Respectful Insolence

R.I.P. David Servan-Schreiber

One of the very first themes I started hammering on in this blog, dating back to its very inception, is the analysis of alternative medicine cancer testimonials. One reason was (and is) that I take care of cancer patients and do research into developing new treatments for a living. Another reason is that, to the average lay person, most of whom don’t have much of an understanding of cancer, alternative medicine cancer testimonials can sound extremely convincing.

For example, if you didn’t know that breast cancer can have a highly variable course spreading out over years, Kim Tinkham’s claim to have cured herself of cancer using cancer quack Robert O. Young’s acid-base woo can appear very compelling. Of course, when it is pointed out that she probably had a relatively indolent tumor and that there were inconsistencies in her story that led me to believe that her tumor was perhaps not as advanced as she liked to advertise in her media appearances, suddenly her prolonged survival doesn’t seem quite so remarkable. And, of course, like so many promoters of cancer quackery who were true believers, ultimately Kim Tinkham appears to have died of her disease last December. No doubt, if it hadn’t been for blogs like mine her death would have gone the way of previous deaths of people who made the tragic mistake of choosing quackery over effective medicine, namely into the great abyss of the forgotten. Fortunately, we were able to let people know what happened so that her death, as horrible as it is to contemplate, will at least not have been totally in vain nor will her cancer quack’s role in her death be forgotten.

Unfortunately, there are many others, some of whom write books about their choice. Some, however, become famous simply for surviving and, rather than attributing their survival to the science-based medicine they underwent plus luck, they attribute their survival to whatever health regimen they decided to undertake. For if there’s one thing that’s axiomatic about alternative medicine testimonials, it’s that the person giving the testimonial attributes his survival to the woo, not to the science. Like David Servan-Schreiber, author of Anti-cancer: A new way of life.

Unfortunately, like many promoters of alternative medicine testimonials, David Servan-Schreiber too has passed away:

David Servan-Schreiber, a psychiatrist and best-selling author whose cancer diagnosis at the age of 31 compelled him to explore and then popularize the use of natural and holistic methods in dealing with cancer and depression, died on Sunday in a hospital near Fécamp, Normandy. He was 50.

The cause was brain cancer, which had recurred last year, his brother Franklin said.

Trained as a neuroscientist, Dr. Servan-Schreiber imbued his books with his own story of surviving cancer for almost 19 years, one of diagnosis, surgery, remission, relapse and redemption.

Servan-Schreiber’s story does indeed have several remarkable elements. The first is how his tumor was discovered. At age 31, when he was a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh in neuroscience, quite by chance he underwent an MRI of the brain for a research project after the intended subject, for whatever reason, didn’t show up. In other words, there were no symptoms and no clinical indications for Servan-Schreiber to undergo an MRI, but he did anyway for his research. Shockingly, the scan showed a tumor described as the size of a walnut.

After this, Servan-Schreiber’s story becomes a bit less clear. He had “conventional” therapy for his tumor, which included surgery, but I’ve had a hard time finding out what kind of brain tumor he had, at least from the material on his own website and in his own book that I can access without paying for it. However, looking around, I find that Servan-Schreiber most likely had glioblastoma multiforme, which is what I would have guessed as the most likely type of brain cancer just playing the odds given that glioblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumor. In any case, after the successful resection of his tumor, according to Servan-Schreiber, doctors told him to eat what he wanted because it “won’t make much of a difference.”

Five years later, Servan-Schreiber’s tumor recurred. This time around, he underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, during which time he became a convert to “alternative” therapies. Ultimately, he wrote his book and became a leading promoter of “integrative” medicine. To his credit, he always told people with cancer that they should seek out scientific medical treatment. Unfortunately, in the process, he also promoted the idea that diet could protect you from almost all cancers, that cell phones cause brain cancer, and that a number of other dubious health modalities could produces a “terrain” that was hostile to cancer, even though evidence supporting such claims was equivocal at best. Even so, his book Anti-cancer became phenomenally successful, being translated into 36 languages and spending several weeks high on the New York Times bestseller list in 2010, while Servan-Schreiber gave interviews in which he said things like this in describing his conversion to “natural” therapies after his cancer relapse:

Servan-Schreiber refused to simply accept his fate. He embarked on his own research and developed a method for helping his body protect itself from the disease. It drew heavily on natural defense mechanisms and a new lifestyle based on a changed diet and plenty of exercise and optimism. But it did not offer total protection, as he told Ode in an interview. “I’m not saying we can prevent cancer, because we may get cancer for reasons that are beyond our control. Even if you do all of the things I talk about in my book, there’s not a guarantee that you’ll prevent cancer. It’s about 80 to 85 percent protection, which is still enormous.”

And giving interviews like this:

One can’t help but note a few howlers in this interview, such as the claim that the reason that cancer is more common is not because the population is aging and must be something else. For one thing, cancer incidence rates, although they did rise in the 1970s, leveled off long ago and have been essentially flat since the early 1990s. In other words, there is no cancer “epidemic” currently detectable. Worse, Servan-Schreiber has been a major promoter of the myth that sugar causes cancer because cancer “feeds on raw sugar.” This is basically just a myth based on a misunderstanding of basic biochemistry. He also spouts misinformation about “toxins” and cancer-fighting foods that supposedly soak up those toxins. All in all, it’s depressing to read and watch him.

In fact, Servan-Schreiber went beyond that. Schreiber promoted a “Secret”-style wishful thinking in which he claimed that fatalism resulted in worse outcomes. In fact, there’s no good evidence that this is true. No matter how much we would like to believe otherwise, the latest research is consistent with the conclusion that patient attitude does not affect his chances of surviving his disease. That’s not to say that having a positive attitude doesn’t have numerous other benefits, but improving the odds of survival is just not among them. Dr. Servan-Schrieber has even gone so far as to write a book entitled Instinct to Heal, which advocates what he calls the “new emotion medicine” and methods that, he claims, can “cure stress, anxiety, and depression without drugs or psychotherapy.” These methods include obvious woo such as heart coherence, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and even what he calls the control of qi through acupuncture.

His Anticancer website also includes dubious recommendations, such as describing these as “anticancer products“:

  • Natural deodorants without aluminum
  • Natural and organic cosmetics free of parabens and pthalates
  • Pesticides made from essential oils or boric acid
  • White vinegar or natural cleaning products (without pesticides) or the European Ecolabel
  • Glass or ceramic containers for use in a microwave
  • Flawless Teflon, or else non-Teflon pans, such as stainless steel 18/10

It is, of course, a myth that aluminum-containing deodorants cause breast cancer. The idea was first published in the crank journal Medical Hypotheses and spread and metastasized from there. That Servan-Schreiber fell for this story did not give me a high degree of confidence in his judgment. As for the rest, well, they’re, as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would say, mostly harmless. But neither is there compelling evidence that any of these items are powerful anticancer measures, either.

Like many advocates of “integrative medicine,” Servan-Schreiber’s advice is often reasonable. Of course, it’s a good idea to get more exercise. Of course it’s a good idea not to eat so much fatty food. Sure, it’s a good idea to take time to relax. None of this is “alternative” or anything but based on science, but science itself says that this isn’t the anticancer panacea that Servan-Schreiber suggests that it is nor that it is able to treat an already established cancer. Unfortunately, Servan-Schreiber “integrated” a whole bunch of woo into the mix, along with a philosophy that’s uncomfortably close to The Secret in that Servan-Schreiber is saying, in essence, almost that you can will yourself not to get cancer through a positive attitude and the right diet. The flip side of this is the same dark underbelly of much of alternative medicine: It blames the patient. If you get cancer, it’s your fault. Either you ate the wrong foods, didn’t eat the right foods, didn’t get enough exercise, didn’t think happy enough thoughts, or some combination of these. This belief led Servan-Schreiber to write:

This book is above all my testimony as a witness and fellow sufferer. I had cancer. I’m cured now, and I wanted to share what I learned with other people. Being a doctor doesn’t protect you from cancer. But because I’m a doctor and a scientist, I was able to take my knowledge to its limits and learn to look after myself. I wanted to write the book I would have liked to read – the book that, if it had existed, would have helped me to avoid falling ill, and that would have helped me learn very quickly how to give my cancer treatments the best possible chance of working.

Does Servan-Schreiber’s death mean his method didn’t work? Or did it mean that it did work and held his disease at bay longer than anyone would have thought possible. Or was Servan-Schreiber a man who was fortunate enough to have a less aggressive form of brain tumor that responded very well to conventional therapy and was very slow to relapse, taking this latest time 15 years before recurring and then leading to his death? Most likely, it was the latter, because there just isn’t any strong evidence that Servan-Schreiber’s methods are anywhere near as effective as he claimed they are.

One thing that needs to be understood is that glioblastoma is indeed a nasty cancer. Untreated, the median survival is on the order of three months. Even treated maximally, fewer than one in four patients with the disease survive longer than 2 years and fewer than 10% survive five years or more. However, it is known that there are types of glioblastoma with a prognosis that is not quite as grim, although it is grim enough. For instance, younger patients tend to survive longer, as do patients with methylation of the promoter of O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase. In the end, however, little is known that can accurately predict who is likely to survive long term after treatment of glioblastoma and why, much as little is known that allows us to predict accurately which women with advanced breast cancer will survive for long periods of time and why, other than very crudely and unreliably.

What this all means is that Servan-Schreiber, for all his scientific prowess, nonetheless ended up behaving like Suzanne Sommers, Lorraine Day, Hollie Quinn, and any number of other cancer patients who were successfully treated with conventional scientific medical therapy and also chose pseudoscience, after which they attributed their good outcome more to the pseudoscience than to the real medicine. Fortunately for him, he did very well and lived a lot longer than the average brain tumor patient. Unfortunately, during that time he promoted a profoundly misleading view of cancer therapy.

Comments

  1. #1 Jack
    August 2, 2011

    I was always surprised that this guy went over to the woo side because it seemed that he was incredibly intelligent. I suspect that he may have had difficulty separating out his emotions from rational thinking. I guess getting diagnosed with a nasty cancer like GBM makes you desperate to find something that gives you hope, even if your rational side would reject it.

  2. #2 David
    August 2, 2011

    Ah, the confusion of nomenclature of gliomas. Unlike breast cancer, as an astrocytoma becomes more aggressive it changes its name. A glioblastoma is a grade IV astrocytoma. It’s not at all rare for low-grade astrocytomas to be almost asymptomatic for decades (for instance, when MRI became widely used, it wasn’t rare to find a patient who had a seizure as a young adult, then the seizures well-controlled with medication and by otherwise asymptomatic, with the tumor unrecognized until imaging finally became available). Later in life such tumors may convert to GBM.

    A review, in the form of a case report, is here:
    http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/303/10/967.long

  3. #3 TBruce
    August 2, 2011

    Here’s a few more examples of “miracle cures” that in fact weren’t. The one that’s very similar to Dr. Servan-Schreiber’s is Dr. Anthony Sattilaro, the MD who “cured” his metastatic prostate cancer with a macrobiotic diet. It was a real big deal back in the early 80′s. He also wrote a couple of books. Unfortunately, he died in 1989. This of course was no big deal at all.

  4. #4 Denice Walter
    August 2, 2011

    Adding another name to the list of alt med proselytisers who have died of their cancer unfortunately has a parallel in the world of HIV/AIDS denialism whose advocates select “poster girls”- usually attractive white straight women ( who can’t therefore, be gay men)- who are inveigled into eschewing HAART and then give testimonials of their vibrant health and happiness… until they sicken and die: most famously Christine Maggiore (and her young daughter), and most recently, Karri Stokely, who turned down SBM treatment despite her continuing decline. (Seth Kalichman documents them)

    I sometimes think I should create a list of “Warning Signs that Someone You Love Is Considering Alt Med” as a PSA**.The late Dr Servan-Schreiber illustrates quite a few of them:

    The person uses certain key words and phrases that should serve as an warning light: toxins, nutrition/ diet, positive attitude, ancient/other ways of knowing, “Science doesn’t have all of the answers”, energy, balance, synergistic, mentions pesticides/ vaccines/ power lines/ cell phones, return to nature, heavy metal contamination, strengthen immunity, mistrust of doctors/ pharma, iatrogenic death figures.

    The person starts buying supplements by the bag full and ingesting suspicious-looking green powder-infused beverages. They e-mail you articles from Mercola or NaturalNews. Their book shelf/ Kindle includes authors like Sommers, Young, or any of the usual suspects. They try to get you to go vegan or meditate with them.

    If you see several of these warning signs, it’s time to have that serious talk. Friends don’t let friends go woo.

    ** as part of a larger questionaire/ screening assessment tool. – btw- I’m not entirely joking.

  5. #5 Tsu Dho Nimh
    August 2, 2011

    One wonders what his survival time would have been had he not had the serendipitous MRI, but been diagnosed after the usual symptoms appeared.

  6. #6 James Sweet
    August 2, 2011

    I was always surprised that this guy went over to the woo side because it seemed that he was incredibly intelligent. I suspect that he may have had difficulty separating out his emotions from rational thinking. I guess getting diagnosed with a nasty cancer like GBM makes you desperate to find something that gives you hope, even if your rational side would reject it.

    Yeah, and it seems for the most part his recommendations weren’t completely crazy. e.g. it’s probably a good idea to use glass or ceramic (as opposed to plastic) in the microwave when possible, as there definitely are some types of plastic which will leach carcinogens if heated, and you might not always be sure you have the right one — not that we know for sure there’s a significant effect even then, but it’s probably a good idea. Similar with the Teflon thing. Not a big deal, but probably a best practice anyway.

    The guy was clearly not entirely bonkers, just had his incredulity meter dialed down a bit too low after his harrowing experience with cancer. Too bad…

  7. #7 augustine
    August 2, 2011

    Adding another name to the list of alt med proselytisers who have died of their cancer

    That’s pretty stupid when 550,000 die every year in the U.S. under conventional proselytiser’s care. You’re getting caught up in your emotions and not thinking about what you’re saying.

    This post says REST IN PEACE and then goes on to disrespect this man in an attempt to further some skeptics agenda against anything that they perceive as opposing their intolerant views. Trying to use him as an example is tacky.

    No doubt, if it hadn’t been for blogs like mine…

    No doubt. You’re pretty important. You’ll make your mark in blogging. Not science. Not medicine.

    The TMZ of scienceblogging. That’s big time science.

  8. #8 kelian
    August 2, 2011

    Like others, I am making my mark as a vocal blog commenter.

    I never run out of opinions and it saves in hosting fees.

    I may need to forgo a vaccine for SIWOTI syndrome, if one ever comes out, but it’s worth it. I’m doing it for all of you.

  9. #9 Lawrence
    August 2, 2011

    Seems to me that boring troll is advocating a study that everyone should avoid a doctor’s care for one year, then we’ll see how many people would have actually died, compared to, say, the year before?

    Do you also believe it was the doctors’ fault when people come in to the ER with severe injuries (from a car accident, for example) & die? Would they have been better off if someone prayed over them instead?

    Should people suffering a stroke or heart attack avoid seeing a doctor & take some ginseng instead?

    You don’t seem to be able to provide any sort of guide as to what part of medicine you’re saying to avoid – what doesn’t fit in your particular vocabulary?

  10. #10 Gray Falcon
    August 2, 2011

    Since this thread is more recent and relevant, I’ll ask augustine here: What is your point? Why are you coming here? What do you believe in?

  11. #11 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    Orac, you need to sprinkle your skepticism with a bit of knowledge…
    You say David sprouts misinformation about cancer fighting foods that ‘soak up toxins’…

    He spoke specifically about broccoli and stated that the chemicals in broccoli help to clean up toxins in the body.

    Have you heard of 3,3′-Diindolylmethane? It occurs in broccoli and other brassicas and is currently used in the United States to treat upper respiratory tract tumors and is currently under NCI clinical trials for many types of cancer.

    Do you know what free radicals are? Sulforaphane in broccoli works as a potent catalyst to boost Phase 2 enzymes in the body. These detoxification enzymes trigger ongoing antioxidant action for at least 72 hours.

    Conjugation reactions are something you should have studied in first year. Did you miss that class?

    Parabens and pthalates are known endocrine disruptors…. join the dots.

    Everyone I know who has teflon pans has eventually burnt the teflon on the pans…. this is what happens when things are placed on hot plates- they get hot. Experiment on yourself- get a teflon pan- heat it and breath in the fumes….

    PFOA- a pyrolysis product from teflon is a carcinogen, liver toxicant, a developmental toxicant, an immune system toxicant, and also exerts hormonal effects including alteration of thyroid hormone level. Animal studies show developmental toxicity from reduced birth size, physical developmental delays, endocrine disruption, and neonatal mortality. PFOA causes liver cancer in rodents and also induces testicular and pancreatic cancer through induction of Leydig cell tumors and pancreatic acinar cell tumors…..

    Ok, you go teflon, I will use stainless steel.

    To state that avoiding pesticides is a ‘dubious anti cancer claim’ is pathetic. Are you trying to be funny?

    Sprinkle your skepticism with a little knowledge and you might actually help a few people instead of simply being a mindless pawn of big pharma et al.

  12. #12 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    Orac, you need to sprinkle your skepticism with a bit of knowledge…
    You say David sprouts misinformation about cancer fighting foods that ‘soak up toxins’…

    He spoke specifically about broccoli and stated that the chemicals in broccoli help to clean up toxins in the body.

    Have you heard of 3,3′-Diindolylmethane? It occurs in broccoli and other brassicas and is currently used in the United States to treat upper respiratory tract tumors and is currently under NCI clinical trials for many types of cancer.

    Do you know what free radicals are? Sulforaphane in broccoli works as a potent catalyst to boost Phase 2 enzymes in the body. These detoxification enzymes trigger ongoing antioxidant action for at least 72 hours.

    Conjugation reactions are something you should have studied in first year. Did you miss that class?

    Parabens and pthalates are known endocrine disruptors…. join the dots.

    Everyone I know who has teflon pans has eventually burnt the teflon on the pans…. this is what happens when things are placed on hot plates- they get hot. Experiment on yourself- get a teflon pan- heat it and breath in the fumes….

    PFOA- a pyrolysis product from teflon is a carcinogen, liver toxicant, a developmental toxicant, an immune system toxicant, and also exerts hormonal effects including alteration of thyroid hormone level. Animal studies show developmental toxicity from reduced birth size, physical developmental delays, endocrine disruption, and neonatal mortality. PFOA causes liver cancer in rodents and also induces testicular and pancreatic cancer through induction of Leydig cell tumors and pancreatic acinar cell tumors…..

    Ok, you go teflon, I will use stainless steel.

    To state that avoiding pesticides is a ‘dubious anti cancer claim’ is pathetic. Are you trying to be funny?

    Sprinkle your skepticism with a little knowledge and you might actually help a few people instead of simply being a mindless pawn of big pharma et al.

  13. #13 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    Orac, you need to sprinkle your skepticism with a bit of knowledge…
    You say David sprouts misinformation about cancer fighting foods that ‘soak up toxins’…

    He spoke specifically about broccoli and stated that the chemicals in broccoli help to clean up toxins in the body.

    Have you heard of 3,3′-Diindolylmethane? It occurs in broccoli and other brassicas and is currently used in the United States to treat upper respiratory tract tumors and is currently under NCI clinical trials for many types of cancer.

    Do you know what free radicals are? Sulforaphane in broccoli works as a potent catalyst to boost Phase 2 enzymes in the body. These detoxification enzymes trigger ongoing antioxidant action for at least 72 hours.

    Conjugation reactions are something you should have studied in first year. Did you miss that class?

    Parabens and pthalates are known endocrine disruptors…. join the dots.

    Everyone I know who has teflon pans has eventually burnt the teflon on the pans…. this is what happens when things are placed on hot plates- they get hot. Experiment on yourself- get a teflon pan- heat it and breath in the fumes….

    PFOA- a pyrolysis product from teflon is a carcinogen, liver toxicant, a developmental toxicant, an immune system toxicant, and also exerts hormonal effects including alteration of thyroid hormone level. Animal studies show developmental toxicity from reduced birth size, physical developmental delays, endocrine disruption, and neonatal mortality. PFOA causes liver cancer in rodents and also induces testicular and pancreatic cancer through induction of Leydig cell tumors and pancreatic acinar cell tumors…..

    Ok, you go teflon, I will use stainless steel.

    To state that avoiding pesticides is a ‘dubious anti cancer claim’ is pathetic. Are you trying to be funny?

    Sprinkle your skepticism with a little knowledge and you might actually help a few people instead of simply being a mindless pawn of big pharma et al.

  14. #14 Orac
    August 2, 2011

    @Gustav

    Obviously you’re new here. I’ve written about many of this issues before. For example:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/05/the_presidents_cancer_panel_steps_into_i.php

    The point is that the risk of cancer due to many of these so-called “cancer causing chemicals” is either not strongly supported by evidence and/or overblown, for example the claim that cosmetics containing paraben or phlalates cause cancer at the concentrations used in cosmetics.

    I suppose I should be happy you at least appear to acknowledge implicitly through your silence on the issue that aluminum-containing antiperspirants do not cause cancer as far as we’ve been able to tell.

  15. #15 Lynxreign
    August 2, 2011

    Gray Falcon @10

    augustine has a mission to spread ignorance, misinformation and hate wherever he can.

  16. #16 lsm
    August 2, 2011

    Coincidentally, I am just getting ready to travel out of state to my mother in law’s funeral, who died of a glioblastoma on Friday. She followed a lifetime relentlessly strict health code that would make Servan-Schreiber proud. I mentioned before that my chiropractic brother in law died needlessly from a highly treatable kidney cancer because he wanted to cure himself. Sadly, alt-med people just don’t seem to make the connection that despite diet and exercise, pills and nostrums, they are prone to suffer from the frailties of the body just like everybody else. Not to put down diet and exercise; but it doesn’t do everything they think it does, and it’s amazing how they don’t open their eyes and see that. Maybe it takes a tragedy such as mine bring it home.

    Thank you, ORAC, and other scientists, for your work on cancer.

  17. #17 Dangerous Bacon
    August 2, 2011

    “Servan-Schreiber refused to simply accept his fate. “ (quote from an interview with Servan-Schreiber).

    That’s the most idiotic and vile statement to appear in the article. Not only does it perpetuate the canard that positive thinking is essential to “beating” cancer, it suggests that you must go on a pilgrimage through the world of quack cures, otherwise you’ve given in and “accepted your fate”.

    Gustav: “Parabens and pthalates are known endocrine disruptors…. join the dots.”

    Science doesn’t accept “connect the dots” as proving a theory, no matter how appealing it is to a particular mindset. If “connect the dots” was a viable strategy, Michael Moore would already have won the Nobel prize in medicine.

    Try sprinkling your assumptions and conspiracy theorizing with a little skepticism, and you can avoid being a pawn of bogus cancer cure promoters and the supplement industry.

    Nothing wrong with eating plenty of fruits and veggies, though. Whether that can overcome genetic predisposition to cancer is questionable.

  18. #18 augustine
    August 2, 2011

    Science doesn’t accept “connect the dots” as proving a theory, no matter how appealing it is to a particular mindset.

    Apparently science doesn’t accept skeptics and science bloggers either. They claim Jenny McCarthy and Andrew Wakefield have killed babies throught the “connect the dot” game.

    No evidence. No science. Just bloggin.

    Sciencebloggers don’t apply skepticism very evenly.

  19. #19 lilady
    August 2, 2011

    @ Gray Falcon: No point, Troll comes here just to annoy and has no beliefs…with the possible exception of his narrow xenophobic brand of “christian beliefs”.

    @ Hackmauler: mighty long on accusations and deplorably short on basic knowledge of cancer. Please read the link that Orac provided and if you are not a troll, we expect you will be man enough to thank Orac for the linked blog…and for this one.

    I strongly suspect that Servan-Schreiber quite deliberately omitted the type and staging of his brain cancer. Now he could have written a brilliant book about the serendipitous finding of the tumor while it was in a very treatable stage and the re-ordering of his thinking processes once he was given a chance of long term survival…versus…the one steeped in woo; he didn’t.

    He has planted some seeds for the naively susceptible by blaming the cancer patient for not eating certain foods, for cell phone use and for “wrongful” thinking, while destroying his own reputation for posterity…sad.

  20. #20 anarchic teapot
    August 2, 2011

    @augustine
    By encouraging people not to vaccinate their children, thereby exposing them and others to highly contagious and potentially deadly diseases…

    They have.

  21. #21 augustine
    August 2, 2011

    linxy

    augustine has a mission to spread ignorance, misinformation and hate wherever he can.

    I spread facts and skepticism of skeptics and pseudoskeptics. In the end the skeptic doesn’t have the answers he portrays to have. He just has his beliefs, opinions, and values of the way he thinks things ought to be.

  22. #22 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    August 2, 2011

    Augustine:

    “I’ll keep trolling threads, even year-and-a-half-old ones, until Chris shows up and tells me that my gender dysphoria is not something to be ashamed of.”

  23. #23 augustine
    August 2, 2011

    By encouraging people not to vaccinate their children, thereby exposing them and others to highly contagious and potentially deadly diseases…

    They have.

    See what I mean? No evidence. No science.
    Do you just stare at clouds all day and come up with figures that you see? I know. You really do see objects. But it’s just clouds.

  24. #24 Lynxreign
    August 2, 2011

    augie doggie @ 19

    I spread facts

    No you don’t. You spread lies and ignorance and call them “facts”. The only part in question is if you are lying, stupid or both. My bet is on both.

    He just has his beliefs, opinions, and values of the way he thinks things ought to be.

    You say this because you’re too stupid to understand the resources constantly linked to that show the evidence. That or you’re lying. Or both.

    Your other post @21 shows how frequently you’re full of nothing, but word-salad. The only way there’s “no evidence, no science” is when you close your eyes, plug your ears and scream, which seems to be how you get through the world day to day.

    You should be embarassed to parade your bigotry, ignorance and lack of education, yet you show up every day to remind people the deleterious effect Fox and the rest of the Right-Wing propaganda machine have had on society.

  25. #25 augustine
    August 2, 2011

    with the possible exception of his narrow xenophobic brand of “christian beliefs”.

    What are my stated “christian beliefs” lil ole bitter lady? Are you even certain I’m a christian?

    Lilady: “well uh, uh, well….”

    I strongly suspect that Servan-Schreiber quite deliberately omitted the type and staging of his brain cancer

    Projection thy name is LILADY.
    You are a psuedoskeptic. Your loud opinionated arrogance is your coping mechanism for your insecurity about your limited, out of date formal education in which you claim to be an expert in. The times have passed you lilady. You were just “that lady” who gave shots down at the free clinic. A techy can do that. If you were more humble about your expertise and knowledge then maybe I would give you the benefit of the doubt. But since you know it all and you know it right then you’ll be treated as such.

  26. #26 Calli Arcale
    August 2, 2011

    Gustav Hackmauler:

    Have you heard of 3,3′-Diindolylmethane? It occurs in broccoli and other brassicas and is currently used in the United States to treat upper respiratory tract tumors and is currently under NCI clinical trials for many types of cancer.

    I don’t have the time to address your entire post (I have a meeting in five minutes) but I would like to say one thing.

    Have you heard of paclitaxel? It occurs in Pacific yew, Taxus brevifolia, and is currently used in the United States to treat many types of cancer including breast, lung, ovarian, and Karposi’s Sarcoma.

    Yet strangely no doctors recommend using Pacific yew to treat their cancer. This is because the concentrations found in the bark of this tree are too small to be useful. It has to be highly concentrated. You’d need to eat an entire tree. The same tends to be true of most useful plant compounds.

  27. @Gustav Hackmauler

    There’s a difference between a food containing a chemical known to have certain effects (either in vitro or even in vivo), and the consumption of said food being capable of producing that same effect. Among the many factors to be considered is whether the food contains that substance in sufficient quantity to produce any clinically relevant effect (would you have to eat 10 pounds to get enough of the chemical) and also whether the form of the substance and method of ingestion are conducive to producing the effect. (Is it the right form of the substance, does it get destroyed by the gastrointestinal tract before absorption, etc?)

    Also, as to the toxins, the dose makes the poison.

    Try not to join the wrong dots together, you tend to get the wrong picture.

    -Karl Withakay

  28. #28 augustine
    August 2, 2011

    Linxy Minxy

    No you don’t. You spread lies

    Prove it!
    Ruh Roh!
    You can’t!
    Thank you for your opinion. Another emotional blogger letting her opinion get in the way of facts.

  29. #29 Lawrence
    August 2, 2011

    Definitely not a Christian.

    Boring troll is simply a contrarian, with some Objectivist tendencies.

  30. #30 stripey_cat
    August 2, 2011

    Boring troll is simply a contrarian, with some Objectivist tendencies.

    Don’t forget the misogyny and anti-intellectualism.

  31. #31 Lynxreign
    August 2, 2011

    Augie doggie @26

    I’ve already stipulated several times that you might not be lying, you might just be incredibly stupid. I’ve also stated that I think you’re both lying and stupid, but I can’t prove which of the three conditions it is. Funny that you didn’t dispute that you spread misinformation or that you parade your ignorance and hate for all to see. I suppose those are too obvious to dispute.

    As for facts, you are frequently demonstrably wrong, you refuse to listen to evidence and you refuse to state what your credentials are even while disparaging those of others.

    For an example, see this comment of yours last time there was a vaccines post

    The general population has a 99.999999999999+% chance of NOT getting meningeosnufulufugus as complication of the childhood infection called chickenpox.

    I’m willing to bet this one is entirely stupidity on your part.

  32. #32 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    ok, ok calm down . Yes, join the dots on the pthalate/
    parabens issue is a bit of a long shot if your mind is not able to operate freely.

    It is also a minor issue…. the levels of these chemicals in cosmetics is a minor issue, however, these chemicals have been shown to cause actual bodily HARM. Cumulative dose is a concern.
    If you have a choice to avoid as much as possible a known health risk, why not avoid it? Especially if you have cancer.
    The major route of exposure is environmental anyway- unless you are eating certain ‘health’ medication in which case your pthalate levels can be 50 times the average.

    The European Union, the USA and Canada has banned pthalates in childrens toys because they cause HARM. The permutations of the combined risks of endocrine disruptors are difficult to predict and expensive to test. Nobody is funding this testing because there is only money to be lost in proving the dangers of these things.

    Orac you wrote -The point is that the risk of cancer due to many of these so-called “cancer causing chemicals” is either not strongly supported or overblown…

    Come on lets be honest- there is very little funding going into the risks of toxic chemicals in general. Big business(the government) has lots to lose and nothing to gain by funding the research into these chemicals. Until such time as they actually reliably test the tens of thousands of chemicals they put into our water, air, environment and bodies I will try to avoid as many of them as possible.

    Anyway you can not really believe everything the FDA, EPA, NCI, tell you…. ;]
    However a side issue it still is.

    lilady you wrote that I am -
    mighty long on accusations and deplorably short on basic knowledge of cancer.

    Where am I short on basic knowledge of cancer. I want some specifics. Please. I reckon your chances of providing an acceptable answer are close to zero… Go on- give it a bash anyway.

    orac… aluminum chlorohydrate, it seems that David may have been wrong on that one.
    Aluminum is still something you want less rather than more of in your body.

    Do you agree that it is reasonable to avoid pesticides when possible? If so why ridicule David for recommending this?

    And teflon cookware? Is it really needed in the light of the potential harm it can cause versus its supposed benefits?

    dangerous bacon- I am a skeptic, just not your type.

  33. #33 Chris
    August 2, 2011

    Gustav Hackmauler:

    Where am I short on basic knowledge of cancer. I want some specifics.

    It might help if you provided some cites instead of just arguing by blatant assertion.

    Aluminum is still something you want less rather than more of in your body.

    Do you only eat food from soil without aluminum, the most common metal element on this planet’s crust? And if you, how do you do it?

  34. #34 Calli Arcale
    August 2, 2011

    Gustav Hackmauler:

    The European Union, the USA and Canada has banned pthalates in childrens toys because they cause HARM.

    Actually, it would be more accurate to say they were banned out of an abundance of caution. We know phthalates at high chronic doses can cause serious problems; we don’t know that normal childhood exposure through playing with and using products with phthlates causes problems, though its’ reasonable to expect they’d be smaller than what is observed with the laboratory doses used in test animals. Also unknown is whether the alternatives are safer, it’s worth noting.

    You seem to be alleging a government conspiracy to suppress research into toxins — yet you acknowledge it was *government* agencies which banned phthalates in children’s toys. So does the government really suppress research — or did the government make that decision without really studying what levels of phthalates are actually toxic? That seems to be a contradiction in your argument.

