Respectful Insolence

I find it hard to believe that we’re already two weeks into 2009. The older I get and the longer I’ve been blogging, it seems, the faster time files. It’s gotten so bad that it’s not at all infrequent that I remember a post that I’ve written, go searching for it, and end up amazed that it’s several months or even a couple of years old. In any case, 2009 has gotten off to a pretty decent start, with posts about HIV/AIDS denialism, the probable selection of Dr. Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General, a followup on Tong Ren, Holocaust denial, and the “bait and switch” of Deepak Chopra and “alternative” medicine. There have been posts about vaccines, and several other subjects already. So what am I missing?

Oh, yeah. I haven’t had any “fun” yet with everybody’s favorite loony woo-meister. Happy New Year, Mike Adams.

I realize that NaturalNews.com is what we in the skeptic biz call a “target-rich” environment. Indeed, it’s hard to select one post that’s crazier than any of the others. Usually, for a NaturalNews.com article to rise (or, more frequently, fall) to the level that I feel obliged to apply a heapin’ helpin’ of not-so-Respectful Insolence to it, it has to have that proper level of looniness, pseudoscience, or sheer despicability. Usually the articles I target due to their despicable nature are by Mike Adams himself, articles such as the one where he ghoulishly used the corpse of Tony Snow as an excuse to attack conventional medicine, likening Snow to “Hitler’s press secretary,” or the one where he described Christina Applegate’s decision to undergo bilateral prophylactic mastectomy as maiming and used it as an excuse to attack the “breast cancer industry.” Now, showing once again that there’s no celebrity with cancer that Mike Adams or one of his surrogates won’t try to use and abuse to his advantage, NaturalNews.com (formerly NewsTarget.com) “takes aim” at Patrick Swayze.

Let’s back up a minute. Patrick Swayze was a huge star back in the 1980s and 1990s, perhaps best known for his roles in popular movies, such as Dirty Dancing and Ghost. More recently, his star had faded, and, unfortunately, a little less than one year ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As a cancer surgeon, I found the exact facts of his case and his clinical course a bit hard to come by from reading various web articles, most of which were fairly vague and some of which were contradictory, but apparently the tumor had spread to his liver by March, making his cancer stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Now there’s one thing about pancreatic cancer you need to know if you don’t already, and that’s that it’s that it’s one of the most deadly of cancers. Even when it’s discovered early enough so that it is surgically resectable with completely negative margins, the five year survival, even in the best centers, is generally less than around 20-25%, occasionally slightly better. Patients who are candidates for an attempt at a curative resection are a minority, however, generally less than 10% of cases that present. The vast majority of patients present with either locally advanced disease that cannot be resected surgically or metastatic disease to other organs, usually the liver. In such cases, the median survival is usually less than six months, and chemotherapy and radiation produce only at best modest improvements in those dismal numbers. True, the one year survival rate for advanced pancreatic cancer can be in the 20-30% range with aggressive therapy with newer agents, but that’s hardly reassuring to most patients. After all, how would you like to be told that you will probably only live three to six months, and that there is around a 70-80% chance that you will be dead before one year has passed? In any case, that Swayze apparently never underwent an attempt at surgical resection, which is the only modality that has even a chance of resulting in long term survival, tells us that his cancer was almost certainly not surgically resectable at the time of diagnosis, which is not surprising given the symptoms of severe weight loss and nausea that he said he had for at least a couple of months prior to that. Regardless, Swayze is still alive nearly a year after his diagnosis, which remains fairly remarkable, even though such survival in the face of pancreatic cancer is far from unheard of.

Last week, Swayze did something that pissed the woo-ists off. He gave an interview to Barbara Walters. No, giving an interview to Barbara Walters is not what pissed the woo-ists off. What pissed the woo-ists off was what he said in that interview with Barbara Walters, which was relayed to me by blog bud PalMD, as well as Majikthise. This is what Swayze said:

If anybody had that cure out there, like so many people swear they do, you’d be two things. You’d be very rich, and you’d be very famous. Otherwise, shut up.

He’s also fairly realistic about his chances:

“Five years is pretty wishful thinking,” the ‘Dirty Dancing’ star told Walters, who had been pressing the heavy question. “Two years seems likely if you’re going to believe statistics.”

Actually, at the time of his original diagnosis, two years would have seemed very unlikely. Even now, his chance of surviving two more years appears iffy at best, and the odds against his surviving five years seem incredibly high, although rare patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer do survive that long. (It’s at the very most 2%, but it’s not zero.) Given how well he’s done this far and how well he’s apparently responded to aggressive experimental chemotherapy, though, it’s clear that Swayze is fortunate enough to fall into a subgroup of patients with somewhat less viciously aggressive biology than the usual run-of-the-mill pancreatic cancer exhibits. That’s great for him, but if you watch all the parts of his interview in the link above it’s clear that Swayze is suffering. He describes significant pain and having to “empty out his toxins” before he can go to work, after which he speaks of jaundice.

That latter description suggests to me that he very well may have a percutaneous drain in his liver to drain into a plastic bag the bile that backs up from the obstruction of the common bile duct that pancreatic cancer often causes and to palliate the jaundice caused by such an obstruction. The procedure, percutaneous cholangiography (PTC) with drainage is a very common palliative procedure to relieve jaundice, the itching from which can be unbearable if the bilirubin level gets too high. Perhaps Swayze meant that he had to empty his bag. He also spoke of difficulty with what sounds like a gastric outlet obstruction, where he has difficulty getting his food to leave his stomach due to obstruction by his tumor. Whatever he meant, it is clear that he is nowhere near symptom-free. He also stated that he refused to take pain medication while he was working. While I can admire the grit involved in making that decision, I know from my training and practice when I used to see pancreatic cancer patients that the pain from pancreatic cancer can be unrelenting, a “boring” pain that goes straight to the back. I have to wonder if Swayze underwent any palliative nerve blocking procedures, such as celiac nerve ablation with alcohol, where under CT guidance ethanol is injected into the nerves of the celiac plexus. It’s a highly effective means of palliating pancreatic cancer pain.

Whatever the specifics of Swayze’s cancer, Mike Adams (“Health Ranger”) and his band of intrepidly obtuse woo-meisters just can’t stand to see someone accept the validity of science-based medicine and publicly disparage people who claim cancer cures without any evidence–in other words, people like Mike Adams, who often makes near miraculous claims for various “alternative” medicine modalities. Rubbing salt in the wound to the cancer quacks’ pride is the fact that in this case the person who is disparaging them is someone whose life science- and evidence-based medicine cannot save. Patrick Swayze may be dying of pancreatic cancer, but even the desperation from his dire situation has not led him to embrace the quackery that Mike Adams lays down day in and day out on his website and podcast. Swayze realizes–correctly–that, if Adams’ heros could do what he claims they can do, it couldn’t be kept secret and the person(s) who discovered such cancer “cures” would be rich.

That clear-headed common sense cannot be tolerated by Mike Adams, though; so he sent one of his minions to slime Patrick Swayze, a guy named Tony Isaacs, who wrote a lovely little hit piece entitled Patrick Swayze’s Misplaced Faith in Mainstream Medicine and crossposted it to his own website. The sliming begins:

Millions of people tuned in to watch the Barbara Walter’s interview with Patrick Swayze which centered on his fight against pancreatic cancer. It was wonderful to see Swayze so fired up and hopeful and to his credit, he has refused to accept his cancer as a death sentence and is fighting it with mind, body and soul. To the dismay of those of us in natural health, Swayze has also placed his faith and life in the hands of mainstream medicine.

In the interview, Swayze indicated that he does not want any advice from others on alternative treatments. According to Swayze, he has taken some “specific immune system Chinese herbs,” but says he hasn’t tried many alternative therapies because he learned that if “you feed your body, you feed the insatiable voracious appetite of the cancer.”

The mainstream medicine group that has failed to conquer cancer for half a century has clearly gotten into Swayze’s head. These are the same MD’s and oncologist who will more often than not advise a person to not take antioxidants when having chemo, though there have been no reliable studies to support such advice and many which dispute it.

He’s just pissy because a recent study suggested that vitamin C could interfere with chemotherapy. In fact, the evidence is conflicting about whether antioxidants potentiate or interfere with the effects of chemotherapy on cancer cells. They probably do both, with the predominant effect depending on the chemotherapeutic agent, the dose, and the specific tumor. More importantly, Isaacs is just annoyed that, even facing death, Swayze recognizes snake oil when he sees it and refuses to embrace it, no matter how desperate he is to save his life. So what does Isaacs do? He starts throwing clichés around:

The mainstream chemo theory is to weaken and destroy the cancer cells with chemical poison which also weakens and destroys the rest of the body’s cells and organs in the often misplaced hope that the symptoms of cancer (tumors and cancer cell masses) will somehow be eliminated before the treatment itself kills the patient. It is a desperate gamble that fails more often than not. Even when most or all of the symptoms are eliminated by chemo (or radiation), the damage to the body’s natural immune system, major organs and overall health is so great that the way is paved for the return and unabated growth of cancer in a body whose natural defenses have been rendered virtually useless.

