Uncategorized

Shut the Fuck Up About Your Bullshit Cancer “Cure”

Enough with shooting coffee up the ass.

It was as a little over two years ago. My aunt was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Her physician described this type of cancer as one that “comes as a thief in the night.” That’s because there often are no symptoms with cancer of the pancreas until it’s too late. And what the thief steals is life.

Cancer sucks, and so does the treatment. But it doesn’t suck so bad it can’t be made worse by the cluelessly well-meaning pushing some bullshit.

When my aunt was diagnosed, someone who will remain nameless said, “If she starts on a ketogen—“ “STOP TALKING RIGHT NOW!” I interrupted them. “Just … don’t say another word.” I knew my aunt had only a short time, and I didn’t have time for hearing bullshit cancer “cures.”

Want to know who else doesn’t have time for them? People with cancer.

Often, it’s an organization profiting off the desperate via selling pseudoscience. And they get free promotion from the gullible. As I was researching this piece, a friend coincidentally posted this on Facebook:

“Do people really think that nutrition can cure terminal cancer?”

One person, who is a real estate agent rather than an oncologist, commented: “Yes. Nutrition will prevent cancer and it will heal cancer. However the disbelief will hinder any possibility. They say you are what you think AND you are what you eat AND you are who you believe you are. Recipe is worthiness, faith, and whole foods.”

I replied to her: “May I ask, what are your opinions on modern medical cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy?”

Her reply? “I think that they are controlled by money and greed at the foundation of it call. The folks who pay for the Research are those who build wealth from the medications. Again, many principles would have to break down, many high paying jobs would be lost and many egos will be bruised if we just got off the medication wagon and got on the Meditaition airplane. Cancer and all diseases are signs of healing that needs to happen.”

On that same post, a construction worker commented: “I heard detox tea does wonders.”

Another commenter: “Cancer thrives in an acidic environment. If you are able to keep your body in an alkaline state cancer can’t grow or survive. It’s literally that simple.”

Another realtor commented: “Most cancers are caused by a vitamin deficiency, brought on by the removal of foods in the last 100 years that are high in nitrilocides (or Vitamin B17).” This guy was pushing eating apricot seeds to prevent and cure cancer, despite the high risk of cyanide poisoning.

I’m not going to dissect the various types of bullshit cancer cures, because a book or three can be written on this crap. Rather, I’ll state a simple fact: Pseudoscience doesn’t cure people. There is no grand conspiracy to hide the cure for cancer. The only hope people have is via scientifically proven methods, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Granted, none of these are fun. Sometimes they extend lives, sometimes they save lives. And when you convince a cancer patient to opt out of that which is scientifically proven and instead use a bullshit “cure,” you might as well shoot them in the head.

Stories abound of the person who had the highly treatable form of cancer, yet opted for quackery, then got worse. By the time they made the decision to use real medicine, it was too late. The decision to use quackery killed them.

I want to share with you the stories of two real people who have been undergoing science-based cancer treatments for years to stay alive. Despite having no interest in hearing about bullshit “cures,” they hear about them all the time. It takes a toll.

Alexis Rhoads with her family.

Alexis Rhoads
Alexis was diagnosed with “triple negative” breast cancer in February 2013. It was shortly after the birth of her third son; she had just turned 34. Triple negative, Alexis told me, “is the trickiest one to treat. Triple negative has no ‘target receptors’ so has the worst prognosis,” she said.

Alexis, who lives in San Antonio, Texas, had a full round of chemotherapy, radiation, a double mastectomy, and reconstruction. “Then they found a growth in my abdomen in May 2014. That means stage IV, or incurable/terminal cancer. They treat you with chemo as a way to extend your life.

“I would have been dead in months if I would have gone any other route.”

But that was three-and-a-half years ago. By not listening to woo-fuck-quackery and instead using modern medicine, she is still alive today to be with her three children and her husband.

Yet this does not stop people from telling her to try an alternative.

“I’ve heard them all. Gerson therapy with juicing and coffee enemas, the essential oils, ketogenic diet, vegan diet, alkaline water, no sugar (don’t you know that sugar causes cancer?!), and I’ve seen many people in our stage IV groups online go to the Oasis of Hope (an alternative cancer treatment center that uses unproven methods and charges several thousand dollars per week) in Mexico and be told how well they are doing there. But then they pass quickly.” Because of this, and to have ammunition when trying to convince others to avoid Oasis of Hope, Alexis has done a lot of online searching into patients of this “hospital,” and discovered no verifiable miracle cures. Only death.

Alexis explained that most friends and family promoting alternative treatments come from a good place. “They are desperate to save you,” she said.

“Trust your oncologists,” she said. “Get a good team and please get taken care of. Your family wants to see you well, please don’t make them regret supporting a treatment that is just extortion from the desperate; from those who are selling a lie.”

