Sunday, August 30, 2015

Changes to Commenting

I had to change the settings so that every comment now requires a word verification.  I know it's annoying, but this blog gets a lot of spam from woo-peddlers.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Even If Gerson Works The Way They Say It Works, It Still Doesn't Work

How many times have we seen the Gerson people claim that the reason Gerson failed was because the patient did something wrong?  It's a running theme with them.  If a cancer patient dies after doing Gerson it is because they most certainly did something wrong somewhere along the line.  Well how could they not?  How could they not miss one of 3,650 totally pleasant coffee enemas (five a day for two years)?   Did the patient once sleep in and not do their morning enema?  Of course.  Did the patient once cave after day after day of juice and salt-free boiled potatoes and grab a cheeseburger?  Yup.  Every single person doing the Gerson protocol will mess up at least once in two years, and they probably "fail" way more than once, and that is what the Gerson people count on.  They have developed a protocol that is essentially impossible for people who are living their lives in the real world to follow, and then they use that fact to weasel out of ever being responsible for the failure themselves.  Thus, I submit that even if Gerson therapy actually did work, it would only ever be purely theoretical, because human beings simply cannot follow such a rigid regime for two years.  I am looking forward to seeing the film The Food Cure simply because I highly suspect there will be lots of fantastic quotes where Gerson staffers go on and on about how you have to follow the regime perfectly or else it won't work and you will die from cancer and it will be all your fault (because hey, you're lazy and you have low character and not enough motivation and perseverance to save your own life).  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Belle Gibson Catch-Up

Well, I have finally been able to catch up a bit on the Belle Gibson saga.  The 60 Minutes interview was naturally incredibly awkward, but I was pleased to see that the journalist conducting the interview asked her some straight-forward questions and refused to accept b.s. answers. This is what all journalists should have done right from the start, and I hope that this is learning lesson for all those in the media about credulous reporting of miracle cancer cures. Naturally, Belle Gibson is still lying and I am convinced she simply does not have the character to be a truthful and honest person. I am also pleased to see that Belle Gibson will finally face some real consequences of her lies in the Australian courts.

One final thought: to all the journalists out there who still might believe that Belle was simply misled by some quack doctors, go and see if there is a correlation between Belle's announcement of her cancer spreading to her kidneys, spleen and uterus and app sales in the following days.  I bet you will find a big one.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What's the Deal with Louise Hay?

Does anyone have much insight into this woman?  She is the guru of the lie that positive thinking cures cancer, yet I can find no proof that she ever even had cancer. I follow a few people who blog about their natural cancer cures and it is apparent to me that most of them are heavily influenced by this woman's message.  Jessica Ainscough was clearly among them. It is absolutely heartbreaking to watch these poor people harp on about how they just need to be more positive and then their cancer will go away.

My idea is to compile as much as we can about the holes in her story and then publicly take her to task.  She has gotten quite rich off the suffering of others, and it is about time she proved her claim that she actually had cancer which she cured with the power of the mind.

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Quick Update

Hey All!

Just a quick update over here.  I will be working on the weekdays from 8 to 8 and on the weekends from 8 to 6 for the next couple of months.  I have not left you, but I am not sure if I will have any new content for a while (though I will try).  I like that people can come here and discuss many of these issues, so if anyone wants to write a guest post, I would be glad to have it!  You can email it to me at  It does not have to be some profound piece of journalism or anything; it just needs to be something to get the conversation going.



Sunday, May 10, 2015

Very Disturbing Gerson Clinic FAQ

I came across this in the FAQ section of the Northern Baja Healing Center, which offers Gerson protocol though it is not the Gerson center in Mexico.  Well, I think that this speaks for itself so I do not have much to say, but I want to correct one or two things here.  Children are not an "entity of the state".  They can sometimes be made wards of the court if they are being neglected, and medical neglect would fall under this.  Also, it is not "illegal" to treat cancer with nothing but chemo, radiation, and surgery.  What is illegal is having a person who is not a real doctor offering non-evidence-based quackery as "the cure" for cancer.  That is what is illegal.  Think about the message this man is sending for a minute. A child diagnosed with leukemia who gets conventional treatment has an incredibly high chance of being cured of their cancer and living a normal lifespan.  A child with this same illness who goes to one of these clinics instead will die of their cancer.   Naturally there are quite a lot of people out there who are desperate to protect a child from this fate, and it is incredibly disturbing to me that this man offers advice on how to circumvent this.  A child has no ability to make decisions about his or her medical care because most of it is outside their understanding.  A child often has a limited concept of the permanence of death.   A child has a difficult time understanding that going through something incredibly unpleasant now will reap great rewards for the future.  It is for all these reasons that adults must make medical decisions of the child's behalf.  If a child with a treatable cancer gets taken to this place, he or she is going to die of their cancer.  This isn't "another option" or an "alternative"; it's a death sentence.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Sad Case of Samantha Beaven

Today in the news there was a story about a young mother of two who died of cervical cancer at the age of 29.  That right there would have been a very sad thing indeed, but what makes this story doubly so tragic is that Samantha Beaven was lied to by a promoter of fantasy-based medicine and before her untimely death she wasted eight weeks and 60,000 GBP at a fantasy-based medicine "clinic" in Mexico, far from her native England.  Samantha's case is incredibly heart-breaking.  She had two young daughters to look after, and when she was pregnant with her second child, she noticed unusual symptoms like cramping and bleeding.  Despite eight different doctor's visits over this, she was assured that it was normal and related to her pregnancy.  Having been pregnant already once before, Samantha knew that something was not right, and she was diagnosed cervical cancer soon after she gave birth at 26 weeks.  She underwent chemo and radiation, which seemed to work but the cancer was later found to have spread to her lungs.  This case is most definitely a failure of reality-based medicine, or rather of the human beings who practice it.  I never argue that conventional medicine is perfect, and it most certainly has its fair-share of failures. It is not clear how long Samantha was having these undiagnosed symptoms, but if they started during pregnancy, then she must have been having them for around six months or so.  It is always so devastating to see something like cancer misdiagnosed for this long.  For a disease like cervical cancer that is quite treatable if caught early, it is especially devastating.  Could Samantha have been saved by conventional medicine if the first doctor had run some very simple tests?  Would she had turned to quackery if she had not gotten the blow-off from so many medical professionals?

Though the details are not there, at some point Samantha decided to go to Mexico to undergo a cancer treatment called hyperthermia therapy. Hyperthermia, apparently can be used to help treat some cancers, but as of yet is largely an experimental therapy and results are mixed as to its efficacy. What we do know is that it not the cure for cancer. At any rate, it can potentially be very dangerous and so it should only be administered by a highly-trained doctor who knows what she is doing.  This is one of those "therapies" which might have some potential, but which can quickly morph into quackery if used in a way (whole body) and on patients who can no longer receive any benefit from the treatment. To me, these are the most dangerous quack therapies out there.  They appeal to people who are intelligent and educated because they actually do have some science to back them up.  Unfortunately this does not translate to working a miracle on every person with cancer, no matter the type or stage.  Though not mentioned in any article, this treatment was ostensibly not offered to Samantha by any of her doctors in the UK, likely because they knew it would bring her no benefit.  To pay for it, Samantha sold her possessions and moved into a cheaper house.  Her six-year-old daughter even sold her toys on Ebay.  The family started a fundraiser so that it might raise the nearly 60,000 quid necessary to pay for the "treatment" in Mexico.  In the end, it did not work and Samantha returned in much worse shape than before and died within days of an infection, one of the possible side effects of hyperthermia.

