As long-time readers know, I take issue with a number of high-profile “wellness warriors” and anti-science advocates who claim to offer “natural,” “holistic,” or simply “alternative” treatments that can cure cancer or prevent it entirely. Chief among these are Chris Wark and Ty Bollinger, two people with absolutely no scientific or medical training and tons of bad advice. They are part of a large network of disreputable and largely discredited hucksters, many of whom get by on their claims by offering just the tiniest shred of truth mixed in with their hyperbole and insidious messages. They thrive in our increasingly anti-intellectual culture, where headlines and sound bytes sway their customers and their “fan base” into believing that there is substance to their messages. This is why, more than ever, it is essential to take a critical approach to all the medical headlines that are presented, and especially those making extraordinary claims.
The well-established and professionally vetted website, Healthline, has a very good primer on the subject of spotting fake medical news. It could hardly be more topical. There is nary a day that goes by when some website or other isn’t making absurd claims about the latest health craze or danger. Whether it is bloating the risks of GMO foods or misrepresenting the cancer risk from eating red or processed meat, there are more sources out there in the ether intent upon cherry picking data or simply removing it from context in order to sell their point than there are serious outlets for the reporting of science news. Part of the problem with this is that science news isn’t usually considered very sexy or commercial, but a bigger problem is that it is generally difficult for most people to fully understand.
And capitalizing on that, we have opportunists like Chris Wark, a self-proclaimed guru on defeating cancer without chemotherapy. Duly note, of course, that Mr. Wark was cured through surgical intervention and, while chemotherapy was recommended as an adjunctive treatment to lower the risk of future metastasis, there was no indication that he had any actual, existing metastases that needed treatment. To put it bluntly, he was one of the lucky colon cancer patients who had it all taken out without any recurrence. This had nothing to do with whether or not he received chemotherapy, and there is no way of knowing how he would have responded to such treatment or whether his “lifestyle” choices have had any bearing whatsoever on his post-surgical health. Continue reading Common Sense, Clarity and Wellness Warrior Lies
The following post is the third in the ongoing Myth of the Wellness Warrior series. The previous posts were The Myth of the Wellness Warrior and Myth of the Wellness Warrior, Part 2: Supplements, Denial and the Birthday Problem.
How do you know who to trust?
One of the great wedges used by the anti-medical and anti-science proponents of these alternative treatments is the suggestion that the mainstream medical community cannot be trusted because they are all about the profits and not about actually curing disease. The suggestion is that Big Pharma is something of a shadow organization, bribing doctors and hospitals in order to maximize their corporate wealth — and there is just enough truth to that for it to be believable. The conspiracy generally lumps in a wide range of health practitioners, insinuating that MDs are systemically part of the problem and that anyone who speaks out against potentially deadly alternatives is automatically a shill for pharmaceutical companies. I get that one leveled at me from time to time, in spite of the fact that I advocate for a well-rounded and well-researched approach to personal care.
As the alternative crowd is fond of saying, if you want to know who to trust, you should follow the money. See what any particular site has to gain for spreading its message and, when possible, look at personal motivations from the authors. I have been fairly transparent in this regard, but perhaps I could go farther with my history. I am no “True Believer” in the medical establishment, at least not insofar as I put blind faith in doctors to automatically do what is right and best for every patient. I do think that most doctors genuinely try and that they believe they offer the best solutions. But I have also witnessed patients being treated like cattle, given no real consideration, and pushed toward drugs or treatments they probably neither needed not benefited from. And I fervently believe that my own father was pushed toward an early death by being overly and improperly medicated by too many “specialists” who failed to communicate with one another or fully attempt an understanding of what was going on with his health. Continue reading The Truth About the Truth About Cancer – Myth of the Wellness Warrior Part 3
I am speaking at the First Annual Breathe Free Walk to End Lung Cancer sponsored by the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. The walk is designed to raise awareness of Lung Cancer and funding for research. Following is a transcript of my brief comments to take place before the walk.
