Respectful Insolence

I like to think that one of the more important public services I provide is my deconstructions of alternative cancer cure testimonials. After all, one of the most powerful marketing tools cancer quacks have in their arsenal is a collection of stories of “real patients” with cancer who used their nostrums and are still alive and well. These sorts of analyses of alternative cancer cure testimonials began right near the very beginning, way back in 2004 and have continued intermittently to this very day, most recently with a bevy of posts showing why the testimonials of Stanislaw Burzynski’s patients do not constitute good evidence that he can cure cancers considered incurable by “standard” medicine. In other words, Burzynski’s “success stories” aren’t the slam-dunk evidence he and Eric Merola want you to believe them to be that antineoplaston therapy can cure brain cancers.

Sometimes, these patients who believe that alternative medicine somehow cured their cancers are so transformed, so energized, that they basically devote their lives to selling, in essence, their story, along with all the stuff they did to “cure” their cancer. I just came across one such person, a man by the name of Chris Wark, whose website and blog Chris Beat Cancer sells the idea that he beat his cancer with nutrition and “natural therapies” that he used to “heal himself.” This alone wouldn’t be so bad (although it’s still definitely bad) except that Wark is now selling all sorts of misinformation about cancer, all for $175 for a two hour phone consultation. Regular readers will recognize right away where Mr. Wark goes wrong in his story. Even so, I think it’s worthwhile to take a look at his story because since discovering Mr. Wark’s site I’ve seen his name popping up all over the place promoting “natural” cures, and his site has become a repository of all sorts of “alternative cancer cure” testimonials, as well as credulously promotional material for quackery like the Gerson therapy, the Beck protocol, and the Gonzalez protocol.

First, let’s take a look at Mr. Wark’s story. Since his story is so simple to deconstruct, I’ll then look at more of the material on his website. Right on the front page of Mr. Wark’s website, there is a brief blurb about him that reads:

My name is Chris Wark. I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2003, at 26 years old. I had surgery, but refused chemo. Instead I used nutrition and natural therapies to heal myself. By the grace of God, I’m alive and kicking, and cancer-free!

Elsewhere, Mr. Wark states:

In December 2003 I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer. There was a golf ball sized tumor in my large intestine and the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. It was two weeks before Christmas and I was 26 years old.

The oncologist told me I was “insane” but I decided against chemotherapy after surgery. After prayerful consideration I radically changed my diet and did every natural non-toxic therapy I could find.

I started this blog in 2010 to share my story and everything I’ve learned about nutrition and natural therapies for cancer. I didn’t expect it to blow up, but it has.

Regular readers will recognize right away that Mr. Wark is making a common mistake, namely confusing adjuvant chemotherapy with chemotherapy administered for curative intent.

And here is a video:

Again, regular readers will recognize immediately that this is the most common variety of alternative cancer cure testimonial. It’s so common that I really should think of a pithy name for it. Maybe the “adjuvant gambit”? Basically, such testimonials completely confuse the role of two different modalities (surgery and chemotherapy) in treating their malignancies. Mr. Wark’s testimonial contains the same sort of error about cancer therapy that, for example, Suzanne Somers routinely makes when she relates her breast cancer “cure” testimonial. That error is to confuse the use of chemotherapy for primary curative intent with the adjuvant use of chemotherapy. Many cancers, such as hematological malignancies, are treated primarily with chemotherapy, but solid tumors (i.e., tumors arising from organs) are treated primarily with surgery to extirpate the primary lesion. Most hematological malignancies, if they are going to be “cured,” are cured with chemotherapy and sometimes radiation therapy. Most solid tumors, on the other hand, require complete surgical extirpation to cure them.

The problem, of course, is that many solid tumors have already had cells detach from them and either invade further into the organ or circulate in the bloodstream. Only a very small fraction of these cells can lodge somewhere and form a metastasis, but when you’re dealing with billions of cells or more the risk starts to become significant. In the case of Suzanne Somers’ breast cancer, she underwent excision of her primary tumor, biopsy of her axillary lymph nodes, and adjuvant radiation therapy (although she now says that if she had to do it all over again she would refuse radiation as well). What she did refuse were adjuvant chemotherapy and adjuvant Tamoxifen, the estrogen-blocking drug that was (and still is) commonly used as adjuvant therapy for breast cancers that make the estrogen receptor. No doubt, given her well-known promotion of “bioidentical” hormones as a fountain of youth, Somers did not wish to do anything that would block the action of these hormones. I’m also sure that her doctors almost certainly told her that she needed to knock it off with the bioidentical hormones while being treated with her cancer, a recommendation that was unlikely to have been well-received.

In any case, adjuvant therapy is intended not as a primary cure, but rather to decrease the chances of a cancer recurrence. Radiation therapy is used to decrease the chance of a local recurrence (i.e., a recurrence in the organ or area where the tumor was resected), while chemotherapy or hormonal therapy is used to decrease the risk of a systemic recurrence (i.e., a recurrence elsewhere in the body). Somers did her radiation and thus maximized her chances of not having a local recurrence, but she refused the drugs that would decrease her chance of a systemic relapse. But how big of a risk did she take in doing this? Well, I ran her clinical information through Adjuvant! Online, an online tool that allows doctors to estimate risks and benefits of therapies based on known clinical trial data. This estimate found that, with surgery alone, Suzanne Somers had a 77% chance of living 10 years. Adding hormonal therapy would increase that chance by 5.7% and adding chemotherapy would increase it by 5.9%. Taking both would increase her chances of living 10 years by 9.9%. So, basically, by eschewing chemotherapy and radiation, Suzanne Somers reduced her chances of surviving 10 years from roughly 87% to 77%. That’s the “miracle.”

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. Wark states that he had stage III colon cancer. What this means is that the cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes. Sure, it’s a bit more complicated than that. There are stage IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC colon cancer, the A, B, or C part depending upon the number of involved lymph nodes and whether the tumor has invaded through various layers of the colon or not, but the basic idea is simple: Node-positive colon cancer that has not spread to distant organs equals stage III. For purposes of discussion, that’s all you need to know. Of course, oncologists would not divide stage III into A, B, and C if the differences didn’t matter, but overall all these “flavors” of stage III share one thing in common, and that’s that the tumor has spread to regional lymph nodes, usually in the mesentery (the double layer of peritoneal membrane that suspends the colon and in which the vasculature supplying and the lymphatics draining the colon are located). That’s why an oncologically sound resection of colon cancer mandates resecting the mesentery all the way down to the root of the mesenteric vessels supplying the segment of colon being resected, and a measure of quality of colon resection is a minimum number of mesenteric lymph nodes included in the specimen.

Now here’s the thing. The primary treatment for stage III colorectal cancer is still complete surgical resection. Everything else is icing on the cake. To illustrate this point, I ran an Adjuvant! Online estimate for the benefit of chemotherapy for a patient like Wark, who was 26 at the time of his diagnosis. This is a bit hard to do because I don’t have complete staging information. However, Wark was nice enough to inform his readers that he had four positive lymph nodes and a “golf ball sized tumor.” The latter bit of information doesn’t help, because for purposes of staging size doesn’t matter so much as how far the tumor has invaded through the layers of the wall of the colon, but the first bit of information about how many positive lymph nodes were discovered is quite useful because it tells me, when combined with the size of the cancer, that the original tumor was probably not stage IIIA. Most likely, it was stage IIIB, although it is certainly possible that he had stage IIIC disease. For purposes of discussion, I am going to assume he had stage IIIB disease. It’s close enough to make the point, and if he had stage IIIC disease, it would only make the case for chemotherapy stronger.

There are also two main chemotherapy regimens for colorectal cancer. One is basically 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) plus leucovorin and has been the mainstay of treatment of colon cancer for decades. However, over the last 10 or 15 years, a newer, more effective regimen known as FOLFOX has been developed that include 5-FU, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin. There’s also an even newer regiment called FOLFIRI that is 5-FU, leucovorin, and irinotecan, but that one is not yet in Adjuvant! Online. So I’ll stick to 5-FU and FOLFOX. What I did was to enter information provided by Mr. Wark on his website into Adjuvant! Online and make educated guesses about the rest in order to provide you with a graph that shows a ballpark range for the survival benefit that adjuvant chemotherapy would provide him. First, here is stage IIIB disease plus 5-FU-based regimens:

Stage-IIIB-5FU

Next, here is stage IIIB disease and FOLFOX:

Stage-IIIB-FOLFOX

In both cases, with surgery alone, Mr. Wark’s odds of surviving five years is around 64%. That’s pretty good for such advanced disease, but we can do better. 5-FU-based chemotherapy regimens increase those odds by around 12% to a 76% chance of surviving five years. FOLFOX, as you can see, does even better, increasing the odds of surviving five years by around 16%, all the way to 80%. Since colon cancer, unlike, for example, breast cancer, rarely recurs after five years, five year survival rates in colon cancer are pretty close to equivalent to the chances of being “cured” of colon cancer. So basically, by eschewing chemotherapy, Mr. Wark decreased his chances of surviving his disease by approximately 12-16%. Since his odds of surviving his disease with surgery alone were greater than 60% to begin with, although he was lucky that his refusing chemotherapy didn’t put him into that 12-16% of similar patients for whom chemotherapy prevents a recurrence, the odds of his surviving were still in his favor if my educated guess about his stage at diagnosis is reasonably accurate. If, however, I underestimated his stage and he had stage IIIC disease, the argument for chemotherapy would be even stronger:

Stage-IIIC-FOLFOX

Note that in this graph, Mr. Wark’s odds of surviving 5 years with surgery alone would only be 30%, with FOLFOX chemotherapy increasing the odds to around 55%, nearly double. Of course, even in this extreme case, 30% is around a one in three chance; so survival without chemotherapy would not be that unusual. Although he would, in this case, have to be quite a bit luckier than in the case of stage IIIC disease, his survival would not be so unusual that it could be attributed to whatever woo he decided to partake of. Sadly, as is evident in an e-mail from Mr. Wark reprinted in a credulous article about his story, Mr. Wark does not understand the basics of adjuvant chemotherapy, or, if he does, he is not relating it correctly:

Surgery does not cure cancer, especially not stage 3. If it did, that’s all they would do. There would be no need for chemo and radiation. The medical industry has known that surgery does not cure cancer for at least 100 years. Cancer is a systemic metabolic disease, the result of a body that is nutrient deficient, overloaded with toxins, and has an overloaded or suppressed immune system. If the body is not given the essential nutrients it needs to repair, regenerate and detoxify, cancer will most assuredely come back after surgery. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, juices and smoothies is the most powerful way to promote the body’s ability to heal itself. All processed food must be eliminated. Animal products should be severely restricted or eliminated for a season until the cancer is gone. And it’s ok if some people don’t believe me. I know lots of survivors that have healed cancer without surgery, but skeptics won’t believe them either.

He is, quite simply, wrong that surgery does not cure cancer. For solid tumors like colon cancer, surgery is almost always the only way it can be cured. Indeed, even in the case of some stage IV disease (specifically, metastases to the liver), surgery can still “cure” colorectal cancer. Be that as it may, Mr. Wark had an estimated 30-64% chance of being “cured” of his cancer by surgery alone. However, those odds aren’t good enough. Why should they be, when we can make them significantly better with chemotherapy? It is sad that Mr. Wark decided to decrease is odds of surviving his disease, particularly given how young he was at the time of diagnosis. It is even sadder still that he has decided to dedicate his life to persuading other cancer patients to make the same foolish choice that he did. As for “survivors that have healed cancer without surgery,” as I have shown time and time again in other contexts, these stories rarely stand up to scrutiny either. In any case, looking at his testimonial, I see that his oncologist estimated that he had a 60% chance of survival. It’s not clear whether that is with or without chemotherapy, but most of the time oncologists assume that the patient will accept standard-of-care therapy. That’s why this piece of information makes me think that Mr. Wark was closer to a stage IIIC than IIIB and therefore leads me to believe that Mr. Wark took an even bigger chance with his life than I had originally thought.

It’s also instructive to take a look at the naturopath who treated Mr. Wark, a guy named John Smothers. Perusing his website you will find the usual naturopathic nonsense about “detoxification,” chronic Lyme disease, “anti-aging” diets, and the like. On Mr. Smothers’ page on cancer, you will find metabolic blood tests, anticancer diets, intravenous vitamin therapy, detoxification, infrared sauna treatments, enzyme therapy, lymphatic massage, and something called Theotherapy, which purports to “release destructive emotional patterns that cause weakness in the body through prayer and grief processing. The body is a slave to the soul. What is in the soul will manifest itself into the physical body. Patterns of unforgiveness will lead to breakdown. Forgiveness must come from the heart. Most of the time this is in many layers.” In other words, Mr. Smothers offers the usual cornucopia of pseudoscience and mysticism that naturopaths love so much, and Mr. Wark has completely bought into it. Indeed, take a look at his reasoning (such as it is) for refusing chemotherapy:

Right from the start, it’s easy to tell that Wark’s reasoning will not be sound. He talks about how nurses have to wear gloves and try to protect their skin from chemotherapy while expressing horror that this is the same stuff that is put into patients’ veins. Of course, patients go through their chemotherapy for six or nine or twelve months—or whatever regimen—and get dosed once every one to three weeks or so. Nurses deal with the substances day in and day out on a chronic basis, possibly over many years. The two are not comparable situations. Next, Wark refers to chemotherapy as “poisoning your way back to health.” Well, yes and no. Sometimes, as Nick Lowe would say, you have to be cruel to be kind (in the right measure). Yes, chemotherapy is toxic, but it works and, unfortunately, we haven’t found anything that works as well yet. Perhaps the silliest thing Wark says in this video is that he has to “believe” in the therapy he chooses and that “if I really believed in chemotherapy maybe it would’ve worked.” Here’s a hint: Truly effective anti-cancer therapy doesn’t require you to “believe” in it. As has been said before, you can be in a coma, and antibiotics will still cure your pneumonia. In the same way, you can “disbelieve” that chemotherapy can treat a cancer, and it will still work. Wark also doesn’t help his case by citing the “2% gambit” about chemotherapy, which is misleading trope beloved of cancer quacks the world over. Wark is no exception.

