Respectful Insolence

I was contemplating how to get back into the swing of things as far as getting the blogging juices flowing again after the unfortunate events of the last few days, given how much my last post drained me. I suppose I could have dived into the infamous PZ versus the cracker incident, but, quite frankly, the utter ridiculousness and childishness of the whole affair bored and disgusted me too much, although I don’t rule out a brief post about it later today or tomorrow (that is, if anyone even still cares). If I do, I guarantee that my take on the whole kerfluffle will make no one happy, but it would get something off my chest that managed to bug me even last week.

Then I visited Mike Adam’s militant house of insanity known as NaturalNews.com to catch up on what “exploits” he had been up to during the days when I had been paying very little attention at all to my usual blogging pursuits. Rarely have I been as infuriated by an article I found there. My outrage, no doubt, was stoked by what had just happened. Even though Echo was a dog, cancer had just claimed a member of my family mere days ago. There I was, hating cancer more than ever because not only had one of my aunts died of it a few months ago but now my beloved dog had fallen victim to it, and then what should I see, but an “alt-med” cultist in essence pissing on my entire profession just because he saw an opening given him by the death of a famous person.

You may recall that last year I wrote about Tony Snow, the news pundit who served a brief stint as President Bush’s Press Secretary, at least until his colorectal cancer came back about 15 months ago. It turns out that Snow died of his disease over the weekend at the too-young age of 53, as I found out when several people e-mailed me links to stories about it. Indeed, he lasted about as long as one would expect a person with a presentation of metastatic colorectal cancer such as his to last, and from what I can tell he died of liver failure due to metastases. Regardless of what I thought of his politics, I felt bad for him, given his relatively young age and particularly knowing right from hearing his announcement about the return of his cancer last year that his prognosis was almost certainly quite dismal, given the information I could glean from the news reports at the time.

What irritated me is what happened next. Just as surely as day follows night and night follows day again, whenever a famous person dies of cancer soon afterward will appear the despicable ghouls looking to make score points against “conventional medicine” through the death. Sadly, Tony Snow’s death was no different, and his body was not even room temperature before the “alternative” medicine anti-chemotherapy ghouls were given voice at Mike Adam’s repository of pseudoscientific lies and misinformation in an article entitled Tony Snow Dies Following Chemotherapy for Colon Cancer (opinion), written by the lying webmaster of craziness himself, Mike Adams. Adams couldn’t even at least wait until Snow had been given a decent burial to try to spin Tony Snow’s death as “evidence” that chemotherapy “doesn’t work” and that there is a vast government-big pharma conspiracy to “poison” cancer patients and hide from them “natural cures” that do “work.” Indeed, it was eerily similar to the way he and Dr. Joseph Mercola tried to use Tim Russert’s sudden death from a heart attack as “evidence” that prescription medications for heart disease “don’t work,” either. You’ll get the idea from the very first sentence:

To anyone keeping count, the number of high-profile personalities and celebrities dying while under the care of conventional doctors and oncologists is truly staggering. Some of the more notable deaths in recent memory include actor Heath Ledger’s death following the consumption of doctor-prescribed medications, CNBC anchor Tim Russert’s death while on cardiovascular medications, and even Anna Nicole Smith’s death caused by a lethal combination of FDA-approved prescription medications.

Now, former White House press secretary Tony Snow has died at the young age of 53 following chemotherapy treatment for colon cancer. For reasons we will never know, Tony Snow chose the chemotherapy route in an attempt to treat his colon cancer, subjecting his body to systemic poisons that all the evidence shows produce absolutely no improvement in the five-year survival rate of colon cancer patients. And depending on the type of tumor, chemotherapy can actually accelerate the death of patients, killing them far more quickly than if they had done nothing(1).

There is, of course, no evidence that celebrities and politicians (or, as Adams put it, “high-profile personalities)” suffer from or die of cancer at a rate any more frequent than that of the general population, adjusted for age, race, and other risk factors. Arguably, they probably do better because they tend to be at a higher socioeconomic status and to have access to the best health care in the world. The reason they’re more noticeable when they die of cancer because, well, they’re famous people. The media reports it when they are diagnosed with cancer, reports it if they appear to have survived, and reports it when they die. Sometimes, like Tony Snow, cancer-stricken celebrities show up on TV and radio talk shows to discuss their struggle with cancer. There’s nothing magical about this appearance that lots of celebrities get cancer and nothing to suggest that celebrities are more prone to cancer or likely to die from it than anyone else. Let’s put it this way. It certainly seems that celebrities are dying all the time, but most people don’t rate a news report or a write-up in the New York Times after they die. When I die, there won’t be tributes from celebrities being televised, and no one but my family, friends, and coworkers are likely to care.

