MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

THERE WILL NEVER BE AN ALTERNATIVE CANCER CURE

This statement contradicts all those thousands of messages on the Internet that pretend otherwise. Far too many ‘entrepreneurs’ are trying to exploit desperate cancer patients by making claims about alternative cancer ‘cures’ ranging from shark oil to laetrile and from Essiac to mistletoe. The truth is that none of them are anything other than bogus.

Why? Let me explain.

If ever a curative cancer treatment emerged from the realm of alternative medicine that showed any promise at all, it would be very quickly researched by scientists and, if the results were positive, instantly adopted by mainstream oncology. The notion of an alternative cancer cure is therefore a contradiction in terms. It implies that oncologists are mean bastards who would, in the face of immense suffering, reject a promising cure simply because it did not originate from their own ranks.

BUT THAT DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THAT ALTERNATIVE CANCER TREATMENTS ARE USELESS

So, let’s forget about alternative cancer ‘cures’ and let’s once and for all declare the people who sell or promote them as charlatans of the worst type. But some alternative therapies might nevertheless have a role in oncology – not as curative treatments but as supportive or palliative therapies.

The aim of supportive or palliative cancer care is not to cure the disease but to ease the suffering of cancer patients. According to my own research, promising evidence exists in this context, for instance, for massage, guided imagery, Co-enzyme Q10, acupuncture for nausea, and relaxation therapies. For other alternative therapies, the evidence is not supportive, e.g. reflexology, tai chi, homeopathy, spiritual healing, acupuncture for pain-relief, and aromatherapy.

So, in the realm of supportive and palliative care there is both encouraging as well as disappointing evidence. But what amazes me over and over again is the fact that the majority of cancer centres employing alternative therapies seem to bother very little about the evidence; they tend to use a weird mix of treatments regardless of whether they are backed by evidence or not. If patients like them, all is fine, they seem to think. I find this argument worrying.

Of course, every measure that increases the well-being of cancer patients must be welcome. But this should not mean that we disregard priorities or adopt any quackery that is on offer. In the interest of patients, we need to spend the available resources in the most effective ways. Those who argue that a bit of Reiki or reflexology, for example, is useful – if only via a non-specific (placebo) effects – seem to forget that we do not require quackery for patients to benefit from a placebo-response. An evidence-based treatment that is administered with kindness and compassion also generates specific non-specific effects. In addition, such treatments also generate specific effects. Therefore it would be a disservice to patients to merely rely on the non-specific effects of bogus treatments, even if the patients do experience some benefit from them.

ALTERNATIVE ‘PAMPERING’ AS A COMPENSATION FOR INADEQUACIES IN THE SYSTEM?

So, why are unproven or disproven treatments like Reiki or reflexology so popular for cancer palliation? This question has puzzled me for years, and I sometimes wonder whether some oncologists’ tolerance of quackery is not an attempt to compensate for any inadequacies within the routine service they deliver to their patients. Sub-standard care, unappetising food, insufficient pain-control, lack of time and compassion as well as other problems undoubtedly exist in some cancer units. It might be tempting to assume that such deficiencies can be compensated by a little pampering from a reflexologist or Reiki master. And it might be easier to hire a few alternative therapists for treating patients with agreeable yet ineffective interventions than to remedy the deficits that may exist in basic conventional care.

But this strategy would be wrong, unethical and counter-productive. Empathy, sympathy and compassion are core features of conventional care and must not be delegated to quacks.

46 Responses to Critical thoughts on alternative therapies for cancer patients

  • I am also surprised at the quackery advertised in my local nhs maternity unit – acupuncture for pain relief and, more worryingly, cranial for babies. I can’t understand why this is permitted, unless it is a cynical ploy to divert the “worried well” from pestering overworked medical staff.

    • Julian

      Have you asked them or perhaps you could submit a complaint to the hospital?

      • Do you know whom I should contact at the hospital?

        • No, but I assume they’d have some kind of complaints or enquiry policy. Perhaps start off by simply asking a few polite questions about why they are providing those therapies?

          • There is evidence for acupuncture and pain relief of various kinds. Even NICE advocate it for certain types of pain. So surely at least offering this as an option to people who are not improving via conventional treatment (or who are suffering adverse side effects from medication) isn’t too offensive is it?

          • the key is as you say CERTAIN TYPES OF PAIN! and for cancer pain, the evidence fails to show that acupuncture is effective.

  • Thanks for another thoughtful piece. The last para is so true. Will forward link to local Trust CHief Exec

  • This sounds rather like the adverts in my local hospital, from local lawyers – who are offering to sue the local health service if you feel you have a complaint against the hospital. I understand that the bean counters who run the place think it is good to bring in a tiny amount of revenue from the advertising but have given no thought to the long term consequences.

    I hope any hospital which advertises such things as Julian mentions might think about the possibility that they may end up putting right, at public cost, the harm caused by advertisers who have made a profir out of the place.

