Pubdate: Thu, 22 May 2014
Source: Business Day (South Africa)
Copyright: 2014 Business Day.
Author: Paul Vecchiatto


CAPE TOWN - Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) politician Mario
OrianiAmbrosini has credited the use of alternative treatments,
including the administration of cannabis oils as a suppository, for
clearing his lung cancer.

"The cannabis has cleared the lung cancer. It is gone. But the cancer
in mesothelioma (cancer of the pleura) is still there," he said
yesterday, after being sworn in as an MP.

Mr Oriani-Ambrosini has become a standard-bearer for cancer treatment
since he made an impassioned plea in the National Assembly two months
ago for regulation of what are regarded as alternative methods to
combat the disease.

He was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer on April 23 last year and
was given six months to live.

When he took the oath, he struggled to get up from his

In February, Mr Oriani-Ambrosini introduced to Parliament a private
member's bill, the Medical Innovations Bill, that aimed to legalise
and regulate alternative treatments for cancer, including cannabis.

Speaking directly to President Jacob Zuma in the National Assembly at
the time, Mr Oriani-Ambrosini said: "I was supposed to die many months
ago and I am here because I had the courage of taking illegal
treatments in Italy in the form of bicarbonate of soda, and here in SA
in the form of cannabis, marijuana or dagga. Otherwise, I would be
pumped with morphine and I would not be able to speak to you."

Mr Zuma responded that he was distressed to see Mr Oriani-Ambrosini,
whom he had known for more than 20 years, in such a condition, and
referred him to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who nodded his head
in acknowledgement.

However there had been no interaction between Dr Motsoaledi and Mr
Oriani-Ambrosini since Mr Zuma's referral.

"I suppose the elections issues got in the way," said Mr
Oriani-Ambrosini. He said he had held informal talks earlier this year
with Dr Motsoaledi, but that there had been no follow through.

"I think Dr Motosaledi is a strong and moral man. However, he appears
to depend heavily on the established medical fraternity for advice and

Mr Oriani-Ambrosini said he had stopped taking cannabis and was on
other alternative treatments not officially recognised in SA,
including stem-cell therapy and a course of Chinese medicine.

"I am lucky because I am receiving these treatments for free, and I
will declare that in the parliamentary register of members' interests
and assets.

"However, there are thousands of people out there who deserve to
receive these treatments and cannot afford them," he said.

He also said he would like to see Mayo-type clinics established in

These would be regulated by the government and offer cancer sufferers
comprehensive and integrated treatment to overcome the disease.

"There is too much regulation in SA about what doctors can and cannot

"We can take a leaf out of China's book, where the government leaves
it up to hospitals and individual doctors to prescribe and administer
as they see best.

"Maybe it is because most Chinese politicians are engineers and
scientists, and not lawyers and political scientists, that they
believe that doctors should be left alone to get on with their work."
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