Chris Beat Cancer: Survival Stories

Dan Wilson

Senior Member.
Chris Beat Cancer is a blog that tells the stories of cancer survivors and how they believe their cancer was cured thanks to their diet and lifestyle choices as opposed to surgery and medicine. Here I will explain the problems with these claims and the advice given on this blog.

The author of the blog, Chris, had stage IIIC T3 N2a M0 colorectal cancer. To interpret this, "T" refers to the size of the tumor (scale of 1-4), "N" refers to the incursion into surrounding tissue layers and lymph nodes (scale of 1-4, N2a refers to 4-6 lymph nodes being affected, Chris had 4), and "M" refers to metastases, whether or not the cancer has spread to distant sites (scale of 0-1). If a cancer is metastatic, the other scores don't matter very much because metastatic cancer is incredibly difficult to treat. Chris had surgery to remove and resect (meaning to cut out a section and connect the two severed ends) a part of his colon as well as remove 49 surrounding lymph nodes. He claims that surgery did not cure his cancer and, instead, a raw vegan diet that was eventually supplemented with organic meats was what saved him. His and similar stories are told on his web site. These stories are used to support his advice to avoid chemotherapy and focus on healing yourself with a variety (really nothing too specific) of juicing/vegan/organic/raw diets. There is a big red flag and couple general things to think about when hearing these kinds of stories.

1) Alternative treatments are not always given alone. Many of these stories include the patient receiving chemotherapy or some other conventional treatment at some point. Chris had surgery. In any experiment, when two variables are tested within one sample without the proper controls, you cannot say with any confidence that one of the variables alone was responsible for the observed outcome. Chris argues surgery did not cure his cancer [bolding is mine].
Didn’t surgery cure your cancer?
If surgery cured colorectal cancer it would not be the #2 cause of cancer death in the U.S. today. Nearly every colorectal cancer patient has surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, and then the cancer “comes back” (it never left). In the vast majority of cases, surgery does not cure any type of metastatic solid-tumor cancer, because cancer is a systemic disease affecting the entire body, and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating stem cells (CSCs) are already in other parts of the body. This is why new tumors form after surgery, and why doctors recommended chemo and radiation after surgery. They recommended 9-12 months of chemo for me. My surgeon and my oncologist didn’t think surgery cured my cancer, and I don’t either.

According to one study, published the same year I was diagnosed, the recurrence rate of cancer after colon resection was 100% after 4 years.
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What I bolded is true but as we established before, Chris's cancer was not metastatic, it had not spread to distant sites. His doctors were likely recommending adjuvant chemotherapy as a precaution to reduce his chances of local recurrence in case stray cancer cells were not removed during surgery. The study he references claiming 100% recurrence is also overshadowed by a much larger meta-analysis.
More than 140,000 people in the united states are diag- nosed annually with colorectal cancer.1 Unfortunately, ~25% to 40% will develop a tumor recurrence despite a potentially curative operation.2
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The 5-year survival rate he lists for his kind of cancer is also incorrect. Maybe it was different at the time he was writing, but the data collected from 2004 to 2010 say that patients with stage IIIC colorectal cancer have a 5-year survival rate of about 53%. It is entirely possible that Chris's cancer was completely removed thanks to the surgery he received. This explanation is much more likely than the idea of cancer being cured by diet.

2) Misdiagnoses happen. Cancers are misdiagnosed in an estimated 15% of new cases every year. The most common kinds misdiagnosed are colorectal, breast, lung, and pancreatic. 26 out of the 49 stories on Chris's blog are patients who had one of these cancers. Now, I am not saying these are all cases of misdiagnosis. This is just another thing to think about when hearing anecdotes of people being cured of cancer.

