Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gerson Therapy: Where is the research?

(Time to get that horrid optical illusion off of the top of my blog.)

According to Charlotte Gerson, we have a cure for cancer, and we've had it for more than sixty years. And it's not chemotherapy.

The Gerson Therapy, invented by Max Gerson, is, in short, a very extreme, very strict, dietary regimen, that involves a lot (really a lot) of juicing, zero salt, all-organic, a bunch of supplements, nothing processed. And don't forget about the organic coffee enemas. But we're all adults here, so we're not going to overreact about people putting a tube in their asshole to cure cancer, are we? Cancer is a big deal, while a tube in the ass is really not.

But does it work? In the documentaries about it (1, 2) there are nice, convincing stories from real people about how wonderful it is. But any documentary about a thing is going to have nice convincing stories. The documentary about hitting yourself in the face with a hammer has some of the most convincing testimonials I've heard.

In fact, there are two things, regarding Gerson Therapy, that are as easy to find as they are unhelpful.

1). Testimonials from people who say that the therapy has cured a number of different maladies, including cancer. Any or all of these could be people who are paid to make blog comments and reviews and things like that. Think I'm being cynical? I've been to Elance. I've seen the listings.
2). Skeptical people who take a glance at the therapy and decide that it shouldn't work, because of A B and C, and that Max Gerson once maybe cheated on his wife, and there was once some other BS therapy that was debunked, so this is obviously wrong. Basically, the blah, blah, blah of someone who uses big words in their guessing.

What I wanted was studies. The scientific controlled experiments that I can pick apart at my leisure. After all, if you've got lots and lots of stories that this thing is vanishing tumors, I would think that the medical community would be eager to either verify the claims, or to show it as a sham. Whichever one may be true.

But, according to cancer.org:
"There have been no well-controlled studies published in the available medical literature that show the Gerson therapy is effective in treating cancer.

In a recent review of the medical literature, researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center identified 7 human studies of Gerson therapy that have been published or presented at medical conferences. None of them were randomized controlled studies."

Well, that frankly pisses me right off. I know I'm just being a cranky non-scientist. Someone that doesn't begin to understand the struggle of scientific research, and funding, and so on. But, this is a pretty big deal. Cancer is something that a third of us are looking forward to as we quickly age, and many of us are going to be doing the Gerson therapy, whether the scientific community has researched it or not. Because, reading testimonials, it seems to work, and because we've all heard horror stories about chemotherapy.

Just to make myself clear, I'm not saying that we (we the people) ought to do the Gerson Therapy. I'm saying that it will happen. If it were proven to be more effective than medical treatments, it would be revolutionary. If it were proven to be false, then there would at least be data present to help the cancer victim make their choice.

Would I do it? Well, if I found that I had cancer, and I had more than a year projected to live, I would probably juice some vegetables and periodically stick a tube in my butt for a month, sure. See what happens. Because, in my heart of hearts, as much as cancer might scare me, chemotherapy scares me a little bit more.

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