My Cure from Stage IV Lung Cancer

I am Robert (Bob) Karjala, a 55 year old male who has never smoked,
but I was exposed to low levels of iodine-125 radiation
for over 30 years as a biochemist/lab manager.
In relating my story, I want to be objective and relate the facts of my
case, to let the reader make his or her own decisions.  I feel it is also
important to pass along some reasons to support the alternative choices I

Summary:  In March of 1998 I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the lung
with metastases to the lymph nodes and spine.  I had radiation to the spine
to alleviate pain and simultaneously began carboplatin/taxol chemo.  After
12 weeks of chemo there was no change in the primary tumor. I then added
several complementary therapies and 6 weeks later my primary tumor had
shrunk by 50%.  I continued the chemo and alternatives and on 11/3/98 my
oncologist said I was cured.

In March of 1998, I was diagnosed with a 2.5 cm adenocarcinoma of the lung
which had spread to nearby lymph nodes in the lung and to two spots on my
spine and to a 3 cm mass in my liver.  I received 14 radiation treatments to
one of the tumors on my spine.  The radiation eliminated the back pain which
had brought me to the doctor in the first place.  I simultaneously began
chemotherapy (carboplatin and taxol, once every three weeks).
In April of 1998, I made a decision to not use any alternatives initially,
because I wanted to give the chemo a chance, and I wanted to evaluate its
effectiveness.  A bone scan on 4/22/98 showed a second spine metastasis on
the right side of my neck, but it remained asymptomatic and did not show up
on X-rays.  When X-rays after chemo #2 and chemo #4 showed no increase of
the lung tumor (but also no decrease), I decided to add several alternatives
to my therapy.

In May, I began taking essiac tea (2-3 ounces per day).  Chest X-rays in the
middle of June showed no increase in the size of the lung tumor, and a
slight reduction in size of the lymph nodules (after 4 chemo treatments).

In June, I began taking Dr. Julian Whitaker's "Forward Plus" vitamin and
mineral supplements and increased my essiac tea consumption to 2- 3 ounces
each morning and evening.  I also began taking vitamin CoQ-10 at 400 mg per
day, one capsule a day of Cat's Claw bark (Una de Gato) and one capsule a
day of grape seed extract with methyl sulfonyl methane(MSM).

In July, (six weeks later after a total of six chemo treatments), a CT scan
showed that my liver tumor had disappeared, my lung tumor had shrunk to 50%
of its original size, my spine was healing with new healthy tissue, and the
lung lymph nodes were smaller and fewer in number.  After chemo #6 I also
began taking one astragalus root capsule per day.

I am assuming that the dramatic change in the lung tumor in the six weeks
between chemo #4 and chemo # 6 was mainly due to the alternative therapies
which I started in June!

September 11, 1998 x-rays show the primary lung tumor as less than 1 cm and
the lymph nodes are almost totally clear after chemo #8.  X-rays on 10/20/98
after the 10th and final chemo treatment show the lung as essentially

October 27, 1998 CT scan showed no detectable tumor in the lung and the
mediastinal lymph nodes have shrunk to less than 3 mm for the largest one.
After this 10/27/98 CT scan, the doctors determined that, instead of an
initially diagnosed liver tumor, I had a benign hemangioma which was
unchanged during the therapy.  The hemangioma did not show up on the 7/28/98
CT scan, which was done on an older slow machine.

On November 3, 1998 my oncologist said I was cured, but he did note that
there could still be undetectable cancer cells remaining. He said that if
there were a thousand cells left, and with a lung cancer doubling rate of
anywhere from 45 to 90 days, it could be years before any more cancer would
be detectable(billions of cells). Of course that assumes no further
treatment. You know I'll be taking my vitamins, CoQ-10, and essiac as a
preventative for the rest of my life.

I found out about Dr. Julian Whitaker M. D., who runs a clinic in Newport
Beach, CA., from an advertising circular. I wound up subscribing to his
monthly newsletter "Health & Healing", an offer which included one of his
books as an incentive.  In the book, "New Cures for Chronic Diseases", Dr.
Whitaker lists what he would take if he had cancer -- vitamins, healthy
diet, Coenzyme Q-10, essiac tea, selenium, soy isoflavones and soy products,
and bovine and shark cartilage.
I began Whitaker's home-delivery option for a 60 day supply of the vitamins,
which costs me about $40.00 per month with free shipping.  The only reason I
get the CoQ-10 from Whitaker is that I couldn't find the 200mg wafers in
local stores.  Although he lists several brands of essiac in his book, I am
satisfied with the more reasonably priced source I found.  I briefly tried
shark cartilage, but it requires enormous doses which gave me gas and I saw
some reports claiming it was ineffective, so I stopped using it.

