Ainscough’s presentation, and it nearly always appears on the upper extremities. Unfortunately, wide excision is the only effective treatment, as Ainscough herself relates:

Epithelioid sarcoma doesn’t respond to chemotherapy or radiation, and my only chance of prolonging my survival would be to have my arm amputated at the shoulder. But essentially, my condition was incurable.

None of this made any sense to me. I felt so healthy, and I looked healthy. I could not understand how my life had come down to a decision about whether to have my whole, fully functioning arm chopped off.

I’m not entirely sure why she would have been told that her condition was incurable unless the tumor had spread to her axillary lymph nodes (the lymph nodes under her arm), because amputation would have been a very wide excision. Be that as it may, it’s hard not to feel great sympathy for Ainscough. It’s hard to imagine having to lose one’s arm at age 22 as the only chance to survive. She was even ready to have the surgery, but her doctors came to her at the last minute with an alternative, which was to do isolated limb perfusion. Basically, this is a technique sometimes used for soft tissue sarcomas of the extremity or multifocal melanoma that can’t be resected without amputation to try to destroy the tumor. As its name implies, isolated limb perfusion involves isolating the limb from the systemic circulation and infusing it with very (and I do mean very) high doses of chemotherapy. That’s what necessitates the isolation of the limb’s circulation; the dose of chemotherapy is so high that if it leaked back into the rest of the circulation the consequences could be disastrous. Isolated limb perfusion can often cause seemingly near miraculous results, and apparently that was the case for Ainscough. Unfortunately, tumors tend to recur, and that’s exactly what happened to Ainscough about a year later, which led to the doctors recommending an amputation of her arm at the shoulder again. So this is what she did:

I began looking at the different ways I may have contributed to the manifestation of my disease and then stopped doing them.

I swapped a lifestyle of late nights, cocktails and Lean Cuisines for carrot juice, coffee enemas and meditation and became an active participant in my treatment.

This research led me to Gerson Therapy which ensures you have a perfectly balanced diet for optimum health, assisting your body to flush out nasties whilst feeding it with all the goodness it needs to flourish.

The therapy involves drinking 13 fresh organic veggie juices per day (yes that’s one an hour, every hour of my waking day), five coffee enemas per day and a basic organic whole food plant-based diet with additional supplements.

For two years I devoted my entire life to healing, to the extent that I was effectively housebound.

I am ecstatic to report that it has worked for me. I have had no cancer spread, no more lumps pop up (they were popping up rapidly before) and I can actually see some of my tumours coming out through my skin and disappearing.

Since the Gerson therapy is not an effective treatment for cancer, what we are looking at is basically the natural history of the disease. One thing that is clear is that epithelioid sarcoma is not among the most aggressive of sarcomas. Its ten year survival overall is on the order of 61%, and for patients between 17 and 30 years (i.e., patients like Jessica Ainscough), it’s approximately 72%. Of course, that is with treatment with surgery; without surgery, five year survival is 35% and ten year survival is 33%. This implies that there is a subset of these cancers that is fairly indolent, as the vast majority of patients who are going to die of their disease do so within five years, with additional deaths after five years being relatively few. What this further implies, given that Ainscough never underwent surgery, is that she was lucky enough to be in this group. In other words, she’s another case in which the quackery didn’t save her; she was fortunate enough to have slowly progressing disease. Although her sarcoma is very likely to result in her demise; it may not happen for several more years. Worse, however, by refusing surgery, she decreased her chance of surviving 10 years by at least half. It’s very, very hard to say. This tumor is so rare that there just aren’t a lot of data about it. It’s also unclear what Ainscough’s clinical status is; if her tumors are still confined to her left arm, radical amputation might still greatly increase her chances of long term survival or even cure. If they have metastasized, as they are prone to do, then it’s too late.

Since 2009, unfortunately Ainscough has built quite the woo empire for herself. I don’t know, but I’m told by my Australian friends, that she is quite famous Down Under. Her website, The Wellness Warrior, is loaded with paeans to quackery, particularly coffee enemas, as can be seen in this video:

Note: In this video Ainscough shows how to give a coffee enema, although she doesn’t actually take it. I also note that two years ago, at least, she had several clearly visible lumps on her left arm that appeared to be ulcerating.

Unfortunately, Ainscough’s propensity for quackery has now claimed the life of her mother, who followed her daughter’s example and paid the ultimate price. Here’s what Ainscough wrote when her mother was first diagnosed:

My family has been pretty much consumed by this disease for almost four years, so when my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in April this year we knew exactly how to deal with it. Following her diagnosis, my mum refused any sort of conventional interference. She said no to a mammogram and a biopsy, told them that she wasn’t interested in going down the path of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, and instead chose the same therapy as me.

Which involved:

My mum, who has been my primary carer for the past 14 months, has just been told she has breast cancer. The carer suddenly becomes the patient and the former patient is now gearing up to become the primary carer. And because I’m still on the therapy myself, my amazing dad has stepped into the carer role as well (while still working six days a week). Mum is also on the full Gerson Therapy and she will have to stay on it for the next two years. She is now drinking 13 juices per day, having five coffee enemas per day and – much to her disgust – taking castor oil every second day. We’re now in this together! Our solid routine gets us through, but it’s just days like yesterday when I was sick and mum was feeling crook from castor oil that the pressure is on my dad to care for us both.

But what was her mother’s stage when she was diagnosed? We really don’t know. The video included with this post is private, and I can’t watch it. The best I can do is to make inferences from the limited information on the website. For instance, what we are supposed to learn from this video includes:

  • What my mum believes triggered her cancer.
  • The role hormones play in disease manifestation.
  • Why we believe that mammograms are useless, and even dangerous.
  • Why my mum refused to have her breast tissue biopsied.
  • Why she would refuse to have a lumpectomy (removal of the lump) and a mastectomy (removal of one or both of the breasts), and refuse to have chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Why Mum is so confident that Gerson Therapy will work.
  • The number one message she would like to get out to people watching this video.

From the limited information I can find about Sharyn Ainscough’s cancer, it seems to me that it was probably fairly early stage and therefore treatable with multimodality therapy including surgery plus chemotherapy, radiation, and/or hormonal therapy with a high probability of success. Unfortunately, Sharyn Ainscough followed her daughter’s path and opted for quackery. Once that happened, the end was inevitable. In fact, the natural history of untreated breast cancer is a median survival of 2.7 years. Her mother was diagnosed in April 2011. She died a few days ago. That’s roughly two and a half years, very close to the expected median survival of untreated breast cancer. Along the way, mother and daughter made the same rationalizations that I’ve seen from people who have chosen quackery time and time again. For instance, a few months after her mother began the Gerson therapy, Jessica Ainscough reported that her mom was having “flare-ups“:

When you choose Gerson Therapy as your weapon of choice, you must make peace with the fact that you are going to be in for some whopping healing reactions or “flare-ups” – how, where and the severity of the reaction is exclusive to each person. I guess I have been lucky because my flare-ups have been quite mild. My left arm swelled up (about a year ago and still hasn’t deflated), I’ve had headaches, a little nausea, a few days where I’ve been too exhausted to get out of bed, and countless days where I’ve cried uncontrollably and been moodier than a storm season, but the physical symptoms have been limiting. My mum, on the other hand, is having ALL of the textbook reactions. If we hadn’t gone to the Gerson clinic or spoken to fellow Gerson patients, I don’t think we would have been quite as prepared for what she’s been going through.

