It sucks to be diagnosed with cancer at any age, but it especially sucks to be young and diagnosed with cancer. The prompt application of science-based cancer treatment is important for anyone with cancer, but it’s especially important for young people with cancer, because they have the most life-years to lose if they dawdle or pursue quackery. That’s why I get particularly perturbed about young people with cancer whose parents choose (or who themselves choose) quackery over science-based medicine, and it’s why I become the most perturbed of all when I learn of stories of children being subjected to alternative medicine instead of effective cancer treatment. Examples have, unfortunately, been fairly common over the years, and include children such as Sarah Hershberger, teens such as Abraham Cherrix, and young adults like Jessica Ainscough, a.k.a. “The Wellness Warrior.” Add to that credulous stories in the media these people who reject conventional therapy in favor of whatever woo has attracted them, and it’d enough to infuriate a cancer surgeon.

Unfortunately, here comes another one

This one comes from Down Under, and it’s about a 22 year old woman named Carissa Gleeson, who hales from Western Australia and, as is so often the case, is portrayed as the picture of health. (Actually, before getting cancer, she was the She and her partner own a farm; she does lots of outdoorsy things. Before her cancer was diagnosed, she did a lot of farm work. Now she has a GoFundMe page to raise money for the quackery she has chosen to use. Meanwhile, I learned of her story in—where else?—The Daily Mail, although subsequently I found a more in-depth story on in Sunshine Coast Daily, a local paper, entitled Cowgirl chooses alternative therapies to treat cancer, complete with a photo of Gleeson and her partner looking like, well, a cowboy and cowgirl.

Over the last decade-plus, in assessing these alternative medicine cancer cure testimonials, I’ve learned what to look for and how to read between the lines. Those skills came in handy looking at Gleeson’s testimonial as told in these two sources and her GoFundMe page, as you will see. First, let’s take a look at how the Daily Fail presents her story:

A young woman, 22, who works at a cattle station, is trying to beat cancer by taking high doses of Vitamin C and using an infrared sauna daily.

Doctors told Carissa Gleeson, from outback Western Australia, chemotherapy would give her a 50 per cent chance at surviving five years of synovial sarcoma in her lower back, a rare cancer of soft tissue.

She had visited the doctor with a lump on her back, and was diagnosed with the rare cancer in March last year, when she was just 21-years-old.

Let’s just start out with this presentation. Glesson had a lump on her back. We don’t know how large it was. (At least, I haven’t been able to find out anywhere, and that includes both news stories, Gleeson’s GoFundMe page, and her blog My Journey Back to Health.) The reason it’s important will become clear in a moment. Notice how above it says that chemotherapy would only give Gleeson a 50-50 chance of survival. First of all, most sarcomas require a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to be treated effectively. One wonders why she didn’t mention surgery. Elsewhere, on her GoFundMe page, Gleeson states that she “decided against chemotherapy and radiation as I did not like what they had to offer” her.

So what does this tell me? Well, the primary treatment for most sarcomas is surgery. Usually, if surgery can be done first safely and without too much disfigurement, it is. Certainly this is the case with synovial cell sarcoma, whose cell of origin is not clear, where wide excision with a negative margin of 1-3 cm all around is the standard of care, and frequently postoperative radiation is administered to decrease the chance of a local recurrence of the tumor in the excision bed. The use of chemotherapy, either before surgery (neoadjuvant) or after surgery (adjuvant) is somewhat controversial and only contributes slightly to survival, which is, roughly, 50-60% at five years and 40-50% at ten years, survival rates that assume successful excision of the cancer.

The relevance of these observations is as follows. The fact that nowhere does Gleeson mention that she would need surgery tells me one of two things. Either she has already undergone surgery to excise the cancer and she is being offered adjuvant chemotherapy. Personally, I hope this is what’s going on, because then at least Gleeson would have had the tumor excised and therefore might have a chance of long term survival close to what I mentioned above. The second possibility is that her tumor is too large to excise and she was being offered neoadjuvant chemotherapy to shrink it and make it possible to remove. This would be a much worse possibility, and I hope that’s not the case. I tend to favor the first possibility as the most likely explanation of what’s going on because if she had a mass so large that it couldn’t be removed on her back it would be difficult to hide and likely now, a year after her diagnosis, very symptomatic. Also, I doubt the oncologists would have quoted her a 50% five year survival if she still had her primary tumor in place, because her odds of surviving that long with a completely untreated high grade sarcoma. (Synovial cell sarcomas are nearly all high grade.)

As usual, though, I’m speculating. It’s an educated speculation, but speculation. I just can’t know because, as is the case with pretty much all of these testimonials, the information released is too little to make more definitive predictions and conclusions.

What is provided in great detail, though, is a breathtakingly inapt analogy:

Carissa uses a simple analogy to explain why she walked away from traditional chemotherapy.

“If you walk into a restaurant, and they only have three things on the menu but you don’t like any of them, you are going to walk out and find another restaurant.

“When I say three things, I am referring to chemotherapy, radiation and surgery because they are the only three things offered by conventional medicine when you have been diagnosed with cancer.”

“There is a lot more out there that can be more effective, every caner is different but you have to find what’s right for you. And you have to believe and trust in what you are doing.”

Sigh. Medicine is not a restaurant. The reason there are only three treatment modalities for Gleeson’s tumor on the menu is because those are the only three treatment modalities that are efficacious. That’s the cold, hard reality of the situation. When you’re facing a life-threatening disease and your options are all bad options, it’s entirely understandable to want to reject those bad options and look for something else. It’s human nature, and there’s no doubt Gleeson got a raw deal to have been diagnosed with a cancer with a 50-50 chance of cutting her life short within five years. Unfortunately, nature is not forgiving. Sarcomas don’t care about what you want. They care about getting nutrients from their host, growing, and ultimately spreading. It’s what cancers do, and all the wishful thinking about other miraculous treatment options in the world won’t change that.

And when I refer to “miraculous,” I should have said “magical.” Just look at some of Gleeson’s treatments:

In the last 12 months I have made some huge dietary changes, followed a strict supplement routine & done emotional healing. I have also done a lot of cleansing including juice / water fasting, infrared saunas, colonics and hyper baric chamber. We have managed to slow everything down with all of this but we are in need of stronger treatments to start killing off the cancer cells and reducing the tumour size.

I am now doing 3x weekly intravenous treatments including high dose Vit C, ozone therapy, UV blood cleaning, bi carb, polyMVA, glutathione and emotional healing. I am now working along with an amazing team of doctors both in Aust and the U.S and have 100% faith in what I am doing.

None of these treatments are effective, and some are potentially dangerous, such as ultraviolet “blood cleaning” and IV ozone therapy. The first involves treating the blood with UV irradiation, either through withdrawing it from a vein or doing it “transcutaneously” (through the skin). Often for the first, just a few millileters of blood are withdrawn, irradiated, and reinjected, an amount too small to be plausible as a means of producing a major therapeutic effect even if irradiating blood did all the magical things its advocates claim. Actually, it’s been known since 1970 that UV blood irradiation is ineffective against cancer. Ozone therapy involves mixing of the ozone with various gases and liquids and injecting this into the body, including the vagina, rectum, intramuscular, subcutaneously, or intravenously. The result when ozone is mixed with an aqueous solution is hydrogen peroxide. There is no evidence that it is effective against cancer. Nor is there any evidence that infrared saunas, like the one Gleeson is photographed lying in, have any healing effect on cancer.

Then there are, as usual in these cases, many, many bogus lab tests:

These past few weeks I have done a whole range of different tests for a variety of different things. A few weeks ago I done a really important and quite expensive blood test which was sent to a lab in Greece. Here they are able to take malignant cells out of my bloodstream and grow them out in different dishes over a period of a few days. They can then test the sensitivity of the cancer cells against different therapies and also find out if they are resistant to any therapies. This is extremely important as we can then personalise my protocol a lot more with different therapies and supplements which are shown to have an effect on my type of cancer. (and also take away different things that are shown to have no effect.) Good news is the infusions I am currently doing showed different levels of effectiveness in killing the cells. ?? The cells are also sensitive to hyperthermia.

Last week I received my results back for a food intolerance test which is also done via a blood test. This is really important as I need every system in my body working correctly and to also keep inflammation in my body as low as possible. Different foods can cause severe inflammation in the body and different foods can also drastically reduce inflammation in the body. My test showed that I had an intolerance to 26 different foods including nuts such as almonds, Brazil, hazelnuts and peanuts. Also broccoli, white cabbage, sunflower seeds, chicken eggs and a range of dairy products. I was quite surprised with the results as I consumed a LOT of broccoli, almonds, brazil nuts and white cabbage. I did suffer from bloating before and since cutting out these foods I have not had any bloating after eating meals. ??Depending on the severity of my intolerance to the food it will need to be cut out of my diet for a minimum period of 2 -12 months. After this time frame I can slowly reintroduce and see how my body responds.

Many have been various tests that take tumor cells from the primary tumor and test them for sensitivity to various chemotherapeutics to guide therapy. They have all thus far been disappointing in their ability to identify effective chemotherapy regimens “personalized” to the patient. These days, companies have been offering tests that purport to isolate and test a patient’s circulating tumor cells for sensitivity to various drugs. These tests suffer from the same problems and shortcomings as tests examining cells from the primary tumor plus the added problem of whether the lab knows what it’s doing when isolating actual circulating tumor cells. These are the sorts of tests that are particularly loved by functional medicine quacks. As for the food tolerance tests, there is no evidence that cancer is due to food intolerances or that an “antiinflammatory” diet can treat an already established cancer.

So where did Gleeson learn about these quack treatments? Apparently, while “doing her own research,” she came across the video series by Ty Bollinger, The Truth About Cancer. We’ve met him before, and his video series is a cornucopia of cancer quackery credulously presented. It’s a load of pure nonsense. In retrospect, I’m now regretting that I didn’t expose myself to the series when it was available for free, the better to write a series of blog posts taking it down, but it just seemed like too much work, even for me, at the time. I might have to rectify that situation the next time Bollinger updates his series.

Be that as it may, here is the danger of quackery propaganda movies and video series. They persuade desperate cancer patients like Gleeson, desperate for another way other than conventional treatment, that there does exist a way of curing their cancers without pain, without the need for toxic drugs or potentially disfiguring surgery. Would that it were true! It’s not. But videos like this can lead cancer patients to believe that it is true and thereby lure them away from their one best shot at surviving their disease onto a path where they will not survive. Even worse, that path is very, very expensive. On her GoFundMe page, Gleeson informs us that her treatments alone average $5,000 a week, and that cost doesn’t even include the supplements that she is taking. When I read that, I wondered just what the heck could cost over $20,000 a month? A lot of conventional chemotherapy regimens don’t cost nearly that much, the greedy depredations of big pharma notwithstanding. What on earth are these quacks selling that costs that much, or is it, as I suspect, that their markup would make Martin Shkreli hesitate and exclaim, “That’s highway robbery”?

Stories like Gleeson’s saddens me. She’s yet another in a depressingly long line of young cancer patients lured by quacks to throw their lives away unnecessarily. It is not, however, Gleeson who angers me. She is a victim, as clueless as her statements to the press have been. What angers me are the quacks who seduced her with their siren song of a no-pain cure for her disease and the press, which, despite its perfunctory and obligatory quoting of cancer experts saying how ineffective these treatments are, presents stories like Gleeson’s in a glamorous light. It’s a combination that kills.


  1. #1 Opus
    Not too far from the center of the poultry universe
    June 20, 2016

    Costa$$ said “Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched.”
    Cost@$$ first promised citations on May 4, the 125th day of the year. Today is the 173rd day of the year. He’s been sitting on those eggs for 48 days. Chicken eggs incubate for 20 – 21 days. It’s clear that the smell is not aftershave, it’s the sulfur compounds released by rotting eggs.
    In fact, it appears that Cost@$$ has ‘laid an egg,’ as they said in the days of vaudeville, meaning an utter and abject failure.

  2. #2 Costas
    June 20, 2016

    Sulfurous fumes huh? That’ll be the putrefaction of your ideas about the correct treatment of cancer, which are straight out of a Gothic horror novel.

    You & Poe must have a lot in common.

