Bioethics Cancer Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking Sports

When false hope leads well-meaning people astray

One of the frequent topics on this blog is, unsurprisingly, cancer quackery. Be it the Gerson therapy and its propensity for encouraging patients to take hundreds of supplements and to shoot copious amounts of coffee where it really doesn’t belong (where the sun don’t shine), the Gonzalez protocol, homeopathy, naturopathy, or various other nonsensical and dangerous cancer therapies with no scientific basis, I take them on because, as a cancer surgeon, I can’t stand seeing cancer patients abused this way. If they’re curable, I hate seeing them seduced into throwing away their chance for cure, and if they’re not curable I hate seeing them spend their life’s savings for something that can’t possibly help them—or even provide them with halfway decent palliation. When I see patients wasting tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars enriching quacks like Rashid Buttar or loading themselves up with so much carrot juice that they turn orange, cancer quackery has been a constant theme. It’s particularly hard to take when the patients become the most effective sellers of quackery, as well, like Jessica Ainscough, a.k.a. “The Wellness Warrior.”

I haven’t yet mentioned a very frequent topic of this blog over the last year or so, namely everybody’s not-so-favorite “cancer doctor” who is board certified in neither medical oncology nor even in internal medicine who thinks he’s cured cancer, namely Stanislaw Burzynski, who still manages to present his execrably bad science at national meetings and to recruit patients to lobby the FDA for him despite the many revelations of lost patient records, unreported adverse events, exaggeration of tumor responses, maintaining different sets of records on a patient who died, and general medical incompetence. It’s not for nothing that I support Bob Blaskiewicz’s efforts to lobby Congress to investigate how the FDA has let Burzynski get away with this for so many years. So does Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing.

By the way, have you acted yet?

For all the time I’ve spent on these and others whom I consider to be dubious doctors at best and cancer quacks at worst, I keep getting slammed in the face with reminders that the supply of such practitioners seems to be endless. Here’s one I hadn’t heard of before, and her story sounds painfully like that of the many patients who have gone to the Burzynski Clinic after spending so much effort fundraising to pay for the treatment. Her name is Stephanie O’Halloran, and she’s from Ireland. There’s even the same sort of credulous reporting of her plight that we’ve seen before for patients of Burzynski, custom designed to tug on the heartstrings of even the most hardened skeptic and presenting the “alternative” medicine clinic as a medically legitimate choice. In this case, we have a mother with stage IV breast cancer with an 18-month-old girl. It doesn’t get much more heart-wrenching than that:

A COURAGEOUS Limerick mother, diagnosed with breast cancer three months ago, has decided to go to the route of alternative treatment in the United States after being given no hope by conventional medicine.

Stephanie O’Halloran, a young mother of an 18-month-old little girl, was given nine months to live with treatment and just weeks without, by doctors at the University Hospital Limerick.

On September 12 last, just weeks before her 23rd birthday, the Garryowen woman received the devastating news that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, lymph glands, liver, lung and leg.

“I am very happy with the treatment and care I got at the Regional but there is only so far conventional medicine can go. I was given no hope and I have so much to live for,” Stephanie told the Limerick Post.

After two rounds of chemotherapy, Stephanie decided to look into alternative medicine as an option. The brave young Limerick woman then discovered the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida and was given hope by its director, Dr Brian Clement.

One of the world’s oldest complementary health centres, the institute founded in 1952 is at the cutting edge of using food and other lifestyle strategies as medicine.

Yes, this young woman is only 23 years old, an age range at which breast cancer is rare, but not unheard of. Here’s how she found out about the Hippocrates Center:

Declan said: “Ann’s sister in England heard about this treatment, which centres on a diet of raw vegetable, and she met the head of the clinic, Brian Clement, in Galway about two months ago.

“He told her he could help, but not to leave it too late.

“After the meeting we did a lot of soul searching and we prayed to the Lord.

“Stephanie is a very positive person and four weeks ago, she went to Florida where she spent 21 days starting on the programme. She came home at the weekend and is still very tired after the long flight. She feels much better.”

