The Truth About the Truth About Cancer – Myth of the Wellness Warrior Part 3

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.

When I began this blog, I was also fully into finding natural solutions to health issues and exposing things like the dangers of MSG and artificial food dye. Admittedly, I was sucked into that crusade through personal bias. My daughter had reactions to food dye that were easily observable. Bright yellow foods made her feel a little sick and would change the consistently — and color — of her poop. If we changed the brand, for instance, of her macaroni and cheese to one with virtually identical ingredients, but with natural coloring, the problem went away. It was a highly repeatable experiment. Red dye caused noticeable changes in her behavior and, while that may have been exasperated by the greater amount of sugar uptake associated with many of these red foods, it was also something that could be easily and repeatedly verified. Monosodium glutamate was an easy target as well, with several people in my life experiencing headaches associated with the additive as well as possible changes in heart rate.

My desire to uncover the truth behind food dye, MSG, or any other potentially dangerous food additives led me into the rabbit hole of the Mercola and Natural News web sites, among others. I initially took these sites as authoritative, and in fact found some very useful and verifiable information on them. I even saw a physician whom I highly respected (and still do) reference the Mercola site for information on an issue he was concerned about. The problem with these sites is not so much that they are entirely useless or that they don’t have some good information on them — it is that they have far too much misinformation mixed in and that their overriding message is both detrimental and dangerous, especially when it comes to serious conditions such as cancer and their predilection toward promoting suspicion through conspiracy theories.

While I dug deep into the messages on these alternative sites, when I believed they were merely “alternative perspectives” still rooted in science, I also began searching deeper to uncover the basis of the claims made in their many articles. What I discovered was that these and similar sites mostly fed themselves. That is to say, the supporting links and so-called studies were linked back and forth between websites with similar agendas and rarely out toward medical or scientific resources that actually supported their conclusions.

When an actual study was referenced, if there was any link to the source material at all, it would often contradict the very conclusion suggested by the article on the “alternative” health site. This troubled me and encouraged me to pursue more. Ultimately, while I still try to avoid products with MSG, because I feel it is a lazy and unnecessary food additive, I no longer believe it is any more dangerous than hundreds of other natural ingredients that can cause adverse reactions in a small number of sensitive individuals. Certainly, it is less dangerous than the high levels of salt and sugar in processed foods, an area where the real science also agrees, and offers proof. As for the food dye, while my daughter has essentially outgrown her sensitivity to the various dyes we find in most foods, I don’t see any point in exposing her (or anyone) to them on a regular basis. The science may be slim in that area, but I continue to advocate for avoiding artificial dyes, especially for young children.

Scientific inquiry is all about evolving perspective, being willing to adjust conclusions as new information is presented — and vetted.

Following the money is still valid. What various sites have to gain for disseminating their information is important to look at. Mercola, for example, sells tons of supplements with often wild claims. The Natural News website is full of ads and affiliate links to many like-minded sites that sell various supplements and protocols. Follow the money on my blog here and you will find another story. I used to have ads and affiliate links but, aside from one for Amazon for a children’s book I wrote, I pulled all my advertising and health-related affiliate links long ago. In fact, this blog is kept alive through occasional donations and subscriptions to my feed on Patreon, where I also publish a related podcast a couple of times each month. All I am selling here is my personal story.

So if it isn’t the money, what do I stand to gain? This is a reasonable question. I don’t get free drugs from shilling for Big Pharma. But I am a cancer patient whose statistical prognosis is, shall we say, pretty poor. So it is in my vested interest to discover all the information that I can about viable cancer treatments. This blog is full of information on my cancer history, but since I realize many readers never get past a single post, I will summarize a little right here.

Comparing scans to show the tumor shrinking and lung expanding.

I have provided scans, documented plenty of my visits to the clinic in photographs and otherwise shown myself throughout this process over the past two and a half years — quite an effort to propagate a hoax, if there was one. Meanwhile, I have also offered video of myself going through the experience of chemotherapy, not all of it wonderful.

My cancer, Stage 4 Adenocarcinoma of the lung, is not cured, though it is in relative stasis, held in check by ongoing chemo treatments that have already seen me pass the statistical prognosis for my disease. And, aside from the cancer, I am in relatively good health.

March 3, 2015: I like it so much, I’m back for more!

But I know it won’t last forever. Eventually, chemotherapy stops working. There are other drugs that may offer the solution I will belooking for on the market and more in the pipeline, but that does not remove my vested interest in looking at all options and exploring outside of the box. I keep an open mind and I keep hoping for some real news that will shake the establishment. I also have no tolerance for predatory charlatans. When I find them (or they find me through their targeted advertising, as Ty Bollinger did via Facebook), it is hard for me to remain silent. Out of solidarity for other patients struggling with their own treatments or just to find the path they will follow for their own care, I feel it is important to share what I have learned. That is all I am doing. Plus, selfishly, I want to be able to sleep at night with a clear conscience.

[I want to clearly note, as well, that this post is in no way intended to denigrate the various aspects of faith or spirituality that many patients find useful or even essential to their process of treatment. When I discuss faith or belief here, in context, I am referencing those terms only in relation to science or medicine, or to the pseudo-scientific “alternatives” being examined. I do believe a healthy spiritual life can add to a patient’s quality of life.]

Vetting the Truth Out of a Sea of “Alternative Facts”

I had not intended to write anything controversial for a while, desiring to focus on spreading a positive approach to treatment. Then I asked myself, why should it be controversial to encourage better research, to point out errors of fact, reveal misleading or outright fabricated claims, or otherwise try to get my readers to face issues like their own confirmation bias. Shouldn’t it be more controversial to just let a lie go unchecked? Shouldn’t it be more controversial to agree to a culture in which inquiry is considered a negative trait? Well, I do not agree to that kind of a culture and I hope that no one else will, either. Skeptical inquiry is essential to a healthy society — just as denial and blind faith are detrimental to a society’s health. Isn’t open-minded skepticism one of the most positive ways to approach issues? Indeed, if I want to spread positivity, I should be doing so through a concerted effort to reveal greater truths.

Recently, I dear friend of many years expressed some concern when I mentioned that I had debunked statements made by Ty Bollinger, purveyor of “The Truth About Cancer” on YouTube, expensive DVDs and in some self-published books and such. Bollinger is part of a network of alt-health gurus, science deniers, and wellness warriors that utilize a parcel of truth to sell greater lies, pointing the finger at established treatments and claiming those to be ostensibly fake, a conspiracy against the patient for profit, and then providing their own solutions of “real” cures, for a fee. Sound familiar? It is a tactic used frequently to legitimize fake news, something that has become quite common recently. If you are pushing a false narrative and you are called on it, apparently just pointing the finger at the source identifying the issue and accusing that source of being fake news, very loudly, is enough for many people to simply believe the side they want to believe without any further investigation.

