Top 12 Anti-Cancer Foods

Hi, my name is Laurie Buchanan. Ted has invited me to be a guest blogger:

Top 12 Anti-Cancer Foods

What we put into our body—the package we reside in—has a direct correlation to its health. Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancer is non-discriminate; it can strike a person of any age, gender, race, academic achievement, and financial status.

Likewise, it has the potential to strike any organ, gland, and system in our body. One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is, “Are there any foods I can eat that will help protect me against cancer?” Happily, the answer is yes:

Seafood: A daily helping of wild caught seafood—not farmed—is our most powerful and effective weapon against cancer because it contains the complete natural range of the 72+ natural trace elements. American women have more than 20 times the number of cases of breast cancer, 187 times the number of colon cancer, 108 times the number of lung cancer cases, and American men have 138 times the number of cases of prostate cancer than the Sinhalese people who live in central, south, and west Sri Lanka—people who have a high intake of wild caught seafood.

Make sure when purchasing the items listed below that they are certified organic and that whenever possible, raw is best.

Broccoli: Next to seafood, broccoli is well established as the second best anti-cancer food. Numerous studies have concluded time and again that people who eat an abundance of broccoli have fewer cancers of the colon, breast, cervix, lungs, prostate, esophagus, larynx, and bladder.

Tomatoes: In addition to having loads of vitamin C, tomatoes are one of the richest sources of the flavenoid lycopene—giving them their red color—which has shown to defend, in study after study, against cancers of the lungs, cervix, prostate, and mouth. Tomatoes are also one of the chief ingredients in “The Mediterranean Diet,” now well known for the many important health benefits it conveys.

Blueberries: In addition to plenty of flavenoids—the rich pigment of the berries—which has repeatedly shown to protect against several cancers, blueberries may also hold “The Secret of Youth.” In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, investigators found that elderly rats fed the human equivalent of at least one-half cup of blueberries per day, improved in balance, coordination, and short-term memory.

One serving of blueberries consists of one cup. Like other fruits and vegetables, particularly the dark ones, blueberries contain chemicals that act as antioxidants, now believed by scientists to protect the body against oxidative stress, one of several biological processes that cause aging.

Cabbage: All cabbages, including their kin broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, and bok choy, are not only rich in calcium, but research has shown that they’re also extremely rich in anti-cancer flavenoids; the source of the purple color of the red cabbages. The red cabbage tops them all. Besides red beets, it’s the richest source of flavenoids among all vegetables.

Red Beets: Dr. Ferenczi at the Csoma Hospital in Hungary has been using raw red beets to cure cancer—and nothing else—since the late 1950s. The problem he encounters is the same one that’s encountered with heroic injections of vitamin C. If you eat too much raw beetroot, it kills the cancer faster than the liver can dispose of the waste products. It’s advised to start with small quantities of beetroot, and then gradually increase them. If you start to feel unwell, back off the amount. If your liver is being asked to work too hard you can get a fever.

Maximum benefits are obtained when the beets are eaten raw without peeling them. You might be surprised by how sweet they are when raw, but remember that sugar-beet is a major source of refined sugar. Grate them for a salad, or blend them into a fruit and vegetable drink.

You can purchase dried beet-root powder in many health food stores. This convenience allows you to use large quantities, but remember the precaution. Note: don’t be alarmed if your urine and bowel movements turn red. There’s no reason to panic. It’s just the abundance of the potent flavenoids in red beets.

Spinach: Rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene—potent antioxidants—as well as folic acid, spinach is a wonderful anti-cancer food. Discovered to be so vital to our health, the U.S. Department of Health has mandated that it be added to flour.

In a University of Minnesota, Environmental Health Services study, it was found that people who include two or more servings of spinach per week in their nutrition have considerably lower instances of lung and breast cancer.

Garlic: Studies focused on garlic have shown time and again that this pungent onion kin lives up to its age-old reputation of being a powerful all-around health promoting food. The sulfur compounds that provide its strong flavor have now been shown to protect against cancer by neutralizing carcinogens and slowing tumor growth.

In an Iowa Women’s Health study, researchers found that women who consume garlic at least once a week also have a 32 percent lower incidence of breast cancer. Garlic is another major ingredient in “The Mediterranean Diet.”