So what was the harm here?  After all, so many people who promote fantasy-based medicine claim that if someone is already terminal, then there is no harm in trying an alternative.  Well, let's see.  Samantha left her two young children for eight weeks while she went halfway across the world to pursue a treatment which would not work.  Since this treatment involves raising the temperature of the body, I am going to have to assume that the treatment itself was unpleasant.  In those eight weeks she could have been home getting palliation.  Her daughters could have formed a few more good memories with their mother.   There could have been a few more moments of laughter, of reading stories before bed, of playing games, and going to the park.  They will never have the option to do any of those things with their mother ever again.  That was stolen from them by the people at the "clinic" in Mexico.  And what about the money she raised?  Well, in the grander scheme things money is not particularly important, but every mother I know with small children would take a lot of comfort in leaving them some money before she died.  Could this 60,000 GBP have been put in a trust to help the girls through university when the time came?  Well, now it is lining the pockets of some scammer in Mexico.  He or she won't be giving it back or anything.

Samantha is a perfect example of someone at their most desperate and most vulnerable.  Samantha did not just want to live; she needed to live.  She had small children to raise who needed their mother.  I have no doubt she was willing to do whatever it took to give herself a chance at life.  Unfortunately she was terminally ill with cancer and there were not any treatments left for her.  The family claims that it was not the cancer which claimed her life, but a lung infection, thus promoting the idea that this treatment would have worked for her.  This sounds all too familiar to anyone who has followed what happens in these Mexican "cancer clinics".  These places are not set up to treat disease.  A lung infection will go untreated.  If you're in Tijuana and you get really sick, then the staff might drive you across the border, drop you at a fast food restaurant, call 911 and bolt.  Otherwise, you get put back on a plane home and your doctor there is left to clean up the mess the quack in Mexico made.   If you develop a complication of any of these cancer "treatments" at a Mexican clinic, you will not get treatment for it.  It's a sweet little scam for them.  They get to claim that their "treatment" would have worked had you not gotten that nasty little infection, and the hospital in San Diego is left to pick up the pieces.

I want to make something very clear here: Samantha and her family are 100% the victims in this case.  They were at their most vulnerable and most desperate, and at a time when they had lost all hope, someone came along and promised to be their savoir.  If they had any skepticism or doubt, then the salesperson at the "clinic" would naturally have assured them that there was science to back this up and that it was only not used in countries like the US and the UK because of some conspiracy by big medicine to suppress "the cure" for cancer.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Candice-Marie Fox Claims She Went to Police

There is no crime in going to a Facebook page which was created for the sole purposes of engaging the public and posting comments.  There has not been a single post there which was criminal in nature, and Candice-Marie Fox can ban people and delete comments if she does not like it (which she does). Despite what Candice-Marie Fox thinks, criticizing someone is not a crime.  She has unilaterally chosen to make herself a public figure, and now she is getting a public critique.  If she does not like it, then she can return to being a private figure.  I get that she is very disappointed in how this has all gone down.  I am sure that when she was fantasizing about all this, that she had a completely different picture in her head as to what the public's reaction was going to be.  Well, this is the reality; there are a great many people out there right now who are sick of people like Candice spreading deadly misinformation to cancer patients and we are going to make our displeasure known.  That is not a crime and it is insulting of her to insinuate such.

Oh, and Candice, why don't you post a copy of the police report?  It seems only fair that everyone know which crime it is they are being investigated for.  I am sure you will post it ASAP.  After all, you are good, decent person full of love and light.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Young Woman with Cancer Responds to Belle's Recent Interview

An open letter to Belle Gibson.

Belle –
My name is Allie. I am 21, and I have endometrial cancer which is incredibly rare for somebody my age. I have only been diagnosed recently but have been suffering with crippling, debilitating pain and blood loss for months. I realise that there are other cancer patients and survivors who have suffered longer (or more) who might be more qualified to write this but I need to get a few things off my chest.

Before I was diagnosed, I bought your app. I followed you on Instagram. I believed in the positivity and wholeness that you promoted. I felt empathy for you, and while I could never quite bring myself to believe in curing a sickness with a specific diet I had respect for what you were doing. In some ways, I looked up to you – you were a strong woman overcoming odds and making a name for yourself while battling a terrible illness. And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one - I was told by another sufferer that when you posted that your cancer had spread to your liver, uterus, spleen and brain they sat on their bed and cried for you. But at the same time, wondering how you managed to look so good so sick while she was a “bald, feverish, yellow mess”. Which takes us forward a few months, where your web of lies begins fall apart. (As were most people) I was shocked and somehow personally offended because I believed in you and supported you. The fact that you could so blatantly lie about something that has affected so many people is disgusting to me, but even worse is the fact that you capitalised on it. THAT is unforgivable.

That then leads me to your most recent interview. Was there even an apology in there, or was it just you playing the victim? I’m stuck on the fact that you first of all used your childhood as an excuse for your actions. Everybody reacts to things differently, but as somebody who lost their sister (to cancer) at a young age and their dad to a heart attack all before I reached high school I can tell you that it is absolutely not an excuse for your abhorrent actions. Again, in the next few paragraphs you play the victim – of course the public backlash has been horrible, what did you expect? It’s as though you have no grasp of what you’ve done. You still expect a level of respect? What exactly have you done to deserve that? I can’t bring myself to respect somebody that has created a community based on a lie, and made thousands of dollars from that same lie.

Not to mention the cancer patients that would have followed your lead thinking they themselves could cure their cancer. This is the worst part of it all – that these people believed in you, and there is a chance some of them turned away from traditional methods and instead followed your pseudo-science. In the time since I have been diagnosed, I have been bombarded with messages recommending certain diets to “cure” my cancer or that if I do two coffee enemas a day it will fix me. These are all messages that you helped to perpetuate with your Instagram, your lies and your entire social media existence. And the fact that you had the nerve to do that when you never had to sit in a doctor’s office and hear the words “you have cancer” is something beyond disgusting. You don’t know how scary it is to hear those words, or hear that you will become infertile at 21, or have to undergo chemotherapy.

The public hasn’t received a proper apology from you yet, and until they do I’m certain you won’t receive the respect you so think you deserve. To prey on vulnerable people who are desperate for hope, or a cure is the lowest of low and I’m actually astonished at the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any legal ramifications so far.

But really, all I feel in this situation is sadness. Sadness that you are so deluded, sadness that you can’t see how badly your actions have affected people all around the world and mainly sadness for those people that believed in you. I hope that one day you can begin to recognize how harmful your actions were (and continue to be) and that you accept accountability, own responsibility and offer the people you have affected a real apology – not one sandwiched between cries for more sympathy.

Allie Garland

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Does Jessica Tancred of The Today Show Fact Check?