I had never heard of the Hippocrates Health Institute (HHI) or the doctor, Dr. Brian Clement before; so, as is my wont, I went to the source, the Hippocrates Health Institute website. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that its programs were a veritable cornucopia of nearly every quackery on the planet, including at least one I hadn’t realized that people did. Let’s just start with this list described in the HHI’s “Life Transformation Program“:

  • Superior nutrition through a diet of organically-grown, enzyme-rich, raw, life-giving foods
  • Detoxification
  • Wheatgrass therapies, green juice, juice fasting
  • Colonics, enemas, implants
  • Exercise, including cardio, strength training and stretching
  • Far infrared saunas, steam room
  • Ozone pools, including: dead sea salt, swimming, jacuzzi and cold plunge
  • Weekly massages
  • Bio-energy treatments
  • Med-spa & therapy services

Yes, indeed, there it is: enemas, “infrared saunas,” and all manner of other quack treatments. But what are “implants”? Oh, you naive and silly person! Wheatgrass “implants” are, in actuality, wheatgrass juice enemas:

When used as a rectal implant, reverses damage from inside the lower bowel. An implant is a small amount of juice held in the lower bowel for about 20 minutes. In the case of illness, wheatgrass implants stimulate a rapid cleansing of the lower bowel and draw out accumulations of debris.

It also seems that there’s nothing that wheatgrass can’t do. If the HHI is to be believed, wheatgrass can increase red blood cell count, decrease blood pressure, cleanse the blood, organs and GI tract of “debris,” stimulate the thyroid gland, “restore alkalinity” to the blood, “detoxify” the blood, fight tumors and neutralize toxins, and many other things. Basically, boiling it all down, I found that HHI advocates raw vegan diets, wheatgrass (as part of the aforementioned raw vegan diets), and various other forms of quackery plus exercises as a cure for, well, almost everything. I’ve often said that one undeniable indication that a clinic is a quack clinic is whether it offers a certain treatment modality? The HHI offers this treatment modality. Can you guess which one? Yes, it’s the infamous “detox” footbath:

The Aqua Chi is a revolutionary hydro-therapy detoxification treatment that combines the life-giving properties of water with a high-frequency, bio-electric charge. This process enhances and amplifies the body’s own ability to heal itself. Your meridians are permeated and re-aligned back to their original strength and placement. This occurs through the electrical fields emanating from the Aqua Chi’s negative ion generator. Since our bodies are 90% water, the Aqua Chi drains polluting toxins and chemicals through the natural channels of the feet into the water. In combination with oxygen, you will maximize the riddance of the many destructive poisons contracted through improper diet, environmental pollution, and stress.

All you need to know about this particularly ridiculous form of quackery, I’ve written about before. Suffice to say, the “toxins” that such footbaths supposedly remove through the feet don’t exist, and the water would change color regardless of whether a mark customer has her feet in the water or not. Of course, detox footbaths aren’t all. There’s also intravenous vitamin therapy, cranial electrotherapy stimulation, combination infrared waves plus oxygen, acupuncture, colon hydrotherapy (apparently with or without wheatgrass) and lymphatic drainage. There’s so much there, that the über-quack Joe Mercola featured Dr. Clement on his website a mere three weeks ago:

There’s some serious, serious woo in this interview, a transcript of which can be found here, if you can’t stand to watch a full hour plus of this stuff. There are a lot of parts where Dr. Clements says stuff like this:

Photons come down in the secondary stage, they hit the earth. They transmute into different frequencies. Those frequencies are what create the physical body or the energetic body we really are. When you and I are talking and thinking and people are listening, that’s the energetic body. The physical body that you’re sitting watching us here now, that’s created by the microbial effect in the soil, which are still the protons but recycled or re-cached protons. It’s great stuff.

Like, wow, man. So totally profound. So totally deep. So totally, transparently a load of BS. I stopped there, as I couldn’t take any more. Neither, apparently, could Katie Drummond, who wrote a hilarious takedown of the “health program” offered at HHI, who reassures us that if you’re not into wheatgrass enemas, don’t worry about it. HHI offers them “in ‘Original’ and ‘Coffee’ varieties.” Imagine my relief. Unfortunately, that relief is rapidly eliminated by learning that HHI also offers quack modalities such as “live blood cell analysis.”

Anyway, let’s move on.

Perhaps the most amusing form of quackery offered is something called colorpuncture:

Based on modern biophysics and ancient Chinese medicine, color frequencies are applied to acupuncture points using a light pen and crystal rods. This promotes hormonal balance, detoxification, lymph flow and immune support while reducing headaches and sleeplessness. Working on cellular memory where the cause of disease resides, color puncture promotes healing from within. 50 minutes $120

I love the science-y sounding technomedical babble. As is, sadly, so often the case, I’ve heard of this particular woo before. However, happily, as is so often the case, I’ve written about this particular woo before, over two years ago. It fits in well with Dr. Clement’s woo-tastic quackbabble.

