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The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 15, 4th Quarter 2000


Vitamin C: Case History of an Alternative Cancer Therapy

J. HOFFER, M.D., Ph.D.

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Any consideration of high-dose vitamin C in cancer therapy must include a careful analysis of its use, some 30 years ago, by the Scottish oncologic surgeon, Ewan Cameron. in the treatment of patients with advanced untreatable cancer in the Vale of Leven Hospital, Loch Lomondside, Scotland. Cameron's treatment program, which typically involved about 10 grams of ascorbic acid given first by intravenous injection, followed by oral administration, was carried out in collaboration with the renowned American chem- ist, Linus Pauling, It became clear early in this clinical experience that while vitamin C had no important effect on the disease course of most of the patients, important and sometimes astounding benefits occured for a substantial minority of them. atients experienced an increase in subjective well-being that was accompanied by such objective clinical evidence of retardation of tumor progression, reduced pain from bone metastases, reduced rate of accumulation of malignant effusions, reduced obstructive jaundice, or improved respiratory function. There were a few cases of clinical remissions, and others in which there was objective evidence of acute tumor hemorr-hage and necrosis. This last dramatic effect did not benefit patients, of course, for it hastened their demise. But these dramatic events, bolstered in many cases by the results of autopsy examinations, represent potent evidence of an important biologic effect of high-dose ascorbic acid in some situations.

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