Respectful Insolence

It figures.

After posting yesterday about whose responsibility it is when a cancer patient rejects evidence-based effective treatments in favor of quackery and then progresses, I would have to be made aware of an update in the case of Starchild Abraham Cherrix.

Ever since Cherrix’s story first rose to national prominence a few months ago, I’ve been periodically blogging about it. Cherrix, as you may recall, is the the teenager diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma late last year who underwent chemotherapy, went into remission, and then relapsed a few months ago. At that point, he refused to undergo further chemotherapy, opting instead for the quackery known as the Hoxsey therapy. His decision, supported by his parents, led to a huge legal battle in Virginia, which ended in August with a settlement in which Cherrix was allowed to continue with “alternative” therapy under the supervision of a physician in Mississippi named Dr. Arnold Smith. It even led to one Virginia legislator proposing “Abraham’s Law,” a spectacularly poorly thought out piece of legislation that would limit the power of state Social Services to intervene in cases of children with terminal illnesses.

When I learned of this, I predicted that this meant that Abraham had, despite his previously stated distrust of conventional medicine and chemotherapy, decided to undergo radiation therapy, basing my prediction on Dr. Smith’s reported interest in combining a dubious-sounding “immunotherapy” with radiation. In fact, I speculated that the reason Abraham’s tumors were shrinking was not because of any “immunotherapy” he was receiving or because of his Hoxsey therapy, but rather because he had decided to accept radiation therapy.

It turns out that I was correct:

NORFOLK, Va. — Abraham Cherrix is coming home to Virginia this week, feeling energetic and hopeful that five weeks of treatment at a Mississippi clinic will help him defeat cancer.

In August, the 16-year-old Eastern Shore teen won a court fight to forgo chemotherapy and seek alternative treatments. The family chose to work with Dr. Arnold Smith, medical director and radiation oncologist at the North Central Mississippi Regional Cancer Center in Greenwood, Miss., who uses radiation plus immunotherapy to strengthen the immune system through supplements and food.

Low doses of radiation have shrunk the tennis-ball-sized tumor in his neck to the circumference of a half dollar, and the tumor in his chest similarly has decreased, Abraham said Monday by phone after completing his course of treatment.

“I’m feeling wonderful,” said Abraham, who has Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system. “There’s a pretty good chance that I am cancer-free

Would that it were so! Unfortunately, Abraham seems to be engaging in more of his magical thinking.

It’s unlikely that Abraham is indeed “cancer-free.” Sure, the tumor in his neck and the tumor in his chest have shrunk. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a very radiation-sensitive cancer, and Abraham has never received radiation therapy before. I would have been surprised if Abraham’s tumors didn’t shrink markedly in response to the radiation. It may even be possible that, despite the persistence of a half dollar-sized mass in his neck that Abraham has been rendered what we in the biz call NED (i.e., no evaluable disease). NED basically means that there is no tumor detectable on physical examination or radiological imaging. The small remnant may be scar tissue. Or it may not be. (The only way to find out for sure would be to biopsy it, although a PET scan would be helpful.) Chances are, however, that these shrunken masses probably still contain living tumor cells. After all, Abraham has no further to look than his previous experience. His first round of chemotherapy put him into remission, which is by definition NED. Despite the fact that his tumors shrank away to nothing, they nonetheless managed to return. Worse, because he relapsed, it is quite likely that Abrahamstill harbors tumor cells elsewhere in his body. That’s the reason the oncologists wanted to give him chemotherapy to treat his relapse in the first place. The bottom line is that this promising initial result will most likely have little bearing on his ultimate survival. Initial shrinkage all too often does not correlate well with survival, particularly in a case like this (although, certainly, the failure of a tumor to shrink in response to therapy certainly does correlate inversely with survival).

I reiterate, however, that I am glad that Abraham did ultimately accept radiation therapy. It is excellent palliation and likely will prevent the tumor in his neck from obstructing his windpipe or esophagus. Although it’s unlikely to prolong his lif significantly, it will make his quality of life better.

Very little else was revealed about the treatment that Abraham is receiving. Besides Dr. Smith’s rather strange “belly plaque” immunotherapy, Abraham is apparently getting a sampling of even more dubious treatments:

He also received intravenous medications and supplements, such as Vitamin C, to improve his immune system; he did not give details. He said he’s still taking the Hoxsey tonic “here and there” and continues to try to avoid eating sugar.

