False Cures Didn’t Kick Cancer into Remission, but Kept Patient’s Hope Alive
- Cancer & Caregiving
- June 2, 2014
Ask me the question: What is the one thing you could not live without? My answer: Hope.
I know how precious hope is, and what it is like to live without it.
Hope is the only feeling that kept me and my husband, Brian, standing on the day doctors diagnosed him with mesothelioma. At that particular moment in time, we hoped for a cure. When we found that impossible – we hoped for a miracle.
A few weeks following Brian’s mesothelioma diagnosis, a friend told us about colloidal silver and how it had been successful in the treatment of cancer. Wishing this would provide the cure he was hoping for, Brian soon found a therapist who supplied it.
We also tried a number of other remedies and devices that supposedly helped cure his cancer or at least ease symptoms.
Miracle in a Bottle
We thought colloidal silver would help.
Colloidal silver is a nonessential mineral that people have used for many years as a homeopathic treatment for cancer and a host of other ailments, including conditions of the lung, bladder, prostate and colon. It’s also used in the treatment of diabetes, arthritis, lupus and a number of skin diseases.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999 ruled that colloidal silver is not “generally recognized as safe and effective,” according to their report. Despite the FDA’s ruling, it remains a widely used dietary supplement.
The mineral did not appear to affect Brian’s health in any way or shrink his tumor.
‘Shattering’ Cancer Cells with Electromagnetic Frequencies
Because we were willing to try anything, we paid $4,000 for a Rife machine. Our therapist, who recommended the colloidal silver, told us it would definitely shrink Brian’s tumor and possibly save his life.
American inventor Royal Raymond Rife developed a frequency generator in the 1920s. Rife and his supporters believed each disease or condition has its own electromagnetic frequency. His theory: Produce an impulse of the same frequency to kill or disable diseased cells.
The medical community discredited his device, but that didn’t stop others from creating similar devices bearing his name. In fact, many of these devices became popular in the 1980s and 1990s, and led to many lawsuits alleging fraud.
In Australia, one person died because they discontinued standard cancer treatment and depended solely on the device. Although the devices are not approved by the FDA, they are not banned in the U.S. or Australia.
Brian was given a list of frequencies that allegedly targeted his type of cancer and instructed to use the machine twice a day. It was not necessary for Brian to visit the therapist again. Grateful to have some control over his life, Brian patiently and carefully tuned the machine to the frequencies recommended. Reluctant to miss a day of these treatments, the Rife machine and colloidal silver traveled with us whenever we spent a night away from home.
Despite his diligence, his tumor did not shrink, and his health continued to deteriorate.
Green-Lipped Mussel Extract
About a year into Brian’s illness, we learned of another supposed cancer cure – a green-lipped mussel from New Zealand. It was processed into capsule form and sold on the Web.
According to a 2008 clinical trial, extracts from the Perna canaliculus mussel may be effective in the treatment of arthritis, asthma and other inflammatory diseases. However, there are no clinical trials that substantiate claims it is effective in the treatment of cancer.
Again, willing to try anything, Brian placed a recurring order and the capsules were added to his daily routine.
I was not surprised when the green-lipped mussel treatment also failed to shrink Brian’s tumor or improve his health. By this time, I was wary of anyone promising a cure for cancer, and sick and tired of the charlatans who made false promises to line their pockets with the suffering of others.
Brian and I spent an exorbitant amount of money on these false promises. Money we could not afford to waste.
No Wonder Cure
My reluctant acceptance that there would not be a miracle cure for Brian removed any hope I held for his survival. Regardless, I understood and supported his need to pin his hopes on these quackeries. They were all he had. The chemotherapy treatments only improved his symptoms and were not intended as a cure.
The only thing left for me to hope for was that Brian would not suffer unnecessarily. Thankfully, this hope was realized. With good pain management and the love and support he received from me and the rest of our family, he was able to achieve a remarkable quality of life, especially considering the nature of his disease.
Although I do not endorse the alternative treatments Brian used during his illness, I reluctantly admit the false hope they provided did help Brian’s emotional well-being.
Brian’s case is not unique. Everyone needs to live in hope. Every cancer patient will find something to pin those hopes on. With little advancement in cancer cures to date, cancer patients will continue to search for miracles and believe in false promises – even those that cost a fortune.
Anyone who decides to try alternative treatments for their cancer should first talk it over with their doctor.
When we are caregiving for a loved one with cancer, all we can hope for is that a legitimate cure will be found before it is too late.
Lorraine Kember is the author of "Lean on Me," an inspirational personal account of her husband's courageous battle with mesothelioma. She is an accomplished public speaker in Australia and is passionate about sharing her journey with cancer. Her website can be found at www.lean-on-me.net.