What made you decide to opt for a natural, carrots-based approach to healing your cancer?
ANN: I had time to think! I was diagnosed with colon cancer in June, 2012. Five days later the surgeon took out 12 inches of my colon and infiltrated muscle and believed he’d removed all the cancer. Nevetheless, he referred me to an oncologist and he and she both recommended chemo, although they said the recommendation was “controversial.” (When doctors say a treatment is “controversial,” we should realize other medical professionals somewhere recommend against it and find out why.) I was willing to do the chemo, no questions asked–but then it couldn’t be started on time because my surgical wound got infected. That gave me time to read up on the so-called side effects of the chemo and realize I wasn’t willing to take its risks.
Six months later, a CT showed no more cancer in the colon, but revealed two fast-growing tumors between my lungs. The oncologist recommended the same chemo as before, but she said it wouldn’t cure me, only extend my life by 20 months. (We need to realize these numbers oncologists throw at us with apparent certainty are often just guesses.)
Before the original cancer I’d been very sick and very anemic. I lay in bed, hardly able to walk, just counting time passing by, enjoying nothing. An extremely common effect of the proposed chemo was anemia. I wasn’t willing to give up feeling good for six months more of anemia to (maybe) gain twenty extra months of life.
You made a very bold and unconventional choice. What kind of pressure, if any, did you receive from doctors, relatives, and friends to go the conventional route?
ANN: It helps to be old! I could tell relatives and friends had doubts about my decision, but I was firm about it and they realized they couldn’t sway me. Young people who want to make unconventional choices get a lot more pressure, I’m sure.
The biggest pressure to do chemo came from the surgeon after the surgery. We e-mailed back and forth, me arguing that it didn’t make sense to fight cancer by destroying my immune system, as chemo does; and his saying chemo works, as it sometimes does. Finally I told him that it didn’t really matter to me if chemo worked or not, I’d been so sick and joyless from the anemia before my surgery that I just couldn’t bear to make myself sick that way again. Once I explained the choice in terms of emotions, instead of arguing against conventional treatment, he became very sympathetic. Appealing from weakness can be a lot more effective than arguing from strength! I’d advise younger people who have decided against chemo or radiation to take that route with family and friends if there’s no other way.
I should mention, though, that people can do chemo and also drink carrot juice, and studies have shown that the carrot juice enhances the effect of the chemo.
What kind of skepticism do you face now that the book is in print and being widely read?
ANN: Lucky for me, the skeptics don’t bother to write to me. Rather I hear from cancer patients who have given up on orthodox treatments, often because their doctors say those won’t work any longer. I also hear from people around the world who can’t afford conventional treatments, but who can afford to buy carrots. Many patients who are drinking carrot juice to treat their cancer meet total incredulity from their doctors, who sometimes threaten abandon them if they don’t take chemo right away.
When doctors ridicule carrot power, it might help to ask them how many hours of nutrition classes were included in his or her medical education. Most M.D.’s in the U.S. have had fewer than 23 hours devoted to nutrition, and lots are uncomfortable discussing the subject.
What advice would you offer to somebody who was perched on the fence between going the Western/conventional approach vs. an alternative/holistic approach such as juicing carrots?
ANN: Most people are too scared of cancer to take time to think. They want to be safe from it at any cost, so they don’t “read the fine print”–and their doctors gloss over the damages that result from conventional treatments. These aren’t always terrible, but even when they work, they often cause a cancer recurrence months or years later. Also, they often kill people, especially older people, by wrecking their immune systems and making them prey to opportunistic infections. I am not against conventional treatment in every case. Sometimes it may be a necessary measure to stop a cancer that is blocking an essential organ or causing excruciating pain.
I wrote Curing Cancer with Carrots not only to explain why that cure can work, but to give people accurate information and the tools to do their own research to evaluate their particular situations. When I was diagnosed I read lots of books written for cancer patients, but didn’t find any that helped me do that stock-taking, or any that talked about how to lower the financial costs of cancer. I wrote the book to supply that need.
Would you recommend any other forms of alternative treatment to cancer patients, in addition to carrots?
ANN: I’ve been reading about the powers of curcumin and the studies on it by Dr. Bharat Agarwal. Pineapple and green tea together are reported to be effective. However, new studies show that too many antioxidants accelerate cancer. They benefit cancer cells more than healthy cells, take stress off the cancerous ones and make it easier for them to metastasize. So I advocate using only one alternative treatment at a time since they may work to cancel each other out or improve the health of cancer cells.
What is life like being in remission? How has it changed your day-to-day outlook and perspective?
ANN: Before I knew I was cured of the metastasis, when I felt my future was uncertain and possibly short, I became more deeply aware of the value of my life, and what friends meant to me. I became much less concerned with trivial things, minor annoyances, and my fears. I saw the big picture better. I resolved not to focus my life on cancer. I appreciated every day. Everybody dies and I will die, but I feel that I defeat death by being the most alive, most caring person I can be. So now, amazingly, I’m alive and well when the doctors predicted I’d be dead.