I’ve already discussed how there is no good evidence that vitamin C does anything for cancer in humans, recent cell culture studies and small unconvincing case series notwithstanding and why the Hoxsey therapy should be viewed as nothing but quackery. The jury’s out on Dr. Smith’s immunotherapy, but I find it very telling that he hasn’t published in reputable peer-reviewed journals since at least 1998, if not longer, preferring instead to publish in dubious journals like Bulletin of Urgent and Recovery Medicine, a journal that doesn’t even appear to have a website that I can peruse even to examine a few of its abstracts (if it has one, I couldn’t find it).

Of course, even though the initial response of Cherrix’s tumor is due to basically nothing more than radiation therapy (in other words, it’s “evil” conventional medicine that finally caused some tumor shrinkage after the tumors kept growing through the Hoxsey therapy), the lack of understanding that this is so is already showing up in the altie blogosphere, where we already see premature gloating:

He [Abraham] is coming home to Virginia to check up on his “alternative treatment” of supplements, nutrition, and some radiation. He says that he feels wonderful and thinks there is a good change that he is cancer free.

Why are we surprised? Where is our common sense? How is it that man has survived wars, plagues, harsh environmental changes, droughts, pestilence, migrated all over the planet only to experience a growth in population that challenges the resources of the planet? Mankind survived because the human body is a miraculous machine designed to heal, adapt, survive, reproduce, and flourish. Healing is as natural today as it was thousands of years ago. Good food, healthy living, and positive beliefs still work as we still are living in human bodies.

Only up to a point will good food and healthy living keep us healthy. Neither infectious disease nor cancer respect good food and healthy living in many cases. For example, the influenza epidemic of 1918 got its start in the U.S. in military barracks, striking down healthy young men in prime physical condition.

“Traditional” medicine is not so traditional. It has only been around since the industrial revolution. The complete worship of science in medicine only began in the 1800′s. Before that time, healing was natural. Mankind looked to natural ways to heal. If mankind had needed chemicals foreign to the body to heal, mankind would have been extinct long before it was discovered making this whole debate a mute point.

And look at the fabulous results, with life expectancies far less than today. This sort of poor reasoning is par for the course for alties, playing on the false dichotomy between “natural” and “synthetic.” Just because it’s “natural” doesn’t mean it’s better. After all, penicillin was isolated from bread mold, and some of the most toxic substances known come from plants, like curare and strychnine. In many situations, the body can heal itself without outside help from “foreign” chemicals. However, all too often the body can’t “heal itself.” This happens when it is attacked by certain infectious diseases, cancers, and other diseases. We know from science that modern medicines can indeed result in healing where the body alone cannot, no matter how healthy. Antibiotics are a prime example. Before antibiotics, common community-acquired pneumonia was a dangerous disease with a significant mortality rate. Now, it rarely kills, thanks to antibiotics. Ditto tuberculosis, which was a feared disease with in essence no effective treatment. In any case, consider this: If the “natural” healing humans sought back in those idyllic days was so great, why was infant mortality so high 100 years ago and even higher centuries before that? Why was infectious disease the most common cause of death among young people hundreds of years ago? Weren’t those “natural cures” good enough? As has been said, if you want to use 18th century treatments, expect to see 18th century mortality rates. It gets worse:

How has mankind fared with this new traditional medicine? Well, it certainly true that people are technically living longer. Is this because of medical inventions or simply in better living conditions brought about by other inventions developed in the industrial revolution? It’s hard to know.

Are people today really living longer? People today die from much different causes than those prior to the early 1800′s. We no longer get run over by horses, or die from tribal attacks, or die from giving birth on a prairie somewhere. No, we start dying around 35 or 40 from chronic disease and just take 30 years to actually finish the process.

I don’t know about you, but personally, I actually would prefer to “start dying of chronic disease at age 40.” Certainly that’s preferable to dying of infectious disease at a young age, getting run over by horses, or dying of trauma before the age of 40. Wouldn’t you? (After all, under the conditions of hundreds of years ago, the odds would be far less of my surviving into my 40′s to transmit my insolence into the blogosphere.) You’ll also note that the altie writer above pointedly leaves out death by infectious disease, which was right up there as one of the most common, if not the most common causes of death for people under 40 for all of human history and prehistory until the last 70 years or so, after which penicillin, followed by other antibiotics, became widely available. Now death from infectious disease at a young age is much less common. And let’s not forget vaccination, which prevented disease in hundreds of millions, if not billions of people.

