Cancer and Cartilage: 31 Cases

Apr 15, 2020

In the book Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World, I discuss the life’s work of Dr. John F. Prudden (1920-1998), who researched bovine tracheal cartilage extensively and found it had a powerful and consistently positive effect on wound healing, arthritis, cancer and other diseases.

Proof of the effectiveness of his cancer treatments came out in 1985 when Dr. Prudden published “The Treatment of Human Cancer with Agents Prepared from Bovine Cartilage” in the December 1985 issue of the Journal of Biological Response Modifiers. The article documents an 11-year study begun in 1972, in which Dr. Prudden tracked the progress of 31 patients treated with cartilage who had suffered from a wide variety of cancers.

Every one of these 31 patients was considered morbidly ill and “beyond hope.” The standard slash, poison and burn techniques had proved ineffective — or had been refused by the patients — and the patients had been sent home to die. “With few exceptions, only those for whom standard therapy had failed or was conceded to be of no value were accepted for the studies,” said Dr. Prudden.  Prior to starting the therapy with his patients Dr. Prudden ordered extensive laboratory blood work, the details of which can be found in his article in the Journal of Biological Response Modifiers.

Treated with bovine tracheal cartilage, the odds for these patients increased dramatically, and all but one survived longer than their original doctors had ever predicted.  Some were alive and kicking years later, laughingly reminding their friends and family that Mark Twain wasn’t the only one entitled to say, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Those who would like to read the original 44-page journal article with extensive clinical details about each case can find it in most medical libraries. For reasons of copyright, I cannot include the actual text here.  The summaries here are in my own words and also include comments made by Dr. Prudden during a series of interviews I conducted with him in 1997, the year before his death.

*  *  *

Breast Cancer

Dr. Prudden’s pioneer work in curing cancer began with F.K., a 62-year old woman whose left chest and lung had been virtually eaten away by cancer. There were huge tumors on the surface of her body, invasion of the ribs, a collapse of the thorax wall and partial paralysis of her left arm. She had originally neglected her problem because she was caring for her mother who had had a stroke. By the time she got around to looking after herself, her disease had seriously progressed. Radiation, chemotherapy and hormonal treatment with estrogens and androgens had helped for a time but then the cancer returned with a vengeance.

When referred to Dr. Prudden, F.K .weighed only 83 pounds and hoped for nothing more than some wound healing and alleviation of her suffering.  No one- not even Dr. Prudden – guessed the cartilage would also cure the cancer, which had metastasized to the point where she seemed doomed. Yet cartilage injections given between October 1972 and July 1973 resulted in a disappearance of the cancer itself.  Additional injections were given from 1973 to 1975, at which point she stopped treatment against Dr. Prudden’s advice.

Grave mistake. A year later cancer was diagnosed in her right breast. No longer a “hopeless case,” she returned to orthodox treatments and received a modified radical mastectomy. Unlike her left chest which remained free of cancer for the rest of her life, cancer returned in her right chest in 1983. In the end it wasn’t cancer that killed her but a genitourinary infection caused by catheterization.

*  *  *

Z.H., 77, appeared at Yale-New Haven Hospital in 1973 with an inoperable, massive breast cancer that had recurred and spread despite two blasts of radiation. She refused chemotherapy and neglected treatment until three years later when she began a protocol with bovine tracheal cartilage that lasted from January 1976 to January 1978. Through the cartilage had steadily healed the chest wall ulcers and her lung metastases had disappeared altogether, she died in February 1978 of pneumonia. Dr. Prudden thinks respiratory therapy might have saved her life, but her immediate family refused it because of religious beliefs.

*  *  *

Concert violinist L.T. thought a modified radical mastectomy would rid her body of breast cancer, but three years later she was back in her doctor’s office complaining of severe back pain.  X-rays showed collapse on the vertebrae and bone cancer.  The diagnosis was grim after her doctors tried estrogen therapy and a course of radiation, both of which failed.

Then L.T. took oral doses of cartilage and completed a round of cartilage injections. In addition, she added prednisone to dim her pain. Though the cancer went into long-term remission, a biopsy five years later showed that it had returned with metastases to the bone. While continuing on cartilage, Lorraine also received radiation and at one point added the drug tamoxifen citrate. One or more of these treatments clearly worked because her case went into remission and she returned to the concert stage.  Unhappily, she died a few years later of an unrelated urinary tract infection.