His last trope is that chemotherapy destroys the immune system. He discusses how, if you have cancer, it is the immune system that is keeping it in check and the reason that it’s “not all over your body.” Well, not exactly. He seems to forget that if his immune system had been as awesome as he thought it was he probably would never have grown a golf ball-sized cancer in his colon that spread to his mesenteric lymph nodes in the first place. Of course, his explanation is that it’s the “toxins” that overloaded the immune system and let the tumor develop. He then brings up an example of the patient who undergoes surgery and chemotherapy, thinks he’s tumor-free, and then a few months later develops widespread metastatic disease. To Wark, this is because chemotherapy “destroyed the immune system.” Yes, chemotherapy, depending on which drugs are being used, can temporarily suppress the immune system, but it doesn’t destroy it. The immune system is quite good at rebounding after chemotherapy is done, and the destruction of the immune system is not the main reason why cancer can recur after a seemingly successful treatment. It’s because our treatments aren’t yet good enough to eliminate every last cancer cell. Some can go dormant, only to emerge later.

Of course, Mr. Wark’s testimonial is not enough. He’s begun to collect testimonials of his own. The vast majority of them don’t provide enough information to tell me one way or the other whether there’s anything to them or not. I might have to take a look at a couple of them in more detail in the future, but for now I’ll “cherry pick” a couple. Most of them are maddeningly vague, although some have fairly obvious explanations. For example, Ann Cameron claims to have cured herself of stage IV colon cancer with carrot juice. She had stage III colon cancer, underwent surgery, and refused chemotherapy. Later, she was noted to have lesions in her lungs suspicious for metastases. These supposedly disappeared with carrot juice. However, there is no record of any of these lesions having been biopsied. A PET scan showed “spots” that looked like lymph nodes, but again there is no mention of these lesions ever having been biopsied. My conclusion? These almost certainly were not metastatic cancer.

Next up is a man named Jeffery Williams, who was diagnosed with stage III testicular cancer. He underwent surgery to remove the testicle but was found to have a mass in his abdomen. What follows is a prolonged story of his refusing chemotherapy, using megadoses of carrot juice, and following the Hallelujah Acres Diet, with Angstrom ionic liquid cesium and potassium, Solaray Tumeric and Essiac Tea, along with insinuations that his doctors lied to him about the tumor in his abdomen. At one point, he says he couldn’t find a doctor willing to biopsy the mass, which sounds very odd given that an abdominal mass that’s suspicious for tumor in a patient with a history of testicular cancer almost mandates a biopsy. Finally, a biopsy supposedly showed “100% dead cancer cells.” Of course, a biopsy showing “100% dead cancer cells” does not mean that therapy was working; it could simply mean that the tumor outgrew its blood supply, its center died, and the biopsy (presumably a needle biopsy) only got the center of the tumor. Be that as it may, this is what Williams describes after that:

I also found a surgeon who was willing to remove my tumor. On April 20th 2010 I had a 9.5 hr. surgery to remove the tumor at Cleveland Clinic. I received 4 inches of incision from my first surgery in 2009 and 26 inches of incisions on my second surgery on April 20th 2010. I have had a cat scan once a year since April 20th and I have had no problems.

One notes that he doesn’t say what the pathology showed that the tumor was, which is by itself quite odd. The whole thing sounds very fishy, but even if the story is as Williams represented it, it sounds as though two operations cured him. Even odder still, if Williams was so convinced that his “natural” treatments had cured him of his tumor, why on earth did he go to such lengths to find a surgeon willing to resect the mass. As I said, the pieces of this testimonial don’t all fit together right.

Of course, there are breast cancer testimonials, including those of Monique Norton, Susan Macco, and Ashlie Sanders (who appears to have had her entire tumor removed by the biopsy). They’re all of the same variety as Suzanne Somers’ testimonial. They all underwent surgery and eschewed other therapies, meaning that the surgery cured them. They all attribute their survival to whatever quackery they chose to pursue rather than the surgery. I’m tellin’ ya, as a breast cancer surgeon I sometimes get depressed at how little credit we are given.

As glad as I am to see a cancer patient overcome the odds and beat his disease, it’s truly depressing to see that same patient spread misinformation about the science-based medicine that saved him and then to promote all sorts of quackery. Look at his Resources page, for instance. It’s a veritable cornucopia of quackery, up to and including Hulda Clark and Bob Beck, the Gerson Therapy, Ty Bollinger, Russell Blaylock, and more. Worse, he hides behind a variant of the quack Miranda warning in which he prefaces his advice with “I’m not a doctor and can’t give medical advice,” after which he basically gives medical advice. A great example is in response to a question from a 32 year old woman with breast cancer who has undergone surgery and is understandably frightened at the prospect of beginning her chemotherapy. Here’s Wark’s response:

I’m not a doctor and can’t give medical advice, but obviously I chose not to do chemo because yes, it does destroy your immune system, and it is also a carcinogenic substance. I decided to do every natural therapy I could find FIRST. If none of it worked, then chemo would be my last resort. That was my plan.

Doctors do not control your life, you control your life.

Two of my favorite quotes:

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear.”

and “If you’re scared, Do it scared.”

My opinion is that mainstream cancer treatment does more harm than good. That is my opinion.

Your cancer could be all gone, but your body may still be a place where new cancer cells could thrive. This is why it’s critical to get hardcore about your health, which it sounds like you’re doing already.

If you decide to postpone chemo, there is a support system for you that I can help you connect with.

All of which sounds very much as though Wark is trying to dissuade this woman from undergoing chemotherapy. He does this even though he tries to cover his behind with a disclaimer like this:

I am not a doctor.

I don’t prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure disease.

I do not practice medicine.

I have no certifications of any kind and I don’t plan on getting any.

What I do have is nearly 10 years of experiential expertise. As you can tell by the vast amount of info on this site, I am an avid researcher on nutrition and natural therapies. I am deeply immersed in the alternative health community and I know many people who have healed themselves.

We can learn from the experiences of others. That is how I healed my body of cancer. Whatever your health challenge (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, etc.) I am confident that YOU can heal it.

Chris Wark charges $100 an hour or $175 for two hours to impart his “healing wisdom” to you. One wonders how many people with cancer this not-a-doctor has led astray, potentially to their demise and how what he is doing isn’t practicing medicine without a license.

Comments

  1. #1 StrangerInAStrangeLand
    October 15, 2013

    What I don´t understand is how he can get away with this scheme. It shouldn´t matter that you have a disclaimer saying “I don´t give medical advice” but then very obviously give such advice and charge for it. If you are a believer in your specific flavour of voodoo and spread the word on a non-commercial basis, “fine”. But this is clearly a business and a simple “I don´t do it” disclaimer should be irrelevant.

  2. #2 Lawrence
    October 15, 2013

    “I’m not giving medical advice, but here is my story…..” what a trashy way of getting around the disclaimer…

  3. #3 Chris Hickie
    October 15, 2013

    It’s too bad his surgeon isn’t allowed a rebuttal space on Wark’s scam site pointing out what you have, Orac, as well as Wark’s survival rate without surgery to remove the tumor being zero.

  4. #4 herr doktor bimler
    October 15, 2013

    He talks about how nurses have to wear gloves and try to protect their skin from chemotherapy while expressing horror that this is the same stuff that is put into patients’ veins.

    Dude went into surgery. He was cut open with scalpels. Yet despite the curative value of surgery, nurses still handle scalpels by the blunt end. Why is this a paradox?

    I know lots of survivors that have healed cancer without surgery,

    Funny that for all his anecdotes, he was so lacking in faith in nutrients and smoothies that he opted for surgery to save his life, giving him his present opportunity to tell his readers how unimportant that surgery was.

  5. #5 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 15, 2013

    My opinion is that mainstream cancer treatment does more harm than good. That is my opinion.

    Why do these people even bother to go to a physician and have surgery to begin with then? Hypocrites.

  6. #6 Michael Finfer, MD
    Edison, NJ
    October 15, 2013

    Having been diagnosed with a locally advanced colon cancer at age 26, this fellow has a very high risk of having a genetic syndrome. Since there is no mention of polyps, Lynch Syndrome would be a good first educated guess. I sincerely hope he has been offered genetic counseling because his parents, siblings, and children could be affected and because, if he has a syndrome, he may be at very high risk of developing another colon cancer, and he might not be so lucky next time.

    The attorney general in whatever state he lives in should prosecute him for practicing medicine without a license.

  7. #7 DLC
    October 15, 2013

    He should be compelled to say “I was cured of cancer by surgery, and then I did a bunch of alt-med bollocks to make myself feel like I was actually doing something instead of just being a patient having things done to me”

  8. #8 Ren
    October 15, 2013

    Does he actually talk to you on the phone? Or does he play you a message for two hours?

    If I only had cash to waste…

  9. #9 Shay
    October 15, 2013

    something called Theotherapy

    I wonder if it involves watching reruns of the Cosby Show?

  10. #10 lilady
    October 15, 2013

    I immediately thought about a genetic disorder, because of the early diagnosis of colon cancer.

    We have some more information about the real cancer doctors who treated him (located in this rant)

    http://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/my-tv-debut/

    “Also it comes across a bit like I’m against all doctors, but I’m not. I’m am deeply grateful to gastroenterologist Orin Davidson, surgeon Dr. Guy Voeller; integrative oncologist the late Dr. Roy Page; and Naturopath Dr. John Smothers.”

    Folks, we have a genuine Joe Mercola wannabe here, who sells contraptions, supplements, books, videos and his “expertise” because he’s a devout Christian/snake oil salesman.

  11. #11 Denice Walter
    October 15, 2013

    Whew!
    I know someone who made a similar choice :
    I have these great friends whom I met through one of my gentlemen: the two guys worked together in an office but David and his wife moved about 150 miles away.

    Gwen is a terrific, bright person who started and runs her own charity- I always look forward to seeing both of them- we don’t see each other frequently but we have a great time when we do- it’s always fabulous- creative dining, strange local tours, acute observation and biting sarcasm, blended together into a smooth mix.

    Several years ago ( I think 4) when I was visiting them, she informed me that she had had surgery to remove a cancer from her colon – stage II or III- she wasn’t sure ( I assume III) about 10 months earlier..She refused to do adjuvent chemotherapy and radiation which were both highly recommended. ” I’ll take my chances”, she said, unwilling to become dependent, be ill and LOSE HER HAIR she explained. RIght.

    Later on, Dave told me how hard he tried to convince her to AT LEAST try the radiation therapy. Furthermore, she doesn’t go for screenings. “Now, you know why I don’t sleep at night”, he remarked.

    When I got home I looked up the probabiliities for the various stages involved , attaining similar figures to those Orac quotes.

    We’re discussing a smart person who is good with numbers and terribly realistic- she doesn’t believe in magic, she’s an agnostic and doesn’t suffer woo-meisters. She doesn’t proselytise to anyone. I can’t understand how she is doing what she did. How does she live with it ?

    David isn’t the only one who worries about her. I do also.

  12. #12 jane
    October 15, 2013

    Patients are often confused about the purpose of chemo, but that’s not just because they are stupid and ignorant; it’s often because of misinformation from doctors. In this case, there’s perhaps a 16% chance that this guy’s decision to forego chemo was indeed very “sad” and an 84% chance that he would have suffered significant harm for no benefit. Did his oncologist give him those numbers and encourage him to use them to make choices consistent with his values, in which case his misunderstanding is his fault, or did the oncologist just tell him that he “needed” chemo and that he would be virtually throwing his life away by refusing, in which case his misunderstanding is the oncologist’s fault? I’m sure you have encountered or heard of breast specialists who push adjuvant treatments that will have a 3% or 4% chance of benefit with emotive rhetoric about how the patient wants to have the best chance of living to see her children grow up, DOESN’T SHE? When an oncologist thereby implies that the patient is likely to die of cancer without the most aggressive treatment, then what is a patient who can’t or won’t accept that treatment, but remains healthy, to think? They could decide that the doctor was ignorant, dishonest, or irrational, but many will continue to assume that he knew what he was talking about and conclude that some other factor he couldn’t have taken into account, such as the healthy lifestyle they adopted, must have saved them from that otherwise likely fate.

  13. #13 Dangerous Bacon
    October 15, 2013

    “I’m sure you have encountered or heard of breast specialists who push adjuvant treatments that will have a 3% or 4% chance of benefit with emotive rhetoric about how the patient wants to have the best chance of living to see her children grow up, DOESN’T SHE?”

    No, I have never encountered or heard of breast specialists doing this, and I’ve participated in many hospital oncology conferences in which the benefits and drawbacks of adjuvant therapy were discussed.

    Also, a 16% extra chance of gaining a long-term cure does not mean “an 84% chance that he would have suffered significant harm for no benefit”. The possibility of unpleasant symptoms (many chemo patients report scant toxicity; it depends on the drugs) does not equate to “significant harm”.

  14. #14 KeithB
    October 15, 2013

    I had stage 4 Colorectal cancer and went through surgery, radiation and chemo. I am the poster child for how non-scary FOLFOX can be. I never lost my hair, and the only work I lost was due to the time on the infusion couch. I was tired, and it was no picnic, but it was certainly nothing to be really scared of.

  15. #15 Khani
    October 15, 2013

    Orac, there is seriously an ad for Essiac on the front page of this blog, right now.

  16. #16 Greg
    October 15, 2013

    I noticed you did not post my last comment. Did it violate one of your policies or am I officially banned? Remember you did promise to notify your minions if I am banned?

  17. #17 AnObservingParty
    October 15, 2013

    False hope is bad enough. But when people peddle it for money to scared, scientifically-illiterate people grasping at straws…the only slightly redeeming thing about this guy is he doesn’t have letters after his name. Slightly. Very, very slightly.

    I have an ad for Hershey S’mores box mix. Not Essiac. That probably has a better chance of curing cancer than Essiac.

  18. #18 Khani
    October 15, 2013

    Well, they put blood into patients’ veins too. I don’t see nurses splashing that about either.

    I don’t really understand why hair loss is worse than death. I don’t even like my hair.

    #12 Having played Dungeons & Dragons extensively, if a doctor told me I was increasing my chances 3-4% I would say yes, possibly before he finished the sentence.

    Wouldn’t want to roll a 1 on a d20, and that’s only a 5% chance. Yet it happens in just about every game because people roll so many times. Probably not as many times as there are cancer patients in the world, though…

    Most cancer patients I’ve talked to recently have said chemo wasn’t that bad, and they just felt run-down and rotten for a while, like a long, persistent stomach flu.

    Is it true that many of the chemo/radiation stories come from less recent cases, before they found optimal doses and used more than they strictly needed? Or have chemo agents simply improved *that* much over the years? Or is it a combination of both?

