I hate stories like this, but what I hate even more is the way stories like this are all too commonly reported. Readers have been sending me links to stories about a woman named Alex Wynn that have been published over the last few days, in particular this story about her in the Daily Mail (better known as the Daily Fail when it comes to medical stories). As is the Fail's wont, the headline blares Newlywed shuns chemotherapy for CARROTS as she vows to beat cancer with alternative therapies while trying for a baby - even though doctors warn there's 'no evidence' they work, with a picture of an attractive young woman proudly smiling next to a juicer sitting on a kitchen counter loaded with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bananas, cucumbers, oranges, apples, limes, and...you get the idea, with the caption "Alex Wynn has shunned traditional cancer cures of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy in favour of a strict diet, Vitamin C drip and sessions of pure oxygen."
Yes, a young woman is throwing away her one best shot at survival.
As is usually the case when I come across stories of women with breast cancer who eschew chemotherapy, I wondered if she had at least undergone surgery. As I've described on this blog more times than I can remember over the last decade, a very common alternative cancer cure testimonial involves a woman with breast cancer who undergoes lumpectomy but decides not to undergo chemotherapy and/or radiation and/or hormonal therapy. Then, inevitably, the woman attributes her survival to whatever quackery she's decided to pursue when in reality it was almost certainly the surgery that took care of the cancer. Such stories exist and sound plausible because most people don't understand the difference between using chemotherapy as a primary curative treatment for cancer and using it in the adjuvant setting. In the former case, chemotherapy is the primary treatment and potentially curative by itself. In the latter case (also the case for all but a couple of solid tumors), surgery is the primary treatment and chemotherapy is used as an adjuvant, as extra treatment that decreases the risk of cancer recurrence. In the case of breast cancer, radiation therapy is also often used, mostly after lumpectomy but sometimes after mastectomy, to reduce the risk that the tumor will recur in the breast or on the chest wall. Basically, chemotherapy is systemic and decreases the risk of recurrences in the whole body, while radiation is like surgery: A local therapy that doesn't have an effect on the tumor outside of the area that the radiation beam hits.
So I asked, before I even started reading the body of the article: Did Wynn undergo surgery? Sadly, no:
A new bride diagnosed with breast cancer has refused conventional treatment in favour of alternative therapies in a desperate bid to have a baby.
Alex Wynn, 33, from Thame, Oxfordshire, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April last year, three weeks before her wedding.
Despite being told she needed her left breast removed, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to save her life, she refused treatment.
Instead, Ms Wynn is hoping to beat the deadly disease with a diet which includes 2kgs of juiced carrots a day as well as taking Vitamin C and regularly wearing an oxygen mask.
Whenever I see stories like this, the breast cancer surgeon in me tries to figure out from the information given what stage the cancer is, what its hormone receptor status might be, and the usual clinical information that informs what I do every clinic day when I'm seeing patients and trying to decide upon the appropriate course of treatment for women recently diagnosed with breast cancer. First off, given Wynn's age, we can be very sure that her tumor must have been palpable and discovered because she or her doctor felt a lump because she is far too young to have started mammography screening yet. Consequently, it is highly unlikely that her cancer is overdiagnosed.
We can infer other likely characteristics as well. For example, from the statement that doctors recommended that her left breast be removed, we can conclude one of two things. Either her cancer is fairly large, such that trying to save the breast would lead to a poor cosmetic outcome, or Wynn has disease in more than one quadrant of the breast (multicentric disease), which makes breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy) no longer possible. Putting this together, I can tell right away that the tumor is at least stage II. From a strictly clinical viewpoint, given the size of Wynn's breasts, if a breast surgeon didn't think she could save the breast it means that the tumor is probably pretty big. Certainly it's more than 2 cm (which, if true, automatically bumps it up to stage II) and might even be larger than 5 cm (which, if true, would automatically bump Wynn up to stage III). Next, we can infer some things about Wynn's lymph node status.
With positive lymph nodes, particularly very young ones like Wynn, almost always undergo chemotherapy. However, we don't know whether she has positive lymph nodes or not because she hasn't undergone surgery. Putting two and two together, I'd bet she is probably hormone receptor negative or HER2-positive, both of which mandate chemotherapy regardless of lymph node status, particularly in a young woman.
Whatever the case, Wynn hasn't undergone surgery since she was diagnosed in April. Instead, she's doing this:
Now Ms Wynn lives on a strict diet and has cut out all meat, sugar, dairy, gluten and foods that are high in starch, like potatoes.
Each day she juices almost two large bags of carrots, a cucumber, a courgette, kale, ginger and a whole head of celery.
Alongside this, she is having high doses of Vitamin C through an IV drip.
She is currently on her first course of it, which lasts for three weeks. Within that time she will need 15 IV drips in total.
She said: 'Because cancer doesn't like oxygen and prefers an acidic environment, I sit an hyperbaric oxygen chamber twice a week with a mask on breathing pure oxygen.
'I have a test kit called a Navarro Test which I do at home and send off, which measures the levels of HCG the same chemical produced by cancer cells.
'I've tested myself four times so far and theoretically the level of cancer has dropped.
'I always feel so nervous each time about what it's going to say.
'I just hope that with all of this will cure this cancer and then Matt and I can begin trying for children.'
Unfortunately, this is wishful thinking at its worst. There are the requisite doctors quoted saying that diet like this can't cure cancer and that Wynn should receive conventional therapy, but the overall tone of the article makes Wynn seem like an appealing, brave woman, rather than a woman making a tragically misguided choice that could well result in her death if she doesn't change course soon enough.
Much of what Wynn is doing is cancer quackery I've discussed before, such as high dose vitamin C, various "food as medicine" cancer "cures," alkaline diet quackery, and the like. For instance, my first introduction to cancer quackery occurred when I was a general surgery resident. Twenty years ago at the beginning of my chief resident year when I was rotating on the chairman's service, one of the senior surgeons admitted a patient for an abdominoperineal resection (APR). This is a nasty operation that, with the advent of chemoradiation regimens that shrink tumors effectively before surgery is thankfully rarely done any more. Basically, an APR involves removing the rectum and anus, sewing the hole shut, and leaving the patient with a permanent colostomy. The reason was because he had a large rectal cancer that could not be removed without removing his anal sphincter.
The patient's rectal cancer had gotten so large because he had refused conventional treatment when his tumor had been diagnosed at a much smaller size. Instead, for more than a year he had pursued a carrot-heavy juicing regimen of some sort, very likely similar to the one that Wynn has started, plus coffee enemas. I had never heard of such things at the time, but now I know in retrospect that he was probably doing some version of the Gerson protocol. Whatever the specific regimen he had pursued, besides his needing an APR, another result had been that the man's skin was the most amazing shade of orange, which inspired me when I wrote about his case ten years ago to call my post The Orange Man. As I put it that post, early on in my blogging "career," the Orange Man was the first to teach me that alternative medicine that is ineffective is not harmless. That was 20 years ago, and I've never forgotten the lesson.
No matter how long I do this, however, I I had never heard of the Navarro test before; so I looked it up. It turns out that there is a place called the Navarro Clinic. Perusing the website, I conclude that the clinic appears to exist for only one purpose: To sell a bogus diagnostic test for cancer:
Developed in the late 1950s, by the renowned oncologist, the late Dr. Manuel D. Navarro, the test detects the presence of cancer cells even before signs or symptoms develop. Dr. Navarro found HCG to be present in all types of cancers. The test is based on a theory proposed by Howard Beard and other researchers who contend that cancer is related to a misplaced trophoblastic cell that become malignant in a manner similar to pregnancy in that they both secrete HCG. As a consequence, a measure of the amount of HCG found in the blood or urine is also a measure of the degree of malignancy. The higher the number, the greater is the severity of cancer.
Howard Beard and the trophoblastic theory of cancer? Does that sound familiar? If it doesn't, I'll reiterate, since I haven't discussed it in a while. Basically, it's a concept of how cancer develops that is at the core of quackery promoted by William Donald Kelly and the late Nicholas Gonzalez. Although at one time (100 years ago), this concept of how cancer forms seemed plausible, but was long ago discarded. Basically, according to Beard's trophoblastic theory of cancer, the cause of cancer is the changing of an ectopic germ cell into an ectopic trophoblast cell, a change brought about by an excess of female hormones. This "upsetting" of the male-female sex hormone balance, according to Beard, led to the growth of normal tissue, namely germ cells, in the wrong place. Cancer then supposedly would progress because of a lack of cancer-digesting enzymes in the body; so the idea behind Gonzalez's cancer quackery was to ingest large quantities of pancreatic enzymes.
