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The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 15, 4th Quarter 2000

ABSTRACT

Vitamin C and Cancer - A Workshop

A. HOFFER, M.D., Ph.D., FRCP(C)


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New ideas that eventually become part of medical practice do not spring forth fully-formed from someone’s mind. They usually begin with simple observations by one per-son and later by several, until someone crystallizes these ideas and observations into a coherent hypothesis.

This is the case with vitamin C and cancer. The first observations were made by many clinicians who were using vitamin C to treat a number of conditions that were not part of scurvy. During the golden age of vitamin discovery, between 1930 and 1940, physicians used these vitamins as soon as they became available, encouraged by the companies which synthesized them. Several clinicians observed or thought they had observed that their patients with cancer lived longer when they were given vitamin C in quantities substantially larger than those needed to prevent scurvy. These observations were summarized by Irwin Stone in his book, “The Healing Factor -Vitamin C Against Disease”. I am very proud of this book because Dr. Stone pub-lished it after I had been urging him for two years to summarize his vast collection of vitamin C papers so that the medical world would know something about these early clinical studies. But his book was not taken seriously by the medical establishment, which adhered to the vitamin-as-preven-tion paradigm. This was the paradigm which looked upon vitamins as having value only in the prevention of the classical vitamin deficiency diseases such as scurvy or pellagra. In this paradigm using large doses and/or using them for treating conditions not accepted as vitamin deficiency conditions was contraindicated. One of my medical colleagues lost his medical license because he gave large doses of vitamin C intravenously.


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