As for Tony Snow’s choice of chemotherapy, there really wasn’t any other treatment that had a chance of slowing down his cancer and modestly prolonging his life. I’m sure his doctors probably told him that his disease was almost certainly incurable. I say “almost” certainly because I didn’t (and still don’t) know enough about the anatomic extent of his recurrence. My interpretation from what I could read at the time his recurrence was announced was that he had tumor in the abdominal cavity near his liver and growing into his liver. If that was true, his disease was almost surely incurable by any means. If it was metastatic only to the liver and nowhere else, he might have had a chance of long term survival through surgical resection of the metastases. Indeed, that Snow apparently never underwent a liver resection strongly suggested to me that he did have carcinomatosis; i.e., tumor growing in his abdominal cavity, having spread along the peritoneal membrane. While there are surgeons, such as Dr. Paul Sugarbaker, who will attempt incredibly aggressive surgery to resect all visible tumor deposits and then infuse chemotherapy directly into the peritoneal cavity to try to kill any leftover deposits of tumor, long-term survivors undergoing such procedures are rare and, in my opinion, good results from such radical and aggressive procedures are very likely more a matter of careful patient selection than a reliable increase in survival. These were the same issues that I discussed when examining the unfortunate case of Karen Pasqualetto, an even younger woman with the same type of cancer and a similar dire prognosis.

If you want to see how mendacious, how deceptive, how disingenuous, how utterly vile Mike Adams is, though, look no further than the article he cites to demonstrate that “chemotherapy is useless.” Not surprisingly, it shows nothing of the sort. Equally unsurprisingly, Adams does not provide a link to the study, only a cryptic list of authors and a title. Anyone who wants to find out what the study really concludes would have to do some work, and Adams knows that most people won’t.

I will, however.

The study in question was actually reported reasonably well in this article, and the study was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting a month and a half ago. It hasn’t been published as an article yet. From my perspective, there are three reasons why citing this study to support an argument that chemotherapy is useless against colorectal cancer is about as deceptive as it gets. Here’s the first reason: It shows no such thing, and in fact, except for a subset of patients, it shows exactly the opposite. Basically, what the study found is that if there is a defect in the DNA mismatch repair system in colorectal cancer (labeled dMMR for “defective mismatch repair,” as compared to tumors with an intact DNA mismatch repair system, which were labeled pMMR), then there is no benefit due to one kind of chemotherapy when it is given as adjuvant therapy. Moreover, part of the results of the study show that chemotherapy does in fact prolong survival in the vast majority of patients (84%) who do not harbor the genetic defect under study:

For their study, the researchers analyzed data from more than 1,000 men, 16 per cent of whom had dMMR tumours.

They found that the patients who had the chromosomal instability type of tumour and who were treated with chemotherapy had a five-year survival rate of 74 per cent. Those who did not receive chemotherapy had a five-year survival rate of 66 per cent.

For patients who do harbor the dMMR-type of tumor (the tumor defective in DNA mismatch repair):

However, among those with dMMR tumours, the five-year survival rate with chemotherapy was 75 per cent compared to a 93 per cent survival rate among those that did not receive chemotherapy.

“We think it is very important for patients and their doctors to have this information before considering treatment in a patient with stage II colon cancer,” Daniel Sargent, a Mayo Clinic biostatistician, said in a statement.

“It could save patients the toxicity, inconvenience and expense of treatment from which they will receive no benefit.”

The study says that before diagnosing a treatment regimen, doctors should test stage II colon cancer patients to determine which tumour subtype they have. In stage II cancer, the disease has not yet spread to the lymph nodes.

Note that the difference between 75% and 93% was not statistically significant due to small numbers. In essence, the study found that for patients with dMMR tumors successfully resected surgically chemotherapy provides no additional benefit in terms of improving survival. But for the vast majority of patients, this study confirmed that adjuvant chemotherapy prolongs survival in appropriately selected patients with colorectal cancer.