  3. #3 Opus
    Just north of the buckle on the Bible Belt
    June 20, 2016

    Costa$$ at #686:
    What have we here?
    Yet another replay of Costa$$hole’s Law:
    The more times a questionable assertion is repeated without evidence the less likely it is to be true.
    This time, for a bonus, we got a replay of the Simpleton’s Fallacy, which postulates that cancer is a single phenomenon with a single best treatment.
    By the way, I absolutely love Gothic horror novels. This is from the one I read just last week:
    “The findings, as published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated that at a median follow-up of 37 months among surviving patients, the median progression-free survival was 25.5 months with continuous oral lenalidomide plus low-dose dexamethasone (Rd), 20.7 months with a fixed course of oral lenalidomide plus low-dose dexamethasone (Rd18) and 21.2 months with melphalan, prednisone and thalidomide (MPT). This resulted in a 28% reduction in risk of progression or death for patients treated with continuous Rd compared with those treated with MPT (HR 0.72; 95% CI, 0.61 to 0.85; P < 0.001) and a 30% reduction compared with Rd18 (HR 0.70; 95% CI, 0.60 to 0.82; P < 0.001) in the study.
    The pre-planned interim analysis of overall survival demonstrated a 22% reduction in risk of death for continuous Rd vs. MPT (HR 0.78; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.96; P=0.02), although the difference did not cross the pre-specified superiority boundary (P < 0.0096). As of the time of the analysis (May 24, 2013), 121 of 535 (23%) patients in the continuous Rd arm were still on therapy.
    Additional secondary endpoints showed response rates were also significantly better with continuous Rd (75%) and with Rd18 (73%) than with MPT (62%; P < 0.001 for both comparisons). More patients achieved a very good partial response or better in the continuous Rd (44%) or Rd18 arms (43%) compared with MPT (28%). Complete response rates were 15%, 14% and 9% for continuous Rd, Rd18 and MPT, respectively. Median duration of response was 35.0 months with continuous Rd compared with 22.3 months for MPT (HR 0.63; P < 0.001) and 22.1 months for Rd18 (HR 0.60; P < 0.001). Median time to disease progression was 32.5 months for patients receiving continuous Rd compared with 23.9 months (HR 0.68; P < 0.001) for MPT and 21.9 months (HR 0.62; P < 0.001) for Rd18."

    For people like Cost@$$hole, phrases like “95% CI” or “P < 0.001" apparently induce a monumental sphincter-relaxing near-comatose state.

  4. #4 Todd W.
    June 20, 2016

    @Dori (#685)

    Cancer is not caused by a deficiency of chemo. Cancer cells do not develop because the body lost a source of radiation.

    Who claims that cancer is due to a chemo deficiency or loss of radiation? If that’s what you think the rationale is behind chemo and radiation, then you clearly do not understand the subject.

  5. #5 Jay Onit
    June 20, 2016

    @ Opus

    ” If cancer is cause by pleomorphic bacteria reducing toxins won’t work. If it’s caused by toxins then starving the bacteria won’t work. Only a fool would recommend both,”

    Could you expand on this, I’m not a Doctor, neither is Costas; what would be the consequence of doing both?

  6. #6 Opus
    Just north of the buckle on the Bible Belt
    June 20, 2016

    Jay On it @ 691: ” If cancer is cause by pleomorphic bacteria reducing toxins won’t work. If it’s caused by toxins then starving the bacteria won’t work. Only a fool would recommend both,”

    Could you expand on this, I’m not a Doctor, neither is Costas; what would be the consequence of doing both?

    Jay – this is a comment on what I call the ‘Simpleton Fallacy’ in #689. (if there is a better nomenclature hopefully someone will let me know.) There is no one cause of cancer, nor is there one cause of breast cancer. Woonatics like Costas need A Cause for cancer so that there can be a Natural Cure for cancer. Nature is simple, so cancer must be simple, to a simpleton.
    What would be the consequences of doing both? Probably the same as the consequences of doing either, or the consequences of doing neither of them. There is no simple answer to what causes breast cancer, so there is no simple solution.

  7. #7 Jay Onit
    June 21, 2016

    Thanks Opus, that does clear that up.

    Nature is simple, so cancer must be simple, to a simpleton.

    Lol 🙂

    So to simplify, to see if I got it: there are many causes, many treatments, radiation and Chemo the last resort, before a last shot at involvement in an experimental study/ treatment.

    I’ve been countering similar arguments as Costas elsewhere, could do with some answers to inject some hope into the counter woo side, if it’s not too much bother:

    1) At a rough guess, over the last ten years, has the frequency per patient of needing radiation and Chemo decreased?

    2) When(ish) do you see then end to using radiation and/ or Chemo.

    3) How promising is Immunotherapy?

    4) From Wikipedia: “By mid 2016 the FDA had approved one PD-L1 inhibitor (atezolizumab) and two PD-1 inhibitors (nivolumab and pembrolizumab).” Would that make it “standard of care”, is there a timeframe for it becoming so?

  8. #8 Opus
    Just north of the buckle on the bible belt
    June 21, 2016

    Jay Onit @ 693:

    Before this gets completely out of hand, let me make it clear that I am not a doctor nor am I medically trained. In fact, my college career is distinguished by the fact that I have attended an institution of higher learning, as a registered undergraduate, in five decades, without so much as a BA to show for it. (If I can get my act in gear and get enrolled this fall semester I can rack up six decades of enrollment before my 65th birthday, which is a truly noteworthy accomplishment.)

    There are many who comment here who are far more qualified to comment than I am. If you want to see why I am involved read back to post #370. I don’t comment a lot on RI, but the timing of Costas’ comments in relation to my wife’s health led to my involvement, and as you can see I don’t give up easily.

    My guess as to whether the frequency of patients needing chemo/radiation is purely that. I would not be surprised to know that it depends on the type of cancer: for multiple myeloma the frequency of chemo treatments is probably increasing as the number of different chemo treatments grows and as median survival increases.
    For breast cancer the opposite may be true – as researchers get a better handle on overdiagnosis the frequency of chemo may in fact decrease.
    Hopefully someone more qualified to answer will show up!

  9. #9 Jay Onit
    June 21, 2016

    Wow, that’s me with some egg in my face, I’ve been guilty of a terrible presumption lol. Sorry.

    It was this that set me off:
    the American Society of Clinical Oncologists meeting wrapped up yesterday and I’ve got seventeen oral presentations and 64 abstracts to plow through before an appointment with the stem cell treatment team tomorrow.

    I thought “this guy is pro”. Fair play to the effort you have put in and I wish you and your wife every success.

  10. #10 JustaTech
    June 21, 2016

    Jay @693:
    I can’t answer all of your questions, and I am not a clinician, but I do work for one of the companies who makes immunotherapy for cancer (as opposed to for auto-immune disorders). so of course I’m going to say that it is promising!
    But I say that based one the science, not on my paycheck. I will also say that immunotherapy is probably never going to be the final word. The immune system is incredibly complex, and getting it to do what you want is harder than a lot of people expect.

    Also, the new wave of cancer immunotherapies, the CAR-T and whatnot that have been so hyped, they’re going to be insanely expensive. Not because BigPharma is out to make a buck, but because the process to make an individual treatment for each patient is incredibly complicated and takes tons of hard-to-make materials and very highly skilled people. Like, 4 people per patient product.

    As for the PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors, I don’t know as much about them but they are well spoken of by the immunologists and oncologists I encounter.

    I don’t think chemo and radiation will ever go away. For some cancers they really are the best or only option, certainly at the present time. And I just don’t know how else you might treat a blood cancer, since immunotherapy is inherently off the table.

    I hope those are some helpful answers.

    • #11 Wzrd1
      United States
      June 21, 2016

      I’ll interject here, a quick search on Wikipedia for PD-1 inhibitor revealed the status of a few PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors that were approved.
      I’ll liberally copy/paste from the relevant section on the Cancer immunotherapy article:
      PD-1 inhibitors
      “Initial clinical trial results with IgG4 PD1 antibody Nivolumab were published in 2010.[56] It was approved in 2014. Nivolumab is approved to treat melanoma, lung cancer, kidney cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.[59]

      Pembrolizumab is another PD1 inhibitor that was approved by the FDA in 2014. Keytruda (Pembrolizumab) is approved to treat melanoma and lung cancer.[59]

      Antibody BGB-A317 is a PD-1 inhibitor (designed to not bind Fc gamma receptor I) in early clinical trials.[60]”

      PD-L1 inhibitors[edit]
      Main article: PD-L1 inhibitor
      In May 2016, PD-L1 inhibitor atezolizumab,[61] was approved for treating bladder cancer.

      Anti-PD-L1 antibodies currently in development include avelumab[62] and durvalumab,[63] in addition to Avacta Life Sciences’ anti-PD-L1 Affimer biotherapeutic.[64]

      End copy/paste, feel free to read the article for yourself for other approaches. Like anything else in medicine, there is no one size fits all for treating any disease, be it hypertension through cancer, each person’s physiology is different than their neighbor’s is and complex issues require multiple methods of treating them.

      Case in point, I have hypertension, it is addressed with a calcium channel blocker and a beta blocker. While the calcium channel blocker has effect for 24 hours, the beta blocker lasts me approximately 12 hours. For other patients, both will last 24 hours.

      So, complex problems require complex solutions. Cancer isn’t a simple problem, it’s complex, as complex as our genome and in some cases, as complex as our genome and viral genomes.

  11. #12 Opus
    Just north of the buckle on the Bible Belt
    June 22, 2016

    Jay On it @ #695
    My apologies – I didn’t mean to mislead you. It was more like scanning the abstracts from the ASCO meeting, but a little explanation may shed some light on the complexity of cancer treatment.
    My wife’s myeloma is refractory, i.e. resistant to treatment. She has had significant problems with peripheral neuropathy in her last chemo regimen so for the moment we are ruling out any new chemo that has that as a significant side effect. She also has kidney failure so that limits treatment options. My initial review was based on those three factors: I was looking for updates or new treatments which do not cause neuropathy and are intended for refractory patients with kidney failure.
    At the conference with the stem cell transplant team we found out that her cancer has now evolved and includes a cytogenetic abnormality called a ‘P53 deletion.’ In brief, this means that the cancer is turning off the body’s natural DNA proofreader, which allows it to reproduce more rapidly. It also means that treatments are less likely to work and if they do work the positive effects don’t last as long. Now i’ve got four criteria when searching for updates on treatments.
    This is an example of the type of real-world situation that simpletons cannot address.
    With apologies to Monty Python:
    No one expects the Woo-natic invasion!
    Our chief weapon is ignorance, arrogance and ignorance.
    Our two chief weapons are arrogance, ignorance, and rejection of complexity!
    Our three chief weapons are arrogance, ignorance, rejection of complexity and devotion to prevarication!
    Er, among our chief weapons are: arrogance, ignorance, rejection of complexity, ruthless devotion to prevarication, and a near fanatical worship of quacks!
    Um, I’ll come in again…

  12. #13 JustaTech
    June 22, 2016

    Wzrd1@697: I know that the PD-1 inhibitors must be approved, because I saw a 4 page ad for one for small-cell lung cancer in a magazine yesterday.

    Jay @693: A bit more follow-up: as far as radiation therapy, have you heard about proton therapy? It’s a much more precisely guided form of radiation therapy that significantly limits the damage to surrounding healthy tissue, so that a higher dose can be given only to the tumor. So even ‘old’ stuff like radiation is constantly being improved.

    (Separately there are types of radiation therapy that the patient actually ingests, for things like thyroid cancer. )

    • #14 Wzrd1
      June 22, 2016

      @JustaTech @ 699:
      Here’s another FDA approved PD-1 inhibitor:
      There is another in the pipeline, in early clinical trials. It’s a pity that you didn’t read the article and follow the citations, it’s what I do. I’m the miserable SOB that slaps a citation needed tag on articles and after a few months, removes uncited entries that I can’t rapidly find a citation for.

      Separately, I-131 radiation ablation for cancers such as thyroid cancer tend to not be ingested these days, as there is a concern for a rather strong gamma ray source sitting in the stomach, while awaiting breakdown of the capsule. I had an I-131 capsule at a low dose for diagnosis of my hyperthyroidism, but the he dose is typically 0.15–0.37 MBq (4–10 μCi) of 131I sodium iodide, or 3.7–7.4 MBq (100–200 μCi) of 123I sodium iodide for imaging, ablation is measured in mCi, an order of magnitude higher and hence, a greater risk of unintended consequences. Hence, for radiation therapy, that dose is more frequently injected nowadays.

