Cancer research - who to trust? What to Consider!

This page is intended to make you think about cancer research and what we are being told about in the media and by the medical profession:

Who to trust?

It seems a silly question, don't we all trust our doctors?

Of course we do, but whose cancer research do they trust and rely on to guide them as to the best way to treat us? They rely on the, principally pharmaceutical industry funded, research that tells them how 'modern medecine' can treat disease with the latest drugs.

And is that a problem? Sadly - Yes!

Western healthcare has become the third biggest killer in many industrialised countries. Not something that is advertised too widely, but in 2000 it was estimated that 225,000 people are routinely killed each year in the USA by the healthcare system.^1

In 1998 1 in 5 Australians were reported killed by their healthcare system^2, the main killer was not incorrect prescribing, but the negative effects of correctly prescribed drugs!

So, where's the problem? Is the cancer research (or any other medical research) your doctor relies on faulty, biased or just one-sided?

The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (in England) teaches that science and research has to be studied in the context of all the interested parties involved. Only if you understand all the interests and influences behind the research can you give proper weight to apparently 'neutral' or 'technical' knowledge claims.^3

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The orthodox research context

Any company exists to make a profit; a pharmaceutical company does that by creating patented drugs that it can show cure, control or in some way ameliorate the outcomes of disease. This may include removing the cause of the disease or it may not. In evidence based medicine they develop trials to give the evidence that something to do with the diseased person has improved - so this may just be the measurable symptoms and nothing to do with dealing with the cause.

From a purely financial point of view, the best drugs for a company are those that keep a diseased condition 'under control', but don't 'cure' it. Statins controlling high blood pressure are a perfect example - the gravy train keeps rolling until the patent runs out!

No pharmaceutical company would spend millions developing drugs to combat the symptoms of scurvy, say, because it is too widely known that adequate vitamin C will cause the symptoms to all disappear. With billions being spent and earnt on cancer drugs, you would not expect them to research or promote natural cancer control or prevention.

In cancer research there is always the question as to whether the latest 'breakthrough', even if patentable, will make the company more money than their ongoing chemotherapy drugs.

This might seem horribly cynical, but it is completely logical!

Cancer researchers try to find a solution to the cancer problem; but they can only research those things for which they get funding.

Does the pharmaceutical industry generally avoid funding the expensive clinical trials that have the potential to make all their existing, profitable drugs worthless?

Is this the reason we read about so many 'breakthroughs' in the press and then nothing more?

I cannot say for certain, but my reading has thrown up plenty of examples that give weight to these propositions. You can do that reading too, to make up your own mind.

And now, in June 2012, major pharmaceutical companies (GSK - Glaxo Smith Kline - for one!) are fined millions of pounds for fraudulently marketing their drugs. These weren't related to cancer research, but is there any reason to believe that area of marketing and drug promotion is any different?

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Question everything - after all your life depends on it!

The background to every piece of research is fundamental to how you should interpret the results. In an ideal world we would all have both the time and the technical understanding to read research papers in full, but we have to rely on others' reporting as well as the way papers are presented. What did they (eg the newspaper journalists) read and understand?

I suggest that we need to know the following about any research or trial we are asked to rely on:

  • What was the aim of the research? What question were they trying to answer? For example a study to determine the 'safety' of a treatment regime may tell you something very different from a study aimed at determining the effectiveness of the same treatment in controlling a cancer.
  • What were the criteria of success/failure? For example, in comparing effectiveness, which is more important: the relatively easier measure of reduction in the size of a tumour or the longer, harder to quantify, measure of improved life expectancy? Should quality of life be as important a criterion in any research as strict life expectancy?
  • Who funded the research & what are the funder's vested interests? Are the studies truly independent? and, perhaps most importantly,
  • did the research show that the proposed treatment actually extended a person's life in a meaningful way?

If the Unitarian Thesis is correct then reducing the size of a tumour is less important than reducing it's aggresiveness or malignancy; so the criterion of assessing an apparently successful trial might be wrong. We have to ask the questions!