*  *  *

At 57, M.B. had a long, sorry history of breast cancer, including treatments by radical mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy.  When she reported to Dr. Prudden in 1975 she’d been told that there was “nothing left to do but pray.” Her entire chest- including both the surgically mutilated left side and the untreated right side- was coved with malignant lesions. Soon after beginning the cartilage regimen, M.B. saw a progressive improvement of the ulcers, a softening of nodules on the chest wall and a reduction in the size of a mass in her arm pit. She died in 1977, not because of cancer, but from congestive heart failure and cardiac arrest.

*  *  *

Ovarian Cancer

At 63, O.H. was under a death sentence. Drugs had had little effect on her metastasized ovarian cancer and she was in sore shape because of severe abdominal swelling and an obstruction of her large bowel.

Soon after beginning cartilage therapy, her condition improved to the point that she cheerfully reported “all my clothes fit again” and her doctors could no longer palpate a pelvic mass. When O underwent gall bladder surgery later that year, the same surgeon who had originally diagnosed cancer reported no evidence of malignancy.

All was well until O.H.’s husband suffered a massive heart attack in February 1980 and died several months later. From the start of his illness, O.H. ate little food and took few cartilage pills. “I grew hoarse on the telephone trying to deliver inspirational addresses,” said Dr. Prudden. “I offered to come down to her town in Georgia. She didn’t want me to come. She felt life was unbearable.” In 1981 the cancer returned and she died a year later.

*  *  *

Cervical Cancer

MH 58, was a natural-born leader with tremendous charisma. As the first woman member of a southern state legislature, she had defied naysayers and won a landslide victory over an old boy politician. A winner with Dr. Prudden’s other patients as well, she was famous for the pep talks she gave in his waiting room.

When M.H. was diagnosed with cancer of the cervix, she declined a hysterectomy and radiation in favor of oral cartilage therapy. Soon after, her pap smears- which had formerly been an ominous class three and four- reverted to class one and biopsies showed mild dysplasia. For seven years she remained on a maintenance dose of 3 grams a day and seemed to be in excellent health.

The maintenance dose seems to have been not high enough, for after seven years Mary was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and then took the bovine cartilage sporadically, if at all.

Why? “By then, she had a great collection of people that she was advising,” recalled Dr. Prudden, “and was convinced of the gleam of her own special wisdom. It was inconceivable to her that she could not take care of herself.” Rejecting Dr. Prudden’s advice, M.H. jetted to Germany for a sprig of “m-Isseltoe”- Dr. Pruden’s nickname for the alternative treatments at Dr. Josef Issels Clinic in Bavaria.  He said, for her it was the kiss of death.

*  *  *

Uterine Cancer

P.G. 57, was married to a doctor who happened to attend one of Dr. Prudden’s lectures at Doctor’s Hospital in New York in 1980. That was lucky for P.G. who was gravely ill. Seven years earlier, she had been diagnosed with a uterine cancer that was pressing into her left broad ligament.  Although she had undergone a hysterectomy and radiation, cancer had recurred to the cervix, and metastasized to the lung and to the back of her left thigh.

Although these malignancies were all treated surgically, her condition went steadily downhill until she began bovine tracheal cartilage treatments wit Dr. Prudden in 1980. Despite the fact that she discontinued the pills for a brief period against the doctor’s advice, she enjoyed a complete remission and cure of her once “incurable” cancer. She remained well, 27 years later.

*  *  *

Prostate Cancer

Dr. Prudden joked that L.A. was “the only lawyer I ever liked.” At 81 L.A.  learned he had prostate cancer when he consulted a doctor regarding painful urination. That was relieved by a surgical procedure known as transurethral resection (TUR). To treat the prostate cancer, he was given the hormone diethyl stilbestrol (better known as DES), an estrogen that was standard treatment at that time. Though it had not proved effective, he remained on DES when he began cartilage therapy.

