GOLDEN VALLEY - Jim Boyles is glad he lives in a country where people are free to make choices.
He is convinced he made the correct one in seeking alternative treatment for his cancer.
In February 2007, Boyles was diagnosed by a Veterans Administration doctor as having stage 9 prostate cancer. Stage 10 is the highest stage on the Gleason scale.
His weight had fallen from 170 to 109 pounds at the time of the diagnosis.
"I was told I'd need a prostectomy" - removal of the prostate gland and adjacent lymph nodes -
"followed by chemotherapy and hormonal therapy to reduce my testosterone level," he said.
Boyles, 67, and his wife, Cynthia, began researching prostate cancer. They already believed in the value of herbs and came up with multiple clinical remedies.
"Jim takes essiac tonic that contains burdock root, which is known to kill cancer cells," his wife said. "It also contains sheep sorrel, slippery elm and turkey rhubarb.
"I also give him a green drink 20 minutes later made from olive leaf powder, barley leaf powder, a pinch of yellow dock and spirlina, which contains chlorophyll and is close to human blood."
Both Jim and Cynthia enjoy bodybuilding and sprinting, another important activity to oxygenate body cells against cancer.
Boyles said he has type A blood, which makes one more susceptible to cancer than other blood types. The alternative treatment program he is on is taking his body from an acid state to an alkaline state as he builds muscle mass and improves his immune system.
"Five people we know who had cancer ignored my advice and followed conventional western treatments," he said. "They're all dead, now.
"In December 2006, a friend living in Los Angeles died from stage 6 prostate cancer and he was the same age as me."
"He went through the VA's recommended treatment plan and died 30 days after the prostectomy from complications," she said.
The couple has dozens of science books they say document the soundness of alternative medicine.
One other key component to his treatment is taking hydrazine sulfate capsules. They are not approved for human consumption by either the American Medical Association or Food and Drug Administration, so Boyles gets them mailed from Canada. A bottle containing 100 capsules runs $60 and he stretches out the supply, which ideally should be used up in two weeks.
Boyles, who was born in Madera, Calif., said it has been proven in thousands of cases that people lose muscle mass from the wasting effects of cancer.
Cancer speeds up toxin production, which generates lactic acid as a waste product that goes into the blood. The body must detoxify itself through the kidneys and liver, which converts it back to glucose to be taken up by the cancer and re-used, perpetuating the cycle, he said.
Boyles' weight now is up to 125, and he feels great. Asked if he has visited the VA for another checkup since going on his alternative treatment plan, Cynthia said he had a bone scan done there in April "and no metastasizing was found. They still want him to see an oncologist for radiation, and he's not going to do it."
The PSA reading for his prostate also has dropped from 8.8 to 5.2. That's still high, but at least headed downward, he said.
The Boyles would like to find a sponsor to help pay for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound in Mexico. One treatment burns cancer cells in the prostate without damaging surrounding tissues and the procedure is not invasive.
However, the cost of that treatment is between $25,000 and $30,000.
Cynthia said trials for HIFU are being done in the United States. But Jim does not fit the criteria for participation in them.
The Boyles are two-year residents of Golden Valley. They moved there from Las Vegas after their home burned down.