My recently published letter in The Medical Journal of Australia highlights the need for a makeover of the alternative and complementary cancer movements not only in Australia but worldwide. In recent years there has been a groundswell of cancer entrepreneurs – some who claim to have recovered from it by natural means and others that have never had cancer but espouse they know how to treat it. I believe that everyone who places themselves in the public area of cancer cures, must come under scrutiny regarding accuracy/legitimacy of their claims.
For those who know me – I am eternal optimist and possibility thinker and I am well aware of all the facets of the intangibles and unknown that can surround unexpected recoveries and remissions. However, where possible we must all do our due diligence on gathering as much information – medical and otherwise to support any claims. Why? Because people’s lives depend on it!
With our case being so unbelievably misreported in an article in the Medical Journal of Australia – It shows that as well as the CAM movement, that all systems of medicine should be on alert for people misreporting medical events.
“Patients at Risk from Inaccurate Clinical Reporting in a High-Profile Story: Comment and Corrections’ 20 September 2010 MJA Volume 193 Number 6 20 September 2010- pp 371-372
Furthermore, if you look at the sales figures for the myriad of cancer-cure books, CDs and products – we are looking at a billion dollar industry. Many of these people do not work at the coalface of cancer and do not see the results of misinformation. As I have matured in my self and work, and as my experience has increased – I now see the truth in what some oncologists, considered cynics at the time: were saying 20-30 years ago when the tsunami of CAM was on the rise.
Recently I had a another “cancer-cure-all” blurb arrive in my email inbox – now almost a daily event. The advertisement said Amazing Non-Toxic Liquid Kills Cancer Cells. Its cancer-killing ability was also confirmed by researchers at the National Cancer Institute. As I am prone to do with every “cure” promotion, I checked out the quotes and did the research, finding it to be very flaky indeed. The new wave or 2010 style of alternative cancer-cure promo is far more sophisticated than in the past and attempts to blind the recipient with psuedoscience disguised as science.
Next time something like this arrives on your email. Look at the quotes from reputable sources then use your internet to check it out. Another recent email blurb advertised ” Try this product – 90 day risk free”. Risk-free? Is it?
It is difficult because most people aren’t trained to disssect many of the articles & books that appear in the popular media. Yes we need free speech and free choice – but with cancer on the rise – we need some guildelines and criteria by which people can assess fact from fiction and myth from reality. I intend to develop such a book/ebook of guildelines and make it available at no cost. The great thing about having a health promotion charity again is that I will have access to resources that will enable me to work in the way that I originally thought when I pioneered this supportive care work in the early eighties.
In the meantime, my best advice based on 35+ years in the cancer healing arena, follows…. Think carefully, do your own research, be treated as an individual (not a one size fits all approach) and go by your gut feeling. Dont’ throw out mainstream medicine and use the best of complementary approaches – especially the safe tactile therapies eg massage, Reiki for example; methods that don’t cost the earth, bring relief and help to de-stress. Important in healing is the element of one-to-one human contact, listening, understanding and compassion are all therapeutic! Avoid buckets of costly supplements & fancy hi tech machines that diagnose & treat and take away the human element. More on this again soon.