The first question everyone asks is whether or not Ed is or was a smoker. Indeed he was. Although he had smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for over thirty-three years, he had quit for the past twenty-one years. The more we learn about lung cancer, the more we find that while smoking has a high correlation with lung cancer, many people who have the disease have never smoked a day in their lives.
Lung cancer is a stealthy and highly lethal form of cancer, often because those diagnosed are not aware they have a problem until they are in the later stages of the disease. Of the 170,000 Americans diagnosed each year, 75% die within two years of diagnosis. These figures vary somewhat according to the type, stage, and treatment of lung cancer, but the overall survival rate (i.e., five years or more) is 15%, giving lung cancer one of the highest mortality rates for all cancers, claiming about 150,000 lives each year (in 2005).
We did not know most of these facts at the time of Ed’s diagnosis. What we did know was something about healing in general. After many years of reading monthly alternative health newsletters from three different highly respected doctors, we had a firm belief that the body, in many cases, is capable of healing itself, given a strong and healthy immune system. Radiation and chemotherapy, while destroying cancer cells, are known to kill healthy cells as well, thereby weakening the immune system. The answer to preventing the growth and spreading of the remaining cancer cells in Ed’s body seemed clear to us: strenthen his immune system as rapidly as possible.
To be continued