Now here’s the second aspect of this that shows that Mike Adams is either a liar or utterly clueless (take your pick). This study looked at only one form of chemotherapy. True, it was the predominant chemotherapy regimen until a few years ago, and the drug 5-FU is still the mainstay of most chemotherapy regimens, but at worst this study shows that 5-FU-based chemotherapy regimens don’t help in the adjuvant therapy of dMMR-type colorectal cancer. Other chemotherapy regimens, such as the newer ones being used with reasonable success these days may well be just as effective in these tumors. Indeed, drugs designed to target the repair defects in dMMR tumors might actually be more active against these tumors and result in a significant prolongation of survival. We won’t know until we do more research.

That’s what scientists do. We try to find out where our therapies are doing good and where they’re not doing so good and then try to make them better. In this case, it means identifying a molecular subtype of colorectal cancer that makes it resistant to standard adjuvant chemotherapy regimens. Good scientists then try to use their evidence to persuade physicians to adopt their method to improve the care of cancer patients. Meanwhile, they are also frank about the limitations of their studies and point to new unanswered questions that require study.

The final nail in the coffin burying what little integrity Adams may have had is that he confuses different uses of chemotherapy. The study Adams cited examined adjuvant chemotherapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy is given to cancer patients after successful surgical extirpation of the tumor. Its purpose is not primary treatment, but rather to “clean up” any microscopic deposits of tumor that may have spread from the primary tumor mass and thereby prolong overall survival and disease-free survival. This is very different in intent than the chemotherapy given to Tony Snow, who already had stage IV disease involving more than just the liver. In that situation, chemotherapy is the primary treatment, and the intent tends to be palliative from the beginning, because we know the disease is no longer curable. However, time of survival and quality of life can both be significantly improved by the new generation of chemotherapeutic, antiangiogenic, and targeted therapies, as The Cheerful Oncologist pointed out last year. In fact, I liked The Cheerful Oncologist’s posts so much that I’m going to steal the graph that he stole from this article to drive the point home:

i-a4ae03086c45e87e57b462fec4bd36c1-crcsurvival.gif

As one can see, the survival for untreated metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) is in the range of 4-6 months. Older adjuvant chemotherapy regimens could result in median survivals of approximately 12 months. Over the last decade or so, recently developed chemotherapy regimens have pushed the median survival to nearly two years. In fact, my best friend’s father is evidence of that. He has metastatic colorectal cancer but has been doing well for quite a while now. He even still plays golf regularly. He knows that sooner or later his cancer will claim him, but in the meantime he’s enjoying his life for as long as possible, which is all that any of us can really do. As the authors conclude:

FU has been the cornerstone of treatment for mCRC for over 40 years. In the past few years, the introduction of more effective chemotherapeutic agents and targeted agents with their promising activities and mild toxicity profiles has pushed the overall median survival time from 12 months to 2 years. However, as discussed, there are still many challenges facing oncologists. Research is ongoing to understand these issues, and significant advances are expected through the implementation of well-designed clinical trials and continued preclinical investigation.

It was science that accomplished this. Not the outrageous quackery that flows from the servers holding Mike Adam’s gigabytes of anti-science blather. Science. Not homepathy, reiki, herbal remedies, vitamin concoctions or any other manner of cancer quackery. It was science. That we can’t cure colorectal cancer once it’s metastasized is a remaining challenge to be overcome. If this challenge is to be overcome, it is science that will overcome it, not woo. To argue that chemotherapy never works and kills more cancer patients than it saves, as Mike Adams does, is a lie. Remember, Adams isn’t just saying that chemotherapy sometimes does no good or that it’s too often used in situations where we know it won’t do any good. Those would be reasonable criticisms, but Adams is not a reasonable man. In fact, if Mike Adams truly believes this stuff, he is deluded. If he doesn’t, he’s a liar. Either way he’s wrong, and his propaganda is dangerous to cancer patients in that he frightens patients away from therapies that might actually prolong their lives and improve the quality of life of the remaining time they have left, while trying to lead them down the same sort of pursuit of quackery that has resulted in cancer patients dying who might have survived.