That “swelling” is probably lymphedema caused by her cancer obstructing the lymph vessels of the arm; so it’s not surprising that it’s never “deflated.” As for Sharyn Ainscough, she reported:

  • The left boob (the one with cancer) has what mum calls a string of pearls at about 12 o’clock high, a row of three or four small palpable lumps. She can feel action in this boob.
  • The right boob has also flared up, which was frightening at first before we realised that is was a healing reaction. Mum says it feels like a thickening with a swollen gland under the arm. She had a benign lump taken out of this boob about 15 years ago, so it is very likely that this is flaring up again as she heals.

No, what was likely happening is that the cancer in the left breast was growing and forming satellite lesions. What’s truly depressing about this post, however, is that virtually anything that a Gerson patient experiences is attributed to a “healing reaction” or a “flare-up.” For instance, in July 2012, when her mother wasn’t getting any better, a quack did a hair test and claimed that she was “copper toxic.” He also did live blood analysis (more utter quackery) and applied kinesiology (even quackier quackery) and concluded that she was suffering from candida. The result? Her mother was subjected to chelation therapy and “anti-candida” treatment, while Jessica Ainscough revealed her utter lack of understanding of cancer:

If Mum had followed conventional orders and had surgery or drug interference, there is no way that these underlying issues would have been addressed. Yet another reason why it is SO important to deal with the cause and not just eradicate the symptom. Lumps in breasts are not the issue. It’s the toxicity and deficiency of our bodies that cause an imbalance and lead to dis-ease.

How many times have we heard cancer quacks say this, that the cancer is not the problem but rather a “symptom” of the “real” problem or a “protective reaction” to the real problem? German New Medicine, Robert O. Young’s acid-base woo, Andrea Moritz’s quackery, Hulda Clark’s claim that liver flukes cause cancer, or many other alternative cancer cures, it’s a common theme in cancer quackery to claim that the cancerous tumor is not the “true problem,” a theme that the daughter echoes at every turn.

In the end, I have very mixed feelings here. As a cancer surgeon, I’ve made it very clear, particularly when it comes to Stanislaw Burzynski’s patients, that I don’t like to criticize cancer patients who choose quackery. I can completely understand why in their desperation they would be vulnerable to the blandishments of preachers of false hope. It’s ignorance and desperation, rather than ill intent. That resolve, however, wavers when I encounter a person like Jessica Ainscough. Think about it. She’s become a media figure in Australia because of her promotion of “natural” healing. She promotes Gerson therapy to cancer patients, and if you read the comments of some of her blog posts you will find people praising her for “changing their lives” by persuading them to choose “natural treatments” like the Gerson therapy (although how it is in any way “natural” to shoot coffee up one’s rectum has always evaded me). That means she might well have led cancer patients with potentially curable cancers to choose quackery instead of effective medicine, leading them to their deaths. Worst of all, her example led her mother, who, unlike her, appears to have had a very treatable, potentially curable breast cancer, to eschew surgery and other effective treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy. The end result was a dead mother, while Jessica Ainscough saying:

I do want to say this though. I know some of you have cancer and are on Gerson Therapy or you love someone in this position, and I don’t want this news to deter you from believing in what you are doing. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the past few years it’s that no one cancer therapy is right for everyone, just the way no one diet is right for everyone. We all have different bodies, different minds, different histories, and different journeys.

As angry as this makes me, surprisingly I still don’t have it in my heart to be too hard on Ainscough. You might think that, seeing her mother die might have been a wake-up call that leads her to change the course she’s on, but I know human nature. She won’t. After all, if she admits that Gerson therapy is useless, even harmful, quackery that failed to save her mother, then she would be forced to acknowledge her role in the death of her mother. She would also be forced to accept that Gerson therapy can’t save her, either. These are both conclusions that Ainscough would likely find too painful to accept. On the other hand, such a jolt might be a good thing. She might not be beyond salvaging with a radical amputation. At the very least, it would be a very good thing if Jessica Ainscough stopped dissuading cancer patients from undertaking conventional therapy and persuading them to pursue the same self-destructive path that claimed her mother and is likely to claim her.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

326 replies on “Sharyn Ainscough dies tragically because she followed the example of her daughter, The Wellness Warrior”

On her website she boasts of taking her health into her “more-than-capable” hands and is gearing up to promote a new book and promotional tour. I also notice that, in her Facebook photos, the left arm is frequently hidden while the ones on the website appear to be retouched.

While it’s likely she’s in denial about her own illness and her mother’s, I still find that horrifically callous and mercenary, coming so close to her mother’s death.

This makes me so very, very sad. I’m sad that Jessica’s mum passed away, and sad that they didn’t make the most of modern medical and scientific advances. My sympathies to their family and friends.

It takes a special mindset to explain away additional tumours as some sort of healing process. I hope other people reading her blog see what really happened and not just the spin that they would like to believe.

“Last Friday, after putting up the bravest fight I’ve ever witnessed, my mum passed away. She went peacefully and was comfortable with no drugs, which is what she always wanted. ”
I sincerely hope she doesn’t mean that her mother died without analgesia because that would be just cruel.
And as for the bravest fight she has ever witnessed – what does that mean? What sort of brave fight is it when you don’t take advantage of all of the options available to you ?

@Kat – frequently in Woo-Circles, “getting worse” equates to “getting better” for some reason….it is truly Orwellian Double-Speak…

Interesting how the alternative tropes play out here. “Individualized treatment for designed for YOU” but the same juice and enema regime for 2 very different types of cancers. “I choose Quality of Life,” yet these two women seem to have chosen a life that revolves around juice making, juice drinking, and enemas to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. “What matters is that you believe,” but belief didn’t do much for the mom, at least. The whole thing is just tragic on so many levels.

I’ve followed her blog for some time now. I’m a nurse so have been sitting on the fence about her chosen therapy. I’ve noticed in photos her arm definitely appears to be getting worse and when questioned, assures readers that its from the chemotherapy she originally had.
I do want to point out a couple of things. 1. From what I read on the blog her mother originally came across the gerson therapy and not vice versa and 2. I don’t believe she’s brain washing people. People still have free will. She is not saying you must go out and do this, she’s giving advice as to what she believes has worked for her. Will she still be alive in 10 years time? Only time will tell but I’m definitely interested to see if she will prove the critics wrong. It’s tragic what has happened to her mother and although she will never admit it she must question whether her mum might be alive had she done things conventionally. What was to stop her doing both? Adopting the healthier lifestyle after chemo/radiation etc?

She is not saying you must go out and do this, she’s giving advice as to what she believes has worked for her.

Except that it clearly hasn’t, and it obviously didn’t work for her mother.

Will she still be alive in 10 years time?

Unlikely but not impossible. As I pointed out in my post, this is a fairly slow-growing tumor, and even without surgery the ten year survival is around 33%. Even if she is still alive ten years after her diagnosis, that would not mean that the Gerson therapy helped her.

It’s tragic what has happened to her mother and although she will never admit it she must question whether her mum might be alive had she done things conventionally.

Not knowing the full clinical details of her mother’s diagnosis, I can’t comment definitively, but from what I’ve read it certainly seems as though she had a treatable, “curable” cancer. In that case, choosing Gerson therapy over surgery and chemotherapy led to her having a typical course for untreated breast cancer, dying slightly sooner than the known median survival of untreated breast cancer.

The real question is how much she suffered. Untreated breast cancer frequently takes over the entire breast and erodes through the skin to produce an ulcerated, stinking, bleeding, painful mess. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this is what happened to Jessica Ainscough’s mother Sharyn. It’s a horrible way to die.