The trophoblastic “theory” was discarded many decades ago because it explained nothing, predicted nothing, and conflicted with the emerging understanding of cancer biology new scientific studies were producing. Indeed, whenever I read about the “trophoblastic theory of cancer,” to this day I still have a hard time figuring out how this “theory” leads to the use of digestive enzymes to treat cancer, particularly given that only very tiny amounts of proteins like digestive enzymes can find their way into the bloodstream after passing through the GI tract. The vast majority of such proteins are completely broken down to amino acids and very small peptides.
In any case, the Navarro test, based on this long-discredited "theory," is nothing more than a urine HCG test. In essence, it is a more sensitive version of a pregnancy test, and these are the levels that the Navarro clinic uses to determine whether there is cancer. Of course, one wonders how the Navarro clinic interprets its HCG levels in pregnant women. Actually, no I don't. It is true that there are cancers that do produce HCG, such as ovarian cancer, tumors of placental and germ cell origin, testicular cancer, and the like. It is also true that some common cancers, such as breast, pancreatic, cervical, and gastric cancers can produce HCG. However, the secretion of HCG by these tumors is relatively uncommon and usually at low levels. For example, elevated serum levels are only observed in 45-60% of patients with biliary and pancreatic cancer and in 10-30% of most other cancers. In other words, HCG is not a reliable test for most cancers or for monitoring cancer treatment. Clinically, it's really only used as a tumor marker for germ cell tumors and testicular cancer. For everything else, it's pretty much useless.
So why is Wynn doing this? The reason is simple. She desperately wants to have a child and fears chemotherapy-induced infertility. While this is understandable, Wynn is young, and it is young women who have the best chances of fertility after chemotherapy. Indeed, Living Beyond Breast Cancer points out that if a woman is under 30 her chances of regaining fertility after chemotherapy are excellent; between 30-35 (as Wynn is), chances for fertility are good; 35-50, chances for fertility are less than 50-50; 40 or older, chances for fertility are slim. More information can be found at MyOncofertility.org, which also lists strategies for fertility preservation.
I always wonder in cases like this why women refuse all treatment. For instance, although I would strongly counsel a woman against such a decision to forego chemotherapy, if I were Wynn's surgeon I would try to urge her to undergo surgery at least. Her chances of cure would be lower than if she accepted the full multidisciplinary treatment of breast cancer, but there would be a decent chance, at least as far as I can tell from what was presented. She could also have her child after surgery. Again, it's not an ideal plan (far from it), but it's better than what she is doing now, which is the equivalent of no treatment at all.
I fear that Wynn is heading down the same road as The Orange Man. Her tumor will grow relentlessly until it breaks through the skin and start to leave little tumor deposits all over her chest wall. It will ulcerate, bleed, and, as the tumor outgrows its blood supply and dies in the center, start to reek. If she is lucky, it will metastasize and kill her quickly. If she is not, she will face unrelenting pain as the tumor erodes into her chest wall, a fate like that of Michaela Jakubczyk-Eckert, who trusted cancer quack Ryke Hamer and paid the ultimate price. What could be even worse is that she might become pregnant and have a child in the interim and leave her husband a widower and her baby motherless.
That is the price of cancer quackery. What I really want to know are the identities of the clinics and doctors that are selling this treatment to her. The light of science needs to be shined on these quacks.
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Thirty three....sad, just plain sad. Hopefully, someone close can try and talk some sense into her.
Which is why we cultivate tumor cells in Petri dishes in a about neutral pH (the usual culture medium is colored red with phenol red - a colorant which turns yellow in acidic conditions, like in case of a bacterial contamination of the culture) with all the oxygen it can get from the surrounding atmosphere, I guess.
When I trained as a microbiologist, I have seen bacteria which "don't like" oxygen. I believe cancer cells have a quite different behavior.
(lighting a candle and putting it in a jar with the bacteria's plates was a fun to remove oxygen - if that would improve the growth of our cultured cancer cells, we would do it, too)
Right now, I would really like to pummel the guys who come with the "cancer is due to acid" idea. By propagating their ill-conceived biological notions, (shall I say "lies"?) they are murderers, pure and simple.
Wait, isn't vitamin C an acid? So by their own cancer-loves-an-acidic-environment theory, wouldn't putting vitamin C directly into the bloodstream PROMOTE the growth of the cancer?
Our esteemed and splendid host ( with the most) wonders which "clinics and doctors" mapped out this road towards perdition for Ms Wynn.
Perhaps she found the protocols on the internet- all by herself- discussed it with advocates on facebook and then consulted with local holistic providers ... in other words, there may not be a solitary doctor or clinic responsible. But a mob of quacks, quack enablers and web de-education
A while back, RI was haunted by advocates of a breast cancer woo internet group who took SB commenters to task.
Unfortunately, I hear and read much too much of this and vitamin C drips especially make me ((shudder)) as they are used for nearly every condition including MS,AD, cancer and hiv/aids for decades despite not being evidence based.
Thus, I believe that woo and swill like this have reached a saturation point on the web : Ms Wynn probably had vague ideas about the acid nonsense and 'food as medicine' prior to her diagnosis- the net is rife with them.
Adverts, videos and e-books instruct the public about 'cancer cures' : if only there were a cure for adverts, videos and e-books.
Not to long ago i go into a heated argument with an old friend of mine that was spreading this. The sad thing is that she was and RN, and claiming to know more about this than me. Over the years I have learned to pick my battles to save relationships. When i saw all the comments from people that were "self curing".....i just had to start the conversation. I really don't even know how to approach this. Bringing up real science is pointless because they believe they have the real science. Pointing out the bad science or the lack there of is pointless as well. Most of thees people are not educated enough to under stand the difference. It is quite astounding the lack of scientific literacy in the public. I may not be a scientist.....but i do know how to find a credible one. The fact that educated people can not do that is killing them. Sad sad day.
Denice Walter, you are most likely correct from the sound of her gofundme page.
The Hope4Cancer treatment centre in Mexico is what the money is being raised for.
Reading fail. The money is also being used for treatment in the UK at an unnamed clinic but I am unsure if she is being treated holistically or she is just using standalone treatments that are popular now in the UK (?).
@ Not a Troll:
I wouldn't be at all surprised if she were influenced by various altmed sites that trumpet the efficacy of vitamin C drips or megadoses. This is woo from decades ago.
Oxygen via HBOT is also autism woo.
It's endless and sickening. She may have a chance with SBM- with this, it's orders of magnitude less likely.
Apart from the fact that there are no reliable standards for following hCG levels in patients whose tumors may make them in small amounts, there is the problem of tumor dedifferentiation - in which neoplastic cells may revert to more primitive forms, which likely would make even less hCG.
Thus a patient with dropping hCG levels could be convinced they're getting better, when the reality is that their tumor is transforming and becoming more virulent.
As with other examples we've seen, the problem with publicity being given to this latest case goes far beyond the fate of the young woman involved, extending to others who are encouraged to follow her example.
People may be attracted to woo that brands itself as self-curing because it enables them to ( falsely) believe that they are in control of the situation which makes them feel better but doesn't help them to actually become 'better' i.e.- less ill.
Those who sell bad ideas like this realise that patients may feel powerless and NOT in control of their fate- they pervert reality to convince them that they are taking control when they are indeed even less empowered because they the eschew or fear SBM.
Psychological manipulation at its finest used for the worst purposes.
Nothing is ever simple. And that's the simple truth.
Based on my regular encounters with pro-alt med advocates, many of them see it like this:
Situation #1: Someone has to make a decision between taking a prestigious job which pays well but will bore, frustrate, and depress them -- or doing something with their life which pays poorly, but is unusual and right for them.
Situation #2: Someone has to make a decision between undergoing a respected medical treatment which is scientifically approved but will bore, sadden, and depress them -- or doing something with their health which is not approved by mainstream scientists, but is unusual and right for them.
My altie friends think these are similar situations and therefore the same sort of choice. If you think the second person is wrong, then you're the type who would disapprove of the first person, too.
It's "believe in yourself" all the way down.
Yes, because oxygen couldn't possibly play a role in creating tumors.
The Navarro Clinic has a phone number with an 847 area code, which Google tells me is north suburban Chicago. There are plenty of rich people around there, particularly close to the Lake Michigan shore, but I haven't previously been aware of Chicagoland as a woo hotspot. Denice, is this one on your radar?
It's not as though Ms. Wynn doesn't have competent doctors around. She's in Oxfordshire, as is one of the UK's most famous universities. So why is she turning to Chicago for help?
My altie friends think these are similar situations and therefore the same sort of choice.
A false equivalence if there ever was one (but of course you knew that). The second situation is a matter of life and death. The first one generally isn't, unless one of the job options is being a hit man.
Granted that some of the choices to be made here are serious business. Ms. Wynn wants a baby, which is difficult to do if she is simultaneously doing chemotherapy. Fair enough, but does she really want to bring a kid into the world that will likely grow up without its mother? That's the likely outcome of what she is doing, assuming she has a successful pregnancy. Which, as Orac notes, she could do after surgery but before chemo, and still have a higher chance of survival than what she actually is doing.
Ugh deal with this all the time on an ovarian cancer site. Love reading about a man who is so bummed out because the ginger woo didn't work on shrinking his wife's tumor. In fact in the 3 months she took ginger her tumor actually grew.. Go figure.Ginger, turmeric, Laetrile, turpentine-you name it. Anything except the Big Pharma bogeyman of chemotherapy. You can't convince these people as alt med has become their new religion. As a result facts mean nothing...
No, therefore she simply must believe that the juicing / IV Vitaminc C / hyperbaric oxygen route she's taking will save her life and prevent that from happening.
She's going to Chicago for help because thanks to the Cancer Act, she won't find anyone in the UK who can legally promote this shit. Not to say there aren't woo - promoters in the UK - there are of course plenty unfortunately - but there are severe* consequences for those claiming to cure the big C. For other woo, we also have the Advertising Standards Act, although frankly, we don't bash at liars with it nearly often enough, probably because of the prevailing 'shruggie/what's the harm ' attitude.
*not severe enough natch.
"I hate stories like this, but what I hate even more is the way stories like this are all too commonly reported.
"Psychological manipulation at its finest used for the worst purposes."
For the critics who call (or would call) those here a bunch of cold heartless bastards, the quotes above are part of the answer to you. These quotes (along with many others) show the motives behind the people here. They are the ones who pay attention to the faux treatment industry, who make note of the end results of their treatments past the celebration of them in the media, and who pour over the scientific research to see if they are wrong and the "mavericks" are correct.
Even though we can all be more civil, I would wonder about anyone who has educated themselves on this topic who would not be a bit enraged/sarcastic/scathing when responding to alternative medicine's defenders.
"Fire goes out for lack of fuel...." Proverbs 26:20.
I don't begrudge them for trying to put out the fire because they've seen its results, and although I am no fan of medicine as it is now, the reasoning to trade it for something far worse escapes me.
From the gofundme page:
"but was told that they would not complete the surgery without chemo and radiation"
If this is factual (which seems questionable) maybe that answers the question about why she refused all treatment.
An acquaintance of mine with an OB background immediately reacted "why doesn't she just freeze her eggs?", and indeed the link that Orac gave had quite a lot of information on fertility preservation.
This really is awful to read about.
It's hard to see stories like this published in rags like DM as being anything more than irresponsible clickbait.
"If this is factual (which seems questionable) maybe that answers the question about why she refused all treatment."
True, but this doesn't explain why she wouldn't pursue surgery alone somewhere else except for maybe the cost. But even if you thought you couldn't afford surgery, you would still have to believe the alternative route would work or else why choose it.
@Not a troll - this is the UK. Lifesaving medical treatment is free. Altmed quacks don't operate an NHS.
@ Eric Lund:
No, I've never heard of that place. Sounds awful.
Of course there's woo around Chicago ( most famously, Mercola and Toni Bark in near suburbs as well as TM Lisa J. Goes and friends) as there are altie havens near both Oxford and Cambridge
because places like these are often concentrations of big money in relatively small places.
See also Harvard, Yale, Stanford, NYC, SF, LA.
Unfortunately, I have had my head on neurological matters because I just learned that my friend's grandson has a head injury ( fell off a bicycle) and my cousin who had brain surgery to remove an optic nerve sheath meningioma 20 months ago has experienced symptoms possibly related to breakage of the repairs done then and you know what that means.
So pardon me if I seem a bit off-centred.
I suppose it's possible that this is true, but if so it strikes me as shortsighted on the part of the clinic or hospital where she went. Yes, it's true that we strongly recommend getting the "whole package," so to speak, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. And we should do that, because that "package" gives the patient the best odds of survival.
However, when a patient absolutely refuses one or more modalities, if it's appropriate medically we try to get her to accept one. It's simple practicality and a desire to try to minimize the harm the patient is doing to herself by refusing parts of the whole package of therapy. Also, if a breast cancer can be removed surgically, it's almost always appropriate to do that surgery, particularly if the patient needs a mastectomy. (Doing a lumpectomy without radiation, for instance, leaves a high risk of a local recurrence of the cancer in the breast.) Besides, after surgery we might be able to talk the patient into the rest, but even if we can't at least the primary cancer is gone, which makes her chances of surviving far better than if we left the tumor in place.
See how dogmatic I am?
That is what I was thinking. If the NHS was not going to pay for her to have surgery alone wouldn't that apply to all of NHS doctors? Or does she have options on what treatments to get depending on which doctor she sees?
And if/when she dies, the quacks will blame something else other than their sham treatments and recommendations. They must not have mothers, sisters, or friends. That's the only way I can explain such sociopathic tendencies.
@#3 PartiallyCoherent: I once called someone on an altie web blog about Ascorbic Acid being acidic. Their answer was the Vit C was prepared and administered in a pH buffered IV solution.
The other question I've wanted to ask "them" is if they recommend strenuous exercise as cancer prevention, what about the resulting buildup of lactic acid in the body? Do olympic and pro athletes have higher CA rates?
Re: no surgery without chemo/radiation:
It's also possible that she was told some version of what Orac says in #25, that it was strongly recommended, and only heard "that's what they want to do," and then decided that the doctors would only do surgery contingent on her promise to finish treatment. People with recent cancer diagnoses don't always listen terribly well.
I wish we were wrong-- I wish that cancer could be treated with some palatable potion made of common foodstuffs. I wish that extraphysiological levels of ascorbic acid could do something useful to the blood, and that a temporary excursion from the usual blood pH level (in a paradoxical direction, even) could be therapeutic.
But all of the evidence says that this is only a wish on the parts of patients and their families, and so much opportunism on the part of those people whom Ren accurately says display sociopathic tendencies.
Well, she might get slightly different options if she got a second opinion.
As to having to pay, NHS treatment is free for nearly everyone in the UK. There are exceptions for some types of non-UK residents, and I notice that Ms Wynne is from Australia. However, if her immigration status meant she couldn't get free treatment, you can bet your sweet bippy that the Daily Fail (which only seems to like immigrants when they're white, young and female) would have informed you of that fact in the headline.
I don't know which hospital this was, but if she lives in Thame then it may well have been the John Radcliffe at Oxford. Stoke Mandeville is nearest but as far as I know does not do breast cancer. The JR is a teaching hospital, and up to date on current practice. All speculation but I suspect that if they refused to treat without chemo / radio, that might indicate a need to reduce the tumour to avoid more extensive surgery - is that right?
IMHO Orac nailed the lead, but lost the thread along the way. I don't want to pummel the quacks, so much as I want to pummel The Daily Mail. It's horrible that a young woman's desire to have a family is being exploited by charlatans, but that's an individual tragedy. But here's The Mail hanging the whole thing on a peg Orac notes as having a tone of 'appealing bravery'. This is free advertising for death merchants. How many women will see this story, give it a typical news-story skim, and come away with the general impression, 'this might just work' filed away for future reference?
The story has classic bullsh!t journalistic 'balance'. The proper science cautions are noted in the sidebar and the last paragraph, both of which most readers will skip. What stays and makes the most impression: the pictures. The happy young marrieds. The smiling happy woman amidst natures colorful bounty — and its semiotic other: depressed-face-needle-in-bandaged-arm-trapped-on-IV-stand / plaintif-eyes-peering-out-from-entrapment-in-face-covering-dehumanizing-depersonalizing-machine. This piece needs no test whatsoever.
What all RI readers should remember – The Daily Mail has thousands of possibilities each day for stories of this type (not breaking news) to include. They chose this over that, and had reasons for doing so. Given the choice of 'Patient shuns chemo for carrots' as a subject, they had many possibilities for individuals to feature. They chose Alex Wynn over other patients, and had reasons for doing so. Having chosen to report on Wynn, they had an infinite number of ways they could have ordered, edited, framed, phrased etc. etc. their reportage, and they chose to use THOSE words, take THAT photo, and had reasons for doing so. (Reporters and editors don't think about these things in any deep way, but they're choices all the same.)
So, why is a mass circulation newspaper making choices that will likely lead to more young women dying from curable cancers?
We can only make educated guesses, of course, and a full analysis is beyond the scope of even a sadmarian blog comment, but I'll just note a few things that stick out. The Daily Mail is a Right Wing paper, and as such it advances ideologies 'traditional family vaues' but also the heroic visionary individual against the gray dull state that drags down and stifles its genius rebels (Ayn Rand 101). So here's the conventionally lovely newlywed 'choosing her own path' in defiance of the conventional wisdom of the establishment (this being the UK, the doctors are all part of Bog Government), so she can give birth to and raise a child. IOW, she's the anti-thesis of those butch lesbo pro-abortion socialists who want to make all the nice people do things their way, thus keeping those nice people from having nice things...
