Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Gerson Therapy - Effective Treatment or False Hope?

I first recall hearing about Gerson Therapy to treat cancer on a talk show.  I want to say that it was an episode of Oprah but I can't seem to find evidence that she had a show on this regimen once her show went national so I guess not.  Perhaps it was simply mentioned on her show once or perhaps my memory is faulty. It doesn't matter.  What does matter is that this treatment for cancer is still being considered by people in this day and age so I want to address it.

What is Gerson Therapy? It is a regimen that proponents claim cures cancer. The Gerson Institute website indicates that it is now being used to treat heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and several other conditions and illnesses. The therapy involves following a strict diet that includes drinking a lot of vegetable and fruit juices, taking supplements and having daily coffee enemas.

How is it supposed to work? The theory behind the treatment is the idea that cancer is caused by toxins that we encounter in our daily lives.  The enemas are to rid our bodies of these toxins while the fruit juices and supplements are supposed to provide nutrients to help our bodies fight off these toxins and their effects.

What is the attraction of this treatment as opposed to traditional medical treatments? This regimen is especially attractive to cancer patients who would normally be treated with chemotherapy or who have cancers that are not responding to normal treatment. Conspiracy theories that treatments like this work but drug companies don't want us to know about them are attractive to people especially if they are afraid of the usual treatments being ineffective or even fatal. It would also appeal to those who have been told that there is nothing that can be done to help them.

Is the therapy effective? There is no evidence that removing toxins is an effective treatment for cancer - or arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, etc.  There is no evidence that coffee enemas are effective at removing toxins, either.

Is the therapy dangerous?  If this treatment plan is followed instead of having conventional treatments it most certainly can be dangerous or even fatal!  Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments are more effective the sooner they are started.  If one waits for something like this to help them, they are wasting valuable time. Not only that but daily coffee enemas can result in dehydration which could be dangerous in a person who has other health issues.  So, yes. It is dangerous to follow this treatment instead of conventional treatments that are proven to be effective.

Conclusion.  Following a nutritious diet and drinking fruit and vegetable juices can be good for your health. This is not a substitute for medical treatments when they are warranted.  Your best options for beating cancer or any other serious illnesses will come from your doctors.  As with most things in life, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.  The same goes for treatments like this that are not backed up by scientific studies proving that they are effective.

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Information in this post came from some of the following sources:
The American Cancer Society
Quackwatch
Skeptic's Dictionary

Image by salmanahsan and obtained here

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