  19. #19 Khani
    October 15, 2013

    #16 I bet it’s just as “natural,” too.

  20. #20 JGC
    October 15, 2013

    In this case, there’s perhaps a 16% chance that this guy’s decision to forego chemo was indeed very “sad” and an 84% chance that he would have suffered significant harm for no benefit.

    What “significant harm suffered for no benefit” did he risk, Jane? Be specific.

  21. #21 JGC
    October 15, 2013

    When an oncologist thereby implies that the patient is likely to die of cancer without the most aggressive treatment, then what is a patient who can’t or won’t accept that treatment, but remains healthy, to think?

    That they were very, very fortunate to have avoided the most statistically likely outcome.

  22. #22 Shay
    October 15, 2013

    I always get yarn or senior singles. I can only imagine the algorithm that comes up with that.

  23. #23 MadisonMD
    October 15, 2013

    #5

    My opinion is that mainstream cancer treatment does more harm than good. That is my opinion.

    Why do these people even bother to go to a physician and have surgery to begin with then? Hypocrites.

    That’s easy. Natural selection favors hypocrisy. Viz: The ones who didn’t go to a physician can’t write about it anymore.

  24. #24 Ausduck
    the sunny, windy Australian bush
    October 15, 2013

    We have our own alternative cancer therapy advocate over here in the form of The Wellness Warrior, Ms Jessica Ainscough. She was diagnosed with epithelial sarcoma of the distal left arm a few years ago, had some chemo but steadfastly refused surgical options, which included amputation. Her website ‘ thewellnesswarrior.com.au’ is full of information re Gerson therapy, videos on how to perform the coffee enemas, juicing, you name it. Sh attributes Gerson to curing her. Problem is, it hasn’t. Photos over the years show progressing lesions ans contractures of her fingers, and the latest ones (where her guard is down) show a very swollen, puffy wrist and forearm.

    She makes money out of this. She has written a book, has a very successful blog and has conducts ‘wellness’ retreats. She has a bit of credibility with young 20 somethings as she was on the editorial staff of one of the popular girl’s magazines over here. She is lovely, and natural, and supposedly ‘healthy’. And in denial.

    And she is a danger with the misinformation she promotes. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer (sorry Orac, don’t know which type) and followed Jess’ example into the alternative treatments, primarily Gerson. Her mum died last week. It’s so sad, and so frustrating that these people promote this stuff.

  25. #25 Greg
    October 15, 2013

    Good Morning VCADOD (in case anyone forgot, that is ‘vaccines causing autism denialism obsessive disorder’) Group! Well it’s been such a long time. How are you all doing? Seriously, I do worry about you all.

    Well, I have been away for some time. First, it was the tennis in August — (damn Nadal!)– and then the wife went back to work in September, leaving me to get my eldest girl ready for school in the mornings. I now simply have no time to converse with you guys. Today is an exception though.

    @Chemono,

    BTW Chemono, I did have that follow-up second opinion appt about my daughter’s tonsils. If you remember, I did cancel at the last minute surgery to have her tonsils and adenoids removed. Anyway, the specialist that I consulted tested my daughter’s breathing and airflow and said there was no blockage. She also said that even though she is breathing through her mouth that may be just a habit. She also said that since my daughter doesn’t have throat infections and appears to be getting her rest, even with her snoring, I might want to delay surgery since tonsils usually shrink with age. She said if it were her daughter she would wait things out. Anyway guys, what does it say that a tonsil specialist that does such surgeries would confide that she would fore go the operation for her own child?

    So guys, again, how are things in autism-land with it’s associated climate of denialism? Inspired by Ms Dachel, I also want to commend the great strides that modern medicine has made in not only identifying autism incidence, but also paving the way for special accommodations of it. We now have sensory sensitive autism movie theatres, special screenings of Lion King shows for autistics, autistic friendly restaurants, autistic flights… My, my, my — to think that in the past all these autistics (because they were always there) needs were not being met in these special ways. Thank you modern science!

    @Orac

    Orac, I really want to get on with my program, but searching the net I did unearth some special news about you courtesy of Jake Crosby. Now I supposed I am late for the party, but the story did perk my interest. Jake said something about a conflict of interest with you being connected to research drugs for autism, while at the same time with RI spewing your incessant mush about the anti-vaxxers. I did sense all along that there had to be an ulterior motive for your snooze-fests blogs. Anyway, not really expecting you to be forthcoming, what’s your response to Jake’s accusation?

    @VCADOD Group

    Guys, while I got Orac thinking things over let’s get on with our program. Let’s have our question of the day:

    This article from AOA really got my attention.
    http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/09/round-2-cdcs-poul-thorsen-lying-in-plain-sight.html

    So guys, is it true that the Danish MMR study data sheets did show a link between autism and MMR, but things were conveniently covered up by redefining autism incidence?

  26. #26 Chris,
    October 16, 2013

    Greg who is “Chemono”? And what does you comment have to do with the subject of the article?

    Even though it is completely off topic, where is the PubMed indexed study by a reliable reputable researcher that shows any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes more seizure than the disease? You’ve had several months to find an answer, yet you still make the same silly claims without any evidence.

    Oh, wait, I see why. You are posting silly vaccine stuff on an article about cancer. You have a problem with reading comprehension. This is obviously why you still think that one minor author’s actions affects all of the science on one vaccine. A vaccine that has been used in the USA since 1971, yet no one can come up with a relationship between it and autism in a much larger country over a longer period of time.

  27. #27 Niche Geek
    October 16, 2013

    Greg,

    Search. Box.

  28. #28 AdamG
    October 16, 2013

    Is it really worth getting caught up in this idiot’s endless loop of stupidity again?

  29. #29 Chris,
    October 16, 2013

    AdamG, no.

    He seems to live in his own world where he thinks what he writes is actually relevant. He has no idea that his views have nothing to do with reality.

  30. #30 lilady
    October 16, 2013

    Maybe we could get the irrelevant Troll on this thread to engage the irrelevant ignorant anarchist on the other thread.

  31. #31 Chris,
    October 16, 2013

    I have just scanned the comments of this old thread, the anti-vax sentiments are textbook idiocy.

  32. #32 lilady
    October 16, 2013

    Hubbs and Alber…the dynamic duo plus all the sockies, on one thread.

    BTW, Jake’s new BFF (Best), posted another comment on the Boy Wonder’s latest rant.

  33. #33 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    October 16, 2013

    @Dreg:

    So guys, is it true that the Danish MMR study data sheets did show a link between autism and MMR, but things were conveniently covered up by redefining autism incidence?

    No, it is not true.

  34. #34 AntipodeanChic
    Immediately adjacent the Indian Ocean
    October 16, 2013

    @Ausduck
    I’ve been reading this blog for quite some time – however I have been driven to comment after having read yours.
    I really don’t know how I’ve managed never to have heard of this Jessica Ainscough before now (could be because I don’t read Dolly or Salt magazine)… After having been sidetracked by all of the “Wellness Warrior” guff etc for the past hour or so – I have to say that I’m actually quite appalled that this kind of thing (Woo Merchants fleecing people in our backyard, be they educated or not) can go on without raising at least some opprobrium or dissent in the national media. Her mother may well have died in vain (not to mention probable agony).

    I had been labouring under the misapprehension that there were laws against quackery in Australia, certainly as far as advocating/profiting from “Alternative Therapies as Cancer Treatment” goes.

    However one looks at this, it is a situation both tragic and galling.

  35. #35 Krebiozen
    October 16, 2013

    It is sad that Mr. Wark decided to decrease is odds of surviving his disease, particularly given how young he was at the time of diagnosis. It is even sadder still that he has decided to dedicate his life to persuading other cancer patients to make the same foolish choice that he did.

    That nicely sums up why these dingbats p!ss me off so mightily. I used to waste hours on YouTube arguing with the apparently limitless number of cancer patients who have been successfully treated with conventional treatment, but give the credit to some utterly implausible CAM treatment, and feel compelled to attempt to persuade others to do the same, but without the conventional treatment, naturally.

    The paths to the funerals of people who have died due to a lack of proper medical care are paved with good intentions.

  36. #36 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 16, 2013

    Greg, when you scurried out with your tail between your legs back in August, you left a very important question unanswered, namely, the exact study design of the study you claimed could be done so easily, and would settle the issue so finally even if anti-vaxxers didn’t like the results, that anyone not doing the study must be trying to obstruct the truth. You were asked what that study design would be, exactly, but you disappeared instead.

    If you comment three times, on this or any other thread, without answering that question, you will be considered to have affirmatively made your answer to the question “I don’t actually have any such study design in mind; I was just lying because ai thought it would advance my cause.” And we will remind you of it every time you post.

  37. #37 Greg
    October 16, 2013

    @Chris

    “You are posting silly vaccine stuff on an article about cancer”

    Yeah Chris, I pretty much think that everything Orac’s writes extends from the same mush of wanting to discredit the ‘quacks’ and ‘cranks’. I don’t see the necessity in confining my posts to any of his topics when in truth the spirit of them are all the same.

    @Liladay

    I see you are still ignoring me in your special way of responding to every single one of my posts. How cute!
    (Hee hee hee).

    @Julian

    So guys, is it true that the Danish MMR study data sheets did show a link between autism and MMR, but things were conveniently covered up by redefining autism incidence?

    No, it is not true.

    Ok Julian, perhaps you can expand a little bit more and completely strike the accusation down.

    @Orac

    Hey Orac, I still didn’t get a response from you about RI’s COI. Is what Jake said is true and there is a wee bit of COI? Maybe just a wee, tiny, insy, cute little COI? You can tell me, we are friends! It will be our little secret. (Hee hee hee).

  38. #38 Lina
    October 16, 2013

    I think I need to start a money-making venture about how I cured my stage III breast cancer. I’ll gloss over my surgery and talk about how I found a doctor “willing” to give me “tinctures” derived from soil and yew plants (the A and T in my ACT chemo). I’ll talk about my magic healing light treatments–just like an infrared sauna only better (radiation therapy), and the supplement I now take to balance my hormones (tamoxifen). I wonder if I could get $100 an hour for it?

  39. #39 Greg
    October 16, 2013

    @Antaeus

    Re my last question Antaeus, you broke my heart. I knew you were weak, but I thought there was still a little level of pride about you that would stop you from lying amongst your peers. You broke my heart! If you were close, in a similar spirit of duplicity I would hug you and kiss you on the lips just like Michael did to Freddo in the Godfather. The shame!

  40. #40 Orac
    October 16, 2013

    Yeah Chris, I pretty much think that everything Orac’s writes extends from the same mush of wanting to discredit the ‘quacks’ and ‘cranks’. I don’t see the necessity in confining my posts to any of his topics when in truth the spirit of them are all the same.

    Then you better think again. This post is not about vaccines. It’s about cancer. If you make any more comments in this thread about vaccines, they will not be approved. There are plenty of posts about vaccines. I might even provide a new one before the end of the week.

  41. #41 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    October 16, 2013

    @Lina

    I think you may be onto something, there. I wonder, if docs started packaging it like that, what would the quack response be?

  42. #42 Khani
    October 16, 2013

    #40 *Thank* you.

  43. #43 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 16, 2013

    That’s two, Greg. You are one irrelevant comment away from admitting for the record that you lied through your teeth when you said you had a study design that would settle the issue so definitively that even anti-vaxxers would accept the answer if it didn’t go the way they wanted.

  44. #44 Gray Falcon
    October 16, 2013

    Antaeus, you’ll have to wait for another thread. Greg isn’t coming back until he learns to comment on the topic at hand, and that insulting the site, its host, and its regulars in one sentence is not a good idea.

  45. #45 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    October 16, 2013

    Greg:

    Ok Julian, perhaps you can expand a little bit more and completely strike the accusation down.

    Actually, Greg, it’s you who has to justify the claim that the autism incidence was redefined (I think you mean altered). A claim on the AoA website does not constitute proof.

  46. #46 Denice Walter
    October 16, 2013

    @ Gray, Antaeus, Khani and others:

    Speaking only for myself ( but I hope others agree and follow suit), I won’t interact with Gregat all because he has little to contribute.
    The only purpose he serves is to rack up huge thread comment numbers redeemable as airline miles for Orac**.

    He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he pretensiously plays interrogator and repeatedly insults our most esteemed and gracious host and brilliant commenters.
    -btw- one more pop culture movie reference and I will either bolt or vomit. Perhaps both.

    In addition, he falls for Jake/ AoA/ antivax tripe that a simple 60 second search would invalidate as crap, bollocks, toss-into-the-trash disinformation.

    So I’ll interact with those who have more solidity and style to their arguments or with my dining room table which would be at least as productive as talking with him.

    ** yeah, right.

  47. #47 Lawrence
    October 16, 2013

    @Denise – I wonder how he deals with the intercine conflict between Jake and AoA (though his quoting of Jake’s attempt to smear Orac by claiming that he’s working on autism drugs – when he’s a Cancer researcher is hilarious)?

    Otherwise, completely able to ignore…..

  48. #48 Greg
    October 16, 2013

    @Orac

    Very well then Orac, let’s stick to the cancer topic. Let me also take the time to congratulate Chris for his (her) success in fighting cancer. I also believe that modern interventionist medicine can not only be beneficial, but essential in certain situations, and especially when we are dealing with very sick individuals. What I do not agree with is the disingenuous ploy of selling interventionist medicine as always good, and even for healthy individuals. We see for instance with vaccines how injecting individuals with known toxins can result in them later developing cancers. So, if we want to sing the praise of interventionist medicine curing cancer in one individual, should we not own up to the countless other cases of cancers that it has caused in individuals? As well, with my daughter, we see how a surgeon was prepared to slice up a perfectly healthy child and removed her tonsils, and for what? So that modern medicine could at a later date say it made a mistake and tonsils are important after all?

    Excuse me now, Orac, while I find an ‘appropriate’ topic for my vaccine spews.

  49. #49 Greg
    October 16, 2013

    ‘and remove’

  50. #50 Chris,
    October 16, 2013

    Greg: ” Let me also take the time to congratulate Chris for his (her) success in fighting cancer.”

    Actually, try reading the article. You will see there is even a video of Chris Wark. It is a picture with actual sound and movement, you can actually hear and see this person. You have other problems if from that data you cannot determine gender.