Whole Grain: In a study at the University of Iowa, scientists found that the more whole grain there is in a woman’s diet, the lower her rist of breast cancer, as well as heart disease. In this study, as well as an analysis of 40 other studies on 20 kinds of cancer, investigators established that consumers of whole grain products have a 33 percent lower risk of these diseases than those who do not eat whole grain products.

Oranges: Already well-known for their high vitamin C content, research in the food sciences has shown that oranges are also rich in many other potent anti-cancer compounds. Researchers have found that oranges contain more than 170 photochemicals, including more than 20 from the potent carotenoid family alone. In addition, compounds called limonoids—which give citrus fruit its slightly bitter taste—appear to be highly active anti-cancer agents as well. Regular consumption of oranges is associated with significantly lower lung and stomach cancers.

Strawberries: In a study tracking the diet and health of 1,271 people, researchers at the Harvard School of health found that people who eat strawberries have a 70 percent lower incidence of cancer. Many other studies have shown that the same holds true for all other deeply colored berries such as cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and red and purple grapes.

Beans: Research in the food sciences has established that all types of beans are loaded with protease inhibitors—compounds that make it hard for cancer cells to invade adjacent tissue. Fava beans are a great source. They’ve also been shown to block carcinogens in the digestive tract. Soy beans are especially rich in isoflavones, which appear to reduce the risk of breast cancer by blocking the tumor-growing influence of estrogen. Lentils also belong to the bean family and are one of the tastiest, versatile, and easiest to prepare beans.

Other fruits and vegetables that help to protect against cancer include: pumpkin, pineapple, apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, red onions, radishes, apricots, grapefruit, red grapes, lemons, mangos, papayas, peaches, and persimmons.

About Laurie Buchanan

Author | Speaker
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31 Responses to Top 12 Anti-Cancer Foods

  1. Hi Laurie
    The list seems to equate very well with a lot of stuff I have found on the net over the last couple of months.

    The only exception is around the inclusion of fish.

    The Madhavan work on carcinogenesis and aflatoxin seems to indicate that any animal protein at levels over 10% of total dietary protein promotes cancer. Some recommend complete removal of all animal protein from the diet once cancer is established.

    This seems sound to me at present.

    It seems that there are a large number of factors involved, and each of them with it’s own probability distribution.

    It seems that we all get cells going cancerous all of the time, but for most of us our immune systems deal with them when they are very small in number. By the time they grow big enough for our current technologies to detect as tumours, they have already been around 6 months or more, and have established a blood supply.
    At that stage, it takes a lot to get the immune system to recognise them.

    I am feeling good at present. I have no personal indication of cancer, and I may be full of it already.

    Right now, finding sources of organic produce is a problem.
    Finding a source of income is a challenge also.
    Trying to make some sort of sense out of this mess we call society, economics, politics, relationships, life, understanding or whatever is also keeping me more than a little busy.
    I am starting to feel like it is all coming together into a coherent pattern.

    Going to be interesting to see which of these intersecting probability functions emerges.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ted – In the morning I’m going to post on another energy-based healing modality. I’m including a link to a 7-minute YouTube video. At the very end, they give the website address where a person can download a FREE manual on how the technique is done. This isn’t something you go have done for you, it’s something you do for yourself, FREE. And it’s AMAZING! I use it on myself all the time. And I used it on a student in the Reiki 2 class just today. The result was astounding.

      I personally don’t do much in the way of animal protein — for a variety of reasons, not just health. The reason that seafood is number one on the list is because of the trace mineral elements — over 72 of them. No other food on the planet has them (we humans seem to have destroyed most of the soil, and we’re starting in on the oceans). But currently, that’s the number one source of that quality/quantity of trace minerals.

      I personally eat broccoli every day of my life, and eat as much red cabbage as I can. After every meal I eat papaya enzymes (known as the digestive supplement). I try to stay away from anything that comes out of a container — bag, box, can, or jar. In other words, as close to the source and as free from processing as possible.

      A great affirmation you can use is, “My body heals itself.” Which, in fact, it does.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) – A Universal Healing Aid « Speaking from the Heart

  3. Ted – I’m curious to know your thoughts on eggs — do you consider them animal protein? Do you think they are okay, or not okay, for a person who has been diagnosed with cancer? For that matter, do you think they are okay, or not okay for a person who doesn’t have cancer, and certainly doesn’t want to promote the chance of getting it?

    The reason I ask is that I’ve read ALL sorts of contradictory information, and I know you’ve done your due diligence when it comes to homework. I welcome your thoughts on the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Laurie,

      First thing I must say is that we are, in a scientific sense, still profoundly ignorant of what is actually going on within our bodies when cancer strikes.

      It seems to have three major sets of components:

      1/ Emotional/mental – things that disrupt the inbuilt evolved healing and regenerative systems, that go under the general classification of stress, and include multiple classes and levels of things within that;

      2/ External carcinogens – materials and energies that may enter the body and disrupt the amazingly complex systems within allowing cancer to get a hold and develop into tumours. This includes complex organic chemicals like polycyclic aromatics found in many pesticides and herbicides; through to irritants like asbestos (which occur in rocks, but cause problems when inhaled), through to various forms of electromagnetic radiation and high energy particles that can disrupt cells and lead to cancer; and

      3/ The food that we feed ourselves, and the effects that it produces on the ability and resilience of the body to respond appropriately to cancers and deal with them through the immune system.

      It seems to me that there are thousands of specific mechanisms at play in each of the three general classes of actions above; each of which will have it’s own probability function of action in operation. Nothing absolutely certain in any of this, all probability functions in action, billions of times per second, replicated across trillions of cells in our bodies.

      That we understand anything at all of how it works is little short of miraculous.

      To think that we can be certain about any of it is hubris in the extreme.

      Having said that, and keeping that context clearly present, it does appear to me that once cancer has gotten away from the immune system to the extent that tumours (tumors for you Americans) are present; it seems to make sense to do everything possible to shift the probability functions in one’s favour (favor).

      In that respect, there is a substantial body of scientific research that shows that animal protein, at levels above 10% of total dietary protein, does significantly enhance tumour growth in some cancers.
      Similar for milk, which contains not only proteins, and sugars (most cancer cells have a preference for sugars), but also other growth promotents that young animals require, that also promote tumour growth.

      In respect of eggs, something similar. An egg is a birds capsule to promote the growth of young birds. It seems sensible to remove it from the diet when the objective is to slow the growth of tumours, and give the immune system as much time as possible to identify and destroy the tumours.

      In similar fashion, keeping stray animal proteins out of the system does seem to make sense in terms of reducing the stress load on the immune system, and giving it the best possible chance of finding and targeting the tumours.

      In this respect, eating anti-angeogenic substances (things that prevent the growth of new blood vessels, and slow the growth of tumours), like raspberries, and many other brightly coloured berries can also help give the immune system more time to deal with the invaders.

      It is very clear from the fact that we are one of the very few animals that cannot make our own vitamin C (the others being the other great apes, fruit bats and guinea pigs), that we have evolved on diets that are naturally high in vitamin C. This would indicate that we ate large amounts of fruits and greens through our evolutionary past.

      Prior to getting cancer I would very rarely eat anything green, and only occasionally eat fruit. I was taking vitamin supplements, but I now see that vitamin C is only one of multiple complexes of plant materials that our bodies have evolved to work with.

      It seems to make sense that our bodies need a lot of other “phyto-nutrients” (fancy word for foods found in plants). The average cell (be it plant or animal) has some 50,000 different chemicals in it. In plants, as many as 30,000 of those are significantly different from the chemicals that our own cells produce. Science has as yet barely identified many of them, let alone explored the interactions between them. Thus it seems to make sense to me to get a lot of fresh, greens and fruits and veges, as free from pesticides and herbicides as possible, into my system at this time.

      This has posed some challenges.
      Many of the foods in our supermarkets and restaurants are addictive in nature, high in sugars, and refined compounds, and full of preservatives so that they last on the shelves.
      Going “cold turkey” has meant eating a lot of foods that for the first few weeks “tasted like sh*t”.
      My body wanted sugar, and chocolate, and milk, and meat, and coffee; and I wasn’t giving it any, and it was complaining.
      At the same time it was recovering from a 5 1/2 hour surgery under general anesthetic.

      I am now 8 weeks out from surgery.
      I am starting to be able to taste and appreciate some of the subtle flavours of raw foods.
      I am still experimenting a lot.
      It is mid winter here, and living in a small town, a long way from anywhere, it is often difficult to get organic foods, so often I use non-organics, which still have to be better than processed.

      So – if you don’t have signs of cancer (tumours) eggs are probably fine in moderation (provided all animal protein makes up less than 10% of the protein in your diet – ie 90% plant protein).
      Once you do have tumours – it now seems probable to me that survival is best enhanced by eliminating all animal protein.