Well, yes and no. Yes, differential toxicity towards cancer cells compared to normal cells is how chemotherapy works. However, the immune system is far more resiliant than woo-meisters like Isaacs can conceive. They seem to think that the immune system can’t ever recover from the insult of chemotherapy. It can. It is also true that chemotherapy can increase the risk of secondary malignancies, as can radiation. However, the benefits of chemotherapy and radiation usually outweigh the risks of secondary malignancies. Indeed, if a cancer patient lives long enough to get a secondary malignancy, usually many years, isn’t that better than dying within months of the first cancer? Moreover, it’s not as though “conventional” doctors are not aware of this problem and researchers aren’t trying to find treatments that either don’t produce this complication or have a lower chance of producing it.

Isaacs, not surprisingly, doesn’t waste an opportunity to reiterate the grim survival statistics for pancreatic cancer:

When it comes to mainstream treatment of pancreatic cancer, five year survival rates overall are an abysmal 4.6%. In cases where cancer has spread to any great extent, those rates drop to 1.8%. Five year survival actually due to chemo: Zero percent.

Of course, the reason that the five year survival rate due to chemotherapy is zero is because so few live five years that describing “five year survival” rates for metastatic pancreatic cancer is meaningless. Nearly everyone’s dead by five years, regardless of treatment. One year survival rates are a far more meaningful measure, unfortunately. But what is Isaacs’ “alternative”? A whole lot of “detox” woo and this:

While addressing the underlying causes of cancer is the ultimate key to long term cancer survival, one cannot ignore the symptoms of cancer which may well kill you in the short term before you are able to restore you body and immune system to optimum health. Here too, the right herbs and supplements can play a vital role in attacking tumors and cancer cells to arrest their growth and eliminate them to give the body the time it often needs to become restored and keep cancer at bay in the future. Though pancreatic cancer is a very aggressive and difficult cancer to beat, two natural items featured here at Natural News have been particularly successful against pancreatic cancer: oleander and black cumin seed oil.

His evidence? In vitro cell culture studies looking at extracts from oleander and black cumin seed oil. That’s all very well and good. Testing compounds on cells in a culture dish is how most cancer chemotherapy is first studied. Unfortunately, cell culture results often don’t translate into results in actual living, breathing human beings; in fact, one of the favorite sayings around here is that you can kill cancer cells in a dish with bleach, but that does not mean that intravenous or oral intake of bleach would be an effective anticancer therapy. Would that it weren’t so! Cancer research would be so much easier if it were possible to identify with a high degree of certainty promising treatments just by testing them on cancer cells in a culture dish! We could just test chemnicals and various plant extracts on whatever tumors we think they might be effective against, and–voilà!–instant cancer cures! Wouldn’t it be great? In any case, that’s the fantasy world that woo-meisters like Isaacs inhabit. Personally, I’d be a happier camper if their world were the real world (at least with respect to identifying new cancer therapies), no matter how much Isaacs or even Mike Adams himself won’t believe me.

No screed like Isaacs’ would be complete without an rant against “conventional” medicine and Isaacs doesn’t disappoint:

Despite a decades long continual stream of pronouncements about annual progress and new cures and treatments being just around the corner, more people continue to contract and die from cancer every year. Not coincidentally, more money is spent on cancer treatments each year as well. Cancer is an almost $400 Billion a year industry. The only way it can maintain and increase it’s profits is by NOT finding a cure. The legacy of not finding a cure and putting profits before healing can be found in our nation’s graveyards, where millions of bodies lie of those who were taken from their friends and families and sent to early graves before their time.

Here we go again with the same old crap about oncologists “not wanting to find a cure.” Bullshit. If an oncologist or a surgeon were to find a cure for pancreatic cancer, he or she would instantly become the most famous physician of the age and fabulously wealthy–exactly as Patrick Swayze himself said! Moreover, Isaacs, idiot that he is, forgets that cancer is such a common scourge of humanity that virtually every oncologist and cancer researcher has known, knows, or will at some point in the future know a loved one in his or her family or friends with a fatal cancer. It’s virtually inevitable. I myself have had three relatives within the last three years who had fatal cancers. Two of them are dead, and one of them is in hospice right now. My best friend’s mother died of metastatic breast cancer when he was in college, and his father currently has colon cancer metastatic to the liver. (By the way, his colon cancer is for the moment being very well controlled with therapies developed by those evil drug companies that Isaacs, Adams, and their fellow knuckleheads, leading to him surviving far longer than such a patient could have expected to survive ten or twenty years ago and living a his relatively normal, golf-playing retirement life). Does Isaacs honestly think I care where a cure for a cancer comes from or that I would fail to take advantage of one if I saw it just because it came from “alternative” medicine? If he does, he’s an even bigger science moron than his article makes him out to be. Personally, I wouldn’t care if Deepak Chopra himself–or even Mike Adams himself–came up with the cure if the evidence showed that it was miraculously effective.

There’s the rub, of course. “Alties” just can’t provide the evidence to back up their extravagant claims.

One thing that’s for sure, though. The next time there’s a celebrity dying of cancer like Patrick Swayze, Mike Adams or one of his crew will be there to take advantage of his or her suffering to try to sell quackery. Because their quackery is either ineffective or unproven, they can’t make a positive argument for it. All they can do is to try to deceive people with the implication that, because “conventional” medicine couldn’t save Patrick Swayze or other celebrities, that their quackery can. When Swayze dies, look for a post on NaturalNews.com expressing all sorts of mock sorrow that Swayze didn’t see the value of “alternative” therapy and regret that he “could have been saved” if he had just listened to proponents of “natural cancer therapies,” all accompanied by a rant against the government, the “cancer industry, and big pharma. If Adams or his surrogate is in really good form, you’ll see all sorts of Godwin-worthy Nazi analogies thrown about at the dreaded “cancer industry.”

I don’t have to be a psychic to make this prediction.

Comments

  1. #2 Dangerous Bacon
    January 14, 2009

    More on Tony Isaacs, who wrote the column on Mike Adams’ site:

    He actively promotes a crude homemade “oleander soup” as a cancer treatment. He is affiliated with a company that sells a collidal silver supplement promoted for curing various ills (odd how they don’t seem to mention turning blue as an unfortunate effect of consuming colloidal silver on a chronic basis).

    Here’s a link to Isaacs’ forum on CureZone, including some comments on Swayze (oddly, many of the posts lately deal with people’s ailing doggies and kitties ;)

    http://www.curezone.com/forums/f.asp?f=861

    Some of Isaacs’ weirdest posts on CureZone are under his pseudonym “Don Quixote”, where he rants about chemtrails and “elite global Zionists” and promotes antivax quackdery.

    Quite the character.

  2. #3 Mike
    January 14, 2009

    Orac,
    I do not understand how you muster the energy to keep bashing these same loons over the same issues week after week. If no one’s thanked you recently, consider it done. I’m exhausted just reading the synopsis. I suppose if I bothered to browse over naturalnews I’d work up some rage, but that’s a tough road and very aggravating. Hats off to Swayze for his courage, endurance and clarity.

  3. #4 Scott
    January 14, 2009

    I found it particularly amusing that Isaacs refers to “[t]he mainstream medicine group that has failed to conquer cancer for half a century” when CAM has failed to conquer cancer for, oh, several hundred years at least.

  4. #5 ama
    January 14, 2009

    Hi, all,

    what I am telling you now is unbelievable, I know, but it is the plain truth as you can find out for yourself.

    We live in Germany and observe a death sect which has caused hundreds of dead. The sect follows the insane ideas (called “Germanic New Medicine” or simply “New Medicine”) of Ryke Geerd Hamer, a criminal psychopath.

    We have several dozen web-pages, most of them being in German as this is where the craze started.

    In our domains in the WWW we cover several languages. We also have a huge site in Italian:
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~italix

    A very large page with nearly 700 links is

    auf Deutsch: Die Todessekte:
    http://www.todessekte.de

    in English: The Death Sect:
    http://www.deathsect.com

    en francais: La secte de la mort:
    http://www.secte-de-la-mort.net

    le forum en francais pour la site “La secte de la mort”:
    http://www.secte-de-la-mort.net/phpBB3/

    Wiki “Neue Medizin” in English, French, German, Italian + other languages
    http://www.ariplex.com/nmwiki

    in Italy the journalist Journalist Ilario D’Amato writes the “Dossier Hamer”:
    http://www.dossierhamer.it

    On the memorial wall I made a post for the hundreds of dead. For two victims we have obituary pages:

    Michaela
    http://www.ariplex.com/ama/amamiche.htm

    Christina
    http://www.ariplex.com/ama/amachris.htm

    Michaela died in november 2005. Her death was EXTREMELY cruel. The photographs in the obituary are not for the faint at heart…

    The other victims also died a very, very cruel death. One of the reasons is that Hamer claims that morphine would kill them immediatley. So his victims are in panic and do not take analgetic medicaments…

    Hamer has several groups of copy-cats. One group calls itself “meta-medicine”. One central of this group resides in the USA. On their web-site they advertise with several dozen world famous screen actors like Geena Davis, Ben Kingsley, etc.

    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~aktenschrank/gigantic_fraud_exposed/metamedicine_fraud_with_celebs_2_2.jpg

    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~aktenschrank/gigantic_fraud_exposed/metamedicine_fraud_with_celebs_4_3x.jpg

    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/showtopic.php?threadid=2391

    We started a thread in our forum TG-1 about this.
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/edit.php?postid=6943

    The point is: the screen actors are abused, and they do not know it. The meta-mediciners made them believe that the screen actors would make PR for cancer research. But that is not true. If you look at the web-pages of the meta-mediciners you will see clearly, that they base on Ryke Geerd Hamer. And NO ONE survived.