“Lumps in breasts are not the issue. It’s the toxicity and deficiency of our bodies that cause an imbalance and lead to dis-ease.”

Dis-gusting.

@AW

Adopting the healthier lifestyle after chemo/radiation etc?

There is nothing healthy about the lifestyle Ainscough has adopted. Coffee enemas are extremely risky and do not provide any benefit in return. The organic fruits and veggies for the juicing must be costing her a fortune (the Gerson Institute website recommends 15-20 pounds per DAY), not to mention all the supplements. She’d be better off just eating the fruits and vegetables in normal amounts instead. I’m also not sure it’s a good idea for someone with a terminal illness to be restricting their fat and protein intake to the degree required by the Gerson plan.

In addition, she herself says the Gerson regimen keeps her housebound and required her to have a full-time caregiver. I can understand why Ainscough balked at the idea of having her arm amputated, that would give anyone pause. But is her quality of life really better now? Her life is completely taken up with her alternative “therapy” and now she’s lost her mother. I’m not seeing a benefit to any of this.

There is nothing healthy about the lifestyle Ainscough has adopted.

Or her mother, who adopted the same lifestyle, complete with four or five coffee enemas per day. It never ceases to amaze me what constitutes “natural” and “healthy” in cancer quack world: Sticking coffee up your butt, taking boatloads of supplements, liver extract injections, pancreatic enzymes, and so much fruit and vegetables that it’s hard to imagine how it’s possible to consume it all. Then, in the case of Sharyn, there was chelation therapy, which can produce dangerous depletion of key electrolytes in the blood to the point of causing cardiac arrhythmias and even cardiac arrest. It boggles the mind, and it amazes me that she’s kept it up for nearly four years.

My wife was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 1995. A friend of the family’s of about the same age found a lump in her breast. Both had biopsies to confirm cancer. My wife went on to have a mastectomy with lymph node dissection – this resulted in the 4th stage diagnoses. The family friend chose Gerson therapy. My wife had radiation followed by adjuvant chemo over about 6 months. The family friend died in a little over two years. At that time, after 2 years of good health and a full life, my wife was found to have metastasis in bones, lungs and liver. She started what would be an on again off again regimen of chemotherapy to fight her disease She had some bad months but she had good months too over the next 8 years. She saw two of our 3 kids graduate form high school and even made it to the oldest’s college graduation. She went on multiple school trips as a chaperone including to France and Spain. She took her girl scout troop on multiple backpacking trips. In the end it was the metastasis to her brain that ended what was a truly brave fight against cancer. Thank God she didn’t spend her days with cancer stuck indoors giving herself enemas.

“Oddly enough, tomorrow (October 18) is Max Gerson’s birthday.”

I’ll drink a coffee toast to his memory.

Thing is, a cup of coffee is just the ticket for expelling your toxins, if you know what I mean.

Unfortunately, her regime sounds similar to those which are advised by the usual suspects, hourly green juices and frequent coffee infusions applied antipodally.

Altho’ I am somewhat inured and hardened to testimonials by the woo-entranced, observing this young woman- whose arm’s appearance betrays her actual state despite her efforts to hide it- is heartbreaking. I wonder what happens if, and when, she wakes up.

On a lighter note, if you click on “store” at her website, you’ll find that she sells ‘motivational jewellery” which is based on ayurvedic gemstone healing principles.

-btw- Orac- this post/ link is behaving oddly.

@Tim Farley

Oddly enough, tomorrow (October 18) is Max Gerson’s birthday.

I don’t feel inclined to celebrate it.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the past few years it’s that no one cancer therapy is right for everyone, just the way no one diet is right for everyone. We all have different bodies, different minds, different histories, and different journeys.

Eliminate the word “cancer” and I think you have one of the most popular responses to criticism against alternative medicine. It translates into “stop trying to tell me what’s right for me” and it’s framed as if the topic was one of preference or life style. It places science into the role of a closed-minded bully. And it’s a brilliant all-purpose excuse for failure.

When alt med doesn’t work it’s never useless. It just wasn’t right for that person under those circumstances, is all.

The classic test for religious faith is to ask the question: “what would it take to change your mind?” If there’s any answer at all (there usually isn’t), then the more unreasonable or the more ‘moral’ the response (“I’d have to stop caring about people/myself”), the more likely you’ve got a faith-based immunizing strategy at work.

bobh,
Thank you for sharing your wife’s story. My sister was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer (too near her heart) at 47. She fought it with an experimental chemo/radiation combo at Stanford. After 10 years she discovered that she was the only member of her cohort of 12 to survive, and survive she did, for another seven years. In that 17 extra years she saw all of her grandchildren born, was a daycare grandma to them while their mom’s worked, traveled extensively and spent lots of time with my parents. It was also brain metastases that took her (swiftly and painlessly) in the end. The docs warned her about that possibility, but she took every day as a gift after her treatment. I was an alt-med, new age zealot back in those days, but I shut the hell up and never questioned her choice of treatment once. I’m so glad I held my tongue.

My condolences to the Ainscough family for their fear, suffering and loss.

Denice Walter #14 wrote:

test

It’s hard to improve on such a succinct, pithy, and to-the-point comment.

Oh … if only they would!

@ Sastra:

I aims to please.
– altho’ in this case, it was inadvertently…but I do always have preconscious statistical tendencies.

Going back to Jess’ blog, I notice that she is entranced by green juices…
why oh why do these people insist on this nonsense?

Amongst those I survey, green juices ( often one per hour) are *de rigueur*: they believe that green vegetables have a magical healing power- I’ve heard their benefits extolled as a de-toxifier, an anti-inflammatory agent, a chelator, a strengthener, a rejuvenator and an all-purpose general nutrient. So those who wish to prevent illness or cure their current condition might believe that chlorophyll and other phyto-nutrients are the perfect elixirs – the essence of life, a fountain of youth, as it were.

I wonder where they got that idea?
It hints at mythological beliefs about plants vs animals. Each year the ancients observed vegetation appear to die with autumn’s arrival, go through a period of apparent lifelessness and then be re-born again in spring: burgeoning and expanding luxuriantly in the sun. Whereas dead animals stay dead and rot.

Thus, perhaps green smoothies might enable us to join into the myth of eternal return and resurrection: there must be some divine spirit within them- which makes ingesting them raw all the better. Obviously, such power wouldn’t be hindered by a simple obstacle like cancer, would it? I have also heard green juices touted for MS, ALS, Alheimer’s,CVD, ASD as well as whatever ails ye.

It should be noted that WHATEVER the underlying reasons for believing in ‘green power’, it carries emotional heft making it suitable as advertising copy. Herbal remedies also figure amongst the green revolution in health..How many liquor companies’ products proudly boast ancient herbal formulae sparkling within their distilled essences, infusing them mightily with prowess?

If only someone could bottle this green healing miracle – they’d make a fortune!
Oh wait….

This case both saddens (on account of the two cancer sufferers in the family) and angers me immensely.

I’m sure Jessica Ainscough didn’t initially set out to build a business empire of the back of her cancer (or have her mother denied even palliative care during the course of a terrible illness & death), but this is essentially what has happened.

I too have read much of the “Wellness Warrior” blog – what remains in the public domain.

It baffles me that this has not yet caught the attention of a reputable national current affairs program. I understand that adults have free will to choose their own treatment or lack thereof, however people who are desperate are incredibly vulnerable.

I believe that if an actual health professional offered quack cures to people, especially the terminally ill for profit in Australia, they would be up before a Tribunal or Court as soon as their activities became public knowledge.
I have even heard of outright “quackery” being prosecuted.