  • I would have to take exception to your theory that there will never be an alternative cancer treatment. First, the only reason the word alternative is used is that it is opposed to FDA approved treatment, which if the FDA operated as more of a non-biased group maybe that would not be a problem. Second, I do not believe that oncologist are mean bastards, however when their ability to “legally” operate is held over their heads if they were to work with any treatment that is not approved by the biased big Pharma driven FDA, I understand why they do not use “alternative” treatments. In the end you have to follow the money! Big Pharma is one of the biggest if not the biggest money grubber in the country, and they only exist if you are sick! If they find a “cure” for cancer, then overnight billions of dollars of research money and drug money goes down the drain along with their yachts, fancy cars and multi-million dollar homes! Do you really believe that over 100 years of research, and billions and billions of dollars and the best they can come up with is pumping your body full of radiation and chemicals to quote “cure” you of cancer???? Get Real! The really sad part is that so many are suffering to support those bastards! The reason you do not see clinical results of “alternative” treatments is that the Big Pharma controlled government makes it almost impossible for such studies to be produced for anything that is not controlled by Big Pharma, and many time the studies that are produced by the FDA are proven to be produced by Big Pharma and the results are tainted. If anything I would bet the answer is out there in the alternative world, but they can not make enough money off of it to worth their while! Bottom line, the people are just the engine of the machine, without sick people the economy would take a BIG hit and companies like Monsanto and all the Pharmaceuticals are doing all they can to keep the machine pumping! Think about it!

  • The new £1 million GP surgery planned for my small UK town included plenty of rooms available for rent by the local alt med practitioners. Provisionally, these rooms are now so over-reserved that it’s causing backbiting amongst the alt med community.

    The previous comments have raised an important point: to whom in the NHS should we address our concerns? But more importantly, it is not who is responsible, it is who has the insight and the guts to bring about action.

    • There was an attempt to tease out some of these issues in Pulse Today exactly a year ago today: Dilemma: Renting premises to a complementary therapist.

      However, it was disappointing to note that Dr Kailash Chand, Chair of the BMA at that time, was an acupuncturist and who believes that “complementary therapies do have a role alongside orthodox medicine”.

      • Dr Chand practises in one of the poorest and most deprived areas of northern England. The health authority for that area will pay for acupuncture for patients on the NHS even though the main hospital in the area is one of those recently deemed so bad that the chief executive had to resign and the hospital has been put into special measures.

        I am not for one moment suggestting that Dr Chand’s views have influenced the treatment on offer in this underprivileged area, but perhaps the bureaucrats making the decisions ought to be asked a few questions.

  • I believe I understood your post correctly, in other words, you believe that until a treatment is approved by the FDA for use in the traditional medical world, it is not a valid treatment, and once it is, it is no longer alternative. I believe this view to be short sited and stand by my opinion that there are a number of valid cancer treatments in the alternative world, but very few if any have any ability to feed the machine, and therefore will never be accepted. My biggest fear is that laws will be written eventually stripping away a persons right to choose the treatment course for himself, and that would be a true tragedy. Never underestimate the power of money and greed!

    • Richard, the FDA is an organisation which functions solely in the USA. Most of the world is outside the USA. This means we do not know or care what the FDA says about anything. The words alternative or complementary are used all over the English speaking world by people who are trying to peddle something not in the mainstream – ie, things which are not scientifically supported and do not work. If they worked they would not be alternatives, they would be medicines

  • “In the interest of patients, we need to spend the available resources in the most effective ways”
    What is the most effective way of curing cancer? Tell me if you or anybody knows, I will do it Monday. Have you ever considered that cancer is not a disease in the conventional sense, its the human adapting to its environment and we would all get cancer eventually if we lived long enough. Genetically we are not that different from the Romans however the environment humans now have to adapt to is completely different.

    As water levels dropped millions of years ago, fish adapted to become amphibians and as the ground dried our completely they adapted to become reptiles through protein deposits in the skin, some might call this skincancer others natural selection. This process took 2,000,0000 years, so perhaps its medicine is barking up the wrong tree and the people who are promoting healthier lifestyles are on the right track for long term health or who knows how humans may have to adapt. Unfortunately only a fraction of of research is going into lifestyle and cancer because no one is going to make money from people eating better and exercising more.

    In April 2011 I was diagnosed with rectal cancer, it was caught early so doctors were very confident of a good prognosis. In August 2012 I was given the all clear after radiation, surgery, and six months chemo, which left me with terrible side effects and told good bye you are free of cancer. It was exclusively complementary therapies which helped my recovery from the side effects of treatment culminating in me completing the Marathon on the Great wall of China in May. Unfortunately in August I was told the cancer had not gone away after all, and was now terminal with average life expectancy of 22 months so in October 2013 I started chemo therapy again and the scan showed 50% reduction in the tumour.

