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Cancer – “If I knew then what I know now I probably wouldn’t have got it.”

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on January 22, 2015


“If I knew then what I know now I probably wouldn’t have got it.” These were words in a message sent to me by someone who is fighting cancer. These are words that should burn their way into every adult’s mind. That’s the simple truth.
Anyone who has read my books will know that there are a lot of cancer cures out there – real cures. And these cures are not the kind of cures that the doctors will tell you about. These are natural cures. How do I know they work? Because there are a lot of people out there who have been brave, gone the holistic, natural route and have been cured. You can find stories of some of them in my free download Cancer Survivor’s Stories – http://www.fightingcancer.com.
But here’s the thing: Doctors don’t deal with natural cures in the same way that architects don’t build cars. Their job is drug administration. So they administer drugs. Or they operate on you because that’s what surgeons do. If a surgeon wants to earn money he has to do surgery. Don’t ask a surgeon whether natural cures might work as well as an operation in the same way you wouldn’t ask a drug company salesman if their drugs work. You know the answer before you’ve asked it. Doesn’t mean it’s true.
But let’s get back to the point. If something (or, more likely, a combination of many things) will cure cancer then they will also prevent cancer from occurring in the first place. Prevention is far better than a cure because you take out the fear, you avoid the damage. And it’s easier – just as it’s easier to stop a parked car from moving than a speeding car in the middle of a NASCAR race. And it’s not expensive. It really isn’t – certainly it doesn’t have to be.
So the best time to read books about cancer is long before you are diagnosed – which means NOW. Yes, right now. Today. Just do it. You’ll be glad you did.
Naturally I am going to advise you to read The Cancer Survivor’s Bible and I am going to tell you that it’s the best book out there (I would, wouldn’t I?) But fortunately for me, many other people think so too. Just go to Amazon and read the comments. Here are the links: Amazon (USA) http://amzn.to/1Jd93mQ and Amazon (UK) http://amzn.to/1t2bXqu
© Jonathan Chamberlain 2015
Jonathan Chamberlain is author of The Cancer Survivor’s Bible and Cancer? Don’t Panic! (free download from his website http://www.fightingcancer.com

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Kill The B****rds

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on June 28, 2014


Kill the B*****ds!!!

Violence is so much part of our automatic response system to ‘things we don’t like’ that it seems not only inevitable but somehow right, the way it ought to be.

Al-Qaeda is hiding out in the mountains of North Pakistan – hell, let’s bomb them. Cancer cells are growing in my body? So zap them with radiation and chemical poisons. Boys are knifing other boys in the street? So kill them all.

Whoa! Kill all the kids, even if they don’t have knives? Maybe that’s the necessary price for a crime free street – but maybe we just kill the kids with knives, or those that we suspect of having knives. You mean that it’s OK to kill a wedding party of innocent villagers if it increases our chances of getting a few of the really bad guys – but it’s not OK to kill Kids on the street?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not in favour of killing any kids, or bombing any wedding parties in North Pakistan for that matter.

Going back to the Vietnam War it was generally agreed (by the big boys with guns) that it was OK to devastate huge tracts of countryside with chemicals like Agent Orange? Sure, you might say, if it helps us to win the war. Remind me, did we win that war? And do we really think the policy of violence has made Iraq and Afghanistan safe and healthy for the long term future? As I write this, the Sunni and the Shia are wreaking ungodly violence on each other.

Wouldn’t it be better if they just talked, laughed, had picnics, listened to good music and so on? Wouldn’t their worlds be happier and better places to bring up their kids?

So the question we should be asking is not: What is the best way of killing cancer? No, a much better question is: What is the best path to a healthy future?

If an action is effective in achieving its goal then it is hard to argue against it even if it has negative consequences. However, going postal on cancer using instruments and tactics of extreme violence – surgery, radiation and chemotherapy – simply have not been that successful. Sure, lumps, possibly (this is not unanimously agreed), should be whipped off as soon as they are seen but if there is any sign of spread to other parts of the body the smart decision would be to hold off.

What we need are approaches that help the body return to and sustain a state of health. Once we have phrased the question in this way we can see that a combination of cleansing, diet, exercise, supplements and herbs, along with music and laughter – are more likely to achieve the goal we desire.

So let’s not kill the kids that carry knives, let’s change the world they live in so they don’t have to carry knives. Let’s not attack cancer tumours with technologically sophisticated weapons. Let’s instead change the context in which the cancer is growing and so persuade the cancer cells to self-destruct. We know this can be done – and the earlier people put in place such changes the more likely it is they will live long, fulfilling and healthy lives.

How can we change the context? Well, there are far too many possibilities to summarise here. For a full discussion of all the options read my book The Cancer Survivor’s Bible (www.fightingcancer.com).

The more options you do the better the outcome is likely to be. It’s really that simple.

