Since its inception in 1840, the Hoxsey Therapy and its proprietary herbal medicine formulas had been in the hands of generations of the Hoxsey family and, after proponent Harry Hoxsey (1901-1974) left clinical practice around 1960, Mildred Nelson. Nelson was the chief nurse at the Hoxsey Clinic in Dallas, TX when Harry Hoxsey directed the facility, and she worked closely with Hoxsey to learn the therapy's protocols.
Nelson is credited with single handedly ensuring the survival of the Hoxsey Therapy during the last part of the twentieth century, a period of intense controversy and adversity for alternative cancer treatments.
Shortly before her death, Nelson's younger sister, Liz Jonas, assumed the duties as administrator of the Bio-Medical Center. Although Jonas herself does not have a medical background, she has largely maintained the traditions and practices established by Mildred Nelson according to a number of observers.
For example, most of the original staff of medical and support personnel have remained and the clinic continues to provide an accessible and economical alternative, treating both new and returning patients with the Hoxsey herbal treatment as the primary therapy.
A Unique History, A Promising FutureThe Hoxsey Therapy is the oldest continuously used unconventional or alternative nontoxic cancer therapy in North America. Ironically, from the 1920s until recently, it was usually vilified as the leading example of medical quackery in modern times. Among the Hoxsey Therapy's other distinctions:
It was the first North American alternative cancer therapy to set up a base in Mexico
It is the leading example of herbal or botanical medicine for cancer
It has a remarkable and unique cultural and political history
Even more remarkable are the reports about its successful clinical history in the face of daunting opposition and odds
It represents a leading example of an uncompromising, primary therapy for cancer
It was decades ahead of its time in many ways - particularly in its underlying theory that cancer is a systemic condition that might be successfully treated by natural chemotherapy, in this case of a nontoxic herbal origin
It has made contributions to the empirical use - and our understanding of the importance - of group therapy, attitudinal healing, and nutritional support.
On September 2, 1999, more than seven months after Nelson's death, the following message was sent to the Bio-Medical Center by the relative of a new patient:"I took my sister, LM, to the Biomedical Clinic last Monday. We arrived anxious, and afraid to hope, since she was diagnosed as terminal with advanced breast to bone cancer. We were treated with kindness, gentleness, and extreme professionalism.
Dr. Gomez was very knowledgeable, patient with our questions, and very thorough. But most of all she treated my sister with dignity and gave her hope. We both left the clinic with huge smiles -- full of hope for the future. Thank you so much for the wonderful work you do at the clinic. Treating people like human beings, with kindness and dignity is so humane. We cannot thank you enough! We will keep your good works in our prayers.
"This kind of recent anecdotal report, and the planned publication later this year of the government-funded pilot study of Hoxsey, represent indications of the powerful legacy of Mildred Nelson and the Hoxsey Therapy. One can hope that the first years of this new decade will finally see more extensive, serious, and fair scientific inquiries into the clinical practice and outcomes of this treatment - and the others like it that deserve our attention.
© by Peter Chowka
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