No, it’s not “hard to know” what’s responsible for increased survival since then; modern medicine and modern sanitation both played a huge role.

I expect to see more of this sort of blather in the coming days after this story. It will come from people who don’t understand that it was not alternative medicine that caused Abraham’s tumors to shrink, which in fact had failed utterly even to slow his tumors’ growth. They will attribute his improvement to the alternative medicine, even though it was good old-fashioned conventional medicine in the form of radiation that shrank his tumors. Remember also that, as good as the news is from Abraham Cherrix right now, it’s not likely to last. Evidence-based medicine shows us that radiation alone in a case like Abraham’s is highly unlikely to eradicate the tumor completely, even though it is quite good for palliation of symptoms. I hope Abraham continues to do well, but the physician in me knows that he almost certainly will not, at least not for very long. Knowing that, I sincerely hope that he enjoys this interlude that radiation therapy has bought him and lives symptom-free as long as possible before the near inevitable return of his tumor.

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Comments

  1. #1 The Cheerful Oncologist
    October 10, 2006

    I have two points that I would like to make (with your kind permission, Herr Doktor):

    1. The immunotherapy S.A.C. took is ineffective against refractory Hodgkin lymphoma. This is not debatable; in fact it is a lapidary fact.

    2. In contrast to your opinion, I could not say to the patient that his radiation therapy was guaranteed to fail. Hodgkin lymphoma is a strange disease that sometimes withers under the effect of partial chemotherapy, or in this case radiation therapy only. I hope this is the case for Mr. Cherrix.

  2. #2 Ompus
    October 10, 2006

    My father had cancer and recieved traditional medical treatment. He died. Therfore, traditional medicine does not work. Quod erat demonstrandum.

  3. #3 Orac
    October 10, 2006

    Oh, come now, Ompus, you’ll have to come up with better arguments than an obvious straw man like that. We have abundant evidence that the Hoxsey therapy is ineffective, and the immunotherapy being used, as The Cheerful Oncologist tells us, is known to be ineffective against refractory Hodgkins’ disease. I was merely pointing out that alties will be attributing Cherrix’s improvement to the “alternative therapy” he is getting when in fact it is almost certainly the radiation therapy alone that resulted in the shrinkage of his tumors.

    I am grateful to the ever Cheerful One for chiming in, as well. To clarify, I wasn’t saying that the radiation is guaranteed to fail, although it is likely to fail. As I put it, his present improvement is “not likely to last.” I’m sure that the Cheerful One would agree that, by itself, radiation alone has a very, very low chance of completely eradicating refractory Hodgkin’s disease (or, as I put it, is “highly unlikely to eradicate the tumor completely” by itself).

    Personally, I still hope that Abraham is one of the rare patients cured by radiation alone.

  4. #4 Dr.Steve
    October 10, 2006

    Ompus -

    One failure means it “doesn’t work”?

    I guess that means we should stop doing surgery for appendicitis, stop wearing seat belts (some people die anyway), start drinking and smoking heavily (some people survive anyway). And certainly no one should ever invest money in anything, never build anything (sometimes buildings fall down), and never love or marry anyone (they might die or leave you).

    Worst argument I’ve ever heard.

    QED

  5. #5 Baratos
    October 10, 2006

    Everyone who died of cancer breathed at one point. Therefore, cancer is caused by breathing. It would be funnier if some people didnt really think like that…..

  6. #6 Dina Sanchez
    October 10, 2006

    For Hodgkins to be such a treatable and curable disease, I am the few that relasped. When I was diagnosed, I was told I was “lucky” to have this disease than other diseases, but I am still fighting it. ABVD did not work for me. Hodgkins returned in 4 months. I recently received a bone marrow transplant and my oncologist says I am in remission but I have scarring left on my neck which leads me to believe I am not cured.

    Radiation is what I am doing now and was told it may damage my other organs, so what’s next in store for this used to be healthy young woman here?

