Grace Gawler - Helping You Navigate the Cancer Maze

The Real Truth about Cancer

You can't learn the Truth about Cancer from a slick Hollywood video. Cancer navigator & patient advocate with over 4 decades hands-on experience, shares her truths from the cancer coalface.

Grace Gawler Welcome, I’m Grace Gawler; Cancer Navigator, & Patient Advocate. I have 44 years experience at the cancer coalface across multiple disciplines.

This includes 35 years practising Botanical & Nutritional Cancer Medicine supporting best practice conventional medicine, director of two Cancer charities, public speaker and author (four cancer related books) psycho-oncology support advocate and more.

From this considerable experience base, my observations are nearly always at odds with what is written about cancer on the internet or promoted by natural medicine practitioners.

In fact; my truth about cancer is that – I spend too much of my time rehabilitating people from the damage caused by their alternative cancer treatment experiments – sadly some are beyond help.

In other words; patient’s attempts at self-help – result in self-harm – more harm than benefit.

My valuable truth about cancer may save your life. At least help you make informed decisions – please read this page carefully…. slowly…

As one of Australia's senior cancer  nutritionists, I have an unique perspective (truth) about cancer support medicine.

This perspective comes from  decades of close collaborations with leading oncology specialists, both nationally and internationally.

Our brain cancer without borders initiative

As a patient advocate I’ve sat with hundreds of patients & their families in oncology consulting rooms across Australia and Overseas. 

The cancer experts in my global medical alliance appreciate my assistance as Cancer Navigator and Patient Advocate – they appreciate the detailed patient reports I collate for them – they appreciate and value our collaborations – knowing that they contribute significantly to better patient outcomes. It’s a win-win for both doctors and patients

As well, I’m in contact with researchers at the cutting edge of cancer – I often present new research to my expert oncology colleagues which they can sometimes implement when treating my patients.

So the Truth I share on this page (and this website) arises from my unique multidisciplinary perspective.  

Importantly, I know the limits of naturopathy in cancer health restoration.

That’s a very important statement.

As such, I’m free of ‘natural medicine’ bias and am simply committed to the truth of  what works – what doesn’t work.

Happily, later on this page, I'll share breakthroughs in conventional and botanical medicine, can now reveal the 'real scientific truth' about your cancer, in your unique body. Thank you science.

Truths learned  from my German Cancer Experience:

In the 1980s, I learned of innovative German cancer approaches that combined conventional and complementary medicines. I began referring patients to reputed German clinics where hyperthermia and other complementary therapies were used as adjuncts to conventional cancer medicine.

Between 2012-14 I led many patient groups to a German private oncology clinic.  During the month long visits in Germany, I lived in the clinic, attended consultations with patients, and accompanied them when travelling for outsourced specialist cancer treatments. 

Patients at the private oncology clinic received many types of IV infusions – now used by naturopath’s and integrative GPs throughout the world.

Observation: After three years of observing the impact of the infusions on our patients, I concluded most were not very effective. However, I was impressed with state of the art German conventional treatments such as…

Laser-induced thermotherapy (LITT)
Transpulmonary chemoembolization (TPCE)
Transarterial percutaneous chemoembolization (TACE)
Transarterial chemoperfusion (TACP)

Please note, the first part of this page explores common dietary and supplementation mistakes. The latter part of the page, explores how genomic diagnostics, both in breakthrough conventional medicine and cancer nutrition, has removed the guesswork and one size fits all approaches.

Another truth is – both conventional and alternative cancer medicine are based on trial and error, one-size-fits-all approaches. 

The coming of the genomic era is changing this outdated approach at both ends of the cancer spectrum.

Our global cancer navigation service helps patients access genomic diagnostic tests and state-of-the-art conventional treatments, and not usually available in patient’s home countries.

Click here for more information about the Global Cancer Navigation Service.


Thousands of internet cancer cure claims neglect the consistent failure of alternative and complementary cancer approaches:

Patients tend to come to me when diets or supplements from Dr Google, their naturopaths and integrative doctors have failed to impact their cancers.

As Cancer Navigator and Patient Advocate, in my collaborations with leading cancer specialists,. I review the scans, histories, histo-pathology and other medical reports of my patients.

