In the Words of Rene Caisse - The Bracebridge Cancer Clinic

The following, written by Rene Caisse, was published posthumously by the Bracebridge Examiner, January, 1979.

"A few days after the hearing before the Department of National Health and Welfare, Dr. Albert Bastedo, of Bracebridge, called me. He had sent a patient to me with cancer of the bowel, and was greatly impressed with the results of my treatment with ESSIAC. He told me he had gone before the Bracebridge Town Council and had asked that they offer me the old British Lion Hotel building to be used as Rene Caisse's clinic, if I would return to my home town to practice. He persuaded me to accept this offer.

The Mayor and the Council of Bracebridge were very enthusiastic about getting the clinic started. With the help of friends, relatives and patients, I furnished an office, dispensary, reception room and five treatment rooms.

From 1934 to 1942 I paid the Council the sum of $1.00 per month for the building and there was a large "CANCER CLINIC" sign on the door. I treated thousands of patients who came from far and near, most of them given up as hopeless after everything in medical science had failed. Some arrived in ambulances, receiving their first treatments lying down in an ambulance; after a few treatments they walked into the clinic without help.

I had absolute faith that I could accumulate enough proof of results obtained with different types of cancer, as demanded by the Cancer Society, the medical profession would eventually be glad to accept Essiac as an approved treatment.

I did not know then of an organized effort to keep a cancer cure from being discovered, especially by an independent researcher not affiliated with any organization supported by private or public funds. Tremendous sums have been raised and appropriated for official cancer research during the past 50 years, with almost nothing new or productive discovered. It would make these foundations look pretty silly, if an obscure Canadian nurse discovered an effective treatment for cancer!

"My own dear mother became ill..."

About the time I opened my Cancer Clinic in Bracebridge, my own dear mother became ill. The four local doctors said she had gallstones, and her heart was too weak for surgery. Mother was 72 years old at the time.

As she got worse, I insisted on calling Dr. Roscoe Graham, a consulting specialist of international fame, for an examination and consultation with the other doctors. After the consultation, Dr. Graham came to me and said: "Your mother has cancer, Miss Caisse. Her liver is a nodular mass."

Dr. McGibbon, a local doctor who was set against my cancer work, said very sarcastically, "Why don't you do something?"

"I'm certainly going to try, doctor," I replied. And I asked Dr. Graham, "How long does she have to live?" Dr. Graham thought it would be only a matter of days.


The old British Lion Hotel
The old British Lion Hotel, rented to Rene for $1 per month




Downtown Bracebridge
Downtown Bracebridge around the time Rene opened her clinic.




"I paid the Council the sum of $1.00 per month for the building and there was a large "Cancer Clinic" sign on the door."




Rene on the steps of her clinic.
Rene on the steps of her clinic.




Corner view of the clinic
Corner view of the clinic




"I did not know then of an organized effort to keep a cancer cure from being discovered..."



I immediately started treating her with ESSIAC. I gave it daily for 10 days. When she improved I reduced the treatment to three a week, then to two, then to one. She continued to improve.

To make a long story short, my mother completely recovered. She passed away quietly after her 90th birthday — without pain, just a tired heart.

This repaid me for all my work — giving my mother 18 years of life she would not have had without ESSIAC. It made up for the great deal of persecution I have endured at the hands of the medical world.

A few to investigate doctors in the United States became sufficiently interested in Essiac the John Wolfer of treatment. Some people from Chicago who knew my work persuaded Dr. the treat patients in Alumni Association of Northwestern University at Chicago, to have me a Chicago clinic under the observation of their doctors.

A consultant specialist took me to see Dr. Wolfer and read the histories of the cases selected for my treatment — all hopeless or terminal. I looked the histories over and asked "when would you like me to start, doctor?" He looked surprised because, as he told me later, he had expected me to turn them down.

I arranged to be in Chicago to treat these patients each Thursday, under observation of five doctors. The consulting specialist asked me, as he took me back to the home of friends in Chicago, why I had accepted these terrible cases.

"I will show results that will surprise your doctors, even in these late stages of the disease," I told him. "The results will be enough to interest even the most sceptical doctors."

I was proved right. Later, these doctors offered to open a clinic for me in the Passervant Hospital in Chicago, if I would stay in the United States.

