Negative experiences in the alternative cancer treatment field
On honesty & deception, money & manipulation, commercialism, theft of copyright, ego and "all that glitters is not gold"
Copyright © 2007, 2008 & 2010 Healing Cancer Naturally
"Cancer specialists are only telling us enough to try to convince us that their treatment is worthwhile. The whole medical profession wether conventional or alternative is trying to keep us in the dark ... I do believe that people who genuinely want to help or heal other people do not try to rip them off, or even more to drain over a period of time their financial resources by continuous costly sessions. [Following chemo, surgery, radiotherapy,] we tried [among other things] NLP, Reconnection, Kinesiology, and Hypnotism without any results, this is why I decided to learn EFT myself because we had bad experiences with the self-styled therapists. It seems that most of the people who are dealing in this kind of treatment including an Iridologist are only concerned about taking a lot of your money and have a very superficial knowledge (one week seminar does it all). ... every time we try a new one we are confronted with the fact that all these pseudo healers and therapists are only trying to get our money. It is very depressing, especially for Jane who is fighting for her life. ... "
Phillippe P. reporting on "3 years of fighting cancer and crooks": his struggle to find a cure for his wife’s colon cancer metastasized to the liver, first via conventional treatments followed by a number of alternative ones.
In my enthusiasm to help, I have been cruising the internet for some four years now, scouting around for alternative and holistic cancer treatment and cure information. I have had contact with a number of people working or being affected by this large field. At this point I’d like to share a number of "defining" observations I have made (and unexpected "surprises" I have had) in these years.
Giving the following real-life examples of less-than-honest behaviours encountered, complemented by advice on how to possibly recognize and thus avoid such pitfalls, may help those who are overly trusting (as I tended to be) to be somewhat more careful and discerning before being blinded by appearances or relying on first or even second impressions, particularly in a situation such as a cancer diagnosis where anything promising hope is likely to be eagerly grasped at.
Incidentally, my observations are confirmed by eminent conventional and alternative cancer treatment researcher Lothar Hirneise who cautions that even among the so-called alternative practitioners, money and personal ego play the major role, similar to what can be observed in orthodox oncology (compare On Cancer Business).
Let me start by stating three points:
First of all, I believe that the body is made to heal itself (see Nature Heals), as long as it is given the proper support (in fact, a number of diseases reportedly have been healed by fasting, i.e. literally doing nothing but abstaining from food, drinking water and keeping oneself clean, see e.g. these Two Bladder Cancer Cures Achieved via Water Fasting). This entire site’s basic thrust is to empower people to heal themselves and to become as independent of outside assistance in doing so as possible.
Still, to my mind and by my standards there is nothing wrong with selling a potentially useful product or service in the alternative (or for that matter, conventional) medical, health or cancer treatment field using honest descriptions of prior experiences made, which are given to the best of one’s knowledge. This would include, for instance, truthfully stating both successes AND failures of a given product or service, instead of, as seems to be typically done, solely putting forward the successes, omitting the true (full) statistics, not mentioning the powerful influence of the placebo effect (probably best ascertained via double blind placebo-controlled testing), omitting statements on long-term effectiveness, etc.
So when I use the word "commercial" in a derogatory sense as in the title above, I am not speaking of selling a product or service per se but selling it by using manipulation, half-truths, and other types of deceptive language, reporting and other means (something we come across on a daily basis in advertising).
A third major preliminary point to be made is that despite what most are led to believe, "Modern Medicine is not a science". Or in the words of Sir David Weatherall, Regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, "What you must understand, ..., is that we know so little about how the body works." Compare the very important (in my eyes) Note On Honesty and the Bigger Picture of Healing. This means that the entire healing field is full of unknowns, and anyone wielding absolutes (certain exceptions apart) may be less honest and trustworthy than desirable.
A few examples of using deceptive wording
For starters, here are several more or less representative instances (among many) of what I am referring to that I’ve come across in the alternative cancer healing field:
A web page on a product or service writes "Learn more". When one clicks on the link expecting to read more on the subject, one is presented with the Order page for a book, CD/DVD etc.
