William Fair, MD and cancer survivor speaks

Former head of Urology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NYC

 finds complementary therapy after own cancer diagnosis

Minutes from the Alternative/Whole Health Study Group of SHARE May 10th, 1999

Dr. William Fair currently runs the prostate diagnostic center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Several years ago he was diagnosed with colon cancer. He had chemotherapy after surgery, then a recurrence. After his second recurrence he decided to pursue complementary therapies. He stated that he was delighted with the level of data on these modalities. As a doctor he had been trained to believe that all non-conventional treatment was a hoax.

Dr. Fair went to Commonweal, a California based organization that offers stress reduction, relaxation techniques and much more. They work to heal a patient rather than go for a ‘cure’.

He strongly suggested that no doctor should tell a patient how long they have to live. He said this was inappropriate as no one actually knows how long a patient has and secondly that it placed a "hex" on the person.

Dr. Fair discussed the fact that most men will have prostate cancer before they die, but that many die of something else. He showed a slide comparing Japanese and Chinese men with Japanese-Americans and Chinese-Americans. He pointed out the difference in rates of prostate cancer that occur after the first generation born in the United States. He said that while its cause was not proven, it could be environmental, specifically diet related.

He talked about animal studies with human prostate cancer that showed the value of a reduced fat diet. He felt they could easily relate to breast and ovarian and colon cancer, among others.

Dr. Fair suggested that a program for prostate survivors might include 15-20% fat (44 grams per day) 800 mg Vitamin E, 20 grams of soy protein, 400 mcg folic acid and a multi-vitamin daily. He strongly recommended yoga and meditation to reduce stress. He quoted studies that showed an advantage for this reduction. He also spoke about the dangers of social isolation and the need for a support system. This has been shown to prevent premature death from all causes.

He talked about acupuncture for pain relief, nausea and vomiting; aroma therapy and other modalities that showed efficacy. He quoted Sir Dennis Burkett "Not everything that counts can be counted".

Dr. Fair made it clear that patient demand for information on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) was what was leading the way. He did speak a little about the ineffectiveness of current treatment.

His talk was reasoned and impassioned. He believes that patients should have the right to scientific information about CAM issues. He recently spoke about CAM at the annual meeting of the American Urology Association before its 12,000 members. He has been asked to head their new committee on CAM. Dr. Fair will be addressing a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology which is devoting 5 hours of a satellite symposium to CAM.


Memorial Sloan Kettering Offers Yoga

To staff and patients

Ralph Moss' Tribute to William R. Fair,Jr

Deceased 1/03/02 complications of colon cancer


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