  13. #15 JustaTech
    June 22, 2016

    Wzrd1 @700: Wasn’t disagreeing, just saying that I’d seen an advertisement “in the wild”.

    I did not know that about radiation treatments for the thyroid, thanks!

  14. #16 Jay Onit
    June 22, 2016

    Too many great answers and I have used up all of today’s chatting on blogs, battling Ruskie Shills over the EU referendum.

    But I do see hope, what is an expensive process now, in twenty years time we could be 3d printing our own personal Dendritic cell devices!

    I wonder if people will still be doing the coffee enemas as well lol.

    • #17 Wzrd1
      June 22, 2016

      Jay @ 702, I don’t know about coffee enemas, but I’ve long been considering a coffee IV. 😉
      I’m just uncertain as to the effects of milk and sugar in that IV.
      Maybe a coffee with milk and sugar parenteral coffee feeding unit, man portable, of course.

  15. #18 JustaTech
    June 22, 2016

    Wzrd1 – I knew a guy in college who tried a caffeine patch. It worked so well he thought he was going to die of arrhythmia and couldn’t get his eyes to focus for hours.
    Needless to say, he didn’t get any homework done.

    • #19 Wzrd1
      United States
      June 22, 2016

      JustaTech, I have the converse of that problem. PVC’s toying with v-tach and difficulty focusing with withdrawal from caffeine. :/

  16. #20 Helianthus
    June 22, 2016

    @ Jay Onit

    2) When(ish) do you see then end to using radiation and/ or Chemo.

    3) How promising is Immunotherapy?

    To add my 2 cents as someone who mostly watched from the sidelines, since about a decade there are a number of projects in developing payload-delivering antibodies: select an antibody specific of the tumor you want to target, and graft either a radioactive isotope or a antitumor drug on it.
    This way, you get a way to maximize the concentration of the killing agent at the tumor site(s) and minimize it everywhere else. (although I wonder if kidney toxicity may be a big issue)

    If these types of project ever pan out, you may see simultaneously immunotherapy flourishing as a new standard of care and a renewal of the radiation/chemotherapy approaches.

    Also, it depends on what you call chemotherapy. To some extend, the immunotherapies where the antibodies act by blocking some specific proteins on tumor cells are just a different form of chemo.
    I heard of projects (not just cancer-related) to develop micro-antibodies*, or even reverse-engineer the catching site of antibodies into a smaller molecule with the same recognition properties. (so you get a little drug mimicking some interesting biological effect of a big antibody, likely easier to create and to give, and with less side-effects – well, it’s the theory)

    There are also some efforts into finding new classes of molecules by looking into the antibacterial/antifungi polypeptides synthesized by about every living organism (look for ‘Defensin’). This research is really in infancy, but I would not be surprised if one of these peptides is revealed to have anti-cancer properties, maybe after some tweaking.

    So, in short, chemo may evolve a lot, but I don’t think it will disappear.

    * it started about 2 decades ago with antibodies from camels and sharks. They are different from human or most other mammal antibodies.
    These antibodies are homodimer, instead of a double heterodimer, to start with, so you can more easily transfer their synthesis in a yeast or a bacterium, if you want cheap industrial amounts. And, as research tools, it’s working, there are company selling alpaga’s or shark antibodies right now. Medical applications are not available now, but in a decade or two…

    I will have to look up this shark antibody stuff. How do you vaccinate a shark?

  17. #21 John Phillips
    On the other side of the channel from somewhere else.
    June 24, 2016

    @JustaTech #699, you can’t get Proton Therapy in the UK at the moment though AIUI they are in the process of building facilities. However, if the NHS think your type of cancer is suitable, especially when other treatments have failed, no longer work or not suitable for that individual, they will fully fund you getting it in the US.

  18. #22 Elliott
    near the Dana Farber emergency helo landing pad
    June 24, 2016

    About PD-1 inhibitors–they won’t be a cure-all. (disclosure–I work for a company that makes one).

    They can’t be, since not all tumors express PD-1 (stands for programmed cell death protein) and only those that do are thought to inhibit the anti-tumor immune response. I think that’s about half of melanoma cases, maybe less. So, only PD-1 positive tumors are thought to be suitable for anti-PD1 therapy.

    Right now, the PD1 inhibitors are approved for only few types of cancers (melanoma and non small cell lung cancer for pembrolizumab, for instance), and only for advanced cases (where the disease has spread or where other therapies no longer work).

    However, if you check out, there are hundreds of clinical trials underway testing other types of cancer, and testing in combination with other therapies (both chemo and radiation)–it’s safe to say that pharma has gone all in on this.

    My guess is that the number of indications for which these drugs will be useful will certainly rise, but we’ll definitely need to use other therapies as well.

    Also, bear in mind that these drugs stimulate the immune system, which can be dangerous for some. Currently, the drugs have to be administered in a hospital, both to do the IV infusion but also to watch for adverse reactions.
    (That’s odd , when you consider the number of things that are advertised as “boosting the immune system”–here’s something that does exactly that.)

    And no–I have no clue about shark antibodies. Sharks get cancer too.

    • #23 Wzrd1
      June 24, 2016

      Well, those “immune boosting” supplements never have to risk what happened with TGN1412.
      Because, those supplements don’t boost anything but the wallet of the peddler.

      Modulating the immune system has its own inherent peril, should the animal models not match up with what happens in humans.
      I read about the mess with TGN1412 in near-real time, it was a horrific mess that has resulted in a half dozen cases of lifelong debility.
      Alas, there are times when one only learns by such harmful events. Which is why there were only a half dozen given the drug initially.
      Still, there appear to have been faults in the original study and I’m quite sure no company wants to reproduce such an event.

  19. #24 Newton
    July 11, 2016

    The oft cited chemotherapy survival rate of 2.1% comes from a paper entitled: “The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy
    to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies”

    Here are the first two paragraphs of their “Results”:

    The 5-year relative survival rate for cancer patients
    diagnosed in Australia between 1992 and 1997 was
    63.4% (95% CI, 63.1e63.6) [30]. In this evidence-based
    analysis, we have estimated that the contribution of
    curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year
    survival in adults is 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA
    (Tables 1, 2).
    These estimates of benefit should be regarded as the
    upper limit of effectiveness, as some eligible patients do not
    receive cytotoxic chemotherapy because of age, poor
    performance status or patient choice. Also, as noted in
    the text, the benefit of cytotoxic chemotherapy may have
    been overestimated for cancers of oesophagus, stomach,
    rectum and brain.

    PDF here:

    I don’t know if I am flogging a dead horse or not, but I apoligise if this has been posted before. I would assume that most oncologists are aware of this study.

    Does anyone here find fault in the methodology used in this study? Is there a fault or should I assume that cytotoxic chemotherapy is largely a waste of money? I honestly would rather die with my savings than live an extra month or so and die broke, hairless, and Swayzeed.

    P.S. In the town where I live, Swayzeed has become common slang for chemo-intoxication. The etymology remains unclear, but perhaps comes from the word “sway”, or unbalanced.

    • #25 Orac
      July 11, 2016

      I’ve written about this study, its deficiencies, and why it doesn’t support anti-chemotherapy quacks on multiple occasions over the last several years.

      • #26 Newton
        July 11, 2016

        #711 “I’ve written about this study, its deficiencies, and why it doesn’t support anti-chemotherapy quacks on multiple occasions over the last several years.”

        That may be true ORAC, but could you please copy and paste your best criticism for the inquisitors here?

        Q: What is the ORAC-value of L-ascorbic acid?

  20. #27 Whatever
    July 11, 2016

    There appears to be censorship going on here.

  21. #28 Dangerous Bacon
    July 11, 2016

    No, but there’s gambling going on. And I am shocked.

  22. #29 Costas Cleater
    July 11, 2016
  23. #30 Jay Onit
    July 11, 2016

    Costa, as one Brit to another, please stop, you arejust embaresing yourself.

  24. #31 Opus
    Nowhere near Costa$$, thank goodness
    July 11, 2016

    Costa$$hole @ 714:

    Still haven’t found any data to support your assertions, I see. I am not surprised. Although your insistence on dropping by to demonstrate your lack of evidence is a bit puzzling I can understand it when I take your lack of intelligence into account.

  25. #32 Adrian
    July 11, 2016

    @ helianthus #706

    It really depends on what people mean when they use the term “chemotherapy.” I think in modern usage its generally referring to drugs that interfere or damage cells during the replication process. They explicitly attack the cancer cells itself in a damaging way and are more effective against fast dividing cells like cancer. This also explains most chemotherapies side effects being blood, gut, and skin/hair based because these are also fast dividing cells.

    Using this definition, most immunotherapies and targeted therapies are not chemotherapies because their MOA is quite different from effecting cells during replication. They may help the immune system be more effective in one way or another, either through inhibition of checkpoints, increases in antigen “effectiveness,” or even increasing T and NK cell quantities and qualities within the host.

    Targeted therapies are tricky in that their are various methods to “target” the cancer cells (antibodies, small molecules etc) but the general concept is the same. Create a drug that specific targets a protein highly expressed by cancer and then and/or block the “necessary” signalling from the protein or mediate antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity. The hope is that one or the other or both in combination will be effective in controlling/destroying the cancer.

    Its even further complicated by the fact that actual hard definitions for things like chemotherapy and immunotherapy and targeted therapy are not a reality. For instance a PD-L1 inhibitor is an immunotherapy in that it relies on the immune system to kill the cancer, yet it also targets a protein on the cancer itself so its also a targeted therapy? There was a paper I read recently implicating the immune system heavily in the positive effects of chemotherapy so there is some models that even look at chemotherapy as being inherently dependent on the immune system to function. Basically….the lines are quite blurry regarding where one type of treatment ends and another begins if you are needing a hard and fast ruleset to discriminate.

    Biology and Cancer are messy and trying to put everything in to a neat box is useful when discussing with the laymen but then it leaves experts open to the laymen reading something “contradictory” and then suddenly thinking his expert/doctor doesnt know what hes talking about (see Costas)

  26. #33 Newton
    July 11, 2016

    #716 “… you arejust embaresing yourself.”

    Who is embaresing themselves?

  27. #34 Adrian
    July 11, 2016

    PS for what its worth, I think chemotherapy will very likely become a thing of the past. Targeted therapies are problematic as off/on target side effects are a real problem and due to the heterogeneity of the tumor its unlikely a targeted therapy will be effective against all the cancer cells. I think its more likely to be a stronger understanding of the immune system that leads to a cure. Probably via a nice balance of checkpoint inhibition, provision of a variety of antigens that hopefully cover all of the cancer, and primed T-cell infusions. Still a long way off from this though.

  28. #35 Newton
    July 11, 2016

    I was hoping for a criticism of this study:

    And a question for ORAC: What is the ORAC-value of ascorbic acid?

  29. #36 LW
    July 11, 2016

    @Newton, here you go. Specifically about that study,

    It turns out that this is not such an impressive study. Indeed, it appears almost intentionally designed to have left out the very types of cancers for which chemotherapy provides the most benefit, and it uses 5 year survival exclusively, completely neglecting that in some common cancers (such as breast cancer) chemotherapy can prevent late relapses. There were also a lot of inconsistencies and omissions in that leukemias were not included, while leukemia is one type of cancer against which chemotherapy is most efficacious. Indeed, the very technique of lumping all newly diagnosed adult cancers together is guaranteed to obscure benefits of chemotherapy among subgroups by lumping in patients for whom chemotherapy is not even indicated.

    To find additional comments, you can use this search string:

    chemotherapy 2%

  30. #37 Meg
    July 11, 2016

    The comments on the blog posted cited in post 715 are hilarious.

  31. #38 Newton
    July 11, 2016

    Interesting…Thank you.

    I have heard once the claim that Oncologists receive a commission on every drug prescribed. Is there any truth to this?

    Is this another Alt-Med rumor?

  32. #39 Dangerous Bacon
    July 11, 2016

    Yep, another nasty alt med “rumor”.

    Oncologists’ practices generally do make some money on giving cancer drugs, but not always. And chemotherapy is overprescribed in some instances, but more because patients and their families want “something” to be done even when there is little hope in advanced cancer.

    The “commission” claim (and similar bogus accusations) are rich, coming as they often do from alt med websites that directly make money from selling useless supplements and treatments.