I don’t buy into the post-truth idea. I do believe that most people are still capable of recognizing falsehoods and inflated claims and outright fabrications and even simple misrepresentation of the facts. Sometimes, however, even the brightest people may need a nudge to look more closely. I’m no different. It is easy to fall in with a source that you trust for whatever reason and then not question whether a story is fully vetted (or even vetted at all). Even venerable outlets like The New York Times have had scandals where a reporter was discovered making up stories in order to get his headlines. Fortunately, such media giants also have internal policing, responsible editors and serious professional ramifications for letting things like that through, so it doesn’t happen very often and is rarely printed intentionally by legitimate news publications.

Mistakes are correctable, and news outlets correct themselves daily — the 24 hour news cycle forces a rush to publication that prevents proper vetting and often even proper copyediting, all to the detriment of readers or viewers, but the best outlets do their best to catch errors and fix stories as quickly as possible. Fake news outlets, or those that simply want to push a narrow agenda and don’t really care about news, do not act this way. In fact, they will continue to circulate stories that have been proven false, even build upon them, and often never bother finding a story’s source as long as it plays to the bias of their audience. We cannot let those outlets drive the narrative. Not for general news, certainly not for cancer treatment.

But my friend’s point was valid. If I was going to “debunk” someone’s claims, it should be easy to separate the fact from the lie, or at least contextualize the information in a way that clearly explains why it was misrepresented. So I am going to do that here. I’m not planning to tackle everything in those videos, but I am going to show why I consider Ty Bollinger to be a fraud who is, at the very least, pushing a dangerous mix of misinformation, fabrication and lies which could be directly harmful to people who follow the advice he spreads.

Overcoming Confirmation Bias Through Empathy and Perspective

It is important here that I explain something about my process. Very simply put, I apply this to any argument or idea where I find myself inclined to oppose what is being presented. If I am going to take the process seriously, if I care about my own position and want to ensure that it is the best position for the topic at hand, I realize that I need to approach the discussion in as unbiased a way as possible. To that end, I attempt to make a critical assumption about whatever topic I am dealing with: I might be wrong. I encourage everyone to do this when approaching an argument for which they are certain they have the right answer, or listening to a point of view that goes against the grain of what they believe. For the duration, assume that what you think you know is wrong and that maybe this new information is going to be the answer — but then examine it critically, scientifically and logically to see if it holds up. If it does, maybe it is a better explanation than what you already have, or maybe it is a more correct way of looking at things.

On the other hand, if there are logical fallacies or gaps in the data or the ideas simply do not pass scientific muster, this will become much more clear when it is addressed seriously and free of bias. I’m not perfect in applying this approach every time I am confronted with something that I am predisposed to disagree with — and part of this is because I have already confronted so many of these issues that it becomes tiresome to be repetitive on similar topics time and again. However, I still try and give this process my best effort.

I should also note, in an argument of any sort, this is the best way to find common ground. Without some basis of commonality, it is difficult to form a productive discussion. Such discussions should be, after all, a way to make connections and hopefully bring both parties to a greater understanding of a complete picture. Without an openness to the other perspective, from both parties, there can be no constructive change. Sadly, when confronted with a “True Believer,” it is almost impossible to bring that perspective around to anything that confronts the dogma behind that belief.

In Ty Bollinger’s video series, as in his other work and as evidenced by virtually everything on his “Truth About Cancer” website, he plays heavily to the “True Believers” and their dogma that mainstream medicine cannot be trusted, and that a “Cure for Cancer” is being hushed up — even though there are plenty of people essentially shouting their cures from the proverbial hilltops with some loud consistency. The very fact that these videos have been watched millions of times on YouTube is evidence of this fabrication — nothing “revealed” here is being in any way silenced or kept out of the public’s view. Quite the opposite, as books and videos and radio appearances and televised programs have offered every conceivable media outlet for these perspectives for many years (heck, Bollinger was on the Dr. Oz show). The lack of their embrace, therefore, must rest on the efficacy of these promised cures and the legitimacy of the experts who make the claims.

The Lie in Plain Sight

Interestingly enough, Bollinger cynically uses quotes from famous intellectuals to reinforce the highly anti-intellectual content of his videos. At the start of the first episode, there is this quote from Soren Kierkegaard: “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” The beginning of the video for the second episode contains this quote from Mark Twain: “It’s easier to fool people…than to convince them they have been fooled.” Perhaps these are meant to be little winks at the skeptics who would dare to suggest that Bollinger’s viewers could be persuaded that they had been duped. Bollinger appears to be using them to prove his honesty to the viewer, positioning them both in a union of righteous truthiness. Of course, the quotes are truly ironic, because in both of them it is the negative aspect that these videos represent, the aspect of being fooled and the viewer believing that which is not true, while simultaneously reinforcing the refusal to believe what actually is true. It would be funny if it wasn’t so repulsive and vulgar.

The Experts

Here are a couple of the most obvious “experts” that Bollinger interviews who were particularly easy to discredit: Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, M.D., Ph.D., Mike Adams (who claims the moniker of “Health Ranger”), and Chris Wark (who claims that carrot juice cured his colon cancer, after he had it completely removed through surgery). I am going to stick with these three because they exemplify the range of expertise that Bollinger assembled. Certainly he has more than his share of fake doctors — several whose doctorates are non-medical and at least one that was obtained from a correspondence course with a “university” that had its accreditation revoked because it was so lax in administering degrees). I’m including links below that are good for following up on why much of what is in these videos is completely without merit, and some of what is touched on in those links is the overall lack of credibility that these various experts actually have. It should be noted that not a single legitimate oncologist or working research scientist is interviewed for the series.

Who is Stanislaw Burzynski?

In medicine, one of the markers for exciting or promising new treatments that researchers watch is the amount of time since anything new was published to add to the body of knowledge. That is, if a promising study was performed and it showed clear potential for a therapy, it would be expected that there would be a follow up within a reasonably short period of time. Often, there is a buildup of studies, with multiple researchers tackling a new concept or approach, and this will result in clinical trials. Or not. Because sometimes what happens is that it turns out there is an error in the approach, something fundamentally wrong is discovered in the underlying theory, or it simply does not work as expected. In such instances, the literature abruptly stops coming. Scientists move on to things that may have real benefit, abandoning what simply does not work or hold promise.

Sometimes those proposed treatments just disappear. Sometimes they show up in Alternative Medicine with the old studies as “proof” that they are serious science. Sometimes the researcher behind the original concept simply will not let go or decides to capitalize on his or her creation for profit rather than continue subjecting it to scientific rigor.