  51. #51 MIRose
    October 16, 2013

    Lina
    I can give you a testimonial about my treatment with the same “natural medicine” and add the secret “natural medicine” derived from Chinese hamsters (Herceptin).

  52. #52 MIRose
    October 16, 2013

    Sorry, hit enter too soon. Does that make Herceptin Eastern Medicine?

  53. #53 Greg
    October 16, 2013

    @Julian

    Did you not hear when Orac said this blog is about cancer? Geezz! So Orac, some people just don’t listen

    @Denice
    So you won’t converse with me anymore? You remind me of that really fake girl sitting beside her friend in a bar. She is bitching about how some guy is an absolute
    jerk. Suddenly she interupts herself and start squaking …’OMG…guess who just walked in?…It’s what’s his face….I hope doesn’t see me…Please don’t see me.’ She continues with her theatrics even though with every bone in her body she is begging that the guy sees her and talks to her. No matter how old we are are we not all kids playing in the sandbox of life? Yeah Denice, I am noticing you if only out of pity knowing how you desperately crave the attention.

  54. #54 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 16, 2013

    we see how a surgeon was prepared to slice up a perfectly healthy child and removed her tonsils, and for what?

    Perhaps it was in order to reduce the incidence of acute tonsillitis, obstructive sleep apnea, nasal airway obstruction, or peritonsillar abscess.

  55. #55 Greg
    October 16, 2013

    @MOB
    Or maybe the proposed surgery was all about money. Interestingly, the second specialist who was too busy to do the operation anyway did not find it necessary.
    ssary.

  56. #56 Krebiozen
    October 16, 2013

    No matter how old we are are we not all kids playing in the sandbox of life?

    Hand me the sick bag, my “sandbox of life” has got poop in it.. Is there a Chrome killfile for this blog yet? I can’t stand this insufferable, ignorant, juvenile idiocy any more.

  57. #57 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 16, 2013

    Or maybe the proposed surgery was all about money.

    Perhaps, though I’d like to think not. I generally find it pointless to discuss someone’s motives without them involved in the conversation to validate what’s been said or done and why it was said or done.

  58. #58 Chris,
    October 16, 2013

    Greg, have you figured out if Chris Wark is male or female yet? All it requires is for you to read the article and just glance at the video.

    Though it looks like you are doing basic trolling by just reading the title of the article and posting unrelated tidbits without evidence. I am sure you get your giggles at our reactions, but we are just disgusted and slightly amused by your sheer idiocy.

  59. #59 Edith Prickly
    October 16, 2013

    DW@46

    Speaking only for myself ( but I hope others agree and follow suit), I won’t interact with Greg at all because he has little nothing to contribute.

    FTFY. And I agree completely.

  60. #60 jane
    October 16, 2013

    JGC: “What “significant harm suffered for no benefit” did he risk, Jane? Be specific.”

    Well, adjuvant treatments such as chemo and radiation have physical side effects and risks. The nature and frequency of severe, lasting, or delayed impairments vary depending upon the treatment, but all do have risks. Second, if you are among those who are incurable, they may occupy too many of your remaining days and make you too sick to best use them. [My personal goal if diagnosed with cancer would be to live long enough with 100% cognitive function to finish research and other projects in progress. If pursuing that goal required me to accept a higher likelihood of dying prematurely after that work was done, I’d do so. Either way, it would be a value judgement.] Third, there is financial harm. Few 26-year-olds have gold-plated insurance policies. If you or your family would be financially devastated for years to come by the use of a costly adjuvant, that would tip some people who were uncertain of their best course toward conservative treatment.

    “‘When an oncologist thereby implies that the patient is likely to die of cancer without the most aggressive treatment, then what is a patient who can’t or won’t accept that treatment, but remains healthy, to think?’ That they were very, very fortunate to have avoided the most statistically likely outcome.”

    Sorry, you can’t have it both ways. First, when people who are probably going to be fine just with surgery, e.g., women with early-stage breast cancer, do in fact end up fine, it is just not true that relapsing and dying would have been “the most statistically likely outcome” that they were “very, very fortunate” to have avoided. Even this young man with his more dangerous cancer had a better than 50% chance of being cured by surgery. On the one hand, you want patients who choose conservative treatment and do well to believe that their survival is miraculous so that they do not challenge the doctors’ dire prognoses. On the other hand, you don’t want them to seek explanations for that miraculous survival, though people who experience miraculous cures normally, and understandably, do so. You’d like them to automatically credit the doctor for the cure, which they often should – but if it was the doctor who told them they might be as good as dead without chemo, then deference to his superior knowledge would require NOT crediting him for the cure, since “he told me himself I wouldn’t be cured by the surgery.” In my opinion, a doctor should always be honest and specific, e.g., he might say: “Four out of six people like you will be cured by the surgery and not benefit from chemo. One out of six will have his life saved, at least for now, by it. One out of six will die despite the chemo.” Then patients can choose what best serves their values, goals and interests, and no matter which category of outcome they end up with, the doctor already acknowledged that outcome to be a substantial possibility so it will not pose a challenge to his worldview.

  61. #61 Lawrence
    October 16, 2013

    @Jane – and how exactly do you know that these types of conversations aren’t taking place with patients as we speak?

  62. #62 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 16, 2013

    In my opinion, a doctor should always be honest and specific, e.g., he might say: “Four out of six people like you will be cured by the surgery and not benefit from chemo. One out of six will have his life saved, at least for now, by it. One out of six will die despite the chemo.” Then patients can choose what best serves their values, goals and interests, and no matter which category of outcome they end up with, the doctor already acknowledged that outcome to be a substantial possibility so it will not pose a challenge to his worldview.

    A relative was diagnosed with lung cancer last year. I’ve heard the recordings of her discussions with her doctor and they matched what jane believes should be happening.

  63. #63 Lina
    October 16, 2013

    @MIRose

    So glad to have your testamonial from your miraculous Eastern Medicine Cancer Cure! I’m sure you know, “they” know that hamster products cure cancer, but with big pharma and all, “they” keep it a secret because, well, just because!

  64. #64 JGC
    October 16, 2013

    Well, adjuvant treatments such as chemo and radiation have physical side effects and risks.

    Remember you said “significant harm for no benefit”. Adjuvant chemotherapy provides a demonstrated benefit, the reduced risk of cancer recurring.

    Sorry, you can’t have it both ways.

    You’re kidding, right? You’re not really confusing “A patient is statistically less likely to die from reccurrence of their cancer with adjuvant chemotherapy” with the statement “All patients will die from recurrence of their cancer in the absence of adjuvant chemotherapy”, are you?

    Even this young man with his more dangerous cancer had a better than 50% chance of being cured by surgery.

    Which was Orac’s entire point, and why the fact of his survival cannot be attributed to any of the nutritional and ‘natural therapies’ he claims allowed him to beat cancer (and which he’s peddling at $175 / 2 hour phone consultation).

  65. #65 JGC
    October 16, 2013

    Obvious final blockquote failure is, hopefully, obvious.

  66. #66 AnObservingParty
    October 16, 2013

    A relative was diagnosed with lung cancer last year. I’ve heard the recordings of her discussions with her doctor and they matched what jane believes should be happening.

    Wow, it’s almost exactly like all the terrible doctors are doing the things people think the terrible doctors should do to become good doctors and put the patient first. *head desk*

  67. #67 Delurked Lurker
    In a Universe where time is an illusion....Lunchtime doubly so
    October 16, 2013

    Hmm I seem to smell fecal Dregs here.

    About time someone swept the sand box for excrement and removed it

  68. #68 Mewens
    October 16, 2013

    @46:
    I don’t think the Greg program actually falls for anything. Besides the fact that I’m still pretty sure it’s just a collection of numbers and variables designed to mimic sentience, you’ll note that all the claims it Hoovers up and then vomits out are ones already specifically addressed by either our host or one of the commenters, here on this blog.

    Bluntly, I’m pretty sure that it’s repeating already-disproven claims because they elicit such a strong reaction. (I’d say it’s intentionally repeating such claims, but programs have no capacity for intent, as we all know.) Belief — even if the Greg program was capable of belief — is secondary to its primary function, of eliciting reactions.

  69. #69 MIRose
    October 16, 2013

    Jane
    I had that conversation with my doctor. In fact he showed me the journal articles that backed up the fact that with surgery and radiation there was a 70% chance my cancer would not return and if I added chemo and Herceptin my chances went up to 90%. I chose to do it all and my choice was based on facts that were backed up by studies in peer reviewed journals.journals.

  70. #70 Greg
    October 16, 2013

    I really do appreciate this discussion pertaining to the risks and side-effects of cancer treatment. So often Orac and his minions limit the discussion to comparing modern medicine to alternative medicine, their hoping being that modern medicine will be shown in the best light. Yet, in doing so they also, deliberately, commit the con of shielding the very important matter of the safety and efficacy of modern medicine. With cancer treatment there is often little choice but to take the risks. Promoting unnecessary medical procedures for an ill informed public, however, is another matter. It is nothing short of treacherous.

  71. #71 Denice Walter
    October 16, 2013

    @ Mewens:

    And do you propose a method to test your hypothesis, Mr Turing?

    If so, it might also be applied to AM Dachel, J Crosby and possibly even Mikey.

    Save us all a lot of work.
    But then so does killfile.

  72. #72 Mewens
    October 16, 2013

    Ha ha ha, I shudder to think of the implications – the androids are here, and they do mean to take over.

    They’re also really, really incompetent, which calls into question this whole computer thing to begin with.

  73. #73 Denice Walter
    October 16, 2013

    There’s another way to look at it :
    it may not be highly limited programming BUT
    a non-android with only a few cognitive constructs to its name.
    Either way: you can’t tell which was which.

  74. #74 Ausduck
    the verandah
    October 16, 2013

    @ AntipodeanChic #34

    You may have been spared most of the promotions as the Wellness Warrior is based over here on the East Coast, not over in the lovely West :)
    She is being watched very carefully, and is called on the misinformation. But like most people of the alternative therapies outlook, people who question get banned from the forums where she can control the comments.
    I’m hoping that her mum’s death will cause a little light to go on somewhere, but I’m not holding my breath.

  75. #75 DrBollocks
    Down Under in the land of the setting sun
    October 17, 2013

    @Ausduck @AntipodeanChick

    I became aware of the “Wellness Warrior” only recently when I made the mistake of leafing through the “Body & Soul” section of the Sunday Times*. I found a concentrated collection of woo, including, but not limited to, an “Ask the Naturopath” article (apparently a regular column). Perhaps inevitably, given the overall tenor of the section, there was a completely uncritical piece on Jessica Ainscough and how she has “beaten cancer” with alternative therapy a few weeks ago.

    * For those outside Australia, the Sunday Times is a mainstream (relatively) newspaper, part of the Murdoch empire.

  76. #76 Narad
    October 17, 2013

    Is there a Chrome killfile for this blog yet?

    If Chrome has equivalent functionality to Greasemonkey, then this should work.

  77. #77 AdamG
    October 17, 2013

    If Chrome has equivalent functionality to Greasemonkey, then this should work.

    The chrome extension Tampermonkey is your best bet, the linked killfile script works like a charm.

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tampermonkey/dhdgffkkebhmkfjojejmpbldmpobfkfo?hl=en

  78. #78 AntipodeanChic
    Down Under near the Beach
    October 17, 2013

    @Ausduck @DrBollocks

    This is what I alluded to with horror in my post! The fact that even in the wake of her mother’s painful death from breast cancer, one can only find puff-pieces about Jessica Ainscough’s “activities” (despite their shocking implications) in the Australian media.

    I hope that this changes in the coming weeks, as it is utterly depressing.

  79. #79 Narad
    October 17, 2013

    the linked killfile script works like a charm

    I’m not in an XPath mood at the moment, but offhand, seems as though it ought to be straightforward to prune the “Recent Insolence returned,” as well.

  80. #80 Orac
    October 18, 2013

    This is what I alluded to with horror in my post! The fact that even in the wake of her mother’s painful death from breast cancer, one can only find puff-pieces about Jessica Ainscough’s “activities” (despite their shocking implications) in the Australian media.

    Well, here in the States, few people have heard of The Wellness Warrior, which means that when her posts and stories do show up no one knows that her mother died because she eschewed effective therapy for her breast cancer in favor of the same sort of quackery that Jessica Ainscough is using. I myself don’t recall ever having come across her until I learned of this post, although it’s possible that I did see something by her before and just didn’t remember it.

  81. #81 Mark McAndrew
    October 18, 2013

    The 2% gambit and ‘cut poison burn’ bullshit in full flow over in the UK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2459756/Ive-refused-chemo-breast-cancer-gain-isnt-worth-pain-After-double-mastectomy-woman-defends-hugely-controversial-choice.html

    PS. Greg, so where’s this amazing study protocol you invented? The one that would prove the case one way or another – and make you some sort of triumphant all-conquering medical hero?

    I guess you can’t answer that. What a surprise. So now you’ll just get embarrassed if we ask you every time (which we will).

    Still, you just keep believing Dashbot and Jake “I’ll never get a real job” Crosby, joining the rest of the deluded arrogant amateurs telling the entire medical professional world that they don’t know shit cos the Internet told them so.

    Nothing like zero training and a fat ego to make you an instant expert, hey Greg? No doubt a Nobel awaits you… :)

  82. #83 Krebiozen
    October 18, 2013

    The chrome extension Tampermonkey is your best bet, the linked killfile script works like a charm.

    Thanks guys. I’ve been using Comodo Dragon, which is based on Chrome, but neither Greasemonkey nor Tampermonkey work with it. I’m going to either have one of my periodic browser rethinks, or simply learn to control my SIWOTI syndrome in regard to Greg.

  83. #84 Denice Walter
    October 18, 2013

    @ Krebiozen:

    You CAN control your SIWOTI syndrome:
    have a drink, sit back and tell yourself,
    ” I can’t fix every loose screw or loose cannon that I encounter- altho’ I’m d-mned good at it!”

    Let go and let somebody else do it..
    at least part of the time- save yourself for important life saving comments for newbies or thoughtful semi-realists.

    I’ve learned that I can’t do everything- all hail the collective!

  84. #85 Greg
    October 18, 2013

    @Mark McAndrew

    “Still, you just keep believing Dashbot and Jake “I’ll never get a real job” Crosby, joining the rest of the deluded arrogant amateurs telling the entire medical professional world that they don’t know shit cos the Internet told them so.”

