You stay away from Ziggy Stardust and Severus Snape, Mike Adams!

I’ve been a big fan of David Bowie ever since high school. True, I didn’t appreciate his less mainstream stuff as intensely as I do now until I had been in college a couple of years, but it’s not an inaccurate to characterize the effect of David Bowie’s art on my life as significant. Basically, I own pretty much everything he ever committed to CD or vinyl and have seen him in concert every time he’s toured, starting with his Serious Moonlight Tour in 1983 and ending with his appearance at Madison Square Garden during his Reality Tour in December 2003. I saw him with Trent Reznor in 1995, and I saw him when he came as close as he ever did in his career to a Spinal Tap moment, namely his Glass Spider Tour in 1987. I do regret never having seen him in his 1970s heyday, but I was definitely too young to see him as Ziggy Stardust and borderline too young (junior high age) when he was the Thin White Duke. He was an amazing artist.

Not surprisingly, I was very much saddened by David Bowie’s death a little more than a week ago, particularly given how it was such a surprise. No one knew that Bowie had cancer, and I was increasingly in awe at how he had managed to hide his illness for the 18 months since he was first diagnosed. We still don’t know for sure what kind of cancer Bowie died of. Bowie’s friend Ivo van Hove, the director of his musical Lazarus, has been quoted in an interview as saying that Bowie died of liver cancer, but I have been unable to find corroboration of this from other sources elsewhere. (My first guess would have been lung cancer, given Bowie’s longtime smoking habit.) Given that I’ve been in the biz long enough to know that lay people often refer to metastases of cancers from other organs to the liver as “liver cancer,” I wonder if Bowie had a different kind of cancer that had spread to his liver. I have no way of knowing that; so for now it is best to accept that he died of liver cancer. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that something’s happened that I hoped wouldn’t.

Regular readers know that I really, really detest Mike Adams, the quack apologist who has built a woo empire around his website. One thing that I detest about him in particular is something I first noticed him doing a long time ago. Basically, whenever a celebrity dies of cancer (and sometimes of other things), Adams manages to find a way to paint it as the evil oncology “industry” pushing that evil chemotherapy to kill the celebrity. His most recent target was Beau Biden, whose fatal brain cancer Adams blamed on GMOs (specifically glyphosate pesticides) and whose death Adams blamed on chemotherapy. At other times, he’s pulled variations of the same stunt, in essence spitting on the graves of Tony Snow, Patrick Swayze, Elizabeth Edwards, and Farrah Fawcett.

Every time, Adams’ MO is the same. He claims that it wasn’t the cancer that killed, but rather the chemotherapy, to which he often adds a faux-plaintive, regretful, “If only [insert name of dead celebrity] had used ‘natural treatments’ she would still be alive today.” Whenever he can, Adams likes to find a photo of the celebrity who died taken not long before death, when inevitably that celebrity, ravaged by cancer, appears shockingly emaciated (as Patrick Swayze did) and use for shock value to blame the celebrity’s condition on the chemotherapy, rather than the real cause, the cancer. I suppose that’s one good thing about how David Bowie kept his disease from the prying eyes of the press; there are no such photos of him near the end, as there are for Patrick Swayze and Steve Jobs, where Bowie looks extremely emaciated. True, there are fairly recent photos of Bowie out there. The most recent include photos taken at the opening of Bowie’s play in early December and photos from a photo shoot from an unknown time but presumably within a few weeks of his death. Although in both sets of photos there were hints that the educated eye can pick up to suggest that Bowie’s health was not very good (one hint: look at his legs, particularly knees and ankles), those signs were fairly subtle, particularly for one with advanced cancer, and fairly easily missed. Overall Bowie still looked amazingly good for someone with terminal cancer. No wonder Adams chose an old picture of him.

Alan Rickman

Yes, predictably, Mike Adams let his ghoul flag fly, as he does the despicable thing he does best, gloat over dead celebrities. In this case, he includes Actor Alan Rickman in his gloating in an article entitled Alan Rickman, David Bowie both victims of a for-profit cancer industry that exploits humans for money (while suppressing natural cures). Rickman, as you probably know, was a very popular and influential British actor, best known for playing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies, as well as terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Harry in Love, Actually, and Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility. Basically, Rickman was very good at playing villains, but he was an excellent all-around actor. Like David Bowie, he was 69 years old when he died of cancer a few days ago, and also like David Bowie he died of a cancer that he had kept private, so that the announcement of his death came as a huge unpleasant surprise. We didn’t know what Rickman died of at the time, although after his death there were reports that he had died of pancreatic cancer after being diagnosed in August.

These days, Adams is including podcasts with his rants, and this makes his claims even more hard to take. There’s just something about his smarmy, smug voice that makes you hate him even more:

Here’s a taste:

The cancer industry is a for-profit industry that relies on repeat business to keep padding its bottom line. David Bowie and Alan Rickman are just two of the industry’s latest victims, but there will sadly be millions more.

Chemotherapy alone kills an estimated one million people a year. See for a running tally…

Anyone who thinks the cancer industry would ever research and release an actual cancer “cure” is delusional… there’s no chance that a multi-billion-dollar industry will deliberately make itself obsolete and obliterate its entire business model.