Stanislaw Burzynski, M.D., Ph.D., does have an actual medical degree (which he received in Poland in 1967) and he runs a clinic in Houston, TX.. The “Ph.D.” after his name is under some question. He has recently been investigated by the FDA http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2013/ucm378237.htm for his conduct during clinical trials and the abuse of the clinical trial system dating from 2012. (He had an earlier run-in, too, back in 2009.) Specifically, the FDA objected to how Burzynski failed to protect his human subjects. While this alone does not prove he is unethical, it does raise some very serious red flags about his process, especially when it is pointed out that he misrepresented the results of his trials by incorrectly classifying subjects as having had a “complete response” to his therapy. He also made inaccurate claims of partial response for other test subjects, as well as for subjects he claimed had stable disease after the trial. Worse, it was clear that Burzynski failed to report adverse events that were experienced by a test subject. This is completely unacceptable in the clinical trial process, where patient welfare must be monitored and reported upon fully and where adverse reactions are noted for followup study.

Beyond a lack of accurate reporting on the success of the trial, Burzynski is also revealed to have allowed repeated overdosing of patients during the trial. Although it is a violation of informed consent agreements for patients participating in trials, Burzynski also failed to inform participants that he would be billing them until after the trial was in process.

It could be argued that this was just sloppy and perhaps unethical, but does not necessarily negate the value of what he was researching. For that, we need to look more closely at Antineoplaston Biochemistry, the basis for his cancer research. We also have to consider whether his published work, just because he has published a lot of it, validates the work itself. After all, if the work holds promise, then other researchers should be able to independently replicate and verify the processes and conclusions that the original research put forth. While Burzynski makes bold claims, it appears that other scientists do not agree that his data supports those claims.

Burzynski’s pursuit of a cancer cure began in the mid-1970s, based on an idea he had of what cause spontaneous remissions in cancer. That idea, however, has never been shown to actually work in controlled research environments. It stems from a notion that peptides in urine would contain a compound that “normalizes” cancer cells. Burzynski’s pursuit of this over several decades led the National Cancer Institute in the US and the Japanese National Cancer Institute, as well as Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals, to test his protocol and the two drugs he created from urine peptides. They were unable to replicate his claims. A layman-friendly breakdown of the research timeline can be found here: https://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/burzynski1.html

Admittedly, the Quackwatch website has a bias against what it perceives as quackery. Some people may choose to disregard it offhand because they are opposed to the term, “quack,” as divisive in this era of “alternate truth,” much like some people may be opposed to the word “debunk.” While I assert that facts are facts regardless of how someone may want to spin the information, sometimes it is good to position data from a source that those inclined to disbelieve Quackwatch might agree with. To that end, I am also referencing the Alternative and CAM friendly website of Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.

Dr. Weil has written about the history and viability of Burzynski’s protocol as well. http://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/cancer/antineoplastons-a-bogus-cancer-treatment/

According to Weil, the FDA forced Burzynski to shut down a clinical trial he had been running after the death of a 6-year-old boy. Meanwhile, the Texas Medical Board charged him with marketing his therapies with false claims. Weil also points out that Burzynski makes claims about the number of cancer patients he has treated without providing any supporting evidence of success. Weil’s recommendation is to avoid this type of treatment, based on the lack of understanding about how the drugs actually are supposed to work within the human body, a lack of any information on success rates for patients and over three decades during which to have compiled and published reliable data on the bio-mechanical process that “normalizes” cancer cells as well as the long-term survival rates of patients. Because Burzynski has refused to provide data supporting his claims of helping patients, aside from his failed clinical trials that actually disprove his theories, it is difficult to even consider him as a reliable source of information, much less a potential resource for a cure.

A common argument against traditional medicine is that it is all part of a for-profit system that puts money before patient care. Bollinger puts this idea forward quite often, pitting the evils of greedy pharmaceutical companies and greedy doctors against the innocent patient. As a cancer patient on regular chemotherapy with reasonable insurance (I have an HMO through an employer-provided plan), I can attest to my personal costs being in the hundreds of dollars every month, with occasional months that are higher. It is expensive and by no means is it easy to afford — and there are some months where the costs will run into the thousands, and many where my payments fall behind the billing. Cancer is financially difficult, it is expensive and it is a heavy burden even with good insurance. But Burzynski’s clinic makes my mainstream medical care look like a bargain. His clinic charges between $7,000 and $9,500 per month for his antineoplaston therapy, administered under the guise of a clinical trial, and it is unlikely that health insurance plans would reimburse for any of this because it is part of an unproven therapy. The takeaway here is that Burzynski is in this for the money.

And if anyone has concerns that the FDA is in the pocket of Big Pharma and, therefore, has a vested interest in shutting down Burzynski and his clinic, that whole conspiracy theory falls apart with the astounding lack of action that the FDA actually took after condemning the clinical trials it has investigated. While a “partial clinical hold” was put on the clinic following the 2012 death of the aforementioned child patient, that hold was subsequently lifted. It amounted to little more than a proverbial slap on the wrist. The FDA, therefore, failed in its purpose to protect patients from predatory clinics and questionable treatments — in spite of obvious ethics violations in how the clinical trials were being run and who was overseeing them. https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-texas-medical-board-vs-stanislaw-burzynski-2014-edition/

It should be noted here that Burzynski is not now, nor ever has been, a board certified oncologist. Beyond that, he has no real training in cancer medicine, has never undergone a residency for internal medicine and did not gain any sort of training related to cancer treatment prior to deciding to become an “expert” in the field. His only experience prior to imagining himself as a medical savior of some sort came from a thesis he wrote for college in the 60s and a one-year university study dealing with how peptides affected cancer cells in a Petri dish. The study was not interesting enough to get follow-up funding and what was ostensibly just a student project ended — but it gave Burzynski the germ of his idea on how to cure cancer, one that never particularly developed beyond the narrow view of his student years. Therefore, it should be no surprise that when his cases are examined to see whether his ongoing clinical trials are handled in a scientfically appropriate manner, they come up lacking. The Texas Medical Board case in 2014 revealed that Burzyniski did not even perform the minimum biopsies required to identify the type of cancer prior to initiating treatment. In ordinary cancer medicine, this would be considered obvious malpractice. Beyond that, however, clinical trials absolutely require tissue biopsies to be performed. Because Burzynski operates under the guise of ongoing clinical trials, the fact that he skirts this requirement invalidates his actual work. Not that he has ever shown evidence that his trials are successful. For more on the life and career of Burzynski, read this: http://www.csicop.org/si/show/stanislaw_burzynski_four_decades_of_an_unproven_cancer_cure

Now, one of the more interesting things to reveal about the Burzynski Clinic in light of Ty Bollinger’s presentation on this far-reaching conspiracy to keep cures away from patients and force them into the painful grip of chemotherapy, et al, is that the Burzynski Clinic actually uses many of those same chemotherapy drugs that patients are subjected to in mainstream medicine. Burzynski is touted as having a less-toxic “cure” for cancer, but in reality, his own creation is also known to be toxic in roughly the same way as standard chemotherapy, only without the proven benefits. Typical of alternative medical spin, Bollinger selectively damns things that are known to work while promoting specious claims from an unqualified source.

