Peter Russell

Pete is a technology expert. He founded Joomla with a great group of people in Europe. He is an author of a range of content including stories and tutorials.

The Tree of Life — How Paw Paw Rescued Me from Stage IV Melanoma

The Tree of Life — How Paw Paw Rescued Me from Stage IV Melanoma

"... Your recovery is nothing short of a miracle"

Prof Bill Adam, University of Melbourne and GV Health

Kenji Miyazawa says "We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey."  These days I live by that saying and it has helped immensely;   It's been cornerstone to me to surviving Stage IV melanoma cancer.

I was too far gone to survive beyond three to six months, according to Dr Damien Kee, of Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.  The shock of being told this was earth-shattering.  Devastating.  I'd already been dealing with chronic kidney failure that required dialysis and now this!

Dr Kee told me there was a trial drug called Zelboraf (a Serine-threonine inhibitor) that might help if I had the "right type of mutation of cancer."  Tests came back indicating I was in the right 50 per cent and over the phone Dr Kee told me he believed I could go on the Zelboraf treatment program.  I was still scared but he gave me some hope.

A day later her called to tell me I "could not go on the program" and that was it!  I was so pissed off that he would deliver something so important and devastating by phone.  Totally wrong, totally unprofessional.  I have never been back to Peter Mac and probably never will. I thought of all the time "I had fund raised for Peter Mac, plus all of the donations I had given over the years". I felt terribly let down by an organisation and an individual in Dr Kee that had treated me like a number.  I will think long and hard before donating to them again.

I consciously remember "lining up my ducks".  I was visiting friends to tell them the news and in some of those cases I was "saying goodbye".  It was a horrible, horrible time.  Many didn't know how to react — some cut off contact, preferring to not know about the cancer's progression and my expected decline.  Other friends were amazing.  One in particular upon hearing the news stood, paused to think and then said: "I don't accept this".  "You are going to beat this," he beamed confidently.

Maybe he knew something I didn't but if he did, it had to have come from our creator.  No one could have told me with any confidence I'd still be living some three years later — let alone in complete remission.

My family were incredible.  Calls were made to the family surgeon who had removed much of the cancer from my scalp and had performed a complete neck dissection to remove lymph glands where it had spread.  But a four centimetre x four centimetre tumour remained in my lung.

My surgeon called a Shepparton oncologist, Dr Mahesh Idawella, and soon I was on a trial drug that targets a particular mutation of melanoma.  This was the drug Peter Mac had refused but somehow some strings had been pulled and again there was hope.  At the time the oncologist was talking about a "time extension".  Studies had shown that the drug, Zelboraf, on average provided 12 months time extension.  But there were complications: it can cause heart failure and it sometimes accelerates end of life.

My response to the Zelboraf had been promising and there had been significant tumour shrinkage.  But over time the drug had started to affect my heart and my oncologist was faced with a balancing act between benefit and cost.  For a time we would "rest" so my body could recover from taking the drug and then restart.  The tumour continued to shrink but my body had taken a battering. Dr Idawella wanted me off Zelboraf completely.

He recommended I get a second opinion from Melbourne and when he told me to go to Peter Mac I refused for obvious reasons.  Instead I attended The Austin.  In complete contrast my time at The Austin Hospital was the exact opposite to Peter Mac.  Friendly, kind people who, for one, had read my notes before I got there and they provided me with everything I needed.

Independent of my medical situation I had been reading and researching about methods to treat cancer, including techniques used by the aborigines.  I'd heard about Stan Sheldon, in Queensland, who had beaten terminal lung cancer by drinking tea made from the leaves and bark of the paw paw tree (Papaya). He had completely defied the odds and perplexed his doctors.

The Gold Coast Bulletin reported in May 1978 how Mr Sheldon beat cancer by following an old Aboriginal recipe and drinking the extract of boiled paw paw leaves.  In 1962 he was given five months to live when leading specialists found he had rapidly spreading cancer in both lungs.  Mr Sheldon drank about 200 ml of the unpleasant tasting brew three times a day.  After two months of drinking his paw paw “tea” the specialists were astonished to find all signs of his malignancy had disappeared.

