The integration of mysticism and pseudoscience with oncology continues apace in NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers
Last week, I commented on the inability of the Society for Integrative Oncology to define what integrative oncology actually is. This week, I note the proliferation of the quackery of integrative oncology in places that should be rigorously science-based, namely NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers.
Adjuvant therapy after surgery, such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and radiation therapy, has contributed to a 39% decrease in breast cancer mortality since 1989. Unfortunately, a significant number of women decline evidence-based adjuvant therapy. A recent study suggests that distrust of the medical system plays a significant role in such refusal.
Does complementary and alternative medicine offer any meaningful benefits to cancer patients?
Cancer in the 18-39 age range is uncommon, but still occurs. When they should be dealing with school, friends, new jobs, and starting families, instead they must worry about medical bills, appointments, and infertility. Added to this are the costs of "integrative" treatments often foisted upon cancer patients, or built-in to the few adolescent and young adult-focussed centers that currently exist.
Recently, the Hope4Cancer Institute, a quack clinic in Mexico, has added a treatment known as Rigvir to its coffee enemas and other offerings. But what is Rigvir? It turns out that it's an import from Latvia with a mysterious history. Proponents claim that it is an oncolytic virus that targets cancer specifically and leaves normal cells alone. Unfortunately, there is a profound...
Five years ago, IBM announced that its supercomputer Watson would revolutionize cancer treatment by using its artificial intelligence to digest and distill the thousands of oncology studies published every year plus patient-level data and expert recommendations into treatment recommendation. Last week, a report published by STAT News shows that, years later, IBM's hubris and hype have crashed into reality.
Over the weekend, there was a news story describing two cancer patients treated by naturopaths in New Zealand. Both died, one almost certainly unnecessarily, the other after enduring more suffering than she likely had to. These tragic cases and others reminded me of why it is so appalling that so many physicians are "integrating" naturopathy into "integrative medicine." In reality, they are...
In 2014 I was diagnosed with a type of myeloproliferative neoplasm. Since that time I have sought many treatments, and experienced many setbacks. Science-based medicine has kept me alive to write this post. Here I pass along some of my knowledge and experience regarding these rare cancers.
By definition, alternative medicine has not been shown to be effective or has been shown to be ineffective. Thus, alternative medicine is ineffective against cancer and can best be represented as either no treatment at all or potentially harmful treatment. It is thus not surprising that cancer patients who choose alternative medicine have a higher risk of dying from their cancer. A...
The documentary "What the Health" espouses the fairy tale that all major diseases (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many others) can be prevented and cured by eliminating meat and dairy from the diet. It is a blatant polemic for veganism, biased and misleading, and is not a reliable source of scientific information.