[Even Burzynski’s long-time lawyer, Richard Jaffe, revealed in his book, “Galileo’s Lawyer,” that Burzynski set up the clinical trials with the express purpose of feeding an endless supply of patients to the clinic. Jaffe is clear in his analysis — in spite of being pro-Burzynski — that the clinical trials were “a joke” because they could provide no meaningful data.]

Going down the rabbit hole of proof with regard to Burzynski is seemingly endless. Typical, again, of the kind of hype used to promote alternative cancer cures, there is the pre-mature testimonial. Back in 1988, the talk show host Sally Jesse Raphael had four patients on her show who she claimed were incurable and failed by conventional medicine, but Burzynski’s treatment still made their cancers go away. https://archive.org/details/Dr.BurzynskiAntineoplastonsSallyJessyRaphael22388

Interestingly enough, the television show, Inside Edition, followed up on their cases four years later. This investigation revealed that two were dead, a third patient was dealing with recurring cancer and the fourth, it turned out, had a good prognosis to begin with, even before Burzynski’s treatment, due to the type and stage of that patient’s bladder cancer. The Inside Edition report also details, from the widow of one of the deceased patients, that her husband had sought treatment along with five other patients, all of whom had died after Burzynski’s treatments failed. This link goes into much more detail with specifics from a number of recorded pro-Burzynski testimonials: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/stanislaw-burzynski-bad-medicine-a-bad-movie/

Ty Bollinger, however, likes to keep the conspiracy theories humming about this. On his website https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/dr-burzynski-trial-update/ he has a “trial update” for Burzynski, which shows, of course, only one side of the issue and makes a direct plea to the audience because, if Burzynski’s license is revoked, “many people will die.” It is that simple. And it is because this is the result of, as Bollinger puts it, “actually curing cancer would be detrimental to the pharmaceutical industry…

So much so that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to silence the doctors and keep their poisons as the only solutions.”

Who is Mike Adams?

He identifies himself as “The Health Ranger” and as a scientist, but the reality is that he is neither, at least not as one would normally infer the meaning of those terms. A ranger would be expected to be someone who is looking out for your best interests and safety, yet Mike Adams promotes dangerous health “advice” that comes from a most unscientific approach to medicine. http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/03/11/mike-adams-a-k-a-the-health-ranger-a-health-seamster-profiled/

Here is a random quote from Adams that appears on a web page Bollinger and Webster Kehr (who runs the site to promote his foundation for supposedly funding research into natural cancer treatments, but seems more intent on promoting charlatans and selling books and videos) used to promote Episode 1, back in 2015: https://www.cancertutor.com/ttac-global-quest-history-chemotherapy-pharmaceutical-monopoly/

“It is completely unacceptable that oncologists profit from the treatments that are justified by their own diagnosis”

I am not exactly clear what that quote is supposed to mean. I’m sure that Adams was referring to some conspiracy theory of how oncologists make up some sort of special diagnosis in order to charge patients more money, but that isn’t how a cancer diagnosis is done — anyone who has been through the process knows it takes a long time and involves a lot of people, many of whom do not work for the same company or hospital, making collusion all but impossible. Beyond that, however, the statement itself is absurd because it presupposes that somehow oncologists are unique to the process of making a living by diagnosing problems. The same statement could be made about dentists, chiropractors, auto mechanics, and plumbers. Basically, any profession that has the privilege of diagnosing a problem and then charging to fix it. Only, unlike the other examples I mentioned, oncologists do not work alone in creating the diagnosis. Cancer is so complex as a category of diseases that it requires input from different specialists and multiple tests before a diagnosis can even be made in the first place. But then, yeah, it seems that oncologists should be singled out by Adams for making a profit while doing their job. One might wonder whether it is okay for alternative treatment providers to profit off of their diagnoses. The hypocrisy is astounding.

It is important to note that Adams’ only real profession is as an Internet marketer. He began his career at the end of the 1990s, hawking fear and salvation in the wake of Y2K. (For those too young to recall, that was when the world was going to end because computers would not be able to handle the calendar change between 1999 and 2000. It was silly then, much sillier now, but people actually bought into the idea that planes would simply fall out of the sky and all government infrastructure would grind to a halt as midnight struck. It was going to be mass panic, after all.) He built a name for himself as a SPAMmer, sold worthlessly “revolutionary” information and made a lot of money by appealing to the easiest, most desperate prey. Eventually, he stumbled into the “natural health” arena and ground his heels in. With his conspiracy theory spouting website, NaturalNews, he has a mouthpiece for whatever scam he wishes to promote and lots of reciprocal relationships with snake oil salespeople of all stripes. Through his marketing acumen (and he is extremely talented in this regard), he has build up a web readership that is surely the envy of many well-funded, mainstream publications.

But he is not using his powers for good. Although he claims to be a “health ranger” and an advocate for suppressed or revolutionary health-related issues, he is also a guy who uses race-baiting and fear-mongering to get the attention of his customer base, distorting facts or outright fabricating information to reinforce pre-existing fears or generate new ones. During the summer of 2016, presumably to capitalize on the rhetoric coming out of the Trump campaign, NaturalNews published frequent articles on a coming (or current) “race war” that was being funded, he claimed, by the Democratic Party. Not surprisingly, Forbes.com published an article in the Winter of 2016, somewhat belatedly, outing NaturalNews as a “fake news fixture.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/kavinsenapathy/2016/12/23/naturalnonsense-friends-dont-let-friends-read-natural-news/#101f6ef64143

Essentially, there is nothing about Mike Adams that makes him an expert at anything beyond Internet marketing techniques (which, again, he is exceedingly good at). The ideas he sells range from nonsensical to outright dangerous. His history of pushing fake news stories and conspiracy theories renders his statements on any topic questionable, leaving him as a completely unreliable source on cancer.

