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The politics of cancer: Mario Oriani-Ambrosini’s personal odyssey

In April this year, I was riding high. I was preparing Parliamentary battles over the Legal Practice Bill, the BBBEE Bill, the SEZ Bill and the ever-important Parliamentary Rules. My office was brewing with excitement. I felt that we alone represented the greater interest over petty political and group concerns. I had a magnificent life, with a wonderful son and dear friends. I desired nothing more. Perhaps to punish my hubris, I suddenly received a diagnosis of stage four cancer, and none of this mattered any longer.

Although drawn from my experience, this article is not about me. It is about the hundreds of millions of people who have died from cancer and the ten million people a year worldwide who will suffer and die from cancer in the future, possibly unnecessarily.

One person in 2.7 will have cancer in their lifetime. This epidemic is more widespread than TB or HIV-AIDS and there are no condoms to prevent it.

Cancer is science’s greatest failure. After 100 years of research, with unlimited funding and under immense social pressure, we still have no scientific understanding of the cause of cancer, and there is no cure. Science appears to be looking in the wrong direction, with the wrong paradigm.

After my diagnosis, thorascopy and pathology exams revealed a malignant mesothelioma covering my entire pleura with advanced metastases: an inoperable condition with one of the highest morbidity rates and a very short life expectancy.

Cancer patients usually go to hospitals filled with expensive diagnostic equipment and drugs, where they receive the best treatment the system can supply, consisting of surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. This system produces about 550,000 deaths a year in the United States alone, where the best medical facilities are supposed to be.

In my case, the system could provide no hope of healing or survival. I chose not to walk into that system and rather plunged myself into what became both a nightmare and my life’s greatest adventure. I did not act in arrogance, but out of sheer desperation. I set up a group of scientifically-minded friends, none of whom are physicians, and we researched available cancer treatments, whether proven or unproven. In the end, we developed our own paradigm to try to understand what cancer really is and how it operates.

We saw merit in the fungal hypothesis of Dr Tullio Simoncini, who postulated that cancer is the physiological reaction to a fungal infection. Healthy tissue would activate its inherent latent genetic capacity to turn cancerous and start reproducing at great speed, to separate the fungus from the rest of the body, waiting for the immune system to to fagocitate it.

Once the fungal infection is defeated, cancerous cells would slowly stop reproducing and die on account of their peculiar self-destructing mechanisms. This hypothesis relies on the accepted observation that neoplasms, the cancer tumors, are inevitably covered with fungi, something official science regards as an opportunistic infection, but Simoncini identifies as the cause.

This hypothesis would explain why cancer can occur in every organ of every person in every region of the world under any environmental or social conditions, in the same way as a blister occurs when tissues are exposed to high heat, when tissues have the inherent latent capacity of blistering.


Simoncini treats cancer with sodium bicarbonate applied directly to the tumours. I received this treatment for two months. It sounds simple, but in my case infusions to the pleura generated horrendous recurrent infections, which besides causing me to lose 25 kilos, led me to have several intimate discussions with the Grim Reaper.

Cancer cells are different and part of their difference is their capacity for self-destruction when the body is in ketosis. All animals have two distinct metabolic modes: feeding and starving. The latter is a repair mode in which the body produces and feeds off ketones generated from fat burning, rather than on glucose. All cells can survive on ketones, except cancer cells, which require glucose.

The other self-destruct mechanism of cancer cells is the CYP1B1 enzyme which is activated by a natural antifungal chemical present in selected plants and herbs. These are the same herbs used in cancer cures such as the Oxley method. I received Tibetan herbal pills from His Holiness the Dalai Lama which I believe act on the same principle. Plants need to use precious resources to produce such antifungal chemicals, and once plants are sprayed with pesticides they save such resources and no longer produce them, depriving our food chain of such life-saving antifungals.

There are potential cures for cancer. But in South Africa, as in the rest of the world, we have created a legislative framework which prohibits them. In medicine, every treatment is prohibited until proven effective and harmless through clinical studies costing millions of dollars.

Only treatments which can be patented, can be approved. There would be no way of recovering the 40 million US dollars it would cost to get the sodium bicarbonate treatment approved, as anyone could then freely use it. If there is no profit, treatments will not be made available to patients.

Fed up with their colleagues, there is a hidden network of good doctors throughout Europe, South America and Russia who have opted to use different treatments for cancer. But they do so in secret, for fear of being struck off the roll and threatened with criminal and civil actions, as happened to Dr Simoncini. He was struck from the roll when he applied to the Italian government for financing to prove the effectiveness of his cancer treatments, which he had been using for twenty years. His and other results are widely posted on websites, but until governments choose to finance them, they cannot be tested in clinical studies, for the pharmaceutical industries, “Big Pharma”, have no interest in financing them.

In my personal odyssey, it was a twist of destiny that Dr Simoncini was not only in my native town, but lives on the next street over from the house I grew up in, and we attended the same school. Throughout my treatment I have been surrounded by two groups of doctors, each of whom assured me that the other would kill me. Predictions and prognosis notwithstanding, I am still alive and working, my cancer has not spread, and it appears to have stopped growing.

Something has gone dramatically wrong in the fight against cancer. The US’s FDA, as the leading world regulator, has relinquished its role, limiting itself to ensuring that Big Pharma doesn’t hurt consumers too badly. It does not finance any research to verify the efficacy of simple and inexpensive forms of treatment, such as sodium bicarbonate, extreme alkalisation of the body or herbal therapy. Nobody stands to make money if the efficacy of any of this is proven.

The pharmaceutical-medical establishment has systematically discredited the cases in which cancer patients are healed, brushing them off as insignificant anomalies, even conceding to supernatural intervention or special mental powers.

But it was because science registered the anomaly of two Minnesota bicycle builders having lifted their contraption off the ground for a mere three minutes that, 110 years later, we can fly at three times the speed of sound. It was because Marconi noted the anomaly of a ship maintaining radio contact even when beyond the horizon, that 100 years later we have our information society. Science rises on the study of anomalies and that which challenges set paradigms. But unfortunately this does not seem to apply when it comes to cancer.

If science were serious about finding the cause of cancer, and a cure, it would deploy its resources to study and document all the anomalous cases in which people went into remission, healed themselves or successfully underwent unorthodox treatments. They should seek patterns in all such cases. Instead they ignore them. Centres in places like Mexico and Russia which cure the incurable are disregarded as fraudulent and filled with quacks.

In South Africa we have 225,000 licenced traditional healers, who may use the same muti to cure cancer, impotence, bad luck and unemployment. But we have stopped our doctors from prescribing effective cancer treatment or even accupuncture for pain control.

In Parliament, I have called upon our government to host a serious centre of alternative and integrated cancer therapy. No other social issue could be more pressing. I do not know whether I am going to make it or not, but I wish to plead with those who have the power to do so, to enable South Africa to become a world-renowned centre for cancer treatment.

I had no great sympathy for former Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. But to her credit it must be said that, within the fuzziness of her thinking, she realised that the system is rotten. Big Pharma will not provide treatments which require millions of dollars to be approved but can provide no return on investment. Universities are also funded by Big Pharma and are too tied up in their ‘highfalutin’ research projects to look into simple remedies which provide no academic gratification.

The US government has failed us. Perhaps the South African government can rise to the challenge by filling the gap with respect to something which kills more people every year than wars ever have. DM


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