(Wynn might have uttered that spontaneously, OR the reporter might have fished for it: knowing what her peg needed to be, and working the questions to get the money quote.)
Whilst I agree with Ren that they're sociopaths, occasionally one of the woo-entranced also confesses that his ( and it usually IS a male) hatred for SBM was originally precipitated by the death of a family member who was 'killed' by SBM:
- Mike Adams says that family members with cancer died/ weren't saved by SBM and he himself was damaged by SB care UNTIL he cured himself of type 2 diabetes and obesity thus blossoming forth as the Health Ranger.
- Gary Null claims that his mother was 'killed' by HRT which incited an MI at a relatively young age altho' EVERYONE in his family smoked, drank and ate non-vegan food except for him and a younger brother.
NOT one older person EVER listened to him!
Thus it was their own fault because they stayed under the spell of doctors rather than listening to him.
ACTUALLY the idiot is now surrounded by death and cancer because several of his cronies ( including doctors) and/ or fellow broadcasters at his vanity 'radio' station, prn, have already died ( cancer/ MI) or have stage 4 cancer-
( currently, Utrice Leid has listened to him and is doing his protocols) most of whom have died because they also didn't follow his orders. And the sociopath says so as he describes their symptoms ghoulishly.
Having attended consultations with other people, I am always astonished at the message they take away. It always seems to be the one they most or least want to hear while the reality is much more nuanced. My day's oncologist said my dad's prognosis was such he didn't expect to be treating him in a year's time. Dad heard that he had twelve months to live. Sadly, he didn't but I couldn't bring myself to tell him otherwise.
"An acquaintance of mine with an OB background immediately reacted “why doesn’t she just freeze her eggs?”, and indeed the link that Orac gave had quite a lot of information on fertility preservation."
Heck, couldn't she adopt?
Maybe she wants the whole trifecta of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding? Maybe that's why she's refusing surgery?
What drives people to gamble with unproven cancer treatments are the testimonials of those who allegedly "cured" themselves by some "natural" or "alternative" means. More often than not, the propaganda innocents are exposed to stems from zealotry and greed. In the days before the Web, people were lured by 'fly-paper' – books, booklets, leaflets, pamphlets, and other handouts (a practice perpetuated to this day by the Cancer Control Society) – with or without the name of a contact or company who supplied the products. But carrot juice, IV ascorbic acid, and oxygen? Haven't hear of those as a regimen since the 1960s, and I would surprised if she wasn't taking something else besides. One can only hope that it's not laetrile. Regardless of what else she might be taking, in the early days of the health food movement, many people tried carrot and vegetable juice with massive doses of vitamin C, both by oral and IV dosing. Back then, the carrot-juicing phenomena was rampant on the West Coast of North America where I witnessed it firsthand and knew people who either perished or finally received conventional medical attention. There is no evidence to show that juicing and ascorbic acid worked then and no reason to believe they would be effective today, but you can bet that someone is making claims to the contrary.
Two predictions (or rather, two pretty safe bets):
1) This newspaper coverage is the cornerstone in a newly-emerging scheme to make money off this, a la Jess Ainscough et al. In fact the story above almost read like those "advertorials" disguised to look like genuine news coverage. (Yes, yes, I know it's The Daily Mail ...)
2) Within a day or so Orac will start to hear from her minions (family, friends, followers) who have been alerted to this post. They'll call us ghouls for condemning her to death, tell us we "just don't understand" alternative methods, BigPharma yadda yadda sponsoring RI and they'll call her "brave" and "a beautiful soul" and bluster "how dare you..."
"Those who sell bad ideas like this realize that patients may feel powerless and NOT in control of their fate- they pervert reality to convince them that they are taking control when they are indeed even less empowered because they the eschew or fear SBM."
I think this is the crux of the matter.
Cancer puts mortality "in your face" in a way that many other health crisis' do not. Boosterism (think: pink sorority) and diet craziness are attempts to sustain denial.
So, sugar is bad...but she juices how many pounds of carrots daily? Concentrating all that sugar in a glass, without even getting the benefit of the fibre? There's a reason there's something called carrot cake.
Oh, but it's natural sugar? I see. The cancer cells know the difference, I'm sure.
Glancing at the list of speakers for the 42nd Annual Cancer Convention of the Cancer Control Society (CCS) in 2014, I noticed a familiar name: Earl Mindell, RPh, PhD. I don't recall who managed the task, but I recall that someone published an article on his book The Vitamin Bible after identifying around 100 glaring errors. That Mindell would be associated with the CCS is not entirely surprising; if you haven't already seen the investigation conducted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Marketplace, you may find it entertaining, if not saddening:
I have nothing to compare it to, but all of the cancer patients I know who are into alternative stuff go for vitamin C infusions if they can afford them.
lol, I had a high school friend who was orange-her parents were very much into carrot juice and the whole family was orange. Not bright orange, but fake-tan kind of orange.
Mindell is in "good" company. That speaker's list is like a "who's who" of cancer quackery.
Did you happen to notice, in the lower right corner, the blurb about bus tours of "cancer clinics" in Mexico? That's the real reason for this "convention." It's one long sales pitch for all these competing Mexican places.
There was an excellent expose documentary done by Al Jazeera about one of those bus tours and inside the clinics, shot to a great extent with a hidden camera. You hear these con artists lie flat out. They can cure anything.
It's well-worth finding on YouTube and spending 45 minutes watching, to fully understand both the desperation of the victims and the ruthlessness and callousness of the despicable scum profiting off false hope.
Here's a link to that hidden camera documentary, for those so inclined. It's truly sickening.
One of the idiots I survey calls his show "the empowerment hour" because listeners can through its instruction ( via a classroom on the air - sic) take back their power from those who usurped it unfairly-
doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, universities, the establishment, the government, corporations, the media
HOWEVER they can only get their power back by listening to his tripe and following his protocols to the LETTER-
or else they'll die or become fat or old or unattractive.
AND who would want that?
Furthermore those elect enough to receive his ministrations have their energy 'adjusted' through a laying on of hands. Seriously. True healing comes only from a change
of belief which then allows the Inner Healer to take over -
to get to this stage most mortals need a push and he's there to set the ball a-rolling.
This particular woo-meister hosts healing retreats at one of his ( two) vast estates where seekers pay for the privilege of being preached at, told how and when to eat ( in total silence) and exercised madly all the live long day. In return for their obedience they are born again, healed and renewed. He includes taped testimonials from stage 4 cancer patients who believe their illness is retreating and those who suffer from AD, MS, CHF amongst other ills.
Often these adventures in persuasion remind me ever so much of evangelical conversions or induction into cults.
It seems he limits/ denigrates outside information as much as he limits protein
I think that video will haunt me forever now. Woo Fighter, wow, thanks for that(?)
Thanks, Woo fighter. By coincidence, I happened to view the video a couple of days ago. It was not news to me, but then I've been around the field for over 40 years.
High oxygen content will do nothing to stop the spread of cancer. If anything, it's probably going to make it worse...
"...I’ve been around the field for over 40 years.:
What would you say has changed in those 40 years? Or has it been more of the same with just the addition of tech (internet/social media)?
Woo Fighter: Yep, it's a real Who's Woo list, alright.
mho: Who would dare reveal that nearly all the vitamin C on the market is synthesized in China and India? I know it's a mute point, but according to the FDA, any synthesized substance can not be legally marketed as "natural".
Jesus - Jessica Ainscough isn't even cold yet but it looks like the media has found a new young, pretty "Wellness Warrior" to exploit for as long as her popularity last, turn on when it becomes obvious that she's not getting better, and quietly bury when she dies.
sadmar@32: There is a reason it's called the Daily Fail. There are UK newspapers I would trust to give me something resembling actual news. The Daily Mail is not one of those papers--I would not take their word for it if they said the sun would rise tomorrow. (From what I hear, their straight news reporting isn't any better than this--actually, the factual content of this story may be higher than a lot of what is printed on their news pages. Admittedly, that's a low bar to clear.)
High oxygen content will do nothing to stop the spread of cancer.
Perhaps, but if you're a snake-oil scammer who's invested in hyperbaric-oxygen equipment, you're going to find more and more conditions that can be treated by hyperbaric oxygen.
[Case in point: Bradstreet and his hyperbaric-oxygen-for-autism grift, before he moved on to stem cells for autism].
