The Book Shelf
Spotlight Book: You Can Beat Lung Cancer Using Alternative /Integrative Interventions (Anyi Books), by Carl O. Helvie, RN, DrPH
Reviewed by Alice O’Neill
If you or someone you know is diagnosed with lung cancer, what would you do? What should you do?
For anyone who’s faced or knows someone who’s facing that burden, a new book offers help. It’s You Can Beat Lung Cancer Using Alternative /Integrative Interventions (Anyi Books), by Carl O. Helvie, RN, DrPH.
Why would a nurse practioner, who knows, firsthand, every conventional medical protocol, outright reject them when he is diagnosed with lung cancer? And why did he instead choose alternative methods of fighting the deadly disease?
He did it because he had good reason to believe conventional protocols wouldn’t work but he had an idea of what would.
Helvie is a scientist. He believes in science. His studies as a nurse practitioner steeped him in how the human body works. But he’d also learned how to aid the body in healing itself. His approach was born out of scientific knowledge, skepticism of pharmaceutical interests in pushing drugs, intellectual and personal curiosity, and profound belief in God.
If that sounds a lot like David going up against Goliath with a puny weapon, your mind is working like most of ours did. Unless we’ve faced it, none of us knows what we would do if we were told we had six months to live. So, thirty-eight years ago, when Helvie heard those dark words, “You have lung cancer,” it took unusual courage to reject what conventional medicine was offering and opt to seek a way to cure himself.
Instead of taking chemo and radiation therapy he used holistic natural interventions of supplements, herbs, enzymes, diet, prayer and meditation to not only beat this dreaded disease – but to prevent a recurrence.
Today Helvie is the longest living lung cancer survivor. He does not suffer from any chronic disease and he takes no prescribed medications. At age 81 this energetic man, who still hosts his own radio health show, is living proof that it can be done.
The book is well-structured and begins with a rundown of what AMA-approved medical procedures and treatments for cancer are available and are generally recommended. As a nurse practitioner he had seen it all. Sometimes there were brief remissions but more often, the patients died. But not before all of them had suffered terrible pain, nausea, losing all their hair, suffering overwhelming weakness and physical debilitation.
He looked for a reasonable alternative. Not surprisingly, this well-educated (doctorate from Johns Hopkins), curious and determined patient found colleagues in the medical profession of which he was a part. He knew more and more were embracing reasonable use of enzymes, vitamin supplements, restricted diet (mostly fresh vegetables, grains and nuts, and fruits) and other treatments.
The book details exactly how he guided his own search for treatment, how he progressed, and how he maintains his good health today. The book is a keeper and makes a great gift. See what Helvie told me in a fascinating recent discussion.
Q &A with Carl O. Helvie
Just how devastating is lung cancer in the U.S?
It kills more people than colon, prostate and breast cancer combined.
Why did you write this book?
To show people what alternatives they have, that they can be empowered to make their own decisions, to show how they can reduce toxicity in their bodies, and to offer encouragement. I wanted to say to each one, “Devastating surgeries and painful procedures for conventional cancer treatment are not your only options.”
What about your holistic interventions?
Another goal was to provide information to readers on how to carry out some of the holistic interventions mentioned in this book that might not be familiar to the reader. These holistic interventions discussed under the categories of physical, mental and spiritual include how to meditate, use affirmations, quit smoking, detect and remove radon from your home, and many others that relate to a holistic approach to lung cancer interventions.
You say you believe you’re the longest living lung cancer survivor after being given 6 months to live. Why do you believe that?
I got useful information on the Internet, including the site http:LUNGevity.org. It’s a great place to learn about surviving lung cancer, the latest innovations in treatment, and accurate statistics.
Lung cancer has few symptoms before it becomes advanced and difficult to treat. Why did you seek medical attention?
I knew that if it’s caught in Stage 1 or 2 it’s easier to successfully treat. And about that time I had a dream that I needed a chest x-ray. It was pretty clear that God spoke to me.