Adams even used the cancer-related deaths of celebrities to push his agenda. When Patrick Swayze died, Adams immediately used it as an excuse to both blame the actor for following mainstream chemotherapy (that dramatically prolonged his life, considering his initial diagnosis), and attack Western medicine in general as offering “no hope, no solutions” for, well, pretty much anything. http://www.naturalnews.com/027030_cancer_chemotherapy_natural.html

Adams writes, “chemotherapy never healed anyone of cancer” in this would-be obituary, but the truth is that in many cases, chemotherapy functions as an actual cure for several types of cancer (leukemias, for example, can often be completely cured with chemo). That is the insidious truth that people like Adams do not want the public to know. While I find much of what Adams wrote in that article to be too offensive to even copy here, I will quote this bit about patients who undergo chemotherapy: “And if you’re one day found to be free of cancer, it wasn’t the chemo that cured you, it was your own body healing itself! With the right nutrients, sufficient hydration and the dedicated avoidance of cancer-causing chemicals, the human body can heal itself of cancer, accomplishing what no doctor, surgeon or oncologist could ever hope to achieve.” This, of course, is abject nonsense. It is a way to blame cancer deaths on the patient, while simultaneously removing credit for their success from the actual treatments they endured. He then goes on to an even more disgraceful place, by explicitly claiming that God is opposed to chemotherapy: “Chemotherapy is a violation of the principles of body holiness found in every major world religion… It is sacrilegious to harm or destroy your body with chemical intervention… God would no more wish for you to inject chemotherapy into your veins than heroin or crack… That’s why chemotherapy isn’t just bad for your immune system and bad for your body; it’s also bad for your soul.” (The long version is even worse.)

Then Adams goes on to describe a “Judgement Day” scenario in which a patient must answer to God for having undergone chemo. It’s sick. And this at the end of an article about how a “beloved” actor had died after a long but inspiring illness. Adams even uses it as another excuse to make the false claim that “most oncologists” would not submit to the use of chemotherapy if they had cancer. This is a crazy lie based on a very old survey that was done about what was, at the time, a completely experimental combination of chemo drugs for a type of lung cancer that was, at the time, almost always fatal — for that cancer and drug combo ONLY, the surveyed group said that they would not opt for it because the prognosis for patients was not vastly improved. Aside from being wildly outdated, that statistic falls apart when considered across all cancers for which chemo is administered, with nearly 100% of oncologists stating that, yes, they would definitely go on chemo when appropriate. Why would they say that? Oh, yes, because it is a proven treatment that has overwhelmingly supportive data behind it. You can read a good critique of the Swayze-blame article here: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/09/16/a-religious-loon-cant-even-wait-until-he/ And another article that highlights how Adams likes to take advantage of celebrity deaths to hype his views while spreading more misinformation: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/06/30/the-ghoul-returns-again-to-feast-on-the/

At best, it is safe to say that Mike Adams is an opportunist. At worst, he is a despicable human being, profiting off the sadness and fears of others while offering nothing but false hope in return.

It isn’t just Conservative sources like Forbes that publish info on Adams. More info on Adams can be found at the Liberal web site, ThinkProgress: https://thinkprogress.org/meet-the-internet-entrepreneur-profiting-off-the-anti-vaxxer-movement-2e3ba8f791b9#.6ht9iz5l8

Who is Dr. Tullio Simoncini, M.D., Ph.D.?

Tullio Simoncini is an Italian oncologist (or claims to be an oncologist) who has what is best described as a “unique” theory of what cancer is. According to Simoncini, in spite of scientists studying cancer cells in laboratories for 100 years, he has recently determined that cancer is simply a fungus, or that fungus is the sole cause of cancer — sometimes it is difficult to separate the claims or make full sense of them, considering that they have no basis in actual biological science.

It appears that Simoncini came to the conclusion that a fungus causes cancer because he observed that cancer tumors were white. To him, white = fungus, in spite of the fact that not all fungus is white (and, if you were not already certain yourself, not all white is fungus). It should be interesting to know that not all tumors are white, and there are a whole host of blood cancers that do not manifest in colorful (or colorless) tumors at all. Beyond all this, however, is one very basic fact: surgically excised tumors are examined by pathologists all the time. It would long ago have been common knowledge if there is always a fungus (or even traces of a fungus) at the center of any of these tumors. That cause would not only have been relatively easy to pin down, but it would be exceedingly easy to verify now if Simoncini was actually on to something. But he is not. This claim is so laughably improbable that it shouldn’t even actually require debunking. Yet, it has been addressed many times as the unfounded hype that it is. http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/08/07/a-fungus-among-us-in-oncology/

The treatment that Simoncini promotes as his “cure” is an injection of baking soda into the tumor. If this worked, it would be impossible to keep quiet. Especially in those countries with socialized medicine, where the governments are trying to offer the least expensive means to get patients back into the workforce, this would be so revolutionary and amazing that it would be impossible for it not to be embraced.

This Italian web site goes into more detail about Simoncini and his legal troubles: https://translate.google.it/translate?sl=it&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=it&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fmedbunker.blogspot.it%2Fp%2Fla-cura-simoncini-non-cura-nessuno.html&edit-text=&act=url Several of Simoncini’s patients have reportedly died from his treatment. This isn’t the same as allegations that chemo kills patients, which would be from either an allergic response or long-term exposure or from “induced” cancer, depending on who is making the claim. In Simoncini’s case, the deaths are purportedly from the direct administration of an irresponsible treatment, and are so directly his fault that his medical license was revoked and he was sentenced to prison for manslaughter.

The web site, What’s the Harm?, chronicles patient deaths from a wide variety of causes. There is a special page set up for Simoncini’s patients: http://www.123hjemmeside.dk/cancer_is_not_a_fungus/21160738 The patient biographies on this page detail not only those who were directly killed by the treatment itself, but also patients who Simoncini declared “cured,” who then continued to let their cancers grow without treatment.

The bottom line with Simoncini’s claim that cancer is a fungus, or that cancer is caused by a fungus (both claims appear from him in various forms), is that either version would be easily and repeatedly verifiable. If cancer was a fungus, specifically the candida albicans fungus so prevalent in humans that he says is the culprit, then it would be immediately verifiable through the DNA testing that is almost always done during the biopsy phase. If the genomic tests were not enough, the pathology reports of surgically removed tumors would surely close the circle on this. There is no conceivable way that medical science would miss this information once it had been properly hypothesized. And, in fact, researchers have plenty of documented data on tumors that prove, conclusively, that cancers form from various cells originating from the host’s body, and not from a fungus living there.

Further interesting reading on Simoncini:

https://www.cancercompass.com/message-board/message/all,57520,0.htm

https://anaximperator.wordpress.com/category/tullio-simoncini/

Who is Chris Wark?