  33. #40 Dangerous Bacon
    July 11, 2016

    Meant to add the following link that Newton might find interesting:

  34. #41 Renate
    July 11, 2016

    I think there is one doctor prescribing chemotherapy and getting rich from it and his name is Burzynski, who is only held in high regard by promotors of alt med.
    Something to think about?

  35. #42 Jay Onit
    July 11, 2016

    @Newton 719

    Not me, I was typing on my phone over a dodgy connection, feel free to check any of my other posts for my usual standard.

  36. #43 LW
    July 11, 2016

    The comments on the blog posted cited in post 715 are hilarious.

    The post itself is hilarious. I suppose a physician can’t really adopt a sobriquet like this, but thinking of Orac as the “Dark Creature of the Medical Profession” makes me like him even more. But then, I’m a fan of the International Lord of Hate and the Beautiful But Evil Space Princess.

  37. #44 Newton
    United States
    July 11, 2016

    Have read the article directly above and would like to publish a quote: “Absolutely not. Can I be more emphatic? Never. Nada. Not at all.”

    This quote was in response to the articles main premise. Now, since this article was written after the resolution of Dr. Farid Fata’s court case, this quote appears false to me. Dr. Fata over-prescribed drugs and made a profit in doing so.

    So why is James Salwitz so emphatic, and how can he speak for all Oncologists? Can we find agreement that this article has a somewhat heavy “PR slant” and over-generalizes?

    I think this is an important question because if a physician has incentive to prescribe a certain drug, then he may not do the best for the patient.

  38. #45 Orac
    July 11, 2016

    The comments on the blog posted cited in post 715 are hilarious.

    Mike Adams and his minions have published around 25 posts like this about me on NaturalNews since mid-April. That one isn’t even the most over-the-top.

  39. #46 Meg
    July 11, 2016

    Mostly, I found the comments about waging the good fight here in the comments section amusing/sad.

  40. #47 LW
    July 11, 2016

    @Newton, look at the full context:

    Is the average ethical oncologist looking at your CT scan images as a potential treasure trove of wealth? Do we go to our pharmacist and say, “Cheryl, mix me up 2 of those reds, 7 of those blues and 1 of that really expensive, but practically useless, golds, because that new Tesla is looking really good. Oh, and give them something to lose their hair, so we can sell those wigs we bought last year.”

    Absolutely not. Can I be more emphatic? Never. Nada. Not at all.

    He is speaking of the “average ethical oncologist”. He is not speaking of criminals such as Farid Fata or scum like Burzynski. He points out, in fact, that oncologists are paid more for chemotherapy than the cost of the drugs themselves, but also points out that oncologists (like anyone running a business) have a lot of expenses that have to be covered, and they have to make enough to pay themselves a salary after all expenses are covered.

    If you assume as a matter of course that all oncologists are unethical and that all referring doctors know this and don’t care … there’s not much anyone can do about your beliefs. But from personal experience with doctors and with oncologists who have treated family members, I don’t share your beliefs.

  41. #48 Costas
    July 11, 2016

    @ Jay (#716)

    I can’t embarrass myself (please note correct spelling). Apparently, I’m too stupid to do that.

    On the other hand, I can well understand how I might be an embarrassment to you. Let the red faces glow.

  42. #49 Denice Walter
    July 11, 2016

    re Mike Adams’s campaign against Orac ( and all reason)

    Scanning over his recent articles, I think he may be too distracted by recent horrible events in the US so he’ll be spewing hate against Black Lives Matter supporters, transgender rights and gun control advocates instead.

    Interestingly, I find that both he and the other altie loon – who are supposed to be nutritionists/ natural health experts- spend most of their electrons/ air time talking about politics rather than health.
    This informs us about where their hearts truly are.

  43. #50 Dangerous Bacon
    July 11, 2016

    Costas: “I can’t embarrass myself”

    On the contrary, you’ve done a fine job (hint: the only thing more pathetic than citing NN as an informed source is linking to curezone citing NN).

    How is that madcap gang of urine drinkers and oil-pullers doing these days?

  44. #51 Newton
    July 11, 2016


    Obviously, no Oncologist has ever said this verbatim. The author has created a ridiculous example that can only be denied, but the gestalt resonates with Dr. Fata to me.

  45. #52 Jay Onit
    July 11, 2016

    “On the other hand, I can well understand how I might be an embarrassment to you”

    I don’t think you do, see, I made an error, admitted it, offered a reasonable excuse and moved on.

    You have had your many, many errors pointed out to you, yet you still persist.

    Instead of apology, you claim to be researching. Instead of researching you’re trolling recycled NN.

    Why don’t you just admit you don’t have the facts you thought you did, just got carried away with a bit of Dunning-Kruger effect and move on?

    Cheers for the correct spelling of embarrassment, I’m never that fussed, I had a Dutch education, English is technically my second language 😉

  46. #53 LW
    July 11, 2016

    The author has created a ridiculous example that can only be denied, but the gestalt resonates with Dr. Fata to me.

    Well, yes. It’s safe to say that that the gestalt of that example does represent the behavior of Farid Fata. But if you think that every oncologist behaves like Fata, you don’t know very many oncologists. And if you simply believe that every oncologist behaves like Fata, it’s probably pointless to try to reach you.

  47. #54 JustaTech
    July 11, 2016

    Newton @737: If every oncologist thought like the odious Fata, then they wouldn’t be screaming about him, they’d be shoving him under the rug. But when the Fata story broke oncologists all over the country were wailing in outrage and despair.

    Generally speaking, the people who choose to become doctors do so in part because they want to help people. This is particularly true of oncologists, who have a frankly emotionally grueling job.

    Are there monstrous oncologists? Yes. But I would argue that the proportion is even lower than the general population.

  48. #55 Newton
    United States
    July 11, 2016

    No, I don’t know any Oncologists at all.

    I would say that Fata lies at the extreme end of the spectrum, but I am curious to know how often this sort of thing happens. There are numerous cases per year of Medical Fraud, as can be seen in this slideshow:

    And some of the more common Alternative Medical Frauds of course:

    So how would your average Oncological patient know that they are getting defrauded?

  49. #56 LW
    July 11, 2016

    I took a look at the slideshow of health care frauds. One thing that jumps out about it is that the great majority of cases involve overbilling for services that were provided, or billing for services that were never provided in the first place. There appeared to be very few cases like Fata where patients were deliberately physically harmed by their doctors. So the problem is financial fraud much more than a risk to health.

    So how would your average Oncological patient know that they are getting defrauded?

    They might not know if they weren’t paying the bills — those fraud cases were often Medicare or Medicaid cases, sometimes insurance. On the other hand, if they weren’t paying the bills they wouldn’t be suffering financial harm.

    To avoid something like Fata’s fraud (which is rare), one would look for reputable doctors and hospitals, and get a second opinion if diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately as long as we’re dealing with human beings, it’s impossible to be certain that you’re not being deceived. There have been criminals, even killers, in all sorts of professions. But the great majority of people in each profession are not criminals or killers.

  50. #57 Dangerous Bacon
    July 11, 2016

    People who have a cartoon view of oncologists* should wangle an opportunity to attend a hospital tumor conference, where surgeons, oncologists and other specialists present cases and request advice on how to best care for cancer patients. Having attended many of these meetings, I can attest that oncologists often recommend careful followup without unnecessary scans and biopsies, and discourage treatment where it has little to no chance of affecting the course of disease or relieving pain or other distressing symptoms.

    *another cartoonish view of oncologists states that they deliberately withhold valuable alternative treatments because they’d be put out of business and lose money. Somehow, I’ve never yet met the oncologist who’s immune to cancer and never has to worry about it affecting his/her loved ones. You can bet they’d leap aboard the alt med bandwagon if any of its nostrums actually was an effective cancer treatment/cure.

  51. #58 Newton
    July 11, 2016

    I enjoy your stayed discourse.

    I really have a hard time believing why the Moderator would throw natural diets into the “woo” category. This seems unfair. Is it not common knowledge by now that the more natural diets are healthier? Have we not learned anything from Scurvy, Pellagra, And Beri Beri?

    Perhaps I am in the wrong place, but the comments are disabled on many of the other blogs on this site.

  52. #59 Narad
    July 11, 2016

    I have heard once the claim that Oncologists receive a commission on every drug prescribed. Is there any truth to this?

    Although DB has responded, I figured I’d go ahead and put a name on what I’m pretty sure is actually being referred to: the nugget of truth here is the “buy and bill” model.*

    The MMA (2003) sort of addressed this (see also PMID 20558507), but the issue is still around, with CMMI and the OCM** having recently appeared, along with resultant howls (hey, Orrin Hatch is against it).

    * See also here: “ (There’s a separate question regarding hospitals’ purchasing private practices and then inflating overhead by billing infusions as outpatient procedures without changing anything, but I haven’t gotten my head all the way around this.)
    ** “ (I only get two links before automatic moderation).

  53. #60 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 11, 2016

    The woo factor of a diet (natural or otherwise) depends on the claims made for the diet and the evidence to back those claims. Certainly there are diseases caused by vitamin deficiencies. It is quite possible that there are other – as yet unproven – dietary changes that could lead to superior health. However, until you define what “natural diet” means, what “healthier” means, and how you know, there is substantial opportunity for woo.

  54. #61 Narad
    July 11, 2016

    Perhaps I am in the wrong place, but the comments are disabled on many of the other blogs on this site.

    I’m not sure whether you’re referring to Respectful Insolence per se (i.e., this blog, but not this particular blog entry) or generally, but either way, comment threads automatically close after 90 days.

    I’m surprised this one is still open; at over 700 comments, it’s dragging my browser right into the ground.

  55. #62 Newton
    July 11, 2016

    #747 Do you have Google Chrome? Chrome is like the Lotus Elise of internet browsers. You have to try it.

  56. #63 squirrelelite
    July 11, 2016


    To add to point 746, which natural diet has the best demonstrated results for treating acute adenoidal renal cell carcinoma? The patient has already tried a vegan diet, tweaking the acid-base balance, Essiac tea, and homeopathic medicines without success.

    And which of Ty Bollinger’s recommendations are best for that specific cancer?

  57. #64 Newton
    United States
    July 11, 2016


    Would you agree that the best diet for cancer would eliminate all the chemicals and foods that have been implicated in the etiology of cancer?

  58. #65 Narad
    July 11, 2016

    Is it not common knowledge by now that the more natural diets are healthier? Have we not learned anything from Scurvy, Pellagra, And Beri Beri?

    As I’m going to need to reboot the browser, I’ll simply mention again the Mothering entry that related some Brave Mama’s giving her kid a freaking goiter by virtue of strictly hewing to “more natural” salt.

  59. #66 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 11, 2016

    Would you agree that the best diet for cancer would eliminate all the chemicals and foods that have been implicated in the etiology of cancer?

    I, personally, would not agree with this statement as written. However, IANADNDIPOOT.

    I can see that it has a certain boyish charm. After all, if you were suffering from cyanide poisoning, the best diet for your recovery would be marked by its complete lack of cyanide. As a starting hypothesis it might lead to various interesting areas of study. However, IMHO it cannot be considered a proven principle by itself.

    As written, I have several issues with the statement. For instance:

    – What does “best” mean in this context? What benefits do you expect from this diet, and what is the evidence for those benefits?

    – What would make a diet that eliminated, say, half as many chemicals and foods worse?

    – Would you eliminate the chemicals and foods eliminated to just those associated with a risk of the cancer contracted, or to those associated with any cancer? Why?

    – What of those chemicals and foods which may be associated with promoting cancer in some doses and with inhibiting it in others?

    – What of those chemicals and foods where the evidence for a linkage to cancer is decidedly mixed and the link unclear?

    – What of those chemicals and foods that have a small risk of causing cancer (based on the data) that requires years or decades to present? Would those be eliminated as well? Why?

    Without discussion of the details and the evidence the statement strikes me as vague and unconvincing.

  60. #67 LW
    July 11, 2016

    Is it not common knowledge by now that the more natural diets are healthier?

    As Mephistopheles O’Brien pointed out, you really have to define the “natural diet” or that question is unanswerable.

    We can probably all agree that a diet of Twinkies and Coca-Cola is not natural or healthy, but what about a diet composed largely of potatoes? What about fish? Or acorns? Is cooked food natural, or should we stick with raw?

  61. #68 Adrian
    July 11, 2016

    One problem with the entire “natural diet once you have cancer” assertion is based on an (probably) erroneous understanding of cancer progression.

