SPEECH OF SEYMOUR BRENNER, M.D.
TO THE OTA (1990)
From The Cancer Chronicles #5
© July 1990 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
Seymour Brenner, M.D. is a radiation oncologist [now retired, Ed.] at Peninsula Hospital, Far Rockaway, New York
I am a radiation oncologist who treats cancer in New York. I've been doing it for 39 years. I have a rather successful practice, in that I see, probably, 100 to 150 patients a day. My great frustration is that, in 39 years of practicing medicine and treating cancer, I have seen no significant progress. Because of my frustration, I have, for the past five years, on my own, been investigating alternative methods of treating cancer.
In the latter part of 1988, I went before the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the support of then-Congressman Molinari (R-NY) to try to get approval to do a research program into the investigation of alternative methods. I was told by the chairman of the FDA that new preparations have to be evaluated in a certain fashion.
"What is that fashion?" I asked.
He said, "Well, they have to be tested in the laboratory first, then on animals before we go to humans."
"How long would that take?" I asked.
He answered: "A range of three to seven years with an average of five."
"I see millions of people dying in five years," I said. "I see hundreds of billions of dollars being spent in five years. Why do we have to wait that long?" No constructive answer.
What I would like to recommend that an independent panel of competent physicians send word out to the medical community: "If you have a patient who is considered hopeless. with an established diagnosis of cancer, refer them to this panel.''
This panel will either approve or disapprove the hopelessness of the situation. If, in fact, they are hope less on standard methods, I would then like to invite the directors of alternative clinics to send us protocols that we could use to test on dying patients. We have nothing to lose; they're dying. We have every thing to gain, because we could save lives. So far, nothing constructive has happened.
One of the doctors I've investigated is Dr. Emanuel Revici in New York, who is 94 years old, and has been the target of much criticism and many attacks. I would just like to tell you about ten patients whom he has cured, who would have died under my supervision. I challenge any doctor to question what I'm saying about these patients. I did not take their records from Dr. Revici. I had an independent panel of pathologists who confirmed the histological diagnosis, so there's no question about the diagnosis or stage of their disease.
A 43-year-old male. Diagnosed with cancer of the bladder at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. They said, "The only way you can be treated is if we take your bladder out and give you a colostomy on the side." He said no. He went to Dr. Revici in October, 1980 In 1987, the patient went back to Memorial Hospital for a cystoscopy. Cystoscopy negative. Seven years later, bladder in position, no cancer; cured.
A 29-year-old female also from Memorial Sloan-Kettering. Operated on in 1983. Had a chordoma, a brain tumor. The tumor was incompletely resected, followed by a course of radiation. The patient's condition progressively worsened between the time of surgery and the next 12 months. She was seen by Dr. Revici in 1984. At that time, the patient was confined to a wheelchair with limited function. Since seeing Dr. Revici she has had two babies, functions perfectly well Her only problem is that she walks with a cane. A true miracle, as far as I am concerned.
A 30-year-old woman operated on at New York University for ovarian carcinoma. Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and hysterectomy were performed and all gross tumor was removed. Patient was placed on chemotherapy, which she continued for six months.
In November, 1985, second surgery was performed. She had a pelvic tumor with omental metastases. Biopsy only performed to establish the diagnosis. Patient was seen in Dr. Revici's office in January, 1986. Today, she is in good health.
A 50-year-old man with unresectable adenocarcinoma of the left lung. Put on radiation therapy. Unfortunately his condition worsened. He went to see Dr. Revici in October, 1981. It's now 1990, and as any doctor in this room knows, unresectable carcinoma of the lung does not live nine years on no treatment, so something must have converted that patient from death to a nine-year survivor.
A 34-year-old man underwent amputation of the left leg at the knee for a giant cell tumor of the femur. In 1979 he had a right thoracotomy for removal of two nodules. In 1980, chest X ray showed a new 1.5 centimeter nodule and several small nodules in the right lung. An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) showed a 10 by 13 centimeter renal mass.
In October, 1980, the patient went to Dr. Revici. Obviously, he's well or I wouldn't talk about it.
A 27-year-old woman came into my office last week, with her husband and three-year-old
child. She had carcinoma of the breast with brain metastases, and she
said to me, "Don't let me die." Now, I can't cure that lady. What do I
do with her?
I don't know if Dr. Revici, or Dr. Burzynski, or Dr. Burton, or any
of them can cure her, but I am tired of watching people come to my
office and plead for their lives and I have nothing to offer them.
So, what I am saying to this committee is: let's not turn our back on
alternative methods. I'm frustrated and I'm angry and I'm depressed
when I see a 27 year-old woman who says, "Don't let me die," and I have
to let her die.
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