    In spring 2007 we made interviews with former employees of Hamer, who in 1985 had a clinic in Katzenelnbogen near Cologne, Germany. The reports are incredible. The bodies of the cancer patients were brought across the French border at night, so that nobody should see it.

    Here you can read and hear the interviews:
    http://www.deathsect.com

    One of Hamer’s accomplices was Antoine d’Oncieu, a French, who organized the plot in France and started an association (“ASAC”) there. d’Oncieu organized the money collecting and the activities in France. Of this group ASAC some persons were sentenced in a trial in Chambery. Hamer was sentenced to three years. He should have been sentenced to death for what he did!

    The French authorites let him out in february 2006, after half the duty. Hamer fled back to his hideout in Spain, where he left in spring 2007, and since then hides in Norway.

    We tried to get in contact with the agents of the screen actors, but they blocked. We tried to get in contact with the spokespersons of the screen actors, but they blocked.

    So, for years now, the meta-mediciners have world famous screen actors make PR for them, FOR FREE. And these world famous screen actors do make PR for an insane criminal and his not insane, but fully criminal copycats. NO ONE survived, but we found 150 dead so far, and we are very much afraid that is AT LEAST 2x or 3x as much.

    And in Italy the investigating attorneys found 15 dead.

    In october 2008 Radio Canada broadcasted a two-part report: on oct 2nd. 2008 and on oct 9th. 2008.

    http://www.radio-canada.ca/emissions/enquete/2008-2009/index.shtml

    [*QUOTE*]
    ———————————————-
    Services mobiles Boutique CBC.ca
    Nos coordonn�es
    Adresse postale
    Enqu�te
    Soci�t� Radio-Canada
    1400, Ren�-L�vesque Est,
    local A-18
    Montr�al
    H2L 2M2
    Pour nous �crire: enquete@radio- canada.ca
    EN REDIFFUSION
    Samedi 13 h
    EN REDIFFUSION � RDI
    Samedi 2 h et dimanche 18 h
    Reportages
    Reportage du jeudi 2 octobre 2008
    faq

    http://ms.radio-canada.ca/2008/medianet/CBFT/Enquete200810022000.wmv
    http://ms.radio-canada.ca/2008/medianet/CBFT/Enquete200810022013.wmv
    http://ms.radio-canada.ca/2008/medianet/CBFT/Enquete200810022027.wmv
    http://ms.radio-canada.ca/2008/medianet/CBFT/Enquete200810022042.wmv
    http://ms.radio-canada.ca/2008/medianet/CBFT/Enquete200810022058.wmv

    Biologie totale: menace fatale
    Une nouvelle approche th�rapeutique se r�pand � grande vitesse au Qu�bec sous diff�rents noms: la nouvelle m�decine, la biologie totale ou la bio-psycho-g�n�alogie pr�tendent gu�rir toutes les maladies, y compris le SIDA ou les formes les plus avanc�es de cancer.
    Nous avons identifi� une trentaine de villes au Qu�bec o� l’on pratique cette approche. En Europe, ses instigateurs ont �t� poursuivis et parfois condamn�s � la prison pour exercice ill�gal de la m�decine.

    Journaliste: Guy Gendron
    Journalistes � la recherche: Chantal Cauchy et Brigitte Guibert
    R�alisateur: Germain Thibault
    Cam�ramans: Alfonse Mondello et Jean-Pierre Gandin
    Preneur de son: Luc Delorme
    Monteuse: H�l�ne Lamothe
    Pr�sentement � l’antenne de la t�l�
    23 h 45
    La fosse aux lionnes
    La Soci�t� Radio-Canada | Pour nous joindre | Ombudsman | Salle de presse | Aide | Emplois
    Publicit� | Conditions d’utilisation | Confidentialit� | Droits d’auteur | Autres politiques
    R�alisation | � Soci�t� Radio-Canada. Tous droits r�serv�s.
    reportage.asp
    ———————————————-
    [*/QUOTE*]

    I ask you to please help us to spread this news to the fan-clubs of the screen actors. As the spokespersons block the information, we have to find other means to get in contact with the actors directly to for once and all times stop the PR for the murderous Hamer death sect.

    If you think that what I say can’t be true: go ahead and find out. Several German and Swiss TV stations had reports about Hamer and death cases. In Italy the state authorities found 15 dead so far. In our forum TG-1, in the domains and in the Wiki you can see the details.

    We are in contact with journalists in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and Norway. We would like to get in contact with journalists in other countries.

    Please, do help us to prevent that more people fall victim for the murderous Hamer death sect and its copycats, like the meta-mediciners.

    More than 300 dead.

    Many of them had a fate like this:

    http://members.aon.at/manfreda/mamma-T4.JPG

    … or worse…

    And those screen actors are making PR for that…

  5. #6 Frasque
    January 14, 2009

    I really have to admire Swayze for not falling victim to quackery, especially seeing the damage even a D-list washup like Jenny McCarthy can do promoting looniness.

  6. #7 Tony Isaacs
    January 14, 2009

    Thanks for all the kind words!

    What would you have to say to the pancreatic cancer patients who are beating cancer with oleander – in many instances using a patented medicine version no less that has been used for over 40 years outside the US and is now in phase II testing in the US after having passed phase I toxicity tests?

    I wonder if you would care to comment on the more advanced oleander medicine now in initial FDA testing at MD Anderson in Houston (and having great reports, btw)?

    Or perhaps you would have some words of wisdom for the most recent two pancreatic patients who use the patented medicine available from Honduras by FDA exception rule who, after 6 months have either no cancer in one instance and completely halted tumor growth in the other?

    Should I pass on your sage wisdom to my Yahoo Health Group of over 1000 members which I have hosted for over five years, including members with pancreatic and a great number of members who mainstream oncologists told to go home and say goodbye to family and friends, settle their affairs and pick out a burial spot – and yet all but two are still alive cancer? One joined the group with only weeks to live after his immune system and major organs were ravaged by several rounds of chemo and radiation, the other only tried the suggested alternative protocol for less than two months and then listened to his oncologist who told him nothing could be done and he would be best served to just undergo a nerve block procedure and live out his last couple of months in less pain – and then he proceeded to live for over a year past the oncologist’s prediction).

    Maybe you should try telling your mainstream apologies to my own 85 year old uncle, whose oncologist assured him that his lung cancer had been detected early enough that there should be no problem in treating it with targeted chemo. Instead his cancer continued to grow and began to spread to other parts of his body. He switched to he aforementioned oleander medicine and later to a herbal supplement form and today he is cancer free. Imagine that!

    The mainstream tools and apologists (pick your own label) always throw out the bit about “if there were a cancer cure out there someone would be rich”. Yeah, they might be rich alright but the cure would never make it to market, because cancer is an almost $400 billion a year industry where continued profits and continued agencies survival depends on NOT finding a cure.

    If you do not think your precious mainstream medicine would do such a thing, you obviously have no clue about the history of mainstream medicine and its suppression of natural and alternative competition.

    The fact is that natural alternatives exist aplenty, though I will grant you that there are no end to quacks – both inside and outside mainstream medicine. Unfortunately the game is rigged because only lab created sythetics and unnatural isolates can be patented and recover the hundreds of billions a year it takes to get through FDA trials and to market. So that we can be sure of their safety doncha know – like Vioxx and all the rigged studies and hidden evidence of harm that resulted in more deaths by one mainstream drug than have been recorded from natural alternatives in all of recorded history.

    While you are justifying to your fans here, perhaps you could explain why a poll of oncologists found that over 75% of them would not opt for chemo themselves due to the lack of success and harsh side effects. Or how ironic it is that over 75% of cancer patients are prescribed chemo. Could it be yet another figure of 75%, which is the percentage of annual income oncologists get from their markup on chemo drugs they sell and prescribe?

    I could go on and on, but I realize that there is no point in trying to communicate with people whose minds have been made up or bought and don’t want to be bothered with the facts.

    Let me ask you, if nature is not effective at preventing and healing illness, exactly when did God become a quack?

    In parting, I will leave you with the thoughts of some people that even your ego might accept as close to being as qualified or as credentialed as you whom you may wish to debate.

    Cheers!

    “The National Anti-Cancer Program is a bunch of shit”
    - James Watson, Nobel Laureate for Medicine in 1962, joint discoverer of the double helix of DNA, and for two years a member of the US Joint Advisory Committee on Cancer

    “Everyone should know that the ‘war on cancer’ is largely a fraud.” – Two Time Nobel Prize Winner Linus Pauling

    “Nature is the physician of man.” – Hippocrates, “the father of medicine”

    “Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pots if you can cure your patient with food.” – Hippocrates

    “There are more quacks in the orthodox profession than there are outside its ranks.” Dr. J. P. Baldwin

    “Medicine is a great humbug:- doctors are merely quacks when they are not charlatans.” Dr. Magendie (The great French physician)

    “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas Edison

    “Unless the doctor of today becomes the dietitian of tomorrow, the dietitian of today will become the doctor of tomorrow.” – Dr. Alexis Carrol (Famous Biological Scientist and head of the Rockefeller Institute.)

