Paul Kraus is considered the longest document mesothelioma survivor in the world. He was originally told that he had less than a year to live, but today he has survived almost 20 years. What is mesothelioma and how did this one man beat this deadly cancer?
Mesothelioma is called the asbestos cancer because it is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, but sadly, nearly all the diseases caused by asbestos could have been avoided.
Asbestos was used widely in industry since the early 1900’s. By the 1930s, asbestos companies knew they had a problem. Many of their asbestos workers were getting sick and dying from disease. Internal studies were commissioned and it was concluded that asbestos was toxic to humans. Instead of phasing out this deadly mineral, most companies continued to use it and took steps to keep its dangers from becoming widely publicized.
As a result, millions of people around the world were unnecessarily exposed to asbestos. Today, most industrialized countries have a complete ban on the mineral with one notable exception – the United States. However, even where it is banned, asbestos can still be dangerous.
Many older automobiles may still have asbestos in clutches, transmissions and brakes. In addition, asbestos was used widely as a building material in roof shingles, linoleum floors, joint compounds in the walls, cement, and of course in insulation. Therefore, many older homes and buildings still contain asbestos. Even oven mitts, hair dryers and many other household items once contained asbestos.
Exposure to asbestos can lead to asbestosis (an often fatal lung-scarring disease), lung cancer, and mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium).
Mesothelioma is particularly deadly. The most prevalent type – pleural mesothelioma (mesothelioma of the lungs) has a median survival of about 12 months even when treated.
This makes Paul Kraus’ survival all the more remarkable. Diagnosed in July of 1997, Kraus will be a 20 year survivor this summer. What makes his story so fascinating is that he accomplished this feat using no standard medical treatments or interventions.
Mesothelioma is typically treated with chemotherapy and surgery. There is one standard chemo protocol used throughout the U.S, U.K. and most of the world.
This “one size fits all” approach is considered palliative, not curative. Palliative treatments seek to reduce symptoms and extend life, if possible.
When Kraus was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma (mesothelioma of the abdomen), he was told that surgery was not an option because his tumors were too widespread. He was offered chemo, but rejected it. He believed it made little sense to poison his body in a vain attempt to make it healthier especially when the doctors admitted that chemo would not cure him of the cancer.
Instead, Kraus embarked on a health odyssey by talking to specialists throughout the world and focusing on physicians who were experienced with holistic approaches to cancer.
He decided to use alternative modalities, such as high dose vitamin therapy, dietary changes, mind-body medicine, and herbs. His treatment course was rigorous as he avoided all processed foods, sugars, and animal fats. During the first few years, his doctors often changed his protocol.
Over the years, my nutritional supplements have been monitored by my medical herbalist, doctor, or another health professional who I visit from time to time. My body lets me know when things are not quite right…My survival has been hard work. The underlying assumption with all that I have done, and continue to do, is a strong belief that our bodies are designed with amazing self-healing capacities.
Today, nearly 20 years later, Kraus has beaten his prognosis by almost two decades. As the world’s longest documented mesothelioma survivor, his advice to newly diagnosed patients is simple. First, he reminds patients not to buy-in to a dire prognosis.
Your diagnosis is not your destiny.
Next, he reminds patients that healing is a voyage of self-discovery. Therefore, each patient should be allowed to find their own healing path.
Resilience, adaptability, and confidence are strong traits of survivor personalities.
To further articulate his survival lessons, Kraus has written the book, Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers: A Patient’s Guide. The book details his cancer voyage, decisions, and philosophies about health and healing.
This book quickly became the best-selling mesothelioma book in the world. It has inspired countless patients.
In addition, it has received many testimonials over the years, including this one from Dr. Bernie Siegel, an American writer and retired pediatric surgeon.
Dr. Bernie Siegel said:
Paul Kraus’ book has all the information a cancer patient needs to have in order to learn what survival behavior is about.
This testimonial came as no surprise. Kraus has been a survivor since birth. As a newborn, he was the only child to be born in a Nazi forced labor camp and survived.