I Was Canada's Cancer Nurse
The Story of ESSIAC
by Rene M. Caisse, R.N.
The many reasons why I was not put in prison for running an open "Cancer Clinic" at Bracebridge, Ontario, for eight years were:
First: Because I achieved good results in animal research, under the observation of medical doctors. My treatments caused a regression of the malignant growth in mice, and prolonged life.
Second: Because I achieved the same results on humans, always treating with the permission of medical men of good standing, and under their observation.
Third: Because I had clinical x-ray and pathological proof of results, after everything known to medical science had failed.
Fourth: Because fifty-five thousand (55,000) persons signed a petition to the Ontario Government Legislature in favour of my treatment for cancer; three hundred and eighty-seven (387) patients and many doctors signed this same petition, which was presented to a legislative committee of fifty-nine (59) members of parliament. I lost out by only three (3) votes. I lost because the doctors had assured the Legislature beforehand that they would appoint a "Cancer Commission" to hear my case, and to give my treatment a fair hearing which proved to be a very unfair hearing, as you will see by this story.
Notes: This Cancer Commission could not accuse me of NOT getting good results, because I had the living proof. They could not accuse me of exploiting the public, for I never made a charge for ESSIAC treatment, and many of the patients treated during the 1930's are still living.
I Was Canada's Cancer Nurse
In the mid-twenties I was head nurse at the Sisters of Providence in a northern Ontario town. One day one of my nurses was bathing an elderly lady patient. I noticed that one breast was a mass of scar tissue, and asked about it.
"I came out from England nearly 30 years ago." she told me. "I joined my husband who was prospecting in the wilds of Northern Ontario. My right breast became sore and swollen, and very painful. My husband brought me to Toronto, and the doctors told me I had advanced cancer and my breast must be removed at once. Before we left camp a very old Indian medicine man had told me I had cancer, but he could cure it. I decided Iíd just as soon try his remedy as to have my breast removed. One of my friends had died from breast surgery. Besides, we had no money."
She and her husband returned to the mining camp, and the old Indian showed her certain herbs growing in the area, told her to make a tea from these herbs and to drink it every day. She was nearly 80 years old when I saw her and there had been no recurrence of cancer. I was much interested and wrote down the names of the herbs she had used. I knew that doctors threw up their hands when cancer was discovered in a patient; it was the same as a death sentence, just about. I decided that if I should ever develop cancer, I would use this herb tea.
About a year later I was visiting an aged retired doctor whom I knew well. We were walking slowly about his garden when he took his cane and lifted a weed. "Nurse Caisse," he told me, "if people would use this weed there would be very little cancer in the world." He told me the name of the plant. It was one of the herbs my patient named as an ingredient of the Indian medicine manís tea!
A few months later I received word that my motherís only sister had been operated on in Brockville, Ontario. The doctors had found she had cancer of the stomach with a liver involvement, and gave her at the most six months to live. I hastened to her and talked to her doctor. He was Dr. R.O. Fisher of Toronto, whom I knew well because I had nursed patients for him many times. I told him about the herb tea and asked his permission to try it under his observation, since there was apparently nothing more medical science could do for my aunt. He consented quickly. I obtained the necessary herbs, with some difficulty, and made the tea.
My aunt lived for 21 years after being given up by the medical profession. There was no recurrence of cancer. Dr. Fisher was so impressed he asked me to use the treatment on some of his other hopeless cancer cases. Other doctors heard about me from Dr. Fisher and asked me to treat patients for them after everything medical science had to offer had failed. They too were impressed with the results. Several of these doctors asked me if I would be willing to use the treatment on an old man whose face was eaten away, and who was bleeding so badly the doctors said he could not live more than 10 days.
We will not expect a miracle," they told me. "But if your treatment can help this man in this stage of cancer, we will know that you have discovered something the whole world needs desperately -- a successful remedy for cancer." My treatment stopped the bleeding in 24 hours. He lived for six months with very little discomfort.
On the strength of what those doctors saw with their own eyes, eight of them signed a petition to the Department of National Health and Welfare at Ottawa, asking that I be given facilities to do independent research on my discovery. Their petition, dated at Toronto on October 27, 1926, read as follows:
To Whom It May Concern:
We the undersigned believe that the "Treatment for Cancer" given by Nurse R.M. Caisse can do no harm and that it relieves pain, will reduce the enlargement and will prolong life in hopeless cases. To the best of our knowledge, she has not been given a case to treat until everything in medical and surgical science has been tried without effect and even then she was able to show remarkable beneficial results on those cases at that late stage.
We would be interested to see her given an opportunity to prove her work in a large way. To the best of our knowledge she has treated all cases free of any charge and has been carrying on this work over the period of the past two years.'