      Long answer to a short question, and it is about the best answer I can give right now.



      Liked by 1 person

  4. Barbara Kass says:

    Hi, Laurie and Ted! I eat all of the anti-cancer foods except the fish; I am not sure I can find the right fish from where I live. But, I will work on it. Really interesting information here. And I support a thousand percent the natural healing process of the body — all sorts of wonderful things happen.


    • Hi Barbara

      Probably healthier that you get beach cast seaweed into your garden. Best time is just after a big onshore storm (this from someone who has spent his entire life in the fishing industry).



  5. holessence says:

    Ted – I read your answer through completely to myself, and then read it again outloud to Len. I sincerely appreciate the time you took to type that explanation. It’s exceptional and makes a lot of sense — a lot! We eat loads of fruits and vegetables (almost all organic). I eat lots of small portions throughout the day.

    I only drink hot water with either fresh lemon or lime squeezed into it. I’ve done a lot of research on the benefits of drinking water hot, warm, or room temperature (versus cold). I drink it hot year-round.

    Our general rule of thumb is this: if it comes in a package (box, can, bottle, carton, jar) we don’t eat it. The exceptions being vitamins, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. We try to eat as close to fresh, plant-based as possible. (now and then we have indulgences – it’s the exception, rather than the rule).

    Gosh, it would be nice to live next to an ocean (an oil-spill-free ocean) so that I could gather fresh seaweed to eat. We can get it in capsule form (along with kelp) at the health food store. I take a 3-a-day multivitamin/mineral and 10,000 IU of vitamin C daily.

    You’ve given me lots of food for though – I’ve used eggs as a source of protein. I’m definitely rethinking that stragegy. Thank you again for your input.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Morgan Ashe says:

    Hello Laurie,

    You say that you have studies that back up the list of food you’ve provided. Cah you provide links to these please? I would be quite interested in reading these.



  7. Morgan Ashe says:

    Sorry Morgan, nothing peer-reviewed, double-blinded, and randomized.

    Wait, so you’re basing this advice on nothing more than opinion and anecdotes? Given the nature of what you’re promoting that is quite irresponsible. :/


    • Hi Morgan

      Have watched your comments with interest.

      I recently had a very interesting experience in respect of double blind trials, that I would like you to comment on.

      After getting the tumours surgically removed from my cheek and neck, I heard of a trial for a vaccine for melanoma.
      The trial entry conditions were that all identifiable lesions had been removed.

      I applied, and it turned out that there were some shadows on my liver in the full body CT scan, so further scans were indicated.
      In the few hours wait before getting the secondary set of ultrasound scans (that made me ineligible), I inquired about the conditions of the trial.
      The only conditions were those above.
      They were not at all interested in diet, vitamin supplements, exercise regimes, or anything else.
      They simply assumed that they would be randomly distributed and would not affect the results of the trial.

      To me, this seemed to be an absolute nonsense.

      To me, it would make far more sense to gather as much information as possible, and to try to make sure you have half in and half out of each combination. Then to include all those variables in the analysis.

      It seems to me, that in the face of such unknown variability, most of the “double blind” trial results are little better than random noise.

      As my old stats lecturer was fond of saying, there is a perfect correlation between the incidence of potato blight in Argentina, and the incidence of syphilis in London. Correlation does not require causality.

      I am skeptical of many things.
      I am willing to experiment with thing that appear to have relatively low risk.
      I am extremely skeptical of outcomes where the profit motive is involved. My 40 plus years of experience in the fishing industry, and the politics of fishing, have left me with experiences that confirm that the facts are often the first casualty if they get in the way of a good story that has profit at the end of it.

      I am very nervous of drug companies, and their claims.

      I am exceptionally skeptical of the explanatory frameworks of most traditional healers. At the same time, I am very interested in their observations, and working practices.

      I am not spending lots of money, just lots of time.



      • Morgan Ashe says:

        I applied, and it turned out that there were some shadows on my liver in the full body CT scan, so further scans were indicated.
        In the few hours wait before getting the secondary set of ultrasound scans (that made me ineligible), I inquired about the conditions of the trial.
        The only conditions were those above.
        They were not at all interested in diet, vitamin supplements, exercise regimes, or anything else.
        They simply assumed that they would be randomly distributed and would not affect the results of the trial.