    Did you notice my post about paclitaxel? You had suggested that eating brassicas would be beneficial to people with cancer because of chemicals found in them with chemotherapeutic properties. I pointed out that these chemicals tend to be far too dilute to be of much use when simply eating the plant — you normally need to extract, purify, and concentrate the substance, especially given that levels of the chemical can be wildly variable, and in chemo it’s very important to give a consistent dose. (Otherwise you risk breeding a resistant tumor.) Eating broccoli is good for you (and tastes excellent, I might add) but as an alternative to chemo? That I doubt.

  35. #35 Militant Agnostic
    August 2, 2011

    Gustav – are you wearing that hat shiny side in or shiny side out?

  36. #36 Vicki
    August 2, 2011

    Gustav–

    “If you have the choice to avoid as much as possible a known health risk” contains at least three major assumptions: that you have a choice (not everyone can choose to move out of a polluted neighborhood or quit a job that exposes them to danger), that you have accurate information about the health risks, and that you can avoid risk A without incurring an equal or greater risk B. (For example, should I “avoid a known health risk” by avoiding radiation, when that means not getting dental X-rays that can help find small cavities so they can be filled? Bear in mind that, pain aside, untreated tooth decay and periodontal disease are a known risk factor for heart attacks.)

  37. #37 rob
    August 2, 2011

    i used to drink soda from aluminium cans, but the Al dissolved into the aqueaous solution of carbonic acid turned me into a newt.

  38. @Gustav Hackmauler

    “… your mind is not able to operate freely.”

    Beware not to operate your mind so freely that it is free of logic and critical thinking. Most things that operate too freely tend to fall apart in chaos.

    “I am a skeptic, just not your type”

    So you are not someone who questions and doubts claims and assertions, and holds the accumulation of evidence to be of fundamental importance?

    -Karl Withakay

  39. #39 Marie
    August 2, 2011

    @7 Augustine- No,Orac is not “disrespecting” Servan-Schreiber, he is just pointing out the flawed logic in the hopes that it gets through to people.

    As a cancer patient I have been looking for some posts on this very topic, just to remind us all again how dangerous some of Servan-Schreiber’s ideas are. Now,I know S-S did not say to abandon all evidence-based medicine with the hope that “life-style changes” will keep a patient in remission. But, that is what patients take to heart when they read Anti-Cancer. Most of us are frightened and gullible. We want to be able to exert some control over this damned disease. I see patients post-pone necessary treatment with the delusional idea that diet and stress management will cure cancer . And, I know a few who have lost their window of opportunity to actually treat their cancer.
    I say BRAVO to Orac for blogging about this again.

  40. #40 Lawrence
    August 2, 2011

    Having seen and been acquainted with multiple individuals with cancer, luckily all of them went forward with conventional therapies – and I can say that each and every one of them is still alive today. Of course, as part of their treatment, they were all encouraged to eat healthier and exercise as part of the program – so anyone that thinks that this is strictly a “invasive” medical treatment has no idea what they are talking about.

  41. #41 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    One point here people, sorry if I come across as a know it all but almost all of you are telling me stuff I already know.

    I appreciate this forum and the space to discuss these issues
    but can we please look at the bigger picture and try to

    Thanks Chris
    Yes aluminum is the most abundant metal on earth. 100%
    You still want less of it rather than more of it in your body.

    “It might help if you provided some cites instead of just arguing by blatant assertion.”

    The plot thickens, you see Chris this is an example of a mind forming cohesive ideas towards the general direction of the discussion. After a certain point knowledge simply becomes general knowledge. If you want to learn more about the side effects of taxol or broccoli overdose or any of the things discussed here- google them.

    Calli in the USA they did not ban it – they limited it in childrens toys/products even when the evidence suggest it be completely banned. This is an example of a broken system. Further this is only one out hundreds of chemicals that are known to be carcinogenic but are still largely under regulated and untested.

    Calli, 3,3′-Diindolylmethane is used in the USA to treat cancer. If you have the information about what levels occur naturally versus what is needed in the cancer treatment please let me know.
    I did not say broccoli was used in place of chemo.
    Broccoli may well be a good aid towards the prevention of certain illnesses. No controversy there … eat your greens.. generally an accepted health tip.
    Please read between the lines to save us all some time. Let us try to look at the general picture. Generally I thought that David had a great deal of common sense health ideas.
    Perhaps there was some woo in there. Let us try to separate the two.

    That is why the presence of so many Macdonalds at hospitals across the USA is questionable. This is something else DAVID said- AVOID TRANS FATS.

    I almost expect someone to jump up now and scream that trans fats are not so bad…

    I do know about taxol and that certain herbs/plants have low levels of active ingredients.I also know that if I had cancer taxol would be the last thing I would want to consume.

    For many types of terminal cancers chemo is still used and simply adds horrendous side effects to the last months of life in return for a few extra weeks of suffering….Not a good deal. Yes Karl the dose is the toxin.

    As for joining the wrong dots etc Have you heard of marinol? THC exists in abundance in naturally grown cannabis yet is offered to cancer patients as Marinol- synthetic THC. It is more expensive, not as effective, not as easy to manage the dose and generally an unpleasant experience for most patients.

    This is one example of Pharma working mainly for profit motives.

  42. #42 bsci
    August 2, 2011

    In other words, there were no symptoms and no clinical indications for Servan-Schreiber to undergo an MRI, but he did anyway for his research. Shockingly, the scan showed a tumor described as the size of a walnut.

    Just a small correction. It isn’t that shocking to find a tumor in a healthy volunteer. There’s a respectably sized literature on clinically significant incidental findings in healthy volunteers for brain studies. For example see:
    BMJ: Incidental findings on brain magnetic resonance imaging: systematic review and meta-analysis, Morris et al
    http://www.bmj.com/content/339/bmj.b3016.full
    0.7% of scans of otherwise healthy volunteers have a tumor and another 2% have some potentially significant brain anamoly. 0.7% is low, but, given the number of brain research studies, it happens often enough to not be shocking.

  43. #43 Militant Agnostic
    August 2, 2011

    i used to drink soda from aluminium cans, but the Al dissolved into the aqueaous solution of carbonic acid turned me into a newt.

    Did you get better?

  44. #44 augustine
    August 2, 2011

    http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/168/21/2311

    “In other words, the natural course for some screen-detected breast cancers may be to spontaneously regress.”

    “Instead, our findings simply provide new insight on what is arguably the major harm associated with mammographic screening, namely, the detection and treatment of cancers that would otherwise regress.”

    Imagine that. The body healing itself without the help of SBM and it’s bloggers.

    Instead SBM says “cut n chemo them all”. If they live, they’ll think it’s because of us. If they die tell them “shit happens!”

    We win either way!

  45. #45 Lawrence
    August 2, 2011

    And yet another example of boring troll trying to prove a point by attacking statements that no one here has made – and probably never has even had a conversation with an Oncologist regarding cancer treatments.

  46. #46 Orac
    August 2, 2011

    Poor Augie, so very, very, very far behind;

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/12/the_spontaneous_regression_of_breast_can.php

    Yes, I blogged about that study when it came out. You don’t honestly think that pulling out this study in any way is an argument for not treating breast cancer, do you?

    You really are pathetic. I’ve been blogging about the problems with over diagnosis and overtreatment due to mammographic screening for years now.

  47. #47 Delurked lurker
    August 2, 2011

    Boring tranny loving troll is still boring

  48. #48 Vicki
    August 2, 2011

    Can we do without the anti-trans slurs, please?

  49. #49 lilady
    August 2, 2011

    “What are my stated “christian beliefs” lil ole bitter lady? Are you even certain I’m a christian?

    Lilady: “well uh, uh, well….”

    Ugh Troll, Firstly, I’m not your mommy; I am a stranger that you identify with to work out your animus against the hapless soul that gave you birth. If your real mommy said that you are vaccine injured which warped your personality, made you unsuccessful in school and unable to pursue higher education, made you a useless pathetic excuse for a human being and on the dole…she lied. Man up, Ugh Troll you coulda, woulda, shoulda gotten some help for your personality disorder, worked things out with your real mommy and become a productive member of society.

    I just assume Ugh Troll is a Christian…he keeps posing the question to other posters…that is, when he is totally boxed in and cannot defend his lack of knowledge postings with any citations.

    “The times have passed you lilady. You were just “that lady” who gave shots down at the free clinic. A techy (sp?) could do that”.

    Citations please and Ugh Troll provide us with the specific “qualifications” to administer immunizations.

    It seems the last time Ugh Troll provided a citation was a government site that gave advice to the public to minimize the risk of medical errors, as a result of a recent (2000 ?) study conducted by the IOM…no citation was provided for the IOM Report used by the Troll. I posted, after having read the actual 2000 IOM Report, just three of the many PubMed citations from researchers who criticized the study design…then total silence from the Troll. When boxed in and called out Ugh Troll will never back down…just climbs off the petard and retreats.

    Ugh Troll, we all think you are an ignorant and arrogant Troll; we are flabbergasted that you confirm that each and every time to post.

    BTW, Remember we want specific citations about who can administer immunizations including the qualifications and licensing of persons who are qualified.

  50. #50 augustine
    August 2, 2011

    Poor Augie, so very, very, very far behind;

    Oh, no. I knew you did a “piece” on it. And I knew you were going to say exactly what you did. You do it everytime you’ve already written something covering a subject.

    Like I said cut n chemo ‘em all. Let the treatment sort em out. Overtreatment is inherent in Science Based Medicine. And so is the damage that comes with over treatment.

    Your only answer can be: “what else do you want us to do?” Or “we’re working on that”.

  51. #51 Lawrence
    August 2, 2011

    Boring troll – you’ve been owned, why don’t you climb back under the covers & pray at the alter of Ayn Rand like the good objectivist that you are – it is obvious that you’ve never had a conversation with any kind of Oncologist & haven’t a clue about what real cancer treatments are currently in use and recommended.

  52. #52 lilady
    August 2, 2011

    Boring uneducated ignorant nasty troll is still boring uneducated and nasty.

    Rule # 14 Don’t feed the troll and Rule # 14 (a) especially if it is Ugh Troll

  53. #53 lilady
    August 2, 2011

    @ Marie: Thank you for your posting. I found it very enlightening and am delighted that you have honored us with your real life experience with cancer and continued good health to you.

  54. #54 rob
    August 2, 2011

    @militant agnostic #41.

    yes, i did get better. but only after chelatio.

  55. #55 Lynxreign
    August 2, 2011

    Of course, augie’s real reason for posting here is the same as for trolls everywhere. He’s just yelling

    “look at me! Look! … please, won’t someone pay attention to me? … Anyone?”

    And even bad attention is better than no attention for him. Since he’s not bright enough to contribute to a conversation he settles for things people feel a need to correct.

    Sad, really.

  56. #56 Delurked lurker
    August 2, 2011

    To viki

    Done :)

    Boring troll is still boring.

  57. #57 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    August 2, 2011

    Number 48 was a true classic, though:

    Oh, no. I knew you did a “piece” on it. And I knew you were going to say exactly what you did. You do it everytime you’ve already written something covering a subject.

    Augie, don’t you know the proper response these days when you’ve been shown to be 180º from the truth is: “That’s central to my point!”? Seriously, aren’t you getting the Faux Noise newsletter where you live?

  58. #58 Kelsey
    August 2, 2011

    I know some people here might have great fun debating the trolls, but I honestly come here for information and debate about science. Derailing conversations and intransigence don’t really contribute to that. May I ask that we A) not feed the trolls in the slightest or B) implore our benevolent Plexiglass box of multi-colored blinking lights to moderate with a heavier hand?

    I had to get that off my chest. Thank you.

    My elderly parents are as woo-tastic as you can get, with one or two exceptions. I have chronic tonsillitis and a host of resulting complications, and my mother suggested that I needed more vitamin C rather than a tonsillectomy. I managed to politely excuse myself from that one, but it took great effort.

    I am deeply appreciative that while my dad subscribes to Mercola.com, rails about how doctors don’t know anything about nutrition and about how much vitamins can help you stay healthy, he went and got surgery done on his prostate cancer. He doesn’t give the medical establishment any credit and insists that his good health is because of all of his vitamins. He refuses to believe me when I point out that his father lived to be 87, stayed active until he got ill, and was an alcoholic to boot, and did not have any vitamins at all.

    I just really hope that they realize the limitations of what their little vitamin catalogue can do for them. I do not want to be in the position of having to talk them into seeing the doctor because they think the Health Ranger can cure them.

  59. #59 Chris
    August 2, 2011

    Gustav Hackmauler:

    The plot thickens, you see Chris this is an example of a mind forming cohesive ideas towards the general direction of the discussion. After a certain point knowledge simply becomes general knowledge. If you want to learn more about the side effects of taxol or broccoli overdose or any of the things discussed here- google them.

    So after asking for some cites instead of blatant assertion you answer with this word salad. It is obvious you are just making it up out of thin air.

    Plonk!

  60. #60 augustine
    August 2, 2011

    If you give 1000 healthy people chemo, how many will die or get serious side effects like cardiomyopathy or cancer?

    If you give chemo to 1000 unnecessary patients (just in case because you don’t know how it’s going to turn out) how many will have serious side effects or death from the therapy?

    You can manipulate the 5 year survival rates but in the end the number of people dying from cancer hasn’t changed much. And don’t forget the people who unnecessarily are injured from treatment.

    It’s what happens when you practice “box” medicine by the numbers.

    When you live in a glass house you shouldn’t throw stones.

  61. #61 Denice Walter
    August 2, 2011

    @ Kelsey:

    While I *do* agree with you about debating trolls ( especially the regulars- I fear it may re-inforce their intrusiveness), there is an ulterior motive: SB commenters may argue in order to educate on-lookers (lurkers)in detail about *why* woo-ful ideas are wrong and to illustrate *how* to argue/ deal with the woo-entranced with whom you engage in real life. So, it isn’t *really* a conversation but a lesson. A few may be useful in providing a laugh – and I’ll never dispute the need for that!

    Personally, I only converse with those I feel are misguided but educable. This doesn’t always work ( see Jake Crosby) but I see it as an extension of my counselling activities and ideas about education outside the classroom.

  62. #62 Heliantus
    August 2, 2011

    I think Augustine is a Trekkie.
    For one thing, a doctor could only do a mistake by being incompetent, drunk, or both. After all, medical tricorders are never wrong.
    For another, all scientists are emotionless Vulcans.

    This last one, we can never win. If we use cold logic, Augustine will tell us we should be more connected to the world. If we show emotions, she will tell us that we are not perfect Vulcans anymore.

    Could anyone check if there is an inverse correlation between the Star Trek series schedule on TV and Augustine’s appearances here?

  63. #63 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    Chris, thank you for the compliment- unfortunately I am not clever enough to make these things up- I actually have to learn stuff. I also do not have the energy to lie about these things.
    However some of what I have learned has not been true. For example, 7 years ago I looked into the use of phenylacetates in the treatment of inoperable or poor outcome brain cancers.
    A good friend had an inoperable brain tumor- a brainstem glioma. I searched the web for all the info I could find and came across websites similar to this one which basically all painted the same picture of phenylacetates and their creator Stanislav Burzynski. Basically that he was a fraud, a con man, and that his treatments did not work and actually endangered peoples lives. Bit of a joke when evaluating my friends condition as his doctors offered him more chemo and death or simply death as his options.

    After a few days of reading up on Burzynski I came to the conclusion that he was indeed a fraud and a con man. Sites such as quackwatch etc basically created an image of a deceitful money grabbing con man… Ultimately the opposite is true.

    The disinformation circulated in the media and on the internet by Pharma trolls and industry hacks has real world effects.

    Bursynskis treatments are in phase 3 clinical trials
    for the treatment of inoperable brainstem glioma and have been granted orphan drug status. His treatments do work and they do so without the horrific effects of chemotherapy.
    The cancer industry is a multi billion dollar operation.
    They do not want a simple cure.

    My friend is dead and died without being offered this cure even though this has been shown to work for OVER 30 YEARS!.
    Chris, am i still making things up? If you want to do some reading or watch a movie go to
    http://www.burzynskiclinic.com/clinical-trials.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0ibsoqjPac&feature=related

  64. #64 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    -Karl Withakay re. I am a different kind of skeptic

    ‘So you are not someone who questions and doubts claims and assertions, and holds the accumulation of evidence to be of fundamental importance?’

    The accumulation of evidence is not of fundamental importance. The production and definition and occasionally, the destruction of evidence is of fundamental importance.

    I question the source and the nature of the ‘evidence’ accumulated, that is why I am a different kind of skeptic.

  65. #65 Chris
    August 2, 2011

    Mr. Hackmauler, when someone responds with the term “Plonk” it means that it has been determined that dialog with you is no longer considered possible. You do not provide cites, and I believe you do not even understand the term.

    Burzynski has been discussed here and here. Since you have issues with Internet norms, the blue letters are links to other websites.

    Now you make the claim that Burzynski’s methods have worked for thirty years and just go to his website. I suggest that if you wish to provide real discussion you find a third party independent review of the treatment in the real medical literature (usually found on PubMed).

  66. #66 herr doktor bimler
    August 2, 2011

    this has been shown to work for OVER 30 YEARS!.
    Sadly, it only works when administered by Stanislav Burzynski — no-one else has been able to show any effect.

    Burzynski has been conducting his feckin’ trials for 15 years (start times in the mid-1990s). He’s been promising to publish the DEFINITIVE RESULTS since 2007.
    He lied about his Ph.D.
    He’s been convicted for fraud (claiming insurance reimbursement for an unrecognised therapy).

    But this is all by-the-by. Curious minds are wondering why you have responded to scepticism about your theories on cancer risks by jumping to some completely unrelated quack cure for cancer. Focus!

  67. #67 Dan Johnson
    August 2, 2011

    I comment tonight from my hospital bed. I received an autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant yesterday as continuing treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma.

    I applaud Orac’s tenacity in fighting the woo. Modern scientific study is the way to battle cancer. Theories and practices are adjusted to fit available evidence, as always, but anecdotes do not equal evidence.

    Oh; and Augie? Kiss my lily-white cancer-ridden ass, you lousy troll.

  68. #68 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    herr doktor bimler. Do not focus- the picture is much bigger than that.

    Please could you let me know who else has tried and failed to show an effect with phenylacetates. Preferably not the same FDA criminals who tried to imprison Burzynski while at the same time were secretly trying to patent his discoveries…

    If Bursynski is a quack why are his treatments in phase 3 clinical trials?

    Again Bimler- please let us know who else has tried and failed to show any effect with phenylacetates.

    ‘Curious minds are wondering’…. ?
    are you in some kind of workhouse for pharma trolls?

  69. #69 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    The same FDA criminals who deliberately under medicated 6 patients in an antineoplaston trial in the USA. The dose was up to 300 times less than the reported effective dose. All six patients died…
    Now is this story fact or fiction? There must be a way to find out.

  70. #70 herr doktor bimler
    August 2, 2011

    why are his treatments in phase 3 clinical trials?

    Which ones? Looking through the list at Clinicaltrials.gov, all I can see are Phase-2 trials. Mind you, there are 63 trials there, because every time Burzynski hears of a new form of cancer he promises patients that he can treat it and sets up a new trial to enroll them into. Then he charges them thousands of dollars a month for his snake-oil injections, not to mention flat charges like $14000 just for the enrollment.

    He really is a contemptible scumbag.

    Please could you let me know who else has tried and failed to show an effect with phenylacetates.

    If I do, will you admit you were wrong, and perhaps go away? Or will you simply change the subject and talk about some other charlatan? I need motivation!

    Where are these Phase-3 trials?

  71. #71 Tina S
    August 2, 2011

    Gustav, I’m sorry about your friend. Science makes changes as new evidence is presented. If your theories about Big Pharma were true then they would have been on your friend’s cure’s bandwagon long ago.

    For the record, we lurkers do learn here..not just about the science but how to fight and argue, how to recognize a type of arguement (auggie I believe indulges in an ad hominem up there somewhere) and we get to play at-home psychologist by getting a glimpse into the minds of woo folk and trolls. That last one can get …ugly.

  72. #72 Denice Walter
    August 2, 2011

    @ Tina S :”glimpse into the minds of woo folk and trolls”

    Yes, it’s a frightening place but after many years I find myself feeling oddly comfortable there- like an explorer in a hostile, primitive environment who has learned how to adroitly avoid the obvious pitfalls and miasmas, armed only with graduate degrees and an adventuresome spirit, rather than a rifle and anti-malarials.

    It can be done. Happy Trails.

  73. #73 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    If you show me who else has conducted failed trials I will not immediately admit I was wrong- It is no different to me showing you that Burzynski has conducted successful trials.
    I want to see who conducted the trials and in what manner and in what circumstances.

    Why simply believe one group of people you do not know working for a business you do not know over another group?

    The reason Burzynskis treatments will be such a big deal if they work is because it will be the death of the industry.
    No more cancer patents, machines, research, lobbying, chemicals, hospitals, staff,…. it is a huge system. People will pay everything they have for a cure. Once Burzynskis treatment goes off patent generic versions could be cheap.

    It will help to broaden the debate and possibly provide a concrete answer if you can provide details of other trials.

    If I am suspicious of big pharma it is only because of the way they operate, their track record and their obvious placement of greed and money before human life.

    If Burzynskis treatments offer better outcomes than conventional therapies then they should be used. If not they should not be used.

    The frustration here is the constant need to separate the crap from the candyfloss.

    If I had a single product that could cause an industry worth
    hundreds of billions of dollars to roll over and die I would be very cautious about the way I develop and market that product.

  74. #74 herr doktor bimler
    August 2, 2011

    Gustav, I’m sorry about your friend.

    I figure that someone who makes up bullshit about “phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of inoperable brainstem glioma” is equally capable of making up the dead friend.

  75. #75 Cath the Canberra Cook
    August 2, 2011

    And now this is ON-topic, so I’m reposting
    http://xkcd.com/931/

  76. #76 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    Tina thank you for the condolences. He was a good guy.

    Chris have you actually watched the Burzynski documentary?
    It might give you some clues as to why Burzynskis treatments are not all over pubmed.
    Some things you must find out for yourself.

    Bimler Phase 3 trials are about to begin, although there seems to be a red tape issue… this is an excerpt from the link below:

    Now that antineoplastons are entering into Phase III clinical trials (the final stage before reaching FDA-approval)—PhRMA’s Food & Drug Administration has made what appears to be one last-ditch effort to both stall and sabotage this final phase of antineoplaston testing.

    The FDA has officially mandated that patients participating in these Phase III trials must simultaneously undergo radiation treatment while receiving antineoplaston treatment
    Since Dr. Burzynski began treating cancer patients in 1977, never has radiation been a required addition to his treatment—as that’s the entire point of antineoplaston therapy: to reprogram the genetic mechanism that allows cancer to flourish, relieving the patient of having to resort to the the archaic method of “purging” the body of cancer cells through cutting, burning or poisoning them.

    http://www.burzynskimovie.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=53

  77. #77 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    Bimler, he is dead. I lived for 6 years watching my best friend, a beautiful kind person deteriorate into an epileptic, incontinent, mentally adrift shell and then die with a stranger at a hospice because none of us had the courage or strength to watch him convulse and scream and suffer any more. Unfortunately. Your post has made me sick with anger.

    I saw on Burzynskis site that phase 3 trials on brainstem glioma were beginning…I read it quickly and assumed it meant they were beginning. Understand?
    After reading it again and looking at the background information it appears that there is the aforementioned red tape issue. I did not know the protocols were still being debated. Get it?

    Have you found those negative antineoplaston trials yet bimler. Give us a shout when you do.

  78. #78 Chris
    August 2, 2011

    Do you still not understand that I find that there is no use having a dialog with you, Mr. Hackmauler? I have enough to do than to watch a documentary by some quack.

  79. #79 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 2, 2011

    Please explain why you think Burzynksi is a quack.
    ANYONE else seeing that Chris does not want to discuss any more.
    Can ANYONE offer a scientific explanation as to why Burzynski should be considered a quack?

  80. #80 Kathryn
    August 3, 2011

    Slightly off topic… a new study completely smashes the idea that colonic cleansing is good for anything except CAUSING injury or illness. Of course, to me this is “we needed a study to figure this out?” territory, but even so, I suppose this way the enema/laxative woo-mongers can’t accuse us of not studying their favorite treatments.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801122948.htm

    I’m sure some of its proponents consider it a cancer treatment, so that’s sort of on topic.

    (What is it with woo-mongers and poop, anyhow?)

    Kathryn

  81. #81 lilady
    August 3, 2011

    @ Hackmauler: I suggest you provide the information on the stage II trials underway and the stage III trials that are set to begin for Dr. Burzynski’s treatment protocols….you were the one who brought up the “conspiracy” against Burzynski by the U.S. government, big pharma and oncologists.

    (Hint) You might want to try the NIH-National Cancer Institute website or contact the doctor through his e-mail to get clarification on the “red tape” that is preventing his treatment protocol from from proceeding. Come back and share that with us.

  82. #82 lilady
    August 3, 2011

    @ Dan Johnson: I bet when you were keying in “cancer treatment” you didn’t expect to run into this crowd, eh?

    Well we wish you the very best of success with your stem cell transplant treatment and come back to “lurk” or post; it’s a great blog to pass your time while in the hospital.

  83. #83 TBruce
    August 3, 2011

    What is it with woo-mongers and poop, anyhow?

    They’re kin.

  84. #84 Militant Agnostic
    August 3, 2011

    Preferably not the same FDA criminals who tried to imprison Burzynski while at the same time were secretly trying to patent his discoveries…

    If I had a single product that could cause an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars to roll over and die I would be very cautious about the way I develop and market that product.

    I think Gustav wears his hat shiny side in. What do the rest of you think?

    Augie – your efforts at trolling are pathetic next to this master.

  85. #85 Chris
    August 3, 2011

    Gustav:

    Please explain why you think Burzynksi is a quack.

    I even explained the blue letters spelling “here” were URL links! They are the complete explanation of Burzynski is a quack. Go, read them and stop acting like petulant child.

    Why should we deal with you if you cannot understand simple requests for cites or even that the different color words that you move your mouse over are links?

  86. #86 lilady
    August 3, 2011

    @ Militant Agnostic: Don’t ask me about shiny hat attire…I think they are all loons.

    Two of the wonderful people who kept my son alive for years died of cancer; his pediatric neurologist and the director of the laboratory who ran his anticonvulsant blood levels, so that my son didn’t die in status epilepticus.

    I suppose the paranoid-by-proxy Hackmauler assumes that every year certain doctors “take the bullet” for the others…to keep the international cabal going.

  87. #87 Franklin
    August 3, 2011

    Not sure if it’s appropriate to compare David who is an MD and Ph.D in Science, who published in numerous scientific publications including Nature, and who was four years ahead of the OMS in warning of the dangers of mobile phones, with Suzanne Sommers and others. Also, it is no more a matter of debate that nutrition has an impact on cancer rates.
    http://1.usa.gov/nutrition_cancer

  88. #88 lilady
    August 3, 2011

    @ Franklin: I agree with you about comparing Dr. Servan-Schreiber with Suzanne Somers. It is even sadder that this doctor who was well respected in his field, chose to go over to the dark side, thus destroying his own reputation. Now Suzanne Sommers is a mindless twit without any science background who had no reputation in the medical community. She was a fading-from-sight aging actress who had nothing to lose by publishing a book on her theories and gained a new career with her “expertise” on cancer.

    If the doctor had stuck to nutrition for healing after cancer treatments as the linked article you provided suggests, we wouldn’t be discussing him. His blaming poor nutrition along with “wrongful thinking” as causing cancer only serves to blame the cancer patient, thus further disgracing his own reputation.

    Furthermore, his advocating of “way out there” alternative therapies along with strict diets to keep a patient cancer-free really flies in the face of every bit of the research that the doctor had full knowledge of…should cancer recur, his “disciples” blame themselves for the recurrence.

    This blog and the posters haven’t done anything to affect his reputation…that was an “inside job” done by the doctor himself.

  89. #89 Militant Agnostic
    August 3, 2011

    Franklin @85

    was four years ahead of the OMS in warning of the imaginary dangers of mobile phones

    Fixed that for you.

  90. #90 BlackCat
    August 3, 2011

    @augustine: I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer 6/24/09. My left breast became red and inflamed overnight. I was never sick before this. In fact I was an extremely healthy and active 48 year old women. It was shocking to be diagnosed with cancer and such an aggressive on at that.

    I could not have surgery as most women do because the cancer had infiltatrated my skin. I had to have chemo to shrink the tumor so I could have a modified radical mastectemy with complete axial dissection. You see, Augie(may I call you Augie?) that means removal of the breast and lympth nodes under the arm.

    After that I had radiation on my left side. (think heart being on your left side) It really sucked being me. Due to seriousness of my kind of cancer the docs decided that I should have exta doses of radiation so I suffered severe burns.

    And to add insult to injury I have to take a drug called Femara to rid my body of all it’s estrogen.

    I am now 2 years out from diagnosis and cancer free from my last pet/cat. I train and ride horses, go deep sea fishing, hike, swim and have a very active and healthy life style.

    I don’t think that I will beat this cancer because my pathology was pretty significant but I am going to enjoy the best of life that I have left.

    Chemo saved my life. What do you have in your bag of tricks that could have done the same. I ask this in all sincerity.

  91. #91 lilady
    August 3, 2011

    @ BlackCat: Thanks so much for sharing your history of breast cancer and your astute observations about your treatment. I can only offer you empathy for your situation.

    I suspect that you don’t want to hear about any seemingly miraculous cures…suffice to say that in my long lifetime, I have seen women with long-lasting remissions that appear, after 10 or more years to be cured.

    Now, we are in need of a very knowledgeable person who has actually had breast cancer and the treatments you underwent. Orac, a respected breast cancer surgeon and researcher, in spite of “dummying down” his knowledge about breast cancer for us novices, sometimes “loses us” with discussions about the intricate research he conducts and the latest information about effective treatments. We would welcome any postings from you about breast cancer…and about any other topics that pique your interest.

    Please come back and thank you again for your posting.

  92. #92 mikmik
    August 3, 2011

    @

    42

    http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/168/21/2311

    “In other words, the natural course for some screen-detected breast cancers may be to spontaneously regress.”

    “Instead, our findings simply provide new insight on what is arguably the major harm associated with mammographic screening, namely, the detection and treatment of cancers that would otherwise regress.”

    Imagine that. The body healing itself without the help of SBM and it’s bloggers.

    Instead SBM says “cut n chemo them all”. If they live, they’ll think it’s because of us. If they die tell them “shit happens!”

    We win either way!

    Posted by: augustine | August 2, 2011 4:50 PM

    The real context: “Finally, it is also important to emphasize that our findings have no bearing on the debate on whether screening mammography reduces breast cancer mortality. Our findings are equally consistent with the possibility that mammography either leads to a reduction in breast cancer mortality or has no effect at allInstead, our findings simply provide new insight on what is arguably the major harm associated with mammographic screening, namely, the detection and treatment of cancers that would otherwise regress.
    Whatever, ya freak

  93. #93 mikmik
    August 3, 2011

    @

    42

    http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/168/21/2311

    “In other words, the natural course for some screen-detected breast cancers may be to spontaneously regress.”

    “Instead, our findings simply provide new insight on what is arguably the major harm associated with mammographic screening, namely, the detection and treatment of cancers that would otherwise regress.”

    Imagine that. The body healing itself without the help of SBM and it’s bloggers.

    Instead SBM says “cut n chemo them all”. If they live, they’ll think it’s because of us. If they die tell them “shit happens!”

    We win either way!

    Posted by: augustine | August 2, 2011 4:50 PM

    The real context: “Finally, it is also important to emphasize that our findings have no bearing on the debate on whether screening mammography reduces breast cancer mortality. Our findings are equally consistent with the possibility that mammography either leads to a reduction in breast cancer mortality or has no effect at allInstead, our findings simply provide new insight on what is arguably the major harm associated with mammographic screening, namely, the detection and treatment of cancers that would otherwise regress.
    Whatever, ya freak

  94. #94 herr doktor bimler
    August 3, 2011

    “Gustav Hackmauler” is developing that non-fresh Jacob smell.

    Jacob, with this new gimmick of inventing dead friends, you’re sounding more and more like Munchausens Syndrome. This is the point where people start suggesting “Seek professional help, dude”, but you know, trying to treat Borderline Personality is not something I’d wish on anyone. They don’t want to get better and are just there to waste someone else’s time as well as their own.

