When Sean Walsh was informed his most cancers had returned, he rejected standard therapy. A widely known determine on Liverpool’s music scene, he documented his seek for alternative routes of managing his situation for his followers.
He additionally used thermography, warmth photos of the physique, that are promoted by some as an alternative choice to standard scans.
However they did not warn Sean his most cancers was spreading. He died, aged 23, final 12 months.
Sean’s mum, Daybreak, says he at all times had one thing about him.
“Even when he was little, he’d at all times be, like, doing the peace indicators and stuff, his costume sense and his hair, and his music and all the things, how eccentric he was.
“He did not care what folks thought, , he’d stroll down Daring Road with, like, a fur coat on and he simply did not care.”
Sean was well-known in Liverpool as a singer and guitarist along with his band The Haze.
However the images of the younger musician do not inform the total story of the influence that severe sickness had on his life.
He was first recognized with Hodgkin lymphoma, a kind of blood most cancers, when he was nonetheless a youngster – a horrible second that Daybreak nonetheless remembers.
“You simply do not think about that your little one goes to have most cancers, it simply does not enter your head does it?
“He needed to begin six months of chemotherapy and it was grotesque on him.
“He bought via that and we thought, ‘That is it, he’ll get on along with his life’.”
Sadly, that wasn’t it in any respect.
Lower than two years later, Sean and his household acquired devastating information – the most cancers had returned.
He was suggested that, with extra chemotherapy and stem cell therapy, he stood a 50% probability of long-term survival. However he simply could not face it.
Sean determined to deal with the most cancers himself, immersing himself in different therapies and the web world of most cancers conspiracy theories.
He radically modified his weight loss plan, turning into vegan and consuming a lot of uncooked meals and taking dietary supplements and nutritional vitamins.
Sean’s girlfriend, Aimee McDonald, remembers how Sean began documenting his journey on social media.
She says he was a little bit of a star.
“He bought, like, 1000’s of followers on Fb and stuff and views on his movies and it was virtually like an echo chamber on the web, all these folks, like, reinforcing his concepts.”
In a Fb video, Sean celebrated what he believed was the success of his different remedy regime.
“As you possibly can see, that is actually working, that is therapeutic my physique.
“Chemotherapy, I’ve already had it, it completed me no good.
“Does it make sense to poison your self again to good well being?
“It does not, it is nuts, it is insane, why would you poison your self again to good well being?”
‘Satisfied most cancers was gone’
Sean was additionally having scans at a clinic – Medical Thermal Imaging – run by a pair known as Philip and Rosa Hughes.
Philip Hughes, a homeopath, had beforehand informed Sean’s dad and mom he’d efficiently handled Rosa for breast most cancers.
Daybreak went alongside to Sean’s first appointment.
“Phil was simply speaking all about how damaging chemotherapy is, , on the human physique… saying, ‘I’ve had a lot of folks come to my clinic, however by the point I get them, they’re shot with all this chemotherapy, so I can not assist them’.”
Thermography makes use of an infrared digital camera to take warmth photos of the physique.
It’s authorized to supply it, however the NHS warns: “There isn’t any proof that thermography is an efficient manner both to check for most cancers or monitor its therapy.”
Final 12 months, the US Meals and Medicine Administration warned: “Thermography shouldn’t be used instead of mammography to detect, diagnose or display for breast most cancers.”
It’s typically promoted as an alternative choice to mammograms.
“After which he was speaking all about how one can change your weight loss plan, which might reverse most cancers.
“He’d mentioned that Rosa had developed breast most cancers.
“She’d had a lump in her breast, and he or she determined to not do hospital therapy, and he or she was going to, , reverse the most cancers herself.
“So clearly Sean’s listening to this considering, ‘Properly, if one particular person’s completed it, after which I am listening to different little tales off them, I can do that’.”
It is authorized to supply the scans, however the NHS warns there isn’t any proof that thermography is an efficient strategy to take a look at for most cancers or monitor its therapy.
And Sean’s scans did carry a disclaimer, stating that thermography doesn’t see or diagnose most cancers and recommending additional scientific investigation.
However the scan outcomes appeared reassuring – and Sean was satisfied his most cancers had gone.
Medical Thermal Imaging describe their scans as “100% protected and radiation-free”.
To search out out extra concerning the service the Hughes had been providing, a BBC reporter went to the clinic the place Sean had his scans, posing as a affected person who’d discovered a lump.
They had been seen by Rosa Hughes, who had supplied scans for Sean.
Rosa informed our reporter that when she went to the breast clinic to have her lump investigated, she ought to have an ultrasound relatively than a mammogram. It is a transcript of what she mentioned:
“Not a mammogram, as a result of you are going to get radiated, and it will squash… and the quantity of girls which have had their tumours, the tumour burst, that spreads most cancers.”
We requested most cancers specialist Prof Andrew Wardley, of Manchester’s Christie Hospital, to evaluation the medical claims Rosa Hughes made to our reporter.
“That is preposterous. You do not burst tumours, they’re stable.
“You do squash the breast all the way down to do a mammogram, it’s disagreeable but it surely’s a short-term factor.
“You don’t unfold most cancers by doing a mammogram, that is a whole fallacy.”
Rosa and Philip Hughes say they “completely reject” the allegation that they gave Mr Walsh inappropriate recommendation.
They added they’d “constantly made clear” that thermography can solely be used alongside different checks, reminiscent of MRIs or mammograms.
At first Sean believed he had cured his personal most cancers.
However tragically Sean was fallacious.
Regularly his well being declined, till he was rushed to hospital in Liverpool the place medical workers discovered he had a number of tumours in his abdomen and chest.
He did ultimately obtain chemotherapy but it surely was too late.
Sean died in January 2019.
Daybreak believes the thermographic scans gave Sean false hope.
She says: “You are weak if you’ve bought most cancers. You are trying to treatment your self, put your self in remission no less than, or spend as a lot time along with your family members.
“And you will imagine sure people who find themselves truly getting cash out of the most cancers business, via weak folks.”
You’ll be able to watch the total investigation, ‘False Hope: Various Most cancers Cures’, on BBC Three on BBC iPlayer, and hear on the Significantly podcast from BBC Radio four on BBC Sounds.