The Hoxsey Legend



In 1840 Illinois horse farmer John Hoxsey found his prize stallion with a malignant tumor on its right hock. As a Quaker, he couldn't bear shooting the animal, so he put it out to pasture to die peacefully. Three weeks later, he noticed the tumor stabilizing, and observed the animal browsing knee-deep in a corner of the pasture with a profusion of weeds, eating plants not part of its normal diet.

Within three months the tumor dried up and began to separate from the healthy tissue. The farmer retreated to the barn, where he began to experiment with these herbs revealed to him by "horse sense." He devised three formulas: an internal tonic, an herbal-mineral red paste, and a mineral-based yellow powder for external use. Within a year the horse was well, and  the veterinarian became locally famous for treating animals with cancer.

The farmer's grandson John C. Hoxsey, a veterinarian in southern Illinois, was the first to try the remedies on people, and claimed positive results. His son Harry showed an early interest and began working with him at the age of eight. When John suffered an untimely accident, he bequeathed the formulas to the fifteen-year-old boy with a charge to treat poor people for free, and to minister to all races, creeds, and religions without prejudice.

He asked that the treatment carry the Hoxsey name. Finally, he warned the boy against the "High Priests of Medicine" who would fight him tooth-and-nail because he was taking money out of their pockets.

Hoxsey planned to go to medical school to bring the treatment to the world, but soon found he had been blackballed after secretly treating several terminal patients who pled for their lives. With a local banker backing him, he founded the first Hoxsey Cancer Clinic in 1924, championed by the chamber of commerce and high school marching bands on Main Street.

As early word of his reputed successes spread, Hoxsey was invited to nearby Chicago, headquarters of the newly powerful AMA, to demonstrate the treatment. Grisly and indisputable photographic proof of the terminal case Hoxsey treated verifies that the patient recovered, living on for twelve years, cancer-free.

Hoxsey then claimed that a high AMA official offered him a contract for the rights to the formulas. The alleged agreement assigned the property rights to a consortium of doctors including Dr. Morris Fishbein, the AMA chief and editor of the JAMA. Hoxsey himself would be required to cease any further practice, to be awarded a small percentage of profits after ten years if the treatment panned out.

Invoking his Quaker father's deathbed charge that poor people be treated for free and that the treatment carry the family name, Hoxsey said the official threatened to hound him out of business unless he acquiesced.

Whatever may have happened, that's when the battle started.

The AMA first denied the entire incident, then later acknowledged the patient's remission, though crediting it to prior treatments by surgery and radiation.

Yet one thing was certain: Hoxsey had made a very powerful enemy. By crossing swords with Fishbein, he alienated the most powerful figure in medicine. The AMA promptly dubbed him the worst cancer quack of the century, and he would be arrested more times than any other person in medical history.

Hoxsey quickly found himself opposing Fishbein's emerging medical-corporate complex.

As late as 1900, medicine was therapeutically pluralistic and financially unprofitable.

Doctors had the highest suicide rate of any profession owing to their extreme poverty and low social standing.

Fishbein's AMA would engineer an industrialized medical monoculture.

What radically tipped the balance of power was an arranged marriage between big business and organized medicine.

Under Fishbein's direction, the AMA sailed into a golden harbor of prosperity fueled by surgery, radiation, drugs, and a sprawling high-tech hospital system.

The corporatization of medicine throttled diversity. The code word for competition was quackery.

It was easy for the medical profession to paint Hoxsey as a quack: he fit the image perfectly.

Brandishing his famed tonic bottle, the ex-coal miner arrived straight from central casting as the stereotype of the snake-oil salesman.

When the AMA coerced the pathologist who performed Hoxsey's biopsies to cease and desist, Hoxsey could no longer verify the validity of his reputed successes.

Organized medicine quickly adopted the stance that his alleged "cures" fell into three categories: those who never had cancer in the first place; those who were cured by prior radiation and surgery; and those who died.

