In January of 2004, one month after my surgery, my wife Micah and I went to the cancer clinic for the first time.
It didn’t go so well.
I had already decided against chemotherapy after reading about the raw food diet in God’s Way To Ultimate Health.
To my dismay, my decision was not well received by my wife, family and friends. After many heartfelt and well-meaning “interventions”, I reluctantly agreed to go meet with an oncologist at the West Clinic to hear what he had to say.
He told me my chance of living at least 5 years with a Stage 3 Colon Cancer diagnosis was about 60%. Not good.
To me that was basically a coin toss. (I have since discovered that my odds of survival after chemo were much worse, as the statistics are skewed to make chemotherapy appear more effective than it really is)
I asked him what other options I had as far as alternative therapy.
He looked at me point-blank and said, “There are none. If you don’t do chemo you are insane.
And I’m not just saying this cause I need your business”.
I asked him about the raw food diet I’d been reading about, and he told me that he didn’t recommend it because it would “fight the chemo”.
My wife and I left the clinic terrified; we sat in her car in the parking lot and wept, held hands, and prayed asking God for clarity and to lead me in the direction He wanted me to go.
Over the next few days I thought about what he said about “not needing my business”.
What a weird statement. What does business have to do with it? That was the furthest thing from my mind during our visit, but it ended up being very telling. I realized that business has everything to do with it.
Let’s follow the money:
Treating cancer is this man’s occupation. It’s how he earns a living and provides for his family. Every cancer patient that walks in his office represents thousands of dollars of profit. He’s essentially a salesman selling his services with a very powerful sales pitch: “If you don’t do what I say, you’re going to die.”
We all know that fear is one of the best motivators there is, and this guy had me by the “you-know-whats.” Had I not already started to do research on my own, and already read other survivors testimonies; I probably would have done what most cancer patients do and schedule the chemo.
I wonder how many dollar signs he saw floating over my head that day…
According to the research of Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics fame,”Oncologists are some of the highest paid doctors, their average income is increasing faster than any other specialist in the medical field, and more than half their income comes from selling and administering chemotherapy.”
Yes you read that right. Oncologists make a huge profit, as much as two-thirds of their income in some cases, from chemotherapy drugs.
Their business model is very different from other doctors because you can’t buy chemotherapy drugs at your local pharmacy.
Oncologists buy these drugs direct at wholesale prices, then they mark them up and bill the insurance companies. This legal profiting on drugs by doctors is unique to the cancer treatment world. They’re making money off the drugs that they insist you take to save your life. That’s a HUGE conflict of interest. They’re selling you the drugs, and charging you for the privilege of putting them in your body. No other doctor can do that.
Here’s another twist. Some chemotherapy drugs have a higher profit margin than others. If you were a doctor, wouldn’t you be tempted to recommend the drugs that put the most money in your pocket? I know I would.
Look we all have this image of doctors as these selfless creatures working tirelessly to save the lives of dying people; and some are. It’s not the doctors that are the problem; it’s the billion-dollar cancer treatment industry controlled by the pharmaceutical companies. Oncologists are trapped in this system.
If you have cancer, your doctor is not allowed to prescribe any treatment other than surgery, chemo, or radiation; or they can lose their license.
Unlike other countries, American doctors cannot prescribe changes to lifestyle, diet, or increased exercise to treat illness. They can only recommend them along with conventional FDA approved therapies like the ones listed above.
Before anyone accuses me of doctor bashing, I want you to know that I am so grateful for theses three MDs who helped save my life:
Gastrointerologist Dr. Orin Davidson found my tumor when other doctors didn’t think to look.
Surgeon Dr. Guy Voeller successfully removed my tumor, cancerous lymph nodes, and a section of my large intestine.
Oncologist Dr. Roy Page did my blood work, CT scans, and nutritional IV therapy in the years that followed.
Dr. Page is a man who retired for several years then came out of retirement to help more people. He frequently traveled to China to study developments in Eastern Medicine and therapies not approved in the U.S. Dr. Page didn’t give a flip about what anyone thought about him, he cared about results. Which is why he was willing to work with me in the administration of some of the alternative therapies I employed like Vitamin C IVs. Sadly he passed away a few years ago.
I hope this post has opened your eyes to the two problems not just with cancer treatment, but with our medical system as a whole: That doctors are limited in what they can prescribe to treat illness, and often times are motivated to make recommendations that are in their best interest financially, not yours.
Finally, I’m going to leave you with this quote. Never a truer word was spoken:
“I find medicine is the best of all trades, because whether you do any good or not, you still get your money.”
-Moliere “A Physician in Spite of Himself” 1664
Why I Didn’t Do Chemo