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612 thoughts on “Death by “alternative” medicine: Who’s to blame?

  1. weing says:

    BTW, in case you are looking for certainty, nothing is 100% guaranteed in medicine except for death.

  2. vinny says:

    BTW, it may be very benefitial to ban pecking on this blog. It is just so irritating and a complete waste of time.

  3. Fifi says:

    weing – Which is why pec chooses faith based alternatives to medicine that involve a belief in an omnipotent god. Plenty of people manage to balance out their faith and getting EB healthcare (they may pray as well but that’s besides the point, they don’t reject medicine just because it’s not religion or get confused about the two). Pec is evangelical, she sees EB medicine and science as the enemy. She’s like a new age version of those ladies who come around trying to sell the Watchtower door to door.

  4. pec says:

    weing,

    Who said anything about certainty? I am asking if their claims for great success in treating this type of cancer have any validity. It would be deceptive of them to make those claims based on bias and illusion, instead of careful and logical inferences from data.

    There is little motivation to inform the public about this. The cancer industry would rather we think there has been great progress.

    Aren’t you at all interested in finding out whether a cancer treatment works 90% of the time or only 10% of the time? This is about logic and probability, not certainty.

    And I am not an unscientific dummy. I learned statistics while getting a PhD, which could make me more qualified than Harriet or Gorski to interpret the research.

  5. pec says:

    Fifi,

    I have realized that you are a cult follower of the “skeptic” movement. Your learned to “argue” by following a set of rules the “skeptics” have written up. I may as well try to communicate with an automaton.

    That’s why I just ignore your irrelevant, irrational comments.

  6. weing says:

    Sorry, I got the impression that you were looking for absolute numbers. Still, what Gorski posted, 93% still applies and the figures he gives (93% long-term survival) are for this type of tumor at that particular stage. Without treatment, the course is as in this case.

  7. Diane Henry says:

    pec–

    “Aren’t you at all interested in finding out whether a cancer treatment works 90% of the time or only 10% of the time? ”

    As others have already pointed out on this thread, I think the only way to know what cancers would go away on their own is to do a study where a large number of cancers go untreated. That’s reprehensible, and I know you don’t want to see lots of people suffer horribly just to get a “true” baseline. But do you see another way of obtaining the information? How do you propose getting your numbers? What would the study look like?

  8. “his point about bashing chiropractors when the number of severe injuries they caused may favorably compare to the number of severe injuries a surgeon causes is valid.”

    Actually, it isn’t. First, it’s changing the subject to distract from the topic at hand (tu quoque: a logical fallacy that we discuss frequently because it’s such a favorite of the IMC crowd). That’s why Harriet correctly wondered what injuries caused by a surgeon had to do with the price of spaghetti. Second, the whole reason that cervical spine manipulation has no valid risk/benefit ratio is that its proven benefit is 0, as is the prior probability of its being useful for anything other than neck pain—which has neither been proven nor is likely to be superior to far less dangerous “hands on” therapy, such as massage. Thus no amount of risk is acceptable.

  9. Fifi says:

    pec – It’s more than a little bit ironic that you’re trying to make “skeptic” into an insult while you’re concurrently claiming to be here simply as a skeptic. I’m certainly a critical thinker and skeptical but I’ve never been part of a “movement” (though I’m glad one has emerged) – critical thinking and healthy dose of skepticism is just a natural result of being taught to think and learn for myself as a child. As pointed out earlier, you’re actually being cynical about EBM since you continually propose the worst and ignore evidence when presented.

    One thing that is a shame about the pecs of the world is that they actually distract discussion of very real issues (not the fabricated ones being raised here to distract from the obvious inefficacy of faith based alternatives to medicine for breast cancer). The bloggers here do a good job of bringing up issues within medicine and medical systems that need to be discussed and addressed – real changes that need to be made in medicine – and they do this even despite knowing that pecs and antivaxs will latch onto these critiques to use to denigrate all of medicine and promote faith based alternatives to medicine.

    Really, at the end of the day, if all this is the best pec can do to attempt to diminish the impact of the very sad, and quite horrific, story above, her attempts are weak. One reason why there’s a push in the CAM community to drop “alternative” and to push “complimentary” is that anyone with half a brain – including those who believes in energy healing – isn’t going to tell women not to use EBM for breast cancer since it’s such an incredibly and obviously unethical thing to do. Clearly people who are trying to diminish or demonize current medical treatment for breast cancer are a fringe group that even many involved in CAM would not want to be associated with. It is strange that the three most active anti-EBM posters here all promote chiropractice and subluxations!

  10. Joe says:

    vinny, on 10 Jul 2008 at 8:25 am, wrote “Harriet, his point about bashing chiropractors when the number of severe injuries they caused may favorably compare to the number of severe injuries a surgeon causes is valid. On the other hand, Harriet’s point about the number of lives saved or improved by surgeons compared to the benefit chiropractors brought with that particularly nasty manipulation is a valid response.”

    More to the point, there is nothing, beneficial, done by chiropractors that cannot be done more safely, otherwise. (Except manipulation of the lower back in some types of acute pain. But that is not chiro since health professionals do it, too.) When chiros avoid the neck snap (and don’t try to “treat” infants, juveniles, or actual illness) their ministrations are probably harmless; but they are also useless.

    It is simpler to go to a masseur, who won’t waste time with a pretend work-up and a fantasy diagnosis. If one suspects a real illness, the first stop should be an MD/DO.

  11. David Gorski says:

    As others have already pointed out on this thread, I think the only way to know what cancers would go away on their own is to do a study where a large number of cancers go untreated. That’s reprehensible, and I know you don’t want to see lots of people suffer horribly just to get a “true” baseline. But do you see another way of obtaining the information? How do you propose getting your numbers? What would the study look like?

    That’s why the information I cited was from the 1800s and early 20th century. Since the 1930s, it’s been rare to see completely untreated breast cancer, making it (thankfully) hard to find enough such patients to do a study, and it would be highly unethical to do any sort of study that resulted in breast cancer patients not being treated.

  12. pec says:

    “93% still applies and the figures he gives (93% long-term survival) are for this type of tumor at that particular stage. Without treatment, the course is as in this case.”

    You are saying that this kind of tumor would have, in most cases, progressed to serious disease, and that the standard treatment for it, in most cases, is successful.

    In other words, you are actually saying this type of cancer is virtually curable.

    But you have no real basis for that assumption.

    As Gorksi says, the experimental comparison of treated vs. untreated cannot be done. SO WE DO NOT KNOW.

    But there are other ways of trying to get at some kind of estimate. Aren’t you curious about the effectiveness of these treatments?

    Since we cannot have untreated controls, we don’t even know if the standard treatments might sometimes be harmful!

    There are some people — those providing the standard treatments especially — who are content to not know and would rather the public does not ask these questions.

    But I am not asking an impossible question. You can’t hide behind ethics, since there are ways of looking at the data that can at least help us get rough estimates.

    One approach, which I already mentioned, is to look at mortality rates for certain types of cancer. Cancer mortality in general has declined a bit recently, but that might be because of decreased cigarette smoking.

    If the standard treatments were good and getting better, we would expect dramatic declines in cancer mortality over the past 30 years. Do you see that for breast cancer?

    It is not easy to find this information, even for the great experts here. Mortality rates are often calculated relative to incidence — so as incidence rises (partly because of better diagnostic technology) more cases are diagnosed. So even if many of the diagnosed cases would have never progressed even without treatment (and Gorski has written about this), they are counted as successfully treated.

