William Donald Kelley
William Donald Kelley, DDS, MS (November 1, 1925 – January 30, 2005) was an orthodontist who developed the "Kelley cancer therapy", an ineffective alternative cancer treatment based on the unsubstantiated belief that "wrong foods [cause] malignancy to grow, while proper foods [allow] natural body defenses to work".
Kelley received no training in oncology; according to Quackwatch his ideas are "largely speculative and invalid". Not only is his therapy ineffective, but people with cancer who take it die more quickly and have a worse quality of life than those having standard treatment, and can suffer serious or fatal side-effects.
Kelley's cancer therapy
Kelley formulated his own ideas about cancer, basing them on those of Max Gerson. According to Kelley, cancer is a single disease caused by the lack of certain enzymes. Kelley thought it could be simply treated with a diet of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and by detoxification using coffee enemas. Kelley also added prayer and osteopathic manipulations to his treatment regime.
In 1980, Kelley's most famous patient, Steve McQueen, came to him with a case of inoperable mesothelioma that had not responded to treatment. As Kelley's regimen was applied to McQueen in Mexico, McQueen was falsely reported to be in remission and his case enjoyed widespread press coverage; People magazine called him "McQueen's Holistic Medicine Man". McQueen died 3 months later, following an unorthodox operation to excise the growing tumors. Nevertheless, Kelley's regimen was subsequently sought out by many patients with terminal cancer.
In 2013 the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center characterized Kelley's therapy as a type of metabolic therapy, like Gerson therapy and Contreras therapy, that shows "no evidence of efficacy". According to the Center, "findings from a study involving patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer showed a decrease in overall survival and poorer quality of life [...] compared to standard gemcitabine-based chemotherapy". The coffee enemas that form part of the treatment can have harmful, and possibly fatal, side effects.
Controversy and decline
In the 1970s, Kelley looked forward to a fair and proper evaluation of his controversial metabolic diet methods, but he eventually became despondent due to fierce opposition from the medical orthodoxy regarding his treatment plan. He wrote a book entitled One Answer to Cancer, detailing his experiences as well as his methods. By the 1980s, he got divorced, he had lost control of his once-thriving organization, his dental license had been revoked. Kelley died of a heart attack on January 30, 2005 in Arkansas City.
- Dr. Kelley's self test for the different metabolic types (1977), ISBN 978-0-9669422-1-7 (paperback 1999)
- The Kelley Program: The Science of Optimum Health (Paperback - Jan 1, 1980)
- Kelley metabolic ecology program: Workshop manual for nutritional counseling service (1982)
- One answer to cancer: A way to win the cancer war (1982)
- One Answer to Cancer (A do-it-yourself booklet outlining the path Kelley took in the 1960s to combat his own bout with cancer) (Paperback - May 15, 1997)
- Cancer: Curing the Incurable Without Surgery, Chemotherapy or Radiation ISBN 0-9704290-0-2 (paperback - Jan 1, 2001)
- One Answer to Cancer: reviewed after 30 years, 1967-1997 : the metabolic approach to the successful resolution of malignancy ISBN 0-9682174-0-0
- List of ineffective cancer treatments
- Nicholas Gonzalez – developed an ineffective cancer treatment regime based on Kelley's work
- Lerner BH (2006). Chapter 7: Unconventional Healing - Steve McQueen's Mexican Journey. When Illness Goes Public: Celebrity Patients and How We Look at Medicine (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press). pp. 139–. ISBN 0-8018-8462-4.
- Green S (20 April 2000). "Nicholas Gonzalez Treatment for Cancer: Gland Extracts, Coffee Enemas, Vitamin Megadoses, and Diets". Quackwatch. Retrieved February 2014.
- "Metabolic Therapies". Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. 14 February 2013. Retrieved September 2013.
- Moss RW (2005). "William Donald Kelley, DDS, MS (1925-2005)". Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (Obituary) (261): 16. (subscription required)