Another page selling a product or seminar writes, "the author reveals the health secrets", "learn the secrets of...": these "secrets" are probably out in the open all over the internet.
Or you read: "to ensure you learn everything necessary to make your body, mind, and spirit as fit as possible..." [emphasis mine]:
Well, there are disease states the origin of which is quite complex, enigmatic and/or hard to find, possibly or likely making this an empty (and misleading) promise.
Clicking on a menu point labeled "About me" promptly leads one to a page listing seminars held by the person in question.
That same person prefixes his name with a Dr. on one (or more) pages without giving credentials.
Another instance: a person had healed herself of cancer after receiving inspiration from "spirit". She now holds seminars teaching her apparently helpful technique (which sounds great in itself). Her website’s description of her work reads, "Spirit told me to share what I had learned". Thinking of those who wouldn't be able to afford her fees, I sent her an enquiry politely asking if there was a way for desperate cancer patients without the financial means to attend her seminars or buy her DVDs to still learn her apparently life-saving technique. Her assistant replied that they were currently setting aside funds to allow some people to attend for free. In a second letter, I cautiously expressed my puzzlement at the word "share" when in truth she was selling the technique (i.e. not sharing it with everyone) and asked her to kindly comment. I received no reply (which was a shame since otherwise I would have liked to promote her work which sounded promising).
An attempt at manipulation: "Clinic X"
"Clinic X" who claims to provide the most advanced and successful health programs for the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses contacted me in June 2006 in the following manner:
... Dr X is interested in contacting you to discuss information that he would like to share regarding cancer therapy. Can you provide us with a telephone number that he can contact you at? Thank you.
Shop online www.shopaddressClinicX.com
Order toll free 1-800-xxx-xxxx
Dr. X Y Z, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultations 1-800-... 1-...
I replied to Clinic X:
Thank you for writing ... Can this be dealt with by email? I am based in Germany and rather difficult to reach by phone... Ulla
Clinic X replied:
Dr. X actually prefers to contact you by telephone as he finds that emails are impersonal. He believes that you are quite knowledgeable in this area. His main goal is to make sure that we provide the best supportive care to our patients and would like to just share some information that we have on improving the quality of life of these individuals.
That is the last thing I heard from them. I went to check their clinic’s website and what greeted my eyes was a home page touting and offering one alternative "health product" (supplement etc.) after the other for sale. I wonder what he wanted to "just share" with me that was too "whatever" to divulge in impersonal writing? As you may surmise, I am speaking ironically here. Dr. X was clearly looking for a free advertising platform to sell more of his services and products and hoped to be able to talk me into it, bypassing my critical sense which w/could have been activated by the possibility of rereading any written missives.
Again, there is nothing wrong with selling products and services one truly believes in (i.e. not only after consulting the positive impact they have on the state of one’s pocketbook and bank account). We do live in a world where everyone needs to make a living. Dr. X however clearly didn’t genuinely believe in the value of what he had to offer, or he would have written to me trying to equally convince me of its quality and value. In fact I occasionally do get letters from people who do just that and who genuinely believe that whatever they are selling (herbs etc.) makes a positive contribution to their fellow men. I honour their integrity.
The wolf in sheep’s clothing: infringing copyright and stealing sales
One of the experiences that shocked me the most is the following email I received from "X.Y." on June 16, 2007, subject matter: Zeolites (a natural detoxifier & possible major cancer breakthrough which in a patented form is strongly endorsed by well-known holistic physician Dr. Gabriel Cousens). X.Y. wrote to me:
Hi there...here is an attachment of the latest email summary being sent out by Dr. Gabriel Cousens...check it out because it is nice and concise...and this wonderful product is helping so many..please check it out..I really feel you will appreciate this product. Thank you.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"
---Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This sounded like the sender was another of the numerous caring people who try to make an honest living by selling a product which helps others to live healthy lives or to become healthier. How nice.