  13. pec says:

    Fifi,

    You apparently don’t understand the use of quotation marks. By “skeptic” I mean a member of the pseudo-skeptical political organization. I am a skeptic, you are a brainwashed pseudo-skeptic.

  14. Fifi says:

    pec – No my dear confused lady of the Watchtower knocking on the science based medicine door to peddle your faith, you are very much a cynic and a faithful believer in subluxations, energy medicine and the like.

  15. HCN says:

    pec said “I am a skeptic,”

    No, you are not.

  16. Zetetic says:

    Every time I see the use of “Allopath” to describe EBM practitioners, I think of “Allosaurus”… Is it the intention of CAM promoters that we subliminally associate the title with something big, ferocious, extinct and dumb? ;-)

  17. Fifi says:

    And, pec, you are entirely free to choose to use faith based alternatives to medicine or do nothing if you yourself get breast cancer if you feel that medical treatments for cancer are useless. Not that I’d wish what happened to the woman who refused medical care and chose faith based alternatives to medicine to happen to you, but you do have the right as an adult to refuse medical treatment and live and die with the consequences.

  18. pec says:

    I never said the standard treatments are useless Fifi. I said I would like to have some idea of their success rate.

  19. V says:

    Pec, if you would like statistics about incidence and mortality over time, divided by race, sex and age, refer to the NIH’s SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) database.

    For breast cancer specifically, refer to this set of statistics:
    http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2005/results_merged/sect_04_breast.pdf

    I don’t think the doctors are claiming a dramatic increase in their ability to cure breast cancer. They are saying that their methods are good to begin with. This SEER database only goes back to 1975, and resection for breast cancer has been going on for much longer than that. Therefore I don’t think you would find a dramatic increase in mortality in this database.

    If I am not mistaken, the methods are indeed getting more precise, so the mortality rates are still declining modestly.

    You can still find relative 5-year survival rates for breast cancer patients compared to the general population. SEER does that. And what may be surprising to you is that these rates are quite good.

  20. vinny says:

    When does one give up on trying to reason with the peckers here? When has enough time been wasted on this fruitless effort?

    Anyway, I want to propose a new topic for Steve since his specialty is neurology. It always confused me to hear the rationale from neurologists for administering aspirin versus aggrenox, versus plavix in terms of secondary stroke prevention. Furthermore, the manufacturer claims that taking dipyridamole and aspirin in separate formulations rather than taking aggrenox is not as effective due to some “magical” property of aggrenox coating. The initial study showing a benefit to aggrenox versus aspirin was small and since then we have seen large scale studies confirming this benefit. However, how good are these studies when it has been shown that taking dipyridamole in addition to aspirin is not benefitial and therefore the rationale for even doing such studies was flawed? It also makes no sense to see a recommendation to switch a patient from aspirin to plavix or aggrenox in a patient with a recurrent stroke. Steve, could you discuss this topic for the benefit of other doctors who read this blog?

  21. Fifi says:

    It occurs to me that the doctor in the story above was dealing with a patient with beliefs that are probably very similar to pec’s: she was afraid of cancer and medical treatments for cancer (even though they’ve helped many people and give a better than 9 in 10 odds for survival in regards to the type of cancer she had), she believed that faith based alternatives to medicine and unblocking “energy” could cure cancer or were better than medical treatments, she had a problematic relationship with her family that involved arguments over EBM vs faith based alternatives to medical treatment…to name just a few similarities.

  22. Fifi says:

    pec – You’ve certainly been given “some idea” of the success rates for medical treatment of cancer – over and over again. In fact, you’ve been given a very good idea. I’m glad you’re finally coming around and can now at least admit that medical treatments for cancers are useful. If you can be reached then it gives some hope that others, who share your (and the woman in the case above’s) belief in energy blockages and faith based alternatives to medicine, may also be reached and may choose useful treatments alongside any alternatives to medical treatment they may seek out as well.

  23. Hermano says:

    I was googling for “locked in quadriplegics chiropractic” and came across
    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Spine-Surgery-3304/locked-cervicle-thorasic.htm.
    “Topic: Spine Surgery

    Expert: Jerry Ryan, Ph.D.
    Date: 8/3/2007
    Subject: locked cervicle and thorasic

    Question
    I WILL HAVE NECK PAINS AND THEN I WILL WAKE UP AND BE ON LOCKDOWN WITH MY NECK AND THORASIC. I CANT NOT SIT, STND OR ROTATE MY HEAD I AM IN SUCH AGONY. I WAS TOLD I HAVE A BULDGING DISCK C4 5 AND PROTRUDED DISC C3 AND SPONDYLOSIS IN CERVICAL AREA. BUT NO ONE KNOWS WHY MY SPINE LOCKS UP. I AM 34 HEALTHY, RECEIVING CHIRO CARE IS THE ONLY WAY TO GET MY MOBILITY BACK. HELP WHAT WHY AND HOW AN I PREVENT THIS.

    Answer
    In my opinion, the locking up could be caused by muscle tension in the area. The muscles could be tightening up in a guarding reaction to help prevent any further damage to the neck. This type of muscle contraction could include the thoracic spine area as well.

    I would recommend massage, heat, and possibly traction to the neck area. Check with your chiropractor about a traction device to use at home prior to bedtime. Relaxation techniques like meditation/prayer at bedtime can help reduce the muscle tension as well.

    Thank you for your question, Jackie. I hope that my answer was helpful.”

  24. vinny says:

    Hermano,

    Are you pointing out that an “expert” refered someone to a chiropractor and the patient who claims that chiropractic is the only one who can help? Big deal, I know of an expert on vodka who would provide this patient with relief as well. How is this in any way contributory to science based medicine? Your comments typically fall into several groups:

    1. Well I know a well respected person who recommends this type of therapy. Your idea of a respected expert opinion is different from doctors who wish to discuss science behind medical therapies.

    2. Verbal attacks.

    3. Questioning statistical analyses.

    I wish you could focus on part 3 and actually contribute to a meaningful discussion here. It is obvious that you do not know or understand medical pathophysiology. However, you write well and sometimes make clever anecdotes.

    I am hoping you will devote your energy to something that might contribute positively to discussion here. I submit the same challenge to any other non-medical participant here.

  25. pec says:

    ” I’m glad you’re finally coming around and can now at least admit that medical treatments for cancers are useful.”

    You’re a real dope. I never said anything about whether I think they are or are not useful.

  26. pec says:

    “You can still find relative 5-year survival rates for breast cancer patients compared to the general population. SEER does that. And what may be surprising to you is that these rates are quite good.”

    I AM NOT SURPRISED! Increasing early diagnosis practically guarantees the rates will be good and getting better.

  27. Harriet Hall says:

    pec said

    “I never said the standard treatments are useless”
    Then she said “I never said anything about whether I think they are or are not useful.”

    Apparently she doesn’t think they are useful or useless. I’m confused.

    OK, I guess what she’s saying is “Since early diagnosis makes it harder to interpret the statistics, we should ignore those who have carefully studied all the evidence and are telling us that the treatments are effective after correction for lead-time bias. We should just give up and say we don’t have any idea whatsoever whether cancer treatments do any good.”

    The SEER statistics are for INVASIVE cancer, for crying out loud! They do not include the types of cancer that might never progress.