    What really works here? I don’t see an answer. Traditional medicine has not worked for me yet when I was told by every traditional doctor that I would be cured by ABVD and radiation may help but not before it damages something else. You frown on herbs, vitamins and natural cures, so tell us what do we do as we struggle to beat this disease?

    I don’t blame Cherrix for choosing and believing in something else other than chemo. Chemo is some damn hard medicine that not only supposedly kills the cancer, it feels like it’s killing you – it violates your healthy cells to the point you just feel like you are already dying and it brings upon other ailments.

    Why do “they” say we’re so close to finding a cure when it’s all bunch of BS. The industry wants us ill so they can make their billions off cancer-inflicted people like myself and not only does the cancer industry make money, the doctors make money of CHEMO!! If I had to choose again…I would NOT choose chemotherapy and put myself to an early grave to make the industry richer and the oncologists even richer. I would choose alternative medicines regardless of your personal views. I would choose healthy living and I would choose to do it my way because their way is not working for me. I would choose the guidance of God and believe in myself that I will get well, but I would NOT choose chemotherapy EVER AGAIN. I would choose dignity.

  7. #7 Dina Sanchez
    October 10, 2006

    For Hodgkins to be such a treatable and curable disease, I am the few that relasped. When I was diagnosed, I was told I was “lucky” to have this disease than other diseases, but I am still fighting it. ABVD did not work for me. Hodgkins returned in 4 months. I recently received a bone marrow transplant and my oncologist says I am in remission but I have scarring left on my neck which leads me to believe I am not cured.

    Radiation is what I am doing now and was told it may damage my other organs, so what’s next in store for this used to be healthy young woman here?

    What really works here? I don’t see an answer. Traditional medicine has not worked for me yet when I was told by every traditional doctor that I would be cured by ABVD and radiation may help but not before it damages something else. You frown on herbs, vitamins and natural cures, so tell us what do we do as we struggle to beat this disease?

    I don’t blame Cherrix for choosing and believing in something else other than chemo. Chemo is some damn hard medicine that not only supposedly kills the cancer, it feels like it’s killing you – it violates your healthy cells to the point you just feel like you are already dying and it brings upon other ailments.

    Why do “they” say we’re so close to finding a cure when it’s all bunch of BS. The industry wants us ill so they can make their billions off cancer-inflicted people like myself and not only does the cancer industry make money, the doctors make money of CHEMO!! If I had to choose again…I would NOT choose chemotherapy and put myself to an early grave to make the industry richer and the oncologists even richer. I would choose alternative medicines regardless of your personal views. I would choose healthy living and I would choose to do it my way because their way is not working for me. I would choose the guidance of God and believe in myself that I will get well, but I would NOT choose chemotherapy EVER AGAIN. I would choose dignity.

  8. #8 Davis
    October 10, 2006

    Wait, was Ompus being serious, or was that a facetious argument?

  9. #9 Brian
    October 10, 2006

    Dina thinks she’s in the minority – I’m in the even smaller minority that hasn’t gone into remission at all. I’ve been fighting Hodgkin’s since May of ’05 and have had six different kinds of chemo, a stem cell transplant, a thymectomy and radiation. It’s highly possible that I might finally be NED, but we won’t know for sure for a couple of more months.

    Unlike my fellow Hodge’er, I do see an answer to all of this – you fight. If I had to do it all over again, I would still take every bit of chemo they gave me. Why? Because I’m a fighter. “But the chemo makes me feel bad.” Yeah, well, the cancer felt a lot worse. Chemo is nothing compared to cancer, nothing compared to dying. And as for that early grave chemo is putting you in, I suggest you check your cancer calendar and see how long it’ll let you live without it.

    “But the chemo hasn’t worked for you,” some might say. That’s something I have to deal with every day. Why do I have to deal with it? Because every day I see success stories. People with the Hodge who go in for a minimum number of ABVD treatments and get cured. People who then don’t relapse. I have to content myself with being the exception to the rule. If that rule is that most people can be cured of my cancer, then I can deal with being the exception as long as it means the rule stands.

    And as for dignity, in my mind, there is no dignity in running from medicine. Only in fighting as hard as you can.