All of this makes me sad. Very sad. It’s because I know that, however much I might laugh at the utter ridiculousness and lack of science behind Dr. Clement’s treatments and babble, I know that patients like Stephanie O’Halloran, whose story depresses me to no end. It would depress me enough just to know that a young mother with an 18 month old child has developed a tumor that is rarely seen in women as young as she is, being most common in women nearly forty years older, will not be able to raise her child, will not see her child grow up, will not see her girl build a career, and will never see her grandchildren be born. It is a tragedy that no one should have to endure, and contemplating her daughter losing her mother at a young age is guaranteed to cast a pall even during this festive season. Who knows how many more Christmases O’Halloran is likely to be able to enjoy? Probably not more than another two or three, maybe not even that. That’s the cold, hard fact that tempers my amusement at HHI. When O’Halloran should optimizing her palliative care and trying to spend as much of the time that she has left with her loved ones, she’s been seduced by false hope and false promises that HHI can save her life. Would that it were true! Sadly, it is not.

Worse, the only thing HHI can accomplish for the O’Halloran family is to drain its bank account, in much the same way that Stanislaw Burzynski drains the bank accounts of cancer patients. Indeed, as is the case for Burzynski, what is perhaps most disturbing about this story is how the worst quackery brings out the best in people, who pull together to raise money for something that won’t help the person they are trying to help. A local rugby team, the Limerick Leprechauns will be playing a combined team made up of two other teams who are fierce rivals, Thomond and St. Mary’s, on St. Stephen’s Day to raise money to continue O’Halloran’s treatment. It’s a heartwarming story of a town coming together to try to help one of its own; that is, if you can forget what the money is being raised for. Here, we have people with the very best, the very noblest intentions, putting their heart and souls into raising money for a terminally ill young woman, and the end result will not help her. It’s the sort of story that I’ve written about all too often about Burzynski patients and, occasionally, others.

The dilemma his captured well in an op-ed about Burzynski by Mike Weinberg entitled When caring puts a child at risk written about Elisha Cohen, a child with a brainstem glioma for whom the Jewish community is lobbying to persuade the FDA to allow Burzynski to treat him with antineoplastons under a compassionate use exemption protocol. Weinberg writes:

This situation evokes a parable about a drunk who loses his keys while stumbling home. When asked why he was looking under a streetlamp down the road, he replied, “This is where the light is.”

The only thing more tragic than Elisha’s terrible illness would be if his well-meaning family and friends stood underneath the Burzynski streetlight, not only giving credibility to a dangerous and ineffective treatment, but wasting time and other resources that could be used more productively.

The same sentiments apply to the unfortunate Stephanie O’Halloran, her family, and the three rugby clubs trying to help her.

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]

83 replies on “When false hope leads well-meaning people astray”

OMG, so this is what my way smart fox terrier is up to when he drags his bottom across my winter lawn–he is giving himself a rye grass enema. And here I am, dopey me, not realizing that he needs to be scooting his bootin’ across wheat grass instead…

I don’t believe either of these two Clements have a PhD other than what they printed off on a laser jet.

This is a sad story.

The grandiose verbiage used by quacks just gets ’em way too often.

Re the video, I especially liked the part where Mercola explains that instead of staying for a day or two like most places, the patients at HHI stay for a week to REALLY learn things at a deep level. Wow.

It’s a “health spa” folks and subject to travel reviews, like this one from the widow of a man diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer:

“don’t go if you have a Stage 4 diagnosis of cancer”

“My husband stayed at Hippocrates Health Center in oktober 2012. He travelled there from Amsterdam because he had just been given a diagnosis of stage 4 stomach-cancer. Because regular health care could not offer curative treatment, he looked for an alternative. Before he left he had a telephone call with the director of Hippocrates, dr. Brian Clement. Dr. Clement convinced my husband that a raw food diet, combined with all the treatments at the institute could cure him. So he went and payed over 9000 euro’s for his stay, additional;, very expensive treatments and all kinds of pills and substitutes. He stayed in one of the cheapest rooms, of campus. Jolene Jackson advised him to do so. When staying there he regretted this. He had cancer and was often tired. Staying of campus costed him extra energy. If you have cancer. at Hippocrates you can only eat raw green food, everyday garlic and no fruit. My husband lost 15 kilo’s, If you have cancer you are not supposed to loose so much weight, you need everything you have….”


I know your dog is probably just scratching an itch (I’m not very dog-savvy) but you might want to check him for worms.

(Sorry for OTness, but I just had to deal with one of my cats picking up worms, and that butt-scooching turned out to be symptomatic because, um, well, you can figure it out. And if anyone else can avoid the ICK that is worms, I want to make that happen…)

I’ve run into the attitude that — when a situation is bad enough — then false hope is better than no hope at all. The argument (from alties, of course) is that so what if an alternative remedy IS quackery? The worst thing a person can do is give up. Whether it works or not, alt med raises people’s spirits and comforts them with dreams of success.

