ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

I was asked recently what I thought of ‘alternative medicine’. I replied as I have consistently done for a number of years, ‘There is no such thing as alternative medicine. A treatment either works or it doesn’t’.

If you talk to cancer patients and ask them what they want a treatment to do, it is simply to cure them.
Here I side with Dr. Henry Friedman of the Preston Robert Tisch Cancer Center at Duke University Medical Center, Carolina. He said, on the front page of the website, ‘I believe cancer can be cured; it may be in remission but it can be in remission permanently’. Brave words from a man who treats people with gliomas, which are often described as ‘terminal’.

So his aim is to get a patient into remission and, ideally, even cure them.

Talk to patients. Their aim is to be cured. It’s as simple as that. ‘Manage your cancer with drugs for the rest of your life, madam?’ ‘No thanks, I’d rather be cured.’

This fits with the way things are going for cancer patients too. In a 2012 report, the American Cancer Society concluded that since 2006 there had been an explosion in research into complementary therapies and that there was ‘overwhelming evidence’ that certain of them like diet and exercise could increase survival and even prevent a cancer returning.

Sounds like a result to me. And obviously to patients at large.

Which leads me to the fact that there is a humungous problem with cancer drugs. They don’t cure cancer. In 2012 it was proven beyond any reasonable doubt, that at the heart of all cancers lay cancer stem cells. An ‘inconvenient truth’ is that while drugs can cause a decrease in tumour size of 50, 60 or even 70%, as of today there is not one single drug known to man that kills off the cancer stem cells at the heart of the tumour.

But despite this, 54 per cent of people do beat cancer (or at least survive 5 years – which, I agree, is not really the same).

Cue Dr. Young S. Kim of the National Cancer Institute in America who concluded from her research in 2012, that people who employed a poor diet saw their cancers return. While people who employed a good diet – including foods that were high in sulphoraphanes, curcumin, piperine, EGCG, choline, genistein, vitamin A and E, and a couple of others – could prevent the cancer returning. She even went so far as to say that these bioactive compounds could be obtained via quality supplements.

The fact is, that very few patients nowadays rely on their oncologist’s medicines to cure a cancer. They may use them, but they employ a range of their own treatments from fasting, juice diets, colourful Mediterranean diets, yoga, IVC, weight control, even (perish the thought) localized hyperthermia, HIFU and the dreaded apricot kernels. Several women I know have used a herbal poultice called Black Salve. Oncologists treating the ladies both said the same thing.: Having confirmed that the ‘thing’ in the jar was indeed a tumour, they said they had never seen anything like it. But it was beyond their training and they could comment no more.

Of course not all these treatments have been through ‘The rigours of a clinical trial’. Actually, ‘rigourous trial’ when it comes to drugs is a bit of an oxymoron. Even the FDA has just concluded that almost 40% of drug clinical trials were sloppy and inaccurate. Worse, Peter Grotzsche, the head of the highly respected Nordic Cochrane Centre, has a book called ‘Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare’. The title says it all. And it is the British Medical Association’s 2014 book of the year!!

Radiotherapy and surgery have hardly a clinical trial between them. Surgery, even biopsies, have been linked to increased metastatic activity. Cutting out a colorectal cancer is certainly no guarantee that the cancer won’t return in your lungs or liver.

Brachytherapy, used for prostate cancer is now used in some parts of America for up to 60% of breast cancers, meriting huge protests. Why? Errr, there are no clinical trials to support it. The new sexy Cyberknife will cause less damage – who says? Show me the proof. Does it prevent a cancer returning?

Meanwhile Hospitals feed the cancer with ice cream, sweet desserts and milky, sugary tea. The drink and snack food dispensers all offer chocolate bars, and cans of fizzy soft drinks full of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Leading cancer charities say there is no harm in feeding cancer patients cows’ dairy and sugar. They are out of their tiny minds. 2014 research showed sugar CAUSED cancer. 2013 research showed people with the highest blood sugar levels survived least.