    “We have a multi-billion dollar industry that is killing people, right and left, just for financial gain. Their idea of research is to see whether two doses of this poison is better than three doses of that poison.” — Glen Warner, M.D. oncologist

    The ‘cancer establishment’ is a network of extremely powerful and wealthy companies whose members sit on the boards of many non-profit organisations. They literally control and direct all cancer research within the USA and throughout the world……Although these centres are non-profit they serve their masters by suppressing most, if not all, non-patentable treatments in favour of the expensive treatments therapies that have wrought havoc with patients while losing the war against cancer.” – Dr Robert Willner, M.D., Ph.D.

    “Conventional cancer treatments are in place as the law of the land because they pay, not heal, the best.”—John Diamond, M.D. & Lee Cowden, M.D.

    “Finding a cure for cancer is absolutely contraindicated by the profits of the cancer industry’s chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery cash trough.” — Dr Diamond, M.D.

    “We have a multi-billion dollar industry that is killing people, right and left, just for financial gain. Their idea of research is to see whether two doses of this poison is better than three doses of that poison.” — Glen Warner, M.D. oncologist.

    “Chemotherapy is an incredibly lucrative business for doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies…..The medical establishment wants everyone to follow the same exact protocol. They don’t want to see the chemotherapy industry go under, and that’s the number one obstacle to any progress in oncology.” — Dr Warner

  7. #8 Militant Agnostic
    January 14, 2009

    How ’bout them there Zionist chemtrails Tony?

  8. #9 Phoenix Woman
    January 14, 2009

    Tony: Since when are quotes ripped out of context a substitute for rigorous clinical trials?

    As Patrick Swayze said: “If anybody had that cure out there, like so many people swear they do, you’d be two things. You’d be very rich, and you’d be very famous. Otherwise, shut up.”

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

  9. #10 Phoenix Woman
    January 14, 2009

    @Militant Agnostic: Oh, wow, so he’s part of the anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant faction of the woo brigade? The ones who tried to take over the Sierra Club a while back and are working on taking over the locavore movement? Why does this not surprise me?

  10. #11 Karl Withakay
    January 14, 2009

    Thanks, Tony Isaacs, a very entertaining post.

    “…I realize that there is no point in trying to communicate with people whose minds have been made up or bought and don’t want to be bothered with the facts.”

    Please step away from the mirror before posting.

    “Let me ask you, if nature is not effective at preventing and healing illness, exactly when did God become a quack?”

    -Non Sequitur/ argument by (nonsensical) question.

    Nice quote mining and appeal to (mostly false) authority by the way. FYI: Quote mining is slightly more impressive if you don’t quote the same guy three times and another guy twice.

    Linus Pauling, Hippocrates, James Watson, Thomas Edison:
    All people who were experts in their respective fields in their day, which has no bearing on whether I would listen to their opinions on cancer treatment today.

  11. #12 trrll
    January 14, 2009

    The notion that people in the “cancer industry” know how to cure cancer, but are choosing not to do so, is mind-numbingly stupid. Cancer doctors and researchers are very familiar with the statistics that guarantee that almost everybody will lose a loved one to cancer or die from it themselves. Moreover, I’ve found that scientists who choose to enter the cancer field very often are inspired by have cancer strike a friend or loved one. I imagine that the same is true within the medical specialty of oncology.

    Yet when oncologists and scientists get cancer, or when it strikes within their own family, what do they choose? Almost without exception, the same surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments that they offer to patients who are not “in the biz.”

    I think Patrick Swayze’s interview is threatening to the quacks and woo-meisters for a similar reason. After all, he is a very well-to-do actor. The studio clearly has quite a bit of money invested in his new show. It strains the imagination to think that if a cure was out there, that he would not be able to get hold of it. Many of us have known people, who when faced with the bleak diagnosis of incurable pancreatic cancer, have chosen to waste their remaining time and money in a desperate and ultimately unsuccessful search for “alternative therapies.” It is certainly understandable; after all, what have they got to lose? But Swayze clearly understands that his time is almost certainly short no matter what he does, and rather than engage in a desperate search for a magical cure, he has chosen to put his remaining time to the most productive use that he can. Even worse from the standpoint of the purveyors of woo, he’s done relatively well on conventional therapy, and has succeeded in completing a season of his TV show.

  12. #13 Edith
    January 14, 2009

    I find it incredibly sad that Patrick Swayze and anyone else depending on conventional means doesn’t expect to heal fully. Instead, all they hope for is an extension of their lives. Funny, those I know using alternative methods, expect to achieve optimum health and, you know, many times they achieve it. What is a patient to do when this is the only hope their trusted physician can give them. Right away they are resigned to die. In their eyes the battle cannot truly be won, only extended at best.

    How sad that Patrick has rejected alternative measures and calls them “quackery,” the only means that could offer him any true hope. He has put his trust in a truly failed method.

    In your entire article, together with your name calling and hatred (do you always do this?), all you can offer is more time. Alternative methods offer true hope and I have seen the healing that nature can offer. What a pity that with such closed minds you do not avail yourselves and your loved ones to the possibility of optimum health. And I am so sorry for the suffering you have endured with your relatives and friends. I do hope the one who is doing well continues to do so. But even then you only give him limited time. I, too, have lost family and friends to cancer. They have followed their doctors precise instructions and they have been “obedient unto death.” Funny, the ones using alternative measures are still alive.

    A miracle cure? Mr. Isaacs says nothing about a miracle cure. Come on……. You say you are a physician? Then you must know that cancer enters the body through a weakened immune system. Chemo and radiation further compromise that weakened immune system. No wonder we just have remissions with the cancer almost always returning, and many times with a vengeance. No wonder that the survival expectancy rate, at most, is five years.

    No, there is no “magic cure,” only “tools” and the best tools are those provided by nature, not man made synthetic poisons. The only way to beat cancer is by addressing its source, the immune system, changing one’s lifestyle to a healthy one, diet, the proper supplements, removing stress, sunshine. But I know this may just sound too simple to you. Building one’s body back to health actually involves a lot of hard work, strength, and fortitude. And if you cannot see how these things can truly heal, I feel very sorry for you.

    In the end, I thank you for having a link to Mr. Isaac’s website because someone reading this will be led towards the path of true healing.

  13. #14 Dangerous Bacon
    January 14, 2009

    That’s right – I forgot to mention that one of Tony Isaacs’ “debate” tactics is to cut and paste a bunch of out of context quotes from various people, a kind of Gish gallop.

    One of characters he’s liberally quoting here is a Dr. Diamond who detests “conventional cancer treatments”. Might this be the Dr. W. John Diamond who’s identified on Quackwatch as the developer of “behavioral kinesiology”, a weird method which employs “life energy”?*

    The “75% of all oncologists would not have chemo themselves” claim by Isaacs is an old canard that alties like to spout. What they won’t tell you is that the poll they cite refers to _a particular type of experimental chemo for one type of cancer_.

    Perhaps Mr. Isaacs would like to tell us if the crude “oleander soup” he touts here has been tested anywhere for safety, or demonstrated to contain the same compounds and activity as those being tested under controlled conditions? Or whether MD Anderson or any other reputable institution supports self-dosing with “oleander soup” among members of a Yahoo Health Group? Somehow I doubt this.

    While Mr. Isaacs didn’t comment on his affiliation with a company selling colloidal silver, it’s interesting that among the zillion medical conditions the company wants you to think that its product either cures or prevents is breast cancer. Yep – they’re touting colloidal silver as a safe alternative to conventional underarm deodorants – one that won’t hold the “toxins” in (the commonly sold deodorants could give you breast cancer, you see). There are also lots of testimonials to show how colloidal silver will fix anything from abscesses to hepatitis C to “cedar fever”. Great stuff. :)

    http://www.utopiasilver.com/emailtemp/tony_m_isaacs_articles

    *While I was looking up the illustrious Dr. Diamond I ran across another, possibly better known John Diamond, who overcame several bouts with throat cancer, wrote about his experiences as a columnist and contributed to a book (“Snake Oil”) about quackery before his untimely death. Quotable quote from the review of his book on amazon.com/

    “In the book Diamond sets out to prove that the protagonists of alternativism are, at best, gullible and misguided, at worst, con-merchants and quacks.”

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Snake-Other-Preoccupations-John-Diamond/dp/0099428334

    Sounds like a good read.

  14. #15 T. Bruce McNeely
    January 14, 2009

    According to Edith: The only way to beat cancer is by addressing its source, the immune system, changing one’s lifestyle to a healthy one, diet, the proper supplements, removing stress, sunshine.

    Lance Armstrong might want to have a word with you…

  15. #16 Dangerous Bacon
    January 14, 2009

    For those entertained by Tony Isaacs’ ramblings, don’t miss out on his other top-line commentary on CureZone (posting as Dquixote1217), including trenchant comments on the New World Order:

    http://www.curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1331704

    He is a frequent sounder of alarms over on the Chemtrails forum:

    http://www.curezone.com/forums/f.asp?f=589

    And an obligatory link to show that Tony Isaacs and Dquixote1217 are one and the same:

    http://www.curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1332183#i

    Don’t forget to check out contributions to the Vaccination “Debate” forum as well, though a warning is in order – the stupid could burn out valuable brain cells, and not even colloidal silver will protect you. :(

  16. #17 Prometheus
    January 14, 2009


    “What would you have to say to the pancreatic cancer patients who are beating cancer with oleander – in many instances using a patented medicine version no less that has been used for over 40 years outside the US and is now in phase II testing in the US after having passed phase I toxicity tests?”