Well, I simply must ask because she produced a segment about Candice-Marie Fox where she very baldly reported that Candice-Marie cured her terminal (given five years to live) cancer using pineapples. You can find the segment here.  This is an incredibly serious thing to report on without confirming if it is indeed true.  So, Jessica Tancred, what sort of proof did Candice-Marie Fox offer you to back up her story?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Social Media Lies and the Case of Britt McHenry

Okay, so Britt McHenry is a not a wellness blogger.  If you're like me, then you have probably never even heard of her.  In fact, the only reason I know about her is because she had an epic meltdown at a tow yard and the whole thing was caught on camera.  She is a sports reporter for ESPN, and like all people with a career on television, she has a strong social media presence.  She has a sweet blog where she implores women to place intelligence above looks.  Indeed, she is so supportive of this notion that she bravely posts of photo of herself without (gasp!) make-up. She rails against sexism and opines that it is no wonder that there is still such an issue with gender equality when women are expected to sexually debase themselves in order to sell cheeseburgers.  Her blog also has the usual stuff about loving yourself, living in the moment, and being positive.  Why this Britt woman seems like such a great lady!  What a wonderful way to use her fame to inspire other women to be better people.  There are also some really lovely pictures of her smiling authentically and posing with people who seem delighted to be in her presence.  She must be super!  All young women should go to her for inspiration.  I mean, she is just such a wonderful human being!  It is obvious from the stuff she puts on her blog that she is!

Well, it turns out that in reality, and not in the fantasy that is social media, Britt McHenry does not feel that way at all.  She is actually looksist, elitist, and mean.  She is a nasty person who looks down on other people, especially fat women who work in blue-collar jobs.  She cusses out strangers, and flips the bird when she gets upset.  And it was all caught on camera.

At the tow yard, she blasts the woman working there for "having no education, no skill set," telling her that being at that place "makes her skin crawl" and reminding the woman that "I have a brain and you don't."  The other woman cannot be seen, but ostensibly she does not have Hollywood veneers like Britt, who goes on to conclude that "maybe if [she] were missing some teeth" that they would hire her to work there.  But that is not enough for her, she further goes on to tell the attendant, "I'm on television and you're in a f**king trailer, honey."  Never fear though, for Britt has a final bit of advice for the woman so that she can come closer to being as fantastic as Britt.  "Lose some weight, baby girl," she admonishes, before stomping off.  On her final exit from the tow yard, she flips off the camera as she leaves.

Now I get it.  Having your car towed sucks.  It is a big hassle and you essentially feel held hostage by the tow company until you pay to get your car out.  You probably missed appointments, and worst of all your transportation has been taken from you.  Maybe you felt that you had parked legally and so you're feeling like the whole thing is a massive injustice on top of it all.  Perhaps you get a little snippy with the people working there.  Sure, we all lose our cool sometimes.  But what Britt did went far beyond just "losing her cool."  Would any of you talk to another person like this, no matter how stressful the situation?  I doubt it.  You might utter an uncalled for "goddamnit" or perhaps you might inform the person working there that you find the fine too high, or that you had a lot of stuff to do that day, but would you insult their appearance, their job and the conditions of their workplace?  Only a person who goes about her life thinking that way would do that.  Britt, it turns out, has a very negative and sad mind.  Her outlook on life is actually snobbish and mean.  Her "sweet" look is just a cover for a person who throws the word "f**k" at a perfect stranger and then fat-shames her so that she can regain the upper hand.  She is quite simply, just not a very good person.

I use this case to illustrate the problem with social media and how is it easy for a person to manipulate their image.  This is the biggest problem with the current social media wellness bloggers. Their image is created entirely through social media, and likely has very little connection to reality. At least Britt McHenry just asks athletes what it took to win the game; wellness bloggers tell people how to cure cancer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jess Ainscough, Belle Gibson and the New Purity Movement: How Nutritionism and Pseudoscience Overtook the Fundamentalist Focus on Bodily Integrity and Acceptable Femininity

*This is a guest post by Rebecca who has her own blog called the unwholesome.  If you don't read it yet, you should.  

During George W Bush's reign I hate-read, in earnest, the numerous accounts of the decidedly-American purity movement by journalists, ex-devotees and critics. The stories of father-daughter 'purity balls', purity rings and an unnerving focus on female sexual purity infiltrated and shaped the arse-end of Bush's legacy and in part, I believe, contributed to the demise of dominionist domination in the American political arena.

In Australia, its take-off was far less assured: despite the popularity of Hillsong and all her hideous little offspring, sexual purity was less of a big deal here than abroad. Our religion has always been a little more mainline, our big preachers less televised, their political influence (Toned Abs notwithstanding) positively piss-weak in comparison.

This isn't to say that undercurrents of misogyny and calvinistic 'just-world' thinking don't exist here: to wit, comments  by clergy that Jill Meagher may not have been murdered had she not been out so late at night are mealy-mouthed nods to the notion that female sexuality is a corruptible, dangerous force, turning even the most mild-mannered of repeat parole breachers and serial sadists into murderers. However, the backlash this received prompted the diocese to apologise publicly for the statements - an idea unthinkable had it been Pat Robertson or James Dobson commenting.

Our form of asceticism is thus not of the dancing and drinking variety: more, it is of the dietary abstinence kind. Its proponents are not bland-faced, plainly dressed and dour of disposition, but fashionable, charismatic and able to sell wholesale the notion that our bodies are only moments away from total corruption and ruin lest we so much as think of a hot chip sanga made on white bread.

My first introduction to Jess Ainscough - the regrettably deceased and even more regrettably influential 'Wellness Warrior' blogger - came in 2013 thanks to her tantrum against a Byron Bay cafe who dared serve her a burger that may or may not have been fully organic. Ainscough, undergoing the thoroughly discredited, dangerous, fraudulent cancer 'treatment' as espoused by the Gerson Clinic (seemingly only run in Mexico and Hungary - so legitimate right now) said of the incident:

I felt dirty. I felt like I needed to give my insides about 10 showers. I was so shocked that I just hung up the phone, but I wish I’d told her that her since her “cancer fighting” burger contains pesticides it is actually cancer causing.

This is a reasonably hyperbolic approach. There are few who practice evidence-based medicine who would be at all worried about a potentially unwashed bit of cos, and probably more who would be happy if people ate just one meat-free, fat-free meal in between bong-binges and all night drinks on their Byron holiday. The way Ainscough carried on, however, you'd have thought Manna Haven Cafe had offered her an evening of unprotected bliss with a FIFO miner who had a penchant for homemade tattoos and who exclusively ate imported frozen berries. The thought that one meal is unlikely to undo multiple years of disciplined neurotic eating is equally unlikely as it is uninspiring: just like religious faith imperilled by reading Harry Potter, a form of treatment can hardly be very good or worth keeping up if it can be undone by one lousy vegan burger. More than anything the experience made me feel sympathetic for Ainscough: imagine the thing that is jeopardising your health is one lame, meat-free, fat-free, fun-free burger. And imagine one's last years of life spent hovering over an enema bucket while you slavishly prepare a bloody juice every hour every day of your life, never enjoying the simple pleasures of nutella sandwiches with a perfect bread:nutella ratio of 40:60, or sipping a coldie on one's front deck after a blistering party, or a Sunday afternoon spent with builder's tea, scotch fingers and a similarly introverted friend.

More detrimental than a regimented adherence to organic food, or paleo, or macrobiotics, or raw veganism, or any other highly restricted diet is a fervent rejection of conventional, evidence-based medicine. Such as with nutritionism, it shares extreme chemophobia and a confusing approach to bodily purity which sees 'unnatural' interventions such as surgery, chemotherapy, controlled antibiotic use, vaccines and anaesthesia as sullying and toxic.