In exasperation, Hoxsey attempted an end run by approaching the National Cancer Institute.

In close collaboration with the AMA, the federal agency refused his application for a test because his medical records did not include all the biopsies.

Meanwhile Hoxsey struck oil in Texas and used his riches to promote his burgeoning clinic and finance his court battles.

Piqued at Hoxsey's rise, Fishbein struck back in the public media, penning an inflammatory article in the Hearst Sunday papers entitled "Blood Money," in a classic example of purple prose and yellow journalism.

Outraged, Hoxsey sued Fishbein.

In two consecutive trials, Hoxsey beat Fishbein, standing as the first person labeled a "quack" to defeat the AMA in court.

During the trials, Hoxsey's lawyers revealed that Fishbein had failed anatomy in medical school, never completed his internship, and never practiced a day of medicine in his entire career.

By now Fishbein was mired in multiple scandals, including his effective but unpopular obstruction of national health insurance at a time when doctors had become the richest professionals in the country and the Journal the most profitable publication in the world.

Drug ads powered JAMA, but its biggest single advertiser in the 1940s was Phillip Morris.

(Camel cigarettes had the largest booth at the AMA's 1948 convention, boasting in its ads that "More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.")

Enmeshed in controversy, Fishbein's stock was trading low, and, shortly after his first loss to Hoxsey, the AMA chief was deposed in a humiliating spectacle.

But ironically Hoxsey's stunning dark-horse victory against the "most terrifying trade organization on Earth" only ended up bringing the house down.

He immediately faced a decade-long "quackdown" by the FDA.

By the 1950s, Hoxsey was riding what was arguably the largest alternative-medicine movement in American history.

A survey by the Chicago Medical Society showed 85 percent of people still using "drugless healers."

Hoxsey's Dallas stronghold grew to be the world's largest privately owned cancer center with 12,000 patients and branches spreading to seventeen states.

Congressmen, judges, and even some doctors ardently supported his quest for an investigation.

Two federal courts upheld the therapeutic value of the treatment.

Even his archenemies, the American Medical Association and the Food and Drug Administration, admitted that the therapy does cure certain forms of cancer.

JAMA itself had published the research of a respected physician who got results superior to surgery using a red paste identical to Hoxsey's for skin cancers including lethal melanoma, a skin cancer that also spreads internally.

Medical authorities escalated their quackdown in the McCarthyite wake of the 1950s.

On the heels of a California law criminalizing all cancer treatments except surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the federal government finally outlawed Hoxsey entirely in the United States in 1960 on questionable technicalities.

Chief nurse Mildred Nelson took the clinic to Tijuana in 1963, abandoning any hope of operating in the United States.

It was the first alternative clinic to set up shop south of the border.

Mildred quietly treated another 30,000 patients there until her death in  1999.

Like Hoxsey, she claimed a high success rate, but her contention is unverifiable since the treatment has yet to be rigorously tested.

Hoxsey never claimed a panacea or cure-all.

He maintained that the Dallas doctors used his clinic as a "dumping ground" for hopeless cases, and that the great majority of patients he got were terminal, having already had the limit of surgery and radiation.

He said he cured about 25 percent of those. Of virgin cases with no prior treatment, he claimed an 80 percent success rate.

Seventy-five years after Hoxsey began, why do we still not know the validity of his claims?

More on Hoxsey

The Hoxsey Remedies

Harry Hoxsey, born 1901, was an ex-coalminer with an 8th grade education. From the 1920s to the 1950s Harry Hoxsey and his natural remedies would wage the fiercest battle with conventional medicine this country has ever seen. The remedies were handed down by Harry's great grandfather, John Hoxsey. John, a veterinarian, had observed a horse he owned heal itself of cancer by eating certain herbs in his pasture. John used the herbs to heal other animals of cancer.

