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A ‘miracle’ cure for cancer

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Others left me wondering what to do with the story I’d been told. One man, for example, claimed to have discovered a wonder treatment for cancer

Picture: File

DURING a long and varied career in newspapers I’ve met and interviewed hundreds of interesting people, many of whom had fascinating stories to share. Some of them were true.

Others left me wondering what to do with the story I’d been told. One man, for example, claimed to have discovered a wonder treatment for cancer.

He showed me letters purporting to come from doctors confirming his claims, and from patients who claimed to have been cured. I never wrote his story because it seemed too good to be true.

But what if it had been true? Would I have spent the rest of my life kicking myself for missing the story of the century?

In retrospect I think I was right to be cautious. I receive pamphlets in my letterbox almost daily, offering cures for anything from heartbreak to lack of gambling luck. I do not take them very seriously.

Recently, however, a good friend who taught me a great deal about sailing and settled in America was diagnosed with cancer. We kept up a correspondence for some years and she reported that the cancer had spread throughout her body.

She had decided to stop treatment and the next time I heard from her she was setting off on a canoe trip down the Mississippi River into the setting sun. Sadly I believed I would not hear from her again.

Last week, after several months of no contact I had a call from her, sounding bright and breezy. I must have sounded as though I’d heard from a ghost. In fact, I thought I might have. She told me she had moved into a retirement village and bought a nice little house with a great view.

“What about your health?” I asked hesitantly.

“Oh, I’m doing fine now,” she said, adding that she was taking regular doses of dog de-worming medication and the cancer was getting better. She’s always been an adventurous woman, but who takes dog de-worming pills for cancer?

After the call I looked up the dog worm treatment on the internet and it seems there may be some substance in the story. Apparently several cancer patients have claimed good results from the substance called fenbendazole, used to treat pin worm infestations in dogs.

There’s quite a lot that’s been written about it and it seems that several reputable American research institutions are taking it quite seriously.

My friend says one good thing about it is that it’s dirt cheap and you can buy it by the kilo at agricultural co-ops. I suspect that if it is ever accepted as a mainstream cancer treatment it will become astronomically expensive and be available only on a doctor’s prescription in 500mg capsules.

Last Laugh

Two youngsters were discussing their parents during the school break. “I think my dad must have been really naughty when he was a kid,” said one of them. “Why do you say that?” his friend asked. “Every time I come home late he knows exactly what questions to ask me.”

TAVERN OF THE SEAS

David Biggs