  95. #95 Orac
    August 3, 2011

    Actually, I don’t think Hackmauler is Jacob, for a variety of reasons. However, it could simply be that Jacob’s gotten more clever. I will watch. And wait.

  96. #96 Militant Agnostic
    August 3, 2011

    Google on Hackmauler shows only this thread for x, so I suspect it is someone’s sock puppet although it is remotely possible that some Burzynski fanboi created the nym just to troll this blog.

  97. #97 Calli Arcale
    August 3, 2011

    Gustav:

    Calli, 3,3′-Diindolylmethane is used in the USA to treat cancer. If you have the information about what levels occur naturally versus what is needed in the cancer treatment please let me know. I did not say broccoli was used in place of chemo.

    No, you just implied it could be, in support of the claim that this thread is about — that you can beat cancer through dietary changes. I’m glad you agree that it would be useless to try to get the chemical for chemo by eating broccoli, or indeed to get most drugs this way, as the levels are too low to be of much use unless they are first concentrated. There are a few medicinal plants with high enough levels to be useful or, indeed, dangerous (digitalis comes to mind), but it seems to me you’d want to control the levels more precisely. Especially if one is trying to kill cancer with it.

    I do know about taxol and that certain herbs/plants have low levels of active ingredients.I also know that if I had cancer taxol would be the last thing I would want to consume.

    Why? Taxol is not useful against all forms of cancer, but it is very useful against certain ones. What specifically do you not like about Taxol?

    Incidentally, about Burzynski and his Phase 2 trials….

    Trumpeting “my remedy is in clinical trials!” is a bit like putting “patent pending” on a product. “Patent pending” doesn’t mean a patent will ever be granted, and undergoing clinical trials doesn’t mean the stuff actually works. (After all, if it did, we wouldn’t need the trials in the first place.)

  98. #98 Calli Arcale
    August 3, 2011

    On a separate note, today’s XKCD is again relevant, being about cancer. In this case, it provides a different perspective on radiotherapy. (And as always, read the mouseover text for amusing geekery.)
    http://xkcd.com/933/

  99. #99 Jack
    August 3, 2011

    And now this is ON-topic, so I’m reposting
    http://xkcd.com/931/

    So is this one

  100. #100 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 3, 2011

    Bimler have you lost your focus.
    Have you found those independent phenyl acetate tests?

    Any thoughts on why there would not be any?

    Chris, you said you wanted to stop communicating with me?
    Shaddup then.

  101. #101 lilady
    August 3, 2011

    Hacker: The ball is in your park to prove the status of Stage II and Stage III trials for your hero…you were the one who mentioned Brurzynski’s trials.

    I provided you with some resources at the NIH-National Cancer Institute and suggested you contact Burzynski for clarification on the “red tape” that is preventing his trials from proceeding. I’m still waiting for a “thank you” for steering you there…not the FDA that you say you have been checking…and of course we all await answers about the red tape, trial stages, etc.

  102. #102 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 3, 2011

    Bimler if you were a better person might have apologized for being so insensitive.

    Incidentally my friends mother did seem to develop shades of Munchausens syndrome, even though she was not inventing her childs disease, there was something wrong with how much she enjoyed the attention the doctors gave her.

    As for borderline personality disorders- your talk of this Jacob bogeyman sounds a bit paranoid to me.

    Have you taken your meds?

  103. #103 Hannah
    August 3, 2011

    Thank you for telling the truth and poking holes in the myth of positive thinking, which nevertheless is still full of hot air and floating around freely. My husband died of GBM last year and it angers me when I see articles such as this one.

  104. #104 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 3, 2011

    Calli I do believe that you could potentially AVOID cancer through dietary changes.

    Beating cancer through dietary changes?
    Most oncologists recommend healthy eating habits so wheres the scandal?
    Remember- every little helps.

    With many chemicals there is a particular threshold level after which carcinogenic effects are likely. If healthy eating reduces the intake of levels of said chemicals and increases the bodies ability to metabolize said chemicals then it seems logical to follow healthy eating habits to try to minimize risk. Of course this is only true for certain
    cancers and certain chemicals BEARING IN MIND genetic predisposition to cancer.

    According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, pharmaceutical companies spent $900 million on lobbying between 1998 and 2005, more than any other industry.
    I wonder how much they spend populating blogs?

  105. #105 Chris
    August 3, 2011

    GH:

    Calli I do believe that you could potentially AVOID cancer through dietary changes.

    Sure, dude. Tell us a kid infected with chronic hepatitis b early in life can beat liver cancer with diet. Come back when you come up with a that sure fire diet and actual proof.

    Until then you are just trolling for a very expensive quack.

    (have you figured out how to click on the imbedded links, hint: they are the words that are in a different color)

  106. #106 Dianne
    August 3, 2011

    Which ones? Looking through the list at Clinicaltrials.gov, all I can see are Phase-2 trials.

    Actually, to be fair, I did find a trial which is described as “phase III”. It appears to be a trial of “antineoplastons” in optic pathway glioma in children. It also does not appear to really be a phase III trial. Phase III trials generally imply multicenter trials, especially in a rare disease like childhood glioma. I don’t know how they’re expecting to get enough phase III results. Also it seems a bit amateurish. They’re talking about getting informed consent from children less than 18 years of age. That’s not the usual procedure: one usually gets assent of older children but informed consent has to come from parents.

    Burzynski also seems to be confused about what disease he’s treating. For example, in a paper here he talks about treating GBM in the title and introduction but the methods section states that the patients had pilocystic astrocytoma and low grade astrocytomas: much less aggressive tumors with untreated natural histories that may extend for years. I’m unimpressed. As for the treatments being harmless, note that 1/12 patients in this series died 4 weeks into treatment. This is blown off as “unrelated”, but I don’t see how he came to that conclusion.

  107. #107 Heliantus
    August 3, 2011

    @ Gustav

    I do believe that you could potentially AVOID cancer through dietary changes.

    Highly controversial topic. I believe there was a long-term study published last year about this. Some dietary effects may not be as strong as initially believed, some other may be at cross-purpose (lesser risk in this cancer but higher risk in that one). In short, we don’t know much.
    But you know what?
    A balanced, varied diet is in itself a perfectly desirable goal. No scandal here.

    With many chemicals there is a particular threshold level after which carcinogenic effects are likely. If healthy eating reduces the intake of levels of said chemicals…

    Err, no. If you need 100 milligrams a day of a chemical to get an effect, having 5 or 10 milligrams coming from your food is not going to change much your needs.
    And for most plants, the levels of active ingredients are much lower than 1% of your daily need.
    As for helping detoxicate/mitigate the side effects? Sure there could be plants or other drugs to help. But could we have a few precise examples, for discussion sake? Citations needed please.

    I wonder how much they spend populating blogs?

    You were doing so good. And now the Pharma shill gambit.

  108. #108 Th1Th2
    August 3, 2011

    Chris,

    Tell us a kid infected with chronic hepatitis b early in life can beat liver cancer death with diet.

    Of course, a well-balanced diet would also prevent obesity which is also a risk factor for HCC.

    Essentially, Chris would rather choose to resect the kid’s liver to eliminate the risk of HCC. Barbarians.

  109. #109 David vun Kannon
    August 3, 2011

    Is there any study of alt med only survival rates, after conventional diagnosis? Obviously the sample would be self selected… :(

  110. #110 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 3, 2011

    Gustav – really, the pharma shill gambit? That’s the best you’ve got?

    If I recall correctly (but I haven’t looked it up) there is evidence that diet can affect one’s chances for getting certain cancers, particularly colon cancer. I’m not aware that this is can be generalized to other cancers. Claims that eating a “healthier diet” is good for you are fine as long as they are backed up by evidence. Claims that such a diet will reduce the chances of cancer (or even cure it) are also fine – as long as the evidence backs them up.

    So – what is the evidence that diet can prevent or cure cancer, and what cancers does it apply to?

  111. #111 Queen Khentkawes
    August 3, 2011

    @ BlackCat #88:
    Thank you for your story. I hope you will continue to enjoy life for a very long time.

  112. #112 lilady
    August 3, 2011

    Delusional nasty troll is still delusional and nasty. I thought he/she/it was terminally disinfected?

  113. #113 lilady
    August 3, 2011

    @ Chris: Obviously delusional nasty troll hasn’t changed his/her/its attitude toward children who are desperately ill or who die from vaccine preventable diseases. Who could ever forget the insensitive postings by this delusional nasty troll regarding the death of the baby in Australia from pertussis?

  114. #114 Th1Th2
    August 3, 2011

    Mephistopheles,

    Claims that eating a “healthier diet” is good for you are fine as long as they are backed up by evidence. Claims that such a diet will reduce the chances of cancer (or even cure it) are also fine – as long as the evidence backs them up.

    So you’re claiming that you’re not eating a “healthier diet” and you do not believe that such diet plays an important role in cancer prevention. I see.

  115. #115 Krebiozen
    August 3, 2011

    David vun Kannon,

    Is there any study of alt med only survival rates, after conventional diagnosis?

    I suggest you check out this website for some statistics on cancer survival from alternative treatment centers like The Livingstone Wheeler Foundation Medical Center, The Biomedical Centre in Tijuana, Mexico, The Gerson Clinic and others.

  116. #116 Chris
    August 3, 2011

    lilady, I am ignoring the delusional lying troll.

  117. #117 augustine
    August 3, 2011

    Chris

    Tell us a kid infected with chronic hepatitis b early in life can beat liver cancer with diet. Come back when you come up with a that sure fire diet and actual proof.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepatitis_B

    Children are less likely than adults to clear the infection. More than 95% of people who become infected as adults or older children will stage a full recovery and develop protective immunity to the virus. However, this drops to 30% for younger children, and only 5% of newborns that acquire the infection from their mother at birth will clear the infection.[58] This population has a 40% lifetime risk of death from cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma.[52] Of those infected between the age of one to six, 70% will clear the infection.[59]

    Show me a study that rules out nutritional status as a factor of who will and who won’t clear the virus and/or who goes on to develop liver cancer.

    Or if you have some data that show 100% of Hep B infections go on to develop liver cancer. What’s the difference between the one’s who do and the one’s who dont’?

    Your answer: just luck I guess.

  118. #118 Krebiozen
    August 3, 2011

    Some of you might find the EPIC study useful. It’s a study of diet and cancer (and other diseases) in over half a million people.

    The study is ongoing, but some findings are out, a few are a bit surprising, to me at least. Here are some of the key findings:

    Colon cancer is increased by red and processed meat, reduced by fish and dietary fiber.

    Breast cancer and prostate cancer, no effect of fruit and vegetable consumption.

    Gastric cancer is increased by red and preserved meat, reduced by fruit but not vegetables. No link with alcohol.

    Ovarian cancer, no effect of overall consumption of fruit and vegetables, evidence of a protective effect of a high intake of allium vegetables (onions and garlic).

    There is a list of some of the published papers based on EPIC data here.

  119. #119 Beamup
    August 3, 2011

    So unless it can be proven conclusively that it’s not diet, then it necessarily is? Moron.

  120. #120 Th1Th2
    August 3, 2011

    What Chris fails to understand is that most chronic Hepatitis B carriers will not develop hepatic complications like HCC during their lifetime.

    Of course, Chris always play the role of the Grim Reaper where arguing with her is futile.

  121. #121 Th1Th2
    August 3, 2011

    Beamup,

    So unless it can be proven conclusively that it’s not diet, then it necessarily is? Moron.

    No wonder fat bastards like you prefer McDonalds over a bunch of broccoli.

  122. #122 Beamup
    August 3, 2011

    Skinny, legitimate, hate McDonalds, love broccoli. Batting a thousand there, somehow-manages-to-be-stupider-than-augie.

  123. #123 Th1Th2
    August 3, 2011

    Beamup,

    Skinny, legitimate, hate McDonalds, love broccoli. Batting a thousand there, somehow-manages-to-be-stupider-than-augie.

    You don’t have any evidence to suggest that you’re eating a “healthier diet”. Just ask Mephistopheles.

  124. #124 Bronze Dog
    August 3, 2011

    Ended up turning a comment I was going to post here into something for my blog.

  125. #125 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    August 3, 2011

    Or if you have some data that show 100% of Hep B infections go on to develop liver cancer. What’s the difference between the one’s who do and the one’s who dont’?

    Your answer: just luck I guess.

    Yes, Augie—we know you’re completely innocent of the concept of probability. You don’t have to keep on proving it.

  126. #126 herr doktor bimler
    August 3, 2011

    Have you found those independent phenyl acetate tests?

    If you cared about them as much you claim you could have spent 30 seconds looking them up. Or you could take up my earlier offer (#68): I provide some details, and you sod off.
    Needy troll is needy!

  127. #127 Gray Falcon
    August 3, 2011

    Augustine:

    Show me a study that rules out nutritional status as a factor of who will and who won’t clear the virus and/or who goes on to develop liver cancer.

    Please give me evidence that you do not practice black magic. Burden of proof, man, burden of proof.

    Or if you have some data that show 100% of Hep B infections go on to develop liver cancer. What’s the difference between the one’s who do and the one’s who dont’?

    Your answer: just luck I guess.

    Actually, we simply don’t know. If you have any evidence providing a different answer, then please provide one, otherwise, you’re no less ignorant than anyone else.

    Th1Th2:

    You don’t have any evidence to suggest that you’re eating a “healthier diet”. Just ask Mephistopheles.

    Black and white thinking at it’s finest. Mephistopheles didn’t say that there was no evidence that any diet was healthier than another, or even that diet had no effect on any form of cancer, he stated that there wasn’t any evidence diet could prevent all forms of cancer. Th1Th2 isn’t simply dishonest, the concept of why dishonesty is bad eludes her.

  128. #128 Calli Arcale
    August 3, 2011

    Gustav:

    Beating cancer through dietary changes?
    Most oncologists recommend healthy eating habits so wheres the scandal?
    Remember- every little helps.

    The scandal isn’t in recommending healthy eating habits. Those are good *completely apart from any affect on cancer*. But that is completely not the same thing as beating cancer through dietary changes. Some diets are associated with an increased risk of cancer; eating healthy can avoid that. But there are a whole host of cancers that won’t be affected in the slightest by healthy eating, and an established cancer isn’t going to be killed by healthy eating. Quite the contrary; what’s good for you is usually good for the tumor too. The idea of cancer prevention is to avoid the tumor forming; once it exists, it’s a different problem.

    The fine actor Andreas Katsulas (G’Kar on Babylon 5) was diagnosed with lung cancer, almost certainly a result of his long-time cigar habit. (There are stories of people getting quite startled to see him on his breaks out behind the studio, puffing away while in full makeup and costume as the Narn ambassador.) His doctors advised switching to a healthy diet and exercising regularly, as well as quitting the tobacco. He did all three *religiously*. The doctors told him his chances of survival were very poor, and they turned out to be right; he was dead barely a year later, IIRC. But he told many of his friends that that year was one of the best of his life; having quit smoking and started exercising and eating healthy, he felt so much better. It greatly improved his quality of life, and J Michael Strazynski quoted him as saying that since the doctors said he was dying, he’d never felt better. He was a man with a great gusto for life, and he definitely seized as much of his final days as possible, enjoying them thoroughly.

    So yeah, oncologists do recommend eating healthy. They don’t generally pretend it’ll cure your cancer. They’re recommending it because it’s good for you. Note: there’s no guarantee Katsulas’ experience is generalizable. Some people, when told they are almost certainly terminal, start enjoying food and drink to the hilt on the basis that they won’t live long enough for the negative health effects to matter anyway. Both are viable options, but doctors are more likely to recommend the healthy option, since they usually recommend that for *everybody*.

  129. #129 augustine
    August 3, 2011

    No wonder fat bastards like you prefer McDonalds over a bunch of broccoli.

    The nutrition is in the dose. To the reductionist mind nutrition is just a bunch of chemicals. An enriched fortified Big Mac is the same as broccoli as long as it’s eaten in moderation. Make sure you eat a balanced meal of chemicals and get your french fries and ketchup too. Of course, wash that down with a zero calorie artificially sweetened soda. You can drink as much as you want of that. It’s equivalent to just water since it doesn’t have any calories.

  130. #130 Beamup
    August 3, 2011

    Breaking news!

    Straw prices across the US up 900% after two trolls use up the entire available supply making straw men.

  131. #131 augustine
    August 3, 2011

    BeamUp

    So unless it can be proven conclusively that it’s not diet, then it necessarily is? Moron.

    BeamUp, are you a scientist?

    I didn’t think so. It’s apparent that you are a junior science blogger.

  132. #132 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 3, 2011

    Th1Th2,
    As Gray Falcon pointed out so well, my comments do not equate to “…you’re not eating a “healthier diet” and you do not believe that such diet plays an important role in cancer prevention.” I am saying that any claims need to be backed up with data (preferably high quality data). I am unaware of such data, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If there is good, independently verified data that a “healthier diet” (a broad term that can mean any of a number of things) has a significant effect on both preventing and curing cancer, I’d be happy to learn about it.
    However, on a personal note, a broccoli diet would make life not worth living.

  133. #133 Beamup
    August 3, 2011

    Physicist, actually. Yet another straw man. What a fertile imagination.

  134. #134 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 3, 2011

    @Th1Th2 – in post 114, your statement “No wonder fat bastards like you prefer McDonalds over a bunch of broccoli.” appears to be a non sequiter. It certainly doesn’t seem to follow from Beamup’s comment.
    I have no knowledge about Beamup’s parentage or weight.

  135. #135 Beamup
    August 3, 2011

    Ugh, brain fart. That should of course have read,

    “Yet another non sequitur.”

  136. #136 augustine
    August 3, 2011

    beamUP

    Physicist, actually.

    Awesome! What grade?

  137. #137 Th1Th2
    August 3, 2011

    Mephistopheles,

    I am unaware of such data, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If there is good, independently verified data that a “healthier diet” (a broad term that can mean any of a number of things) has a significant effect on both preventing and curing cancer, I’d be happy to learn about it.

    Here:

    Public Health Nutr. 2004 Feb;7(1A):187-200.
    Diet, nutrition and the prevention of cancer.

    CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
    Overweight/obesity increases the risk for cancers of the oesophagus (adenocarcinoma), colorectum, breast (postmenopausal), endometrium and kidney; body weight should be maintained in the body mass index range of 18.5-25 kg/m(2), and weight gain in adulthood avoided. Alcohol causes cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, oesophagus and liver, and a small increase in the risk for breast cancer; if consumed, alcohol intake should not exceed 2 units/d. Aflatoxin in foods causes liver cancer, although its importance in the absence of hepatitis virus infections is not clear; exposure to aflatoxin in foods should be minimised. Chinese-style salted fish increases the risk for nasopharyngeal cancer, particularly if eaten during childhood, and should be eaten only in moderation. Fruits and vegetables probably reduce the risk for cancers of the oral cavity, oesophagus, stomach and colorectum, and diets should include at least 400 g/d of total fruits and vegetables. Preserved meat and red meat probably increase the risk for colorectal cancer; if eaten, consumption of these foods should be moderate. Salt preserved foods and high salt intake probably increase the risk for stomach cancer; overall consumption of salt preserved foods and salt should be moderate. Very hot drinks and foods probably increase the risk for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and oesophagus; drinks and foods should not be consumed when they are scalding hot. Physical activity, the main determinant of energy expenditure, reduces the risk for colorectal cancer and probably reduces the risk for breast cancer; regular physical activity should be taken.

    Now, why do fat bastards still prefer McDonalds over a bunch of broccoli? Simple. Because it’s good for them and for oncologists.

  138. #138 Th1Th2
    August 3, 2011

    Mephistophes,

    @Th1Th2 – in post 114, your statement “No wonder fat bastards like you prefer McDonalds over a bunch of broccoli.” appears to be a non sequiter. It certainly doesn’t seem to follow from Beamup’s comment.
    I have no knowledge about Beamup’s parentage or weight.

    Neither it’s non sequitur nor straw man; just fat people you see every day who binge in every fast food restaurant. Of course, they do that because they know it’s good for them.

    An oncologist who recommends healthy eating is a non sequitur. Even a stranger could make that claim.

  139. #139 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 3, 2011

    Bimler-
    Have you found those independent phenyl acetate tests?

    ‘If you cared about them as much you claim you could have spent 30 seconds looking them up’

    I have looked for them, but I could not find any.

    You claimed that no one else had managed to get phenylacetates to work. That sounds like you know of people that have tried. Please let us know of these people.

    Are there any?

  140. #140 Th1Th2
    August 3, 2011

    Mephistopheles,

    I am saying that any claims need to be backed up with data (preferably high quality data). I am unaware of such data, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If there is good, independently verified data that a “healthier diet” (a broad term that can mean any of a number of things) has a significant effect on both preventing and curing cancer, I’d be happy to learn about it.

    Just some.

    Public Health Nutr. 2004 Feb;7(1A):187-200.
    Diet, nutrition and the prevention of cancer.

    Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1998 Sep 20;118(22):3462-5.
    [Fruit and vegetables in the prevention of cancer].

    Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Jan;53(1 Suppl):251S-259S.
    Vegetables, fruits, and carotenoids and the risk of cancer.

    Of course, it’s not your interest to promote good nutrition.

  141. #141 Mu
    August 3, 2011

    Please explain why you think Burzynksi is a quack.
    Having your own page on Quackwatch is a first hint
    http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/burzynski1.html

  142. #142 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 3, 2011

    Calli

    thank you for your post, it was thought provoking and informative. It is true and sad that for some people nothing they are in control of will affect either the appearance or the progression of the disease.

    Once diagnosed I suppose another reason to follow healthy dietary and lifestyle patterns is to avoid extra cancers forming, especially if you are undergoing chemo and radiotherapy.

  143. #143 herr doktor bimler
    August 3, 2011

    Have you found those independent phenyl acetate tests?

    Canadian doctors:
    In 1985, the Canadian Bureau of Prescription Drugs examined the records of Canadian doctors who had treated patients at Dr. Burzynski’s clinic in Houston. Of 36 patients, 32 had died without showing signs of improvement. Of the remaining 4, one patient died after slight improvement, while one patient died after stabilizing for a year. The 2 remaining patients had widespread cancer.

    Buckner et al. (1999), Mayo Clin Proc. ;74:137-145.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10069350
    “we could not confirm any tumor regression in patients in this study”

    Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals (see JAMA (1992), 267:2924-2928).

  144. #144 Igor
    August 3, 2011

    …the records of Canadian doctors who had treated patients,,,

    Aha, even Burzynski’s treatment could not overcome the damage these doctors caused.

  145. #145 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 3, 2011

    Thank you for that link bimler.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10069350

    Bursynskis trials are linked on the right of that page.
    If you had bothered to look at them you might have noticed an anomaly.

    Any idea why Buckner et al used 9 times! less A10 (3-(Phenylacetyl)-2,6-piperidinedione) than Burzynski uses in his clinical trials?

    Buckner et al also give no time frame or average duration of treatment.
    Burzynskis treatment typically lasts 5 months or more.

  146. #146 Lawrence
    August 3, 2011

    So just long enough to drain his patients’ bank accounts dry before they die…..nice.

  147. #147 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 3, 2011

    The Canadian Bureau of Prescription Drugs- they sound like the pHarma lobby.
    See below for relevance.

    While we are on the subject of prescription drugs…
    Michael A Friedman was the ringleader of the FDA’s 14-year campaign of harassment and the bizarre and ethically compromised actions of the National Cancer Institute, which resulted in the eventual theft of Dr. Burzynski’s patent.

    He was also convicted in Federal court in 2007 for a conspiracy to deceive physicians that the drug Oxycontin had LESS potential for addiction and abuse than other painkillers. Doctors and focus groups had warned as early as 1995 that the drug was dangerously addictive.

    His company Purdue Pharma had to pay $634.5 million dollars
    in fines and the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health delivered Friedman a 15-year exclusion from all Federal health care programs.
    He should be in jail for murder.

    Oxycontin abuse is a very serious health issue in the USA at the moment. Millions are addicted, communities are being destroyed and Michael A Friedman was the pusher who gave them their first hit. He is more crooked than a barrel of fish hooks.

    Burzynski is still free to practice medicine even after 5 grand juries.

  148. #148 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 3, 2011

    The Canadian Bureau of Prescription Drugs- they sound like the pHarma lobby.
    See below for relevance.

    While we are on the subject of prescription drugs…
    Michael A Friedman was the ringleader of the FDA’s 14-year campaign of harassment and the bizarre and ethically compromised actions of the National Cancer Institute, which resulted in the eventual theft of Dr. Burzynski’s patent.

    He was also convicted in Federal court in 2007 for a conspiracy to deceive physicians that the drug Oxycontin had LESS potential for addiction and abuse than other painkillers. Doctors and focus groups had warned as early as 1995 that the drug was dangerously addictive.

    His company Purdue Pharma had to pay $634.5 million dollars
    in fines and the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health delivered Friedman a 15-year exclusion from all Federal health care programs.
    He should be in jail for murder.

    Oxycontin abuse is a very serious health issue in the USA at the moment. Millions are addicted, communities are being destroyed and Michael A Friedman was the pusher who gave them their first hit. He is more crooked than a barrel of fish hooks.

    Burzynski is still free to practice medicine even after 5 grand juries.

  149. #149 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 3, 2011

    The Canadian Bureau of Prescription Drugs- they sound like the pHarma lobby.
    See below for relevance.

    While we are on the subject of prescription drugs…
    Michael A Friedman was the ringleader of the FDA’s 14-year campaign of harassment and the bizarre and ethically compromised actions of the National Cancer Institute, which resulted in the eventual theft of Dr. Burzynski’s patent.

    He was also convicted in Federal court in 2007 for a conspiracy to deceive physicians that the drug Oxycontin had LESS potential for addiction and abuse than other painkillers. Doctors and focus groups had warned as early as 1995 that the drug was dangerously addictive.

    His company Purdue Pharma had to pay $634.5 million dollars
    in fines and the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health delivered Friedman a 15-year exclusion from all Federal health care programs.
    He should be in jail for murder.

    Oxycontin abuse is a very serious health issue in the USA at the moment. Millions are addicted, communities are being destroyed and Michael A Friedman was the pusher who gave them their first hit. He is more crooked than a barrel of fish hooks.

    Burzynski is still free to practice medicine even after 5 grand juries.

  150. #150 augustine
    August 3, 2011

    Blackcat

    Chemo saved my life. What do you have in your bag of tricks that could have done the same. I ask this in all sincerity.

    The survival rate for stage IV breast cancer is about the same today as it was 50 years ago.

    I’ll pray for you.

  151. #151 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 3, 2011

    So evidence that diet can affect the risk of gastrointestinal and colorectal cancer (primarily) and weight affects the risks of other cancers. Very good use of evidence.

  152. #152 Dianne
    August 3, 2011

    Any idea why Buckner et al used 9 times! less A10 (3-(Phenylacetyl)-2,6-piperidinedione) than Burzynski uses in his clinical trials?

    This sentence probably explains much: “Reversible grade 2 or 3 neurocortical toxicity, consisting of transient somnolence, confusion, and exacerbation of an underlying seizure disorder, was noted in five patients.” Buckner et al were honestly tracking toxicity and did not go about the maximum tolerated dose. In another paper, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15563234, Burzynski uses an oral dose of 0.28 g/kg of each experimental drug and claims better results than Buckner observed. So it’s unlikely to be the dose per se and more likely to be the observer and reporting.

  153. #153 augustine
    August 3, 2011

    Nutritional status can affect vaccine markers and whether people become immune to germs or die from them.

    http://www.ajcn.org/content/80/1/193.short

    “Undernutrition as an underlying cause of child deaths associated with diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, and measles”

    Just like cancer, “science” bloggers believe it’s just bad luck and bad genetics.

    I guess it’s part of their fatalistic philosophy. No matter what you do, if you’re gonna get cancer you’re gonna get cancer. Eat drink and be merry.

    Same applies for infectious disease. If you don’t get a vaccine you’re gonna get a deadly disease no matter what you do.

  154. #154 Dianne
    August 3, 2011

    I wrote another comment on this, but the spam filter seems to have eaten it: One way Burzynski gets “results” is by misrepresenting his patient selection. For example, in the article I linked to above, the title and introduction claims that he is testing his drug on patients with glioblastoma. Yet his methods section states that the patients had pilocystic astrocyoma and other low grade astrocytomas: tumors with prolonged natural histories and which can have long survival times even with minimal or no treatment. Also to note that some tumors, after radiation, can display what look like progression on MRI but which is actually scarring. I wonder how many of the patients who presented with “progressive tumors” actually had pseudoprogression and the “responses” were really responses to the original treatment.

  155. #155 Gray Falcon
    August 3, 2011

    @141: Augustine, two things to note. One, science is a process, not a set of facts. We don’t simply believe everything we know is everything there is to know, we have to do research and learn more. Two, nobody made the arguments you are arguing against. Tell me, do you believe it is honest to ascribe to your opponents positions they have never taken?

  156. #156 augustine
    August 3, 2011

    Falcon

    One, science is a process, not a set of facts.

    In the process of what?

    Is medicine in the process too? Is medicine in the process of getting everyone in the world on medicine or off medicine? Does more medicine make people more healthy?

    “I firmly believe that if the whole materia medica could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be all the better for mankind and all the worse for the fishes.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

  157. #157 Gray Falcon
    August 3, 2011

    Augustine, science is a process of studying, learning, and understanding. Why do you think that article got written in the first place? It wasn’t a bunch of trolls ranting about how obvious it was. Also, do you feel it is honest to misrepresent other people’s beliefs?

  158. #158 Igor
    August 3, 2011

    @144: I suspect you are referring to OWH, Sr., the father of the famous Supreme Court judge. Ignoring the irrelevant nature of the quote as opinion of one individual, the quote relates to the state of medical science in Mid 1800s. To better understand the reference, consider that he received an award for submitting a paper on the benefits of using the stethoscope, which many American doctors were not familiar with at the time.

  159. #159 Igor
    August 4, 2011

    @145: On the other hand, OWH, Jr. would have given little to no weight to anything Augustine had to say at this point. As a witness, he would be impeached very quickly as a blatant liar. Despite Orac, and the rest of the posters here readily acknowledging and discussing in detail the benefits of healthy diet in preventing certain types of cancer or the role the environment plays on causing it, Augustine without even blushing (I can’t see, but his lying is so blatant, it has to be shameless) reduces it to “”science” bloggers believe it’s just bad luck and bad genetics.”

    Perhaps he simply thinks that his deluded ends justify the means. After all, anti vaxer consistently push for breach of medical ethics in their vax v. unvax study.

  160. #160 TBruce
    August 4, 2011

    Augustine, science is a process of studying, learning, and understanding.

    Gray Falcon, please be merciful. The ugh troll has no idea what those words mean.

  161. #161 Gray Falcon
    August 4, 2011

    For those wondering about what we did before the stethoscope was invented, doctors simply put their ears against their patients’ chests. One doctor with a young lady for a patient realized the awkwardness of the situation, and decided to try using a paper tube to listen to his patient’s heart. When he heard a clearer sound than he would have using the traditional method, he was impressed.

    Some doctors of the time, however, did not trust his invention. After all, wasn’t it common sense that the closer you were to the patient, the clearer the sound? But people did tests, and as OWH, Sr. could attest, the stethoscope did work better. Two morals of the story: “Common sense” is not a good substitute for solid evidence, and embarrassment is a mother of invention.

  162. #162 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 4, 2011

    Hello Dianne nice of you to drop in.

    you wrote
    ‘Burzynski uses an oral dose of 0.28 g/kg of each experimental drug and claims better results than Buckner observed’

    Do you know why that is misleading? You must know if you read the trial.

    In that trial Patients received ANP intravenously initially and subsequently orally. The average duration of intravenous ANP therapy was 16 months with the dosage of A10 was 7.95 g/kg/day The oral dose of 0.28 g/kg/day was given AFTER this initial 16 month period @.7.95 g/kg/day.

    As as for Buckner tracking toxicities all the patients died, so well done to him. Antineoplastons have a diuretic effect so if you are pumping all that liquid into somebody without sufficient levels of antineoplastons you will encounter
    greater chances of edema and associated complications.

    This is the most likely way that an 8 times smaller dose of A10 than average would cause these ‘toxicities’.

    You also wrote
    ‘So it’s unlikely to be the dose per se and more likely to be the observer and reporting.’

    Let me correct you- It is likely to be the dose. If you cannot see that then you are blind.

  163. #163 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 4, 2011

    Heliantus

    you wrote:
    And for most plants, the levels of active ingredients are much lower than 1% of your daily need.

