EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: The editors of SpryLiving.com are sharing Dr. Carl Helvie’s story for informational purposes only and are not suggesting his method of treatment be a substitute for medical advice or treatment for others who have been diagnosed with lung cancer. If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, you should seek professional medical care and consult your physician before starting any sort of treatment regimen.
This July, Dr. Carl Helvie, RN, DrPH., celebrated his 80th birthday. The occasion would be a landmark birthday for any individual, but for Dr. Helvie, who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer forty years ago and given only 6 months to live, it was particularly poignant. Astoundingly, he eradicated the disease naturally—without surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or other mainstream interventions—and is alive today to share his remarkable story of faith and courage.
When Dr. Helvie, a longtime smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1974, it was practically a death sentence. After weighing his treatment options, the health professional made a radical, seemingly inane decision: To eschew orthodox medical practices in favor of a holistic, all-natural approach to treatment.
A nurse, Dr. Helvie had seen countless patients endure the rigors of cancer treatment. “I saw them go through surgery and radiation and chemotherapy, only to extend their lives for a few weeks or months,” Dr. Helvie explains. “And the misery that they went through in the process—the nausea, the vomiting, the hair loss.”
Hoping to avoid the pain and debilitation associated with traditional cancer treatments—and figuring his prognosis was so bleak that he had nothing to lose—Dr. Helvie decided to tackle the disease with natural therapies. “I thought, ‘Why be debilitated for that 6 months if I can at least be pain-free and comfortable and then die?’” Dr. Helvie recalls.
For the next few months, Dr. Helvie followed a strict diet regimen consisting of mainly raw fruits, vegetables and nuts. Additionally, he took 1000 mg daily of Vitamin B-17, popularly known as amygdaline or “laetrile,” and a variety of other vitamins and supplements.
There may have been some method to Dr. Helvie’s madness: According to Kim Dalzell, PHD, RD, LD, nutrition and lung cancer are inextricably linked. “Poor dietary habits, in addition to tobacco use, are associated with an increased risk of lung cancer,” she says. “And, those foods and dietary practices that prevent cancer actively fight it or fuel it. So it just makes sense for long-term health to quit smoking and take a serious look at what else you are putting into your mouth.”
Aside from better nutritional practices, Dr. Helvie left no stone unturned in his quest for better health, utilizing a variety of physical, mental, spiritual and lifestyle treatment tactics. “Because there are multiple factors that lead up to any disease process, I decided that there must be multiple factors that are involved in the treatment of cancer,” he explains.
A stalwartly faith-based man, Dr. Helvie also relied heavily on prayer and the support of friends and family. “I am a tremendously optimistic man, and my faith carried me through much of the process,” Dr. Helvie says.
A life-long smoker, Dr. Helvie also worked to wean himself off nicotine—a rather difficult feat during an era when cigarettes were ubiquitous. “There weren’t a lot of known strategies for quitting smoking 39 years ago,” he notes. Dr. Helvie rigorously cleaned the walls of his house to eliminate the lingering aroma of nicotine. “I also gave up coffee, because I associated my morning coffee with smoking a cigarette.”
Now, at age 80, Dr. Helvie, is healthy and cancer-free, making him the oldest-living lung cancer survivor. At age where most of his peers are grappling with chronic illness, Dr. Helvie—who continues to follow an all-natural, mostly raw diet—is the paradigm of good health. “I wake up every morning at 6:00 am and walk the beach for an hour,” Dr. Helvie says.
In his new book You Can Beat Lung Cancer: Using Alternative/Integrative Interventions, Dr. Helvie details his insightful journey through the terrors of a diagnosis of lung cancer. A staunch advocate for alternative and integrative therapies as a solution for lung cancer, he also hopes to encourage and inspire other cancer victims throughout their experiences.
“That’s why I’m still here,’” Dr. Helvie says. “To now offer help and encouragement to others faced with the same diagnoses.’”