    Now my predicament is whether to continue the chemo treatment in the knowledge that at some point which no one knows when, chemotherapy will stop acting on the tumour and leave me unable to work and doing the things in life that I enjoy. Complementary therapies have helped me enormously in dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment, the cancer has never bothered me in the slightest. (No symptoms whatsoever, was picked up because of my family history and me being in tune with my wellbeing)

    When Wiebo Ludwig died in April last year you described him Edzard as a “victim of complementary quacks”, presumably because he said he was “seeking alternative medicine to fight cancer because he considered conventional treatment surgery and radiation too invasive.”

    You laughed at me when I asked if I found myself in the same position and made the same choice would I also be a “victim of complementary medicine”. I am not afraid of dying, like Wiebo Ludwig I am afraid in not being able to enjoy the remainder of my life, as quality of that life is more important to me and my kids that just the quantity (months) chemotherapy might offer. Medicines tends to focus on quantity, they have done their best and I have no complaints with the excellent medical care I have had. However these other things which you refer to as “pampering” are related to the quality of the patients life and equally important.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone was funding the research so we could know if lifestyle changes had a greater impact on reducing deaths by cancer than medical treatment. I had a genetic predisposition for Colorectal cancer and indulged in all the lifestyle factors which increase the risk. Doctors at the Royal Marsden dont even know whether patients undergoing radiation on pelvis should have a low or high fiber diet to ease the side effects, never mind being able to prescribe lifestyle changes to their patients and I suspect thats why they like to use “Quacks” to complement their work.

  • This is the principle known as Minchin’s Law (http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/blahg/2013/10/minchins-law/).

    In answer to Richard Lanigan: it depends which cancer. For hodgkin’s lymphoma in children, for example, chemotherapy is highly effective, resulting in a cure over 80% of the time. But don’t fall for the SCAM fallacy. The absence of a medical cure for a disease does not validate alternative “cures” any more than plane crashes validate magic carpets.

    Cancer is not a disease, it’s a set of diseases. It’s not “the human adapting to its environment” though. It’s more an inevitable consequence of the mechanism that animals use for self-repair. I don’t know of any animal that is immune to cancer, we have merely staved off so many other causes of death that cancer has become more significant. You acknowledge this yourself.

    • Guy says “We have merely staved off so many other causes of death that cancer has become more significant” Cancer and Heart disease are by far the biggest cause of death in developed society and the medical approach to these diseases is unsustainable in its present form. At least thats what the department of health is telling us but not in those words.

      Cancer successes will have many parents, people who die, their treatments are orphans. I have read an awful lot about cancer, both my parents have died from it. Once the cancer is established I cant see how strengthening the immune system would fight it when the cancer cells have my DNA, it always made sense to me to poison the fast growing cells in established mutated cells.

      I have read an interesting study which was done on mice combining fasting with chemo which I did for the six cycles of chemo that I have had. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/241518.php. My oncologist was not keen on me trying this as it had not been trialed on humans, but when you are terminal you are happy to try things and nobody has promised a cure. As I have said to Edzard many times absence of evidence, is not evidence that an intervention will not work in some way. My oncologists predictions have been wrong at every junction of my treatment, does that make them quacks? No it just means clinical science is very different from physical sciences and patients respond to treatments as individuals, there is a lot more to Evidence Based Medicine than published research. When I told my ten year old daughter, she said she would rather have a daddy like me for ten years, than a boring daddy for twenty, let me tell you that statment has had an extraordinary effect on my wellbeing. And I would be intrigued to see how Guy Chapmans relates these moments to his theory of “Menchins Law” and an individuals wellbeing.

      It does make me laugh the criticism the Skeptics dish out to us chiropractors. In practice, I have never been as wrong as my medical doctors have been about my prognosis and they charge £300 per consultation, which I have every two weeks. My medical treatment must have cost BUPA well over £100,000 and the doctors guesstimate I will die in August 2015, four and a half years after the original diagnose, six months off the 80% survival rate, predicted for stage 2. Then again I may still get into the 20% if I stay healthy, past August. I cant help wondering what would have happened if I had not gone to the doctors, would I have lived as long and not have had to deal with the side effects of the treatment. We are told if Bobby more had gone to his doctors earlier he would have survived, the truth is they dont know, reminds me a bit of when I was a kid, we were told if we were good and went to mass every Sunday we would go to heaven. Perhaps cancer survivors are just lucky and it has more to do with their parents and their lifestyles.

  • I have a question for Edzard and Guy…… How many alternative cancer treatments have you researched? and better yet, how many have you actively been involved with? Such as Gerson Therapy, energy medicine, and various food therapies? Poisoning the body may work part of the time, but just because it is accepted by the medical establishment does not mean it is the magic carpet either. The body is a complex organism and in its core is designed not only to sustain life, but also to repair its self. Cancer is largely a result of our environment, an environment that the body was not originally intended to live in. Taking a body that has been compromised by this environment and then subjecting it to an even more harmful environment just seems a bit barbaric in my opinion, but if you follow the money, it all makes perfect since. I more than anyone would like to live in the world of love, peace, and human health above all else, you know that is simply not the world we live in, and the irony is we all suffer because of it even those that are profiting by it! I wish I could go back, get back in the matrix, the one that believes everything on the nightly news, and does everything his doctor says, but based on my life experiences and those of others around me, that is just never going to happen. But when you let others make all the decisions for you, life is simpler, although in my case a lot less healthy.

    As for Richard Lanigan, I feel for you, based on family history, I should be in your shoes, but as far as I know I am not. My suggestion is that you do some research and call a few people and see if you think there is a solution out there for you personally. This means taking your situation into your own hands, or at least partially, since MD’s are very restricted in what they can actually offer you. As Edzard mentioned above, some “alternative treatments” can be helpful when used as supportive or palliative care, in my opinion some can be a lot more than that, however in that I am not a MD, I can not adn will not promote anything as a cure, only as a help, but if you are interested in a help for your situation, the most effective device i am aware of you can find at [link erased by the editor – sorry, we do not do promotion on this blog] and give them a call and pick their brains, you have nothing to loose, then research other similar devices. Maybe something will come to light that you will feel may have an impact on you situation. Most of these types of devices are not designed to cure anything, they are designed to work with the body to strengthen the body and enable it to do what it was designed to do! Best of luck to you.

    • thank you for your opinion.
      to answer your initial question ” How many alternative cancer treatments have you researched? and better yet, how many have you actively been involved with?”
      ABOUT 40 DIFFERENT ONES

    • I have a few question for Richard Turner…
      1. How many alternative cancer treatments have you researched? and better yet, how many have you actively been involved with?

      2. Googel-ing your name reveals nothing interesting. What entitles you to educate us on the cause, pathology and treatment of cancer?

      3.You claim that “Cancer is largely a result of our environment, an environment that the body was not originally intended to live in.” OK, not so far off when you define smoking and drinking to be environmental factors. But how does that lead us to the conclusion that people should seek unproven, largely imaginative methods to heal cancer? What you call “poisoning the body” can also be said to fall under the “like cures like” tenet advocated by many. Why should that not be compatible with time proven and traditional healing principles? You seem to have a liking for energy medicine, WHat can be more fitting to that term than the modern radiation therapy equipment? Many of the poisons we use in modern non-alternative cancer therapies are derived from the nature so they can rightfully be called naturopathic, right?

      4. You advocate that since MD’s have very limited resources (absolutely correct), people should take the situation into their own hands, “at least partially”.
      Considering the perils of following such advice, how do you suggest that we help people find safe and efficacious advice on their own? When asking this question I am thinking of many different “alternatives” that are either completely useless for more than a nice relaxation, ridiculously expensive or criminally dangerous like the use of “black salve” which seems to be reaching epidemic proportions in some parts of the world: Picture of a girl who thought she could trust the internet for advice on self treatment of a rather innocuous lesion on her nose.

      Please read this entire discussion thread before before answering.
      It illustrates a story about the poor, misinformed girl in the above linked image, who was severely disfigured by following advice from idiots who think they can play healers on the net!!!

      Now tell us Richard. How do we help people find sensible advice on the internet and learn to know the charlatans from the real healers?

    • Richard thank you for your kind words, as i have said above I believe my cells are adapting to their “toxic” environment and like the Titanic heading for the iceberg, I am not going to be able to turn it around in the time I have left, but I am trying and who knows what will happen, the only certainty is we are all going to die one day. To be fair to the medical profession they have done there best for me, unfortunately the “burn”, “slash” and “poison” approach to cancer, crude as is, which can even cause cancer, its all they have at the moment. They are starting to look at more “specific” types of targeted treatment because they now recognize chemo only is effective on some people but they have no idea which patient so they hit them with everything. If there was a real desire to end cancer wouldnt politicians start by banning the sale of cigarettes tomorrow and the evidence against processed foods is getting stronger and needs urgent investigation.

  • response to Bjorn Geir: I never intended my response to end up in a confrontational situation, but to state that “THERE WILL NEVER BE AN ALTERNATIVE CANCER CURE” and that all that state such are bogus, just got the best of me. Obviously Edzart is a very learned man, with a lot of education in the medical field, but I still disagree with his statement as I have stated before.

    #1 As for my background, I am in the business of conceptualizing and developing new products, my job is to think outside the box, which is the very reason we have the technology we have today, not that I did it, but just that it is how progress is made. I got interested in alternative healing about 12 years ago and like Edzart I have also researched many alternative health options, and am actively involved in 2 alternative health methods. In addition my wife is a nurse, so I get a medical perspective as well. I do not promote my methods as “cancer cure” options, the feds tend to frown on this and to be honest it is not, that just happens to be one of the side effects in multiple cases. The history of one of my methods has a historically documented 98% cancer cure rate, and customers of mine have reported similar results, not to say that it is not just a “placebo-response”, a term widely used by the medical world when something works that they do not understand. It also has had a lot of positive effects on pets, and I doubt that they see the cessions as a positive thing. But I have not and have no plans to run clinical trials myself.

    #2 Googling your name reveals nothing either, and I have no letters by my name to give me any validity in your world, I simply make a device that has a history of working and mine seem to have the same history, and it works for me as far as I know.

    #3 Add to your list, all the crap that is in you food and water: hormones, preservatives, GMO, fructose corn syrup, pasteurized milk, dairy products in general, cell phones, cell towers, TV radio frequencies, radon, mercury fillings in teeth, and some of the more “conspiracy based ones like chemtrails, HAARP, and the real reason behind floride and putting clorox in you water! and the list gets longer every day. The body is an amazing machine that it can put up with all the crap we put into it!
    As for energy medicine and radiation being similar, that is a stretch to be sure, no energy healing device that I am aware of emits X-rays. Cocaine and Heroin are also derived directly from nature along with hydrogen bombs, but also seem to have limited health benefits.

    #4 I personally have had multiple health problems that the “doctors” could not or would not diagnose or treat properly, all of which I have resolved through either my equipment or through suggestions found on the internet. The internet being both a very helpful source as well as a very dangerous one, the bottom line is research, lots of research. I do feel that people should take more responsibility for their own health, and if what the docs are prescribing is not working, they should research the subject and make an informed decision. When you are dealing with a resource that is trained by the very guys that profit from what they teach, and are restricted from prescribing anything that is not OKed by a resource that is also bought and paid for by that same group of people, in a business that takes little or no responsibility for their own actions, and will just keep charging you as long as you continue to come back, most of the time to fix something that did not work the first time or to prescribe something to mask the symptoms created by the last treatment etc, etc.
    Should someone jump on the first band wagon that come by? I would say no. on the other hand if the doctors do not have the answer and someone else promotes something that seems to make since to you and other resources then maybe that is the best path to take. I personally have limited faith in some of the faith healing, relaxation etc. therapies, they do not seem to have much of a biological basis, although spiritual healing has been proven to be very powerful, the Bible testifies to that.

    As for the thread, I did read though the entire thing and although it sounds like it was very painful, it did seem to work, but I certainly do not know enough to make a educated comment on the case. The last picture shown looks like her forehead was almost completely healed and her nose was certainly getting better, looked about like a spot on my neck that a surgeon removed prior to my involvement with alternatives, that left a huge scar which is not almost gone once I got to work with my equipment.

    As to your last question, the short answer is, lots of time, lots of research, and cross confirmation is what I use, if multiple non-affiliated sites have the same or similar advice, then it is worth considering, and if you decide to move forward, do so carefully and pay attention to your body, it will tell you if things are progressing in the right direction. The long answer is take the government out of the medical system (starting with Obamacare) and release doctors like Edzard to actually work with alternatives without concern about loosing their permission slip to operate. I would prefer to work with a professional who has many years and training in the medical world to solve my problem, but only if his only motivation is to solve the problem in the most healthy way and is open to and actively researches new and innovative procedures. Have the FDA get a conscience and actually do the job that they were intended to do and also work with some people that have great ideas but not fat wallets even if those ideas might actually heal people instead of just making the symptoms! Where as this statement seems radical and certainly could result in issues. I think in the end we would all be better off capitalism has a way of doing that, solecism has a way of doing the opposite.

    ‘Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.’ Ben Franklin

    • @ “Richard Turner”
      What I read from your very telling reply:
      You are a person who believes that life is full of conspiracies against mankind and you are one of the saviors. You are seriously deluded when it comes to medical matters, your own medical knowledge is non-existent. Medicine is one of your many foes and your delusions have led you to become an enemy of reason. And the worst kind mind you, one who thinks he has abilities above others. You are peddling a device that you believe cures illness, including cancer. Even if you cowardly do not dare advertise it openly, you are telling sick and desperate people your machine or whatever it is will have a 98% chance of curing them.
      Your analytic abilities are seriously suppressed by your deluded mind. You only managed to understand what you wanted to in the thread about the girl who burnt off her nose with “alternative medicine”.
      Let’s try to feed it to you with a spoon: Her original tumor was at a very early state, very small and relatively innocuous. There was no reason to remove most of her nose to cure it. What fell off her nose was a large part of her nose, not a tumor. The criminal quacks she relied on for information should in my opinion be jailed. She ended up having a very, very expensive plastic surgery to rebuild her nose.

      When contemplating your character, I am sickened and I cannot help being reminded of a similar case who also thinks everyone is conspiring against him/her, has grandiose delusions about his/her abilities and sells a no good “therapeutic device” for big money out of Hungary because the bad North-American authorities won’t allow him/her to sell it there.

      Maybe you two know each other already, if not here’s everything you need to know:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ChyxfWuYAs (The really juicy part is in the last five-six minutes 😉 )

  • Bjorn, that is a lot to read into my comments, in reality I am just a guy that believes there is more to the story than the CBS evening news is willing or able to report and as for the alternative health options out there I believe that some of them have merit. I am not nearly the animal that you seem to make me out to be, I am certainly not a Bill Nelson, that guy definitely has a screw loose. It does amaze me however that so many people could be doped and continue to be doped for so many years and yet it just gets bigger and bigger! I personally would not buy into his machine, I have seen similar machines and I would have to agree that he is a genius at marketing, but once again it amazes me that people continue to buy in at such a insane rate if no one was actually seeing any benefit from the machine? I would certainly not be a proponent of alternative health options if I did not see benefits both to my self and others, but I can assure you, relative to this thread, I am not out to be the savior of the health world, I believe we all have a role to play, I was just putting forth the other side of the story.

    As for the girl and the black save treatment, I apologize, I did not realize it went on for 7 pages, and I definitely would not buy into that treatment, looks a bit barbaric to say the least, but some people just do not believe in doctors, and quite honestly I believe that such people should have the right to look for alternatives and make their own choices about treatment. I do not believe that the Government or anyone else should be making our decisions for us. I may be a bit delusional in that regard. Whether or not the government should be the one to step in and “protect” the people from Bill and the Black Save that would be another discussion.

    As for what I do, I do not sell it as a cancer cure because I am a coward, I don’t do it because I do not believe that it cures anything, and everyone that I talk to I tell them the same thing, that the machine does not cure anything, it simply helps empower the body to do what it was naturally designed to do, cure its self. The history of the machine talks about cancer and other diseases, the machine has quite a history, and some people feel that if they could acquire a similar machine it might help them overcome a problem, so I simply agree to build them a similar machine.

    I do not see myself as seriously diluted, or a savior of the medical world, I do not have much medical knowledge, other than grass roots knowledge and I tell everyone that, and I do almost no advertising because I really only sell machines to those that find me and request to have me build them a machine.

    I certainly would not tank the entire alternative world based on one thread and one alternative solution. Nor would I tank the entire medical world on botched surgeries and horrific “solutions” to attempt to “cure” cancer. Lord knows there are many of those cases out there, 2 in my immediate family. I stand on my opinion that the two worlds should work together for a better solution.

    If you want to continue to have a civil discussion about this subject, go for it, if you feel the need to bash me and call me names then you can save your energy for it will not do anything to further this discussion and the future of health.

  • @R.T.

    My last response was intentionally provocative. I wanted you to reveal yourself and you have certainly been forthcoming.

    Your words (my emphasis):

    …I do not believe that it cures anything, and everyone that I talk to I tell them the same thing, that the machine does not cure anything, it simply helps empower the body to do what it was naturally designed to do, cure its self.

    May I remind you that in your previous statement you declared:

    The history of one of my methods has a historically documented 98% cancer cure rate, and customers of mine have reported similar results

    Do you want us to take you seriously?

    What I am hearing, as clear as can be, is the quacking of a quack.
    Perhaps you are a well-meaning quack but what you are describing is in effect deceiving ignorant and desperate patient “customers”. “Victims” would perhaps be a more appropriate term for those who are buying “devices” that have no proven or likely effect, but I truly want to believe you are suffering from self-deception and that you truly do not know what you are doing.

    I rest my case.

  • Sometimes people only see what they want to see. I have found over the years that it is best to take every situation on its own merits try to ignore any preconceptions and try to make an educated evaluation based on the facts presented, and typically that is best done by trying to keep an open mind, as I try to do about advances in the medical world, although I have been significantly disappointed in what I have seen and heard of in that world lately.

    Any way I am not interested in picking apart this discussion, but in response to your last comment, Historically the machine was noted as having a 98% can cancer cure rate, this was based on clinical studies and testing done in major hospitals and clinics, however, in my opinion and based on reports I have gotten back from customers using it for multitudes of other ailments and some of the research I have done, it is my opinion, that it is not about “curing cancer” but simply about empowering the body to cure its self as I stated. Maybe this clarifies my position.

    In my opinion it is unfortunate for you that you are so staunch in your opinion, I think you are missing out on some excellent healing techniques, but to each his own. If it makes you feel any better, most people seem to agree with you, but that does not make them right. It amazes me that you can draw such strong opinion about someone you do not know about a device that you do not even know what it is or how it works simply based on the fact that it does not come from your world. Amazing!

    Well I find that my case never rest, but I will proceed onward! Have a great day, and I truly wish you the best of luck.

  • @Richard Turner

    If you can present a legible presentation of how your product is constructed, what it does and how it does what you , along with reasonable, documented evidence of its effects, then we may possibly become interested again.

    Until then the fact remains uncontroversial that there is no such “device” available anywhere in our part of the universe that has the abilities that you describe. The fact also remains that you are seriously mistaken if not lying willfully.

  • Hello.