    Meaningless statement, no base or basis in fact or science.

    and you ask me for citations…

    Bollocks.

  164. #164 Beamup
    August 4, 2011

    Awesome! What grade?

    Finished my PhD several years ago. You really love just making up insults out of thin air, don’t you? It simply boggles the mind how little it bothers you to lie all the time.

  165. #165 augustine
    August 4, 2011

    It simply boggles the mind how little it bothers you to lie all the time.

    I don’t lie.

  166. #166 Beamup
    August 4, 2011

    Just like Richard Nixon was not a crook, I guess.

  167. #167 Calli Arcale
    August 4, 2011

    Gustav Hackmauler:

    Thank you for your kind words! I was a big fan of Katsulas on “Babylon 5″; his character was definitely part of the heart and soul of the show. His absence was keenly apparent in the “Lost Tales” DVD that the series creators did a few years ago. It was unfortunate that his cancer was caught after it had already progressed past the point of no return, but as you say, sometimes that is what happens. What I admired so much about his story was that even though he essentially had a death sentence, where chemo could, at best, offer some relief (it is actually possible to do palliative chemo in some cases, killing enough tumor to make the patient feel a little better for a while, so it’s not always worthless when the patient is terminal — it depends on the situation, I think), he didn’t let that get him down. He apparently had a dinner party shortly before his death, with all his best friends, and was in fine form throughout. If I have to go, I hope I can handle it with as much grace and dignity as he did.

    Once diagnosed I suppose another reason to follow healthy dietary and lifestyle patterns is to avoid extra cancers forming, especially if you are undergoing chemo and radiotherapy.

    That’s a really good point, and I completely agree. If you get one cancer, it stands to reason that you’re at increased risk of getting more — you go from the category of “people who might be able to grow a tumor” to “people who definitely can grow a tumor”; whatever trait in your DNA or environmental influence in your life or whatever that caused the first tumor will still be present, and could cause another one. So if you’ve got a lot of risk factors in you life, removing some of them might improve your odds of getting another tumor, which might let you live a little longer and/or a little more comfortably, even if your existing tumor is terminal. But everybody has to make the decisions themselves, if possible.

  168. #168 Igor
    August 4, 2011

    I just noticed my references to post numbers were off. The second digit should be 5. Late night work and lousy vision, etc.

  169. #169 Igor
    August 4, 2011

    “I don’t lie.”

    Depends on your definitions of “I” and “lying”. I meet my share of liars daily as an occupational hazard so i can offer a free assessment. The good news, Augie is that you are a bad liar. The bad news is that you are too stubborn to admit to yourself that you are not good at something, so you’ll persist on fibbing despite the consistently being caught.

  170. #170 Bronze Dog
    August 4, 2011

    I had a comment that got caught in the moderation filter for a while, so post numbers might be off, since it’d bump up all the ones posted after it.

  171. #171 Gray Falcon
    August 4, 2011

    Augustine, why do you feel that you are telling the truth? What reason do you have to believe that our answer to “What’s the difference between the one’s who do and the one’s who dont’?” is “just luck I guess”?

  172. #172 Igor
    August 4, 2011

    @Bronzedog: Ah, good to know that my vision/visual signal processing might still be somewhat intact. I I’ve been lurking skeptic blogs for quite some time. Believe it or not you were one of the people who started me on that path about 6 years ago on Skeptico’s blog, which I have neglected for quite some time.

  173. #173 Nate
    August 4, 2011

    “In the end, however, little is known that can accurately predict who is likely to survive long term after treatment of glioblastoma and why, much as little is known that allows us to predict accurately which women with advanced breast cancer will survive for long periods of time and why, other than very crudely and unreliably.”

    You have admitted right there that even you do not know what you are talking about. Your article is profoundly judgmental. I will take David Servan-Schreiber’s research and conclusions over yours any day. I have the utmost respect for scientists who are willing to research the miracles nature has made available to us, if only we agree to open our eyes to them.

  174. #174 Beamup
    August 4, 2011

    How black-and-white of you, Nate. If someone admits that they don’t know everything, then they know nothing. Whereas someone who refuses to admit that their knowledge is incomplete is assumed correct, even if they have no evidence to support said correctness.

  175. #175 Igor
    August 4, 2011

    “I have the utmost respect for scientists who are willing to research the miracles nature has made available to us, if only we agree to open our eyes to them.”

    Whenever someone recites the whole open eyes/mind/[insert your favorite open orifice here] it inevitably means adopting an unquestioning adherence to their point of view. These people are often so open to new ideas that merely asking difficult questions that may endanger the stability of their world view infuriates them.

    Invariably, when I will point out that using their standard of proof/evidence assessment I can make up almost anything and require them to accept their validity. Most of the times their eyes shut very quickly to the prospect of my ridiculous idea. Although once I managed to convince a new agey friend of mine that beach sand was toxic.

  176. #176 Composer99
    August 4, 2011

    From Nate @171 (+/- a comment # or two if some others come out of moderation)

    I have the utmost respect for scientists who are willing to research the miracles nature has made available to us, if only we agree to open our eyes to them.

    You mean like the scientists who found a compound in the Pacific yew tree and crafted a chemotherapeutic agent from it?

    Or the scientists described in this post by Scienceblogs‘s ERV who are researching possible ways to combat HIV from compounds which occur in bananas or green tea?

  177. #177 Dan Johnson
    August 4, 2011

    @lilady Many thanks for the kind wishes. I’ve actually been reading Orac for longer than I’ve been diagnosed, but don’t often comment. Long live the skepticality!

  178. #178 Will Crowder - Charlottesville
    August 7, 2011

    I am in the course of reading Dr. Servan-Schreiber’s Anit Cancer book. I was diagnosed with advanced prostrate cancer 18 months ago. I have completed all of the conventional medical treatments recommended for my disease. I also read a book about surviving prostrate cancer by a prostrate cancer medical guru at a major medical university. The latter book was, like Dr. S-S’s book is well researched, but does nothing but scare me to see the average time frame that people with my staging have to live (five years). As noted in aforementioned blogs, Dr. S-S clearly states in his book that he does not recommend people forsake conventional treatments. I recognize that Dr. S-S’s book must be taken with serious consideration and skepticism. For instance, he does not cite many literature articles that disagree with his findings. That said, his book does provide some hope that I can have some control over my disease by employing very simple diet, exercise, and mindfulness techniques. There is not much more the medical field can offer me beyound clinical trials which I hope to avoid for as long as possible. I find the name calling and back biting by some on this blog petty and unfortunate. A purposeful and scientific approach to conversation would be helpful to a person striving to find hope and peace to be with his family for as long as possible.

  179. #179 Scottynuke
    August 8, 2011

    While I wish Will continued success in surviving prostate cancer, along with obtaining as much pleasure out of life as possible, the cognitive dissonance in his post is painful to read.

  180. #180 Beamup
    August 8, 2011

    Unfortunately, “I want there to be a better answer” does not necessarily imply that “there is a better answer,” much less that “Servan-Schreiber’s answer is better.”

  181. #181 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 9, 2011

    Dan I hope your treatment is going well and your are on your way to recovery. Long live the skepticality indeed!

    Will Crowder you make a good point about ‘purposeful and scientific approach to conversation vs petty back biting and name calling…. I tend to try to skip past the drivel and seek out potentially valuable info. I wish that you do find hope and peace.

  182. #182 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 9, 2011

    Good point Beamup

    So is there a better answer YET to the question of who besides Burzynski has tried to get antineoplastons to work?

    Dianne, Bimler -Buckners trial was seriously flawed as I pointed out above.

    Bimler have you found any other trials or do you know of anyone credible who has tested this stuff?

    Not Michael Freidmans trials either- as I pointed out above- he is more crooked than a barrel of fish hooks and can not be trusted on this topic.

  183. #183 herr doktor bimler
    August 9, 2011

    No-one could possibly have predicted that a response to a troll’s challenge would only lead to shifting goalposts and further challenges.

  184. #184 Gustav Hackmauler
    August 9, 2011

    Bimler,
    you have failed so far in the challenge- the goal posts are the same, the challenge is the same.

    You claimed to have answers.
    You have not provided them.

    If anyone is trying to shift goalposts it is you.

    Is Buckners obviously flawed trial enough to convince you that there is no possibility that antineoplastons could save lives?
    If so, that is a rather loose hold you have on skepticism.

    WHERE ARE THE OTHER TRIALS?

    You said no one else could get antineoplastons to work.

    Again, I ask, who has tested them and failed to get them to work?

    Please if you have to- re-read the posts above to understand why your responses failed.

    Do you accept that Buckner obviously messed up the trial?

  185. #185 Richard Lanigan
    August 12, 2011

    I have cancer,the day I was diagnosed I could not sleep I worried about my kids and the future. David gave me some hope, that there was something I could do to complement the medical treatment I was getting and I will be eternally greatfull to him for that as I prepare for major surgery next week, so while you seem to have little respect for your medical colleague, my I pay tribute to him.

    As a result of reading his book and the actions I took the quality of my life has been great the last few months, I have not had a sleepless night since reading it and no side effects from chemo or radiation. My doctors tell me I am “lucky”, I am not so sure? I have prepared myself for this ordeal, with the help of David, a medical doctor who became a cancer patient and looked at what was in the literature to formulate his theory. If I am deluded, long may my deluded state last.

    All people with cancer want is some hope a little light at the end of the tunnel and intolerant skeptics would belittle us because the choices we make to manage cancer are not the same as you would choose.

    Reading your comments I cant help feeling you have not read the book. Its not so much about “curing cancer”as adopting a healthy lifestyle to improve the quality of ones life and everyone could benefit from some changes.

  186. #186 Bronze Dog
    August 12, 2011

    All people with cancer want is some hope a little light at the end of the tunnel and intolerant skeptics would belittle us because the choices we make to manage cancer are not the same as you would choose.

    We’re doing this because we want to direct people to treatments we know work, and away from implausible treatments, and away from quacks uninterested in proper tests.

    As for me, I don’t blame cancer patients for what they might do in moments of desperation. My hate is directed to quacks who often don’t seem interested in proving their treatments work. The sincere quacks don’t seem to acknowledge the well-known power of self-deception, and blindly charge on, thinking they’re unquestionably right, and worse, the hucksters who are in it solely for the money won’t perform clinical studies because tests would cut into the profit margin. I want quacks exposed because they’re knowingly or unknowingly exploiting vulnerable people with false hope.

    Cancer patients deserve real hope whenever possible, and in the worst case scenarios (everyone’s going to die someday, of course), they should be able to enjoy their time remaining, instead of being pressured into grasping at increasingly expensive straws. For those who would still want to go down fighting, they should be allowed to sign up for clinical tests of promising new treatments instead of having to pay for biased, unscientific self-experimentation. Meaningful clinical trials, even if they result in a particular treatment’s failure, would at least be informative to the rest of the world. A failed trial could give insight into why it failed and how it could be improved, or at least let the scientific community know when something’s not worth trying again.

    As for luck: Sometimes it happens. It’d be weird if no one ever won the lottery. If a lucky remission is possible (and it is, last I checked), your testimonial alone isn’t informative because you can’t perform statistical analysis on a sample of one. Without such an analysis, there’s no reason to be confident it’s the treatment that’s doing the work. The more patients involved in a trial, and the better the controls, the less chance there is of a dangerously misinformative fluke.

    And, of course, the people who don’t get lucky while on an ineffective treatment tend not to speak up, and typically aren’t kept on records that can speak for them. A scientifically minded person looks at that bigger picture because just looking at one case leads to self-deception.

    One thing I feel like noting: I see cancer as beatable thanks to people like Orac. Some cancers have a cure rate of 80-90%, and science has been steadily making progress on more of them. That gives me the hope I’d need to stay calm if I end up with cancer, one day. Quacks, however, have an interest in maintaining cancer as a boogeyman so that they can present themselves as the new miracle breakthrough and maintain the climate of fear necessary to make people desperate.

  187. #187 Richard Lanigan
    August 12, 2011

    Anyone who thinks the medical treatment of invasive cancer is an exact science is deluded, there is no “cure” for cancer because they dont know what exactly causes it. Its whats called multifactoral. Now if any of you skeptics can direct me towards a treatment which will guarantee me a cure for my cancer ( my prognosis is good) and prevent it coming back I am all ears. You skeptics are the ones that need to be looking at the bigger picture because RCTs are not going to provide a cure for cancer. I suspect changing lifestyles will have the biggest impact on cancer rates in the long run.

    My treatment plan was changed because my surgeon was on holiday last week. Three months ago,I was told the optimal time for me surgery was 6-8 weeks after the radiation treatment. Turns out they dont realy know when the optimal time is because everyone is different and respond differently to treatments, so they dont know whether it will be an advantage or disadvantage to wait another couple of weeks. Some approaches work better than others, the evidence or the skill of the surgeon, or luck. Perhaps I am lucky, but I have found in life the harder I worked the luckier one gets. Very few people win the Lotery.

    David Servan Schriber advocated the medial approach to treating cancer,but wondered why some people with the same cancer and same treatment lived longer and had better quality of life than others.

    There is little investment in research into nutrition and lifestyle into managing cancer (as illustrated by a nutritional trial I took part in at the Royal Marsden), so David a medical researcher (not a quack) looked at the best available evidence and developed a theory which he based his book on.

    Probably what has helped me more than anything is focusing on my childhood hero Popeye eating his spinach and getting strong, when I am down. Now I am not going to recommend Popeye to people with cancer, what I would say to someone with cancer, you have to get your head right and you need to sleep well or your immune system will not function properly and if sleeping on crystals or a good mattress or a picture of Liz Hurley does it for you, then make the change.

    You say you “want quacks exposed because they’re knowingly or unknowingly exploiting vulnerable people with false hope”

    First I would say its against the law to exploit people with cancer so become a policeman if you fell so strongly about it. The leading CAM clinic for people with cancer in the UK is the Penny Brohn Cancer Care, in Bristol. I have been there and it provides a wonderfully service for peole with cancer, in cooperation with medical doctors. Most amazingly the service is provided for free and is funded by donations from satisfied customers and their families. To my shame I have not made my donation yet but I will give generously and have never been asked.

    Surely you are not advocating that I should live my live based on the very narrow views of the “scientifically minded” seeking cures in data bases. If you get cancer you will do what you believe is in your best interest as the vast majority of people do. The Royal Marsden offer reflexology , aromatherapy to patients who feel better for it and I congratulate them for being so open minded. You see best practice Evidence Based Medicine is based on three pillars according to David Sackett. The best available evidence, the experience of the practitioner and patient values.

    How that individual patient feels is what is important to that individual patient and thats what an experienced practitioner would be looking for, rather than banging them over the head with a scientific journal.

  188. #188 Bronze Dog
    August 12, 2011

    Now if any of you skeptics can direct me towards a treatment which will guarantee me a cure for my cancer ( my prognosis is good) and prevent it coming back I am all ears.

    Guarantee, huh? You’re asking us to be gods. I hate to disappoint you, but we’re mere mortals. So are you.

    You skeptics are the ones that need to be looking at the bigger picture because RCTs are not going to provide a cure for cancer. I suspect changing lifestyles will have the biggest impact on cancer rates in the long run.

    It sounds like you don’t know what you’re saying. Randomizing test subjects reduces the chance of selection bias. Controlling for alternative explanations reduces the chances that confounders could be what causes an improvement. The placebo/standard of care groups are there as a comparison, so that we know there is an objective difference between the treatment and the baseline.

    How can you be confident that a particular lifestyle change is causing anything if you don’t take scientific measures such as those I mentioned?

    First I would say its against the law to exploit people with cancer so become a policeman if you fell so strongly about it.

    You do realize there are multiple ways to make positive contributions to society, right? Talking about the issues is a first step.

    Of course, that’s not why you bring up the police: You just want me to shut up because I dared to raise fundamental questions about how knowledge is gained and I tried to broaden your views by informing you of an option you apparently haven’t considered: You might be wrong about something.

    Surely you are not advocating that I should live my live based on the very narrow views of the “scientifically minded” seeking cures in data bases.

    What’s so narrow about science?! Do you even know closed-minded, arrogant, and incurious you were acting when you typed that quote?

    Do you know what science is or how it’s practiced?

    Do you have the foggiest clue about what us skeptics really believe?

  189. #189 Bronze Dog
    August 12, 2011

    Okay, I’ve had my rage at Richard’s cookie-cutter cynicism.

    Here’s the core of the issue: Richard, how do you go from having an idea to knowing that idea is true?

  190. #190 Richard Lanigan
    August 13, 2011

    You are assuming cancer affect everybody the same, and they will all respond the the same way according to the published evidence. David Servan Scheiber explains this beautifully in his book, you should read it. You are assuming I am against research, that is not the case, like David i will go where the evidence takes me. I am also aware there are areas of research which are underfunded. Rates of Colon cancer for example are far lower in the far east,they think its because of the western diet. Evidence is showing us that 30 minutes of CV exercise each day may reduce your cancer risk by 25%, diabetes, and CV disease by more. It may not help me, but its a chance worth taking dont you think. You may be too young to remember Jim Fixx one of the guys promoting running for health and wellbeing in the 70s. He died of a heart attack while out running in the early 80s, the skeptics were gloating as if this proved his theory on running was wrong. David Servan Schreiber was an acclaimed medical researcher and his death does not mean his theories are wrong, the bottom line is he has helped many people deal with the misery of cancer and should be applauded for it, you may not agree with him but it does not alter the fact he has helped people with cancer.

    Statistically 90% of people with my type of cancer live for five years. Then on the other hand I could be in the 10%that will die earlier. RCTs can not tell you which group I am, it can only point a clinician in the direction of what they might do to improve my odds. Scans show chemo and radiation have shrunk the tumour and surgery will remove it. I believe if I sleep better and take exercise my chances of a long live may improve. If i wait until someone has funded the RCTs you crave I may be dead, so we look for the “best available evidence” which is what David Sackett proposed for best practice EBM.I am assuming you know who Sackett is.

    Why would I want you to “shut up”, when you have given me the opportunity to explain how David Servan has helped me and many others. His may may be not for you which is fine. Dont exercise, smoke and eat pork pies thats your choice.

    Nothing is “narrow” about science, however you imply the “scientifically minded” have access to some kind of truth and I would disagree with that and say it was a very narrow way of loooking at Evidence Based medicine as I have explained above there is more to best practice than evidence.

    You are the person making sweeping statements about CAM and the people who use it, and if I have made generalizations about skeptics which dont apply to you I apologise. So what do you skeptics “believe” will cure my cancer and prevent it coming back am i wrong to change my lifestyle without “proof” it will cure colon cancer. Should I make a donation to Penny Brohn Cancer Care Centre for the three days I stayed there, or be a cheap skate and take advantage of their kindness, what do you think? Why do most skeptics use pseudonyms when they make comments?

  191. #191 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 13, 2011

    You are assuming cancer affect everybody the same, and they will all respond the the same way according to the published evidence.

    I don’t recall anyone saying any such thing.

    Rates of Colon cancer for example are far lower in the far east,they think its because of the western diet.

    There have been a number of studies showing links between diet and colon cancer. However, the phrase “western diet” is pretty vague. Without studies, how does one know which parts of the Western diet – if any – contributes to cancer?

    Evidence is showing us that 30 minutes of CV exercise each day may reduce your cancer risk by 25%

    Not that I doubt you, but a citation would be nice.
    Re: Jim Fixx – I certainly remember that, and it certainly made for great ironic commentary. However, nobody who actually cared about the science (that I can recall) said it meant running wasn’t good aerobic exercise, nor that it would shorten your life. Likewise with Schreiber – his death neither proves nor disproves his practices, nor did his life.

    Statistically 90% of people with my type of cancer live for five years. Then on the other hand I could be in the 10%that will die earlier. RCTs can not tell you which group I am

    How do you know? Is it not conceivable that future research, including RCTs, will find indicators that will better predict the prognosis?

    I believe if I sleep better and take exercise my chances of a long live may improve.

    If you sleep better and take exercise you will get all kinds of health benefits, so those are good ideas regardless. I don’t think any doctor would disagree with that, though IAMNADNDIPOOT. Whether they’ll improve your chances for a longer life, who knows?

  192. #192 Bronze Dog
    August 13, 2011

    You are assuming cancer affect everybody the same, and they will all respond the the same way according to the published evidence.

    Wrong. I make no such assumption, and neither does the evidence. Some people are more vulnerable, some are less, and genetic research can help us sort out those differences.

    David Servan Scheiber explains this beautifully in his book, you should read it. You are assuming I am against research, that is not the case, like David i will go where the evidence takes me.

    Why refer to a book? Why not refer to his publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals?

    Rates of Colon cancer for example are far lower in the far east,they think its because of the western diet.

    [Citation needed]

    He died of a heart attack while out running in the early 80s, the skeptics were gloating as if this proved his theory on running was wrong.

    [Citation needed]

    Statistically 90% of people with my type of cancer live for five years. Then on the other hand I could be in the 10%that will die earlier. RCTs can not tell you which group I am, it can only point a clinician in the direction of what they might do to improve my odds.

    You mistake a known weakness in statistical knowledge and misattribute it to a test protocol. We aren’t gods. We can’t predict exactly how general statistics will affect a specific individual.

    What’s with this irrational hatred of randomized clinical trials? Do you even know what one is?

    I believe if I sleep better and take exercise my chances of a long live may improve.

    And science agrees with you.

    If i wait until someone has funded the RCTs you crave I may be dead, so we look for the “best available evidence” which is what David Sackett proposed for best practice EBM.I am assuming you know who Sackett is.

    So, rather than hope for a chance to increase the world’s knowledge, it sounds like you’re willing to cave into desperation.

    Oh, yeah: RCTs are the gold standard of medical evidence. Pardon me if I think you’re hypocritical for your knee-jerk spite for them. Also, there’s something better than EBM: It’s SBM: Science-based medicine. If you look at the evidence of individual trials without looking at the big picture of scientific achievement to know something about plausibility, you’re going to end up chasing every fluke of chance. The evidence for one treatment has to either be consistent with what other studies have shown, or it has to be extraordinarily strong and consistent to rule out such flukes. In the latter case, it’ll cause a big reevaluation.

    Why would I want you to “shut up”, when you have given me the opportunity to explain how David Servan has helped me and many others. His may may be not for you which is fine. Dont exercise, smoke and eat pork pies thats your choice.

    The science says those are bad ideas. Your hatred and bigotry for skeptics is showing, by the way.

    Also, diet and exercise are used for bait and switch: They get you in the door for that stuff, and then try to get you to subscribe to unproven stuff since “their” diet helped.

    You are the person making sweeping statements about CAM and the people who use it, and if I have made generalizations about skeptics which dont apply to you I apologise. So what do you skeptics “believe” will cure my cancer and prevent it coming back am i wrong to change my lifestyle without “proof” it will cure colon cancer. Should I make a donation to Penny Brohn Cancer Care Centre for the three days I stayed there, or be a cheap skate and take advantage of their kindness, what do you think? Why do most skeptics use pseudonyms when they make comments?

    You’ve made generalizations about skeptics which apply to exactly zero skeptics I know.

    1. I made statements about generic quacks and unproven treatments, not so-called “CAM.” The very concept that there is such a thing as “Complementary” and “Alternative” medicine is marketing dogma which we do not accept. It’s a false dichotomy you’ve been indoctrinated into. I reject such labels, which is why I always put them in quotation marks, kind of like “supernatural” when I argue with dualists. I’m a monist.

    2. Proper diet and exercise are science-based lifestyle choices. Eating right and exercising will very likely improve your general health. This is not a point of controversy, even though you seem to be either indoctrinated into believing it is controversial, or you’re cynically using it as a distraction from the real targets for criticism.

    3. Now that you’ve made the cheap shot at pseudonyms, you’ve announced that you don’t care about evidence or science, just scoring rhetorical points. I use a pseudonym so that people can’t use other ad hominems to distract from the core issues. Of course, they instead use the alleged cowardice of using a pseudonym as an ad hominem attack in itself. It came in handy for making a racist troll at my blog look silly by accusing me of being a black Mexican jew hippie flower child on welfare with white guilt, because he couldn’t pin me down. And he did that because he didn’t like me pointing out logical fallacies.

    4. Also, I’m an atheist, and I live in Texas. If I blogged and commented under my real name, a future boss could google my blog before setting up a job interview and secretly (and illegally) discriminate against me on a religious basis. And, of course, there’s even worse things that can happen to atheists in places this religious.

  193. #193 Bronze Dog
    August 13, 2011

    Oh, yeah, given all the other “east versus west” themes I’ve encountered with alties, racism watch is on standby. Be very careful about what you say about “east” and “west,” Richard, because I’ve encountered a LOT of racist alties who like to use those as code words.

  194. #194 lilady
    August 13, 2011

    @ Richard Lanigan: You’ve made some mighty strong allegations about skeptics who post on this site.

    You have also confused the advice from the American Cancer Society to prevent colorectal cancer by stating, “Evidence is showing us that 30 minutes of CV exercise each day may reduce your cancer risk by 25%, diabetes, and CV disease by more. It may not help me, but its a chance worth taking dont you think”

    According to the American Cancer Society: The risk are decreased by as much as 25 % with healthy lifestyle choices that include:

    Healthy abdominal weight (girth)

    30 minutes a day being physically active

    Healthy balanced diet

    Not smoking

    Limiting alcohol intake

    Limiting consumption of red meat…which tends to be cooked at high temperatures

    The American Cancer Society states there is no link between fruits, fibers and vegetables and cancer prevention although diets that are deficient in fruits, fibers and vegetables may tend to increase the risk of colorectal cancers.

    There is nothing in these recommendations that states these steps will prevent the recurrence of colorectal cancers, which is dependent on the “staging” of the original cancer.

    The American Cancer Society also does not state that once you have been diagnosed and treated appropriately by excision and chemotherapy, changes such as these to prevent an initial colon cancer will prevent recurrence. Again the staging of the colon cancer (not invasive in the lumen wall of the colon, not spread to local structures, not spread to regional areas or distant metastasis) is the determining factor in total “cure” rate of colon cancer.

    Of course, one of the best preventive measures is to have a sigmoidoscopy starting at age 50…or before…dependent on family history and personal history, removal and testing of pre-cancerous polyps or other suspicious tissue to test for the presence of cancer.

    Suppose a grant was denied by the NIH for the development of a simple blood test, performed at yearly physical check-ups which could identify a marker for the presence of pre-cancerous polyps or cancerous tumors in the colon. Also suppose that the grant was denied because the NIH refused to cut the budget for its division of NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) and cut the budget for the NCI (National Cancer Institute). Actually, you don’t have to suppose how these divisions are funded…just read some of Orac’s blogs about these “funding priorities”. What has the NCCAM spent billions of dollar on for hundreds of studies and what are the results? After all the spending and research NCCAM determined that chiropractics may provide (temporary) relief for lower back pain.

    You posed a question, “Why do most skeptics use pseudonyms when they make comments?

    In my case, I received one threat from Jacob “we know who you are” and one of his many sock puppets made a libelous statement, “you are a drug addict”. Had I posted under my real name, it could affect my professional registered license. It was only after I threatened to commence legal action for defamation, that the sock puppet backed down. You also know that a particular troll on this blog has pursued me relentlessly and I don’t know if the trolls attacks will turn to threats…he’s that deranged. That is why I protect my identity.

  195. #195 lilady
    August 13, 2011

    As a postscript to my posting above. The information I provided is from:

    American Cancer Society-Colorectal Cancer Facts and Figures 2011-2013

  196. #196 TBruce
    August 13, 2011

    @Richard Lanigan:

    Funny you should bring up Jim Fixx. His early death could easily have been prevented if he had taken advantage of science-based medicine. He was at high risk from genetics alone. His father had an MI at 35. He was overweight and sedentary for many years before he started his running career, which probably gave his coronary disease a head start. From what I recall, he paid no attention to his diet, relying on high-mileage running to keep his weight down. Finally, he ignored obvious signs of angina which developed in the last few weeks before he died. He even refused a stress test offered by Dr. Ken Cooper shortly before his fatal heart attack!

    His history was obviously one of high risk, and required early intervention. All of these measures are science-based and effective. Homeopathy, reiki, visualization or any other woo-woo wouldn’t have done a thing except waste his time and money.

    Jim Fixx was an inspiring promoter of running. As a runner myself, I always felt that his death was a tragedy, especially since it was avoidable.

  197. #197 augustine
    August 13, 2011

    t-bruce

    Funny you should bring up Jim Fixx. His early death could easily have been prevented if he had taken advantage of science-based medicine.

    T-bone, are you serious? Do you think this is a scientific claim? Do you think your fellow SBMers believe this is a Science based Medicine claim? I would love to see your evidence. So he wouldn’t have died when he did if he had followed your SBM lifestyle? Do you care to elaborate?

  198. #198 herr doktor bimler
    August 14, 2011

    Richard Lanigan clearly feels healthier and experiences a better quality of life from following Servian-Schreiber’s advice on diet and exercise, which is a Good Thing as far as I’m concerned, whether or not it’s therapeutic.

  199. #199 Delurked lurker
    August 14, 2011

    I moderate on a SBM based cancer forum. David’s death caused quite a stir amongst us. The general consensus is that what he had to say was valuable to us and he was given a great deal of respect. All of us have chosen SBM to fight the beast. Some of us bought the book and ran with it. None of us are ‘woo meisters”. Some of us would not even bother but we have the good grace to allow people to make up their minds and not berate their choices. The book is harmless in fact as it eschews healthy diet and lifestyle it may be considered beneficial.

    At the end of the day people are free to make choices in the way they approach their fight. None of you are entitled to make any judgements until you are in our shoes. Cancer has a habit of changing peoples ideas very quickly, none of you will know what it is like until you get that diagnosis.

    Oh yeah in case any trolls have enough grey matter to track our sandpit down ( doubtful as you are all terminally stupid)don’t bother,it is crawling with moderators and you will last maybe 10 minutes before you swim with the fishes.

  200. #200 Scottynuke
    August 14, 2011

    @ delurked lurker:

    “Oh yeah in case any trolls have enough grey matter to track our sandpit down ( doubtful as you are all terminally stupid)don’t bother,it is crawling with moderators and you will last maybe 10 minutes before you swim with the fishes.”

    Sounds like a community that really relishes discussion of opposing (read: uncomfortable) views. Perhaps your moderators should lurk here awhile and see how free speech really works.

    If you’re still delurking, care to comment on Orac’s specific criticisms?

    “Unfortunately, in the process, he also promoted the idea that diet could protect you from almost all cancers, that cell phones cause brain cancer, and that a number of other dubious health modalities could produces a “terrain” that was hostile to cancer, even though evidence supporting such claims was equivocal at best.”

  201. #201 squirrelelite
    August 14, 2011

    Delurked lurker,

    Were you perhaps using verbal text entry which came up with “eschew” instead of “issue”??

    I double-checked at dictionary.com which defines eschew as:

    to abstain or keep away from; shun; avoid

    The fight against cancer is a difficult one, I know, and someone fighting cancer needs a variety of resources to help them cope with the struggle even if those resources don’t specifically help treat the disease. But, I don’t think a book that encourages you to abstain from

    healthy diet and lifestyle it may be considered beneficial

    as you phrased it, would be a useful resource.

  202. #202 Delurked lurker
    August 14, 2011

    @196
    Our little place is our haven away from the cranks and scammers. Its a support group for people who are fighting cancer with SBM. No room for woo it just gets people very upset. No room for debate sunshine there is far too much pain and suffering for that.

    @197
    I blame chemo brain. My mistake so shoot me. Mind you it is a bit of a howler :)

    No I don’t care to answer Orac’s criticisms, he is entitled to his opinion and quite frankly I agree with him on a lot of points, but the book is harmless. Orac has my respect and admiration for the amount of energy he expends taking the fight up to the cranks, quite frankly I don’t know how he finds the time.

    Anyway back to lurking

  203. #203 TBruce
    August 14, 2011

    Do you care to elaborate?

    Based on your track record, no.

