Cancerfighter’s Weblog

Alternative cancer therapies and ideas

Archive for August, 2012

The more negative you are to alternative therapies for cancer, the more you have to take them

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on August 31, 2012

That’s right. The more negative you are to alternative therapies, the more alternative therapies you have to take. The logic is unassailable.

An argument is only as good as the assumptions it is based on. So here is the only assumption you have to accept. Alternative therapies – diets, herbs, supplements – have some anti-cancer benefit. How big a benefit is not the issue. You just have to accept that there is some benefit. The alternative is to suggest that there is absolutely no possible benefit. So, if you accept there may be some benefit then the argument follows along mathematical lines.

Let’s say you are very gung-ho about the potential of alternative therapies you want to take. You think each of them will have a 75% chance of working. Then you only need to do three such therapies to have a 98% likelihood of beating the cancer. The first therapy will cure 75% of the people taking it, the second therapy will mop up a further 18.75% and the third therapy will cure a further 4.68% (75% + 18.75% + 4.68% = 98.43%)

OK. Let’s say you think it’s a fifty-fifty option. In that case you will need to do five therapies to give you a 97% chance of a cure. I’ll leave you to check the maths

Hmm, you might say, I go along with the view that there is some benefit to diets and herbs and supplements but I wouldn’t put it anywhere near 50%. My guess is that there may be a 20% potential on average. Well in that case you  have to do a dozen or so therapies to give yourself a greater than 90% chance of recovery.

You see? The more negative you are the more therapies you have to do. And you know what? None of us can say what the likelihood is of any therapy working in our particular case. It actually pays to be negative.

The more negative you are, the more therapies you need to do, and therefore the more likly it is that you will recover. It’s just plain simple maths.

Or do you need a doctor to give you permission to do something different from what he’s offering?

The truth is for the average cancer the doctor will recommend chemo, which will cause great pain and has a less than 10% chance of working (very likely less than 5%). The alternative approaches, on the other hand, will not cause pain and – collectively – offer a far greater chance of working (unfortunately the doctor disapproves of them).

So ask yourself this: Is your life, and the quality of your life, and the importance of your life to your family and friends less important to you than your doctor’s approval? For those who turn away from the alternative approaches and go with the conventional approaches, I guess it must be.

Not only is that weird, it is completely irrational – unless of course you believe that NO amount of vitamins and/or minerals and/or herbs and/or organic fruit and vegetables – not to mention the exercise, the meditation, the visualisation and all the other alternative therapies that people have said worked for them will help your body fight the cancer.

(c) Jonathan Chamberlain 2012

Jonathan Chamberlain is author of The Cancer Survivor’s

“An inspirational guide – a must for anyone who fears the dreadful diagnosis.” – The Midwest Book Review

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Cancer Cells and cellular communications

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on August 17, 2012

Once again I am indebted to Bill Henderson for the link to this 16 minute talk by Mina Bissell.

Mina Bissell’s groundbreaking research has proven that cancer is not only caused by cancer cells. It is caused by an interaction between cancer cells and the surrounding cellular micro-environment. In healthy bodies, normal tissue homeostasis and architecture inhibit the progression of cancers. But changes in the microenvironment–following an injury or a wound for instance–can shift the balance. This explains why many people harbor potentially malignant tumors in their bodies without knowing it and never develop cancer, and why tumors often develop when tissue is damaged or when the immune system is suppressed.

The converse can also be true. In a landmark 1997 experiment, mutated mammary cells, when dosed with an antibody and placed into a normal cellular micro-environment, behaved normally. This powerful insight from Bissell’s lab may lead to new ways of treating existing and preventing potential cancers.

“Bissell was not the first to claim that a cell’s microenvironment plays a role in the formation of tumors. But she showed how this happens…Still, she modestly maintains that her most important contribution is that she hammered away at her point for thirty years.”    Kara Platoni, East Bay Express

Here is the link to her talk and to the fascinating images of normal cells contrasted with cancer cells.


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Healthy Mushrooms

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on August 17, 2012

As always I learn a great deal from Bill Henderson’s monthly email. In the current edition there is a link to a site dedicated to information about the health benefits of mushrooms. Here it is

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Chris Wark’s cancer story

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on August 17, 2012

Chris Wark’s story appears in my book The Cancer Survivor’s Bible – – . Here is a link to a TV interview he did.


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How effective is chemo in fighting cancer?

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on August 15, 2012


Here is a link to a very important analysis as to how effective chemotherapy is

The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy
to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies

Graeme Morgan*, Robyn Wardy, Michael Bartonz
*Department of Radiation Oncology, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal North Shore
Hospital, Sydney, NSW; yDepartment of Medical Oncology,
St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW; zCollaboration for Cancer
Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Liverpool Health Service, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Aims: The debate on the funding and availability of cytotoxic drugs raises questions about the contribution of curative or adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to survival in adult cancer patients. Materials and methods: We undertook a literature search for randomised clinical trials reporting a 5-year survival benefit attributable solely to cytotoxic chemotherapy in adult malignancies. The total number of newly diagnosed cancer patients for 22 major adult
malignancies was determined from cancer registry data in Australia and from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results data in the USA for 1998. For each malignancy, the absolute number to benefit was the product of (a) the total number of persons with that malignancy; (b) the proportion or subgroup(s) of that malignancy showing a benefit; and (c) the percentage increase in 5-year survival due solely to cytotoxic chemotherapy. The overall contribution was the sum total of the absolute numbers showing a 5-year survival benefit expressed as a percentage of the total number for the 22 malignancies.

The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.

As the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required.

Morgan, G. et al. (2004). Clinical Oncology 16, 549e560
 2004 The Royal College of Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Corrupt practi9ces at the FDA

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on August 13, 2012

Many people believe ‘science’ is the only true validator of any new drug. But what happens if that science is corrupt? Well, then – or so you would think – the watchdogs at the FDA would uncover the fraud and then punish the originator of that fraud. Or would they? Perhaps they would just wave the fraud through. That is the claim of a former FDA drugs analyst.

Ronald Kavanagh was a drug reviewer for the FDA in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research from 1998 to 2008. In a recent interview he claims that the FDA bypassed or ignored safety issues on major drugs approved during his employment. In an interview  with Martha Rosenberg for the online news magazine Truth-Out he said:

There is … irrefutable evidence that managers at CDER have placed the nation at risk by corrupting the evaluation of drugs and by interfering with our ability to ensure the safety and efficacy of drugs. While I was at FDA, drug reviewers were clearly told not to question drug companies and that our job was to approve drugs. We were prevented, except in rare instances, from presenting findings at advisory committees.

In 2007, formal policies were instituted so that speaking in any way that could reflect poorly on the agency could result in termination. If we asked questions that could delay or prevent a drug’s approval – which of course was our job as drug reviewers – management would reprimand us, reassign us, hold secret meetings about us, and worse. Obviously in such an environment, people will self-censor.”

For the full story read:

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