To say that I, as a cancer surgeon, am not a fan of Ty Bollinger is a massive understatement. He’s not exactly one of my fans, either, but I view the hatred of a man like Bollinger directed at me as a badge of honor. Indeed, if a man like Bollinger didn’t detest me, I would view my efforts as a failure because I view him as a quack whose desperately deceptive film series The Truth About Cancer has been correctly dubbed untruthful about cancer by Harriet Hall and whose message has led cancer patients into rejecting conventional medicine in favor of treating deadly cancers with alternative medicine. Indeed, one such patient, a 22 year old woman named Carissa Gleeson, is clearly endangering her life listening to Bollinger, and he’s also clearly influencing an even younger woman with cancer to forgo the only treatment that has a decent shot at saving her life.
Unfortunately, I recently discovered through an article at the antivaccine website TruthKings that Bollinger has snared another one. How I found out was a little bit roundabout. I have Google Alerts set up for topics that interest me, one of which, not surprisingly, is alternative medicine. Yesterday, I saw a link to an article entitled Breast Cancer Patient Refuses Chemo Enrages Her Doctor. Then She Dumped Her Microwave &… pop up in my Google Alerts, where I learned of a breast cancer patient named Theresa DiNallo, who is portrayed as bravely rejecting chemotherapy and choosing alternative medicine and diet to treat her breast cancer. So I went to the source article used by TruthKings, which was a disturbingly credulous article from two months ago in the Lifestyle section of DiNallo’s local newspaper, The News-Herald, entitled Chester Township breast cancer survivor credits alternative medicine to her success. (Damn, my old stomping grounds: Cleveland.) There, I saw this paragraph:
The first book that DiNallo read about cancer was titled “Cancer: Step Outside the Box” by Ty Bollinger.
“This book taught me everything, it talks about food, juicing, supplements and so much more, ” she said.
Yes, another cancer patient, lured into quackery and potential death by Ty Bollinger’s misinformation. True, it wasn’t just Ty Bollinger. She read a lot of other things, both on the Internet and in books, but Bollinger’s was the first book she read; so he gets most of the “credit” for this.
So what’s her story? Sadly, it’s very much like so many alternative cancer cure testimonials that I’ve dealt with over the years:
Theresa DiNallo, 47, of Chester Township, discussed her initial feelings when given a cancer diagnosis three years ago.
“After completing a mammogram, they called me and put it very delicately, saying they think there is a mass in a certain area,” DiNallo said. “That’s when I immediately got scared and I remember being petrified the whole time.”
Later, an ultrasound was recommended to better visualize the mass. The results concluded that there was a mass present and she was advised to have a biopsy done.
“I was not taking it well at all,” she said. “But I wanted closure so I agreed to an ultrasound needle core biopsy done at Hillcrest Hospital.”
Following the biopsy, she received positive results for invasive ductal carcinoma.
“I was just devastated,” she said. “After that I stayed up at night researching on the Internet.”
This is, of course, a very common story. A woman undergoes mammography. A mass is seen. There is an ultrasound and a biopsy, and then the diagnosis of breast cancer is made. As is the usual case with stories like this, there is nowhere near enough information for me to tell what the clinical situation is. I did a bit of Googling, as I always do when I see alternative cancer cure testimonials to see if I could find out more and came across a more detailed (and, hard as it is to believe, more credulous) article in another local paper, the Geauga County Maple Leaf, entitled Overcoming the Cancer Odds: A Woman’s Holistic Journey to Health:
She says her doctors recommended surgery, radiation and possibly chemotherapy. More, including the stage of the cancer, would be known after surgery to see if it had spread to her lymph nodes.
DiNallo says she was told she might want to consider a double mastectomy as a preventative measure.
She met with a doctor at University Hospitals for a second opinion. That doctor concurred with the original diagnosis and treatment.
“All of it was scaring me to death,” DiNallo says. “I went home and read. I started to spend all my days and nights reading. I had to learn to decipher what was credible and what was not, but the Internet became my best friend.”
Ten days later, DiNallo, who, with husband David, has three children — Erica, 21, Natalie, 18 and Nick, 15 — made the decision she was going to treat the cancer using alternative medicine.
“I made the decision how I was going to heal from cancer,” she says. “My doctor kept calling and calling. I was researching and watching documentaries.”
Reading the News-Herald story, I wasn’t sure if DiNallo had undergone surgery or not and rather suspected that she had. If that were the case, it would have put her into the most common category of alternative breast cancer cure testimonial, that in which the woman undergoes either a lumpectomy or a surgical biopsy that happens to excise the whole cancer but then refuses everything else, such as chemotherapy and radiation. That is, for instance, the essence of Suzanne Somers’ alternative breast cancer cure testimonial and so many others that I’ve analyzed over the years. The reason it is important to know if a patient has undergone surgery is because surgery is the main treatment for early stage breast cancer (stage I and II), and surgery alone often cures it. The chemotherapy and radiation reduce the risk of recurrence, but are not the primary treatment. In other words, women like this are cured by the surgery but attribute their good fortune to whatever quackery they adopted after the surgery.
Reading the Maple Leaf story, however, I learned that DiNallo didn’t undergo surgery. This is a much less common situation, but even in this situation just because the patient is still doing well doesn’t mean that her cancer isn’t growing. I frequently cite the 1964 paper by H. J. Bloom, which looked at the survival of patients with untreated breast cancer over several decades spanning the 19th and early 20th centuries. The median survival was 2.7 years, but there was a very long tail to the survival curve, with some patients surviving untreated for up to 15 years:
I repost this graph every couple of years, because it is very informative. I also note that this graph should be interpreted in light of the fact that 125 years ago there was no mammography or ultrasound. Each and every cancer diagnosed was diagnosed when the woman had symptoms, the vast majority of a time a lump in the breast, often a large lump. Nearly all women were thus probably stage II and above when diagnosed. In fact, we have no idea of how many of those women already had metastatic disease at the time they were diagnosed. After all, there were no CT scanners, bone scans, or, in the early part of the time period covered by the Bloom and Richardson study, even chest X-rays. In other words, the expected survival of a woman with a mammogram-detected cancer that is untreated will, on average, be better than the above graph. I say that to address the misconception among the public that if Ms. DiNallo is still alive three years after her diagnosis it must mean that whatever she is doing is working. Ms. DiNallo’s continued survival and good fortune mean nothing of the sort, particularly if she is fortunate enough to have a relatively indolent, slow-growing cancer. In other words, she could be doing just as well now if her alternative treatments have no effect on the cancer, which is, of course, almost certainly the case here.
Ultimately, DiNallo decided to rely on a “holistic” physician in a Cleveland suburb named Todd Pesek, who treated her thusly:
DiNallo says Pesek took blood and hair samples and reviewed her supplements and new diet, which she had begun on her own. She says Pesek changed a few things in her regimen, including the quality of some of the supplements she was taking.
DiNallo then went on a strict vegan, organic diet, drinking specific vegetable and mineral blends and taking approximately 30 supplements a day based on the levels of certain elements in her blood.
“The first thing I did was cut out sugar,” DiNallo says. “Sugar feeds cancer. I thought I had been eating healthy. We never ate at restaurants and I always cooked for my family. I would make pot roast, chili. I had to learn why I needed to cut certain things out. I had to really get into the detail.”
A basic staple early on in her treatment was a blend of iodine, baking soda and organic sulfur, which, for awhile, she drank three times a day.
She also underwent intravenous high dose vitamin C treatments for a year, along with shots of vitamin D and B12 and a “detox” program that lasted several months.
It sounds to me as though Pesak practices “functional medicine,” a branch of alternative medicine characterized by measuring a whole lot of blood levels of a whole lot of markers, minerals, proteins, and the like and then adjusting the woo accordingly in a “make it up as you go along” fashion. So I wandered over to Pesak’s practice web page, VitalHealth Partners. It doesn’t mention functional medicine, but I found that Pesak offers a veritable cornucopia of quackery, including a 21 Day detoxification and purification program, chelation therapy, applied kinesiology, and acupuncture, diagnosed by unproven and disproven diagnostic tests like hair analysis, bio-meridian stress analysis, provocative testing for heavy metals, food sensitivity testing, and thermography. Suffice to say that I’ve discussed many, although not all, of these modalities right here on this very blog in the past; feel free to search if you don’t believe me that these are all modalities that are either unproven or disproven, unscientific and/or pseudoscientific. As for Dr. Pesak himself, he actually does have an MD, to the shame of the medical profession. Worse, he even trained at my old stomping grounds for surgical residency: Case Western Reserve University, and he has a faculty position at Cleveland State University.
As a breast cancer surgeon, I must express my outrage here. I just can’t help it. Dr. Pesek is an MD. Reading the quackery being used to treat DiNallo, I expected to find out that he was a naturopath, but he isn’t—although he might as well be, given the treatment modalities he’s using. Given that Dr. Pesek is an MD, however, there’s no way he should have been willing to go along with what Ms. DiNallo wanted to do. Treating a woman for breast cancer with ineffective methods like this and not urging her to undergo at least surgery to remove her tumor are astoundingly unethical lapses in professionalism. It’s not as though it isn’t well known that alternative medicine use among breast cancer patients is associated with significantly worse outcomes. Nor should he be telling patients things like this:
In January 2015, DiNallo went in to Pesek for routine blood work.