I have no connection with or monetary incentive to promote Whitaker.  I am
sure there are other vitamin programs that also contain high levels of
anti-oxidants, I just happened to come across Whitaker's program and decided
to try it.  I am now convinced that vitamins have played an important part
in my apparent recovery and/or my tolerance of chemo with minimal

Dr. Whitaker's website is at, while describes the Whitaker Wellness Institute. "Who is
Dr. Whitaker?" is a page made by my host (, who concluded
that the doctor and his recommendations are legitimate.

The Whitaker program includes 20 to 30 times the RDA of several anti-oxidant
vitamins and 200 micrograms per day of selenium (an anti-tumor and
anti-cancer mineral).  The essiac tea is 70% dried Burdock root, 22%
powdered Sheep sorrel, 5% powdered Slippery Elm bark, and 3% powdered Turkey
rhubarb root.  The grape seed extract is from Rich Distrubiting and contains
100 mg of grape seed extract and 400mg of MSM per capsule. Rich claims to be
the original distributor of MSM for human consumption.

My Recommendations:

Begin the Whitaker "Forward Plus" vitamin program   (the vitamin ingredients
and amounts are now listed in my  Letters, Part 2 )
The Whitaker "Forward Plus" vitamins are available from Healthy Directions,
1-800-722-8008.  They come in packets of 8 capsules and you take two packets
per day, or 60 packets per month, at the cost of $49.95/month.  10% volume
discount, item number RP30.

Take 400 mg of CoQ-10 per day
200 mg CoQ-10 wafers are available from Healthy Directions, item CQ23.  A
bottle of 30 wafers is $47 (or $42.84 each for 3 bottles or more).  60
wafers are a months' supply, so the cost is about $86.00 per month.

Drink 2 or 3 ounces of essiac tea, twice a day (morning and evening)
The brewed tea is available commercially as "Flor-Essence™" by Flora Co.,
but it costs $23 or more for just one pint.  Many health food stores also
carry "Essiac®" (a dry herb mix) but it too is very expensive, costing
around $35 to make about 5 pints of tea (there are 2 pints to a quart, 8
pints in a gallon).

I brew my own essiac one gallon at a time and store it in the refrigerator.
The essiac brand I buy is a dry mix named "Native Herbal Combination" from
Mother Earth Herbs, (530) 633-2366 (Wheatland CA). One pound of the dry mix
costs $16.30 (plus tax & shipping) and makes about 6 gallons of tea for
$0.34 per pint -- compare that to Flor-Essence!  These herbs last me for
about 4 months at 6 oz tea per day. Another essiac marketer I recommend is
Chris Corpening R.N., who offers "A Nurse's Herbal Tea" as a bottled tea or
dry mix, 1-800-843-2181 (Tehachapi, CA). According to my host, these two marketers are both nurses, highly ethical and
offer very reasonably priced quality products.

Take 1 Cat's Claw (500mg) capsule per day

Take 1 grape seed extract (100mg / MSM 400mg) capsule per day
Due to popular request since this page first appeared on the web, Mother
Earth Herbs, where I get my essiac, now carries Cat's Claw bark capsules and
the same CoQ-10 and grape seed/MSM that I used.

On chemo day or evening before, do not take vitamins, grape seed extract or
CoQ-10. For more information about this, see this letter.
During my first round of chemo and simultaneous radiation therapy I had
severe pain in my back and had to increase my daily dose of oxycontin
painkiller to 120mg per day.  I think the oxycontin and possibly the
radiation was responsible for the nausea and mild vomiting which occurred
during the first three weeks of therapy.  On the last day of radiation and
just prior to the second chemo, I was pretreated with steroids which must
have reduced swelling around my spine, because the pain was totally absent
and never returned.  About 5 days after my second chemo I had some mild
nausea and a queasy stomach.  It was around this time that I began taking
essiac once a day, and a few weeks later that I began the full alternative

While on this program I have had no nausea, no vomiting, and no fatigue from
the chemo.  I feel fine and still work full time.  I have had hair loss and
11-12 days after each chemo my neutrophil counts are low enough that I
require 2 days of neupogen shots to boost my white blood cell count.  A
numbness in my toes became evident after my final chemo #10 on 10/3/98, but
this seems to be improving as of 1/18/99 and is very mild and causes no
problems.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at

