cancer

Respectful Insolence

Tag archives for cancer

I write about cancer quackery a lot, and I’ve been at it for over a decade. I first cut my teeth on Usenet, delving into that cesspit of unreason known as misc.health. alternative, where my eyes were opened to just the sorts of pseudoscientific and unscientific cancer treatments patients are enticed into trying, sometimes in…

Do you believe in magic in medicine?

Sometimes, between blogging, a demanding day (and night) job doing surgery and science, and everything else, I embarrass myself. Sure, sometimes I embarrass myself by saying something that, in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t. More often, I embarrass myself by letting things slide that I shouldn’t. For instance, when friends send me a prepublication copy…

Stanislaw Burzynski versus the BBC

After yesterday’s epic deconstruction of the latest propaganda-fest from everybody’s favorite Leni Riefenstahl without the talent, Eric Merola, on his most admired subject, “brave maverick doctor” Stanislaw Burzynski, I needed something science-based to cleanse the rancid taste of intelligence-insulting nonsense from my mind. Through a quirk of fate that couldn’t have worked out better if…

Well, I’ve finally seen it, and it was even worse than I had feared. One might even say that watching it was like repeatedly smacking my head into a brick wall. It felt so good when it finally stopped. I’m referring, of course, to Eric Merola’s latest cinematic “effort. Ever since it was revealed that…

On “helping” that is anything but

Cancer is a bitch. Depending upon what organ is involved and what kind of cancer it is, it can be incredibly hard to cure. All too often, it is incurable, particularly when it involves the brain, pancreas, esophagus, or other organs. People wonder why, after over 40 years of a “war on cancer,” we don’t…

Not too long ago, a reader asked me about black salve, and then not too long later I saw a commenter mention black salve. It occurs to me that, in all the years I’ve been doing this blog and my other blog, I don’t think I’ve ever actually written about black salve, except in passing.…

How to kill cancer cells

I am taking the Memorial Day holiday off. I will return tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a general principle that needs to be remembered in cancer research: I would also add to that list: So does bleach. So does acid. So does alkali. So does pouring the media out of the dish and letting the…

I hate to end the week on a bit of a downer, but sometimes I just have to. At least, it’s depressing to anyone who is a proponent of science-based cancer care as the strategy most likely to decrease the death rate from cancer and improve quality of life for cancer patients. Unfortunately, in enough…

A key pillar of the Stanislaw Burzynski antineoplaston marketing machine, a component of the marketing strategy without which his clinic would not be able to attract nearly as many desperate cancer patients to Houston for either his antineoplaston therapy (now under a temporary shutdown by the FDA that, if science were to reign, will become…

So now we know. Back when it was announced that the second Burzynski movie by Eric Merola would be screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival on April 27, Merola announced that there would be a “special celebrity guest.” Those of us who have been following Burzynski for a while scratched our heads, not knowing…

A long, long time ago in a ScienceBlogs far, far away (well, it seems that way anyway, given the halcyon times back then before Pepsigate), Mark Hoofnagle coined the term “crank magnetism.” It was a fantastic term used to describe how susceptibility to one form of quackery, pseudoscience, or just plain crankery tended to be…

I’ve written about naturopathy many times before. The reasons that it interests me are several. First, it amazes me how anyone “discipline” (if you want to call it that) can encompass so many forms of quackery, some of which are mutually contradictory. (For instance, how can homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine both be true?) Also,…

I’ve written a lot about a doctor named Stanislaw Burzynski who claims to have much better outcomes in treating deadly brainstem tumors than conventional oncology does. Although the way he claims to do it is through the use of substances he calls “antineoplastons,” which he claimed to have isolate from the urine of patients. Over…

About a month ago, Eric Merola screened his second movie about “brave maverick doctor” Stanislaw Burzynski, Burzynski: Cancer Is A Serious Business, Part 2 (henceforth referred to as “Burzynski II”), a screening that Brian Thompson and an unnamed colleague from the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) attended, took notes, and even managed to ask a…

It’s been less than a week since I wrote about Stanislaw Burzynski. In fact, as hard as it is to believe, I’ve been trying not to. Obviously, I’m failing, but what can I say? Things keep happening. In particular, there’s Eric Merola. You remember Eric Merola? He’s the producer of a propaganda film extolling the…

R.I.P., Seán Ó’Laighin

This will be an uncharacteristically short (for Orac) post. A couple of months ago, I wrote about the sad story of a young man from Ireland named Seán Ó’Laighin diagnosed with an inoperable brainstem glioma at age 19. Even more sadly, this young man heard about the Burzynski Clinic in Houston and believed the claims…

I’ve had a rule of thumb for a while that helps me identify quacks with a high degree of accuracy. It’s not very sensitive, as a lot of quacks don’t exhibit this trait, but it’s very specific. A lot of quacks don’t use the term; so not hearing says nothing about a practitioner. If you…

Discussing Stanislaw Burzynski’s abuse of science while contemplating how even his success stories really aren’t yesterday reminded me of a topic that I discussed rather extensively not long after I moved my blog over to ScienceBlogs and have covered sporadically since then. I’m referring to the case of Abraham Cherrix. Cherrix, for those who haven’t…

How “they” view “us”

Those of us who dedicate considerable time and effort to combatting quackery generally do it because we think we’re doing good. Certainly, I wouldn’t spend so much time nearly every evening blogging the way I do if I didn’t think so. It’s true that I also enjoy it, but if I were doing this just…

Earlier this week, there was a very bad, very credulous story was broadcast. Now, I realize that this is not an uncommon occurrence. Indeed, I’m sure that this sort of thing happens pretty much every day somewhere in the country and even on national media, but on this particular occasion the story was about a…

The weekend was busy, and I was working on grants, which meant that I could only come up with one post of Orac-style length and depth. Sadly, it wasn’t for this blog. Fortunately, C0nc0rdance came to the rescue with a must-watch video about our old friend Stanislaw Burzynski. He’s the guy who claims to treat…

While I’m using my blog as an announcement platform today, I would be remiss not to mention that tomorrow is Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s birthday, and the Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients are still raising money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in order to try to get Dr. Burzynski to do something good for…

Today’s post will be relatively brief (for an Orac post, that is). The reason is that it’s some very sad news that depresses me greatly. It’s also because I don’t want to distract too much from the announcement I’d like to highlight. About a month and a half ago, around the same time that Stanislaw…

It is an indisputable axiom that everything tastes better with bacon. Well, almost everything. As much as I love bacon, whenever I watch one of those cooking competition shows on the Food Network, like Iron Chef America, in which the secret ingredient is bacon, I can’t figure out how putting bacon in ice cream works.…

More sad news about a Burzynski patient

As much as I try, even when I’m on vacation in an undisclosed warm location near a beach (actually, our hotel room has a balcony overlooking the ocean), occasionally news finds its way to me. Part of it is because I still get the odd e-mail or two, and I do check my e-mail every…