Regulatory Action against Howard F. Parsons, M.D.


Stephen Barrett, M.D.
August 20, 2020

Howard F. Parsons, M.D., was disciplined in 1965 by the Medical Board of California for violating California’s Cancer Law. The following summary came from the files of the California Cancer Advisory Council.


On February 24, 1961, Mrs. O.J.R., the daughter of a patient having widespread cancer of the cervix, wrote a letter of complaint to the San Francisco County Medical Association. With this letter, the daughter enclosed a letter from Dr. Parsons in which he complained about stoppage of payment of the daughter’s check for the mother’s treatments.

She felt that she and her mother were being victimized by a cancer racket sponsored by Dr. Parsons whose integrity therefore she felt to be questionable. One reason for her suspicions was the fact that Dr. Parsons had influenced her mother not to accept treatment from the University of California Hospital in San Francisco. She had tried to interest a district attorney in her home town and also the University of california in investigating Parsons but neither was receptive to her pleas for help.

In Dr. Parsons’ office, the mother was given a Bolen Test for cancer and injections of Koch antitoxin, both of which have been discredited by the Cancer Advisory Council and banned in California.

On January 16, 1963, Mrs. N.B.N. visited Dr. Parsons because of an intestinal difficulty. After physical examination and a blood test for cancer which was claimed to be negative, Dr. Parsons diagnosed her illness as a chronic virus infection and recommended that a vaccine be prepared from her urine by a laboratory in Oregon. It was the patient’s understanding that the treatment would last only about six weeks, but later on it developed that it was planned to keep her coming for treatment for from nine months to two years. The patient felt that he had misrepresented the facts and was engaged in misleading business practices. During the patient’s visits at Dr. Parsons’ offices, she heard about two cancer patients who had been treated successfully with similar vaccine. The patient complained of her treatment to the San Francisco County Medical Society and the complaint eventually reached the State Health Department. Since treatment of cancer was not involved in this patient, her testimony was not used.

Late in 1962, a complaint was received from Mr. R.S., an East Bay businessman regarding the treatment of his mother by Dr. Parsons. By use of the Bolen Test, he had diagnosed this patient as having a low-grade malignancy, and proceeded to treat her with vaccine prepared from urine. She received injections of this vaccine for approximately three months. He advised against biopsy or any type of surgery, stating that such a procedure would allow the cancer to invade the bloodstream and result in widespread metastases. Parsons stated the injections would case the cancer to be exuded through the skin. It did break down and discharged purulent materiel but certainly not as a result of the injections.

In 1963, a complaint was received from Mr. C.C., the son of a patient who had advanced carcinoma of the bowel. She had seen Dr. Parsons and bad the Bolen Test and the vaccine had been prescribed for her. However, the patient died before the vaccine could be administered.

As a result of these complaints, two undercover operatives were sent to Dr. Parsons’ office where they stated that they had or had had cancer and that they were concerned about a recurrence. The first of these, Mrs. B.C.T., was given the Bolen Test, was told that it was about 98 or 99 percent accurate, and that it showed cancer was present. The Koch Oxidation Catalyst was prescribed. She was given several injections of this agent at weekly intervals and, after the fifth visit, a Bolen Test was repeated and Dr. Parsons stated that the patient was showing wonderful improvement. This patient has had periodic health examinations since her original surgery for cancer of the cervix, 10 or 12 years ago, and has shown no evidence of recurrence.

The second operative, Mrs. D.C., made five visits to Dr. Parsons. On the first visit, the patient was given a Bolen Test and was told that she had cancer throughout her system. This visit was in July of 1961 and, to date, the patient has shown no evidence of recurrent cancer. An elaborate diet and numerous health foods were prescribed for the patient, as well as treatment by Samuels’ Short-wave Instrument. Dr. Parsons also stated that Krebiozen, Chymotrypsin, and Mucorhicin are of value in the treatment of cancer, but he administered unidentified injections on three occasions.

Dr. Parsons was summoned to an investigatory hearing where he denied using any of the methods described above in either the diagnosis or treatment of cancer. However, the State had evidence to the contrary, so an accusatory hearing was scheduled. Before this hearing came about, however, Dr. Parsons stipulated to a Cease and Desist Order. He has now closed his San Francisco office and has reopened in Menlo Park, after having stated that he was retiring from practice. He does not appear to be treating cancer, but advertises pain relief thru hypnotism.