Dr. Richard Leonardo, a surgical specialist and coroner of Rochester, NY, at first scoffed at the idea of any merit in my work. "The only way to prove or disprove the merit of Essiac," I told him, "is to remain in the clinic and see the patients and observe my work and results." He decided to do so.

The first day he stayed and talked to patients; then he told me he was satisfied that I was getting results, but it was my faith and encouragement that brought hope and improvement to my patients -- not my treatment. "These results are entirely psychological" he stated emphatically.

The second day I invited him to come into my treatment room, examine patients and watch me administer the treatment. We had many advanced cases of cancer and I did not finish in the clinic until 7:30 p.m.; he stayed until the last patient left.

"Young lady," he told me, "I must congratulate you. You have made a wonderful discovery."

Dr. Leonardo stayed for four days examining patients and became more and more interested in my results.

"I like your method of treatment," he said. "I feel it will change the whole theory of cancer treatment and will eventually do away with surgery, radium and x-ray treatments for cancer."

He offered to establish and equip a hospital in Rochester if I cared to move there and work with him. I particularly appreciated Dr. Leonardo's opinion because he had been scientifically trained in Germany, Vienna, London and Scotland and he at first had been so completely sceptical of my treatment.

Both of these offers to establish clinics in the United States were tempting, but my forbears on both sides of my family had come to Canada from France in the 1700's and I had made up my mind long ago that Canada would get the credit for providing a cure for the world's most dreaded disease.

Dr. Leonardo's investigation of my treatment was during the summer of 1937, while Dr. Emma H. Carson of Los Angeles was spending June and July of that year visiting my Bracebridge Clinic and studying the treatment and its result.

Supporters Weigh-In

The following is quoted from a report of August 12, 1937, written for publication by Dr. Emma Carson, M.D.:

    "Several of my world-renowned professional friends (physicians, surgeons and attorneys) and also four famous business officials were spending the winter of 1936-37 in Southern California, and upon various occasions when they visited me I learned of Miss Caisse's wonderful cancer clinic at Bracebridge, Ontario. Owing to such glowing and impressive reports and the intense interest so earnestly evidenced during these discussions, I became interested.

    "I then expressed a resolve to go to Bracebridge as soon as introductory letters could be exchanged, providing Miss Caisse would invite me to visit her clinic. The invitation was most cordially extended including explicit instructions for my convenience and comfort, her genuine assurance of sincere welcome and her appreciation of the fact that I was coming from a great distance to investigate her work, regardless of my sceptical attitude.

    "At 8 a.m. on the fourth day after I received her welcome invitation, I left Los Angeles, enroute to Bracebridge for the exclusive purpose of meeting Miss Rene M. Caisse and ascertaining the real virtue of her Essiac treatments, according to her invitation, and especially appreciative of her promise to demonstrate her method and system personally in her clinical work.

    "As I seriously and compassionately surveyed that extraordinary assembly of afflicted people and visually compared them with the most prominent and distinguished clinics I have ever witnessed either in this or foreign countries, I vividly realized I had never before seen or been in any manner associated with such a remarkably cheerful and sympathetic clinic, regardless of size, location or number of persons; or attended a more peaceful, sympathetic clinic anywhere.

    "I was also assured by patients that they voluntarily abandoned narcotics and sedatives of every denomination, that had been prescribed to them by their physicians who had attended them previous to their adoption of Essiac treatments, and very soon after the first treatment of Essiac.

    "My scepticism neither yielded nor became subdued by the hopes and faith so definitely expressed by the Clinic patients and their friends. However, I candidly admit that my curiosity became greatly augmented, and I resolved that scepticism should not blind my eyes or oppose my thorough investigation of the real efficacy of the Essiac treatment for cancer.

    "Several prominent physicians and surgeons, who are quite familiar with the indisputable results obtained in response to Miss Rene M. Caisse's Essiac treatments, and who have also asserted their intense interest in Cancer Research Work, including the investigation of the most prominent advocated remedial treatments for cancer, really conceded to me that Rene M. Caisse's treatment is the most humane, satisfactory and frequently successful (in consideration of her unavoidable limitations due to certain restrictions) remedy for annihilation of cancer "that could be found at that time".

    "I candidly explained the motive that inspired the purpose that determined my visit to the Bracebridge Cancer Clinic. I hoped to obtain visibly authenticated proof that would sufficiently convince and satisfactorily establish incontrovertible evidence of Essiac as a reliable remedial agent for cancer.