Of course, this is Mike Adams. Just when you think he can’t get any more stupid, he straps on some stupid-fueled rockets and blasts his stupid into the stratosphere and beyond. Indeed, after this article, no doubt Adams’ stupid is still orbiting the earth, lowering the IQ of people unfortunate enough to live directly under where it passes.

Sadly, Mr. Snow was apparently unaware that colon cancer is rather easily cured with plant-based medicines. By avoiding toxic chemicals, animal products and dangerous prescription medications while switching to a nutrient-dense diet of raw, living green juices from fresh vegetables, virtually anyone can reverse colon cancer (unless, of course, they’ve already gone through chemotherapy, which causes permanent damage to their immune system).

Fresh vegetable juices are absolutely loaded with anti-cancer phytonutrients: Broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach, celery and even citrus fruits and berries have such powerful anti-cancer properties that Big Pharma’s highly toxic chemicals, by comparison, don’t even compare (www.NaturalNews.com/anti-cancer_foods.html). Had Tony Snow adopted a raw, vegan diet and engaged in high-volume vegetable juicing immediately upon learning of his colon cancer diagnosis, I have no doubt he would still be alive today.

How convenient. If you’ve already tried effective therapy, according to Adams, there is no hope that plant-based medicines can help you. It’s also a lie that any of the things Adams mentions can reliably reverse or cure colorectal cancer. If this were true and it was so straightforward to cure colorectal cancer, where, I ask Adams, are all the survivors? The crickets chirp loudly, don’t they? Either that, or Adams will point to people who had successful surgical resection of their tumors but eschewed chemotherapy, which is nothing more than the same sort of deception that is frequently used in breast cancer testimonials for alternative therapies. Just as with breast cancer, the surgery cures the cancer, and chemotherapy is the icing on the cake that decreases the chances of the cancer coming back. In any case, there is no evidence that any of the modalities mentioned by Adams would do one whit against full-fledged metastatic colorectal cancer or that Snow would still be alive today if he had only listened to Adams and followed a raw vegan diet.

What twaddle!

You’re probably wondering if Adams can sink any lower in this article. That would be the sort of question a reasonable person would ask, but, as I pointed out earlier, Mike Adams is not a reasonable person. There appear to be no depths to which he would not sink if doing so would allow him to attack “conventional” medicine. Not content with mere stupidity, he has to turn utterly vile. First he mentions that the President of the American Medical Association was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and chose to undergo palliative chemotherapy, which is true. It is well known that pancreatic cancer is deadly, and in essence no one survives if the cancer cannot be completely removed by surgery. That does not imply that chemotherapy is useless, as it can provide palliation and a slight prolongation of life, even in pancreatic cancer. Not that that stops Adams from waxing wroth:

Chemotherapy is quackery, too, and those who choose to poison their own bodies with extremely toxic synthetic chemicals are blindly following nothing more than the lies and deceptions of the cancer industry (which preys upon consumers, invoking fear to convert human beings into corporate profits).

People who die from chemotherapy are, in fact, collectively winning the Darwin Award. To poison your own body with dangerous chemicals isn’t “medicine” or “treatment.” It’s not courageous or considered. It’s just plain stupid. As is most of modern medicine.

Stabbing your eye with a fork is stupid. X-raying your feet to see if your shoes fit is stupid. Drinking mercury to cure “evil spirits” is stupid. And shooting up your veins with extremely toxic chemicals is stupid, too. Oncologists can wear the costumes of doctors; they can speak a high-brow-sounding language of technical jargon; they can even be licensed by the State; but in the end, they are just as stupid as a guy who bungie jumps off a bridge with cord wrapped around his neck. (Bungie jumping has far fewer fatalities than chemotherapy, by the way…)

No, taking Mike Adams’ word seriously about anything having to do with medicine is stupid, as would be relying on any therapy advocated by Mike Adams. It’s a good rule of thumb, at least, though. I have yet to find an exception. Mike Adams even has a hard time getting it right about whether or not vitamin D supplementation might be beneficial. Indeed, if you want to win the Darwin Award, listening to Mike Adams about health would be a far better way to go about doing it than almost anything I can think of, short of a spectacular flaming end in a real life version of the the infamous JATO urban legend.

