Note: In this book, 15 cancer doctors share the details of their treatment protocols and answer difficult questions about cancer. Each physician is given their own chapter in the book. The page you are viewing contains sample material; to read the rest of the book, you can place your order for the book from the publisher, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. You can also buy the Kindle Edition.
(Dr. Linchitz’s Website) I wish this book had been available to me twelve years ago when I was first diagnosed with cancer. I am a medical doctor, and at that time, I was the director of a busy multi-specialty pain management program in Long Island, New York. I was also athletic, and had competed in many triathlons, swim events, and cycling/running races. Although I had never smoked in my life, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer. My cancer specialist told me that the five-year survival rate for this type of cancer was 55 percent, but I subsequently found out that it was more like 25 percent. To say I was shocked was an understatement! I wondered how this could happen to me. I thought I was the healthiest person in the world and immune to this kind of problem. It was a rude awakening, but it sent me on a fervent quest to find a cure.
I spent days and nights on the Internet, searching for the latest and best treatments for my condition. I visited all of the so-called “experts,” but they all offered the same solution: chemotherapy. However, my research suggested that chemotherapy might only prolong my life for a month or two, and would leave me with a poor quality of life from the moment I began treatment. I felt there had to be a better way. I was determined to keep an open mind when I started looking at so-called “alternative” treatments, which we now more properly know as integrative medicine.
I was trained in traditional medicine at Cornell University Medical College, which is affiliated with the famous Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. While Memorial Sloan-Kettering is known as a world-class cancer center, the doctors there could only offer me the same unsatisfactory treatments as everyone else. So I decided to look beyond mainstream medical research. After searching extensively, I began to realize that there was widespread information on effective cancer treatments in alternative, complementary and integrative medicine, but this information isn’t usually published in the mainstream medical or specialty journals that we (doctors) are all expected to read.
We must go beyond these journals and the handouts that we receive from pharmaceutical company sales representatives, but it requires real effort. We must look at small, independent studies and apply logic in evaluating them, to help us understand how these findings might help our patients. We must look for the causes of disease and deal with those, rather than focus solely on symptom management, an unfortunate reality of pharmaceutically-based medicine. We must be willing to try new approaches, as long as we believe that what we do will not harm the patient, which is the first principle of medicine. It is this quest that led me to found Linchitz Medical Wellness, in Glen Cove, New York. The doctors who work at my center treat all types of medical conditions; however, my portion of the practice is devoted exclusively to cancer patients.
As I read Defeat Cancer I was struck by the fact that all of the doctors demonstrated incredible courage to face disapproval, and sometimes, outright attacks from mainstream medicine. In this regard, Stanislaw Burzynski, MD, is almost in a class by himself. He has probably been the most persecuted and prosecuted doctor in the modern history of “alternative” medicine. He faced fourteen years of attacks by the FDA and conventional doctors, and spent millions of dollars before he finally prevailed. The FDA is now finally cooperating with him in his study of antineoplastons, but still prohibits him from using them as he sees fit, outside of clinical trials. Many of the doctors featured in the book still face ridicule and condemnation by conventional doctors. Try to imagine what could motivate an intelligent, well-trained doctor, who could have easily succeeded in a conventional practice, to step outside of mainstream medicine and face criticism, and even sanctions on his work, in order to pursue a different path. What motivated him and the other doctors in this book is a passion for truth!
Mainstream medicine concentrates on what is often called “evidence-based” medicine. This term suggests that all of what is done in mainstream medicine is based upon rigorous studies. In evidence-based medicine, the “gold standard” for testing the effectiveness of different treatments is the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, which involves the participation of hundreds or thousands of patients. After a rigorous mathematical analysis of the results of a trial, researchers look for “statistically significant” evidence, which can be defined as evidence that is different from what may be expected as a result of pure chance. Thus, even small benefits that patients experience as a result of different treatments are noted as statistically significant. Therefore, those treatments become valid options for use in clinical practice, but they may not, in fact, be all that effective, as we will see in the next few paragraphs.