As an approach it bears numerous similarities to the sexual abstinence movement: it is focussed on femininity and women, with numerous appeals to natural fertility, sexual desirability and some fallacious exhortations that we 'know our bodies better than any doctor' and to 'make our own choices and do our own research'. Practitioners are predominantly not evidence-based: Cyndi O'Meara, anti-vaccination nutritionist and friend of the harbinger of epidemic doom Meryl Dorey, brags about having "never taken an antibiotic, painkiller or any other form of medication in her entire life" - as though this qualifies her to offer health advice. It is a classic naturalistic fallacy: the idea that somehow, these anachronistic refugees of a wholesome, organic Arcadia are here to save us is as offensive as it is silly. Arsenic is natural. Asbestos is natural. Great white sharks and funnel-web spiders are natural - and they are obviously not good for us.

Conventional medical treatment - especially chemotherapy - is always framed by the wellness movement as 'burning, slashing and poisoning', and indeed, this is true. There is good reason why, as treatment, it is limited to cancer, or hepatitis C, or ulcerative collitis: it is because it is so efficacious and destructive to cancer cells that it can do damage to other non-cancerous cells, and for this reason it is strictly administered and monitored. For some forms of cancer, patients are advised to avoid unprotected sex with their partners, so teratogenic are their treatments, and many women become infertile as a result of chemotherapy or surgery. It is not hard to see a bald cancer patient, or one with extremely photophobic skin and eyes (as my own mother suffered from when receiving cancer treatment) and to see poisoning and corruption at work. It is a very fire and brimstone kind of threat: go natural, or spend eternity in the circle of hell set aside for ball-busters, single mothers and the criminally unsexy.

It is this fear of lost femininity - and the fertility, beauty and wholeness which stand as proxies for traditional, conservative femininity - that pseudoscientific hacks play at, and it is not a huge stretch to point out that their view on femininity and its proxies of conventional heterosexist allure and maternal instincts as being so natural and ingrained is one that is inherently problematic to feminist discourse and the notion of performed gender. It is also not a huge stretch to argue that an essentialist, naturalistic ideal of conservative femininity - combined with a disdain for synthetic hormones and surgical intervention - is inherently transphobic and exclusive. (The wellness movement, with its recommendation for expensive organic food and for unverified therapies that cost more than a bulk billing GP appointment, is already exclusive economically, needless to say.)

Belle Gibson did it particularly well in her own fraudulent tirade against evidence-based medicine. She railed against the government for 'giving her cancer' through the Gardasil injection, and the likeness to a predatory, unthinking rapist is drawn. The 'rape' analogy is especially frequently drawn in anti-vaccination circles surrounding consent, and as a feminist who is particularly cognisant of rape culture and issues with consent (especially with young people and children) it is concerning and insulting to the medical community and to all victims of sexual assault and abuse. The frequent calling-cry of antivaccine proponents or opponents of chemotherapy is to beware the toxins: a call which is hugely ignorant pharmacologically, yet devastating in playing into the fears of a largely ignorant community who are not scientifically literate while being very afraid.

Gibson was an especially interesting case: at times, her message was unpalatable (her twitter posts about Gardasil were far less likely to be shared than her pilfered 'bliss ball' recipes). However, when she was on-message was when she was at her best: beautiful, dignified, holding her equally photogenic son aloft in photography as if to highlight her feminine credentials. She managed to be the perfect amalgamation of the Victorian era 'angel of the house' ideal - beautiful, resigned, devotedly maternal, pure - and the twenty-first century wellness pin-up - wealthy, photogenic, business-savvy, zen. That she was 'suffering' with her cancer was all the more symbolic; it provided a cheap, accessible form of empathy to her readers, and her 'survival' literally elevated her to miracle-status. She was in every way the Mother Theresa of the movement: both in her superficial facade of kindness and charity, and in her more real apathy to the suffering of those in her care, and in her financial avarice and ethical disinterest in where the money came from, be it from deposed Romanian dictator or desperate Instagram fans. Hitchens surely would have had a field day with her.

The pseudoscientific wellness community, despite invoking messages of 'free choice' and escaping from the patriarchy of western medicine, is decidedly antifeminist in its goals and semiotics. Feminism - especially second and third wave feminism - has long since railed against prevailing notions of women being the gatekeepers of sexual purity and community morality, or the idea that women and girls are forever sullied because of sexual contact. In particular, third-wave and postcolonial feminism has done much to challenge notions of rape victims being forever 'damaged' or devalued by their experiences, and has long since campaigned for the equal rights of women globally to receive quality healthcare in the form of contraceptive cover and family planning, vaccines and treatment of childbirth complications like fistulas with surgery and antibiotic treatment. These are all things that are making a real difference in the lives of women globally: lifespans are improving, risks of maternal and childhood mortality are plummeting, and economic and educational opportunities are possible all because of treatments empirically proven to work - unlike green smoothies and acupuncture, which might make people who can afford them feel 'more connected with their true selves'. And like the fight against conventional medicine in Australia, so too are pseudoscientific beliefs predicated on irrational notions being used to fight AIDS treatment in Ghana and South Africa, and vaccine programs in Pakistan. These aims too are achieved by manipulating and abusing operant gender discourses about traditional femininity, and made even more extreme and deadly by the vehemence with which this femininity is endorsed and enforced upon women globally.

And, in the end, it is all for nought: Ainscough's inevitable death was met with callous indifference from the Gerson Clinic responsible for her early death (fobbing off critics with a heartless "she stopped following us three years ago, but like, totes sad, babes"), and from woo pedlars quick to claim that had only she lived a better life sooner, or been even more adherent to Gerson's dietary restrictions, or been more positive, she might have survived. People die every day of cancer - even if the treatment is evidence-based. But the difference between real doctors and the charlatans is the phrasing. With evidence based practitioners, the cancer killed the patient, or the treatment failed. I am yet to see a publically renowned, media-prominent doctor berating or criticising a patient for not being positive enough, or for not attracting the right energy, or for not eating enough organic food. The wellness crowd do. The wellness crowd say illness is a personal moral failure: a manifestation of negativity, poor choices and a failure to keep oneself pure.

There is little to distinguish the wellness industry from the cold, harsh doctrine that we are all born fallen and that our demise is deserved of Calvinist theology. There is no light, or kindness, or healing, or warmth. It is boldly antifeminist, anti-humanist, and anti-evidence. And just as feminism rejects the idea that a body is degraded or unworthy due to sexual impurity, so too must it fight the notion that we are undeserving, unwholesome or less-than because we choose medicine as our medicine, or dare to imbibe in the less-than organic. To conclude, I don't believe Jess Ainscough operated under nefarious intent. (The same cannot be said of Gibson, who lies like a lying liar who lies.) Like most in the industry, she found a medium which was profitable, connected her with an audience of millions, and which relied on the trends of the time in terms of conservative self-interest, narcissistic arrogance and special snowflake syndrome. Unlike the others, she sold a fatal bill of goods, and those who promoted her uncritically, even in the absence of evidence or logic or the actual fear that justified Ainscough's actions to some degree, deserve to be brought into the spotlight and challenged for their culpability in spreading this message.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Response to Candice's Daily Mail Article

'I didn't even know about this Belle Gibson lady,' she said. 'I don't know whether she did have cancer or what.'

