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Editorial Issue 117

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 117 - November 2005

As can be gleaned from a number of features, book reviews and letters within this issue, cancer is hardly the good news it is sometimes presented as in the Media. In the words of Beata Bishop, herself a survivor of more then 20 years of malignant melanoma, having been given a prognosis of 6 weeks to live "…A life-threatening illness, such as cancer, pushes the patient into a narrow, grim, body-centred existence, where all interest and care are focused onto the endangered body and its symptoms. The diagnosis itself unleashes terror and a sense of helplessness." (See The Role of the Transpersonal Dimension in Life-Threatening Illness pages 15-17.)

The patient's terrifying perspective is grounded in the grim reality of UK cancer survival statistics. As reported in The Sunday Times Oct 2 '05, "Only 67% of patients survive one year after diagnosis in Britain...Survival rates five years after cancer is detected are at 48% in Britain…" It must be mentioned that the above statistics express an average of survival rates for many cancers. More precise survival statistics for individual cancers vary widely; for example, 5-year survival for Stage I (localized) breast cancer is greater than 90%; for Stage IV (metastasized) breast cancer this drops dramatically to about 5%. There are certain cancers, including oesophageal, lung and pancreatic with extremely poor survival rates – <5%. Individuals with these cancers, such as sorely missed Michael Endacott, past Director of the Institute of Complementary Medicine, often are diagnosed and die about 1 year later.

Moving from the cancer patient to the cancer researcher, the news isn't much better. As described in Photodynamic Therapy for Cancer (PDT) by Dr Lev Fedyniak (see page 24), one such cancer technique is PDT, which uses light-activated dyes which specifically target cancer cells. PDT had shown promise in treating a variety of cancers during the 1970s. "But, with the advent of radiation and various chemotherapies, the PDT procedure was soon forgotten! Only recently has it begun to make a comeback and the response has been encouraging." As also mentioned in Brief Takes (see page 6), David Longman has had to found the Cancer Charity Killing Cancer, in order to help raise funds, help with treatment for his daughter, and help put the clinical progress of PDT back on the map.

Staying with the bad news regarding cancer researchers, Gregory Pawelski's update on Cancer Chemosensitivity Testing (see page 27) clearly states "It is highly desirable to know what drugs are effective against your particular cancer cells before highly-toxic agents are systemically administered to your body." [Mr Pawelski's wife died from the side effects of treatment for Ovarian cancer, as graphically related in PH Issue 84 Jan 2003.] Yet, as further revealed, "In 1983, medical publications introduced assays based on 'cell-death' (not cell-growth). This was a good five years before understanding the concept of apoptosis …Because clinical oncologists did not understand apoptosis then, these pioneering publications with 'cell-death' (instead of cell growth) endpoints were ignored, and neither clinical trials nor the application of cell death drug resistance assays were supported by academic and private practice clinical oncologists. The clinical utility and clinical accuracy of cell culture drug resistance testing with cell-death endpoints has now been proven."

Nor is cancer a good news story for health practitioners, as described in excruciating detail by Roy MacKinnon, whose life and clinical career were dragged through the media and the courts and virtually ruined. (See interview with Louise Mclean on Letters pages 53-55). For anyone treating cancer patients, there are exceedingly draconian laws including the 1939 Cancer Act, which prohibits claims that there is a cure for cancer. So, even if there really exists a remedy or treatment which can actually cure cancer, it is illegal to claim that there is. A Catch-22, if ever there was one.

If cancer is such a tragedy for the patient, the non-conventional researcher and non-conventional practitioner, for whom, I will ask rhetorically, is cancer beneficial, given that the so-called cancer industry is worth billions to the economy?

It is vital for all of us to remain informed about all aspects of cancer for our own good, when and if we are diagnosed with cancer. Better to be prepared with a plan and knowledge.

Uplifting and clinically positive articles also feature in this issue, including Depression – Promising Treatment Approaches by Jonathan McGookin (see pages 9-11); Health Applications of Flower Essences by Clare Harvey (see pages 19-23); Clinical Improvements in CFS/ME by Prof Basant Puri (see pages 33-37) and Rolfing: Transformative Method of Structural Integration by Jean-Pierre el-Rif (see pages 48-51).


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 27+ years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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