What is left? How low can Adams go, you might ask? Surely you can guess. When someone like Adams gets this low, there’s only one path left that he can travel to sink even lower:

It’s silly to honor someone just because they’ve died. What matters is what they did when they lived. Would you honor Hitler at his grave? Of course not. People like Hitler deserve condemnation long after they’ve passed away. So what about Hitler press secretary? Does that person deserve honor upon passing, or is scorn more appropriate?

Having read this article, I had considered doing a Hitler Zombie attack on Mike Adams, except that he’s used overblown Hitler analogies so often that I can only conclude that the fetid Führer has chomped so much of his brain that there’s nothing left–except perhaps the hypothalamus (so that he can keep breathing) and perhaps a reflex to his typing hand sufficient to let him churn out his spew in much the same way that the proverbial millions of monkeys could produce the works of Shakespeare if given enough time. Fortunately, this isn’t the work of Shakespeare; all Adams’ work requires is the ability to type terms like “allopathic,” “poison,” “natural cures,” and “big pharma conspiracy” at random, with the occasional verb. In any case, in so enthusiastically invoking Godwin’s law, Adams shows just how intellectually bankrupt he is.

Finally, in a statement that utterly shattered my irony meter, leaving nothing more than molten plastic and rubber, bare coppery wires, and a vaguely quivering needle begging for mercy, Adams finishes:

What, I ask you, did Tony Snow ever do to benefit humankind? I can’t think of a single thing. In fact, his actions actually went a long way towards deceiving humankind.

I don’t believe in a literal place called Hell, but from listening to some of George Bush’s religious comments, it’s pretty clear that he does. And that means he and Tony Snow will someday be meeting there in a new, fiery briefing room. Maybe Tony Snow can serve as the press secretary for Satan himself!

Of course, for Mike Adams, whose actions go a long way towards deceiving mankind himself, to accuse anyone of lying or deception is a case of “pot, kettle, black.” So is his question of what Tony Snow ever did to benefit human kind. After all, I can’t think of a single thing that Adams has done to benefit humankind, but I can think of a lot of things he’s written and promoted that are harmful to anyone seeking care for serious medical conditions. If Adams thinks that Tony Snow can be the press secretary for Satan himself, I submit to you that if there’s a Hell, Mike Adams after he finally dies will be serving in it as the medical advisor “for Satan himself.”

It would certainly be appropriate. After all, if you believe in ghouls, you already know that Hell is where they come from and Hell is where they end up.

Comments

  1. #1 leigh
    July 16, 2008

    this is the first time i have read your blog, and i had to comment because i couldn’t agree more about people like adams. his article made me ill.

    if i hear one more person tell me how clear it is that drugs do nothing but harm and “why not try the natural side rather than wait 20 years for clinical studies to come out proving what we already know, that plants cure xxx disease,” i don’t know how well i will be able to prevent my eyes from rolling any farther back into my head.

  2. #2 Yoo
    July 16, 2008

    While I find it distasteful to disparage Tony Snow because of politics when he just died, I find it at least understandable. But the way that Mike Adams takes advantage of his death for his own profit and to spread misinformation is utterly despicable.

  3. #3 Christophe Thill
    July 16, 2008

    Isn’t this rant against oncologists defamation of a whole profession? I suppose oncologists have some sort of professional association that ould take action? Or would it make this crank too great a honor?

  4. #4 Calli Arcale
    July 16, 2008

    Sadly, Mr. Snow was apparently unaware that colon cancer is rather easily cured with plant-based medicines. By avoiding toxic chemicals, animal products and dangerous prescription medications while switching to a nutrient-dense diet of raw, living green juices from fresh vegetables, virtually anyone can reverse colon cancer (unless, of course, they’ve already gone through chemotherapy, which causes permanent damage to their immune system).

    I laughed out loud when I read this passage, because it reminded me of nothing more than a young adult book series that I read when I was in grade school — “Bunnicula” and “The Celery Stalks At Midnight” — about a cute, adorable bunny rabbit with sharp fangs (not the incisors one usually expects in a lagomorph) who fed by draining the juices out of vegetables, leaving them strangely pale and limp, with two fang marks in them . . . .

