Four Costly Mistakes Many Cancer Patients Make – Part 1



In my work with cancer patients, I’m privy to the common mistakes made by many patients which routinely harm their health and may cost them their lives. I write this article in the hope these mistakes can be avoided. This article is derived from observations made in a sample group comprising 16,000 patients over a period of 40 years.

Lest the article appear too negative it is worth mentioning that cancer patients in 2016 are living longer and there are many wonderful advances in cancer medicine. In fact patients will do better when forewarned of these common mistakes and at our institute we consider it a part of ‘preventative medicine’ to do so. Please pass this article around to anyone with cancer.


1. The most fundamental mistake is a failure to understand the nature of cancer

Sadly, perhaps due to fear of the topic, this is widespread, not only among the cancer patients we assist but among some naturopaths we encounter. Failing to understand the nature of cancer will influence all your treatment choices. The following is a brief outline.

At the time of diagnosis, cells will have been detaching themselves from the primary tumour, entering the blood supply and seeking to establish a ‘new’ colony. This process may have been going on for years before the first tumour is evident. These ‘seed cells’ called circulating tumour cells (CTCs), may lay dormant for years or activate and settle down at a site of least resistance and grow into a tumour. CTCs begin circulating when the original tumour increases in size from 1.5 – 2mm, about the size of a grain of rice.

It is worth remembering that cancer is a systemic disease from the onset and the tumour its late stage symptom. Cancer cells can only thrive in a specific environment such as impaired mechanisms of regulation and repair. Cancer can enlist and the body’s bio-chemistry such that the body thinks it is part of itself and thus the immune system will not attack it.


With a better understanding of cancer, patients will realise they must act quickly and activate a sensible treatment plan. This sense of urgency and fear of conventional cancer medicine may cause patients to seek alternative therapies; as an alternative to conventional treatments (allopathic) and we do not recommend that path. We do however, support proven complementary therapies done with knowledge of the allopathic doctor and/or oncologist.

Communication and transparency between our institute, the patients and the doctors and oncologists is crucial because there are many times when even accepted complementary supplements can clash with cancer medicines. (See 4.)

The good news is that in 2016 the new breed of ‘targeted therapies’ used by oncologists are getting excellent results with lower side effects and people are living longer-up to 95 % of certain breast and testicular cancer patients will be alive after 5 years.

When integrative medicine is added to the scientific advances it combines the discipline of modern science with the wisdom of ancient healing. It can transform the physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of the lives of people living with chronic or life-threatening illness.

Proven complementary therapies such as touch therapies, mind-body therapies, acupuncture, sound nutrition, physical activity and fitness, and dietary supplements are worthy additions provided they are not substitutes for mainstream medical care.

When used in concert with medical treatment they can help alleviate stress, reduce pain and anxiety, manage physical and emotional symptoms, and enhance quality of life for cancer patients. Some touch therapies can help the patient ‘feel human’ again while undergoing hard treatments.

2. Second deadly mistake – a failure to understand the nature of ‘Dr Internet

This mistake can powerfully influence patient treatment decisions. There is a huge cost in believing ‘that which is repeated often enough must be true.’ The internet is dominated by stories of unproven alternative cancer cures.

However the unsuspecting patient they may be inclined to believe the websites which are increasingly sophisticated and emotionally convincing websites. The following Google searches were conducted on Firefox and illustrate how difficult it is to find balanced scientific papers on alt/med products or therapies. The following searches (on Firefox in early June) yielded these ‘results’…


· Google search for ‘black salve’ – last week May 2011 = 8.5 mil results – this week June 4th = 9.2 mil results – June 8th = 9.34 mil results – June 14 = 10.5 mil (Up 2 million results in just over two weeks – what will it be next week?)

· Google search – ‘apricot cures cancer’ = 5 mil results

· Google search – ‘Gerson Diet cures cancer’ 1.8 mil results

· Google search – ‘nature cures cancer’ 320 mil results

· Google search – ‘alternative cures cancer’ = 6.5 mil results

· Google search – ‘wake up cure cancer now’ = 2.5 mil results

· Google search ‘science cures cancer’ = 6.25 mil results. In this case I was looking for scientific papers but the results ‘flipped’ to ‘cannabis cancer cures’ (it took over the search). This did not happen in quite the same way for Internet Explorer

· Google search – meditation cures cancer = 3.9 mil results

· Google search – cancer cleanses = 11.4 mil results (June 14 = 12.7 mil (up by 1.3 mil results in over 2 weeks)

As you can see, ‘Dr Internet’ is often biased regarding alt/med. Most of the Google results are from sites with commercial interests or those promoting an ideology such as ‘raw foodism.’ Good medical science results from respected bodies like the National Cancer Institute of America or Memorial Sloan Kettering of NY are not so easy to locate. Both have excellent research papers on complementary and alt/med products and therapies.