I have never taken vitamin supplements, but I read many reports showing the
benefits of higher levels of antioxidant vitamins and minerals in reducing
cancer risk.  I discovered the Whitaker program which contained much higher
levels of many vitamins and minerals than an ordinary multivitamin, and
seemed like a convenient way to avoid supplementing the various vitamins
individually.  Assuming that the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals may
have many beneficial effects to the immune system and other body systems, I
began taking Whitaker's "Forward Plus" vitamins in June after chemo #4.
I also read about a patient with incurable cancer who was being treated for
a heart problem with Coenzyme Q-10 --and his tumor disappeared!  Subsequent
studies showed that higher doses of CoQ-10 were even more effective in
shrinking tumors in other patients, so I began taking 400mg/day of CoQ-10
after chemo #4.

I learned about essiac tea from a friend at work whose mother lived next to
a cancer patient with a remarkable story.  I called him and he explained
that he had colon cancer which had been treated with surgery and chemo, but
had spread to his lung and liver.  When doctors at Los Angeles CA City of
Hope hospital operated on him to implant tubes to deliver chemo directly to
his tumors, they discovered that there were so many tumors on his liver that
they could not proceed with the operation.  They closed him up and told him
to get his affairs in order because he had only a few months to live...

He began taking the essiac tea and now, almost four years later, he feels
fine and jogs every day.  He said that the tumors are still there but they
are not growing or spreading.  President John F. Kennedy's personal
physician Dr. Charles A. Brusch in 1990 signed a notarized statement that he
had cured his own colon cancer, diagnosed in 1984, through the use of essiac
tea alone.

I recently learned about the neighbor of my stepson who had undergone 5 or 6
rounds of chemo for his lung cancer, but the chemo was not working and the
tumor had grown to the size of a baseball and had spread to his liver and
prostate.  He too was told he had only a few months to live.  He began
taking the essiac tea only a few weeks after I began, and he decided that if
2-3 ounces was the recommended dose, he would use 10-12 ounces at a time.
Within a few weeks his tumor had shrunk to the size of a marble and my
stepson told me in October of 1998 that his doctors now say he is in
complete remission.  I have read about many other compelling cases which
convinced me to add the essiac tea to my arsenal against cancer.

Similarly, I read or heard about cancer recoveries involving Cat's Claw bark
and grape seed extract so I decided it wouldn't hurt to add them to the

I began writing my treatment chronology because, as I began having positive
results, more and more friends were asking me what I was doing and it became
difficult to keep repeating the details.  Since something was working, I
didn't want to risk changing anything.  It's possible that the chemo had a
delayed effect and started working better after treatment #4, or that the
combination of alternatives and chemo together was effective.

Did something in the alternatives play an important part in my recovery?
The literature shows that patients with stage IV lung cancer undergoing
similar chemo have only a 35 - 40% response rate and most of those responses
are only stable disease or partial response with very few (2 - 3%) complete
responses.  I may have been in the lucky 2 or 3%, but the correlation of my
responses with the beginning of alternative therapy suggests that something
in the alternatives played an important part in my recovery.

In March of 1998, my oncologist explained that at the present time stage IV
lung cancer was an incurable disease, yet he was the same one who told me on
November 3, 1998 that I was cured (with his qualification).  Since he
actually used the word "cured", so I feel comfortable and justified in my
page title and stand behind the facts of my case.  If it should ever be
necessary, I have maintained copies of most of my radiology reports and test
results and would gladly submit them to a qualified medical researcher for

Since a cure of stage IV lung cancer is rare, I may have been an exceptional
case, or as I would like to believe, I may have stumbled on a combination of
therapies that is effective.  Without controlled studies, there is no way of
knowing which components are or are not important.  Doing everything exactly
as I did could be viewed as a controlled study.  In my opinion, it would be
easy to add this non-toxic program to patients currently on
carboplatin/taxol therapy to see if my results can be duplicated in other
cases.  If so, then perhaps a medical professional or researcher could be
persuaded to investigate further to determine the active components.
I am so excited about getting a second lease on life that I feel obligated
to pass on this information so that others may benefit from the knowledge I
have gained in the last 8 months.

I have heard of some "miracle recoveries" from people using the essiac tea.
If you have any positive or negative results with the tea, I would like to
hear about the details, so I can pass the information along to my doctors at
Cedars Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center or to the alternative therapies
section of the National Cancer Institute.

Good luck and good health!

Bob Karjala
Los Angeles, CA

Page started January 19, 1999