Cancer Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

Breast Cancer Awareness Month abused by Mike Adams, 2008 edition

I’ll give Mike Adams one thing. He’s consistent.

Consistently a crank, that is.

Yes, that purveyor of woo, paranoia, and conspiracy theories, not to mention the creator of one of the five largest repositories of quackery support on the Internet,, the other three being,, CureZone, and Gary Null, is up to his usual tricks again. He’s back promoting cancer quackery in his own inimitable style, in which cancer can be prevented and cured with virtually 100% efficacy using supplements and diet and conventional medicine never cures any disease ever. Perhaps what’s most despicable about Mike Adams is how he takes events in the news and uses them to slime “conventional medicine” and his enemies, as he did when Tony Snow died of colon cancer and Christina Applegate elected to undergo bilateral mastectomies because of her breast cancer and her genetic predisposition to the disease discovered at the time of her diagnosis. Unfortunately, Adams doesn’t limit himself just to the deaths of famous people as an excuse to spew his toxic brand of quack-friendly idiocy. Oh, no. Starting last year in October, I noticed that Adams likes to slither his way onto the scene in order to slime Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I don’t know if he did the same thing in the years before 2007, but I do know one thing.

Adams is continuing the tradition I noticed last year and sliming Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2008. Indeed, he’s topped even himself. Be warned: If you dare to go below the fold, you’re in for such a concentrated helping of toxic stupidity from Adams that you’ll think a star of woo went hypernova and contracted into a black hole of quackery. No intelligence, science, or reason can escape.

Before I go on, I want to point out that I had seriously, seriously considered doing an installment of the Hitler Zombie series on this. Adams’ article is just that bad and uses just that horrifically dumb a Hitler/Nazi analogy. (More later.) But then I thought about it. After all, Mike Adams has likened big pharma and the CDC to the Nazi regime so many times that it’s obvious to me that his brain has been chomped on by the undead Führer more than enough times to render the likelihood of a single functioning neuron being found about as unlikely as Rush Limbaugh suddenly declaring himself a proud socialist. (Come to think of it, that would explain the types of arguments Adams likes to use, such as they are.) Besides, to sic the Hitler Zombie on Mike Adams would be like killing a flea with a thermonuclear weapon. Sure it’s fun and makes a big noise, but after a certain point there’s just no pleasure in such exercises in overkill. There is, however, a useful purpose, and that’s to demonstrate just how low he will go.

Alas, Mike Adams doesn’t even show that small degree of restraint in his post Exposed: 10 Facts about the Breast Cancer Industry You’re Not Supposed to Know (opinion).

I must admit, I was rather amused by the way Adams added “(opinion),” as though his fevered ravings could be interpreted by any reasonable person in any other way. Of course, to call what Mike Adams writes an “opinion” is being far too kind. It’s more like the ravings of the homeless schizophrenic pushing through a subway car ranting at invisible demons and smelling very, very bad. Unfortunately, as far as I know, Adams doesn’t have mental illness as a reason to explain his losing touch with reality. Indeed, as a surgeon whose specialty is taking care of breast cancer patients, I didn’t find the rest of his post nearly as amusing. In fact, I’m really beginning to wonder if Adams is more like the aforementioned schizophrenic; he sure seems unhinged. And he shows it so well in this article, in which he purports to “debunk” ten “myths” about breast cancer. So let’s “cherry pick” the most ridiculous of them.

As expected, Adams brings home the crazy right from the start:

Myth #1: Breast Cancer is not preventable

The Truth: Up to 98% of breast cancer cases can be prevented through diet, nutritional supplements, sunshine and exercise

It’s true: Breast cancer can be almost entirely prevented through commonsense changes in diet, the addition of anti-cancer nutritional supplements, boosting vitamin D creation from sunlight, avoiding exposure to toxic chemicals in consumer products, pursuing regular exercise and eating a live foods diet.

The breast cancer industry — which depends on the continuation of cancer for its profits and employment — has so far refused to teach women even basic cancer prevention strategies (such as increasing the intake of vitamin D, which prevents 77% of all cancers).