Carrie LaZarre
Carrie is currently in hospice in New York, nearing the end of her life. She was diagnosed over ten years ago, in July 2007, with colon cancer.

“They gave me two to five years, tops,” Carrie said.

Carrie LaZarre, visiting the Alps, summer 2017.

She began treatment right away. Getting surgery first, followed by radiation and chemotherapy to keep her alive. She had another “groundbreaking surgery” in 2009. “It was risky and intense and 10 hours long,” she said, “But that surgery bought me seven years. Chemo was obviously a big part of staving it off too.”

What does Carrie say about the 10 years since her diagnosis?

“I have lived my life to the fullest. I looked forward to everything.” She traveled to places like Hawaii, Spain, and earlier this year went parasailing through the French Alps.

When it comes to bullshit cures, Carrie has heard it all, from extreme diets to acupuncture. She also told me of a blind date she went on last year. He didn’t know she had cancer and stated he practiced “healing yoga.” Then he told her about the “healing power of sacred sound.” He told Carrie “it could cure anything.”

“He said every disease, every sickness, could be controlled by listening to different gongs and chimes in a series of sacred and ancient patterns. if you let yourself open up to a new dimension you could heal yourself.”

So, she told him she had cancer. “The SOB said that if I really wanted to get rid of it, I could start immediately. It made me feel really angry.” Then she felt sorry for him for lacking the ability to think rationally.

We spoke of so-called Gerson therapy. “These creeps prey on the terminally ill or those folks scared of traditional treatment, which then pulls them away from a real chance of survival, especially if it’s early stages.”

Carrie told me of a friend diagnosed with colon cancer who embraced alternative treatments. He went to Mexico for Gerson therapy at a price of $5,500 a week. “It focuses on massive amounts of raw vegetable juice consumption, followed by coffee enemas. And, of course, you have to buy all the supplements.”

Her friend was initially diagnosed as stage II. A year later, having embraced alternative treatments and not using modern medicine, he was stage IV. What happened then?

“He got his ass to an oncologist,” Carrie said, without hint of a pun. “He got the surgeries, the chemo; he said goodbye to his anus/rectum. Luckily, he not only survived, but the dude went into remission! Of course, he credited that with the initial Gerson therapy and not modern medicine.”

Another bullshit cure is one that many people promote without even realizing it’s a bullshit cure, and the harm it does to patients dealing with cancer.

“Tons of people talk to me about ‘positive thinking’,” Carrie said. “After a few years that one really got to me.” Some believe a positive attitude helps fight cancer, but, “No oncologist ever told me that positive thinking did squat.” She gets frustrated with constantly being told to “battle” or “fight” her cancer. After a while, with long-term cancer, “you just deal,” she said.

Why does this language matter? In the words of a pediatric oncologist:

Fighting/war language is not helpful when you are talking about cancer. If you set yourself up for a war with cancer and it doesn’t respond in the way you had hoped, or it relapses, then you have to talk about “giving up” or “throwing in the towel.” If a person dies, it doesn’t mean that cancer “won.” Instead, if you frame it differently from the beginning, you can allow someone to change the goals of care in a dignified and courageous manner. Source

That source also quotes another physician who states the fighting mentality has the consequence of blaming the victim if they die, because they supposedly didn’t fight hard enough.

Also from that source: An obstetrician who had been through cancer treatment said:

I can tell you that I just glazed over when people said to fight. It was one of the most passive times in my life—just doing what was recommended. I needed fortitude, resolve and support…but fighting was way out of my capability…Every person experiences cancer in their own way. Insistence on “fighting” is not respectful of the patient’s right to make decisions that they choose.

“Other than making sure that what you do adds to the quality of your life, there’s very little you can do,” Carrie said of being told to fight. “And that frustrates and scares the hell out of people. I’ve struggled with that a little. Is it battling, or is it doing the best you can? It’s how you look at it, I guess. I stopped the ‘warrior’ thing early on. It was just too exhausting. When you live with cancer for years, it’s a marathon. If you sprint, you burn yourself out.”

Instead of telling cancer patients what they should do, listen to them; ask what you can do for them.

Being a pusher of bullshit cancer treatments is being a thief. If they take your advice over that of real medicine, you’ve likely contributed to stealing their life. If they ignore you, you’ve still stolen their precious time.

“I’m at the end of my life,” Carrie said, “but I’m thrilled I’ve lived this long.

Don’t stand in the way of a cancer patient’s thrills. They may not have much time left to waste.

READ AND PROVIDE COMMENTS

Follow James on Facebook and Twitter.

James S. Fell, MBA, writes for the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, AskMen, the Guardian, TIME Magazine and many other fine publications. His first book was published by Random House Canada in 2014. He is currently working on his next book, which is about life-changing moments.

 

 

Previous post

The Buttered Coffee Guy Has Gone Off the Fucking Deep End

Next post

DOUCHEBAG GLOSSARY: Words and Phrases Douchebags Enjoy Using and Misusing