Within a year, his cancerous nodule was no longer palpable and his acid phosphatase level- a marker of prostate cancer- was normal. When the nodule reappeared and the acid phosphatase level rose, Dr. Prudden advised him to increase his cartilage dosage. The cancer then disappeared and remained so and a biopsy showed a normal prostate gland. Though DES alone had not been effective, Dr. Prudden believes that the laboratory tests suggest that is worked “synergistically” with the cartilage. By “synergistic,” we mean that the two agents work simultaneously to enhance the effect of each other.

“He stayed on BTC and stayed absolutely well,” said Dr. Prudden, who reported that as of 1995, L.A. was 89 years old and living happily in a Quaker retirement home. He later moved to a retirement home closer to his son, at which point Dr. Prudden ceased hearing from him. “He was a wonderful man, very faithful, calling and staying in touch with me,” said Dr. Prudden. “I’ve written him but haven’t heard back. At his advanced age, perhaps his heart decided enough was enough.”

*  *  *

R.G. complained of urinary retention at the age of 60. A visit to the doctor confirmed his worst fears- carcinoma of the prostate plus metastases in the pelvis, hips, spine, ribs and clavicles. Although treatment with the hormone diethyl stilbestrol (DES) stopped the pain for about a year, it returned with all its original intensity. Miraculously, within a week of beginning cartilage therapy, the pain was gone. After 12 days, his bone scan- which Dr. Prudden described as “grossly and widely abnormal”- became negative. His prostate gland, which had been rock hard, softened until it too returned to normal. Markers of cancer such as the total acid phosphatase level also dropped to normal.

Despite this complete response, the cancer returned three years later with metastases to the bone. Rather than depend on the increased dose of cartilage, R.G. decided to try something stronger: radiation and chemotherapy. His health then rapidly declined and he died.

*  *  *

Prostate cancer was found when W.S., 62, complained of urinary problems. Doses of the estrogen hormone DES reduced the size of his prostate somewhat but he quit taking his medicine after stating “It’s turning me into a woman.” Ready and willing to have bovine cartilage turn him into a bull, he agreed to cartilage therapy soon after. He enjoyed a complete cure, but died eight years later from a heart attack.

W.T., 61, entered the hospital for a transurethral resection (TUR), a procedure which he hoped would ease problems with urination. When prostate cancer was found, he declined the usual menu of options including DES, radiation, orchidectomy (removal of his testicles) and radical perineal prostatectomy (removal of his prostate). Cartilage therapy was begun but had no effect until DES was also added.

This improvement, too, only proved temporary. The patient, who by then had also developed phlebitis, was taken off DES and given the drug ketoconazole. Although the drug worked, radiation treatments were also added. “There is no evidence that cartilage made a difference in this case,” said Dr. Prudden, “but it was continued at the patient’s request.”

*  *  *

Colon and Rectal Cancer

G.D., 54, suffered from persistent rectal, bleeding due to a large adenocarcinoma and several polyps. Luckily, there was no evidence of metastases. A Jehovah’s Witness who would not agree to a blood transfusion, he was not considered a good candidate for surgery. In addition, he declined chemotherapy and radiation. After requesting cartilage therapy, he underwent injections followed by oral doses and recovered entirely. The large cancerous mass was reduced to two polyps, which were subsequently removed surgically. Eleven years later the patient was in good health.

When W.D., 79, heard the bad news that he had cancer of the rectum, he said a resounding “no” to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. He had heard about the success of G.D. with Dr. Prudden and decided to try cartilage first. He, too, enjoyed a complete cure, but two years later was suffering from two other ills: senility and anal incontinence. The former was treated by discharge to a nursing home, the latter “cured” by a colostomy. Not long after, he died suddenly from cardiac arrest.

M.K., 50, complained of cramps and blood in his stools. Cancer was found at his splenic flexure, the part of the colon near the spleen where a bend occurs between the transverse and descending segments. Although this section of his colon was removed and his problems disappeared for a time, the cramping and bleeding then recurred. M.K. declined chemotherapy in favor of cartilage therapy, but died only nine months later of a heart attack. During the course of his cartilage treatment, barium enemas showed a marked shrinking of his tumor.