Not a Troll: For a start, one of the biggest changes has been the growth in research on natural products. While I encourage further research, the problem is that because relatively few have the level of literacy to evaluate the results, rather than serving to dissuade patients, they lend an air of undeserving respectability to treatments and products of questionable, unproven, and no demonstrable benefit. Armed with the providence of the recent golden age of natural products research, charlatans and hucksters have more ammunition to deceive audiences and themselves than ever before.
Sarah A: Ahh, but the media can make proverbial hay on her story when what she is taking fails to work.
I agree- they also deceive themselves. They believe their own PR as well.
Although I imagine if any of them were ever diagnosed with a serious illness, *some* of them might (secretly) head straight for SBM while some would treat themselves or visit a fellow woo-meister.
Me neither, but it's one thing to just read about it happening, and another altogether to witness it...
her doktor bimler: The problem with snake oil is that we're just not getting the genuine article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19051590
AdamG: I agree. The lengths to which the reporter went to get the facts are more than most would venture. In this day of videocy, there may be nothing better to alert the innocent.
Lighthorse: A real catch-22 there and one change I didn't anticipate. But I guess I really should have after reading Orac's many articles on integrated medicine.
Well, I am a breast cancer surgeon, after all. It's not as though I don't pummel news outlets for false balance on a regular basis. :-)
Just don't lump all alternative therapies together as quackery. There are some forms of treatment that do work with certain forms of cancer.
Really? Do tell. Which ones? Which cancers? And what is the scientific evidence that they work?
Has the horrific end that came for Wellness Warrior taught those who follow in her footsteps absolutely nothing?
It has been observed that, for any given substance known to humanity, the Daily Fail will claim that it either causes or cures cancer. Sometimes both, on different days.
Unsurprisingly, the Daily Mail is also a notorious climate-denial mouthpiece; here's a very recent example, with a huge comments section in which I appear a fair amount:
The Daily Fail labours under the constraint that much of their journamalism consists of scraping up material published through other sources, rearranging it, and making up one or two additional details that they can claim to be exclusive. So in the aftermath of the Bradstreet suicide we got this:
The five patients who left Noakes' clinic in Switzerland and headed straight to die in the nearest hospital were adults, but that wasn't sufficiently poignant for the DM hacks.
Reading the article and the comments I am glad to be called a "quack" because I promote a healthy lifestyle, using natural products. But then also, I have to agree with some of what has been written. Today so many holistic practices claims to have the answer to cure cancer. That is a perhaps the biggest mistake ever made. Truth be told, there is not a simple way to cure cancer. But I am a witness to someone who did use a natural way out after all hope was lost. And then also, I have lost my mother who did not want to undergo chemo or radiation after her operation. Instead she did want to follow a natural way to keep cancer out. Did it work? NO! Then there is my aunt who has a few months to live with the same cancer type my mom had. She underwent all that has been written in this article and now? Wonder if this is then not a quack writting in order to make sure he has patients in order to make money!? No, I do not tell anyone that living a holistic lifestyle will heal cancer, but, living a holistic lifestyle and working hand in hand with your medical doctor (who by the way knows more than me about how the cancer stages work) will help to have a long living life or having no hope at all. Yes, for someone in late stage 2 or stage 3 I would always encourage to make use of the drugs (medications of today) but also to follow an holistic diet in order to help the body stay strong. Radiation and Chemo both break down the body's fighting system but then again eating the right fruits and vegetables mostly in their raw state will again help the body's fight system to stay active to help to fight the disease in the body. Now, I would like to challenge the Medical Professional Doctors to counter this statement.
I noticed a comment in the DM piece by someone insisting she may be successful and cure herself like Eva Ramparte - trouble being that Ms Ramparte based her whole "diet cured my cancer" business on a single ultrasound "diagnosis" of ovarian cancer.
The last mention of OxyHealth's "sponsorship" of AoA that I've bothered to find was in 2011. But McCarthy was still pitching for some custom-chamber thing at AoA within the last year.
But I can't remember whether that was for sweating the autism out or for hyberbarically redoxing it out.
I don't understand why people fall for such quackery. I had a friend (I think she is still alive but I find her too silly to talk to) and our friendship had lasted for many years since school days.
Lo and behold she develops stage three ovarian cancer. The surgeon spent eight hours trying to get all the metastices out of her abdomen. She has one round of chemo and then decides to go to naturopath. She is placed on a so called alkaline diet that also consists of lemon juice!!! She also eats gluten free bread etc "to soften the effects of the chemo" My friend could not understand that this was could not have any effect due to homeostasis. Less than 6 months following the surgery she thanked the naturopath for curing her. I believe that she may have metastices in her brain because of her irrational beliefs.
Saddens me to hear such stories. Young people with a bright future ahead of them, and they throw it all away with the little judgement they seem to have. Why is it in those cases that the husband just goes with it? Shouldn't he try to convince her to get real treatment?
Well, sent him a message on facebook telling him his wife is heading straight to her grave if she continues those ''treatments'' heh. He hasn't replied yet lol.
Gemman Aster wrote:
People who learnt anything from Ainscough's death are, I suspect, largely quiet about it, so as not to have to draw attention to previous error, while those who didn't learn see no reason to shut up.
The Mail, as noted, has a pretty right wing stance; it has long promoted absolutely any story which can be taken as critical of the horrible socialistic commie pinko NHS, let alone any of the rest of our public sector, but the NHS comes in for particular ire and distortions of anything close to fact.
Even if one complains to our press regulators (the editor of The Mail was formerly the chair of this...), as I did about a story which impinged directly on me and several of my patients, facts are still ignored because, apparently, in an "opinion piece" they aren't necessary.
The Mail has a very clear political agenda, part of which is the destruction of the NHS and the promotion of privatised medicine: this story is merely part of a larger picture and a pattern of coverage which is decades old; they were amongst Thatcher's chief helpers when she launched her assaults on the public sector over 30 years ago.
As an aside, another popular term for The Mail is "The Heil", stemming from its support for the Nazis back in the '30s. Draw your own conclusions from that one...
Round these parts it's more commonly referred to as:
"The Daily Hate Mail"
She is raising £10,000 in order to get 15 infusions of Vitamin C from a UK clinic???
Who are these parasitic quacks preying on the vulnerable?
A box of vitamin C tablets could be purchased for a dozen bucks or so.
Remind me again who are the money-hungry b@stards?
As someone who lives in northwest suburbs of Chicago I can tell you their is a fair amount of woo in the area, There are at least a couple of "holistic" treatment centers and many chiropractors. Earlier this summer I went to a towns street sale and there were many woo vendors. From the aforementioned chiropractors and "holistic" hospitals to booths practicing reflexology.
Heads-up: More nagalase-nonsense-for-page-views just popped up at Natural News. Among other gems, here's a couple of knee-slappers:
"GcMAF (Globulin component Macrophage Activating Factor), which is the GC protein after it combines with vitamin D in the body, has the potential to be a universal cure for cancer."
"Dr. Bradstreet was working with a naturally occurring compound [sic] that may be the single most effective thing in the immune system for killing cancer cells"
Helianthus: I would have to re-check to be certain, but a kg of vitamin C used to cost about US$25.00.
Helianthus: I can purchase 25 kg of vitamin C in North America for around $700.00 wholesale.
“GcMAF (Globulin component Macrophage Activating Factor) [...] has the potential to be a universal cure for cancer.”
Until such time as someone actually tests it, I guess NN are on safe grounds with that level of vagueness.
£666 per infusion from your local quack vulture (ironically), or you can get this (as per BNF):
I see that Natural News outsources most of the claims about GcMAF to "Dr. Ted Broer, an internationally recognized heath and nutrition expert also based in Florida", where "internationally recognized" is a polite way of saying "Sought in a number of jurisdictions". Broer is the source of the "universal cure" claim, and also for the novel idea that Nagalase is not a natural enzyme:
Please to notice the multiple levels of chickensh1t plausible-deniability going on here. Broer does not want to personally taint himself with his insanely stupid idea so he ventriloquises a few corpses and puts it in the mouths of people who aren't around to reject it. Then NN in turn quotes Broer rather than take any personal accountability. It's the Portrait in Courage of Dorian Gray.
And there was enough of this enzyme to have survived and be found months or years after the injection, and to have an effect on the whole organism (or at least the whole brain)?
I am starting to think Big Pharma stumbled upon the technology to create pocket universes and used it to make Syringes of Holding, bigger on the inside than on the outside. Maybe the Timelords were somewhat involved.
Between enough mercury to open a thermometer factory and the wheelbarrows of extra proteins from source unknown, no way a little 1-mL vaccine syringe could hold all the stuff which the alt-med types keep finding in it.