  204. #204 Will Crowder - Charlottesville
    August 14, 2011

    As noted in my earlier entry, I was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer 18 months ago. My Gleason score is nine. I have worked in a medical university teaching center for 28 years. Although I am not a researcher or a doctor, I consider myself fairly intelligent and capable of wading through most medical literature. I have found the literature on prostate cancer overwhelming, confusing, and contradictory. I believe that I am receiving the gold standard of treatment for my disease. My radiation oncologist recently told me that the six weeks of radiation therapy I endured to my prostate and pelvis has hopefuly rid my body of cancer cells. But then, there is the issue of those evil micro cells and the anxiety (in the back of my brain) what can I do to prevent the return of this cancer. If my cancer were to return, I will follow the recommendations of my oncologist relevant to seeking further treatment, clinical trials, etc. Meanwhile, I live with my diagnosis and the the hope that healthy nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness can play a positive role in preventing the return of my cancer. I realize that there are plenty of “quacks” out there who take advantage of vulnerable and desperate people. Was Dr. S-S really a quack? He clearly states in his book that people should not forsake conventional treatments. I thought his book was well researched and cited. Yes, many of his recommedations are claims founded by associative research, for instance the association between prostate cancer and processed meats. If there is something I can do that might prevent the return of my cancer, albeit small and by association, I am all ears. It cannot hurt and might possibly help. For me, Dr. S-S’s book did a good job breaking down this information for me.

    I have read this blog from beginning to end. What I have found helpful – those entries that discuss this material with a scienctific basis while using layman terms to explain rationale. Not helpful – name calling and mean spiritness. Tell me where Dr. S-S is right; tell me where he is wrong. Yes, much of the material is common sense, but we all need to be reminded once in a while. To those of you living with cancer and seeking means to better manage overwhelming stress and confusion to live a hopefully long and fruitful life, we shall endure.

  205. #205 lilady
    August 14, 2011

    @ Will Crowder: Thank you for your thoughtful posting and for sharing your story.

    I never read David Servan-Schreiber’s book, but I did check his website and found interviews that he gave to various reliable media outlets. Based on my research (albeit) on the internet, he did firmly espouse alternative theories of nutrition, “right thinking” and exercise…and credited these theories with long term survival, after undergoing medical treatments for brain cancer.

    Excerpted from an interview with a Psychology Today reporter “David Servan-Schreiber on Cheating Death-Neuroscientist David Servan-Schreiber on How He Beat Brain Cancer (April 3, 2009)

    Why did you get cancer?

    Exposure to chemicals, pesticides, electromagnetic fields, years in front of a computer screen, what I ate, my inability to deal with stress. There were a lot of things I could have done differently. (Totally dis-proven theory)

    If I want to avoid cancer what should I do?

    Physical activity, which doesn’t necessarily even mean exercise. Women who walk 30 minutes six times a week reduce by half their chance of relapse after breast cancer. So walking to work or biking to work, which I’ve done for years now, makes an enormous difference. (This is news to me and I don’t think Orac, a breast cancer surgeon and breast cancer researcher has ever heard of exercise to reduce by half the recurrence of breast cancer)

    What made you question the advice you got from your oncologist about preventing relapse?

    As a physician I had had that same attitude. Nobody invites us physicians for a week for free to give us a course on the benefits of yoga, jogging, broccoli, and garlic.

    In the conventional model, we turn over our health care to doctors.

    I hope it will change. As it stands now, they do very little to help your body do its part to fight the disease. They do not support the terrain, they only target the tumor. We also need to know we can go further.

    So within that little interview Dr. Servan-Schreiber blames himself (and others facing a diagnosis of brain cancer) for spending time on the computer, inability to handle stress (right thinking), diet choices and living near power lines…he omitted use of cell phones, which he includes on his web page…as causing cancer.

    Furthermore, Dr. Servan-Schreiber attributes his long term survival to dietary restrictions and totally dis-proven “theories” of special cancer fighting properties of certain foods, again “blaming the victim” who has a recurrence of their cancer.

    Dr. Servan-Schreiber wrote a popular “feel-good” book about cancer survival that hit the best seller list. You “read a book about surviving prostrate cancer by a prostrate cancer medical guru at a major medical university. The latter book was, like Dr. S-S’s book is well researched, but does nothing but scare me to see the average time frame that people with my staging have to live (five years)”; that is the difference between “feel good” books and books written by prostate cancer specialists that don’t become best sellers.

    Will, I’m sorry that you were bothered by out resident trolls and the visiting troll who strives to take over the thread…that is what happens when a very popular blog devoted to science-based medicine is targeted by cranks.

  206. #206 Delurked lurker
    August 14, 2011

    Hi lilady

    Honestly I can see the points you are making but I think you are projecting your own thoughts here. After the death of Steven a few people wrote some obits and a few posted to the threads. None of these people ‘blame’ themselves for cancer. All of them are solid members with proven track records in bravely fighting the beast. None of them have gone over to the dark side and they all continue with their treatments. So what’s the big deal here? Most people who have cancer are not as stupid as the trolls that inhabit this blog.

    For the record I have not read the book nor am I likely to. I have been lurking here since I was diagnosed in 2007, I found Orac’s articles very helpful during my chemo and recovery. These comment sections I generally read for a laugh sometimes it just gets too funny :)

    Oh in case you ask it was DLBCL stage 2 bulky. 6 R CHOPs and nothing else needed. My cancer responded so well I didn’t need the extra 2 cycles and RT I was told was in the future for me. Don’t anyone ever tell me SBM is not the best approach to my disease.

  207. #207 Richard Lanigan
    August 14, 2011

    @ Bronzed Dog,go on let it all out,my:

    “irrational hatred of randomized clinical trials”?
    “Do you even know what one is”? (Is that what skeptics call an ad homenem attack)
    “you’ve announced that you don’t care about evidence or science”
    “Your hatred and bigotry for skeptics is showing, by the way”.

    You have to laugh. I report how David S-S helped me and suggest you be open minded to his theories and not limit yourself to the results of RCTs in health care and I am the “arrogant bigot” and “hate science”. I hope you read research studies with a more open mind ?

    My health and the treatment of my cancer has been guided by the scientific knowledge available to the oncologists at the Royal Marsden in London. I had a colonoscopy ten years ago which showed nothing. Had another in March and I had a malignant tumour. I had radiation and chemo as advised and I will have surgery on the 24th. My medical care has been fantastic and in the UK this has all been free of charge, I bet you dont get that in Texas.

    As you yourself acknowledge “We aren’t gods. We can’t predict exactly how general statistics will affect a specific individual” so it fair to conclude my treatment is based on a theory based on the best available evidence.
    When you asked me “how do you go from having an idea to knowing that idea is true”? I would answer, they are no absolute truths in health and wellbeing, for the reasons you yourself have put so succinctly . I had an aunt who smoke a Pack of 20 a day and lived to be 90, however the science would suggest most people would be ill advised to follow her example, so we look at the science and see what works best and an experienced clinician can make the changes for the individual patient when the results of an RCT do apply as sometimes happens. So while you would obviously prefer a a doctor who takes a SBM approach to your health and restricts himself to the evidence I want an EBM practitioner and EBM is the principle most clinicians in the UK health care system subscribe to.

    In health care all sorts of people develop theories and scientists are there to do research on them. Conclusions never guarantee results for the clinician, they merely provide information a clinician may try on a patient. Some interventions do not have a mountain of research behind them, however this does not invalidate the theory, it merely reinforces a need for more research into the area, before said treatment could be funded.

    You seem to be getting upset with me, because I would consider thinking outside the box and would try and improve my lifestyle in the hope it may improve my life expectancy.Belive me I would but a stick of dynamite up my ass if I thought it would help. I made quiet clear in a previous comment while Popeye has helped me , it may not work for everybody but the fact remains Popeye the Sailor Man has helped me deal with the consequences of having cancer.

    Anyway I have spent too much time on this, cancer teaches us one thing, that life is short and you should not waste any of it.

    As for me “referencing my statements” would you prefer the Harvard or Oxford method, when I did the dissertation for my science masters at Brunel University (London) I used the Harvard Method .

  208. #208 Richard Lanigan
    August 14, 2011

    @ Bronzed Dog,go on let it all out,my:

    “irrational hatred of randomized clinical trials”?
    “Do you even know what one is”? (Is that what skeptics call an ad homenem attack)
    “you’ve announced that you don’t care about evidence or science”
    “Your hatred and bigotry for skeptics is showing, by the way”.

    You have to laugh. I report how David S-S helped me and suggest you be open minded to his theories and not limit yourself to the results of RCTs in health care and I am the “arrogant bigot” and “hate science”. I hope you read research studies with a more open mind ?

    My health and the treatment of my cancer has been guided by the scientific knowledge available to the oncologists at the Royal Marsden in London. I had a colonoscopy ten years ago which showed nothing. Had another in March and I had a malignant tumour. I had radiation and chemo as advised and I will have surgery on the 24th. My medical care has been fantastic and in the UK this has all been free of charge, I bet you dont get that in Texas.

    As you yourself acknowledge “We aren’t gods. We can’t predict exactly how general statistics will affect a specific individual” so it fair to conclude my treatment is based on a theory based on the best available evidence.
    When you asked me “how do you go from having an idea to knowing that idea is true”? I would answer, they are no absolute truths in health and wellbeing, for the reasons you yourself have put so succinctly . I had an aunt who smoke a Pack of 20 a day and lived to be 90, however the science would suggest most people would be ill advised to follow her example, so we look at the science and see what works best and an experienced clinician can make the changes for the individual patient when the results of an RCT do apply as sometimes happens. So while you would obviously prefer a a doctor who takes a SBM approach to your health and restricts himself to the evidence I want an EBM practitioner and EBM is the principle most clinicians in the UK health care system subscribe to.

    In health care all sorts of people develop theories and scientists are there to do research on them. Conclusions never guarantee results for the clinician, they merely provide information a clinician may try on a patient. Some interventions do not have a mountain of research behind them, however this does not invalidate the theory, it merely reinforces a need for more research into the area, before said treatment could be funded.

    You seem to be getting upset with me, because I would consider thinking outside the box and would try and improve my lifestyle in the hope it may improve my life expectancy.Belive me I would but a stick of dynamite up my ass if I thought it would help. I made quiet clear in a previous comment while Popeye has helped me , it may not work for everybody but the fact remains Popeye the Sailor Man has helped me deal with the consequences of having cancer.

    Anyway I have spent too much time on this, cancer teaches us one thing, that life is short and you should not waste any of it.

    As for me “referencing my statements” would you prefer the Harvard or Oxford method, when I did the dissertation for my science masters at Brunel University (London) I used the Harvard Method .

  209. #209 Delurked lurker
    August 14, 2011

    That should have been David and not Steven…..fark how embarrassing

  210. #210 lilady
    August 14, 2011

    @ Delurked lurker: “Honestly I can see the points you are making but I think you are projecting your own thoughts here.”

    Well, actually no to “projecting”. I learned my SBM in school and practiced SBM in clinical settings and during my career in public health. But, when woo meisters discuss the basics of health maintenance such as balanced diet, exercise and maintaining a positive outlook as “innovative and unique to CAM” and not addressed in “traditional” medicine, it raises my hackles.

    I have been fortunate that I have not (yet) been diagnosed with a devastating potentially life threatening disease, but when you live as long as I have, you have suffered loss of family and friends to these as yet incurable diseases.

    Clinicians acknowledge and advocate for healthy lifestyles and incorporate that knowledge into their practices. And, if the practice of medicine wasn’t so complicated there might be time for educating patients about diet, exercise and maintaining a positive mental attitude. In the “ideal” world that might be a possibility…but I still wouldn’t tell patients that they caused brain cancer based on bogus theories of cell phone use, living near overhead wires, allowed the gardener to spray a pesticide or didn’t eat certain foods. Nor would I tell a dying brain cancer patient that they haven’t been cured because they didn’t follow a restrictive diet, didn’t exercise enough or didn’t think “good thoughts”.

  211. #211 Delurked lurker
    August 14, 2011

    Good for you lilady :) bravo. I have been lurking here long enough to have been expecting that response

    Let’s paint a scenario here:

    You are working in Oncology. You are administering chemo to a patient. The patient is reading David’s book. What if anything would you say to them?

  212. #212 Delurked lurker
    August 14, 2011

    lilady said
    “In the “ideal” world that might be a possibility…but I still wouldn’t tell patients that they caused brain cancer based on bogus theories of cell phone use, living near overhead wires, allowed the gardener to spray a pesticide or didn’t eat certain foods. Nor would I tell a dying brain cancer patient that they haven’t been cured because they didn’t follow a restrictive diet, didn’t exercise enough or didn’t think “good thoughts”. ”

    Funny none of the people who read the book that I know have ever expressed any of those ideas. I suppose they have more intelligence than you actually give them credit for. I have never read the book but I seriously doubt David actually blamed anyone for their cancer. I do see you projecting your fears here ascribing emotions that you expect on people that is contrary to what I have witnessed. Give people some credit for dogs sake

  213. #213 lilady
    August 14, 2011

    @ Delurked lurker: Stop reading in to my comments and stop with the armchair analysis of my “projection”.

    You need to read the book and tell us about your experiences with cancer patients in the clinical setting. I informed you what my experiences are. Good for you that you “know people who read the book” and you run a blog and your interpretation is that everyone who has ever read the book…there are others you know, just discounts the woo science and bogus theories of diet, exposures to electrical fields and cell phones, and exercise as causing cancer and that long time survival of brain cancer depends on plugging into the good doctor’s theories.

    Also, why not provide us with the citation for “David’s” statement in the Psychology Today interview:

    “Women who walk 30 minutes six times a week reduce by half their chance of relapse after breast cancer. So walking to work or biking to work, which I’ve done for years now, makes an enormous difference.”

    (“David” did not provide a citation and I have been unable to find any citation, either)

  214. #214 Delurked lurker
    August 14, 2011

    First I don’t run a ‘blog’ I moderate on a cancer forum. At anyone time there are from 400 to 700 people viewing and we hundreds of active members. It is an active forum and our job is support. Secondly I have cancer and have sat in that chair myself. Thirdly I am also a nurse.

    Why should I provide citations to David’s bloody book ? I have already told you its not the type of thing I would be interested in. I think you fail to realize that we share a lot of the same ideas.

    So I know a lot of people who have read the book. They all have cancer or are the loved ones of those with cancer. None of them have any issues with personal blame and none of them are on their soapboxes proclaiming that the evils of modern life are the root cause of their cancer. Sure its anecdotal but good luck on trying to find a study on the psychological impacts of reading David’s book. They are continuing with their treatments and they continue to provide support without pushing any woo onto anyone. They don’t need someone who hasn’t walked in their shoes telling what they can think. I can assure you lilady that being a nurse with experience in oncology is world’s apart from being told you have cancer. I sincerely hope you never find that out.

    You have all made a mountain out of a molehill here. Let people read what they want without pushing your BP to stratospheric heights. My assertion stands, from my experience this book does no harm. If you have proof to state otherwise then please do and anecdotal evidence is allowed, I promise I won’t scream CITATIONS PLEASE

  215. #215 lilady
    August 14, 2011

    @ Delurked lurker: You have a strange way of posting here…by going into overdrive and “diagnosing” me as “projecting”. But, don’t allow my comments or any other comments here to push your BP to stratospheric heights.

  216. #216 Delurked lurker
    August 15, 2011

    @212

    Not much chance of my BP going up :)

    a cut n paste from the current ACS site :

    You’ll find the American Cancer Society’s physical activity guidelines for adults and children below. These recommendations are based on the latest scientific information to help reduce the risk of developing cancer. Read on for ways to fit in fitness that may surprise you, then learn how many calories are burned in common activities and exercises.>

    OK granted the important word here is ‘reduce’ it doesn’t say ‘prevent’. Fix that up and the ACS is basically saying the same thing D.S-S said. Mind you I am only going on your word on what D.S-S says as I couldn’t be bothered even looking at the video. His advice as has been relayed to me is sound despite the woo behind it. Re Cell phones, it maybe BS but if it encourages people to throw them away and start getting some manners back into society then all well and good. RE powerlines, do you want to live under them ? You ever heard the racket they make when it rains? Have you ever stood underneath one with a fluro tube in your hand? Try it I am sure you will be surprised. It maybe BS but I sure as hell would want to bring my kids up under one.

    D.S-S just seems to be regurgitating the accepted advice to live a good healthy lifestyle. Yeah he threw in a bit of woo, big bloody deal, cancer tends to do that to some people. He never ever advocated relying on Alt crap and he took his medicine like any sane person would. His book helped a lot of good people find some hope and steered them to adopt a healthier lifestyle, I fail to see what is so wrong with that.

    Anyway Lilady thanks for the discussion :) As we actually share the same general mindset I doubt we will chat like this in the future, unless of course your alter ego Nurse Cratchit manages to show herself again.

  217. #217 lilady
    August 15, 2011

    @ Delurked lurker: You are a little late with referring to the American Cancer site. I posted @ 192 above their recommendations for decreasing the risk of colorectal cancer.

    Now you are focusing on physical activity…unable to find the theories that “David” advanced to prevent primary cancer or the recurrence of cancer, I presume.

    You state that you have been “lurking” at RI for a few years and that you are a nurse…didn’t you read Orac’s blogs about cell phones and other “theories” causing cancer? As a nurse, you should be able to understand how Orac and posters here thoroughly demolished the pseudoscience.

    “Anyway Lilady thanks for the discussion :) As we actually share the same general mindset I doubt we will chat like this in the future, unless of course your alter ego Nurse Cratchit manages to show herself again.”

    I don’t think we share the “same general mindset”. I have no alter ego that “shows itself” and you can bet that I will have a “discussion” with you when you dish out your armchair analysis of “projection” on my part.

    P.S. Bob Cratchit’s wife/Tiny Tim’s mother was not a nurse.

  218. #218 TBruce
    August 15, 2011

    P.S. Bob Cratchit’s wife/Tiny Tim’s mother was not a nurse.

    Oh snap!

  219. #219 Delurked lurker
    August 15, 2011

    HELLO

    I said the cell phone thing was BS did I not, and yes I have read everyone of Orac’s posts on the subject and I don’t have any issues with them at all ! I don’t believe in David’s woo! I think I told you that 3 times now. Where we differ is in your implication that the book is harmful when my experience points to a different conclusion. So be it. no point in arguing with you.

    BTW it was a reference to Nurse Cratchit from One flew over the cuckoos nest but I am sure you knew that ;)

    One thing that shits Us ( people with cancer) off most is self righteous people who tell us what to do or how to think when they have no experience in walking our road and no amount of nursing experience will do that for you. It doesn’t matter if its some idiot pushing laetrile or some jumped up nurse who thinks she knows best it has the same effect. Once in a while you might want to peak out of your box and acknowledge that you are dealing with human beings who may just think differently to you.
    I come here often and have even emailed Orac for some advice which he kindly gave. This site is important to me not for the opportunity to annoy or troll or even blow my own trumpet but to learn and be able to give reasoned advice to people who are doing it very hard. I must admit I do get some perverse satisfaction at the troll smackdowns but hey I’m only human.

    C’est la vie

  220. #220 Delurked lurker
    August 15, 2011

    Did it again :(

    Nurse Ratched.

    Anyway no hard feelings we beg to differ on this. Believe it or not we agree more than disagree, take my word for it. If you can find the forum you will see I tell no lies :)

    I don’t like arguing with you because over the years I have grown to respect your opinions and I agree on basically anything, except this one little point. Never mind back to lurking….really this time

  221. #221 lilady
    August 15, 2011

    Hello…It seems that you are getting you BP up…better monitor that. If you are a nurse, then you know that patient education is part of nursing practice. You should also know that nurses (and other clinicians) do not have to be cancer survivors or have a history of other diseases and disorders in order to feel empathy for patients.

    I stated an opinion about “David’s” book and provided instances where “David” has deviated far afield from SBM…indeed instances where he is totally engulfed and wallowing in the woo. I also provided citations…you do know what citations are, don’t you?

    As I recall you went off on your rant when I was addressing my comments to another poster, not you, with accusations of “projecting” and innuendo about a make-believe scenario of encountering a patient reading “David’s” book and what my reaction would be. With this latest posting you continue the personal attacks on my professionalism and my character.

    If you are a nurse then I suggest you return to school to (re) learn what the practice of nursing is all about…it’s not all about working out your issues, not about your ego and it’s not about ambushing another nurse.

    “BTW it was a reference to Nurse Cratchit from One flew over the cuckoos nest but I am sure you knew that” There you go again reading into one of my comments and making an assumption with a snide remark. Do you mean nurse Ratched?

  222. #222 Richard Lanigan
    August 15, 2011

    @ Delurked lurker: Are The “Lifestyle” studies you are thinking of referred to by David Servan Schriber by Dean Ornish a professor doing “lifestyle”research in California eg;

    Ornish D et al. Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer. (2005) J Urol;174:1065 -1069.

    Hope it all goes well for you, have you watched the Big C, I loved it, I find laughter great therapy we need more Patch Adams in health care and less academics in my opinion.

    To angry skeptics I would say note the caveat Dean Ornish uses “may affect”.David S-S was a world class scientist in his own field and the suggestion that he thought he had found a “cure” for cancer or the “cause” of cancer is ludicrous. David presented a theory in a book advocating an “integrated” approach to cancer. He talks about “living with cancer” not “curing care”. I am sure if you go through every word he ever said you will find examples of him forgetting to use caveats.

    It seems to me the fact that a “world class scientist” incorporated “woo” into orthodox management of cancer offends many and perhaps suggests prejudices more than skepticism.

    I wish you all well, for those of you interested in Popeye the Sailor Man and me I am doing a retrospective blog about my experience of cancer at ww.rectalcancer.me I am at the start of the experience which has been interesting six months to say the least.

  223. #223 Bronze Dog
    August 15, 2011

    You have to laugh. I report how David S-S helped me and suggest you be open minded to his theories and not limit yourself to the results of RCTs in health care and I am the “arrogant bigot” and “hate science”. I hope you read research studies with a more open mind ?

    You’re the one who brought up RCTs and only spoke in vague insulting language about them, rather than level specific, meaningful criticism of that sort of test protocol. When I brought up the reasons for the different scientific measures taken in an RCT, you ignored that.

    You also compared the test protocol to healthy lifestyles as if they were mutually exclusive.

    What makes you think that I only accept RCTs? That’s a common straw man used to try to discredit skepticism. We know there are other ways to study a treatment. The straw man exists because it’s a convenient lie to avoid honest talk about epistemology.

    You also repeated a lot of other bigoted tropes used by alties to demonize skeptics, such as lying about what we believe about diet and exercise. Just last week, an altie troll just assumed my skeptic friends and I were all fat, lazy, and ate excessive fast food because we’re The Other, and therefore against proper diet and exercise.

    When I (and other skeptics) dared to express an opinion other than the one you gave me, you belittle me for getting angry at you.

    I am open to controversial treatments. That was never the problem. The problem is that I don’t accept anecdotes as verifiying evidence, and, as we’ve seen with lots and lots of alties, plugging a book instead of peer-reviewed journal articles is a giant red flag that someone doesn’t have good evidence.

    Put simply, Richard, it looks more like you came here to provoke skeptics than promote anything. For example, I made it clear what tactics would sway me, yet you ignored my suggestion and went on with the provocative tropes.

    It doesn’t help that one of your more recent posts seems to embrace defeatism as epistemology, which is, of course, something I get angry about.

  224. #224 herr doktor bimler
    August 16, 2011

    Best wishes to Richard Lanigan.

  225. #225 gaiusgracchus
    August 19, 2011

    People like me appreciate these debates — for better or for worse, many of us are trying to make decisions about what treatment to follow for our cancer.

    I did read Dr. Schreiber’s books. We have no way to know for sure if he prolonged his life through lifestyle changes. It seems as though it may have had an effect — his first relapse was within 5 years but after the changes his second relapse took a lot longer to occur. This is not proof, of course.

    You guys should not do ad hominem attacks on the people who are posting alternative viewpoints. Is it really 100% black and white — conventional vs alternative? No synergistic effects possible from combining both? If that is true, evidence is always appreciated.

    But as I search for the right approach for my own cancer (and it would be easier if the conventional treatments for cancer were not so horrific in themselves), I learn from these debates. And the ad hominem attacks really don’t add much to the discussion.

    Thanks for the info and for your posting of ideas and evidence. It is very helpful.

  226. #226 Lawrence
    August 19, 2011

    Gaius – it is a false comparison. If it works, it is “conventional” medicine. The stuff that is considered “alternative” is pure poppycock without evidence of efficacy.

  227. #227 gaiusgracchus
    August 19, 2011

    @lawrence: Good point.

    I agree that it seems reprehensible that some of these quacks are not only giving false hope to cancer patients, but that they may turn them off the course of SMB completely. (Which is generally a dangerous thing to do, I would say.)

    However, there is a point to be made about conventional medicine that is important. What really determines what is considered to be conventional? It certainly helps to have large, repeatable, high-quality controlled, unbiased studies. But this costs money. Who will fund such studies? Although ‘Big Pharma’ gets a lot of criticism that borders on the paranoid, it is the source of a large part of this research.

    The problem with that situation is that pharmaceutical companies are only motivated to study things that will result in a certain ROI. Understandable, but what impact does that have on the realm of possibilities for treatment?

    A good example is DCA. This is from the Wikipedia article:

    “DCA is non-patentable as a compound, though a patent has been filed for its use in cancer treatment.[28] Research by Evangelos Michelakis has received no support from the pharmaceutical industry. Concerns have been raised that without strong intellectual property protection, the financial incentive for drug development is reduced, and therefore clinical trials of DCA may not be funded.[17][18][19][29] However, other sources of funding exist; previous studies of DCA have been funded by government organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and by private charities (e.g. the Muscular Dystrophy Association). Recognizing anticipated funding challenges, Michelakis’s lab took the unorthodox step of directly soliciting online donations to fund the research.[30] After 6 months, his lab had raised over $800,000, enough to fund a small Clinical Phase 2 study. Michelakis and Archer have applied for a patent on the use of DCA in the treatment of cancer.[31][32]”

    See more info here:
    http://www.medicorcancer.com/DownloadForms/DCA-FAQs_form-Medicor.pdf

    They are struggling to get funding for something that may have some real promise for cancer treatment. But the point, again, is that how much of what is offered as conventional is limited by financial interests? Not that pharmaceutical companies are expected to do charitable research, but just that there is an inevitable effect on the SMB treatment landscape that should not be ignored.

  228. #228 Johnny
    August 19, 2011

    But as I search for the right approach for my own cancer (and it would be easier if the conventional treatments for cancer were not so horrific in themselves), I learn from these debates. And the ad hominem attacks really don’t add much to the discussion.

    See http://xkcd.com/836/

    Find courage where you can, but take your weapons from science.

  229. #229 squirrelelite
    August 19, 2011

    Also, gaiusgracchus,

    To know that the combination of intervention A with intervention B has a synergistic effect, you need good data on the beneficial effect of A and the beneficial effect of B. So that, for instance, if for cancer X, intervention A gives a 50% survival time of 5 years and intervention B alone gives a 50% survival time of 1 year but A+B give a 50% survival time of 10 years, that would be a synergistic effect.

    You also need to be very sure that intervention B has a beneficial effect. For a counter example, read the results of the Gonzales study. As another example, if I remember right, the last serious study I read about vitamin C as a cancer treatment showed that vitamin C had a slight effect but much less than could be achieved with conventional chemotherapy. Also, the biochemical effects of vitamin C counteracted the action of the better chemotherapy agents, so adding it to the standard treatment would make results worse, not better.

    Sorry about the lack of reference, because I’m short of time. I’ll try to locate it if someone really wants it.

  230. #230 Krebiozen
    August 19, 2011

    Gauisgracchus,
    DCA has been discussed here many times.
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/05/the_dca_zombie_arises_again.php

    The Phase 2 trial, “The Safety and Efficacy of DCA for the Treatment of Brain Cancer” which was completed last year does not seem to have been published (I can’t find it anyway), and there are no results posted on the Clinical Trials site. That does not bode well as if it was successful I would expect them to be trumpeting it from the rooftops.

  231. #231 lilady
    August 19, 2011

    @ Gaius: I went to the NIH NCI (National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute) and keyed in: “Dichloroacetate”

    I located 5 “open trials”; the one you linked to is listed at #2 in the “open trial” category. There are also 2 “closed trials”. I suggest you review the 7 open and closed trials. BTW, the one you linked to has not been updated with the NCI because the researchers haven’t provided that information.

    I also checked the PubMed website and keyed in “Dichloroacetate Cancer Treatment” and came up with 78 citations from 78 studies from the journals that published them. The oldest citation is from 1991 and the newer ones are dated 2011.

    You are a new poster here, but us regulars always look forward to Orac’s blogs around “grant writing time” because he exquisitely details the onerous task of writing a complicated grant to fund his breast cancer research. Oh yeah, he bitches and moans about it and frets that the grant money will be slashed. Such is the life of our esteemed Orac who has two “day jobs” (breast cancer surgeon and breast cancer researcher).

    During a particularly vicious attack by the anti-vax crowd, it was alleged that Orac was a tool of “Big Pharma” with conflicts of interest. I cannot come up with Orac’s reply about the small amount of a drug that was purchased with grant money and disproved the spurious attack…perhaps one of the “regulars” here can link to the site.

    If you have written a grant to get funding for a program (I have) or for research, then you would understand that it is for legitimate research and not because you have undisclosed conflicts of interest or have sold your soul to Big Pharma.

  232. #232 gaiusgracchus
    August 19, 2011

    lilady: “If you have written a grant to get funding for a program (I have) or for research, then you would understand that it is for legitimate research and not because you have undisclosed conflicts of interest or have sold your soul to Big Pharma.”

    No one is suggesting such a thing, least of all me (re-read post).

    But the bit about Orac is supportive of my point — it is really hard to get funding for things that may not result in patentable, profitable products. Kudos to Orac for his hard work in this area.

  233. #233 Vicki
    August 19, 2011

    Gaiusgracchus:

    What worries me is the possibility that some new treatment (including but not limited to drugs, “supplements,” and other chemicals) could make a known treatment less effective. It’s easy to think that anything added might help and can’t hurt, but interactions are complex, and not necessarily in the directions we’d want.

    For example: grapefruit juice interacts with many (not all) drugs in odd ways, increasing the effectiveness of some and decreasing that of others. In order to avoid or control for that, people first had to discover the effect: it’s not at all obvious that taking your medicine with grapefruit juice would be significantly different from taking it with orange juice.

    I don’t have any easy answers for you, unfortunately: but someone saying “what harm can it do?” isn’t providing evidence that something is safe or effective. Do ask your doctors and pharmacist if they’re aware of interactions, though, with prescription drugs, anything you’re taking over the counter (including painkillers and allergy meds), and any herbs or supplements you use.

  234. #234 Beamup
    August 19, 2011

    It’s really hard to get funding for ANYTHING these days.

  235. #235 augustine
    August 19, 2011

    Liladay

    You are a new poster here, but us regulars always look forward to Orac’s blogs around “grant writing time” because he exquisitely details the onerous task of writing a complicated grant to fund his breast cancer researchSuch is the life of our esteemed Orac who has two “day jobs” (breast cancer surgeon and breast cancer researcher).

    You are a grade A First Class Ass Kisser and Jock sniffer. Can you make it more obvious?

  236. #236 lilady
    August 19, 2011

    Hmm, Ignorant, unemployable, uneducated potty-mouthed boring troll is still etc., etc. Too bad Orac didn’t keep him in moderation purdah.

  237. #237 Olga
    August 22, 2011

    Toda una inspiracion para luchar contra el cáncer y vivir una nueva vida feliz. Gracias, muchas gracias David Servan.
    http://entre-estar-e-ir.blogspot.com/

  238. #238 pela
    September 9, 2011

    what the f*** is wrong with you? the tone of this post is simply disrespectful towards late dr. Servan-Schreiber and the unconventioanl approaches to healing. I just hope you never have to experience the shortcomings of “conventional” medicine when it comes to curing diseases such as cancer.

  239. #239 Chris
    September 9, 2011

    pela, another tone troll. Did you know that the blog owner is an oncologist, and has probably more experience with cancer than you ever will?

  240. #240 blaster
    September 15, 2011

    i tried reading all the comments below, but found that it was simply a game of after school bullying rather then factual commenting.

    from reading the book, the late Dr. was quite clear that you need to follow medical procedures such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. He does not say that you should only do alt-therapy. He does say that ALONG with common medical practices, adding these alt-therapies can help you in preventing many types of illnesses.

    The book discusses eating healthy, as the only sources of energy we receive is from what we eat. This is common sense, our mothers used to tell us to eat our veggies. At no point is he saying ONLY do this, and don’t go see your medical professional. following proper medical advice, along with leading a balanced and healthy lifestyle can help prevent and alleviate many illnesses and diseases. As he states – this does not guarantee that you won’t get sick, or die. our bodies are fallible and will break down. Adding these alt-therapies can help you in potentially avoiding these illnesses.

    it would be nice if people can comment without bringing schoolyard emotions into the mix. let’s see how this comment will be read/misread!