    “That’s great!” is what I’d say to them – assuming that they actually exist. You do have data to support your claim, don’t you?

    Hello? Anybody out there?

    That’s the difference between real medicine and the fly-by-night woomongers – data.

    So, some yahoo pops in out of cyberspace and implies that oleander extract is “beating” pancreatic cancer and we’re supposed to believe him just because he can type out the sentences on his keyboard?

    Wrong! Don’t tell me a story – show me the data.

    I find it curious that, despite Mr. Isaacs’ claims, I can find no evidence of a clinical trial of oleander or oleander extract (Anvirzel, Xenavex, SAOB-0401) in any of the usual places (NCI, clinicaltrials.gov, MD Anderson) although I did find references to a phase I/II study of Xenavex that was recruiting in 2005-2006, but it appears to have “gone dark”. Perhaps Mr. Isaacs could provide sources for the information he provided.

    Sound and fury, Mr. Isaacs.

    Prometheus

  17. #18 DLC
    January 14, 2009

    Oleander soup? Uh… you do realize that Nerium oleander
    is poisonous So, you’re asking people with pancreatic cancer to take poison, but avoid poisonous chemotherapy drugs?

    http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/db2www/plant_indiv.d2w/PHOTO?byname=common&keynum=59

  18. #19 JustaTech
    January 14, 2009

    Edith, you seem to have an incomplete understanding of the immune system (in humans). Yes, cancer is generally a failure of 1) cell division regulation and 2) tumor screening by the immune system. However, you really, really, really don’t want an immune system that is highly tuned to tumor cells. Why? Because those tumor cells look an awful lot like your own, healthy, needful cells. Having a really strong immune response to tumors almost always also results in autoimmune disorders. Autoimmune disorders that almost always have even fewer treatment options than cancer.

    Evolutionarily humans have ended up with an immune system that leans away from tumor identification, so as to prevent autoimmunity. Why? Because cancer generally affects adults, after the age of reproduction. Autoimmunity often affects people before they can reproduce, thus natural selection has said “We’ll take cancer over type 1 diabetes”.

    So no, the last thing on earth you want is a really really strong immune system. You want a carefully balanced immune system, and a willingness to use science to find treatments.

    I highly doubt that Orac or any of his professional colleges would ever tell a patient “eat crap, live in the basement and watch TV all day.” They too tell patients to eat right, exercise (if possible) and try to generally be healthy. What you have suggested is necessary but not sufficient.

    And frankly, I cannot imagine anyone who complains about chemo being too “toxic” for the body ever even suggesting that a sick person go anywhere near oleander! “No, these carefully dosed drugs are too toxic, eat this poisonous plant that kills children.”

    I’m not terribly sorry if I have upset you, but your understanding is so flawed, it is frustrating. Please consider taking a university-level immunology class. It works wonders.

    I have to go quantify the immune response to a HIV protein.

    (Yes, I know, ignore the concern trolls. Sorry)

  19. #20 MissyMiss
    January 14, 2009

    I remember growing up in Florida where oleander is a common ornamental plant. They have beautiful white, purple, or pink flowers. There were lots of blooming oleander plants in the median of the road to Clearwater Beach. There were also lots of signs in the median warning that eating, touching the sap, or breathing the smoke from burning oleander plants could result in death, and everyone warned their kids to keep away from those poison plants.

    I can just picture my grandma’s reaction if I told her I was going to make oleander soup!

  20. #21 Cath the Canberra Cook
    January 14, 2009

    DLC, I was wondering when someone would mention that about oleander. It’s my understanding that the oleander toxin is denatured by boiling, though.

    Kylie Minogue is another to add to the list of sensible celebrities. She chose real medicine when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, and it has worked for her. She was a good influence on the Australian public with her no-nonsense approach. Mammogram rates went up.

  21. #22 Orac
    January 14, 2009

    I find it curious that, despite Mr. Isaacs’ claims, I can find no evidence of a clinical trial of oleander or oleander extract (Anvirzel, Xenavex, SAOB-0401) in any of the usual places (NCI, clinicaltrials.gov, MD Anderson) although I did find references to a phase I/II study of Xenavex that was recruiting in 2005-2006, but it appears to have “gone dark”. Perhaps Mr. Isaacs could provide sources for the information he provided.

    I did some searches for oleander and oleandrin and cancer. All I could find were a couple of cell culture studies. Oh, and I found this page at M.D. Anderson. Basically, it says:

    Laboratory studies of oleander suggest possible anti-cancer effects, although reliable research in humans is not currently available. There are reports that long-term use of oleander may have positive effects in patients with leiomyosarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, prostate cancer or breast cancer. More research is needed before a recommendation can be made.

    And, if you want to see burning hypocrisy on Tony Isaacs’ part:

    Side Effects and Warnings:

    Common oleander contains a strychnine-like toxin and a heart-active cardiac glycoside substance (similar to the prescription drug digoxin) that may cause the heart to beat rapidly or abnormally, or to stop beating. Common oleander has been used as rat poison, insecticide and fish poison and is toxic to mammals including humans. Animals (sheep) have died after eating as little as two to three leaves of Nerium oleander (common oleander). Children may die after eating a single leaf of common oleander. Eating the leaves, flowers or bark of common oleander may cause nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, pain, fatigue, drowsiness, unsteadiness, bloody diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, liver or kidney damage or unconsciousness. Death may occur within one day. Reports of toxicity and deaths in children and adults have been reported for decades in Australia, India, Sri Lanka and the United States.

    Fruits of Thevetin peruviana (yellow oleander) are thought to be even more toxic to mammals, including humans. Based on human studies of intentional overdose (suicide attempts), eating eight or more seeds of yellow oleander may be fatal. Additional side effects of oleander ingestion include irritation and redness of lips, gums and tongue, nausea, vomiting, depression, irritability, fast breathing, sweating, stomach pain, diarrhea, headache, confusion, visual disturbances and constricted pupils. Abnormal blood tests, including tests of liver and kidney function (potassium, bilirubin, creatinine and blood urea), have been reported in humans.It is possible that plants grown in the same soil as oleander plants or in soil exposed to oleander may contain trace amounts of oleander.

    Wow. That’s some toxic stuff–even more toxic than most chemotherapy, it sounds like. But, hey, it’s “natural,” so it must be better.

  22. #23 Ken N
    January 14, 2009

    That is just awful. Ignorant, stupid and cruel.
    I can’t laugh at the things Isaacs and friends are saying – they are too dangerous.

  23. #24 Patrick
    January 14, 2009

    ^- washes down the comments page with 60 percent alcohol hand gel. Ewwwww, what came by here and left the big mess!

    I agree that use of a person’s unfortunate condition and potential demise could indeed make the users look like complete sphincters. Coming over and trying to defend without presentation of reference to real peer reviewed and published trials probably seals the deal.

  24. #25 imnottonysbeard
    January 14, 2009

    Hey Edith, or should it be Cruella….ever seen the deadly effects on pets (and people too) that oleander soup causes? I’ve seen the kidney failures, liver destruction, and permanent cardiac damage causing decreased health and premature deaths of pets because of the false cancer ‘cure’ peddled to pet owners.

    Congratulations on causing pain and heartache in the name of ‘natural’.

    Betcha you don’t use it yourself.

    Order now and use the majick code to save 15%…

    (PS – I’ve missed ya Dangerous Bacon, SMOOCH)

  25. #26 Rogue Medic
    January 14, 2009

    We need to improve math and science education. If we don’t, we will be destroyed by this kind of misunderstanding –

    Poisonous soup that is experimentally untested is better than poisonous chemotherapy that is experimentally tested and used within clear guidelines based on the research.

    Which would I choose?

    The untested poison would be something I would only want to consume in a homeopathic formulation. I would not wish to consume anything homeopathic, since it is just a ridiculously overpriced placebo.

    The tested treatment, although a form of poison (and what isn’t), has been studied and is much better understood than anything that has not been studied. The dosing is based on research, not what some con man thinks is a good idea. Maybe it does not help me, but it is the best treatment available.

    How do I know it is the best treatment available?

    Research.

    The con man’s treatment has no research to support it. The con man is just somebody telling lies to make money off of people with cancer. If they buy his stuff, they will not survive to sue.

  26. #27 samantha
    January 14, 2009

    The idea that oleander “supports” or “boosts” the immune system doesn’t seem right. The research on oleander indicates that it inhibits NF-kB + AP-1:

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=1472360
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1160519

    Theoretically, it’s plausible that this could have some utility in treating cancer (perhaps because NF-kB is constitutively activated in many types of cancer, and/or because inhibiting it can sensitize tumor cells to apoptosis). However, inhibiting NF-kB would seem to be immunosuppressive, rather than “immune boosting”, given that NF-kB is one of the major transcription factors involved in immune activation.
    Thus, assuming it works (a big assumption given that there’s no real evidence supporting it), it would seem to be not too different from current chemo – toxic to cancer cells, but also toxic, hopefully to a lesser degree, in other cells (given the ubiquity of NF-kB), and with a side effect of immunosuppression!