This is very interesting to read. About 2 and a half years ago I would have probably shown this to my mother who was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and was adamant on doing things such as cut out sugar completely, eating tons of vegetables, starting meditation etc etc. I was totally convinced it was ridiculous. Obviously all be cancer team did too. After 5 months of her doing her "protocol" one of her rumors was completely gone, the other 95% reduced. The doctors were utterly baffled. At first they didn't want to even talk about it but now that sufficient time has past and she's totally cancer free they are in contact and interested in potentially doing a paper on it. Some of the things she's done are now being talked about in mainstream tv and more and more doctors are coming out and reporting successes with substantial lifestyle/diet changes. Now I think it's very possible that it could work for some people, as I've seen it with my own eyes. Now of course there are a lot of quacks out there doing crazy things but to put everything in the same basket is also dangerous. There is a l it of cases of over treatment going on right now to the point that it's almost criminal in my opinion. I have a number of friends who are doctors who are very worried about this issue. I think there also needs to be more scrutiny in the medical profession about some of it's own practices.
Interesting. What kind of breast cancer? More details are needed to evaluate this anecdote.
And there was enough of this enzyme to have survived and be found months or years after the injection, and to have an effect on the whole organism (or at least the whole brain)?
I guess once it's in your system it lasts there forever. Like the rcombinant DNA in Gardasil, or fetal DNA in MMR. Because injections are magic.
What a sad story. My wife had breast cancer twice, the second not a recurrence, but an independent cancer 20 years after the first. Both were cured by following the best medical advice available: the first by mastectomy and chemo, the second by another mastectomy and hormonal treatment. We're now 10 years past the second event. Chemo is unpleasant, but it isn't the end of the world. Just one anecdote, but science-based medicine does work.
Ted Broer! I just saw someone citing him yesterday.
Ol' "Dr." Ted (his degrees are the subject of interesting online discussion) promotes something called Scriptural Nutrition and has a very long list of foods that one should avoid (including margarine and shortening which form a "plastic" around your cells (who knew?).
Not surprising that he gets quoted on NN, seeing that he was also quick to blame the Sandy Hook shootings on antidepressant medication.
Sastra @ 11:
The difference is between choosing a job that might pay less, and choosing quackmed that might kill you. So perhaps this is the case:
The cultural climate that supports idiosyncratic job choices, gets used to rationalise idiosyncratic health choices that include quackery.
Eric @ 13:
If that 'clnic' is in Chicago, there's no good reason why it shouldn't be raided by the authorities and shut down, and its owners prosecuted. So, what excuse do you think they are using to stay open and claim they aren't killing people? Hasn't anyone reported them yet? (Or could someone here do so?)
Eric @ 14 and JGC @ 16:
'...does she really want to bring a kid into the world that will likely grow up without its mother?' and '...therefore she simply must believe (that smoking bovine excrement will save her)...'
The power of the reproductive instinct might be driving cognitive machinery that translates to the willingness to believe in rubbish, by way of preserving her reproductive capacity long enough to have a baby even at sacrifice of her own life. 'The selfish gene' comes to mind here, and I wish it wasn't so, but reality doesn't hear wishes.
Sadmar @ 32 and Denise # 33:
Pinned it. RW rag promoting its mythology over other peoples' dead bodies. Reprehensible. And True Believers who became Crusaders. Understandable but no less lethal.
Roadstergal @ 35:
'Heck, couldn’t she adopt? Maybe she wants the whole trifecta of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding? Maybe that’s why she’s refusing surgery?'
That and 'My Precious Genes, because My DNA is a Gift of God to the World, Excess Capital Letters Included.' Sorry to break the news to all of these snowflakes, but genetically they are 99% chimpanzee, as with the rest of us.
Not true. All available evidence shows True Woos to be most closely related to the sea squirt.
I'm a bit surprised that the former Mayer Eisenstein's Homefirst (WTF?) hasn't garnered a mention.
@ Dangerous Bacon:
The Health Deranger has just created a website that lists murderous onslaughts precipitated by Psychiatric MEDS.. all of those shootings were caused by meds not guns.
How could I have left him out?
Oliver @87: Sorry, but I stopped reading at "doctors were baffled". That's a hack phrase that gets repeated in every single natural-treatment-cured-my-cancer anecdote. Doctors faced with a medical mystery don't sit around throwing their hands in the air and being 'baffled' - they start formulating and checking all possible hypotheses just like these guys.
Spontaneous remission of cancer has been noted in the medical literature for a century or more, long before gluiten-free and sugar-free diets came along.
Congratulations to your mother, and I hope she lives a long and happy life. But her good fortune is probably not likely to be down to any kind of diet or lifestyle change
Well, they do act as if they have eaten their own brains sometimes. BTW, I am glad I put my soda down before reading that, or you'd owe me a new keyboard. :-D
Looking closely at her picture, the breasts look asymmetric. Is the left one flatter? Is she already getting some retraction?
Ugh, the Daily Mail is a disgusting newspaper. I hate the way they've reported this as if some sort of balanced debate is necessary rather than shouting, "What are you doing messing about with a juicer? Get surgery and chemotherapy now!". And all the pictures of a healthy, smiling, tanned woman when she's probably condemned herself to a horrible outcome are quite sickening.
Well, as this case reminds me of the pineapple lady who also made her debut in the Daily Mail, I will reserve judgement on other or not she actually has cancer.
Pineapple lady promised to put her medical reports online to prove her case, but has never done so, so I am suspicious the is just another in a long line of cancer hoaxers.
And it pings my radar when people go to the DM to publicize their case. As a cancer patient myself, I find this very odd.
Or maybe I just hope that this young woman is a faker, as the alternative is too sad.
Mrs.Grimble @ 97: Yes!
Good catch, pointing out "baffled." If I was a scientist or a doctor I'd find it highly obnoxious. A baffle (noun) is an obstruction in a flow. The use of that word suggests that when scientists and doctors encounter an obstruction, they just throw up their hands and stop, like drifting plankton, lacking either or both of ability and will.
Anyone committed to their profession, particularly when lives are at stake, doesn't behave like a plankton: they may take a pause to reflect on the data and the tools available to move forward, but that's strategy rather than inertia.
I see your linked article in The Independent also uses the B-word in its headline.
Why not a headline, "Cancer disappears, doctors seek explanation"...? Use an active verb that more accurately describes what actually occurs.
And, we see the "miracle" explanation there as well. The night before, she prayed and felt as if she had been cleared.
Alternate explanation: the emotional sensitivity that accompanies sincere prayer also includes a heightened awareness of one's symptoms or changes in one's symptoms. The patient subconsciously sensed an improvement in her condition: prayer may have helped her to do so. But that is not the same thing as saying that a deity picked her for a cure while letting others in the same hospital die painful deaths. (Nor is the latter evidence for atheism: "the problem of evil" is a timeless issue in philosophy, and science doesn't purport to answer moral questions.)
Prayer and similar practices have value in enabling patients who believe in a deity to face their situation with strength. The support of loved ones is of similar value both to believers and nonbelievers. And the fact that spontaneous remissions occur demonstrates that the body has one or more mechanisms for ridding itself of cancer. Eventually scientists and doctors will discover those mechanisms and find ways to put them to use. We, here, should take an activist stance in encouraging the media to make the distinctions between these things, and educate the public rather than perpetuating sloppy thinking.
As someone living in the UK, with a close family member currently undergoing cancer treatment here, I have a hard time believing that doctors truly *refused* to do surgery without chemo/radiation followup. My family member had bowel cancer; after her surgery she was encouraged to do chemo, but they did not force her to do it, and that it was her choice and surgery would be performed either way was clear to her. (She's done a few rounds but has decided it makes her feel so miserable she doesn't want to do it anymore, and is giving it up. She's in her 70s, and they are pretty confident that they removed all of the cancer, so the chemo was just a precaution--this is all according to her.)
Honestly, I kind of wonder if this young woman was even told her entire breast would be removed. I'm not accusing her of lying, I'm just saying that as we all know, sometimes patients under stress can hear something that isn't really what the doctors meant.
Either way, it breaks my heart that she's eschewing proper treatment in favor of woo. I can only hope that when she finally admits it isn't working and expects medical science to step in and save her, it won't be too late.
From my experience of working in the NHS, knowing the relevant policies, procedures and the like, after the young lady in question was seen by whichever oncologist she will have received a clinic letter summarising what was discussed and the conclusion reached (unless she actively declined the option of receiving letters and signed to indicate that, as this WILL have been offered), meaning that she will have been able to read what was agreed and have the opportunity to challenge it if she feels that it was not accurate.
If she was not clear about what was said she has the option of asking to see her clinical notes.
All these things are explained to patients; many NHS trusts as a matter of course give out information leaflets explaining these things.
But, as several of us have pointed out, such inconvenient facts about how the NHS actually works do not fit with the Daily Heil's anti-NHS agenda.