Many had visited ‘reputed’ cancer health practitioners, spending massive amounts on diet and supplement regimes that I’ve never seen work.

In my 44 years helping 18,000+ patients, I have never seen one natural cancer medicine (alone), result in a cure. I wish they had asked me first – I could have saved them a lot of money.

With the advent of the genomic era, this trial and error guesswork can be eliminated for ever.

Apologies- I know my observations might confront your ideological leanings (yes we all want to believe that natural medicines can cure cancer) but I believe it is important to share my experiences.

This is my truth about Cancer.

For most patients Dr Google can be misleading.

Dr Google is generic – Dr Google never works personally with patients – Dr Google does not attend their medical appointments nor support them through every stage of their cancer journey, including hospice & dying – Dr Google knows it’s easy to give advice.

Working one on one with patients & their families in my four decade plus career, I observe a very different reality.

That’s the truth of the cancer coalface – not the cyber fantasy world of miracle natural cures.

Three examples (of 100s) are presented in the following columns:

Dr Google:

Millions of unproven/unsubstantiated cancer cure claims

Example 1. Black Salve: With millions of Google results praising and extolling the use of black salve for all types of cancer, many patients could be excused for thinking it is a miracle ‘natural’ treatment.

Some articles claim it has ‘intelligence’ and only attacks cancer cells while not harming healthy cells. Articles describe black salve as an escharotic which can “draw out” cancers from underneath the skin.

Google also says Black Salves have been around for a very long time, and some go back a thousand years or more with the Native American Indians. There are claims it protected them from cancer.

Example 2. Gerson Diet: Dr Google produced 468,000 results. Articles claim “The Gerson Therapy is a natural treatment that activates the body’s extraordinary ability to heal itself through an organic, plant-based diet, raw juices, coffee enemas and natural supplements.

With its whole-body approach to healing, the Gerson Therapy naturally reactivates your body’s magnificent ability to heal itself – with no damaging side effects.

This a powerful, natural treatment boosts the body’s own immune system to heal cancer, arthritis, heart disease, allergies, and many other degenerative diseases.

Rather than treating only the symptoms of a particular disease, the Gerson Therapy treats the causes of most degenerative diseases: toxicity and nutritional deficiency. “

Example 3. Common Cancer Healing Beliefs (Myths)

Myth 1: Cancer is a man-made, modern disease
Myth 2: Superfoods prevent cancer
Myth 3: ‘Acidic’ diets cause cancer
Myth 4: Cancer has a sweet tooth
Myth 5: Cancer is a fungus – and sodium bicarbonate is the cure
Myth 6: There’s a miracle cancer cure…
Myth 7: …And Big Pharma are suppressing it
Myth 8: Cancer treatment kills more than it cures
Myth 9: We’ve made no progress in fighting cancer
Myth 10: Sharks don’t get cancer

Example 4. Chemotherapy is only 2-3% effective

Many alt/med sites promote a Sydney based study suggesting the above

Grace Gawler:

My observations (truth) from 43 years at the cancer coalface 

Black Salve the Reality: Many patients come to me having used black salve. Without exception the results have been horrific! Some of these patients have been beyond help. Some are now dead some in excruciating pain.

A medical colleague showed us a photo where black salve had been applied to a boy’s scalp by his mother. It had burnt through the skin, tissue and bone exposing the brain. Such examples are not uncommon.

The Reality: It is not safe or even natural. A mixture of bloodroot and zinc chloride – it burns holes in skin, tissue and bone just as any caustic agent like bleach would do.

2. Gerson Diet the Reality: With distinctions in naturopathy and herbal medicine you might think I was in favour of such regimes. However I have never seen a positive result in thousands of cancer patients over 40-yrs, who tried Gerson.

I took my own husband (bone cancer) off the regime when he suffered massive weight loss. The rapid weight loss in many patients on Gerson are often mistaken by doctors for cachexia requiring harsher treatments.

In contrast to Dr Google I have seen many damaging side effects in patients following Gerson. These include dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, bowel issues associated with coffee enemas, malabsorption of nutrients. A false sense of hope based on Google Hype. Finally there are multiple other causes of cancer than toxicity and nutritional deficiency as stated by Gerson.