(Signed by the eight doctors)
I was joyful beyond words at this expression of confidence by such outstanding doctors regarding the benefits derived from my treatment. My joy was short-lived. Soon after receiving this petition, the Department of Health and Welfare sent two doctors from Ottawa to have me arrested for 'practicing medicine without a license'.
This was the beginning of nearly 50 years of persecution by those in authority, from the government to the medical profession, that I endured in trying to help those afflicted with cancer. However, when these two doctors sent from Ottawa, found that I was working with nine of the most eminent physicians in Toronto, and was giving my treatment only at their request, and under their observation, they did not arrest me.
Dr. W.C. Arnold, one of the investigating doctors, became so interested in my treatment that he arranged to have me work on mice at the Christie Street Hospital Laboratories in Toronto, with Dr. Norich and Dr. Lockhead. I did so from 1928 through 1930. These mice were inoculated with Rous Sarcoma. I kept the mice alive 52 days, longer than anyone else had been able to do, and in later experiments with two other doctors, I kept mice alive for 72 days with ESSIAC.
This was not my first clinical experience. I had previously converted Motherís basement into a laboratory, where I worked with doctors who were interested in my treatment. We found that on mice inoculated with human carcinoma, the growth regressed until it was no longer invading living tissue after nine days of ESSIAC treatments.
This was during the period when I was working on Dr. Fisherís suggestion that the treatment could be made effective if given by injection, rather than in liquid form, as a tea. I started eliminating one substance and then another; finally when the protein content was eliminated, I found that the ingredients which stopped the malignancy growth could be given by intermuscular injection without causing the reaction that had followed my first experiments with injecting mice. However, I found that the ingredients removed from the injection formula, which reduced growth of cancer, were necessary to the treatment. These apparently carried off destroyed tissue and infections thrown off by the malignancy.
By giving the intermuscular injection in the forearm, to destroy the mass of the malignant cells, and giving the medicine orally to purify the blood, I got quicker results than when the medicine was all given orally, which was my original treatments until Dr. Fisher suggested further experiments and developing an injection that could be given without reaction.
I well remember the first injection of the medication in a human patient. Dr. Fisher called and said he had a patient from Lyons, New York, who had cancer of the throat and tongue. He wanted me to inject ESSIAC into the tongue. Well, I was nearly scared to death. And there was a violent reaction. The patient developed a severe chill; his tongue swelled so badly the doctor had to press it down with a spatula to let him breathe. This lasted about 20 minutes. Then the swelling went down, the chill subsided, and the patient was all right. The cancer stopped growing, the patient went home and lived quite comfortably for almost four years.
At the time I first used my treatment on terminal cancer cases--or cancers that did not respond to approved treatment referred to me by the nine Toronto doctors--I was still nursing 12 hours a day, the customary work day for nurses then. I had only my two-hour rest period and my evenings to give to my research work and my treatments.
I decided to give up nursing, to have more time for my research and treatment of patients. Doctors started sending patients to me at my apartment and I was treating about 30 every day.
I now felt I had some scientific evidence to present that would convince the medical profession my treatment had real merit. I made an appointment with Dr. Frederick Banting of the Banting Institute, Department of medical Research, University of Toronto, world famous for his discovery of insulin. After reading my case notes, and examining pictures of the man with the face cancer before and after treatment, and x-rays of other cancers I had treated, he sat quietly for a few minutes staring into space.
"Miss Caisse," he finally said, turning to look me straight in the eyes, "I will not say you have a cure for cancer. But you have more evidence of a beneficial treatment for cancer than anyone in the world."
"I have never claimed that my treatment cures cancer -- although many of my patients, and the doctors with whom I have worked, claim that it does. My goal has been control of cancer, and alleviation of pain."
[The foregoing transcriptions are excerpts from I Was Canada's Cancer Nurse by Rene Caisse. Copies of this booklet may be available at the following website: http://www.Essiac-tea.org.]
CLICK HERE to read another excerpt from I Was Canada's Cancer Nurse.
Rene Caisse also stated: "My decoction is a non-toxic drink made from herbs which are of definite benefit for cancer." [THE ESSENCE OF ESSIAC, p. 122-3]
*[CAVEAT: This web page is for historical and documentary purposes only and not for medical advice or treatment. It can be very dangerous (not to mention illegal) to inject Essiac tea or sheep sorrel solution into another person and is no longer done. Drinking the tea, poultices and sublingual methods are safer and are discussed in THE ESSIAC BOOK by author Mali Klein, who is the only Essiac researcher in print who has had direct experience of the immediate effects of the Sheep sorrel injection. She suggests alternative and less traumatic ways of administering the Sheep sorrel decoction that have been demonstrated as being effective. See a competent naturopathic doctor for dietary recommendations in cases of serious illness.]
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Rene Caisse and her Herbal Cancer Treatment, ESSIAC
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