Did The Breuss Total Cancer Treatment Cure 45000 Patients?

Claim

Breuss Total Cancer Treatment cured 45000 cancer patients.

Verdict

False

There is no independent scientific evidence to back up this claim and there are concerns about the safety of the diet.

Origin

Interest in the Breuss diet began with the publication of The Breuss Cancer Cure book in 1995 (1, 2).  The Breuss cancer cure is a restrictive liquid diet of organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and specific teas taken for 42 consecutive days. Austrian-born Rudolf Breuss believed that cancers cannot survive on a liquid protein free diet.

No concurrent treatments are allowed during the 42 day diet. Additionally patients are encouraged to exercise, get fresh air and avoid ground radiation and insecticides.

Breuss claimed that 45,000 patients with cancer and other incurable diseases had been healed by the use of his methods. The only evidence for this lies in testimonials and letters of thanks written to Breuss between 1971 and 1985 (1,2).

There are two references to the Breuss diet in the medical literature. The first is a German language abstract which is not available online (3). The second is a review from a multi-disciplinary research team in Germany (4). The German researchers did a meta-analysis of cancer diets including the Breuss diet.

They did a systematic review of the clinical literature and concluded that there was no clinical data to support the Breuss diet. Furthermore, they expressed concerns about the possibility that a restrictive diet could result in malnutrition and weight loss. They were further concerned about the fact that patients on the Breuss diet were advised to avoid conventional medical therapy while doing the so-called ‘Breuss cure’.

Earlier this year, CAM-Cancer.org reviewed the Breuss diet and referenced a small clinical study (5).  The study is not available on Pubmed. According to CAM-cancer the study looked at eight cancer patients with metastatic diseases (6). The study did not use a control group for comparison.

The authors reported two complete, and two partial remissions from cancer. One patient died during the study and two died shortly after completion of the Breuss. There is no information available on the eighth study participant.The authors did not attribute the deaths to the intervention.

A study by Dean Ornish and his colleagues evaluated a set of lifestyle interventions including a vegan diet in 93 patients with prostate cancer (6). Other health promoting activities recommended included moderate aerobic exercise and stress management techniques.

The vegan diet was not as restrictive as the Breuss protocol diet. Participants in the intervention arm  had a significant decline in the prostate specific antigen (a marker for prostate disease) as compared to the control group. The intervention group also did not need surgical intervention for up to two years after the control group. It is difficult to draw any firm conclusions about the specific benefits of a vegan diet because it is not possible to isolate out the effects of the vegan diets from the other health promoting interventions.

Despite the fact that there is no scientific proof that the Bruess diet works,  there is a commercial Bruess diet formulation available online, numerous spas offer Breuss cancer cure retreats and the Breuss Cancer Cure book has sold close to one million copies worldwide.

References

  1. Breuss R. Krebs – Leukämie und andere scheinbar unheilbare Krankheiten mit natürlichen Mitteln heilbar. Mebus; 1990.
  2. Breuss R. The Breuss Cancer Cure. Alive books Canada; 1995
  3. TheBreuss’ method for totalcancer cure. No authors listed Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax. 1987 Oct 13;76(42):1165-6. German. No abstract available.
  4. How useful are diets against cancer?. Hübner J, Marienfeld S, Abbenhardt C, Ulrich CM, Löser C. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2012 Nov;137(47):2417-22. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1327276. Epub 2012 Nov 14. German
  5. Douwes FR, et al. Hat das Fasten in der Therapie von Tumorpatienten einen Sinn? Teil 2. Krebsgeschehen 1984;6:141-9.
  6. Clinical events in prostate cancer lifestyle trial: results from two years of follow-up. Frattaroli J, Weidner G, Dnistrian AM, Kemp C, Daubenmier JJ, Marlin RO, Crutchfield L, Yglecias L, Carroll PR, Ornish D. Urology. 2008 Dec;72(6):1319-23. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2008.04.050. Epub 2008 Jul 7. PMID: 18602144

 

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