Last year, Fikreta Ibrisevic chose a naturopathic quack named Juan Gonzalez to treat her cancer. She had been planning on conventional therapy, but Gonzalez convinced her that "chemo is for losers" and that he could cure her without the toxicity of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. As a result, she died. Her distraught husband Omer Ahmetovic killed the quack. Here's an update on a truly tragic case that shows why cancer patients should never rely on naturopaths.
Robert O. Young is a cancer quack who claims to be a naturopath who promotes what he calls “pH Miracle Living.” He claims that cancer is caused by excess acid and that the way to prevent and cure cancer is to “alkalinize the blood.” Two and a half years ago, he was convicted of practicing medicine without a license. A week and a half ago, a woman whose breast cancer progressed to incurable while being treated by Young won a $105 million settlement in a lawsuit against him. Maybe civil suits can succeed where state medical boards have failed.
Last week, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center issued a press releast touting its integrative oncology program. It's a perfect example to demonstrate the formulaic nature of such press releases and the distortions behind them used to sell the "integration" of quackery into medicine.
Earlier this week, a new survey from the American Society of Clinical Oncology showed that belief in alternative cancer cures is common, with roughly four out of ten Americans believing that "natural" alternative treatments alone can cure cancer, without any conventional oncologic therapies, like chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. This survey points to just how ingrained misinformation about cancer is in our society and how much work advocates of science-based oncology have ahead of them to combat it.
“Integrative oncology” involves “integrating” pseudoscience, mysticism, and quackery with science-based oncology and co-opting science-based lifestyle modalities as “alternative” in order to provide cover for the quackery. Unfortunately, my alma mater, funded by the National Cancer Institute, is running a course to indoctrinate 100 health care professionals in the ways of “integrative oncology.” The Trojan horse of “lifestyle interventions” and “nonpharmacologic treatments for pain” is at the gates. The quackery will leap out as soon as it’s in the fortress.
When I first encountered Stanislaw Burzynski and the Burzynski Clinic around a decade ago, I didn’t know what to make of him. Sure, he seemed quacky, with all the testimonials of miracle cures and the claims that he cured deadly brain cancers like diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) that conventional oncology could do no more than palliate. Sure, it was rather odd that he had never done a fellowship in oncology or an oncology-related specialty. However, he was a Polish expat who seemingly was an excellent student, and he did have a brief career as a real cancer researcher at …
Cancer is an incredibly complicated disease. It's not just differences in genetics and biology that determine outcomes, either. Cancer disparities is the study of factors that result in differences in outcome. Not surprisingly, money matters.
Suzanne Somers is back in the news, claiming that she "grew a new breast" with stem cells and fat transfer. But did she? Did she really? A careful look at what's public about her story suggests nothing other than a bit of self-promotion during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Dugald Seely, ND (Not-a-Doctor) is a Canadian naturopathic oncologist who's made quite the.name for himself cosplaying a real clinical researcher. What he really studies, unfortunately, is combining naturopathic quackery with real medicine. Basically, he's cosplaying a real clinical researcher, and crappy clinical trials are his props.
Last week, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM) published a Special Focus Issue on "integrative oncology." In reality, it's propaganda that promotes pseudoscience and the "integration" of quackery into oncology.