  28. Fifi says:

    pec – Well it’s good to know you’re at least at a point where you can admit you have no idea whether medical treatments for the particular kind of breast cancer being discussed are useful or useless. This is still progress since admitting you don’t know is the first step, and it’s a giant step since you’ve been presenting yourself as being an expert in statistics and cancer with greater knowledge than those with training in these areas who write this blog. Really, I’m quite pleasantly surprised you can admit you don’t know :-)

  29. pec says:

    I NEVER SAID I THINK THEY ARE USEFUL OR USELESS.

    I have been asking for evidence.

    I KNOW THAT I DON’T KNOW FIFI, THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT.

    YOU DON’T KNOW EITHER. YOU JUST THINK YOU KNOW.

    YOU ARE SO DUMB I CAN’T BELIEVE I AM BOTHERING TO REPLY TO YOUR INANITY.

    Actually, Fifi probably isn’t dumb at all. He/she/it is pretending to be utterly stupid just to have some fun.

  30. Hermano says:

    K. Atwood wrote “Harriet correctly wondered what injuries caused by a surgeon had to do with the price of spaghetti”
    Conceivably, the case of the Minneapolis surgeon had EVERYTHING to do with the price of spaghetti.
    The recent increases in the price of spaghetti result from the world-wide grain shortages and increases in flour prices
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/27Rflour.html .
    The surgeon’s home town is historically known as “The Mill City” and is home to General Mills and Minneapolis Grain Exchange http://www.mgex.com/ .
    The surgeon claimed his error resulted from being distracted by numerous beeper calls http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/22795054.html .
    It’s possible that some of these calls came from the surgeon’s broker’s desk at the Grain Exchange during an especially volatile trading period.

  31. Fifi says:

    pec, while I don’t claim 100% certainty (that’s the area of faith, like your belief in subluxations), I’m quite willing to trust people who have earned my trust by repeatedly showing integrity and honesty through their words and actions. Trust is a somewhat different animal than faith. Trust is based upon someone repeatedly showing – providing evidence – that they’re trustworthy. Now, that doesn’t mean they won’t make mistakes or have biases, which is why I may trust someone’s abilities in a certain area but I still rely upon my own discretion when making choices for myself. I wouldn’t advise anyone to rely upon faith regarding their own health, whether it be in a medical practitioner or someone providing a faith based alternative to medicine. Faith involves believing in something or someone DESPITE the evidence (like your faith in subluxations and that energy blockages cause illness).

  32. pec says:

    “The SEER statistics are for INVASIVE cancer, for crying out loud! They do not include the types of cancer that might never progress.”

    Harriet,

    And you are claiming that most patients with this diagnosis would die without treatment, and 93% would survive with the standard treatments?

    If that is what you are claiming, can you show evidence?

  33. Fifi says:

    So, if you don’t know whether medical cancer treatments are effective or not, why would you want to make people more scared of cancer? Why would you want to spread fear based upon your own ignorance?

  34. Hermano says:

    K. Atwood,

    What is this IMC crowd whose tactics I emulate?
    Are they anything like the IMF?
    If yes, please count me in, I hear their buffets are first-rate.

  35. V says:

    pec, you don’t consider those statistics evidence?

  36. Harriet Hall says:

    pec said, “And you are claiming that most patients with this diagnosis would die without treatment, and 93% would survive with the standard treatments? If that is what you are claiming, can you show evidence?”

    Yes, that is exactly what we are claiming for the case in question, and you have been shown historical evidence.

    Here it is again:
    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=1352900

    The 5-year survival for untreated breast cancer is in the range of 18-19%. The median survival is 2.3-2.7 years.

    The untreated survival rate will vary by type and stage, and historical comparisons are problematic because early reports may not be interpretable by type and stage, but these numbers give us a reliable ballpark for untreated breast cancer in general.

    So here’s your answer: 19% survival without treatment; 93% with.
    Are you satisfied at last?

  37. Fifi says:

    Harriet – Since it’s a five year survival rate being discussed, does that mean the 19% who don’t undergo treatment may still have some progression of their cancer during those five years (but not die) or die from the untreated cancer (or require treatment) at some point after the five years?

  38. Harriet Hall says:

    Darn right! See the link. 10 year survival rates were in the 3% range.

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  40. Fifi says:

    Thanks Harriet, so I guess that means that ultimately the survival rate for untreated breast cancer is only 3% if we look at it longterm (maybe less if we followed that 3% for another five years?). If I’ve got that wrong please correct me!

  41. Calli Arcale says:

    Zeteticon sez:
    Every time I see the use of “Allopath” to describe EBM practitioners, I think of “Allosaurus”… Is it the intention of CAM promoters that we subliminally associate the title with something big, ferocious, extinct and dumb? ;-)

    *chuckles*

    Actually, I think the term “allopath” may predate “allosaurus.”

    *looks it up*

    “Allosaurus” was first described in 1877. Meanwhile, according to dictionary.com, “allopath” dates to the 1820s. Both words draw from the same roots, though, so the similarity is not coincidental. “Allosaurus” literally means “different lizard”, while “allopath” means “different suffering”. “Allopath” was coinced by homeopaths as the opposite of homeopath. The principle of homeopathy is that “like cures like” — diseases are treated homeopathically, that is with something that produces the same symptoms as the target disease. “Allopathy” thus logically means treating with something that causes different symptoms than the target disease.

    As it happens, most mainstream medical treatments do not produce similar symptoms to the thing they are trying to treat. That’s kind of the point, in fact. ;-)

    I prefer to take it in a slightly different direction — allopaths are people who believe that different things cause different diseases. I think some alties do use the term in that way, mainly those who feel that disease has only one single root cause (subluxations, energy imbalance, etc).

  42. pmoran says:

    “I prefer to take it in a slightly different direction — allopaths are people who believe that different things cause different diseases. ”

    I feel very strongly that we should not ever use, or accept the use of the term. The mainstream is not in any way constrained by such philosophical or theoretical principles. It is eclectic and empirical in its choice of treatments and would gladly apply a “like cures like” principle wherever that was known to be effective. In fact, some homeopaths like to claim vaccination as an example of that principle.

    I first encountered the term being used by orthodox chiropractors, another group that finds it advantageous to suggest that there may be more than one valid system of medicine.

  43. Synaptix says:

    I suspect Pec will have to pick up the goalpost and move with it again.

  44. Calli Arcale says:

    I do not use the term to describe mainstream medicine. What I meant was that when alties use the term, I prefer to take it in a somewhat different manner than was originally intended. This helps me avoid taking offense and getting upset, which doesn’t really help anything.

    Since most alties don’t even know what the term originally meant, it hardly matters how I take it. They just use it to promulgate the false dichotomy between different kinds of medicine.

  45. pec says:

    Harriet, you probably are aware I can’t access that article. And chances are it doesn’t address the sources of bias I am trying to get you to acknowledge.

  46. Fifi says:

    pec – Really? There’s no restricted access to the abstract of the study (it’s not an “article”, though the abstract is easier for lay people – myself included – to understand) so this sounds like yet another attempt to use denial to avoid acknowledging that your question has been answered….over and over and over again. Chances are you aren’t addressing the sources of your bias that you’re trying not to acknowledge.

  47. HCN says:

    pec, there are these buildings in most municipalities that are called “public libraries”. Many of them actually subscribe to the services that can get you those papers. Try to find one in your local area, they are great places for research.

  48. Harriet Hall says:

    pec,

    I’m about ready to scream!