Some saint once advised, “Live as if you’re already in heaven.” Maybe when one gives up fear, one is already in heaven.
What kinds of stories have you been hearing from others who have used the carrot-based approach to treating their cancer?
ANN: I’ve heard from people who’ve used carrots to eliminated cancers of the colon, esophagus, lungs, liver, rectum, and brain, among others. Most say they started to feel better–stronger, with less pain–within two or three days of starting carrot juice. It took some just weeks to be cured, others, many months. Their reports are in the book.
I also hear from people for whom carrots haven’t worked. Maybe for them some other natural treatment will be more effective. The best time to start carrot juicing as a cure is immediately. As cancers develop, they evolve strategies for survival that can be very hard to defeat, and they can weaken the body so much that nothing can stop them. Yet one woman whose story is in the book was saved just by carrot juice when her husband gave her sips of it as she was dying and friends and family were planning her funeral.
Explain to us how the carrot-based treatment approach works inside the body.
ANN: This is a very complicated and not yet fully explored subject.
What we do know is that carrots are anti-inflammatory (very helpful against arthritis and joint pain, as well as against cancer). Cancer thrives on inflammation, which helps it grow and metastasize. Carrots put out the fire.
Another powerful factor is their anti-cancer chemical, falcarinol. Falcarinol is a natural pesticide the carrot produces to defend its root against mold and fungi in the soil. In nutritional research in England, when mice were injected with carcinogens, those which had falcarinol or carrots added to their chow developed one third fewer large tumors than controls who just ate their regular chow. (Mice supplemented with betacarotene only got the same number of large tumors as the controls: in these experiments, betacarotene had no effect on cancer.)
People drinking five cups (1.2 liters) of carrot juice a day, a little over a quart, are getting the human equivalent of three times the carrot supplementation given the mice in the English experiments.
What tips would you give to those who have embraced your alternative approach to treating their cancer but are going through the slow, day-by-day process of awaiting tangible results?
ANN: Everybody needs an approach that brings out the best in their own character. Basically, I spent as little time as possible thinking about the cancer and my improvement. I left it all in the hands of God or Fate to decide how long my life should be. I drank carrot juice with total dedication, with some hope, but no expectation. I recognized that my life would have a limit, early or later, and just focussed on enjoying every day–sun, air, friends, love, and doing the things that have always made me happy. Just as important, I avoided as best I could the people and things that made me unhappy.
Scans are necessary to measure progress, and if after six to eight weeks there’s no improvement with carrots, it is probably time to try something else. But I would recommend not worrying about a search for something else ahead of getting scan results, because worrying fuels metastasis and also makes cancer the center of one’s life.
Do you think chemotherapy and radiation will always dominate human beings’ approach to taking on cancer or do you think a day will come when we’ll collectively advance toward more natural routes?
ANN: I think that natural treatments will get funding and more research when we as a people demand that. As long as we are satisfied with pharmaceuticals and their ever-higher prices and profits, as long as we accept that a treatment has to come with pain, there’s no incentive in the health care system for change.
Do you have any advice for people who are on the Internet picking through all the Western-vs.-alternative cancer debating? What’s an intelligent mindset to embrace? How does one cut through all the noise of each side saying the other is not only wrong, but dangerous?
ANN: I try to read the fine print. Where is the evidence that X, Y, or Z really works? With the conventional treatments, there are statistics–often skewed but still giving a rough idea of their risks versus benefits. With natural treatments, I look for university laboratory studies. One can read a wretched litany of “There is no proof” that this or that work in humans, but when people look up specific cancers by name on the internet, coupled with the name of a vegetable, fruit or spice, they’ll get very encouraging information from serious researchers. Chemotherapy treatments and the cost to recover from them make an enormous amount of money for hospitals and drug companies. When doctors are utterly opposed to natural treatments, one shouldn’t forget that chemotherapy is their bread and butter and gives them a bias. When natural treatments have exorbitant price tags, be suspicious: before you buy, try to find some experimental studies showing that, at least in animals, they’ve been effective.
Any parting advice for those who are battling cancer, either personally or in their families?
ANN: Sometimes it’s possible to win against cancer. Sometimes it’s not. The sorrow and anguish we feel because of cancer has its root in the fact that we love someone we may lose. As we all inevitably go away from each other, we can come closer. We shouldn’t lose the opportunities to talk, to share, to express love. A friend of mine, reflecting on the evanescence of life, once told me, “Don’t bring flowers to my funeral. Bring me flowers now!”
Thanks you for the great interview, Ann! Can’t wait to read your book!
To grab a copy of Curing Cancer with Carrots, go here.
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- An Interview with Ann Cameron ~ Author of Curing Cancer with Carrots - November 3, 2015