Cancerfighter’s Weblog

Alternative cancer therapies and ideas

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Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on July 15, 2013

These books will mess with the way you think about cancer
My name is Jonathan Chamberlain and I am the author of a number of books on cancer. The Cancer Survivor’s Bible (550 pages of Facts, Issues and Options); Cancer Recovery Guide – 15 strategies for recovery; Cancer? Don’t Panic (ebook and paperback) – the wisdom of 20 years thinking about cancer summarized into short, highly focused points you will need to think about. It started with 50 points but soon became 60 . There it is. This is a quick intro to help orientate you and mess with the way you think about cancer; and The Amazing Cancer Kid – the story of a boy who has confounded his doctors expectations by not dying 7 years ago. I actually wrote these books for myself. I want to live and I don’t want to have my health damaged and I really don’t want to suffer pain. For further details go to

Posted in cancer recovery | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Monsanto GM corn controversy

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on April 22, 2014

The message was shared to me on Facebook. There was a picture of a cob of corn with the top of a grenade. The text read: “Monsanto has released its first direct to consumer product, a GM sweet corn, containing Bt toxin, designed to protect the plant by rupturing the stomach of every insect that feeds on it. Monsanto claims the toxi8n will break down before this product reaches your dinner table but rats fed the corn have shown signs of organ failure and the toxin has been detected in the bodies of pregnant women.”
This message is powerful and deeply emotive – but is it true?
What I discovered is that Bt “toxin” is “a naturally occurring bacterium common in soils throughout the world. Several strains can infect and kill insects. Because of this property, Bt has been developed for insect control…Unlike typical nerve-poison insecticides, Bt acts by producing proteins (delta-endotoxin, the “toxic crystal”) that reacts with the cells of the gut lining of susceptible insects. These Bt proteins paralyze the digestive system, and the infected insect stops feeding within hours. Bt-affected insects generally die from starvation, which can take several days. …” Colorado State University
However, it is very likely that the protein is in very much higher concentrations in the GM food than elsewhere and not everything natural is beneficial so I kept searching.
I discovered that the studies that purported to demonstrate the negative impacts on the livers and kidneys of rats and the residues in pregnant women are considered to be flawed. You can find details of these on Snopes. (
The problem you and I face is this: Pharmaceutical companies like Monsanto can afford to pay researchers to find flaws in research that throws a bad light on their products. (They would be derelict in their duty to their shareholders if they did not do this). They can also use the weapon of ‘scientific authority’ to persuade pages like Wikipedia (and Snopes) to publish information that puts their own views in a positive way and opposing views in a negative light. The views of a researcher at a highly regarded university (Harvard) will be given higher credibility than those of a researcher at an unregarded university (Madras). But what happens when the Madras researcher is right and the Harvard researcher wrong? Well, you’ll probably never know.
If you think that I am being overly suspicious of the ‘facts’ presented in say Wikipedia for example then understand this: It is estimated that as many as 50% of the articles published in major medical journals were not written by the people whose name appears as author. This is not the view of crazies. This is the view of the Editors of these journals. There is major fraud being perpetrated – and it is being perpetrated by the major drug companies.
We do know that all major universities are beholden to grants and other forms of financial support from major corporations and we know the impact this has because, from time to time, someone who doesn’t toe the line gets fired. The history of scientific progress is marked by the bodies of dissenters who were later proved right. So just because information that appears to be ‘factual’ and appears on a university website doesn’t put it beyond suspicion.
So, I think it would help if everyone who has had consultancy or research payments from any company, or who works for a department supported by a company, should be obliged to list these – and access to this list should be available at the click of a button on all online editions of scientific journals. Then we would know how impartial a view is.
But the other side of the coin should also be put under the microscope. My initial instinct on reading the Facebook message was to say “This is outrageous!” but then I became disturbed by the lack of factual references and its obvious propagandistic references to ‘pregnant women’.
Hype is a problem for all of us who belong to the natural therapies camp. We certainly needn’t (or shouldn’t) believe everything just because the conclusions fit in with our prejudices. So we can’t believe the hype and we can’t (necessarily) trust the ‘facts’ – what are we to do?
In this case there is a third option – abstention. We don’t need to choose sides. And we can do some thinking of our own.
The Snopes review of this particular story refers to a paper, published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology in November 2012 written by Gilles-Eric Séralini, a professor of molecular biology at France’s University of Caen (not one of the great universities).
The conclusion of his research was that rats fed Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize developed more tumors, died in greater numbers, and died more rapidly during a given time span than rats from a control group who were not fed genetically modified corn.
The publication of this article immediately resulted in an inundation of letters criticising the research on many methodological grounds. A deluge of letters? This strongly suggests an organised campaign, which in turn suggests the mucky fingers of Big Pharma have been at work.
The paper was eventually withdrawn because of two objections involving the number of rats used and the type of rats. However, and this is what concerns me, there has been no attempt to repeat the study with a larger number of more appropriate rats.
Since these conclusions are disturbing we are right to ask: Why not?
So, am I going to trust GM corn? Hahaha! You’ve got to be joking.
We live in dangerous times.

