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An open letter to practitioners of Oncology

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Aug 17, 2011

Dear Oncology Practitioner:

Let’s lay down the weapons, and take up a flashlight instead. Let’s shine the light on whether cutting, burning, and poisoning really work. Let’s care about the human body’s sanctity, and the need we have for our immune system for the rest of our lives, more than we care about debate, defensiveness, and who’s right.

Let’s walk through a cancer ward and look, really look, at the patients. Burned, scarred, mutilated, missing their breasts or their digestive system, bald, jaundiced, crumbling bones, humbled to the depths, broken.

I’ve read about the high rate of burnout in your profession. It must be a difficult and dismal job.

The rancor and vitriolic debate over drugs versus non-toxic protocols: is it in the interest of public health? Can’t we open up to the possibility that diet plays a massive role not only in whether we get cancer in the first place, but in how we eliminate it and return to health?

It’s not a “quack” concept. It’s logical, grounded in tradition and science, and you will get comfortable with it only if you truly study it. That will involve reading books not available in medical school coursework.

I plead with you to stop telling your patients to drink Ensure and McDonald’s milkshakes. I’m asking you to consider the wisdom of telling them it doesn’t matter what they eat.

(How would your car run if you poured a McDonald’s milkshake in it?)

Will you read Joel Fuhrman’s seminal book Eat to Live, and then come talk to me about whether you can really say that diet makes no difference? Please take the time to read the literature documenting powerful things outside your medical education, that can make a profound difference in your patients’ lives.

Be prepared to be blown away by Dr. Fuhrman’s synthesis of hundreds of studies. They add up, he says, to more evidence that a plant-based diet prevents cancer, than we have evidence that smoking causes lung cancer. The evidence has become utterly voluminous, and it’s unconscionable to tell your patients their diet does not matter.

After you learn something about this huge body of literature and evidence and practices, please take a little time to teach your patients, because they will do what you say. Most of them hang their lives on the words that come out of your mouth.

Please lay down the weapon of insisting that until massive large-scale research studies are done, you won’t listen. Be part of ascertaining how we can accomplish those studies, since some vastly powerful industries will oppose it, and no industry has any financial interest in funding it.

Those who venture outside of Big Pharma’s methods are toiling on behalf of their patients, making very little money, without access to the means to undertake and publish double-blinded, placebo-controlled, longitudinal, peer-review-journal-published studies.

Few are “preying on the desperate.” Few are “quacks.” Like you, they want nothing more than to see people recover from cancer.

Instead of completely dismissing the idea, for instance, of Max Gerson’s or Ann Wigmore’s that drinking many green juices and carrot juices daily, and opening up the release mechanisms of organs of elimination, can starve out cancer and jump-start sluggish immune function—will you truly open your eyes to the thousands of living cancer survivors you can find all over the internet and in some studies who employed methods such as these?

Please stop insisting that because someone lived, after chemotherapy and radiation, that they were “cured” by those treatments. (And, fair enough, natural practitioners cannot claim the same! But their facilities are not war zones full of the walking wounded who’ve been crushed by the “cure.” So we may as well look carefully at what they’re doing rather than being haughty and dismissive.)

The statistics for your methods are disheartening. The survival rate for those who undergo the burning and poisoning methods, are not higher than the survival rates for those who do nothing. Especially when we look at the numbers games played with the statistics. And the chemo/radiation patient is then at massively higher risk of the cancer returning—having been treated with carcinogenic chemicals and radioactive burning waves. And our friends and family, the cancer patients, are wide open to any number of other health problems occurring because of the lethal damage done to them, body and spirit.

Please envision with me a world where everyone’s main goal is to find the truth, whatever its source. Maybe there is a limited place for chemotherapy—maybe the less toxic, more targeted, methods such as IPT (Insulin Potentiation Therapy) can be more effective, combined with preventative nutritional and supplementation strategies to change and heal malfunctioning cell metabolism and immune systems.

I believe we’ll start to solve the cancer epidemic only when the practitioners demand more from the cancer industry. I’m hoping that we can come together for the sake of the millions currently being treated for cancer and millions more in the future.

—Robyn Openshaw

Posted in: Nutrition, Research

84 thoughts on “An open letter to practitioners of Oncology”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    From one mother to another; just one look at you should be enough to know you’re doing something right. You look fantastic!

    I need to commit myself and my young family to a higher level of health. No more milkshakes, not even one!

    My third child at 7 months was diagnosed with stage four, Neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer. It started in her lower spine and wrapped around it, forming a dumbbell tumor in her abdomen the size of a grapefruit. The short end of the story, after 8 rounds of chemo, she’s now 20 months and in partial remission. The tumor, 90% shrunk, still remains because it can’t be resected due to its location.

