The following, written by Rene Caisse, was published posthumously by the Bracebridge Examiner, January, 1979.
"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:
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 "practising medicine without a licence".
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 Mother's 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. Fisher's suggestion that the treatment could be made effective if given by , 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 without causing the reaction that had followed my first experiments with injecting mice. However, I found that the ingredients removed from the formula, which reduced growth of cancer, were necessary to the treatment. These apparently carried off destroyed tissue and infections thrown off by the malignancy.
"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 never dreamed of the opposition and the persecution that would be my lot in trying to help suffering humanity with no thought of personal gain."
By giving the intermuscular 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 that could be given without reaction.
I well remember the first 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."
He advised me to make application to the University of Toronto for facilities to do deeper research. He even offered to share his laboratory in the Banting Institute and to work with me. However, in making application to the University of Toronto, I would have to give them my formula. They would then have the formula, which could be filed in the archives and forgotten, or could be used for university staff research -- and my application to do independent research at the university could still be refused. After much soul searching and prayer, I turned down Dr. Banting's suggestion and his offer to work with me.
I wanted to establish my remedy, which I called Essiac (my name spelled backward),in actual practice and not in a laboratory only. I knew I had no bad side affects, so it could do no harm. I wanted to use it on patients in my own way. And when the time came, I wanted to share in the administration of my own discovery.
To do such a thing is impossible even today for any independent research worker, due to what is nothing less than a conspiracy against finding a cure for cancer. I decided to prove my treatment on its own merit, without assistance if necessary.
Dr. Banting approved my decision, and my courage. He had discovered insulin. He did not claim it was a cure for diabetes. He did know by experience that it was a palliative and a deterrent. I knew the same thing about Essiac.
But Dr. Banting was a doctor and a recognized practitioner, so although he surrendered his formula to the profession under the medical code of ethics, he was honoured and rewarded. I was in no professional position to secure acceptance of Essiac, or recognition for its discovery, if I surrendered the formula before the merit of the treatment was established beyond all doubt.
Tenants in my apartment house in Toronto objected to my numerous visitors -- the 30 or more daily patients. Besides I could no longer afford to carry on in the city any longer because I had given up nursing. I made no charge for my treatments and depended entirely on occasional voluntary contributions. I felt I could live less expensively in a smaller town, so I went to Timmins, thinking I would go back to nursing. However, Dr. J.A. McInnis (who signed the petition in 1926 and had seen my work in Toronto) asked me to treat cancer patients for him, which I did with very good results.
I later moved to Peterborough, east of Toronto, and lived in a rented house, where I was no sooner moved in than the College of Physicians and Surgeons sent a health officer to issue a warrant for my arrest, again the charge was "practising medicine without a licence". I have lost count of the number of times I have been threatened with arrest and imprisonment for treating patients with Essiac.
The health officer talked to me and some of my patients and then told me: "I am not going to issue this warrant; I am going back to talk to Dr. Noble, my chief." Dr. R.J. Noble was head of the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The next day I wrote to The Hon. Dr. J.A. Faulkner, the Minister of Health, and asked for a hearing. I received a letter granting me a hearing on the following Monday at 2 p.m. I got in touch with doctors who had sent patients to me, and five of them together with 12 patients went with me to the hearing. We were received very graciously at Queens Park by Dr. Faulkner, his Deputy Minister The Hon. B.T. McGee and other doctors of National Health and Welfare.
After I presented my cases, Dr. Faulkner said that I could carry on, provided the patients came with their doctor's written diagnoses, and that I did not make a charge. "My only ambition, I told Dr. Faulkner, "is to prove Essiac on its merit, and make it acceptable to the medical profession."
So I started back for Peterborough, very proud and happy that I could continue to help patients. The look of gratitude I saw in their eyes when relief from pain was accomplished, and the hope and cheerfulness that returned when they saw their malignancies reduced, was pay enough for all my efforts.
I had faith that if I trusted in God and did my best, a way to support my work would be found. I remembered our St. Joseph's Church in my home town of Bracebridge, Ontario, and the window in it dedicated to the memory of my mother, Frizelda (Potvin) Caisse. She and my father raised their eight girls and three boys to love and fear God, and to believe that respect and love of our fellow man were more important than riches.
I never dreamed of the opposition and the persecution that would be my lot in trying to help suffering humanity with no thought of personal gain.
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. Diabetes, pernicious anemia and arthritis are not curable; but with insulin, liver extract and adrenal cortex extracts, "incurables" live out comfortable, controlled life spans.
Cancer patients were successfully treated by me for over 25 years using Essiac hypodermically and orally. Since I am a nurse and not a physician, I never gave the treatment until I had written diagnosis of cancer signed by a qualified doctor. I administered my treatment under the observation of doctors.
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