Posted in Cancer Perspectives | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Medicine quote worth pondering

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on April 16, 2014

Serge Selian posted this comment on Facebook: I remember my grandpa a pharmacist himself used to tell everybody, that if you are sick go to the doctor let him check, and if he gives you a prescription, pay him so he can live, go to the pharmacy get your medicine, pay the pharmacist so he can live, then come home throw away all the medicines, so you can live.

Posted in Cancer Perspectives | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

face book group for cancer survivors

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on April 15, 2014

You’ve had cancer. It has been treated. Now you can forget about it – right? Well, no. Some of you have been damaged by the treatment so you have to cope with that. Some (most) of you are concerned the cancer will return. Here are some Facebook groups where you can share your ideas and experiences:

Cancer Recovery:

Surviving Hope:

And of course you should still be reading about cancer. My free download Cancer? Don’t Panic is a good place to start

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Chemo – proven or disproven?

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on April 7, 2014

Proof or Disproof?

It seems obvious that to call a treatment proven is the opposite of calling a treatment disproven – but the more we think about it the less obvious this may be.

Let’s take as our starting point a treatment that is effective 95-100%. I think we would all be happy to consider such a treatment proven – and this is the case in relation to chemo and penile/testicular cancers. Chemo has a very high success rate in this area. Similarly we would be happy to call a treatment that had 0-5% success effectively disproven. Again chemo as a treatment for pancreatic cancers would come into this category and again there would be little argument. So far so good.

But what do we do with treatments that are 50% successful? Well, I think most of us would consider this also proven. It works half the time. That’s pretty good.

So what about a treatment that was 25% successful? Is this also ‘proven’? Perhaps, but we’re beginning to stretch the definition of ‘proven’ to its limits. OK so what about 10-15% effectiveness? Would this be proven or disproven?

It is in this area that calling it proven or disproven really depends on other factors – mainly on the point of view of the person judging the success or failure of the treatment. What about a 5-10% success rate? Again, if you are gung ho in favour of the treatment you’ll call it proven and if you are gung ho against it you’ll call it disproven. So there is no objective barrier between what is proven and what is disproven. It really is a matter of interpretation.

The problem for chemo is that its effectiveness as a stand alone treatment is not good. It varies from cancer to cancer. Overall the general range of figures quoted is 5-15%. But the truth is one or two cancers have very good responses to cancer and virtually all the rest have a very poor response. But many people with cancers for which the effectiveness is known to be low to zero nevertheless receive chemotherapy. In these cases doctors must accept that they are using disproven treatments.

Often they do so alongside surgery as insurance. Sometimes they mix two or three together and experiment on the patient. Sometimes the reason they give the treatment is not to be curative but to ‘buy time’. However there is a great deal of dispute as to how much time is generally bought in this way. Some people undoubtedly do buy a few months but many others die earlier than they might otherwise be expected to. All in all it’s a mixed picture. Doctors believe they are buying time because chemotherapy often causes tumour shrinkage – but this shrinkage is almost always temporary and when the tumour grows again it does so at vastly increased speed. Chemotherapy makes tumours more aggressive.
So, for many cancers, calling chemo a proven treatment is really stretching the bounds of what words mean.

If your doctor is advising chemo do get the figures for likely effectiveness. Chemo is generally brutal. You don’t want to incur pain only to discover it is likely hastening you to your death. Sadly that is what happens to some chemo patients. I know because it happened to my wife.