Its sad that 'Orac' qualifies everybody who doesnt think like him as 'quackery'. The question is, does Orac cure 100% of his patients..that would be fantastic; but, if not, should he and his surgery 'treatment' in that case also be called 'quackery'? (This comment will of course not be published by Orac, lol!)
George: "Orac cure 100% of his patients..that would be fantastic; but, if not, should he and his surgery ‘treatment’ in that case also be called ‘quackery’?"
Nirvana Fallacy. There is no 100% guarantee on anything.
"(This comment will of course not be published by Orac, lol!)"
Yes, lol.... you lose, and we can all see your pathetic reasoning.
George -- he cures far more than the quacks do*, and that's what matters.
*Though don't bother calculating the percentage, as divison by zero doesn't work well.
Poor Jocelyne McIver PhD who so proudly commented on her longevity on the Orange Man article appears to no longer be with us ten years later when any professional with such prestigious letters would be all over LinkedIn or at least have some form of Web presence.
Sorry for the late comment; just wanted to say thanks, Murmur, for the info. My relative lives several hours away from us, and my husband talks to her far more than I do (she is my MIL, actually, so he would, being her son) and most of the info I have comes from him. A letter wasn't mentioned to us, but I have no doubt she received one.
I will say, too, though, that despite the efforts of groups like the Merseyside Skeptics, the NHS does have a tendency to push woo on people (and funds it, even), presumably in an effort to save money. I have twice now, when getting a prescription filled, been asked by the pharmacist(!!!) if I've considered a homeopathic remedy or acupuncture for my pain. Since I don't want to anger the person who I need to fill my script, I've just smiled and said thanks, but those didn't work for me, rather than telling them I prefer science-based medicine to woo. But I was frankly stunned that a medical professional would actually advise me to rub irritating cinnamon oil on my sensitive skin or drink water that once might have sat sort of close to an herb that had no effect on anything (like a shadow martini, heh) instead of simply taking a medication proven to ease my pain and enable me to work.
I honestly think the DMs article, and others like this, are simply enabling--and vice versa--the NHS's desire to push woo to save money. I've seen plenty of people talking about how one of the things that makes the NHS "superior" to the US is their "openness" to alternative/natural treatments and homeopathy. So IMO, this isn't so much a problem with the DM as it is the government's desire to cut costs by encouraging people to believe in nonsense; the DM simply helps that along. YMMV and all, and I don't mean to sound like a conspiracy loon or like I hate the NHS or anything. That's not the case! But there's definitely a feeling that the NHS supports and encourages belief in woo; I believe the Skeptics found they spend several million pounds on it annually. (I'll try to find the reference if anyone is interested.)
Like Oliver, I have a success story with natural remedies, not bout cancer but vascular disease. I developed carotid stenosis. My doctor wanted me to go on stations but I refused, wanting to try natural methods first. With frequent cardio; strict mostly vegetarian diet; and cardiovascular protective supplementation, I completely reversed the stenosis in one year. If I was ever to be diagnosed with cancer, I'd do the same thing.
Auto correct misspelled above in my post: statins not stations
Alterity: " With frequent cardio; strict mostly vegetarian diet; and cardiovascular protective supplementation, I completely reversed the stenosis in one year. "
So how did you learn you reversed the stenosis? Did you have an MRI, or other tests by that same doctor?
You were lucky because you genetics did not fight back. I reduced my cholesterol "naturally" for a couple of years, and then my liver decided to create more.
Despite the low fat diet and swimming two thousand yards three times a week, my cholesterol went up again. Though the HDL was very high.
I recently learned why. My second cousin sent me letters my mother sent to her mother between fifty and sixty years ago. I learned that my grandmother, her grandmother and another sister of that family all had strokes at just about the age I am now. Apparently her grandmother died shortly her major stroke, but not mine.
My grandmother lived for almost thirty years, in a court ordered nursing home because after her stroke she became violent. When she came to our family to visit after my birth she did not recognize my mother, saying that her daughter was dead. And then it just went downhill from there.
Apparently my grandmother and both of her sisters had a genetic form of high cholesterol. In those letters it is mentioned that they all had "hardening of the arteries." Their mother died fairly young, but not their father. Both of the brothers died before age seven (most likely due to infectious disease).
My grandfather never retired. He worked in order to make sure she was in a humane nursing home. After he died eleven years later, all of his assets were sold to pay for my grandmother's care for almost twenty years.
So I hope you really did fix your issues, because having a stroke is one of my worst nightmares. I am cool with my statins.
>So how did you learn you reversed the stenosis? Did you have an MRI, or other tests by that same doctor?
Same doctor has been ordering C-IMT sonograms for me every year since my initial sonogram that discovered the stenosis. These are not the typical LifeLine Screening sonograms that measure blood flow velocity but the actual thickness of the intima media to the millimeter.
> You were lucky because you genetics did not fight back. I reduced my cholesterol “naturally” for a couple of years, and then my liver decided to create more.
No, this was not "luck." This was extensive research, hard work, perseverance, and logic. Unlike most people, I understand that appeal to authority is a logical fallacy; MDs are not gods and I am more than willing to challenge them. If I was lucky with anything, it was discovering my primary care physician who was referred to me by an ENT specialist because I happened to mention my mother's stroke. My PCP is the only doctor in the entire western part of my state that performs advanced lipid analysis and takes family history seriously. The first thing when I started seeing him five years ago was order the C-IMT sonogram and genetic testing. In fact, my genetics predispose me to atherosclerosis. I have a heterozygous MTHFR SNP (that's methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase single nucleotide polymorphism, aka mutation). First thing I did was to educate myself on this disorder and how it relates to the folate cycle, to cardiovascular disease, and to oxidative stress and inflammation. Next thing I did was educate myself, using large scale placebo controlled double blind studies, on how to treat CVD/stenosis naturally. I have spent numerous hours watching youtube lectures (audience of doctors) on the biochemistry of atherosclerosis, advanced lipidemology, and clinical nutrition. I have also been an avid listener of Dr. Gary Null since 1989.
> Despite the low fat diet and swimming two thousand yards three times a week, my cholesterol went up again. Though the HDL was very high.
Well, the breakdown is what is important, as are biomarkers of inflammation, such as lpPLA2, Apo A, and sdLDL. Besides, you really don't know the health of your carotid unless you have a C-IMT sonogram.
"No, this was not “luck.” "
So you got to choose your own genetics. I wish I knew how to do that. That way my son would not have obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Sorry, your "education" missed out on some basics of genetics.
I venture that you are in a similar position as was Mr Frank when he discussed the chances of success when lecturing a dining room table. I.e. not at all good.
My point was that genetics does not = death sentence. Heterogyzous MTHFR SNPs can be kept from expressing with treatment, obviously. Homozygous MTHFR SNP is more difficult to treat. Other types of SNPs may be harder to treat.
I suspect MTHFR SNPs run in your family, Chris, from what you have written. Instead of rejecting what I have shared out of hand, you might benefit from reading it with an open mind.
"My point was that genetics does not = death sentence."
And yet you are still wrong. I try not to take medical advice from random folks on teh internets, especially one who tries to diagnose a family's genetics without any kind of testing. I'm sure you'll have lots of fun trying to diagnose my stepmother's family that had a genetic form of hypertension that caused a slow and painful death in their forties. In the 1950s they started to take the first blood pressure medication (a diurectic), and the lifespan was then into 80s and 90s.
I sincerely doubt you even know much about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Your comments are sterling examples of a Google University education, with a touch of Dunning Kruger Syndrome, and total arrogance to think we would care about your unverifiable anecdote.
Ad hominems don't exactly bolster your credibility. I have no idea why you are being so aggressively antagonistic.
re: "one who tries to diagnose a family’s genetics without any kind of testing". I was suggesting that you get genetic testing and/or get your carotids sonogrammed, as MTHFR SNP is common root contributor to CVD. Other SNPs predispose to hypercoaguability, though I cannot remember them offhand.
Also, I actually DO know about HCM as it also runs in my family, in addition to MTHFR SNP. I have been advised by my mother's cousin, who recently passed, to get genetic testing for HCM which she had in addition to other conditions. I have decided against it for now as I already know I have to monitor my cardiovascular health.
"My point was that genetics does not = death sentence" is correct. As I explained, genes are not always determinative, and outcomes depend on the specific mutation, whether its homozygous or heterozygous, and possibilities for treatment.
P.S. “My point was that genetics does not = death sentence” is also a generalization, if you haven't noticed. I'm not talking about trisomy or anything. OBVIOUSLY.
I am not being hostile, I am describing your behavior. First: I never used any ad hominem. I did not say you were wrong because of what you are, I said you were wrong to expect us to care about your unverifiable anecdote. (also your understanding of genetics is kind thin)
You are revealing your lack of knowledge when you brought up MTHFR. It is the new wallet emptying buzz word by quacks.