  10. #10 qetzal
    October 10, 2006

    I suspect Ompus was being sarcastic. I think he was lampooning a common thought process among alties. Since chemo often fails, alties assume it must never work for anyone.

    Note that this is exactly the argument Dina Sanchez makes. Chemo didn’t cure her Hodgkins. Therefore, according to her, it’s a bunch of BS – a money-making fraud perptrated by industry and oncologists.

    Dina doesn’t seem to grasp that even if a treatment isn’t guaranteed to cure, it can still be the best available option.

    A good analogy might be seat belts. If you wear a seat belt while driving, you are less likely to die in a crash. Nevertheless, some people who wear seat belts still die in crashes. Does that mean that wearing seat belts is a bunch of BS?

  11. #11 David Harmon
    October 10, 2006

    Dina, I appreciate that chemo is painful and unpleasant. (I’ve had a few relatives go through it.) But trust me, it’s not half as unpleasant as having tumors spreading through your body, blocking your throat, swelling out of your skin, and likely working their way into your spine and brain. There’s not much dignity in progressive deformity and excruciating, constant, pain!

    Furthermore, the fact that you, personally, are in pain, especially does not mean that some occult conspiracy between the doctors and “the cancer industry” has decided to torture you for their own profit! If you’d been crippled in a car accident, would you blame the auto industry and car dealerships, for conspiring to maim millions of people worldwide? That’s exactly the logic you’re using here, and it doesn’t work any better for cancer than for cars.

    I do sympathize with your pain and suffering — but it’s not a conspiracy, just those “slings and arrows of outrageous fate”. Bad stuff happens to people pretty regularly. Unlike any other species on the planet, we can work together to try and do something about it. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we don’t — because we still live in the world, not on top of it.

    Indeed, medical treatment doesn’t always cure cancer. And yes, there are occasional cases where the your body fights off the cancer on its own. But the “alternative” treatments never cure it, they just leave you hoping for that longshot remission.

    Cancer is and has always been a deadly illness. The fact that medical science can cure any cases, let alone most cases of a variety of types, is itself a modern miracle. The fact that it can’t cure every case, or make it “just go away” painlessly, does not mean that the whole business is a fraud, nor that some shadowy cabal wants people to suffer. It means that we are still mere mortals, trying to get by in a world that’s much, much, bigger than we are.

  12. #12 clone3g
    October 10, 2006

    Wow. Stage IIa bulky nodular sclerosisng Hodgkin’s responding to radiation therapy. Would make a fascinating case report.

    You may have covered this already but how is ‘Hoxsey’ pronounced? Is it Hoax-ee the way I read it or Hox-ee as in ad hoc?

  13. #13 The Loony Bassoony
    October 10, 2006

    Modern medicine indeed does not have all the answers, and at times even the treatments with the best track record of all can fail. I’m very sorry to hear you’ve had such terrible luck with your cancer. My aunt had similarily bad luck with her breast cancer. Normally a very treatable cancer, especially caught very early as hers was, she nevertheless died of it. There is no perfect treatment.

    But please, don’t assume that because doctors are not God that they are out to rob you of your money and your quality of life. Neither is true. They are doing the best they can. I know a lot of doctors and one thing is uniformly true among them: when the treatments fail for a patient, they are not glad and they are not seeing it as an opportunity for enrichment. On the contrary, they are seeing it as a devastating personal failure. No doctor likes to see their patients in agony. That’s the whole reason most of them go into the profession — to relieve suffering, to make people whole, and to give them a long and healthy life. This means they must be people of great fortitude, because unfortunately they will not always succeed in this. Surgeons may inadvertently leave behind a bit of tumor, which the pathologist won’t detect when studying the excised tumor, and adjuvant therapy won’t always work to prevent remaining tumor cells from coming back. That’s the sad truth.

    So if modern medicine is not infallable, should you abandon it? No. There is nothing that is infallable, and modern medicine has a much better track record than the alternatives. That said, it is not always harmful to try alternatives, and of course healthy living is always worthwhile. (If nothing else, getting exercise and eating healthy can improve your mood, and that alone is enough to make it worthwhile.) But understand that the alternative treatments are not regulated the way that conventional medicine is. You do not have the same guarantees. The old adage of “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) holds very true. Make sure you do your research, and if you want to try alternative therapies in conjunction with conventional ones, make sure your oncologist knows. Even the most “natural” of therapies can interact with conventional therapies, sometimes to the detriment of both.