    Here’s the abstract: “Knowing the clinical prognosis of untreated breast cancer is useful in dealing with patients with neglected disease or in environments with poorly developed healthcare systems. This study analyzes historical survival data in two sets of untreated patients: (1) 250 patients followed until death (up to 12 years) for which autopsy results are available and (2) an amalgam of 1,022 patients from several papers. Data from nine published papers underwent actuarial analysis. Median survival time of the 250 patients followed to death was 2.7 years. Actuarial 5- and 10-year survival rates for these patients with untreated breast cancer was 18.4% and 3.6%, respectively. For the amalgamated 1,022 patients, median survival time was 2.3 years. Actuarial 5- and (partially fitted) 10-year survival rates for these patients with untreated breast cancer was 19.8% and 3.7%, respectively. Historical data of untreated breast cancer patients reveal a potential for long survival in some cases. The spectrum of clinical aggressiveness of breast cancer varies between virulence and chronic disease.”

    We have all acknowledged the sources of bias you keep talking about. Dr. Gorski was the first one to discuss those sources of bias before you ever mentioned them.

    These numbers are for untreated cancer, so the lead time and other biases are not considerations. If you are saying that these patients might have appeared to survive longer because they were diagnosed earlier (which is what lead time bias means), then correcting the numbers would make the 5-year survival rate even smaller, makiing an even stronger case for the benefits of treatment.

  49. pec says:

    I just posted a link 3 times and it didn’t show up.

  50. pec says:

    Cancer Undefeated
    John C. Bailar, M.D., Ph.D., and Heather L. Gornik, M.H.S.

    The New England Journal of Medicine

    I posted the link 3 times and it did not show up.

  51. pec says:

    I don’t know why, but I cannot post that link. But you really should read it Harriet.

    I read that abstract and it ignores the things I have been saying. The Bailer article explains some of it.

  52. pec says:

    And I could not tell from just the abstract.

    And please don’t scream, at least not until you do some more reading.

  53. pec says:

    What is meant by “historical?” In the past, cancer was diagnosed later, so survival time was necessarily shorter. Over-diagnosis was less likely, so mortality relative to incidence was higher.

    You are missing every point I make. You should at least read the Bailer article. But I have read a lot more along those lines.

  54. Fifi says:

    Harriet – You’re talking to someone who doesn’t even understand the difference between an abstract and an article (or who didn’t even bother following the link you provided IF, and it’s a big if, she even understands the difference). You’ll never get through to pec, she’s a troll plain and simple, the only reason to bother interacting with pec is to provide explanations for others who get misled by the thin veneer of science that gets spread over faith based alternatives to medicine. If one woman understands that the pecs of the world are liars from all the explaining you’ve done and choose EBM over woo, you’ve saved a life.

    Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that pec has a very personal vendetta against doctors. She revealed it when she claimed she was a victim because she had to look after her ailing mother, and that it was medicine/doctors’ fault for not forcing her mother to eat healthily and exercise, and it was medicine/doctors fault that her mother has mental health issues (she seemed to want to believe that the medication was somehow the cause , a common mindset in those into energy medicine and such). I’m starting to suspect that pec was diagnosed with the same kinds of mental health issues but thinks that having mental health issues is something to be ashamed of (or that it means she has to understand her mother rather than resent and blame her), so rather than accept the diagnosis she’s decided that doctors and medicine are always wrong. If that’s the case, annoying as she can be, clearly it calls for compassion (though not shoring up her delusions).

    A lot of people with mental health issues who don’t want to acknowledge them find refuge in new age beliefs. Not that I think everyone into new age stuff and energy medicine is suffering from mental health issues (I think most are just indulging in fantasy that they really want to believe is real and are looking for some coddling or something to belief in that provides the answers to life’s uncertainties…but isn’t that nasty “traditional” religion of their parents, they’re innovators!…and the promise of surviving death…always a good seller!). It provides an arena for people with mental health issues to have others take their paranoia seriously (hello antivax!); for others to accept their hallucinations as visions of other worlds and “real” alternate realities or glimpses into the afterlife; and of course to share a delusion that we can control the material world via our thoughts and are really super evolved star beings/angels that are chosen and better than anyone else (shhhh, it’s a Secret!). A lot of it is harmless, some of it is deadly.

    Now, of course, there are people in the medical profession who have mental health issues too. However, most will get treatment and resolve or treat their issues. Those who don’t often end up being the quacks who find their symptoms reflected in the superstitious beliefs about magical energy and move into woo (though some clearly just do it for the money). Clearly none of us like thinking we’re not in control of our thoughts and that our perception of reality is askew and unreliable. Of course, anyone who even dabbles in science and neurobiology knows that the very premise of science is that our senses are unreliable and that we’re prone to believing what we want to believe. Hence the methodology employed.

  55. Fifi says:

    pec, I suspect you’re just pretending that the link didn’t post so you can pretend that Harriet is censoring you.

    Here’s the link, it’s about overall cancer rates not the specific kind we’ve been discussing – so not actually relevant to the statistics we’ve been discussing. I wonder if pec is trying to “move the goal posts” as predicted or just really so ignorant that she doesn’t understand that we’re talking cancer apples and cancer oranges here. It’s worth remembering that nobody here has made any assertions about cures for cancer – other than pec claiming that people believe there’s a cure for cancer (which IS possible if she runs in energy healing and supplement circles because they often claim to have cures for cancer). The general public, however, is still busy running marathons and wearing pink ribbons as a means to raise money for cancer research.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9164814

  56. Harriet Hall says:

    pec,

    You are attempting to deflect the discussion from the effectiveness of cancer treatment vs non-treatment to quibbling about how much progress has been made in recent years. Very effective treatments had already been developed by 1970. Bailar and Gornik showed that overall cancer mortality plateaued betwen 1970 and 1990, decreased between 1990 and 1994, and then slowly began to improve again. They offer their opinion of what the numbers mean, taking into account confounding factors like early diagnosis.

    I read the Bailar/Gornik article. I also read the letter written in response that was published in a later issue. I’ll quote it in full so you can’t claim you don’t have access.

    “To the Editor: In their Special Article, provocatively entitled “Cancer Undefeated,” Bailar and Gornik (May 29 issue)1 acknowledge the substantial changes in mortality due to cancer during the past 20 years in men and women under the age of 55 years. The authors note that for this age group, there has been a 25 percent decrease in all cancer-related deaths, a 23 percent reduction in deaths from breast cancer, and a slight but definite decline in mortality from lung cancer; for persons of all ages, there has been approximately a 15 percent drop in deaths from colorectal cancer. Bailar and Gornik believe these changes reflect changes in the incidence of cancer or early detection, discount entirely the impact of therapeutic intervention, and argue that progress will occur only through a national commitment to prevention.

    Nobody disputes the merits of cancer prevention. By now, eliminating the use of tobacco products — particularly among the young — has become a social and legislative issue; sufficient research has already been performed to justify the needed behavioral changes. Reducing exposure to known carcinogens such as ultraviolet light, hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses, asbestos, and excess ethanol has received widespread attention, as has the importance of screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers. The recent development of germ-line genetic-testing techniques will probably identify people at very high risk for breast, colorectal, and ovarian cancers in whom prophylactic medical or surgical interventions, or both, may be of value. A major component of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is for cancer prevention, and in 1996, a distinguished panel of experts in this area was commissioned by the institute’s director, Dr. Richard D. Klausner, to provide an external critique of this effort.

