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Gerson Therapy Guide: Detailed Information About this Alternative Cancer Treatment

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 12/17/2010

Have you been thinking about Gerson therapy? Here you will learn what this therapy is and all of the important details.

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    Gerson therapy is an alternative treatment for cancer that involves the use of a special diet, enemas, and supplements. It is purported to boost the immune system, cleanse the body, and stimulate the metabolism. Using Gerson therapy for cancer is still highly controversial. There are a few out there who swear it works, but there are far more who do not trust it due to lack of scientific evidence.

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    How is this Therapy Given?

    This therapy is given through dietary modification. Patients must consume large amounts of organic vegetables and fruits, and juices. All meals are vegetarian and they are prepared using cookware and utensils that aluminum-free. Patients are not allowed to use spices or salt. Supplements, such as hormones and vitamins are administered by injection and in pill form. Enemas are also used and are purported to eliminate toxins from the body. Any patient thinking about using this therapy must consult his or her physician first.

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    History of this Therapy

    Dr. Max Gerson founded Gerson therapy and he initially used this therapy to treat tuberculosis and migraines. Later, he began using it for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Though it has not been reviewed, Gerson claimed that three out of ten patients experienced benefits from this therapy.

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    Possible Risks

    Using this therapy may lead to several significant problems. Death and serious illness have occurred from certain aspects of this therapy, such as using the coffee enemas, which can result in electrolyte imbalances by removing potassium from the body. Continuing to use these enemas may result in weakened colon function, colitis, and worsening constipation problems. When used in combination with enemas, some metabolic diets cause dehydration.

    Due to the poor administration of liver extracts, serious infections may develop. Patients who have cancer that has metastasized to the liver may experience severe bleeding through using thyroid supplements.

    Women who are breastfeeding or pregnant may face serious risks and complications by using this therapy.

    Delaying or avoiding conventional medical treatments for cancer and relying on this therapy alone, may result in very serious health consequences for the patient.

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    Scientific Evidence

    The scientific evidence available for this therapy does not support the claims that it is effective in the treatment of cancer. The medical community does not widely accept the principles behind this therapy. In the United States, Gerson therapy is not approved for use. This therapy can be dangerous. The coffee enemas used as a part of this therapy have been associated with dehydration, inflammation of the colon (colitis), constipation, electrolyte imbalances, serious infections, and even death.

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    Resources

    National Cancer Institute. (2010). Gerson Therapy. Retrieved on December 16, 2010 from the National Cancer Institute: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/gerson/Patient

    American Cancer Society. (2008). Gerson Therapy. Retrieved on December 16, 2010 from the American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/DietandNutrition/gerson-therapy