“After looking at all the labs and everything, Dr. Pesek said ‘This does not look like the results of a cancer patient,” DiNallo says.
Because of her healthy lab results, DiNallo says she and Pesek consider her to be cancer-free.
She has not been back to see her doctors at the Cleveland Clinic or University Hospitals, but says she may visit them at the five-year mark, a point at which she says conventional medicine would consider her cured.
Didn’t they teach Dr. Pesak anything in medical school or residency? You can’t declare a breast cancer patient “cancer-free” on the basis of blood work alone. There are no tumor markers for breast cancer that are reliable enough to do that. There are some blood markers for breast cancer that some oncologists actually do use, but they are quite unreliable, and no competent oncologist would declare a patient to be “cancer-free” on the basis of just blood work. There needs to be no detectable tumor on physical examination, mammography or other breast imaging (like MRI), or on other imaging, such as CT scans and bone scans, a state that we refer to as “NED” for “no evidence of disease” or “no evaluable disease.”
Similarly, conventional medicine doesn’t consider breast cancer patients cured at five years. We usually speak of ten year survival, because we know breast cancer, particularly estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, can recur late, sometimes even 20 years later. Also, when an oncologist uses survival for five years as a surrogate for cure, it is assumed that the cancer has been treated and there is no detectable disease. DiNallo’s cancer hasn’t been treated, and her primary tumor in her right breast is almost certainly still there. Similarly, if you look at the graph above, you’ll see that the five year survival of untreated breast cancer was 18%, which means one in five women with relatively large cancers survived five years untreated.
In stories dated 2016, Ms. DiNallo doesn’t mention anything about whether her tumor disappeared or not, at least not as far as I can tell. In one part of this story, she says:
DiNallo says she immediately could tell a difference not only in how she felt but in the texture of the lump in her right breast.
“My breast tissue became soft and the the tumor went from a hard pellet to squishy,” she says. “My body was soaking up the iodine.”
Or, her body could have been reabsorbing a hematoma from her core needle biopsy. It is not at all uncommon for me to observe that a lump that the patient (and sometimes I) had thought to be a tumor was was in reality just a small hematoma (blood clot) from the biopsy. After all, this was a mammographically detected tumor, which means it was likely small.
Now, as is so frequently the case with believers in alternative cancer cures, unfortunately, Ms.DiNallo is now spreading the news. She’s formed a group called the Cancer Resource Coalition, a support group whose webpage urges people to “walk away from conventional cancer treatments.” Its Facebook page is loaded with recommendations for quack treatments, like coffee enemas:
Black molasses and baking soda cancer cures:
And, not surprisingly, antivaccine nonsense, because quackery often goes along with antivaccine pseudoscience:
You get the idea. She also promotes quack cancer treatments like laetrile.
One thing that simultaneously heartened and annoyed me about the Maple Leaf story about DiNallo is the followup story, Doctors Chime in on Woman’s Holistic Approach to Cancer. It featured Dr. Jill Dietz, director of breast center operations at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Associate Professor of Surgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Dr. Jame Abraham, director of the Breast Oncology Program at Taussig Cancer Institute and co-director of the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Program of Cleveland Clinic “chiming” in. Both of them quite correctly say that they don’t recommend using only alternative therapy to treat breast cancer, although Dietz doesn’t condemn alternative cancer cures as strongly as they should. Dr. Dietz correctly notes that most “refuseniks” (as a former boss of mine used to call them) don’t refuse all conventional treatment, but selectively refuse chemotherapy and/or radiation.
Irritatingly, though, both used the example of DiNallo to promote their “integrative oncology” programs—and regular readers know that both Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic are heavily into “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and “integrative” medicine and that both are very active at “integrating” quackery with conventional medicine. Their rationale seems to be that “integrating” quackery with real medicine might keep patients like DiNallo from leaving conventional medicine behind. I tend to doubt it, because later in the article DiNallo is quoted thusly:
DiNallo says the increasing popularity of integrative care is just a small step in the right direction.
“It’s one step but a very small step,” she says. “I don’t feel the medical community provides and educates on holistic options. They did not provide me with anything close to that. Not one doctor said to me, ‘Let’s look at what you’re putting into your body.’ It’s just about a quick fix, what can we cut out or what pill can we give you.”
DiNallo hopes one day, alternative medicine, not just integrative care provided by hospital systems, will be covered by insurance.
DiNallo is of a mindset that rejects chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation; it’s unlikely that she would have gone along with integrating “holistic” care with the evil chemotherapy. Patients like DiNallo are either so afraid of or opposed to chemotherapy on principle that integrative medical programs would be unlikely to keep them from “going alternative.” Indeed, there’d likely be an ethical conundrum, because patients like her would insist on only alternative treatments, and no ethical oncologist or surgeon, “integrative” or otherwise, could agree to be party to that.
As much as I detest integrating quackery with real medicine, I will give Dr. Dietz credit for saying this:
For those, like DiNallo, who claim western medicine “over-treats” cancer, Dietz does not entirely disagree.
“There’s a lot of women with early stage breast cancer that will not die of it (if left untreated),” Dietz says.
The problem lies in figuring out who will and won’t get worse, she says.
“The biggest problem we have is not being able to figure out which patients will go on to have invasive cancer so sometimes we are over-treating them,” Dietz says. “I think what’s going to happen in the future is we’ll get better at figuring out (who will and who won’t develop it).”
She’s clearly describing the phenomenon of overdiagnosis, which occurs when a screening test finds disease that would never progress to endanger the life of a patient. It’s been a frequent topic of this blog. Most overdiagnosis of breast cancer is of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), or non-invasive breast cancer, much of which probably doesn’t progress to invasive breast cancer that will kill, but, as Dr. Dietz notes, the problem is that we can’t yet predict which DCIS lesions will or won’t progress. Invasive cancer can also be overdiagnosed, but it’s more likely to progress.
I like to put it this way, even if the highest estimate I’ve ever seen for how many mammographically detected breast cancers are overdiagnosed, one in three, were accurate and other studies that find that as many as one in five mammographically detected breast cancers might regress, I’d still say it’s a bad idea for DiNallo not to undergo effective treatment because in that case the odds would still be between 67 and 80% that her cancer will progress to endanger her life, especially given how young she is. In reality, her odds are almost certainly considerably worse than that because, as I’ve discussed before, most estimates of overdiagnosis are between 5 and 20%. Ms. DiNallo might luck out and be someone whose tumor doesn’t progress or even regresses, but I sure as hell wouldn’t recommend betting her life on it, which is exactly what she’s doing right now. So far she has gotten away with it, but the odds of her continuing to do so are not in her favor.
I actually do hope that Ms. DiNallo will be among the lucky ones, but fear that she won’t be. Whatever happens, though, patients like Ms. DiNallo are one reason why I so detest Ty Bollinger and the other quacks peddling alternative cancer cures. Their message seduces patients with curable disease into rejecting the very treatments that can cure them, but, even worse than that, they create “woo multipliers” like Ms. DiNallo who, with every good intention in the world, turn around and do the same thing as Bollinger: Seduce cancer patients into abandoning their best shot at survival in favor of unscientific and pseudoscientific medicine.
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The only plus here - and it is a bitter one - is that the more of these cases get publicised, the harder it becomes for the quacks to hide their ultimate failure. Jess Ainscough for example.
There is so much wrong with that article (and the followup) that it's hard to single everything out.
One item that jumps out is the reporter/editor's failure to emphasize the difference between in situ and invasive carcinoma. Dr. Dietz talks about tumors that will not progress, but she's clearly (to anyone who knows about breast cancer) discussing ductal carcinoma in situ, an entirely different situation from that of DiNallo (who had a reported diagnosis of invasive ductal carcinoma).
Any savvy reporter should have picked up on the patient's claim that her breast tissue had been getting more "dense" on imaging since 2005 and how that should have been a warning sign (any such observation would only have relevance to the difficulty of accurately imaging dense breast tissue, which is not synonymous with in situ or invasive malignancy).
And then we have this:
"(Dr.) Dietz does not recommend an entirely holistic treatment. However, she says an increasing number of her patients are choosing to complement their conventional treatment with integrative care, a combination that in her opinion, has the best results.
“I personally think there’s a ton of information in literature to support (diet and lifestyle change),” she says. “Things like eating lots of fruits and vegetables, not drinking excess alcohol, getting enough sleep, is critically important to our patients."
What is this "ton of information" to support significantly better outcomes in breast cancer patients who undertake such dietary and lifestyle changes?
I would also like to know how swallowing 30 supplements a day and glugging down a mixture of iodine, sulfur and baking soda three times a day qualifies as "holistic".
Then again, this probably means I am an "info-terrorist" like Orac. :(
Which could all be found a-plenty in seafood, and I'm afraid at a lower price, better taste, and with plenty of other nutrients.
Well, maybe not the organic sulfur. I don't know this one. I tried a Google search to find more about it, but the first page of results are just sellers' websites.
I was curious to see what exactly is the formula for this "organic" sulfur. For me, organic would mean bio-available, but I have the feeling it's not the whole of it.
I followed up the first link re Ty Bollinger and it was hilarious at one point even before I reached the Orac part.
