I’m a skeptic, lifelong.
I’m as skeptical of most claims of authority, as I am of snakeoil salesmen.
6 years ago I was told I was terminal with cancer, nothing known to medical science that could alter the probabilities, and was sent home “palliative care only” and given a 2% chance of surviving 2 years.
I accepted the possibility of death – that was step 1.
Then I decided to check the evidence myself. My training in biochemistry and statistics came in useful.
What I found is that there is significant evidence of many things:
1 the placebo effect is real, believing you can survive is as important as anything else (which seems to be a complex set of effects in three major classes – as per Benedetti et al).
2 there is a vast body of evidence that vitamin C, in high doses, can help some people (perhaps even most people).
3 there is a vast body of literature that diet can play an important role, and that animal products over 10% of total calorie intake significantly increases cancer risk and progression.
Those were the three main things I found, a lot of other stuff. I put all my medical records and what I did and links to some of the key papers on my blog (tedhowardnz.com) under the about and cancer treatment sections. It is there free of charge, for any who want to look. I ask for no money or recognition.
Two days ago I celebrated 5 years free of tumours.
Biology is complex.
I went strict vegan, no sugar, whole foods only, as much as possible organic, as much as possible raw.
It is one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I am still here.
I make no guarantees, and what I did worked for me.
It may or may not work for anyone else.
All others I am aware of who have stuck to the regime, strictly, no exceptions, twice daily Vit C, minimum 5g per dose, and going to bowel tolerance (which was around 80g/day for me while clearing the tumours, and is now just under 20g perday), are still alive.
You have to really want to live to stick to it.
I was a carnivore for 55 years.
I am alive.
Remission means that the cell line still exists in the body, and for some set of reasons (specific sets of biochemical conditions resulting from many influences), is no longer growing in the uncontrolled fashion it once was.
The exact set of conditions involved are rarely if ever understood in any specific case, and we are starting to get a handle on many of the general classes of processes involved.
Cure means the cell line no longer exists.
That may have resulted from surgery, or from some set of conditions leading to apoptosis in every cell in the cancerous line.
The hardest thing to understand about cancer is that they are our own cells, often identical to most other cells in our bodies, but with some small part of the huge complexity of systems that allow all those cells to cooperate in being us disabled in a way that causes them to multiply without regard to the signaling from their neighbouring cells, and thus threatening the entire cooperative that is us.
We have an immune system highly evolved to deal with this and a vast array of other cheating strategies (in the sense of Axelrod), and normally it does so, many times a day. And sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes that failure is due to degradation of capabilities due to diet or stress or other environmental influences.
Sometimes it is just random chance.
Sometimes just buying time is enough for the stochastic aspects of our immune system to lock onto an effective mechanism to deal with the slight variation that has caused this runaway and unregulated growth.
So yeah – the ideas of remission and cure are really important, and often poorly understood.