  5. #5 Jon
    July 16, 2008

    Pshaw. Mike Adams is just a shill for Big Veggie. Of course he would tell us to stop buying medicine and instead spend it on vegetables. It’s a conspiracy to lower the supply of vegetables, thereby increasing the prices–more money for Mike Adams, eh?!

  6. #6 DLC
    July 16, 2008

    Holy Crap! Adams really believes this ?
    Or is he just spewing a malignant load of horse manure in an innertubes way of yelling “hey ! Lookit Me Lookit Me!” ?

    PS: Orac — the whole PZ Myers vs the Cracker thing got way out of hand real quick. Tempest in a teapot comest to mind, but perhaps I missed something.

  7. #7 Bee
    July 16, 2008

    I’m so glad you have this blog. I harbour infinite contempt for people like Adams, knowing how such twaddle can affect people who are fighting cancer. About ten years ago, a young woman I knew died of breast cancer within four months of diagnosis, because she refused conventional treatments, instead going to some woo clinic in the US for ‘herbal, diet, and reiki therapy’. Compared to her experience, I directly know probably a couple dozen women who have survived breast cancer (through recognized treatment) for twenty years or more, and likely will continue to survive.

    For those whose cancers are really still incurable, I’ve seen lives prolonged a year or two, and IMO, a year is worth while. I’ve unfortunately seen a case where someone did continue with conventional treatment for pancreatic cancer, but also spent desperate weeks searching for some miracle herbal cure, including spending hundreds of dollars on some useless nostrum sold on the internet. That victim’s final chemotherapy sessions produced a particularly horrific and painful reaction, and since I know little of what can be expected of chemo, being a layperson, I’ve wondered if the garbage she ingested was partly responsible.

    I point people here when they start telling me about woo medicine. Sometimes it makes a difference.

  8. #8 Niobe
    July 16, 2008

    sn’t this rant against oncologists defamation of a whole profession? I suppose oncologists have some sort of professional association that could take action? Or would it make this crank too great a honor?

    That would give him opportunity to play the “they couldn’t attack my claims so they attack me personally” card. Total backfire.

  9. #9 D. C. Sessions
    July 16, 2008

    I’m so glad you have this blog. I harbour infinite contempt for people like Adams, knowing how such twaddle can affect people who are fighting cancer. About ten years ago, a young woman I knew died of breast cancer within four months of diagnosis, because she refused conventional treatments, instead going to some woo clinic in the US for ‘herbal, diet, and reiki therapy’. Compared to her experience, I directly know probably a couple dozen women who have survived breast cancer (through recognized treatment) for twenty years or more, and likely will continue to survive.

    And the tools like Adams continue to point out that their woo never fails:
    “What,” you say — “where is the evidence?” And they point to the total absence of any records of failure.
    “What,” you say — “absense of evidence is not evidence of absence!” Nobody cares.

    Your acquaintance is not in any records as having been treated by woo, so Adams is still batting 1000.

  10. #10 Jeph
    July 16, 2008

    I’m married to one of those breast cancer survivors (diagnosed a couple of months after she turned 30, will be 5 years from diagnosis a couple of months from now), and this sort of thing really infuriates me. Since cancer survival rates have, to my knowledge, been going straight up for the past several decades, what alternative explanation does Adams offer to conventional medicine? Veggies? Leprechauns? Pookas?

    Watching someone you love undergo chemotherapy is no fun. My wife hated it so much that they had to sedate her, so I got to sit with her each time. She never wanted to go (Any Harry Potter fans in the room? Remember the scene in Half-Blood Prince where Dumbledore drinks Voldemort’s nasty potion? That reminded me of chemo). I’ve always suspected that cranks spewing nonsense would make undergoing the treatment even harder.

    But four and a half years later she’s alive and well, and not a sign of cancer. My wife is alive because of evidence-based medicine in the hands of skilled doctors. In fact, there’s something I’ve meant to say here since the first time I read Respectful Insolence: Thanks, Orac. My wife wasn’t one of your patients, but as far as I’m concerned, you’re still one of the good guys.

  11. #11 D. C. Sessions
    July 16, 2008

    I’m married to one of those breast cancer survivors (diagnosed a couple of months after she turned 30, will be 5 years from diagnosis a couple of months from now), and this sort of thing really infuriates me. Since cancer survival rates have, to my knowledge, been going straight up for the past several decades, what alternative explanation does Adams offer to conventional medicine? Veggies? Leprechauns? Pookas?