    Bailar and Gornik reveal their underlying bias by choosing to ignore the influence of treatment on the reduction in cancer-related mortality among persons under the age of 55 years. During the past 25 years, previously fatal conditions, such as advanced testicular cancer,2 Hodgkin’s disease,3 and childhood leukemia,4 have become curable in more than 70 percent of cases, and up to 50 percent of patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas may now be cured.5 Prospective, randomized trials have shown that postoperative (i.e., adjuvant) therapy leads to a 25 to 30 percent reduction in mortality among patients with locally advanced breast cancer 6 or colorectal cancer.7 Reductions in cancer-related mortality clearly have multifactorial explanations, but for Bailar and Gornik to dismiss widely used, well-accepted advances in treatment is not only absurd but also potentially damaging to patients with newly diagnosed malignant conditions, who may be influenced by the publicity surrounding this extreme view to reject life-saving treatment.”

    You might be interested to know that Scientific American has just come out with a special issue on “New Answers for Cancer” with an article on “Gaining Ground on Breast Cancer – The newest targeted therapies are helping doctors to tailor increasingly effective treatments to individual patients.”

    But even if no progress had been made since 1970, we would still be able to show that treatment was far superior to non-treatment. I’m sure even Bailar and Gornik would agree with that.

  57. HCN says:

    After clicking on the link that Fifi provided, I clicked some of the links on the right of the abstract. I came across this paper:
    http://caonline.amcancersoc.org/cgi/content/full/56/3/168

    Even it makes the distinction between three types of cancer stages when reporting survival rates” “For White women, 5-year relative survival increased from 90.7% to 98.5% for localized disease, 68.8% to 82.9% for regional stage disease, and from 18.0% to 27.7% for distant stage disease. Among African Americans, relative survival increased from 84.8% to 92.2% for localized disease, and 55.1% to 68.3% for regional stage disease, but there was minimal improvement (15.1% to 16.3%) for distant stage disease.”

  58. nwtk2007 says:

    You guys sure can go on.

    Based upon reading the posts here, over all I would say that there are improvements in cancer survival rates, mainly due to changes in lifestyle and much less so due to changes or improvements in treatment.

    Alt treatment is not a good choice for cancer treatment, but the Alts do a better job of educating the public about lifestyle changes and how to prevent cancers by avoiding substances which cause it or are associated with it. They might very well, indirectly, be a leading cause of improvements in reduction of death due to cancer and overall survival rates.

    Faith based care is misunderstood by this forum. The faith is from the patient, not the doctor. People don’t know stats about any of this so they have faith in one or the other, conventional or Alt, and go with that faith. Conventional health care is absolutely faith driven. It is the patients beliefs that bring them to one or the other and it is their faith in the care they receive that drives the success. One single episode in a family, no matter how anecdotal it might be to the “educated science expert” will alter that faith for the entire family, which ever way it goes.

    Don’t underestimate the effect anecdotal “evidence” will have on this faith.

    Also, the general population doesn’t care a bit about the science of it. They haven’t a clue about the science of it.

    Thus the best the conventional allopath can do to prevent people from choosing the Alt road, is to educate patients better and start getting more involved in their patients lives rather than riding the “I’m a doctor” band wagon, writing scripts and heading for the golf course.

  59. HCN says:

    nwtk2007: “mainly due to changes in lifestyle and much less so due to changes or improvements in treatment.”

    Actually, it is early detection and early treatment that improved outcome.

  60. nwtk2007 says:

    From the above link – “CONCLUSIONS: The war against cancer is far from over. Observed changes in mortality due to cancer primarily reflect changing incidence or early detection. The effect of new treatments for cancer on mortality has been largely disappointing. The most promising approach to the control of cancer is a national commitment to prevention, with a concomitant rebalancing of the focus and funding of research.”

    Did you see the part about “The effect of new treatments ….. has been largely disappointing”?

    Everybody who posts anywhere on the internet wants to be the intelectual. Hell, I can’t even spell it. Sheeeesh.

    Any links from after 1997 about that?

  61. nwtk2007 says:

    And changing incidence means prevention by what ever means and NOT treatment or early detection.

  62. V says:

    nwtk, you based your conclusions off the posts you read here. That’s not what you ought to draw your conclusions from. If you peruse the provided links, you might learn that the studies were more rigorous than you suspect.

    Besides, talking about what drives the recent improvement in survival rates does not bear upon the fact that a great majority of people do survive breast cancer. They survive because of medical treatment. Not because of lifestyle changes.

  63. DLC says:

    sometimes coming in late can have it’s advantages.
    I’m astounded. I really am. I haven’t seen this level of willful ignorance in years. And I congratulate the blog’s authors for being patient about it.
    But. . . where’s the whale.to cites ? (/joke)

  64. nwtk2007 says:

    V, I read the links too. I even sited one. You missed my point. I am not disagreeing with you, you are just looking for an argument.

  65. weing says:

    nwtk2007
    I think you based your conclusions based on pec’s posts. Lifestyle changes can only get you so far. Question for you. Do you think the Bailar article only refers to lifestyle changes for prevention and not chemoprevention? Would you consider using tamoxifen in high risk women to be a prevention measure? Now, I gotta get back to the golf course and see if I can beat my prior score of 38.

  66. Harriet Hall says:

    “Faith based care is misunderstood by this forum.”

    I make the distinction between science-based treatment and belief-based treatment. People who recommend questionable treatments “believe” they are effective but don’t have any evidence to support their beliefs. Scientists don’t “believe” anything: they reach provisional conclusions based on the best available evidence.

  67. Harriet Hall says:

    nwtk2007,

    It sounds as if you read the comments about the Bailar article but did not read the letter published in answer to it. Please read my 7:45 comment above where I copied it in full.

    It says, “Bailar and Gornik reveal their underlying bias by choosing to ignore the influence of treatment on the reduction in cancer-related mortality…” etc. The letter pretty much shoots down the Bailar article. I’m wondering why you choose to quote Bailar but not the critics.

    No one doubts that prevention is better. The letter rebutting Bailar points out that “A major component of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is for cancer prevention.” But once cancer has developed, there can be no question that modern cancer treatment is far more effective than no treatment or than any alternative treatment.

    You and Bailar are quibbling about how fast cancer treatment is improving, not about whether cancer treatment works, which was pec’s original question.

  68. pmoran says:

    I think part of the problem in such discussions is that medicine is complicated. It is actually not very susceptible to generalized answers to such questions as “how well do treatments work?” and “is progress being made?” yet these are the questions the public poses.

    Thus, when Harriet and David and I think about such questions we think of the very high cure rates obtained with, and the good progress being made in the treatment of certain stages of breast, bowel, skin cancers and some kinds of leukemia, childhood and testicular cancer.

    Pec and others probably mainly have in mind common aggressive, or advanced cancers where progress is admittedly small, and survival is infrequent once the cancer is beyond the scope of surgery or radiotherapy. These cancers are most obvious to the public. All the cured patients don’t wear signs saying “I had cancer ten years ago”, while the deaths are obvious and all too frequent.

    The more aggressive varieties and stages of breast cancer, NSCLC and pancreatic cancer would be examples from this other end of the spectrum.

  69. otr6686 says:

    I cannot believe the hostility that you so-called educated physicians display against pec. Is suggesting chiropractic manipulations or that she has reading comprehension difficulties the way to hold intelligent discussions about science? As a non physician,all I know is that every cancer patient whom I have ever known who died from the disease had been treated with chemotherapy. While I am against quackery, and you use that term without substantiation, don’t you think it is time to classify chemotherapy as quackery also?

