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The Power Of Belief -- Cancer Tumors The Size Of Oranges Melting Like Snowballs On A Hot Stove

Many doctors know the story of ''Mr. Wright,'' who was found to have cancer and in 1957 was given only days to live. Hospitalized in Long Beach, Calif., with tumors the size of oranges, he heard that scientists had discovered a horse serum, Krebiozen, that appeared to be effective against cancer. He begged to receive it.

His physician, Dr. Philip West, finally agreed and gave Mr. Wright an injection on a Friday afternoon. The following Monday, the astonished doctor found his patient out of his ''death bed,'' joking with the nurses. The tumors, the doctor wrote later, ''had melted like snowballs on a hot stove.''

Two months later, Mr. Wright read medical reports that the horse serum was a quack remedy. He suffered an immediate relapse. ''Don't believe what you read in the papers,'' the doctor told Mr. Wright. Then he injected him with what he said was ''a new super-refined double strength'' version of the drug. Actually, it was water, but again, the tumor masses melted.

Mr. Wright was ''the picture of health'' for another two months -- until he read a definitive report stating that Krebiozen was worthless. He died two days later. --Sandra Blakeslee, New York Times