    Cancer just the term used to describe when cells have attained a certain select set of attributes. Cancer is either cancer, or it is not. Yes you can be well on your way to developing cancer such as in HPV mediated CIN which is cervical precancer, but the operative part of that is PRE. Once you have an established cancer, the cellular transformation has already occurred and diet will not reverse that. Obviously there are different grades and stages of cancer, but once you HAVE cancer, diet isnt going to have a major effect on the cells that have already undergone malignant transformation….and its THOSE cells that will kill you.

    I guess my point is that for someone with pancreatic cancer who is going to be dead in 9 months, switching to a “natural diet devoid of carcinogens” will not make a real world difference because carcinogenesis has already occurred enough to be fatal and the cancer progress process has begun. You cant turn back that clock.

    Also since its thought that carcinogenesis takes years upon years to transform cells in to cancerous cells, the timeframe of ceasing ADDITIONAL carcinogenesis through this diet will likely be moot because intervening in a multiyear process doesnt matter when the host will be dead from faster processes like the cancer they currently have.

    Basically once you have actual cancer, stopping yourself from getting “more” cancer years later isnt exactly fighting the right battle. In fact that logic is exactly why some cancer treatments are acceptable even though they are known to cause cancer. Because saving someone from death NOW is worth increasing their chance of death later. See : pediatric leukemia.

  62. #69 Chris
    July 11, 2016

    Newton: “No, I don’t know any Oncologists at all.”

    Then how are you qualified to discuss their financial practices?

    Newton: “Would you agree that the best diet for cancer would eliminate all the chemicals and foods that have been implicated in the etiology of cancer?”

    Only if you bring up the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers. Be specific on which cancer they are discussing, because there are thousands of different kinds.

    How are we supposed to eliminate the viruses like HepB and HPV that cause cancer? The best we can do is vaccinate against the more known strains.

    How are we supposed to eliminate the genetic variations that make us more susceptible to breast and other cancers?

    So, what exactly is your proposed perfect diet to eliminate cancer?

  63. #70 Newton
    July 12, 2016

    Is “IANADNDIPOOT” an esoteric acronym?

    Well. I cannot argue with that logic. Prevention and treatment are two entirely different things. While there are scores of epidemiological studies that could be used to debate cancer prevention, I have only found one that discusses diet as a curative agent:

    Could someone please tell me how to access the entire article?

  64. #71 Newton
    July 12, 2016

    #755 “Then how are you qualified to discuss their financial practices?”

    Am I disqualified from asking questions here?

    “So, what exactly is your proposed perfect diet to eliminate cancer?”

    Did I imply that I had one?

  65. #72 Adrian
    July 12, 2016

    That “article” is written by Dr Gerson who unsurprisingly runs a quack clinic that claims to have (without evidence) cured people using diet and other nonsense like coffee enemas.

    I think the words thoroughly discredited are apt.

    Regarding prevention, I dont think you will find an oncologist on the planet who doesnt agree that people would be better off if they avoided proven carcinogens (see: quit smoking campaigns.)

    I do want to note that im not arguing with you regarding eating healthy foods even when one has cancer can be beneficial (although definitely not a cure.) My main concern about following a diet avoiding food specifically that causes cancer because its putting the cart before the horse. Avoiding putting on more tiger attracting spray doesnt help when you are already being eaten by a tiger at that moment.

  66. #73 Newton
    July 12, 2016

    Dr. Gerson is dead Mr. Adrian.

  67. #74 Adrian
    July 12, 2016

    Good, Mr Newton.

  68. #75 Woo Fighter
    July 12, 2016

    Gerson’s daughter Charlotte has been running the Gerson clinic in Mexico for years.

    And that Max Gerson abstract is almost 30 years old. If there was even a trace of a whiff of anything substantial to Gerson, don’t you think it would have been investigated in a period of almost three decades?

    Actually, it was studied. A modified Gerson protocol administered by the late Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez proved to be a dismal failure. That’s why he had to be killed by Big Pharma, of course.

  69. #76 Woo Fighter
    July 12, 2016

    My math skills leave something to be desired. That Gerson abstract is almost 40 years old.

  70. #77 Newton
    July 12, 2016

    #754 “Once you have an established cancer, the cellular transformation has already occurred and diet will not reverse that.”

    That may be true, but this seems presumptuous to me. The reason I think that is: If we assume that the drug paradigm is correct, that certain chemicals have the power to destroy cancerous cells, then it would be difficult to say that out of the thousands of phytochemicals in foods, that not one is capable of accomplishing this in dietary amounts.
    Dangerous Bacon had mentioned Taxol (Paclitaxel) earlier in this post, and this is manufactured by a tree. Obviously not many people eat tree bark, but this chemical could possibly be synthesized by other plants as well. There is a possibility that out of thousands of phytochemicals that haven’t even been isolated, much less studied, that there exists one in edible plants with more or less the same efficacy of Taxol.

  71. #78 Chris
    July 12, 2016

    Newton: “Am I disqualified from asking questions here?”

    No, but they will not be taken seriously.

    “Did I imply that I had one?”

    Yes. It was in your verbiage I quoted. Do tell us all about that perfect diet that will prevent cancer. Make sure it is supported by PubMed indexed studies by reliable qualified researchers.

  72. #79 Adrian
    July 12, 2016

    Newton #763

    I dont understand your point. Noone is inherently interested in “drugs.” They are interested in treatments. There are many treatments for cancer out there that are not “drugs” (see all T-cell therapies.) When people have scurvy, we tell them to eat an orange. Thats not a drug, thats a treatment.

    Noone is saying that there isnt a previously unknown phytochemical that may be efficacious against cancer at dietary doses. I can say for sure that we havent found it yet.

    I just dont understand what you are trying to accomplish here? If you happen to know of a phytochemical that is effective against cancer at dietary (or not even!) doses then please share with the class, otherwise you look like you are basically trying to catch people in gotcha moments like “look at me I came up with a hypothetical scenario that contradicts your statement” as if we are having some philosophical debate and not a real world discussion on the treatment of cancer.

  73. #80 Adrian
    July 12, 2016

    Also it really bugs me that you said “if we assume the drug paradigm is correct” and then go on to list your definition that we observe constantly in the world. Its like having a discussion about skydiving and opening with “if we assume gravity exists.” Its entirely unnecessary and comes across like someone trying very hard to appear smarter than they are.

    To be clear. The drug paradigm, as you described it, objectively exists. It is not the ONLY paradigm in cancer treatment, but it is one of them. If you DONT accept it then you are just willfully ignoring reality. I tend to assume the people im discussing things with accept patently obvious axioms so I dont have to start every conversation with “assuming we accept that you and I both exist.” and so on and so forth.

  74. #81 Newton
    July 12, 2016

    “Do tell us all about that perfect diet that will prevent cancer.”

    There are numerous epidemiological studies on diet and cancer.

    I am not going to tailor a diet but here is a quote from Dr. Potter:
    “It was concluded that consumption of higher levels of vegetables and fruit is associated consistently, although not universally, with a reduced risk of cancer….”

    And from Van Duyn: “Epidemiologic evidence of a protective role for fruits and vegetables in cancer prevention is substantial. ”

    I feel obliged to agree with the aforementioned researchers unless someone convinces me otherwise.

  75. #82 Newton
    July 12, 2016

    Calm down Adrian, that was borderline disrespectful.

  76. #83 Helianthus
    July 12, 2016

    @ Newton

    That may be true, but this seems presumptuous to me. The reason I think that is: If we assume that the drug paradigm is correct, that certain chemicals have the power to destroy cancerous cells, then it would be difficult to say that out of the thousands of phytochemicals in foods, that not one is capable of accomplishing this in dietary amounts.

    It’s precisely a question of concentration. Dietary amounts are not enough.

    We, humans, are producing naturally a dozen – or more – molecules with anti-bacterial or anti-fungic properties (look-up “Defensin”). The symbiotic bacteria in our guts produce their own.
    All these molecules are quite efficient at protecting us from outside micro-organisms, and they are also used to keep our own bacteria in check. Similar molecules we get from our diet may also help, a bit.
    But when a pathogen manages to establish a foothold inside our body and go on persistently infecting us – and that happens a lot of times -, all of these molecules become mostly useless. There are simply too any bacteria/fungi/whatever, and not enough anti-bacterial molecules floating around. And no, having 10% more is not going to do the trick. We need to increase the amount of bacteria-killing molecules more significantly than that.
    That’s why we go for a big pill of penicillin, and keep picking one each day for a full week to maintain the drug’s high concentration in the body.

    It’s the same thing with cancer, really. Beside our own tumor-hunting systems, whatever we get from our diet may be good at keeping a few cancer cells in check, but once we have a big cancerous mass in full growth, it’s very likely to be too little, too late.
    In addition, the benefits coming from a high-vegetable diet may be more about protecting cells from becoming cancerous than about killing cancerous cells. That seems to be the value of a high-fiber diet on colon cancer prevention, anyway.

    It’s basic pharmacology, really. And it doesn’t matter if the considered compounds are “natural” or synthetic, the same physiological rules apply.

  77. #84 Chris
    July 12, 2016

    Newton: “There are numerous epidemiological studies on diet and cancer.”

    Followed by two very old links that have nothing to the specific cancers I brought up. Awesome diversion!

    So what diet prevents cervical cancer after an HPV infection? What do you need to eat after being infected with a hepatitis b infection.

    Also what kind of diet prevents the cancers caused by the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic sequence findings? Can we translate that to fixing the muscle thickening due to the genetics that cause obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

    Make sure you bring up some recent publications. Some of us are literally dying to know about that secret stuff.

  78. #85 Helianthus
    July 12, 2016

    To amend my previous post:

    Dietary amounts are not enough.

    I was talking in the context of daily amounts of phytochemicals as part of a regular diet.
    Notably, you will be hard-pressed to eat enough natural taxol to get any anti-cancer effect.

    Now, if the context is finding an effective compound which is naturally present at high concentration in a plant (or fungus or whatever), well, yes, there are precedents. This is definitively an area where we should have more research.

    Salicilates, cocaine, digitaline – all phytochemicals you can get active amounts by eating/munching the appropriate plant parts.
    Now, notice something about these compounds I listed? They all have nasty side-effects. These compounds could be very useful, even life-savers, but I would not recommend that the plants they are coming from to be part of everybody’s daily diet.

  79. #86 Newton
    July 12, 2016

    Yes Adrian, you were right. That comment was superfluous and pedantic.

    After some thought, the term “drug paradigm” seems too broad, since thousands of specific drug mechanisms have been elucidated.

    The ‘drug paradigm’ is also an essential premise for any argument involving diet and cancer, so I am guilty of doublethink as well.

  80. #87 Newton
    July 12, 2016

    Have you read about the Coca leaf chewers in South America?
    This is a common practice.

  81. #88 Helianthus
    July 12, 2016

    Have you read about the Coca leaf chewers in South America?

    Yes. Similarly, there are plenty of people chewing one plant or another in various African or Asian countries. Or all around the world, drinking coffee.
    And in all cases, this is a slightly addictive practice. It’s a good thing the active compounds are relatively low in concentration in the plants.
    Weighting the health benefits/risks ratio of these products for medical applications still has to be done carefully. They are not without the ability to harm.

  82. #89 herr doktor bimler
    July 12, 2016

    more natural diets are healthier? Have we not learned anything from […] Pellagra

    IIRC, the cause of pellagra is an excessively natural diet, and it is prevented by the extra processing step of nixtamalising the maize. Perhaps not the best example.

  83. #90 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 12, 2016

    Newton – I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV.

    I’m not quite sure how to pronounce IANADNDIPOOT, so its status as an acronym (however esoteric) or set of initials is debatable.

  84. #91 Dangerous Bacon
    July 12, 2016

    I thought of Newton this morning during our weekly hospital breast tumor conference.

    Two oncologists were asked about postoperative chemotherapy for a patient and said they would not recommend it, seeing that tubular carcinoma of the breast typically behaves in an indolent manner and that chemo would cause more problems than it might solve. They also questioned the need for pre-op chemo in a separate case.

    I was VERY surprised, and felt like asking them why they were giving up $$$ by speaking out against drug therapy. Somehow I figured they might not enjoy hearing the stereotype about greedy drug-pushing oncologists.

    Newton really needs to get out into the real world more.

