Physician suspended over cancer treatment defends his practice

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drBOTHELL — A Bothell naturopathic physician suspended over an experimental cancer treatment spoke out for the first time Friday, defending his practice and alternative medicine.

The state suspended Dr. John Catanzaro indefinitely. It was not his patients who complained, the doctor says, but another health institution not familiar with his naturopathic medicine.

Outside his Health & Wellness Institute of Integrative Medicine and Cancer Treatment, a sign reads, “There’s a new hope for cancer treatment.”

Catanzaro says his alternative medicine was saving lives.

“These are no-hope-scenario patients; this is not quack medicine,” said Catanzaro.

But the state suspended him in January, accusing him of misleading his patients about an unapproved cancer vaccine.

“All of my patients knew it was experimental,” Catanzaro said.

He made each shot he gave a patient included the patient’s own DNA. Although experimental, he says, the personalized treatment significantly boosted his patient’s immune system.

“The success rate of the therapy is greater than 35% in moving them into a cancer-free space,” Catanzaro said.

Linda Trout says her husband, Dennis, was given six months to live after a stage-four bone cancer diagnosis. Instead of chemotherapy, they turned to Catanzaro.

“It strengthened his whole being to be productive for the days that he had. Dennis never missed a day of work,” Trout said of her late husband.

Trout credits Catanzaro’s treatment for prolonging her husband’s life for three more years.

“He never once misled us; he was upfront about everything,” Trout said.

Trout says Catanzaro made no guarantees and called the injection serum experimental.

“I am not saying I am not in favor of chemotherapy. What I am saying is let us integrate the landscape. Let’s try to tailor the therapy so that the person has the best chance to recover,” Catanzaro said.

The doctor has already appealed his suspension and has a hearing set for August.

In the meantime, he says, he will continue to try to change the perception of alternative medicine through education.

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  • Alice

    Hmm, let's see… his patients don't have any complaints and he’s extended the life of at least one that was just given 6 month to 3 years. Oh, I know why the big guns came after him. He’s cutting into the profit margin of the cancer profiteers. Can’t have that, word could get out and they might lose more money.

    Are we truly so enslaved in this country that people do not have the freedom of choice?

    • chapmancentral

      How do you know he extended the life of a patient? Cancer prognoses are always an estimate, within a range, and usually pessimistic. Quacks have always claimed that anyone who lives beyond the last day of the original prognosis has had their life extended by their miracle treatment, but it usually turns out that the patient (a) still has cancer and /or (b) also had conventional treatment.

      Conducting uncontrolled "experiments" on patients with life-threatening disease is about as unethical as you can get.

  • Donna S.

    I am all for naturopathic doctors and medicine. The big corps are scared that his natural, non harmful methods are working on patients and they will be losing $$$$ to him SMH! If his patients have no complaints then they have no right to suspend his practice. Absolutely ridiculous!

  • Slam1263

    After a diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer, you may live longer if you refuse to treat it.

    Having had a family member choose not to have chemo the second time around, I can only state my opinion.

  • Mr Holms

    Here is a FACT! The The pharmaceutical industry can produce anything they want to, and are killing more people then drunk drivers. Causing all types of side affects and even killing children and no one even seems to care. When a doctor comes up with an alternative to cancer treatment suddenly he's a criminal. What is wrong with that picture? State troopers get killed and someone has to go to jail. Civilians, Men Women AND Children get killed by the pharmaceutical industry and the food approved by the FDA and that is not a crime? Why Not? No one goes to jail. What is wrong with that picture? The USA government needs an anema!!!!!!!

    • chapmancentral

      That's a fact in the sense that it's false and entirely the product of conspiracist thinking. No, pharmaceutical companies absolutely cannot produce or sell anything they want. The naturopaths and supplement peddlers can do that, though, thanks to the DSHEA. Which was promoted by people with a vested interest int he supplement interest. Imagine that.

  • susanG

    The pharmaceutical companies are probably the most regulated industry on the planet. Pharmaceutical companies can not produce anything they want to. All drugs must be extensively tested for safety and efficacy. Even with all of the testing of drugs before they are approved, sometimes side effects don't become apparent until millions of people have taken the drug.

