230879 “Spontaneous” remission of cancer: Theories from doctors, healers, and cancer survivors

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 2:50 PM - 3:10 PM

Kelly A. Turner, MSW, PhD Candidate , School of Social Welfare, University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco, CA
“Spontaneous Remission” (SR) of cancer is defined as a remission that occurs in the absence of Western medical treatment(s), or after Western treatment has failed to remit the disease (Everson & Cole, 1966). Understanding why and when SR occurs could lead to significant advances in cancer research, and could reveal inexpensive treatments for cancer patients who do not have private health insurance. The present study was undertaken to create a foundation of hypotheses for SR on which future match-controlled studies may be based. Methods: 50 doctors/healers from 12 different countries, as well as 20 cancer survivors who have experienced SR, were interviewed regarding why SR may occur. The 20 cancer survivors were also given a survey that collected descriptive information. Results: Two over-arching themes emerged as to when SR may occur: 1) after a radical cleansing of the body via diet, supplements, and exercise, and/or 2) after a radical change in mental-emotional patterns. Details of these changes will be discussed in the presentation. Public Health researchers are encouraged to use the results of this study to design quantitative studies on SR that can test for causality. For example, Stage 1 cancer patients may be willing to engage in a 2-month clinical trial wherein they undergo a radical diet change and engage in emotional release work before having any surgery/chemotherapy/radiation. This group could be compared to a group that immediately receives surgery/chemotherapy/radiation, but makes no dietary or emotional changes.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Environmental health sciences
Public health biology
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) To identify the themes that emerged from the 70 interviews regarding why SR may occur 2) To determine how the results of this study relate to public health 3) To demonstrate how qualitative, exploratory methods can be utilized to research understudied phenomenon

Keywords: Cancer, Alternative Medicine/Therapies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have studied, taught, and researched Oncology Social Work and qualitative research methods as part of my Doctoral training at UC Berkeley.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.