Dr. Kristi Funk is a breast surgeon to the stars in Beverly Hills. She's known for having operated on Sheryl Crow and Angelina Jolie for breast cancer. This year, she published a book about breast health and breast cancer. Unfortunately, it’s full of misinformation and radical advice with little or no basis in science.
We know that alternative medicine use is associated with poorer survival in cancer, but what about the use of so-called "complementary medicine," "complementary and alternative medicine," or "integrative medicine"? Bad news. There's still a negative correlation between the use of pseudoscientific and unproven medicine and cancer survival, even when used with conventional cancer therapy rather than instead of it.
A recent spate of articles over the last couple of days report that Elle Macpherson is dating an antivaccine "icon," disgraced antivaccine doctor and scientific fraud Andrew Wakefield. Given her love of "alkaline diet" woo, which she sells through her very Goop-like Wellco website, the attraction shouldn't be surprising. It is, nonetheless, troubling. It wouldn't surprise me if Macpherson is antivaccine herself, given that in "alkaline diet" lingo, vaccines are often viewed as "toxic acid" insults that "alkalinization" can reverse.
This is the conclusion of my series on Clínica 0-19, the cancer clinic where Drs. Alberto Siller and Alberto Garcia see patients with DIPG, a deadly brain tumor, whom they treat at Hospital Angeles in Monterrey Mexico with an unproven combination of intra-arterial chemotherapy with up to 11 drugs and a poorly defined dendritic cell immunotherapy. Some people have asked me: What’s the harm? In this concluding post, I attempt to answer that question.
Earlier this week, I discussed Clínica 0-19, a clinic "making DIPG history in Monterrey" whose doctors claim to be able to successfully treat the deadly brainstem cancer DIPG using intra-arterial chemotherapy and immunotherapy. This week, I discuss what I’ve learned since last week, specifically a lot more about just what it is that these doctors do, why it is scientifically dubious and unproven, and why I am becoming even more harsh in my assessment of this clinic, which shows every indication of being a predatory clinic selling an unproven treatment for a very high price.
Drs. Alberto Siller and Alberto Garcia run Clínica 0-19 in Monterrey, Mexico, which has become a magnet for patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a deadly brain cancer. Unfortunately, their treatment is an unproven combination of 11 chemotherapy drugs injected into an artery feeding the brainstem, plus an unknown and unproven "immunotherapy." Of course it all costs $300,000 or more for a complete course of treatment, and the good doctors are "too busy to do clinical trials" or even publish their survival and recurrence statistics, despite having used this protocol for 20 years. I say: If it quacks like …
In 2014, the Society for Integrative Oncology first published clinical guidelines for the care of breast cancer patients. Not surprisingly, SIO advocated “integrating” dubious therapies with oncology. Last week, the most influential oncology society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), endorsed a 2017 update to the SIO guidelines, thus endorsing the “integration” of quackery with oncology and paving the way for insurance coverage. The advance of quackademic medicine in oncology continues apace.
Gayle Delong is an economist who thinks she's an epidemiologist. Consistent with that delusion, her latest study of HPV vaccination is all amateurs hour, in which she misses a major potential confounder on her way to "proving" that HPV vaccination could be associated with decreased fertility in young women.
Alternative medicine mavens like to promote a stereotype of cancer doctors as practically slavering to poison patients with chemotherapy. The TAILORx trial and its results would beg to differ.
Cancer quacks frequently characterize conventional treatments for cancer as "cutting, poisoning, and burning." Yet, in Australia a woman with ovarian cancer chose black salve, in essence, "cutting, poisoning, and burning" (but mostly burning and without the cutting) to treat her disease. She died a horrible death. How can black salve still be a thing.