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Chief Editor
Dr Mike Ellis
Email: mindquest@

Lesley Pocock

Contact details
medi+WORLD International
572 Burwood Road
Hawthorn 3122,

Ph: +61 3 9819 1224
Fax: +61 3 9819 3269
Email: lesleypocock@

How to win the war on cancer and heart disease
An interview with Dr Michael Ellis
by Oliver Freer


O.F: Dr Ellis, are we winning the war on cancer?

M.E: Data from Australia and the USA show that there has been no improvement in cancer mortality in males and females in the last fifty years.

In fact in males, there has been an increase in mortality over the past fifty years. Men have 1.3 times more cancer incidents than women. The survival of the commonest cancers has not altered for many years.

Five year survival of lung cancer is ten percent, bowel is thirty five percent, breast is sixty five percent, pancreas is two percent and stomach is ten percent.

John Bailar who is a very reputable professor of Epidemiology in the USA has stated that the increase in cancer death rates by seven percent during 1975 and 1999 cannot be explained by aging. "A decade of wars against cancer has been a qualified failure."

O.F: So if we are losing the war on cancer with modern medicine what should we be doing to combat it?

M.E: It has been shown again and again and again and I can provide appropriate papers for you to see that cancer like the other degenerative diseases of our society which include, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, arthritis, osteoporosis and stress can be prevented by lifestyle changes i.e., the use of nutrition and nutritional products, exercise, weight loss and relaxation.

The health of the public hinges on three legs of a stool, these legs being, release of stress, some sense of mastery of one's own life and support of community.

O.F: Doctor, you are based in Australia - what do you see as the greatest threat to the nation's health?

M.E: Cardiovascular disease is the greatest killer in our society. A person in Australia dies of a heart attack every ten minutes. The cost of management of heart attack in the States, including costly heart surgery and angiography and stenting of the coronary arteries amounts to $US56 billion per year. In Australia the cost is approximately $5.6 billion per year.

O.F: So what is the root cause of heart disease and how do we manage the challenge?

M.E: The management of cancer, heart disease and stress which in fact when looked at in an overall perspective are all related.

Just as the body is composed of mind, body and spirit and works in an integrated fashion, the various illnesses, which people suffer, have a common cause.

O.F: Then, if we know the cause of heart disease and cancer, why don't we just deal with it rather than treating the symptoms when it occurs?

M.E: Medical science is now beginning to define this cause but unfortunately because of the kind of education that doctors receive, (the bio-medical model), this means that most of the profession are not willing to open their eyes to a holistic approach.

They are motivated by self serving interests and narrow focusing of their minds which prevents them from seeing the total picture. The problem is further inflamed by the fact that medical schools seek out students who although may be very intelligent are not being educated for life itself.

This is seen as such a problem in England that there is now thought of introducing arts education into the domain of medical science. The most successful medical school in Germany chooses its students on the basis of intellect and passion and also includes within its curriculum a host of complementary, holistic and nutritional education. Once the students have enrolled, their only requirement is to pass. Despite this, the university achieves the highest results in Germany.

O.F: Do you think there is a "groundswell" of popular opinion requesting a different approach to the prevention of degenerative disease?

M.E: Yes, this sentiment is being echoed by the public at large, seventy percent of who are now also turning to naturopaths and alternative practitioners.

People are looking for more than just therapy. They know that therapy can often be painful and in hospitals they are treated as anonymous numbers. People increasingly are seeking for something extra which I would term 'quality of life'.

O.F: It all sounds interesting but is there any evidence to back it up?

M.E: In the New England Journal of Medicine on July 13th 2000, a paper was published estimating the overall contribution of inherited genes to the development of cancer. The paper was the combined data on 44,788 twins in Sweden, Denmark and Finland that enabled the researchers to assess the risks of cancer in twenty eight anatomical sights.

The conclusions provided remarkable information. In particular, it showed that environmental factors were the dominant determiners of site specific cancer.

From this perspective, environmental exposure, particularly in regards to foods, and environmental toxins (xenobiotics) and stress is paramount in the causation and treatment of cancer.

O.F: So that provides some evidence for the dominant factors in the cause of cancer. Do you have any references for studies on the prevention of heart disease?

M.E: Dean Ornish's work at San Fransisco's Preventive Medicine Research Centre is impressive.