I have written about Chris Wark before. He was, in fact, one of the very first “alternative” health gurus who I researched when I was still uncertain whether I even had lung cancer. A friend of mine had been diagnosed with colon cancer not long before my own health issues that lead to my diagnosis began. We discussed what had been going on with him and he had mentioned this web site he had read that promoted drinking lots and lots of carrot juice to cure colon cancer. It sounded pretty convincing, the way my friend told it, so I went home to look it up. At this point, mind you, I had no opinion at all on the subject. I was simply curious. And the way it had been explained to me, by someone who I trust, made it seem plausible. I should note that this same friend also mentioned the importance of an alkaline diet and drinking alkaline water, which he was doing at the advice of an off-shore doctor. And he was bouncing on a mini trampoline daily to ensure that his lymphatic system was working. I listened to all of this seriously because, well, he had cancer and presumably had learned all of this from a real doctor.

Now, you may be thinking something along the lines of, “bouncing on a trampoline — that’s just crazy!” In truth, it was the one piece of his presentation that I actually thought was definitely a good idea. Months later, after I had been properly diagnosed, I finally got around to getting one of those mini trampolines for myself (well, my wife got it for me, but I had expressed an interest) and I use it with some regularity. The scientific fact here is that the lymphatic system does not have its own pump and so, for it to function properly, you have to actually move. Any kind of motion works, though contracting your muscles in the process is beneficial. Still, bouncing on a trampoline for fifteen minutes is quite good for your lymphatic system and it isn’t hard on the rest of your body at all, which my knees and feet generally appreciate.

The other claims, however, really opened up my eyes. I had been very slightly familiar with the alkaline water/body claims for a few years. Another friend had been tested at one time for his “blood alkalinity” to see if his diet was causing some of his (relatively minor) health issues. He had been advised to stay away from tomatoes and other acidic vegetables, as I recall, and it seemed sort of nonsensical to me unless he was dealing with heartburn, but he seemed happy and it didn’t affect my diet… Then the alkaline water craze started and high school biology kept niggling at the back of my brain. I had read up on alkaline water a bit here and there, figured out quickly that the claims being made by people selling expensive systems like the Kangen units really could not possibly hold up to scrutiny, and otherwise wrote the whole thing off to a fad that would likely pass. Although, I do like the way alkaline water tastes. I’ll give it that. Still, when my friend mentioned it in terms of cancer treatment, I figured that I had better give it another look. And the carrot juice, too; even though I knew that high levels of Vitamin A could be unhealthy, perhaps such extreme dosing of pure carrot juice would somehow either really boost the immune response or somehow target the cancer cells (and with all that alkaline water purging out with it, maybe it somehow was specific to the body’s evacuation system). It took me about fifteen minutes on my computer to realize that my friend had been duped.

For one, the alkaline water myth is among the easiest to find real scientific explanations for why it does not and could not possibly work. Intuitively, I understood that when we drink water, it goes into the highly acidic environment of the stomach, where it would immediately be neutralized. There is no way to drink enough alkaline water to create an alkaline environment in the stomach — and if that did happen, a whole range of bad things would very likely ensue regarding the digestion tract. It’s a good thing, however, that the stomach will just continue to create more and more acid to counter any alkaline solutions that flood it too heavily. For heartburn, however, it is beneficial to do more than merely drink alkaline water or eat alkaline foods — a fast acting antacid will give much better results. And while we are on that subject, a calcium-based antacid (like Tums) is a much faster way to get that alkalinity going, so why even bother with the water? Oh, right; it’s a marketing gimmick to sell those machines that really serve no health purpose whatsoever or to sell the extremely overpriced bottled water that suddenly became very popular with its promises of higher pH levels to be “healthier.”

None of the alkaline water theories really matter, however, when you consider that it will never change the pH of your blood, much less the pH of whereever your tumor happens to be growing, because your kidneys and your lungs are working constantly to ensure that your blood pH does not fluctuate beyond a very narrow acceptible margin. And the blood pH does not alter the pH of any other part of your body.

But the carrot juice, that was a beauty.

Chris Wark is one of those folks who had a flash of inspiration and figured out a way to capitalize on it, even if it meant misrepresenting the facts about what, how, and why he did what he did. I have no problem with people selling their original creative work, profiting from their experiences, or otherwise earning an honest living by marketing whatever it is they have to offer — provided they are not lying or otherwise trying to swindle prospective customers. Wark, however, deals in snake oil, deceptive sales tactics, and provides information that is potentially detrimental to the health of his followers. Beyond that, he is not even honest in the way he presents his own story, misrepresenting or omitting key facts that he had previously made public (which is why it is so easy to call him out).

When I first clicked over to Wark’s web site, he presented it as almost a public service, his way of sharing knowledge and trying to help others. It portrayed him as almost noble. Scratch that, actually; it portrayed him as very noble, as though he would never sell out in his quest to share his special knowledge from his special experience. But the first thing I picked up on was that he very specifically identified products and linked to them throughout his posts, like the special juicing machine he recommends, and everything that linked out was with an affiliate link. In other words, his “information” articles were really sales pitches, product advertisements. I get it — blogging costs money and I used to have ads all over the place in the hope I’d get enough visitors clicking on my pages to offset the costs of operation, and maybe, one day, be able to make a living that way. But advertisements that look like advertisements are a far cry from those that pose as viable content. Still, affiliate links are not particularly nefarious, even if they gave Wark the veneer of a huckster. Digging deeper, it seemed he would sell just about anything he could work into the cancer / health mold, shaping himself as a one-stop shop.

The basis of his act is that he claims to have “cured cancer” by drinking a lot of carrot juice (and, as the story evolved, other healthy lifestyle choices), which is why his site is known as ChrisBeatCancer. However, the short version of his actual story is that he had colon cancer, went to a real doctor at a real hospital and had it surgically removed. He was young and healthy and recovered fairly quickly. His doctor suggested that Wark do a round of chemotherapy, just in case any little cancer cells had drifted off into the blood stream as they sometimes do, because the chemo would dramatically decrease the risk of recurrence some years down the line. Wark declined the chemo, apparently being afraid that it would have dire consequences, and instead decided to pursue a “more natural” lifestyle. It needs to be very clear at this point that the chemotherapy was not being recommended as a cure for his cancer — he had already been cured by surgery, if a cure was going to be claimed. The recommended chemotherapy was simply a precaution in case some of the tumor had already begun to migrate into other areas of the body. Adjuvant chemotherapy is not the same as curative chemotherapy — the purposes of administering the drugs are entirely different in those cases.

There was a fairly good chance that Wark would never see a recurrence of his cancer and he should have known that from his consultations with his doctor. But statistically, there was still a strong enough chance for recurrence that his doctor would have had to recommend adjuvant chemotherapy as an ethical imperative (and probably to avoid a malpractice suit years later in the event of a recurrence that could have been prevented). Wark’s refusal of the chemo absolves the doctor of any responsibility for future colon cancer metastases, but it has nothing to do with whether Wark still had cancer in his body.