Well, you have had two weeks now to find out who she is and what she did.  It is no longer an excuse that you did not know.  Go look it up.

'All I know is, she's not me, I'm not her. My story is so far removed from anybody else's story because it's mine. It's unique, and it's exactly how it happened. So why am I not allowed to share that?' 

You can share anything you want.  Neither I nor anyone else can stop you.  What we can do is be critical of you and your claims.  I have zero ability to stop you from writing something and putting it up on the internet.  I have no idea how you got something so ridiculous into your head.

'Why am I not allowed to help people heal? I'm not making money out of this, I'm not trying to hurt anyone.'

You’re not a doctor and you  have zero qualifications to “help people heal”.  I believe you that you are not currently making money off this, but it seems fairly obvious that is your goal.  You may not be trying to hurt anyone, but that does not mean that you aren’t hurting people.  If people follow your lead and ditch real medical care for the magical pineapple diet, then you’re hurting people.

'I'm not a fraud and I'm not a fake'.

Actually I believe you.  I think you are quite sincere.  You sincerely believe that this diet will help people.  What I do not believe is that you are being completely truthful.  Now, it seems fairly clear to me that you had and have a very limited understanding of what was happening when you were getting treatment for your cancer, so perhaps that is where all your misunderstanding stems from.

'It just seems they've got this massive agenda to break down my story.'


'I know I can sleep at night and in my heart I am doing what I know to be right.'

Three indicators of deception in that one sentence alone.

'I haven't changed anything, I haven't deleted anything.'

Yes you did. The deleted content is here on this blog, and I have more of it I can post at any time.

'It really did change the way I f***ing lived'.

I believe that.  I do not think anyone doubted that.

Of note in this entire article is that Candice-Marie Fox chooses not to correct the serious issues the previous article got wrong.  She does not once say here that she never had stage 4 cancer, cancer in her liver, or that Mark Simon is not an oncologist.  She has the perfect forum to make these critical corrections, and of course she does not do so.

Finally, is she going to post her medical records, or will it be a report (on advice of counsel), because at this point I am very, very confused as to what her actual promise is.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Thyroid Cancer Survivor Questions Candice's Story

I’m Auma, the evil troll, Big Pharma employee and government spy who also posts on Candice’s Facebook.
I also happen to be a papillary thyroid cancer survivor (stage I, definitely not terminal) and obviously was quite interested in Candice’s claim about how she cured herself “naturally”. In the past days I have tried to piece together the sequence of her treatment and to understand where all those ridiculous claims come from, what diagnosis she was given and where that could have come from. I have to warn you that this will be a long post, so you may want to grab a coffee (to be used in the traditional way). Also a note – I am not a native English speaker, so excuse me if there are some weird turns of phrases or grammar issues.

The very first information that came to my attention was published in Daily Mail and some other newspapers:
Based on these articles and her own writing on Facebook, there are several impossible or misleading claims about her diagnosis and “natural cure”.

  1. Having cancer spread to liver. After those pesky cancer surviving trolls started asking her questions on Facebook, she admitted liver tumors referenced in Daily Mail were benign.
  2. Being stage IV. A few days back she claimed on FB that she had never called herself stage IV. How did the journalists get the idea of stage IV (in one article – grade IV) cancer then? Also, papillary thyroid cancer in people younger than 45 can only be stage I or II and 5 year survival is almost 100%.
  3. Mark Simon being an oncologist instead of a quack nutritionist without a medical degree. This she also later admitted on FB and Daily Mail actually made a correction.
  4. Rejecting chemo – in different sources Candice mentions having rejected radioactive therapy or chemotherapy. This sounds strange, because chemotherapy usually is not the first line of treatment for papillary thyroid cancer, but she makes it sound like she was certainly offered to do chemo and absolutely rejected it.
  5. The biggest claim of them all is her terminal diagnosis and being given 5 years to live. I am not sure if she actually believes that herself or exaggerated her claims to get attention and embellish her money-earning cancer story. This is what I want to explore the most. Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor, just a patient myself who remembers the process of treatment well. If a medical specialist reads this, please add your perspective. Also, because I am not from an English speaking country, I constantly call thyroglobulin TGB, because that is how we abbreviate it. In English documentation it is usually abbreviated as Tg.

I used the following sources to piece together the timeline:
  • 2011-2012 posts on her FB account which has since been made private, but screenshots are visible here here:
  • 1.5 hours long interview with Candice for Statera podcast, kindly transcribed by another reader Ella on this very blog and published in series “Candice on cancer”
  • Candice’s comments on Facebook page
  • I also found 2 more Facebook groups where she posted about of her story back in 2011. At the time of writing the post these groups were available and the significant bits were fully screenshot, which is lucky, because as of April 12th they are not available anymore.

This far she has mentioned 2 instances, in which she was given a grim prognosis. Since her diagnostics and treatment happened in two different locations with different level of diagnostics, I have divided the story in 2 phases.

Before we go any further, I want to specify papillary thyroid cancer staging, because that is important in the context of her claims.
Papillary or follicular (differentiated) thyroid cancer in patients younger than 45
• Younger people have a low likelihood of dying from differentiated (papillary or follicular) thyroid cancer. The TNM stage groupings for these cancers take this fact into account. So, all people younger than 45 years with these cancers are stage I if they have no distant spread and stage II if they have distant spread.
• Stage I (any T, any N, M0): The tumor can be any size (any T) and may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes (any N). It has not spread to distant sites (M0).
• Stage II (any T, any N, M1): The tumor can be any size (any T) and may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes (any N). It has spread to distant sites (M1).

So, here we go!
The moment she noticed something was wrong was this:
(Source is a post from a now deleted FB group page:

PHASE 1 IN KARRATHA, PILBARA in the first part of the transcribed podcast she says she got her lump checked in a local hospital in a remote area in Karratha, Pilbara. She had neck ultrasound, lumpectomy for the lump above her right collarbone as well as fine-needle biopsy of neck lymph nodes and possibly other, unspecified tests. Then she waits for the biopsy/histology results. It takes some time, she runs out of patience and goes to the local hospital to find out what that neck lump was. It is September 2011.
And there is the first questionable moment of receiving a diagnosis, which she repeatedly claims was grim and fatal.

Quote from the transcript:
As soon as…because, I went into the hospital, and they…it took ages for them to tell me about the lump. So I walk back in there, about two/three weeks later, because I really wanted to know. And they were like, ‘Oh, the doctor’s on holiday, blah blah blah blah,’ and I was like, ‘No, I need to know now.’ So then a girl that I knew, her boyfriend was a doctor there, so he saw me, you know, in a bit of a panic. And he came over and he was, ‘are you okay?’ And I…explained the situation, and I was like ‘I really need to know. What’s going on, what do I need to do.’ Like, ‘why is it taking weeks?’ And then he pulled me into a room and he said, ‘okay, I’ll go and find out.’ So he went off and found my records, come back [sic] and he was like, ‘I’m really sorry to tell you, but it’s papillary thyroid carcinoma.’ He goes…you know, my chances of survival are very slim, because it’s like all over, and I was just like, ‘oh my god.’