    Actually, I don’t believe medical professionals are useless and know shit. I just think they are over-rated. For ill people (maybe just very ill people) they are often a good resort, but the average person would do well staying the hell away from a doctor. Watching what the eat, getting plenty of sleep, exercising, and stop popping pills and injecting crap in their bodies (and this include babies and kids) should suffice as good health regiments. Ok, ok, maybe they will need to consult a doctor now and again for some screening tests — but that’s it!

    The Internet is also not such a bad place to get health info providing that you research properly and don’t believe everything that you read.

    Finally, if it is a choice between taking a proactive stance with your own health, and even if it runs the risk of telling a doctor he knows shit or blindly following a doctor’s advice without questioning, I think the former is better.

    Peace!

  85. #86 Narad
    October 19, 2013

    I’ve been using Comodo Dragon, which is based on Chrome, but neither Greasemonkey nor Tampermonkey work with it.

    Unless they’ve really crippled it, you should have built-in support for user scripts. What happens when you try to install Tampermonkey?

    Anyway, if directly adding the script works, you may also want to change @include to @match.

  86. #87 Krebiozen
    October 19, 2013

    Denice,

    I’ve learned that I can’t do everything- all hail the collective!

    You are, of course, right. I shall adopt a more relaxed attitude forthwith.

  87. #88 Krebiozen
    October 19, 2013

    Narad,
    Thanks, all is now working. I tried installing Tampermonkey again, to see what the error message was, and it installed without any problem this time, as did the script. I have no idea why it wouldn’t install the last time.

    It took me a little while to figure out the script was working – I was expecting something like the version I had used before which added buttons under each comment to kill or ignore the commenter.

    I prefer this version as I will now be blissfully unaware that Greg has even posted unless someone else replies. BTW the version of the script you linked to has you killfiled as an example, which confused me briefly!

  88. #89 Denice Walter
    October 19, 2013

    Here’s how I look at it:
    first and formost, we’re trying to guide the lost ones towards more realism- when we explicate more SB modes, even if addressed to a particular lost one, lurkers and SB folk not up to-date-on that topic benefit-
    HOWEVER when someone persists in his or her folly and refuses to learn ( or look things up, etc), altho’ our instruction still assists others, it simultaneous allows the scoffer to believe that he or she is “making a mark’ or getting us to change. We don’t want to reward- even inadvertently- their crassness or their misbegotten ideas.
    Behaving badly shouldn’t make them feel good.

  89. #90 Greg
    October 19, 2013

    @Mark McAndrew

    “Nothing like zero training and a fat ego to make you an instant expert, hey Greg? No doubt a Nobel awaits you”

    Hey Mark, no, I don’t think a Nobel awaits me. Yet, as I explained prior, sometimes the greatest thing a person can do is nothing. Sometimes it’s best to leave nature alone and let it takes it’s course. So in that spirit, Mark, join me in raising a toast to mediocrity: (raising toast)Here’s to blissful contentment with mediocrity and whatever long lasting peace and fulfillment it may bring us!

  90. #91 Lawrence
    October 19, 2013

    Greg is “Idiocracy” personified……

  91. #92 Chris,
    October 19, 2013

    Remember this line from him in Comment #48: “Let me also take the time to congratulate Chris for his (her) success in fighting cancer.”

    Obviously he could not tell the gender of the subject of this article, even though it is clear from the title at the top of this page.

  92. #93 Greg
    October 20, 2013

    @Chris

    Actually Chris, for what it’s worth, I don’t know whether you are a he or she either. So which is it? (hee hee hee)

  93. #94 Krebiozen
    October 21, 2013

    Denice,

    Behaving badly shouldn’t make them feel good.

    True, but I still think there’s hope of getting Greg to understand just how horribly his AoA friends mangled that Danish MMR/autism data on another thread, so I’m persisting in my attempts to explain it. For the time being.

  94. #95 Chris
    October 21, 2013

    Greg, I am not the subject of this article. If you cannot be bothered to read even the title of an article, why should we care what you think? Go away troll.

  95. #96 Denice Walter
    October 21, 2013

    @ Kreb:

    At any rate, your comments will enlighten and entertain the rest of us. As long as your bp isn’t affected deleteriously.
    We can’t have that!

    Occasionally when I encounter the usual woo-centric media/ websites/comments, I want to pull my hair out- which would not serve me well. Now I understand that you don’t have the same worries.

    @ Chris:

    Good point.I have often speculated that alties reveal their slap-dash tendencies by mispronunciation of terms that are frequently used in the area they mime, malapropisms and by blithely missing the obvious- this contrasts with their attempts to appear erudite and professional.

    You really can’t really hide your abilities or try to make them appear greater than they are unless your travel only amongst those below your own levels.
    That’s what I try to write about – how woo enveigles to mislead people and how this can be spotted easily.

  96. #97 Sara
    October 24, 2013

    I’m an occasional lurker here and have learned quite a bit from this particular exchange with Greg. If he had been banned forthwith for his content and for insulting the blog owner, it would have undermined a lot of useful discussions offered elsewhere. Now that I see how hard most people here struggle to preserve a spirit of true inquiry–regardless of how easily refuted someone’s specious and rather pathological viewpoint may be– I’m going to pay much closer attention to these comments.

    This particular piece answered many questions I’ve had about recent studies/new statistics/revised protocols, and some new options for making choices when faced with a diagnosis.

    Points all around for correcting some obsolete misinformation I’ve had about some of these issues. Very useful.

  97. #98 Denice Walter
    October 24, 2013

    @ Sara:

    I try to illustrate how alt med attempts to trick people:
    one of their easiest tasks concerns misleading their followers about statistics and research design. In truth, very few people actually study this area or have any proficiency in it- including the woo-meisters- and it’s not something you can just pick up by reading a few articles on the internet- you need guidance from an expert. And it takes time.

    People who recieve graduate degrees in the hard sciences, life sciences and ( sometimes) social science usually have a few courses under their belt and may have actually done research- also SB studies include learning how to critique work done by others.

    So if you are educated like this or do research yourself, you start thinking this
    way and are able to recognise when others do similarly. Or when they haven’t a clue. Notice how our guides here ( esp K, JF,AF) need to repeat important concepts again and again. And how they have to clear up misconceptions repeatedly.That should tell you volumes.

  98. #99 Krebiozen
    October 24, 2013

    Sara and Denice,
    I gave up in frustration on that other thread when Greg interpreted my honest efforts to explain the science to him as attempts to deceive him. Before that I (Julian and Antaeus too) was running out of different ways to explain it to him, especially when he removed the increasing rate of diagnosis of autism with increasing age from the example figures I put together, because he didn’t understand why I had done it, and then complained that I hadn’t taken into account the fact that younger children are less likely to be diagnosed with autism, the very factor he had just removed from the figures. What can you do when faced with that level of ignorance?

    Anyway, I found myself wondering why I bother arguing with the likes of Greg, and then your comments reminded me why and made it all worth while. Thanks ladies.

  99. #100 Denice Walter
    October 24, 2013

    @ Krebiozen:

    You (and the other guys) have the patience of the saints.
    Take a bow.

    I sometimes just *can’t*- which might have something to do with the supportive therapy/ counselling I provide in RL- not just clients- btw- but various others.

    I occasionally wonder where we sceptics should draw the line between ‘education” and ‘therapy” though.

    You’re doing a great job and PLEASE, repeat PLEASE, do not let up expressing your exasperation. It’s very good.

  100. #101 Sara
    October 25, 2013

    Thank you to Denice and the others who amplified my point. I have a background in editing/revising basic life sciences publications and grant proposals and have been in the medical academic world for decades, but I am not as immersed in the struggle against distortions of clinical evidence–and even the most basic science–by the woo-meisters as most of you are.

    Please remember that this struggle against blatant ignorance does filter downward and outward to those who don’t beat their heads against the wall on a daily basis. It’s very important for people like me to understand your frustration and the contortions you must sometimes make to make logic and evidence comprehensible to the various purveyors of what is so eloquently called “woo.”

    This relentless struggle against anti-intellectual, anti-scientific sophistry that can profoundly harm people greatly clarifies not only the aggressive tactics of these people but also the need to expand this heated debate beyond the skeptical blogs.

    And to persevere with what you are doing. It is not quixotic. These woo-ers clearly have enormous financial interests supporting them, and I think exposing that as well will really help penetrate the fog they create. Their primary argument, after all, is that the medical establishment exists to support and reinforce Evil Pharm. The reality, of course, is that woo supports–and is subsidized by–and reinforces the unregulated and unproven sales of endless junk.

  101. #102 Sara
    October 25, 2013

    Sorry…meant to say that woo cannot exist–obviously–in a vacuum and must be promoted and subsidized by revenue from unproven, potentially or even actually dangerous junk.

  102. #103 Denice Walter
    October 25, 2013

    @ Sara:

    Thanks. I suggested ( on the wrong thread- today’s GWU one- embarrassingly) that perhaps we should publicise woo-meisters’ regal living quarters-all available on the ‘net.

  103. #104 Sara
    October 25, 2013

    For Denice–Sorry…using an unfriendly tech means to respond here to you… and to others. Hope you get this here.

    I am really baffled why these people escape serious investigative scrutiny. Not for their non-ideas, which is bad enough, but for their highly profitable enterprises and consequently suspect lifestyles. It’s somewhat similar to the inattention that the US evangelicals elicited in the 70s and 80s for their corrupt and decadent misuse of charitable contributions to their various “churches.” And then that finally exploded and people really realized what they were up to.

    These people are no different. Joseph Mercola is fabulously wealthy. No one is looking at that. Andrew Weil is not so egregiously corrupt and is insulated by the whole “integrative” protective structure he created, but he is also a shill for selling his own products and is also fabulously wealthy. I hope I don’t get sued for saying that.

    In my mind there is an extremely thin line between these people and these –can I say it? woo crooks?–and there is an equally fine division between them and someone like Oz and the tragically ignorant Oprah machine that created the now-completely-ridiculous OZ.

    I hope no one sues me for saying this. People here need to say it, but I understand completely the legal implications of libel and slander on a skeptical blog.

    I’ll say it, though–and much more based on my modest investigations if I’m allowed to here. Always remember the mantra of Watergate if you were alive then: always follow the money. It reveals motive and long-term goals, and no verbiage can cancel out the money trail.

  104. #105 Denice Walter
    October 26, 2013

    @ Sara:

    We are somewhat insulated …hopefully…
    altho’ a woo-meister sued a physicist over what he wrote on his own blog and for his commentary on another. Similary, wikipedia was sued for its bio of the same huckster. Both suits failed. ( see Quackwatch/ recent additions) We are currently watching another suit ( in a series) against a journalist- which failed and is now being appealed.

    I venture that a larger problem is sceptics being harassed at their jobs/ homes- this has happened to Orac, Ren, an hiv reaiist and others.

    That’s why I value semi-anonymity – I leave off my second last name and don’t say where I live. I try to point people towards material that is readily available on the internet so they can read for themselves. I use my own understanding of psychology and advertising to explain how I surmise the wooing transpires.

    I think that sceptics should keep pointing out the money factor: woo-meisters try to divert attention from their own scurvy MOs by talking about corruption in SBM, pharmaceutical companies, the government and the media. It’s possible to find annual income reports for some of their enterprises via business sites but I imagine that photos of the splendour they inhabit may make as greater impact on average readers. Remember these are the guys who blast physicians and others about accumulating vast wealth whilst they abide… in vast wealth.

  105. #106 Sara
    October 27, 2013

    As important as documenting the finances of these people is exposing their front groups and their organized, secretly funded smear campaigns against critics. I suspect that any sustained harassment against those who have a public presence has serious money behind it.

    I experienced this in the early 80s when I attempted to expose the ISA cult, one of the more pernicious self-help offshoots of EST. I’ve made a few forays into the real threat that is the Church of $ (fill in the blank). The nuts and bolts of the woo-meister harassing machines against individuals seem to be very similar.

    Unfortunately many of these woo enterprises are private and are buried within shell companies or front groups. There are organizations that systematically investigate such things, but so far they are not focused for the most part on woo and its various commercial disguises. They should be, and I see hopeful signs that more critics are coming out of the woodwork and demanding transparency.

  106. #107 Summer Rosa
    November 2, 2013

    While it is easy to attack someone for trying to profit off of the vulnerable, I think it important to keep in mind who is also profiting from mainstream cancer treatments. Let’s not pretend that this is a truly altruistic industry with the patient’s best interest at heart. Not when so much money can be made…

  107. #108 Khani
    November 3, 2013

    Nonprofits sure can make a lot of profits treating cancer.

    Oh, wait.

  108. #109 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 3, 2013

    I’m sorry, Summer Rosa, I don’t understand quite what allegation you are trying to make. It has something to do with someone – who you won’t identify – doing something wrong – which you don’t identify – in order to profit from “mainstream cancer treatments”.

    You wouldn’t possibly be being so vague precisely because you have no exact accusation you can back up, would you? You wouldn’t be engaging in the well-known fallacy of “poisoning the well”, would you?

  109. #110 Lawrence
    November 3, 2013

    I’m always amazed when people claim that we “don’t” want to cure Cancer…..as any successful Cancer cure would make the researcher & corporation so much money and acquire so much prestige…..kind of goes back to what we’ve said about Burzynski – that if we could truly do what he claims, he’d be regaled as one of the top researchers in history…..

  110. #111 Krebiozen
    November 3, 2013

    Summer Rosa

    While it is easy to attack someone for trying to profit off of the vulnerable, I think it important to keep in mind who is also profiting from mainstream cancer treatments. Let’s not pretend that this is a truly altruistic industry with the patient’s best interest at heart. Not when so much money can be made…

    I’m in the UK where hospitals get a fixed budget to deal with any patients who come to them needing treatment. The quicker a hospital can make its patients better the more kudos it gets (there are league tables of performance) and the less of its budget is used up.

    Our doctors and consultants get paid the same whether their patient gets better or not. Our GPs even get paid more for achieving certain targets, mostly in the area of prevention like vaccination and getting diabetics to attend clinics for example. They don’t profit from ordering unnecessary treatment, or from prolonging treatment by not curing their patient, quite the opposite, a sick patient just takes up their time and energy, and drains their budget.

    Yet treatment for cancer and other diseases is apparently much the same in the UK and the US, as is efficacy of treatment (assuming you compare like with like, that is). That tells me that doctors in the US are for the most part just as motivated to make their patients better as doctors in the UK are.