What happened after you saw the doctor?
The doctor quizzed me, sent me for an x-ray. When he saw a spot on my lung he sent me for a biopsy that was positive for lung cancer. He then immediately said he wanted me to have chemo. I said no. I’d had 20 years of nursing experience and I thought I didn’t want to experience chemo. I thought there were other alternatives.
I was a member of a “Search For God” group. I knew them as good, intelligent people who practiced patience and brotherly love. So I turned to a trusted member for guidance.
Why did you choose an alternative intervention instead of conventional care?
My doctor’s sister was in the “Search For God” group. We prayed for guidance and were alert to our dreams. I was led to a physician who used alternative treatments that were not only successful but also non-invasive and non-debilitating, and did not destroy healthy cells in my body nor suppress the immune system.
Did you have to take a leave from work during treatment?
No. During treatment I continued teaching nursing and health students, writing articles, carrying out research–all my usual activities with no side effects from the treatment. It was a different experience from that of my mother, and from friends and colleagues who earlier had elected traditional therapy.
How did your family and nursing/medical colleagues react to your decision?
Mother said, “Do what the doctors tell you.” Most avoided me. They had a very traditional attitude toward chemo.
What was your medical regime?
B-17 (Laetrile), Pancreatic enzyme, Vitamins A, B, C, E, Comfrey Pepsin, herbs and a vegan type diet.
I also added an environmental component in addition to the mental and spiritual interventions. I made my home as free of toxins as possible. Radon and asbestos were eliminated. Also prayer, meditation, affirmations, visualizations, serving others, and optimism were a big part of my plan. No chemo and no radiation.
Were there side effects that interfered with your daily life?
No. Never. Traditional literature says laetrile is poisonous but it isn’t poisonous to healthy cells. It only attacks cancer cells. With chemo and radiation too many healthy cells are destroyed along with the cancer cells.
What was the outcome of your interventions?
I was 42 when a biopsy showed cancer. I’m now 81 and I have no chronic illness.
No signs of cancer today?
What are some outcomes of alternative interventions by medical contributors in your book?
In 2005 Dr. James Forsythe (MD, HMD) of the Cancer Screening and Treatment Center of Nevada and Century Wellness Clinic, treated a 52-year old woman who suffered from Stage IV non-small cell, metastasized lung cancer and he used non-conventional treatments, based on evidence-based studies of natural substances.
She is alive today and on no chemotherapy and has a 100% performance status. In addition, from cohort studies his success rate for a group of Stage IV cancer patients using natural interventions for 5 year survival was 46% compared to traditional rates of 2%.
What does Dr. Forsythe say about conventional treatments?
There is no “panacea” or “magic bullet” yet developed to treat cancer, and there is no cancer yet to respond 100% to any single drug or group of drugs in any protocol .
He says, “The successful oncologist of the future must address the whole person, his or her emotional profile, nutritional needs, supplemental needs, the detoxification of underlying heavy metal and chemical toxins, the integrity of her immune system, her dental health, and most of all serving to protect her anatomical, physiological and biochemical system from undue toxicity and excessive amounts of radiation, surgery and massive doses of chemotherapy.
Why is that important?
The onslaught of these factors leaves the body’s intrinsic defense mechanisms, immune function, white cells, natural killer cells, and B & T cells all totally depleted.
So Dr. Forsythe believes in treating the whole person, not just the cancer?
Yes. Dr. Forsythe wins over alternative believers with his commonsense approach to integrative oncology.
How does he explain integrative oncology?
He says, “Integrative Oncology, which treats the whole body and the whole person, looks more into the self-healing properties of the body as well as the molecular biology of the cancer cell itself.”
He also includes the importance of sugar-free diets, alkalinizing diets, bio-oxidative therapies, specific vitamin supplement therapies, herbal therapies, amino acid supplements (lysine), as well as the all important energetics of the cancer itself.