I find a lot of holes in this argument — and it seems more than a little self-serving, given that it’s only advanced after a lot of confident assertions about how much more effective alt med is than big bad “Western” medicine — but they seem to think it reeks of compassion and love.

I love it when we veer into topics I actually know something about. The butt-scooting in the dog COULD be due to worms (almost always tapeworms–dogs and cats don’t have pinworms), but could also be due to the dog’s anal sacs (lovely organs that people don’t have, which are anatomically analogous to skunk scent glands.) They ordinarily empty out during normal defecation, but sometimes get a bit blocked, hence the scooting. Be grateful he scoots outside.

I’ve run into the attitude that — when a situation is bad enough — then false hope is better than no hope at all.

There might be situations where this is true (although I am having trouble thinking of a scenario where it is unequivocally true). Ms. O’Halloran’s case is not one of them. She’s spending time she doesn’t have, and money she doesn’t have (hence the rugby teams who are raising it on her behalf), on a treatment that won’t work, when she could be spending that time with her family, getting palliative care and making sure her daughter will have suitable substitute parents once she’s no longer able to care for her. As it is, she is effectively out of her daughter’s life earlier than she needs to be, and we have no way of knowing whether she has made satisfactory arrangements for the daughter’s future. The longer Ms. O’Halloran waits to get her affairs in order, the harder it will be for her to do so, and the more painful (in multiple senses of that word) it will be for her to adjust to reality.

Alt-med can be like mind-altering substances in that way. Many of the people who get into substance abuse problems started out looking for a false hope to escape reality. And substance abuse, like a lot of alt-med (probably including HHI, and definitely including the Burzynski Clinic), tends to make things worse.


Shades of Tricki-Woo the Pekinese, forsooth!

(I didn’t want to say “well, I read about this in a James Herriott memoir…” for obvious reasons… ;))

FWIW, I have orthodox friends. Elisha’s plight started making the rounds a few days ago, after the Times of Israel followed up their original stories. Burzynski is better known than one might expect. And not in a good way.

^ I suppose that wasn’t a model of clarity. “Not in a good way” for Count Scamula.

I used to be surprised at the utterly ridiculous assertions the quacks make online and in their ads. But I’ve concluded it may be deliberate. It ensures that the people who come to them are eager to believe absolutely anything they’re told — and it ensures they’re not very bright, too. These ads automatically eliminate patients who understand their condition and respect their doctors.

Wheat grass enemas?
Wait…I thought gluten was supposed to be bad for you. Or was that alcohol. I’m so confused.

Isn’t fiber supposed to be good for colon health?

All things in moderation. Which an enema is definitely not.

I used to be surprised at the utterly ridiculous assertions the quacks make online and in their ads. But I’ve concluded it may be deliberate.

Some of the perpetrators of Nigerian scam e-mails are acquainted with this technique. In those messages the bad spelling is intentional, designed to filter out those who wouldn’t fall for the scam anyway.


In other words, it’s like the one explanation for why “Nigerian prince” email scams are so obvious to most people? That actually seems rather plausible, both in a “more likely to fall for it” sense and a “more likely to be resistant to the idea of it being fraudulent” sense.

@#7 Janet–I never actually said he didn’t also drag his backside indoors as well– and he does which is where the klingons get left (and the baby then walks over to pick them up to hand them to me and…ugh).

Seriously, though, I so despise these hucksters. I remember my first exposure to how quacks work was a pseudoscience class in grad school and we were using the book Flim Flam (by James Randi) for course material. At the time I was amazed at the whole fake psychic surgery scam that people were falling for it. Now, I’m not so amazed. There’s enough hucksters and enough people desperate for a cure. The HHI is another in a long line of predatory places that do nothing of any good for the patient.

OT, but the Katie Couric show is being cancelled

I think that’s been in the cards for a while, hence the rumor that she would be replacing Barbara Walters on “The View.”

OT, but anybody, ANYBODY who can get this out: Donnie Wahlberg is showing support for a Generation Rescue event tonight: He RT’d the event on Twitter and rumor is he’s attending. Another celebrity with a fan base that consists of rabid young women who will support whatever he tells them. Please spread the word that this is dangerous nonsense and that GR is nothing but an antivaccine conspiracy group. I’m begging. I was a member of this fan-base but I’m pulling back now and want to get word out that this is unacceptable.

These stories always sadden me. A very good friend had the bad luck of developing a terribly aggressive prostate cancer (he had a normal PSA test not three months earlier, was very sick one day, in the ER his PSA was through the roof and they found bone mets within a week). Chemo and radiation gave him nearly three years, most of them good. I would take those years and hope that a better treatment might show up in the meantime before I would throw it all away on vague promises with no facts.
Just so terribly sad.