On FB she was asked for proof and for information on who this doctor was.C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Austra\Eigene Dateien\2015\Belle gibson\Candice\for post\Karratha_doctor_biopsy.png

Note that Candice mentions a “fatal diagnosis”. I am truly looking forwards to seeing documentation for this and getting that statement from the doctor.
Then I tried looking for information on what tests she might have had up to the point where she met this boyfriend-of-a-girl-she-knows-doctor. On (currently deleted) there is the following post, dated September 18th, 2011 (she keeps referring to September as the month of getting diagnosed in other sources)

If what she has written is precise, it would seem at that point she had a biopsy/histology confirmed spread of papillary thyroid cancer to the neck lymph-nodes, consistent with stage I papillary thyroid cancer, for which 5 year survival rate is practically 100%. If the spread was more distant further, and even if the doctors would suspect cancer spreading to liver (which she later claims was benign tumors) AND lungs, I find it hard to believe that this doctor would give a terminal diagnosis before arrival in nuclear medicine centre in the bigger hospital in the city, doing more tests on that liver lesion and “something” on lung and before finding out her response to radioactive iodine therapy. With hypothetical spread to lungs or liver the cancer would still be classified as stage II (any T, any N, M1), for which survival rate is still good: unless she is one of those people who do not respond to radioactive treatment (are RAI non-avid), in which case chemotherapy could be an option and survival rate would be worse. But, because radioactive treatment has not been even tried yet, I don’t understand how a doctor at that point would suggest she is terminal.
Candice still has not answered our question about the specialty of this doctor or his name, he is not her treating doctor, just a friend of a friend who happened to be in the hospital while her own doctor was on holiday. She needs to show documentation for this specific time frame and the existing diagnosis.

So, sometime in autumn of 2011 Candice goes to the “city hospital” in Perth, namely Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. To a fellow patient in radiation oncology, this place looks pretty cool:
Her experience in this hospital is described in the next part of the podcast here:
Candice goes to 2 different surgeons in the city who both say she needs to have her thyroid and lymph nodes removed, followed by radiation and possible chemo. It is probable that doctors laid out the possible ways how the treatment could pan out and chemo could potentially be a part of the story. She mentions going natural to a doctor, who tells her that without treatment she will lose voice and possibly die. But it is also clearly said that with treatment she has very good survival rate:
CANDICE: “I ended up being scared into the surgery…I went to two different surgeons, and they both said the same thing: total thyroidectomy, take all the lymph nodes out, then radiation, possible chemo, blah blah blah. When I went in there and I said to them ‘look, I want to do it naturally,’ he was just like ‘oh, okay, yeah. If you do it naturally, if you leave it for another year and it takes over, you might lose your voice, you know, it will probably eat at your vocal cords’ – really scare tactics – and he was like ‘and then you’ll probably die.’ Like, literally.”
“And then, 90% survival rate, they gave me, from doing it their way. They were like, ‘yeah, high chances, we’ll just take out the thyroid, you might not even need radiation, we’ll see how you go.’”
It is interesting that these doctors who have seen her supposedly terminal test results from earlier diagnostics are now saying that Candice has a 90% survival rate and may not even need the first step of adjuvant radiation treatment.
In October 2011 the “best surgeon in Perth” does her full thyroidectomy and lymph-node removal. During the surgery she also gets her parathyroid glands removed, which she considers a major error of the surgeon, although this is a known possible complication from thyroidectomy.
She is also preparing for radioactive iodine treatment that will follow surgery.
Please note: she herself admits that she won’t know if she is cancer free for maybe another year.
In November 2011 Candice finds out that the tumor (primary tumor in thyroid) was stage 3 and the lymph nodes were stage 1.
I believe this information comes from the full pathology report after thyroidectomy and lymph node dissection surgery and suspect these numbers are a part of TNM staging formula (a standard way to describe how large a cancer is and how far it has spread), where:
• T indicates the size of the main (primary) tumor and whether it has grown into nearby areas.
• N describes the extent of spread to nearby (regional) lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are bean-shaped collections of immune system cells to which cancers often spread first. Cells from thyroid cancers can travel to lymph nodes in the neck and chest areas.
• M indicates whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other organs of the body. (The most common sites of spread of thyroid cancer are the lungs, the liver, and bones.)
If that is the case, at this point she would possibly have:
T3: The primary tumor is larger than 4 cm across, or it has just begun to grow into nearby tissues outside the thyroid.
N1: The cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes
N1a: The cancer has spread to lymph nodes around the thyroid in the neck (called pretracheal, paratracheal, and prelaryngeal lymph nodes).
N1b: The cancer has spread to other lymph nodes in the neck (called cervical) or to lymph nodes behind the throat (retropharyngeal) or in the upper chest (superior mediastinal).
M value depends on what distant spread Candice potentially has:
MX: Distant metastasis cannot be assessed.
M0: There is no distant metastasis.
M1: The cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as distant lymph nodes, internal organs, bones, etc.
Staging thus depends on what the M value is – M0 or M1.
Stage I (any T, any N, M0): The tumor can be any size (any T) and may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes (any N). It has not spread to distant sites (M0).
Stage II (any T, any N, M1): The tumor can be any size (any T) and may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes (any N). It has spread to distant sites (M1).
The staging information comes from here:

Sometime after surgery Candice has a CT of thyroid bed. Excerpt from the deleted FB group.
It is not quite clear if this really was a CT scan, maybe a medical professional could elaborate on how typical it would be to check post-operative thyroid bed remnants with a CT scan. My own remaining thyroid cells in the thyroid bed showed up in a neck ultrasonogram and a whole body scan (WBS) before radioactive treatment, when nuclear medicine department was planning the dose of RAI I would need.
Having such remains in thyroid bed is typical, as it is not possible to surgically remove thyroid without leaving something behind. Also, it is worth pointing out that, as far as I have read, CTs before a planned radioactive iodine treatment can be contraindicated – if iodine containing contrast dye is used, that could diminish the efficacy of radioactive treatment because remaining thyroid cells would have a smaller ability to absorb radioactive iodine. The said hospital offers PET/CT scans as well, maybe it was that?
Then the next step is radioactive iodine therapy. It is also referenced as radiation in her texts, but this should not be confused with external beam radiation therapy (which can also be an option in thyroid cancer treatment).
From what I gather, Candice was actually lucky and did not have to go through “hypohell” – this is how patients call the process of going hypothyroid naturally (I find it ironic and amusing that in this very “unnatural” course of treatment she gets to skip the really unpleasant “natural” phase) by not having any replacement hormones for quite some time to make sure any remaining thyroid cells (benign or cancerous) are sufficiently “starved” of iodine and the ablation is as successful as possible. She supposedly receives Thyrogen instead, which artificially causes sufficiently high TSH results in a few days, so the patient does not have to endure unpleasant hypothyroid symptoms for long. (I’m a  bit jealous here – I had to go hypo naturally and I felt like an intellectually challenged puffy blowfish for a long time, because lack of thyroid hormones messes with concentration skills and makes you puffy and extremely sluggish.)

C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Austra\Eigene Dateien\2015\Belle gibson\Candice\for post\expectationofcure.png
It is worth pointing out that her radioactive iodine therapy is scheduled on December 14, 2011 and it appears that she expects to be cancer-free in 10 days by Christmas, although in October she was told that the results of radioactive treatment may not be known for a year. To me this shows a complete lack of understanding about the radioactive treatment process and maybe explains why she got so shocked by that post-RAI scan after which she thought her cancer had spread because of surgery and radiation.