  70. pec says:

    “Bailar and Gornik believe these changes reflect changes in the incidence of cancer or early detection, discount entirely the impact of therapeutic intervention, and argue that progress will occur only through a national commitment to prevention.”

    Well Harriet, the point is that not every expert agrees with you and other die-hard cheerleaders for the cancer industry.

    I am not saying it is all one way or the other. I am saying it is not an easy question to answer, for anyone, and the experts don’t all agree.

    A lot of the raving about the wonderful progress has political motives, so if you are actually a skeptic you should be skeptical.

  71. pec says:

    “But once cancer has developed, there can be no question that modern cancer treatment is far more effective than no treatment or than any alternative treatment.”

    There can be no doubt — no, that would make us feel bad. But there also can be no comparison, for ethical reasons.

    So we do not know that modern cancer treatment is far more effective than no treatment. It might be somewhat more effective, or a little more effective, or it might actually be far more effective. We don’t know.

    If we are not brainwashed cheerleaders for the cancer industry, we admit it is hard to know how effective the mainstream treatments are for each type and stage of cancer.

    And I said that, according to Bailer and many other sources I have read, there are effective treatments for certain types of cancer, especially childhood cancer.

    In general, though, progress has been slight, according to some experts.

    Of course most want to believe the propaganda. Providers of mainstream treatments and the public all want to believe it.

  72. There is no monolithic “cancer industry.”

  73. weing says:

    The battle with cancer is not a football or basketball game. It is much more complicated than some would have us believe. There are no cheerleaders unless you call the families of the patient rooting for him/her, cheerleaders. No argument about more progress having to be made, but a lot of progress has been made. The patient in this case did not take advantage of it. You can always find someone with a different opinion. That does not mean they are correct. Remember the basketball player a few years ago who was told by his doctor that he couldn’t play? He sought out an opinion that suited him and dropped dead taking practice shots. So be careful about seeking confirmation of your beliefs and wants. If you ever find a lump in your breast like this patient, what would you do? Call Dr. Gorski?

  74. nwtk2007 says:

    Harriet, you say the letter to the editor above shoots down the Bailar and Gornik paper.

    No, it doesn’t shoot it down. It augments the conclusion by pointing out the success of treatment of cancers which occur prior to age 55, nothing more. The author of the letter fears that conclusions which emphasize prevention over treatment will cause some patients to avoid treatment. At least that is how it reads to me.

    You sound like you have a bias yourself.

    Again, yes pec is wrong and treatment is better than none at all and I believe that pec would choose treatment over no treatment if diagnosed with cancer.

    And weing, I think tamoxifen would be would be an OK choice for women who have had previous est-pos tumors and who are being treated for such as well. It might also be considered in women with a strong familial tendency towards development of said type of breast cancer.

    I am curious, exactly what is the risk of stroke associated with this drug?

    And hey, 38 is not bad for your first four holes!

  75. Fifi says:

    If there’s a cancer “industry” then surely it includes all the supplement manufacturers and potion makers who claim their products prevent or cure cancer with no proof? Clearly it benefits the industry selling “prevention” or “natural cures for cancer” if the general public are both terrified of cancer and also afraid of proven cancer treatments (or get the impression that treatable cancers, like the one in the example above, can’t be treated). Obviously people who claim illness is due to subluxations and energy blockages also have something to gain by spreading misinformation and claiming they’re providing cancer prevention treatments.

    Cancer prevention lifestyle strategies are really very simple, exercise and eat a healthy diet that’s got lots of leafy greens (that means foods in their natural forms). It doesn’t require expensive supplements or vitamins (which in some cases actually contribute to causing or acerbating certain forms of cancer according to research) and it doesn’t require fixing your karma or energy (cancer isn’t a punishment for being a bad person). All the same, depending on one’s genes, one still might get cancer so it’s important to know one’s family history and communicate it to your physician. While people can certainly enact these changes in their habits themselves, sometimes people benefit from some support in creating and maintaining new habits. Often just having a friend or partner make the changes with them will be enough, there are now also all kinds of online groups and easy to use programs that are generally created for weight loss but are just as easy to use as a way to measure and be accountable for lifestyle changes made for other reasons.

    If someone finds themselves morbidly obsessing about cancer and terrified of it, and that it interferes with them living and enjoying their life now, then a bit of psychological support and counseling may be in order. After all, why let the fear of cancer rob you of you of the very life you’re afraid cancer will take!?!

  76. weing says:

    nwtk2007,
    You mean there is more than one?

  77. David Gorski says:

    I’m sorry I’ve been away. There have been home issues to deal with. I’m truly amazed at how long this comment thread has gone, and unfortunately I see the same people making the same dubious assertions over and over again. I thank Harriet and Kimball for being so diligent in pinch-hitting in my absence.

    Perhaps those who think that treatments don’t do anything for cancer is, of course, a load of hooey, depending upon the cancer. Yes, there is still pancreatic cancer, which remains almost as deadly as ever. But other cancers are treatable. Another aspect that people forget is this: Even if progress in terms of overall mortality has not been dramatic but rather evolutionary, the morbidity of the treatments has become much, much less. Let’s take a look at breast cancer. As recently as the 1960s and 1970s, the disfiguring radical mastectomy was the standard of care for all breast cancer, even small ones. Treatment then evolved to the less disfiguring but still fairly radical “modified radical mastectomy” and then to the lumpectomy and axillary dissection with radiation therapy. These days, we no longer take out all of the lymph nodes under the arm anymore; we do a sentinel lymph node biopsy, which removes only one or a few. If you don’t think these are “advancements” because they don’t by themselves improve survival (indeed, they were found to produce equivalent survival to older, more radical operations), you clearly have never dealt with breast cancer patients.

    Now we’re going even further, developing ablation techniques using either cryoablation (freezing) or radiofrequency ablation (burning) for the use on small breast cancers. In colon cancer, the story is the same with the development of laparoscopic techniques that provide equivalent local control of the tumor with much less pain and a much shorter recovery period. Meanwhile, thanks to better chemotherapy regimens, median survival for metastatic colon cancer to the liver has improved from a dismal six months 20 years ago to the 15-20 month range, with good quality of life. No, it’s not a cure, but is progress.

  78. weing says:

    Regarding stroke risk, I think it depends on age, the older the greater the risk. About 5 out of 10,000 more than those not on it.

  79. Fifi says:

    pec wrote – “So we do not know that modern cancer treatment is far more effective than no treatment. It might be somewhat more effective, or a little more effective, or it might actually be far more effective. We don’t know.”

    You perhaps don’t know, but there’s enough reliable evidence to make a reasonable assumptions(not 100% certainty, something scientists never claim, that’s the domain of religion and shysters selling fake cures) about most cancers. As you’ve repeatedly been informed, there are many different kinds of cancer and morbidity and effectiveness of treatment varies so the repeated generalizing you do makes no sense. We also don’t know with 100% certainty that a healthy lifestyle prevents cancer, we do however have enough evidence to reach a reasonable conclusion that leading a healthy life can be preventative (but it’s also clear that even people who lead healthy lifestyles get cancer).

