Las Vegan Danny Efron beats brain-cancer odds through a combination of medical and alternative therapies
On October 1, 2015, the day before 33-year-old Danny Efron was set to undergo brain surgery to remove a large tumor in his parietal lobe, his mother died of pancreatic cancer. It was a crippling loss. His best friend and main source of strength had been ripped from him at the most trying time in his life.
Danny’s diagnosis came two years prior while he was on a medicine called Accutane. He began suffering debilitating headaches and cognitive symptoms, including confusion, vision issues and loss of motor skills. A CAT scan and MRI revealed that a large, inflamed tumor resided in his brain. Doctors rushed to prescribe steroids to treat the inflammation, which had been identified as the root of his symptoms. Having a difficult time with the medication, Danny opted to treat the inflammation through an alternate method: medical marijuana. Three months later, a follow-up MRI showed the inflammation had disappeared and Danny’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Logan Douds of Las Vegas’s Western Regional Brain and Spine Surgery, informed him that the tumor was likely a cyst he was born with, and it had been inflamed by the Accutane.
Regular MRIs were prescribed to monitor what was no longer considered a life threatening dilemma. For two years Danny treated himself with medical marijuana and was symptom-free.
In the beginning of 2015, his mother’s health rapidly declined and the stress from taking care of her took a toll on him. The headaches and symptoms resurfaced, and they were worst than ever.
An MRI revealed that his tumor had tripled in size and appeared active with malignant tissue. There was no choice but to operate.
The surgery at Summerlin’s Mountain View Hospital seemed a success at first.
“We weren’t able to get all out but we did remove a large portion,” Danny's neurosurgeon informed as he recovered in the ICU. “Now we just wait on the biopsy.”
The morning of his release day, the biopsy news arrived. It was not good. Cancer had taken root in Danny’s corpus collosum—an inoperable area of the brain.
The illness was terminal. One doctor gave him 10 years to live.
Days later, Danny would be leveled with even worse news. Three different lab sites showed his cancer was Stage Three. His timeline was reduced from 10 years to two to five. An aggressive regimen of chemotherapy (Temodar) and radiation (six weeks, five times a week) was prescribed. It was only meant to prolong his life, not cure him.
Danny refused to accept this diagnosis and contacted Dr. Henry Friedman of Duke University, who had recently been featured on 60 Minutes in a special called “Killing Cancer,” which depicted the doctor’s successful trial of defeating Stage Four brain cancer by injecting polio into the infected tumor.
Although he wasn’t a candidate for the trial, Danny received a boost of confidence from Dr. Friedman: “With your age and how well you take care of your health, you can very well cure yourself, sir.” This was all Danny needed to hear. The next day he informed his oncologist that he was ready to begin medical treatment.
After a massive effort to research natural cancer-fighting remedies and supplements, Danny designed his own treatment as well. Cannabis oil, apricot kernels, turmeric, matcha green tea, malunggay tea, aloe vera, colostrum and oxygen therapy were at the top of his list. He also continued daily exercising and used a combination of the Gershon and Ketogenic diets, both alternative nutritional approaches for cancer patients.
A year and a half has passed from that point in 2015 when Danny heard he had two to five years to live, and things could not be better. Each MRI has showed no sign of cancer. Doctors have even removed the timeline.
Danny, a fitness professional at Life Time Fitness in Summerlin, now uses his knowledge and success of overcoming cancer to help and inspire others. He publicly speaks on the topic and is writing a book detailing the exact method he used.
Danny Efron is on the board of directors for this year’s Desert Gray Matters 5k.