Integrative oncology "integrates" quackery with oncology. Its practitioners, however, frequently delude themselves that their specialty is science-based. A recent review article by two integrative oncologists from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center expresses that delusion perfectly.
There's a whole genre of quack apologia for traditional Chinese medicine that I like to call "traditional Chinese medicine is science, ma-an!" Basically, it tries to convince you that the prescientific, mystical, vitalistic mass of nonsense that is traditional Chinese medicine is "ancient knowledge" that was far ahead of its time and that its wisdom will be rediscovered to become the future of medicine. It's utter nonsense, of course. Unfortunately, in its January issue, National Geographic fell for this myth—hard.
“Functional medicine” preaches the “biochemical individuality” of each patient, which is why one of its key features is that its practitioners order reams of useless lab tests and then try to correct every abnormal level without considering (or even knowing) what these abnormalities mean, if anything. So they make up fake diagnoses and profit.
In the days before Orac left the blog in order to rest and recharge his Tarial cell, he got into a little..."discussion"... on Twitter with a naturopath named Paul Theriault. It did not go well...for Not-a-Doctor Theriault. Be careful what you wish for, naturopaths, when you encounter Orac. You might get it.
As results from randomized clinical trials show that alternative medicine is nothing more than placeboe, quacks like to argue that they are "harnessing the power of placebo" with their methods and that placebos have real healing effect. They've even gone so far as to make up a genomics-based concept: The placebome. But is there such a thing as the placebome?
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.
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.
From the viewpoint of hospital administration, patient satisfaction is increasingly the be-all and end-all of how doctors are evaluated, and it is assumed that patient satisfaction is highly correlated with quality of care. Unfortunately, patient satisfaction ≠ quality. A new study shows this very phenomenon in an outpatient setting.