    There are several answers.

    To begin with, ignore the case survival rates and focus on the increasing position of cancer in the Top Ten causes of mortality list.

    If you can’t ignore the survival rate, take Orac’s point about lead-time and rate bias and use it to discredit the data.

    Far from finally (but I’ll stop here) point out that the increase in survival correlates nicely with the adoption of woo-icine in developed countries and give credit to woo.

  12. #12 Jeph
    July 16, 2008

    If at first you don’t succeed, manipulate the data. Granted, scientists do that, too (Although somewhere out there, someone must be saying even now, “Well, that hypothesis was crap.”), but that’s what peer review is for.

  13. #13 BB
    July 16, 2008

    Someone inform Adams that there are plant-based poisons (curare, anyone?).
    Or just send him a plant- as a gift of course.

  14. #14 rjb
    July 16, 2008

    I just have to second, third, and fourth, etc., what everyone else here is saying. My mother is a two-time cancer survivor (first ovarian, then breast), both striking in her 40’s. She’s now retired, in her mid-60’s with no further recurrence and is an avid hiker and skier. Conventional medicine, including chemotherapy, worked amazingly well for her.

  15. #15 Liesl
    July 16, 2008

    Oh! I know what’s causing more cancer in celebrities: Gaffer tape. They must all be exposed to it so it must be the thing that is causing all of that cancer. Let’s go picket a tape factory and make the world aware of the evils of gaffer tape. Who’s with me?

    Adams is turning into the Fred Phelps of altie culture.

  16. #16 trrll
    July 16, 2008

    Someone inform Adams that there are plant-based poisons (curare, anyone?).
    Or just send him a plant- as a gift of course.

    “You say nothing’s right but natural things
    You fool
    Poison Oak is a natural plant
    Why don’t you put some in your food?”

    –Grace Slick & Jorma Kakonen (Jefferson Airplane)

  17. #17 Michael
    July 16, 2008

    Does Mike Adams make much money off his site? He sells Google Adwords, email software, LED bulbs, and presumably gets some speaking fees. I am baffled why he is so motivated an prolific in spreading his crazy views — perhaps ego? He doesn’t appear to actually sell vitamins or supplements.

    Great post by the way.

  18. #18 PDF
    July 16, 2008

    Boy, all these long words after a long day with little kids gives me a headache. I’m a 17 year breast cancer survivor, lumpectomy and radiation, and I’m happy that I’m still here. But when I do go I’m seeing Tony Snow in Heaven. There is a Hell for Bad People…..Adams??………only God knows which he is. I just wish people would say nothing if they can’t say nice things about Tony. He lived his life with good humour and a smile and treated everyone well. Please give his family some respect. He has passed but his family is still here to read this Garbage.

  19. #19 Rebecca
    July 16, 2008

    Orac, thank you for your kindness and respect for everyone with cancer. Also, thank you for your treatment of those with cancer and your research on fighting cancer. My mother and aunt both died of lung cancer, another good friend as well (for him, it was only diagnosed a month before he died), and I’ve had several friends die of breast cancer (metastatic). Another friend is now living well after treatment for lymphoma.

  20. #20 Marilyn Mann
    July 16, 2008

    Orac,

    One thing I am wondering is how many people actually read Mike Adams and take him seriously. Do you have any sense of this?

    Marilyn

  21. #21 Dangerous Bacon
    July 16, 2008

    “The final nail in the coffin burying what little integrity Adams may have had…”

    Sorry, but what micron-sized shreds of integrity might have been left were buried back when Adams announced that scientists _know_ that human papillomavirus doesn’t cause cervical cancer, but are pushing the HPV vaccine regardless because they are, well, evil.

    With the comments about Tony Snow, clearly he is beginning to morph into an altie version of Fred Phelps (the Westboro Baptist Church guy who shows up at funerals of fallen soldiers to proclaim that they are going to hell for violating Fred’s screwy beliefs).

    Mike Adams’ stupidity makes a fun target, but at some point maybe it’s better to ignore his garbage, assuming it’s just fermenting on his website and among crazies like the CureZoners.

  22. #22 mırc
    July 16, 2008

    Thanks..