    We do know what happens when cancer is left untreated from historical data (it’s no coincidence that the case above sounds like something from medieval times). Now, to be fair, it IS possible that the alternative treatments to medicine that the woman in the case above used actually made her cancer worse. Actually, it’s somewhat likely. No doubt she was told she was just “clearing toxins” when she felt worse, since that’s the standard altie line when someone reacts badly to a lotion or potion. Sadly it seems that the “alternative” cancer treatments (and even prevention recommendations) may be much worse than doing nothing – from the Hoxley treatment which contains arsenic to megadoses of vitamins that actually make cancers worse.

    Once again, I have to wonder what benefit pec gets from trying to spread fear of both cancer and medical cancer treatments… Or if it’s just a personal vendetta against doctors she’s waging… Whatever the case, clearly she’s got some purpose for being her constantly promoting subluxations and trying to whip up unreasonable fears about medicine. There are plenty of very real things to critique in medicine and how it’s practiced (and the bloggers her routinely do so), so why does pec keep serving up this red herring unless she’s personally or professionally invested in it?

  80. V says:

    nwtk – My mistake. I wrote the post before you later commented on the Bailar paper.

    pec writes,
    “So we do not know that modern cancer treatment is far more effective than no treatment. It might be somewhat more effective, or a little more effective, or it might actually be far more effective. We don’t know.”

    You are blatantly denying the evidence that Harriet Hall and others have provided you–19% survival for no treatment, and 93% survival with treatment. Bailar’s paper does not refute this evidence because he only analyzed those over age 55. The woman in question was in her 30s.

    Clearly you cannot be convinced to change your mind when concrete evidence against your opinion is presented to you. That goes against the very heart of skepticism–being able to admit when you are wrong, and to follow the best evidence wherever it leads.

  81. pec says:

    “You are blatantly denying the evidence that Harriet Hall and others have provided you–19% survival for no treatment, and 93% survival with treatment. ”

    You are blatantly ignoring the sources of bias that Dr. Gorski has written about. And even though he is a cancer treatment provider, he admits we cannot compare treatment to no treatment, for ethical reasons.

    Historical data can be very misleading because there was no early diagnosis technology until relatively recently, so non-aggressive cancer might never have been diagnosed. The historical data may have included mostly deadly forms of cancer, while the more recent data includes tumors not destined to become aggressive.

    Now it is very common for non-aggressive cancer to be diagnosed and treated, and these cases are all counted as successful. It is not known how many would have progressed and caused disease, if not treated.

    Different experts have completely different views on the effectiveness of mainstream treatments, and I have been trying to explain why I think that is. I am constantly misquoted as having said mainstream treatments are useless and alternative treatments are wonderful, when I have not said or implied anything like that.

    The controversy exists because no one seems to have a clear answer. The comments here have been emotional, not rational. No one has even tried to understand why the reports are biased and hard to interpret, or why the real effectiveness rates are unknown.

  82. weing says:

    pec,
    That’s the way it is. We often have to make decisions with incomplete information. Everyone has a bias. That’s part of being human. What’s yours?

  83. pec says:

    weing,

    Whether or not I have a bias is utterly irrelevant to what we are debating right now. Claims of a 93% effectiveness rate are not based in scientific reality. I am pointing out the inaccuracy and no one here wants to face the fact that the actual rate could be much lower.

    Instead of rational responses I get hysterical insults.

  84. ama says:

    Hi all,

    may we copy a part or all of the original text by David Gorski in our forum at
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo?

    We are dealing with the most cruel charlatan scene ever, the Hamer-scene, which is using the insane ideas of the ciminal pychopath Ryke Geerd Hamer.

    Do not fall for believing that Hamer himself is the driving force. No, the driving forces are groups which, driven by greed and/or insanity, on their own indoctrinate, manipulate, and ripp off cancer patients. No survivors…

    In the USA and Canada they operate under the name “German New Medicine”, “New Medicine”, or “Meta-Medicine”.

    So far we found more than 150 cases of death, and to show you what I am talking about, this is the memorial for one of the victims:
    http://www.ariplex.com/ama/amamiche.htm

    Orac, Peter Moran, and Terry Polevoy know the story already and wrote about it some time ago.

    The danger by the Hamer-Scene became worse because the second generation of doers is active now in large scale. So we started domains to warn about that matter:

    auf Deutsch: Die Todessekte:
    http://www.todessekte.de

    in English: The Death Sect:
    http://www.deathsect.com

    en francais: La secte de la mort:
    http://www.secte-de-la-mort.net

    le forum en francais pour la site “La secte de la mort”:
    http://www.secte-de-la-mort.net/phpBB3/

    Wiki “Neue Medizin” in English, French, German, Italian + other languages
    http://www.ariplex.com/nmwiki

    in Italy the journalist Journalist Ilario D’Amato writes the “Dossier Hamer”:
    http://www.dossierhamer.it

    The question raised by David Gorski “Who is to blame?” can be concentrated to these groups:

    1. medical associations which do not cut off medical doctors who use Hamer’s insane ideas to “treat” patients.

    2. the court and attorney scene by not persecuting the criminals who are responsible for all the sorrow and death.

    3. the politicians who don’t give a damn about anything at all, except for their “diets”.

    4. the media for refusing to report about the crimes committed by the charlatans.

    Since spring 2007 we try to tell American journalists that the “meta-mediciners” in the USA commit a large-scale fraud with several dozens world famous screen actors like Ben Kingsley, Tommy Lee Jones, Geena Davis, etc., who they abuse for their PR:

    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~aktenschrank/gigantic_fraud_exposed/metamedicine_fraud_with_celebs_4_3z.jpg
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~aktenschrank/gigantic_fraud_exposed/metamedicine_fraud_with_celebs_2_2.jpg
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~aktenschrank/gigantic_fraud_exposed/metamedicine_fraud_with_celebs_3_2.jpg
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~aktenschrank/gigantic_fraud_exposed/metamedicine_fraud_with_celebs_3_3.jpg
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~aktenschrank/gigantic_fraud_exposed/metamedicine_fraud_with_celebs_4_2.jpg
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~aktenschrank/gigantic_fraud_exposed/metamedicine_fraud_with_celebs_4_3x.jpg
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~aktenschrank/gigantic_fraud_exposed/metamedicine_fraud_with_celebs_4_3z.bmp
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~aktenschrank/gigantic_fraud_exposed/metamedicine_fraud_with_celebs_4_3z.jpg

    What we found out:
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/showtopic.php?threadid=2391

    Some weeks ago we got into contact with NBC and gave them the material.
    No reply.

    This reply we got from a Californian TV station:

    we have rec’d these emails…. but this is not a story for our area… this
    doctor does not reside in Northern California.

    These “journalists” to not know that the AMERICAN screen actors are Americans?

    These “journalists” to not know that it is AMERICANS who die because of the Hamer scene?

    These “journalists” to not know that it is on AMERICAN ground where all this happens?

    The media PUSH charlatans by giving them huge parts of broadcasting time and newspaper place.

    The media BLOCK OFF information about the crimes committed by charlatans.

    We can’t cure all that at once, but TWO things we CAN do:

    1. cleaning up with charlatans by expelling them from medical associations and by taking off their approbation.

    2. build an own information system against the monopoly of the commercial media.

    Thank you for your help,

    ama

  85. weing says:

    Bias is always relevant. Your bias prevents you from accepting the claim of 93% long term survival in this particular type of cancer. If you do find a lump on your breast and find it to be an adenocarcinoma your bias may stop you from seeking treatment. Will you call Dr Baillar and have him recommend prevention or Dr Gorski?