  111. #112 Narad
    November 3, 2013

    Nonprofits sure can make a lot of profits treating cancer.

    Oh, wait.

    Nonprofits can and do generate surplus income. The question is what they then do with it. There’s a reason that entities such as Charity Navigator exist.

  112. #113 Khani
    November 3, 2013

    Yeah, I know. However, painting them as profit-driven when the name on the label literally is “nonprofit” is pretty stupid.

    Around the Midwest nonprofit hospitals seem to be using any excess money to buy up more hospitals, and then equipment. I was afraid to even look at a mammography machine very hard after I found out how much it cost.

  113. #114 sarry
    england
    November 10, 2013

    MY FRIEND DIED ON WEDNESDAY – HE HAD BEEN PUMPED FULL OF CHEMO AND HAD UNDERGONE RADIATION – WAKE UP AND SEE WHAT SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS A CHANGE IN DIET CAN DO. MY HUSBAND’S AUNT HAD BEEN GIVEN 2 MONTHS TO LIVE – BREAST CANCER THAT HAD SPREAD TO HER LUNGS – SHE CHANGED HER DIET – AND LIVED ANOTHER 34 YEARS.

  114. #115 Chris,
    November 10, 2013

    sarry: “SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS A CHANGE IN DIET CAN DO.”

    Citation needed. Unverifiable anecdotes do not count. Post the PubMed indexed study from a reputable qualified researcher that changing one’s diet makes cancer go away.

  115. #116 sarry
    england
    November 10, 2013

    Hi Chris – have you ever read The Gerson Therapy?. If not, would you consider getting a copy and having a read? Chapter one gives an excerpt of a letter from Professor of Medicine, Yoshihiko to Charlotte Gerson, and how he refused chemo and went the Gerson way – and the knock on effects from that. Medicine has a huge political component built in to it today – money makes the world go round! My friend got the ‘best’ the medical profession had to offer him – and it didn’t cure him. About 10 weeks ago I tracked down a man in the USA who had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the esophagus. Without chemo and surgery the oncologist said his prognosis was 2 – 3 months. He refused surgery and chemo and went the Gerson way – that was 23 years ago. You say anecdotes don’t count – they do if you happen to be a survivor – medical people can ‘poo poo’ alternatives – all I can work on is the people I have spoken to myself . My beautiful friend eventually decided that looking at alternatives was the only option left to him – he started to read the Gerson book, and simply said ‘there seems to be something in this food lark’ – a massive step for him. Unfortunately he had left it too late. Have you ever considered researching diet and cancer survival rates? . Unfortunately the drug companies can’t patent organic fruits etc, so they say that diet is disproved – not really – just not profitable for them…..

  116. #117 Lawrence
    November 10, 2013

    @sarry – I suggest you use the search function on this page, you’ll find plenty on Gerson.

  117. #118 Chris,
    November 10, 2013

    sarry, do you understand what I mean by “Unverifiable anecdotes do not count.”? If you don’t, find a dictionary and look up these two words: “uverifiable” and “anecdote.” When you do you will understand that stories without evidence are worth exactly nothing.

    As far as Gerson goes, do provide a PubMed indexed article by a reliable qualified researcher showing the verifiable benefits to pushing coffee up the bum.

  118. #119 herr doktor bimler
    November 10, 2013

    Unfortunately he had left it too late.

    So, an anecdote about someone who tried Gerson’s ideas but died, and a cool anonymous-friend-of-an-anonymous-friend story about someone who claims to have been diagnosed as ill 23 years ago.
    Some people have weird ideas about what is likely to convince other people, is all I can say.

  119. #120 Krebiozen
    November 10, 2013

    sarry,

    Have you ever considered researching diet and cancer survival rates?

    I have. Fruit and vegetable consumption doesn’t have much effect on the most common types of cancer, and Gerson simply doesn’t work.

  120. #121 herr doktor bimler
    November 10, 2013

    You say anecdotes don’t count – they do if you happen to be a survivor – medical people can ‘poo poo’ alternatives – all I can work on is the people I have spoken to myself

    I get a lot of e-mails which urge me to pay more attention to unsourced anecdotes. Usually they involve lotteries, a form of pen1s enlargement, or special tricks for making money on markets and horse races.

  121. #122 Khani
    November 10, 2013

    #114 Your friend died of cancer, and that is very sad.

    While there are diets that can slightly reduce your chances of getting cancer, once you have it, a diet is not going to have any curative properties. It would be very nice if it did, but sadly, it doesn’t.

    If you want to convince us that it does work, of course, there is a very, very simple way to do it.

    All you have to do is produce the peer-reviewed, statistically significant and well-designed study that shows it works, published in a top-tier scientific journal that is reputable and rigorous.

    I would be happy to eat crow and admit I was wrong then, because we would have another good treatment for cancer, which would be a cause for celebration.

  122. #123 Dangerous Bacon
    November 10, 2013

    “My beautiful friend eventually decided that looking at alternatives was the only option left to him – he started to read the Gerson book, and simply said ‘there seems to be something in this food lark’ – a massive step for him. Unfortunately he had left it too late.”

    Isn’t that always how it goes when Gerson or another alt cancer cure fails to work? The patient started on the alternative path too late, was ruined by previous mainstream therapy, didn’t do it right etc. etc.

    The excuses are legion.

  123. #124 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    November 10, 2013

    Summer Rosa:

    While it is easy to attack someone for trying to profit off of the vulnerable, I think it important to keep in mind who is also profiting from mainstream cancer treatments. Let’s not pretend that this is a truly altruistic industry with the patient’s best interest at heart. Not when so much money can be made…

    Interesting — is your objection essentially just that you feel that we’re criticizing the wrong people? That the questions about profit are only appropriate if we’re attacking mainstream medicine? Because otherwise, if you truly feel that suspicion should be universal, then you really have no objection with this blog, which attacks all the profit-mongers who put money before patients. Yes, that includes mainstream providers, some of whom have gone pretty far down the “offer useless crap that insurance won’t cover but which is basically pure profit” rabbit-hole.

  124. #125 Scared
    November 11, 2013

    I am the first person in my family to ever get cancer (breast) and although many friends have it, I never in a million years thought I would be one. I am still in shock. Since no one seems to know what causes it, it’s natural to question, “What did I do wrong?” . My diet is horrible, that’s one thing, and since the diagnosis, a vegan fiend has been on my case to drastically change my diet, cut out all meat products etc, adopt an “all natural” lifestyle and to refuse chemotherapy after surgery. Patients are confused. After diagnosis, we attend the University of Google and get even more confused and scared by all the horror stories. We don’t understand what a 3% or 5% chance of survival really means in real terms. I am early in this process, just been diagnosed, dont know what stage it is, and have not yet met with an oncologist but my surgeon says quite likely I will need chemo. I am deathly (pun unintended) scared of surgery, I am scared of chemo (we always read that chemo kills you or causes it to spread or reoccur) , I am scared of the future, I already have “chemo brain”, I don’t know what to do. So when people say, you can get better without chemo, no wonder we listen. No matter how educated we are, we still hope for that magical cure without the horrible treatment, and that we will wake up one morning and it will be gone. I hope I have a good oncologist who is able to really communicate all the options with me, so that I can make a good decision. I am very confused, and I think that confusion is probably common to every person who has been diagnosed (except maybe doctors)

  125. #126 Scared
    November 11, 2013

    Anybody have an opinion on this?
    “A new study just out of Loma Linda University funded by the National Cancer Institute reported that vegans have lower rates of cancer than both meat-eaters and vegetarians. Vegan women, for example, had 34 percent lower rates of female-specific cancers such as breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer. And this was compared to a group of healthy omnivores who ate substantially less meat than the general population (two servings a week or more), as well as after controlling for non-dietary factors such as smoking, alcohol, and a family history of cancer.”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-freston/vegan-diet-cancer_b_2250052.html

  126. #127 Lawrence
    November 11, 2013

    @Scared – you came to the right place….don’t believe the scare stories & the hype…listen to your doctors.

  127. #128 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    November 11, 2013

    @Scared –

    Allow me to introduce you to XKCD, the best stick figure comic on the web.

    The girlfriend/fiancée/wife of the author of the comic battled breast cancer, and it became a part of the comic. Please see
    http://xkcd.com/836/ and take the words there to heart.

    You can search ‘cancer’ on the XKCD site to see more of the comics (they provide some encouragement, and a bit of in sight to what’s ahead), but please at least read the one I link to above, and consider the words carefully.

  128. #129 Denice Walter
    November 11, 2013

    @ Scared:

    Listen to the voice of reason ( which I DO clearly hear in your last few sentences above) not the voice of fear and emotion. As our esteemed and glorious host, Orac, shows, there are DATA to guide us- studies from all over the world, accumulated over decades. Numbers don’t lie – whereas stories and testimonials from alt med sources can bend and twist language- and the truth- to do their bidding and influence people- frightening them into paralysis about SBM and giving them false hopes about woo. Alt med is itself a compromised source because they are trying to prove a point- that they are indeed superior to the experts.
    Oh, and they usually make money off of their services/ products.

    My cousin had to have an optic nerve meningioma removed-altho’ these are benign mostly, they can destroy vision and cause other problems- and it is BRAIN surgery- and she was terrified- BUT she forced herself to not delay and came through it well and no longer has the awful growth that was harming her. It’s GONE. She won’t go blind.

    Alt med attempts to lull people into believing that non-toxic, non-invasive, easy treatments will cure cancer- it’s not true: they are looking for customers or converts as well as calming their own fears by believing that cancer can be avoided by simple dietary changes and that it can be cured without SB treatment. They are also fooling themselves. They distort.
    They lie.
    You need to have the awful growth removed so it won’t harm you anymore.

    LIfe isn’t easy: realistic people recognise that sometimes you have to go through hard times in order to get to a better place. You have to do what is necessary according to experts NOT those entranced by wishful thinking.

    Talk to people who understand cancer and treatment.

  129. #130 Militant Agnostic
    November 11, 2013

    @Scared

    a vegan fiend has been on my case to drastically change my diet, cut out all meat products etc, adopt an “all natural” lifestyle and to refuse chemotherapy after surgery.

    Truth in typos

    With regard to the study quoted in the Huff Po (known in these parts as “the wretched hive of scum and quackery”), John Ionnidis has shown that most preliminary medical studies are wrong. You need to look at the larger body of evidence. This link http://epic.iarc.fr/keyfindings.php shows that diet has little or no influence on breast cancer. For some reason a lot of Vegans and Vegetarians seem to have a need to find justifications other than ethics for their unnatural diets.

  130. #131 JGC
    This is described as an 'elegant experiment'?
    November 11, 2013

    An elegant series of experiments was performed in which people were placed on different diets and their blood was then dripped on human cancer cells growing in a petri dish to see whose diet kicked more cancer butt

    Apparently human blood kills cancer cells in petri dishes–then again, so does a blowtorch.

  131. #132 Scared
    November 11, 2013

    Thank you all so much for the responses.
    @Denice. I am definitely doing surgery (pending CT and bone scan results) . My indecision is whether chemo is necessary afterwards (again I know that is dependent on staging), and how I will make that decision. I think “trust your doctors” is the best advice, but I still have much uncertainty as to weighing risks/benefits of chemo.
    @ militant agnostic Thank you for pointing out the misleading info in the HuffPo article. Unfortunately, it seems very convincing to laypersons such as myself, and I think it should be a crime for people to write these articles which end up misleading people, and adversely affect their treatment decisions.

  132. #133 Scared
    November 11, 2013

    @ Johhny…thanks for the link! I am predisposed to trusting in science rather an alternative methods, but it is amazing how fear makes you seek out alternatives when we are scared into avoiding the traditional “cut, burn, poison” protocol

  133. #134 Lawrence
    November 11, 2013

    @Scared – you need to get out of the mindset of “Cut, burn, poison” because that’s what the woo-meisters want you to think….I know that Orac would describe it in a completely different way…again, listen to your doctors – they have access to the best information (real information & scientific facts) that will maximize your chances of survival.

    They don’t promise miracles, what they do promise is effective treatments.

  134. #135 JGC
    November 11, 2013

    “Cut, poison and burn” got my mother another eight summers trout fishing the Snake River in Montana with my dad. Course, she understood the risks and benefits–both my parents were physicians.

  135. #136 Rose Taberner
    Sydney, Australia
    November 11, 2013

    @Scared
    I’m also a lay person that stumbled upon this site during my meetings with Dr Google. I also have breast cancer (HER2) and was diagnosed 12 months ago.

    I have had the Cut, Poison, Burn and would do it all again in a heartbeat. I will stand proud and display my war wounds, suffer my unending neuropathy and heartburn and plaster my radiation burns with bio-oil. Its the best chance I have been given and implore you to take the same direction.
    My medical team, surgeon, oncologists, breast care nurses and chemo nurses are my heroes. Look to them as yours as well. They have done the hard work, the research and are in the business of saving lives, not putting up a fancy website to sell useless supplements or ripping off desperate people from their compounds in Mexico stuffing coffee up their rear end. It still amazes me that the woo-ers complain about Big Pharma when the CAM industry is alive and kicking ass with the $.
    In regard to diet, yes, I believe there are numerous benefits from following a healthy diet. It wont save your life though. I took the approach of healing and nourishing myself with a healthy diet, after chemo and surgery and believe my body is better than it was prior to the diagnosis,
    I’m not out of the woods and still have targeted therapy (Herceptin) every 3 weeks as well as Tamoxifen.
    It may be a cliché but life may not be the same as it was prior to diagnosis and a New Normal emerges, I embrace that with the guidance of my awesome medical team.
    Orac has given me so much more hope than any friend of a friend or Dr Google.
    Good luck and be strong. If you haven’t already, read this.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/10/17/sharyn-ainscough-dies-tragically-because-she-followed-the-example-of-her-daughter-the-wellness-warrior/

    Enough said.