I have never before seen cognitive dissonance receive nothing but positive press on this scale, and it is frightening.

Denice,

Going back to Jess’ blog, I notice that she is entranced by green juices… why oh why do these people insist on this nonsense?

I think it’s vitalism, pure and simple, with juices being an excellent source of imaginary life energy. I imagine they would expect blood or fresh raw meat to have the same effect, but are too squeamish in one way or another to take that route. ‘Red juice’ doesn’t have quite the same ring I suppose.

I like to remind raw food freaks of the existence of antinutrients and the many other reasons that cooking foods became popular.

@ Kreb:

Also blood smells awfully very quickly. Thus religious prohibitions against dealing with it in warmer climes.
( I guess our pristinely clean-minded alties will pass on the sacrificial blood offerings…
D-mn!)

Unfortunately, there are “red juices” ( of non-animal origin) for sale: red (and purple) fruits chock full of antho- and proanthocyanidins, available dried, freeze-dried etc

Now I can tolerate some red juices… just not Merlot.

It is interesting that the most famous woo based anti cancer guy in Aus Ian Gawler has now been discredited. Yet there’s always a bunch of newbies ready to take up the slack. However Orac, from my recent breast cancer experience part of the problem is the poor attitudes of some providing medical scientific treatment. I am 100% anti alt medicine but the rough thoughtless treatment I received would make many run to the touchy freely incence bearing “carers”.

Have any of you detractors of Jess Ainscough every actually TRIED Gerson therapy?

I have.

Not for the suggested two years – but for just under 12 months. Not for cancer – but for one of the other ‘incurables’ – arthritis. I am symptom free (no drugs) for the first time about 4 years – I can lift my granddaughter – something I thought I would be able to do less that a year ago. I can climb stairs when the best I could do before was crawl.

Just in the last seven short days since Sharyn died 140,000 other people have died of various cancers around the world – and you can safely say that 98% of those followed the medical route.

7.6 million every single year. Despite BILLIONS of money going to research. Ever since Richard Nixon made it his mission to ‘defeat cancer’

For every advance in treatment another ‘rare cancer rears it head and the ratio of people diagnosed and dying of cancers just keeps climbing…

And yet we know that roughly 1 third of all cancers are preventable…by lifestyle changes.

We also know that there are a growing list of known carcinogens finding its way into the food chain and the air we breathe.

I first discovered Gerson therapy when I was sitting in the palliative care ward with a friend who had been misdiagnosed by her doctors and specialists for years until her cancer – which would have been treatable in early stages – was too far gone. She was too sick to do any alternative therapy – but it didn’t stop her looking for options when the medical system failed her.

Unfortunately doctors don’t get held up to the same standard ORAC has held Jess Ainscough to.

Jess Ainscough’s blog is essentially about cleaning up what you eat, knowing it’s source and educating people about food and health. As someone who has felt the full force of feeling superbly well under Gerson – I would say…. don’t knock it till you have tried it.

My own doctor said when he saw the difference in my BP and weight and blood results – whatever you are doing – keep doing it.

If Jess makes sick people aware that changing there lifestyle might make them one of those people who didn’t get one of the preventable cancers – then who are we to suggest that she is irresponsible.

My mother died of cancer. She chose not to be treated with Chemo or radiation to extend her life. While I didn’t want her to die I was moved by her ability to make a choice about how she lived – and how she died. She did not want the sickness of chemo and the endless trips to the hospital. She just wanted to potter about at home and spend her remaining time with her family.

Every cancer sufferer has to make choices.
Sharyn Ainscough made her own choices.

Not everyone’s choice maybe but HER choice. Her life.

A bit of objective respect would not go amiss here

To qualify, these are some of the systemic issues I think could do with work (although they may not all be possible within the constraints of our health care systems).
1. Treating patients as just an anonymous person in a queue.
2. Minimalist/ mindless information (because all patients are stupid)
3. Underplaying the impact of mastectomies on self image.
4. Treating asking questions as complaining.
5. Failure to address unforeseen or negative outcomes.
6. Those bloody awful pink ribbons.

Although I am currently cancer free I carry an unnecessary anger about the process, and this is what I think drives some people to dangerous non treatments.

Hi everyone! Back again after a while away.

I realise Jessica Ainscough thinks she is doing the right thing, but she angers me greatly. She’s started spewing her bile onto Internet forums for illnesses such as fibromyalgia, to the point where I’ve signed out of a lot of them, because people are swallowing it up. I appreciate when you’re suffering you’ll try anything to make it stop, but there’s a point where desperation becomes stupidity. I’m wondering when she’s going to start popping up on inflammatory bowel sites.

The whole “food as medicine” thing for cancer sufferers really, really irritates me. Yes, there’s following a healthy diet during treatment, but so many of these regimes strike me as a damn depressing way to live, even when you’re healthy.

YOYO: If you are in Australia, COMPLAIN. Write a letter to the facility where you received treatment, and if you are really upset about it, each state has an equivalent to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission, where you can log your complaint online and even remain anonymous if you want.

Thanks Christine, I take your point and have. However the issues that are not medical malpractice but more generalised poor treatment of patients are not within their remit. Secondly, as an educated English speaking patient I have an advantage but how hard is it for other patients to get better treatment?
I am eternally greatful for the Aus health system but I think there are definite areas where poor practices drive patients into the arms of woo meisters.

@YOYO I can appreciate how you feel. Fortunately, I do not have cancer, but I have had some horrible encounters with surgeons etc. They can be arrogant, offhand and worse. I actually agree with each of the 6 points in your last post.

You are right – the medical model certainly can drive patients into the arms of woo meisters. I have seen it happen several times.

To anyone else: I have nothing against people seeking complementary therapies. If they appear to work, great. I don’t think that medicine is perfect, nor do I seek to make ad hominem attacks on anyone – especially if they are ill.

A commentator above made the point that, far from being an innocent victim, Jessica Ainscough’s mother was the person who originally inspired her to seek alternatives.

Frustratingly, I cannot find it on her blog or elsewhere (she may have scrubbed it since going corporate), but as a long time horrified spectator, I do recall Jessica referring to this. Something like, after chemo, bad news, etc, she went back to what her mum originally urged her to do which was to look for alternatives, change her lifestyle, stop drinking/thinking negatively, meditate her way out of cancer, buy crystals etc etc, and that is how she ended up in Gerson territory.

I think the Ainscoughs are more of a classic folie a deux than a Peter/Penelope Dingle scenario (in which one, more powerful and authoritative person leads another disastrously astray).

Mother and daughter both started out pretty far down the rabbit hole if you ask me, and it’ll put them both in early graves.

I’m all for freedom of health choice, but what I find unacceptable is that she used the post about her mother’s passing to plead for respect and compassion from her detractors; then she pleaded with her supporters/followers not to take any notice of this news of the miracle therapy’s utter, unequivocal failure, and to keep buying her shit. Totally amoral.

Krebiozen in comment #25 mentioned vitalism but why no raw meat? This woman *is* advocating Gerson “therapy, which does recommend raw liver extract injections, so it is vitalism mysticism.

Andrea in comment #28. Have you considered looking at the huge improvement in cancer survival rates over the decades due to better medicine? Breast cancer has an almost 80% survival rate. Cancer is not one disease, but a class of over 200 separate diseases, and they each have different treatments and different survival rates, but for many of them, people are living much longer and better lives. I doubt you will examine actual reality-based evidence, given that it would shake your alt-med religion.