    I found this video about Integrative Oncology and I would like to share with you.
    http://youtu.be/u1irB2sDPZc
    Is in YouTube and you can search and found it under “Integrating Complementary and Conventional Therapies in Cancer Care” By Dr. Donald D. Abrams. From the Osher Center of Integrative Medicine.

    When people learn that is impossible to prevent cancer, and the right approach is reducinh the risk, then I think the approach to this disease will change.

    Have a nice day.

  • Edzard – why is it that I have the option to ‘reply’ to every post apart from your reply to my own post? Is it an anomaly of the website, or can you choose to put a full-stop to sub-threads?

    Anyway, I was responding to Julian and Alan and their extreme reaction (in my opinion) to the advertising of acupuncture for pain relief, apparently not in connection to cancer.

    Having said that, just because the evidence doesn’t currently conclusively endorse acupuncture for cancer related pain, doesn’t mean well-performed acupuncture isn’t effective. Are there a sufficient number of high quality trials into this to rule it out, in your opinion? If so, can you provide links please?

    Wouldn’t it be more honest and balanced to say ‘more research is needed’, especially considering the encouraging findings for some other types of pain?

    • and I thought the onus was on those who make a claim of therapeutic benefit to show it is correct!

      • More studies are needed to prove efficacy (for acupuncture and cancer pain relief), no doubt. In fact I’m involved in some pilot research in this area myself, and early results are very encouraging.

        But my point here is that you as a well known scientific authority should be presenting a balanced view. Stating simply that ‘the evidence is not supportive’ (for acupuncture and cancer pain relief) is highly loaded in my opinion, and most people – especially those without the time or inclination to look into it further – will take that to mean the evidence is negative. Why did you choose to link to your 2005 review, when you were involved in a more recent one in 2012 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22447366)? Could it be because the more recent one sounds more encouraging? For example, ‘the comparison between acupuncture plus drug therapy and drug therapy alone demonstrated a significant difference in favour of the combination therapy’. The studies were not deemed to be of a high enough quality, and there was a risk of bias, but surely the emphasis should be on stimulating further research rather than putting people off and implying the evidence is negative rather than insubstantial?

        • I think you mix two things here: if a treatment is not supported by good evidence, it would be irresponsible to recommend it to patients. but it might be worth doing more research. routine practice and research are two different issues entirely.

        • Tom Kennedy said:

          Why did you choose to link to your 2005 review, when you were involved in a more recent one in 2012 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22447366)? Could it be because the more recent one sounds more encouraging? For example, ‘the comparison between acupuncture plus drug therapy and drug therapy alone demonstrated a significant difference in favour of the combination therapy’. The studies were not deemed to be of a high enough quality, and there was a risk of bias, but surely the emphasis should be on stimulating further research rather than putting people off and implying the evidence is negative rather than insubstantial?

          The abstract continues:

          The results of this systematic review provide no strong evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture in the management of cancer pain.

          CONCLUSION:
          The total number of RCTs included in the analysis and their methodological quality were too low to draw firm conclusions. Future rigorous RCTs will be necessary to assess the clinical efficacy of acupuncture in this area.

          • Alan – I thought I’d already summarised these conclusions? My point was that if one were to read Prof Ernst’s above post, and look at the outdated link provided, the conclusion would naturally be that acupuncture shows no promise for the treatment of cancer pain. However, as the more recent review you quote suggests, the problem is not the lack of promising evidence, it is that further and higher quality investigation is needed to prove or disprove the generally positive existing results. It is the clearly biased presentation of the evidence that makes it obvious to me that the remit here is to debunk and discredit rather than seek the truth. There are many snake oil salesmen spouting nonsense out there, yes, and a counterpoint is needed, but it needs to be a balanced and honest one to be credible.

          • Tom Kennedy said:

            I thought I’d already summarised these conclusions?

            It seemed to me that quoting the remainder of the abstract was necessary.

            You previously said:

            Could it be because the more recent one sounds more encouraging? For example, ‘the comparison between acupuncture plus drug therapy and drug therapy alone demonstrated a significant difference in favour of the combination therapy’. The studies were not deemed to be of a high enough quality, and there was a risk of bias, but surely the emphasis should be on stimulating further research rather than putting people off and implying the evidence is negative rather than insubstantial?

            More research is almost always warranted, particularly if previous research has been of poor quality and show little effect. However, the last sentence of the conclusion does make recommendations for further research, so I can’t see why you seemed to be implying otherwise. It also said it was not possible to draw firm conclusions; you seemed to imply it was much more positive than that.

          • Alan – I’ll try to explain again (sorry if I was unclear before). I’m taking issue with Prof Ernst’s post, not with the reviews. Reading his post it sounds as though acupuncture shows no potential for pain relief in cancer. However the available research – particularly the more recent example – could and should be presented more positively. Saying ‘the evidence doesn’t support the use of acupuncture’ and leaving it at that masks the truth that most of these trials were encouraging if flawed. I believe an objective scientist would present things quite differently.

          • But you cited a paper that you appear to believe “sounds more encouraging”, quoting just one sentence; I supplied the full context.

            But let’s look at this again. Prof Ernst’s 2005 paper concluded:

            The notion that acupuncture may be an effective analgesic adjunctive method for cancer patients is not supported by the data currently available from the majority of rigorous clinical trials. Because of its widespread acceptance, appropriately powered RCTs are needed.

            In his post above, citing the 2005 paper, Prof Ernst said of acupuncture:

            the evidence is not supportive

            Do you agree that is a correct shorthand summary of the conclusion of the 2005 paper?

            The 2012 paper concluded:

            The total number of RCTs included in the analysis and their methodological quality were too low to draw firm conclusions. Future rigorous RCTs will be necessary to assess the clinical efficacy of acupuncture in this area.

            Those are different words, but it seems to me that to conclude that the later paper shows that there is potential in acupuncture for pain relief is stretching it too far: that’s not what it says.

            Also, you stated your hope that “the emphasis should be on stimulating further research”; what do you believe the last sentence of the conclusion of the 2012 paper says?

            But rather than argue over the meaning of a few words, perhaps you could say what research questions are currently being asked and what research is being done to answer those questions?

          • Alan – the final lines of the conclusions of the two studies are similar, yes, but reading the results section of each (I won’t copy and paste them here), the more recent review seems more encouraging, wouldn’t you agree? The earlier one (which EE chose to cite) simply says 1 of the 7 included trials showed statistically significant pain relief, and the rest were flawed (no mention of their results). The latter mentions 15 RCTs, the majority of which showed positive effects for acupuncture.

            Am I being pedantic? You probably think so, but I’d imagine if I did the opposite and tried to support the use of acupuncture for some condition by citing a study that sounded positive, and ignored a less positive but more recent study I’d be accused of cherry picking. Maybe there’s a good reason EE chose the review that was 7 years older, but I can’t think what it could be. My suspicion is that the he wants to present a negative slant rather than a balanced one, and that the older review supports his debunking standpoint better than the newer one to the casual visitor who may click on the link and scan the text.

            When I said ‘the emphasis should be on stimulating further research’, I was taking issue with the slant of EE’s post, not the reviews.

            I am not a researcher so I can’t answer your last question. However, I am involved in a pilot study looking into acupuncture for palliative cancer care which I hope will prove to be a small step towards improving care for cancer patients.

          • do you care to tell us what the stated aim of this pilot study is?

        • What do you mean by “presenting a balanced view”? The mass media is notorious for giving equal coverage to even a 99.9% scientific consensus versus the 0.1% of evidence-lacking dissenters on an issue, which gives its audience the impression that the issue boils down to simply one person’s opinion versus another’s. This is why the media sells: it is selling the happiness that results from having one’s beliefs confirmed — by serving up a 50/50 split version of each issue it maximally satisfies all consumers because each consumer uses confirmation bias to decide that the presentation substantively reinforces their pre-existing beliefs. Marketing 101.

          Evidence is not supportive for the existence of pink unicorns, Santa, or the Tooth Fairy. Do you think my statement is a highly-loaded dismissal of those who believe in these things? I think my statement is far too polite and it nowhere near begins to convey reality, which is “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence” — Carl Sagan. I.e. claims for the existence of pink unicorns etc. should remain ludicrous bullshit and be subjected to ridicule until substantial, and independently verifiable, evidence emerges.

          The most important thing to remember is that step 1 of the scientific method is to establish that the item to be investigated actually exists. CAM works the opposite way round: it pretends the item exists; it sells the item; it fabricates ever-changing pseudoscience to explain the item; it publishes all false positive result it can lay its hands on in order to support selling the item. Marketing 101.

          One remit of science is to not tie up valuable time and resources attempting to disprove things that already lack evidence just because someone claims that more studies are needed. Even a trillion studies will never manage to prove that pink unicorns do not actually exist.

          • Pete – I’m not sure what the mass media and unicorns really have to do with it. As even prof Ernst admits there is good evidence that acupuncture is more than placebo for certain conditions, so to compare it to mythical creatires seems ridiculous to me.

            Whatever the media and CAM therapists do, sciencenists should surely present the full facts and provide honest conclusions, which I don’t believe is the case here.

    • Tom Kennedy said:

      why is it that I have the option to ‘reply’ to every post apart from your reply to my own post? Is it an anomaly of the website, or can you choose to put a full-stop to sub-threads?

      Prof Ernst has no such control and it is not an anomaly. The thread you are referring to has reached five levels of depth – this is a maximum we have allowed for readability (because levels are indented and comments become increasingly narrow as the levels increase).

      However, none of this stops you replying to any comment: although comments will not be indented any further, they can still be added at the fifth level and will appear below a previous one. All you have to do is look back up the comments to the last one on level four and click on the Reply link there.

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