One Patient's Recovery from Lymphoma
Hoffer, MD, PhD
Mr. M. A.
(predicted survival 3 months)
January 1982 - M.A. complained that his memory had been fluctuating
for the past two years. He had come to Canada as a refugee five
years earlier having spent two years in labor camp in Chile. There
he was subjected to great stress, torture and poor diet which was
very low in protein and in vitamin-rich foods. While in his native
country he had achieved a high rank, both as an engineer and in the
government. After arriving in Canada he worked as a laborer for five
years. He came to Victoria because he could not stand the cold of
Canada's prairies. He was also very worried about the state of his
marriage. He and his wife appeared to be incompatible and were in
the midst of a separation settlement. He complained he had been
depressed for two years with a lot of anxiety, sleeplessness and
fatigue. I started him on niacin 3 grams daily and ascorbic acid 3
grams daily. Because of his prison experience I concluded he had
developed a vitamin B-3 deficiency.
He prepared the following personal history: "I was very healthy
and strong as a child. The only illness I had was nosebleeds. One
doctor recommended vitamin K and this solved the problem. My life in
Canada has been very different from that in my country, clinically
as well as professionally. From being a political advisor and public
service employee of the government, to being a sewage system worker
in Canada. In 1973 military rule was established. I was apprehended,
tortured, put in jail and condemned to 8 years in prison. I spent
two years, and then with the help of the Red Cross, the Catholic
Church and Amnesty International I came to this country.
"Without friends and with no knowledge of the language, life was
very difficult. I needed to work with heavy equipment such as
concrete drills and jackhammers. These machines are made for tall
men, but as I am short, I had to hold the tools against my stomach.
As a result I got the vibration of the machine in my stomach. Later
on, the first cancer was discovered in the same place. For five
years I suffered from terrible pain in my stomach and was
hospitalized, but the doctors were of the opinion that it was the
change of lifestyle, family problems and the change of food from
fish and fresh vegetables to a diet of a lot of meat and canned
"When I visited my father I went with incredible pain. The
medicines helped for awhile but the pain always came back. A doctor
friend who had been in prison with me asked me if I was ill. He
examined me and said,'You have a malignant tumor.' When I came back
to Victoria I was examined and was found to have a small cell
diffuse lymphocytic lymphoma."
After two months he was still very depressed, cried a lot but
was better. He had more energy and was sleeping better. He was
surprised that he no longer needed his glasses which he had worn for
7 years. He told me he had increased his intake of milk over the
previous month. To test him for milk allergy I had him eliminate all
dairy products. He was allergic to dairy. I also added amitriptyline
25 mg and perphenazine 2 mg at bedtime. April 7th he reported he had
been able to feel good for up to one week. By the end ofthe year he
had gone through the stress of a divorce action, a few infections,
and having started English classes, and he was generally very much
better. He was still troubled by recurrent nightmares. At the end of
the year he had a lesion removed from his back. There was a lot
ofbleeding and he required further surgery to repair the damage.
Possible Relation Between Sex and Response to Treatment Alive
Number 2 years 4 years 5 years
Male 13 10 8 6*
Female 6 1 0 0
*Two have not yet reached the five year level.
Early in the year he visited his elderly father. He came back
suffering from severe pain inhis back. He had not taken any of the
vitamins on leaving Canada. In July he went back on the program. He
was depressed because he could not find work and still had abdominal
pain. In June a biopsy revealed a large mass, a lymphoma. After the
biopsy he was started on chemotherapy. I increased his ascorbic acid
to 12 grams daily plus selenium 400 meg, vitamin E 400 iu and
magnesium oxide 840 mg daily. For awhile he took 2000 micrograms of
The surgeon reported that he had a large mass in the upper central
abdomen which appeared to arise from the mesentery of the small
bowel, just at the lower margin of the pancreas and completely
encircling the superior mesenteric artery. It was diagnosed as a
small cell lymphocytic malignant lymphoma. The oncologist thought
his cancer was controllable, but not curable. In July it was
concluded that only palliative treatment would be offered as there
was small chance of cure. He was started on chemotherapy using
adriamycin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine and prednisone.
During August the intra-abdominal mass was no longer palpable. The
oncologist recorded in his notes, "Unfortunately he started large
doses of vitamin C and B vitamins prior to therapy and he is
convinced that these are responsible for his good response rather
than the chemotherapy... He would like me to sign for these so that
he can get them paid for and I have refused to do so. I could not in
all intellectual honesty do this when there has never been a study
showing them to be any benefit."'
In October the oncologist recorded, ...referred back pain strikingly
improved following institution of CHOP regimen. His appetite
improved and he gained weight. He felt well except for apathy and
mild muscular weakness.
By December he had completed his sixth and last chemotherapy
session. He felt well but the CT scan showed some residual disease
from the previous large mass. M.A. told me that he was very ill
after each chemotherapy session. He added that the doctors at the
cancer clinic could not understand why he was still alive after such
a serious cancer and why his hair came back so quickly. They told
him that the vitamins had nothing to do with it. Psychologically he
was concerned about his wife and son who were moving to Victoria and
wanted me to see them both.