Mr Sheldon had gone on to share his paw paw knowledge with many cancer sufferers and is believed to have had some excellent results.

Another practitioner is Robert Clark, of Gympie.  In 1989 he'd been suffering from Ross River Virus and Chronic Fatigue and treatments had not worked.  Fortunately for Robert some visiting missionaries who'd recently returned from Papua New Guinea told him how they'd "cured" themselves of malaria.  They suggested he try the Paw Paw therapy. Robert soon recovered completely and has been spreading the word and helping people ever since.  I spoke with him recently and he was helping a woman who'd been told she'd have to get a mastectomy but instead bravely chose to use Paw Paw.  According to Robert, the tumour is shrinking and the future is looking far more positive.  In the 20 years he's been promoting Paw Paw's use he says he's "cured" many many people. "It is real," he said. "There are countless success stories — just getting the word out has been tough." He believed the Internet would help get the message both to potential users and to health professionals.

"Paw Paw acetogenins block the production of ATP"

Dr Lorene Benoit, founder founded Benoit & Associates Health Education Services

How does it work?
So how could a natural product, taken from the leaves and bark of a tree have healing properties? Papaya leaves have a milky sap that’s great for preventing and killing cancer cells because it contains acetogenin. This acetogenin blocks the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), essential for cancer to survive and thrive.  ATP is one of the major production units in the cells.  Cancer cells consume up to 17 times more energy than normal cells.  This is why paw paw has the ability to affect specifically cancer cells without causing damage to healthy cells.  Cancer cells are essentially starved when the production of ATP is blocked.  The weakened cells then begin a process of programmed cell death. It also stops RNE and DNE replication to cancer cells so they cannot reproduce.  And also stops new blood vessel growth and this starves the tumour further making it difficult for the tumour to survive.  Finally it inhibits the MDR pump (multiple drug resistant pump) of resistant cancer cells.  This is why paw paw is complementary to chemo drugs.

Your doctor may have told you what your ATP count is by way of the ATP test. It is a process of rapidly measuring actively growing microorganisms through detection of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.

I take the tablet form with meals, three times a day.  Some people prefer to drink their own concoction from the leaves of the tree.  Aborigines used to add molasses to take some of the sourness away.  Tablets give the same benefit and don't taste aweful like the paw paw tea.

Studies done by the American National Institutes of Health showed that using only one acetogenin from paw paw extract to treat cancer was "10,000 times more effective than a commonly-used chemotherapy drug."

I mentioned this to my doctors and I'm pretty sure it was met with thoughts of "quackery".  But I perservered and did some more research until I found clinical studies done by Prof Jerry McLaughin, of Purdue University, in the USA.  Prof McLaughlin's research had been funded under Richard Nixon's "War on Cancer" program.

"Paw Paw is 10,000 times stronger on drug resistant breast cancer"

Dr Lorene Benoit, founder founded Benoit & Associates Health Education Services

The $5 million study saw Prof McLaughlin exploring the properties of paw paw and its benefits in treating all sorts of cancer.  Prof McLaughlin's work included detailed studies showing extract of Asimina triloba twigs (from the paw paw tree) were:

  • 10, 000 times stronger on drug resistant breast cancer than adriamyacin
  • 300 times stronger than Taxol, with less weight loss, on leukemic cells
  • same effectiveness as cisplatin on ovarian cancer, at lower dose, with less weight loss and less side effects

From this study, it is believed to be effective against:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Prostrate Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Breast Cancer


Acetogenins In Vivo re: McLaughlin from Ben Rockefeller


Australia has some of the most "potent" paw paw trees.  Worldwide there are 14 different species of the tropical trees all with similar medicinal properties. paw paw trees can be known as "Paw Paw (with a space)," "Papita," "Tree Melon," "Mamao," and "Papaya."  It can be found in Australia, India, USA and most countries with a tropical climate.