Andrea – if you have a link to published, replicated, reliable data showing that the Gerson protocol is more effective than a placebo at curing anything, please share.

@ Andrea:

“Have any of you detractors of Jess Ainscough every actually TRIED Gerson therapy?

I have.

Not for the suggested two years – but for just under 12 months. Not for cancer – but for one of the other ‘incurables’ – arthritis. I am symptom free (no drugs) for the first time about 4 years – I can lift my granddaughter – something I thought I would be able to do less that a year ago. I can climb stairs when the best I could do before was crawl.”

Do you have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease and it has the ability to affect major organs and blood vessels. The symptoms of the disease can abate for periods of time and then return (“flares”).

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001467/

If, OTOH, you have osteoarthritis, your symptoms are caused by
wear and tear…a degenerative process caused by aging.

So no. Your case study (n=1) is not proof that shoving coffee enemas up your bum is curative.

lilady

Thank you for telling me the ins and outs of my condition…we alternatives are a flaky lot… I forgot to say…

.I have osteoarthritis and various other conditions symptoms of which disappeared completely on Gerson – and I remains symptom free with the basics – organic pesticide free food.

It’s a choice – feel like shit and hobble around in agony hips burning up with pain, or restrict my love of cheese and pinot noir.
Nobody is denying that it would be nice to eat what I want and feed my face with whatever, whenever – but in reality it is not a difficult choice. Organic food tastes better anyway.

Do you believe me? I don’t give a jot one way or another….

But I do agree that our bodies degenerate as we age but you seem to deny that our bodies can and do regenerate – when in fact they do that every single minute of every day. It is just that when you feed them properly – they do it far more effectively.

Hell I knew that as a post war child growing up drinking my state funded orange juice in the 1950s… but it seems to be forgotten…

Coffee enemas seem to be most effective at activating denigration in otherwise polite, non excitable individuals.

Yet in Europe where they were most commonly used no-one bats an eye when people use them. must be a cultural thing..

Countless millions of people have died of cancer – and I have only managed to unearth sparse details of two anecdotal accounts of deaths of attributed to coffee enemas… although I believe there was an overdose in one case and the other forgot to use some cold water or something…

I’ll take my chances..

Jerry A thank you for presuming to know what I would do if I got breast cancer.

I do agree that there have been improvements of treatment in those who get breast cancers. My concern is that there does seem to be an ever increasing number of human guinea pigs requiring these treatments – for medical science to experiment on.

I do have a healthy respect for medical science – like diagnostics and ….when it works… but given the millions of deaths …it is not their finest hour – (well actually more like half a century) …

I come from a family of scientists. So I do ask lots of annoying questions … .

But the overriding personal reason for looking at alternatives I would say was that at critical health junctures in my life doctors failed to connect the dots …such as why I was infertile for a while.

So starts a search for answers and a bit of self experimentation ……And becoming a mother in the process..

gynecologists puzzled comment ‘was there a star in the east?

Whilst I never did catch on to the point of self experimenting with recreational drugs – I have no qualms about self experimenting with diet – providing I satisfy myself that the risks are manageable.

I cannot see what the big deal is – when people hand over their lives to a doctor – who has no real vested interest in the outcome… he/she will still reap the benefits either way.

I consult a doctor because I want to reap the benefits. That doesn’t always happen.

Alcohol, smoking, recreational drugs, industrial contaminants containing scientifically proven carcinogens are all accepted in western culture.

But there is public lynching mentality when some young lass speaks up about her own personal experience – which just happened to contradict medical dogma.

Not medical fact – because nutrition is known to be a key factor in disease prevention … and reversal (type two diabetes being a classic example)
We already know that more than 30% of cancers are preventable – suggesting that they too just might be ‘lifestyle diseases’.

It truly has got me beat….. it is certainly not objectivity in action.

“But there is public lynching mentality when some young lass speaks up about her own personal experience – which just happened to contradict medical dogma.”

Let me fix that for you. “There is great public concern when some young lass deliberately makes apparently quite a lot of money (enough to buy a house and brand new car and have an expensive vacation) by claiming she cured her cancer with juice and coffee enemas, while providing no evidence as to the progress/remission or otherwise of said cancer.”

Nobody wants to lynch her. They want her to stop endangering vulnerable people’s lives.

““But there is public lynching mentality when some young lass speaks up about her own personal experience – which just happened to contradict medical dogma.”

That young lass, who is in denial about her own cancer, managed to convince her mother to shove coffee enemas up her bum and change her diet to juicing…in lieu of proven treatments for breast cancer. That young lass, after causing her mother’s death, is now going off on a promotional tour to promote her crappy (pun intended), pseudo-scientific cancer cures. How many more people will she dissuade from getting proper treatment?

Still no reply to the questions I posed at # 38 above, about your n=1 arthritis cure case study.

Andrea, while I’m pleased you are feeling better. IMO what ainscough is doing is the equivalent of rocking into a youth refuge and telling distraught teens that meth is the answer.

@YOYO – I would agree….she is taking one experience (her own – and by the looks of her, it can’t be a very good experience at this point, though it is amazing the kinds of physical symptoms denial can cover-up) and taking it “wide” without any sort of real evidence that it works (and plenty of other evidence, including her own mother, that it doesn’t).

This woman is dangerous…..

Linda she got a book deal. It is not a book about Gerson – its a book about nutrition. Writing was always her profession.

And she has a long term live in boyfriend who works.

Having stayed at home for the last two years or so on Gerson might explain why they saved enough for a mortgage……and took a holiday, and bought a car – like loads of other young couples of their age. My own son included.
You are demonizing.

How is telling people about nutrition endangering people’s lives exactly?

Is she causing an escalation in cancer deaths?

Where is the evidence based proof?

Or could you entertain the idea that maybe just maybe her audiences are coming from those people who have not had satisfactory medical outcomes?

Almost every single on of her ‘foodie Friday’ guests have claimed to have found solutions to their health problems -by changing their diet.

I have her book in front of me now. I didn’t particularly enjoy it to be honest – its a bit (like her blog) geared to her age group – but hey I’m an oldie -so what would I know.

There is not a CHEEP in that book suggesting that other people follow her lead regarding Gerson.

She does give a brief one chapter overview about what she did for sure… gives people just enough to understand something of her journey from age 22 – 27.

That the choice to do Gerson was based on being out of medical options except amputation just to extend her life.

Oh and I read frequent statements that no one treatment will offer 100% success rate. Nothing wrong or manipulative about any of that.

She did however mention why she will not get more diagnostic scans – because they failed to pick up the original cancer in in the first place.

She does have regular blood work monitoring through her Gerson doctors (medically trained) and they can see markers that allowed them confidence that she could go off the rigorous regime.

Another thing she mentioned that the damage to her arm was induced by an experimental intensive chemo procedure isolated to her arm which caused restricted mobility . Not as someone here suggested – evidence that her cancer is still active.

In early videos you can clearly see dark spots on her affected arm – like lesions where the lumps of tumors had been – but these are no longer in evidence.
I’d love to ask her about those…. as lots of other Gerson people report seeing and feeling the physical breakdown of their tumors.

I’m sure the Gerson folks would love someone to provide independent research funding into their nutritional regime – but since research dollars are awarded to pharmaceutical companies – that would seem a step too far to hope for…

Andrea, care to explain to us how coffee enemas manage to detoxify the liver, the pancreas, and the colon, plus cure every type of cancer throughout the body…in addition to repairing your osteoarthritic joints?