And another one from Canada: Court orders chemotherapy for young boy with cancer after parents refuse
I live in Canada and I once lived in Perth (Canada). I never realized that we had a province called Western Australia. Does anyone know when Western Australia joined Confederation?
Add garlic to your seafood.
Oh, wait, I checked the googles too, and that’s not what they meant. It’s actual sulfur powder or crystals. Just imagine the smell. How does anyone open the container, and not realize they’ve been suckered? Or do they just think, well, it’s so awful it must be good for me?
Sulfur is a naturally occurring chemical element, so of course it must be good for you. </alt_med_loon>
It used to be true, as recently as my childhood (and I'm not that old), that many things with unpleasant smells or tastes were alleged to be good for you. Things like liver, cod oil, and (if prepared in the usual Anglo-American fashion) cooked vegetables. There are Calvin and Hobbes strips that lampoon this attitude. Some of these things really are good for you, but others turn out to be not so good--the liver is one of the parts of the body that concentrates heavy metals, for instance.
My Mom's people are from Bad Wiessee in Bavaria, Germany, where there's a sulfur spring (has other stuff too, iodine) upon which a spa was built. Bathing in or consuming the water, which smells horrible, cures everything. My opinion is that the beer from across the lake (Tegernsee monastery , brewed since 746) works better, but I am not a doctor.
When in 1927 my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, her brother was going to "heal" her with his herbs. Granted, all SBM had to offer was the Halstead radical mastectomy and/or Co-60 irradiation, but it's undeniable that those two did improve the survival for a substantial number of women.
My father and his brother, 4 and 12 respectively, lost their mother, and eventually wound up with an inadequate stepmother. Their well-meaning uncle was ironically very good to them in many ways. Maybe it was karma, but at 87 he refused to have a squamous cell carcinoma removed from his face. Over the course of the next year it first disfigured him, then killed him.
I knew the story of my grandmother from a pretty young age, and it made a lasting impression. Even in the 60s-70s era of wonderful nonsense, I never could go all the way into the prevailing woo.
I thought organic sulfur was the stuff they have too much if in the far Sands in Canada.
At least one refinery that was planning to process the oil before the Keystone extension was blocked was completely refitted with high chromium steel to resist the corrosion.
On the other hand, sulfured molasses tastes pretty good.
Tar Sands in Alberta, archives!!!
On a more serious note, shouldn't hospitals that treat cancer using integrated therapies build a minimal longitudinal database of cancer diagnoses, conventional and alternative therapies used, and monitor their patients for long term results?
Just read the woman's article and I have a question. How does anything that one ingests, bypass one's digestive system and go right to the blood stream? I know I'm not a science person, just an old lady who likes to read about medicine and science stuff, so maybe I'm missing something? Or, maybe not...
"Those green juices were just loading me up with nutrients that just bypassed my digestive system and provided instant nutrients right into my bloodstream,” she said.
The alties believe there is leaky gut syndrome, and it's suppose to be a bad thing.
Paraphrasing Mark Crislip (because the world needs more Mark Crislip), 'For every SCAM (supplements, complementary and alternative medicine), there is an equil and opposite SCAM.'
Ellie @12: Does sub-lingual (under the tongue) count as "ingesting"? I'm pretty sure there are some heart medications that are taken that way (nitro glycerin?).
And what the heck is "organic sulfur"? If it's part of an organic compound, wouldn't it have a proper name?
Hadn't thought about nitro, but she was definitely referring to some drink made out of green stuff. Haven't a clue about "organic sulfur." Nor can I fathom why someone would ingest it.
Yes, nitro is given sublingually. Similarly, oral glucose can be administered buccally. I don't think many people actually do so however...
I'd chalk it up to another example of gross ignorance of A&P (not entirely her fault, I'd bet that came from Pesek). "Right into [the] bloodstream" is not uncommonly misused. See: AVers claiming intramuscular vaccines are injected directly into the bloodstream.
I'm sure you're correct, but I have trouble wrapping my mind around such ignorance as I'm sure I knew better than tha,t by the time I'd finished 6th grade science class.
Maybe not exactly like DiNallo, but sorta like DiNallo. There's some evidence that various forms of 'woo' make the rigors of chemo easier to bear physcologically for some people. There's no need for a medical intervention to require patents to give up their faiths entirely as long as the two ca co-exist in practice (if not philosophy). We wouldn't ask cancer patients to give up prayer, only seek that faith-healing not be substituted for standard of care.
This attribution may be sloppy reporting, or Dietz may actually believe 'integrative care' has some direct physiological effect on cancer. Both reporters and physicians making public statements ought to realize that simply claiming 'best results' is inadequate and misleading. Lest the public draw false conclusions about the utility of woo, such claims must include 'what results?', 'better in what way?' and 'why?'
I would not be surprised if 'integrative + conventional care ' patients did indeed do better than 'conventional care alone' patients, but that a) might not be causal at all, and b) if at all causal, not a physiological mechanism of any sort. For example: a) patients choosing 'integrative + conventional care' might be healthier to begin with due to higher SES, b) more likely to endure the full scope of treatment, follow lifestyle prescriptions etc. by having their spirits buoyed by participation in their woo rituals of choice.
One example of 'IM' success, for example, is the use of 'Native Medicine' to complement conventional treatment, especially for addiction and depression, in First Nations health clinics in Canada. They have sweat lodges and drumming classes, which help promote self-esteem, build rationales for self-care, etc. Of course, they don't advertise these methods as purely psychological, but they're clear they won't work miracles by themselves. And there's no doubt these programs do indeed get people through the door who wouldn 't do 'conventional alone' and have better results than 'conventional alone' in terms of lower rates of suicide and arrest.
And what the heck is “organic sulfur”? If it’s part of an organic compound, wouldn’t it have a proper name?
"Organic sulfur" is Big Supplement code-speak for Methylsulfonylmethane.
Sadly in many of these cases, the media won't cover the death, after all, 'refuses conventional treatment, dies of cancer' is not as compelling a narrative as 'refuses conventional treatment, survives cancer'.
The treatment was not easy. DiNallo says her body responded negatively to the detox for many months.
“My body was releasing all the bad stuff,” she says. “I had a runny nose, achy joints, bad headaches and weird skin conditions. But the most scary was hair loss. When that happened, I was really scared.”
Oh my lord. Now I'm really wondering where the supplements were manufactured and what exactly she was ingesting.
She says that she "eliminated sugar" from her diet, then guzzles juice like it's going out of style.
Any juice = sugar delivery vehicle (unless it tastes like you mixed pee with the gunk you can find under your lawn mower)
On the basis of what is known of solid tumor biochemistry, it might make sense try to drastically decrease your consumption of carbohydrates, but you certainly won't achieve that with the idiocy that is "juicing", and you are very unlikely to successfully maintain it with a goddamn vegan diet - unless you are excessively fond of avocado and nuts.
In any case, refusing surgery for invasive breast cancer is downright stupid. A case can be made for refusing the adjuvant based on your low risk of recurrence vs side effects, but you have to be very misinformed to refuse surgery.
It really is disturbing when belief and data is one sided and/or skewed. Such as with this article.
Having worked in both the traditional medicine and integrative medicine fields, and having personally experienced both for the treatment of my own illnesses; I can say that I will ALWAYS go the integrative/holistic route first. I have taken on hypothyroidism, cervical cancer, kidney stones, gall stones, lymphadema (due to a surgery), tons of gut issues including my intestines tying themselves in knots with scar tissue, eye stigmatism, and tons of hormonal issues. For over 20 years Traditional medicine did NOT help me with any of these except for the surgery to untangle my intestines. Alternative/holistic methods had my thyroid under control in less than a year. Something synthetics and traditional medicine couldn't do in 15 yrs. iodine deficiency was the main issue but it was never checked by the traditional practitioners.
I could go on and on, however what I really want to share is that during my time working in and personally experiencing the alternative medicine field; I have seen some miraculous things. Stage 4 breast cancer showing clear cancer panels within 12 weeks of treatment as a best case senecio. Others do take longer, as with everything else each person is different. Children with autism who speak again, make eye contact and hug the nurses within less than 6 months of treatment.
Based solely on my personal experience and what I have seen first hand, I would challenge anyone who calls Ty's information quackery or false. I would challenge these people to sit down and talk to the real live people who have gone the traditional route. I would also challenge them NOT to skew the data by only reporting those who may not have made it, as the full story must be told in order to gain the true insight. Patients who have been told there is nothing else that can be done often seek out Ty. Sometimes it truly is just too late, yet some who have been told this and find Ty's work do get better and go on to live years.
Do your own research people and make your own decisions. Do not let others bully you with skewed information.
That's a nice little rant. Do you have some actual evidence, or even actual named people who beat stage IV breast cancer with just alternative medicine. BTW, as I said above "cancer panels" usually means blood work, and you can't be shown to be free of disease with just blood work alone. It takes scans that find no detectable disease.
I agree. That's why I'm veery suspicious of anyone promoting cancer cures without mentioning success- and therefore failure-rates...
Which side, Cindy, mainstream or alternative medicine, do you think is usually the one omitting such crucial information?
There's an awful lot of speculation and assumptions here based on a thin news story.
If this were my willful and independent daughter, my questions would be:
1. how many and what opinions did she get ?