Suffice it to say, Adams is so full of rodent pellets, that he’s burping them up and spitting them out. In fact, he’s either utterly deluded or lying through his teeth. It is by no means possible to prevent 98% of breast cancer, just through diet, supplements, and exercise. It’s not; in fact, even having both breasts removed probably doesn’t lower the risk of breast cancer by 98%. Would that it were so! I know, I know, Adams would never believe that I believe that or that I would sincerely be really, really happy if a treatment, diet, or other intervention was found to reduce the risk of breast cancer by that much. After all, I’m part of the dreaded “breast cancer industry” and hence make my living off of patients with breast cancer. That makes me evil in the eyes of Mike Adams. Never mind that I could fairly easily go back to general surgery or move over to doing just research. As is his wont, Adams also grossly exaggerates the potential benefit of vitamin D by cherry picking a favorable study and reading too much into it, as I described in detail here. My opinion on vitamin D is evolving to thinking that there may be a benefit to it in terms of cancer protection, but we still don’t know whether there’s a downside. There’s a very good discussion of the issues involved over at Dr. Len’s Cancer Blog, which is the official blog of the American Cancer Society.

Adams’ next claim is breathtaking in its ignorance and stupidity, as he takes aim at the ubiquitous pink ribbons promoted in October. He’s unhappy because the money raised by their sale doesn’t go into funding woo:

Nearly 100% of the funds are used to recruit more breast cancer patients into highly-lucrative treatments that do more harm than good.


Those funds actually go to recruiting breast cancer patients by offering “free” mammograms. This is the clever recruitment strategy of the cancer industry. It’s sort of like a greasy garage mechanic offering a “free” checkup on your car’s transmission. It’s in his financial interest to find something wrong (or to break something), just like it’s in the financial interests of the cancer industry to diagnose a women with cancer and scare her into expensive, high-profit treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy or cancer surgery. (Mammogram false positives are commonplace…)

Want proof of where these funds go? Check out this grant list at the Komen for the Cure organization, and you’ll see it’s almost entirely spent on recruiting more women with mammograms:…

When you read that list, note that there is not a single grant provided for nutritional education to teach women how to prevent cancer with vitamin D, cruciferous vegetables, anti-cancer herbs, supplements or to avoid dangerous cancer-causing food ingredients like sodium nitrite, MSG and chemical sweeteners.

Now there’s a hunk o’ hunk o’ burnin’ stupid.

First off, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with providing free mammograms. Nothing. Poor women wouldn’t get them otherwise, and they do decrease mortality from breast cancer in women over 50 for sure and very likely for women over 40 as well. Adams’ logic is also faulty. (So what else is new?) After all, if a woman can’t afford a mammogram, she is probably uninsured and doesn’t have a lot of money. If she’s uninsured and doesn’t have a money, how does the “breast cancer industry” make money off her? Only with great difficulty. Medicaid often pays less than cost or at best cost for her care. Much of the time she is undertreated and her care is either written off as an uncollectable loss by hospitals or paid for by the state.

Also notice how Adams didn’t link to the main Komen Foundation website, but to the Phoenix branch so that he could cherry pick funding that goes primarily to early detection. Take a gander at the Komen’s main grant page and its Grant Portfolio for 2008. Well, lookie here. What’s there on page one?

A grant for $599,000 to Dr. David Feldman at Stanford University to study “Vitamin D Actions For The Prevention And Treatment Of Breast Cancer,” that’s what! Mike’s favorite dietary manipulation for cancer, vitamin D supplementation, the irony is delicious! Mike can’t read too good, can he? Oh, I’ll concede that most of the grants funded were for targeted therapy, genomic studies of breast cancer, and other non-dietary interventions, but I couldn’t help but start to giggle a bit when I saw the vitamin D study right there on the first page, and it’s not a small grant, either.

The next one is a standard Adams rants against chemotherapy and radiation being sold as “the only proven treatments” for breast cancer. Quite frankly, I’m offended. After all, I’m a surgeon, and I’m annoyed that Mike couldn’t be bothered to accuse me of “maiming patients” unnecessarily and to claim that surgery doesn’t cure cancer either. On the other hand, there’s the outside chance that he might actually not be that dumb. After all, as I’ve described before, for most early stage breast cancer (for most surgically treatable breast cancer, actually), surgery is the primary part of the cure. Chemotherapy and radiation are “icing on the cake,” so to speak, that reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence, as I’ve described before in detail here.