*  *  *

W.G., 65, was vexed by symptoms of an intestinal obstruction. The cause was cancer at the hepatic flexure, the part of the colon near the liver where the bend occurs between the ascending and transverse segments. Because the cancer had spread as well to the duodenum of the small intestine and the right colon, surgeons tried to solve the problem by taking out major sections of his large and small intestines in a procedure known as an ileo-transversecolostomy.

The “cure,” however, proved short-lived. When the cancer returned, the surgeons went back to work cutting, slicing and resectioning what parts of his intestines still remained. But one month later the severe cramps returned and a cancer marker known as the CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) test had risen alarmingly. At this point W.G. had little left for his surgeons to cut so he tried cartilage therapy. The result was that his cramps disappeared, the mass departed, he gained a much-needed 20 pounds, his CEA dropped to a healthy level, and he felt well. Two and half years later, he was still cancer free.

*  *  *

Stomach Cancer

A.F., 61, lost so much weight that his friends thought he was anorexic. In fact, he had stomach cancer, which surgeons attempted to cure by not only removing most of his stomach but also his esophagus and spleen. Yet the cancer and weight loss recurred. Cartilage therapy was then begun and continued for ten months. At the same time he was treated with fluorouracil, a noxious drug known as 5-FU, suggesting to Dr. Prudden that the cartilage and the 5-FU had empowered each other.    Whether the cure would have been permanent  Dr. Prudden could not say, for A stopped the 5-FU. A year later, his symptoms returned and cancer was found. A.F. survived the cancer another year, then died of a pulmonary embolism while in the hospital.

E.H., 73, was severely emaciated when she came to Dr. Prudden with a huge mass in her epigastrium, a region of the abdomen overlying the stomach. She had stalwartly refused surgery and other treatments for a year and a half but was eager to try all-natural bovine tracheal cartilage. For more than a year, her tests came back “normal” and she gained 18 needed pounds. But two years later doctors discovered Krukenberg tumors (one of which was cancerous) in her ovaries and removed them. Liver and other metastases were also found.

Dr. Prudden believes E.H. relapsed because she took insufficient amounts of cartilage from the second year onward and took that dose erratically. “Her daughter ran a New Age health farm and convinced her to try ‘wacky do’ things advised by unseen presences,” Dr. Prudden recalled.  Among other things, the daughter decided her mother should stop the cartilage therapy and take a “coffee break” with coffee enemas, pancreatic enzymes and megavitamin therapy. Whether such alternative therapies were part of a total regimen such as prescribed by the late Max Gerson, M.D. William D. Kelley, D.D S, Nicholas Gonzalez, M.D., or an amateur’s homemade prescription composed of a “little of this and a little of that” is not known. Without the cartilage, which had definitely helped her, E.H. rapidly declined and died.

*  *  *

Pancreatic Cancer

When surgeons opened up 63-year old E.M. to clear his jaundice, they found pancreatic cancer with metastases to the liver. They performed a cholecysto-jejunostomy (a surgical procendure that cuts out the duodenum and connects the gall bladder to the jejunum), closed him up, patted themselves on the back and talked about his good recovery. Not long afterwards, they revised that prognosis when E began to lose weight at a record rate. He was soon given a zero percent chance of survival.

E.M. then began cartilage therapy and improved markedly. Though victims of pancreatic cancer rarely survive more than a few months, E.M.  lived 17 months after beginning cartilage therapy, then succumbed to pneumonia. Though his tumors had regressed, doctors treated the pneumonia only with morphine because they- Dr. Prudden thinks erroneously- considered his case to be terminal.

*  *  *

M.G., 60, had been downing narcotics for arthritis pain for years when she decided to try to cure the problem with cartilage. She improved so much that the cartilage was discontinued. A half year later, though, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and began cartilage therapy anew. Her worst problem was not the cancer, however, but a rapidly growing, massively enlarged liver, which plumped out her entire right abdomen.

Although cartilage treatment led to a complete disappearance of the cancerous mass in her pancreas and blood tests also showed improvement, all was not well. M.G. continued to complain of fluid in her abdomen and jaundice. Two years after beginning treatment, she died from liver failure. At the time of death, there was no evidence of cancer.