An example bringing these points together was a study done by a team led by Dr Charles C Moertal referred to in my page on Vitamin B-17. They were looking to prove that B-17 was unsafe because of its release of hydrogen cyanide. The short summary at the beginning of the report (known as the Abstract) said "A definite hazard of cyanide toxic reaction must be assumed, however ...", yet the reports actual conclusion said "In our study [B-17] was found to be free of clinical toxicity and no cyanide could be detected in the blood..." This seems to be a thoroughly biased presentation of their results; but in the face of that presentation from those funded by the pharmaceutical industry isn't it natural for doctors and those reading research in a hurry to take the wrong message?

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Can Cancer research charities look elsewhere?

Of course they can, but they rarely seem to do so. Many of the major charities seem to directly support the pharmaceutical industry and don't take a fully independent view. This is perhaps because part of maintaining their status and credibility in public eyes involves having the 'experts' in pharmaceutical research on their governing bodies. They naturally tend towards the cancer research approaches they know.

Professor Brian Epstein, chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, is particularly scathing of the American Cancer Society as a charity. I see Cancer Research UK concentrating heavily on pharmaceutical and radiotherapy research with very limited research into the benefits from particular foods and food combinations, relying mainly on the advice to everyone to eat a 'balanced healthy diet'. Despite evidence from the United nations/World Health Organisation that the 'westernisation' of developing countries is bringing an increase of non-communicable diseases (heart disease, diabetes, cancer) the old epidemiological studies showing the significance of dietary differences are seemingly overlooked in favour of drug research.

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What about our doctors?

It seems that the classical training for doctors in the west is based around treating disease with drugs. There are doctors who have turned away from their classical training in the use of drugs to control all human diseases, but they seem to be relatively few.

One of the issues reported by doctors in managing disease differently is the lack of training in diet and its impact on the body.

If our doctors are not trained in the application of nutrition - the effects of different shortages and excesses on our physiology (other than a few classical diseases such as scurvy and ricketts) - can they offer a balanced view of the options available?

Since so many people are nervous of the adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, what is sad is that doctors' regulators so often also seem to turn against those who try and prescribe natural and metabolic therapies. If a patient does not want chemotherapy or radiotherapy shouldn't a doctor being offering the best advice as to dealing with the cancer through alternative means? The patient deserves to have that choice!

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The Alternative Information on This Web-site

What I am presenting in my web pages is abbreviated, but hopefully not over simplified, from various published research findings. Some of the research will have its limitations and like the main stream 'orthodox' cancer research you should question it to see if it stands up or not. I am inclined to say that improving one's lifestyle to involve a healthier diet designed with a purpose and avoiding chemical overloading is unlikely to do you any harm; there are no known harmful side effects to that; the only one may be paying a bit more for avoiding cheap cosmetics and personal care products and adding sensible supplements where foods are lacking in enough vitamins, enzymes and minerals.

You should, therefore, question the purpose behind this web-site. What am I, Philip Hall, hoping to get out of it? Possibly a couple of things:

  • If I am right in my reading, hopefully the immense satisfaction some time down the road to hear back that someone has read my web-site, acted on the information and got their cancer under control without the pain and suffering of chemotherapy or radiation therapy; and a family has not suffered an untimely bereavement like mine;
  • Secondly the possibility that readers will use my links and, in buying products to inform and help themselves, will earn me some commission; if enough people do that I can spend more time building up this web-site and hopefully helping more people. You can, however, find the same sources of goods and information and buy without giving me any financial return. If you want to, therefore, please look at my Health Shop page.

I will always be happy to respond to calls and contact messages and to guide you further on your journey of understanding the alternative treatments for ovarian cancer or any other cancer. Whilst my cancer research has concentrated around the Unitarian or Trophoblastic Thesis of Cancer and how B-17 Metabolic Therapy as a 'whole body' approach works, I have become aware of a number of other approaches. Some of these may suit one individual more than another and many of them support the thesis of principally a common nature across all cancer cells.

As I get more time I aim to add pages on other cancer research findings with links from this page.

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Return to Ovarian Cancer Survivors from Cancer Research - Trust

Notes: 1. Journal of the American Medical Association vol 284, 26 July 2000
2. Phillip Day's book Health Wars
3. Taken from research methodology course handout, 1994 quoted in Phillip Day's< book B17 Metabolic Therapy in the prevention and control of cancer