Ornish has demonstrated that a comprehensive group approach which includes an extremely low fat diet, aerobic exercise, smoking cessation, yoga and meditation as well as group support can unclog plaque narrowed coronary arteries.

He published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) back in 1988, in which two groups of a total of 48 patients with cardiovascular disease were trialed, the control with conventional treatment and the other group with a comprehensive lifestyle approach.

The result showed massive differences in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. At a five year follow up, coronary stenosis was increased 11.8% of controls and stenosis had decreased in 3.1% of the treatment group.

It has also been shown that regular meditation increases the diameter of the coronary artery and reduces the intima media thickness meaning that the coronary artery vessels are wider and better perfused.

The Dean Ornish program in America is supported by forty insurance companies and costs $10,000 compared with an average cardiovascular surgical intervention which costs at least $40,000-$50,000.

OF: We hear a lot about diet and exercise for the prevention of cancer and heart disease. How important is the reduction of stress for degenerative disease prevention?

M.E: The scientific work in medicine done on the effects of a stressed society on disease really started with the work of Dr David Spiegel at Stanford University.

In 1989, his very significant work on the effect of psychosocial treatment on the survival of patients with metastatic breast cancer was published in the Lancet.

86 patients were split into two groups. Both groups had routine cancer therapy. However, the treatment group had a one year intervention consisting of a weekly supportive group therapy.

The study showed survival time for the intervention group was 36.6 months compared with 18.9 months for the controlled group. This means that psychosocial treatment increased the survival of breast cancer patients twice.

OF: So what do we do with this information? - What is the way forward?

M.E: The kind of information, I have given you regarding cancer, cardiovascular disease and lifestyle change has been all but ignored by the medical profession at large.But, it does point to the way stress and the release of stress has on the management and treatment of both cancer and cardiovascular disease and probably most diseases of western society.

I therefore feel that powerful psychosocial changes need to be implemented for the general population if we are to create a more co-operative and healed society.

Most doctors seek for a band-aid approach and instant cures. The treatment of illness is considered more significant than prevention.

There should be a new medicine based on the creation of health rather than the treatment of illness.


Dr Michael Ellis, Chief Editor and Creative vision behind The New Paradigm Journal, www.newparadigmjournal.com is an English trained Doctor with over 20 years of General Practice experience both in the UK and in Australia. He has higher qualifications in general medicine and paediatrics. He has a special interest in Mind/ Body medicine and in optimising the physical, mental and emotional health of the individual.

As well as his medical qualifications, Dr Ellis also has an Honours Degree in Literature, Arts, Philosophy and Social Psychology. He also has Naturopathic qualifications.

He is Co-Founder of The Medical Renaissance Group www.medicalrenaissance.com. with Dr Jager Holly. He is also Founder and President of the Global Citizens for Peace, www.globalcitizens.org. In conjunction with the Centre for Change in the Third Millenium www.centreforchange.org founded by Dr Michael Ellis, the Global Citizens for Peace, is an open forum and on going dialogue for humankind in key issues affecting sustainable survival and the search for solutions. The aim is the creation of a planetary peace culture.

Dr Ellis has a keen interest in the plight of the ordinary GP and is concerned in creating a more sustainable and caring health system and healing culture for both doctors and the community. Because of this he established the Medical Renaissance Movement with Dr Jager Holly in 2001 in Australia. The Medical Renaissance Movement supports preventative nutritional Mind Body Medicine and Wellness Medicine and sees healing as being a unique partnership between the doctor and the patient. He is on the Executive Board of the Australian Integrative Medical Association (AIMA), http://www.aima.net.au/, Executive Board of World CME http://www.WorldCME.com/ and Executive Board of Child Watch http://www.child-watch.org/

Dr Ellis has conducted seminars on Globalisation, and Wellness at the Post Graduate School of Medicine Swinburne University, Melbourne. He is also an international speaker on Integrative Medicine.

He is the Australian Representative Institute Noetic Sciences http://www.noetic.org/.

and Honorary Adviser, World Unity & Peace Education Department City Montessori School, Lucknow, India http://www.cmseducation.org.

He practices Nutritional and Environmental and Anti Aging Medicine in Kalorama Victoria. http://www.antiageingwellnessclinic.com/m.

Oliver Freer is the publisher of www.preventive-health-guide.com