    "Miss Caisse explained her earnest desire to conscientiously provide all verified information, both favourable and unfavourable, to aid and establish unbiased and impartial conclusions, decisively confirmed, as a merited compensation for my long distance trip, made for the purpose of obtaining convincing evidence concerning the real merits of ESSIAC.

    "I diligently proceeded in quest of the definitely assured results accomplished by the use of ESSIAC, and attributed to Miss Rene Caisse's treatment for cancer. I firmly resolved that my investigation must be based on unprejudiced judgement.

    "Miss Caisse does not even suggest 'cure all' pertaining to her ESSIAC remedy. When asked if her ESSIAC will cure cancer, she always replies:

      'If it does not cure cancer it will afford relief, if the patient has sufficient vitality remaining to enable him to respond to treatment.'

    "The vast majority of Miss Caisse's patients were brought for treatment after surgery, radium, x-rays, emplastrums, etc. had failed to be helpful and the patients pronounced incurable or hopeless cases. Really, the progress obtainable and the actual results from ESSIAC treatments and the rapidity of repair were absolutely marvellous, and must be seen to convincingly confirm belief.

    "I was intently engaged in reviewing, comparing and summarizing my accumulation of data, records, histories etc., and mentally visualized each patient and his apparently miraculous progress toward recovery, when I realized that scepticism had deserted me, or in recognition of defeat folded its tent, like the Arabs, and silently passed away.

    "When I arrived in Bracebridge, I contemplated remaining 12 hours, at least not more than 48 hours. Miss Caisse and her ESSIAC treatment and her patients were responsible for the unlimited extension of my time in Bracebridge and Toronto, as I remained 24 days and spent about 16 days at Toronto.

    "During the three weeks of the time I visited Bracebridge and neighbouring cities and towns, I examined and investigated results obtained by ESSIAC treatments including 400 patients.

    "I am pleased to assure all interested persons that I paid my own expenses and investigated ESSIAC to satisfy my own interest in cancer victims and learn of some remedial agent for cancer that had proved itself superior in every respect to all else, and which I could conscientiously recommend to my friends and interested persons.

    "I can certainly express my genuine regrets that Ontario is so far and difficult to reach for cancer sufferers from California. Transportation covering such long distances is certainly an important consideration for the safety and comfort of invalids.

    "With sincere interest and hopes that humanity throughout all nations be permitted to obtain Miss Rene Caisse's remedy ESSIAC according to her philanthropic and humane principles, I remain,"

    (Signed: Emma M. Carson, M.D.)
    Hayward Hotel Los Angeles, California
    August 12, 1937

Dr. Carson's belief in my cancer theory and treatment reflected that of the many physicians who had followed my work for the preceding ten years.

On page 3 [of her booklet], I quoted a petition filed in October of 1926. In October of 1936 a similar petition was filed by physicians from Cobden, Ottawa and Timmins; among the doctors signing was Dr. J. A. McInnis, whose name had been included with the 1926 document.

Plaque now on the Lee Building

Plaque now on the Lee Building: "This building was originally constructed and established in 1870 as the British Lion Hotel by two well established actors from England. It was to become the most historic and aristocratic of the many local hotels. The original British Lion Hotel stood close to the corner of the streets. The "new wing", now known as the "Lee Building" (named in honour of Ernest P. Lee, Q.C.) was added in the early 1900's. The hotel was a swanky place but fell on hard times with the advent of more mobility and especially when the town was voted "dry". Having seized the property for taxes, the Town of Bracebridge, by By-Law No. 624 dated November 21, 1935, authorized the building to be used by Rene M. Caisse. Known as the cancer nurse, who used the building as her clinic where she administered her "Essiac" cancer treatment. Hundreds of her patients, many travelling great distances, came to this building for treatment until 1942 when, amidst great controversy, she was forced to close. The building was later purchased and converted to its present use.


No extensive clinical studies have been performed as yet which would provide conclusive evidence that Rene Caisse's herbal formula will alleviate, cure or prevent any disease or condition. The purpose of this site is to provide historical information about Rene M. Caisse and the history of Essiac. All excerpts were taken from documented sources. This site is owned and maintained by Altramed Health Products Inc. which is an authorized user of the Essiac® trademark.

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