3. Ten Common Cancer Myths – The Reality – Debunking 10 Common Cancer Myths
for example – Sugar Feeds Cancer

Eliminating carbohydrates from your diet can be more harmful than beneficial.

Click here for ‘Don’t believe the Hype – 10 Persistent Cancer Myths Debunked

It covers the sugar feeds cancer myth in some detail

As well please watch the 2 minute video below

Does Sugar Feed Cancer

4. Chemotherapy is Ineffective Myth – The Reality

The often quoted 2% Gambit.” Not a very impressive study.

click here for the full article

Earlier on, I promised to share some good news about breakthrough cancer treatments. These particular therapies currently lead the way in minimal side effect cancer treatments.

Immune therapies – available now.

Note: There are two categories of immunotherapy…

  1. Drug-based – made by big pharmaceutical companies, unpredictable, expensive. 
  2. Blood or tissue-based, made from you, unique to you, safer, cheaper.

A rational approach proving a new medical alternative for the treatment of cancer. This will surprise you! 

By harnessing the innate powers of the body’s immune system, immunotherapy treatments have the potential to achieve complete, long-lasting remissions and cures for all types of cancer.

Our experience: For years, we’ve helped patients access special immune therapies – achieving exceptional outcomes!

All patients can take advantage of immune therapy as a value add to other treatments or in some cases, a standalone treatment.

However: When patients ask their doctors about immune therapies, in our experience, they are usually told about drug based immune therapies and not blood or blood tumour-based  vaccines which are available through our international immunology-oncology colleagues.

Experimental you may think – but more than 10,000 clients have passed through the doors of our referred clinic since the early 1990’s?

These types of immune therapies are made from your own harvested immune cells.

The key here is the quality of cells produced, expertise and technique and a long history using vaccines with significant numbers of patients. This is why WE ONLY REFER OUR PATIENTS TO ONE CLINIC.

Comparing the two main types of cancer immune therapies:  

Drug based immune therapies:

These are available worldwide – sometimes provided on Medical Trials and sometimes on a pay per dose basis.

These types of drug-based immune therapies have demonstrated some outstanding successes particularly in Melanoma.

Importantly; however severe and unpredictable side effects, sometimes fatal are beginning to be reported throughout the medical literature.

Anti PD1 drugs designed to unleash the immune system, strip a protein (PD1) from the surface of cancer cells, making them more likely to be discovered by the immune system and destroyed.

However, the target is proven to be unreliable, with many patients experiencing their own immune system attacking vital organs as well –  instead of their cancer.

Side effects: Checkpoint inhibition is associated with a unique spectrum of side effects termed immune-related adverse events (irAEs).

A recent paper found that 30 percent of patients experienced “interesting, rare or unexpected side effects,” with a quarter of reactions described as severe, life-threatening or requiring hospitalisation

Results: In melanoma and a few select cancers including non small cell lung cancer there have been amazing responses.

The downside is, the patient’s immune system may become highly unpredictable – causing severe long term side-effects or death.

Overview: As mentioned above, breakthroughs in cancer treatment create great excitement – and this was the case with the new  drug-based immune therapies.

However, it is extremely important that patients differentiate between drug-based immune therapies, developed by big Pharmaceutical Companies, and the blood or tissue-based immune therapies that we help our patients access.

Background: In the case of the drug based immune therapies, once FDA approval was obtained, they were quickly and widely distributed. There was tremendous enthusiasm and massive promotion – oncologists saw them as alternatives to chemotherapies.

However; like many new medical discoveries, as the dust settled, a more realistic picture was emerging.

Many of our oncology colleagues noticed  severe and unpredictable side effects, such as heart damage, in some patients on immune therapies.

Papers about the unpredictable side effects are appearing in the medical literature and warnings have been issued.

Caution: If you are considering using drug based immune therapies we recommend you read the articles below. (click topic).