2. what blood work did she get ? I've seen CAM patients getting more elemental and complete blood work from their naturopaths than their MDs. e.g. beyond CBC and Chem14, using things like CRP(HS), sed rate, LDH, relevant cancer markers (e.g. CEA, CA15-3, CA27.29), and precursors even cytokines after conventional tx, where regular medicine (NCCN or ASCO) monitored nothing.
3. what model is the doctor using? Part of what this guy's formulation seems to elaborate from is a CAM maneuver for dissolving fibrocystic lumps in under an hour.
4. what are his metrics and timeline for safety or change?
What I've personally witnessed more than once is the mature "regular" drs' utter shock when things dissolve or necrose in ways, times, or places they haven't seen before.
The story is certainly thin on supporting evidence, but it's very thick with allegations and pro-woo propaganda, which could have disastrous consequences for some if they allow themselves to be influenced by it.
And why are you addressing your questions to the people here who, as you acknowledge yourself, won't be in a position to answer them? Let us know what luck you've had trying to get some meaningful responses from those claiming this miracle.
Perhaps you can fill in with some verifiable data on the miracles which caused these drs. utter shock while you're at it.
Cindy: "'I can say that I will ALWAYS go the integrative/holistic route first."
So how well do your methods work for type 1 diabetes or obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy? Basically prove that your methods are better with actual evidence in the form of PubMed indexed papers by reputable qualified researchers.
Folks, if I had the means to perform all the studies all of you are asking for, I would gladly conduct and present them for all of you who place so much emphasis on requiring them. As well, if it were not a HIPPA and privacy violation to provide the names of all the people I have seen with my own eyes who have been helped; I would provide them in a heartbeat with their permission.
Shouldn't the only proof that matters be that the people do get better? Also ponder this: all the drugs and medical procedures that are said to be safe and effective also come with a long list of side effects and a great deal of them also kill or damage. These drugs and procedures come on the market then it isn't long before we all learn of how damaging they really are. Did all those studies where those side effects were hidden really matter?
I submit myself as the only proof I need to know that the alternative/holistic methods will always be the first line of defense for me. All of you are by right free to make your own choices for yourself. If you need proof that something works, talk to the people who have said it worked form them before you make your final judgement
"“My body was releasing all the bad stuff,” she says. “I had a runny nose, achy joints, bad headaches and weird skin conditions". "
Given the skin eruptions and the joint pain, it sounds more like serum sickness and/or a serious allergic response than any kind of healing I've ever come across.
""But the most scary was hair loss. When that happened, I was really scared.”
She says Pesek told her he had never seen that side effect before. Nevertheless, DiNallo carried on and eventually, the side effects went away."
Of course this is the way to practice medicine. Your patient has a symptom you've never seen before. You might be poisoning your patient. You might have caused endocrine damage. You might have caused a metabolic disorder. In fact you certainly did at least one of those things. You don't investigate. That's for those science wimps
(Above not finished because there's no way to turn off the pad on my wife's netbook.)
So, cont'd: You bravely press ahead, fearlessly ignoring what's happening to someone else's body.
I wonder what Dr. Pesek understands about just what constitutes malpractice.
Ellie @ 17 "I’m sure you’re correct, but I have trouble wrapping my mind around such ignorance as I’m sure I knew better than that by the time I’d finished 6th grade science class."
I'm guessing you grew up in the good old days when science was actually taught in 6th grade.
"My body was releasing all the bad stuff,” she says. “I had a runny nose, achy joints, bad headaches and weird skin conditions”.”But the most scary was hair loss. When that happened, I was really scared.”
So, she had all the side effects of a real cancer treatment, without actually getting the part where it cures you. What was the point?
Cindy: "Shouldn’t the only proof that matters be that the people do get better?"
Yes, if they are properly documented in a PubMed indexed case study by a reputable qualified researcher. So do please try to answer my question by providing those PubMed indexed papers.
"Also ponder this: all the drugs and medical procedures that are said to be safe and effective also come with a long list of side effects and a great deal of them also kill or damage."
So people with type 1 diabetes do better without insulin? So do provide where they are being killed in the numbers that equal those that occurred during the first two decades of the 20th century.
"I submit myself as the only proof I need to know that the alternative/holistic methods will always be the first line of defense for me"
The plural of anecdotes is not data. And why should we believe you? Provide the PubMed indexed studies to prove your point, or just move on.
Cindy: "If you need proof that something works, talk to the people who have said it worked form them before you make your final judgement"
While the plural of anecdote is not data, I do have a couple of examples for you. Because of the discovery and someone figuring out to manufacture insulin Elizabeth Hughes, along with thousand of other children were able to grow, get married, have children and live a full life.
Because a surgeon at the Mayo Clinic performed a septal myectomy on my son to remove the excessive heart muscle that was close to blocking his aortic valve, we no longer have 911 calls to our house.
Now, seriously, why should we believe you?
Correction: "thousand of other children" should be "hundreds of thousands of other children"
Cured my cancer myself, twenty years ago... after watching many people die of a chemical bomb inside, I decided not to opt for poison, I juiced three times a day, had lots of baking soda, and stopped all processed toxins like msg aspartame, bht sulfates, stop and think about how cancer is a fungus.. grows out of control has some natrual anti fungals.. this doc is a quack and wants your money, he is rich for a reason off of sick people....
Chemo side effects is more cancer.. read the fine print it has an 2percent success rate that is why it always comes back a chemical bomb is not the way to go... Doctors and scientist in it for money they make thousands of dollars from chemo, thats how they get rich they dont care about you they care about money... baking soda is big pharmas worst night mare,,, 100 years ago they would give you a box of baking soda for a chicken... sodium is a mineral needed for every organ and fluids for the body, they pump sodium chloride in you in hospitals to boost your pH when you are dehydrated ... cant hydrate inside the cells without sodium....
What good are dietary changes and supplements going to do if the problem is nematodes and the spirochetes they harbor? 5 out of 5 samples of brain cancer examined had these spirochete-infected nematodes, as did 10 out of 10 brain samples from MS patients and 4 out of 4 samples from patients with Lewy body dementia.
Definitely need to check if this is the cause of breast cancer too.
Wow, they are just crawling out of the woodwork.
BreBurey, I'm not even sure why I'm answering you. I've heard and read all your nonsense before. You "stopped all processed toxins like msg", a substance that is naturally present in citrus fruits, Parmesan cheese, and human breast milk. Aspartame doesn't get absorbed from the gut into the blood, and its metabolites are naturally present in many foods. Cancer is NOT "a fungus". If you had bothered to learn some actual facts, you'd know how to tell the difference (Hint: it involves looking through a microscope.). "100 years ago they" would never have given you "a box of baking soda for a chicken". None of your other claims stand up, either. 'You have no idea about the role sodium plays in the body. You have no knowledge of science; you ought to actually learn some before you come here and peddle your story to people with actual medical and scientific training.
Then you come out with the old nonsense about "Doctors and scientist in it for money they make thousands of dollars from chemo, thats how they get rich they dont care about you they care about money". You don't know any more about medical people than you know about science.
Since you claim to have cured your own cancer, if you reply please tell us what kind of cancer you had, how you knew it was cancer, and what stage was it at when found., and what kind of treatment you had that wasn't written in one of those magazines that tell you which celebrities are secretly aliens from other planets.
As an ER nurse I have seen people literally butchered by their cancer surgeons. I have seen post op infections that look like something out of a horror movie. How egotistical to believe that cutting someone open or poisoning them with chemo are the only answers. Sad, really. I cured my lupus with nutrition after suffering thru modern medicines approach to my illness. I firmly believe I wouldn't be alive today, at 60, had I continued on the modern medicine path I was on in 1986. The body is an amazing machine and nature provided for us. We have poisoned our way into being the sickest developed nation in the world. If what Ty teaches is quackery, then why are some of the most prestigious medical centers now supporting functional medicine and natural healing? Places like Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins? You need to check your ego at the door and get your head out if your butt.
@Mark Thorson, #41: Thanks for posting the press release. That's the kind of research that cries out for further exploration. Unfortunately, it's also the kind of information that quacks typically exploit in selling their wares. I can just see it now: substance A is active in vitro against spirochete X, which in turn is merely associated with tumor B. Without so much as having determined either the efficacy, safety, or bioavailability of substance A, the gullible are targeted to take it and believe the bull the quack believes.
Along the same line of investigation, repurposing drugs used to treat cancer for the treatment of parasitic diseases may yield useful "alternative" medicines.
You are persevering in confusing overdiagnosis with mammography-induced breast cancer. I don't know how to state it more clearly. If you have a careful look to the Hiroshima paper, and not just the abstract, you will see (figure 7), that cancer incidence after irradiation increases much earlier than you believe.
Who's perseverating? you're the one who shows up and pushes your obsession about mammography-induced breast cancer every chance you get, sometimes even after posts where it's not even tangentially relevant. I've had enough.
I juiced three times a day, had lots of baking soda, and stopped all processed toxins like msg aspartame, bht sulfates, stop and think about how cancer is a fungus..
I'm gonna guess that Willpower came into the cure as well. And Purity of Essence. And personal superiority.
100 years ago they would give you a box of baking soda for a chicken
Also they would have given you five magic beans for a cow.