Dr. Forsythe admits that usually, if patients approach the subject of alternative therapies they are generally disregarded by the physician with either stern looks or a categorical statement of negativity, much like “they are useless,” “they will do no good,” or “there is no evidence-based medicine behind any of these options.”
Other than your book, what’s a good resource for readers?
LifeExtension.org is a valuable resource.
So you have renewed hope for cancer patients?
Yes, these therapies not only offer alternatives to those facing this diagnosis, but brings renewed hope for a future free from the chronic illnesses that affect Americans today.
The book is packed with information based on his 60-year career in medicine and research, with valued input from leading medical and health practitioners in the field today. Helvie is determined to show there is another way to fight cancer without the usual surgery, chemotherapy and radiation and their serious side effects.
In fact, a team of researchers in Washington State recently found (by accident) that in reality chemotherapy fuels the growth of cancer cells, making it even tougher to eradicate the second time around.
What makes Helvie’s story even more remarkable is that his holistic lifestyle is like “the gift that keeps on giving.” He remains cancer-free and healthy at a time when 89% of Americans over age 65 have some form of chronic illness and can expect to have three times that by age 75 and be taking five prescribed medications a day.
Helvie is a registered nurse with two masters degrees and a doctorate in public health and wellness. He has 60 years experience as a nurse- practitioner, educator, author and researcher and is the recipient of numerous awards with listings in Who’s Who In American Nursing, Men of Achievement, and American Men and Women of Science, and he received the Distinguished Career Award from the American Public Health Association in 1999.
Currently writing for a magazine, he authored eight published books and contributed to others, and has published or presented internationally over 100 papers and articles. He developed and published a nursing theory now used worldwide and has established a nursing center that provides primary care for homeless and low-income individuals and families.
While I highly recommend this book, for its content as well as structure and style, there are several typos in the introduction. This could be a turnoff for some. To those readers I point out that I find such typos in my daily newspapers, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Perhaps the problem is a product of our age of computers and instant rewriting, which sometimes accounts for a missing letter or wrong word. A future edition of the book would profit from correcting these minor errors because the writing is top notch and well worth the reader’s time and attention.
Another writer friend, knowing I’d be interviewing the author wrote to say, “Dr. Helvie’s topic is one I am interested in, especially what I understand is a long standing practice of pharmaceutical firms buying seemingly independent research grants from academics. That has always been a scandal waiting for disclosure.”
To my friends, family, and readers everywhere who are likewise interested in the topic, below is an excerpt from an eye-opening article, written by a learned academician who exposes the unholy, unethical and likely illegal activities of medical professors in bed with drug companies.
Big Pharma Is Bad Medicine
Saturday, May 1, 2010
This article is adapted from a talk delivered by Marcia Angell at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics on December 10, 2009.
In May of 2000, shortly before I stepped down as editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, I wrote an editorial entitled, “Is Academic Medicine for Sale?” It was prompted by a clinical trial of an antidepressant called Serzone that was published in the same issue of the Journal.
The authors of that paper had so many financial ties to drug companies, including the maker of Serzone, that a full-disclosure statement would have been about as long as the article itself, so it could appear only on our Web site. The lead author, who was chairman of the department of psychiatry at Brown University (presumably a full-time job), was paid more than half a million dollars in drug-company consulting fees in just one year. Although that particular paper was the immediate reason for the editorial, I wouldn’t have bothered to write it if it weren’t for the fact that the situation, while extreme, was hardly unique.
Among the many letters I received in response, two were especially pointed. One asked rhetorically, “Is academic medicine for sale? These days, everything is for sale.” The second went further: “Is academic medicine for sale? No. The current owner is very happy with it.” The author didn’t feel he had to say who the current owner was.
The boundaries between academic medicine—medical schools, teaching hospitals, and their faculty—and the pharmaceutical industry have been dissolving since the 1980s, and the important differences between their missions are becoming blurred. Medical research, education, and clinical practice have suffered as a result.