        I imagine the reason they’re not interested in diet, vitamin supplements, exercise regimes, etc is that there isn’t any credible evidence based connection between them and the cancer they’re studying. There’s a lot of anecdotes but none of the studies I’ve come across so far support them. More correlation than causation within the anecdotes there unfortunately. Gold, the guy that put me on to this post, told me you were a member of the NZ Skeptics so I was thinking this may be a good place to find someone that was critically looking at the claims and asking for the evidence. Not seeing these links in the post I asked about them. Unfortunately it appears that Laurie is credulously pushing more of the same old stuff without any evidence that supports the claims she makes.

        To me, this seemed to be an absolute nonsense.

        As a skeptic I’m sure you can see the argument from personal incredulity here? It’s a frustrating one, and one that I’m continuously pulling myself up on. But you have to tell yourself; Just because it doesn’t make sense to me doesn’t mean it’s invalid. I tend to accept the opinion and judgment of those that are way more trained than myself in a specific field. I’m not sure of your background, but me, I’m not a cancer specialist or medically trained at all.

        Another point about this sort of thing is to wait for the study to be completed and see how it goes in the peer review process. If it is substandard due to this lack of controlling for these things, as you seem to think it is, then others in the field will reach that same conclusion. If they don’t, then point it out yourself and see what sort of response you get.

        Out of interest, did you ask why these data were not being collected?


      • holessence says:

        American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Study:

        Study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

        American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Study:–media/aacr-press-releases .aspx?d=1683

        After this article, “Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Can They Thwart Certain Cancers?” A variety of sources and studies are listed at the bottom of this link:

        You can follow this link from Cancer Research Technology (CRT) and the “Science & Seafood” event that was just held in April 2010.

        Study: Friedman M. et al. Structure-Activity Relationships of Tea Compounds against Human Cancer Cells. J Agric Food Chem. Published on-line ahead of print, December 16, 2006: ASAP Article doi: 10.1021/jf062276h S0021-8561(06)02276-X. Editors note in this study states: “We consider organic whole foods from both plant and animal kingdoms to be a major key to superior health. We also think it’s terribly important to eat fish at least twice a week to get the essential fatty acids. Here at our house, we only eat wild Alaskan salmon and other wild seafood from our friends at Vital Choice.” Link:

        The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that people concerned with reducing cancer risk and managing their weight cover 2/3 (or more) of their plate with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans, and 1/3 (or less) animal protein. One of the best possible choices for that ‘1/3 or less’ is fish.” The American Institute for Cancer Research article “Seafood Choices for Your Health and a Healthy World


      • Morgan Ashe says:

        American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Study:

        This is a news report, not a study.

        Study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

        This was just the abstract. Fortunately the full text and the data are available though. The link you may want to replace that one with is

        The study is interesting. This inverse association between fish intake and prostate cancer mortality did not appear to be the result of earlier detection or treatment of PSA-detected cases and was not changed after we accounted for potential confounding factors. The study makes no distinction between wild vs farmed fish however. It also found no association linked with shellfish/lobster. So the claim of “seafood” is a little broad here.

        Also, they “found that fish intake was unrelated to prostate cancer incidence“.

        American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Study:–media/aacr-press-releases.aspx?d=1683

        404 Document not found.

        After this article, “Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Can They Thwart Certain Cancers?” A variety of sources and studies are listed at the bottom of this link:

        News article from a biased source. This isn’t a study.

        You can follow this link from Cancer Research Technology (CRT) and the “Science & Seafood” event that was just held in April 2010.

        This is an article for a networking event. I’m not sure how this is even remotely mistaken for a study.

        Study: Friedman M. et al. Structure-Activity Relationships of Tea Compounds against Human Cancer Cells. J Agric Food Chem. Published on-line ahead of print, December 16, 2006: ASAP Article doi: 10.1021/jf062276h S0021-8561(06)02276-X. Editors note in this study states: “We consider organic whole foods from both plant and animal kingdoms to be a major key to superior health. We also think it’s terribly important to eat fish at least twice a week to get the essential fatty acids. Here at our house, we only eat wild Alaskan salmon and other wild seafood from our friends at Vital Choice.” Link:

        Again, an article from a biased source. Not a study. :/

        The link you should have used is:

        Bookmark that for your future reference. If someone is asking for actual studies don’t send them a bunch of news articles. It’s just extra work and actually hints at a lack of research and, I hate to say it, credibility on your part.