    But I have to say that sometimes it is worth saying no to all therapies, and to choose dignity. My aunt, who died of breast cancer, kept trying to cure her cancer by conventional means right up until her death, long after any hope of cure had been exhausted. Her last few months were far more painful than they needed to be, in my opinion.

    Going back to Orac’s initial post, there is a quote saying that mankind survived just fine for thousands of years without modern medicine. This is quite true, as long as one is looking at the species and not the individuals. Mankind survived, but most individual people did not. In those days, one had a less than 50% chance of surviving to reproductive age. Women commonly died in childbirth, which is why it was so much more common in those days for a man to take multiple wives — he needed several to ensure that at least one would be with him in his old age (which in those days was the early 40s). Simple bone fractures were often fatal due to infection. Whole towns were emptied by plagues because no one knew how to avoid spreading contagion. Heck, the population explosion of the 20th Century is evidence enough that individual humans most certainly did not get along fine without modern medicine. Some did, enough to propagate the species, but the majority died young.

    Orac also quotes a statement that “traditional medicine is not so traditional”, with the original author asserting that it’s only been around since the Industrial Revolution. This is not entirely true. While most of the advances we are familiar with occured in the past century, the roots of conventional Western medicine actually go back thousands of years, to ancient Egypt (esp. the legendary Imhotep) and ancient Greece (esp. Hippocrates, who authored the oath still used by physicians today). The only difference in modern medicine is that it has benefitted tremendously from the intellectual rigor of science.

  14. #14 David Harmon
    October 10, 2006

    A bunch of great comments here, but I’d especially like to praise Brian, as he provided the proper “other half” to my melancholy comments.

  15. #15 Dina Sanchez
    October 10, 2006

    Brian, I did NOT say I was in the minority and kindly don’t put words in my mouth. By saying that “Dina thinks she in the minority” is a big assumption. NO, I don’t think I am in the minority. I live in the real world and I am a realist, so don’t presume what you think I believe. I just asked what is the answer here to getting cured? Traditional medicine is not personally working for me and my doctors are looking at me like they don’t know what to do now.

    Chemo made me so sick and so did the bone marrow transplant to the point I had to be hospitalized. I almost felt my days were numbered. How do I tell my mother I am not cured when all the doctors told her my disease is curable?

    Please don’t presume to make assumptions about me or presume that you know my personal struggles. Everyone with cancer goes through their personal hell and it’s NOT a measuring game. YES, others have gone through worse, but what I am saying is that in response to this article, traditional medicine does not always help. It can give you a few more ailments in your lifetime before it kills the cancer and part of you.

    Also, I did not know that this was a contest on whose post is better. Respect our personal opinions, please and don’t presume that you know me or my personal struggles by making assumptions. You may gone through more, but it doesn’t make my struggles less. Good luck to you in getting cured. We are now guinea pigs to modern medicine.

  16. #16 Steve Watson
    October 10, 2006

    A reply to the quoted alt-idiots who think we were better off before antibiotics: out of my immediate family of four, probably only one of us would be alive today without them.

    Case histories:

    When my older son was about 1yo, he developed a low fever and a swelling around one eye — but otherwise seemed pretty happy. Our GP frowned a bit, diagnosed “periorbital cellulitis”, and sent us home with the usual scrip for amoxicillin. No big deal — or so we thought until a few years later we read an article in SciAm. The author (son of an MD) related how in his father’s day a child would sometimes present with a fever and orbital swelling — and the doctor would have the sad task of telling the parents that this currently merely mildly-ill child would be dead in a month, and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. Without an effective treatment, periorbital cellulitis eventually spreads to the brain.

    My wife figures she would have died of some childhood infection or other.

    As for me, I would likely have died of peritonitis 10 years back, when my appendix burst, were it not for a course of Flagyl and Cipro. Flagyl in particular is nasty stuff — but way better than dying in abdominal agony and febrile convulsions.

    OK, personal testimonial is worth very little in medicine — except that in thise case, that testimonial agrees with similar stories from millions of patients, and systematic studies of what works and what doesn’t. So the anti-antibiotic-ists can go stuff it, as far as I’m concerned.