The mechanism nature designed to protect the fruit of the paw paw tree from being eaten before its seeds are ripe provide powerful, anti-cancer options and a powerful, safe insecticide.

The twigs of the paw paw contain powerful biological chemicals that make them toxic to insects. The paw paw fruit is nearly as toxic as the twigs until it ripens. This discourages animals from eating the fruit until it is ripe and the seeds are ready to be spread.

Scientists at Purdue University developed a simple and inexpensive test to see if natural substances are biologically active. If a plant extract is active, it means that it could have some use as a medicine.

As a result of these successful tests, scientists found at least seven chemicals that may prove useful against cancer. The most powerful is a million times more effective against cancer than the leading anti-cancer drug in use today. In addition, they discovered a powerful, natural insecticide that is effective against a wide range of plant pests.

The professor had an orchard filled with all sorts of varieties of paw paw, so he could find the version most potent.  An informal study of 100 cancer patients showed that paw paw was effective in half the cases with very few side effects.  However, these are not double-blind studies and no formal clinical trials have yet occurred.  There had also been some promising studies performed in Japan.

The studies indicated that not only was cancer controllable by taking a natural substance it, in some cases, could be cured.  I found an Australian company that supplied the right type of paw paw in tablet form.  I started taking three tablets a day of the paw paw extract about two years ago. Prof McLaughlin says you can increase the dose until "the point of nausea".  Then back it off for those with chronic cancer.

Now, in complete remission for nearly a year, I think this "miracle" has everything to do with paw paw.  Sure the Zelboraf controlled the cancer intially but the only explanation for my subsequent "all clears" is paw paw tablets.  I told my cousin, who is a naturopath, about my experience and she called the company that makes the tablets to find out more and share what had happened with me.  To her suprise the response after being told of my remission was "oh, we hear stories like that all the time."  Like it was nothing unusual.

"This Paw Paw is the best kept secret in medicine"

Peter Russell, on what paw paw has done for me!

It made me think "this paw paw is the best kept secret in medicine."  Herein lies a problem.  It is not medically approved.  There are limited Australian clinical trials and because of this the medicos tend to avoid its use and discourage patients who have heard about it. 

Why is there little or no research?
This magic treatment does not make any money for the pharmaceutical industry.  Needless to say no company will undertake the necessary research costing millions to prove something it cannot patent actually works.  The only studies have been funded outside of the drug industry cohort and have been generally funded by government.

In my case I'd done my research to my satisfaction and knowing paw paw was all natural and not going to affect any ongoing chemotherapeutic medicine, I was going to use it with or without permission.  Which is what I did and now I'm cancer free.

The journey for me had become more than a miracle.  It had become a bit of a totem because of it's amazing properties and how I feel at the moment.  So instead of "journey" now it feels more like an adventure and it reminded me of the Sean Connery movie "Medicine Man" where the character finds the cure for cancer in a remote Amazon forest.  Now the irony for me is the reality that an effective treatment for certain cancers comes from trees freely available around the world!  For some people it provides a time extension for others a cure.  Either way I think it is amazing and I will do my best to inform and educate people about paw paw's potential benefits.


"Papain — an enzyme found in Paw Paw — is used in Pathology Labs

Retired pathologist


Papain is used in Pathology Labs
A neighbour who was a pathologist revealed that Papain (an active ingredient/component of paw paw) is used in pathology labs as an anti-sickling agent.  So paw paw works against the production of abnormal, rigid, sickle-shaped red blood cells.

Their studies have also proven it boosts red blood cell production, so my anecdotal thoughts about what it had done for me seem right.  And pathologists have long used it for the emulphogene-papain (papain comes from paw paw) technique. They use of the emulphogene-papain technique appears also to offer an advantage in the banding of chromosomes from leukaemic cells.

Papain is used in Dentistry
Papain is also used in dental medicine.  Papain is the main ingredient of Papacarie, a gel used for chemomechanical cavity removal.  So these active ingredients in the paw paw have been used for all sorts of purposes.