    Your comparison of criminal acts like drunk driving and killing a State Trooper to pharmaceutical drugs that might produce an unwanted side effect is not a criminal act. Any time you put a chemical into the body there is the chance that it might produce an unwanted effect. Most of the time the medication produces the intended effect. If there are side effects from the drug, they are usually mild and it's known from testing the drug that they could occur. If a drug causes real harm or death and it's determined that the pharmaceutical company is to blame and even sometimes when they aren't at fault, they can be sued and stiff penalties imposed in the billions.

    In the case of people who are not doctors, like naturopaths who promote treatments for treating cancer that haven't been scientifically tested to determine if they are safe and have any efficacy this is unacceptable.

    Letting any joe blow hand out "cancer treatment" is a dangerous road to go down. Some naturopaths have had very little training, and some even buy their credentials off the Internet. If you think that letting them and others like them promote their brand of treatment/snake oil without any oversight and testing is a safe way to go, then perhaps you should go back and read about the days when the traveling charlatans sold their potions from their wagon while going from town to town. Before the FDA, they didn't even have to reveal what was really in the medicine they sold.

    "The USA government needs an anema!!!"

    What's an anema? Do you mean an enema?

    • Kris

      The FDA, DOH, scientists, and pharmaceutical companies all recognize Naturopaths as Doctors and since all of those groups create "the most regulated industry on the planet" I don't think your argument that they "are not doctors" is valid…

      At some point all treatments were unproven. That doesn't mean that they aren't effective or harmful. Imagine the first treatment for the common cold using a mixture of vitamins (which aren't FDA approved…) Was that person stripped of his license for suggesting a vitamin was good for the body even though the FDA was not involved? I don't think so… Yet we take vitamins and minerals everyday to help cure and prevent diseases even though the FDA tells us it won't work. Even MD's recommend vitamins and minerals to help treat health issues.

      Im so tired of people relating ND's to snake oil salesmen. It just seems like an uneducated and childish response to something they just don't understand. I relate it to the kids in school that become bullies and lash out because they aren't at the same mental level as their peers. If all ND's were truly charlatans then I would think the state would ban them but in fact it seems the opposite is happening. They are becoming more popular and more recognized as equals in the medical industry.

      If you were dying and the MD's had given up on you because their prescriptions are solving the problem. Would you listen to a Naturopath that was trying to help and give hope? Or would you continue to die as a hopeless stubborn lady?

      The choice would be yours.

      • susanG

        If you think a naturopath is the SAME as a medical doctor you are very mistaken. Your claim that they are recognized by the FDA, DOH, pharmaceutical companies as being doctors isn't true either. In several states they aren't even licensed and recognized as anything.

        The other problem is the vast discrepancy in training they receive. Many take a 1 year course on the Internet and then call themselves naturopaths. There are also the few that actually complete a 3-4 year program and take a state licensing exam. Then they can call themselves a licensed naturopath. But like I said there are many states where they aren't recognized at all. The one's that are licensed have a very limited scope of practice. They do not function as licensed medical doctors do.

        If I was dying and the oncologists were saying they had nothing else to offer, I would probably look for a clinical trial to take part in. An experimental treatment that at the least even if it didn't help me would give the researchers valuable information and help others down the road.

        I never said ALL naturopaths were charlatans. What I DID say and you can go back and read it, is naturopaths that are promoting unproven and disproven cancer treatments that had NOT been scientifically studied i.e. gone through the stages of testing, are doing something that isn't acceptable and could even be dangerous for the person.

        Of course at one point all treatments haven't been proven to work. But they are subjected to the stages of testing to learn the way they work, what is the needed and safe dose, what are the side effects, etc.etc. BEFORE they are approved for the masses.

        You seem to think it's okay to skip these steps and just go right to handing out a treatment to people who have serious medical conditions such as cancer. Which is exactly what the naturopath in this story is doing.

        I have no problem with the idea that the person with cancer wants to fight to the very end. The problems start when the person with a deadly disease turns their back on the treatment that has been proven over and over to help, and instead they put their faith in some unproven treatment like the one in this story. You are right it's their choice, But people should also know what their chances are for choosing something that hasn't been studied.

  • chapmancentral

    It's just as well that he can't actually boost the immune system: he has no clue whether the "boost" he purports to cause would result in autoimmune disorders or not.

    This is not an "experimental" treatment. Experimental treatments are administered in scientifically controlled conditions with careful objective measurements to find out if they are working, or if people are just lucky in the cancer crapshoot, scoring the upper end of the prognosis rather than the lower.

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