I have tried to be accurate and unbiased in these examinations of selected topics , mainly concerning cancer.
(Site under development. For now, I'd rather spend my time expanding and revising the material than prettying up the place. Please advise me of any errors.)
Are you a cancer patient?
If you are considering using "alternative" treatments of cancer you may not find much encouragement here. However, I believe I understand the personal perspective behind that choice. What is wrong with trying unproven or unlikely treatments if there is even the slightest chance that they may help save your life? (Answer: nothing for you personally; make sure family resources can cope.)
This site has a quite different perspective. It looks at the ethical and scientific obligations of those who promote treatments to cancer patients. There is no wish to attack either the users of alternative methods or or the freedom to make informed choices.
Important: I nevertheless cannot help having concerns about the occasional cancer patient who chooses to reject mainstream treatments altogether.
Sometimes even this choice can be understood. The chances may be slim, the medical treatment severe and disabling, and the cancer sufferer may not value life sufficiently for all the effort. A personal account of such a choice, which had the stated objective of showing that effective "alternatives" are being unjustly suppressed can be found here . http://www.survivecancerfoundation.org/ is the web site of another who had a very difficult cancer to treat and chose to use alternatives instead, ultimately unsuccessfully.
However, as with those examples, such choices are usually helped along by unrealistic expectations of "alternative" treatments, far greater than the most optimistic interpretation of the testimonial or other evidence would warrant.
Other factors play a part, malicious fear-mongering among them. In "alternative" writings mainstream care is often a grossly unfair caricature of itself, drawn using the severest, least effective of its treatments, the very worst of its results, and the most desperate of its cases. Most alarmingly, there is never any attempt to distinguish between the 50% plus of cancers that are now permanently and sometimes quite easily cured by standard medical care (see here) and the advanced, usually incurable kinds of cancer that we all live in fear of.
Thus is the bar for alternative "success" set neatly upon the lowest possible peg!!. Against such a warped background, it hardly matters that the results of the "alternative" treatment of cancer are not noticeably better in any context!
If you can find any tangible evidence that they are, do let me know; I have been looking for it for over ten years!! Just one example of the kind of evidence that does exist -- I will present others (see - What Do Alternative Methods Really Do? -The Inside Story) - in an analysis of its own results, one of the most highly regarded and often recommended "alternative" clinics (Gerson) was unable to find a single five-year survivor with visceral (internal) metastatic melanoma, even though melanoma was one of the cancers they believed they had most success with and this was by far the commonest kind of melanoma patient being accepted for treatment.
You, the cancer sufferer, have every right to make even this kind of choice, but be aware that you may be swapping reasonable certainty of cure, or at least of useful palliation, for negligible chances of either. Get many opinions. There are well-meaning voices on both sides, but some are infinitely better informed than others. Negotiate, if it is merely some components of the advised medical management that do not appeal to you. If you have early breast cancer you might gain by reading this , especially the concluding section.
Help counter fraud by exerting your own pressures.
No one takes much notice of what doctors say any more and statutory bodies lack the resources to do a lot about fraud in cancer care. CAM practitioners and their supporters also stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the amount of fraud and folly in their midst, even though they must be aware of it. You are thus on your own to a degree, but you are not wholly helpless.
Anyone offering a cancer treatment for personal gain or glory should be able to demonstrate quite clearly how they know it works! There are quite specific ways of showing that with cancer ( e.g. see: What's so hard about showing a cancer cure works? )
Your status as a cancer patient gives you the absolute right to ask of them, "How many people like me have you treated and what happened to them?" If someone promoting a treatment to you as a possible cure is unable to produce contemporary facts and figures, and cannot introduce you to patients with well-documented cancer that went away with their treatment and that treatment alone, then you are entitled to regard them as a charlatan or crackpot.
Those claiming that patient privacy prevents such openness are frauds. I never met a patient cured of cancer who was not happy to talk to others in the same predicament. At worst the promoters of the treatment could forward information to your doctors, who share confidential information all the time..
Those who have never published any clinical results (i.e. effects upon cancer in humans), not even in any of the many "alternative" medical journals now in operation are likewise unworthy of your trust. It is inconceivable that sane, moral persons with an important cancer treatment would not wish to promote it in every way possible. Books about cancer cures usually aren't worth the paper they are written on. Web sites are no better. These are promotional materials targeting the lay public wherein the author can invent, select, exaggerate and misrepresent with impunity.
Publication in medical journals, on the other hand, says to all other scientists and practitioners "my books are open; come and have a look."
A topical issue is whether the antioxidants often forming part of "alternative" regimes may interfere with certain conventional treatments. In my opinion this is a largely theoretical concern so far, with little direct evidence that it is a major worry. However, it may be wise to avoid large doses of antioxidants while receiving radiotherapy or chemotherapy. There is a good recent review of the evidence here.
Are you a relative of a patient with serious cancer?
Pay them enough respect to accept that they don't always need to be coddled along with pretence and false hopes. That is, unless they send clear signals that this is what they want.
Even then, they may be the ones protecting YOU. I have had family members plead, "if it's bad, please don't tell him/her". Meanwhile Mother is saying, " if it's bad, please don't tell my family". Few cancer patients ask, "if it's bad, don't tell me". They almost invariably say, "You will tell me the truth, won't you, doctor?"
But there is no correct way to act. Be yourself.
Dr P Moran MB, BS, BSc(Med), FraCS, FRCS(Eng)
(Retired general Surgeon)
Kelley Eidem and “HOW I CURED STAGE 4 CANCER IN TWO WEEKS FOR LESS THAN THE COST OF A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES” (Revici, Capsaicin)
What Do Alternative Methods Really Do? -The Inside Story (Gerson, Hoxsey, Livingstone-Wheeler, Kelley, Laetrile)
How to Read a Cancer Testimonial
Why, in Medicine, the Onus for "Proof" is always on the Claimant
Anecdotal evidence is OK. It's the Quality that Counts. (Revici)
Odds and ends:
Herbal Cancer Treatments (Some general comments)
Intravenous Vitamin C
When, if ever, is it rational to Use Alternative Methods?
Hardin Jones and the "Untreated cancer patients live four times longer" claim.
Do conventional methods ever cure cancer?
The Hoffer/Linus Pauling Studies on Orthomolecular Treatment of Cancer
Dr Max Gerson and his Fifty cases
A common but deceptive breast cancer testimonial
On Sustaining Hope and A Positive Attitude (A Very Mixed Blessing)
What's so hard about showing that a cancer cure works? (A manual for you if you've got one!)
Part 1 Introduction and Understanding The Skeptic
Part 2. A Preliminary Challenge
Part 3 A Better Way, but --- (Exploring A Few Problems)
Part 4 What to do (coming)
A book my father wrote regarding the nature of God