Peter Dugdale @27
And why are you addressing your questions to the people here who, as you acknowledge yourself, won’t be in a position to answer them?
Because some of the criticism and CAM questions here are so misdirected and uninformed about some CAM modalities. So I try to help with little bits of information and point of view so they can improve their commentary and questions. Likewise, I discuss these questions that might be more answerable and productive in the future "to better separate the wheat from the chaff." And perhaps avoid trampling on other people's lives with more draconian regs.
Perhaps you can fill in with some verifiable data on the miracles which caused these drs. utter shock while you’re at it.
1. There was localized complete necrosis on a bunch of mesenteric - peritoneal matter following a nonstandard neoadjunctive treatment before an R2 resection for CRC. We had several drs and surgeons on three coasts asked if they had seen that before, "no". Some have suggested that I write the history, at ca three times 0-2% OS for 2010. Even an oncologist that snickered at me about molecular entities the first time me met, suggested this unprompted.
No paper yet, so for now, I am expressing my point of view.
@ Karen, #43
I was an ER physician for 20+ years before becoming a clinical pathologist, and I don't remember having seen in ER so many cancer patients "butchered by they cancer surgeons".
As for your questions, try to remember Deep Throat's advice: follow the money...
Your article is ignorant and quackery!!!!!! All your comments are you trolling!
Hmmm. It appears that someone's posted a link to this post in a pro-alt med discussion forum of some sort. We have an influx of newb trolls.
I doubt you've seen anyone "literally butchered" since that would involve reducing them to assorted cuts of meat with all internal organs separated. But you've probably seen people experience amputations due to cancer surgery, which is tragic but the alternative is to let the cancer kill them.
Post op infections can occur with any operation; they are not unique to cancer surgery. And if you want to see something out of a horror movie, well, you could check out the links in this post:
Specifically, this link:
I only looked at the first few as I do not have a strong stomach. But the patient there didn't get cut open or suffer a post-op infection, so it's all good, right?
First of all not all Alternative doctors are quacks and I hate that word. If one uses this word, there are quacks I have come to find out in the regular medical world too. Most doctors do the standard treatment for breast cancer and most doctors do not know very much about nutrition or supplements or any other kinds of treatments. I hate when people say coming out of the woodworks too for there are those who actually can help themselves with any illnesses. Our bodies have that capabilities if you let it have it with a great immune system. I am one who opt out of surgery for DCIS~~ and right now I have it inactive state and its an on going work for me and I have a great Primary Care doctor who knows what I do but doesn't say much, because he can't but he works with me with all my tests. Ask and doctor themselves or nurses, which I have asked some I know if they would do Chemo/radiation etc. and I have gotten the answer NO. Lots of nurses feel this way. You have to get to the root of the problem. When our bodies get sick in anyway, your immune systems is very low your body is lacking something. I have seen people die of Chemo/radiation going rounds the first time and cancer came back the second time and it affects other organs in their bodies, even long long term. I am 62 and take NO drugs and most doctors can't believe this now days. I am not against medicine when needed. Not all stories are fake~~we, some people have proof!! I like doctors that have open minds, not one direction only.
Bravo to all the internet trolls... you did a great Job.... Posting responces with different names... so sick of your crap and lies... big pharma killers...
That's a big, fat, resounding NO.
Because they prey on the gullible and we're outnumbered by idiiots. Case in point: homeopathy.
#50 "All your comments are you trolling!"
Orac, why are you trolling under my name ;-)
You should really search for references to DCIS in this blog. It's been discussed before. Your decision not to be treated may not be as bad as it first appears.
Actually, I'd never say that all stories (presumably about how people didn't use the current standard of care yet turned out fine) are fake. They may well be true, so far as the person knows. What they probably don't know - in any provable way - is whether their actions affected the course of the disease in any way. If you have proof, please share.
I think our RI friends are too quick to (dis)miss points about immune function, partial responses, improved functionality and improved quality of life.
Likewise, the new guests may have too great faith in their experiences as being curative rather than improved functionality and often temporary or partial responses. I've seen several alternative treatments with really impressive partial responses to disseminated cancer on scans, but were not sustained or sustainable alone.
To me, and in print from CAM drs that I find most credible and most prepared, the question is how to mix biological modalities optimally.
For surgery, the smart patients are getting the most aggressive, talented surgeons they can find to blow past "inoperable" and still have reasonable risk with good recoveries. This also means finding ways to implement therapeutic nutrition in more aggressive forms for faster recoveries, fewer complications, and stronger, more perfect fusions.
For chemo and RT, this means getting minimal impact but higher activity combinations with the CAM stuff, demonstrable in real time.
"People get better when this specific course of treatment is followed" is evidence.
"Someone who has given only her first name says that people she won't name, who have done unspecified things, get better" is evidence of nothing but the existence of this comments section.
We don't know how reliable your evidence is, because you haven't actually presented any evidence.
Evidence would include saying who had been treated, with what methods, how many of them were cured, and with what side effects. ["Natural" doesn't mean something can't have side effects, including allergic reactions.] HIPAA means you can't reveal information about someone else's medical issues or treatment, but there are well-established ways to conduct these studies without doing so.
Also, there are no rules against a person talking about their own diagnosis or treatment (as in the news story that started this thread). But somehow there are plenty of people who are willing to get up and say "I used Thus-and-Such Miracle Treatment, and look at me!" but none of the people promoting these treatments can be bothered to set up even an unblinded study in which they record and publish diagnoses, treatments, and outcomes in enough detail to be useful.
Right now, we've got such cherry-picked results that they're useless: it's like noticing that Harrison Schmidt and John Glenn were both senators, and concluding that all ex-astronauts have been elected to the senate.
One important thing with CAM is the potential to keep antimetastatic, high immune and chemo activity in place, 24 x 365 on smaller, disseminated residual cancers with high quality of life and good CBC values.
In comparison, current cyclical treatments typically create hardened, voracious mets that grow and spread like wildfire during the tx gaps. Also the side effects are often substantial in terms of functionality, organ damage, quality of life, immunity and CBC. The patients are typically worn out in 2-3 yrs.
This is where expanded metrics and real time monitoring is important for individualization and N=1. One will often be quickly confronted by adverse changes if you are off track or inadequately performing. If you're not way ahead of the curves, you get buried under them. One of the problems of conventional chemo and RT is that damage and noise destroy much of the sensitivity and utility many blood tests.
While on long term chemo...
If you were a life long anemic female and now Hgb is 13-14 without iron pills, maybe you're doing something right.
If you were diabetic or borderline before, and now you are running HgbA1C 4.5 - 5 without medication, maybe you're doing something right. (chemo and steroids often create diabetics)
If most heavy duty chemo activity peaks to 95-100% where survivors are more common at 100+%, and you can cruise at 110%, maybe you're doing something right.
If you can drop your CRP or ESR 50-75% after a while, maybe you're doing something right.
If multiple cancer markers that have been elevated are driven down 75% to some baseline, maybe you're doing something right.
Been a while since the flying monkeys have flocked in such numbers to the blog.
You seem to like bandying-about sciency-medical phrases, without making any sort of coherent narrative out of them. The overall effect is a word-salad of random snippets from NEJM.
Without evidence, I tend to disbelieve all statements about immune function. This is not because I don't believe in immune function. Nor do I believe that immune function is irrelevant in responding to a disease, even one like cancer. Most statements made about the how strengthening immune function fail to address some key issue for me. Issues like:
- How do you measure immune function?
- What do you mean by strengthen?
- How have you determined that the treatment you espouse improves immune function in any meaningful way?
- Assuming that the immune function has been improved, what impact did that have on the course of the disease (recognizing that a strengthened immune system may not be the best treatment for, say, lupus)?
MOB mit Prädikat@64
Without evidence, I tend to disbelieve all statements about immune function.
Without evidence...this discussion often breaks down on levels of evidence in the literature to overcome analytical paralysis. CAM being more permissive may follow extensive older or foreign literature not designed for current FDA requirements.
How do you measure immune function?
Outside well funded lab work, you don't. Rather you have common incomplete, indirect, qualitative and negative indicators. Wound healing, various infections or absence, gut epithelial shed, WBC, absolute differential counts and ratios, general inflammation levels, C and D vitamin deficiencies or levels.
– What do you mean by strengthen?...strengthened immune system may not be the best treatment for, say, lupus)?
I don't usually use that word because of derangements in cancer and autoimmune illness.
– Assuming that the immune function has been improved, what impact did that have on the course of the disease
If biopsied tumor samples come back massively infiltrated with some fraction of leukocytes that's considered a good thing. The immune aspect modulates chemo activity to the extent the Japanese long referred to "immunochemo". Also the ability to stay on continuous chemo when everyone else skips and quits years earlier due febrile neutropenia and infections like pneumonia, if not thrombocytopenia or anemia, is important.
1) "100 years ago they would give you a box of baking soda for a chicken". What did the chicken need baking soda for?
2) Alties keep singing the praises of the wonderful immune system. Would that be the same immune system that has let countless humans die in epidemics of cholera, smallpox, measles, bubonic plague, yellow fever, Ebola fever, etc.? Or the immune system that turns on its 'owner' with rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, Graves' disease, lupus, SSPE, anaphylaxis...? Or the immune system that produces leukemia and lymphoma?