3. Third deadly mistake – Buying into the prevalent conspiracy paradigm that ‘Big Pharma’ is greedy and evil-

that it’s a tool of the wealthy who want to keep ordinary people sick so they can make more money. Whilst the medical system and industry is not perfect, it is at least regulated and under scientific scrutiny and rigor.

Such theories create unhelpful extreme polarisation and are an attempt to invalidate advances in cancer science, medicine and pharmaceutical commerce while emotively promoting alt/med or a nature ideology. These beliefs can border on fundamentalism. The victims, as always, are the unsuspecting cancer patients.

The theory is also very imbalanced-nobody is mentioning the greed or dishonesty of alt/med practitioners or supplement sellers. Some of our patients have spent up to 1.2 million AUD on unproven or even disproven alt/med therapies and regimens. Many of these treatments are kept secret. Patients at a ‘cancer cure expert,’ a naturopath, were told not to tell anybody of the ‘secret’ treatments (costing $1100 a week) because the evil AMA or Big Pharma wants to stop them ‘curing’ cancer patients so they can continue to ‘slash, burn and poison.’ A recent patient in Queensland spent over $20,000 with a local ‘inegrative doctor’ on treatments we have never seen reduce or slow the progress of cancer.


4. Fourth deadly mistake – A poor understanding of nutrition and basic biology


A belief that ‘more is better’ can be dangerous for cancer patients. The mistaken belief prevails that if certain foods or supplements can boost your immune system, enabling your body to fight off the cancer, then large doses will be more effective. Patients fail to consider that supplements are very concentrated and quite unnatural as the following study shows.

A study from the US National Cancer Institute in 1994 published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at the effects of beta carotene, a well-known anti-oxidant with cancer-fighting properties, on the incidence of lung cancer in men. One group of men were (sic) put on a balanced diet high in fruit and vegetables high in beta- carotene or pro-vitamin A, found in orange foods such as carrot and sweet potato.

The next group was given beta-carotene supplements and the final group was given a placebo. Not only did the group with the fruit and vegetable intake get a lower incidence of cancer, but the group taking the supplements had a higher incidence of cancer than the placebo group and the trial had to be terminated.

In our sample group we have commonly found patients imbibing toxic levels of some elements (selenium, copper, oestrogen), trace elements, minerals and fat soluble vitamins. Some supplements commonly taken can impede or undo the allopathic cancer medicine prescribed, hormone blockers such as Tamoxifen or Arimidex and some chemotherapies, for example.

ALSO – The ‘chemical cocktail effect’ is an unknown. It refers to the unpredictable effect of concentrates in supplements, herbal medicines mixing with concentrates in other supplements, potentially creating metabolic mayhem. A result we observe in the blood diagnostics in many of our patients.

The remaining 3 common mistakes made by cancer patients will feature in part 2 of this series.

I’m a director of The Grace Gawler Institute for Integrated Cancer Solutions – a health promotion charity based on the Gold Coast in Australia.

We advise patients on navigating the cancer maze because it is so very confusing – like a jungle and without ‘insider’ knowledge patients are making these costly mistakes. My former male’s emotional health work continues from the institute and merges with supporting men and boys with cancer and enabling husbands and wives to build needs based communication and emotional resilience to support them through the cancer journey.

The founder of the institute, Grace Gawler is my partner and I have been her 24/7 assistant for the last 9 years. It is intense work and this kind of closeness would drive many people crazy. Yet I remain in awe of her dedication and the high standard of her work. Grace has lived a life of service, often against tremendous odds and through significant adversity.

Grace was a full time care giver for a partner who had bone cancer (1974) and survived – he is alive today. She originally trained as a naturopath with a distinction in herbal medicine. Seeing that natural therapies could support conventional cancer treatment rather than replace them Grace these days helps patients build resilience and preparedness for the cancer journey.

Her devotion to finding solutions for her patients drives her to seek out the best – even when told it is impossible. Thus Grace collaborates with the world’s top practitioners and institutions in cutting edge cancer medicine. Grace is published on PubMed and medical journals in Australia and the UK and ‘fights like a Samurai’ for the success of her patients. I trust you’ll be inspired as I am.

Phone 61-7-5577 2997 Email: Web:

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