  241. #241 suzanne
    October 1, 2011

    I was very surprised at the first comments on this blog and those are people who obviously know very little about cancer.. indeed Dr Schreiber, is a doctor and he complements and puts ways that you can help your treatment on top of conventional medicine and surgery.
    His books and research has been used in various institues and hospitals providing diet while you go for treatment and when you are not on treatment. You need to read the book and have experienced friends or family members who went through the same thing to value what he has written in his 3 books. He’s a remarkable man. I was very touched when he actually responded to my sister’s mail about a specific question concerning my 5 year old’s newphew’s case with a brain tumor. This man is remarkable, it is not easy to go and do what he has done knowing you have the disease yourself. He’s been a great help for many patients who have gone and how are still here, and the families and friends of those as well. His book is supported with a lot of data and research, this is why I am convinced. I wish we could all take him seriously.
    May he rest in peace and I feel for his family and friends, and his doctors who have treated him all these years and have stayed close.

  242. #242 Chris
    October 1, 2011

    suzanne:

    I was very surprised at the first comments on this blog and those are people who obviously know very little about cancer..

    Would it help you know that the author of the article is a surgical oncologist who perhaps knows a bit more about cancer than a psychiatrist? I have no doubt that Dr. Servin-Schrieber wrote comforting words, as he was a psychiatrist.

    I suggest you read what Orac wrote a bit more carefully.

  243. #243 JD Mitchell
    October 6, 2011

    In the introduction to Anticancer, written before Servan-Schreiber’s final relapse, he says specifically that “the Anticancer program cannot (and does not) claim to hold cancer at bay for everyone” – but it can “help sustain life, whatever the outcome”. The possibility of Servan-Schreiber’s relapse and death from cancer is also mentioned throughout the book. The book’s clear purpose is simply to help people live in as ‘anticancer’ a way as possible, while emphasising that it would be “completely unreasonable” (another quote) to reject surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy as cancer treatments. Also, Servan-Schreiber does not lay blame on patients for falling ill with or succumbing to cancer; the reference to not simply accepting his fate just means that he actively worked to combat his cancer by all the means that seemed scientifically valid to him, including those used in traditional Western medicine. Have you read the book?

  244. #244 Chris
    October 6, 2011

    Mr/Ms Mitchell, Dr. Servan-Schreiber was a psychiatrist. Orac is a surgical oncologist. Which of the two would be better versed on the science of cancer?

    By the way, have you read The Emperor of All Maladies?

  245. #245 Chris
    October 7, 2011

    What great insights into cancer would Orac (a surgical oncologist) get from reading a book by a psychiatrist? Exactly how was Dr. Servan-Schreiber more of an expert than someone who is actually a cancer researcher?

  246. #246 delurked lurker
    October 7, 2011

    Hi Chris

    Take this as a constructive criticism

    Your posts have a faint wisp of sycophancy about them. That makes good troll fodder.

  247. #247 JD Mitchell
    October 7, 2011

    Well Chris, Orac’s specialty is obviously cancer surgery. Arguably, Servan-Schreiber is the more objective assessor here, since his firsthand experience as a cancer patient gave him the desire to explore all potential avenues of treatment, and his medical training gave him the ability to research the scientific evidence behind each avenue.
    I’m sure Orac is an excellent surgical oncologist, but that doesn’t mean that he’s the last word in complementary anti-cancer strategies. Pages 127-132 of the Anticancer book give a persuasive explanation of why well-meaning and brilliant Western doctors would not consider nutrition etc as a potential tool in the fight against cancer. I would be interested to hear a rebuttal of this explanation by a critic.
    I haven’t read The Emperor of All Maladies and I have no medical background. I’m just interested in living a healthy lifestyle and I wasn’t convinced by Orac’s arguments against the Anticancer ‘program’. I’m open to the question though.

  248. #248 Chris
    October 7, 2011

    I have first hand experience as a person who suffers from allergies, that does make me an allergist. I also have first experience giving birth to three babies, but that does not make me a gynecologist.

    I was a structural engineer. I know about forces, strength of materials and structural dynamics. But I am not qualified to design and analyze an earthquake proof suspension bridge over a gorge. I know my limitations, and clearly Dr. Servan-Schreiber did not.

    You said: “Pages 127-132 of the Anticancer book give a persuasive explanation of why well-meaning and brilliant Western doctors would not consider nutrition etc as a potential tool in the fight against cancer.”

    First define “Western doctors.” Does this mean that Japanese and Chinese oncologists are better, even though they practice the same medicine as Orac? Are the varicella and DTaP vaccines not “Western” because they were developed in Japan? Look at the bottom of this page at the map with the red dots, tell us where you think “Western medicine” begins and ends.

    Second, show us the peer reviewed literature cited in the book that shows that nutrition has an effect on cancer. Do double check that they are indexed at http://www.pubmed.gov.

    Be specific on what kind of cancer each nutritional intervention is meant for with the supporting clinical evidence. There is no “one” cancer, it is a collection of diseases with a variety of causes and effects. Just post the type of cancer, the nutritional intervention and the journal, title and date of the papers as evidence that it is a valid treatment.

    The The Emperor of All Maladies is a well written book for any general audience. I suggest you get it from your local library and spend the weekend reading it.

  249. #249 JD Mitchell
    October 7, 2011

    In fact, Anticancer is apparently the top selling cancer book. It seems kind of odd that Orac would not have read it, even if for no other purpose than to confirm its quackery. I’m sure that anyone, especially an oncologist, who could publish a scientific rebuttal of Servan-Schreiber’s assertions would sell really well too!

  250. #250 Gray Falcon
    October 7, 2011

    For many years the majority of people thought that bloodletting was medicine. Does that mean it worked?

  251. #251 Vicki
    October 7, 2011

    JD Mitchell: Fortunately, we don’t need an explanation for why brilliant doctors (Western, Eastern, Northern, or Southern) wouldn’t consider nutrition as a potential tool against cancer, because doctors do consider nutrition. Unfortunately, they keep being disappointed, beyond the general advice that a healthy, balanced diet is likely to be good for you. But that’s a long way from “get more vitamin C” or “eat less dairy” or whatever else is being offered as a one-size-fits-all recommendation.

    Selenium supplements had looked promising as a preventive measure, until a large-scale trial was done. The most promising suggestion anyone can offer now is that maybe the reason the supplements didn’t help is that they were was the wrong form of selenium. Vitamin E supplements may actually increase the risk of cancer.

  252. #252 Chris
    October 7, 2011

    To help you understand the complexity of the diseases that are dubbed “cancer” click on the following link:
    http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1162

    I want you to tell us exactly which cancer, what it effects and how the “nutritional” therapy affects the cell mutations. Make sure to list the clinical trials where these therapies were the main focus, and not an adjunct to chemotherapy, surgery, etc.

    As an example of the types of relevant papers I found some free online papers about laetrile (also known as amygdalin or B17), which was touted as “vitamin” to help cure cancer in the early 1970d. Well, it was studied and was found to not work (mainly because its active ingredient is cyanide, sure it kills cells in a petri dish, but it also kills people!). To get to the papers go to PubMed and put the titles into the search box:

    Failure of amygdalin to arrest B16 melanoma and BW5147 AKR leukemia.
    Hill GJ 2nd, Shine TE, Hill HZ, Miller C.
    Cancer Res. 1976 Jun;36(6):2102-7.

    The nutritionally and metabolically destructive “nutritional and metabolic antineoplastic diet” of laetrile proponents.
    Herbert V.
    Am J Clin Nutr. 1979 Jan;32(1):96-8.

    By the way, “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” might be a good place to start finding those therapies that benefit cancer. They have a website: http://www.nutrition.org/

  253. #253 JD Mitchell
    October 7, 2011

    Chris – first of all, your argument about knowing your limitations would seem to apply to Orac as well as to Servan-Schreiber.
    Secondly, I meant ‘Western’ in the sense that it’s often used, to generally indicate surgical and pharmacological medicine as opposed to other health strategies (proven and unproven). It’s no doubt an inaccurate term, but I didn’t mean it in a geographical or ethnic sense.
    Lastly, I’m in no way qualified to prove or disprove Servan-Schreiber’s advice. That’s why I’m interested in hearing the actual evidence against it. For example, let’s take turmeric – Servan-Schreiber says that it has a proven anti-cancer effect. Can Orac explain why this is or is not true?

  254. #254 Chris
    October 7, 2011

    JD Mitchell, why did you not answer my questions? Did you even try? I have a comment in moderation with examples of papers, and a link to the American Society for Nutrition.

    Going over to Amazon, I checked the book rankings:

    Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition is:
    #505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
    #5 in Books > Health, Mind & Body > Aging > Cancer
    #8 in Books > Health, Mind & Body > Disorders & Diseases
    #29 in Books > Health, Mind & Body > Personal Health

    The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer is: Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
    #239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
    #2 in Books > Professional & Technical > Medical > Medicine > Internal Medicine
    #3 in Books > Health, Mind & Body > Aging > Cancer
    #3 in Books > History > Ancient > Early Civilization

    Really, get a copy of the latter and read it.

  255. #255 Gray Falcon
    October 7, 2011

    So you’re saying that if someone makes a claim, it should automatically accepted as true unless someone provides evidence otherwise? JD Mitchell, you are a warlock. Prove me wrong.

  256. #256 Chris
    October 7, 2011

    JD Mitchell there is only one kind of medicine: the stuff that has proven to work. Orac does not have to explain why it is not true beyond what he wrote above (have you read this article?). You made a claim based in the book, therefore you must provide the evidence for that claim.

    If you have the book in front of you all you need to do is list the papers that show the evidence given by the author to support his contention that nutrition is valid. The journal, title and dates of those paper should be listed in the bibliography or notes section of the paper.

    So please list those papers. Thank you.

    (and I have another comment in moderation, apparently the book I suggested has a better ranking… so go get it and read it)

  257. #257 Chris
    October 7, 2011

    Aagh, typing too fast: Just check the notes and bibliography of the book for the papers that the author uses for evidence.

  258. #258 JD Mitchell
    October 7, 2011

    Regarding the other comments – no, the fact that for many years the majority of people believed in bloodletting doesn’t mean that it worked. But similarly, for many years the majority of people believed that the earth is flat. That argument goes both ways.
    Also, the failure or quackery of some alternative therapies does not disprove the effectiveness of all alternative therapies.
    Again, I’m not qualified to prove Servan-Schreiber’s assertions. His advice is persuasive though, and I am looking for his critics to back up their opinion on why it’s ineffective so that we as lay people can consider both sides of the argument.

  259. #259 Gray Falcon
    October 7, 2011

    Regarding the other comments – no, the fact that for many years the majority of people believed in bloodletting doesn’t mean that it worked. But similarly, for many years the majority of people believed that the earth is flat. That argument goes both ways.

    No, both of those went the same way: Popularity didn’t make something right. Same with that book. Now, prove to me that you aren’t a warlock.

  260. #260 TBruce
    October 7, 2011

    Regarding the other comments – no, the fact that for many years the majority of people believed in bloodletting doesn’t mean that it worked. But similarly, for many years the majority of people believed that the earth is flat. That argument goes both ways.

    Uhh, right. Brilliant example of how “that argument goes both ways”.

    Also, the failure or quackery of some alternative therapies does not disprove the effectiveness of all alternative therapies.

    However, it does suggest that claims for alternative therapies should be demonstrated to work by scientific methods before being accepted.

  261. #261 Denice Walter
    October 7, 2011

    I have heard woo-meisters proclaim *turmeric* as the new cure-all for years- anti-cancer, anti-arthritis, anti-what-ever-ails-ye- yet do we ever see anything substantial come of it?
    The best one yet- use turmeric, ginger, and cayenne for relief of pain- sounds like curry!

    @ Gray Falcon: Watchit there, one of those accused warlocks is liable to turn you into a you-know-what! You’ll get better.

  262. #262 TBruce
    October 7, 2011

    I have heard woo-meisters proclaim *turmeric* as the new cure-all for years- anti-cancer, anti-arthritis, anti-what-ever-ails-ye- yet do we ever see anything substantial come of it?

    Well, it’s pretty – and yummy!

  263. #263 Gray Falcon
    October 7, 2011

    My mother once wondered if the low levels of food poisoning and high levels of stomach cancer in Japan and Korea was due to amount of pickled and preserved food that they ate. Of course, that’s probably just speculation. You’d think eating large quantities of kimchi would have some effect on the human body.

  264. #264 Militant Agnostic
    October 7, 2011

    JD Mitchell

    But similarly, for many years the majority of people believed that the earth is flat.

    I believe this is the old “science said the world was flat” canard. In fact the ancient Greeks knew the world was not flat and Eratosthenes even calculated the earth’s diameter. This knowledge, not a belief that the Earth was flat, is why Christopher Columbus had trouble finding backers for an attempt to sail to the Orient by going west. Columbus believed the earth was much smaller than it actually was. Rather than being a visionary, he was a lucky dufus.

  265. #265 lilady
    October 7, 2011

    @ JD Mitchell: You seem to be all over the lot about nutrition as cancer prevention and now a specific spice “turmeric” as a cancer prevention.

    I suggest you check out PubMed “NanoCurc” (TM) for some ongoing research about this parenteral drug which is being used in addition to other parenteral chemo-therapeutic cancer drugs as treatment for some specific cancers. Please note that this is experimental treatment for cancer not as a preventive for cancer.

    You raised an interesting question about “turmeric” spice as a preventive and you might be interested in the incidence of stomach cancer in Asian countries where turmeric is used extensively in food preparation and ingested as turmeric tea. Why is the incidence of stomach cancer much higher in these countries versus “western” countries…if turmeric has cancer prevention properties?:

    J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Mar;25(3):479-86.
    Epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infection and gastric cancer in Asia.
    Fock KM, Ang TL.
    Source

    Division of Gastroenterology, Changi General Hospital, Singapore. kwong_ming_fock@cgh.com.sg
    Abstract

    In Asia, the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection varies markedly in different countries. Higher prevalence rates are found in developing Asian countries while lower rates have been reported in more industrialized and developed countries. Within a country, the seroprevalence rates may vary between distinct geographic regions. H. pylori infection is an important etiological factor for the occurrence of non-cardia gastric adenocarcinoma. The incidence rate of gastric adenocarcinoma in Asia tends to mirror the seroprevalence rate of H. pylori infection; however, there are populations with high seroprevalence rates of H. pylori infection that paradoxically have low incidence rates of gastric adenocarcinoma. These diverse clinical outcomes are related to bacterial virulence factors, concomitant environmental factors, host susceptibility and immune response. This review summarizes the current epidemiology of H. pylori infection in Asia and analyzes these data in the context of gastric cancer epidemiology.

    PMID:
    20370726
    [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

  266. #266 Chris
    October 7, 2011

    JD Mitchell:

    gain, I’m not qualified to prove Servan-Schreiber’s assertions.

    Does this mean you are also not qualified to open the book, find the bibliography and type out the journal, title and date of the references listed there?

    Can you at least tell us if there is even a bibliography? Because if that is missing, then you need to learn how to properly evaluate non-fiction literature.

    About the last quarter of The Emperor of All Maladies is Notes section that lists every reference. If

  267. #267 Denice Walter
    October 7, 2011

    @ TBruce:

    I have a theory about those who regard *spice as medicine* – it is all an excuse to eat Indian food. Probably perpetrated by BigCoriander or suchlike.

  268. #268 Militant Agnostic
    October 7, 2011

    @263

    Oh-Oh it looks like the Reptillians got Chris in mid sentence.

  269. #269 JD "Warlock" Mitchell
    October 7, 2011

    What’s with the vitriol? Surely it’s good to explore both sides of an argument when there’s such a large following for each; it’s not about one person making a random claim in this case.
    To avoid any confusing analogies, let’s put it this way: It’s true that lots of quack medicines were once believed to be effective. It’s also true that lots of theories believed to be indisputable by the vast majority of the scientific community turned out to be wrong (or not the whole picture) in the light of new discoveries, that often took many years to be accepted.

  270. #270 Gray Falcon
    October 7, 2011

    JD Mitchell: This isn’t vitriol, this is the same thing everyone else gets asked, “What’s the evidence?”. Tell me, why were the new ideas accepted? Because they were popular, or because of the evidence? Reality isn’t determined by popularity contests.

  271. #271 JD Mitchell
    October 7, 2011

    Re the turmeric, there’s a page of notes in the book citing Servan-Schreiber’s references, but I’d rather not type them out, firstly because it would be time-consuming and secondly because I wasn’t actually looking for a debate on turmeric; I was just using it as an example of arguing a specific with evidence rather than making general “this is all bollocks” statements. I am neutral about turmeric.

  272. #272 Chris
    October 7, 2011

    Militant Agnostic:

    Oh-Oh it looks like the Reptillians got Chris in mid sentence.

    Actually I forgot and left it there when I put the sentence in the previous paragraph.

    Mr./Ms. Mitchell, have you found the list of references in Dr. Servan-Shreiber’s book yet? Could you please list the papers that he used to support his arguments on pages 127-132?

    Thank you.

  273. #273 Calli Arcale
    October 7, 2011

    Mr Mitchell,

    This isn’t vitriol. It is, in fact, exploring both sides. That’s what all the questions about evidence are about. You don’t explore something by not asking questions. Quite the opposite, in fact. And while you are quite right that lots of theories believed true turned out to be false (and vice versa), it was only by asking questions and searching for evidence that this was found to be the case.

  274. #274 Chris
    October 7, 2011

    Mr./Ms. Mitchell, I am not asking about tumeric, I am asking about the specific pages you noted. If you did not want a “debate” then you should not have come here saying: “Have you read the book?” and basically claiming a psychiatrist was more qualified than an oncologist solely on the basis he was a cancer patient.

    Now please tell us what the journal, title and date of references he used for those pages. You made the claim that he had a persuasive argument on pages 127-132, so please provide the scientific literature he used to support his statements.

    You’ve done enough typing in the past few hours than required to list those papers.

    Another book suggestion: Lies, damned lies, and science : how to sort through the noise around global warming, the latest health claims, and other scientific controversies by Sherry Seethaler. It is a nice short book, you can read it in one rainy afternoon.

  275. #275 Vicki
    October 7, 2011

    JD:

    In that case, I think your question comes down to a tautology:
    Q: “Why doesn’t that part of medicine that consists of surgery and drugs include the preventive use of nutrition?”
    A: “Because if it’s nutrition, it’s not surgery and drugs.”

    If you define “western medicine” to mean surgery plus drugs, of course it’s not going to include the effects of diet. But it’s also not going to include a significant amount of what lots of us get from fairly conventional doctors, which includes advice on exercise, rest, and diet, and referrals to physical therapy.

    Is it “Western medicine” when an orthopedic surgeon says “Get physical therapy. If that doesn’t work, I can give you an injection, and if that doesn’t work we can try surgery”? Or is it only “Western medicine” in the cases where the surgeon’s first suggestion doesn’t work, and he and the patient have to proceed to drugs or cutting? For what it’s worth, the surgeon told me that the PT had a 70% chance of working; I don’t think it makes sense to say that he gives only 30% of his patients with that condition Western medicine.

    The point is, there aren’t sharp lines. The same doctor who gives advice on diet and exercise may hand you a prescription for an antibiotic or steroid; a patient who has recently been released from the hospital may call her surgeon for clarification on what is and isn’t appropriate for her to eat.

  276. #276 Chris
    October 7, 2011

    So I downloaded the electronic version of Dr. Servan-Schreiber’s book, and read Chapter 8. It is just like the news articles that try to divide the world into things that prevent cancer and things that cause cancer. To understand why the whole chapter is fairly meaningless I suggest you read Dr. Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science.

    While it is extensively referenced, many of them are just letters and editorials, some books and actually don’t say what the author claimed they said. For example, the first real reference on green tea was:
    Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Jan 1;167(1):71-7. Epub 2007 Sep 29.

    Which says: “Green tea may be associated with a decreased risk of advanced prostate cancer.” Well, that was underwhelming.

    Then it goes to olive oil and turmeric. I love the observation that Indians have less cancer, though it ignores the less than adequate infrastructure in that country to keep track of diseases and provide medical care, and that India’s life expectancy is under 67 years, which is a full ten years less than the USA (from the CIA World Factbook).

    Not willing to slog through the list of cites to see which were just letters, and one or two epidemiology studies, I searched for a review:
    Curcumin: A review of anti-cancer properties and therapeutic activity in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
    Wilken R, Veena MS, Wang MB, Srivatsan ES.
    Mol Cancer. 2011 Feb 7;10:12. Review.

    It seems the goal is not the eating, but getting the actual chemical into the tumor:

    The lipophilic nature of curcumin and relative insolubility in aqueous solutions, combined with short half life and low bioavailability following oral administration has presented a significant challenge in developing an effective delivery system for its use as a chemotherapeutic agent [183]. In an effort to overcome this obstacle, various strategies are being tried including the use of piperine as an adjuvant agent to slow curcumin breakdown as well as the development of liposomal, phospholipid and nanoparticulated formulations of the compound to enable intravenous administration [183].

    Then he writes in the section “Mushrooms That Stimulate the Immune System” that rate of stomach cancer was as much as 50% lower among Japanese peasants who consume large amounts of these mushrooms. But Cite #43 is:
    Nutr Cancer. 2003;46(2):138-47.
    Cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms, and gastrointestinal cancer risks in a multicenter, hospital-based case-control study in Japan.
    Hara M, Hanaoka T, Kobayashi M, Otani T, Adachi HY, Montani A, Natsukawa S, Shaura K, Koizumi Y, Kasuga Y, Matsuzawa T, Ikekawa T, Sasaki S, Tsugane S.

    It was a case control group of under 1000 and the abstract says: “Although the sample size was limited, subgroup analyses showed that the associations differed with the histopathological subtype. These findings suggest that cruciferous vegetables decrease the risk of both stomach and colorectal cancer, and that mushrooms are associated with a decreased risk of stomach cancer.” I could not get the full paper to really look at the mushroom claim.

    Now as we go through, there is the bit on fruits, and I checked Cite #51:
    Carcinogenesis. 2005 Apr;26(4):821-6. Epub 2005 Jan 20.
    Combined inhibition of PDGF and VEGF receptors by ellagic acid, a dietary-derived phenolic compound.
    Labrecque L, Lamy S, Chapus A, Mihoubi S, Durocher Y, Cass B, Bojanowski MW, Gingras D, Béliveau R.

    It is all done in a petri dish. Again, it is not really the diet but the chemical compounds.

    But, there was a section of a study on mice that were fed instead of injected! What an extraordinary claim, but the reference, The Dietary Flavonols Apigenin and Luteolin Inhibit PDGF-Dependent Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Migration says: “Cancer Research, in submission. The book’s copyright is 2008, surely it should be published. I cannot find this particular paper of Sylvie Levy on PubMed. Well, that was frustrating.

    I did find this paper, which is available to read:
    J Nutr. 2009 Apr;139(4):646-52. Epub 2009 Feb 25.
    The flavonols quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin inhibit hepatocyte growth factor-induced medulloblastoma cell migration.
    Labbé D, Provençal M, Lamy S, Boivin D, Gingras D, Béliveau R.

    What is interesting, it is also a petri dish experiment, but the discussion does refer to other labs results on feeding mice.

    I noticed he discussed Gleevec in the “Spices and Herbs” section. The Emperor of All Maladies has quite a bit about the development of Gleevec. It seems to me that Dr. Servan-Shreiber does not really understand the whole concept behing Gleevec with his claims on the oils of herbs.

    The whole book is full of anecdotes with extensive but pointless references that are more an attempt to “baffle with bovine excrement” rather than educate. Plus he has the whole worthless “Eastern” versus “Western” silliness (that does not go well here).

    So really, get The Emperor of All Maladies. It is a much better book. You should like it, Siddhartha Mukherjee is from India.

  277. #277 Chris
    October 7, 2011

    I got the book from my library as an eBook. I am not impressed. It was annoying that you cannot select and copy from an Adobe Digital Book. Also, while it is cool that the cite numbers are active and take you the cite when you click on them, there is no easy way to get back to the actual page. This what I have to say about eBooks: :-p

    But I did write about my issues with it, and was careful to list the studies without using any links. There is not one link or naughty word in the whole thing. But it is in moderation.

    And this is what I have to say about the moderation here: ;-p

  278. #278 Chris
    October 7, 2011

    An error in my moderated comment: the copyright is 2009. Which is still two years ago.

  279. #279 Chris
    October 8, 2011

    Great! It is still in moderation! Here it is in chunks:

    So I downloaded the electronic version of Dr. Servan-Schreiber’s book, and read Chapter 8. It is just like the news articles that try to divide the world into things that prevent cancer and things that cause cancer. To understand why the whole chapter is fairly meaningless I suggest you read Dr. Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science.

    While it is extensively referenced, many of them are just letters and editorials, some books and actually don’t say what the author claimed they said. For example, the first real reference on green tea was:
    Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Jan 1;167(1):71-7. Epub 2007 Sep 29.

    Which says: “Green tea may be associated with a decreased risk of advanced prostate cancer.” Well, that was underwhelming.

  280. #280 Chris
    October 8, 2011

    Second chunk:

    Then it goes to olive oil and turmeric. I love the observation that Indians have less cancer, though it ignores the less than adequate infrastructure in that country to keep track of diseases and provide medical care, and that India’s life expectancy is under 67 years, which is a full ten years less than the USA (from the CIA World Factbook).

    Not willing to slog through the list of cites to see which were just letters, and one or two epidemiology studies, I searched for a review:
    Curcumin: A review of anti-cancer properties and therapeutic activity in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
    Wilken R, Veena MS, Wang MB, Srivatsan ES.
    Mol Cancer. 2011 Feb 7;10:12. Review.

    It seems the goal is not the eating, but getting the actual chemical into the tumor:

    The lipophilic nature of curcumin and relative insolubility in aqueous solutions, combined with short half life and low bioavailability following oral administration has presented a significant challenge in developing an effective delivery system for its use as a chemotherapeutic agent [183]. In an effort to overcome this obstacle, various strategies are being tried including the use of piperine as an adjuvant agent to slow curcumin breakdown as well as the development of liposomal, phospholipid and nanoparticulated formulations of the compound to enable intravenous administration [183].

  281. #281 Chris
    October 8, 2011

    Third chunk (oh, wow, it was a bit long!):

    Then he writes in the section “Mushrooms That Stimulate the Immune System” that rate of stomach cancer was as much as 50% lower among Japanese peasants who consume large amounts of these mushrooms. But Cite #43 is:
    Nutr Cancer. 2003;46(2):138-47.
    Cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms, and gastrointestinal cancer risks in a multicenter, hospital-based case-control study in Japan.
    Hara M, Hanaoka T, Kobayashi M, Otani T, Adachi HY, Montani A, Natsukawa S, Shaura K, Koizumi Y, Kasuga Y, Matsuzawa T, Ikekawa T, Sasaki S, Tsugane S.

    It was a case control group of under 1000 and the abstract says: “Although the sample size was limited, subgroup analyses showed that the associations differed with the histopathological subtype. These findings suggest that cruciferous vegetables decrease the risk of both stomach and colorectal cancer, and that mushrooms are associated with a decreased risk of stomach cancer.” I could not get the full paper to really look at the mushroom claim.

  282. #282 Denice Walter
    October 8, 2011

    @ Chris:
    re mushrooms:

    remember prn and PSK?

  283. #283 Chris
    October 8, 2011

    Fourth and penultimate chunk:

    Now as we go through, there is the bit on fruits, and I checked Cite #51:
    Carcinogenesis. 2005 Apr;26(4):821-6. Epub 2005 Jan 20.
    Combined inhibition of PDGF and VEGF receptors by ellagic acid, a dietary-derived phenolic compound.
    Labrecque L, Lamy S, Chapus A, Mihoubi S, Durocher Y, Cass B, Bojanowski MW, Gingras D, Béliveau R.

    It is all done in a petri dish. Again, it is not really the diet but the chemical compounds.

    But, there was a section of a study on mice that were fed instead of injected! What an extraordinary claim, but the reference, The Dietary Flavonols Apigenin and Luteolin Inhibit PDGF-Dependent Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Migration says: “Cancer Research, in submission. The book’s copyright is 2009, surely it should be published. I cannot find this particular paper of Sylvie Levy on PubMed. Well, that was frustrating.

    I did find this paper, which is available to read:
    J Nutr. 2009 Apr;139(4):646-52. Epub 2009 Feb 25.
    The flavonols quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin inhibit hepatocyte growth factor-induced medulloblastoma cell migration.
    Labbé D, Provençal M, Lamy S, Boivin D, Gingras D, Béliveau R.

    What is interesting, it is also a petri dish experiment, but the discussion does refer to results from other labs on feeding mice.

  284. #284 Chris
    October 8, 2011

    (Denise, not really, I usually skipped their posts — and I actually love mushrooms, I like to slice them up, put in some olive oil with a sprig of rosemary, add some white wine and cook them down — they pick up some nice flavors from the wine and rosemary)

    Last chunk!

    I noticed he discussed Gleevec in the “Spices and Herbs” section. The Emperor of All Maladies has quite a bit about the development of Gleevec. It seems to me that Dr. Servan-Shreiber does not really understand the whole concept behing Gleevec with his claims on the oils of herbs.

    The whole book is full of anecdotes with extensive but pointless references that are more an attempt to “baffle with bovine excrement” rather than educate. Plus he has the whole worthless “Eastern” versus “Western” silliness (that does not go well here, it is pretty close to a form of racism).

    So really, JD Mitchell, get The Emperor of All Maladies. It is a much better book. You should like it, Siddhartha Mukherjee is from India.

    (Oh, look, Orac approved it!)

  285. #285 Bronze Dog
    October 8, 2011

    Plus he has the whole worthless “Eastern” versus “Western” silliness (that does not go well here, it is pretty close to a form of racism).

    From my point of view, there’s no “close” about it. It is outright racist. It’s just so prevalent and indoctrinated that it goes below most people’s radar. It’s a very casual form of racism because there aren’t enough people loudly criticizing it.

    There’s nothing inherently “western” about science. The fact that our philosophy of science got started in the western hemisphere is an accident of historical and geographical forces. Science is largely about rigorously double-checking yourself and others to prevent self-deception. Self-deception is a universal characteristic among humans, therefore science is a human undertaking that’s designed to transcend race and nationality.

  286. #286 Chris
    October 8, 2011

    Bronze Dog, the book discusses so much stuff about the value of Tibetan, Indian, Chinese, etc modalities like acupuncture, ayurvedic,and on and on that if it wasn’t an electronic file on my computer I’d toss it across the room!

    At least I can honestly say to anyone who whines “You did not read the book” that I have, and it is a piece of regurgitated bovine excrement.

  287. #287 JD Mitchell
    October 9, 2011

    Ok! Firstly, thanks for the responses and research re Anticancer’s specific claims. Very interesting and certainly casts doubt in my mind on Dr Servan-Schreiber’s scientific rigorousness in the book – I would not have waded through a renowned doctor’s references to argue against them so good for you. Also good points about the eastern/western thing, in fact I love Bronze Dog’s “Science is largely about rigorously double-checking yourself and others to prevent self-deception. Self-deception is a universal characteristic among humans, therefore science is a human undertaking that’s designed to transcend race and nationality.” I don’t entirely agree with the other comments on this topic, but that’s for another debate.
    Two other things I’d still like to say. One, there really is a nasty edge to a lot of the comments, which I don’t get. I’m not trying to sell leeches here and you can say why you think someone else’s comments are wrong without name-calling and snide remarks.
    Also – and this may trigger some name-calling and snide remarks – it STILL seems to me that Dr Servan-Schreiber’s diet recommendations make sense if you’re trying to lead a healthy lifestyle in general, and there is at least some indication that they MAY assist in preventing and recovering from cancer (although there may be less evidence of their effectiveness than he suggests). So, pending more scientific proving/disproving of what he says, why not follow them – especially if your life is on the line? (And NO, I don’t mean that if you choose to eat whatever you want and ignore nutrition theories, you’re to blame if things go wrong.)

  288. #288 Chris
    October 9, 2011

    JD Mitchell:

    Also – and this may trigger some name-calling and snide remarks – it STILL seems to me that Dr Servan-Schreiber’s diet recommendations make sense if you’re trying to lead a healthy lifestyle in general, and there is at least some indication that they MAY assist in preventing and recovering from cancer (although there may be less evidence of their effectiveness than he suggests).

    Boiled down: his diet recommendations are essentially eat plenty of fruit and veg, stay with certain fats, eat very little meat and not so much wine.

