The purpose of this blog is purely educational. It does not advise any reader to forgo medical treatment for any condition. It describes methods that have not yet been proven effective through widespread scientific testing. Readers who are concerned about their health are advised to contact their physician.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is fighting cancer the right strategy?

My attention has lately been riveted by posters on the subway shouting "Join the fight!" and asking "Who are you fighting for?"

These posters are funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and they invite you to visit a website called "". On the website you are informed that "April is the month to fight back" and that "every three minutes another Canadian is faced with fighting cancer". The Society invites you to buy a daffodil in April to show your support, because the daffodil "is a symbol of strength and courage. A symbol of life. It says we will not give up. It says we will fight back. It says we will beat cancer. Join the fight."

We have been fighting cancer for a long time, with dubious results. Forty years ago President Nixon officially declared war on cancer, making "the conquest of cancer a national crusade." Thirty-seven years later, in 2008, a headline appeared in Newsweek: We fought cancer and cancer won. The thoughtful, well-researched article attached to this headline suggests that "After billions spent on research and decades of hit-or-miss treatments, it's time to rethink the war on cancer."

Indeed it is, not only because the war is being lost on multiple fronts, but also because it is being fought in and over the bodies of millions of cancer sufferers, who often end up as collateral damage. According to Ms. Begley, the author of the Newsweek article, the investment of two-hundred billion dollars in cancer research since 1971 has produced an estimated 1.5 million scientific papers, but no reduction in overall cancer deaths.

Most of the scientific studies funded by the campaign to beat cancer have had little or no impact on the lives of cancer patients in the real world. "Indeed, it is possible (and common)," Ms. Begley writes, "for cancer researchers to achieve extraordinary acclaim and success, measured by grants, awards, professorships and papers in leading journals, without ever helping a single patient gain a single extra day of life." Many exciting scientific findings turn out to be "interesting but irrelevant to patients," so perhaps throwing more money at more scientific research on the minutiae of cancer is not the right and only answer.

Cancer is a disease with many facets, and it morphs to find its way around the "weapons" thrown at it by science. "Just as cancer cells develop resistance to standard chemo drugs, so they are finding ways to elude the new targeted drugs such as Avastin, Gleevec and Herceptin," writes Ms. Begley. If one route to their proliferation is blocked, they will find another. According to oncologist George Demetri, "By the time there are 10 cancer cells, you probably have eight different cancers. And there are different pathways in each of the cells." That's how complex cancer is.

I would like to propose that what we want to do is not wage war on cancer, but find ways of "waging peace" with it. By that I mean we should not try to eradicate these rogue cells by every deadly means at our disposal -- often causing irreversible damage to the patient receiving the so-called treatment -- but instead aim to bring them back into alignment with the body. When we are waging war on them, they clearly outsmart us, and have been outsmarting us for decades. But what would happen if we spent our research dollars on "waging peace" instead? "Waging peace" is what energy healing therapies do.

Update Jan. 16, 2012: Also read my posts "Anatomy of a miracle", "Why is meditation a good prescription for cancer patients?", "Open letter to oncologists", "Using qi gong visualisations for cancer patients", and "Radical love and cancer".


Upswing said...

Wow, shocking facts from Ms. Begley and George Demetri.

I totally agree with your plea for us to shift our approach. What you describe parallels the history of waging war on agricultural pests. You can use DDT, which only works for awhile, until the bugs mutate beyond it, and meanwhile, it kills the rest of us. Or you can use companion plants to attract beneficial insects and naturally repel harmful ones. There are some wineries switching over to companion planting, so they don't have to nuke the heck out of the grapes, and give people poisoned wine. Not to mention poisoning the ag workers.

Judith said...

I guess the trick is to figure out what the best healing equivalent of "companion planting" might be.

Upswing said...

Well put. I think anything that nurtures body/mind -- good diet, supplements, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, energy healing would be the equivalent of "companion planting." And anything that nukes the *illness* -- chemo, Western medications (which are ultra-powerful and coercive), surgery would be the equivalent of DDT. This is the problem with Western medicine today -- it tries to make the illness submit, instead of supporting the individual's natural tendencies to be well.

But *within* energy healing, what would be more "companion planting" and what would be more "DDT"? That's a more subtle question. I don't know. This is an interesting line of thinking!

Judith said...

I don't know if there is anything in energy healing that would be the equivalent of "DDT". Kurt Peterson, a cancer healer, calls what he does the "DNA Signature Destruction Method", and he says it is a method he developed to cause cancer cell apoptosis. This is on his website, Now the question is whether the method kills cancer cells (the DDT equivalent) or simply returns them to normal, so they die at the end of their lifecycles as a normal cell would.