A cancer quackfest

Oh, goody. I think I see future blog fodder for the second half of September. (When you’ve been in the blogging biz as along as I have, you think that far in advance when the opportunity presents itself.) Well, maybe it’s blog fodder. The problem is that I would actually have to wade through the blog fodder. You see, I’m referring to something that one of my least favorite cancer quacks, Robert O. Young, turned me on to yesterday. The same way that antivaccinationists have their yearly antivaccine quackfest known as Autism One, cancer quacks apparently like to have their quackfests, too. Only this one is an online quackfest known as The Cure to Cancer Summit, and it’ll be running from September 18 to the 28.

Let’s just put it this way. This particular summit advertises itself thusly: “Join 22 Leading Researchers And Experts on the World’s First Free Online Cure to Cancer Summit As They Reveal Their Most Recent Findings About Cancer!” Unfortunately, one of those “experts” is Robert O. Young, who, as you may recall, believes that all disease, in particular cancer, is due to acid, and that alkalinization is the cure. For instance, to him cancer is a “poisonous acidic liquid” caused by an “acid” diet and that the cancerous tumor is not a problem but rather the “body’s protective mechanism to encapsulate spoiled or poisoned cells from excess acid that has not been properly eliminated through urination, perspiration, defecation or respiration.” Indeed, he goes farther than that and claims that “the tumor is not the problem but the solution to protect healthy cells and tissues from being spoiled from other rotting cells and tissues.” Young’s quackery is not limited to cancer, either. He also believes that viruses are “molecular acids” and that sepsis is not caused by bacterial infection. (He doesn’t accept the germ theory of disease.) Indeed, compared to Robert O. Young, Andrew Weil looks reasonable. Unfortunately, Young’s quackery has a body count of at least one (namely Kim Tinkham, who chose Young’s treatment and died as a result), although, given the nonsense that he preaches, I have a hard time believing that the count isn’t likely much, much higher. Indeed, in the case of Kim Tinkham, Young tried to do everything he could to weasel out of being blamed for her death, up to and including blaming her for not adhering tightly enough to his regimen.

So, we know that Robert O. Young is among the quackiest of cancer quacks. But what about the 21 other speakers at this quackfest? I recognized surprisingly few names, but one name I did recognize was Gabriel Cousins. He’s not that interesting in that he’s your basic run-of-the-mill raw food vegan. On the other hand, he also bills himself as a “holistic physician, medical researcher, world-recognized live-food nutritionist, psychiatrist, family therapist, homeopath, Rabbi, acupuncturist, Ayurvedic practitioner, expert on green juice spiritual fasting and detoxification fasting, ecological leader, Reiki master, internationally celebrated spiritual teacher, author, lecturer, culture-bridger, world peaceworker, to give a unique holistic approach to nurturing the hungry soul.” I might have to make sure to check out his talk. It’s rare that so much woo is packed to tightly into one man.

I also recognized Ty Bollinger. I had heard of him before because I somehow got on a mailing list in which posts by him show up. Indeed, I’ve been meaning to use him as the target subject of one of my posts for a while but somehow never got around to it. Given the veritable cornucopia of cancer quackery that I see here, I don’t know that this is the time. Bollinger really does deserve his own post. However, I don’t see any problem with providing you with a little wafer to cleanse the palate. Just take a look at his blog at CancerTruth.net. There you’ll find posts on laetrile (yes, laetrile—how 1970s!), pH quackery and the sodium bicarbonate cure much like that recommended by Robert O. Young, and a series of interviews known as the Cancer Truth chronicles. Who knew sodium bicarbonate could so so much? Check it out:

There are lots more where that came from.

Then there’s Thomas Lodi, who runs the “Oasis of Healing.” There he advocates quackery such as insulin potentiation therapy:

Cancer cells are both defective and primitive. Not only are they unable to use oxygen to metabolize glucose into energy, they are either lacking or completely deficient in many enzymes that normal cells have in abundance. One such enzyme is catalase which transforms oxygen and water into hydrogen peroxide and vice versa.

High doses of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) result in the production of peroxides in and around cells. Healthy cells use the hydrogen peroxide for certain metabolic needs and the excess is converted into water and oxygen (good stuff). Since cancer cells have very little catalase, they are unable to convert the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen and consequently are oxidized and killed.

I’ve written many times about how intravenous high dose vitamin C almost certainly has no effect on cancer. At best, it might have a very minor anticancer effect, and at best it’s a long run for a short slide, given the enormous doses that have to be used. As for insulin potentiation therapy (IPT), that’s one of the most dangerous cancer quackeries there is, and Lodi offers it. Basically, the idea behind IPT is that cancer cells like sugar, which is true. They do. Cancer cells tend to rely on glycolysis, and because glycolysis is an inefficient way of extracting energy from glucose compared to aerobic respiration they need a lot of glucose. Couple to that the idea that decreasing the glucose concentration could sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy and thus was a dangerous bit of quackery born. In IPT, the cancer quack will administer a high dose of insulin, enough to drive the patient’s blood sugar down to very low levels, at which point the patient is given chemotherapy, usually at subtherapeutic doses. (Remember, the low glucose is supposed to sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy so that lower doses are effective.) After that, the patient is given glucose to reverse the hypoglycemia caused by the insulin. The reason why IPT is so dangerous is that there’s no room for error. If the “natural practitioner” accidentally drives the patient’s glucose too low, he could die.

by comparison, Lodi’s other woo looks positively harmless:

These Integrative treatments can include alternative IV therapies such as high dose vitamin C and ozone treatments, acupuncture, massage therapy, infrared sauna, exercise with oxygen (EWOT), meditation, yoga, Reiki, reflexology, relaxation techniques, prayer, and support groups. The hands-on methods like massage therapy or acupuncture will help with the side effects of pain, nausea, and stress associated with traditional treatments as well as assist with opening energy meridians and allowing the lymph to drain more freely reducing the toxic load on the body. Focusing on the power of prayer or meditation will help strengthen the spirit and mental well-being which will add another level to the success of a patient healing from cancer.

With regards to alternative cancer treatments, the conventional approved methods are not used at all.

These alternative methods are used through a holistic (whole person) health approach using special diets, herbal and non-herbal supplements, high doses of vitamin C intravenously, oxidative therapies, and other system cleanses and detoxification methods such as colonics, Pulsed Electromagnetic treatments (PEMF), Infrared sauna, UBI (Ultraviolet blood irradiation), and lymphatic drainage.

Is there any woo Lodi won’t use? I don’t think so. I suppose I might have to watch his talk as well. It’s the next best thing to attending in person another cancer quackfest, the 2013 HealingStrong Conference and Retreat. On second thought, I think I’ll pass. My actually entering that conference might be like mixing matter with antimatter (or at least anti-woo with woo). I fear the results.