The .doc file attachment included was a 2 page article titled SUMMARY ON [PATENTED ZEOLITE PRODUCT]. It began: "As a holistic physician, Gabriel Cousens, M.D., who is the author of this letter, has consistently been looking for herbs or natural substances that can help prevent and ameliorate the cause of chronic disease ..." The article continued listing the numerous advantages observed from taking the [zeolite product] and concluded:
"What we have here is a true alchemical gift from the Divine that supports us in living as full, health beings on this planet while living actively in the world. For information on how to obtain this product for your personal use and/or information as to how you can share it with friends and family by being a distributor, X.Y. at 808-567-1234; toll-free 888-123-4567 ; cell 123-456-7890 email firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.
Aha, I thought, Dr. Cousens must be friends with X.Y. allowing him to sell the product by using material authored by Dr. Cousens. To be on the safe side, I checked on the internet. I was aghast to discover that no such connection existed, that the article was copyright Dr. Gabriel Cousens but had been "adapted" by X.Y. to make it into a selling paper for himself by seamlessly appending, "For information on how to obtain this product..." So X.Y. both infringed Dr. Cousens’ copyright and deprived him of the sales that by right, Dr. Cousens should be making himself, having carefully studied and summarized the subject. Additionally X.Y. tried to project himself as a caring and ethical person (doubtless so that people would be more willing to buy from him) by appending to his introductory email a quote by Martin Luther King, arguably one of the most ethical persons who ever walked the earth.
Of course, one could rightfully argue that the person above at least sells a product which is likely to indeed have beneficial health effects, in contrast to many/most products touted for their "health benefits" in conventional medicine (compare On Drugs). But my article is only concerned with what I have seen done in the alternative field.
PS. After learning more about the subjects of zeolites, I believe that the above-mentioned patented form is not what it is cracked up to be, see Zeolites.
Large-scale manipulative selling
To put things into perspective, I need to also add that one person’s dishonesty and manipulation is probably little compared to an entire MLM-based company which (at least previously) allowed their representatives to present their high-priced supplements as a cancer cure vaguely (or not so vaguely) associated with a Nobel prize (also compare Supplements). After I published critical comments concerning their manipulative recruitment and sales tactics including their name, that same company tried to threaten me by (equally manipulatively) pointing me to the rules applying to their affiliates (which I had never been) and the fines and legal procedures awaiting them in case they should do what I as a non-affiliate and simple reporter of facts and opinions, was of course perfectly free to do.
When you rewrite your true history for money and financial gain, and actually believe in the new version you made up!
I used to carry a beautiful cancer healing testimonial which included the author’s full name and which furnished an excellent example of the natural, holistical "allround" approach endorsed and recommended by Healing Cancer Naturally.
The person in question (whom I will call P.) had walked a truly allround and comprehensive path to healing: starting with minimalist surgery, P. did research, meditated (P. is a reiki master and meditates every day) and prayed to be shown the reason for the cancer, affirming that they were ready to make changes in their life. While being very scared, P. also felt that this was their biggest challenge in their life, and eventually turned it into the biggest success of their life. P. did intensive self-development, energy healing, bodywork and nutrition.
At the outset, a medical intuitive informed P. about the great resentment, hurt and sadness stuck on the area of P.’s body where the cancer had manifested, as well as the spleen etc. P. saw a therapist from core energetics that believe things don't happen "at" you, they happen for you. P. kicked pillows and cried endlessly, with each crying and screaming peeling off a layer of a burden P. had been carrying around. P. also went to another healer who does a specific healing technique called B.E.S.T.
In addition, P. did a lot of reiki on themselves, as well as chi gong (which like tai chi balances and creates energy flow), does weekly acupuncture, takes nutritional supplements, multivitamins from a cancer clinic called Block Medical Group who also sell powdered green juices, and stays alkalized. P. feels their entire life was changed by the cancer experience, closed their previous business and became "passionately involved with some nutritional products I have been using". P. tried several diets such as the Block M. diet (very strict), macrobiotics (eating lots of brown rice), did wheatgrass enemas and heavy metal detox, takes 2-3 oz of wheat grass every day orally, and does enemas once monthly.
P. was declared cancer-free when scans turned out "clean". P. was sure it meant that their body was free of toxicity and now enjoys their life to the full incl. much abundance.