  86. As a ‘quack’ (not really, actually) that works full-time for the NHS in the UK I would like to add that I feel that it would be inappropriate for ANYONE remotely ‘quack-like’ to treat this type of patient.

    The very fact that the patient was accepted for a consultation implies that the practitioner considered that he or she could help!

    I’m freakin appalled. Really. These patients need help and the CAMs need locking up. How can this be defended?

    http://jonathanhearsey.com/?p=35

    JH

  87. ama says:

    ># weingon 10 Jul 2008 at 8:26 am
    >BTW, in case you are looking for certainty,
    >nothing is 100% guaranteed in medicine except for death.

    You should not bet on that!

    The anthroposophs, insane as they are, claim that they will be reborne endless times, so that going into the grave now plays no role.

    This is why they give a damn about healing. They claim that the illnesses are punishment for deeds in earlier lives, and doctors must not interfere with karma!

    This is the reason why the anthropopophs WANT children to become ill with “children illnesses”, like measles. Measles is a HIGHLY important matter as it makes FEVER, and FEVER IS GOOOOOOOOD!!!!!!!!

    Who do you think caused the measles outbreaks? it is the anthroposophs with their lies. They make people believe that measles are NECCESSARY for the development of the body.

    Look here: http://www.pharmamafia.de

    (Hey, the web-site maintainers do need help with translation!)

  88. RickK101 says:

    Pec

    You’ve said: “The comments here have been emotional, not rational. No one has even tried to understand why the reports are biased and hard to interpret, or why the real effectiveness rates are unknown.”

    You’ve consistently responded to the most emotional, and have neglected to respond to the rational challenges to your constant generalizations. You say the data is complicated, you say we should fear cancer more, you call us names like “cheerleader” and talk about the “cancer industry”. You talk about lead-time bias and over-diagnosis, which are irrelevant to the subject of this blog.

    I would like to know how an actual cancer patients should interpret and use YOUR arguments in their decision making.

    Can you please be specific for just a moment? Let’s say we have a patient with breast cancer. Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that she is in her mid 30s and is diagnosed with adenocarcinoma. Let’s say the cancer has progressed to a palpable 1 cm in size. Let’s say her doctor, based on the best information available to medical science, 93 out of 100 patients in similar situations will survive 5 years given with proper surgery and radiation therapy combined with adjuvant chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy.

    Given this hypothetical case, what would you advise the patient to do?

  89. pec says:

    “Your bias prevents you from accepting the claim of 93% long term survival in this particular type of cancer.”

    This is so stupid. I explained the scientific reasons for questioning the 93% rate.

    I am not saying anything about whether or not cancer victims should get the standard treatments.

  90. RickK101 says:

    Oh, and by the way

    You said: “Claims of a 93% effectiveness rate are not based in scientific reality.”

    You are the only person who has said the treatments are 93% effective. The statement from the case was that, with treatment, there is a 93% chance of long term survival.

    By mis-quoting Dr. Gorski, you’re setting up a false strawman just to knock it down. As has been said before, the patient’s doctors did not say “You have 0% chance of survival without treatment and 93% with treatment”. But that is what you, Pec, are indicating that they said, which is unfair and misleading.

    As the original blog so graphically demonstrated, lives are at stake here. So please do not generate unnecessary confusion through inaccurate statements.

  91. weing says:

    Your response illustrates a well known ego defense mechanism that allows you to maintain your bias.

  92. otr6686 says:

    I understand that the case in question sought out Hoxey and Gerson. These two “ancient” alternative therapies have not been on the cutting edge for years. Each of the proponents and inventors of these methods had to go to Mexico because they were persecuted by the U.S. FDA and other so-called authorities who kill cancer patients with their ineffective, although sometimes palliative, chemo agents. Many physicians in the U.S. fear such similar actions, and do not dare go against the establishment.
    As an oncologist, you better believe in nothing else other than chemo, radiation, or surgery, or the same will apply to your license to practice. You may publicly deny this, but this is how the pharmaceutical companies control the medical profession; by controlling the FDA.

    If I were diagnosed with a difficult cancer to treat, too far gone for just surgery or radiation, I would go on anti-fungal medication, follow an anti-fungal diet, and travel to Italy to be treated by Tullio Simoncini, MD, and his intravenous sodium bicarbonate, to alkalize the blood. Of course, if any of you traditional therapists were to advocate this, you would surely lose your license to practice medicine in your state. Anti-fungal and alkalizing medication would surely put chemotherapy companies out of business.

  93. pec says:

    “Given this hypothetical case, what would you advise the patient to do?”

    I wouldn’t advise a cancer patient because I am not an MD or any kind of health care provider. I never claimed that I was.

    The only advice I might give them is to do a lot of reading and thinking before trusting any health care provider, whether mainstream or alternative.

  94. weing says:

    As long as the time to do the reading doesn’t allow a T1 N0 M0 to progress into T1 N1 M0, I hope.

  95. ama says:

    >If I were diagnosed with a difficult cancer to treat, too far gone
    >for just surgery or radiation, I would go on anti-fungal medication,
    >follow an anti-fungal diet, and travel to Italy to be treated by
    >Tullio Simoncini, MD, and his intravenous sodium bicarbonate,
    >to alkalize the blood.

    So you are on a suicide trip and want to spend 150000 bucks for it?

    You can have you death cheaper: just jump from a skyscraper!

    http://cryptocheilus.wordpress.com/

  96. Harriet Hall says:

    pec said, “This is so stupid. I explained the scientific reasons for questioning the 93% rate.”

    You explained the reasons for questioning the survival rate for cancers that are diagnosed early and might not have spread. This was not one of those.

    For a case like this one, you questioned whether the historical comparison data are valid. I acknowledged that they are imperfect, but they are the best we have, since we can’t do a controlled study with a no-treatment arm.

    We showed you detailed data on the changes in cancer statistics over many years. We showed you the best evidence we have. We showed you that the biases have a small, not a large influence. We showed you why even the most skeptical critic would have to accept that the 93% survival rate for this patient was far, far better than the survival rate without treatment. Would it satisfy you if the doctors told the patient that the survival rate with treatment was 93% and that they didn’t have exact numbers for the survival rate without treatment but that it was much, much lower?

    If you want to imagine that her survival rate without treatment would be “closer to zero” than to 93%, go ahead and imagine it, but don’t expect anyone else to believe it.

  97. Hermano says:

    pec, you wrote “I am not saying anything about whether or not cancer victims should get the standard treatments.”

    You have been discussing the value of conventional cancer treatment with several medical doctors here.

    Let’s say, God forbid, you found yourself in the position described by RickK101.

    Based on the information you received here, would you be more or less likely to seek conventional treatment?

  98. pec says:

    “We showed you that the biases have a small, not a large influence.”

    You did not show anything like that.

    Harriet, why do you think there are experts who say medical science has made very little progress with most forms of cancer?

  99. weing says:

    pec,
    Those medical experts have biases and, if they say what you think they say, they are wrong. We have made progress in treating some cancers as in this case and others mentioned. There is still too little progress in advanced disease, and in other tumors like pancreatic cancer.

  100. Harriet Hall says:

    Pec says we did not show her that the biases have a small, not a large influence. I think the information we presented speaks for itself.

    She said the true effect of treatment for the patient in question could be anywhere from 0 to 93%. Could any rational person really think that it could be 0% or even 10%?

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