Tag: chemotherapy

“Right to try” laws and Dallas Buyers’ Club: Great movie, terrible for patients and terrible policy

One of my favorite shows right now is True Detective, an HBO show in which two cops pursue a serial killer over the course of over 17 years. Starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, it’s an amazingly creepy show, and McConaughey is amazing at playing his character, Rustin Cohle. I’m sad that the show will be ending tomorrow, but I really do...

/ March 8, 2014

An update on the case of Sarah Hershberger: Parental rights trump the right of a child with cancer to live

Sarah Hershberger, an Amish girl with leukemia, is refusing chemotherapy, and her parents are supporting her. Unfortunately, it looks as though the State of Ohio will let this child die.

/ December 9, 2013

Chemotherapy doesn’t work? Not so fast… (A lesson from history)

If there’s one medical treatment that proponents of “alternative medicine” love to hate, it’s chemotherapy. Rants against “poisoning” are a regular staple on “alternative health” websites, usually coupled with insinuations or outright accusations that the only reason oncologists administer chemotherapy is because of the “cancer industrial complex” in which big pharma profits massively from selling chemotherapeutic agents and oncologists and hospitals profit...

/ October 28, 2013
Chris Wark didn't beat cancer

Yes, Chris beat cancer, but it wasn’t quackery that cured him

Chris Wark is a young man who was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2003 at age 26. He underwent appropriate surgery for his cancer but declined adjuvant chemotherapy in favor of quackery. Now promotes his testimonial, in which he tries to convince people that it was the quackery, rather than the surgery, that cured him. He even claims that surgery...

/ October 15, 2013

Cancer Treatment Centers of America: Revisiting the epitome of “integrative” cancer care

Three weeks ago, I mentioned in a post that the week of October 7 to 14 was declared by our very own United States Senate to be Naturopathic Medicine Week, which I declared unilaterally through my power as managing editor of Science-Based Medicine (for what that’s worth) to be Quackery Week. One wonders where the Senate found the time to consider and...

/ October 7, 2013

Obesity, cancer, and chemotherapy

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 late last week in the national media, often under titles like “Obese cancer patients often shorted on chemo doses”, ”Are obese people with cancer getting chemotherapy doses...

/ September 23, 2013

Do clinical trials work? It depends on what you mean by “work”

Introduction (Skip to the next section if you want to miss the self-referential blather about TAM.) As I write this, I’m winging my way home from TAM, crammed uncomfortably—very uncomfortably—in a window seat in steerage—I mean, coach). I had been thinking of just rerunning a post and having done with it, sleeping the flight away, to arrive tanned, rested, and ready to...

/ July 15, 2013

Stanislaw Burzynski: A deceptive propaganda movie versus an upcoming news report

Well, I’ve finally seen it, and it was even worse than I had feared. After having heard of Eric Merola’s plan to make a sequel to his 2010 propaganda “documentary” about Stanislaw Burzynski, Burzynski The Movie: Cancer Is Serious Business, which I labeled a bad movie, bad medicine, and bad PR, I’ve finally actually seen the finished product, such as it is....

/ June 3, 2013

True Informed Consent Is Elusive

Most of us would agree that doctors should not treat patients without their consent, except in special cases like emergency care for an unconscious patient.  It’s not enough for doctors to ask “Is it OK with you if I do this?” They should get informed consent from patients who understand the facts, the odds of success, and the risk/benefit ratio of treatments....

/ November 20, 2012

Meet the new drugs, same as the old drugs?

“Targeted therapy.” It’s the holy grail of cancer research these days. If you listen to its most vocal proponents, it’s the path towards “personalized medicine” that improves survival with much lower toxicity. With the advent of the revolution in genomics that has transformed cancer research over the last decade, including the petabytes of sequence and gene expression data that pour out of...

/ July 23, 2012