Over the years other natural products were added and the remedy was tried on humans. The Hoxsey treatment comprised of two components. A herbal tonic which cleansed the body and boosted the immune system and an external paste for tumors outside the body. Harry opened his first clinic in Dallas in 1924. By 1950 he was the largest privately owned cancer clinic in America, represented in seventeen States. Although thousands of cancer patients swore that Hoxsey had cured them of cancer, Harry was branded a "quack" and charlatan by the medical community.

Dallas District Attorney, Al Templeton, detested Hoxsey and arrested him an unprecedented one hundred times in two years. Hoxsey would bail himself out within a day or two because Templeton could never persuade any of Harry's patients to testify against him. Templeton vowed to put Hoxsey away for good, until his own brother secretly used the Hoxsey therapy. His cancer disappeared and Templeton gave Hoxsey the credit. In a startling about face, Al Templeton became Hoxsey's lawyer and one of his greatest advocates. In 1939, Esquire magazine writer James Wakefield Burke was asked to write a piece on Hoxsey and expose him as a quack. James recalls; "I came to Texas, I expected to stay about a day, get my information, and leave. I became fascinated. I stayed for six weeks, every day Harry would pick me up, bring me to the clinic. "...He would put his arm around these old men and woman, say, "Dad, them doctors been cutting you up, I ain't gonna let them sons-o-bitches kill you...He'd treat them and they'd get better and begin to get well."

James wrote an article entitled, "The Quack That Cured Cancer," but Esquire did not publish it. The late Mildred Nelson treated people with the Hoxsey method for some fifty years, but initially she also thought Hoxsey was a fraud. Mildred's mother, Della, had contracted uterine cancer and orthodox medicine had given up on her. Mildred's mother and father wanted to try the Hoxsey treatment. Mildred recalls trying to talk them out of it; "...I thought well, I'll talk mum out of it you know...they didn't budge. So I thought, well, I'll go down there and see what's going on, then I can get them out of it." "I called Harry and asked him if he still needed a nurse, "I sure do, be here in the morning." ...By the end of a year I began to realize, gee this does help, mum had gotten better and to this day is alive and sassy as can be."

Mildred Nelson and James Burke had done something the National Cancer Institute has never done; investigate Hoxsey and his treatments first hand. They found him to be a caring and effective healer who was not profiting from cancer patients. Harry had swore on his fathers death bed that everyone would have access to the remedy, regardless of their ability to pay. As Harry said; "I don't have to do this kind of work, I've got more oil wells than a lot of men call themselves big producers...Any man that would traffic on sick, dying, limp the lame or the blind caused from cancer is the worst scoundrel on earth."

Still, the Hoxsey treatment does not work for everybody. Ironically, Hoxsey himself contracted prostate cancer, but had to resort to surgery when his remedies did not work for him. It was not long before the infamous Morris Fishbein of the AMA heard about the Hoxsey treatment and wanted to buy sole rights to it, with some other AMA doctors. Hoxsey would only agree if it stated in the contract that everyone would have access to the treatments, not just a wealthy few. Fishbein refused and so began a 25-year battle, fought in the media, between Fishbein and Hoxsey.

The mudslinging culminated in a lawsuit brought by Hoxsey against Fishbein. Much to everyone's amazement, Hoxsey won the case. Even so, in the late 1950's the FDA closed down all of Hoxsey's clinics. Mildred Nelson took the treatment to Tijuana Mexico in 1963. Mildred treated thousands of patients with cancer until her death (her sister has taken over) in 1999. By all accounts, Mildred was one of the finest, most compassionate caregivers you are ever likely to find. While thousands state that Mildred cured them of cancer and with medical records to prove it, the National Cancer Institute turns a blind eye.
Healing Cancer with Hoxsey: Testimonials

Amygdalin/Laetrile [also known as Vitamin B17/Nitrilosides]

In 1952 Dr. Ernst Krebs from San Francisco advanced the theory that cancer is a deficiency disease, similar to scurvy or pellagra. His theory was that the cause of the disease was the lack of an essential food compound in modern-man's diet. He identified it as part of the nitriloside family which is found in over 1200 edible plants. Nitriloside, generally referred to as amygdalin, is especially prevalent in the seeds of apricot, blackthorn cherry, nectarine, peach, apples and others.

