When actress Farrah Fawcett recently sought out
�alternative� cancer treatment, she was greeted with predictable media scorn.
For example, ABCNews.com (October 3) characterized such a choice as a
�last-ditch attempt to find a cure, one that brings the patient into a murky
world of offshore clinics and unproven courses of treatment that are scorned by
the medical establishment.�
Speaking of the �medical establishment,� ABC News quoted
Barrie Cassileth, chief of the Integrative Medicine Department at Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Cassileth said patients pursuing �alternative�
approaches are �signing their own death certificate.� Dr. Cassileth added:
"I would say they are wasting time they could otherwise spend happier and
with their families."
Almost 600,000 American die of cancer each year�roughly 1500
per day�and a new case is diagnosed every seven seconds. Yet, the Western
medical priesthood stigmatizes alternatives and aggressively defends its Holy
Trinity of cancer treatment: surgery, radiation, and of course, chemotherapy.
�We've been told that it's only the treatments of orthodox
medicine that have passed careful scientific scrutiny involving double-blind
placebo-controlled studies,� write Gary Null and Dr. Debora Rasio.
�Concomitantly, we've been told that alternative or complementary health care
has no science to back it up, only anecdotal evidence. These two ideas have led
to the widely accepted �truths� that anyone offering an alternative or
complementary approach is depriving patients of the proven benefits of safe and
effective care, and that people not only don't get well with alternative care,
but are actually endangered by it.�
This includes the doctors themselves. As reported by John
Robbins in Reclaiming Our Health, the
percentage of oncologists who, if they had cancer, would not participate in
chemotherapy trials due to its �ineffectiveness and its unacceptable toxicity�
is 75 percent. Conversely, the percentage of Americans with cancer that receive
chemotherapy is�you guessed it: 75 percent.
By odd coincidence, there was another October 3 ABCNews.com
story on the topic of cancer. It seems a Long Island woman was told she had
breast cancer, underwent a double mastectomy, and then learned that the lab
made a mistake. She didn't have cancer. Deemed a �mix-up,� the whole thing was
blamed on �a technician who admitted cutting corners while labeling tissue
Obviously, �murky� and �unproven� are in the eye of the
beholder. But until American health care consumers move toward awareness,
self-education, and prevention, all
they�re doing is debating which pen to use when �signing their own death
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at www.mickeyz.net.