Serendipity is so serendipitous 🙂

After engaging in a pointless debate with a rabid altie last night on my cancer support forum, I lob on here and find this post. 🙂 Warms the cockles of my heart.

Funnily enough Orac linking to one of your articles only made this altie foam even more from her mouth. No offense but I might start linking to David Gorski’s posts on SBM. That way maybe just maybe the more measured approach David takes may actually avoid a spittle flecked paranoid rants from the rabid alties 😉

Merry Xmas you old perspex box of blinking lights. I would like to thank you once again for the work you do. Your words in this sandbox ripple out through the ‘net and bring comfort and strength to those that really need it.

Science Mom,

I have no doubt. But even the tiniest exposure by him of that will cause his fans to jump on it. Blockheads are MAD.

I live nearby. Years ago I visited, they were pitching for folks at the low-grade crunchy level. Kind of astounded (and dismayed) to hear that they’re now going after seriously ill folks.

Photons come down in the secondary stage, they hit the earth. …The physical body that you’re sitting watching us here now, that’s created by the microbial effect in the soil, which are still the protons but recycled or re-cached protons. It’s great stuff.

Does this doofus not know the difference between photons and protons?

I was given no hope

Translation – they refused to lie to me.

Hippocrates was previously owned by Ann Wigmore, whom the staff called, “Doctor Ann.” She felt privileged to use the title because she had received an honorary Doctor of Divinity, a degree seminaries give to curry favor, generally with donors.

Calling the director of a supposed health facility “Doctor” when she has received nothing but an honorary degree unrelated to health sciences has a technical legal term. It’s called fraud.

Or, as my father (with the PhD in German) used to say, “Not the kind of doctor who does anybody any good.”

Those frequencies are what create the physical body or the energetic body we really are. When you and I are talking and thinking and people are listening, that’s the energetic body. The physical body that you’re sitting watching us here now, that’s created by the microbial effect in the soil….

That’s a Cakewrecks-level decoration of the notion of the subtle body. (TINSB.)

Hello everybody on this page,i want to thank God for using dr. Kasee as my source of savior after 9 years of my marriage and my lover left me alone for 6 months,I have just been heart broken until i go in contact with dr. Kasee after i saw a ladies testimony on how she was helped by this same dr. Kasee,So i decided to get in contact with him and when i told him all my problems he laughed and said this is not a problem that everything will be ok in 2 days time.Exactly the 2nd day my husband called me i was shocked and what surprise me the most was that his behaviour was normal as the man i got married to.Am so grateful to dr Kasee for what he did for me in helping me to get my husband back, if you wish to contacting him Email: [email protected]

if you wish to contacting him Email….

Sharron, I went for abuse-at-yahoo-dot-com instead. Is that OK?

^ (No offense to Drs. Racum, Okaya, Ogala, Adams, Zaco, Lee, Uadiale, Kuma, and so forth, of course.)

Scooting dogs may also have parasites (is that the same as worms?). The species name escapes me, but my little doxie who has had no end of trouble with her anal glands (and gets them cleaned monthly) kept on scooting in spite of all the cleaning. Turned out to be the parasites. I was kinda pissed they didn’t check for these sooner, but at least they’re not woovets, which there are plenty of around here–and everywhere I suspect.

As to wheat grass I personally know at least three people (all less than or about middle aged) who died of cancer in spite of the ingestion of amazing amounts of wheat grass juice. At least two of them stopped regular treatment before completion and I’m not sure about the third–she may have only picked up the woo after a “terminal” diagnosis. Even after I pointed this out to another community member, she only said that “maybe the wheat grass helped them live longer” (!)

Sadly, you cannot make this stuff up.

my little doxie who has had no end of trouble with her anal glands (and gets them cleaned monthly) kept on scooting in spite of all the cleaning. Turned out to be the parasites.

I am a bad person and I find Dorothy’s comment particularly a propos because it came right after the love-potion spammer.

Narad mate you’re having just way too much fun here now aren’t you?

More just following down diversion from a run-down sort of day. If I had more pep, I would have tried going all Ebola Monkey Man on the operation rather than sending off bland and effectively futile complaints to abuse queues.

Were the dropboxes smaller outfits, though, I might have gotten out the NOC phone list.

my little doxie who has had no end of trouble with her anal glands (and gets them cleaned monthly)

When one of the cats was having repeated issues with an abscessing anal sac, the vet mentioned that if it continued, a surgical approach might be necessary. When I inquired further as to what that would entail, he made a corkscrew gesture and the Victor Borge phonetic question-mark sound.

Be grateful he scoots outside.