3) I am a retired PA.In my career I worked or substantial periods in medical and radiation oncology, and had significant exposure to hematology and surgical oncology. When I was found to have cancer, I immediately opted for surgery. The only reasons I didn't choose radiation was that I was young enough to have a reasonable chance of living to have the longterm effects of radiation, and that radiation after surgery has better results than surgery after radiation should I have a recrudescence of the cancer. I was unafraid to make the choice among recognized modalities because I was familiar with the facts. People who have actually worked with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are far less afraid of them than people who aren't really familiar with the facts.
I shouldn't be surprised to keep hearing the old "cut, burn, and poison' trope. Many people can't handle the idea that there really is no royal road to a cure and that sometimes survival means a fight, not a kale smoothy. Isaac Asimov put it well - “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”
As long as CAM "practitioners" refuse to play by SBM rules i.e. publish then they don't get to make unsubstantiated claims unchallenged. There is a whole division of the NIH which funds CAM so there is no excuse. There is also no excuse for publishing case studies/series. This is how information is disseminated in the biomedical world. I trust you recognise that anecdotes aren't sufficient.
ORD:Many people can’t handle the idea that there really is no royal road to a cure and that sometimes survival means a fight, not a kale smoothy.
I never really understood the kale craze, still less the thing about putting it in smoothies. Smoothies ought to be sweet, kale belongs in caldo verde.
Alties keep singing the praises of the wonderful immune system.
It continues to bother me why they so easily accept this when there is so much evidence to the contrary. Think of how many have died (and would) die without antibiotics and antivirals.
"...nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
On some level I think it is a fear of the unknown and of losing control. IOW, it is patients in denial and an attempt to keep their autonomy and not a righteous belief that they know better than medical professionals. Of course, the ones selling the alt treatments are a different story.
The graph of survival in untreated breast cancer shows 1 in 5 patients survivng 5 years, 1 in 5 of those survivors still alive at 10 years, and 1 in 5 of those ten year survivors still alive at 15 years! That surprised me. It shows that there will be testimonials from some 10 and 15 year survivors even if they only use ineffective 'treatments'.
The people convinced by survivor stories need to learn about survivorship bias "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias"
You would get a very similar survival graph if a random 28% of survivors died every year after the fifth year.
DavidP: You reminded me of how I once attended a lecture on evaluating statistics in which the lecturer talked about what she called the Helpful Dolphin Effect.
She said we had all heard stories of dolphins coming to the aid of shipwrecked sailors. What we couldn't know is whether dolphins dragged an equal or greater number of shipwrecked sailors farther out to sea and drowned them.
@Old Rockin' Dave
I am so stealing that one, thanks!
Fold in Jake Garn and you have evidence suggesting that all Senators have been in orbit.
Not a Troll @69
Yes, and there's perhaps sometimes an element of what the Germans call "Aktionismus" involved. Having received a none-too edifying prognosis, you go home, and effectively just have to sit around for a week or two till the next appointment - there's seemingly nothing you can do to make any difference to the outcome. I have some sympathy that people start asking around, trawling the net etc. The best antidote is probably a fulfilled family life, or absorbing professional commitments. Failing that, it's possible to become easy prey for the quackeratia.
67 Science Mom
prn: To me, and in print from CAM drs that I find most credible and most prepared, the question is how to mix biological modalities optimally.
SM: As long as CAM “practitioners” refuse to play by SBM rules i.e. publish then they don’t get to make unsubstantiated claims unchallenged.
You mean the bait and switch version of EBM? What I've seen in MSM oncology often strikes me more as rote, reward and ritualism than "science".
I can criticize both sides for underperformance on treatment, evaluation and monitoring. .
Criticism and controversy are inherent to the situation. The real issues are interference and obstruction, not just of the "practitioners", but of the patients themselves. Tortious, criminal and Constitutional. My family has had medical interferences before, damaging to both health and wealth. I've had a nasty, intrusive conversation with an overaggressive FDA official before until politely slapping them down (way, way out of jurisdiction as well as simply dangerous) for a good drug.
There is a whole division of the NIH which funds CAM so there is no excuse.
Mostly background studies and single intervention pouporri, they don't seem to address cancer problems in ways that I see as directly clinically useful.
There is also no excuse for publishing case studies/series. This is how information is disseminated in the biomedical world. I trust you recognise that anecdotes aren’t sufficient.
I've found many cases/series very instructive, providing stratified longtudiinal detail, insights and contrast unavailable in trials. "anecdote" is often an abusive gatekeeping epithet for strong examples that make points and new opportunities possible.
"Doctors hate him (or her)... Try this one weird trick to cure cancer!"
The trolls must be the people they're talking about!
prn @65: There are lots of ways to measure the immune system. But first you have to ask, which part of the immune system? The innate immune system? The adaptive immune system? B-cells? T-cells? Macrophages, granulocytes?
I'm not sure you'll believe it, but there are actually thousands of scientists and doctors who are actively studying how to harness the patient's own immune system to treat or eliminate cancer.
If you're looking for a specific function of a subset of immune cells, (say CD4+ T-cells expressing a specific marker) then you usually use flow cytometry, which is hard, expensive and often still experimental.
With cancer, the immune system is like a dog that wants to play ball with the burgler who has broken into your house, rather than viciously defending your home.
You state that alternative med practitioners are ahead of MSM generally and give Vit D as an example on several occasions but the alternative medication practitioners who discuss it tend to reference mainstream research studies to make their point. So, the science came first.
Also, the alt med gurus are by no means universal on Vit D being helpful. One online 'doctor' had my friend convinced that normal Vit D levels would cause all sorts of diseases and that she should stay inside and get less of it. I wish I could find his web page now but still in the search for it I found that the Vit D council is referencing studies that it is the UVB light that is helpful and not the Vit D, and another alt med guy is stating that Vit D worsens autoimmune diseases.
Since alt med proponents are claiming things based on either on previous scientific research or a shot in the dark, and they disagree with each other as much as science does over time, why should I turn to them anymore than MSM for answers?
Stick with me. This is long but I'm working up to a point.
In 1854 Dr. John Snow was struck by the inspiration that an outbreak of cholera in one London neighborhood might stem from a single public water pump at Broad Street. His brilliant solution was to remove the pump handle, thereby heroically halting the epidemic while single-handedly inventing modern epidemiology. It's a familiar story to anyone in medicine. It's almost, but not quite entirely, unlike the full story. It's like Agatha Christie writing for one of her mystery stories, "Lord Hurtlgutt was found dead in a locked drawing room. The butler did it. The End."
Snow did have his brilliant inspiration, but he did not go right to the pump handle. For twenty years he had been developing a hypothesis that sewerage-contaminated water spread cholera. He began an intensive door-to-door investigation, assisted by Reverend Henry Whitehead, who actually did most of the legwork. Together they drew up maps and statistical diagrams of who in the neighborhood did and didn't get infected, and where they got their water, even tracking down infected out-of-towners to demonstrate consumption of Broad Street water brought to them by relatives. Snow also showed how fecal contamination was most likely to have gotten into the well water, all at a time when it was thought that bad odors or low morals caused disease, and the role of bacteria was only vaguely imagined. He didn't run out in the street and remove the pump handle. He built his case datum by datum, fact by fact, until the correct conclusion was overwhelmingly obvious, and the Parish Board of Guardians ordered the handle removed. Sadly, this wasn't the last cholera outbreak in London, but it was a landmark in the history of public sanitation.
Now to the point.
There may be something in at least a few of the cases and anecdotes of alt-med cures. This does not mean that cancer is over because someone went into remission after some action that was highly improbable or even ridiculous on its face or that every story is inevitably false. What it means is that there may just be a possible lead for investigation, and it is up to the person whose actions or ideas were at the root to develop a hypothesis and make as many tests as necessary to try to disprove it; to pile up, as did Snow and Whitehead, bits of information until they either do or don't form a convincing pattern of evidence; to present all positive and negative data in a way that can be clearly understood and picked over by those in a position to evaluate and act on it; to follow up on attempts by others to replicate the findings; to keep working to refine the hypothesis if it looks promising; and to graciously accept failure of the hypothesis. Finally, to have the humility not to keep insisting you're right and everyone else is wrong, inventing reasons on the fly why others can't replicate your results.
This is the short version of what alt-med proponents have to learn to do if they want us to accept their claims, not to rush down to Broad Street and yank out the pump handle every time you see a case of anything whatever.
Everyone in medicine wants to be John Snow at the Broad Street pump. The only way to be that is to put on your shoes, enlist your Rev. Whitehead, and go out into the world to pile fact on fact until you either do or don't have a convincing argument.
That's the short version. If you want it even shorter, remember that the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.
Old Rockin' Dave,
@ Old Rockin' Dave
The long story is certainly more exciting than the short story. But in real life, stories do not end always well, and for one John Snow, you cannot tell how many were right, but could not convince their contemporaries.
With cancer, the immune system is like a dog that wants to play ball with the burgler who has broken into your house, rather than viciously defending your home.
I retrained the dog. Totally ate 1-2 big burglers with horrible records. The cops wouldn't pursue the others effectively for over a year. After some success with a home chemical defense system and another incident, I finally got Dirty Harry to take the worst ones out...