    I’m no oncologist, so if I’m wrong on that, I welcome being corrected by someone who knows more than I do on this subject.

    As far as the MD Anderson trial, I believe Mr. Isaacs is referring to PBI-05204

    here’s his post where he mentions it:
    http://www.cancercompass.com/message-board/message/single,26114,6.htm

    Here’s where the trial seems to be recruiting patients: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00554268

    Nothing has been published on it so far, at least that I can find, so there’s no record that things are going great or otherwise. It would be nice to get a legit source on that.

  27. #28 IAMB
    January 14, 2009

    Edith = epic facepalm. It’s hilarious and sad at the same time to watch someone with a ridiculously poor grasp of anything medical trying to tell an oncologist that he’s wrong about cancer.

  28. #29 Heraclides
    January 15, 2009

    [off-topic]

    Orac (and others), you might like this news: “Couple fined for selling birdflu ‘cure’”

    A Tauranga couple who sold homeopathic remedies claiming to cure birdflu, herpes and Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) have been convicted of breaching the Fair Trading Act.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4819513a12855.html

    While the claim made a far-fetched enough to be obvious, it’s nice to see that appropriate action was taken.

  29. #30 Heraclides
    January 15, 2009

    “While the claim made a far-fetched” should read “While the claims made are far-fetched”. Late night editing bloopers…

  30. #31 dreikin
    January 15, 2009

    I’m too lazy/tired to look this up right now, but does anyone know offhand if there are any studies comparing survival and/or remission rates between a true control (no treatment – even alternative) and chemo/radiation for cancer(s)? I imagine there are no recent ones, due to ethical concerns, though.

    (studies comparing both/either to alternative therapies could be interesting too – if people actually believe the oleander soup line, I imagine alternative might show a lower survival rate..)

  31. #32 Heraclides
    January 15, 2009

    As Patrick Swayze said: “If anybody had that cure out there, like so many people swear they do, you’d be two things. You’d be very rich, and you’d be very famous. Otherwise, shut up.”

    If he really said that, good on him. Sweet, accurate, good common-sense and to the point.

    dreikin, you can’t ask people to “do harm” in trials. I would think that a oleander soup trial wouldn’t past muster with the ethnics committees (trials and research projects do have to pass these before they can proceed).

  32. #33 GP
    January 15, 2009

    dreikin:

    You won’t find many studies comparing cancer treatment to no cancer treatment. It would be considered unethical to allow someone to go without cancer treatment in the name of research. That’s why we compare existing treatments to novel approaches, so that both subject groups are getting some treatment.

    If we set this up as a true double-blind experiment, it would mean one group thinks they are being treated when they actually aren’t, yet they won’t know until the study is finished, and their cancer has progressed.

  33. #34 trrll
    January 15, 2009

    Then you must know that cancer enters the body through a weakened immune system.

    It would be nice if this were true, because there are ways to measure immune system function, so we could just look for people with poor immune responses and target them for aggressive surveillance, and catch cancers early when they are more treatable.

    It is certainly true that the immune system is part of the body’s defense against cancer. There are a few types of cancers that are much more common in people who are known to be immunosuppressed, and others that are somewhat more common. There has been much research on how to mobilize the immune system against tumors. But most cancers show up in people who by all measures have perfectly healthy immune systems.

    But if you actually understand how cancers and the immune system works, you know why simply trying to find some substance that will make the immune system more aggressive is unlikely to work dramatically well as a cancer treatment. Cancer does not “enter the body” from outside (well, except for the facial cancers of Tasmaninian Devils), it arises from within. Something has gone wrong inside the cells, such that the cells no longer receive the biological signals that tell them to stop dividing. But the immune system only sees the outside of the cells. Now sometimes, what has gone wrong with the cells is so far-reaching that they are different on the outside, too, and the immune system will attack them, but it is not something that you can count on. Moreover, cancer cells mutate and evolve inside the body, and this mechanism, which enables cancers to develop resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs, also enables them to develop resistance to immune system attack, by ceasing to produce the surface proteins that enable them to be recognized by the immune system. So in advanced cancer, hyping up the immune system is probably not going to be much more successful than conventional chemotherapy.

    The other misconception is that chemotherapeutic agents cause all sorts of “toxic” effects, while the immune system is natural and gentle. When you feel crappy with a cold, most of that is not the effect of the cold virus–it is the “side effects” of your immune system fighting the infection. And that is mild. Look up “autoimmune illnesses,” and you’ll learn what the side effects of immune system activation can be. Many of the substances secreted by immune cells are horribly toxic, even compared to cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Remember, the most toxic substances known to man are biological, not synthetic. Again, look up “complement” if you want to understand what your immune system can do to cells, even healthy ones.

  34. #35 Mojo
    January 15, 2009

    When you see a CAMster post a list of quotations from doctors and scientists it’s always interesting to find out how long they have been dead.

    For example, Isaacs quotes “Dr. Magendie (The great French physician)” as saying, “Medicine is a great humbug:- doctors are merely quacks when they are not charlatans.”

    Magendie died in 1855. I doubt that anyone here would argue too much with his characterisation of doctors of the early to mid 19th century. Most medicine of the time actually was no better than quackery.

    And there we come to the crucial difference between medicine and quackery, the significance of which quacks seem quite unable to appreciate. Medicine has changed pretty much beyond recognition over the last century and a half. Quackery hasn’t.

  35. #36 Mike
    January 15, 2009

    My ‘ideal’ reference for 19th century medicine is a from the movie Widow’s Peak where the dentist, when preparing to remove an infected tooth, breaks out a bottle of whiskey. The viewer waits for him to offer the patient some as a meager anesthetic or as sterilizing agent but instead drinks it himself to fortify him for the work ahead! Love that scene.

    Isaac’s reference to that era is perfect.

  36. #37 Francis
    January 15, 2009

    *While I was looking up the illustrious Dr. Diamond I ran across another, possibly better known John Diamond, who overcame several bouts with throat cancer, wrote about his experiences as a columnist and contributed to a book (“Snake Oil”) about quackery before his untimely death. Quotable quote from the review of his book on amazon.com/

    “In the book Diamond sets out to prove that the protagonists of alternativism are, at best, gullible and misguided, at worst, con-merchants and quacks.”

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Snake-Other-Preoccupations-John-Diamond/dp/0099428334

    Sounds like a good read.

    It is. John Diamond could have made writing about the phone book entertaining. And this was giving him a target-rich environment. Highly recomended.

  37. #38 has
    January 15, 2009

    Usually the articles I target due to their despicable nature are by Mike Adams himself, articles such as the one where he ghoulishly used the corpse of Tony Snow as an excuse to attack conventional medicine, likening Snow to “Hitler’s press secretary,” or the one where he described Christina Applegate’s decision to undergo bilateral prophylactic mastectomy as maiming and used it as an excuse to attack the “breast cancer industry.”

    NaturalNews = The Westboro of Woo

  38. #39 dreikin
    January 15, 2009

    Re: Heraclides & GP:

    Right, I’m aware (as I tried, but failed, to communicate) that it would almost always* be unethical to do that type of trial currently – I was thinking along the lines of retrospective studies, and studies from when chemo and radiation were first being tested as maybe having something like that.

    *If some patients obstinately (for any reason – CAM, religion, just don’t want to deal with it, etc) refused to take radiation/chemo, I wouldn’t, personally, consider it unethical to ask if we could track their progress – although I’m not sure I’d ever find an ethics committee that would agree.

  39. #40 Elizabeth Reid
    January 15, 2009

    “Cancer is an almost $400 Billion a year industry. The only way it can maintain and increase it’s profits is by NOT finding a cure.”

    This is the thing I absolutely do not get about people who think the drug companies and oncologists are engaged in a giant conspiracy to suppress cancer cures in order to increase profits. They seem to think that “cancer researchers” and “people with cancer, or with family members with cancer” are two completely disjoint sets, with is ridiculous. If there were really amazing secret cures for cancer that the Conspiracy was sure enough of to suppress, the members of the Conspiracy would certainly be insisting on getting those amazing secret cures for themselves and their loved ones, even if they were denying them to the credulous populace in order to increase their profits. And yet, cancer researches have relatives who die of cancer, and even die of cancer themselves. It makes so much less sense than the most obvious explanation, which is that many cancers are really nasty and we just don’t have good treatments yet.