There are several problems with this so-called “evidence-based” medicine:
- The first problem is the fact that pharmaceutical companies control the publication of these studies, which is a well-documented reality. These companies can sponsor, or pay for, a dozen studies, in exchange for having the last word on whether these studies ever get published. In this way, a study that shows favorable results for a particular drug will never be overshadowed by another eleven studies which have negative outcomes, because the negative studies will never get published.
- The next problem is that conventional medicine and peer-reviewed medical journals only seem to respect and focus on the large, expensive, pharmaceutically-sponsored trials. The careful and thoughtful observations of dedicated practitioners and their clinical outcomes with patients are dismissed as “anecdotal evidence.” Yet it is just such anecdotal evidence that led to Louis Pasteur, MD’s, discovery of the rabies vaccine, or James Lind, MD’s, discovery of the fact that citrus fruit can cure scurvy. Dr. Lind did an experiment on twelve people with scurvy and found that cures only occurred in those to whom he gave citrus fruit. Unfortunately, his recommendations weren’t implemented for decades, during which time thousands of people died from scurvy. This private practitioner could have never afforded to do a large scale, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Only large pharmaceutical companies can afford to pay for this gold standard type of testing. What’s more, pharmaceutical companies would never pay for studies on treatments such as herbs and supplements, because herbs and supplements can’t be patented; therefore, no profits can be generated from them.
- Another problem with this evidence-based approach is that it focuses on large groups, rather than individuals. It seeks to find the common denominator among people, while ignoring their unique biochemical differences. For example, suppose a treatment works 100 percent of the time, but only on one or two people in a thousand within a particular study. Usually, with such results, the treatment would be completely dismissed as a statistical aberration; meaning, the results would be assumed to be due to chance, rather than an important finding that applies only to a certain segment of the population. On the other hand, in the clinical environment, some dedicated practitioners who decide to use the treatment might note positive results in their patients, and so would continue to offer it to those who meet specific criteria, even though the therapy would be considered disproved by the gold standard. All of the doctors featured in this book focus on the individual patient and eschew the one-size-fits-all approach.
- The last, and perhaps most unfortunate, result of the so-called evidence based approach is its attempt to factor out the influence of the practitioner when determining the effectiveness of certain treatments. In double-blind studies, both the patient and practitioner are “blind” to whether or not the patients, or the study subjects, are getting placebo (fake) or real treatments. The reason studies are conducted this way is to try to eliminate the effects that patients’ and practitioners’ expectations and beliefs might have on the outcome of the study. However, over the centuries, the greatest healers have been great healers precisely because of their ability to influence their patients’ expectations and beliefs. To eliminate this factor from consideration during studies is to ignore a potentially powerful healing force.
Without exception, due to their passion, dedication, intelligence and courage, the doctors portrayed in this book are all healers. I know some of them personally through our mutual membership in professional organizations and attendance at meetings, as well as through patient discussions. Others I’ve read about over the years in my quest to find a better way to treat my patients, as well as myself (during my own cancer ordeal). Still others were first introduced to me through the pages of this book. I consider them all to be intrepid fellow explorers, who are seeking to find help and comfort for their patients. Their patients are also fellow explorers, displaying even greater courage through their willingness to look for and find better, more humane ways to deal with the cruel disease that we call cancer.
Richard M. Linchitz, MD, Glen Cove, NY
Founder and Medical Director, Linchitz Medical Wellness, Glen Cove, NY
Chairman Integrative Medicine Consortium
Board of Directors, American College for Advancement in Medicine
Board of Directors and Secretary, International College of Integrative
Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board, International Association of IPT Physicians
Certified Trainer for IPT
Board of Directors, Best Answer for Cancer Foundation
Board Certified, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine, American Academy Anti-Aging Medicine, American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Certified Chelation Practitioner