Pat Pilkington Death, Cancer Epidemic, Treatment Changes Overdue

I am very sad to report the recent death, aged 84, of Pat Pilkington, much-loved co-founder of Bristol Cancer Help Centre Peace. Pat was inspirational and a pioneer who, with Penny Brohn, helped to transform the acceptability, respectability, and demonstration of efficacy of holistic cancer treatments. Her obituary on PH Online, a respectful tribute, doesn’t begin to do justice to her immense achievements which will continue to be felt among cancer patients for decades to come.

At the time our paths intersected in the early 1990s, I had recently returned to the UK from the USA, had written and had published books about organic germanium and vitamin C. A media debacle, reported and published by Martin Walker in Dirty Medicine, followed a series of ‘witch hunt’ reports intended to discredit the then most respected figures in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. These resulted not only in the ban of organic germanium supplements, a story in its right, but additionally in a television programme and research paper purporting to show that women with cancer attending Bristol Cancer Help Centre (BCHC) for holistic treatments, died earlier than women receiving conventional treatment.[1,2]

The ensuing two decades has unfolded, I was commissioned to create the Cancer and Nutrition Database for BCHC, following which I co-founded in 1994, with my partner Mike Howell, Positive Health magazine and PH Online –
Much water under the bridge – about 20 years, >3000 articles and research updates later, many about cancer, we are currently working on Issue 209, again with a focus upon novel, holistic cancer treatments, including Deuterium Depletion and Mistletoe Therapy and Hyperthermia.
What has changed in the intervening years? When I recently visited my family in Canada, my sister remarked to me “all my friends are getting cancer”; the same is the case with my elderly relatives. Here in the UK, via PH Online and in my ‘spare time’, I have becoming even more involved in attempting to publish information about cancer and its myriad treatment regimens, including nutrition and herbal medicine approaches, immunotherapy, oxygen therapies, information to help cancer patients better inform themselves of the multitude of available tests and treatment approaches.
I don’t feel that integration of cancer treatments into conventional oncology treatment is occurring quickly enough – even at all, and have discussed my understanding of the situation and in the most recent Editorial in issue 208. I am not the only frustrated critic of the inability of conventional oncology professionals to be able to integrate treatments other than the same old, same old regimens, but also acknowledge the hurdles faced regarding the draconian law, the weak evidence base and the lack of organized research about efficacy of more holistic approaches.

There is a deafening roar from the public supporting the adoption of more integrated cancer treatments. This drive, emanating from the information and evidence base available worldwide via the internet, and developments in genetic and molecular biological understanding of cancers, will ultimately prevail, resulting in improved, more humane and person-oriented treatment. That day cannot come soon enough in my view.

1.    Walker M. Dirty Medicine – Science, Big Business and the Assault on Natural Health Care. Slingshot Publications. 1993.
2. Bagenal FS, Easton DF, Harris E, Chilvers CED, McElwain TJ. Survival of patients with breast cancer attending Bristol Cancer Help Centre.Lancet 336: 606 –10. 1990.

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About Dr S Goodman

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder, Director and Editor of Positive Health PH Online, trained and worked as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology (PhD McGill University 1981) in Canada and the USA. She has focused upon health issues since the mid 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art (updated 2003) is now in its third edition, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre (now known as Penny Brohn Cancer Care) in 1993. Dr Goodman and Mike Howell, her long-term partner, co-founded in 1994, Positive Health magazine PH Online , which has grown over 17 years to a significant and valuable specialist archive of published research, articles, book reviews, about Complementary / Alternative / Integrated Medicine.

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