Based on Wark’s testimonials on his web site, it appears that he had either Stage 3B or Stage 3C cancer, which ostensibly means that it had spread to some nearby lymph nodes but that there were no further metastases. An oncological surgeon kindly did the homework on survival rates for a man Wark’s age (26 at the time) and how the risk of recurrence changed with or without chemotherapy. http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/10/15/chris-beat-cancer-he-did-indeed-but-it-wasnt-quackery-that-cured-him/

Basically, the results of the data show that Wark’s odds of surviving five years with no chemo was around 64% for Stage 3B — those are actually very good odds, and in the case of colon cancer, if you make five years the odds are that you will continue to be cancer-free. However, with chemo, it should be noted, his odds would have increased to 76% or 80%, depending on the drug combination. The odds of making it five years with Stage 3C disease are only 30%, but that is still the equivalent of one out of every three patients. Basically, the point is this: Wark’s survival is not particularly unusual. And, considering his youth and health, it might even be expected.

In this link, which is framed as a positive story about Wark, an email of his is reprinted that shows his misunderstanding and misrepresentation of treatment for colon cancer: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/07/21/man-with-stage-3-colon-cancer-refuses-chemotherapy-cures-himself-with-vegan-diet/ In his statement, he claims that surgery does not cure colon cancer and that is why chemotherapy and radiation are used, because, as he says, cancer is a systemic metabolic disease. The errors here are egregious, especially when he is being positioned, without any supporting education, as a “cancer expert.” [For the record, I am not a cancer expert, nor do I propose that people use my advice as a substitute for medical consultation, ever.] His statement about surgery is flat out wrong, since surgery is the treatment designed specifically to cure pre-Stage 4 colon cancers. As stated above, the chemo and radiation are added to mitigate risk just in case undetectable metastases have already begun to form or there are rogue cancer cells still in the system that might form metastases later on. They are a safety measure, but that is all.

In this video https://youtu.be/HrIj5-nQohEWark makes a few really unintelligent, uninformed statements. Chief among them is “if I really believed in chemotherapy, maybe it would have worked” — implying that you have to believe in a chemical’s ability for it to be effective. That is utter bullshit. Chemical effects on biological systems have nothing to do with consciousness, emotion, or spirituality any more than how bleach would effect bacteria or viruses on a countertop, which is to say that the mind or soul do not change whether a chemical (natural or manmade) works. He also then goes on to quote a discredited Australian study that indicates chemotherapy as a whole offers only a 2% increase in survival rates. This link has a lot of detail as to why that is nonsense (you’ll have to read a ways down) http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/09/16/two-percent-gambit-chemotherapy/ but the fact is, the study was entirely skewed to make an erroneous point by leaving out virtually all the types of cancer for which chemotherapy is either curative or highly successful in prolonging life — and it cannot account for the massive inroads in research that have improved upon treatments even more since then.

Also in the video, he explains that he eschewed chemo because it “destroys the immune system.” Let’s be honest — if his immune system was so very perfect, would he have gotten colon cancer? He argues that the immune system keeps cancer in check, but clearly it doesn’t, or didn’t in his case. Either way, chemotherapy does suppress the immune system. Suppress is the key word, however; it does not destroy the immune system, as Wark claims, and the immune system rebounds, beginning within weeks or days after a chemotherapy treatment. Certainly, a patient must be careful while undergoing chemotherapy, because it does make a person more prone to infections or susceptible to viruses. However, this is temporary, quite unlike what Wark would have his audience believe.

To follow this up, I am going to actually participate in Wark’s coaching seminar, or at least the “free” taste he offers to lure in clients. It should be interesting; from the lead materials on his web site it looks like he offers a huge amount of misinformation right out of the gate. I expect it will be showing up in a future post on the topic.

Who is Dr. Robert Scott Bell?

In going through Ty Bollinger’s web site again, I clicked on his “cancer cures” link just for fun and stumbled across a page on Dr. Robert Scott Bell. I’d read the name before but it simply lingered there as another person I would probably come across more on as I followed through with other alternative health sites. I was not expecting such sheer and obvious disregard for basic education, however, and I almost choked on the drink I was swallowing when I read the page. I don’t say this to be flippant or disrespectful; I’m simply relaying my genuine response at that moment. https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/nebulize-colloidal-silver-lung-cancer-video/

Here is the first bit of dialogue from their exchange, as printed on Bollinger’s site:

Ty Bollinger: Doctor comes to you and says, “Robert Scott Bell, your last blood work shows that you have lung cancer.” What do you do?

Dr. Robert Scott Bell: Well, I’m going to nebulize [colloidal] silver. Silver has shown to have profound oncolytic properties. This is something we can do.

We talk about pH issues sometimes. I don’t know if you’ve covered the use of the baking soda in this way. You can actually do a lavage within the lungs to nebulize that into certain tissues of the lungs. It’s a little more difficult to do.

But the silver alone is profound because the cancer cells don’t have any antioxidant defense mechanism. And the silver brings with it as much as 10 times its atomic weight in with every particle of silver at a micro level. We’re talking a nano scale level. And you can overwhelm and devastate cancer cells in that area within the alveoli. You can inhale that [nebulized silver] deeply into your lungs.

I don’t really know where to go with that level of exchange. It profoundly lacks any sense of believability, betraying, as it does, the utter absence of any education in human biology. Bell then goes on to promote using “homeopathic dilutions,” which, if you have actually researched the methodology of creating homeopathic remedies, you would understand to be questionable because they are essentially just water that is purported to have the “memory” of another substance. [Homeopathy is not herbalism, nor is it “holistic” in any way that many people seem to understand the term. Homeopathy is the idea that taking a toxic substance and endlessly diluting it will leave a safe solution with just enough influence from the original substance to trigger a response opposite to what the undiluted substance would offer. In Bell’s case, he recommends a dilution of cancer cells, even though cancer cells are 100% unique to the patient and his intent of “stimulating an immune response” through the homeopathic solution would be unnecessary if the patient’s own cancer cells were already there to provide exactly that response.]

But please note that no doctor is going to come to a patient and say that a blood test has definitively revealed lung cancer out of the blue. While this reveals more about Bollinger’s own lack of medical understanding (and lack of qualification to be the purveyor of any “truth about cancer”), it also reveals Bell to be a complete fraud for going along with it. Worse, Bell then goes on to push the nonsensical idea of treating cancer with baking soda, under the guise of a pH therapy. While I hesitate to imagine the level of damage that lung tissue would receive through an influx of baking soda, it should be stated that both this concept and the idea of nebulizing colloidal silver are terrible ways to try and get a “medicine” to the tumor, which is not going to be sitting inside of the air sacks where the liquified ingredient is going to go. Beyond that, a deep breath is going to pull the liquid down into the deepest parts of the lung, at least it should in theory, but there is no guarantee that it will be taking anything close to the proposed tumor. If it did, however, it wouldn’t make much difference to the tumor. The silver would potentially impact cells on the very outside of the tumor, if there were any on the lung’s inner lining, but the process that Bell describes would be more applicable to an extraction being used in a lab dish, where the silver could be made to coat the cancer cells completely. In such a case, bleach would probably work better.

On a very basic level, however, the fact that Bell touches on the pH issue is enough to write him off entirely. Few things have been as heavily discredited as using baking soda to attack cancer in humans. (More on this in a video below.) Understand that cancer cells can thrive in alkaline environments, and also that different parts of the body are going to have different pH levels by their very nature — and those levels must be controlled by the body to prevent harm to the individual.

Needless to say, “Dr.” Bell is a radio talk show host and a “homeopathic practitioner.” I am not at all sure what the “Dr.” part stands for, but clearly it is not from a medical degree. I cannot be sure what makes him an expert, though he behaves as though he believes he is one. This is just one more example of Ty Bollinger’s disregard for patients and honesty in his marketing. Nothing of value here — time to move along.

Final thoughts on Ty Bollinger’s The Truth About Cancer

Perusing Bollinger’s web site promoting his marketing video series masquerading as a documentary, one thing that pops clearly into view is the claim that it was featured by the BBC and Time Magazine, among legitimate media outlets. Because of the way that the series portrays the media as antagonistic toward these supposed cures, it seems hypocritical that he would also want to use them to validate the material he presents (much the same way as going on Dr. Oz, who is thoroughly mainstream in the quackery that he pushes, seems to validate his agenda). I did a number of searches looking for evidence on the web sites for both Time and the BBC that they did anything to “feature” either Ty Bollinger or his videos. There was nothing on the Time web site at all that could link to Bollinger, but on the BBC site there was a series of links to a documentary called The Truth About Cancer. However, and this is an important distinction, it was a legitimate documentary from Northern Ireland about actual cancer patients undergoing treatment at various stages. It had nothing to do with Bollinger or the con artists he features. There is also a reference to a 2010 lecture called The Truth About Cancer, which essentially dispells any of the dietary claims made in Bollinger’s series. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/8610102.stm

Bollinger is either an unethical profiteer or he is a supremely misguided True Believer. I’m guessing it is the former, that he cynically uses faith as a wedge tool and intentionally preys upon his audience through fear-mongering and disinformation campaigns. In the end, whatever his personal motivations, the product he sells is dangerously misleading and the people involved with it all appear grossly unqualified to be giving advice to cancer patients or their caregivers.

If you would like to explore this more fully, as I recommend you do, I offer some resources below.

Further reading:

In these links, William M. London goes into detail on some of the people interviewed by Ty Bollinger, as well as the tactics they use to deceive. Of particular note are many of the misrepresentations of credentials that make the interviewees look like experts, without actually being experts (or, often, qualifying for the designation of “doctor”).

http://web.randi.org/swift/-untruths-about-cancer-in-the-failed-quest-for-cures-part-1

http://web.randi.org/swift/untruths-about-cancer-in-the-failed-quest-for-cures-part-2

http://web.randi.org/swift/-untruths-about-cancer-in-the-failed-quest-for-cures-part-3

http://web.randi.org/swift/untruths-about-cancer-in-the-failed-quest-for-cures-part-4

http://web.randi.org/swift/-untruths-about-cancer-in-the-failed-quest-for-cures-part-5-the-cancer-holocaust-ploy

http://web.randi.org/swift/-untruths-about-cancer-in-the-failed-quest-for-cures-part-6

This link is a primer on the current state of critical thinking in our society, with clear political over tones. But it ties nicely into the Alternative Medicine controversy, and I hope that people read it in the same spirit that I explained about about approaching topics one might be inclined to disagree with. Whatever side of the issue you might stand on, give this a read with an open mind and see where it takes you.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/cover_story/2017/01/trump_sold_america_a_miracle_cure_it_will_fail_he_ll_get_off_for_free.html

These videos may walk you through a few interesting re-conceptions. The first is for those who have been convinced about the validity of drinking alkaline water for medicinal purposes (or even for overall general well-being). It was made by a former proponent of alkaline water who had even written about it in a book of his — and he appears to still be something of a believer in alternative types of medicine. But he has taken the time to examine how alkaline water is supposed to work based on what its proponents claim, and then compared it to actual research he did AFTER he assumed that what he had been told was correct. Only, following the process of natural discovery when applying scientific inquiry, he discovered that the truth was quite different. If you are curious about alkaline water or diets of any sort, and you find that you are inclined to believe in them as a means to greater health, you should watch this right away.

https://youtu.be/7O6GhVCvVgE

This video is part of a more comprehensive series on how to approach the quagmire of alternative medicine with a clear view toward recognizing untruths and dishonest presentations.

https://youtu.be/VNzOOAiiaNs?list=PL8MfjLNsf_miVcNu6eJMNigAMNwQkk_B9

Here are some tips to understand the techniques used by many who want to sell you something that they know is a lie. Gaslighting is used by abusive domestic partners, politicians and, yes, even those con artists selling alternative medicine. Once they feel they have their hooks in you, any failure is treated to victim blaming — but in the meantime, they will do their best to convince you that you are wrong about any doubts you may have, through whatever means necessary.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/gaslighting-know-it-and-identify-it-protect-yourself

https://theotherburzynskipatientgroup.wordpress.com/

http://www.newsweek.com/2016/03/04/stanislaw-burzynski-cancer-medical-malfeasance-429057.html

http://disinfo.com/2012/11/stanislaw-burzynski-and-the-antineoplaston-scam/

The following post actually takes the time to walk the reader through Ty Bollinger’s own text from his website that describes what cancer is and how it works — while simultaneously explaining why Ty Bollinger is giving incredibly wrong and potentially dangerous misinformation on the subject. It’s a great read, actually.

https://hatepseudoscience.com/2014/03/07/ty-bollingers-canceruntruth/

And it’s companion piece:

https://hatepseudoscience.com/2014/04/02/confronting-cancer-quackery/

http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/the_truth_about_cancer

https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-truth-about-cancer-series-is-untruthful-about-cancer/

http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/the_truth_about_cancer

A cancer surgeon reacts to the story of a young woman who has followed advice from Bollinger’s series:

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2016/04/19/another-young-woman-with-cancer-lured-into-quackery-by-ty-bollinger/

And here is an easy to follow reference that tries to walk readers through how to separate cancer treatment facts from fictions:

http://www.gracegawlerinstitute.com/cancer-fact-checker-toolkit/


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