Medical professionals have had this knowledge all along but have failed to make the leap that Professor Jerry McCarthy has.  Strange!

My local renal doctor, Prof Bill Adam, who has practised medicine for almost 50 years says he's "never seen anything like it ... your recovery is nothing short of a miracle".  My surgeon I mentioned earlier is Dr Roly Hunt.  I credit him for saving my life by getting the ball rolling when Peter Mac had given up on me.  Dr Idawella is an amazing oncologist who is not only professional but caring.  Without these people I would not be here today.  And while all this was going on I still had to manage my dialysis.  Thanks to Prof Steve Holt, Jo Moody and the gang in Melbourne this was all possible. Another remarkable doctor was Goulburn Valley Base Hospital's awesome GP, Dr Suresh.  He has doctored and seen the results from start to finish.  Consider yourselves all hugged!!!

I am not a doctor, obviously.  I am just a person who found himself facing my own mortality set on a timeline by an oncologist who had treated me like a number.  The feeling of abandonment by this doctor and a feeling of abandonment by my body had been crushing blows.  All I had left was my intellect and my professional team mentioned above.

I took a decision to take the paw paw therapy after I had read all I could find and had spoken with some experts in pharmacognosy (medicinal drugs derived from plants or other natural sources).  The decision to take additional therapy, be it traditional or alternative is taken by each individual.  Like any "medicine" the results from paw paw therapy differ from person to person.  As people our individual chemisty from one person to the other is always different.


"Paw Paw consumption is no more dangerous than eating a vegetable"

Me speaking to a skeptic, who's now getting better on Paw Paw!


When you are very sick and facing death's door — doesn't it make sense you would open your mind trying things differently?  That's where I found myself.  Once I determined paw paw was safe to use it commited.  I'm glad I did however I am not saying it is for everyone.  What I am saying is: is there any harm in taking a non-threatening substance that complements chemo?  From what I've read paw paw extract may have side effects in pregnant woman and thyroid suffers.  But that's about it, everyone else can take it.  From everything I've researched with few exceptions, it is no more dangerous than eating a vegetable.

Paw paw in the blood stream has the ability to block the production of ATP which cancer cells need to survive in the body.  Once blocked, the cancer's energy supply is interrupted and the cancer cells die.  Moreover, paw paw attacks cancer cells that have become resistant to chemo.  Resistant cancer cells develop a pump that can "spit out" the chemo poison but these cells have no defence mechanism against the ATP blocking properties of paw paw. 

Apart from its use by Australian natives, it was also used by Dr Lucas in the 1800s.  He created the paw paw ointment famous for its soothing antibacterial properties.  But what many don't know is he used the leaves and bark to treat cancer, gut ailments and even Spanish Flu.  It is recorded that of nearly 200 people stuck with Spanish Flu that he treated, all but two of them survived when the mortality rate had been in the 90 per cent range.  Dr Lucas' findings and research, apart from the ointment, has been lost to time.  In traditional medicines of Malaysia it is used as a cure for Dengue Fever.

I've also noticed that by taking paw paw, my red blood cell count has improved.  Normally because of my kidney problem I would need an iron infusion about every six months.  This would be supplemented with EPO injections to boost red cell production.  For the last couple of years I've not needed infusions or injections.


Pharmacology, Nutraceutical Science and Where to Buy Paw Paw
For Oncologists, I have provided a links to papers about Paw Paw pharmacology, nutraceutical science and cancer trials.

Listen to Prof McLaughin (Pharmacognosy) talking about cancer case studies of those who've benefitted from the use of paw paw extract:  (one hour long)
See how the paw paw works against cancer here: (quite short).
Herbalist Dr Paul Haider on paw paw: (5mins 28secs)
Herbalist Lorene Benoit, Masters of Holistic Healing (3mins)
Dr Haider claims a Prostrate Cancer Prevention method is using in combination paw paw fruit and Green Tea:

1: Paw Paw Pharmacology, download: Paw-Paw-Alternative-Cancer-Treatment-Comparison.pdf
2. Nutraceutical Scientific Review, download: nunutraceutical-science.pdf
3. Purdue University Paw Paw Trials, download: pawpaw-trials1.pdf

More reading: Prof Christopher Lane here:

The Australian sourced Rochway Paw Paw products are available here.