Second that. Parasites aside, I can tell you from experience that if your dog does manage to unblock one or more of those glands by scooting, it can be a carpet-ending event.

Merri Grayce, my Lab-Pyrenees mix, sometimes gets a little blocked (I can tell because she smells worse for some reason). When I notice this, warm compresses seem to take care of the problem. Maybe I’m catching it early (or it’s because she’s not a little doggie).

Wow this has drifted far from topic…

Meanwhile, people here have raised money to help a young ovarian cancer patient to participate in an actual promising experimental treatment :

Notice that she is aware that this is a very harsh treatment, and that nobody has lied to her about it not being chemotherapy or it being “natural” and “non-toxic”.

Photons come down in the secondary stage, they hit the earth. They transmute into different frequencies.

This actually sounds a little like my brother’s PhD thesis, if you ran it through a blender with a book on transcendental meditation and also a bit of marketing crapola. (His thesis was about muons formed by the interaction of cosmic ray particles with the upper atmosphere.) He would laugh his butt off at this. 😀

@Calli – maybe you can get him to read and comment? I might not be very educated, but my brain loves reading smart stuff, anyhow.

Doctors are taught to use pharmaceuticals to treat symptoms. They never go to the root of the problem. Cancer is caused by an impaired immune system.
Hey, lets compromise the immune system with chemotherapy (mustard gas) treatments.

There are cures for many diseases.

The person that runs this website is clueless and uniformed. He seems to believe everything the TV, newspapers and government tells him.

Doctors are taught to use pharmaceuticals to treat symptoms. They never go to the root of the problem. Cancer is caused by an impaired immune system.

Oh, do go on.

Painful Truth: “Doctors are taught to use pharmaceuticals to treat symptoms”

Um, so you have no clue that the author of this blog is a surgeon?

(hint: click on the name under the title of the article)

@Painful Truth – if that really IS your name – please say how you know any statement in you message was true. Thanks!

The person that runs this website is clueless and uniformed. He seems to believe everything the TV, newspapers and government tells him.

Which is why he never criticizes Dr Oz, Jenny McArthy, Katie Couric, credulous newspaper articles or politicians. I am sure that for you truth is very painful indeed since you seem to avoid it completely.

Looking at your photo, I see why you hide behind a pseudonym, Orac. I presume research to you, means “checking out a website?” Heaven forbid it would take too much “science” to actually contact the people who BEAT CANCER (and not just for 5 years, as you like to pretend means beating cancer! – NOT!)

It’s pretty clear, Orac, who YOU serve. As a surgeon specializing in breast cancer, you stand to lose QUITE A BIT as more and more people turn from traditional “medicine” toward treatments that actually allow them to live, “cancer-free.” But you are beholden to the $500Bil Cancer Machine. And all that “medical” education you got would have been a waste.

It is the drug companies who pay your salary; why don’t you disclose how much they pay you? (Because oncologists make $1mil/yr – why change the status quo? (CHEMO is only 2% effective. But $1Mil goes into the pharm. co / & your pocket per cancer patient. And this profit is SHARED with the doctor, for all your “followers,” why may not have known.

You’ve done nothing to really understand what causes cancer (so it can be reversed.) And your brain cannot comprehend why our bodies become diseased, because you’ve already been “educated.” (medicine should only make new prescriptions to “treat diseases,” as has been dictated to you by the pharmaceutical companies.)

So you took a few courses in pharmacology and cellular biology- just enough to get yourself a license to practice medicine and get yourself some research grants. Enough money to single-handedly solve the problem, if that was ever a goal. Of course, that can clearly NEVER happen in your world, because you’d be out of a job.

How do you explain the scientific experiments with food & diet shown in Forks & Knives? Showing the increase in liver cancer with the introduction of western diet (especially pasteurized milk) in the Philippines, after the Germans confiscated their cattle? That’s documented proof that diet CAN and DOES reverse cancer, but of course why should you research THAT? It might upset your apple cart!

Wow. Insulting my looks. Very convincing. Who can stand against such an argument? What is that logical fallacy? Argumentum you so uglium?

In any case, could you introduce me to this horde of oncologists who make over $1 million a year? Because I don’t know any of them. But, then, I’m in academics. Wait, come to think of it, I don’t know any private practice oncologists who make anywhere near $1 million a year—or even half or even one-third of that. There is one exception of whom I’m aware but whom I don’t know, a guy who defrauded Medicaid and Medicare:

It was a case so unusual and egregious that it made international news.

Oh, and that bit about chemotherapy being only “two percent” effective is misinformation, a trope so hoary that I’ve given it a name. I’ve dubbed it the “two percent gambit”:

It turns out that chemotherapy does work, after all:

As for your comments about diet, none of that is “proof” that diet can and does reverse cancer. At best the evidence shows that diet can prevent cancer, but it’s not a panacea. Vegans still get cancer.