  17. #17 Skeptyk
    October 10, 2006

    Abraham’s father seems to continue to show ignorance of very basic biology, evidenced by this quote: “It’s not like having a cold and you take antibiotics for it.”

    I wrote a fable about the Cherrix case. http://www.metaphoria.org/ac4t0608.html
    I wish him well.

    I have been hospitalized only twice: once for an idiopathic seizure (37 years ago) and once for pneumonia (21 years ago). The seizure sucked but the pneumococcus could easily have killed me. Penicillin saved my life. (Nope, not a “cold”, Jay, bacterial pneumonia.)

    Gentamycin caused severe hearing loss in my son, steroids contributed to his osteoporosis, I could go on. And on. There have been damages from diseases and damages from treatments, but we are all glad he is a short, somewhat bent, man with a torso crosshatched with surgical scars instead of a dead infant, dead toddler, dead little kid, dead teenager…all the things he came close to.

  18. #18 tim gueguen
    October 10, 2006

    Much to my surprise I spotted a pro Hoxsey video in the main branch of the Saskatoon Public Library today. I was walking past the video section and out of the corner of my eye I spotted what looked like the word Hoxsey. I walked over to take a look, assuming it would be something else, but it actually was a vid about the Hoxsey treatment. From the blurb on the box it looks like its your typical “them evil mainstream mediciners are suppressing THE TROOOOOTH!!!!!” conspiracy mongering.

  19. #19 epador
    October 10, 2006

    Anyone care to reminisce about the Oscopal Effect? [forgive me if I misspelled it]

    Back in the good ol’ days of Cobalt Therapy and before, folks would point RT at one Hodgkin’s tumor and they’d all shrink.

    Miraculous, you say? Eventually it was attributed to scattered RT.

    Dina, I am sorry you have not had a curative experience. Without your treatments, you’d be dead already. And not around to expound on this blog. Is that what you are really wishing for?

  20. #20 Alison
    October 11, 2006

    Unfortunately, and I think this can be attributed in part to the publicity the Cherrix case has been given, I’ve been seeing a number of articles in newspapers about “alternative” treatments. None of them specifically said this or that treatment was >effective<, but the fact that each one interviewed the doctor or provider and let him describe how his treatment “worked” gives credence to the idea that the treatment actually is, well, a “working treament”. Just this past week, a doctor who administers vitamin C cancer treatments got nearly a half page of free press. I’d imagine that this will be happening with increasing frequency until enough people suffer the consequences and it’s exposed as ineffective. Unlike the fads for “low cholesterol” or “low carb” or whatever “healthy lifestyle choice” people are buying into, this one will leave behind a lot worse things than flabby bellies.

  21. #21 The Cheerful Oncologist
    October 12, 2006

    To Dina:

    “Why do “they” say we’re so close to finding a cure when it’s all bunch of BS. The industry wants us ill so they can make their billions off cancer-inflicted people like myself and not only does the cancer industry make money, the doctors make money of CHEMO!! If I had to choose again…I would NOT choose chemotherapy and put myself to an early grave to make the industry richer and the oncologists even richer. I would choose alternative medicines regardless of your personal views.”

    “84% survive 5 years for Hodgkin’s Disease in the US 1992-99 (Cancer Facts and Figures, American Cancer Society, 2004)”

    My heart goes out to anyone who has suffered from Hodgkin lymphoma. I have a fairly good understanding of the misery Hodgkin lymphoma brings, but do not know what it is like to take chemotherapy, therefore I do respect a patient’s decision to not take traditional chemotherapy.

    When it comes to putting up or shutting up, however, I am proud of traditional chemotherapy. For example, if I walk into a room of 100 patients diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma I can state with absolute confidence the following: “About 84 of you are going to be cured.” (The actual figure for 2006 is probably higher).

    Show me where alternative medical therapy produces the same cure rate and I’ll think twice about using chemotherapy. Until then, I’m recommending it to my patients.

  22. #22 Inquisitive Raven
    October 12, 2006

    Interesting that you should bring up the 1918 flu pandemic. If the history that I read (The Great Influenza by John Barry) is correct, then a lot of those healthy young men died of their immune response to the virus. Of course, a lot of them also died of secondary infections like assorted bacterial pneumonias…

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