        However, this is just an abstract and I’m not paying for the full study. You are making the claims. You should foot that bill. 🙂

        Anyway, from the abstract, it sounds like it’s reasonably sound. Although looking at what few numbers they listed, you should like your tea strong and regularly take both green and black tea. For the particular teas they were testing “ all tea extracts reduced the numbers of the following human cancer cell lines: breast (MCF-7), colon (HT-29), hepatoma (liver) (HepG2), and prostate (PC-3) as well as normal human liver cells (Chang)“.

        As I understand it this could imply that the treatment may add extra load on the liver. Another aspect is that this is a study on cell lines. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will extrapolate to a full human. Access to the full study may clear that up. I’d look at this as a study that has found a causal link and thus more research should be performed to see if it scales up.

        As a supporting study for your claims however, it is found wanting.

        “The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that people concerned with reducing cancer risk and managing their weight cover 2/3 (or more) of their plate with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans, and 1/3 (or less) animal protein. One of the best possible choices for that ’1/3 or less’ is fish.” The American Institute for Cancer Research article “Seafood Choices for Your Health and a Healthy World”

        This is an opinion piece article. Not a study. Again.


    • Hi Morgan,

      My background is very broad. I have a training in science, biochemistry as a major interest. I am widely read, and many friends in many fields. I have grown up on farms and fishing boats, worked as an engineer, and as a fitters mate, driven most sorts of machines (from aircraft to diggers), repaired most sorts of machines – from cars and tractors and farm machines, through radios and electrical equipment, through computers both hardware and software.

      I have joined all sorts of groups, tried all sorts of things. Read classics, Darwin, Dawkins, Einstein, Russel, Wittgenstein, Goedel, Kant, Rand and many others.
      I was active in Mensa for a decade or so, then went back to my lone ways.

      I tend to question everything.
      I have many experiences of the scientific method being subverted to economic and ideological ends – so have very little trust of the peer review system, or anyone who is paid, either directly or indirectly, to promote something (this includes journalists).

      I tend to trust my own intuitions, and I am aware of many circumstances where those intuitions are not reliable.

      I tend to trust the evolutionary process. Thus I am very interested in old systems, not for their explanatory framework, but rather for the sets of actions and forms that have passed the evolutionary test of time. I attempt to recontextualise these into a modern framework.

      I acknowledge the power of double blind trials effectively run, with due care taken to isolate externalities; and I am very skeptical of trials done when there is money at stake – there are many levels at which trials can be skewed and manipulated.

      So I am skeptical of most healing claims, and I am looking for results, preferably raw data to evaluate myself; and at the same time, I am skeptical of those who come from a belief structure that dismisses everything that does not have hard double blind evidence sets to support it.

      I am open to possibility, and right now – my life is at stake.
      The most competent authority on Melanoma in NZ has told me personally (in a two hour conversation) that there is nothing known to medical science that can alter the probability distribution of death for those in my position. That distribution was 50% probability of making 5 months, and 2% probability of making two years (conversation took place just over 2 months ago).
      Since then I have made personal contact with 4 people who have survived ten years or more, one of who is still alive at 15 years.
      I understand that probability distributions say nothing about any specific individual – they work only in populations.

      If David was correct, then I want to get myself out to the long end of that distribution.
      I am using myself as a test of possible strategies.
      I have done the dietary one first.
      Mike Anderson – seems to have done a lot of homework on the subject, and if the ultrasound scans next week do not show any improvement, I may go back to a diet that has foods that I find more palatable and enjoyable.

      In a sense, you may say I am as skeptical of hard skepticism as I am of poorly tested belief. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and I do prefer to work in an environment where credible tested evidence is available, and rarely are we so fortunate.

      The levels of influence on our belief structures are substantial.
      Language itself is a major influence on how and what we think.
      It pays to critically examine everything.
      I’ve put a few 10s of thousands of hours into that over the last 50 odd years.

      I do not know if I will beat this cancer.
      I do know that the medical authorities have said they have nothing tested to offer me.

      In such a situation – what would you do?

      Say hi to Gold – he may remember me from the cafe prior to the Dawkins meeting in Christchurch.




  8. I am now a year out.
    I have had two further operations to remove small tumours. Two in one operation from my jaw – late in 2010 under general, and one from my shoulder by a local GP under local a couple of months ago.
    Both of those happened when I reduced the level of vitamin C I was taking.
    I am now back on Vitamin C many times a day, and am also taking mineral supplements,
    No more tumours at present – still feeling good.

