I came across an SMH article the other day about a young lass called Jessica Ainscough who says she is healing herself from cancer, courtesy of the ‘alternative’ Gerson Therapy Dedicating her life to following and disseminating its principles, this talented writer has settled on the Sunshine Coast making a living as a freelance writer, speaker and blogger. Criticised as quackery by ‘conventional’ medical practitioners (such as Orac on ScienceBlogs), the whole story about Gerson Therapy has got me deeply concerned about the claims people make about treating deadly diseases such as cancer with ‘alternative treatments’.
What made me really sad was the death of Jessica’s mother Sharyn Ainscough of breast cancer while practising the Gerson Therapy and believing it was working right to the end. Orac points out in his post that describing worsening symptoms as Jessica does: ‘flare-ups’ is typical of the language of denial that quacks use. But as horrible as it was to read how Sharyn was actually developing satellite lesions in addition to her main breast tumour all couched in the language of false hope, rationalisation and denial, it was even worse to read some of the comments. Several of them are hauntingly mirroring Sharyn’s terrible ordeal, like this one: