“All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent”

Apparently, patients are losing trust in doctors and scientists.

Dame Sally Davies, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer has decided to make the research behind medical treatments ‘much more transparent’ amid concerns that the public increasingly believe that doctors and medical scientists are “untrustworthy”. The reasons, she claimed, were that doctors over –medicate and prescribe medicines too freely, while scientists are distrusted because of Big Pharma funding.

A BBC ‘File on Four’ documentary on Alteplase, which breaks down blood clots seems to have prompted her action. According to The Times, stroke ‘expert’, Alistair Buchan has said that researchers should publish every figure behind their claims about whether or not a new drug is useful.

But, this move to transparency may not be quite what you or I really hope for. Buchan goes on to talk about negative comments in the media “putting stroke treatment back to where we started”.

Let’s get a few things straight. Peter C. Gotzsche, head of the prestigious Nordic Cochrane Centre has published a book entitled, “Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare”. In February there was a report from the FDA stating that at least 40 per cent of clinical trials were flawed, and recently Dr. Richard Horton, Editor-in-chief of the top rated medical journal, The Lancet, stated that much of the published research data on drugs is unreliable and at least half is false. “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

Gotszche notes that prescription drugs are the third largest cause of death in the Western world after heart disease and cancer.

Patients are right to have concerns.

The smart public knows this – we know that Big Pharma has spent years bribing and falsifying. Fraud seems second nature to some companies. In the last couple of years Glaxo has been hit with massive fines from America to China.

The added problem is that the hierarchy in medicine has made the doctor complicit, whether he is an ‘expert’ oncologist or a local GP.

Doctors – it’s your own fault patients don’t trust you any more. ‘All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent”.

Yes, we are concerned that you over-medicate. Polypharmacy (dishing out a cocktail of drugs to patients) is the number one cause of death in the state of Florida where the average age is higher than most other places. Thirteen drugs per patient is not uncommon. When did you ever see a clinical trial featuring thirteen drugs?!

But the bigger issue is the dismissive nature of many doctors. Offered statins by his doctor, a friend of mine asked about the side-effects. “There aren’t any” came the reply. “Well what about heart and muscle problems”. “They aren’t problems – we have tests for those”.

The doctor didn’t even consider talking about increased risks of diabetes.

I listen to patients offered Taxol and told there is nothing to worry about when they ask about side-effects. Yet German research presented at the European Breast Cancer Symposium a few years ago expressed real concerns on it causing cancer spread.

Meanwhile the same doctors tell patients not to take supplements, when there is no research on conflict. It’s not just that some doctors are corrupted by Big Pharma bribery. Their advice is a mess.

So, what is the answer? Unfortunately, Dame Sally is looking at ‘a proliferation of contradictory claims in the press and scientific journals’. There’s a possible next step.

Stop the media reporting that drugs might be dodgy. Then scientists and doctors will become trustworthy again. Brilliant!

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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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New blood test tracks cancer development

Scientists at the CRUK Institute at Cambridge University have managed to follow the progress of cancer in people by following traces of tumour DNA circulating in patients’ blood (ctDNA).

Importantly this also allows scientists to identify tumour changes and chemotherapy drug resistance (Nature).

The scientists followed 6 patients with advanced breast, ovarian and lung cancers over two years taking blood samples at regular points, and by looking for changes in the tumour ctDNA before and after each course of treatment, they were able to identify which changes in the tumour’s DNA were linked to drug resistance following each treatment session.

Using this new method they were able to identify several changes linked to drug-resistance in response to chemotherapy drugs such as paclitaxel (taxol) which is used to treat ovarian, breast and lung cancers, tamoxifen which is used to treat oestrogen-positive breast cancers and trastuzumab (Herceptin) which is used to treat HER2 positive breast cancers.

Dr Nitzan Rosenfeld one of the study authors, said: “Tumours are constantly changing and evolving which helps them develop a resistance to many of the drugs we currently give patients to treat their disease”.

“We’ve shown that a very simple blood test can be used to collect enough tumour DNA to suggest to us what parts of the cancer’s genetic code is changing and creating tumour resistance to chemotherapy or biologically-targeted therapies”.

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