Jonathan Chamberlain is author of: Cancer? Don’t Panic!; The Cancer Survivor’s Bible; Cancer Recovery Guide: 15 Strategies for Restoring Health; The Amazing Cancer Kid – the true story of Connah Broom’s amazing recovery. These books are available from internet bookshops. His website is at http://www.fightingcancer.com
© Jonathan Chamberlain 2014

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I want to change the way you think about cancer

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on May 12, 2014


Please share this video with everyone you know. Cancer? Don’t Panic! is a book that will change the way you think about cancer. You can download a free copy at www.fightingcancer.com

Comment

For some reason this is presenting as a black screen. Keep clicking (it seems to work eventually) or click on this link
You Tube: Cancer? Don’t panic!

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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 http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05556.html
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. (http://www.snopes.com/food/tainted/monsantocorn.asp)
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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Why the health properties of vitamins and natural oils will never be proven

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on December 12, 2013


I recently had the good fortune of meeting Dr Matthew Illsley, a Biomaterials Research Fellow at Brighton University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences. We got talking about the situation that I know from personal experience about the incredible healing properties of lavender essential oil but that when I raised the question of why it wasn’t used in burns units for example (where it could speed healing and possibly save lives) he explained that the way science is allowed to proceed to establish proofs in real life makes it in practice impossible to research natural substances to the point where we can say they have proven qualities – so we are left to do what our own experiences tell us is the way forward while at the same time having scientists tell us that it is unproven and by implication the stuff of quackery.

I asked Matt to explain all this in writing so that I could share it, which he has very generously done. Here is his answer:

Hi Jonathan
There are a lot of issues around this area, in fact we think about this sort of stuff a lot when trying to design our own experiments and when reading other peoples. We teach long courses on this because basically it cuts across everything.

Before you test a material on any human you need to first have proof that it’s not likely to do any harm. Sometimes people skip or cut corners on this and accidents happen like the one at Northwick Park a few years ago. Link here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22556736

This initial testing involves using cells in culture, animal testing, toxicity and biocompatibility testing, the drug or device has to be intensively tested to be sure it’s “pure” and that its guaranteed to be contaminant free, this includes insuring that it’s never had bacteria in it (sometimes this is done using the blood of crabs http://deepseanews.com/2013/08/how-horseshoe-crabs-may-have-saved-your-life/) there are a lists and lists of required testing on the FDA website.

Then once you have assurances that initial testing in the lab has gone well you can move onto people. This is sometimes years down the road. First you test various concentrations on healthy people to be sure it won’t be harmful, this is because no matter how much work you did above essentially you can never tell what will happen. Most of us have come to accept that this is a little bit mad; prior work does inform dosage and if things are really toxic they don’t get as far as people etc.

Once you’ve proved it’s not going to kill outright you can move onto people that really might need it, here the ethical considerations are myriad. Basically if you are a patient and are told there are no approved medicines for what you have but we’re trying x, you’ll probably want to have x. So there is a lot of pressure on the patient to accept any treatment offered, the ethics are supposed to be an attempt to mitigate this. There are committees, forms for patients, next of kin, clinicians, the committee looks at the study you suggest and try’s to take the role of protecting the patient from undue harm that has been unintentionally forgotten about in the rush to test.

Once ethics are in place the study size and composition are very important (they’re also ethically approved) this guide to critically examining research goes over the study size issues: http://www.olemiss.edu/celi/Files/step-by-step-guide-to-criti-research-part-1-quantitative-reseawrch.pdf

The experiment type is perhaps in the end the most important thing, does the thing you’re testing work? The only way anyone will know is if you designed the experiment properly.

There are lots of types of experiment but generally considered the current gold standard are double blind: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_experiment

Double blind trials are where absolutely nobody directly involved with the project knows which drug is which and who is getting what, the test results are also done without knowing. This ensures that no funny business goes on, and only when the results are unveiled and everything has been finalised does anyone find out. Protecting this information and ensuring the right people get the right drug in a large drug trial is often contracted out: http://www.outsourcing-pharma.com/Clinical-Development/CROs-Slowly-Shifting-to-Adaptive-Clinical-Trial-Designs

This whole thing is massive business. Taking a drug from discovery to market is often quoted as costing around £1 – 1.5 bn. http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2013/08/11/how-the-staggering-cost-of-inventing-new-drugs-is-shaping-the-future-of-medicine/

This massive cost is often why large pharma doesn’t touch vitamins, natural oils and historic (silver like) compounds, they’ll not be able to patent the “invention” and therefore can’t guarantee they’ll recoup the cash spent.

So, because this is the setup if you approach a clinician and say I want to test my oil on burns he’s automatically thinking it’ll be too much work/the ethics/ I already have something I know works/your oil isn’t properly tested/you’ve not done it through the right channels.”

My Comment: So there is the answer. Science is a game and the rules and practicalities rig the way it is played. So we’ll never be able to say it is scientifically proven. So, in relation to any form of natural healing we need to trust our own observations and experiences and base our actions on these.

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