I had never seen; so I wandered over to the link and clicked. What I encountered is pure hilarity, a whole bunch of unsourced misinformation. I saved the site for future reference, as I think it might require a heaping helping of not-so-Respectful Insolence of its own one day. For example, it claims that over 16 million people have been killed by chemotherapy in the US since 2000. That’s a million people a year. This number quite literally makes no sense, as the American Cancer Society tells us that around 589,430 Americans die of cancer every year. Even if you claim that every patient who dies of cancer after having been treated with chemotherapy died of the chemotherapy instead of the cancer, that still wouldn’t be nearly enough deaths to produce 16 million deaths over 16 years. The other numbers are similarly inflated in ridiculously obvious ways easily identified with minimal checking.

Let’s just put it this way. There are only around 2.5 million deaths a year in the US. That would be a little over 40 million over 16 years. I added up the number of deaths attributed to the first nine causes on that website. Guess what the total was? I added them up to 47,271,697. That doesn’t even count the causes of death for which the PharmaDeathClock website lists less than a million deaths each. Basically, if you believe this profoundly silly website, medicine causes all the deaths suffered in the US since 2000 and then many more. (One wonders where these deaths went. Perhaps our lizard overlords are hiding them.) The person who put this idiotic site together should just look at some basic vital statistics to make sure his exaggerations aren’t so implausible as to deserve nothing but laughter.

In any case, right at the beginning of his podcast, Adams pulls his usual schtick, opining about how there are “natural cures” out there that could have saved David Bowie and Alan Rickman, if only they had availed themselves of them. Never mind that, in the case of Alan Rickman at least, we don’t even know whether he was treated with chemotherapy. In cases of advanced pancreatic cancer, not infrequently patients choose palliative care only. It’s a reasonable choice, one that I would probably make if I were ever diagnosed with unresectable pancreatic cancer; that is, unless treatments were to improve markedly. The point is that, for all we know, Rickman very possibly never received chemotherapy. We just don’t know one way or the other, and his family and publicist aren’t saying.

Let’s take a look at some of the other claims Adams makes:

The entire cancer industry is based on pure scientific fraud. Out of 53 “landmark” studies cited by the cancer industry to push chemotherapy and other toxic treatments, 88 percent were found to be completely fabricated.

Um, no. Not exactly. I explained what this study showed in my usual inimitable detail. There was no fabrication of results, only difficulty replicating the results. This is a very different thing. Difficulty replicating ≠ fabrication.

Next up:

Similarly, a recent study conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington found that tumors grow FASTER after chemotherapy treatments, meaning chemo accelerates tumor growth and spreads the cancer.

No, no, no, no. This study shows nothing of the sort, at least not in a generalizable fashion. It was a very specific model of prostate cancer. The finding didn’t demonstrate anything we didn’t already know, namely that damage caused by treatment to normal cells can stimulate the growth of tumor cells. It does not show that chemotherapy doesn’t work or that it somehow always makes cancer more aggressive. It does not show that chemotherapy “backfires.”

Another paragraph, another lie. Here’s another:

Maybe that why 9 out of 10 oncologists would refuse chemotherapy themselves because they know how incredibly toxic it is.

Wow. The number keeps getting bigger and bigger, like any good myth. That’s right. This is not true. The origin of this claim goes back nearly 30 years. It turns out that this survey is over 25 years old and was about a specific kind of chemotherapy, cisplatin for non-small cell lung cancer, which was a new therapy at the time and didn’t have a lot of evidence for it. Oncologists were surveyed whether they would take this particular regimen if diagnosed with lung cancer. Subsequent studies showed that, as the evidence for this regiment evolved, more physicians expressed a willingness to take this chemotherapy. Later, in 1991, there was a study entitled Oncologists vary in their willingness to undertake anti-cancer therapies. For highly treatable cancers, it showed percentages as high as 98% of doctors willing to undergo chemotherapy, while the remaining 2% were uncertain, and none answered “definitely no” or “probably no” to chemotherapy. For cancers with a bleak prognosis, such as brain cancer, the numbers were lower. In other words, what oncologists answer to the question of chemotherapy for themselves depends, as it should, on their assessment of how likely it is to benefit them.

Later, Adams rants:

When people like David Bowie and Alan Rickman die from cancer, it’s because the cancer industry withheld livesaving information from them about cancer prevention, anti-cancer foods, vitamin D supplementation, avoidance of toxic chemicals and other crucial information that can save lives.

Not only is the cancer industry in the business of profiting from suffering and disease, it’s also the key suppression authority of natural solutions against cancer such as anti-cancer medicinal mushrooms (reishi, shiitake, maitake, etc.), the anti-cancer potential of vitamin D and alternative cancer therapies that have been banned in the United States purely for political reasons (see the relentless attacks on Gerson Therapy or Dr. Burzynski to learn more).

In the podcast itself, Adams goes even further, claiming that cancer is “easy” to prevent and even cure. If that were the case, then Adams should demonstrate just how easy it is to prevent and cure cancer with “natural remedies.” He doesn’t. I wonder why.

In any case, this sort of vile gloating from this vulture is one reason why I so despise Mike Adams, and, in light of his ghoulish gloating over one of my all time favorite artists, I have just one thing to say to him:

Keep your damned dirty paws off Ziggy Stardust and Severus Snape! Let their fans grieve in peace.