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If herbs worked someone would have proved it – right? Umm…actually…no

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on April 7, 2014

If herbs worked someone would have proved it – right? Umm…actually…no

“If these things DID work why aren’t they producing the science papers to prove it?

This is a question straight from the heart, it’s a question that is fundamentally right. It should be asked and it should be answered. Unfortunately it is a question that ignores the rules of the game.

First of all who is ‘they’? Who should be producing the papers? You might answer ‘people who believe this stuff’. OK. I believe this stuff (or a lot of it) but when I put my hands in my pocket I don’t find the money needed. When I look in the mirror I don’t see someone with a PhD attached to a prestigious research facility.

OK. So, this ‘they’ maybe should be the cancer charities. They are the people who should be doing this research. But, again, cancer charities actually don’t actually do any research themselves. They give the money (or part thereof) to universities and research facilities in response to applications for research funding.

OK So now we have to ask the universities why they are not looking into these things…and so it goes.

If you follow this line to the end you will get very knotted.

We must also understand the difference between ‘evidence’ and ‘proof’ – people switch these words around a lot, sometimes to pretend one is the other. So if you want proof then you are going to need $500,000,000 in your pocket, the backing of a company or university and approval from government agencies.

So how are you going to recoup this money? By selling something that ‘works’, that is ‘proven’ – which means it has to be patented, which means that it has to be artificial and man made, which means it can’t be natural. Also it has to be simple and single (i.e.a molecule) not complex and multiple, like the combined chemicals in any leaf of any plant in the world.

So, according to the rules of the game it is actually impossible to get proof.

And there are many other problems with research (see Goldacre’s Bad Pharma).

So we have to be very careful about assuming herbs and supplements don’t work.

Most scientific fundamentalists dismiss anecdotal evidence. I see them as shining examples of what’s really true. That is where we differ.

We also differ in assuming the discussion is about TRUTH. For me the discussion is always about making a decision – and the choice I am faced with can either be supported by a fact (that may be the result of fraudulent science) or a personal example standing in front of me. I know which way I will go when the time comes. In a world where nothing is certain any decision you make is a gamble. There it is. Scientific fundamentalists think their ‘facts’ are islands of certainty. They are not. My anecdotal cases are not islands of certainty. They are indications of possibility.

Posted in Cancer Perspectives | 3 Comments »

Should we cut homoeopathy from the NHS budget?

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on April 7, 2014

Here is an argument I have come across recently:
“The NHS budget is under many stresses and there are strong moves to get homoeopathic treatment elminated as a cost item – therefore saving £12 million. It is after all completely ineffective because it cannot possibly work.”

Even such a short statements throws up enormous discussion points on such questions as:
1. Does homoeopathy work in itself or does it just trigger placebo responses?
2. If it does only work through placebo responses is it ethical or unethical to continue its use?
3. If there is evidence that it does work in itself what are we to do with the belief that it simply cannot work?
4. If there is ‘evidence’ it works perhaps there are flaws in the research.
5. If a lot of people insist that it does work maybe £12 million is cheap at the price because it keeps those people from needing more expensive drugs, even if it doesn’t.
6. What else could we eliminate costing £12 million or more that would be a better use of our budget-cutting time?

Well, let’s take chemo, which I discussed below. If we got rid of all chemo that would save a great deal more money. At £30,000 a pop we would only need to eliminate 400 uses of chemo to pay the entire budget for homoeopathy – seems like a good deal to me – especially as we know that chemo is not very effective for most cancers – if it were more effective cancer wouldn’t be the leading killer it is – that it is used often just to buy a few months of life. There are some cases where chemo is definitely useful but there are times when the doctors do not truly believe that the chemo is justified but they have to give it because:
1. The patient or family are begging for it in the mistaken belief (mostly) that it might be effective
2. It is the protocol
3. Not giving it could rebound in the form of negative impacts to career prospects, potential law suits for negligence etc etc

And the taxpayer is funding this.

So in value for money terms homoeopathy is a great deal more effective than chemo.

But of course the argument that homoeopathy is a waste of money has nothing to do with the money. It is about attacking ‘false belief’. It is driven by ideology by scientific fundamentalists who demand certainty. Unfortunately we live in a world where reality is always going to be filled with uncertainty. To deal with this problem scientific fundamentalists try to simplify reality so that it fits into their scheme of things and so can become ‘certain.’