    Which is exactly what the real medical doctors recommend!

    I also have an extensive herb garden, along with aronia, blueberry and raspberries, with chard and other greens as landscape plants we eat. What amazed me about the book was that the diet recommendations were so mundane and mainstream, and what many of us eat.

    What you will find interesting when you read The Emperor of All Maladies is that one of the first treatments for leukemia in children is based on folic acid, a vitamin. Seriously, it is a much better book. A bit long, but a very good read.

  289. #289 Richard Lanigan
    October 9, 2011

    You are so lucky in America to have a cancer expert like Orac to go to, who is so “knowledgeable” on all aspects of cancer and well-being. Here in the UK I have had to see a Dr Welsh for my Radiotherapy, a Dr Bloom to perform the surgery to remove my rectum, Dr Raul who is planning a course of chemotherapy for stage three cancer. A nurse looks after my colostomy. I have no experts to help me with diet and nutrition, exercise and well-being and have had to rely on the writings of David Servan Schreiber and Dr Dean Ornish for things to try which may help reduce the risk of the cancer returning. None of my doctors know whether I will live or die, they seem to think I will live but the “science” says I now have a 55% chance of surviving five years, whats strange, no one can tell me how to improve those odds, beyond stopping smoking and I don’t smoke. To be fair I don’t have to pay for any of these National Health Service treatment’s. Having a doctor who can do everything must be wonderful, is that why Americans are so against socialized medicine? What advice Orac would give me on reducing the risk of my cancer returning, perhaps I should get a second opinion.

    I wonder what a clever guy like Steve Jobs with 6.7 billion in his bank account was doing having dinner with Dean Ornish last week, No doubt we are going to hear he spent the last seven years of his life, deluded into thinking he could beat pancreatic cancer with lifestyle changes. Is it coincidence that both David Servan Schreiber and Steve Jobs prolong their lives way beyond what anyone reasonably expectated by taking an integrated approach to their health and well-being.

    The truth is my doctors have been fantastic and they would be the first to admit they dont know everything and little money is being invested to investigate whether Tumeric can help. Only a fool with cancer would hang around for a “randomized controlled trial” to be published before making lifestyle changes that may help them. As I have said in a previous comment its difficult to understand why the Green tea we drink, the exercise we do and our “delusions” about meditating, provoke such outrage in the skeptic community.

  290. #290 Chris
    October 9, 2011

    I see, Mr. Lanigan, that you skipped past my comments. I listed a review of research on tumeric (curcumin is one of active components of the spice), perhaps you should look it up on PubMed and read the whole article. I tried to list articles that are available free online.

    Mr. Lanigan, could you please tell us exactly how Dr. Servan-Schreibner’s diet advice differs from the standard given by real medicine? I have the eBook from my library for another 19 days, so I can check how they differ.

  291. #291 Lawrence
    October 9, 2011

    In general, we (Americans in general) do a pretty poor job when related to proper diet and exercise. I have yet to meet a medical professional that doesn’t include a discussion about my habits (eating and exercise) and recommendations for improvement.

    So, for the woo-meisters & followers out there, the idea that the medical profession doesn’t consider general health (i.e. diet & exercise) related to things like cancer or just health in general, is a bunch of hooey.

  292. #292 herr doktor bimler
    October 9, 2011

    David Servan Schreiber and Steve Jobs prolong their lives way beyond what anyone reasonably expectated by taking an integrated approach to their health and well-being.

    I am not sure what surprises me most, here… the assumption that Jobs’ variety of cancer was rapidly terminal, or the description of his liver transplant and his previous major operation as “an integrated approach to health and well-being”.

  293. #293 Richard Lanigan
    October 10, 2011

    I am just reporting my experience with cancer, as did David Servan Schreiber. Treating cancer is not looking up a recipe book of treatments and picking one. Turmeric is just an example of a spice that has been reported by some to be helpful, people can try it or not the choice its theirs. A trial may show it to be effective or not, but every individual will not respond in the same as those who were found to be significant.

    There are lots of cancer theories out there, thats all they are theories (no truths) of what might best work for me. Its up to me to read and decide on the treatment I will have. Chemo may prolong my life it may not, exercise and diet may help who knows. The fact is, I know my body and how cancer has effected it better than anyone, medical practitioners and others can give me advice its up to me whether I take it or not. Its not a choice between medicine or “Woo”, its what works best for me.

    I dont think David Servan Schreibers diet advice differs much from “real medicine” and I dont think he thought that it did, he just reported what he found and many are grateful to him for taking the time to do it. Whether you like it or not it has helped me enormously, I have discussed these anecdotal findings with my doctors and they have been impressed by my recovery from the treatment I have had so far .

    AS a trained medical Doctor (psychiatry)David Servan Schreiber recognized that a colon surgeon or an oncologist or a pediatrician is not going to an expert in nutrition and all the aspects of well being that are relevant to cancer.

    Of course Steve Jobs liver transplant and medical treatment was a major factor in prolonging his life, but if as reported Dean Ornish was one of his principle doctors, he was following similar advice to that offered by David Servan Schrieber.(Dean Ornish was in London speaking last April) Dean Ornish is a “real” doctor giving sensible advice to people with cancer, not a “woomeister”. None one I know is rejecting medical treatment, looking for an “alternative”, we are just putting a bit more emphasis on the theory that cancer cells do not divide as rapidly in healthy body that can maintain physiological homeostasis, you may not believe in this theory, however knowing what you now know now I would be very surprised if you ignored Schreibers book if you are ever unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with cancer.

    Thats a choice for you to make. Then again you may be lucky enough to have a doctor who knows everything there is to know about treating cancer and optimizing health and wellbeing.

  294. #294 Beamup
    October 10, 2011

    The fact is, I know my body and how cancer has effected it better than anyone

    Much as we’d all like to believe this of ourselves, it’s simply not true. Certainly we know what we’re feeling better than anyone, but it’s a massive leap from there to believing that we understand the particular biology of our particular issues (cancer or otherwise).

    Richard also appears to fall into the trap of assuming that everything which isn’t 100% effective is equivalent. In particular,

    Chemo may prolong my life it may not, exercise and diet may help who knows.

    When there’s good science to support that the one has good odds of improving outcomes, and no similar evidence to support the other, equating them is just flat-out wrong and completely indefensible.

  295. #295 Krebiozen
    October 10, 2011

    I note that Servan-Schreiber was a proponent of positive thinking as a way of improving the outcome of cancer. I recently came across this article Positive Psychology in Cancer Care: Bad Science, Exaggerated Claims, and Unproven Medicine which looked at this idea and concluded:

    Claims about these areas of research routinely made in the positive psychology literature do not fit with available evidence.

  296. #296 Chris
    October 10, 2011

    Mr. Lanigan, so you agree the book is nothing special? My point was that the nutrition advice was mainstream and mundane, exactly what every doctor has been advising for years. My point on the turmeric is that it was being looked as part of the chemistry for chemotherapy, not as part of a diet in the research cited by Servan-Schreiber.

    Your point about a colon oncologist is just silly, because in my experience after my colonoscopy I got diet advice. The point about pediatricians not knowing about diet advice is just plain wrong, it is what they do every single visit. All of it echoing exactly what Servan-Schreiber wrote.

    What Dr. Servan-Schreiber wrote about other doctors opinions on nutrition was wrong, and very much an ad hominem.

    Really, Anticancer is a terrible book. It is full of false promises, denigration of most of the medical community, racism and the references are misleading. Stop making excuses for it.

  297. #297 Denice Walter
    October 10, 2011

    @ Chris:

    You point out another ruse used by the woos: if a chemical compound present in a food/herb/spice is being studied they will usually extrapolate that large quantities of the food/herb/spice should be included in the diet because of its preventive/ curative properties.

    Turmeric as a health-enhancer is merely an excuse for going out for Indian food.

  298. #298 Chris
    October 10, 2011

    I am not a big fan of curry. It may be because I am among those people where cilantro tastes like soap because my taste buds are sensitive to alkaloids. It seems every chef insists on using cilantro (hubby took me to a very nice Indian restaurant that he had gone to before and raved about, first thing is naan with a cilantro infused dip, and it was difficult finding anything without cilantro!).

    I was mostly disgusted at the fawning Servan-Schreiber did over any culture between Pakistan and Japan. Saying their diet and spiritual traditions were better, yet ignoring the basics like genetics, other issues with their society and differences in infrastructure. His general distrust of any real medical care providers, especially by actually lying on the level of nutrition expertise in real medicine.

    Then he went and tried to equate herbs and spices to Gleevec!

    Oh, and not to mention the pictures om the section called “The Vegetable Cocktail That Fights Cancer” where he described a trial on mice. Yet the reference was “in submission”, and anything I found by the author was on intraveneous use of the chemical compounds, not feeding the mice the solution. It seemed just so false and misleading.

    I don’t think he was purposely trying to delude the readers, he was mostly deluding himself.

    Let it be known, that even Asian doctors make some of the same dubious claims on health. All the more reason one has to look at the evidence.

  299. #299 JD Mitchell
    October 10, 2011

    I share Mr Lanigan’s bewilderment at the outrage and scorn heaped upon any potential treatment enhancer which has not been blessed by the all-knowing Orac, while those potential treatment enhancers are quickly Googled so that people with no medical training whatsoever can explain why it’s all “woo”.
    Anticancer is a useful book in that it doesn’t just give the general “eat more fruit and veg etc” advice, it draws together all the research Dr Servan-Schreiber found on specific dietary sources (and many other aspects of health and wellbeing) that have shown some indication of being helpful in the fight against cancer – along with all the appropriate caveats regarding what we actually know and the difference between a compound in the lab and in a normal diet.
    Dr Servan-Schreiber made a very good point in response to an accusation of making false promises to those cancer patients who dare step beyond what Orac et al say. It was that while he is careful not to give false hope, it’s just as wrong to give false hopelessness and ignore the promise shown by the research to date on specific lifestyle changes (like drinking green tea and eating more turmeric) that are available to the patient.

  300. #300 Gray Falcon
    October 10, 2011

    Mr. Mitchell, is it up to you to prove you’re not a warlock, or up to me to prove it?

  301. #301 Chris
    October 10, 2011

    JD Mitchell, you tell me what specific part of Chapter 8 is not covered by regular medical advice on nutrition. Be specific on the section of that book (unfortunately, due to the ability to change text size, the page numbers change). Skip the section on “The Vegetable Cocktail” because that does not even have a proper reference.

    I checked the references, and they were misleading and crappy.

    My scorn is because Servan-Schreiber wrote a very misleading book.

    Have you found a copy of The Emperor of All Maladies yet?

  302. #302 Krebiozen
    October 10, 2011

    JD Mitchell,

    I share Mr Lanigan’s bewilderment at the outrage and scorn heaped upon any potential treatment enhancer which has not been blessed by the all-knowing Orac, while those potential treatment enhancers are quickly Googled so that people with no medical training whatsoever can explain why it’s all “woo”.

    Since you already seem to know what training everyone here has, would you be willing to share what training and experience you have in this area?

    Personally I have spent more than 20 years working as a trained and qualified biomedical scientist specializing in clinical biochemistry. I have lectured doctors and scientists on the subject of free radicals and antioxidants, and I am familiar with the literature on curcumin and on green tea polyphenols which I have had an interest in for several years. I agree with others here who think that Servan-Schreiber greatly overstated the evidence for the effects of these and other “natural” approaches on cancer and cancer prevention.

    It is extremely unlikely that adding turmeric to the diet could have any therapeutic effects on existing cancers as curcumin (the active ingredient of turmeric) is not absorbed well and has poor bioavailability; large amounts of curcumin (and huge amounts of turmeric) would have to be ingested to increase blood levels to those found to have an effect in vitro.

    For example, one study using curcumin to successfully prevent cancer in hamsters administered 80 mg/kg curcumin. In a 70 kg human that would equate to 5.6 grams of curcumin, and since turmeric contains less than 5% curcumin, a 70 kg human would have to ingest 112 grams (about a quarter of a pound) of turmeric every other day for 14 weeks to ingest an equivalent amount of curcumin.

    I have looked at dozens of studies on green tea and cancer, and the results are equivocal at best. Several large epidemiological studies done in Japan and China show no protective effects against cancer at all. Other smaller studies show small positive or even negative effects. I think that telling people that drinking tea may or may not have some small protective effect against cancer and that it is unlikely to do any harm would be fair, but to make any greater claims than that would be misleading. It is important to note that green tea can interfere with bortezomib, a drug used to treat some cancers, especially multiple myeloma.

    I haven’t read Servan-Schreiber’s book, but I have read several of his on-line articles and interviews with him and although I don’t think his approach would do too much harm, it definitely overstates the evidence, and propagates several myths about cancer.

  303. #303 Krebiozen
    October 10, 2011

    My last comment has disappeared into moderation, despite my omission of links to try to prevent that. Here are the links I would have added:
    Hamster cancer prevention with curcumin
    Green tea and cancer review

  304. #304 Richard Lanigan
    October 10, 2011

    @Beam up I know my body and how cancer has effected it better than anyone. If you know someone who knows it better I would love to speak to them. As I have pointed out there are a number of experts who know lots about the way parts of my body are responding treatment For example they advised me not lift much for six weeks,. It is now six weeks since my surgery and I swam 20 lengths yesterday, I played tennis today. They were not even close on the way I have recovered from surgery.

    I have played football at a high level and I repeat I know my body and how it responds better than anyone. I would be amazed to hear an experienced doctor to claim otherwise and I know some of the best, I went to a very good school in Ireland. You don’t need to understand how a car works to drive it or to know there is something wrong with it.

    “Richard also appears to fall into the trap of assuming that everything which isn’t 100% effective is equivalent”. That’s your interpretation not mine Exercise and chemotherapy affect the body in entirely different ways. Using the car analogy again, water performs a very different role to petrol, they are both important for different reasons, one is free the other expensive. Dean Ornishs research estimates that 30minutes exercise every day may reduce risk of developing prostate cancer by 25%. “Completely indefensible” get a grip man?

    @ Krebiozen, I don’t like the term “being positive” for me it could suggest going into denial. One of my biggest fear on being diagnosed was that I would never laugh again. That has not happened for a variety of reasons. Many refer to my “positive thinking”, I believe its my personality rather than something I do consciously not to forget the music on my I pod and I get hypnotised occasionally. Either way, I sleep well every night and that’s vital to someone who has cancer. I would say to anyone do whatever works for you to have a good nights sleep and prevents thinking about death.

    @ Chris I did not say the book is “nothing special” I don’t think his nutritional advice is controversial and by the sound of things either do you. The fact is David Servan Schreiber and I have had a different experience to you with our doctors. My surgeon was fantastic, but he did not talk to me about nutrition, I am reporting my experience, hardly an “ad hominem” . If your paediatrician is also a nutritionist you are very lucky ours is not and would not claim to be.Then you claim to have read the book and I am not sure you have.

    You state “Anticancer is a terrible book. It is full of false promises, denigration of most of the medical community, racism and the references are misleading. Stop making excuses for it”

    I have found the book helpful and you would deny me this help. Its not for me to “excuse” an eminent professor like the late David Servan Schreiber. You write as though you have read the book so I find your last comment strange, perhaps you missed page 134 as the red mist descended as you read his comments on Tumeric and so decided the advice was “misleading”

    On page 134 chapter 7, David Servan Schreiber clearly states : “Avoid practitioners who refuse to work in collaboration with an oncologist and recommends stopping conventional treatment. Avoid practitioners who suggests a treatment which has not been proven to be effective and which has proven risks; Avoid practitioners who suggests treatments where the price is out of proportion to the expected benefits; and finally avoid practitioners who promises that their approach is guaranteed to work, as long as you have a true desire to heal”. As for the book being “racist”. Racist books can not be published or sold in the UK, Is that not an “ad hominem” on your part. Lets just agree to disagree about David Servan Schreiber. I dont have the time to continue with this, life is too precious to waste.

  305. #305 Chris
    October 10, 2011

    It depends on your definition of racist. Dr. Servan-Schreiber stereotyped whole swaths of peoples, including the Tibetans at the beginning of Chapter 8, and the how he discussed doctors in his anecdotes (like the one under the section “People Don’t Want to Change”). That is a form of racism.

    It is not an ad hominem, but an observation. It came from what Dr. Servan-Schreiber wrote. It is the old “Eastern versus Western” adage, which has been discussed often on this blog. It is a notion that should be stamped out.

    There is only one medicine: the stuff that has been proven to work. It could be the vaccines developed in Japan, the surgeries pioneered in Argentina, the simple ways to avoid guinea worms in Egypt, and on and on.

    Here is some of that stereotyping in the beginning of Chapter 13:

    My Tibetan colleagues willingly admit that Western medicine treating a specific disease with a specific drug or intervention is marvelously effective in a crisis. Every day it saves lives, thanks to an operation for appendicitis, penicillin for pneumonia, to epinephrine for an an acute allergic reaction.

    Then a paragraph discussion someone in an emergency room with a myocardial infarction…

    And yet beyond this stunning success, the disease itself—the progressive obstruction, by cholesterol plaques, of the coronary arteries in a state of chronic inflammation— has not been affected by the emergency room intervention. Even the use of a stent, an act of technical prowess that consists of inserting a small tube inside the obstructed coronary artery to restore blood flow, is not adequate protection from relapses. In order to avoid them over the long term, the terrain must be changed: diet corrected, mental attitude altered and body strengthened by exercise.

    Ah, if only it was that simple! Most of the book reads like that. (and dare I mention that I have a kid with hypertrophic cardimyopathy with obstruction, that stuff ain’t gonna reduce the size of the overgrown heart muscle, nor fix the screwed up electrical signals, and yes he has been told multiple times about his diet)

    Also, noting that he misuses references is also not an ad hominem. It is a statement of fact. If you look above you will see I discussed many of them. The data for green tea is very underwhelming, yet he wrote he could not find green tea in the cafeteria.

    I am glad it made you feel better. But I don’t think that book is the only reason. It has nothing really new

  306. #306 Chris
    October 10, 2011

    Answer in moderation, possibly because I quoted a bit out of the book. Actually it sounded like you agreed the diet stuff was nothing special.

    Oh, and go to the handy dandy search box on the upper left hand side of this page. Insert these words: western eastern racist. Read the results, you will see that it has been discussed here often. One hit will be:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/06/removing_science_from_anthropology_paral_1.php

    It says:

    How many times on this blog have you read my rants against the term “Western” applied to science and medicine. My argument, of course, is that not only is referring to “Western” medicine and science not unsubtly racist in that it implies that “Eastern” people prefer fuzzy science lacking in rigor and that indigenous peoples are incapable of science, neither of which is true, but that there is some irreconcilable difference between East and West or “Western” scientists and indigenous peoples in how the world is viewed.

  307. #307 Richard Lanigan
    October 11, 2011

    @ chris
    I wish your son well.

    You must be aware that there is a very big difference between a congenital anomaly of cardiac tissue, and a heart defect brought on by say smoking, a bad diet and no exercise, which is what David Servan Schreiber was refering to, this is not new in fact you can go back to the 60s Ken Cooper in Dalas who pioneered much of this research.People like Dean Ornish and Schreiber are just putting more emphasis on it than perhaps other practitioners in disease managment. All Schreiber is saying that after the By pass surgery or whatever “the terrain must be changed: diet corrected, mental attitude altered and body strengthened by exercise” I dont think you disagree with that statement, so its starting to sound like you just dont like the man for some other reason. Perhaps because you think Schreiber is a racist? Because the accusation of “racism” was “discussed here” does not make the man a racist or a member of the KKK.I think you are confusing Schreibers “generalisations” with racism.

    You have not explained why you concluded that David Servan Schreibers makes “false promises” and “denigrates” “most of his own medical profession” when the actual advice he gives to his readers on page 134 was:

    “Avoid practitioners who refuse to work in collaboration with an oncologist and recommends stopping conventional treatment. Avoid practitioners who suggests a treatment which has not been proven to be effective and which has proven risks; Avoid practitioners who suggests treatments where the price is out of proportion to the expected benefits; and finally avoid practitioners who promises that their approach is guaranteed to work, as long as you have a true desire to heal”

    So Chris would you consider that to be good advice and if not why not. Surely that advice would protect anybody stupid enough to single out any of the suggestions in the book and assume say tumeric alone would cure cancer.

  308. #308 Chris
    October 11, 2011

    Mr. Lanigan, the false promise is implicit in the wonky use of references. Sure, he gives some good advice, but I showed you upthread how a slight epidemiological study is contorted past its underwhelming results (just search for the word “underwhelming”). I also showed you that the reference for the “The Vegetable Cocktail” section does not exist.

    I am tired of reading and looking up the (sometimes nonexistent) references if you are going to refuse to read what I wrote. It is now time for you to do some work:

    Go and find the PubMed identification number of the paper used for the “The Vegetable Cocktail” section. It was last noted in 2009 as “in process.” It should be finished now, go find it and post the PMID.

    While you are working on that get the following books that will help you understand how to look at and interpret scientific references:

    Bad Science by Dr. Ben Goldacre

    Snake Oil Science by R. Barker Bausell

    Lies, Damned Lies and Science by Sherry Seethaler

    The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

    The same goes to JD Mitchell. Both of you prove to me you are willing to learn, rather than just spouting off your unsupported nonsense in support of the expertise of a psychiatrist over an oncologist (Orac) in the science of cancer.

  309. #309 Richard Lanigan
    October 11, 2011

    @ Chris, So David Servan Schreiber does give “some good advice” I bet you like picking cherries.

    I dont think I have much to learn from you Chris. You make far to many assumptions about people, I have a masters in Health Promotion and am well able to read a scientific papers thank you very much, whats your qualification as you are asking. Looking at your list of references and I have read three of them, they all seem to have one think in common, they dont like CAM practitioners. I would expect a good reading list to be more balanced. Have you ever considered that you may be prejudiced and there are other valid opinions beside Orac.

    You would have been one of the ones calling for the head of A scientist whose work was so controversial he was ridiculed and asked to leave his research group and guess what? this year he won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

    The UK Guardian newspaper Daniel Shechtman, 70, a researcher at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, overcame huge scepticism about the existence of quasicrystals received the award for discovering seemingly impossible crystal structures in frozen gobbets of metal that resembled the beautiful patterns seen in Islamic mosaics.

    Trust me even Orac does not know everything about cancer, I hope he lets you down gently when he lets you in on this.

  310. #310 Chris
    October 11, 2011

    Where is the PMID of that paper that describes the experiment in Chapter 8 under the heading “Vegetable Cocktail”?

  311. #311 Lawrence
    October 11, 2011

    Yes Robert, actual scientists & researchers tend to look down upon CAM – because if something actually worked, it wouldn’t be CAM, it would be medicine.

  312. #312 Chris
    October 11, 2011

    Mr. Lanigan, I also suggest you read what Orac wrote with an open mind. Including this paragraph:

    To his credit, he always told people with cancer that they should seek out scientific medical treatment. Unfortunately, in the process, he also promoted the idea that diet could protect you from almost all cancers, that cell phones cause brain cancer, and that a number of other dubious health modalities could produces a “terrain” that was hostile to cancer, even though evidence supporting such claims was equivocal at best.

    I spent too much time showing what that “equivocal” evidence was, and you don’t seem to understand it. I can’t help that. You asked me what my background was, yet if you have read my comments from less than a week ago you would know that. It is obvious you have not fully read what I wrote.

    I downloaded that blasted book from the library. I slogged through it and typed several sections… and yet you refuse to read what I wrote.

    Multiple times I noted that the references were limited or just not there. Go find that missing reference. It makes an extraordinary claim (with pictures of mice!), so that paper should exist. Go find it.

  313. #313 Beamup
    October 11, 2011

    I would expect a good reading list to be more balanced.

    Only true when there is legitimate disagreement. When one side has all the facts and science, and the other has only myths, wishful thinking, and outright fabrication, a good reading list will reflect that asymmetry.

  314. #314 Chris
    October 11, 2011

    The funny thing is that the author of Snake Oil Science explains how to find a good alternative medicine practitioner.

    Oh, and loved the Galileo Gambit. Now I assume that Shechtman is going to replace Dr. Barry Marshall as the scientist who took a while for his ideas to be accepted. The difference between them and CAM is that they actually have data and evidence. Unlike that missing paper from Chapter 8′s “Vegetable Cocktail” study. Now, where is that again?

  315. #315 Richard Lanigan
    October 11, 2011

    @ Beamup no one is saying you have to attach equal weight to the “myths” “wishful thinking” and “outright fabrication”, however, I would have thought an intelligent skeptic could work that out for themselves and does not need to be told what are, “myths” “wishful thinking” and “outright fabrication”, you need to be aware of both points of view to decide which is right. If you present both points of view from the same perspective, you end up with Fox News and the O Reily factor.

    @ Chris: “Galileo Gambit” have you a text book, with little slogans for those who dont agree with you.

    Did you not notice ( or are you cherry picking again) that Servan Schreber introduced the chapter on the “Vegatable Coctail” page 166, with the words “If Beliveau’s hypothesis is correct, the synergy among anticancer foods consumed daily ought to significantly slow down the development of cancers. Thus it makes sense to combine all these components in a vegetable cocktail”.

    Presumably he does not have a reference for the “cocktail” because there isn’t one, it is a merely a “Hypothesis” based on the work of a R. Beliveau and D Gingras which is referenced in the book, its in French: Cuisiner avec les aliments contre le cancer (Outremont Canada: Trecarre 2006.

    Schreiber clearly stated the “Vegetable cocktail” is only a hypothesis and if you dont know what a hypothesis is you are reading the wrong books. I dont have time to explain it to you however I can recommend a good Science Masters course which may also help with your reading list.

    I dont have any more time to keep correcting these cherries Chris keeps picking, so check whats actually in the book first and remember it is just a book, not a scientific paper published with peer review in mind.

  316. #316 Lawrence
    October 11, 2011

    Exactly Robert – it isn’t a scientific paper & shouldn’t be held up as something that people should adopt without consulting proper physicians.

  317. #317 Gray Falcon
    October 11, 2011

    Mr. Lanigan, if you bothered to read anybody elses’ comments, you’d have noticed Chris also mentioned several other references that didn’t match what Servan-Schreber claimed.

  318. #318 Chris
    October 11, 2011

    Well, in the beginning Mr. Lanigan accused us of not reading the book. So when I do download and actually check several of the references and find several are not what they are portrayed by the author, Mr. Lanigan reacts with: La la la, I can’t here you!”

    There is no point. Mr. Lanigan has a closed mind and refuses any information that goes against what he wishes to believe.

  319. #319 Chris
    October 11, 2011

    Sorry, end of day wearies. What we are witnessing is a grown man essentially putting his fingers in his ears and screaming: La la la la, I can’t hear you!

  320. #320 Chris
    October 12, 2011

    Out of curiosity I decided to check out some book reviews. The only time I had heard of the book was this article, and then downloading it from the library after Mitchell and Lanigan chastised us for not reading it.

    So the first Google hit is from the New York Times in 2008:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/07/health/07book.html

    Some key quotes:

    Unnerved but undaunted, Dr. Servan-Schreiber underwent the recommended surgery and returned to his usual routines. His life remained a high-stress, low-exercise affair; lunch was a bowl of chili, a bagel and can of Coke. Five years later the tumor recurred, and in the course of enduring a second surgery and a round of chemotherapy he saw the light: the red meat, white flour and soft drinks were going to help the cancer do him in. He had to detoxify his body.

    Rah, rah! I think I have seen this before. But it continues…

    This familiar terrain encompasses the antioxidants, the good fats, the whole grains and the green teas. There are the combinations essential to maintain (you must take your turmeric with pepper) and the ones to avoid (no milk with your dark chocolate). Cancer “feeds on sugar” but supposedly not on agave nectar; on omega-6 trans fats but not the omega-3s. The blanket of body fat in the obese creates a giant repository of fat-soluble carcinogens.

    By the way, agave nectar is just a syrup that turns out to have just as much fructose and as little glucose as high fructose corn syrup. It is nothing special, and is still sugar. Sugar is the the combination of fructose, glucose, maltose, galactose and sucrose that comes from a variety of sources. The ratios just depend if they are from apples, corn, beets, sugar cane, maple trees or agave.

    And the review continues:

    For each of the foods on his anticancer shopping list there is a shred of scientific evidence — usually from experiments done on cells in culture, sometimes from studies of mice with cancer, and occasionally from small studies on actual human beings. For none is there the kind of data that would support, say, the licensing of a new drug.

    Why does that sound familiar? Oh, I know… I wrote the same exact observations in comments 274 to 282 (the first one got moderated because it was too long, so I broke it up into chunks).

    The review ends with:

    So these folks find control by heading determinedly to the supermarket and the refrigerator and the stove, the support groups, the treadmills and the massage tables. When it comes to cancer, these comforts are unlikely to hurt much, but the evidence is still out for whether they help.

    And that, folks, is why I read the Tuesday New York Times at my local library. They still do science reporting.

  321. #321 lilady
    October 12, 2011

    @ Chris: Kudos to you once again for your research skills.

    I found a book review of the “New Edition” of Anticancer: a new way of life…where the author adds some additional notes about the body’s ability to prevent re-occurrence of cancer:

    Summary of Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition Reviews for Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition An Excerpt from Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition
    The New York Times and international bestseller-now updated with the latest research

    Anticancer has been a bestselling phenomenon since Viking first published it in fall 2008. Now, a new edition addresses current developments in cancer research and offers more tips on how people living with cancer can fight it and how healthy people can prevent it. The new edition of Anticancer includes:

    • The latest research on anticancer foods, including new alternatives to sugar and cautions about some that are now on the market

    • New information about how vitamin D strengthens the immune system

    • Warnings about common food contaminants that have recently been proven to contribute to cancer progression

    • A new chapter on mind-body approaches to stress reduction, with recent studies that show how our reactions to stress can interfere with natural defenses and how friendships can support healing in ways never before understood

    • A groundbreaking study showing that lifestyle modification, as originally proposed in Anticancer, reduces mortality for breast cancer by an astounding 68 percent after completion of treatment

    (Penquin.com)

    I think that Orac or his “colleague” at SBM would have blogged about the “groundbreaking study” about lifestyle changes reducing the mortality rate of breast cancer.

  322. #322 Richard Lanigan
    October 12, 2011

    @ Chris “These folks find control….” There it is in black and white in the New York Times and you still dont get it. Its not a case of whether David Servan Schreibers HYPOTHESIS,is right or wrong its about me being control of my life and illness not you, not Orac, not David Servan Schreiber. I sleep good, enjoy my life and dont have all that anger inside of me, you guys seem to have. Being happy is what is important, quality of life is far more important to me than quantity. You may see it differently, opinions are like noses we all have one.

    I am truly amazed anybody would put so much time and effort trying to stop me drinking Green Tea, I could care less what you eat or drink. Forgive me for putting my fingers in my ears and singing La la la la, I know its rude, but you do go on a bit. Good job we did not get into my sex life that may have really upset you, its also unconventional, best not mention that book.

    Chris I think you need to get out more. Cest La Vie

  323. #323 Beamup
    October 12, 2011

    You are not “in control of your illness.” I’m sure you’d like to think otherwise, but it’s simply not true. Wishful thinking doesn’t change the course of biology. Only good science can do that.

  324. #324 Chris
    October 12, 2011

    Mr. Lanigan, pot, meet kettle. I believe you blasted in here in August with long rambling evidence free posts telling us how bad we are to even question Dr. Servan-Schreiber. It is obvious that you have not only a closed mind, but are as delusional as he was.

    And there is no denying that the super duper experiment on mice with the “Vegetable Cocktail” was presented with out any real references. You were asked to find the PMID, but it seems it does not exist.

  325. #325 Calli Arcale
    October 12, 2011

    Richard Lanigan, it is true that people like to feel more in control of their lives, and it is true that some interventions can give you the feeling that you are Doing Something For Yourself and are therefore In Control. But this is a perception; do not mistake it for reality.

    Do you know how many thousands of people feel they have some control when they go to the casino to pull that arm on the slot machines? Very nearly all of them, or they wouldn’t do it. And they do feel they can influence it. They’re not stupid; they wouldn’t play the slots as much as they do if they didn’t think they could somehow influence the outcome. But it is of course pretty much as blind as chance can be. Unless they’re hiding magnets in their clothing (not that that works anymore, now that slots have gone digital), they have no control whatsoever, and thousands of broken dreams can attest to that.