After all, you “come from a family of scientists. So (you do) ask lots of annoying questions …”

All that searching on the internet, and you were only able to find two deaths directly associated with quack doctors and amateur lovely lasses providing medical advice to people to eschew proven curative cancer treatments and shove coffee up their bums.

How about looking at these articles written by Dr. Kimball Atwood…which you must have “missed” when you substituted your ignorance of basic science and found your answers on the University of Google?

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-ethics-of-cam-trials-gonzo-part-i/

The lovely lass is a public health menace.

Seems to me that if coffee enemas were such a panacea for so many illnesses — or to put it another way, if so many diseases from arthritis to the entire cancer spectrum were basically a form of lower-intestinal caffeine deficiency — then evolution went badly wrong somewhere.

Andrea…

“Another thing she mentioned that the damage to her arm was induced by an experimental intensive chemo procedure isolated to her arm which caused restricted mobility . Not as someone here suggested – evidence that her cancer is still active.”

That “someone” who “suggested” that her cancer is still active is Orac, who is a breast cancer surgeon and a breast cancer researcher. He (and I), have actually seen fugating tumors on breasts and he (and I) have actually smelled the rotting putrefying stench emanating from those tumors…it is a gag–inducing.

“In early videos you can clearly see dark spots on her affected arm – like lesions where the lumps of tumors had been – but these are no longer in evidence.

I’d love to ask her about those…. as lots of other Gerson people report seeing and feeling the physical breakdown of their tumors.”

We are not discussing the discolorations on her left arm; we are discussing the fungating epithlial sarcomas which indicate her cancer is rapidly progressing.

When you ask her all those questions, would you provide her with this photograph and have her explain away the fungating epithelial sarcomas?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2924131/figure/F1/

Sadly, when Jessica Ainscough dies of her cancer, she will almost surely do so much more quietly than she is now “healed” by the Gerson method.
I experienced that on a mailing list – someone was posting about her diagnosis of adrenal fatigue and saying how great ground up thyroid glands made her feel. Later she told me privately that she went to her endocrinologist, who found out what was really wrong with her (she did have a hormone problem).
But only privately. In her shoes I would have felt honor bound to tell people that I’d been misleading them.
That’s what people like Orac do, is act as a corrective by publicizing the eventual progression and death from cancer. Only the people who listen to Jenny Ainscough aren’t likely to listen to Orac.

YOYO woaw!

Aren’t you being just little melodramatic?

She is advocating better nutrition….. you really need to get a grip!

There is an assumption that dullards and gullible fools will blindly follow her example. You would not even give that a second thought if you had any experience of the rigid discipline (not to mention the expense) involved.

The vast majority of people would prefer to take a pill..

Lilady – I did not suggest I was ‘cured’ of arthitis. I did say I was symptom free (pain and mobility)

I did not set out to provide peer reviewed evidence of the curative powers of Gerson, or any such study.

I did it for the same reason most people go to Gerson – because medical routes are restricted and in some cases non existent.

I did it to feel better. Mission accomplished.

My experience of Gerson exceeded all my expectations – and those of my doctor – so pardon me if I don’t share the restricted framework of the ‘scientific’ view as expressed here.

Even if the 7.6 million dead and rising every year and millions more queuing up to experience cancer for themselves gives me pause to wonder why that scientific view is so restricted…as to not see failure when confronted with the evidence.

One women dies of cancer following Gerson and her daughter is somehow ‘dangerous.’

7.6 million die this year NOT on Gerson – and there is not a soul here who can ponder the logic of decrying Jess as a charlatan, whilst science and medicine are handed a get out of jail free pass.

dearie me…

Yet in Europe where they were most commonly used no-one bats an eye when people use them. must be a cultural thing..

Now I am intrigued. Which part of Europe have you lived in where coffee enemas are as accepted as bidets?

Lilady

I have actually seen these kinds of tumors before (although not on Jess’s arms as I was commenting on.)

Gerson ‘incurables’ describe them in graphic detail – such as the throat cancer victim who felt the mass of tissue loosen and he swallowed it and the stench of it and passing through his digestive system made him ill for a week.

But he survived to tell the tale.

and ….Lilady

I don’t always know how my computer works any more than I know the technical ins and outs of chemo or coffee enemas.

But I know the side effects of a Gerson diet and I know that coffee enemas did provide relief. Personal experience…with passing some weird jelly masses followed by feeling a million dollars..

Suggest you not get it from a lay person like me – read Dr Gerson’s book if you are genuinely interested.

I did. Even if I can’t lay claim to understand why it works.

But I can say it is the most effective fast treatment to relieve a headache I have ever had.

But I have actually read the link you have posted about the dentist Gonzalez, and loads of others besides. Long before I risked embarking on Gerson.

Can I respectfully point out that the patients in this example who died – had CANCER.

They did not die of coffee enemas…

And can you explain to me why advocating an organic predominantly plant based diet makes Jess a public health menace?

Most doctors I know would love their diabetic and overweight heart strained patients to adopt that very sound strategy.

@AW
If you follow the Gerson treatment, I suggest trying to follow it in a way that at least does no harm.
– i.e. in addition to the conventional treatments, rather than replacing them;
– taking supplements so you won’t get nutrient deficiencies on such a limited diet. Like a multivitamin-mineral for vegans. The site http://veganhealth.org has good science-based info on nutrient deficiencies on a vegan diet, although the Gerson protocol sounds like it’s a lot more limited than just vegan.
I don’t think I would squirt coffee up my rear end, though. The caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, it doesn’t sound like it would be neutral to the normal functioning of one’s colon.

Because she does NOT just spout nutrition bull, she also has views like this about breast cancer :

“Mammograms are not just painful and unnecessary, but they are dangerous!
Many women subject themselves to the torturous ordeal of having a mammogram because they believe the act is the best way to catch breast cancer. Do you want to hear the good news or the bad news first? Good? Good. Mammograms are useless. The bad news is that they are dangerous.”

“A safer option
As well as feeling for lumps and changes in your breasts yourself at home, there is another early detection test that is more effective and much safer than a mammogram. However, it doesn’t make anyone as much money as a mammogram and is therefore rarely offered unless asked for. I’m talking about thermography. According to a report by Natural News.com, a breast thermogram has the ability to identify a breast abnormality five to ten years before the problem can be found on a mammogram. ”

” Why not raise awareness of the real causes and ways to prevent cancer. Sure, these methods may not be as lucrative as the conventional treatment as it stands today, but they will save a heck of a lot more lives. These include exercise, detoxifying your liver, eating an organic plant-based diet, achieving alkalinity in your body, meditation and relaxation. These methods are not only free (except for food, but everyone has to eat anyway right?) but they will not impinge on your quality of life at all. ”

http://www.thewellnesswarrior.com.au/2010/10/%E2%80%9Cshow-us-yer-tits%E2%80%9D-and-other-inappropriate-ways-to-draw-attention-to-the-perils-of-these-lady-parts/

Andrea wrote:

.I have osteoarthritis and various other conditions symptoms of which disappeared completely on Gerson – and I remains symptom free with the basics – organic pesticide free food.

Andrea,
It is quite possible that you have some kind of bad reaction to foods you eliminated on the Gerson protocol.
Adverse food reactions are an area of ongoing research, and not at all well understood.
However, this does not mean that all the parts of the Gerson protocol, work.
I have osteoarthritis in one of my knees from an old injury. I did a hypoallergenic diet followed by food challenges. I got sick after some food challenges, and I stopped eating those foods.
After that I was able to run without pain (although a doctor told me running was too much impact for me so I stopped).
I don’t have food allergies that show up on the usual tests.
If you have nonclassical food allergies, the elimination diet followed by food challenges is the best diagnosis available. And getting a test for celiac disease before doing the elimination diet, in case a gluten sensitivity is causing inflammation.

