Karen Kirkpatrick is happy to talk to anyone about vitamin B17 on 01483 423235 (UK) 9am-5pm Monday-Friday. This is a private telephone number and she may not always be able to answer, but keep trying.


No information from may be construed as medical advice or instructions. Readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and wellbeing.

Cancer Cures: Who Can You Trust?

An answer to the ITV programme from

The programme was shown on 3rd February 2004. Its aims seemed to be:

  • To show that people diagnosed with cancer are in a state of shock and vulnerable to offers of a 'cure' from alternative therapists who demand vast amounts of money.
  • To show that alternative treatment doesn't work (oncologist) or even if it does (Professor of Complementary Medicine) its foolish to turn down conventional treatment.
  • To show that specifically apricot kernels are not effective and how they are expected to work is 'biological rubbish'.
  • Seeking to ridicule the Oasis of Hope hospital, using selective information.

The programme considered three cases. Firstly someone selling a fraudulent machine who has subsequently been taken to court. Secondly a case of 'hardsell', when someone had responded to an advertisement, but we weren't told what the product was. The rest of the programme was spent considering the case of Lydia Harding, aged 14 when she first had bone cancer diagnosed, interviewing her parents and her oncologist, two other 'experts' and a cancer counsellor. In Lydia's case, she had already received orthodox treatment courtesy of the NHS and this had not worked. The decision to try an alternative therapy was therefore not in the same category as the first two stories in the programme. The money raised to go to Mexico seems a lot, (in fact it was $23,000 not £?????? as stated in the programme,) but of course is nothing like the amount that the orthodox treatment would have cost. This seems 'free' because the public don't have to pay for it directly.

From a letter from Howard Harding to the editor of the Carlton ITV programme 'First Edition' (used with permission):

"My wife and I were informed that the programme would show our points on why we believe Lydia's treatment was so vitally important to her, and to others. However, we feel that the programme was fully against alternative treatment, all but a few sentences, thus giving a misrepresentation, without a fair view of both sides of the argument.

Two 'experts' appeared during the programme, claiming specifically that there is no evidence to prove the treatment (B17) has any effect in fighting cancer. If you look back at our interview [i.e. the unedited version] you will see that on film I am showing and talking about many technical papers written by some of the world's leading cancer specialists to prove that indeed a cure for cancer has been around for many years in the form of B17, laetrile [i.e. apricot kernel extract]. This was not aired.

Also a voice-over stated that after 14 months Lydia died. TRUE but you must be aware of certain facts which I will now explain.

When Lydia was re-diagnosed with secondary cancer in her lungs, she refused the conventional treatment because it meant further surgery and stronger chemotherapy. The first batch of chemo nearly killed her as her heart function was down to 58% and her kidneys were bleeding quite badly. So the treatment for Lydia to look forward to was removal of several ribs, via the back, to gain access to the tumours. This would have happened every time a tumour appeared. There was also talk of radiotherapy as well. Life would not have been easy as they only gave Lydia a further six months to live if she went down the conventional road. It was Lydia's brave decision to say no thank you. She was willing to die rather than go through hell again. Why not make a person's remaining time more comfortable. It was Lydia's choice. We were also informed that during her last months her lungs would be congested and she would probably die of complications due to pneumonia. Her pain would be excruciating so she would have to have enough morphine to kill all pain in the form of a drug induced coma, probably over the last month.


Lydia's quality of life was second to none during the last 14 months. She outlived the time given to her by Steve Lowis [her oncologist] by more than double the amount. Her lungs were not congested at all right up to the end. B17 contains a natural pain killer so she was able to withstand not taking high levels of morphine, so was not in a coma and in fact she talked to us three hours before she died.

Lydia's doctor told us that the original tumours that Lydia had when she went to Mexico had responded in not growing any further and one even shrunk to a very small size. What had finished her was that two new tumours had grown in her lungs that did not respond. This was due to the fact that Lydia's intravenous line came detached and we could no longer administer the high dosage of B17.

In agreeing to take part in this programme, it opened quite a lot of painful wounds for my wife and myself, only to find you have rubbed in salt. We also feel it is a blur on Lydia's memory and all the hard work from countless people who raised money for us to go to the Oasis of Hope. There was no mention of Lydia's Legacy either. [This was a legacy which for many years helped other children to buy kernels and/or laetrile.]

I am enclosing some information, that after reading you might be able to run a further programme disclosing the true and honest facts about alternative cancer treatment, especially Lydia's. There are a number of books available in this country about this very subject:

  • Phillip Day Cancer, Why we're still dying to know the truth (Credence Publications, Kent 1999)
  • Phillip Day B17 Metabolic Therapy in the prevention and control of cancer, a technical manual (Credence Publications, Kent 2002) (Credence Publications: PO Box 3 Tonbridge, Kent) Cancer Helpline telephone: 01622 832386
  • Joseph Issels Cancer, a second opinion (Avery publications)
  • Dr Francisco Contreras, The Coming Cancer Cure: a guide to effective alternative, conventional and integrative therapies (Authentic Lifestyle, Milton Keynes 2003)
  • W. John Diamond M.D. and W. Lee Cowden M.D. with Burton Goldberg Cancer Diagnosis - What to do next ( Books, California 2000)

May I draw your attention to the book B17 Metabolic Therapy. On pages 127 to 176 you will find the technical papers mentioned earlier, written by some of the world's leading cancer specialists. These studies were read out at conventions as far back as 1954 at the sixth international cancer congress in Brazil, 1962 at the international cancer congress in Moscow, and at the 9th international congress in Tokyo in 1966.

