chris geiger

The Cancer Survivors Club

BBC Investigative Documentary

Lights, Camera and Action! – By Chris Geiger.

Below is a column written about a hidden camera investigative documentary. Chris was asked by the BBC to accompany their investigative undercover team.

I’m not writing this from a hospital bed, nor thankfully receiving cancer treatment;however sadly there are 298,000 newly diagnosed cancer patents in the UK each year, who are receiving treatment or looking for a method to cure them of a disease which kills 7.6 million people world-wide each year.

I’ve served my cancer apprenticeship; for practically two years I received traditional treatments like chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. I had a tumour the size of a dinner plate buried in my chest. Bags of chemotherapy, which nurses handled with the care and respect of an unexploded bomb, were chosen as my main weapon to rid me of this disease. However along with successfully destroying cancer, this bag of venomous poison managed to effortlessly and successfully cause me to lose weight, destroy my taste buds, stripped my body of hair and forced me to learn the skill of vomiting quietly without choking and with pinpoint accuracy too. As if by magic it also induced blinding headaches and caused mouth ulcers to randomly appear. Its other abilities included total control of my bowels, alternating them like traffic lights, from constipation to embarrassing me with major diarrhoea.

Thankfully treatments have improved enormously since my experience twenty years  ago, yet they are still unpleasant. So I fully appreciate why people seek alternative methods of cancer treatment. Yet, frustratingly, annoyingly and illegally there are  evil, unqualified charlatans who take advantage of vulnerable sick people who are desperate to find a cure and free themselves of this life destroying illness.

So when I was made aware by the BBC of a spiritual healer, who offers advice on internet cancer forums by openly writing “Smoking does not cause cancer” or says “God can cure cancer” and states things on her website like “Cancer starts prior to incarnation, it’s purpose is to heal the soul.” I obviously accepted the BBC's offer to help them secretly film and then hopefully stop this person from her illegal and potentially dangerous treatments.

A few days later after I’d nervously booked an appointment under the glare of the BBC camera’s. I met with my ‘TV Wife’. She is a BBC producer experienced in undercover filming; however for the purposes of the appointment played my wife. We spent an hour getting to know each other, rehearsing answers as if we were about to appear on ‘Mr & Mrs’. Then with the cameras hidden we headed off for my appointment with an unsuspecting spiritual healer.

Now I’m sure we’ve all experienced that unusual sense of anxiety normally only induced when sitting in front of a doctor. However as I entered the ‘consulting room’, which at best could be described as a scruffy, damp brick out-building sitting in the back garden of my so called doctor, any nerves or even anger that this person is actively targeting vulnerable and poorly cancer patients strangely evaporated. Perhaps this was because the room was the size of a bus shelter and the temperature of a butcher’s walk-in freezer; or because she seemingly believed our cover story.

I’m not going to spoil this documentary by revealing the end of the story here. However my genuine hope is that before anyone takes medical advice or seeks treatment, they obtain verification they are dealing with a qualified registered medical practitioner… and to those targeting vulnerable desperate people for a quick financial gain, let this be a warning to you - you never know when I might walk into your treatment room too!

You can watch my journey on Monday, January 14th, on BBC 1 at 7:30pm.

    Chris Geiger

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Chris Geiger (right) and his TV "wife" - played by a BBC producer - prepare for the undercover filming
Chris Geiger (right) and his TV "wife" - played by a BBC producer.

 

 

A few words from Chris....

"My motivation when shown both the in-depth research and communication the BBC had exchanged with the offender, was simply to help warn cancer patients of the dangers of unqualified people advertising and prescribing so-called ‘cancer cures’ on internet forums; which is illegal. I’m naturally delighted the treatments and price list have now been removed from the offenders website. The offenders continuous online harassment and fictitious accusations, towards myself and those involved with this programme, simply keeps the dangers of responding to advertisements on obscure websites or internet forums, firmly in the spotlight!"

Both the BBC Trust and Editorial Standards Committee have independently reviewed and concluded that all the allegations made by the offender against the BBC and Chris Geiger are unfounded and not supported.

In addition, Trustees had no doubts the programme was duly accurate and was not misleading. All undercover footage was obtained in accordance with Editorial Guidelines. The independent committee agreed it was in the public interest for the BBC to carry out the investigation, and is grateful to Chris for giving his time.

 

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