Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, Holistic Oncologist
Nicholas Gonzalez, MD, famed nutritional cancer treatment specialist, died suddenly of a cerebrovascular incident on July 21. “The world has lost a true hero”…. wrote Ty Bollinger. Jonathan Landsman of Natural Health 365.com, wrote: “The sudden death of Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez is still such a shock to me. He was a tireless healthcare provider for those left behind by Western medicine. In fact, his success with ‘terminal’ cancer patients was second to none.“
Indeed, Dr. Gonzalez was an icon in the alternative cancer therapy field. I knew him for decades, he spoke at my cancer conventions, I referred him many patients, and at one time he even invited me to come to New York and help run his practice. He was not only a uniquely successful oncologist and passionate crusader but also an excellent writer. So I am going to let him tell his story in his own words, excerpted from a 2013 article he wrote for NaturalHealth365.com.
Dr. Gonzalez Meets Dr. Kelley
“During the summer of 1981, after completing my second year of medical school… I had the opportunity to meet the controversial alternative cancer practitioner, the dentist Dr. William Donald Kelley. Over a 20 year period beginning in the early 1960s, Kelley had developed a very intensive nutritional approach to cancer that came under harsh public scrutiny and media attention when he agreed to treat Steve McQueen.
“Steve McQueen, diagnosed with advanced mesothelioma, a particularly deadly form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure, sought out Kelley after the conventional approaches…failed to halt the progression of his disease. Though he seemed to rally initially, McQueen, according to accounts of those involved with his care, was not particularly compliant, and …would eventually die at a Mexican clinic under the condemning gaze of the media for his choice of an alternative method….
“Though initially reluctant, I agreed to meet with Kelley, who turned out to be far different from what I expected. I found him to be very shy, very thoughtful, and clearly very smart. And, I could see that he was passionately devoted to his nutritional approach to cancer.
“During that first meeting, Kelley described in some detail the tenets of his therapy. In summary, it involved three basic components: individualized diet, individualized supplement programs with large doses of pancreatic enzymes…, and detoxification routines such as coffee enemas. He fervently believed that each patient required a protocol designed for his or her particular metabolic, physiologic, and biochemical needs and that one diet would never be suitable for all….
“In general, Kelley believed patients diagnosed with the typical solid tumors – cancers of the breast, lung, stomach, pancreas, colon, liver, uterus, ovary, prostate – did best adhering to a plant-based, high carb type diet, low in animal protein and animal fat.
“Patients diagnosed with the immune-based ‘blood cancers’ like leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, as well as the sarcomas, a type of connective tissue malignancy, required a lower carb, high animal fat, moderate animal protein diet….
“After my original lengthy conversation with Dr. Kelley, my research mentor Dr. Robert Good suggested that during my summer break I begin an informal review of Kelley’s patient charts located in his Dallas office. From my first day in Dallas, I found among Kelley’s records patient after patient with appropriately diagnosed poor prognosis or what would be considered terminal disease such as metastatic pancreatic and metastatic breast cancer, who had done well under his care for many years, often with documented regression of his disease.
“These preliminary findings spurred Dr. Good to encourage a more thorough investigation of Kelley’s methods and results. As the project grew in scope, I continued my “Kelley Study” in my spare time during the last two years of medical school, and ultimately brought it to completion while pursuing my immunology fellowship training under Dr. Good….
“For the study, I reviewed thousands of Kelley’s charts, interviewed over a thousand of his patients, and evaluated 455 of them in some detail. I eventually put my information into monograph form under Dr. Good’s direction, including 50 lengthy case reports of patients with 26 different types of appropriately diagnosed, poor-prognosis cancer who had responded to Kelley’s nutritional regimen.
Incurable Cancer Recoveries
“One of these patients, a woman from Appleton, Wisconsin, had been diagnosed in the summer of 1982 with stage IV pancreatic adenocarcinoma, the most aggressive form of this most aggressive disease. A liver biopsy during exploratory surgery confirmed the diagnosis of metastatic cancer, which the Mayo Clinic would later confirm. When the Mayo oncologist on the case said there was nothing that could be done, the patient began looking into alternative approaches, learned about Kelley’s work, and began his therapy.
“Thirty-one years later, she is alive and well, having seen her children – and now her grandchildren – graduate college. To put this case in perspective, I know of no patient in the history of medicine with stage IV pancreatic cancer and biopsy proven liver metastases who has lived this long.
“Another memorable patient … had been diagnosed with what was thought to be localized endometrial cancer in 1969. After a course of radiation to shrink her large tumor, she underwent hysterectomy, and was told they ‘got it all.’ Over the next few years, however, her health began to deteriorate: she experienced persistent fatigue, malaise, pelvic pain, and weight loss…. Eventually, in 1975 she developed a palpable mass the size of a grapefruit in her pelvis, thought by her doctors … to be an indication of obvious recurrent disease. A chest x-ray at the time revealed multiple nodules in both lungs, consistent with widely metastatic cancer.
“Though told her situation was dire and her cancer incurable, she underwent surgery to remove the large pelvic tumor, to avoid an impending intestinal obstruction. Shortly afterward she …learned about Kelley’s work, began the program, regained her health, and avoided all conventional doctors for many years. In 1984, nine years after coming under Kelley’s care, she returned to her primary care physician who was quite perplexed she was still alive…. A chest x-ray showed total resolution of her once widespread lung metastases. This patient eventually lived until 2009 when she died at age 95, having survived 34 years from her diagnosis of recurrent metastatic uterine cancer.
“At the time I finished my monograph in 1986, I hoped that with its publication, fair-minded researchers might begin taking Dr. Kelley and his nutritional therapy seriously. As I was to learn, I completely and rather naively misjudged the animus of the scientific community toward unconventional cancer treatment approaches that didn’t fit the ‘accepted’ model. Even with Dr. Good’s support, after two years of trying I could not get the book published, either in its entirety or in the form of individual case reports appropriate for the conventional medical journals.
“Editors responded with disbelief, claiming the results couldn’t be real since a non-toxic nutritional therapy could never be useful against advanced cancer. I found the logic, ‘it couldn’t be true because it couldn’t be true’ perplexing, for editors of scientific journals. In any event, the book would finally be published, in a rewritten and updated form, in 2010.
Discouraged by our failure to get the results of my five-year effort into the world, in 1987 Kelley closed down his practice and more or less went off the deep end, disappearing from sight for a number of years… In 2005, he would eventually die with his dream of academic acceptance unrealized. But my colleague Dr. Linda Isaacs and I have worked diligently over the past 26 years, keeping the Kelley idea alive….
Gonzalez Success with Advanced Cancer
“After Kelly closed down his practice, in late 1987 I returned to New York and began treating patients with advanced cancer, using a Kelley-based enzyme approach, with immediate good results. One of the first patients who consulted me had been diagnosed two years earlier…with inflammatory breast cancer, the most aggressive form of the disease. This patient had a very unfortunate story: by the time of her original diagnosis in 1985, her breast tumor was too large to allow for surgery, so her doctors recommended a course of radiation to the chest, hoping to shrink the tumor and allow for mastectomy. She proceeded with the planned radiation, but at surgery, the tumor was still quite large at 8 cm, with 18 of 18 lymph nodes involved with cancer.
“Her doctors informed her that her disease would inevitably prove fatal, but suggested aggressive chemotherapy to hold off the cancer as long as possible. She again followed her doctor’s advice, beginning multi-agent chemo. In the fall of 1987, two years into treatment, she developed evidence of new metastatic disease in the bone. At that point, she began looking into alternative approaches, learned about our work…, and came under my care….
“To summarize her nearly 26 years of treatment with me, she has been disease-free for years as per bone scan studies, continues on her nutritional program, and continues leading a normal, cancer-free life. By the standards of conventional oncology, this patient’s complete regression of metastatic disease and very long-term survival must be considered remarkable.