November 6, 2016 : Opening Remarks for the Breathe Free Walk to End Lung Cancer, Fort Mill, South Carolina
I’m pretty darn happy to be here. Two years ago today, I was diagnosed with inoperable metastatic adenocarcinoma, more commonly referred to under the umbrella term of Stage IV Lung Cancer. As a relatively young non-smoker who ate healthy food and led an active lifestyle, took my vitamins and got plenty of sleep, you might imagine that this diagnosis was a bit of a surprise. But if you’ve followed my story on my blog, as I know some of you have, then you also know that when I started this journey I did so with a substantial amount of faith. That same faith is shared by the organizations sponsoring this event, and by proxy, it is shared by you who have come here today. And that is faith in modern medical science.
We all have faith in lots of things. And there are different types of faith, to be certain. Spiritual faith often plays a key role in the emotional health of patients, perhaps making it possible for them to endure difficult treatments or to remind them that there is something greater of which they are an important part. Faith in our friends and family can be essential as we worry about things we may not be able to take care of on our own, even for those of us who have a hard time leaning on others. These expressions of faith, they allow us to trust in some kind of a safety net that will be there in the event that we are pushed or slip or even jump headlong. And undergoing treatment can feel any of those ways. Continue reading The Breathe Free Walk to End Lung Cancer
I’ve gotten a lot of good advice from well-informed people over the past few months. And I mean that. As I have discussed the factors of my cancer with peers, a lot of truly interesting and promising information has come out. Of course, there has been a lot of well-intentioned advice that has come around, too, without any of what I would call “proper vetting.” While I appreciate all of the advice, because it truly appears to be heartfelt and sincere, I’ll admit to it causing an overload of research. This is especially true of the well-intentioned variety, which I separate from the well-informed not so much based on the desire to help as by the ability to be helpful. Continue reading Well Intentioned Advice, Generally Speaking Ain’t So Grand
As much as I am inclined not to do this sort of thing, I will occasionally share info about companies I actually use. This is one of them: Overnight Prints. The pricing is pretty awesome, especially when compared to the local printers I was just bidding out and the big online behemoth, VistaPrint, which I have used for “free” items in the past… They seem to run lots of specials, but the best part appears to be simply the superior product at a highly competitive price.
Click here to check out Business Cards, Postcards, Flyers, Brochures, Letterhead , Greeting Cards & Envelopes Overnight.
I’m also a fan of Moo, but they tend to be a lot more expensive (if still very cool), so I may write about them briefly another time.
In the meantime, if I MUST promote myself offline, then I’m currently getting my printing done here.
End of the plug.
Fear mongering, as you should know by now, is one of the top ways that people or corporations get you to buy. This is true politically as well as economically, so it is always worth reminding ourselves that panic is a reaction that circumvents intellect. Sometimes it is certainly warranted, but (hopefully) not often. So, when being approached with an idea or a product that is presented from a fear-based perspective, always think twice and look closely.
Here is an interesting example that I came across online: Survival Joe’s Newsletter. It even comes with one of those handy newfangled barcode links for those of you who have a free smartphone in your hand as you read this.
Continue reading Panic: Very Unhealthy
Key Word Filler
It’s a glaring bit of reality that most – AND I DO MEAN MOST – blogs on this InterWeb Highway exist only to direct you to links intended to help their owners profit somehow. I’m not quite sure what makes the technology tick on these things, but when I am researching one topic or another for valid reasons entirely my own, I am disproportionately directed to web sites that make no sense whatsoever. These are “robo-sites” that have been culled by a computer program in order to appear original, or compiled by some worker in a far-off land who may or may not have an actual grasp of the language in which the web page is “written.”
You might even see a random list of keywords inserted for no obvious reason. Here is one such list, carefully designed for potential links. Continue reading Loaded Marketing Blog Posts, Just Plain Dangerous