    Our pediatric oncologists have been remarkable, but each time I’ve asked what kind of measures I can take with her diet to keep that still existing tumor at bay, to my surprise, they’ve all said it doesn’t matter what she eats as long as she’s eating. In my heart, this just doesn’t feel right, on the other hand, hearing this from our beloved doctors, I admit, I’ve taken a sigh of relief thinking it’s just one less thing I have to worry about. Reading your letter, well, I completely connected to what you wrote. I’m inspired to do what I know is right and true. I’m following that inner voice I’ve learned to trust, regardless of what our doctors have said.

    Thank you for your work and positive force to the cause. Oh, by the way, I found you back in February and bought the blender you have. My toddler LOVES sharing green smoothies with Mommy! 😉

  2. Anonymous says:

    i’m beginning to think that this cancer thing is so devastating to patients and their families that they feel as tho they simply can’t allow anything else into their fragile psyches except what the oh-so-holy docs tell them. i find that more often than not, they’re simply not ready to hear what you have to say if it contradicts in any way.

    this is a whole ‘nother thing going on… i’m watching it happen now to my cousin’s husband. i simply can’t believe the closing of the minds to anything else.

    someone should do a socio/psych study on this phenomenon… cuz it’s a pattern that seems all too common. by the time patients/families are really willing and able to listen, it’s usually too late. tragic…

    my brother and sister-in-law were the same way when he was battling melanoma. there was simply NO talking to them about anything that contradicted the medical docs… and my brother questioned… everything!! yet… trying to ask him to consider any other ideas or approaches, even just complementary ones… was like talking to a wall.

    ya know… it’s like they’re hypnotized or something.

    do y’all know patients/families like that? were/are you like that? could anyone have penetrated your focus at first? did anyone try? or were you so flipped out that you don’t even remember? is it possible that someone did try, but you simply couldn’t process it on any level then?

    seems to me (give this really stubborn mindset)it does more harm than good to try and tell people something that so challenges what they’ve been told (and desperately wanna believe!!) or what they’re doing … at least *at certain – probably critical – stages of the process*… what do you think?

    this appears to me to be a common obstacle to moving away from the toxic and barbaric treatments cancer patients endure. Robyn described it well… and i’m also extremely angry at this bizarro process and how common it seems to be.

    i KNOW it was the horrendous treatments my brother endured that actually killed him. yet, this brilliant, highly educated person wasn’t willing to even *try* any of the ideas we offered… perfectly painless green juices and smoothies posing NO risk at all… it’s a mystery to me HOW these docs turned my normally intelligent brother who questioned everything into their guinea pig…

  3. Dear Robyn,

    Thank you for your vision and passion to get the words out there about the conventional medical treatment that’s so harmful to the immune system. I have to fight back tears as the comments herein reminded me of what my father went through when he was undergoing chemo as a result of his lung cancer. His cancer was in remission for 7 years following the first chemotherapy before it resurfaced and all my family opted for another round of chemo, for which he was so weakened he died a few months later. I also watched two of my girlfriends undergo chemo for breast cancer and felt powerless because they bought into the doctors’ words. What breaks my heart is my niece is currently undergoing chemo and they’re recommending high protein (more meat ), low-fat food with no sprouts or raw vegetables. I need wisdom to break news like this with my family while they’re having a challenging time dealing with the emotional stress. Any word of wisdom anyone?

  4. I am a caregiver/driver for my landlady who has lung cancer, it has spread to her bones. Doctors say the lung cancer is in remission. She is on oxygen almost 24/7. I am a nutritonist. I told her how food can help her. She has had radiation and is continuing to have chemo a few times a month. She is doing acupuncture, sound therapy, etc. BUt the most poweful tool is not in her grasp………….food, green drinks, no sugar. She is getting weaker, has no stamina because of her meat and potatoes, and dessert food plan. She has a PHd in marriage and family therapy but she is under a rock about nutrition and puts me down at every mention of helping herself.

    She has painful shingles, a side affect from the chemo. I just do my job and keep quiet, very hard when I am very passionate about helping others.

    I was diagnosed with a microadinoma of the pituitary when I was 27. I NEVER claimed that tumor. Every waking day I had it I said it was not welcome in my body. I cured my self by daily detoxing, exercising, swimming, steam, sauna, jacuzzi eating as well I knew how and taking good supplements. I later went to nutrition school after I was cured. THe cure took 20 years.

