Chemotherapy hasn’t changed much since the 1960s

The remedy is worse than the disease.

Scholars credit the 17th-century English philosopher and “Renaissance Man” Sir Francis Bacon with this keen observation. To the modern reader, Bacon’s words seem to warn specifically against one horrific modern treatment–chemotherapy.

In fact, chemotherapy can seem more like torture from the Medieval Era. It has little to do with natural health or healing. And we would do well to remember an even more ancient warning by Hippocrates, who began his famous medical oath with, “First, do no harm.”

Plus, when you consider the bounty of plants found throughout Nature proven to help fight and prevent cancer, chemotherapy is a particularly regrettable course.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) claims to have an interest in natural approaches to cancer prevention. But it completely bungled the job.

Starting in the 1960s, NCI scientists started screening thousands of natural products. But they only looked at the products’ ability to outright kill cancer cells, like the lamentable approach of chemotherapy itself.

Nature is far more subtle…and versatile.

Natural compounds can prevent the growth of the blood vessels that supply new cancer tumors. They can also modify cancer cells back to normal cells. Plus, as their name suggests, your body’s own “Natural Killer T-Cells,”–discovered by my friend and colleague Dr. Jerry Thornthwaite–can even stimulate the immune system itself to take out cancer cells naturally.

But the expert cancer “hunters and killers” at the NCI never considered these approaches or compounds.

NCI scientists finally did start to study vitamins and phytonutrients to prevent cancer in the 1980s. I was there to witness it with great promise, in person. But in the end, they picked the wrong doses…the wrong forms…the wrong concentrations…the wrong combinations…and even the wrong constituents to study. In fact, against my advice and all evidence, NCI scientists infamously chose to study synthetic beta-carotene. Of course, as I’ve written numerous times before, this turned into a disaster.

Three decades later, what do we have to show for all the hundreds of millions of tax dollars the NCI spent on natural approaches to prevent and treat cancer?

Not much.

Of course, drug companies, hospitals, oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and many others profit mightily every time a cancer victim submits to a conventional treatment. They inject the body with poisonous drugs. They zap it with ionizing radiation, which is a cause of cancer itself. And they cut out body parts.

Truthfully, cancer prevention and treatment has been frozen in time for five decades now. It’s been a half-a-century of lost promise and lost lives.

In 1979, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that found many of the most common procedures for detecting and treating breast cancer had done nothing to lower breast cancer rates or increase survival for breast cancer patients. Researchers in Israel and the U.K. reported similar results around the same time.

Today, many doctors still cling to the hope that regular mammogram screenings will save lives. But are we really any better off than we were 40 years ago?

As you’ll recall, a major, 25-year long Canadian clinical trial found no difference in death rates from breast cancer among younger woman who had regular mammograms and those who did not. According to the study’s authors, “Annual mammography in women aged 40 to 59 does not reduce mortality from breast cancer beyond that of physical examination or usual care when adjuvant therapy for breast cancer is freely available.” In other words, annual mammograms for women ages 40 to 59 do not reduce death rates any better than do physical exams.

And what about breast cancer treatment?

Tragically, oncologists and their cohorts still treat breast cancer essentially the way they did 35 years ago–with chemotherapy. And besides the harm it causes, research shows chemotherapy doesn’t even work.

Dr. Hardin B. Jones, a former Professor of Medical Physics and Physiology at University of California, Berkeley, studied the lifespans of cancer patients for more than 25 years. And after a quarter-century of investigation and observation, he concluded that cancer patients who got chemotherapy actually died more quickly.

Oncologists like to talk about the five-year survival period from cancers as a benchmark of a treatment’s effectiveness. But Jones found that people who refused chemotherapy lived 12-and-a-half years. And those who accepted cancer treatments lived an average of just three years.

It seemed the best thing patients can do to increase their survival period is to refuse chemotherapy.

When it comes to breast cancer, Dr. Jones also found that women who refused conventional treatments–including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery–lived four times longer than women who accepted standard treatments.

Dr. Jones published his findings in 1956 in the Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences. And for all the claims oncologists like to make about exciting “new” chemo drugs, not much has significantly changed in the last 59 years.

In fact, a much more recent study, published in the journal Clinical Oncology in 2004, found chemotherapy is only effective about 2 percent of the time among all cancers. Researchers based this statistic on standard five-year survival data, which isn’t even indicative of an actual cure.

So, as I said, not all that much has changed with these chemo drugs since 1956…despite what the esteemed hospital oncologists say.

Interestingly, Dr. Jones was a former Professor of Physiology at UC Berkeley.

I too am a “former” Adjunct Professor of Physiology at Georgetown University.

I am former not because I retired, but because the Department of Physiology at Georgetown no longer exists. The Physiology Department actually started teaching and offering degree programs in natural medicine 12 years ago, based on my medical textbook.

But recently, Georgetown abolished the department. The Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Pharmacology Departments picked up the remains. Apparently, in the much-reduced state of modern medical research, we give priority to studying test tubes instead of Nature.

And that’s a shame.

Physiology takes a more holistic approach to studying the biology of entire organisms, not just what happens with chemicals, cell parts, and drugs in test tubes.

Of course, big pharma wants medical schools to teach doctors more about using drugs to treat and prevent cancer. And learning about the body’s normal physiology to heal itself, naturally without drugs, apparently isn’t part of the agenda.

So, now I am Adjunct Professor of Toxicology in the Department of Pharmacology at Georgetown.

I find that it fits with my work in forensic medicine, pathology and toxicology. We study drugs (pharmacology) in exactly the same we study poisons (toxicology). And nowhere is that more appropriate than for cancer chemotherapy.


  1. “The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies,” Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol) 2004 Dec;16(8):549-60
  2. “Demographic consideration of the cancer problem,”Hardin B. Jones Remove suggestion Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences 03/1956; 18(4):298-333
  3. “Failure of chemotherapy to prolong survival in a group of patients with metastic breast cancer,” Lancet 15 March 1980; 315(8168): 580-582
  4. “Complete Responders to Chemotherapy in Metastatic Breast Cancer:  : Characterization and Analysis,” 1979;242(19):2075-2079