As you can see from the above, P. did and does numerous diverse things to regain their health and remain healthy.
Imagine my surprise when recently, I received P.’s request to remove their testimonial from my website. Reason: "The compliance issues are getting serious, and I wont be able to give a testimonial like that online."
What had happened? Well, P. makes an excellent living selling the nutritional products they had become "passionately involved with".
I suggested to simply remove P.’s name, so readers would still benefit from the testimonial showing how one person successfully effected their healing by tackling their disease from many angles. But no, now, in P.’s eyes, their healing wasn’t due any longer to the holistic appoach (involving many things) they had chosen to take, but rather:
"I dont believe in giving my testimonial without giving my name as I believe [the nutritional products] I have used have a lot to do with my recovery, and I dont want to give wrong impression to people that I [took] just some products and I am cancer free, because there are so many products out there that do not work and I dont want to mislead people. Therefore I need to ask you to remove my name and testimonial completely."
Well, in that case, P. was misleading people all along since P.’s testimonial only casually mentioned the nutritional products (to which P. now chooses to give full credit for P.’s cancer healing) in one single sentence among dozens of other things P. did on their journey to healing! P. also knows of (at least) 2 cases of (not even advanced) cancer where the same nutritional products didn’t have any effect at all (apart from making a dent in the respective patient’s pocketbook).
When ego gets the better of you
Last but not least, I have also come across a "fish in the alternative cancer treatment pool" who while certainly not "in it" for the money, seemed to be in it for other ego-motivated reasons. In that person’s case, it appeared to be attention-seeking and self-glorification by portraying themselves as an "expert" in a certain field (which they provably weren’t). It is likely that "ego" is also involved in all cases where people sell their services claiming to be experts. One example would be a "health expert" I met in the field of Natural Hygiene.
There are probably dozens or even hundreds of similar instances of using deceptive language and methods to sell hope to the desperate.
The Ian Gawler cancer cure case
may be another instance of several of the factors described above, particularly distortion of facts to serve one's own commercial interests. See Intensive meditation in the treatment of “terminal” metastatic cancer, particularly the Important Update.
A very important trait to my mind is humbleness and truthfulness - a preference to err on the side of caution, as in the ability to say "I don’t know" displayed by Sir David Weatherall above. Whoever tries to appear like an omniscient expert on any one matter, and/or uses scare tactics or similar manipulative means would be highly suspect in my eyes.
One infallible proof of honesty in my view would be when a person or facility offers a money-back guarantee (or minimum "administrative" charge in cases where the customer isn’t satisfied with the result). Another feature that signals trustworthiness to me is asking for donations rather than a fee.
It is also considered useful to ask the opinion of previous clients/patients to get an idea of the quality of the services offered.
As stated in the introduction, a potentially useful product or service in the alternative (or conventional) medical, health or cancer treatment field uses honest descriptions of prior experiences made with this product or service. This would include, in particular, truthfully stating both successes and failures of a given product or service (instead of solely putting forward the successes), i.e. giving the true (full) statistics, providing data on long-term effectiveness, mentioning (or measuring via double-blind studies) the powerful influence of the placebo effect, etc.
I would look out for manipulation, half-truths, and other types of deceptive language, reporting, data presentation etc. Absolutes like "the newest", "the best" etc. etc. are suspect. Qualifiers such as "I believe" etc. are good signs in my eyes.
Towards a better world
It is amazing and sad to me what either the need to make a living, the desire to have more and more, or any number of other reasons can make of otherwise good-hearted people. That’s why I personally promote a grassroots movement which aims to have an unconditional Basic Income granted to everyone by law. The Basic Income movement has many supporters in Germany already. Another shining example of all things good is this amazing Donation-Based Cancer Help Center using a mind-body approach.
A passing mention also of those who take entire copyrighted pages of my sites’ content without giving credit and then use them to either sell supplements, run Google ads, or quickly enlarge their site’s content hoping for better search rankings - at my expense.
As the person I most admire said,
"Hate the sin, love the sinner."
More negative experiences in the alternative cancer treatment field: on patients being harmed or dying after alternative cancer treatment