    I was very hostile to the neurosurgeons who wanted to cut me open on several occasions. I have met men and woman who had the same tumor as myself and they had it cut out twice. Proof enough to leave well enough alone. Fortunately it was not malignant.

    There was no interenet when I was diagnosed, I had to spend hours in medical libraries. Then I had an endocrinologist that treated me like I was a moron. Talking about my case outside the door not to my face. I fired his ass right away. I needed more respect than a doctor with the bedside manner of a box of doorknobs. Thankful and very greatful my GYN doctor took over my case for the duration.

    Also there were no MRIs in the 70’s, I had very, very powerful tomagrams of my skull a few times. Exposing me to lots of radiation.

    Later on I had CT skans and MRI’s. It was so wonderful to see my last MRI with no tumor.

    A key component in healing yourself is you CANNOT claim the illness. If you claim it you HAVE it. The words themself, “I have …….. “are so powerful. It’s the law of attraction. Think of the energy of these words, “I am healing myself of ……………… “Much more positive. At least the universe knows what you want.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I read this blog post and while I agree that having a diet with more vegetables and less processed foods is good for you and has a high correlation to good health, I didn’t like the post at all. I think this post typifies the typical problem with many blogs: lots of emotional rhetoric, one-sided views, and little evidence to back up any of the claims.

    She said: “stop telling your patients to drink Ensure and McDonald’s milkshakes. I’m asking you to consider the wisdom of telling them it doesn’t matter what they eat.” What serious medical doctor would say that diet doesn’t matter as she seems to imply they are saying? I think that is a ridiculous and manipulative statement.

    I think her “letter” is pretty unfair to the oncology and even medical professions. Oncologists are usually called in once people have a cancer diagnosis already. Studies have shown there’s not a lot diet can do once the person already has cancer for most types of cancer.

    It’s also a little hard to take her seriously as a neutral third party when she is denouncing some cancer treatment methods because of potential conflict of interest (drug companies funding scientific studies) while she herself has an interest in selling her books and blenders, and worst of all, doesn’t back up any of her arguments with any sources other than a vague reference to an entire book (which she sells and gets a commission for). And this one book she does reference, while re-stating the benefits of veggies over meats (which no oncologist I know would dispute), does not support her main argument that eating greens will starve out cancer!

    She then cites the Gerson diet as a method of starving cancer that oncologists shouldn’t ignore and backs it up with anecdotal evidence of “thousands of living cancer survivors you can find all over the internet”, not based on any real studies. There are several good scientific studies published in major peer-reviewed journals that have come to the opposite conclusion, showing that Gerson is completely ineffective:

    Austin S, Dale EB, DeKadt S. Long-term follow-up of cancer patients using Contreras, Hoxsey and Gerson therapies. Journal of Naturopathic Medicine 5(1):74-76, 1994.


    “The Gerson therapy uses a special diet, supplements and also coffee enemas to detoxify and stimulate the body’s metabolism. Proponents of the Gerson therapy have made claims that it is an effective treatment for cancer and other illnesses, through balancing the levels of potassium and sodium in the body, removal of toxins and regeneration of liver function and also improving overall nutritional status. No substantial evidence exists in the scientific literature to support the view that the Gerson therapy is an effective alternative therapy for cancer. Some evidence exists to suggest that elements of the therapy (coffee enemas in particular) are potentially dangerous if used excessively. In addition to this the excessive demands of time, money and other resources on the patient undergoing the therapy may be extreme. In light of a recent moderately positive case review however, it appears further research to assess the efficacy of this regime may be warranted. ”

    American Cancer Society. Unproven methods of cancer management: Greek Cancer Cure. CA–A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 40:368-371, 1990.


    “The American Cancer Society has found no evidence that the Gerson Method results in objective benefit in the treatment of cancer in human beings. Lacking such evidence, the American Cancer Society strongly urges individuals with cancer not to seek treatment with the Gerson Method”.

    I would go break down her arguments further, but it’s not even worth my time.

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      I don’t make a commission on Fuhrman’s book. There are studies of the Gerson protocol, although one of their books I just read goes into great detail about the way the AMA refused to allow his finding to be published, and then told people he refused to publish. His first publication was a study of 50 of the “incurables” he was sent whom his treatment did cure. I do not believe the Gerson method solves all problems; I believe it has great promise and that (from reading transcripts of lectures and events where many cured “terminal” patients attended and spoke) it has not gotten much besides scorn and dismissiveness from the medical community.

      Obviously a blog entry isn’t the place to catalogue evidence. I am researching it and will go into detail in the result of that research. Quotes by the medical professional don’t prove anything. I have already written about how more and larger-scale studies need to be done. Not just for Gerson, but for the efficacy of diet and cancer in general. I am looking into what is being done by various scientists.