So, got any citations for your assertions, or are you just using the same old tired pseudoscientific tropes, pharma shill gambits, and ad hominems that have been PRATTed again and again?

Darn it Becky, would it have been asking too much for you to include the bit about chemo being the same thing as mustard gas, or about how doctors learn nothing about nutrition in medical school? Just one more sad, misinformed, predictable trope and I’d have had a cover-all in alt-med bingo.

You have to admit, Becky earns extra points for the bizarre assertion about

the increase in liver cancer with the introduction of western diet (especially pasteurized milk) in the Philippines, after the Germans confiscated their cattle

Was that before or after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbour?

Oh, geez. How did I miss that, WWII buff that I am and all? I must have been too focused on the pure stupidity of the combined million dollar two percent gambit.

I *think* Becky is conflating some of the already-distorted factoids presented in the film “Forks over Knives”, even if she can’t get the name of the film right. There is a segment there about diseases of affluence in the Philippines, and another segment about changes in the Norwegian diet during the Nazi occupation. Where the “confiscation of cattle” came from, and how it led to an increase in dairy consumption, is anyone’s guess.

Perhaps she is trolling. It is hard to believe that stupidity alone could account for such a confluence of wrongness.

Clueless and uniformed? Orac never told us he’d enlisted

This is clearly an innocent typo; Painful Truth meant to claim that “the person that runs this website” is unformed.

I have been disappointed with the tedious trolls we have had lately and now it appears that my birthday present has arrived a day early. Such fractal wrong is a delight to behold. The increase in dairy consumption in the Philippines after the Germans confiscated their cattle definitely beats Delysid’s claim that 100 million Americans are on welfare.

Ms. Weaver: “Looking at your photo, I see why you hide behind a pseudonym, Orac.”

Well I think he is fine look plexiglass box with blinking lights.

Also, there is a teeny tiny intelligence test on this blog. It is how fast you can learn the worst kept secret on the internets. I actually posted a hint in my previous comment on this page.

I am afraid you failed.

I found out that “secret” by accident…I believe StumbleUpon was involved, I landed at the NSSSOB, thought “hey, this sounds familiar,” then this blog was mentioned and I felt clever for three seconds or so.

What I have not yet found out is if, and if applicable how, I can get a pony for this. I know it’s a long shot, but hey, pony.

ebrillblaiddes, it has been made even easier since our benevolent blinking light plexiglass box overlord modified some verbiage included in my hint.

I will never cease to be amused by people who berate others for being brainwashed and believing everything they read, when they have clearly accepted without question a huge steaming pile of absolute nonsense that half an hour’s serious Googling would have exposed as such.

Wake up Painful Truth, Becky and other CAM sheeple, you are being lied to to by nutritionists, supplement pushers and naturopaths! Do your own research, preferably on PubMed, and don’t believe anything you are told, find out the facts for yourselves.

Ms Ainscough is going ahead with the tour shilling her book, so is quite the media darling this week. The Sydney Morning Herald has published the most obscenely unbalanced article, that was rightly lambasted in the comments. I believe the link to the official stance by Cancer Australia was added after the outcry.
She appeared on a morning TV segment yesterday. Note how heavily her arm is bandaged.

it appears it goes beyond just “heavily bandaged–look at the fixed flexion in her left index and especially left middle fingers: stenosing tenosynovitis (aka “trigger finger”). Her left hand’s function is significantly impaired.

I’m reading other observations that it may be a lymphoedema – type bandage. Which is not a good sign.

Thanks for the links, janerella.

I had to watch a few minutes of the video till I finally saw the bandage. Most of the pictures show her wearing long sleeves or are cut off so you can’t see her arms.

Also, she doesn’t seem to use the left arm for holding or moving things.

Evidently, her body’s “innate healing ability” hasn’t healed her arm enough for her to show the results.

@squirrelelite – given that she hasn’t had Chemo for, what, years now…how can she continue to blame that for the deteriorating condition of her arm? That just doesn’t make sense.

@janerella, I’d like to thank you for the links as well.

As angry as some of the absurd and potentially extremely dangerous advice the Ainscough woman is still giving on her website (& no doubt in the book) makes me – I still find it impossible not to feel desperately sorry for her on some level.

Of course, as I mentioned in another thread it is this very fact which has thus far rendered her immune to awkward questions from anyone in the Australian media. Imagine, if you will, the probable reaction if questions about the bandage and lack of movement in her left arm (or the death or her mother?) were asked on The Morning Show as it went live to air…

As an aside, tickets to see Ms Ainscough speak on her book tour apparently cost $99AUD or a mere “steal” at $85 pp for groups of more than four. I doubt that includes the book itself, somehow.