  85. #92 LW
    July 12, 2016

    Just to recap, Newton, you started by asking why “natural diets” are regarded as woo given that they are healthy. Various people pointed out that “natural diet” is an ill-defined term so one can’t really say whether a natural diet is healthy or not.

    Further, it is the claims about natural diets that rise to the level of woo. “This diet will keep you from ever getting cancer” is woo. “This diet may reduce your probability of getting colon cancer” may be science-based.

    You then argued that, if one has cancer, it is advisable to adopt a diet that excludes carcinogenic chemicals. One problem is that foods tend to contain huge numbers of chemicals, some of which may be carcinogenic in large quantities but appear in minute quantities.  Do you exclude even beneficial foods that may have such a trace amount?  Another problem, which others have alluded to, is that fighting an existing cancer is a very different problem from preventing cancer. 

    You then pivoted to arguing that since Taxol is derived from tree bark, it is entirely possible that some foods may similarly contain chemicals that actually kill cancer cells. That’s quite true. The problem is that it hasn’t been demonstrated for any of the allegedly cancer-fighting diets.

    If you notice a certain level of hostility in some answers, it is because you seem to be pushing a position rather than asking questions in good faith. If you were to say, “here is a diet that I believe fights (or cures or helps to cure) cancer and here’s why I believe it”, then commenters could directly address your position.

  86. #93 Newton
    July 13, 2016

    A good point Herr Doktor gemacht. I realize that most deficiency diseases make terrible arguments for a natural diet. The Iodination of salt, the cooking of egg white, and the nixtamalising of corn all prevent certain conditions. Perhaps conditions such as Obesity, Atherosclerosis, and Diabetes would make for better arguments in favor of a more natural diet.

    I wish Mephistopheles would tell us what IANADNDIPOOT means. He is the one that introduced this “thing” into the lexicon. He has used it four times at least.

  87. #94 Newton
    July 13, 2016

    I found one more article on Gerson. This one is a comparison of 5-year survival rates for anyone interested.

  88. #95 Amethyst
    The Crystal Gem
    July 13, 2016

    I’d say those conditions make for an argument against a more active lifestyle moreso than for a “natural diet” (whatever that means, the term “natural” is one of the most nebulous terms there is).

    Unless you chow down on fast-food, three times a day, every day, there is nothing wrong with our “non-natural” diets in the Western world is not as bad as people make them out to be.

    It is the increasingly inactive (heck, personally my job involves sitting infront of a computer 8 hours a day) lifestyle that is the worst offender.

  89. #96 Amethyst
    July 13, 2016

    Unless you chow down on fast-food, three times a day, every day, there is nothing wrong with our “non-natural” diets in the Western world. They’re not as bad as people make them out to be.

    ^My kingdom for an edit function

  90. #97 Newton
    July 13, 2016


    “Two oncologists were asked about postoperative chemotherapy for a patient and said they would not recommend it.”

    That is a comforting anecdote to hear Mr. Bacon and I will accept that as fact as long as you reciprocate; I have a few cancer anecdotes myself.

    “I was VERY surprised”

    Why where you surprised Mr. Bacon? Was that recommendation out of the ordinary?

  91. #98 MI Dawn
    July 13, 2016

    @Newton: though it wasn’t done clearly, the acronym was explained above. IANADNDIPOOT is: I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV.

    Gee…a retrospective study done at the Gerson institute. Wonder why it shows the Gerson protocol as superior? Also, try finding something more recent than 20+ years ago to support the diet theory. Gerson was tested MUCH more recently in the Gonzalez study you keep avoiding.

  92. #99 Newton
    July 13, 2016

    Why would you say that I keep avoiding the Gonzalez study?

    This study was only mentioned once since I’ve been here.

  93. #100 MI Dawn
    July 13, 2016

    The Gonzalez study was mentioned once *in these comments*. However, as also noted above, there is this really cool thing called a “search box” wherein you type the word “Gonzalez” and all the posts Orac has done about this study come up for your reading pleasure and edification.

    Short version: Gonzalez/Gerson protocol was studied compared to usual care. The study was stopped early because the Gonzalez/Gerson patients were dying much sooner and with much less quality of life compared to the ‘normal treatment’ patients.

  94. #101 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 13, 2016

    @MI Dawn – Apparently I, like Dangerous Bacon*, have gotten too subtle. For those of you unaware of it, there were cough medicine advertisements some years ago that began with an actor saying “I am not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” The turnaround, combined with stretching out the more normal “IANAD” (similar to IANAL) amuses me.

    Perhaps, though, after Newton’s discussion of the etymology of the neologism “Swayzeed” (which I had never heard before) someone else is being even more subtle.

    * My interpretation is that Dangerous Bacon was surprised in the same way that Captain Renault was shocked that there was gambling going on in Rick’s Café Américain. It was only surprising in light of Newton’s comment that “I think this is an important question because if a physician has incentive to prescribe a certain drug, then he may not do the best for the patient.”

    • #102 Newton
      July 13, 2016

      “Gerson was tested MUCH more recently in the Gonzalez study”

      True, but would that really make much difference? Are you implying that the Gerson therapy would decline in efficacy over time?

  95. #103 Newton
    July 13, 2016

    Regarding the accusations of misconduct during the Gonzalez Trial, I will point out that surveys indicate this to be a rather common occurrence:

    “Examples of the first type include a survey of members
    of the American Association for the Advancement of
    Science (AAAS) in which 27% of the scientists reported
    having encountered some type of misconduct [13]; a survey
    of research coordinators in which 19% of respondents
    reported first-hand knowledge of misconduct
    within the previous year – and that only 70% of these
    were reported [14]; a study of Norway medical investigators
    in which 27% of investigators knew of instances
    of fraud [15]; a survey of members of the International
    Society of Clinical Biostatistics, in which over 50% of
    respondents knew of fraudulent reports [16]; a survey of
    medical institutions in Britain in which more than 50%
    of respondents knew or suspected misconduct among
    institutional colleagues [17]; and a survey of New Scientist
    readers, in which a remarkable 92% knew of or
    suspected scientific misconduct by colleagues [18]”

  96. #104 Newton
    July 13, 2016

    Regarding the Gonzalez study, I would also like for everyone to consider the Median Overall Survival Rates of Gemcitabine alone reported in trials on Pancreatic Cancer:

    5.4 months:
    6.6 months:
    6.3 months:
    7.1 months :
    6.2 months:
    6.0 months :
    8.2 months:
    20 weeks:
    5.9 months:
    5.91 months:

    The mean=6.3 months

    The Gonzalez study reports an OS of 14 months with Gemcitabine alone. Some people might find this suspiciously high.

    Disclaimer: I do not have access to the full trial data, so I have not evaluated the inclusion criteria for each study.

  97. #105 Newton
    July 13, 2016

    #785 ” However, as also noted above, there is this really cool thing called a “search box” …. ”

    This is the first mention of the term “search box” on this entire page. Why do you insist on distorting the truth?

  98. #106 Narad
    July 13, 2016

    This is the first mention of the term “search box” on this entire page. Why do you insist on distorting the truth?

    Comments 355, 396, …, Barney Frank, tables, etc.

  99. #107 Newton
    July 13, 2016

    “Comments 355, 396,”

    Fair enough.
    Will a moderator please redact comment #790?

  100. #108 JustaTech
    July 14, 2016

    Newton, while you’re on the topic of diet and cancer, here are a few that I came across in a recent epidemiology class:
    A lifetime of drinking near-boiling black tea is associated with cancer of the esophagus. (A group in Central Asia)
    A lifetime diet very high in smoked fish (and low in everything else) associated with stomach cancer in Iceland before commercial air travel.
    A diet high in rancid animal fat in childhood associated with cancer of the (mouth/nose/throat, can’t remember the proper name) in Northern Africa in young men; in Southeast Asia the same cancer is associated with fermented fish products.

  101. #109 Newton
    July 14, 2016

    I appreciate that input JustaTech; that is interesting.

    I think that Dr. Ray Peat would agree about the Rancid Animal Fat causing disease. Perhaps you should check this guy out. He is not anti-fat: he is anti-oxidized fat.

    You might enjoy some of his articles if you haven’t enjoyed them already.

  102. #110 Newton
    July 14, 2016

    Fifty years ago, it had been shown that a fat-free diet slows the progression of implanted sarcoma in mice.

  103. #111 herr doktor bimler
    July 14, 2016

    Perhaps it would be more meaningful to take a mouse in the wild as one’s baseline, with its herbivorous diet, and say that a fat-rich diet accelerates the progression of implanted sarcoma.

  104. #112 Newton
    July 14, 2016

    If I were Vishnu, Herr Doktor, that comment would get four thumbs-up.

  105. […] Callender, a teen with a treatable lymphoma and Theresa DiNallo, a woman with breast cancer; and Carissa Gleeson, a young woman with a rare sarcoma. What all these people share in common I discovered reading news […]

  106. #114 Diane
    United States
    July 17, 2016

    This is interesting to me. How many countless people do you reckon have died, and died miserably by the standard cancer protocols? The poison, burn and slash methods. My mother is one such statistic. So while all of you are on here picking apart this woman, who has chosen another way (which evidently galls you to the point you justify yourselves and your existences by calling her stupid and so on), and calling her pathetic all while being smug and superior.
    Well, the point is…she gets to choose. At least for now, until people like you want to force people into your methods and your methods alone.
    My mother’s infusions were about $35,000 a go. I guess she was fortunate to have good insurance to cover it, but it weakened her and made her feel sick each time. The double agent of chemo she had the last round, caused her bowel to be paralyzed and she began passing blood into the toilet.
    She did proton radiation at Loma Linda, and chemo and it killed her. In the most miserable way possible.
    And my mother’s story is not rare or uncommon, in fact it’s very common.
    She may have died even having done natural remedies, but I know her death would have been easier and she would have had more time and more quality of life up until her death. The chemo made her sink quickly like a rock.
    There are countless, COUNTLESS stories like my mother’s.
    She was of an age that she believed her doctor was actually practicing medicine by prescribing her chemo (I can’t bring myself to call it therapy). I’d rather die naturally than put that garbage in my body. I for one am rooting for this young lady.
    You I’m sure are hoping she dies so you can say…yeah, we told you so.

  107. #115 Chris
    July 17, 2016

    Diane, that is an anecdote. Where is your actual data that Bollinger has a better method? Just post the PubMed indexed studies that not getting any kind of cancer treatment is less painful than getting it.

    Please do tell us how letting cancer tumors grow is so much better.

  108. #116 Sir Hubert McCarrison III
    July 17, 2016

    To Chris: Where is your actual data that Bollinger has a better method?

    That is a straw man Chris. You should learn how to read more carefully.

  109. #117 Dangerous Bacon
    July 17, 2016

    Diane, I’m sorry to hear about your mother.

    Mine died of colon cancer. My father had metastatic prostate cancer. Both had their lives prolonged by “the poison, burn and slash methods” (my father’s cancer was controlled and he ultimately died of another, non-cancer cause).

    “She may have died even having done natural remedies, but I know her death would have been easier and she would have had more time and more quality of life up until her death.”

    I have known of many instances where this simply was not the case. The quality of life where cancer goes untreated or treated by quack methods, resulting in paralysis, bile duct or bowel blockage, shattered bones or other grievous complications (which can be prevented or relieved by modern medical therapy) is not good.

  110. #118 John Randall
    United States
    July 28, 2016

    First thing Bollinger only gives other options. His data is only on research only. And it is up to each individual person how they want to choose with treatment. OMG the bias of the author of this article is incredible. How dare you call a woman stupid for wanting to try other options besides the poisons of chemo and radiation. And furthermore all the comments on here that agree with the author’s view. Wake up. Big Pharma and the medical industry only cares about making money and this cancer epidemic will only get worse. 4% of the time chemo works past a five year cycle. I like to see you try that in any other form of business and succeed. What if every car ever made blew up 96% of the time within 5 years. would you buy one? It takes a lot of strength and courage to not fall for the poisons. Don’t you realize chemo destroys good cells as well? That it basically destroys a person’s immune system. Chemo only works on the cancer cells and not the stem cells which is why the likelihood of it coming back is strong. I am a two time cancer survivor so before people bash me I do know what I am talking about. Do you? And to the author. How much were you paid by big Pharma or the AMA to write this biased, poorly written article for chemo and radiation. Shame on you.