*  *  *

P.A., 69, agreed to surgery for jaundice and then a Whipple procedure for pancreatic cancer but refused chemotherapy. After beginning cartilage therapy, she improved steadily, gained much needed weight and soon reported feeling well for at least eight years.  At 92 she remained cured of cancer but suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. “Sometimes we save them only to wonder if it was for the best,” said Dr. Prudden sadly.

*  *  *

Lung Cancer

J.P. was only 45 when he learned that cancer had spread throughout his lungs. After lobectomy, massive doses of radiation and chemotherapy were tried but failed. Because of the pressure of the tumor on the spinal cored, his right arm became useless and he suffered from severe pain. As a last resort, he decided to try cartilage therapy.

Although the cartilage therapy decreased his pain, and cleared virtually all the cancer, J.P. died before it could be learned whether the cartilage could lead to a complete cure. He died suddenly after a laminectomy, an operation performed on his vertebrae to relieve the painful compression on the spinal cord.

*  *  *

Sixty-three year old J.P. completed a course of radiation to treat inoperable long cancer and also began cartilage therapy. Over the next couple of years, the mass in his lung increased several times, then decreased before a new node compressing the esophagus appeared. This was treated by radiation. Though this mass, too, disappeared, the patient fell victim to viral pneumonitis, which at the request of the family was not treated. Though his response to the cartilage therapy was only “partial,” the death certificate read pneumonia, not cancer.

*  *  *

M.M. was determined to smoke and drink even if it killed him. Though it seemed unlikely that anything would cure this 73-year old man’s lung cancer, cartilage therapy was tried. Despite drinking bouts and limited compliance in taking his cartilage pills, M.M.’s lung cancer vanished, never to return. Four years later, however, cancer had taken up residency in his liver. Placed in a nursing home by his family, which had tired of caring for him and bringing him in for treatment, he died of a heart attack six months later.

*  *  *

A.H., 71, was a chronically depressed, chain smoker and drug addict. He shook his head at surgery for his lung cancer but consented to a toast by radiation. Thanks to cartilage therapy, he enjoyed a 16-month remission from his disease, a far longer period than his condition- with or without radiation- would have warranted. How long A.H.  could have survived is anyone’s guess for he was found in his upper west side New York City apartment dead of a massive pentobarbital overdose. Only two things are certain, the police report showed no evidence of “foul play” and the autopsy showed no evidence of cancer.

*  *  *

Nasal Cancer

When three cancer specialists advised D.G. to have his nose removed, the 79-year old, retired doctor told his doctors to blow off.  Though it was covered with nodules as well as malignant and bleeding ulcers, he decided it should be kept in sickness or in health. Within six months of beginning oral and topical cartilage treatments, Dr. G could look in his mirror without cringing. He later permitted weekly injections of cartilage into his nose as well and soon reported a return to good health. He lived another ten years, dying at the age of 89 from a stroke. He blamed his cancer on the fact that he had pressed his nose up against a fluoroscope in his office for years. The device is used to project x rays on a fluorescent screen for examination.

*  *  *

Renal Cancer

D.W., 79, had her right kidney removed because of renal cell carcinoma. Lung metastases led to the removal of the left lobe, but two years later cancer returned both in the lungs and the liver. After beginning cartilage therapy, her lung metastases gradually decreased and she gained strength and weight. Even so the large mass in the liver remained. Two years later D.W.  suffered a stoke and died a half year later in a nursing home after her liver ruptured, causing hemorrhaging and peritonitis. Though “benign” seems an inappropriate word to use to describe an exploded tumor, the autopsy of the necrotic debris showed no signs of malignancy.

*  *  *

Brain Tumor

E.S.’s vacation in California was ruined when she collapsed in convulsions.  The 59-year old woman underwent an operation to find out why and was diagnosed with a deadly form of brain tumor known as glioblastoma multiforme.  Radiation was begun, but she quit when she began going bald.  E.S. also turned down chemotherapy after reading about its underwhelming track record. Her choice of cartilage therapy led to a progressive decrease in the size of her tumor until there was no evidence at all of a brain tumor. Three years later she told Dr. Prudden that she was moving to Israel and intended to stop taking the cartilage. Although he advised her that her life might depend on continuing the therapy, she followed her own counsel. She proved to be one of the lucky ones. Twelve years later- the last time Dr. Prudden heard from her – E.S. was sparkling with good health.

