The freedom of speech. One of our most sacred rights. Men and women are willing to die for it. Unfortunately, they also die because of it. Let me elaborate.
Our word cancer derives from the Latin word for crab. This is understandable, as many tumors bear an actual physical resemblance to the creature. In medieval Europe this similarity was used in the most unusual fashion for the treatment of the dreaded disease. A live crab would be placed on the body at a site close to the tumor, left there for a while, and then the animal would be removed and killed.
The idea was that the tumor would develop some kind of association with the crab and would somehow be sympathetically destroyed along with the poor crustacean. Judging by the fact that this procedure persisted for a couple of centuries, it must have produced at least some successes. This of course is not surprising in light of our current knowledge about spontaneous remissions and the "placebo" effect. But even with the popularity of "alternative medicine" today, it is safe to say that anyone suggesting that crabs can physically withdraw cancer from the body would be regarded as somewhat looney.
Now fast forward to 2000. Imagine that you were suffering from cancer. Imagine that you were told that you could be cured of the disease in just five days by identifying and then removing the cause of your cancer. Imagine that all you had to do was buy about thirty five dollars worth of parts and build a simple electronic device that would tell you exactly what to do. Imagine that you were instructed to eat a certain food, then squeeze a pimple on your body and place the fluid that is released on the device next to a sealed plastic bag of the same food. Imagine that you were then to connect the contraption to your knuckles by means of two leads and listen to the sound emanating from a little speaker in the apparatus.
Now imagine that by the type of sound emitted you could determine whether this particular food was a cause of your cancer and must therefore be eliminated from the diet to ensure a cure. Now imagine that you don't have to imagine all this. For indeed, the foregoing is the actual scenario being plied to the North American public in book with the grandiose title "The Cure for All Cancers!"
Hulda Regehr Clark, who surprisingly graduated with a PhD in physiology from the University of Minnesota, unabashedly claimed to have discovered the secret that has stymied all other scientists. The cause of cancer, she maintained, is an intestinal parasite that can escape from the gut and take up residence in a variety of organs which have been weakened by previous exposure to a variety of substances ranging from mercury in dental fillings to asbestos in clothes dryers.
But the cancer process can only begin if certain other chemicals are concurrently present in the body. Apparently the greatest culprit is isopropanol, otherwise known as rubbing alcohol. But other solvents, such as methanol or xylene can also initiate cancer when present together with the parasite. These solvents, according to Clark, are found as contaminants in our foods, drinks and cosmetics.
The cure for cancer then is obvious to the writer. Kill the parasites and avoid all products contaminated with solvents as well as all chemicals that weaken our organs. Her formula for killing the parasites: a mixture of cloves, black walnut and wormwood. This mix destroys the intestinal flukes, as they are called, and therefore in her words, "can cure all cancers." And of course the instrument just described, which Clark calls a "Syncrometer" will determine exactly which foods and other substances must be avoided to affect a cure.
If you want to know whether there is any aluminum in your brain, weakening it and therefore making it more susceptible to disease, the Syncrometer can tell you. According to the detailed instructions, just buy a piece of pork brain, place it on the device next to a piece of aluminum, attach the leads and listen for "resonance." The pork brain, you see, guides the instrument where to look, and the piece of aluminum tells it what to look for. Similarly, you can use a piece of fish intestine to test for parasites in your colon.
How anyone can come up with such a bizarre concept boggles the rational mind. The story would be funny, if the possible consequences were not so sad. Hulda Clark actually used her Syncrometer to diagnose cancer! She then went on to cure people of a disease they never had. One wonders about many people resort to this nonsense at the expense of proven remedies. But anyone can publish anything. Such is the freedom of speech. We, as scientists, must also exercise our freedom and speak out against such absurdities.
What happened to Hulda Clark? After a string of legal attacks initiated by the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. she relocated in Mexico where she set up a clinic to “cure” cancer. Apparently the cure wasn’t that great since Hulda Clark died of multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, in 2009.