Closer (UK)

Can you beat cancer without convention­al medicine?

Studies suggest that half of people in the UK will get cancer – but how best to tackle it? Mum Sarah Valentine has made headlines for beating breast cancer with a vegan diet, exercise and positive mental thinking – and she’s not the only one bypassing tra

- By Mel Fallowfiel­d

Tyears ago, Jessica Richards, now 60, was given the devastatin­g diagnosis that she had breast cancer after a routine mammogram showed abnormalit­ies.

Doctors told her she needed a lumpectomy or mastectomy to remove her tumour, as well as radiothera­py and chemothera­py, followed by six years of hormone-altering drugs to keep the cancer at bay.

But Jessica, a leadership coach, made the decision not to undergo the convention­al treatment. Instead, she adopted an ultra-healthy sugarfree diet, along with vitamin C injections and other health supplement­s, and developed a positive mental attitude. Now, 10 years on, she feels healthier than ever and, incredibly, appears to be cancer-free.

THE RIGHT DECISION

Jessica, who’s single and lives in Bedfordshi­re, recalls: “In May 2007 I was checking in at Luton airport on a work trip when I was given the results of my biopsy over the phone. I didn’t want to jump into treatment. I wanted to do some research and think about what was best for me. As I’m still here, I believe I made the right decision.”

At no time did Jessica feel she was being irresponsi­ble; she felt she was taking control and making an informed decision.

Sarah Valentine, 36, a make-up artist from Kent, feels exactly the same. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last month and doctors advised she needed a lumpectomy or mastectomy, followed by radiothera­py. She turned it down in favour of an alkaline vegan diet, exercise, vitamins and a positive mental attitude.

She said: “I’m a mum to four children; they’re my priority and I’m not irresponsi­ble. This isn’t a diet, it’s life and death. I’ve done a lot of research into it.”

RECOVERY RATES

Despite Sarah’s research, medical opinion still sides with convention­al treatment. Cancer recovery rates are improving in the UK – using convention­al medicine, 50 per cent of those diagnosed survive cancer for 10 or more years, and survival has doubled in the past 40 years. However, the UK is still lagging behind the rest of western Europe. As yet there are no definitive studies of survival using just alternativ­e therapies, but there are around nine million websites devoted to naturally healing cancer.

Jessica says she spoke to several doctors. “Initially, I thought I’d have the surgery to remove the lump,” she says. “But I wanted to be as healthy as possible prior to it, so I visited an integrated doctor in Brighton I’d heard about, who uses convention­al and alternativ­e medicine. Under his supervisio­n I adopted a new diet eliminatin­g sugar, dairy and processed food – I was already vegetarian. I stopped drinking alcohol and took vitamin C drips and other supplement­s. From research, I believe cancer needs acidity and sugar to thrive, so by taking them out of the equation I could go some way to halting it.

“Within three weeks I could feel my lump had changed so I decided to carry on and postpone the surgery. When I went for another scan four months later I was told the tumour was ‘inactive’ and wouldn’t cause problems. It was then that I decided not to have surgery.”

Eight months after her diagnosis, the tumour was still continuing to shrink. She stopped having scans in 2010, but has sixen

monthly checks and blood tests with her doctor, which seem to show she’s free of cancer.

BUCKING THE TREND

Her doctor, Mr Mark Kissin, a consultant at Royal Surrey County Hospital, tells Closer: “Jessica’s starting point was below average; she should have had a lower chance of still being around. It may be that her case is unique and bucks the trend.

“My observatio­n is that patients who have a strong will are anecdotall­y better at surviving than those who are passive.”

But Jessica is keen to point out that what worked for her may not work for others. She says: “I was constantly monitored, and if the tumour hadn’t been shrinking I would have researched other options. It’s frightenin­g to be diagnosed; it turns your life into chaos. Now I avoid stress and feel incredibly healthy.”

Sue Olifent, 51, who works in a nursery, agrees with Jessica. Six years ago she went to her doctor as she was suffering from pains in her stomach after eating and unintentio­nally lost 1∂st.

After tests, she received the horrific diagnosis that she had an inoperable tumour on her liver and should “prepare for the worst.” Devastated, she went home and broke down to her husband Robert, 52, and son Jordan, now 21.

A DIFFERENT ROUTE

Sue, from Nottingham, says: “Nothing prepares you for that diagnosis. I remember standing in the kitchen sobbing, and Robert wrapping his arms around me and reassuring me.”

Further tests showed that convention­al medicine wouldn’t work but, following the deaths of both his parents from cancer two years before, Robert had been researchin­g alternativ­e ways of beating cancer.

The couple started eating raw, organic veg and fruit – believing they would alkalize the body. They cut out any foods they believed “fed cancer’” such as sugar, red meat or processed foods, and Sue used colonic irrigation­s to cleanse her system. They also took supplement­s, herbs and special bitter foods, like apricot kernels.

Within weeks the pain stopped and Sue gained weight. Six weeks into their new regime, further scans showed the tumour had gone, leaving only scar tissue.

Sue believes it was down to their regime and the couple now host free seminars, explaining what they did. She says: “I was given no hope, but I’m still here. I haven’t done anything potentiall­y damaging to my immune system, like chemo, and I feel healthier than ever. I want to show there may be another route to take.”

 ??  ?? Ten years on from her scary diagnosis, Jessica appears to be cancer-free Sue – here with husband Robert – was told to “prepare for the worst”
Ten years on from her scary diagnosis, Jessica appears to be cancer-free Sue – here with husband Robert – was told to “prepare for the worst”

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