" to get genetic testing for HCM which she had in addition to other conditions."
Wrong, wrong, wrongety wrong. The first thing would be an EKG and echocadiogram (which was order after a heart murmur was found with a stethoscope). The genetic testing comes only after HCM has been diagnosed. Ten years ago there were no known HCM genetic sequences, when my son was tested they knew of eighteen.
News flash: he has HCM, but they did not find any of the eighteen known genetic sequences. There are more out there, they just have not been discovered yet. So, not really used for diagnosis. It is useful to see if other children in the same family have one of the eighteen known sequences.
Your Google University education by listening to Gary Null and watching youtube lectures lacks some very crucial details. One real big detail you have missed is that the plural of anecdote is not data. And another is that it is very foolish to get medical advice from strangers on the internet.
You would have known that if you actually read the above article more closely.
It is not an "ad hominem" to point out that your unverified anecdote is not useful for anyone. It is also not an "ad hominem" to remind you that no one should take your advice just because you say so.
Yes, you are being completely hostile and inappropriate. I think you cannot stand the fact that a natural cure for arterial stenosis is available, for whatever reason (perhaps too invested and steeped in the traditional, conventional methods, who knows).
My doctor ordered the genetic testing that diagnosed me with the heterozygous MTHFR SNP. Are you calling him a quack? Why would you attribute a lack of knowledge to me when my doctor determined a need for this, among other, genetic testing in 2010?
Some doctors may be taking MTHFR SNPs a bit too far by claiming it is a cause of practically every condition under the sun but the presence of some bad science out there regarding MTHFR does not invalidate the good science on the subject.
A MTHFR mutation can starve the entire methylation cycle, which has some very large health impacts. The C677T mutation (the one I have, not the A1298C mutation) is associated with a general set of problems: elevated homocysteine, increase in heart disease, increased stroke, increased deep vein thrombosis, peripheral neuropathy, placental vascular problems (stillbirth), preeclampsia, neural tube defects, cleft lip.
I think you need to look in the mirror re: education. Some places to start:
Curr Med Chem. 2013;20(12):1496-530.
Pharmacological and dietary antioxidant therapies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Biswas S1, Hwang JW, Kirkham PA, Rahman I.
Clinical Chemistry 52:7 1406 –1414 (2006)
Oxidized Forms of Glutathione in Peripheral Blood as Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress Ranieri Rossi,1* Isabella Dalle-Donne,2 Aldo Milzani,2 and Daniela Giustarini1
For those concerned about cancer and interested in MTHFR SNPs (prevents methylation of folic acid, so for hetereogyzous [1 copy] of C677T allele of MTHFR = 60% efficiency in processing folic acid, homozygous is somewhere around 30% efficiency): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15066913
Supplementation with 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (the bioavailable form of folate that the SNP causes deficiency of) is key to addressing the condition.
alterity, I'm a medical geneticist, and unfortunately you've been swindled. Testing MTHFR has no clinical utility. Is the person who ordered the MTHFR test an ND by any chance?
See also: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=22492374
AS someone who has surveyed Null's activities and information for quite a few years, I am convinced that he knows little about actual research HOWEVER he uses bits and pieces of SBM research as well as alt med studies and anecdotes artfully arranged into a pastiche to support themes that justify buying his products.
A few of his pet ideas:
- genetics means little
- veganism/ raw foods are key to prevention and cure
- the medical establishment suppresses truth about diet
- life energy/ spirituality is important in curing illness
- supplements can be used to prevent/ cure illness
In addition, he presents his audience with set pieces that argue his points-
- stories about poor health in his family/ friends/ followers due to meat- eating, alcohol, smoking and going to doctors
- stories about clean-living vegans ( an elderly aunt with a farm, native Italians in the countryside) who live long, active lives complete with very long lived pets.
- a tale about a black ops fellow confessing that he's being tailed because he's a threat to the medical establishment
- tales of healing serious illness ( cancer, aids, MS, AD etc) through implementation of his protocols/ health retreats
- stories about "counselling" tens of thousands of people
- stories about his own "research" with rats and people
- stories about his crusades against corporate malfeasance
- additional set pieces about celebrities he's known and counselled- some of whom reject him and DIE ( e.g; Mrs Onassis, Mr Ashe)
Besides this, he spouts off on environmental science, economics and politics as though he's an expert, peppering his diatribes with specalised buzzwords which are often mispronounced.
He manipulates his audience through fear;
fear of cancer, serious illness, environmental disaster, war, food shortages, poverty through economic collapse, police states as well as myriad other plagues.
Then he tells you that stress kills after invoking fear and distress constantly.
There's loads more but I have other duties.
Listen carefully to his recitatives, you'll notice that they changer ever so slightly to support whatever he's pushing that day.
AND as if to prove my point...a new enterprise
( at Gary Null.com - directs to thevillatexas.squarespace.com)
He's opening a spa/ retreat in Mineola, Texas which offers-
CV training, cleansing and rejuvenation, accommodations, gym access, yoga, meditation, spa therapies and mineral water.
I'm sure at a remarkably reasonable price. Not 10000 USD a week like SOME places!
Two questions, alterity:
What is this natural cure for arterial stenosis?
Where can I find the approprately blinded and controlled clinical trial reports demonstrating it actually is as or more effective as a treatment for arterial stenosis than current standard-of-care evidence based medical interventions?
(Or does asking for credible evidence that what you claim to be true actually is true represent being too steeped and invested in tradition?)
Amazing, alterity still did not understand that his/her anecdote was essentially worthless and that one does not get medical advice from strangers over the Internet.
Digging more deeply into that stinking load of bollux;
I mean, thetexasvilla website:
I learn that it's more than a spa-
woo nurse/ Oriental medicinist, Luanne, counsells about addictions and supervises "medical services" provided OFF site by "integrative practitioners' for all manner of illness.
Her advice is of course based upon her mentor's protocols and lectures.
In NY, she hosts "Metropolitan Wellness" ( see site) which talks people into diets, exercise, vitamin C drips, ozone therapy, etc.
Texas is a health freedom locale.
Instant translation- a place where it's easy for the uneducated to pretend they're doctors.
Post #33, posted in July, mentioned Utrice Leid who has Stage 4 cancer and is using protocols from Gary Null. She's still alive and recently completed a 12 mile "race". It was most likely a 12 mile non-competitive walk, but that's still quite an achievement.
Recent articles by Merck and Nobel Laureate James Watson of DNA double-helix fame prove that solid tumor cancer cell colonies are hypoxic. This is a paradox considering the fact that in order to survive/proliferate cancer tumors also require vascularization. As the disease progresses cancer tumor colonies do not wish to be oxidized. Too much oxygen spells death to cancer. This makes Cancer tumor colonies and cancer cells themselves ideal targets for the game-changing APeX Autonomous Nano-Molecular Hunter-Killer Oxygen Nano-Clusters.
Based on our early investigation of the demonstrated increase of anti-pathogenic activity of APeX it appears obvious that the slight negative charge at the APeX nano-cluster molecular boundary, which is comprised of active oxygen molecules, allows these nano-clusters to be potentiated by and then drawn into pathogens and/or pathogen infected cells. Therefore the pathogen’s proclivity to scavenge electrons becomes its downfall. Once so attracted to the lightning rod like charge imbalance of the pathogen itself, the oxygen nano-cluster enters into the much larger molecular structure of the pathogen or cancer cell and literally causes that architecture to collapse/dissolve.
This occurs when the binding electrons of the active oxygen atoms are more attracted to the pathogenic molecular electronic imbalance then they are to the positive sub-nano silver ion they surround and which acts as their dolly. Suddenly the oxygen phobic pathogen or cancer cell becomes super oxidized and ceases to be viable. It is as if a bomb has gone off.
There is no other means of directly attacking hypoxic cells with oxygen. Esteemed physician Andrew Weil addresses the point by referring to the presumption that Warburg’s discovery implies that cancer cells would die off if exposed to high levels of oxygen:
While that may sound plausible, we now know that Dr. Warburg was wrong. Adding oxygen to the blood doesn't slow cancer growth - in fact, tumors often grow rapidly in tissues well supplied with oxygenated blood. Nor does depriving tumors of oxygen stimulate their growth. Moreover, a study published in the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine noted that since human tissues require 200 to 250 milliliters (ml) of oxygen per minute, the maximum additional amount that could be dissolved in all of the plasma of a normal weight adult would hardly be enough to make a difference in how much cancer cells would receive.
Oh my, blogspam trying to slide in just before the comment auto-shutoff @ 90 days. No citations for any of it, of course.
-------> This is my not-shocked face.