      Meantime, Mike and others who wish to place their faith in current medical protocols certainly may do so. They won’t be fighting the uphill battle of going against the mainstream.

  6. Anonymous says:

    We cannot decide someone’s path of life or death. Unless, it is our child where we have some freedom, I’m afraid, as much as it hurts, this is not what we ought to do. My best friend who as a well known and respected Homeopath helped thousands of patients to overcome many illnesses, among them cancer, became a patient herself, she would not listen to anyone. I subtly offered her different approaches (green smoothies, EFT) she would not have it, wouldn’t even listen to it. I saw her smoking just a month before she died. We all have to walk alone in this and only if we are open to it, it will help us to heal. I have learned many times, that I can only suggest another way-and leave it up to the person to choose. This hurts if it is a loved one, but this is how it is. All you can do is bless them and be there, just in case they see what you see.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The best proof is your own. I have experimented on myself many times over the years, finding what works and what doesn’t, and have done so with BOTH sides of the fence medical/naturopathic. All that Robyn is doing here is asking the docs to try all the options, especially the simple, and fairly inexpensive ones. Her mission has been to culminate resources into a central location. Most of us have had to find it piecemeal over years of searching and researching…and many had to do it before the ease of the internet even existed. She is providing a much needed service. Especially for those that need to take action quickly, and desperately need a crash course.

    All we’re trying to get at, is once certain death is on the table, what does one have to lose to try something, anything different. It seems like every other week there’s a 5K to raise more money for cancer research. The millions and millions of dollars we have poured into cancer foundations and research is obscene! And still nothing to show for it. At what point do we say when?! At what point do we say “clearly this isn’t getting us anywhere signifigant, let’s scrap this and try something entirely new…or look to thousands of years of passed down accumulated medical knowledge to see if they had any insight on the matter.”. Some accumulated knowledge was crap admittedly, but western medicine went to extremes when it decided to throw out the baby with the bath water.

    The first time I really had a run in with the medical community was when I had a tubal pregnancy…my first pregnancy. It wasn’t obvious that that was what it was, because I had a normal period about a week or so before I went into the ER with horrible, horrible leg cramping. However, once my body started to adjust to the leg pain a bit, and I could think more clearly, I started to notice that the leg cramping seemed to coincide with a little menstrual cramping on my left side. I told this to the doc and nurses. Every medical person completely and utterly discounted this….EVERY ONE OF THEM! Then after hours, and hours, and hours, and hours of testing in every other direction, they finally did a papsmear and pregnancy test. Low and behold, I was right. I was pregnant, but it was stuck in my tube and growing. And the only way my body could send out the alarm in full force, was through extremely painful leg cramps with a small side of menstral cramping.

    All I’m saying is that there should be a balance between the medical and holistic. That each has their purpose and function, and that any doctor’s training is incomplete without both. I’m saying that you know your body better than anyone else, and that doctors of all walks should trust that first and foremost. Then follow with common sense treatments. There’s no reason to use nukes on a pesky fly, when a simple fly swatter will do, and do so without endangering your life in the process. It’s overkill….literally! It works in the other direction too. If I’m in an accident and severely injured, I don’t want you giving me essential oils and a few supplements…I want surgery and pain killers..STAT!!

    Both are important and both have their places. It’s just sad that in this age of science, technology, and enlightenment, the two are still not working together for the betterment and welfare of mankind. It just doesn’t make any sense. These are educated and intelligent people. The intensity of the prejudice isn’t normal. It’s the kind of intensity you find among zealots. It just doesn’t make any sense in this context.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is a wonderful letter. I sincerely hope that there are doctors out there who are willing to do as you ask. Keep up the great work Robyn!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Brittney made a comment about cancer and heart associations receiving all this money for research and not seeing anything happen with it. I have to agree with Kevin Trudeau on this subject, they don’t want to cure anything because if they did, there would be no need for a cancer association and many would lose jobs. For many people that is their source of income. I hate for anyone to lose a job but that falls in the category of the tough but needed and right changes to make. Lets spend the money on educating people about eating right and growing their own foods.

  10. I love all the comments! And I love the research you are doing. I completely believe that there is a natural way to heal. My husband doesn’t agree with me. I recently asked him, “If chemo and radiation work so well, why are most of the we know who have done it, dead?”

  11. Anonymous says:

    While i have no doubt that Robyn’s Letter is very sincere and heartfelt , her Understanding of this situation is still very Naive. She has made the common mistake that Many people in her position make of Assuming that most Medical Doctors and Nurses are in their profession to sincerely help people and get them well. NOTHING could be further from reality.