“One of my favorite patients was diagnosed in August 1991 with stage IV pancreatic cancer, with multiple metastases into the liver, into the lung, into both adrenals, and into the bone. After a lung biopsy confirmed adenocarcinoma, his doctors discouraged chemotherapy, telling him [that] conventional treatments would only ruin his quality of life while offering no benefit. He was given, as he would later tell me, two months to live.
“The patient’s wife, a former college professor with an interest in nutritional medicine, learned about our approach from an article she read in an alternative health journal, and in the fall of 1991 he began treatment with me. Some fifteen months later, repeat CT scans showed stabilization of disease.… He decided against any further conventional testing until 1998, seven years after he had started with me when a series of CT scans confirmed total resolution of his once extensive cancer.
“This patient would eventually die at age 85 in 2006, 15 years after his diagnosis, from the residual effects of a serious automobile accident. To put his case in perspective, I know of no similar case with documented stage IV pancreatic cancer that had spread at the time of diagnosis into multiple organs who survived 15 years after diagnosis with confirmed total resolution of his disease….
“Just this week as I write this, one of my newer patients…from the Washington, DC area, came into my office for his regularly scheduled six-month re-evaluation appointment. When he started with me in January 2010, three and a half years ago, he had been diagnosed with stage IV metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, with multiple tumors in both lungs and with evidence of metastases in his ribs. His local doctors in DC had explained he had terminal disease, for which chemotherapy would be useless.
“His rib lesions were causing him so much misery his doctors did suggest a course of radiation for palliative pain control. However, he had learned about my work from a mutual friend who recommended he dispense with all conventional treatments and instead pursue my regimen. He followed her advice, refused radiation, came to see me, and over the years he has proven to be a very vigilant, determined and compliant patient. Within a year on his nutritional program… his pain had resolved, his energy, stamina, and concentration had improved, and scans confirmed total resolution of all his original extensive disease….
More on Dr. Kelley’s Terminal Cancer Cure
“In my monograph One Man Alone, I included a case report of a patient treated by Kelley, diagnosed with an inoperable and very aggressive form of brain cancer that had spread into the spinal canal. After failing radiation, the patient began treatment with Dr. Kelley in 1981. At the time, the patient’s wife actually had to administer the treatment, even the coffee enemas, since the patient himself was largely incoherent and wheelchair bound….On the therapy [Kelley’s] he slowly began to improve, to the point his mental status normalized and over a period of a year, he progressed from a wheelchair to a walker to a cane. When I completed my study in 1987, he had survived five years and was in excellent health, with no evidence of cancer in his brain or spinal canal.
“I [also] include a case of multiple myeloma treated by Dr. Kelley in my monograph, a woman diagnosed with extensive cancer throughout her skeleton with evidence of multiple fractures. When she first consulted with Dr. Kelley in 1977 she was in a near terminal state after having failed intensive chemotherapy. Nonetheless, despite her dire situation, within a year she had experienced complete regression of her extensive bony lesions, as documented by x-ray studies. Though in subsequent years her compliance with her nutritional regimen would waver and her disease would in turn recur, invariably when she resumed Kelley’s treatment the myeloma would go into remission. At the time I finished the monograph in 1987, she had survived 11 years….
“The day after I first met Dr. Kelley in New York in July 1981, I was on a plane to Dallas to begin my review of Kelley’s charts…. I quickly found among Kelley’s records case after case of appropriately diagnosed poor prognosis and/or terminal cancer, patients alive five, ten, even 15 years later, with no possible explanation for such survival other than Kelley’s odd nutritional treatment.
“After I returned to New York some three weeks later carrying with me copies of dozens of patient records, and after reviewing my findings with Dr. Good, I knew Kelley was on to something…. After only a few days in Kelley’s Dallas office, I [had] quickly realized that he, as odd as he may have seemed to some, as peculiar as his therapy might be to conventional researchers, had put together a potentially useful, non-toxic, nutritional cancer treatment….”
Kelley and Gonzalez are gone now, but their patients have survived. Just as Dr. Gonzalez carried on with Dr. Kelley’s work, I trust that Gonzalez’s partner, Dr. Linda Isaacs, will continue on with his important legacy. One day, I hope, other oncologists will follow.