ANH investigates fallout from World Oncology Forum and continuing attacks on alternatives
The cancer establishment is up to its old tricks: glossing over decades of failure, asking for more money and pouring scorn on alternatives to its ‘cut, slash, burn and drug’ approach.
Forum of failure
Attendees at the recent World Oncology Forum (WOF) in Lugano, Switzerland, must have gone away feeling rather depressed. According to the summary in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, the assembled experts related a litany of failure:
The latest targeted cancer drugs haven’t lived up their early promise. For example, doctors were amazed when advanced malignant melanomas (skin cancer) “melted away” after 2 weeks’ treatment with vemurafenib; unfortunately, “Six months later, [the cancer] is back with a vengeance,” said Dr Douglas Hanahan of the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research. This hasn’t stopped the UK’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) from doing a U-turn by approving the drug for use on the National Health Service (NHS), having first rejected it for being too expensive
Mainstream cancer treatments are now so expensive that even rich countries can’t afford them. Turning again to vemurafenib, a year’s treatment costs £91,000/€114,000. Big Pharma is accused of setting “unsustainable” prices for cancer drugs, and of being uninterested in testing drug combinations – either using competitor products or drugs that are now off-patent – because it would reduce profits.
The usual solutions
This is a dire situation, agreed the assembled cancer specialists, who decided on a 10-point plan to address oncology’s problems. This is due to be published in early 2013, so we only have the Guardian’s early report to go on. But it sounds rather like the cancer establishment’s almost yearly plea for more cash, AKA increasing research: it included, “A goal to cut deaths globally, oppose tobacco – possibly by a tax on manufacturers' profits – accelerate research and get an essential package of cancer care to poor countries”. Never mind that decades of research and billions of taxpayers’ money has led to us to the current stalemate, where survival rates for most cancers are static and eminent cancer researchers say things like, “In general, for most forms of human cancer, the answer [as to whether we’re winning the war on cancer] is clearly no”.
Clearly, the cancer establishment’s main goal of keeping the funding wagon rolling is present and correct. For the other side of the story – dismissing any alternatives to drugs and surgery as quackery – we need look no further than Wikipedia. Its page entitled Alternative cancer treatments is full of such gems as:
“Before the development of these modern, evidence-based treatments, 90% of cancer patients died within five years” – supporting evidence for this claim appears to be missing, being reliant only on a magazine article, which itself contains no relevant scientific journal references. Quite apart from the fact that 5-year survival is an entirely arbitrary, statistical construct
“Alternative cancer treatments have typically not undergone properly conducted, well-designed clinical trials, or the results have not been published due to publication bias (a refusal to publish results showing a treatment does not work)” – no mention of the routine gaming of alternative cancer treatment trials by members of the cancer establishment, or of the skipful of promising treatments that have been dismissed or suppressed by the mainstream.
We could go on, but the whole thing is so dispiriting, biased and misleading there isn’t much point. What’s worrying is that Wikipedia is considered a reliable source of information by millions of people, and that, although anyone can edit Wikipedia, ‘sysops’ or administrators hold the ultimate power over who can edit and which edits remain on the page – and even over which pages are allowed on the site. As of 2009, there were only 870 sysops in total for all of Wikipedia’s content, and we suspect there aren’t any natural health advocates among them!
Collapse or re-structuring of cancer establishment now inevitable
Looked at one way, it’s business as usual for the mainstream cancer roadshow. But reading between the lines, something is clearly changing: as we’ve said before, the era of pharmaceutical medicine as we know it is coming to a close, and cancer is no exception.
It’s now just a matter of time before the cancer establishment has to admit not only that inappropriate diets and lifestyles are the primary causes of cancer — but that appropriate diets and lifestyles are central to ridding our society of the huge burden and heartache caused by this dreaded disease. While conventionally trained oncologists may be the last to give up on drugs, surgery and radiation for cancer treatment — or indeed vaccines for prevention — it is inevitable that current, mainstream oncology treatments will appear barbaric in the not too distant future. We are confident that in the years ahead multifactorial approaches that modify not only the biochemical terrain of the body, but also the emotional and even spiritual terrain, will become the mainstays of both cancer prevention and treatment in our society.