PYP 138: Kelly Turner on Radical Remission from Cancer

Kelly-TurnerKelly Turner, PhD, is the author of Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds. If you have cancer, or know anyone who has cancer, or are a human being (Western men have a 1/2 chance and women a 1/3 chance of developing cancer in their lifetime), you need to read this book.

It's not one of those “Think happy thoughts and cure everything books.” Instead, it's a profoundly scientific look at a group of people who may hold the key to curing cancer – and who have been systematically ignored, marginalized, and dismissed as irrelevant by medical research for the past 150 years.

The group: people who have survived terminal cancer by means other than traditional Western approaches of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Either they eschewed these treatments entirely, or the treatments didn't work and they were sent home to die.

And instead, they survived.

Wouldn't you be curious about what they did? How they healed?

Yet until Turner began her research, nobody had ever asked them. Their remissions were termed “spontaneous,” which means instant and random. As it turned out from Turner's 250 in-depth interviews and thousands of surveys, their remissions were anything but spontaneous.

Radical Remission shares the nine factors common to virtually all of these survivors. Some may not surprise you (diet, for example). Others you might never guess in million years. But they are the best data we currently have on why terminal cancer patients who recover believe they recovered.

In our conversation, Turner and I covered:

  • why she hates the word “spontaneous” in this context (and why I hate it too, for a slightly different reason)
  • losing a friend to cancer at age 16
  • why her counseling background was so much more valuable to her work than a medical one
  • why medically trained researchers are much less likely to ask the right questions
  • the problem with confusing a randomized clinical trial with the scientific method
  • why she had to pay attention to what she wore to interviews with survivors
  • being an anthropologist rather than a clinician
  • the three categories of factors that support radical remission
  • why dealing with emotional issues is different from “blaming the victim” – the broken teapot analogy
  • the Radical Remission Project, where you can share your own stories and access a searchable database
  • the future of Radical Remission research
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,

2 Responses to “PYP 138: Kelly Turner on Radical Remission from Cancer”

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  1. Mikko says:

    For the record, only the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, the other ones, including Medicine and Physiology, in Stockholm.

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