Posted by: malechallengemedia | November 6, 2010

Silence is Violence – Cancer Shams Harm Patients – Ian Gawler’s Bemusement is Sadly Inappropriate

Until the Silence is broken this is a topic too important to go away. Many cancer patients after their initial diagnosis are in a state of shock – like a form of PTSD. They are vulnerable in this state, should have trauma counselling and may not be capable of making rational decisions. It is imperative they have reliable information about treatment options.

This is a long article but I’m asking everybody to spread it around – it is so important that we not stay silent – for more information go to or click press media kit. See the links at the bottom of page for more cancer scams causing the deaths of 5 patients in Perth.

Last week, yet  another cancer patient visiting our clinic had been advised by an ‘integrative GP’ to eat a vegan/raw diet and meditate long hours each day and sold large amounts of expensive supplements. The GP’ advice had the stamp of Gawler Foundation (GF) on it and indeed had taken GF training. The poor patient, like many each week, was shocked to hear that the miraculous cancer healing story of ‘Australia’s most famous cancer patient’ was not accurate.

Although claimed by GF employees, Dr Ruth Gawler and Prof G Jelinek, in a 2008 MJA article, Ian Gawler was never on a vegan diet, not at least in the 22 years Grace, his former wife, was cook. Time-lines had been reversed in their Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) article implying that only after conventional treatment failed did meditation and vegan diet likely cause his remission. Since Grace’s refute evidence in the 2010 MJA and despite emails and letters to Ian and Ruth Gawler and Prof Jelinek, no response has been forthcoming. (NB:The MJA rigorously fact checked Grace’s article for a year before publishing.)

Ian Gawler even said in a somewhat sensationalized article in the Australian and on his blog that he was ‘bemused.’  Having received massive media coverage for 3 decades Gawler has built credibility in cancer recovery, especially the alternative field. Bemusement is a poor response and simply not appropriate.

Gawler must debate the issues raised by his former care giver/researcher, Grace Gawler, in the public forum. Grace, who has truth on her side is willing to debate with him on TV or radio anywhere.

The silence is deafening – I think of famous quotes – ‘Violence flourishes when good men stay silent.’

The silence is violence because cancer patients are being harmed or dying following extreme diets and other unproven or disproven alternative therapies. Unsuspecting public and practitioners promote the Gawler myth.

How big is the problem? We think it is huge – we see it weekly in our practice and we are not alone!

Australian Oncologist Ray Lowenthal along with his peers knows this to be true. He says in  Cancer Forum – (scroll down to find his views on Ian Gawler’s  cancer cure claims.) Lowenthal says …

“Many of us at the time argued that Gawler’s ideas were unproven and some were potentially damaging, especially to the extent that patients adopted them as alternatives rather than as complementary to standard care, or spent a great deal of time on them to the detriment of their relationships. In the late 1970s and early 1980s his claims received enormous publicity and were quite disruptive to standard medical practice.

If you know of cancer patients who shunned conventional treatment and followed extreme diets and excessive meditation please let us know by email

How many more ‘integrative GPs’, naturopaths and people trained by the GF are giving the same advice? We know of others in our area—we suspect there are many more.

The following is quoted from an Age article by Jill Stark, March 7, 2010 – Can apricot kernels keep cancer at bay?

“Amanda Hordern, director of the Cancer Council Victoria’s information and support helpline, says the line is fielding an increasing number of calls from people who believe they can heal their bodies by undergoing restrictive dietary regimes, such as consuming 10 kilograms of juiced fruit and vegetables a day, eliminating dairy and meat, taking high doses of vitamin supplements or eating shark cartilage and having coffee enemas.

She says of the 600 calls about nutrition last year, many were from cancer patients convinced an extreme diet could cure them. ”I’ve spoken to people who have mortgaged their houses looking for this wonder cure. I’ve heard of $20,000 retreats where people go away and are taught how to have alternative diets that are unproven.

”People have asked us for financial assistance to pay for funerals because they’ve lost absolutely everything in pursuing the elusive hope and it hasn’t worked,” Dr Hordern told The Sunday Age.

The Cancer Council’s message, like that of its international peers, is clear: diet can play a role in preventing cancer – too much red meat or alcohol has been shown to increase the risk of breast and bowel cancer, for example – but there is no scientific evidence to prove any one food or diet can treat, control or cure cancer.

Yet many of the 114,000 Australians diagnosed each year – most commonly with prostate, bowel, breast and lung cancers – reject this advice. It defies logic, they say, that if eschewing a Western diet high in saturated fat, salt and red meat can reduce the risk of some cancers, that food becomes irrelevant after diagnosis?

The most reliable nutritional advice for those with cancer is to maintain a balanced diet, she says, warning that those undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery are particularly at risk if following restrictive diets. ”They [diets] eliminate essential food groups, so you’re eliminating good quality protein sources. It can exacerbate or accelerate malnutrition in a group already at risk of malnutrition. If someone’s losing weight, it can have a big impact on their tolerance and even their ability to get through the treatment.”

Dr Hordern has received many calls from relatives of cancer sufferers who have followed unorthodox diets with tragic results. ”I remember a man whose wife had recently died from very advanced breast cancer. He said to me with absolute agony and desperation in his voice, ‘My wife was so sure that this wonder treatment was going to work.’ It was a really extreme, alternative therapy with coffee enemas and a cleansing detoxifying diet recommended by a naturopath. In the end she was so wasted, had lost so much weight and he was really angry. He felt that he had been robbed of the last month of her life.”

Ruth Gawler, (who co- authored the fact-flawed 2008 MJA article – my insert) supports cancer patients through the foundation she runs with husband Ian – author of bestseller You Can Conquer Cancer – insists they never use the word ”cure”, preferring ”heal” in relation to the no-salt, no-sugar, plant-based vegan diet provided in conjunction with meditation and ”mind training” at their $3000, 11-day residential retreats. Dr Gawler says countless patients have had ”spontaneous remissions” after undergoing their programs, which have a two-month waiting list. She believes the rise in demand – 1000 people are treated each year, a 50 per cent increase in two years – is proof of a growing dissatisfaction with the perceived limits of orthodox medicine.

Dr Ian Haines, medical oncologist at Cabrini Health, is open to his patients making changes to their diet if they are not too extreme, and says it can provide a placebo effect. He says confusion about what to eat is a big problem: ”Once someone gets diagnosed with cancer they get six or 10 different books on curing cancer from all variety of sources, so they’re absolutely flooded with mixed messages. There is no magic solution out there, moderation is probably the best answer we have in 2010.”

I’ll remind viewers we practice an integrative approach and have a healthy respect for some proven natural or herbal remedies. But the horror alternative med stories in the news below are reminders to follow a proven and ‘balanced’ approach to cancer treatment.

NB: As our example above shows we are also concerned that many ‘integrated GPs’ may be not have a deep enough understanding of cancer and promote unprove/disproven alt/med therapies.

Patients signed non-sue pacts

Cancer Sufferers Poisoned

Cancer patient smelled of spices

Homeopath in Court

Incompetent care led to Dingle’s death

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