1.Immune System, Unleashed by Cancer Therapies, Can Attack Organs

2.Managing the Side Effects of Novel Cancer Immunotherapeutics

3. Toxicities of Immunotherapy for the Practitioner

4. Checkpoint Inhibitors & Cardiac Toxicity: An Emerging Issue

5. Dangers with Car T Cell therapies – the popular new immune treatment

6. Car T Cell therapies – worrisome, and sometimes fatal, side effects –  e.g. cytokine-release syndrome (CRS).

7. Few people actually benefit from ‘breakthrough’ drug based cancer immunotherapy – less than 10%

Blood or blood tumour-based vaccines:

This is a very safe treatment method in which Natural Killer Cells (NK cells) and Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte (CTL’s) cells are taken out of a patient’s body, cultured and processed to be activated or to acquire additional functions, until their resistance to cancer is strengthened, after which the cells are re-infused back to the patient.

1. NK cells and T lymphocytes isolated from the patient’s blood are activated and expanded and then re-infused into the body. Upon encountering a tumour cell, the activated NK cell attaches to the membrane of the cancer cell and injects toxic granules that quickly dissolve the target cell.

In less than five minutes, the cancer cell is dead, and the NK cell moves on to its next target. A single NK cell can destroy up to 27 cancer cells before it dies. Many millions are infused into a patient during this process. This is the mechanism by which this type of immune treatment is effective in Cancer therapy.

Dendritic Cell vaccines are quite a popular form of Immunotherapy in which the Dendritic cells present the tumour antigens to the body’s Cytotoxic T lymphocytes for destruction of the tumour cells.

Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes from the patient themselves are directly activated, expanded in the lab and when re-infused back to the patient they can effectively act against the tumour cells.

Personalised peptide vaccines can also be made from a selection of peptides that are handpicked based on the patient’s blood and specific molecular and genetic profile.

2. Tumour lysate vaccines: There are two main immunotherapy vaccines, one called whole tumour vaccine which is derived from the patient’s whole tumour; for example a lymph node can be harvested and used to create a personalised vaccine. This requires the patient’s tumour tissue to be preserved alive and in a sterile manner at the time of surgery. That tissue is then forwarded to a vaccine laboratory for processing. The patient then provides a white cell harvest and the manufacturing process for a personalised vaccine begins.

Side effects – virtually nil – a slight fever or flu-like feeling can occur – but not always. High degree of safety.

Results Significant increase in disease free survival, complete response or static non-progressive disease could be accomplished in patients – including those with ovarian cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, advanced in-operable pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer with multiple metastasis and breast cancer with metastasis and many other cancer types.

X-Ray Below: Male, 85 years old. Pancreatic cancer with multiple liver metastases.
Combination treatment with NK cells T cells, dendritic cells every two weeks
chemotherapy, (GEM 600 mg/2WEEKS), hyperthermia every week. Low Profit Margin: Finally, blood or blood tumour-based immune therapies cannot be mass produced – it’s one on one. No profits.

This contrasts with drug-based immune therapies, produced en masse by big pharmaceutical companies for huge profits.

In contrast to point 7 in the opposite column, blood-based immune therapies can be used with 90% of the population

Hot tip:

Patients in remission with no evidence of disease are strongly advised to get vaccinated. (immune therapies made from your cells)

It will help prevent recurrence and boost their immune system after chemotherapy and other treatments. 

Note: Low dose chemotherapy, monoclonal antibodies and radiation techniques such as CyberKnife, stereotactic radiation therapy, proton beam therapy etc can be used in conjunction with personalised vaccine approaches. 

Summary of immune therapy differences

Drug based immune therapies:

  • some excellent clinical outcomes – especially in melanomas
  • side effects – highly unpredictable – ranging from mild to severe
  • helps only 50% of patients – doctors unclear why
  • now being used in trials for other cancers
  • although FDA approved – still experimental because new side effects appear as more widely used
  • long term effects still unknown

Blood or blood tissue based immune therapies:

  • consistent exceptional patient outcomes
  • side effects – predictable – ranging from low to non-existent
  • not experimental – our collegiate clinic has treated 10,000 patients since 1990
  • value add – can safely enhance other treatments, e.g. low dose chemotherapy, hypothermia, cyber knife, Proton Beam therapy and stereo tactic radiation.
  • long term effects known – no severe side effects