Andrea,

I’m sure the Gerson folks would love someone to provide independent research funding into their nutritional regime – but since research dollars are awarded to pharmaceutical companies – that would seem a step too far to hope for…

Since they have been treating cancer patients for more than 70 years one might expect them to have kept adequate records so that their methods could be assessed scientifically. They have claimed notable success with melanoma, so Dr. Peter Moran took a close look at the published results of a Gerson clinic treating melanoma. His conclusions:

No convincing effect, and certainly none on more advanced cases. A small beneficial effect not excluded but these are extremely disappointing results for the cancer thought to be most responsive to this very intense and life-consuming treatment method.

CAM-Cancer reports that, “there is no clear evidence that Gerson therapy is an effective treatment for people with cancer”.
Also:

My concern is that there does seem to be an ever increasing number of human guinea pigs requiring these treatments – for medical science to experiment on.

Your concerns are misplaced. If you correct for age incidence of breast cancer has been fairly stable for the past ten years. Increase in incidence between the 1970s and 2000 were probably due to improved screening.

How is telling people about nutrition endangering people’s lives exactly?

Straw man. Telling people about “nutrition” is not the problem. Recommending a pseudoscientific “nutritional” therapy with no evidence to support it as an effective treatment for cancer endangers the lives of cancer patients. Her mother paid the price for relying on “nutrition” instead of surgery, radiation therapy, and possibly (if indicated) chemotherapy.

janerella quotes Jessica about the
“real causes and ways to prevent cancer… These include exercise, detoxifying your liver, eating an organic, plant-based diet, achieving akalinity in your body, meditation and relaxation”.

In other words, she advocates several methods without providing evidence of their efficacy. These ideas circle throughout alt media – I’ll discuss only the last one:
meditation and relaxation are means to prevent cancer and the related memes, stress causes cancer and dealing with it helps effect cures.

Since at least the 1970s, alt med advocates have latched on to the idea that stress causes cancer and interferes with its cure:
they have never produced any substantial evidence that shows a link between stress and cancer. Quite the contrary, data show no link. Similarly, there have also been beliefs that stress causes SMI without any data to support that.

So why would they believe this? I would guess that lacking knowledge of the intricate biological underpinnings of cancer (often discussed and illustrated here masterfully by Orac) they simply associated negative experiences and negative outcomes, like serious illnesses.

HOWEVER alt med advocates make much of this supposed link and incorporate mind-body solutions as therapy- such as visualisation of the body’s killer cells attacking and destroying cancer cells ( part of Josef Issels’ therapy), yoga and other forms of meditation as well as ‘positive thinking’. I believe Jessica has a connection with the Hay House group.

Obviously, the mind-body idea supposes that we ultimately control our fate: thinking makes it so. So we witness advocates advising their followers to dismiss any doubts about the eventual success of the treatment. And if the treatment does fail, blame can be assigned to the sufferer, not the practitioner.

Interestingly enough, there are/ were a group of hiv/aids denialists who attributed the severe symptoms and deaths of hiv+ individuals to their emotional reactions and the stress of being diagnosed with such a serious illness rather than to a ‘harmless virus’.

Woo frequently blames illness on how a person behaves** or thinks despite having no data about these variables’ effect on health- which certainly can’t make life any easier to people who are unfortunate enough to experience serious and life-threatening illness.

** I’m not talking about realistically dangerous habits like smoking.

Have any of you detractors of Jess Ainscough every actually TRIED Gerson therapy?

I admit I haven’t tried Gerson therapy. That said, did you have a point? Surely you’re not suggesting that it’s effectiveness can only be assessed by someone who’s tried it, or that others are not qualified to comment on it.

Not for cancer – but for one of the other ‘incurables’ – arthritis. I am symptom free (no drugs) for the first time about 4 years – I can lift my granddaughter – something I thought I would be able to do less that a year ago.

I’m glad to hear your symptom free, but don’t understand why you’ve attributed being symptom free to the Gerson protocol. You’ve some basis other than your own ‘n=1’ anecdotal experience, I hope?

Just in the last seven short days since Sharyn died 140,000 other people have died of various cancers around the world – and you can safely say that 98% of those followed the medical route.

Which is evidence that cancer is very had disease to treat, not an argument that a) science based treatments are ineffective or b) Gerson therapy is effective.

For every advance in treatment another ‘rare cancer rears it head and the ratio of people diagnosed and dying of cancers just keeps climbing…

But those advanced treatments mean that many people who otherwise would die of cancers (like testicular cancer, leukemia’s, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast cancers, etc.) will not die of their cancer, while also allowing patients who would die of cancer anyway to live longer with better quality of life.

And yet we know that roughly 1 third of all cancers are preventable…by lifestyle changes.

Lifsetyle changes like reducing your exposure to carcinogens byquitting smoking, for example, yes. But again–did you have a point? Such lifestyle changes represent science based approaches to cancer prevention, and the fact a third of all cancers may be preventable as a result doesn’t argue that Gerson therapy works.

We also know that there are a growing list of known carcinogens finding its way into the food chain and the air we breathe.

Which is an argument for increasing funding to the EPA and FDA, and giving them both (especially the latter) more legislative teeth to enforce compliance. Not an argument in support of Gerson therapy.

Unfortunately doctors don’t get held up to the same standard ORAC has held Jess Ainscough to.

Yes, they are. Dr. Gerson for example is held to that same standard, as are Drs. Wakefield, Burzynski, Geir, Simonici, etc.

Jess Ainscough’s blog is essentially about cleaning up what you eat, knowing it’s source and educating people about food and health. As someone who has felt the full force of feeling superbly well under Gerson – I would say…. don’t knock it till you have tried it.

My own doctor said when he saw the difference in my BP and weight and blood results – whatever you are doing – keep doing it.

If Jess makes sick people aware that changing there lifestyle might make them one of those people who didn’t get one of the preventable cancers – then who are we to suggest that she is irresponsible.

My mother died of cancer. She chose not to be treated with Chemo or radiation to extend her life. While I didn’t want her to die I was moved by her ability to make a choice about how she lived – and how she died. She did not want the sickness of chemo and the endless trips to the hospital. She just wanted to potter about at home and spend her remaining time with her family.

Every cancer sufferer has to make choices.
Sharyn Ainscough made her own choices.

Not everyone’s choice maybe but HER choice. Her life.

A bit of objective respect would not go amiss here

Jess Ainscough’s blog is essentially about cleaning up what you eat, knowing it’s source and educating people about food and health.

And about curing cancer by ingestion of nutritional smoothies and coffe enema’s. That’s a big step departure from simply eating midnfully.

As someone who has felt the full force of feeling superbly well under Gerson – I would say…. don’t knock it till you have tried it.</blockquote)

And again, surely you're not claiming that it's impossible to rationally evaluate a protential cancer treatment unless one has had cancer and tried the treatment themselves,.–are you?

My own doctor said when he saw the difference in my BP and weight and blood results – whatever you are doing – keep doing it.

Post hoc ergo proctor hoc. I, for example, have noticed that when I wear my lucky jersey the Sox play better. If they continue to advance in teh playoffs I expect due credit.

If Jess makes sick people aware that changing there lifestyle might make them one of those people who didn’t get one of the preventable cancers – then who are we to suggest that she is irresponsible.