  40. #41 sanjiva
    January 16, 2009

    Tony Isaac’s moronic claim that pharmaceutical companies do not want to find a cure for cancer is absolutely idiotic for several reasons:
    (1) Not all large or mid-sized pharmaceutical companies have blockbuster cancer drugs in their portfolios. What multimillion dollar profits are these companies protecting by not developing a cancer cure?
    (2) Many experimental cancer drugs are being developed by small pharmaceutical outfits and biotechs that are in the red – what incentive do these companies have do pump millions of dollars on an experimental treatment that might not work if they could just as easily develop one that’s bound to work?
    (3) Merck – one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies – just developed a vaccine to protect girls and women from infection by certain types of HPV and hence reduce their risk of cervical or other cancers. Why did Merck even launch a program to develop this vaccine in the first place if it meant potentially reducing the market for any future oncology drugs indicated for these types of cancer? Quite simply, prevention of cancer can also be profitable for companies – there’s no reason why a “cure” for it would not be (and consider that Gardasil, while fairly expensive, is still far cheaper than many new treatments for cancer).
    (4)Even if a “cure” for cancer turned out to be something very cheap that could no longer be patented, e.g. vitamin C, aspirin, or pancreatic enzymes, there is still a profit to be made. Many large pharmaceutical companies are starting to make a push towards generics, since a lot of their products will be off-patent in a few years. Then there’s also mid-sized companies like Teva Pharmaceuticals that are already invested in generics.
    4b) Even if the cure were “natural” or a generic compound, there would still be room for patented formulations e.g. extended release or the possibility of tweaking the molecule to find a more efficacious or tolerable version. Even if there weren’t, that’s not something that the multimillion dollar marketing budgets of Big Pharma can’t handle. Remember, Bayer is still profiting from Aspirin despite it being genericized years ago.
    (5) Oncology is evolving towards more targeted and personalized treatment, i.e. the one-size-fits-all approach of many standard chemotherapeutic agents is being eschewed for drugs that target specific proteins expressed in specific tumor types. What this means for most upcoming drugs in the oncology pipeline is that their target markets are shrinking. The “cures” proposed by woo-meisters are often of the one-size-fits-all type – I don’t see how Big Pharma wouldn’t jump on a treatment that could be prescribed for every type of cancer from gliomas to pancreatic cancer to basal cell carcinoma regardless of a patient’s ethnicity or disease characteristics.
    (6) Some companies have oncology drugs that are indicated for third line use – this means that often patients will only be on that therapy for a few months before progressing, dying, or becoming too frail to continue treatment. Why would these companies continue to pour money trying to market these drugs or investing in clinical trials to find new indications for their drug if they could just as easily develop a “cure” that they could charge a similar amount of money for and administer for a similar amount of time (even if the miracle cure worked with a single dosage, it’s not like they can’t slap on a huge price to maximize profits)?
    (7) And before you say Big Pharma uses it’s billions to suppress “the truth” and to manipulate the FDA, consider that there are other large players that could enter the market especially if the cure turns out to be something easily obtainable. Heck, if tomorrow it was found that coffee enemas cured colorectal cancer, what would prevent Nestle from paying a CRO to run clinical trials and using it’s brand name to market its existing products?

    There are, of course, several other incentives for finding a legitimate cure for cancer that have already been covered by other commenters. After all, the hordes of healthcare professionals and employees of pharmaceutical and biotech companies are not all inhuman robots looking for a quick buck.

    Let’s not forget that many of the proponents of alternative medicine who rail on about the “greed” of pharmaceutical companies often have a financial stake in promoting quackery. For instance, I wonder how much Tony Isaac makes from peddling his snake oil. Sure, pharmaceutical companies themselves make obscene profits, and some of their employees are paid very well. But the average employee of a pharmaceutical company probably makes less than many high profile proponents of quackery.

  41. #42 Chris Beckett
    January 16, 2009

    I believe this really states it all………

    “Of course, the reason that the five year survival rate due to chemotherapy is zero is because so few live five years that describing “five year survival” rates for metastatic pancreatic cancer is meaningless. Nearly everyone’s dead by five years, regardless of treatment. One year survival rates are a far more meaningful measure, unfortunately”.

    This is an appalling failure/success rate compared to that of other contemporary industries/enterprises, as Mr Isaacs has highlighted, and where one has to wonder just WHY this is the case?
    The Pharmaceutical Companies are strongly associated with the Medical profession, and where they are unable to see “out of the box”: the only answer to lifes health problems is by developing a pill which will one day magically cure what ails us. It hasn’t happened within the last forty years, and it will never happen in the next forty, or ever; the elusive and unattainable Holy Grail in the cure of cancer.
    Lets look at the facts: the current treatment for cancer which has not been improved upon in decades is basically: slash, poison, and burn…..surgery, chemo’, and radiation respectively.

    The quackery remains for the most part within established medicine in the so-called cures/treatments of chronic diseases, and where if I was a Doctor within those ranks today, would resign as a complete and utter failure of my chosen profession.

    One also has to examine the reasons WHY Alternative treatments for cancer and other degenerative diseases exist or are sought after in the first place, and where the obvious answer is the failure of modern medicine to address these causes or even succeed in effecting a cure or effective treatment.

    Oncology is largely a dismal failure, but society accepts this because it is condoned/tolerated with the authority of the medical profession as a whole and supported further by the Pharmaceutical companies, and where the billions of $$$$ in research for a cancer cure, has been a futile exercise.
    Consider this: the drug companies within the United States spend more on advertising annually than they do on research, and who spend by far the most in lobbying on Capitol Hill.

    I for one was given up as dead thirty years ago due to Leukemia with a life expectancy of only six months, but here I am to day in the very best of health thru my own efforts from utilizing a Natural healing protocol.

    Big Pharma will never open its eyes to anything outside the drug paradigm, as in the case of the then patented Aspirin derived from White willow bark which is just as, if not more effective than the chemically altered aspirin of this naturally occurring product within Nature, to enable it to be sold as a unique and patentable product for financial gain.

    Doesn’t anyone ever learn from this scenario?

    In addition, this oncologist seems to know very little about health or wellness…….leave him to his diseases; after all that is what he is good at!!!

  42. #43 Orac
    January 16, 2009

    I for one was given up as dead thirty years ago due to Leukemia with a
    life expectancy of only six months, but here I am to day in the very
    best of health thru my own efforts from utilizing a Natural healing
    protocol.

    What kind of leukemia?

    What stage?

    What therapies were tried before your “natural healing” protocol?

    Just curious.

  43. #44 Joseph C.
    January 16, 2009

    Big Pharma will never open its eyes to anything outside the drug paradigm, as in the case of the then patented Aspirin derived from White willow bark which is just as, if not more effective than the chemically altered aspirin of this naturally occurring product within Nature, to enable it to be sold as a unique and patentable product for financial gain.

    Ah, so I take it that you don’t draw a paycheck in your work. You do it for free. How noble of you.

  44. #45 Prometheus
    January 16, 2009


    “Lets look at the facts: the current treatment for cancer which has not been improved upon in decades is basically: slash, poison, and burn…..surgery, chemo’, and radiation respectively.”

    Of course, by the same “logic”, the current way to get heavier-than-air craft to fly is to move an airfoil through the air fast enough that lift exceeds the pull of gravity. That’s evidence that aircraft haven’t improved a bit since the days of Orville and Wilbur Wright.

    Right?

    And our current telecommunications technologies still involve transmitting information either through radio waves or along a conduit of some sort, so we haven’t progressed since Marconi and Morse.

    Right?


    “…as in the case of the then patented Aspirin derived from White willow bark which is just as, if not more effective than the chemically altered aspirin of this naturally occurring product…”

    Excepting, of course, that the salicylic acid in white willow bark can’t acetylate the serine residue in the active site of the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme, so it doesn’t have the long-lasting effect on clotting that aspirin does.

    White willow bark – which contains salicylic acid – is a mild analgesic and antipyretic. It cannot provide the long-lasting anti-platelet action that aspirin can. Salicylic acid is also fairly toxic, which is why it is currently used (except by naturopaths and their “clients”) only topically.

    I’m also amused to see that Chris feels that it is a “bad thing” that cancer therapy – in his myopic view – hasn’t progressed yet feels that pharmaceuticals should regress back to using crude extracts of plant toxins (you don’t think that the white willow has salicylic acid in its bark in order to benefit mankind, do you?). Which is it, Chris? Should we move forward or move backward?

    Let’s all get together and send Chris a clue.

    Prometheus

  45. #46 Dangerous Bacon
    January 17, 2009

    No real surprise – but the Chris Beckett posting here appears to be the same person identified on CureZone as affiliated with Tony Isaacs’ enterprises (including Utopia Silver, the colloidal silver company that encourages people to believe that their product cures almost everything).

    http://www.curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1061257#i

    Chris Beckett did an article on Isaacs’ site in which the use of “natural hygiene” and “water fasting” was credited for his supposed cure.

  46. #47 Chris Beckett
    January 17, 2009

    It is futile and pointless in discussing anything with anyone here if their dogma does not allow them to have an open mind.
    It would also be far more beneficial to humanity as a whole if the closed mindset of some medical professionals, possessed the required impartiality into the investigation behind the testimonials of Alternative cures for cancer, and related chronic degenerative diseases.
    One example……..only recently, a Professor of medicine from Japan was cured of his terminal cancer after all orthodox treatments had failed, by using the Gerson method: this cure was followed clinically by his medical colleagues who witnessed the cure. As a result he opened a hospital dedicated to this way of treatment in the cure of cancer.

    Just for the record………
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-01/bc-nac010909.php#

    I shall not bother to post again as it is really a waste of my time.

  47. #48 Jennyj0
    January 17, 2009

    Huh – Otto Warburg was Japanese…?

  48. #49 Orac
    January 17, 2009

    More importantly, what about Warburg’s hypothesis was “alternative”? It was science.

    I also assure Mr. Beckett that results showing that changes in mitochondrial metabolism may contribute to or even be part of the cause of cancer are regularly reported at scientific meetings and not considered the least out of the “mainstream.” However, it’s a difficult question, to figure out whether changes in genes lead to the changes in metabolism or whether the changes in metabolism lead to genetic changes when the two are very much linked. It’s a “chicken or the egg” problem.