And so it goes on.

A subplot over the last few years included research from Johns Hopkins that showed chemo drugs actually caused a cancer to return – and stronger; German research that showed Taxol caused metastases 6 months after treatment was finished and Scientists from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Amherst showed in research published in January 2015 that some chemotherapy drugs actually caused cancer stem cells to re-grow. Another ‘inconvenient truth’?

So, there are treatments that have the power to prevent a cancer returning. And there are others that don’t. Some may even make matters worse.

The ones that do keep cancers at bay – diet, exercise, quality supplements and a few others, are thus treatments that work. The others – chemo, radio and surgery are but unproven alternatives supported by dodgy research, vested interest, mafia-like unions, some paid skeptics and often simple fraud.

Patients are right to think of self-empowerment. Offering chemical potions that simply don’t give them what they want – preventing a cancer from returning – that’s just unproven alternative medicine.

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Australian review slams homeopathy

I have always had this complete puzzlement over homeopathy. I used to receive e mails all the time in the early days of CANCERactive asking why I didn’t cover it. I also received a lot of e mails from cancer patients – usually breast cancer patients – telling me their stories how it really made a big difference to their orthodox treatment programmes and helped them through their times of trouble. Grown sensible men I respected switched from being Doctors to becoming Homeopaths. But.

I tried to get articles written for icon. Over the last ten years there have been two areas I have consistently failed on. Homeopathy and Radiotherapy. I get lots of people interested in writing an article for our magazine and our website, but then when I mention the ‘R’ word, they back off, never to be heard from again.

The ‘R’ word? We have a little requirement at CANCERactive that if you write an article and make a claim, you have to give a clue about the research that supported the claim. References are good, but readers find them boring and unnecessary – a decent clue will do. In the case of Homeopathy and Radiotherapy, would be writers run away.

Yet still I got protests from patients. So, I made light of it. I remember Henry Ford’s quote about advertising – ‘Half my advertising budget is wasted. I just don’t know which half’. I borrowed it for Homeopathy.

I tried to find research. I was sent some by third parties, sporadically. A report by WDDTY about Indians and MD Anderson – the link to MD Anderson’s website no longer works, although the research was there for a while.

Then there are famous scientists who say water has a memory. It’s possible, of course. But.

Then there’s research about the German football team all using homeopathy not drugs to treat their injuries. And the Swiss approving Homeopathy. But.

But – the fact is that Homeopathy has been around for a very, very long time – too long not to have any decent research about it. (Although, yes, I did find a couple of clinical trials, but I looked very hard).

I made the same point to Charlotte Gerson when I met her. If you want someone to believe your claim, get some numbers. The Block Centre for Integrative Medicine in Chicago do it – they monitor everyone who comes through their door and they can then show the survival rates of people on Integrative Therapies vs only Orthodox and the improved survival.

But, Gerson, Homeopathy? Numbers? It’s either lazy, or incompetent or the truth is, ‘it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny’.

And I know I am going to be attacked by ladies in Leicester who used homeopathy with their breast cancer, or women in the Wirral who used Gerson for saying this. And I am sure that some people do get a benefit, just like some women do have their breast tumours shown up correctly on screening mammograms. But.

Here is the news.

The Australians have researched Homeopathy extensively and there’s nothing in it. Sorry homeopaths – you only have yourselves to blame.

The report concluded that there was NO reliable EVIDENCE that homeopathy can treat health conditions. The review came from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

They looked at reviews and research covering asthma to eczema, never mind the complicated stuff like cancer and diabetes.

Sure, the report is only a draft and homeopaths are now working hard to discredit it. But.

“There is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective for treating health conditions”.

”People who choose homeopathy instead of proven conventional treatment may put their health at risk if safe and evidence-based treatments are rejected or delayed in favour of homeopathic treatment.”

I’ll go along with that. It’s been exactly what I have thought since 2004. But, I did try. Promise.