Academic medical centers are charged with educating the next generation of doctors, conducting scientifically important research, and taking care of the sickest and neediest patients. That’s what justifies their tax-exempt status. In contrast, drug companies—like other investor-owned businesses—are charged with increasing the value of their shareholders’ stock. That is their fiduciary responsibility, and they would be remiss if they didn’t uphold it. All their other activities are means to that end. The companies are supposed to develop profitable drugs, not necessarily important or innovative ones, and paradoxically enough, the most profitable drugs are the least innovative. Nor do drug companies aim to educate doctors, except as a means to the primary end of selling drugs. Drug companies don’t have education budgets; they have marketing budgets from which their ostensibly educational activities are funded.
This profound difference in missions is often deliberately obscured—by drug companies because it’s good public relations to portray themselves as research and educational institutions, and by academics because it means they don’t have to face up to what’s really going on.
Industry and academia
No area of overlap between industry and academia is more important than clinical trials. Unlike basic medical research, which is funded mainly by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), most clinical trials are funded by the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, that is where most pharmaceutical research dollars go. That’s because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not approve a drug for sale until it has been tested on human subjects. Pharmaceutical companies must show the FDA that a new drug is reasonably safe and effective, usually as compared with a placebo. That requires clinical trials, in which treatments are compared under rigorous conditions in a sample of the relevant population. The results of drug trials (there may be many) are submitted to the FDA, and if one or two are positive—that is, they show effectiveness without serious risk—the drug is usually approved, even if all the other trials are negative.
Since drug companies don’t have direct access to human subjects, they’ve traditionally contracted with academic researchers to conduct the trials on patients in teaching hospitals and clinics. That practice continues, but over the past couple of decades the terms and conditions have changed dramatically.
Until the mid-1980s, drug companies simply gave grants to medical centers for researchers to test their products, and then waited for the results and hoped their products looked good. Usually the research was investigator-initiated, that is, the question was something the academic researcher thought scientifically important. Sponsors had no part in designing or analyzing the studies, they did not claim to own the data, and they certainly did not write the papers or control publication. Grants were at arm’s length.
Thanks to the academy’s increasing dependence on industry, that distance is a thing of the past. The major drug companies are now hugely profitable, with net incomes consistently several times the median for Fortune 500 companies. In fact, they make more in profits than they spend on research and development (R&D), despite their rhetoric about high prices being necessary to cover their research costs. (They also spend twice as much on marketing and administration as they do on R&D.) The reasons for the astonishing profitability of these companies aren’t relevant here, but suffice it to say that as a result the industry has acquired enormous power and influence. In contrast, medical centers have fallen on difficult times (or so they believe), mainly because of shrinking reimbursements for their educational and clinical missions. To a remarkable extent, then, medical centers have become supplicants to the drug companies, deferring to them in ways that would have been unthinkable even twenty years ago.
Often, academic researchers are little more than hired hands who supply human subjects and collect data according to instructions from corporate paymasters. The sponsors keep the data, analyze it, write the papers, and decide whether and when and where to submit them for publication. In multi-center trials, researchers may not even be allowed to see all of the data, an obvious impediment to science and a perversion of standard practice.
While some new companies—called contract research organizations (CROs)—do clinical research for the drug manufacturers by organizing doctors in private practice to enroll their patients in clinical trials, the manufacturers typically prefer to work with academic medical centers. Doing so increases the chances of getting research published, and, more importantly, provides drug companies access to highly influential faculty physicians—referred to by the industry as “thought leaders” or “key opinion leaders.” These are the people who write textbooks and medical-journal papers, issue practice guidelines (treatment recommendations), sit on FDA and other governmental advisory panels, head professional societies, and speak at the innumerable meetings and dinners that take place every day to teach clinicians about prescription drugs.
This article is used here purely to educate the public. To read the rest of the article please go to this link: http: //bostonreview.net/angell-big-pharma-bad-medicine.