*  *  *

Thyroid Cancer

M.C. thought the last thing she would ever do was schedule a tennis match again.  At 59, she’d been told she had a date with death.  Although surgeons removed her thyroid and parts of her neck, “they could’t get it all” because pockets of cancer were found near her trachea, along her right bronchus, her right four rib and right clavicle. As the tumors advanced, she lost weight and energy and suffered form severe diarrhea. Though radiation  and chemotherapy were recommended, she declined because of the dismal cure rate.

After beginning cartilage therapy, M.C. gained ten pounds and was able to decrease (though not stop) the anti-diarrhea medications. Her blood tests also indicated a distinct improvement. For convenience she began taking her 9 grams of cartilage in one dose per day rather than in three, a fact that lead to too much of it being flushed away because of her continued diarrhea. This led, in turn, to a relapse as shown by blood tests, and a stern warning from Dr. Prudden to take the cartilage three times per day, precisely as prescribed. M.C. initially took the warning to heart, recovered once again, and enjoyed many a tennis match. She then became overly confident, decided the pills were costing too much money, cut back and began skipping appointments. When her cancer recurred- just as Dr. Prudden had warned- M.C. concluded the “stuff is no good,” went to another doctor and died.

*  *  *

Basal Cell Carcinomas 

C.R.,  82, was told she had but a few months to live because of a rapidly advancing cancer of basal cell carcinoma in the lumbar area of her back. Limited surgical removal did not prove helpful, she rejected major surgery, and 6,000 rads of radiation had also not stopped the cancer’s spread. After C.R. began taking cartilage orally and applying it topically, she saw steady improvement over a five-year period. Even so, the treatment could only be counted a “partial response” because some cancer was still present when she died at the age of 87 of viral pneumonia.

*  *  *

For more than five years F.V., 59, had neglected a huge basal cell cancer on his right side that had invaded his ribs and abdomen and caused collapse of his front chest wall.  Caught early, “such cancers are usually just a twiddle to take out in the doctor’s office,” said Dr. Prudden, “but when neglected they can be eat a hole in you.”

A big hole, in the case of F.V., who had lived as a recluse because of a disease known as athetosis, a neuromuscular condition marked by continuous, involuntary, writhing movements. Because of the athetosis, the extent of the lesion, and because, at 85 pounds, he was severely underweight, surgery was out of the question. Radiation was tried instead, and cartilage therapy was begun a few months later.

F.V.’s condition improved gradually, and six years later he was cancer free, though his chest remained unsightly. Because his family was weary of caring for him, they consulted Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which recommended the removal and replacement of his entire right chest and abdominal walls. “He was admitted for this over his protest and mine,” said Dr. Prudden. “His family had pushed him and pushed him. He finally agreed but was so frightened by this prospect that he died of a gastric ulcer hemorrhage the night before the operation.”

*  *  *

Mediastinal Cancer with Hodgkin’s Disease

F.P.  was only 21 when he came to Dr. Prudden with a huge cancerous mass that occupied half of his chest.  He also had a node above his right clavicle and Hodgkin’s disease. “I was very worried about him,” said Dr. Prudden. “With such a huge tumor squeezing his windpipe, an upper respiratory infection could have caused him to pass on to his reward.”

Though Dr. Prudden advised radiation and chemotherapy to decrease the size of the mass, F.P. agreed only to the cartilage therapy, which stabilized the mass and returned the nodes in his liver, spleen and abdomen to normal.

Though it remained stable for two years- an unusual occurrence in itself- F.P. grew frustrated because the mass neither decreased nor disappeared. One night while suffering from a bad cold, he nearly choked. Remembering Dr. Prudden’s previous recommendation of chemotherapy and radiation, he agreed and saw a decrease of the mass to a mere five percent of its former bulk. “The oncologist involved said he had never seen such a rapid disappearance of such a huge mass. He was convinced of synergy with the cartilage, “ said Dr. Prudden. Seven years later F.P.  was still in good health.

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