This is a fragment from (currently deleted, but screenshot, yay!)
So, at some point between the surgery (initial lumpectomy and biopsy) in October 2011 and radioactive treatment in December 2011 she had a CT scan in which tumors are found in liver. I am not sure what the diagnostic process would be, if doctors would potentially think that could be cancer spread to liver. I am having a hard time tracking down the exact time when it became clear they were benign, but in an article she wrote for Eluxe magazine (,she states that in 2012 she was diagnosed with a benign liver tumor. So it is not clear if at the moment when Candice was going for RAI, she already knew they were benign.
Either way I don’t understand why this episode of cancer spreading to liver would ever make it into the several articles that got published in newspapers and why she felt it was necessary to correct irrelevant information about “ditching her husband” and the precise location of Houghton Regis, when there is such glaring misinformation about having had cancer in liver.
On December 14th 2011, Candice enters the hospital for radioactive iodine treatment. In my hospital standard tests right before RAI were abdomen USG, lung X ray, blood tests and 1 WBS (a.k.a whole body scan, whole body scintigraphy or i-131 scan) to determine the necessary ablation dose of radioactive iodine. She has not specified what her tests were precisely, but it is interesting that I have not seen a single post where she mentions WBS - a form of visual imaging, which is crucial in diagnosis of papillary thyroid cancer. I have only seen neck ultrasound, CT and MRI mentioned and I think it shows that she does not understand the differences between the results that can be obtained by different methods and what their goal is. It is also useful to note the date of treatment, because the administered radioactive iodine dose will keep working until December 2012.
Then she takes the radioactive iodine capsule and goes into isolation for the first days in the hospital. During this time patient has to take regular showers, drink lots of water to excrete the radioactive iodine through urine, feces and sweat. The patient becomes radioactive and dangerous to others, that’s why the nurse says that she can only leave the hospital when the radiation monitor shows a specific radioactivity level. Then, according to the transcript from the podcast, she goes to an outpatient facility where she has to stay for one more week until radiation levels drop further to avoid harming other people.
So, after this very long process we arrive to the point where she gets her 2nd terminal news.
I went back to the hospital for a MRI scan to see how the radio-active Iodine had worked. This is when I was told that the Cancer had spread into my right lung and more extensively in my neck and chest area also :(

From the podcast:
The Monday after [radiation] I went in for a scan…and my doctor wasn’t there, and the guy that was there, he was all, ‘oh I think I’d rather your doctor gave you the news.’ 
And I was like ‘No, I don’t want to wait, she’s on holiday. Can you give me the news?’ 
And he was just like, ‘are you sure?’ 
And…I was just like…‘Tell me. Like just tell me.’ 
And he was just like ‘I’m really sorry to tell you this… the cancer has spread. It’s now gone into your right lung, it’s gone more down your chest lymph nodes, it’s in the back of your neckthe lymph nodes that weren’t affected – I had five tumours on my liver…they were benign, but they were still there…and he said basically, ‘you’re looking at like five years left to live.’ 
And I was [sic] just looked at him, and I was just like…instantly, I was like, ‘how do you know five years? Instantly, I was like ‘where do you get five years from?’”
[He said]: ‘Oh, just, you know, because cases, and, you know, we’ve seen this happen before, statistics, la la la. It’s about five years, you know, give or take.’ 
I was like, ‘oh, give or take.’ I couldn’t believe it.”
Is it not weird that for a second time a terminal, horrible diagnosis is given by “a guy” who is not her doctor? And her real doctor again is on a holiday? That is some seriously bad luck. Who are these guys in hospitals wandering about and giving people terminal diagnoses? I would like to know so I can avoid them. Who knows, I may also suddenly turn from a stage I patient to a walking dead person just because I ran into these guys, scary!

I have tried looking at all possible FB posts for the information on this scan and it is clear to me that she did not understand what test she had (I don’t see why she would go for MRI at that point), what happens at this stage of treatment or is deliberately lying. After RAI treatment a papillary thyroid cancer patient always receives WBS scan: also called whole body scan, whole body scintigraphy or i-131 scan. The idea is to see where radioactive iodine administered during RAI treatment collected and to plan further treatment strategy.
Here is a good explanation of RAI and WBS:
Quote: One week after receiving the dose, a whole body scan will be performed to show where the iodine collects in the body. Uptake is normally seen in the salivary glands, gastrointestinal tract, and urinary bladder. Normal uptake may also be seen in the liver. Seeing these areas light up on scan does NOT mean that thyroid cancer has spread to these organs. Often, uptake is seen in the mid portion of the neck where residual thyroid tissue (i.e. the remnant) is found. (Figure 4) Uptake in the sides of the neck may indicate that cancer has spread to lymph nodes. (Figure 5) Uptake in the upper-middle part of the chest (i.e. mediastinum) may be normal uptake in the esophagus or thymus or may indicate spread of thyroid cancer to the lymph nodes in the chest. (Figure 6) Uptake in the lungs or bones may indicate spread of thyroid cancer to these areas as well. (Figure 7)
Also, one has to keep in mind that there could be two WBS scans (as in my case) – one right before administration of radioactive iodine and one about a week later, so she possibly had both. Here is an article about the meaning of result differences in-between these two scans:
Quote: In many centers, pre- and post-RAI whole body scans (WBS) are performed routinely on patients undergoing RAI for DTC. After surgery and prior to RAI delivery a pre-RAI WBS is performed with either 123I or 131I to identify remnant thyroid tissue and residual local or distant metastatic thyroid cancer. Post-RAI WBS is primarily done to identify metastatic disease not seen by the pre-RAI scan.
What this means is that the results of the first and the second scan can differ, the second scan provides more information. I have a suspicion that maybe she actually had the first WBS scan right after her surgery and before RAI – the scan she called CT and in which remnants in thyroid bed were found. The machine for WBS scan really looks very similar to MRI or CT, so they could be confused.
Therefore, if Candice had iodine uptake in right lung, additional neck lymph nodes and upper chest, this is not considered cancer spreading. Whatever these lit up areas were, they could have been there all along, but were not detected in the other types of visual imaging tests she had. Also, as far as I understand, complete evaluation of areas that light up in the WBS scan is not instant, it takes time to see the changes in thyroglobulin cancer marker after the administration of radioactive iodine. To me it looks like Candice did not realize the differences in diagnostic methods and maybe thought that radiation and surgery caused a sudden spread of cancer in lung, neck and chest, because she was not aware of these locations before.
Even if all of this iodine uptake corresponds with metastatic spread, according to the TNS staging system, papillary thyroid cancer with a spread to lungs is T3N1M1, thus stage II. Not stage IV, not terminal, not deadly. 5 year survival rate for treated stage II papillary thyroid cancer is also excellent.
After administration of RAI the patient has regular follow-ups to see the trend of thyroglobulin marker – decreasing is obviously great - and to adjust the replacement dose of thyroid hormones (which can also be a part of therapy for the suppression of remaining thyroid cells).