  111. #119 KL
    July 31, 2016

    The attack tone of this article is sad. Chemo causes so much damage and makes living a more painful existence. To attack someone forgoing with another method, and she is still alive, is just unfortunate. Cancer is a $200 BILLION industry and can afford to pay many people to write articles like this to try to keep the machine going.

    After watching SO MANY people die of cancer after receiving chemo and radiation, I decided to look for answers. I stumbled across information about food. We “experimented” by eliminating all preservatives and chemicals from our diet for 30 days. What happened to our bodies was amazing and I never knew food could taste so good. My husband and I both lost 10lbs (and we were each about 15lbs overweight) and the energy I had was unending. I had an infant and 2 other kids and never knew I could have the energy I gained by removing chemicals from my food.

    My point is, unless you have personally experienced this, you cannot speak to it. I would have never believed the chemicals were poisioning us, but eliminating them and living the difference has made me realize how ignorant I used to be.

    To whoever wrote this article, keep on pushing the agenda you are paid to push and natural selection will visit you one day. I hope you choose the chemo route.

    • #120 Wzrd1
      July 31, 2016

      @KL, having lost so many aunts, uncles and cousins to cancer, I actually agree with you!
      Why, dying a few years earlier, without chemo or radiation, they could’ve settled their affairs in days, rather than years.
      Fuck you, may you endure the same compassion that you’ve given others. May you endure that same lack of compassion in your family first.

      I’ve witnessed these for a very simple reason, we lived in both an industrial belt *and* a radiation belt from nuclear testing, before the harm was recognized.
      Today, I honestly want you to experience the same horrors that I’ve experienced.
      That’s something extremely rare, as I’ve rarely wished harm upon another, especially harm that I’ve experienced.
      But, you’ve earned it via your toxic comment.

  112. #121 Jay
    July 31, 2016

    Hi John, thanks for contributing, though I would like to dispute most if not all you’ve said.

    1) Where did he call the woman stupid? Orac is always very careful around the victims.

    2) We are all very awake here and also some of us live in countries with a National Health service and would get our cancer treatments for free. Begrudgingly. Meaning that if coffee enemas worked, we would be given a large syringe and a booklet.

    3) That 4% figure’s bogus, making everything you wrote about it wrong.

    4) Chemo doesn’t destroy the immune system. Destroy implies gone for good, the immune system recovers once Chemo is discontinued. If you know so much, then you should have known this, so why use a word like destroy, unless you are being dishonest?

    5) “Chemo only works on cancer cells”, well obviously not, from wikki: “By common usage, the term chemotherapy has come to connote the use of rather non-specific intracellular poisons, especially related to inhibiting the process of cell division known as mitosis”

    6) Please do tell us more about your two cancer experiences.

    7) As for the well written, scientifically backed article and it’s author: he does this for free, which I think is really cool, fighting cancer with his latex covered hands by day and saving the unwary by night, dedicated is too small a word really. 🙂

  113. #122 Dangerous Bacon
    July 31, 2016

    “We “experimented” by eliminating all preservatives and chemicals from our diet for 30 days.”

    Wow, a complete 30-day fast? Hard to believe you and your husband both survived that long without food or water.*

    *since all food and water (no matter how “natural”) is composed of chemicals.
    **Who paid KL and John to push their agendas here?

    • #123 John
      July 31, 2016

      Wow did someone say I am pushing an agenda. You need to open your eyes. I did a 30 day juice fast to help with the horrible effects radiation was doing on my body. Unless you have dealt with cancer you really have no idea what it is like or what the medical establishment tries to do. And for my comment on chemo only working on 4% of cases of anyone living longer than five years. Please look it up. I a. Not here to push any agenda. I do think each person should just research more. And diet plays a huge role in cancer as well. Sugar feeds cancer cells and so does an unhealthy, highly processed diet.

  114. #124 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 31, 2016

    KL – What does you and your husband losing weight after you changed your diet have to do with cancer treatment? Thanks

  115. #125 herr doktor bimler
    July 31, 2016

    How many countless people do you reckon have died, and died miserably by the standard cancer protocols?

    I would try to answer this question, but my brain is caught in a logic loop between “how many” and “countless”.

  116. #126 herr doktor bimler
    July 31, 2016

    To whoever wrote this article, keep on pushing the agenda you are paid to push

    In my day we had proper trolls, who would at least try to personalise their droppings to match the blog where they left them, rather than this lazy generic “to whom it may concern” stuff.

  117. #127 Chris
    July 31, 2016

    Another Random Sock Puppet: “That is a straw man Chris. You should learn how to read more carefully”

    Not really. She gave an evidence free rambling anecdote on terrible chemo, etc was, now she must explain how Bollinger has a better method.

  118. #128 squirrelelite
    July 31, 2016


    I’m glad your food is tasting better now that the effects of the chemotherapy drugs are wearing off. I hope the cancer stays away too.

    My father really enjoyed going out for barbecue, hot dogs and other meals after he completed surgery, chemo, and radiation for his colon cancer. He didn’t complain when we took him to a picnic with KFC or used Bisquick to make him a peach cobbler.

    Like DB’s father, he died later of a different, unrelated cause. (He was in his 80’s)

  119. #129 Dangerous Bacon
    July 31, 2016

    Yes, John “someone” (me) said you were pushing an agenda and wondered who was paying you.

    Actually I don’t think anyone is paying you, nor are Orac or any commenters being paid to express their views. Hopefully having the shill gambit turned against you might help you gain some insight into what it’s like to be the target of such bogus accusations.

    John: “Sugar feeds cancer cells”

    Of course. All of your cells, cancerous or not, use sugar for fuel. What you are suggesting (that sugar makes cancer grow faster) is false. Here is a bit of research I did for you:

    “Will eating sugar make my cancer worse?”

    “No. Although research has shown that cancer cells consume more sugar (glucose) than normal cells, no studies have shown that eating sugar will make your cancer worse or that, if you stop eating sugar, your cancer will shrink or disappear.”

    (In case you think that link is untrustworthy because it’s the evil gummint, you can find many authoritative sources that will tell you the same thing – sugar does not “feed” cancer, nor do processed foods.

    • #130 John
      July 31, 2016

      I never said if eating sugar will stop cancer cells from shrinking. But the link you sent is from a government site. They are part of the problem. I do not think you realize how deep it goes with the government, Big Pharma and the medical establishment. Heck, most oncologists said they would not do chemo or radiation if it was for them and their family. I have done my own research and lots of it and I stay by what I say. I know the barbaric nature of chemo and radiation first hand.

  120. #131 herr doktor bimler
    July 31, 2016

    Heck, most oncologists said they would not do chemo or radiation if it was for them and their family.

    Would there be a source for this assertion? Other than leprechauns?

    • #132 John
      August 1, 2016

      OMG. You actually believe chemo and radiation work. Open up your eyes. There are numerous reports saying the same thing. Most oncologists are evil and also get a cut for offering the barbaric chemo and utterly expensive treatments. Some say it is better to believe a lie than see the truth. I think you fall into the former. Do research before coming across as ignorant. All of you on here with comments saying chemo and radiation is the way to go are utterly clueless. Wake up!!!!!!! And stop believing everything the government and mainstream media spew out. You have a brain use it.

  121. #133 Narad
    August 1, 2016

    Most oncologists are evil

    Could you at least come up with a 95% CI for that? The test instrument would help, too.

  122. #134 herr doktor bimler
    August 1, 2016

    You actually believe chemo and radiation work. Open up your eyes. There are numerous reports saying the same thing.

    I’m going to take this as an admission that “No, I have no evidence for my assertions, just a dim, garbled recollection of some bullsh1t I read on a blog that I can’t remember.”
    But I could be wrong!

    Do research before coming across as ignorant.

    You know, I get the impression that John didn’t really come here to change any minds with the power of his arguments and evidence.

  123. #135 herr doktor bimler
    August 1, 2016

    Most oncologists are evil

    In order to earn his living, he became a village schoolmaster at a little place called Trattenbach, from which he wrote me an unhappy letter saying, “The men of Trattenbach are wicked.” I replied, “All men are wicked.” He rejoined, “True, but the men of Trattenbach are more wicked than the men of any other place.” I retorted that my logical sense rebelled against such a statement; and there the matter rested until residence elsewhere enlarged his view as to the prevalence of sin.

  124. #136 Renate
    August 1, 2016

    I think the difference between oncologists and quacks is, oncologists might tell a patient there is not much they can do for him, or her, other than giving some pallative care, while quacks keep telling the patients, they are able to cure them, untill they have sucked them from their last money and if the patient dies, it’s never their fault, or the fault of their method, no it’s allways the patient, who is to blame.

    Now, I know, who I would call evil, and no, it’s not the oncologist.

  125. #137 Jay
    August 1, 2016

    John, take a deep breath, calm down and cease with the shrill name calling. We have all heard all your arguments many times before and I’ve only been here 8 months.

    “I have done my own research and lots of it and I stay by what I say.”

    I applaud your effort, the problem that lies here though, appears to be the narrow focus of your research.

    See in repeating the “only 4% Chemo works” trope, we can presume that you never tracked down the original research behind that figure or checked any other Chemo efficiency figures, most likely all your research has been through Alt-med sites pushing an agenda.

    Rejoice for you have found Respectful Insolence! The natural GMO Gluten free panacea for alt-med lies.

    Use the search feature and have a read, after all if you are going to do real research you must read both sides of the argument.

    Please have a read of this one, concerning your 4% figure:

  126. #138 Murmur
    August 1, 2016

    And yet Macmillan Cancer Support have just released a report over here describing how large numbers of folk diagnosed with cancer in the 70s and 80s are still living, which being the UK with its horrible socialistic NHS means they will have had chemo or radio therapy and surgery and all that awful mainstream cancer treatment, which the NHS insists on using…

    But I MUST be biased, ‘cos my sister works in palliative care for a cancer support charity (not Macmillan, a small one local to where she lives)…

  127. #139 Murmur
    August 1, 2016

    And I suppose I MUST also be biased ‘cos I worked in the NHS, which MUST automatically make me a Big Pharma Shill…

  128. #140 Murmur
    August 1, 2016

    Is it me or are we playing alt med bingo here?

    Dodgy stats with no real source; “Do your own research!”; Big Pharma Shill gambit; gubbmint etc conspiracy; calls for us to open our eyes; mainstream medicine is Teh Ebil!; a few random shouty insults (were we actually called “sheeple” or did I just imagine it?); random anecdotes (hey, one of my former colleagues was cured of cancer by chemo and radio, so I have an anecdote too!); preservatives are to blame (OK, I don’t eat food with preservatives in if I can help it either. So what does that prove?)…and…and…

  129. #141 Dangerous Bacon
    August 1, 2016

    An essential part of alt med bingo is “doctors refuse chemo and radiation for themselves”.

    When that claim is based on anything remotely factual, it relates to a decades-old survey involving treatment for metastatic lung cancer. In the light of modern therapy, here’s what oncologists say now (survey conducted at a recent conference):

    “Of approximately 300 people in attendance, 126 (42%) responded to the survey. The mean age was 46 years. The majority of respondents (51%) were oncologists and hematologists. As this was a convenience sample, the representativeness of these oncologists cannot be determined, but all were in academic or community practice and presumably interested in clinical practice guidelines for oncology.”…

    “Among oncologists/hematologists, 64.5% said that they would take chemotherapy, as did 67% of nurses…”

    “Given this clinical scenario of well-defined amounts of symptomatic disease and good performance status, the ASCO guidelines[1] and Ontario guidelines[2] would recommend that chemotherapy can improve survival and should at least be considered. The results of the present survey suggest that there has been an increase in those willing to take chemotherapy.”

    Remember, this represents willingness to accept chemotherapy for incurable disease (treatment aimed at cure or long-term remission would likely be approved by a much higher percentage of oncologists for themselves).

    Of course, John will probably wave this evidence off as another example of Conspiracy by the Cancer Establishment.

    “Most oncologists are evil”

    Finally, something I can agree with. Ever tried to work with them, or heard their griping and finger-pointing at tumor conferences? Evil, I tells you.

  130. #142 Calli Arcale
    August 1, 2016

    My aunt died a few years ago from ovarian cancer. Her urologist husband was very happy to support her through her long battle — with surgery and chemotherapy, she survived an astonishing 14 years with the disease before it claimed her, living to see all of her daughters married, and getting to meet most of her grandchildren.

