Tag: cancer

Screening for disease in people without symptoms: The reality

One of the most contentious questions that come up in science-based medicine that we discuss on this blog is the issue of screening asymptomatic individuals for disease. The most common conditions screened for that we, at least, have discussed on this blog are cancers (e.g., mammography for breast cancer, prostate-specific antigen screening for prostate cancer, ultrasound screening for thyroid cancer), but screening...

/ February 2, 2015

Is cancer due mostly to “bad luck”?

One of the more difficult conversations to have with a patient as a cancer doctor occurs when a patient, recently informed of her diagnosis of, for example, breast cancer, asks me, “Why did I get this? What caused it?” What almost inevitably follows is an uncomfortable conversation in which explanations of the multiple known causes of breast cancer do not satisfy the...

/ January 5, 2015

Ontario fails to protect the life of a First Nations girl with cancer

A few weeks ago, Steve Novella invited me on his podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, to discuss a cancer case that has been in the news for several months now. The case was about an 11-year-old girl with leukemia who is a member of Canada’s largest aboriginal community. Steve wrote about this case nearly a month ago. Basically, the girl’s...

/ November 17, 2014
Rick Snyder at 2011 Michigan Gubernatorial Inauguration

Using the fear of Ebola to promote the placebo legislation that is “right to try”

Libertarians and free market fundamentalists generally detest the FDA and want to dramatically decrease its power in the belief that the free market can guarantee the safety of drugs better than a government agency that requires strong scientific evidence of efficacy and safety before approval. Not surprisingly, they're at it again, this time in the service of promoting "right-to-try" laws and using...

/ November 2, 2014

Breast cancer myths: No, antiperspirants do not cause breast cancer

Four weeks ago, I wrote a post in which I explained why wearing a bra does not cause breast cancer. After I had finished the post, it occurred to me that I should have saved that post for now, given that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The reason is that, like clockwork, pretty much every year around this time articles touting...

/ October 6, 2014

“Atavistic oncology” revisited: Dr. Frank Arguello responds

EDITOR’s NOTE: There are three Addendums after this post, containing the complete text of e-mails. EDITOR’s NOTE #2 (8/19/14 4:51 PM): There is one more Addendum, as Dr. Arguello has sent me another e-mail. EDITOR’s NOTE #3 (8/20/14 7:18 PM): There is yet another Addendum, as Dr. Arguello is now complaining to my place of work. EDITOR’s NOTE #4 (8/21/14 5:30 PM):...

/ August 18, 2014

Medical marijuana as the new herbalism, part 2: Cannabis does not cure cancer

About a month ago, I finally wrote the post I had been promising to write for months before about medical marijuana. At the time, I also promised that there would be follow-up posts. Like Dug the Dog seeing a squirrel, I kept running into other topics that kept me from revisiting the topic. However, over the past couple of weeks, the New...

/ August 11, 2014

Dr. Frank Arguello’s “atavistic oncology”: Another dubious cancer therapy to be avoided

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Arguello has responded. See his response and my reply here. Not infrequently, I’m asked why it is that I do what I do. Why do I spend so many hours of my free time, both here and at my not-so-super-secret other blog (NSSSOB), to write my detailed analyses of various forms of quackery, analyses of scientific studies, and expressions...

/ July 28, 2014

Stanislaw Burzynski’s propaganda victory on antineoplastons: The FDA really caves

It’s been a while since I wrote a substantive post for this blog about the Houston cancer doctor and Polish expat Stanislaw Burzynski who claims to have a fantastic treatment for cancer that blows away conventional treatment for cancers that are currently incurable. The time has come—and not for good reasons. The last time was primarily just a post announcing my article...

/ July 1, 2014

Ketogenic diet does not “beat chemo for almost all cancers”

One of the difficult things about science-based medicine is determining what is and isn’t quackery. While it is quite obvious that modalities such as homeopathy, acupuncture, reflexology, craniosacral therapy, Hulda Clark’s “zapper,” the Gerson therapy and Gonzalez protocol for cancer, and reiki (not to mention every other “energy healing” therapy) are the rankest quackery, there are lots of treatments that are harder...

/ June 23, 2014