    In any case, I can’t help but notice that Mr. Beckett does not produce any evidence to support his claims of miraculous cures of cancer due to “alternative” medicine.

  49. #50 Jennyj0
    January 17, 2009

    @ Chris Beckett,

    What’s the relevance of posting links to Otto Warburg’s hypothesis when you’re telling a story about a Japanese professor miraculously curing himself from cancer with GERSON therapy? I want to see the Japanese professor and his admiring staff and all his cured patients and all their case histories – including the one of the professor himself for that matter.

  50. #51 Dangerous Bacon
    January 17, 2009

    Too bad that Beckett cannot spare any more of his valuable time to enlighten us poor heathens. It would be fascinating to know how he can justify supporting Gerson therapy and defending the likes of Tony Isaacs. After all, Beckett espouses the philosophy of “natural hygiene”:

    “The human body is self-preserving, self-maintaining, and self-healing. All that is required from us is to remove the causes of the problem, rest (go to bed) and preferably stop eating (fast), since the body will use the energy saved from not having to digest food, for the incredibly powerful healing & cleansing processes of the body to be initiated.”

    http://www.tbyil.com/Natural_Hygiene.htm

    How can Beckett then support the “Gerson method” which involves introducing artificial agents like coffee enemas and various supplements into the body? And how does he justify joining the Utopia silver “team”, and associating himself with a website that hawks supplements like “Colon Klenz”, “Clear Lungs” and “Prostate Dr”?

    http://www.tbyil.com/Supplements.htm

    Doesn’t this violate the principles of “natural hygiene”?

    I gotta get some sleep and allow my brain to heal from this infusion of stupid. :)

  51. #52 kc
    February 17, 2009

    this author is an idjot……….go ahead follow along the rest of the morons.

  52. #53 R Paul
    May 2, 2009

    Orac or whatever your name is – you are a bafoon to say the least.
    In the past 50 years the raging success of conventional cancer treatment have increased the percentile improvement of beating cancer by ~2%.
    Cutting to the chase – People have around the same chance of survival if they do nothing.
    If they improve their lifestyle their chances improve.
    If they identify causes and treat these causes they improve further.
    eg – do you have mercury amalgams if so pull them out
    Use common sense and dont listen to biggots like this ORAC whos head is planted firmly you know where.

  53. #54 Chris
    May 3, 2009

    Someone inferring he is a doctor and presidential candidate made lots of silly assertions without providing any evidence. Everything this troll said is stupid.

    I am calling Poe!

  54. #55 Skemono
    May 3, 2009

    In the past 50 years the raging success of conventional cancer treatment have increased the percentile improvement of beating cancer by ~2%.
    Cutting to the chase – People have around the same chance of survival if they do nothing.

    Even assuming this completely unsourced crap is true, I noticed you said nothing at all about how much longer people who get treatment will live versus those who don’t.

    Medical science has done nothing! People still have a 100% mortality rate! They have just the same chance of dying as they do without any medicine! Why should we use it!?!?111!

    If they improve their lifestyle their chances improve.

    Any evidence that improving ones lifestyle will cure cancer? No? Didn’t think so.

  55. #56 Orac
    May 3, 2009

    Someone inferring he is a doctor and presidential candidate made lots of silly assertions without providing any evidence. Everything this troll said is stupid.

    His IP address doesn’t even resolve to the United States anywhere…

  56. #57 blakmira
    September 15, 2009

    As Patrick Swayze said: “If anybody had that cure out there, like so many people swear they do, you’d be two things. You’d be very rich, and you’d be very famous. Otherwise, shut up.”

    Let’s see — GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Merck, Novartis, Baxter, etc. are all beyond very rich ($$billions profit) and everyone’s heard of them, so they could be considered famous. Yet none of them have a cure. What’s wrong with that picture?

    If I had known Patrick personally, as soon as he was diagnosed, I would have referred him to the Beautiful Truth DVD, the story of Albert Schweitzer’s personal physician. After being poisoned by chemotherapy and experimental drugs, those that desperately seek alternative cures are too little too late.

  57. #58 blakmira
    September 15, 2009

    As Patrick Swayze said: “If anybody had that cure out there, like so many people swear they do, you’d be two things. You’d be very rich, and you’d be very famous. Otherwise, shut up.”

    Let’s see — GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Merck, Novartis, Baxter, etc. are all beyond very rich ($$billions profit) and everyone’s heard of them, so they could be considered famous. Yet none of them have a cure. What’s wrong with that picture?

    If I had known Patrick personally, as soon as he was diagnosed, I would have referred him to the Beautiful Truth DVD, the story of Albert Schweitzer’s personal physician. After being poisoned by chemotherapy and experimental drugs, those that desperately seek alternative cures are too little too late.

  58. #59 Orac
    September 15, 2009

    “The Beautiful Truth”? You’ve got to be kidding. That movie peddles more quackery and lies than pretty much any movie I’ve heard of in the last decade:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/11/the_notsobeautiful_untruth.php

  59. #60 Todd W.
    September 15, 2009

    @Orac

    Even more than Expelled? Wow. I hope it is at least filed under fiction, if not horror.

  60. #61 Scott
    September 15, 2009

    Let’s see — GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Merck, Novartis, Baxter, etc. are all beyond very rich ($$billions profit) and everyone’s heard of them, so they could be considered famous. Yet none of them have a cure. What’s wrong with that picture?

    What’s wrong with that picture is that you’ve presented a gross logical fallacy. Patrick Swayze said that if you had a cure, you’d be rich and famous. You have then argued that since there are rich and famous companies without a cure, Patrick must have been wrong. Ludicrous. (Affirming the consequent, to be technical.)

  61. #62 Ramel
    September 15, 2009

    Yet none of them have a cure.

    No single cure for cancer? Shocker… What’s wrong with this picture is ignorant bullshit some one who doesn’t know the most basic shit about the subject and has no idea what they’re talking about.

  62. #63 Luna_the_cat
    September 15, 2009

    When Swayze dies, look for a post on NaturalNews.com expressing all sorts of mock sorrow that Swayze didn’t see the value of “alternative” therapy and regret that he “could have been saved” if he had just listened to proponents of “natural cancer therapies,” all accompanied by a rant against the government, the “cancer industry, and big pharma. If Adams or his surrogate is in really good form, you’ll see all sorts of Godwin-worthy Nazi analogies thrown about at the dreaded “cancer industry.”

    …Yup. Looks like you nailed it.

  63. #64 Nancy
    September 16, 2009

    Not sure if this is still active or not, but…Can you guys explain why Swayze said natural therapies would “feed” the cancer? While I agree that there is a lot of quackery out there, why in the world would anyone think eating nutrient-rich foods is a bad idea? Why would doctors tell him not to change his lifestyle? I mean, wasn’t Swazye’s continuing to smoke after his diagnosis a pretty bad idea?

  64. #65 Chris
    September 16, 2009

    Nancy, I am not sure I would trust the Swayze quote from Mike Adams to be accurate. Also, one of the big cancer quackery ideas is coffee enemas, which actually puts caffeine directly into your system preventing reast.

  65. #66 Johann
    September 17, 2009

    Well you’re quite the opinionated one, aren’t ya?

  66. #67 Julie
    December 6, 2009

    My research is that swayze was doing coffee enemas everymorning…. alt therapy.
    Look you loonies, a little economics… first to even bring a potential cure to the mainstream, if you have to patent, and if you cant patent an alt therapy ( herbs etc), youre done. But wait, lets say you get one of the biggies like novartis to back you, they front the 300 mill for the clinicals etc, the patent etc. Then go to market with the cure… wow. But wait, if you cure a cancer, remember the cure, (no recurrences, no relapses etc), you revenue base is just one time. No repeat business, which chronic, managed illnesses provide. So a cure is counter economics, managed controlled care is correct. No cure, ever, even if it was found in the dark halls of one of the big pharmies, it would shelved.

  67. #68 julie
    December 6, 2009

    Money is made not by curing a disease, only by repeat visits and outlays for the therapy, and pharmeceuticals. If you cure a cancer, and even charge an outlandish sum, you will still have to adjust your economics to accomodate tthe maximization of your gross revenues. Plus to continue to operate, you must a constant supply of sick cancerous people willing to pay for the cure. Once they are cured no more business, so what do you do, you develop a temp cure, something that gives the patient time like 5 years all the while is on your maintenance cure. Thats how you maximize your economis.

  68. #69 Orac
    December 6, 2009

    My research is that swayze was doing coffee enemas everymorning…. alt therapy.

    And your evidence for this claim is?

  69. #70 DICK
    December 8, 2009

    This is a totally ridiculous discussion, going nowhere.
    Follow the money in any endeavor, and you will find the real players and real motives behind all action. Find me an oncologist who doesnt make a f***king bunch of money per year.
    Now evaluate his or hers success rate. Just imagine if these doctors were paid for results… if you’re an onco, and your patient doesn’t live to 5 years you only get bare expenses.. watch the system change. Same goes for attorneys, except for PI lawyers, who get paid for performance.

  70. #71 Chris
    December 8, 2009

    Now, DICK, what if we took what you said:

    Now evaluate his or hers success rate. Just imagine if these doctors were paid for results…

    … and applied it to the quacks who claim to cure cancer. What is the the success rate of Gonzalez and Gerson?