  23. #23 yoyo
    July 17, 2008

    I had never heard of this poisonous creep before. I thought you were talking about the other poisonous mike adams from townhall infamy, that one hates gays and feminists, this one hates sick people, doctors and sanity. isn’t it illegal to plug lies as cancer treatments. I know the debate is strong in melbourne aus at the moment. maybe this creep gets away with it because he’s not pushing his own product?

  24. #24 Patrick Caldon
    July 17, 2008

    “Pshaw. Mike Adams is just a shill for Big Veggie.”

    This is hilarious! I’m going to steal this line.

  25. #25 Dianne
    July 17, 2008

    Mr. Snow was apparently unaware that colon cancer is rather easily cured with plant-based medicines.

    Unfortunately, it isn’t. However, a number of cancers can be treated and sometimes cured with a variety of plant based medicines (taxol, taxotere, vincristine, vinblastine, navelbine, etc.) But what does Adams have against 5-FU anyway? It is based on DNA, the very stuff of life itself! How perfectly natural! Not adequate to cure Mr. Snow, unfortunately*, but quite good enough to improve survival in an number of cases, as the graphic above demonstrates.

    *I’m not fond of Snow’s politics either but I find it sad when anyone dies, especially of cancer. I don’t like the disease and would gladly make my specialty obsolete if I could.

  26. #26 Mark P
    July 17, 2008

    Ghoulish, indeed. And beneath contempt. Facing cancer is hard enough for the patient and family (and I shiver every time I read about colon cancer because of my wife’s own experience – thankfully going on nine years ago) without unprincipled people like Adams giving people the idea that their loved one could have survived, if only.

    It’s interesting that you used the word “hating” about cancer. In your previous post about Echo I was going to ask if it was possible to hate a disease; I can’t think of any other word to describe how I feel about cancer.

  27. #27 Phoenix Woman
    July 17, 2008

    Sorry, but what micron-sized shreds of integrity might have been left were buried back when Adams announced that scientists _know_ that human papillomavirus doesn’t cause cervical cancer, but are pushing the HPV vaccine regardless because they are, well, evil.

    WTF?

    (head explodes)

  28. #28 Dangerous Bacon
    July 18, 2008

    From “The Great HPV Vaccine Hoax Exposed” (I’m not going to link to this particular Adams compost heap of ignorance, but it’s easily found via Google):

    “The FDA has, for four years, known that HPV was not the cause of cervical cancer.”

    There are plenty of other grotesque inanities in the report, but that statement tends to stick in your mind.

  29. #29 albatross
    July 18, 2008

    Arguments just get so much easier when you can attribute otherwise-inexplicable actions to evil.

    Q: “But then, why do doctors overwhelmingly vaccinate their own kids?”

    A: “Because they’re evil.”

  30. #30 TheProbe
    July 18, 2008

    Big Veggie is a front organization for BigFarma. I thought you all knew that.

    And, for DCS:

    Your acquaintance is not in any records as having been treated by woo, so Adams is still batting 1000.

    That would be batting 1.000. Remember, we pay baseball players millions to get on base on 3 times out of ten.

  31. #31 Dianne
    July 19, 2008

    Q: “But then, why do doctors overwhelmingly vaccinate their own kids?”

    And why do they overwhelmingly vaccinate themselves? (Or have themselves be vaccinated anyway.)

  32. #32 Dave
    July 19, 2008

    About 10 years ago, around the time Linda McCartney died, I remember overhearing an idiot holding forth at a table in a restaurant about how she “was a vegetarian, but she died!”. Like, the fact that she wasn’t immortal was some kind of death-blow to vegetarianism.

    Some months later I was on a bus and, to my astonishment, I heard the same guy behind me, saying precisely the same things to the people sitting beside him. So, not only was he a total cretin, but he seemed to only have one conversation in his repertoire.

  33. #33 Monado
    July 19, 2008

    All my aunts and uncles died of horrible things related to smoking–cancer, stroke, emphysema. I hate smoking. My son smokes.

  34. #34 ebohlman
    July 20, 2008

    Dangerous: in what must be a case of malicious synchronicity, Phelps has announced a picket of Snow’s funeral. Honestly. If those two ghouls needed a corpse to feed on, why couldn’t they have gone after Jesse Helms?

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