The best way for Krebs to prove his theory would be to have thousands of people eat a diet very high in amygdalin and monitor them. An enormously costly exercise to say the least. Fortunately for Krebs, the experiment had already been carried out. Nestled between W. Pakistan, India and China is the tiny kingdom of Hunza. The people of Hunza consume 200 times more amygdalin in their diet than the average American. Visiting medical teams found them cancer free. In 1973 Prince Mohammed Khan, son of the Mir of Hunza told Charles Hillinger of the LA Times the average age of his people is about 85. More importantly, they live vigorous and mentally alert lives up until a few days before they die.

Only in recent years have the first few Hunza cancer cases been reported. That is due to a narrow road being carved in the mountain and food from the "civilized" world is reaching Hunza. In the 1970s the FDA mounted a widespread and erroneous media campaign alleging that amygdalin is toxic and dangerous because it contains cyanide. Yes, it does, in minute quantities. If you eat the seeds from a hundred apples in a day you risk serious side effects, possibly death. If you eat enormous amounts of anything you run serious health risks. Aspirin is twenty times more toxic than the same amount of amygdalin.

Orthodox medicine says that Laetrile (a purified form of amygdalin developed by Dr. Krebs) was thoroughly tested and found to be worthless. The longest and most famous Laetrile tests ever performed were run for nearly five years at America¡¯s most prestigious cancer research center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. At the conclusion of the trials, on June 15, 1977, they released a press statement. The press release read; "...Laetrile was found to possess neither preventative, nor tumor-regressent, nor anti-metastatic, nor curative anticancer activity."

So that is it then, right? It does not get more adamant than that, we can close the book on Laetrile. Unfortunately for the officials at Sloan-Kettering there was an unforeseen problem. When a journalist asked Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura; "Do you stick by your belief that Laetrile stops the spread of cancer"? He replied, "I stick." Those two words were a major embarrassment to the accumulated demigods on the dais. The reason being is that Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura was the preeminent cancer researcher in America, probably the world, at this time. Nobody had ever questioned Sugiura's data in over sixty years of cancer research before. Sugiura was asked why Sloan-Kettering was against Laetrile.

"Why are they so much against it"? Sugiura answered "I don't know. Maybe the medical profession doesn't like it because they are making too much money." Sugiura had to be proven wrong. But other researchers had obtained essentially the same positive results. Dr. Lloyd Schloen a biochemist at Sloan-Kettering had included proteolytic enzymes to his injections and reported 100% cure rate among his albino mice. This data had to be buried. They then changed the protocols of the tests and amounts of Laetrile to make certain that they failed. Not surprisingly, they failed, and that is what they reported. Sloan-Kettering's motives were clearly revealed in the minutes of a meeting that top officials held on July 2, 1974. The discussions were private and candid. The fact that numerous Sloan-Kettering officials were convinced of the effectiveness of amygdalin is obvious, they just were not sure as to the degree of its effectiveness. But they were not interested in further testing of this natural product. The minutes read; "...Sloan-Kettering is not enthusiastic about studying amygdalin [Laetrile] but would like to study CN (cyanide)-releasing drugs."

Sloan-Kettering wanted a man-made patentable chemical to mimic the qualities found in amygdalin, because that is where the money is. If a very effective cancer treatment or cure was found in the lowly apricot seed, it would spell economic disaster for the cancer industry.

Compare the book World Without Cancer, article (details) on Laetrile, Ernst Krebs lecturing on Vitamin B17, The Ultimate Cancer Conspiracy: Vitamin B17/Laetrile and B17 quotes.