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Cancer Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

Sayer Ji: Willfully misunderstanding overdiagnosis and misdiagnosis since…forever

If there’s one lesson that I like to emphasize while laying down my near-daily dose of Insolence, both Respectful and not-so-Respectful, it’s that practicing medicine and surgery is complicated. Part of the reason that it’s complicated is that for many diseases our understanding is incomplete, meaning that physicians have to apply existing science to their […]

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Biology Cancer Clinical trials Popular culture

“Liquid biopsies” for cancer: not ready for prime time

I’ve written many times about how the relationship between the early detection of cancer and decreased mortality from cancer is not nearly as straightforward as the average person—even the average doctor—thinks, the first time being in the very first year of this blog’s existence. Since then, the complexities and overpromising of various screening modalities designed […]

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Antivaccine nonsense Complementary and alternative medicine Homeopathy Medicine Naturopathy Quackery

Choosing Wisely about homeopathy, supplements, and "detoxification" quackery

One of the major differences between science-based medicine (SBM) and alternative medicine—or, as they call it these days, “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine”—is that SBM is always questioning itself, always reevaluating its practices. Related to this difference is that SBM does change its practice, discarding treatments that don’t work and incorporating those […]

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Medicine Politics Popular culture Science

Is "value-based' health insurance really "value-based" or is it just an excuse to make patients pay more?

And now for something completely different… Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to find new woo-filled claims or dangerous, evidence-lacking trends to write about. Heck, I did it just last week. Examining certain other health-related issues from a science-based perspective is more difficult, but I feel obligated to do it from time to time, not just […]

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Cancer Clinical trials Medicine

Cancer chemotherapy and obesity

In medicine, particularly oncology, it’s often the little things that matter. Sometimes, however, the “little things” aren’t actually little; they just seem that way. I was reminded of this by a story that was circulating a couple of weeks ago in the national media, often under titles like “Obese cancer patients often shorted on chemo […]