    Cost of treatment is under $2 a day.
    Buying L Ascorbic Acid powder 2Kg at a time for $103 from sana-direct.


  9. holessence says:

    Ted – It’s been a YEAR! I’m giving you a standing ovation. You may not be able to see it, but with all my hootin’ and hollerin’ you should at least be able to hear me! CONGRATULATIONS. I’m THRILLED for you and all of us who hold you dear.


  10. lettersquash says:

    Hello Ted (again), holessence and Morgan Ashe

    Thanks for a fascinating blog and following discussion. I’m sorry Morgan dropped out of that. By checking the dates I realised that (s)he may not have read Ted’s explanation, which appears later on the page but in fact predates Morgan’s.

    Ted, your explanation of your approach to scepticism makes a lot of sense to me – in fact, I’m not sure if I’ve ever met anyone else who has a similar understanding to mine until now. This is all very challenging, however, because a few years ago I firmed up my scepticism a great deal. I have always gone through phases, and held philosophies all the way from deeply spiritual to firmly material, but mostly the former. I got into yoga in my teens and gradually moved towards Buddhism, with a healthy (or unhealthy) dose of New Age mysticism. I’m now 50.

    What changed for me a few years ago is a long story in itself, but basically involved some very disappointing and frustrating conversations with Buddhists – as I looked for a guru to help guide me further – and some very enlightening conversations with hard-headed sceptics and scientists, the upshot of which was that I realised that virtually everything I had believed about the meaning of experiences I’d had during meditation, or the benefits of many “health” foods, alternative medical practices, etc., were almost completely without scientific basis, not necessarily untrue, but untested personally by me – I was biased, following my subjective hopes and the opinions of others, as Morgan talks about.

    The first year was pretty dire. I had no God (I know some say Buddhism is atheist, but it’s complicated!), there was no ultimate meaning or salvation in life. But almost worse was to lose most of the day-to-day, automatic, reassuring thoughts that relied on self talk, the momentary little “prayers” that were supposed to realign reality to my desires – from getting a parking space to not getting cancer from the cigarette I was smoking to helping the world find peace through meditative “intention” and cosmic consciousness.

    I learned to question my views more and more, and found great benefit in critical thinking. For example, I read some sceptical criticism of chiropractic manipulation, which I was using at considerable expense for my back injury (ironically, caused by poor teaching of a yoga position!), and decided to see my doctor and got referred to the National Health Service osteopathy department. The tests performed were much more extensive than the chiropractor’s, the exercises recommended were more specific, with very detailed explanation of the muscular imbalances that were detected, etc.. There was no shoving bits back into place or “cracking” vertebrae that the chiro did. It was paid for out of taxes, along with hard scientific research to support it. Being rather lazy, I did about a tenth of the sessions recommended, but with good results. I realised that I had just gone and paid good money to the chiropractor week after week for what seemed like temporary relief from an unsubstantiated practice.

    So how are we similar? Well, I recognise the value of placebo, and I find it reprehensible and irrational that, having amassed enormous evidence for it’s positive effects, mainstream medicine is hell-bent on removing it from their toolbox altogether – not only that, but making a lot of noise about how medicines that have been shown to be no better than placebo ought to be outlawed. I can see the reasoning, but it could be considered unethical and logically shallow. It’s a very strange paradox that I have puzzled about often, that someone may be benefited by a medicine that, were they to lose faith in it, would do them no good whatsoever and yet they are actually benefitting now. Placebo, if I understand it, isn’t just delusion or subjective reporting, it is real physical effects.

    There are definitely ethical issues around people making up “snake oil” treatments without any independent physical effect and hyping them up with all manner of claims on the box, but banning everything found to be a placebo could physically damage people who have “sworn by it for years”. I believe the most valuable position is some balance between the extremes, which unfortunately many people prefer to jump to: on the one hand, the ultra-solipsist who says that everything we are is created in the mind, and the ultra-materialist, who says that all our placebo effects are subjective and unscientific, potentially dangerous and philosophically reprehensible.

    I share your concerns about the economic distortion of medicine by Big Pharma. On the other hand, I have to ask, if they know about placebo and are as greedy as that, why don’t they give up on double-blind, randomised trials and make lots of snake oil? Have they rationalized themselves into a corner and can’t be seen not to give hard support for their products, or are their products actually placebo-driven? Surely it can’t be both unless there’s something very wrong with the basic research philosophy. If you can shed any light on these issues I’d be very grateful.