    Yes, lifestyle changes do give people a sense of control over their health. Just as religion can give people a sense of control over their destinies, and lucky underwear can give athletes as sense of control over the outcome of the next game, and gripping the knob a certain way can give people a sense of control over what shapes come up the next time they pull the lever. But these are all just perceptions. What’s the reality?

    At worst, the reality is that you have gained no control at all — slot machines are the analogy for that. At best, you may be able to influence your odds — lifestyle changes in some cases may be like blackjack, where knowing what your doing will improve your odds. (For instance, learning not to say “hit me” when you’ve got 20 will improve your odds.) But there’s still a lot left to chance or the casinos would never run blackjack tables. Steve Jobs did all the lifestyle stuff — nearly vegetarian (he ate fish), took supplements, exercised regularly, and he still died of cancer. Stuff happens to the best of us, and though we want to believe we can find the magic formula to ensure peace, health, and prosperity, it just doesn’t exist.

    None of that means it’s hopeless, of course, and that you should just do whatever you feel like because in the final analysis it doesn’t matter. It *does* matter, though perhaps for different reasons and to different degrees. Do the best you can, find the best balance that works for you, and try not to regret the might-have-beens.

  326. #326 Richard Lanigan
    October 13, 2011

    Hi Calli,
    I have had radiation and chemo during the summer, I had surgery to remove my rectum, I am facing six months of chemo.Thats not leaving things to chance. I chose to have that treatment because the prognosis is good 55% five year survival and it is wishful thinking that I make a complete recovery. If they had said 5% I may have chose differently and overdosed on tumeric and green tea as chris seems so concerned about, that would also have been wishfull thinking.

    Common sense told me to be as healthy as possible before I started treatment thats what I have done and so far I have responded well to treatment. There is no science or great Doctor who can predict for certain what the final outcome will be, we are all just playing the odds and taking chances based on evidence and peoples experiences. The pathology may progress it may not, I do not fear death, its the only certainty in life. If I am delusional as opposed to being frightened and angry long may it it last, the only think I have no control of is when I die, how I live, I control.

  327. #327 Eliezer
    October 30, 2011

    I think that your attitude towards David Servan-Schreiber’s “Anti-Cancer” is UNFAIR, UNETHICAL and FANATICAL.
    UNFAIR, since you gloss over the fact that his statements are supported by solid research (unless you claim that NATURE and NEW ENGLAND J. OF MEDICINE publish junk. The book cites 388 research papers.
    UNETHICAL, since your article can act to convince cancer patients to adopt a passive attitude towards their illness and forgo the benefits of healthy way of life, and supplement their chemotherapy and surgery treatment with alternative means that have strong indications of being helpful in aiding the effectiveness of the conventional medicine. Anti-Cancer repeatedly states that the means he recommends do not constitute replacement for the usual medical treatment.
    FANATICAL since you do not consider the possibility of being wrong. You attack statements made in the book as having insufficient scientific evidence. However you don’t show any conclusive anti-evidence. You seem to pick out of about a hundred different pro- and anti- cancer factors listed in the book some of those that seem most problematic, and ignore the main points which are indisputable: for example smoking, sugar, stress, mediterranean diet.
    I don’t like fanaticism and don’t like insolence. Therefore I will not impute that (the anonymous)you are acting as a front for the big drug companies. I don’t think it is true.
    What I do believe is that you like many (not all) scientists, most doctors and most of the Western public are deeply committed to the ideology of SCIENTISM. Scientism is not identical with Science. Rather it is an IDEOLOGY that believes that science in its mathematical form is the only way to learn truth, that plausible evidence, intuition, feeling and love should be regarded as “quackery”.
    Medical science has put itself into a very constrictive strait-jacket. Of course it is a good principle to use airtight double-blind methodology to pursue scientific knowledge. But in fanatical adherence to admit NOTHING BUT double-blind, huge scale, 500-million dollar studies, leaves out many natural means which can not be double-blinded (the is no placebo jogging or apple), and leaves out also treatments for which there is not enough funding for a test on such a scale.
    Indiscriminately condemning all such means as “unsupported” denies the patient the possibility to be helped by them. Even if a treatment or behavior is supported only by epidemiological, animal,in vitro or small studies it could still be considered by a patient to be worthwhile to use.
    For two reasons:
    1) They are suggested as a supplementary to chemo, not a replacement.
    2) Most of them are natural an so are not damaging to the body as are most of the conventional cancer drugs.
    3) Those means that deal with behavior, physical activity do improve considerably the quality of life which is a non-less important goal of medicine than defeating the tumor.
    I have a feeling that the real reason that natural treatments are not in favor with a large part of the public is the VANITY and PRIDE in the glory and efficacy of man-made gadgets. A natural means gives unnecessary advantage to Nature (= the Creator is you are a believer) in the competition for the crown of achievement.

  328. #328 Chris
    October 30, 2011

    A couple of suggestions from someone who actually waded through Dr. Sevan-Schreibner’s book:

    1. Actually read what Orac wrote.

    2. Actually read the comments that followed.

    3. Find the paper about the mice being fed the “Vegetable Cocktail.”

    4. Take note that the references are superficial and often do not say what the author claimed they did in his book.

  329. #329 Richard Lanigan
    November 8, 2011

    Chris, Eliezer put it beautifully, you are deeply committed to the ideology of SCIENTISM.

    Hope you dont mind me stealing your previous comment: “What we are witnessing is a grown man essentially putting his fingers in his ears and screaming: La la la la, I can’t hear you!”

  330. #330 David I
    November 10, 2011

    I’m deeply amused at many things about medicine. If anyone dies after follwing an unconventional therapy, it is counted as evidence against the unconventional. When they die after following conventional guidelines, it isn’t counted against the conventional therapy.

    One of my favorite lines is “Don’t abandon conventional medicine in favor of unproven alternatives. You could die!”

    I see. And if I just follow the guidelines of conventional medicine, I won’t die?

    I’m sorry. My training is in physics. I don’t consider any of the work going on in medicine today to be science. It’s a bunch of (usually outdated) opinions, heavily swayed by financial considerations.

  331. #331 Dominique Adey Balinova
    November 10, 2011

    As someone who has read some of David Servan-Schreiber’s books and listened to some of his lectures, partly because of having to cope with the trauma of seeing one of my relatives deal with lung cancer, and then die, I would like to comment that, there is absolutely no proof that David Servan-Schreiber (or any other patient who has undergone radiation/chemotherapy) could not perhaps have had a better chance of survival had they diligently implemented other, dietary/detox/lifestyle change methods INSTEAD of bombarding their already struggling immune system with chemotherapy/radiation. Sadly, there are numerous studies which show that ‘survivors’ of chemotherapy and other conventional treatment methods usually die after a brief period of ‘remission’, and that such ‘survivors’ often live no longer than those patients who opt not to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment for the cancer. Therefore, perhaps a great deal of expensive treatment (and the associated trauma) could be saved? Perhaps we would achieve more satisactory, more positive results if we changed the healthcare policy (and made it actually promote health).

    There are also studies which show that an appropriate diet, lack of exposure to toxins, and a healthy lifestyle CAN provide the necessary pH in the body which prevents cancer cells from developing in the first place, and that an appropriate diet and detoxification, if achieved swiftly enough, can REVERSE the growth of cancer cells. Sadly, these treatments are ignored by mainstream medicine and various ‘authorities’ and not publicised to the general public (or made available to them). Check out “The Beautiful Truth” by Gerson, http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Truth-Worlds-Simplest-Cancer/dp/B001J66JQ8 as well as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCrsn8ziGWU because the fact is, we humans have bodies which react to the way in which we – and our environment – treat them. If we treat them well and provide them with appropriate nutrition and input, we stay healthy. If we bombard them with junk food and toxins from our environment, soaps/shampoos, mercury in vaccinations and fluoride in drinking water, toothpaste, etc., … at some point our bodies are unable to deal with the toxic overload we provide, and we become ill. Some of us develop cancer. Some of us provoke auto immune disease. http://www.burzynskimovie.com/ shows very clearly how a doctor, using medicines available to him, manages to help patients to heal, and yet his success is not (yet) applauded by mainstream medicine, but rather criticised unfairly. Of course, if the cures for cancer became freely available, some people would earn less, wouldn’t they?

    Personally, I found David Servan-Schreiber an interesting, delightful human being. His passing is a great loss to this world and, had he followed a course of treatment more in tune with nature from the beginning, and avoided bombarding his precious body with certain toxic ‘medicines’, perhaps he would be with us, working and happy, today. My brother, too, may have been able to reverse his illness had he been encouraged, also by the doctors who treated him, to change his lifestyle and diet, and clean up/heal his gut flora. Sadly, this did not happen and he died – perhaps not just of lung cancer but, more exactly, of the after-effects of chemotherapy (and cancer). People – wake up! Check out the excellent work of Charlotte Gerson, Max Gerson, David Wolfe, Gabriel Cousens, Joachim Mutter, Hal A. Huggins, Consumers for dental choice. Check out the work of Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride http://www.gaps.me “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”. See how our bodies can be healed if given an optimum environment and optimum nutrition so that disease, including cancer, cannot exist. Ask why food companies are permitted to flood our foods with toxins. Ask why mercury is still allowed to be used in dental fillings, light bulbs, why fluoride is in toothpastes, … and insist that these practices be stopped and that the victims of such practices be assisted instead of ignored by the ‘authorities’ and ‘experts’ who have poisoned them, and who continue to poison others. Wake up! Take action – lobby ‘decision makers’ and ensure that healthcare is truly that – something which promotes and safeguards health, dignity and human life.

  332. #332 amanda
    November 16, 2011

    Just discovered that David Servan-Schreiber died this year and found link to your Blog. I find it very sad that the death of any human being can be lost in the ego-driven need to be ‘right’ more than compassionate. I include both the men of science and those advocating solely alternative/complimentary healing methods. This is just the result of fear and both parties needing their chosen path to be the only true way. My observation is that Science that allows for nothing other than empiricism and the followers of the Alternative path allowing nothing but ‘belief’ are no different from religious fanatics. David Servan-Schreiber advocated both alongside each other and was perhaps the more balanced and wise a person than most on this site.

  333. #333 RR
    December 4, 2011

    @amanda – absolutely agree with you. Dr Servan’s book needs to be read in its entirety – it is his story , the lessons he learned . I don’t think he is preaching or selling anything – he is just trying to show what seemed to have worked for him. I am sure people who are struggling with their loved ones battling cancer found a measure of comfort in his story. It is quite clear that he was trying to make the best of both worlds – dissecting his story and suggesting that he is intelligent ( because he used chemo/radiation ) and rest of it as “woo” stuff is really being disrespectful to him . Sad . But conventional medicine is tuned that way – dissect , analyse and lose track of the big picture.

    It has been decades since the medical establishment have been striving to find a “magic bullet” for cancer – personally I don’t think we will find it. It will probably take a multi-pronged attack – chemo , right diet/food and other “woo” stuff as well to beat it.

  334. #334 lilady
    December 4, 2011

    I find it very interesting that some posters make assumptions about researchers who study cancer, the oncologists, radiologists and surgeons who treat cancer and medical staff who care for cancer patients.

    None of these medical professionals ever stated that there is a “magic bullet”…quite to the contrary they state there is no magic bullet, but rather it is the intensive research to understand the nature of individual cancers, the development of accurate tests to diagnose these cancers, “targeted therapies” to treat cancer and drugs to ameliorate many of the side effects of radiation and chemotherapeutic anti-cancer drugs.

    Suggestions and assisting people to make lifestyle changes for their general wellness throughout their lives, is all part of the care that doctors, nurses and registered dieticians provided to their healthy patients…as well as patients who are diagnosed with cancer.

    There is some limited valid research that a healthy well-balanced diet to maintain a trim and fit body, may prevent certain cancers…and that research is ongoing.

    Once a patient is actually diagnosed with cancer…a change to a “special diet” or the addition of so-called “anti-cancer” supplements, herbs and other alt/cam “natural” products will not change the course of the disease…and that has been well researched.

    Undergoing the rigors of cancer treatment…surgery, radiation and chemotherapy is very stressful to the human body. Unfortunately, some patients (the very elderly, those with pre-existening co-morbidities), cannot receive some of these therapies. But for those who are in general good health, appropriate targeted therapies do provide long term remissions and cures. The need to provide good nutrition to these patients is paramount. Self-styled “nutritionists”, “supplement salesmen” and other unqualified practitioners have no place in the care of a cancer patient.

    If a particular herb, plant or chemical substance shows promise for treating of cancer patients it undergoes rigorous testing, paid for mainly through grants from the NIH-National Cancer Institute and by studying their effects on actual cancer patients. The ones that prove to be effective are labeled as “anti-cancer” or chemotherapeutic drugs, not “woo”.

    No “magic bullet”…just dogged research by competent and dedicated researchers, oncologists and surgeons.

  335. #335 Debra
    December 7, 2011

    I just spent the last two days reading every positive and negative comment on this blog. The extraordinary amount of controversy caused by Dr. Servan-Schreiber’s book sparked my curiosity which led me to purchase and begin reading this book. I do feel very prepared thanks to all of you and will soon report my opinion. However, it is clearly obvious that consuming organic foods, regular exercise, sufficient sleep and stress management are all keys to optimum health, including prevention and management of cancer. In my experience with most Doctors, they seldom make these recommendations. Most are indifferent to any modifications in lifestyle. Personally, I’m glad I have followed these important keys to good health for at least half of my life. I’m now in my 50′s and many people say I look 20 years younger. Many friends my age are sick and several now have cancer. If only they had changed their lifestyle, perhaps they would not be sick. I don’t regret adopting a healthy lifestyle and truly believe my odds of getting cancer are greatly reduced as a result. Of course, there are no guarantees and I realize that entirely. I am finding this book interesting and enjoyable to read. Actually, I consider myself lucky to be reading this book while I am healthy. I’d rather consume more turmeric and drink more green tea then take the chance of not doing anything at all or worse, eating a fast and constipated food diet. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to confirm that a healthy lifestyle will likely prevent cancer and help manage cancer as well. I find the Author of this blog and those in agreement with him are trying to discourage people from eating healthy, balance organic food diet. I wonder if they are experimenting with their own bodies. Are they eating fast food and vegetables with pesticide residue? Are they eating animal foods raised with growth hormones? If they are and you know who you are, then you should be checking your armpits, neck, groin and rectum for any unusual swellings. If on the other hand you are secretly buying your food at Whole Foods, then you are a hypocrite and should back off of Dr. Servan Schrieber, who at least made a positive impact on so many people before he died. The critics here need to ask what have they done with their life? What have they done to help people? It appears they have encouraged people to eat fast and fried food, drink soda pop and become one with their couch. I can only imagine what the critics here must look and feel like. I’ll now return to working in my organic vegetable garden, enjoy an evening yoga class and yes, drink some green tea after I have my dinner seasoned with turmeric. I’ll be on the phone to many of my friends sharing these wonderful health tips to them so that they can stay healthy as well. I’d rather do what I’m doing that what the critics are doing.

    I do wish Richard L on this post well and hope he is effectively managing his cancer and enjoying a positive quality of life. I hope my friend with Lymphatic cancer will make changes and try his best to manage his cancer and extend his life. All of us can only do our best, it is our best that we should be doing.

  336. #336 Richard Lanigan
    December 13, 2011

    Thanks for asking Debra, I am doing fine.I find it hard to update the blog because it requires me to think about the cancer, which can get me down and its not where I want to be. Chemo is a bit like being pregnant. All the healthy foods I have been eating the last six months now make me nauseous and I get these cravings for Big Macs and KFCs. Did a course in Indian cooking a few months ago and now the thought of curry makes me sick. So recently I have not been able to follow much of Davids advice, but he never claimed it was a cure, just advised people to adopt healthier lifestyles and find a good oncologist which I have. After that you just cross your fingers and hope. Even if I were to live another twenty years, it will flash by as have the last twenty, so the key must be to have lots a love and happiness in life as quality of life is far more important than quantity, if my number comes up prematurely, I will have had 54 great years and some more. However I will never understand why some people on this blog got so angry and are so dismissive of what are basically common sense theories to complement orthodox treatments for Cancer. Oh yes its because I am not intelligent enough to decide for myself what makes me feel good and I need a few skeptics to protect me from quacks who will take advantage of me.

  337. #337 Chris
    December 13, 2011

    Mr. Lanigan, I hope you will improve. I especially hope that you find an appetite for the good food that is available (and simple is often better, I just had salad of spring greens with seared scallops).

    I did read the book, and I found it lacking in real data. I am not angry, nor am I dismissive. If you can provide the actual data and present it truthfully, I will accept it. As I wrote above, many of the references in the book were misrepresented and were actually missing.

    That is not “scientism”, that is an observation from actually reading the cites in the book’s bibliography. What is actually science is understanding that cancer is not one disease, but several. This means that chasing solutions based on little evidence will not get you far.

    And I still think The Emperor of All Maladies is a much better book.

  338. #338 Richard Lanigan
    December 14, 2011

    Chris, I would also recommend Dr Mukherjee book, however they are very different. One is explaining cancer, the other giving people hope that there are things you can do to improve the quality of your life while undergoing cancer treatment.You may thing its wrong to create hope for people with cancer I disagree. In the Emperor of all Maladies Dr Mukherjee makes the point “that being positive is not a cure for cancer no more than being negative is a causes cancer”. No one disagrees with the fact that cancer is multifactoral and caused by many factors, however if you are stressed and worried, your adrenals produce cortisol and adrenaline which will keep you awake and affect your health and well-being and no doubt the immune systems ability to deal with rogue cancer cells. In treating cancer focusing on the pathology is only a part of the treatment, in a few months time my chemo is finished and I will be discharged cancer free with a 50% chance of it returning within in five years. There are many options open to me after that, if I believed in God I could join a church which I am sure gives peace of mind to millions and aids recovery. I could buy a dog and walk him every day. Medicine has very to offer for this stage of my recovery, however, I can read lots of books and take on board anecdotal experiences that make physiological sense to me and I can write about my experience for others, to try or reject, this may not get me very far, but as we can draw more and more on a body of knowledge outside the medical paradigm, it may help other get further. All this was very new twenty years ago when my mother died from the cancer I have, and i have been able to deal with it much better than she did thanks to people like David Servan Schreiber and I am not the only one who has been helped by his advice. Absence of evidence (“real data”)is not evidence of absence, all scientific truths began life as someones theory which skeptics would have dismissed. Sometimes the skeptics are right other times wrong, the key to clinical science is keeping an open mind, because unlike say water, the human body does not always respond the same way to external stimuli, the body has the ability to adapt and change when challenged and I would argue that is crucial in recovering from all diseases.

  339. #339 Michael J Gonzalez
    December 15, 2011

    Which side is the woo side? Have you guys have seen the Cancer mortality stats over the last 50 years when compared to heart disease and other diseases? All deaths have gone down but the cancer deaths! Sorry but what we have now as treatment needs vast improvement to be called effective medicine.
    Sources:
    1950 Mortality Data CDC/NCHS,NVSS,Mortality revised.
    2005 Mortality Data: US Mortality Data 2005 NCHS,CDC 2008.

  340. #340 Dominique Adey Balinova
    December 17, 2011

    - “I find it very interesting that some posters make assumptions about researchers who study cancer, the oncologists, radiologists and surgeons who treat cancer and medical staff who care for cancer patients.

    None of these medical professionals ever stated that there is a “magic bullet”…quite to the contrary they state there is no magic bullet, but rather it is the intensive research to understand the nature of individual cancers, the development of accurate tests to diagnose these cancers, “targeted therapies” to treat cancer and drugs to ameliorate many of the side effects of radiation and chemotherapeutic anti-cancer drugs.”

    Interesting? I find it scandalous that genuine ways of avoiding and/or reversing cancer are being deliberately kept from general use: “Burzynski, the movie – cancer is serious business”, and Charlotte Gerson, “The Beautiful Truth” are just two examples of safe and effective treatments which should be more widely available, and yet they are ignored by mainstream medicine whilst chemotherapy is touted as the ‘preferred option’. Preferred by whom? Presumably not by those who suffer the chemotherapy and the families and friends who watch the suffering and anguish. Cancer does not have to exist and when it does exist it can be beaten. Nutritious food and a non-toxic environment plays a huge role in preventing and reversing cancer.

    As for ‘assumptions’ about medical staff involved in treating/scientists involved in researching cancer, … sadly, many of them have apparently not questioned the safety of the chemotherapy touted by mainstream medicine, nor researched the efficacy of what nature offers us compared with pills and potions created by the pharmaceutical industry and sold for tremendous profit. Where are the ‘enquiring minds’ of the researchers and scientists when it comes to that, please?! How many people are ‘making a living’ from cancer ‘treatments’ … and from ‘junk food’ full of things which nature would never offer us for consumption and which make the product actually only ‘junk’ as it is not truly food at all …. Let your food be medicine, … as someone wise is believed to have said … people, please listen to Dr Stanislaw Burzynski, to David Wolfe, Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, Dr Mark Hyman, Robert Scott Bell, Dr Joseph Mercola, Dr Joachim Mutter, …and all those who genuinely work to promote health!

  341. #341 Chris
    December 17, 2011

    Mr. Gonzalez:

    Have you guys have seen the Cancer mortality stats over the last 50 years when compared to heart disease and other diseases? All deaths have gone down but the cancer deaths!

    At what age? What is the average lifespan between 1950 and 2008?

    Dominique Adey Balinova, I suggest you read the more recent articles in this blog. Also use the handy dandy search box on the upper left side of this page on those names. You’ll be surprised.

    Mr. Lanigan, I am sorry that you find it so difficult to read with an open mind what I wrote about Dr. Servan-Schreiber. Whether you think it helps or not does not change the fact that the references he cited did not match the prose “based” on those references, especially the one that was missing.

  342. #342 augustine
    December 17, 2011

    Chris

    At what age? What is the average lifespan between 1950 and 2008?

    Lifespan is about the same. The genetics of humans haven’t changed much in the last 50 years or thousand years for that matter.

    Oh, you mean average life expectancy? If you’re trying to play the cancer is just a function of healthy normal aging card, then life expectancy isn’t going to help you very much. The massive amount of confounders would be impossible to tease out and most likely lead to erroneous conclusions.

  343. #343 Antaeus Feldspar
    December 17, 2011

    If you’re trying to play the cancer is just a function of healthy normal aging card, then life expectancy isn’t going to help you very much. The massive amount of confounders would be impossible to tease out and most likely lead to erroneous conclusions.

    Except that the burden of proof is upon those who claim that the increase in cancer deaths must be from modern cancer-causing diets and lifestyles and inadequacy of modern medicine to prove their own claims. Until they rule out the very plausible hypothesis that cancer deaths go up as life expectancy does because advancing age makes cancer more likely, the burden of proof is not met. The massive amount of possible confounders are what make the argument “Cancer deaths are going up, therefore something must be wrong with the way we prevent and treat cancer!” dubious.

  344. #344 LW
    December 17, 2011

    “I find it scandalous that genuine ways of avoiding and/or reversing cancer are being deliberately kept from general use”

    Dominique Adey Balinova, you seriously should take a look at a globe some time. One of those ones that has names on it like “China” and “Indonesia” and like that. See, each of those names represents a different country, and each of those countries has a large population, in which cancer does occur.

    Most of those countries are not subject to the authority of the FDA — in fact only one is — and most of them do not like America or the West in general. So scientist in those countries have the means, motive, and opportunity to properly test claims of people like Burzynski and Gerson, to prove that their approaches are sound, to rake in money from desperate cancer patients, to prove that they can do better science than the West …

    There are all sorts of reasons for scientists in those other nations who could *prove* claims of people like Burzynski and Gerson. Do you have any idea why *not one of them* has done so in the decades that they’ve had to achieve that?

  345. #345 augustine
    December 17, 2011

    Except that the burden of proof is upon those who claim that the increase in cancer deaths must be from modern cancer-causing diets and lifestyles and inadequacy of modern medicine to prove their own claims.

    I don’t have any burden. But I’ll raise you another strawman. The burden of proof is on those who say medicine is winning the war on cancer to prove that. Maybe you’d have a better chance in proving that we’re “winning the war” in Afghanistan and we just need more money more guns and more bombs and more terrorists.

    Medicine/pharmaceutical corporations have lost the “war on cancer” in spite of it’s massive arms funding. It’s next warmongering consolation strategy on the human body is “containing and managing cancer”.

    Chemicals cause cancer! Sticking more chemicals into the body doesn’t prevent more cancer.

    Medicine will NEVER prevent cancer. Never ever EVER. Never say never? Yep! Never.

    Can medicine cause cancer? You bet it can.

  346. #346 augustine
    December 17, 2011

    Until they rule out the very plausible hypothesis that cancer deaths go up as life expectancy does because advancing age makes cancer more likely, the burden of proof is not met.

    That’s not theory. That’s an observation. Child hood cancer rates have also gone up. How does your “theory of cancer” account for that?

    Some say diabetes is a function of aging also. When you don’t know something in medicine you can always say “genetics” as a non answer way of answering.

  347. #347 Kelly Whitworth
    December 18, 2011

    If you are going to write about glioma brain tumors, please educate yourself on the factual points regarding the terminology and forms of tumors in the glial family. Your comments regarding glioblastoma multiforme are misinformed and incorrect. GBM is the name of a primary brain tumor once it is a grade IV tumor REGARDLESS of what subtype of glioma it began as. You have used the wrong terms in your article and have given misleading information regarding prognostic survival times of glioblastoma.

    Glioma is a term for a group of primary brain tumors (grades I, II and III) subtyped by what cell type is involved. To give name to some of them, they can be astrocytoma’s, oligodendroglioma’s, mixed oligoastrocytoma’s, ependymoma’s – they are named for the cell type they share histological features with. There are many people diagnosed with grade I, II, and III glioma subtype’s that are living many years beyond diagnoses. While glioblastoma does have a 3 to 15 months prognosis, it ONLY refers to grade IV tumors. Median survival for other forms of glioma vary based on their grade, subtype and genetic factors.

    In your article you wrote, “One thing that needs to be understood is that glioblastoma is indeed a nasty cancer. Untreated, the median survival is on the order of three months. Even treated maximally, fewer than one in four patients with the disease survive longer than 2 years and fewer than 10% survive five years or more. However, it is known that there are types of glioblastoma with a prognosis that is not quite as grim, although it is grim enough. For instance, younger patients tend to survive longer, as do patients with methylation of the promoter of O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase. In the end, however, little is known that can accurately predict who is likely to survive long term after treatment of glioblastoma and why, much as little is known that allows us to predict accurately which women with advanced breast cancer will survive for long periods of time and why, other than very crudely and unreliably.”

    I myself am a grade III Anaplastic Oligodendroglioma patient. This form of glioma (NOT GLIOBLASTOMA – which as I pointed out earlier is a term for all grade IV tumors regardless of what subtype they began as) is the ONLY type of tumor that, depending on a person’s genetic factors (methylation and deletions on the 1p and 19q chromosomes – which only some people have) improve prognostic statistics. This is because specific genetic factors make ONLY oligodendroglioma tumors ultra-sensitive to chemotherapy. When an oligodendroglioma reoccurs as a grade IV tumor it is no longer called an oligo. It is called a GBM and has a 3-15 month median prognosis, at that point genetic factors are irrelevant. It is very important to remember prognosis is not an individual diagnoses. Genetic factors (if present) improve progression free survival and overall prognosis of oligodendroglioma’s at lesser grades.

    It would be miraculous if Dr. Schreiber survived as long as he did if his initial diagnoses was GBM. When glioma’s reoccur, they most often are more aggressive (a higher grade tumor) and less responsive to treatment due to their infiltrating nature. There can be exceptions, but they are rare. I do not know either what type of tumor Dr. Schreiber had or it was a glioma at all, but I am certain IF he did pass from GBM, it did not begin as GBM. It began as a lower grade tumor that had a subtype name (for what cell type it arose from) and upgraded upon recurrence to eventually become GBM.

  348. #348 Luiz
    December 28, 2011

    When he says:
    “Does Servan-Schreiber’s death mean his method didn’t work? Or did it mean that it did work and held his disease at bay longer than anyone would have thought possible. Or was Servan-Schreiber a man who was fortunate enough to have a less aggressive form of brain tumor that responded very well to conventional therapy and was very slow to relapse, taking this latest time 15 years before recurring and then leading to his death? Most likely, it was the latter…”
    He seems to forget that 5 years after the first surgery he had it again, so the logic of his argument is failed.
    Dr. Servan-Schreiber never said in his book to abandon regular treatment. He never did. He only decided to adopt a healthier life style to reinforce the traditional medical treatment. and he only adopted this life style after the 2nd surgery.
    He was only one and could gain 20 (TWENTY) years in life expectation. That is remarkable.
    Just show me 2 people in the entire brain cancer universe, who did the same with only surgery and killing drugs.

  349. #350 Julia Andino
    March 16, 2012

    I was juts talking to one of my patients of the advantages of doing a healthy diet/health plan in order to prevent complications with her medical treatment; and in the process found out of Dr.Servan-Schreiber death. Then I saw this blog, read it and its sad, really sad, that there are so many individuals that don’t believe in the possibility of healing through unconventional methods. Do we need proof? do we need to be so science-driven? The Mind-body-spirit connection is not a quack, its real..and as long, as we keep denying it, we will continue to foster ‘scietifically proven treatment’ that will poison our mind, body and spirit. Dr. Servan-Schreiber, as a scientific trained professional,had the courage to take his life on his hands and to proof to the world what is possible when you open your mind and heart.

  350. #351 ken
    March 16, 2012

    @346 Bravo Luiz!

  351. #352 novalox
    March 16, 2012

    @ken, julia andino

    Any reasons you necromancers decided to necro a 3 month old thread?

  352. #353 ken
    March 16, 2012

    @novalox Why did you comment? My friend just gave me the book-interested in what
    orac had to say.

  353. #354 ken
    March 18, 2012

    How Orac has the audacity to criticize this book is beyond me.
    It offers hope and healing to the cancer patient.

  354. #355 ken
    March 18, 2012

    How Orac has the audacity to criticize this book is beyond me.
    It offers hope and healing to the cancer patient.

  355. #356 Chris
    March 18, 2012

    No it doesn’t, ken the Necromancer troll. Really, ken, how old are you. You write and act like a ten year old.

    I read the book, and it does no such thing. He cherry picked papers, misrepresented them, and even included cites that do not exist.

  356. #357 ken
    March 18, 2012

    @Chris -
    If that’s all you can get out of that book I pity you and your heartlessness.
    Stop projecting your immaturatity and lack of wisdom unto me,
    You have a constipated mind sans heart.

  357. #358 ken
    March 18, 2012

    Yes I can spell-immaturity

  358. #359 lilady
    March 18, 2012

    “How Orac has the audacity to criticize this book is beyond me.
    It offers hope and healing to the cancer patient.”

    No it doesn’t Troll. It offers FALSE hope and FALSE information to the cancer patient. Servan-Schreiber (deliberately) misquoted the science behind cancer research treatment and the research about cancer prevention.

    Necromancer, why don’t you point out to me where I have been mistaken with any of my posts on this thread…with citations to prove that Servan-Schreiber’s “advice” book is correct…and I am not?

  359. #360 ken
    March 18, 2012

    @lilady-reread @211 @213 and really really think about what she says.

  360. #361 lilady
    March 18, 2012

    ken…re-read my replies to that particular poster.

    Tell us where and how Orac (or I), went off the rails, with our critiques of Servan-Schreiber’s book…be sure to provide citations from reputable web sites.

  361. #362 ken
    March 20, 2012

    According to the American Cancer Society’s National Toxicology Program 12th Report on Carcinogens
    “Reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens” One of which is Tetrafluoroethylene- used in Teflon pans.

  362. #363 ken
    March 20, 2012

    “The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors follow the same nutrition guidelines as those recommended for cancer prevention. The same factors that increase cancer risk might also be important in promoting cancer recurrence after treatment. For example, breast cancer research has supported dietary effects by suggesting that the risk of recurrence might be higher in women who are obese and do not eat many fruits and vegetables. Prostate cancer recurrence might be increased by high saturated fat intake.”

  363. #364 ken
    March 20, 2012

    “All truth passes through three stages:
    First, it is ridiculed;
    Second, it is violently opposed;
    and Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

  364. #365 Narad
    March 20, 2012

    In other news, Schopenhauer never said this.

  365. #366 Andrew
    May 12, 2012

    It concerns me how some medical professionals and other sceptics have such a “blinkered” view. Of course comtemporary medicine is the most important intervention, but what Dr David Servan-Shreiber communicated about other healing practices is also important. Shame on you people who have attempted to blast him out of the water. Open your eyes!

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