To achieve this aim they find they cannot rely on personal experience for answers (much too subjective) so faced with a choice between a clear example that hits them in the face and data from a research centre of excellence, they will say to themselves: The scientists are right. And because they are right there is no point in my doing anything that might give me direct personal experience that may conflict with this truth.

We can see this with vitamin C. It has been ‘proved’ that it doesn’t cure colds or cancer. Yet I know that every time I feel a cold or flu coming along all I have to do is throw large quantities of the stuff down my throat. Works say 95% of the time. Placebo? Hey, if it takes large doses of vitamin C to trigger a placebo response then give it to me. (though it appears that the placebo response is not as strongly connected with belief that something works as we imagine it might be)

We can see this with lavender essential oil. Cut or burn yourself and all you have to do is pour the oil liberally over the affected area and it will very quickly heal. Yet ask the experts and they will say there is no empirical evidence that it is effective. Who are you going to believe?

So what do I trust? My experience or the experts? Since my experience has contradicted the ‘evidence-based’ opinion of the experts, I find I have no choice but to:
a) view all ‘evidence-based’ opinions with a very suspicious mind.
b) base my understanding of the world on my own experience and the experience of others – so called ‘anecdotal evidence’ (my experience is your anecdotal evidence).

We now come to ask the question as to why we are asking these questions in the first place? Is it to know the truth? Or is it to have a guide, a sign-post to decision making? If I see that someone has beaten their cancer using a herb, I will try that herb if I get cancer. Why? Because the risk benefit analysis suggests that would be the smart thing to do.

Anyone who bases all their knowledge solely on published empirical research is using a very restricted rationality to deal with the problems of life. Let them get on with it, but let me have the treatments I want. I don’t want a medical system that is a dictatorship of doctors. I want a medical system that gives me free access to what I want (herbs, supplements and other alternative therapies)

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The cost of chemotherapy

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on April 2, 2014

What is Chemotherapy costing us?

The total NHS Budget is £110 billion (2013/2014)

Round about 9% of that goes on cancer treatment (£9.4 billion). This is equivalent to an average of £30,000 per person with cancer. Over the next decade the costs of cancer care in the UK are expected to rise to £15.3 billion in 2021, which is equivalent to an average of £40,000 per person with cancer (a 62% increase)

Just over a quarter of that expenditure goes on hospital inpatient costs, not including surgery (just the cost of caring for a person in hospital). Almost a quarter (22%) goes on the cost of surgery, and 18% goes on drug treatments (including costs of giving the drug). The remainder of the budget goes on outpatient costs including diagnostic procedures (8%), radiotherapy treatment (5%), cancer screening (5%), specialist services, such as palliative care (5%), and other community services including general practice care (10%).

Over the past seven or eight years newer technologies have been estimated to add around 3.7% per year to the total cancer expenditure. This rate of increase is expected to apply in the coming decade as well.

Given these figures we can see that chemotherapy costs the NHS around £1.7 billion and within ten years and if this increases by 3.7% – as indicated by a report by BUPA then in 2021 the total chemo cost in that year will be £2.3 billion. The total cost over 10 years then will be around £20 billion. This is just for the chemo.

What can we buy for that money?
400,000 houses (@£50,000 each)
Total one fifth of the NHS budget for one year

If chemo was effective across the board then this might seem a price worth paying but the general consensus is that – at the very most generous assessment by the most convinced supporters – only 15% of cancer patients benefit from this expenditure (the usual assessment is less than half this figure).
Does this really make sense?

© Jonathan Chamberlain 2014

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Great cancer healing story

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on March 27, 2014

I love stories where cancer doctors send patients home to die – and then they go and cure themselves with simple therapies – when will people wake up? Here’s one such story:

Posted in Cancer Cure Stories and other Personal Experiences | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

God Bless the Daily Mail

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on March 26, 2014

I love the Daily Mail – not because of its integrity (hah!), not because it is the most accessible online newspaper (which it is), but because of the quality of commentary from its readers. I read the health stories – and the DM (bless its heart) publishes any bit of PR emerging from the Department of Health as if it were the gospel truth. So chemo is good for cancer (even though its effectiveness is really not so good and the cost of it is crippling the NHS) because ‘experts’ say it is good. And so it is today with Fluoride which Government backed – but un-named -‘experts’ say is beneficial for us in reducing tooth decay and kidney stones. But before we accept the word as it has been dictated to the health reporter of the DM let us see what the commentators have to say:

“Lies – Fluoride has even been said to be a deadly toxin by The Lancet (top medical journal in the world) and yet the DM continues with its own agenda to peddle lies and lies. Fluoride has been proven time and time again to be on zero benefit to teeth (in fact it does the opposite and can cause damage) and it has been proven to be a deadly toxin to humans and animals. Just read the warning on the tube of toothpaste for goodness sake!”

Or another:

“ John Colquhoun, DDS, Principal Dental Officer for Auckland, New Zealand and chair of that country’s Fluoridation Promotion Committee, reviewed New Zealand’s dental statistics in an effort to convince skeptics that fluoridation was beneficial and found that tooth decay rates were the same in fluoridated and non-fluoridated places, which prompted him to re-examine the classic fluoridation studies. He withdrew his support for it in ‘Why I Changed my Mind About Water Fluoridation’ (Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 1997;41:29¿44). It’s not safe!”

And another:

“The Harvard School for Public Health reports: In a meta-analysis, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and China Medical University in Shenyang for the first time combined 27 studies and found strong indications that fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children. Based on the findings, the authors say that this risk should not be ignored, and that more research on fluoride’s impact on the developing brain is warranted. Fluoride also damages the brain, both directly and indirectly. Rats given fluoridated water at a dose of 4 ppm develop symptoms resembling attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. High concentrations of fluoride accumulate in the pineal gland, which produces serotonin and melatonin. It’s not safe!”

And another:

“Why is no one mentioning Alzheimer’s, fluoride is a byproduct of aluminium which will cause Alzheimer’s , but hey they’ve got get get rid of an industrial byproduct somewhere.”

And another:

“Industrial chemical waste, euphemistically called fluoride, in your drinking water supply will never be able to counteract the effects of sugary drinks and treats, nor make up for minerals lacking in a poor diet. The studies showing significant correlations between industrial waste and various cancers, and the well-documented 7-point decline in intelligence quotas, have never been refuted. Besides that, it is not even dental fluoride! And is it not illegal to medicate members of the public who do not suffer a particular disease? Please, do not swallow the fluoride lie. Insist on pure water and let those who need fluoride see their dentist.”

And another:

“Can you please list all the scientists involved in the study and declare their interests? Any links to the companies that might be supplying the flouride? Shares in the water companies etc?”

And another:

“’Tooth decay is a significant public health problem in England,’ the report states.” Stupidity is an even bigger concern.

It is clear to me that the DM does a great service in providing people with knowledge the opportunity to inform the public – through the Comments section.

I was therefore very unhappy that no-one was able to add their comments to the news that Dr Julian Kenyon was being hauled up before a medical tribunal for the temerity of offering SPDT, a non-drug based cancer therapy which has been around a long time and which has cured the cancer of the only person I know who has undergone it (see my book The Amazing Cancer Kid). The DM sneered at this therapy as being a last resort for desperate patients – yes. But it would be the first resort if patients knew about it and it was offered on the NHS.

© Jonathan Chamberlain 2014

Jonathan Chamberlain is the author of The Cancer Survivor’s Bible, The Amazing Cancer Kid, Cancer? Don’t Panic, and Cancer Recovery Guide: 15 Strategies. His website is at

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SPDT Cancer Cure under threat

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on March 25, 2014

Sono-Photo-Dynamic Therapy (SPDT) is in the news again. Connah Broom has been all but cured of his cancer following this therapy after doctors gave up on him (read his story in The Amazing Cancer Kid – Now Dr Julian Kenyon is being brought to a ‘fitness to practice’ tribunal for using the therapy. Newspapers sneer at the therapy calling it a ‘last resort’ for desperate patients. Of course it’s a last resort. It isn’t offered on the NHS. SPDT cures cancer. It cures cancers that chemotherapy can’t cure. Children and other cancer patients are dying because NHS cancer clinics will not admit SPDT works. We need to get SPDT into the system now – and that’s why we need to demonstrate our support for Dr Kenyon

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