3) The unsatisfied customers are not around to tell their tale. Those who forgo medical treatment and replace it with alternative treatments put themselves at risk, especially when their condition is treatable. Those who go to alternative treatments but still receive conventional treatment, are misdiagnosed, or just get lucky (yes, contrary to what Chris says luck IS a factor when it comes to this disease) and end up walking away healthy are very satisfied and probably feel very happy. Countless others can't say the same, but the data can tell their story.
Where alternative cancer cures have been tested, they have generally been shown not to work. That said, an extraordinary number and variety of different alternative cancer cures have been described,36 and clearly only a minority have been subject to clinical trial. What then should we believe about alternative treatments that have yet to be evaluated? We would argue against being agnostic in the absence of clinical trials; other evidence can be used to come to reasonable, if provisional, conclusions. For example, it would be rational to have more faith in a new targeted therapy for which there is a good understanding of mechanism, cell line studies, and promising animal data than in an alternative therapy based on an entirely fanciful notion that is without any substantive evidence at all.
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Cancer is a disease of mutated genes accumulated over time. These mutations cannot be reversed. Once a cancer develops, the cells must be gotten rid of one way or another. That is the only way someone can be "cured" of cancer. Diet has no known way of doing this. Some might speculate that healthy eating can stimulate the immune system or something along those lines. This is unlikely because even cancers that have been engineered to express powerful antigens (molecules that trigger immune responses) are not cleared from the body in mouse models. To be clear, diet is very important to health and can be powerful in the prevention of certain cancers. Once cancer has formed, however, there is little evidence that diet plays any role in actively removing it.
Being diagnosed with cancer is a distressing and serious situation. As with any medical situation, its important to talk to your doctor(s) and get professional advice. Don't be afraid to discuss hopes and concerns either, make sure your doctor knows what is important to you and the lifestyle you wish to live. Poor quality of life at the end of a terminal cancer patient's life is a major pitfall of the current medical practices. Be aware of as many options as possible, but do not take treatment advice solely from web pages like Chris's blog.
Chris may have been misguided but hoped to help others, some are misdiagnosed and dont have a cancer just affliction of similar symptoms thinking they have cured themselves and then very sadly some just lie spreading bunk and false hope.

Cancer conwoman Belle Gibson faces more than $1 million in penalties for profiting off false cancer claims and defrauding charities while orchestrating a global health scam that gave false hope to seriously ill people and fooled multinational companies including Apple and Penguin.

In the most significant action taken against the disgraced "wellness" blogger, Victoria's consumer watchdog on Friday launched legal proceedings in the Federal Court that pave the way for serious penalties against Ms Gibson.

The action is in response to Ms Gibson's false claims of beating terminal brain cancer by eschewing conventional medicine, and the unlawful fundraising appeals run by The Whole Pantry founder in 2013 and 2014.
A very good friend of mine is a miracle survivor. In his case it was a rare form of leukemia, he wasn't diagnosed until it was very advanced. He hadn't been well for a few months, but just put it down to a touch of anemia, he was always a bit on the pale side ever since he was a kid. Then one day he went to the dentist and it was the dentist who noticed there was something up when his gums wouldn't stop bleeding, He went to his GP who sent him to A&E, and by the evening he was in the oncology department and his brother was telling his family and friends to come and say goodbye as he only had a week, may be two tops.

I went to see him and he was in isolation due to having his immune system repressed and under going both chemotherapy and radio therapy. He looked like he was dead already. I spoke to him on the intercom and told him 'If you die I'll fucking kill you'. He flicked me vees and said he would 'come back and feckin haunt me' (He is a Belfast boy). He was very weak, and I honestly thought that would be the last time I would see him.

I spent the next few days waiting for the phone call, but it never came. However his brother told me he was in some kind of remission, So I went back to see him, and he was brighter and able to hold a full conversation. The doctors said not to be too hopeful as remissions like this tend to be short term. But as the weeks passed he just got stronger, and after a month and a shit load of tests he was discharged and started to get on with his life, Of course everybody, including him thought the leukemia was going to return any day, but it never did, and after five years of regular check ups he was declared free of the leukemia and officially cured.

Thing is the from of the illness he had was rare and until he recovered was viewed as 100% terminal. Hes been fit and well for 25+ years now, but because he is a 'miracle' survivor he has to be one of the most tested people in the UK, even now with modern advances in treatment for the condition there are only a handful of people who have recovered from it, and he is still called in for tests and studied by researchers, which he is more than willing to co-operate with.

He didn't have any alternative or other quack therapies, just the chemo and radio therapies. (and in my opinion a shed load of bloody minded stubbornness). I wonder if the case in the OP has been studied and tested to see how he survived.
I wonder if the case in the OP has been studied and tested to see how he survived.

Spontaneous remission/regression is a real and rare event but I don't think that Chris's case is very special. It's not a rare event for operable non-metastatic cancers to be removed completely with surgery. A case where a terminal patient's cancer suddenly disappears is much more interesting because the mechanisms behind an event like that are poorly understood.
The stories on the blog named chris beat cancer are truly inspiring ones. Everyone should read the journey of cancer patients and how they fight with it.
The stories on the blog named chris beat cancer are truly inspiring ones. Everyone should read the journey of cancer patients and how they fight with it.

Sure, but understand that he promotes many ideas that are harmful and patients with treatable cancers should not be replacing chemotherapy, surgery, etc. with strategies like the ones he advises.

Legitimate survival stories that are still inspiring aren't hard to find.
Sure, but understand that he promotes many ideas that are harmful and patients with treatable cancers should not be replacing chemotherapy, surgery, etc. with strategies like the ones he advises.

Legitimate survival stories that are still inspiring aren't hard to find.
It's just as inspiring to fight/'beat' cancer with modern Western medicine as it is to 'beat' it with other means.