Among the remaining “myths” supposedly “debunked,” Adams goes on about how chemotherapy can cause long-term health problems, as though these risks are not discussed with patients as part of the risk-benefit ratio, and to go on with his usual rants about mammography, and how vitamin D can cure all cancer. It’s all standard Adams woo, but a couple of things do stand out. Here’s one:

Myth #6: BRCA-positive women should consider mastectomies to prevent cancer

The Truth: Cruciferous vegetables target BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, preventing cancer with nutrition

Women who are BRCA positive are being scared into utterly unnecessary double mastectomies — a procedure that benefits no one except the surgeon. What nobody is telling these women is that cruciferous vegetables contain anti-cancer nutrients that specifically target BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, protecting these women from breast cancer.

All it takes is a single ounce of fresh broccoli juice each day, or fresh sprouts, superfoods or other nutrient-dense foods or juices consumed daily.

Cancer doctors, of course, conveniently forget to tell women about these little facts. It would hurt their business if women knew how to prevent cancer on their own, at home, with everyday groceries and simple herbs.

Here’s text from one study that might interest you. It shows that I3C (from broccoli) and genistein (from fermented soy) inhibit estrogen-stimulated receptor activity in a dose-dependent fashion:

“…we showed that I3C induces BRCA1 expression and that both I3C and BRCA1 inhibit oestrogen (E2)-stimulated oestrogen receptor (ER-) activity in human breast cancer cells. We now report that both I3C and genistein induce the expression of both breast cancer susceptibility genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) in breast (MCF-7 and T47D) and prostate (DU-145 and LNCaP) cancer cell types, in a time- and dose-dependent fashion.

The study Adams is basing such a radical claim on is this one. I took a look and saw that Adams is basing his advice on study that was done only in cell culture. That’s right: Only in cell culture! Yet here he is claiming that cruciferous vegetables can completely prevent cancer in women with mutations in BRCA1, which, by the way, can result in a lifetime risk of breast cancer of 80%. There’s a word for a woman with a BRCA1 mutation who takes Adams advice in this matter: A breast cancer patient or dead. It’s only a shame that Adams can’t somehow be sued for practicing medicine without a license by recommending this irresponsible quackery.

Once again, Adams goes on and on about the supposed “violence against women” that the “breast cancer industry” perpetrates in Adams’ deluded mind:

Western medicine’s treatment of breast cancer patients today is little more than an extension of hundreds of years of medical violence against women by the male-dominated medical establishment.

Want proof? Notice that cancer doctors never advise men to surgically remove their testicles as a way to “prevent” testicular cancer? That’s because the male surgeons performing these operations prefer to maim women, not men.

Whatever sexism did or did not contribute to any mistreatment of women, this is just dumb. What’s actually been happening over the last 50 years is a move towards less disfiguring surgery and breast conservation, as well as less toxic chemotherapy. Replacing mastectomy was lumpectomy. Replacing axillary dissection (removal of all the lymph nodes under the arm) has been sentinel lymph node biopsy (the targeted removal of at most a few lymph nodes). Moreover, before the advent of various drugs that achieve the same result, surgeons castrated huge numbers of men with metastatic prostate cancer in order to slow the progress of their disease.

But just when you think Adams can’t descend lower, though, he does:

Even worse, it is being staffed by women, cheered by women and supported by women. In World War II, before the Jews were exterminated, Nazi soldiers pried the gold fillings out of their mouths. The fillings were sold off, and the money went to two places: The pockets of the top Nazi commanders, and the continued funding of the prison camps and extermination chambers. The Jewish prisoners, in other words, paid for their own gas chamber treatments using the gold right out of their own mouths.

Today, women are paying for their own cancer industry chemical assaults using the dollars right out of their own pockets. Those who support the conventional breast cancer non-profits are feeding the very beast that may someday destroy them and send them home poisoned, emaciated, or mutilated beyond repair.

And you know what the pink ribbon non-profits will do to help these women? WIGS. They’ll give them wigs to cover their hairless heads.

