Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Morton O. Wagenfeld

Second Advisor

Dr. James C. Petersen

Third Advisor

Dr. Gerald E. Markle

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Chapter I

The Problem and Its Background

The Purpose

The purpose of this thesis is to examine factors leading individuals to participate in the laetrile movement. Laetrile, a substance obtained from a variety of foods including apricot kernels, has been termed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be both ineffective in the treatment of cancer, and even dangerous when taken in large amounts. Even so, over 50,000 people in the United States are estimated to use this substance for the control and prevention of cancer. They do so without the support of the orthodox medical profession, and may face federal prosecution for becoming involved with this substance.

Cancer victims have a variety of conventional cancer treatments at their disposal. The decision to use laetrile can be seen to be deviant from the traditional medical profession both in philosophy and in practice. Even the etiology of cancer as viewed by laetrile advocates differs dramatically from those beliefs held by the medical authorities.

Included in

Sociology Commons