Not a Troll @78
prn, You state that alternative med practitioners are ahead of MSM generally
That some alternative med practitioners are ahead of MSM usually, AND that many alternative med practitioners are ahead of MSM sometimes would be a better summary. My strategy is to sort, pluck and assemble small areas of unusual data expertise into one-off working models, with a one homind lab.
So, the science came first.
You are reverting to a broader definition with raw science included, more as I use it, which would be ignored, derided, or considered as early science in progress here.
UVB light that is helpful and not the Vit D
there might be some additional benefit for UVB, or different dose
...Also, the alt med gurus are by no means universal on Vit D being helpful. One online ‘doctor’ had my friend convinced ....she should stay inside and get less of it.
Deficiencies in magnesium, vitamin K2 or others may cause seemingly idiosyncratic problems. Excess calcium intake is of course problematic, and radically varies with vit D blood level. Imbalances in vitamin A either way may be a problem, but there has been too little research there for the last 80+ yrs. There are a lot of "alt med gurus" that I ignore if I can't identify their technical basis.
and they disagree with each other as much as science does over time, why should I turn to them anymore than MSM for answers?
Ultimately we all have to try to choose as wisely as possible. Personally, I've been burned much more by MSM. So now I pick and choose from both, to the best of my technical ability.
Daniel Corcos, you miss my point. It's not enough to be right if you lack the ability to properly formulate a hypothesis and either do or convince someone to do the necessary science. It's not even enough to be right, simply because even a stopped clock is right twice a day; it's still a busted clock.
It's been put many ways. The School of Visual Arts in New York used to have an ad poster showing a chimp drawing with a pencil and the caption, "Having a talent isn't enough if you don't know what to do with it." If you can't do the science you aren't a scientist, and if you can't do the science, scientists are under no obligation to listen to you. Until alties start doing rigorous science thenthere is nothing wrong with dismissing their highly implausible claims as just that.
@ Old Rockin' Dave
The clock which is right twice a day is wrong the rest of the day, and it is evident for all. The scientists that are right are simply right.
Scientists are under no obligation to listen to anybody, even to scientists bringing good evidence. Doing rigorous science is not the way people are listened, and the best proof is this blog, where more attention is given to quackery than to real science.
prn @82: So you re-trained your 'dog'. Does it now bite everyone who comes through the door?
If you have actually managed to solve the problem of an immune system that attacks cancer but doesn't induce auto-immunity then you must share this with everyone immediately. If you don't, you're condemning millions of people to death, and holding back our understanding of the immune system that could be used to reverse auto-immune diseases as well.
So, was it T-cells or B-cells? Adaptive or innate?
We don't think all that differently as far as how I chose to experiment on myself (and me only). I try to find the science behind any claim before I become my own guinea pig. However, there are so many unproven and dangerous treatments in the world that you need a standard to go by. So I rely on others who have trained and are experienced in the subject and, yes, who I find to be trustworthy in the manner they approach it.
I'm not really seeing the skeptics here fight against any claims which are backed by robust research. And rarely see any budding scientific claims questioned; when Orac does this, he seems more than fair to state that this is the case. Most of the time seems spent on countering claims that have been proven false so many times I wonder why they aren't dropped to go on to some other wild claim that has been exposed so often.
A question for you though, if you wish to have nutrition paid more attention to by MSM, why do you defend NDs with all of the other garbage they bring to the table? Why not just fight for nutritional knowledge to be more widely used?
The clock which is right twice a day is wrong the rest of the day, and it is evident for all.
Isn't the problem that there are those who don't see that the clock is wrong but insist that it is? And worse, will sell that to you.
Daniel Corcos, you have managed to hit the nail right on the point. I wasn't actually discussing clocks. I was using the stopped clock as a metaphor. As a metaphor, it doesn't bear up to comparisons of analog vs digital, mainspring vs electric vs falling weights.
This blog does devote plenty of space to real science, particularly what real science is and what it is not.
"They laughed at Galileo" is one we hear a lot. They didn't laugh. They shook in their shoes. Galileo was a talented mathematician. He was a sharp polemicist, edge and point. But most important he had his telescope, and he had night after night of recorded observations, and anyone who wanted to look could see what he saw. It's really simple. Either you've got the goods and you can put up plausibility and/or good data, or you don't. In the latter case you have no right, legal, ethical, moral, or any other kind, to demand recognition anyway.
@Old rockin Dave,
I would draw another analogy with Galileo.
We hear a lot about standard medicine and alternative medicine, western vs eastern, etc.
But I would make the analogy with the history of physics.
Most alternative medicine is rather Aristotelian in its logic. That is, it makes a seemingly intuitively obvious assumption and proceeds on to make deductions and assumes they are true with out ever testing them against reality to see if they are correct.
SBM is Galilean in its logic because it continually tests itself to see if it works, how well, etc.
@ Old Rockin' Dave
First, you must know that all my comments are filtered by Orac.
Second, I don't demand recognition. I have it already. My work is now the reference for the pathogenesis of Heavy Chain Diseases in Hematology textbooks. I was the first to hypothesize the role of the B cell receptor in lymphoma. When I made this hypothesis during my thesis 30 years ago, people told me I was crazy. I did all the efforts to convince people, and now it is accepted. It took 25 years. It is not a problem. The life of the patients would not have changed.
Now, I have a much stronger evidence that mammography induces cancer in BRCA1/2 patients. This means that every day thousands of women are irradiated, and many of them will develop breast cancer. Should I wait
Or, to quote Richard Dawkins:
"Science. It works, bitches."
@ Not a Troll
Where am I wrong?
I thought it was a quote from Randall Monroe.
Also this one, more apropos to this thread's context.
(as usual with XKCD, don't forget the mouseover)
I guess Dawkins is a XKCD-fan :)
prn @82: So you re-trained your ‘dog’. Does it now bite everyone who comes through the door?
No, a well trained dog, properly handled and fed doesn't bite everyone.
If you have actually managed to solve the problem of an immune system that attacks cancer but doesn’t induce auto-immunity then you must share this with everyone immediately.
Most of this has been going on for 12-20 yrs. I cut some fluff off and applied updates. Don't seem to understand the rush and guilt aspect since you folks have been deriding and ignoring the same sources for decades. My stories are mere anecdotes to you anyway, remember?
So, was it T-cells or B-cells? Adaptive or innate?
Apparently innate intelligence and immune response.
Where am I wrong?
Only in that the clock which is wrong the rest of the day is evident for all. I don't believe since there are so many false ideas being sold as medicine.
#86 Not a Troll
However, there are so many unproven and dangerous treatments in the world that you need a standard to go by. So I rely on others who have trained and are experienced in the subject and, yes, who I find to be trustworthy in the manner they approach it.
I'm fine with non-coercive standards as enforceable brands.
Coercive claims of authoritative expertise, even scientific expertise have a long sad history.
I’m not really seeing the skeptics here fight against any claims which are backed by robust research. And rarely see any budding scientific claims questioned; when Orac does this, he seems more than fair to state that this is the case. Most of the time seems spent on countering claims that have been proven false so many times I wonder why they aren’t dropped to go on to some other wild claim that has been exposed so often.
Obstruction. disruption and interference of research is an ongoing problem in nutrition areas.
I think Orac's views of vitamin C and issues are very incomplete and misquided. rather than being "proven false so many times" as he seems to think
A question for you though, if you wish to have nutrition paid more attention to by MSM, why do you defend NDs with all of the other garbage they bring to the table? Why not just fight for nutritional knowledge to be more widely used?
If MSM MDs offer me nothing, or even worse interfere or obstruct, that's a problem. Even if ND are 75% bs and 25% useable, I can handle that pretty easily.. However nutritional access can be matter or life and death in minutes or months. Although I think many NDs need to improve, in many cases, they are the only game in town for areas that MD need to improve more, and haven't.
pnr @94: "Apparently innate intelligence and immune response."
That is not what I asked at all. I am asking which specific cells of the immune system did you re-train? (The cells of the immune system generally fall into two categories; the innate immune system which responds immediately but non-specifically and only briefly, and the adaptive immune system which takes longer to ramp up, but produces a more sustained response. The adaptive immune system is also responsible for immunologic memory; ie how vaccines work.)
So again: which cells? Bone marrow? Thymus? Spleen? B-cells? T-cells? Macrophages, granulocytes, lympocytes, monocytes, mast cells, dendritic cells? Peyer's patches? Intra-epithelial lymphocytes? Lymph nodes?
You said that you have changed your immune system to overcome the mechanisms against attacking healthy self but to attack cancerous self. This is literally the Holy Grail of immunology. You should be the most studied person in the world. You could save millions of lives.
Are you telling me that vitamin C will re-write all the mechanisms of the immune system?
squirrelelite, Aristotle is a great comparison. He stated as fact that women and men had different numbers of teeth. He apparently never thought to count.
Daniel Corcos, #89:
1) Why do you think I need to know your comments are filtered by Orac? Did I give any indication that it would matter to me if they were or weren't? Or that they should or shouldn't be?
2) Did I say that you personally demand recognition? Recognition from whom, exactly? Try responding to the things I say rather than the things you want me to have said so you can answer those instead.