Chemotherapy victim or concentration camp prisoner? They both produce these same results. Zyklon B gas, by the way, was manufactured by a pharmaceutical company.
It is no coincidence that women who receive chemotherapy visually resemble the women of the Nazi concentration camps. They become emaciated through dangerous losses of muscle mass and bone mass. They lose their hair, vomit their food and suffer the devastating effects of massive nutrient loss.

See why I briefly toyed with having the undead Führer pay Adams a visit? The reason I didn’t is because I was so utterly dumbfounded at this that I just couldn’t figure out a way to make it funny. I was too disgusted, and my intelligence just too insulted. Besides, the Hitler Zombie has standards, and Adams did what I think impossible; he’s sunk below those standards to the point where even the zombie would turn up his nose at a chance to snack on the vacuum that lies within Adams’ skull. The Hitler Zombie knows well enough not to let himself pass Adam’s event horizon of stupidity.

And then Adams goes even lower.

Underneath a picture of an emaciated Nazi concentration camp survivor is this caption:

Chemotherapy victim or concentration camp prisoner? They both produce these same results. Zyklon B gas, by the way, was manufactured by a pharmaceutical company.

He then goes on to coin a lovely new term:

May God save our women from the cancer industry, lest we lose four generations to this modern chemical holocaust that has been unleashed against our mothers, daughters, grandmothers and sisters. And if our government will not protect us from this home-grown terrorism that seeks to turn the bodies of women into corporate profit centers, I hope that the People of America will one day wake up and take all justified (non-violent) measures to protect themselves from the cancer industry.

Mike Adams has now officially entered PETA territory of craziness. In fact, he’s worse than PETA and radical animal rights activists in at least one way. He’s likely to kill women through his quackery-laden advice.

You may ask why I’m bothering with this. Clearly, anger has a lot to do with it. I’ve spent the last 9 years of my life specializing in breast cancer and taking care of breast cancer patients. I’ve seen what breast cancer can do, and I’ve seen women die of the disease. I’ve also likely cured women of breast cancer in collaboration with my medical colleagues. I say “likely” because breast cancer can recur more than ten years later, although the chances of that happening decrease with time. I’ve also been suitably humbled by the disease before, having on occasion seen women with early stage breast cancer recur as stage IV disease and go on to deteriorate and die. highly doubt Mike Adams can say the former, and I know he can’t say the latter. I know he’s never successfully treated a single woman for breast cancer. All he’s done is to attach himself to the issue like the despicable parasite that he is and tried to scare women away from science-based therapies known to be effective, therapies known to save lives. That’s all he can do, because other than that he’s got nothing.

My being a surgeon and my having taken on the persona of a cranky, arrogant computer from a late-1970s British science fiction TV series notwithstanding, unlike Mike Adams I’m not arrogant enough to make claims that 98% of breast cancer can be prevented or that virtually all breast cancer can be cured. In scientific medicine we have done amazing thing in terms of improving the likelihood that women who are unfortunate enough to develop breast cancer will survive their disease, but much remains to be done, and too frequently breast cancer shows us just how impotent we are. I’ve been forced to admit it when a therapy didn’t work. I wonder what Mike Adams would say to a woman with breast cancer duped by him into thinking that just eating lots of broccoli, exercising, and taking vitamin D will cure her cancer after it’s become clear that she will die of her disease. He’s probably tell her she just didn’t eat enough vegetables or take enough vitamin D and that she still might be cured if she just tried to do more. After all the movement that Adams represents has a dark side. Just as it claims to be all about “empowering” the patient, it’s also all about blaming the patient when woo doesn’t cure her. Your breast cancer came back on “alternative” therapy? You just didn’t believe enough. You just didn’t take enough supplements. You didn’t exercise enough. If all else fails, he’ll tell you that it’s too late because you “ruined” your immune system with chemotherapy. If only you had come to Adams first instead of trusting those horrible Western, allopathic doctors in the “breast cancer industry” wanting to pull you into their “chemical Holocaust,” you might have been saved. You fool. That’s Adam’s message distilled to its essence, anyway.

Sadly, I think that the specter of Mike Adams abusing Breast Cancer Awareness Month is going to be an annual occurence.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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