Hi guys
this young lady is still alive (stephanie o halloran)
My heart breaks for her as i also don’t believe in alt med
i truly hope of course some miracle happens but obviously she should have continued chemotherapy to squeeze as much out of life as possible and maybe even exceed the doctors prediction of 9 months to live with chemotherapy.
Just thought id post that she is alive as i live by her and there is so more local news about her current condition i can only hope she is doing ok

Hold on. You are calling the natural “mind body spirit” healing approach that the Hipppocrates Institute practices “Quackery”?? What they are doing is helping people take control over their own health—which is the exact opposite of what conventional doctors do. Which is exactly WHY so many people are dying of cancer! Mainstream healthcare advocates treating the disease from the outside-in with quackery such as radiation. How does it make sense to weaken a body that is sick?? Dr. Brian Clements methods encourage people to change their health from within, using a strong positive mindset, powerful, nutrient rich foods grown organically on their premises, clean, herbal supplements stringently screened by Dr Clement and his wife Dr. Anna Maria Clement, and other spa and detox treatments. The treatments are designed to relax and promote healing. I brought my mother there 4 years ago in a wheelchair. She had been told by a bunch of total morons that she had to do chemo or she would die. She had skin cancer, psoriasis over 80% of her body, rheumatoid arthritis, heart problems, kidney stones, cysts on her thyroid, HPV, and the list goes on. She was miserable, in great pain and wanted to die. After one week of Dr Clements program , I could already see a difference in her health. Her skin began to heal, she had a bit of her color and sparkle back. Every week she stayed there she got better and better. Her skin cleared, her arthritis disappeared and she was out of the wheelchair. With the help of the nutrient -rich foods, the powerful wheatgrass, the wonderful, attentive and loving staff, no harsh medications, and a range of helpful therapies including psycho-therapy to strengthen her mind and create positive beliefs and give her a sense of hope and reason to live—–she HEALED. ON HER OWN. Without doing ANY radiation, without ANY prescription drugs. By the end of a few weeks, she was doing yoga, biking around the campus, making friends and I’ve never seen her better. She is 75 years old. The truth is, people just want a magic pill to get better. They don’t want to do the work it takes to take control over your own health. Insurance companies don’t cover amazing programs like the one at Hippocrates. The truth is people are DYING and they don’t need to. The founder of medicine himself, Hippocrates said Let thy food be thy medicine. He did not advocate drugs. I’ve seen people who do the whole 3 week program there reclaim their lives. So before you spout off on “Quackery” I suggest you find an alternative that actually WORKS. Because chemotherapy and radiation are the biggest forms of quackery I’ve ever seen. It’s a giant, controlling, money-guzzling machine and it.doesn’ If you want to heal disease, you have to get to the bottom of the disease. Change your eating habits, check your water supply, detox toxins and heavy metals from your system, and most of all, limit stress and change your mind set to a positive, pro-active one that makes you feel strong, not weak. And my God, welcome a little bit of good old common sense back in your lives. How is a bunch of chemicals going to heal anyone? Our bodies are like a car in a way. If you dump shitty fuel into a car what happens?

Dr. Brian Clements methods encourage people to change their health from within, using a strong positive mindset, powerful, nutrient rich foods grown organically on their premises, clean, herbal supplements stringently screened by Dr Clement and his wife Dr. Anna Maria Clement, and other spa and detox treatments. The treatments are designed to relax and promote healing.

And if there’s no evidence that those treatments actually produce the results claimed for them – which there isn’t – then they are quackery and it doesn’t matter what they were ‘designed’ to do. If you disagree, show us the scientific studies, because anecdotes aren’t evidence.


First, I’m glad to hear your mother is doing well and wish her all the best.

However, i have to second Antaeus Feldspar’s request for data that says that these treatments provide a clinically significant benefit for, say, cancer. In particular, it would be useful to know:
– what the disease being treated is
– what the treatment for that disease is
– what the success rate is for that treatment
– how that compares to the current best standard of care.

Also, you mention two specific things I’d like more information for:
1. Is there good evidence that a positive attitude has an impact on the course of an actual disease? I freely admit that a positive attitude may help you stay with a course of treatment or make your life more pleasant in general. However, what does the evidence show about limiting stress and improving attitude as it relates to either avoiding or curing disease?
2. You mention toxins. What are these toxins (chemical names would be best)? Where did they come from? How are they measured? What is the safe level of these in the body? What is the process to detox, and how has this been shown to work?


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