By February 1984 he had received 15 sessions ofradiation. March
26th he had developed a diffuse mass in the left posterior chest
wall related to the ribs. I increased his ascorbic acid to 24 g
daily. He was given 15 more radiation sessions to the left posterior
chest wall. The mass was not attached to the ribs. The clinic
reviewed the situation May 28. The oncologist wrote, "Unfortunately
he had been documented to have a recurrence ofdisease in the form
ofparaspinal mass of the lower left thoracic spine causing root
irritation and reticular pain radiating from the ribs to the left
upper quadrant. This mass appears entirely separate from the
previously existing abdominal mass which responded very well to CHOP
therapy and subsequently to radiotherapy for residual disease. The
pain is coming under control quite nicely after four radiotherapy
treatments to the paraspinal mass. The patient appears to have a
clear awareness ofthe disease and its eventual prognosis."
He was started on more chemotherapy using chlorambucil and
prednisone. May 29 he had a left-sided effusion which was aspirated
and was consistent with lymphoma infiltrate. In June the clinic
reported he had progressive symptoms including more pain, swelling
under the right mandible and a scalp nodule. He was given additional
chemotherapy with CHOP and the masses resolved. He continued to
receive chemotherapy In August his oncologist recorded, "I can
definitely state that this man has persistent incurable malignant
disease - is receiving continuous chemotherapy and to all intents
and purposes should have medical disability and be considered unfit
By the end of this year he was well. He continued to see me
regularly. He remained on his vitamin and mineral program. His mood
was good but he was having difficulty with his wife.
January 23rd a CT scan showed a large right pelvic mass
measuring 10 cm in diameter. The superior margin was at the level
oflumbar 4. There was a second smaller mass. He was given cobalt
irradiation to his right lower abdomen over 24 days. He had some
nausea but otherwise had few side effects. By March 11 he had
recovered. By May 8 a small mass only was still present. By year's
end he still was concerned about his family and he had episodes of
A.M. still saw me every month or two. There had been no
recurrence of his tumor, his mood was good. His English improved
dramatically and he was much more confident about the future he was
building for himself. He and his wife divorced. His son was living
on his own. His main concern was his son, who was having difficulty
finding and holding onto work. The last examination at the cancer
clinic showed he was clear. The oncologist wrote on July 10, 1989,
"The patient has been on mega-vitamins, selenium and niacin, more or
less ever since his diagnosis was made and as a result of his
anxiety - his symptoms were indicative ofrecurrence ofhis lymphoma -
he increased his vitamin C to 15 grams from 12 grams (Incidentally
he had been taking 40 grams a day at one time). His general
condition remains the same. He has no palpable lymphadenopathy, his
chest is clear to asucultation, no abdominal masses were felt."
The last time he was seen by the clinic, September 30, 1991 he was
well. The oncologist recorded, "He has no evidence oflymphadenopathy.
There are no abdominal masses to be felt. I was not able to feel any
evidence of any masses over his sacrum. He is taking his vitamins
under Dr, Hoffer's supervision. I don't think there is any need for
us to do anything for him at the present time." A CT scan found
nothing abnormal. He is now taking ascorbic acid 3 grams, niacin 2
grams, selenium 50 meg, zinc citrate 50 mg and vitamin A 50,000 iu,
all daily. April 1996 he was normal.
This case illustrates what can happen to a patient with severe
lymphoma. From the outset he was not expected to survive very long.
This is amply evident from the comments made about him by his
oncologist. He was told that he would not live three months. He was
also told he had one of the worst types of lymphoma, a rare type.
But he did survive 14 years after he first saw me, 13 years after he
I think he recovered because of the following factors: (1) He is
a tough, determined individual who has survived extreme hardship,
torture, and malnutrition, and he was determined to remain alive. A
few months ago he told me that when he was on the highest dose
vitamin C he had continuous loose bowels and he had to sit on the
toilet most ofthe time. When I asked him how he was able to cope
with that he replied, 'Considering the alternative it was no
problem. I sat and read.' He was a good patient in that he followed
any direction given to him with dedication. (2) He was given
excellent treatment by the cancer clinic including chemotherapy and
radiation as needed. They only failed in not giving him any
psychological support, but he got that by coming to see me
regularly; (3) The megavitamin therapy of which ascorbic acid was
the main and most important component.
This is one case only, an anecdote, and is provided only to
illustrate the treatment approach. I have seen 19 patients with
lymphoma between March 1984 and December 1993 who were treated by
the same cancer clinic, and by me, using the orthomolecular program.
The outcome after five years is shown in the table which follows.
Out of 13 male patients, six are alive after five years and two more
will probably make it. An 80% five year cure rate is pretty good.
One patient did not start the program. He lived 1.5 years. The six
female lymphoma cases did not do nearly as well. Only one lived one
year. The starting time was always from the date they first saw me.
This is a small series and indicates a trend. I have not been able
to find any factor which distinguished the two sexes. They received
similar orthodox treatment and the same orthomolecular treatment.
In an earlier report with Linus Pauling, we showed that in general
every group of cancer patients given megavitamin treatment lived
much longer than did their comparison group who were not given the
benefit of these vitamins.2
A, Hoffer, MD, PhD
1. He was unaware of the medical literature showing the usefulness
of large dose vitamin C therapy. Had he said, 'I am not aware of
these studies' he would have been accurate. As it was, his statement
was not true.
2. Hoffer A & Pauling L: Hardin Jones Biostatistical Analysis of
Mortality Data for Cohorts of Cancer Patients with a Large Fraction
Surviving at the Termination of the Study and a Comparison of
Survival Times of Cancer Patients Receiving Large Regular Oral Doses
of Vitamin C and Other Nutrients with Similar Patients not Receiving
those Doses. J Orthomolecular Medicine 5:143-154, 1990.