The Stories That Made the Experts Listen!

Here are the "shining stars" of the CAPCAM review – the six courageous people, who, when they were told there was no chance of their survival from metastatic cancer, all chose to positively take action with macrobiotics. Without their willingness to participate in the NCI's Best Case Series, the CAPCAM review of macrobiotic success cases would never have been able to happen.

Janet Vitt is the nurse who was discussed in The Moss Reports Newsletter (see sidebar: Noted Ph.D. Reports on CAPCAM Meeting). In 1995, Janet was diagnosed with small cell adenocarcenoma of the lung, metastasized to the liver, pancreas, abdomen and lymph. Despite medical efforts her condition severely declined to the point where she was bedridden and on oxygen. Hospice had been called in and she met with her family to sign the "do-not-resuscitate" papers. At this point, her primary care physician did something for which Janet says she will forever be thankful–he suggested she try macrobiotics–and with family and friends supporting her in the preparation of meals, she recovered full, cancer-free health. She is currently still in excellent health–seven years after a prognosis of certain death.

Judy MacKenney was also present to give personal testimony to the CAPCAM panel. She was diagnosed in 1991 with metastatic non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and informed by her doctors that this type of cancer was inoperable and incurable. She underwent chemotherapy, which put her into what the doctors considered temporary remission, but which left her extremely weak and with many painful symptoms from chemotherapy side-effects. She then began a macrobiotic practice, and within two weeks all her symptoms began to regress. She remains cancer-free, eleven years later at this point. Her case showed that the effect of macrobiotics is fairly quick in some cases.

After ovarian cancer progressed to IVth stage and spread to bones in the spine, leaving her in a wheel chair with back braces, Elaine Nussbaum's doctors thought that she would not recover from cancer, let alone ever walk again. Yet twenty years later, walk she did to the CAPCAM table in order to describe how after a short time on a macrobiotic practice she was able to regain her health and all other abilities formerly lost during her bout with cancer. Her case showed all visceral fat was gone as well as her tumor. Elaine wrote the book Recovery from Cancer.

Though Marlene McKenna arrived at the CAPCAM meeting in the afternoon too late to give personal testimony, according to Dr. Yu, "Her case was the most important, with some fortune on our side." The importance of Ms. McKenna's case is that it is virtually unheard of for a patient with malignant melanoma to survive. Her case was severe, spread to the abdomen and nodes. After an operation in which two feet of her intestines were removed, Ms. McKenna was told she had at the most six months to live, and that there was a large amount of melanoma left in her abdomen. She then declined all further treatment and turned to macrobiotics. Ms. McKenna recovered fully, and is still cancer-free today, sixteen years later.


It was a lucky coincidence that the critiquing pathologist who was at the CAPCAM to give expert discussion on the cases had been the same pathologist reviewing her case in 1986. He remarkably remembered it clearly, and told the panel that the diagnosis was absolutely correct. He was shocked to see that Ms. McKenna had recovered fully and was still alive. He stated that this was the most profound case of his life, and would like to publish her story. (As Dr. Yu sagely reminds us, "Fortune in life comes as surprises and the coincidence perhaps was not an accident.")


In addition, Ms. McKenna had become friends with her surgeon, Dr. Benedict Cosimi, who is one of the prominent transplant surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Harvard School of Medicine. There would be no disputing Dr. Cosimi's diagnosis in her case, and Ms. McKenna called Dr. Cosimi the night before the CAPCAM review to verify his finding of metastatic disease, which he confirmed.

In 1982, while undergoing a routine gallbladder surgery, it was found that Norman Arnold had a large primary cancer at the head of his pancreas, a smaller tumor in a lymph node, and three cancerous lesions on his liver. The biopsy showed a diagnosis of adenocarcinoma, a highly aggressive form of cancer. He was told by his doctors that there was no cure and no hope of recovery. Even to this day, patients with pancreatic cancer are not expected to live long following diagnosis. He underwent chemotherapy, but with devastating effects, and the doctors could not say that the chemotherapy would even prolong his life. He commenced a macrobiotic practice and soon noticed improvement in how he felt on many levels, physically and mentally. Nine months after his diagnosis, a CT scan showed clear indication of tumor reduction. Six months later, there was no trace of cancer. On his sixtieth birthday in January 1990, Norman climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. He remains in excellent health 20 years after being diagnosed with a terminal disease.

Christine Akbar, (who is also noted in this article for compiling the case records) was diagnosed in 1985 with inflammatory breast cancer, with extensive intraductal and infiltrating duct carcinoma, severe chronic inflammation and extensive lymphatic invasion. Chris was told by her doctors that she might have only two to three months to live, even with medical treatment. She started chemotherapy, and continued until it was deemed her white blood count was so low it was dangerous to proceed. When her twin sister then gave her an autobiographical book detailing a doctor's use of macrobiotics to support his own recovery from prostate cancer, the reasoning she heard in this book made sense to her. She started macrobiotics, attended a seminar at the Kushi Institute, and after two months following the diet, her cancer symptoms, as well the symptoms created by chemotherapy, disappeared.