3) You support my point with your own example. Before the 1854 cholera outbreak, John Snow had spent 20 years developing his hypothesis of spread by contamination related to fecal material. As they say in theater, he worked for 20 years to become an overnight success. We could point to the story of Semmelweiss, who had obvious results from his handwashing regimen, but he had an abrasive manner with anyone who doubted him, and the good burghers of 19tth Century Vienna found that to be doubly insufferable coming from a Jew. It is not enough to be right if you can't communicate with your intended audience for whatever reason; it makes you look like a crank. If you are a gifted communicator but don't have the facts to back yourself up,then you would be a charlatan or a con artist.
4) I cannot speak to whether you yourself are or ever were crazy. I assume you successfully defended your thesis all those years ago, so apparently not everyone believed your hypothesis to be crazy, and I would guess even fewer believe it crazy today.
5) No advice to give as to your current hypothesis. You would seem to be as well placed to find supporters for further investigation as anyone.
JustaTech and prn:
I don't have a dog in your fight, but I see you two hounding each other with a bulldog persistence. Perhaps you should have let sleeping dogs lie. Or at least recognize that your dog metaphor is getting very old (in dog years, anyway). Why not find a different way to express your bone of contention rather than to let slip the dogs of war? Your metaphor is just dog tired.
1) The information that my comments are filtered by Orac is necessary to explain that they appear with a long delay and that often discourages me.
2) Did I say that you personally demand recognition?
" In the latter case you have no right, legal, ethical, moral, or any other kind, to demand recognition anyway." Those are your words and the post was addressed to me.
3) Science is slow. Now biomedicine is invaded by hard working technicians with poor judgement. If they don't understand an argument they ask for more data. But the data on mammography induced breast cancer are public, and they just need to be interpreted correctly. Should BRCA mutation carriers be irradiated in the meantime?
There is nothing such an "audience". There are people, some are intelligent, some not. Those who are intelligent understand what I mean. Those who are not are angry and bark. I let them bark.
4) My thesis was not on Heavy Chain Disease pathogenesis. I would never had my thesis on this idea.
5) Nothing to add.
“an innate immune response.”
It was a massive granulocytic attack where the cancer sites still maintained their form and appearance but were mush.
Apparently the surgeon and pathologist hadn't seen anything like it. But one of the lab papers in my cimetidine file had.
This is literally the Holy Grail of immunology.
Doctors that pay attention to CAM and quack nutrition?
Are you telling me that vitamin C will re-write all the mechanisms of the immune system?
I mentally give credit to a dozen or so of the usual CAM suspects and some new ones to mount the attack
1) Filtering of your comments is still irrelevant to me.
2) Is there a language barrier? Are you unsure about the use of "you" as a generic term?
3) Science may be slow, but then, clearly others don't agree with your interpretation of the data. "Should BRCA mutation carriers be irradiated in the meantime?" Well, until those with the infuence to make the change are convinced, it's going to continue. All you can do is make your case in the meantime.
4) " I was the first to hypothesize the role of the B cell receptor in lymphoma. When I made this hypothesis during my thesis 30 years ago, people told me I was crazy. I did all the efforts to convince people, and now it is accepted. It took 25 years. It is not a problem." Those are your words. I think it's clear that I was referring to that sentence, that one that you wrote.
5) Nothing to add from me, either.
6) "There are people, some are intelligent, some not. Those who are intelligent understand what I mean. Those who are not are angry and bark." That attitude may be your problem in a nutshell. I repeat: "It is not enough to be right if you can’t communicate with your intended audience for whatever reason; it makes you look like a crank."
I think you have difficulty changing your mind. I don't find useful to argue with any kind of believers, either in quackery or in what they consider to be "Science". So consider that you are not part of my intended audience.
There are people, some are intelligent, some not. Those who are intelligent understand what I mean. Those who are not are angry and bark. I let them bark.
Why do you comment on this board?
This is not sarcasm. I'm just curious. I've never understood, and now don't recall, what you've often posted about that Orac doesn't want to read anymore. However, please don't repeat it on my account; I still won't understand it and will just annoy the host.
Are you trying to get a message across? Like to debate? Find his writing interesting and want to join the conversation?
"I think you have difficulty changing your mind. I don’t find useful to argue with any kind of believers, either in quackery or in what they consider to be “Science”. So consider that you are not part of my intended audience."
It's a relief that I am not part of your intended audience; in fact, it's the best compliment you can pay me. I am through discussing anything of this nature with you. You continue in your arrogance while failing to actually address any matter of substance. No matter whether you are right or wrong, you behave like a crank. I refuse to waste any more time or thought on your crankish behavior.
Off to Coventry with you.
@ Not a troll
"Why do you comment on this board?"
I comment only when I think I have a good joke to share or when I think I have something important to say. If you don't understand the joke or the information, it's not a problem for me. I just hope somebody will. You may skip my comments rather than trying to argue.
The real quack of this article is the quack who wrote it - tied substantially to big pharma ties and will come up with any sort of bullshit to try and persuade people into being cut, burned and poisoned. Your "science" BS goes no where! People, like me heal themselves every day! If anything or anyone is a quack - its people like you who write lie after lie.
OOOoooh look! Someone else fell for Young Master Crosby's six degrees of freedom nonsense!
Seriously, Theresa, do you think you are first person to bring up that idiocy in the past six years?
I do believe that Theresa DiNallo who commented is the same Theresa DiNallo whose anecdote I discussed. So I tend to cut her a little slack, even though it's disappointing that she would repeat the same lie-filled blog post about me by Jake that's been going around since 2010.
In case Ms. DiNallo does come back, though, I do hope she keeps doing well, regardless. I'm also curious what the status of her primary tumor is.
Everyone hopes for the best for her. I hope she overcomes her illness.
I cured my cancer with nutrition and herbal remedies. I guess I'm brainwashed by quackery huh? Im alive ...Even when told I was gonna die. Hmmm.
If anyone needs tips of nutritional or herbal "quackery" that is cost efficient. Hmu Facebook.com/jimigunns
If the quacks have persuaded you that this is true, you are correct to say that you have been brainwashed by quackery.
I am aware of no independently authenticated case where nutrition has been objectively shown to cure cancer. If such a case existed, it would be of immense scientific importance and the cancer research community (which comprises doctors, independent scientists, charities, government health departments and many others) would be researching the hell out of it.
@jgunns - Nicely done, you lured me to the Facebook page for your crappy garage band. You got me.
Orac, if you read this you might want to delete jgunns post as it is just spam advertising his band.
jgunns, why should we believe you?
You want to know status of primary tumor? It's gone. Come visit - I may even let you squeeze it!
This article is complete bullshit. Like I said before, the only quack here are the pharma trolls hiding behind fake and phony names to dissuade people from knowing the truth. I am one in thousands who have healed naturally without conventional butchering and poisoning. All of you should be disgraced passing off what I did to heal as a bogus story.
If you ever find yourself diagnosed with cancer, look me up. I may become your greatest educator.
The only bullshit article is this one:
The "journalist" got suckered in by this story and is dangerously promoting this woman and her amateur oncology. Just like all the articles promoting Burzynski.
Airport metal detectors? Microwave ovens? What a lunatic: no science understanding.
Ms. DiNallo, while we hope the best for your recovery as we frown upon your choices, just a couple of questions:
Why should we believe you?
How is Mr. Bollinger more qualified than a surgical oncologist? Just give us the breakdown of Mr. Bollinger's education versus the author of the above article.
Theresa: "You want to know status of primary tumor? It’s gone."
What testing has been done that you believe shows this? More blood work? Scans? Repeat biopsies?
@Theresa DiNallo (117),
Thanks for stopping in to chat. Perhaps the next time I get back to Dayton to visit my sister-in-law we can meet at a Cassano's Pizza for a friendly chat. I'll treat you to a salad since you prefer your food raw.
But more seriously, when you visit again please tell us when you last saw the doctor who gave you the original diagnosis and what follow-up tests have been done to check on your progress.
Live long and prosper.
Ms. DiNallo, I, too, would like to wish you well, and hope that you are correct and are now, and will continue to be, cancer free.
If I may, a question, please. In the above article, our host notes that -
Did you have surgery?
You want to know status of primary tumor? It’s gone. Come visit – I may even let you squeeze it!
Are you saying that I can squeeze your boobies?
I'm glad that you're still doing well, but just because you say you can't feel the tumor doesn't mean it's gone, which is why I feel obligated to ask: How do you know your primary tumor is gone? Absent mammograms, ultrasound, and/or MRIs that show the tumor to be, in fact, gone, you can't really say that.
Not a bogus story. A story of someone demonstrating a misunderstanding of breast cancer (as the vast majority of non-physicians—and even many physicians—do) coupled with very human cognitive quirks that lead us to mistake correlation for causation and remember things that support our story.
Best wishes for continued health. And consider looking at the survival curves again and my explanation why what you did isn't a good idea even if you end up being one of the lucky ones to get away with it. If that were to happen, you'd be part of a small minority, and your story could well encourage women to follow in your footsteps. The vast majority of them would not be so lucky.
There's really no need for me to "squeeze" your breast to determine if the tumor is there or not. For one thing, I don't get to Cleveland very often any more. For another thing, it would be...weird, even for a breast surgeon. However, I'd be happy to review before-and-after mammograms, ultrasound, MRI, and other imaging, as well as the biopsy report and any other studies that have been done.