My oncologist wrote a paper that has been published in the Australian Medical Journal.  It explains the Zelboraf part of the story but the complete disappearance of the tumour is recorded as "unknown'.  I can explain it!  paw paw worked for me.   Three scans and three "all clears" and I'm feeling as good as possible.  I'm writing — obviously — fit enough for golf and performing voluntary work.  Just like a real human being :)  As scarey as the entire "adventure" has been I am so lucky to have had the happenstance allowing me to live on.  From my perspective it has been a miracle and I do thank God for this gift.

I continue to take paw paw and expect it will help me live much longer than the prognosis given to me by Peter Mac.  If you are struggling with cancer, I'd encourage you to lean on those friends prepared to tough it out with you.  Share your emotions and explain your disappointment and confusion.  Simply get the crap out.  Understand that state of mind is probably as important as the right therapy.  I remember feeling quite depressed but it is not until you take control that you can properly tackle the disease.  My medical team were amazing supporting me at every challenge.

Do your reseach and don't leave a stone unturned.  If your doctor gives you a bad prognosis, don't necessarily accept it.  Get a second opinion.  If you or your loved ones are considering using this alternative therapy, please do your research and do let your doctors know what you are doing.  This does two things: it helps protect you and it provides doctors with the full picture.

If the Papaya tree is the so-called "Tree of Life", as the ancients believed and is mentioned in Genesis and Revelations, then I cant find any other serious contenders for the position. The Bible says The Tree of Life fruits year round and "if  man partakes of the tree of life he will live forever." This would suggest its healing and curative properties have been known for a long, long time.

I believe paw paw has given me the second chance Dr Damian Kee said I would not get.


If your doctor gets a bit funny about you taking the paw paw extract READ BELOW!!!

(remember doctors are trying their best to help you, so be generous and kind in your dealings with them. Telling them that they're wrong and your're right is not clever.)

#1: Print this story out and ask your doctor to read it thoroughly and to watch the videos and him/her to speak to a pathologist about how papain is used in the lab.
#2: paw paw blocks the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).  When paw paw blocks ATP the chemotharpeutic drugs remain in the cancer cells longer.  This makes paw paw an excellent adjunct to chemotherapy.  Cancer cells are essentially starved when the production of ATP is blocked.  The weakened cells then begin a process of programmed cell death.
#3: Since ATP is required for the production of new blood vessels, to feed cancer cells the tumour's blood supply also begins to disappear — further hastening the tumour's death
#4: Politely explain that paw paw is a natural product that with few exceptions (pregnancy and poeple on thyroid medication) it is no more dangerous than a vegetable.
#5: Point your doctor to Prof McGlauchlin's research again — that specifically states that paw paw extract is safe to use in tandem with chemo and radiation, as a complementary medicine.
#6: And for a moment consider all the evidence presented supporting paw paw as effective, safe, has few side effects and is inexpensive: Why not give it a go?  When you have cancer there is so much at stake.  You need every weapon possible at your disposal.
#7: A doctor that still disputes your desire to try — even after reading all the available evidence — is quite possibly a doctor you don't need.  Then exercise your freewill, be brave enough to be your own advocate and find a more flexible doctor.

1Probiotics Rochway Paw Paw meets Regulatory Compliance and is certified for the production of  listed medicines.  Paw Paw leaf capsules are clinically researched bio fermented Paw Paw leaf, micronized in capules

The Australian sourced Rochway Paw Paw products are available here.

*I am not in any way affiliated with 1Probiotics which manufactures the Rochway branded paw paw extract.  I put myself on what is considered an adequate dose with my doctors' having knowledge but not necessarily approving.

Tommy Bolin — Rock's Forgotten Prodigy
Alan Rickman Dies Hard at 69

Related Posts