Thursday, May 9, 2013
7 News Features: Alternative Attack
When most people get the devastating news that they have cancer, doctors usually want to treat it with surgery, chemo and radiation, but some patients say they are eating their way to a cancer cure. 7's Robbin Simmons has tonight's Special Report, "Alternative Attack."
Collette Menchaca: "It did not feel like a normal lump. I kinda suspected that it was going to be cancer."
It was cancer, Stage 3 breast cancer. Collette's doctor told her they needed to start treatment immediately, with an aggressive approach.
Collette Menchaca: "Chemotherapy to see if it would shrink, and then they were going to do a radical mastectomy."
Raoul Valle was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His urologist also wanted to attack the tumor with all that modern medicine has to offer.
Raoul Valle: "They were recommending those radioactive implants. If that didn't work, they would have to do something more radical, like take the prostate out."
But for both patients, surgery and treatments with toxic chemicals was just as frightening as knowing a killer was growing inside them.
Raoul Valle: "There is a chance that you could die, and if you don't die, they are going to do all these invasive things to your body, which have side effects."
Collette Menchaca: "I felt very uncomfortable with the traditional way."
Unhappy with the answers from her doctor, Collette relied on her faith, and her prayers led her to the Bible.
Collette Menchaca: "I knew that in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, we were vegetarians. I was led in that direction."
Raoul looked for an alternative on the Internet. His searches led him to a new doctor who believes food is medicine.
Raoul Valle: "I saw a holistic doctor who sat me in her office and explained to me that it was what I was eating. It was the meat, the processed food."
After making the radical decision to let their bodies heal themselves, both Raoul and Collette told their doctors they were refusing treatment.
Collette Menchaca: "She told me that I had a death wish."
Raoul Valle: "He got extremely upset with me. He started yelling at me. He said, 'Do you want to die?' I said, 'No, but I don't want you to kill me."
Raoul says from that day forward he started eating clean and raw. He gave up everything he loved: meat, alcohol, sugar.
Raoul Valle: "It was extremely hard."
He started eating a diet of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, fuel for his immune system to fight the cancer cells.
Raoul Valle: "Cancer is gone. There is no cancer. I may not be here if it wasn't for this."
Collette also immediately changed her diet.
Collette Menchaca: "The first thing, of course, was meat. I'm Jamaican, so I did a lot of meats. It was very hard."
Like Raoul, she now only eats a plant-based diet.
Collette Menchaca: "I start off in the morning and I have a huge pitcher of green juice, and then I also have two ounces of wheatgrass."
Collette avoids dairy and sugar and even fruit.
Collette Menchaca: "If you're going through cancer, it fuels the cancer cells."
She is also getting a strong cocktail of intravenous Vitamin C treatments twice a week.
Dr. Herbert Slavin, Institute of Advanced Medicine: "When the the Vitamin C is infused over, usually a one to two-hour period, it's converted to hydrogen peroxide and circulates throughout the body and kills cancer cells."
It's been five years since Collette started her dietary attack on the cancer.
Collette Menchaca: "The tumor has shrunk from 3 inches when I started, praise God, and now it's down to less than an inch. I'm looking very soon to be totally cancer-free."
Dr. Ben Lerner, a holistic doctor who recently co-wrote a book called "The Cancer Killers," believes food can help heal our bodies.
Dr. Ben Lerner: "If you can keep your immune system strong and not expose yourself to cancer-causing agents, then your ability to fight off cancer is well documented."
But Mount Sinai oncologist Mike Cusnir warns patients not to ignore traditional medicine.
Dr. Mike Cusnir, Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center: "Traditional treatments have proven evidence. Dietary interventions are very important, and they are part of traditional treatment, but they should not be taken as an isolated part."
Collette and Raoul say their choice may not be for everyone, but they are living proof there could be an alternative attack on cancer. Robin Simmons, 7News.
Both Collette and Raoul also get regular blood and hormone tests to see how they're doing.