The draft is now open for public consultation until May 26.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/homeopathy-dismissed-by-national-health-and-medical-research-council-review-20140408-36b9u.html#ixzz2yS9DZG6H

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Everybody is missing the point on screening mammography

A debate has sprung up over the last few weeks. It is not a new debate; it concerns mammography. Recently there has been research that shows 4000 people in the UK are unnecessarily treated as a result of ‘Over-diagnosis’ by screening mammograms. The ‘pro’ side immediately says ‘1300 lives are saved and have to be set against this’. And then journalists from the Telegraph and BBC jump in on the act. Unfortunately, few know their facts. I won’t be updating our article on mammography at CANCERactive because, as usual, we were well ahead of this debate. What I thought you might like to read is the essence of my piece to the Telegraph, and why I think everybody seems to be missing the important issue:

Firstly, there is no confirmed research data that mammography saves 1300 lives a year in the UK. Until recently the Cancer Research UK website admitted that fact. There are various studies and reports, for example, showing the figures of 1300, 850 and zero. Take your pick.

Secondly, whilst people have been debating issues such as over-diagnosis and unnecessary treatment and distress, the debate has missed the fact that mammography can likely cause breast cancer. For example, about 25 per cent of breast cancers are linked to inherited genes where the person usually has one of the pair defective, and only one operating correctly. American research is quite clear that these people are at greater risk of developing breast cancer if sent off from an early age for an annual mammogram ‘to be safe’. The cumulative radiation is statistically far more likely to damage a single gene than a pair.

Thirdly, some ‘diagnosed’ women consider having double mastectomies. The idea of a double mastectomy is palpable non-sense with no evidence whatsoever in terms of numbers over who might have been prevented from developing cancer! Cancer is an all over body disease with symptoms like cancer markers, low blood oxygen and poor immune response evident throughout the body. If you have a BRCA1 or 2 problem, it will cause poor immune recognition or DNA replication control everywhere in your body. If a woman has toxic chemicals in her body, they will not only collect in the fatty breast tissue but in other such tissue too.

Fourthly, to add to the confusion, about 50 per cent of the ‘irregularities’ detected by mammography are lobular, and 50 per cent ductal. While Christies, Manchester were warning some 5 years ago that DCIS could be extremely dangerous and were looking at trials to see which drug might be used to prevent an aggressive cancer developing, at the annual Breast Cancer Symposium in America a paper was presented showing that DCIS was caused by calcium deposits, and 80 per cent never became cancers. The finding that women with the highest blood levels of vitamin D and omega-3 do not develop breast cancer may be linked to their effects with calcium.

European research has shown that depending on the density of the tissue, screening mammography may be only 65 per cent accurate at best. Other studies have shown that in order to detect the cancer it has to be of sufficient size – a size produced by about 20 cell divisions. At 40 you are dead. Screening mammography is neither accurate nor early detection.

How many of the 4000 women who are then unnecessarily treated die as a result of the chemotherapy drugs provided? How many have impairment to their heart and/or lungs as a result of radiotherapy? Is it is more than the 1300? But surely even this question is off the point: Why are we using such an outdated and inaccurate system which can lead to quite barbaric consequences (double mastectomy?).

Surely, the energy, time and the money would be better spent developing blood tests that are already coming through from private companies in Nottingham and America that can spot cancer in the pre-cancer stages.

This argument about screening mammography is completely off the real point and is propagated by vested interests. How many hospitals and cancer centres would be stuck with an expensive machine if an accurate blood test were available tomorrow? (Although I should point out that mammography is the current gold standard once a cancer has been confirmed and further information is required.)

The real question we should be asking is this: ‘How do we develop a simple, accurate and early diagnosis test for cancer?’ The answer has nothing to do with mammography.

For a fuller report see:

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=1420&Title=Breast cancer screening and cancer risk

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=666&Title=False Positive Mammograms

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=671&Title=Mammograms and Obese Women

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=2644&Title=The Development of Thermal Imaging

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