    I’m in two minds about this. Placebo does good, and yet I can’t support the healing modalities – especially the invention of new ones – that apparently do nothing unless you trust that they do something. To support this is tantamount to supporting ignorance and cultism. And this is a feeling I have across the whole range of “spiritual healing modalities” or whatever you want to call them. There seems to be a new alternative therapy invented every few months that apparently has no better basis than the anecdotes or intuitions of their founders, from tapping particular patterns on your body with the ends of your fingers to the laying on of warm stones with whale music accompaniment. Ancient ones too, from acupuncture to Reiki, I consider “no better than placebo”. If you get all happy about them and expect them to work, they might work. But, I’m beginning to wonder, can I get all happy and expectant, knowing they’ll work if I manage to forget I’m pretending? No, because then I’m deliberately trying to develop an irrational belief, and that seems quite unwise.

    I don’t know, as usual. What was the question again?

    I’m very glad you’re still around, Ted. Live long and prosper.


    • Anon says:

      Morgan Ashe passed away from leukemia one year ago today.


      • Very sorry to read of Morgan losing her battle with cancer.

        I am very happy that despite being told by the medical establishment that there was nothing known to medical science that could extend the probability of my survival, I am past the 95% point of the probability of my own death, and the most recent set of scans showed no signs of any tumours.

        I have done so at very little cost to myself and my family.

        Who knows for certain if it is anything I have done, or not; and it seems very probable to me, that my own survival is a result of a mix of factors, and high dose vitamin C is probably the most important (change of diet being next – removing all animal products including dairy and eggs, all refined sugars, all alcohol, all extracted oils – took a bit of getting used to, and I am used to it now – 20 months on).

        And I am also confident that part of it is my own belief that there did seem to be something in the studies done (particularly on Vitamin C and animal proteins), and much of the work purporting to show that there was no effect from Vitamin C seemed at best inadequate.

        I am totally in favour if scientific inquiry into the causes and possible cures for cancer, and I am also extremely sceptical of the money making system that is the medical establishment, and the legislation backing it.
        The placebo effect works, whatever its actual cause (and we are learning more about some of the various mechanisms involved).
        In my mind the effect should be used for maximal effect, not be banned by legislation.

        The system we have is little short of criminal in some aspects; despite having some amazing and extremely dedicated individuals within it.


  11. Hi John

    My skepticism of the explanatory framework of the “new age” frameworks is very firm.
    I am open to explorations of the methodologies used, and searching for explanatory frameworks that are consistent with others that I use.
    Thus I find many of the practices of prayer and meditation interesting, but not the explanations that come with them. To me it seems to have more to do with reducing stress and directing our attention through practice – both of which have clear rational benefits.

    I agree with you completely on placebo, the effects are real, and based on belief, and seem to mostly relate to the effect of belief on stress reduction (where “stress” is the preparation for “fight or flight” which redirects metabolic energy from “housekeeping and repair” to “locomotion and energy storage”).

    In terms of Big Pharma and “Snake Oil”, they do it. The only way they could gain ascendancy over the “snake oil” clan was by using the illusion of science. Thus they have to have two double blind trials showing better than placebo (the rules they managed to get approved through the political process). However, there is nothing in the rules that requires them to disclose all trials.
    Thus they can (and do) do several sets of trials, and only disclose the two best, to gain approval.
    Thus many of the drugs currently on the market are no better than “snake oil”.
    This is now well known, but not well publicised.

    I do not advocate developing irrational beliefs. What I advocate is trying the practices, with the intention of developing the ability to accept what is, and creating calm in the face of all circumstances. Both of those things seem to be useful in most situations. If you come face to face with a hungry lion, “run like hell” (let the stress flow – in this situation, it is really useful) ! Around mortgages, economic downturns, military industrial complexes etc, stress serves no useful purpose whatever.

    Be Great (it annoys the hell out of those who had other plans for you).


  12. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.


    • I have added a contact page – and my details were at the bottom of the about page.
      tedhowardnz at gmail got com will get to me (as will a dozen or so other addresses).
      Now 2 years and 5 months from the 5 month 50% survival prognosis, and still going strong, with no indication of any tumours present.
      Actually starting to really enjoy much of this vegan food now.


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