The evidence for the case of B17 working as a cancer treatment is endless, so I have just given you a starter. I hope you have the conviction to open your eyes and mind to this truth, look further and understand what we are saying, along with countless others that there is an alternative to conventional cancer treatment. It does work and has been working for over 50 years. Also that an individual has the right to choose what is done to their body."

Postscript from

The lack of research behind the TV programme soon became evident because in attacking the alternative therapy offered to Lydia Harding by the Oasis of Hope Hospital in Mexico, they have chosen the wrong target.

Oasis of Hope Hospital uses chemotherapy, if appropriate and has dramatically superior results

Dr Francisco Contreras, M.D. is a highly trained cancer expert, who specialised in surgical oncology at the prestigious First University in Vienna, Austria. He heads up the Oasis of Hope Hospital in Mexico ( where conventional chemotherapy is offered as well as nutritional therapies, if it is deemed appropriate, especially low-dose chemotherapy that is delivered directly to the tumour.

Since 1963, 100,000 patients have been treated at the Oasis of Hope Hospital, including currently over 600 cancer patients a year. In 1981 they conducted a retrospective study to document the five-year survival rate of their cancer patients. It is important to note that 95% of these patients came to them with stage IV cancers after conventional therapy had failed to help them. They had been sent home to die. (Francisco Contreras The Coming Cancer Cure, 2002, p 105)

Type of cancer Number of patients 5 year survival rate (%)
Oasis Conventional*
Lung cancer 200 30% 2%
Breast cancer 130 39% 21%
Colon cancer 150 30% 8%
Prostate cancer 600 86% 33%
* Source: American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures 2001
How amygdalin/laetrile(apricot kernel extract) works is well documented, although Cancer Research UK is ignorant on this matter.

The difference between chemotherapy drugs and laetrile is that chemotherapy drugs are toxic to all cells and often do damage to healthy cells and organs (for example causing Lydia Harding's kidneys to bleed) and knock the immune system out of action. In contrast, the laetrile is non-toxic, and under its generic name amygdalin, has been catalogued as such for over 100 years. It is only when the laetrile hits a cancer cell that the cyanide is released, because cancer cells have an enzyme (beta-glucosidase) in them which does this, and this is not present in any quantity in healthy cells, which have a different enzyme (rhodenase) in them which breaks down the laetrile in a different way to provide nutrients for the healthy cell. So the cancer cell is killed by laetrile, while the healthy cell is nourished. It also produces a painkiller when it breaks down, which is another blessing for cancer patients. More information about this can be found in the book World Without Cancer by G. Edward Griffin (American Media, California 1997 2nd edition) pp88-89, and also in Dr Francisco Contreras book The Hope of Living Cancer Free (Siloam, Florida 1999) p 130. The mechanism of action is also explained in the book The alternative cancer treatment guide by Dr Rosy Daniel with Andrew Panton. (Health Creation, 2003) Dr Rosy Daniel is former Medical Director of the Bristol Cancer Help Centre.

Shark cartilage is one of the other therapies on offer at the Oasis of Hope.

It was only mentioned in passing by one of the NHS specialists who pooh-poohed it. Two days after the ITV programme we received a flyer about shark cartilage from The Institute of Natural Therapy, Paris, headlined 'As seen on French National Television: The benefits of shark cartilage explained in Thalassa, The Magazine Programme of the Sea,' a 90 minute programme on a public service French TV channel. The help shark cartilage gives in the fight against cancer is in hindering the tumour from setting up its own blood supply. Research for antiangiogenesis drugs that act in a similar way began in the 1970s.

There are plenty of people who have really positive stories to tell about alternative therapy.

In fact the Hardings consider they have a positive story to tell. The TV programme researchers could have approached many people who have beaten cancer by alternative means, or a combination of conventional and alternative therapies and in the face of poor prognosis. Some of these have written books about their experience and findings. If the television programme researchers had approached these people, their story would have been very different. These include:

  • Professor Jane Plant, CBE has written Your Life In Your Hands (Virgin, London 2000) and is 'one of Britain's most eminent scientists who suffered from breast cancer five times, at which point she realised orthodox treatment was not going to work. She then learned of the relationship between diet and cancer', and the tumours disappeared. Her website is
  • Michael Gearin-Tosh, a lecturer at Oxford University has written Living Proof - a medical mutiny (Scribner, London 2002) This is his story from the moment of diagnosis. Consultants urged immediate treatment. He refused, probed words and looked behind medical phrases. He was told untreated myeloma patients die in less than a year, treated in two to three years. After much discussion and research he pursued alternative therapies and 8 years on he wrote about it.
  • Chris Woollams is a biochemist and has written several books, including The Rainbow Diet: And how it can help you beat cancer (Health Issues, Buckingham, 2008). Chris's daughter had cancer and in the fight to save her life he uncovered a lot of information. At his daughter's suggestion he started a magazine which covers both orthodox and alternative treatment. This is ICON (Integrated cancer and oncology news). His website is
Cancer Cures: who can you trust? "Become an expert on your own disease and yourself"

The programme ends telling us that "the medical profession is concerned that people with cancer come to them for help and advice". But the UK's leading oncologist Professor Karol Sikora says "Get all the information you can. Find out all about the disease, find out what treatment's being offered, conventional treatment, find out what else you can do, what's available in the hospital, what's available locally, what's available nationally. Become an expert on your own disease and yourself, after all you know yourself better than anybody else. And above all, the cancer journey may be difficult, but if you are part of it you're more likely to succeed than if you're just a passive partner." (Message of Hope video 2003)

So it seems that it would be much better to contact an organisation that will provide information about both conventional and alternative treatments.

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