    There is No doubt whatsoever that by far most Medical Drs chose that profession for one thing and one thing Only, MONEY. well and ego too . If the Medical Profession paid an Avg Salary, 90 % of those in Medicine would never have chosen it .

    We could all write a 1,000 letters just like Robyns to every Medical Dr. in America and it wouldnt make any difference on any level. These men and women in the white Lab coats that we call Doctors have one intent , Making Tons of MONEY.

    They make BILLIONS of dollars treating People with mutilating gruesome surgery and deadly chemotherapy for Cancer and they are NEVER going to give that up as long as it pays for their New Mercedes cars and Million dollar Mansions on the beach.

    Their motives from the start are fatally flawed and have No Moral basis whatsoever. Their Only interest in the Human Body is how they can make Massive incomes from abusing and using it

    This information about Healthy Living with an Organic raw vegan diet is now EVERYWHERE !!!! sooo easy to find in Sites, blogs, books, dvds, magazines etc. and still Medical Doctors refuse to even investigate any of this , because they know instinctively that if it works, they lose a ton of MONEY and come hell or high water they will Never let go of their rich lavish lifestyle .

    that program of Green Smoothies for Cancer patients aint gonna pay for their brand new Porsche sports car that they crave . If Medical Doctors entered Medicine with an honest sincere desire to help get people well than Letters like this would be life changing for them.

    But sorry folks, its Never going to happen due to their entire focus isnt where yours is . practicing Medicine has always been about MONEY and it always will

  12. Anonymous says:

    In fact research a very popular Dr. Lorraine Day from CA, she is a Medical Dr. who refused Chemotherapy and surgery for her Breast Cancer because she knew from being a Dr. that its barbaric deadly treatment and shed prob die if she went that way.

    So instead she Retired from practicing Medicine and completely healed herself using a Mostly organic Raw Vegan Diet, light exercise, drinking alot of Water, Fresh Pure Air and emotional poise and balance. She sells dvds telling her full story on all this

    The American Medical Association has Publicly called her a Quack and a Demented Nutcase and has advised that everyone ignore her teachings as they are Dangerous . All any Dr. has to do is read her story and contact her and they can understand all this because its so easy !

    Obviously Most Drs in CA know her story and her quite well and they couldnt care less and the Medical Killing continues , in Fact Most Drs HATE and Despise Dr. Day because they think of her as a direct threat to their being so wealthy

    Robyn i greatly admire and respect you and you are helping soooo many avg people out here, thank you for that. But if the Medical Doctors in America simply Refuse to listen to someone like Dr. Day, and have Zero interest in her work , they certainly will Never listen to you or i or care about 1 word you have to say.

    Forget about the Drs , most of them are so deeply brainwashed they will Never ever care what you have to say, instead keep focusing on the common People and teaching them , that is where your power is !

  13. Anonymous says:

    My mother is in stage 4 cancer. She has scarring of the bone marrow and no longer can produce red blood cells.Ironically, the doctors put her on Hydria because her platelets were too high and this is the side effect after 15 years on this medicine. They failed to mention this to her. She is the kindest most giving person I have ever known. She is Hungarian and the sole survivor, Her entire family perished in the Holocaust. She does not deserve to die like this. I desperately tried to give her greens and proper nutritious foods. My sister takes her to the doctor while i take care of all her foods. Both my sister and mother agreed to try an experimental drug which is killing my beautiful mother. The greens did not help because her body is so full of toxins. I am so desperate to save her life if any one knows of a very non invasive way to release toxins from a very weak person please let me kow-I will not give up-thank you -susan

  14. Hey,honey just wanted to make sure you find what your mother needs to get well.Here’s a website for you to check out :www.herbdoc.com.His metrhods are absolutely non-invasive and they work.But we are the ones who make them work aside from the ultimate healer -God.Will be praying for you.

  15. Susan, I just wanted to add a phone # you can reach his herbal pharmacy at:800-437-2362.Just to let you know ,nobody that answers that phoneline will ever make false claims that these products are goimg to cure anyone [like doctors seem to do ].Dr. Richard Schultze who makes these herbal teas,formulae,etc. and used them to cure his diseased ,deformed heart had a clinic in CA that was shut down by the FDA because he was actually helping people cure themselves of fatal illnesses like your mother’s.That’s why they can’t say anything llike that on the phone otherwise they’ll get in trouble.But Dr. Schultze does tour in the US and the UK lecturing – that’s still pretty powerfull-getting that knowledge out there.Now we must do something with it.Hope you do check this out and that this reached you on time.

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