If that were all she were doing no one would be suggesting she was irresponsibl–but that’ <b?isn't all she’s doing, is it? She’s also convincing people with cancer–like her mom–to eschew science based treatments with demonstrated efficacy in favor of alterantive treatment that for which there is no evidence of efficacy. Some (like her mother) are dying.

And that is irresponsible.

My mother died of cancer.

Mine as well. Surgery, chemotherapy, etc. gave her an additional eight years with her family, another eight summers fly-fishing the Snake River in Montana, etc.

Every cancer sufferer has to make choices.
Sharyn Ainscough made her own choices.

To make their own informed choices however they need accurate information, not misinformation.

A bit of objective respect would not go amiss here.

Respect is earned, Andrea.

So Ainscough saved enough money to buy a house and car in two years by not working and being housebound and eating 22 pounds of organic produce a day? I’m done. Andrea, I don’t belive you or your anecdotes. I suspect that you are what we call a shill around here. Not a paid shill of Big Enema™, but a shill nonetheless. I used to be one in my Worried Well™, altie days, it helped bolster my magical worldview. I’d find mainstream articles (I would barely read them so I wouldn’t be exposed to too much negativity) and then I’d just make up a great story about a person who knew a person who took a thing and got . . . well, you get the idea. That’s why no anecdata is valid. Not mine. Not Orac’s, not Lilady’s. Nobody’s. What is considered evidence worthy of building a plan of action around are peer-reviewed studies and scientific consensus. I’m betting that you’re not at all what you’re presenting to us here. I’m not even going to bother about how glad I am that you’ve gotten relief from whatever beacause you did thus-and-such. To quote Tom Cruise, you are glib. We are talking about life and death decicions for people facing terrifying diseases. Your chirpy tales of an innocent, well-meaning, plucky lass are just creepy when we consider how the story will probably end. This is a tragic story of misinformation, fear and delusion to equal that of Christine and Eliza Jane Maggiore.

This appears to be an earlier e-version of the book she has published :http://shinefromwithin.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/MakePeaceWithYourPlate_e-Book.pdf

” I went to Mexico to stay at the Gerson clinic for
three weeks, and then came home to continue the
therapy with the help of my family. I am ecstatic to
report that it is working. The cancer hasn’t spread,
no more lumps pop up (they were popping up
rapidly before), and I can actually see some of
my tumours coming out through my skin and
disappearing.
The only reason I can come at you with this ‘Make Peace With Your Plate’ talk is because I have
experienced the benefits first hand. Not only have
I reversed my cancer and saved my life, but since
then I haven’t been worrying about whether the
huge amounts of what I’m eating is making my ass
grow. ”

So, no not just a book espousing good nutrition. One has to squint really hard to find the disclaimer buried at the end of the document:

“The information in this e-book is based on my personal healing journey and research, which I am sharing for educational and informational purposes only. Please conduct your own research and consult your own doctor or healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for you.”

I wonder whether the promotional tour will go ahead.

@ Pareidolius:

“then I’d just make up a good story..”

I think that that gets to the crux of the issue- so much of what I survey appears to be the same. I probably can recite several tales by heart ( and I HAVE, here at RI) : the altie clinic produces cures for the terminally ill, a particular regime or supplement leads to profound changes, pharma shills threaten woo-innovator, secret documents ad nauseum.

Occasionally, I can spot new additions or changes in the set piece – always exaggerating claims, also adding to the number of cures or whatever is being discussed.

As with testimonials: ANYONE can say that- anyone can say anything. Doesn’t make it true or reliable or meaningful.

Thanks for the article, Orac.

I didn’t expect a happy ending for her mother. I didn’t get one.

I did get as much truth as you were able to uncover and I am grateful for that. Cancer sucks. People who make a living by spreading misinformation suck even more than cancer.

That is all.

@janerella – thanks for the link, it’s quite the compendium of nutri-woo (I see she subscribes to the alkaline diet nonsense as well.) This, however, was the organic cherry on top of the whipped coconut oil sundae:

Wellness Warrior Tip #7

KICK CAFFEINE
Give your adrenals a break and lay
off this socially acceptable drug
for the duration of your self-care
practice. If you can’t give it up
completely, try to have no more than
one a day and don’t have it first thing
in the morning. Waking up to coffee
is like slapping your kidneys awake.

Wha-wha-WHAT? I thought coffee was so healthy that squirting it up your butt five times a day will cure everything that ails you! Or is caffeine only bad if it gets into your stomach?

whipped coconut oil sundae

I think I meant whipped coconut milk sundae, but you get the idea.

I also note the e-book is lavishly illustrated with photos of Ms Ainscough, and I have to wonder if she’d be taken as seriously if she wasn’t a young, beautiful white woman.

No drinking coffee because you get way too much caffeine from coffee enemas. That makes sense to me.

@68

Considering that coconut oil seems to be one of the number one new health food fads, complete with glowing testimonials about how it contains every good nutrient known to man and can cure or prevent every common ill, I thought the original usage was perfect.

Though it cracks me up that people believe that something with 117 calories and 12 g of saturated fat (almost 60% of your daily recommended intake) per tbsp. is healthy.

The farce is strong in this one. Unfortunately the farce caught up with her own mother.

also note the e-book is lavishly illustrated with photos of Ms Ainscough, and I have to wonder if she’d be taken as seriously if she wasn’t a young, beautiful white woman.

I took a look at a few months of her website. It looks like a J Crew catalog. With a rare exception, everyone, writers, guests etc. is young, white and gorgeous. Is there anything coffee enamas can’t do?

They can’t stop women like Sharyn Ainscough from dying from breast cancer. But they’ll make absolutely lovely corpses.

Folks…here we have Andrea who shoved coffee enemas up her bum and juiced her way to health from an “incurable”.

(Osteoarthritis is another “incurable”?)

“Have any of you detractors of Jess Ainscough every actually TRIED Gerson therapy?

I have.

Not for the suggested two years – but for just under 12 months. Not for cancer – but for one of the other ‘incurables’ – arthritis. I am symptom free (no drugs) for the first time about 4 years – I can lift my granddaughter – something I thought I would be able to do less that a year ago. I can climb stairs when the best I could do before was crawl.”

Then we have this testimonial gem…

“Jess Ainscough’s blog is essentially about cleaning up what you eat, knowing it’s source and educating people about food and health. As someone who has felt the full force of feeling superbly well under Gerson – I would say…. don’t knock it till you have tried it.

My own doctor said when he saw the difference in my BP and weight and blood results – whatever you are doing – keep doing it.”

There you go folks. Andrea presumes to lecture us about our diets, because she was overly nourished because of poor dietary choices. Her weight loss was accomplished by juicing and by shoving coffee enemas up her bum.

Here’s another gem from Andrea…

“and ….Lilady

I don’t always know how my computer works any more than I know the technical ins and outs of chemo or coffee enemas.”

Gee Andrea, you could have fooled me. You’re the one who
blundered on to this blog defending Gerson’s treatment for cancer and Jess Aincough’s livelihood of promoting Gerson’s treatment to gullible cancer patients.

“But I know the side effects of a Gerson diet and I know that coffee enemas did provide relief. Personal experience…with passing some weird jelly masses followed by feeling a million dollars..”

Really? After passing “some weird jelly masses”, you’re still of it and there’s an explanation for “feeling a million dollars”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klismaphilia

Suggest you not get it from a lay person like me – read Dr Gerson’s book if you are genuinely interested.

I did. Even if I can’t lay claim to understand why it works.

But I can say it is the most effective fast treatment to relieve a headache I have ever had.

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