by Madeline C. Hickey-Smith
(OMNS Aug 3, 2012) Most citizens of Great Britain are totally unaware of the 1939 Cancer Act which effectively prevents them from finding out about different treatments for cancer.
Excerpts from the UK 1939 Cancer Act:
“4 – (1) No person shall take any part in the publication of any advertisement –
(a) containing an offer to treat any person for cancer, or to prescribe any remedy therefor, or to give any advice in connection with the treatment thereof; or
(b) referring to any article, or articles of any description, in terms which are calculated to lead to the use of that article, or articles of that description, in the treatment of cancer.
In this section the expression “advertisement” includes any “notice, circular, label, wrapper or other document, and any announcement made orally or by any means of producing or transmitting sounds”. 
Publication of such advertisements is permitted to a very restrictive group comprising members of either House of Parliament, local authority, governing bodies of voluntary hospitals, registered or training to become registered medical practitioners, nurses or pharmacists, and persons involved in the sale or supply of surgical appliances. A very tight grip, therefore, is exercised on information that is fed to citizens of Great Britain; interestingly, the Act does not apply to Northern Ireland.
That pretty much wraps it up, and wraps us (in Britain) up in the legal stranglehold that this outdated Act still exerts. Was this enacted to protect the citizens from charlatans and “quacks” or to safeguard the interests of the National Radium Trust, to whom the British Government lent money? If no one is allowed to tell us, how can we, the general public, ever find out what alternatives there are to those offered by mainstream medicine, mainly surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy?
No Freedom of Therapy, Information, or Assembly
My colleague, Sarah Ling, and I unwittingly found ourselves in a maelstrom when we decided to hold a convention in Birmingham, later this year, to do just that – inform the general public about some of the other ways to tackle this hideous disease than those generally doled out to their mostly trusting, but fear-filled patients. A well-justified fear of the actual treatments as well as the disease prevails.
Last year, Sarah’s sister was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Chemotherapy was the only treatment offered, which she accepted out of fear. She nearly died within hours of having it, and very sadly died days afterwards. Sarah was determined to help prevent others from enduring such trauma and so, under the umbrella of our Institute (The Cambridge Institute of Complementary Health), we organised a convention to educate people – conventional/complementary health professionals and the general public – about different ways to treat people who have cancer.
We quickly drew up a short list of speakers that we felt would have much to contribute, including Dr Stanislaw Burzynski who agreed to come and talk about his pioneering work on antineoplastins.
After posting our speakers on our web-site, one, an oncologist, pulled out due to a malevolent e-mail she had received, questioning her wisdom at sharing a platform with Dr Burzynski. She didn’t want to cause her team any controversy. We then discovered that we had attracted a lot of adverse attention that was derogatory, critical of our speakers, casting aspersions on them and on us as an organisation. Unfortunately Dr Burzynski decided not to come – so as not to expose us to the sort of attacks that he has suffered. Regrettably, the public lost an opportunity to hear first-hand of his pioneering treatments in tackling cancers, including inoperable brain tumours.
Two speakers down, we then found ourselves possibly contravening the archaic Cancer Act. We’ve had to be extremely careful in how we word any publications relating to the convention so that the Advertising Standards Agency doesn’t come down on us like a ton of bricks and prevent us from holding it at all. Britain cherishes its long-held tradition of freedom of speech, but in recent years that seems questionable. However, we can still hold debates, and that is what we are doing.
We are aware that efforts will be made to stop us, from those who are not seekers of truth. If they were truly interested in the welfare of people, they would be advocating most of the alternative/complementary approaches instead of deriding them and trying to close down clinics and individuals who practise them, via the Advertising Standards Agency. This ridiculous Act affords them the guise of protecting the public and gives them ammunition that they can use against persons advocating alternatives.
We can’t hold an open day of education on treating cancer in this country: how bizarre is that? How much longer can this information be contained?
The Cost of Ignorance
The UK National Health Service is overstretched and, as more and more people contract cancer (one in three presently), the rising costs of expensive and often ineffective treatments will surely mean they have to look at alternatives.
Conventional healthcare professionals are too often ignorant of the enormous value of unconventional treatments. How can they be otherwise, as those outside of their profession are prohibited from alluding to the fact that they can help treat cancer? Shockingly, even nutrition is most often totally overlooked during orthodox cancer treatment, and the very foods that promote cancers are given to patients in our hospitals sometimes in order to maintain calorie intake. There is frequently no advice on diet, that most crucial aspect of our health. 
Thankfully, some oncologists do recognise the benefits that alternative/complementary treatments offer.  Hopefully more and more will come to accept that integrating the best of conventional and complementary/alternative methods is the way forward.
It is our opinion that a reform of the 1939 Cancer Act is long overdue. The tenacious grip that it holds on treating cancer must be relinquished, so that patients and their healthcare providers can make an informed choice as to what approach may be best for their individual needs.
(Madeline C. Hickey-Smith has an honours degree in biology and is cofounder of the Cambridge Institute of Complementary Health http://cichealth.org.uk . The direct link to the convention page is http://cichealth.org.uk/#/cancer-convention/4566602766 .)
1. The 1939 UK Cancer Act: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo6/2-3/13/contents/enacted
2. What UK cancer patients are officially told:
3. Intravenous Vitamin C as cancer therapy: Free access to twenty-one expert video lectures online. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, April 14, 2011. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v07n03.shtml or http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL953B95B3BB977F54 and http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4CA531C7A3B0D954
Those who have had quite enough of government censorship of alternative cancer treatments may also wish to look at the following:
Straus H. Censorship, sports and the power of one word. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, May 21, 2012. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v08n18.shtml
Saul AW. Half-truth is no truth at all: Overcoming bias against nutritional medicine. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, Oct 7, 2011. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v07n09.shtml
Smith RG. Vitamins decrease lung cancer risk by 50%. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, Nov 18, 2011. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v07n13.shtml
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