Cancer

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Cancer

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Stanislaw Burzynski, the Houston cancer doctor who inexplicably has been permitted to continue to administer an unproven cancer treatment to children with deadly brain cancers for nearly 37 years now. Beginning in 1977, when he left Baylor College of Medicine and opened up the Burzynski Clinic, Burzynski…

Why we fight for patients

Never let it be said that Orac can’t match Mark Crislip in shameless promotion. The world might indeed need more Mark Crislip™, but I like to think that it needs a bit more of his friends, too. So, in that spirit, here are the videos, recently released by the James Randi Educational Foundation, of Bob…

Sarah Hershberger and Zija MLM

Like many cases of children with cancer whose parents tried to deny them curative therapy in the past that I’ve written about, I’ve become intensely interested in the case of 10-year-old Amish girl with lymphoblastic lymphoma. Her name is Sarah Hershberg, and, in a rare instance of the state actually stepping in to protect the…

Here we go again. Over the last month or so, I’ve been intermittently writing about a very sad case, a case that reminds me of too many cases that have come before, such as Abraham Cherrix, Kate Wernecke, Daniel Hauser, and Jacob Stieler. All of these are stories of children who were diagnosed with highly…

A tragic breast cancer tale misused

Having just discussed yesterday the demonization of chemotherapy and how bad its side effects can be, I was thinking last night that it was time to move on, that I had gotten stuck in rut writing too many cancer-related posts in a row. Then, as so often happens, I came across something that so irritated…

If there’s one medical treatment that proponents of “alternative medicine” love to hate, it’s chemotherapy. Rants against “poisoning” are a regular staple on “alternative health” websites, usually coupled with insinuations or outright accusations that the only reason oncologists administer chemotherapy is because of the “cancer industrial complex” in which big pharma profits massively from selling…

Children are not their parents’ property

Yesterday’s post about Sarah Hershberger, the Amish girl from northeast Ohio with lymphoblastic lymphoma who refused chemotherapy, prompting a court battle that led to the appointment of a medical guardian for her to make sure she receives treatment, got me to thinking (always a dangerous thing). Actually, I had to think back over the years…

A couple of weeks ago, I commented on the story of 10 year old Amish girl in northeast Ohio with cancer whose parents, alarmed by the side effects of chemotherapy, had decided to stop the chemotherapy and treat their daughter with folk medicine instead. As a result, alarmed at the likelihood that Sarah Hershberger would…

I was doing my usual browsing of the web yesterday in search of topics for today’s post when I came across an excellent article by a colleague and friend of mine, Dr. Rachael Dunlop, who nailed it in a post entitled Anti-vaccination activists should not be given a say in the media. In the article,…

Blogging is a rather immediate endeavor. Over the last nine years (nearly), I’ve lost track of how many times I saw something that I wanted to blog about but but by the time I got around to it was no longer topical. Usually what happens is that my Dug the Dog tendencies take over, as…

Over the years, I’ve not infrequently noted that there is a serious disconnect between what most people would think of as “natural” and what is considered “natural” in the world of “complementary and alternative medicine,” or, as I like to call it, CAMworld. I started thinking about this again after yesterday’s post about Jessica Ainscough’s…

This being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all, stories about breast cancer are frequently sent my way. This one is depressing and sad, mainly because it’s the story of death from breast cancer. From what I can gather, it is the story of a death from quackery, a death that didn’t have to occur. Even…

As I mentioned yesterday, one of the things I do on this blog that I consider to be a public service is to analyze cancer cure testimonials that are used to sell alternative medicine. Indeed, I did just that yesterday for a testimonial by someone Chris Wark, who will probably feature again one more time…

I like to think that one of the more important public services I provide is my deconstructions of alternative cancer cure testimonials. After all, one of the most powerful marketing tools cancer quacks have in their arsenal is a collection of stories of “real patients” with cancer who used their nostrums and are still alive…

One type of story that I’ve fairly frequently commented upon since the very beginning of this blog is the story of children or teens with cancer whose parents decide to pursue quackery instead of effective therapy or children with other serious diseases whose parents reject effective therapy for them. Think way, way back to Katie…

Here we go with another one. Three weeks ago, I mentioned in a post that the week of October 7 to 14 was declared by our very own United States Senate to be Naturopathic Medicine Week, which I declared unilaterally through my power as managing editor of Science-Based Medicine (for what that’s worth) to be…

No matter how much I try, it seems that I can’t escape blogging about Stanislaw Burzynski. Regular readers here are familiar with Dr. Burzynski, the “maverick” cancer doctor (he’s not an oncologist) who claims that peptides he’s isolated from urine and now synthesizes in his lab and manufacturing facility are highly effective anticancer drugs, so…

Cancer chemotherapy and obesity

In medicine, particularly oncology, it’s often the little things that matter. Sometimes, however, the “little things” aren’t actually little; they just seem that way. I was reminded of this by a story that was circulating a couple of weeks ago in the national media, often under titles like “Obese cancer patients often shorted on chemo…

Cancer quackery promoted on Fox News

I’ve always known that FOX News has a tendency to go for the sensationalistic story. I’ve also known that, given Rupert Murdoch’s political leanings, politically motivated pseudoscience like anthropogenic global warming denialism is the order of the day on FOX. I’ve even noticed a disturbing tendency on FOX to promote antivaccine views, for example, when…

A spectacular failure of a state medical board

One of the greatest mysteries I’ve encountered since I started following the case of Stanislaw Burzynski is how he’s managed to keep practicing for 36 years after he first began treating patients with his concoction of peptides purportedly isolated from blood and urine that he dubbed “antineoplastons” (ANPs) because of their alleged ability to inhibit…

Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle…When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser.…

Let me begin this post by offering my sincere condolences to Fabio Lanzoni. His sister died about a month ago. As you might recall, she had ovarian cancer She was unfortunate, and she suffered and ultimately, apparently, died of her disease at far too young an age. If that were all there were to the…

It occurs to me that it’s been a while since I’ve written anything about Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. Truth be told, I had been hoping not to write about him for a while, and I had been actually succeeding. The last time I took notice of him was about a month ago, when his propagandist Eric…

A cancer quackfest

Oh, goody. I think I see future blog fodder for the second half of September. (When you’ve been in the blogging biz as along as I have, you think that far in advance when the opportunity presents itself.) Well, maybe it’s blog fodder. The problem is that I would actually have to wade through the…

I’ve written a lot about Stanislaw Burzynski and what I consider to be his unethical use and abuse of institutional review boards and clinical trials. Before that, I used to regularly write about Mark and David Geier and their unethical use and abuse of IRBs and clinical trials. In both cases, I lamented how they…