All I Think About is Cancer: On “Quacks”
I had a lovely lunch yesterday with reader who is a documentary filmmaker. After reading all of your comments on this blog series this week, she wrote me, “I think you have a tiger by the tail here.”
I have a prediction. As I make a documentary and develop a web site exploring the various modalities that treat cancer without attacking the immune system, some medical doctors will come out and call me an ill-educated buffoon. They’ll call Max Gerson and anyone who practices his therapies or others “quacks.”
(I don’t know yet if Max Gerson’s therapies work; I intend to find out. I’m afraid what I’m going to find out is that no one has proven it yet with valid clinical trials and we will be left primarily with testimonials. Whatever I learn, I will report–no agenda besides to learn.)
If you’re an oncologist (or any M.D.) and try to venture outside cutting-burning-poisoning methods (surgery, radiation, drugs), you’ll likely lose your license. At a minimum, you’ll be scorned out of the profession and lose the credibility you studied for 8 years to gain.
Every clinic I study, I predict, will tell me that they routinely get called ‘quacks’ by doctors practicing the orthodoxy.
Just now I read a tedious medical doctor’s diatribe against Gerson, online, using those tired arguments. His arguments are rife with logical fallacies, though his vocabulary and sentence structure are impressive.
Unfortunately, the one valid point he does make is that the medical profession has far more science behind it. Of course, it’s not hard to cherry pick the findings that are published and play games with statistics.
For instance, we were once told 41 percent of patients survive 5 years post-diagnosis. But that, and slightly improved statistics partly due to less-toxic chemotherapies, are skewed by things like studies’ samples coming from hospitals in high socio-economic areas with no minority patients. They do not adjust for the fact that the push for routine mammograms mean tiny “Stage 0” tumors are discovered that may not have caused a problem for another 30 years. But women are disfigured, their breasts removed, and a “cure” is claimed, artificially boosting “success” statistics.
Any patient in the sample who dies of a complication of cancer surgery, for instance, like a heart attack, will be subtracted from the sample. Elaborate games are played with statistics before they are reported.
That’s a whole separate book. All the ways oncology continues to be a dismal failure but we are offered statistics manipulated to make the situation seem marginally less dire. That way we’ll continue to throw money at new drug development, expecting a slight variation on the same theme to write a whole new symphony.