  136. #137 herr doktor bimler
    November 11, 2013

    [Random anecdote, not intended to persuade, only to explain my own position]
    My friend Kerry didn’t undergo the “cut” part, only the poisoning and the burning, because she had lymphoma. The radiotherapy was intended to hit the mediastinal lymph nodes, in the neighbourhood of her heart, and she was warned that this would cause some scarring to her heart valves… so one possible side-effect of the treatment was that she might live long enough to eventually need them replaced.
    So earlier this year Kerry spent some time in hospital having artificial valves installed. She is now on Warfarin, and has a pacemaker / defibrillator installed as well (because her heart muscle did not like being cut, stitched, and generally treated like a peggy-square quilted blanket, and occasionally goes into AF). But since she has already outlived her terminal prognosis by 35 years, she is not grumbling about the radiotherapy.
    [End random anecdote]

  137. #138 Krebiozen
    November 11, 2013

    Scared,
    There are good reasons to eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and fiber, and to restrict your consumption of red and processed meats, but the reduction in cancer risk for most cancers is modest. Some of the health benefits associated with a vegan diet may be because it is harder (but not impossible) to become overweight on such a diet. A vegan diet is associated with other problems such as deficiencies in vitamins B12 and D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acid, and with low bone density (which can kill in the elderly), so I don’t see it as a healthy choice.

    Here’s a good review of the advantages and diasadvantages of vegetarian and vegan diets.

  138. #139 herr doktor bimler
    November 11, 2013

    Apparently human blood kills cancer cells in petri dishes–then again, so does a blowtorch.

    XKCD again.

  139. #140 Scared
    November 11, 2013

    Again thanks for all the input, I am so glad I found this blog.
    @krebiozen: can you clarify something I find confusing in this article? It says “Vegans consume considerably more legumes, etc …All those foods and nutrients are protective against cancer.
    (However)……” it is surprising that population studies have not shown more pronounced differences in cancer incidence or mortality rates between vegetarians and nonvegetarians”
    So is this saying that a vegetarian/vegan diet is PROVEN to protect against certain types of cancer, but in the long run, this is not reflected in mortality rates? Isn’t this contradictory?

  140. #141 Vicki
    November 11, 2013

    Dear Scared–

    A diet with more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains may reduce your chance of getting cancer, but it’s not a cure. A very rough comparison is getting a flu shot: you’ll be less likely to get the flu, but you still might, and if you already have the flu, the vaccine won’t cure it.

    One thing to remember is that your doctor really really wants to cure you. That’s partly because they care about you, and partly because they don’t like the idea of failing at their jobs. Rationally, your doctor may know that they aren’t God, and they don’t have a magic wand: but their job is to cure people, and they want to be good at it.

  141. #142 Scared
    November 11, 2013

    Thanks @vicki, that explains it perfectly

  142. #143 Scared
    November 19, 2013
  143. #144 Chris,
    November 19, 2013

    The answer to the question is “no.” It was discussed recently here:
    http://climatedesk.org/2013/11/why-most-of-what-youve-heard-about-cancer-is-wrong/

  144. #145 Scared
    November 23, 2013

    Thanks @chris. I am still getting the “your diet sucks and that’s what gave you cancer so you better change your diet now and stop eating meat” lectures. It’s exhausting.

  145. #146 Lawrence
    November 23, 2013

    @Scared – it is your body & your fight…don’t let people try to put any blame on you or bully you….they aren’t your friends if that’s what they are doing to you.

  146. #147 Narad
    November 23, 2013

    Any thoughts. ?
    http://www.oprah.com/health/Can-a-Plant-Based-Diet-Cure-Cancer

    My best friend was a strict vegan from his early teens to his death from metastasized colon cancer. At age 40.

  147. #148 Lily
    November 23, 2013

    Thank you – Your article made sense. I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in Feb this year. I chose chemo. I would be thrilled if I had the option to remove my cancer with surgery as Chris did. However, as the cancer had spread to my lungs, liver, and brain my best option was chemo. The chemo is doing its job in stopping the growth and shrinking the tumors, giving me more time. Your article validated what I already suspected. A woman told me she decided against chemo and was cured – she had stage I breast cancer removed by surgery then follow up radiation. Big difference from stage IV non operable cancer!

  148. #149 Krebiozen
    November 23, 2013

    Scared,
    Sorry I hadn’t noticed your question until today:

    So is this saying that a vegetarian/vegan diet is PROVEN to protect against certain types of cancer, but in the long run, this is not reflected in mortality rates? Isn’t this contradictory?

    There are various substances in legumes and other vegetables and fruits that inhibit cancer in cell cultures. So in theory if we consume lots of these fruits and vegetables we might expect our risk of cancer to be reduced. However, in practice we don’t see this, in fact from the evidence I have seen these is little about diets high in fruits and vegetables that reduces the risk of cancer apart from lots of fiber, fewer calories and less red and processed meats. I haven’t seen any evidence that supports the widespread claims that antioxidants either as supplements or in “superfoods” actually reduce cancer risk.

    This is a great disappointment to me, as a few decades ago I had high hopes that antioxidants might prevent all diseases, but I have been continually disappointed. Do remember that lots of fruits and vegetables are still good for cardiovascular and other elements of health. The evidence suggests that the diets recommended by conventional doctors are still our best bet, and contain plenty of all the nutrients we require, despite the claims of various woomeisters.

  149. #150 Krebiozen
    November 23, 2013

    That should read, “there is little about diets high in fruits and vegetables that reduces the risk of cancer”. My point is really that obesity, lack of fiber and excessive red and processed meat consumption are associated with moderate increases in the risk of some cancers, nothing like the increase in risk of lung cancer that tobacco smoking brings. Apart from that, diet seems to have surprisingly little effect on cancer risk, and none at all on some, such as breast cancer (if you exclude obesity, which is of course diet related).

  150. #151 Robert
    November 26, 2013

    People are waking up to the evil medical establishment in the U.S.. I really loathe this website and every opinion it expresses. I am following Chris Wark’s protocol, and it is working.

  151. #152 Lisa Levin
    Raleigh, NC
    November 28, 2013

    If you think you discredit Chris Wark by posting his video, you’re very mistaken. His charisma and truthfulness shine right through.

    Who pays you?

  152. #153 lilady
    November 28, 2013

    I’m going offline now. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Chanukah.

    – lilady

  153. #154 AdamG
    November 28, 2013

    Did you bother to read the article, Lisa? Is anyone who disagrees with you automatically a paid shill?

  154. #155 Jenora Feuer
    November 28, 2013

    Just as a note if Scared reads this still:

    So is this saying that a vegetarian/vegan diet is PROVEN to protect against certain types of cancer, but in the long run, this is not reflected in mortality rates? Isn’t this contradictory?

    Just because certain compounds may be very effective against cancer doesn’t mean that eating those compounds will be useful. The digestive system is a massive chemical factory that constantly breaks down and remakes compounds passing through it; anything you eat may be something completely different and useless by the time it passes through your metabolism and actually gets to the cancer.

    There has actually been some work done on figuring out some of what the metabolism does so that drugs can be given that will get converted into what you actually want by the body’s metabolism, but it’s a messy field (the body is a messy place, and everybody’s is slightly different) and that only works for a limited subset of compounds anyway.

    And then, as the second xkcd noted in the alt text, what you really want isn’t ‘kills cancer cells’, it’s ‘kills cancer cells at a significantly faster rate than non-cancer cells, despite all the confounding factors of the rest of the body going on around it’.

  155. #156 Krebiozen
    November 28, 2013

    Lisa Levin,

    If you think you discredit Chris Wark by posting his video, you’re very mistaken. His charisma and truthfulness shine right through.

    Sadly, a charismatic and sincere person can still be hopelessly wrong. I have little doubt that Chris Wark is all three; there is no reason to think his protocol will have any beneficial effect on cancer. On the contrary, many people with advanced cancer tend to lose their appetite and lose weight (cachexia). They need to be tempted into eating by any means necessary, even if that is processed foods and meat.

    Take a close look at the Gonzalez clinical trial, in which terminal cancer patients spent their last months of life juicing, swallowing literally hundreds of supplement pills and having several coffee enemas every day. No wonder both their survival and their quality of life was significantly poorer than patients on chemotherapy.

    By the way, no one pays me to write this, these are conclusions I have reached after years of studying the subject.

  156. #157 Shay
    November 28, 2013

    Who pays you?

    You do, darlin’. My military pension and my VA disability both come right out of your tax dollars*. And you are fuller of tripe than the belly of a cow.

    (*Not to mention my college education. Bet it chaps your assets, too).

  157. #158 Vicki
    November 29, 2013

    @Shay: Keep doing the good work. Signed, another taxpayer.

  158. #159 Scared
    December 5, 2013

    Thanks for the clarification on the vegetarian diet issue. I have had surgery and just got my diagnosis, stage 3 invasive lobular carcinoma and how I wish that a nice Caesar salad could cure me. I am still getting people telling me not to eat this or that, but I understand that it’s out of fear and hope that such a simple thing will make a difference. Have to stop reading and coming unto these forums now….too scary and depressing with my diagnosis. Thanks all for the education though.

  159. #160 Bob
    NYC
    December 13, 2013

    Why don’t MD’s mention the collateral damage from radiation and chemotherapy when they are giving success ratios. If the protocols kill and cancer but you can’t ever have sex again or pea normally – is that still a cure? Chris has found a way to live and be healthy 8 yrs after his surgery – so why all the vitriol against him. When I was diagnosed in 2009, Feb., I chose to not have surgery or radiation bec. of the excessive damage it would cause (guaranteed according to my doctors) and treated it holistically. That was 5 yrs ago. I have never been healthier and the cancer remains on one organ and has not metastasized as I was told it would.

  160. #161 Khani
    December 13, 2013

    “If the protocols kill and cancer but you can’t ever have sex again or pea normally – is that still a cure?”

    Dead vs. no sex and peeing weird. I… don’t actually find that to be a difficult choice, I’m afraid.

  161. #162 Shay
    December 13, 2013

    “You can’t ever have sex again”

    That’s going to be news to my brother Steve.

    (Not to mention his wife).

  162. #163 herr doktor bimler
    December 14, 2013

    “You can’t ever have sex again”
    Also news to my friend Kerry. And her 20-year-old daughter.

    Bob’s concerns about sex and peeing seem to be prostate-centred. Newsflash — cancer is not all about guys.

  163. #164 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 14, 2013

    So, Bob, it appears you were diagnosed with prostate cancer. I’m sorry to hear that. I don’t know what your doctor told you; I know my friends who have been treated for prostate cancer were told the possible side effects of the treatment. There is also quite clear information about the possible side effects on the cancer.gov website, and you should really look them over. Interestingly peeing funny and keeping you from having sex again are not listed for chemotherapy; they are for radiation therapy for prostate cancer. However, since radiation therapy is localized, those are less likely to be side effects from treatment for lymphoma or breast cancer.

    I’d be surprised if your oncologist didn’t discuss that with you as part of the discussion of your treatment options, but then I wasn’t there.

    BTW, it is my understanding that prostate cancer tends to be relatively slow growing and there is guidance that treating it (beyond “active surveillance”, presumably by some small drone) is not appropriate in all cases.

  164. #165 Laura Combest
    US
    December 29, 2013

    I see your side, however, to be fair and just, research and prove that nutrition cannot cure cancer.

    When someone develops diabetes, cardiac conditions, etc., diet is suddenly a very large concern and patients are strongly advised to modify their diets. When cancer enters the picture, diet is rarely, if ever, considered. It would only stand to reason that if we eat our way into disease processes, as well as other bad habits we employ throughout our lifetimes that may result in cancer, we would modify our diets and lifestyle habits to bring about healing.

    I have never had cancer, but I would at least like to be presented with in depth research of both sides before I would fully discount one.

  165. #166 Lawrence
    December 30, 2013

    @Laura – once you have Cancer, the fox is already in the hen house….eating and exercising will maintain a certain level of health, but do nothing to deal with the actual disease….and there is plenty of research to back that up.

  166. #167 Krebiozen
    December 30, 2013

    Laura Combest,

    I see your side, however, to be fair and just, research and prove that nutrition cannot cure cancer.

    Science doesn’t work like that; if nutrition can cure cancer, show us some evidence that this is true. Since cancer cannot be prevented by nutrition, though you can reduce the risks somewhat, it seems vanishingly unlikely that it could cure it. You might find the EPIC study interesting. It started in 1992 and is now following more than half a million people in Europe, recording their diets and other lifestyle factors and their health, particularly cancer. Their key findings in brief for the three commonest cancers:

    Fiber, fish, red and processed meats affect colorectal cancer risk, the first two reduce it, the second two increase it. Dairy foods also reduce colorectal cancer risk.

    Obesity after (but not before) menopause increases breast cancer risk, but consumption of fruit and vegetables is not associated with breast cancer risk.

    Prostate cancer risk is not related to fruit and vegetable consumption.

    When someone develops diabetes, cardiac conditions, etc., diet is suddenly a very large concern and patients are strongly advised to modify their diets. When cancer enters the picture, diet is rarely, if ever, considered. It would only stand to reason that if we eat our way into disease processes, as well as other bad habits we employ throughout our lifetimes that may result in cancer, we would modify our diets and lifestyle habits to bring about healing.

    But we don’t generally eat our way into cancer, and when we do, simply changing our diet won’t help. You can’t reverse colon cancer that was caused by eating too much processed meat by eating vegetables any more than quitting smoking will cure lung cancer. In fact, in advanced cancer the problem is often that the tumors are using most of the nutrients consumed by the patients, and pain and medication will often reduce their appetite, so getting them to eat anything, even ‘junk food’ if that’s the only way to persuade them to eat, is better than trying to force them to eat supposedly healthy foods.

    I have never had cancer, but I would at least like to be presented with in depth research of both sides before I would fully discount one.

    I think it’s useful to look at what we know about the causes of cancer (like the EPIC study), at the results of conventional treatments of cancer (see the SEER cancer database and PubMed) and also to look at the many studies of alternative treatments that allegedly cure cancer. Dr. Peter Moran has an interesting website herewhere he has taken a relatively sympathetic look at some of these treatments, many based on nutrition, and based on their own reported results, but concludes:

    The results are consistent with the methods having no effect at all on cancer, once established. Yet the instigators of all these treatments claimed very high success rates even with advanced and otherwise incurable cancer.

  167. #168 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 30, 2013

    I see your side, however, to be fair and just, research and prove that nutrition cannot cure cancer.

    Let us suppose, just for the sake of argument, that nutrition can cure cancer. The questions then become “what dietary changes are needed” and “how do we know that to be true?”.

    In the case of diabetes we know what effects (because of long study) the disease has and what can be done to control it via diet, exercise, and weight control. People have done measurements of the effects of various foods on blood sugar levels. Doctors have a pretty good idea of what dietary changes make sense and what don’t to control and, in some cases, eliminate the effects of this disease.

    So how would we know what dietary changes could control or cure cancer? Presumably first someone would have to see something in the population – say, for instance, that someone were to notice that people in a particular region tended to have a better recovery rate from certain cancers than people in another. They might then hypothesize that something common to that region’s diet was having an effect. Following that, they might perform studies to see if there was a good statistical correlation between the diet and the perceived effect. After that they might choose to develop a set of recommended diet changes and engage in blinded clinical trials.

    Unfortunately, the tests done to date on massive doses of vitamins and vegetable juices show that they have, at best, no impact on either curing cancer or improving the quality of life for people with the disease. A general “balanced diet” may improve quality of life in general by avoiding malnutrition, but hasn’t been shown to cure cancer. Presumably if beer, chocolate, or ice cream improved cancer survival then this would have been noticed in the population already, though one can still hope. This does not mean that it is inconceivable that diet can cure cancer, only that those these approaches don’t.

    So given that:
    – What dietary changes would you say can cure cancer?
    – What is the evidence that says it can?

    I would like to study the cancer curing benefits of pork products and whisky myself, but have not found funding.

  168. #169 herr doktor bimler
    December 30, 2013

    It would only stand to reason that if we eat our way into disease processes, as well as other bad habits we employ throughout our lifetimes that may result in cancer, we would modify our diets and lifestyle habits to bring about healing.

    It would only stand to reason that if you have rotten teeth from diet and lifestyle, then changing diet and lifestyle will heal those cavities without dentistry.
    Except it doesn’t.

  169. #170 Renate
    December 30, 2013

    And a chance of diet doesn’t cure diabetes either.

  170. #171 Greg
    reno
    January 1, 2014

    FYI moron,
    Chris has helped me(for free) and his website has helped my family. Maybe you should focus on actually helping people rather then trying find something wrong with them. Why don’t you focus on what radiation and chemo does huh?ASSHOLE

  171. #172 Greg
    reno
    January 1, 2014

    From Angelo Merendino’s blog:

    The first time I saw Jennifer I knew. I knew she was the one. I knew, just like my dad when he sang to his sisters in the winter of 1951 after meeting my mom for the first time, “I found her.”

    A month later Jen got a job in Manhattan and left Cleveland. I would go to the city – to see my brother, but really wanting to see Jen. At every visit my heart would scream at my brain, “tell her!!” but I couldn’t work up the courage to tell Jen that I couldn’t live without her. My heart finally prevailed and, like a schoolboy, I told Jen “I have a crush on you.” To the relief of my pounding heart, Jen’s beautiful eyes lit up and she said “Me too!”

    Six months later I packed up my belongings and flew to New York with an engagement ring burning a hole in my pocket. That night, at our favorite Italian restaurant, I got down on my knee and asked Jen to marry me. Less than a year later we were married in Central Park, surrounded by our family and friends. Later that night, we danced our first dance as husband and wife, serenaded by my dad and his accordion – ♫ “I’m in the mood for love…”♫

    Five months later Jen was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember the exact moment… Jen’s voice, and the numb feeling that enveloped me. That feeling has never left. I’ll also never forget how we looked into each other’s eyes and held each other’s hands. “We are together, we’ll be ok.”

    With each challenge we grew closer. Words became less important. One night Jen had just been admitted to the hospital, her pain was out of control. She grabbed my arm, her eyes watering, “You have to look in my eyes, that’s the only way I can handle this pain.” We loved each other with every bit of our souls.

    Jen taught me to love, to listen, to give and to believe in others and myself. I’ve never been as happy as I was during this time.

    Throughout our battle we were fortunate to have a strong support group but we still struggled to get people to understand our day-to-day life and the difficulties we faced. Jen was in chronic pain from the side effects of nearly 4 years of treatment and medications. At 39, Jen began to use a walker and was exhausted from being constantly aware of every bump and bruise. Hospital stays of 10-plus days were not uncommon. Frequent doctor visits led to battles with insurance companies. Fear, anxiety and worries were constant.

    Sadly, most people do not want to hear these realities and at certain points we felt our support fading away. Other cancer survivors share this loss. People assume that treatment makes you better, that things become OK, that life goes back to “normal.” However, there is no normal in cancer-land. Cancer survivors have to define a new sense of normal, often daily. And how can others understand what we had to live with everyday?

    My photographs show this daily life. They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife. They show the challenge, difficulty, fear, sadness and loneliness that we faced, that Jennifer faced, as she battled this disease. Most important of all, they show our Love. These photographs do not define us, but they are us.

    Cancer is in the news daily, and maybe, through these photographs, the next time a cancer patient is asked how he or she is doing, along with listening, the answer will be met with more knowledge, empathy, deeper understanding, sincere caring and heartfelt concern.

    “Love every morsel of the people in your life.” – Jennifer Merendino

    These photos speak volumes. Brace yourself.

    01-5dEsy7s

    02-zC1A5tb

    03-BiOWnec

    04-V4LichX 05-EuzamVt

    06-aXhNN2H

    07-lQV4MQI

    08-nhBJjeD

    09-O5tz0Lf

    10-wAzfI3m

    11-T86Pc6I

    12-3XSuqdU

    13-bZckHye

    14-EbHFRR9

    15-c8n2d9d

    16-ogZ90NU

    17-YOMt8nY

    18-ovItc24

    19-tY0APdP

    20-I2tE1Tk

    21-GlBEPRY

    22-rZIpEuG

    23-gbLNHAQ-1

    24-wy084WW-1

    25-yt1cOUa

    26-LeUG3OV

    27-lcQWvKE

    28-wMLWKim

    29-v3OmRO0

    30-i7Xfj9f

    31-ETZMZeD

    All photos by Angelo Merendino.

    Angelo has started an organization to help women with their financial struggles during their trials with breast cancer.

    More about that at Angelo’s blog: http://mywifesfightwithbreastcancer.com

  172. #173 Lawrence
    January 1, 2014

    Oh Greg, you really haven’t started the New Year off right, have you?

  173. #174 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 1, 2014

    Greg in Reno (presumably not the Greg who typically comments on autism) – I’m struggling to understand what your objection is and why you posted Angelo Merendino’s story (touching and sad as it is). Are you claiming that it is not helpful to point out where people are spreading false information and to encourage people to use treatments that have proven effectiveness?

  174. #175 lilady
    January 1, 2014

    Too bad that Greg in Reno didn’t do a “Google” search to find this post by Orac:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/10/31/a-tragic-cancer-tale-misused/

    Who’s the moron and who’s the a$$hole?

  175. #176 Lawrence
    January 1, 2014

    @lilady – careful, you’ll be accused of being “mean” again….. ;-)

  176. #177 lilady
    Meanville
    January 1, 2014

    @ Lawrence: I replied to Greg in Reno…who used those expressions.

    Have you been over to The Poxes blog recently? :-)

  177. #178 herr doktor bimler
    January 1, 2014

    These photos speak volumes. Brace yourself.
    01-5dEsy7s
    02-zC1A5tb
    03-BiOWnec
    04-V4LichX 05-EuzamVt

    For a NY resolution may I recommend some remedial training in cut-&-paste plagiarism?

  178. #179 Lawrence
    January 1, 2014

    All he is missing from the first line is “Brace yourself. Winter is coming.”

    Perhaps then I’d take him a little more seriously (or less as the case may be).

  179. #180 Becky Weaver
    January 2, 2014

    I find it sad that so many patients presume that book knowledge and a few letters after one’s name = intelligence. Intelligence is a rare commodity these days. Wisdom, rarer still.

    You claim you “don’t have time” to actually study the cases of the people who BEAT cancer using alternative methods to see if they actually did and how, because your REAL assignment is to blog in favor of the companies who pay you to do so. PERIOD. You know you can sway people’s opinions simply because of those 2 little letters, “M.D.”

    Tell me, Orac, can you not see the forest for the trees?
    Why don’t you connect the dots to figure out why we have so much of these “diseases” (cancer / autism / alzheimers) here in the USA, while other parts of the world don’t?

    Oh, yeah, you work for Sanofi-Aventis! The world’s largest vaccine maker, who’s involved in several partnerships under which they will pay ($39 million USD) from 2008 to 2013 to your employer, Wayne State University. You are conducting a clinical trial of one of their drugs. Therefore, you’re exactly like Offit (who concealed the millions he received in Merck royalty payments by using a third party.)

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/06/david-gorskis-financial-pharma-ties-what-he-didnt-tell-you.html

    For those of you reading this who want to see some REAL SCIENCE:

    Food / water / sun – VIT D3 – DO matter, as scientifically proven here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FMlQeH8RFA

    And virtually ALL of you will either get Alzheimers or have a spouse who will since it’s on target for a 1 in 2 ratio by 2030.

    http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/ucm293101.htm

    (HINT: The brain is 75% cholesterol; we NEED cholesterol, but go ahead, keep taking those statin drugs you love so muchl!)

  180. #181 Scared Momma
    January 2, 2014

    Why is it always evil for doctors/drug companys/etc to get rich but not the alt med whacks?

    Not a brain doctor here, but pretty sure if everyone keeps living longer and longer, we will all have some sort of brain malfunction at 110 years of age.

    NO WAY. Food/water/sun MATTER! Genius!

  181. #182 herr doktor bimler
    January 2, 2014

    The brain is 75% cholesterol

    A normal brain is about 12% lipids, and of course only part of that is cholesterol, but the fat content may be higher for Becky.

  182. #183 herr doktor bimler
    January 2, 2014

    HINT: The brain is 75% cholesterol; we NEED cholesterol

    I can only assume that the “Becky Weaver” trolling in this thread is a different Becky Weaver from the Belizean one over in another thread, who is breathlessly promoting the movie “Forks over Knives” with its tendentious claim that cholesterol is absolutely toxic.

  183. #184 Denice Walter
    January 2, 2014

    Hold it there, fellow and sister minions- she got us!
    Notice that she’s quoting Jake Crosby which illuminates our glorious leader’s conflicts of interest! Yes sir.
    The jig is up. Game over.

    Obviously, i’m joking.

  184. #185 Narad
    January 2, 2014

    I can only assume that the “Becky Weaver” trolling in this thread is a different Becky Weaver from the Belizean one over in another thread

    Hey, she’s a “marketing expert.” And Gerson fan.

    • #186 Orac
      January 2, 2014

      Hey, she’s a “marketing expert.” And Gerson fan

      Actually, both posted using the same e-mail address and from the same IP address, and, yes, that appears to be her.

  185. #187 Narad
    January 2, 2014

    Sweet, she’s a MUFON field investigator, too.

  186. #188 Militant Agnostic
    January 2, 2014

    I always wondered what the result would have been if Robert Johnson had met Doctor Bronner at the Crossroads.

  187. #189 novalox
    January 2, 2014

    @becky

    Thanks for the laughs at your utter stupidity. I did need some chuckles after all.

  188. #190 Mrs Woo
    January 2, 2014

    @Becky – I find your proof fascinating — but really prefer reading things to watching videos. They really bore me.

    I have yet to see a doctor suggest eschewing healthy diet, responsible physical activity (my activities, sadly, have medical restrictions) and/or time outdoors. Do you have some proof?

  189. #191 Narad
    January 2, 2014

    For those of you reading this who want to see some REAL SCIENCE:

    Food / water / sun – VIT D3 – DO matter, as scientifically proven here

    Becky, what did Frank Garland die of?

  190. #192 Vicki
    January 3, 2014

    Yes, Vitamin D matters. But as far as we know, Chris didn’t need to beat rickets, because he never had it in the first place.

    If sunlight and/or vitamin D was sufficient to prevent cancer, sunburns wouldn’t lead to skin cancer.

  191. #193 herr doktor bimler
    January 3, 2014

    both posted using the same e-mail address and from the same IP address, and, yes, that appears to be her.

    Multiple personalities, then.

  192. #194 Militant Agnostic
    January 3, 2014

    Multiple personalities, then

    With alt-med never attribute to mental illness that which can be attributed to stupidity (or greed if they something to sell).

  193. #195 Dangerous Bacon
    January 3, 2014

    it was fascinating to read that the brain is 75% cholesterol. Of course, in the woo-prone that figure can run as high as 98%, which is why trepanation died out – all that goo makes a big mess.

  194. #196 Shay
    January 3, 2014

    Yes, Vitamin D matters. But as far as we know, Chris didn’t need to beat rickets

    Vicki, I’m saving that one for the next family dinner with my supplement-obsessed sister.

    (The wooish sister, NOT the sister who is an RN. Obviously).

  195. #197 Chuff
    January 3, 2014

    “Becky Weaver

    January 2, 2014
    I find it sad that so many patients presume that book knowledge and a few letters after one’s name = intelligence. Intelligence is a rare commodity these days. Wisdom, rarer still.”

    I think you have this the wrong way round. Certain letters after your name DO indicate intelligence. It’s common sense that is a rare commodity. As is evidenced by the number of people who presume that their own recollection, a bit of internet searching and some ignorant assumptions are worth more than five to ten YEARS of study and training in the real world.

    I’m an engineer and I see this everyday and that’s only about how machines work. If people can’t figure out how machines work after years of experience using them, I’m not going to take their personal theories on medicine seriously am I?

  196. #198 Shay
    January 3, 2014

    Chuff, I read a book about Henry Ford once, and I have a driver’s license. I guess to people like Becky that means I ought to be able to build and maintain my own car.

  197. #199 Chuff
    January 3, 2014

    Can’t you? I’m shocked. (Snorts with laughter). Can you at least design an efficient production line?

  198. #200 Shay
    January 3, 2014

    Plus I grew up in Detroit. That must count for something.

  199. #201 Carolyn
    Chicago
    January 5, 2014

    I credit my breast oncology surgeon with saving my life. Well, that and self exams! My breast cancer was stage 1 and my lymph nodes were clean. I decided on a mastectomy, and kept my fingers crossed for clean lymph nodes, so I could avoid radiation. I got lucky. I tried chemotherapy, but I was unable to do it. I was just too sick. I had no quality of life. So I got a second opinion for aftercare. My new oncologist informed me that chemotherapy would it increase my odds of survival by 3 to 4%. I still have to go to work everyday. I couldn’t do that in chemotherapy. I am now doing herceptin for a year and then five years of estrogen blocker. I don’t regret quitting chemo. But I didn’t quit it in favor of quackery. I know I need aftercare, but within reason. I’m happy and confident with the aftercare I have now.

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