    Another aunt, however, died of breast cancer at 22. This was years ago. In her case, she had aggressive chemo and other treatment past the point where her father (a general surgeon) was telling her not to. Her cancer had spread very quickly and was already in the bones; she was beyond the point of being saved.

    Her father, my grandfather, died a few years ago of what he believed to be pancreatic cancer. He was 91, and did not want to bother with the biopsies or treatment; at his age he really didn’t see the point. We’ll never know what actually killed him.

    So, there are three different cancer stories in my family, a family riddled with medical professionals, where different choices were made. It’s a thing called “nuance”. Cancer is not a single disease; it is a class of diseases, and the prognosis can vary widely. Also, some are more treatable than others; ovarian and pancreatic cancers are rarely survivable, but since my aunt’s death, breast cancer has become much more treatable. So here’s another case: my godmother (cousin to the aunt who died of breast cancer) had breast cancer as well. But hers was caught early, she had a lumpectomy and chemo, and is now past the five-year point and is considered cancer free.

    A lot of doctors will indeed discontinue chemo earlier than a lot of the general public, or even refuse it. This has nothing to do with secret knowledge that it doesn’t work. It’s the grim pragmatism of people who have seen a lot of death. Doctors are also much more likely to refuse heroic end-of-life care like intubation and a respirator; this doesn’t mean they think intubation and respiration are useless, or would refuse them during, for instance, a knee replacement surgery. It’s more about recognizing when they’re going to die and not wanting to drag that out longer than necessary.

  131. #144 John Randall
    August 1, 2016

    @Dangerous bacon Let me ask you a question. Have you ever had cancer? Family member that has cancer or had it? I have been through the chemo and radiation before. I have seen oncologists tell patients they could eat whatever they want. which is horrible. What if the alternative community is right and people like you are wrong? Yes, chemo works sometimes but the percentage is small. And chemo drugs also causes secondary cancers. Too many people on here dismiss other options because it is not the standard protocol. Too many doctors also bully patients into chemo and radiation. I almost died because of this. I tried radiation and it was slowly killing me so I went a different route.

  132. #145 gaist
    August 1, 2016

    John Randall….

    What if the alternative community is right and people like you are wrong?

    It’s on them to prove the efficacy of their methods and if they do, we’ll applaud them for helping cancer patients everywhere.

    When they have the evidence.

    Selling unproven treatments is rightly frowned upon, wouldn’t you agree, no matter what side of the “science” barrier the purveyor might fall.

    Yes, chemo works sometimes but the percentage is small. And chemo drugs also causes secondary cancers.

    How “small” the percentage is depends on lots of things, but for any curative treatment offered it’s far from zero. And lately it’s often a lot higher than what I would call “small”, sometimes in the mid- to high nineties even.

    And yes, chemotherapy may increase your chance of getting secondary cancer. After helping you survive until then. And for that matter, living longer increases your chance of getting cancer, even if your life was extended by healthy organic vegan diet and yoga.

    • #146 John
      August 1, 2016

      There are numerous upon numerous cases out there of people who went the route other than chemo or radiation. But big Pharma and the medical establishment suppresses that type of information. When it comes down to it you can believe what you want. I know with all my heart that I am right. I am done wi all the pessimistic people on here as well as the lack of seeing what big Pharma and the medical community are doing. Chemo is poison and so is radiation. And more and more people are going other avenues besides chemo and radiation. I am sorry you are so closed minded and believe chemo is the answer for cancer when it is the complete opposite. I am done here. The truth is out there but you rather believe in the lies of big Pharma, the medical industry and government.

  133. #147 gaist
    August 1, 2016

    And while it seems to me to be besides the point, my closest childhood friend had childhood leukemia, and was treated with chemotherapy.

    almost 30 years later, he’s still cancer free. I’m sure he appreciates having chemo, even if he had nasty sunburn on his scalp that summer.

    And I seem to remember him rejoicing he could as much hot dogs as he wanted while undergoing chemo – it was oddly one of the foods he never threw up and I’m sure his doctors, as his mom, was glad he was taking in calories. After the initial drug regime he returned to more balanced diet. And yes, chemo drugs have improved since then.

    My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago. Thanks to chemo and radiation, she’s been cancer free for the past 8 years.

    My then 60-year old uncle was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. The doctors weren’t hopeful, but he underwent radiation and chemo for a while – the tumors shrunk, but did not disappear. Against odds, he lived for 6 years. Never cancer free, but for the most part painless and active thanks to modern medicine.

    Not the only experiences I’ve had involving cancer.

    I don’t really see how one would be unable to understand or evaluate evidence if one hadn’t witnessed cancer first- or second hand, but there. My “credentials”.

  134. #148 gaist
    August 1, 2016

    The truth is out there but you rather believe in the lies of big Pharma, the medical industry and government.

    As someone living far outside the nefarious reach of the CDC or the FDA, in a country where the national press disseminated and published Snowden and wikileaks diplomatic cables, and which loves to showcase “Big Pharma” withdrawing medicine, tweaking or omitting test results and paying fines for misconduct…

    …who exactly, and how are they keeping information away from me?

    And if you “have the truth”, just post it online, with all the studies and evidence, go make some popcorn and watch the “Big Pharma” fall. It would be the ethical and humane thing to do, as you have the best “cures for cancer”, compared to your “I got mine but ain’t sharing! So long suckers!” routine which, should you be right, would be terribly misanthropic.

  135. #149 gaist
    August 1, 2016

    I am sorry you are so closed minded …

    …I am done wi all the pessimistic people on here

    That’s very odd way to interpret the “if they [prove alternative treatments are effective], we’ll applaud them for helping cancer patients everywhere.”, isn’t it, John…

    • #150 John
      August 1, 2016

      Hey are plenty of case online as well as a lot of people who say cannabis has helped them. I have a friend who had stage 4 prostate cancer and used medicos marijuana for a year and he beat his cancer.

  136. #151 Renate
    August 1, 2016

    Anecdotes are not proof.

  137. #152 gaist
    August 1, 2016

    lot of people who say cannabis has helped them.

    There are. Not all studies agree with them, but that’s beside the point..

    The point is that there still is a need necessity for making those studies, as meticulously as possible. And as it would be unreasonable to expect the medical industry to meticulously study every idea somebody else suggests*, it’s up to the promoters to do those.

    My colleague is a casual smoker/pot-cookie eater who ended up getting a tumor (benign, removed surgically). Maybe her regime was insufficient, maybe pot is unhelpful. Maybe pot is ineffective for that type of tumors. Maybe it was bad luck, or bad genes, or bad environment. Maybe this or that. Point is that real, quantitative evidence is important.

    * And often enough they do make those studies, when some seemingly plausible concern is raised, or potential new drug suggested but as long as those promoting said treatment aren’t willing to make the effort to do the research themselves it’s rather silly for them to argue how “Big Pharma” is censoring them.

    You say that chemo is a poison that causes cancer. We know that because the studies have been done – without studies, how can we tell if cannabis itself is carcinogenic – I know inhaling smoke is, so maybe smoking cannabis is actually harmful in the long term… Who knows (without evidence).

    And besides. Just as you wouldn’t believe if someone calling him/herself gaist tells you that “It’s the absolute truth that monkeytear enemas (or adrimycin) cure cancer!”, without supporting evidence to back up your claims…

    …”Monkeytear enemas are the bestest!”

  138. #153 gaist
    August 1, 2016

    Bad editing, but hopefully decipherable.

  139. #154 Dangerous Bacon
    August 1, 2016

    “@Dangerous bacon Let me ask you a question. Have you ever had cancer? Family member that has cancer or had it?”

    See post #117, right before you posted for the first time.

    “I am sorry you are so closed minded”

    Like when you ignore evidence that many oncologists would in fact accept chemotherapy for metastatic cancer, which contradicts your expressed belief that they push it on patients while avoiding it themselves?

    That’s dishonest, John.×1024.jpg

  140. #155 herr doktor bimler
    August 1, 2016

    But big Pharma and the medical establishment suppresses that type of information.

    But John knows that the information exists because the leprechauns told him.

    When it comes down to it you can believe what you want.
    Me, I prefer facts rather than what I believe.

    I know with all my heart that I am right. I am done wi all the pessimistic people on here

    How’s the flounce going?

  141. #156 herr doktor bimler
    August 1, 2016

    ”Monkeytear enemas are the bestest!”

    Gaist just enjoys making monkeys cry.

  142. #157 gaist
    August 1, 2016

    Gaist just enjoys making monkeys cry.

    Considering what I and no doubt future allies in alternative health movement are going to charge for individually packed organic monkey tears, I object to the word “just”…

  143. #158 Jay
    August 1, 2016

    @DB That’s dishonest, John.

    That’s twice he’s been accused of dishonesty. I thought he was a naïve true believer; but his dishonesty, unwillingness to engage and answer questions and casually spamming a Chrisbeatscancer link, lead me to believe the latter was his true goal.

    Just having a browse now: Ty Bollinger disciple, it’s got infomercials, misleading articles, prominent requests for donations and looks like Chris travels around doing talks (Ka-ching?).

  144. #159 Kevin Stacy
    August 1, 2016

    So how is Carissa Gleeson doing?

    Does anyone know?

    This can be be this ultimate case study of we can track her progress over the years. Could someone with a facebook account check to see how she is?

    I am really curious.

  145. #160 Kevin Stacy
    August 1, 2016

    OMG! She is asking for money.

    I thought water fasting was free?

  146. #161 Lawrence
    August 1, 2016

    I’m embarrassed that I know this guy, personally.

  147. #162 Annabel Lee
    August 1, 2016

    @John #150
    I have a friend who had stage 4 prostate cancer and used medicos marijuana for a year and he beat his cancer.

    Did he use the Hashish Suppository Method, or the Bong-Smoke-Enema method?

    I get the feeling that you are using the Bong-Smoke-Enema method.

  148. #163 Chris
    August 1, 2016

    Dear John Randall, please use the handy dandy search box at the top right if this page before posting a potential “gotcha!’:

    It will make you seem less clueless,

  149. #164 kal
    August 10, 2016

    Well. I feel sorry for you on so many levels that you think Chemotherapy is based on science ( Who conducted the experiment? Who conducted the science based evidence?) That’s what I like to know -that your basing your article on.
    and had you even looked up any scholarly articles about nutraceutical applications in the way of fighting cancer? I was going to attack you but I decided to feel sorry for you instead because that is more appropriate: I know several people who decided to come by and traditional medicine with nutraceuticals to fight the cancer and I know other people who have fought it with just nutraceuticals so I feel sorry for you that you don’t do your homework before writing an actual article. everything that Ty publishes is based on evidence and truth. Maybe you should learn yourself a little before trying to educate others?
    Just a thought

  150. #165 Dangerous Bacon
    August 10, 2016

    “I was going to attack you but I decided to feel sorry for you instead”

    Listing some of those “scholarly articles” you think support nutraceuticals for cancer would’ve been more useful than feeling sorry.

    PubMed is your friend when it comes to finding articles providing scientific support of chemotherapy and other evidence-based modes of cancer treatment.

  151. #166 squirrelelite
    August 10, 2016

    No, Kal, Bollinger’s list and videos are based on, “Hey look! Here’s someone else I found who claims to be able to cure cancer without using surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.”

    But there is precious little evidence for any of their methods.

    And, guess what? Burzinski is on his list (do a search on this blog) and what Burzinski does IS chemotherapy!

    But please educate me.

    Which of Bollinger’s references would you recommend for Hodgkins lymphoma?

    How about acute adenoidal renal cell carcinoma?

    Pubmed references only, please.

  152. #167 Chris
    August 11, 2016

    kal: “Well. I feel sorry for you on so many levels that you think Chemotherapy is based on science ( Who conducted the experiment? Who conducted the science based evidence?) ”

    To prevent more exhibits of pure idiocy, go to you local library, sign up for a library card (it is free!), then check out and read the following: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

  153. #168 Opus
    Just north of the buckle on the Bible Belt
    August 11, 2016

    While you are determining optimal treatments, can you tell me which of Bollinger’s treatments would be best for my wife? She has stage 3 IgA multiple myeloma with an abnormal hyperdiploid karyotype, including multiple trisomies and P-53 deletion.

    Please share your notes on the factors which led you to this decision (PubMed references required!) and the mechanism which your ‘treatment’ will use to attack the cancer cells.

    Do hurry – this is an aggressive form of multiple myeloma and we are eager for your input.

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