So, surgeon and nuclear medicine people do the standard thing – they want to see how the remaining thyroid cancer cells react to radiation in the long term and tell her to come back in 6-9 months to see the progress and, if necessary, have more surgery or RAI. Again, she does not mention chemo being offered. For someone so scared of chemo that killed her friend and cousin, it seems strange not to mention it.
In May 2012 (6 months after RAI) she gets the first thyroglobulin marker test results, which indeed are pretty great - TGB of 0.7 ng/ml, surgery and RAI have worked quite nicely.
In the podcast Candice says she had a visit with her nuclear oncologist at this 6 month post-RAI point.
“It's just, you know, all these things happened. And then yeah, so I proved them wrong. In six months I went and had the test done, and it went from level 13, to naught-point-seven [0.7]. So no large tumours, just small-scale cellular cancer left in me. And when I said to my nuclear oncologist, she was so shocked. And I was just like, ‘so, can I have it come from your mouth, that this is not the radiation that's done this, this is not anything you've done, this is what I've done, since leaving you?’
And she was just like, ‘look, I kinda hate to admit it, but it can't be...because...when we tested you, it was just level 13, now it's 0.7.’ She goes, ‘It's nothing to do with us. But we still want to mop up that 0.7 with some more radiation.’”
The only situation where I can imagine the oncologist saying that is if she wanted to make sure Candice does not run away from conventional medicine while chanting and waiving a broccoli and kindly let her think she had some influence on this downward trend.
CANDICE: “So I was just like, ‘Are you f*****g sh*****g me?’ And that’s when I sat there and I said, ‘I want to be real with you now. I’ve had the worst and the best…last few months, and I know you're not a bad person…I know that you think giving me radiation is good for me. You really do, you think you're doing good.’”

SNARY: “That's what she's been indoctrinated into.”

CANDICE: “Yeah. And I said, ‘But you're not. You're not gonna give me broccoli. I love my broccoli. But you're not gonna give me broccoli, and say that cures cancer.
(I couldn’t help interjecting with a comment here – I would eat my hat just to see the oncologist’s facial expression at this point)
You're just not gonna do that. Because you deal in radiation, but I'm here to tell you that radiation doesn't really work. Like, you didn't tell me that it ups my chance of leukemia by 70%, did you?’
And she was like…‘Why worry about one cancer when you're dealing with one now?’ That's what she said to me!
And I was like, ‘Because I don't want another cancer down there! Why can't I deal with all these cancers and wipe them out? [...] That didn’t make sense to me either, and I was just like, ‘Look, I'm not gonna take it […] I'm not going down your route anymore, and I don't want to come for any thyroid clinics, I don't want to do anything that you...’
And she instantly was just like, ‘you know that you could be killing yourself.’ Same, same thing!”

SNARY: “Even after the results are in, and she'd seen the results for herself?”

CANDICE: “Because it's 0.7! There's 0.7. And she goes, ‘This 0.7 could be hiding somewhere, and it could blow up.’”

This is pure speculation, of course, but from that conversation it would seem to me that Candice had an open argument with her treating oncologist and tried to illuminate her that her stupid radiation does not work (despite TGB going down from 13 to 0.7), but broccoli does. I may be wrong, but I think if I was an oncologist, I would be internally screaming and thinking that this silly patient might have some residual disease left, she is about to quit conventional medicine completely and those 0.7 ng/ml might or might not cause recurrence later if the marker does not keep decreasing for the next 6 months. Who knows, maybe I would try to convince the patient to do one last RAI ablation just to be on the safe side, so Candice can continue prancing around Ibiza beaches, waving broccoli and actually being in a very safe position. Also, it can be seen here again that chemo is still neither specifically offered, nor rejected.

So Candice walks out of nuclear medicine department halfway through the 12 month period in which radioactive iodine is supposed to keep working, already with a very good result and a possibility that it will keep improving. In December 2012, 1 year after radioactive iodine Candice’s TGB result is 0.3.

I cannot know what exact TGB result Candice’s oncologist was aiming for and if she had actually reached it.  The results are always interpreted in the context of thyroid hormone level, we don’t know if she has appropriate hormone replacement therapy, any interfering thyroglobulin antibodies, if any of the TGB results were stimulated or not, if there could be potentially benign leftovers of thyroid tissue affecting TGB results - there are a lot of variables in play, so I can’t and won’t go into that as a non-specialist. But at face value that 0.3 ng/ml is really good. In one of my labs in Europe reference value for thyroglobulin in thyroidless people after RAI ablation is <2 ng/ml, in another one they have 0.2 as the lowest amount of TGB that the lab can detect, so <0.2 for me is awesome news -  no thyroid activity can be detected. I don’t know what lab reference or methods are used in Candice’s case, but 0.3 is still pretty great.
Out of interest, I looked at my own results with RAI ablation date as the reference point in time:
6 months: 0.839 ng/ml (Candice’s is 0.7) – clearly I ate less pineapples
8 months: <0.20 ng/ml (undetectable) – I probably ate more pineapples than Candice
So, where do I officially announce a miracle happened to me? I mean, it could not have been radiation, right?
I have a suspicion that the only truthful number that refers to expected survival in her story is “90% survival with treatment”, as stated by her actual doctors, not some mystical guy or a friend of a friend that she met while her doctors were on holiday.
My post is finally coming to an end. I primarily wanted to look into the timeline to see where Candice could have possibly misunderstood something, where the line between lack of understanding and pure dishonesty is and where the impossible claims are coming from. Perhaps the specific details about scans and treatment are not very interesting, I also cannot guarantee the accuracy of this timeline, because I am not a doctor, I have no medical education, and there is not enough information from Candice. However, it is not my duty or anyone else’s to prove anything about Candice’s treatment, it is her responsibility. Candice is the one declaring that she cured her cancer naturally, is building a business based on impossible claims. So the burden of proof is on her and she is welcome to submit any correcting information, confirmed by documents. Not generalized reports from naturopath MDs, nutritional oncologists or leprechaun podiatrists, but the actual documents from the 2 hospitals where she was treated - excerpts, blood test results, pathology results, all scans with corresponding dates, etc. All of it.

Candice still has to answer the following questions:
  1. Where is the evidence for having been given 5 years left to live, being terminal/fatal/with very slim chances?
  2. Where is the evidence that her diet did anything at all, if the timing in which TGB marker so beautifully decreased is still within 12 months of RAI being administered? I.e. – where exactly is the miracle?
  3. Why both times “a fatal diagnosis” was presented by someone who was not her doctor, while her own doctor was on a holiday? Who were these people and what were their qualifications? Where is their statement confirming that they gave such diagnosis to Candice?
  4. How did the journalists get their facts so wrong about cancer spreading to liver? Where did they get the idea of Candice being stage IV?

Also, because the readers must have been really patient to read this very long post, which does not contain so much material for comedy (hats off to Ella for her transcript commentary), I have a special treat for dessert. It shows Candice’s thinking and grand plans for her future health. If you think curing terminal cancer with pineapples was a bold statement, you’re in for a surprise.

Yes, you read it correctly, Candice expects to prove those evil, evil medical professionals wrong, to regrow her missing thyroid and stop using those the silly hormone replacement pills. As one of the readers/writers on this blog said a bit sarcastically, she could revolutionise the transplant system. Maybe she is in the wrong line of business, what do you think?
If it was my call, I would prefer she continues her road of psychic exploration, floats to some alternative reality and becomes a leprechaun podiatrist instead of a fake cancer cure promoter. We can all hope, right?

P.S. Big Pharma and government representatives – when can I invoice for the time I spent collecting all this information and writing the post?