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The Man Who Refused to Fall Victim to Cancer

September 19, 2011

09/20/11 Every day, more than 4,000 Americans are diagnosed with cancer. In 2002, a Pennsylvanian named John Kanzius was one of those Americans when he was diagnosed and heard those devastating words, “You have cancer.” That day, John refused to fall victim to this disease.

While undergoing treatment, John witnessed children experiencing the awful side effects that come with cancer treatments and thought to himself “there has to be a better way.” Using his knowledge of broadcast and electrical engineering, John envisioned treating cancer noninvasively using radio frequency waves, which are not harmful to people.

Early in his career, a coworker suggested that John, while climbing a radio tower, take his keys out of his pocket because the powerful radiowaves would heat up the metal and burn his leg.  Fast forward many years to a night while undergoing treatments, John remembered that event and surmised that if he could somehow get metal into a cancer cell, and ONLY in a cancer cell, and then pass a radiowave over it, he could heat up the metal and destroy the cancer. And from that notion, the “world’s most promising cancer treatment” began.

But how?  John built a crude radiowave generator/receptor using radios and a couple of his wife’s pie pans. Next a string was attached to a hot dog and suspended between the two pans.  Lastly John injected a metallic substance into the hot dog and turned the radios on.  Just as he thought, the hot dog began to heat up, but only where the substance was injected – marking the birth of his idea. Now, after nearly five years, John’s initial approach to noninvasively treat cancer has transitioned to some of today’s most promising cancer research studies at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), and recently with the University of California at Davis. The Foundation, our researchers, donors, volunteers and online supporters have joined this movement because John decided that we need to find an alternative cancer treatment sooner rather than later.

Today, we want you to know that your time and energy are not going to waste. Research takes lots of time and money.  Your commitment to volunteering, your donations, and your communication with family and friends about this research, are all continuing John’s dream.

This Kanzius “no quit” inspiration has changed the way people are looking at cancer and now, more  than a year after our winning the Pepsi Refresh Grant, John’s vision has spread to communities across the nation.  You can help to spread the wave today, just as many have done from the beginning.

Last month, Josh Heynes and his “Swim 4 a Cure” team set a new record time swimming across Lake Erie — from Canada to North East — to raise awareness and money for the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation. Stephanie Florence, a Lewiston, Idaho native, used her social media presence and local network to gather online supporters for our Foundation and plans to hold an event in the future to raise awareness for this research.

We have published our 2010 annual report on our website ( to ensure transparency of our Foundation and provide an overview of where your donations are being allocated.

Last year, 84% of our annual contributions were expended directly towards our Mission, which included research grants such as financial support for the studies at MD Anderson and UPMC and Education and Awareness to help “spread the wave” generating public attention for this treatment and sharing the potential of this research with communities all over the US. 10% of these contributions are allocated to administration expenses and an additional 6% to fundraising efforts.

Although it’s been nearly three years since John’s passing and awareness for this treatment is heightened, we continue to value your commitment and financial support. When someone watches a loved one suffer from the side effects of cancer treatment, hours seem like days… and weeks seem like years. We want you to know that every day our researchers, volunteers and Foundation staff are dedicated to advancing the Kanzius Noninvasive Radiowave Cancer Treatment. John’s inspiration has never diminished and we will continue to fight for him.

John would be proud of how far we’ve come and how much you’ve supported this innovative treatment.

Mark A. Neidig, Sr., Executive Director, Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation