Note on Cancer

This is note rather than an argument. It’s also a note completed late at night.

I saw this documentary, Cancer the Forbidden Cures, some time ago. It was referenced in a comment about an article, in, claiming that chemotherapy boosts cancer growth:

The scientists found that healthy cells damaged by chemotherapy secreted more of a protein called WNT16B which boosts cancer cell survival. The protein was taken up by tumor cells neighboring the damaged cells.
“WNT16B, when secreted, would interact with nearby tumor cells and cause them to grow, invade, and importantly, resist subsequent therapy,” said Nelson.
In cancer treatment, tumors often respond well initially, followed by rapid regrowth and then resistance to further chemotherapy.

The comments on the article are interesting – they argue for and against chemo:

Caitlin Pryce-Davies Trigatti · Grace Lutheran College
This is all very well–but what the hell do you do when your child has an aggressive cancer and you don’t want them to die? I’m currently in this position and while I am open to alternatives I am going thru with chemo to save my daughters life—I’m so scared as it is and am constantly hearing that my choice to give treatment to my child could end up killing her anyway—I’m over it!!

This is the ‘argument from fear’ and it is understandable. We tend to trust the expertise of the medical profession. According to GP Online, a recent poll showed that doctors are the most trusted profession in the UK; It is rational to trust science and people whose expertise is based on science. Claims that there are cures for cancer that have been suppressed by the medical establishment appear to be the stuff of paranoia. The Mayo Clinic website argues that:

If you still believe a cure is being purposefully withheld, ask yourself why a doctor would choose to specialize in cancer research. Oftentimes doctors go into cancer research because they have a family member or friend affected by the disease. They’re just as interested in finding a cure as anyone else, for exactly the same reason — it affects them personally. They hate to see a loved one in pain and don’t wish to lose this person. They also want to spare others what they have gone through.

This is a good point. The documentary cites the success of Gerson Therapy and suggests this is a possible cure but there are several articles online that challenge the effectiveness of this therapy. Gerson Therapy, which emphasises a high intake of fruit, also seems to be contrary to other alternative therapies such as the alkaline diet.

There are clearly difficulties with mainstream medicine in general and with chemotherapy and radiotherapy in the case of cancer treatments but this does not mean that we have to give alternative approaches a ‘free pass’