1. Why did you write Hope Never Dies?
Answer: I remember, distinctly, when my father died of cancer in March, 1996, his doctor said – “We look at your father’s situation as terminal.” Shocking, devastating words. I felt helpless. My father died 6 weeks later. As time went on, I wondered why some people “beat the odds” and lived many years past their dire prognosis. My curiosity ultimately led me to attend over 20 cancer conferences nationwide. I wanted to learn if there were safe-effective, evidence-based medical options that could help save lives, extend lives and enhance quality of life beyond the statistical norms expressed by conventional-mainstream medicine.
I wrote Hope Never Dies to inform people that there is “real hope” and proven therapeutic options, including “out of the conventional-medical toolbox therapies”, that can help save the lives of cancer patients, despite late-stage and terminal cancer prognoses. If the many years of work and research I have devoted to writing and developing Hope Never Dies can save and impact just one life, the culmination of my extensive research will have been worthwhile. It is, however, my personal aspiration that this book will bring guidance, courage and real hope to many cancer patients and their loved ones, who feel inextricably trapped in a hopeless quagmire.
2. Are there safe and effective cancer treatments that are not part of the conventional standard of care (i.e., chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery)?
Answer: Yes, unequivocally, there are many types of safe, effective integrative and alternative cancer treatments and therapies.
3. Is there real tangible evidence to support the actual effectiveness of non-standard-of-care treatments and therapies?
Answer: Yes! There are thousands of epidemiological studies, observational studies, case reports and significant patient-centric clinical evidence supporting the fact, or which suggest strongly, that certain integrative and alternative therapies can be very effective in supporting the immune system and directly fighting cancer, cytotoxically.
4. Should all cancer patients implement the same types of treatments and therapies?
Answer: Absolutely not. Everyone is an individual and individuals do not necessarily correlate to mass statistics. Even the same types of cancer may manifest different genetic mutations and behave differently; therefore, different therapies need to be implemented. Also, other important biological and internal factors can influence the course of one’s cancer, and they may vary significantly, even when the patients have the same type and/or stage of cancer. The customization and tailoring of cancer treatment strategies, based upon objective criteria, is critical to optimize successful outcomes.
5. If integrative and alternative treatments are so successful, why aren’t they used in conventional cancer protocols?
Answer: Good question. Conventional and mainstream medical practitioners are not trained or educated about integrative and alternative therapies. Medical treatments generally include the prescribing of pharmaceutical drugs, and standard of care practices (chemo, radiation, surgery, and sometimes a few other modalities). In most cases, doctors will only recommend healing agents, like drugs, and/or therapies, if they are approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). There are, however, many therapies of a complementary and/or alternative nature, that are safe and effective, but not approved by the FDA.
6. Why are certain integrative or alternative healing agents not approved by the FDA?
Answer: Because they are not pharmaceutical drugs. Obtaining approval from the FDA involves a long, protracted, expensive process. It can take 10 to 15 years to obtain approval, including the expenditure of approximately $2.5 billion (yes, I said billion) per drug approval, according to the Tufts University Medical School – Study of Drug Development (November 18, 2014). For the most part, non-drugs cannot be patented, and no one is going to spend enormous sums of money, except pharmaceutical conglomerates, if they cannot obtain a commercially viable patent to protect their financial investment. Unfortunately, even if certain (non-drug) integrative or alternative therapies are proven to be safe and effective by well-designed studies, most doctors will not recommend them, because they are not supported by FDA Phase-3 Studies, also known as the “gold standard.”
7. Does a Stage 4 or Terminal Cancer prognosis mean that you will die from my cancer?
Answer: No, it is not a foregone conclusion that you will die from cancer. Of course, there are no guarantees, but there are many cancer patients whom are alive and thriving many years later, after receiving a late-stage and terminal cancer prognosis. I have personally talked to and met hundreds of them. Remember: Everyone is an individual. Many factors innate to the individual, coupled with progressive and comprehensive, multi-faceted integrative healthcare protocols, have contributed to wonderful outcomes. Hope Never Dies chronicles 20 such people, most of whom are enjoying life 10+ years post-prognosis, and that is just a microcosm of thousands who are thriving despite Stage 4 and terminal prognoses.
8. I have heard that many so-called integrative and alternative cancer treatments are dangerous and practiced by quacks. Is this true?
Answer: In every profession, including medicine, there are charlatans who engage in fraudulent and insidious behavior by taking advantage of people’s fears and vulnerabilities. Therefore, it is critical to find knowledgeable, reputable healthcare practitioners (or find an expert to help with this research), who provide safe, effective, evidence-based, integrative and alternative cancer treatments so that you are not the subject of ineffective and useless treatments. In part two of Hope Never Dies, I conducted extensive interviews with five renowned and iconic healthcare practitioners who expand the toolbox of conventional cancer treatments and therapies with innovative, efficacious, safe, evidence-based protocols.
9. Can specific types of food, exercise, supplements, stress reduction, social support and other similar health-oriented practices and treatment strategies help support the immune system and fight cancer?
Answer: Yes, without any doubt. There are highly sophisticated experts, i.e., doctors, scientists, researchers and others, with deep-specialized training and significant clinical experience, who can craft personalized, effective strategies regarding these common-sense therapies. Again, beware of unknowledgeable practitioners who do not have sophisticated science-based expertise. Keep in mind: The word “alternative” cancer treatments can mean many different things. Protocols, of any kind, need to be prescribed based upon objective blood tests, markers and meaningful diagnostic criteria, and then tailored specifically to the individual. Generic, one-size-fits-all strategies are often ineffective. Personalized, precision based strategies engender superior outcomes.
10. Is the research ever-changing or are integrative and alternative cancer treatments the same as they were 10 years ago?
Answer: The science is constantly evolving. It is important to work with healthcare practitioners who are on the cutting-edge of what’s safe and effective, pursuant to the latest cancer studies. There are literally thousands of peer-reviewed studies that can lead doctors to make strong-sensible recommendations about beneficial integrative and alternative treatments. The website: “Pubmed.gov” offers over 27 million citations pertaining to biomedical literature. Many compelling studies can be found within its vast database of information. It is important to work with a practitioner who is aware of the latest global studies and innovative therapies, regardless of whether they are conventional, integrative or alternative in nature. (See #6 above)
11. If my cancer doctor tells me I should “get my affairs in order,” does that mean I am wasting time and money seeking other medical options?
Answer: No. Of course, as mentioned above, there are no guarantees, but far too often, conventional practitioners convey a sense of “hopelessness” with their dire prognosis of how much time a person has to live. We might call this concept – “false hopelessness.” On the contrary, there are thousands of people throughout the world (including 20 in my book) who have been told that there is no or little hope (or words to that effect) whom are living, and enjoying life, right now! Many are thriving, because: they had hope, they had a strong will to live, they explored proven-unconventional therapies, they found highly knowledgeable-progressive health-care practitioners, they were committed to compliance in implementing innovative, integrative and alternative strategies—all of these factors combined—can help you beat your cancer.
You are an individual, you are not a statistic!
Carpe Diem! Godspeed!