Anaximperator blog

Blogging against alternative cancer treatments

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A Fungus Ball is a Fungus Ball – and not Cancer

The first post on this blog was posted in November 2008, and it was about an Italian ex doctors claim that “cancer is a sodium bicarbonate sensitive fungus”. The idea that sodium bicarbonate is an effective cancer treatment still exists, but most people have accepted that the idea that cancer is a fungus is demonstrably wrong.

In fact many Simoncini proponents even think that Simoncini doesn’t claim that cancer is a fungus- He is just not very good at English.

Well – as it happens, I stumbled upon an article from Sweden that allegedly confirms what Simoncini has been saying all along.

The journal it is published in is called “2000-Talets Vetenskab” , which translates into “Science of the 2000′s”. As you might have guessed this journal is not really a scientific journal. It is a journal promoting pseudoscience. They endorse people like for example Matthias Rath.

Another person endorsed by the journal is an ex doctor  named Erik Enby. According to a blog post (in Swedish) by a Swedish cancer patient, Enby was delicenced following deaths of two cancer patients. One of them was a 39 years old mother of three, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and declined surgery on the advice of Enby. One year later she had died. The other patient was a 58 years old woman who had liver cancer that had spread. He sold her for 9000 kroner (≈1300 $) vitamins and minerals. After three days her condition derteriorated. She died within a few weeks.

Enby has published an article in the journal in English titled “A breast cancer tumor consisted of a spore-sac fungus (ascomycota)”. Sure enough – The article has found its way to Simoncinis website (The Italian version).

So what are we told  in this article?

In the header it says that it is peer reviewed article. This sounds impressive, but it matters who did the peer review. If a peer reviewer is clueless about cancer diagnostic including cancer anatomy, his/her review of a paper that is about these things is worse than useless. We will see in a moment what sloppy review leads to.

If we look at the structure of the article we can see that the layout is similar to what is seen in scientific research papers. So superficially it looks sciency. But it is the content that is important if we are to be impressed. So let’s see what we can find.

Materials and methods:

We are told that the patient was a female who felt a lump in her breast. So far so good. We are not told her age as is costumary in case reports im medical journals. And we are not told if she suffered from other illnesses. This is important int this case, because some diseases may predispose to fungal infections.

We are also told that the patient was diagnosed and treated at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg. This is a hospital Enby knows, because he worked there as a doctor in the geriatrics department until his retirement in 2004.  There is one important piece of information that is left out: How was the cancer diagnosis determined?  Clinical examination and a mammogram is not enough. Even a fine needle biopsy may be false positive.

Then we are told that surgery was performed and chemotherapy was started. Again some important information is missing: What type of chemotherapy was started? Chemotherapy means treatment of disease with chemicals/drugs. Some drugs are used to treat cancer. Other drugs are used to treat other diseases like for instance fungal infections.

It sounds strange that he

..managed to get six cancer samples that was prepared at the Department of Pathology, Sahl­grenska University Hospital.

Why would the pathology department hand over their sections to a former geriatrist who had been delicensed because of cancer quackery??

And then there is this paragraph:

I could immediately see that the sample consisted of a spore-sac fungus (Ascomycota/Asco­mycetes/Sac fungi/Spor-sac fungi) that grew in the sample which appeared to com­pletely consist of such a fungus 2.

To see that something are fungi is really not that difficult. It is seen on a daily basis in every pathology department. Here is an example from a biopsy which was not suspicious of cancer, but still is a fungal colony. The photos show a PAS staining of them at 200 and 400 times magnification respectively. Regarless of the different staining methods, I think the resemblance to what is shown in Enbys article is obvious.

pas201 pas401

There is something important missing in Enby’s descrpition as well as in the microscopy photos he brings. There is no description of or depiction of cancer cells. If something is to be called cancer, it has to contain cancer cells. If it doesn’t it is called something else. Here are some photografhs showing cancer cells as well as the tumour stroma (long story) at 100, 200 and 400 times magnification respectively.

mam100 mam200 mam400

In case anyone wonders – There were no fungal structures in this cancer.

Discussion:

In this part of the article Enby fails to discuss an important aspect of relevance to the case he presents. Can a fungal infection present as a tumour in the breast? The answer is yes. It is rare, but there have been reports of fungal infection presenting as tumours (Not cancers)  in breasts. See for instance this case report.

Conclusion:

Again Enby fails to draw the most obvious conclusion: The mass that consisted of fungis is not a cancer, because to be a cancer it has to contain cancer cells. Calling the article a scientific article is misrepresenting science. It is clear that this article isn’t written for the scientific community. It is plausible that it is convincing to people who already believe in this myth. But explanation of why the conclusion is wrong is not complicated.

Does this case report illustrate aspects of relevance to alternative cancer cure testimonials?

The article is basically a failed attempt at documenting the idea that cancer is (at least sometimes) a fungus. There is no alternative (to) medicine treatment involved in this case. But it does illustrate part of the problem in miraculous natural cancer cure testimonials that are all over the internet. Some years back, Peter Moran wrote a good blog post about what to look for in cancer cure testimonials. If you are unfamiliar with it, I certainly recommend that you read it.

I will just sum up some major points on what can be wrong with these testimonials:

1) It might not even have been cancer
2) The cancer may have been removed as part of the diagnostic procedure
3) The alternative therapy may have been used alongside conventional treatment, which may be what actually delivered the cure. Even a biopsy may sometimes be curative.
4) The cancer might not have disappeared after all
5) The testimonial may be pure fabrication.

There is no doubt that 1) applies to the case described by Enby. He clearly explains, that the tumor consisted entirely of fungal spores and hyphes. And his photos document that there were no cancer cells in this tumour. So this tumour was demonstrably not a cancer.

Since no alternative therapy was used 2) – 4) are not issues with this case.

It cannot be ruled out that 5) partially applies to this case. As far as we can tell, the breast cancer diagnosis might not have been the final diagnoses that guided the treatment. I am unable to any reference to this case in the real scientific literature. It is certainly unusual enough to make it publishable as a case report.

I have emailed the pathology department at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and asked them if they can confirm the existence of this case. And if they can clear up some of the confusion Enby’s version creates. If they reply, I will update this post.

Sugar depleted diet is not a cure for cancer

sugarOne of the ideas that circulate among proponents of alternative therapy for cancer is that cancer thrives on sugar and because of this, cancer can be starved to death by avoiding to eat sugar.

It is claimed that the idea is backed up by hard core science – the Warburg effect, which landed the discoverer the Nobel Prize.

Today we know and understand that things are more complicated than that.

In this post we will attempt to simplify the biochemistry/physiology involved and explain why the idea of a sugar depleted diet as cancer treatment doesn’t work in the real world. Read more of this post

Homeopathy For Cancer, Endorsed by ASCO?? Not Really

When searching for a non-toxic cancer treatment without any side effects, for many people homeopathy seems an attractive option. And sure enough, there are people out there who try to convince cancer patients that homeopathy is a real option. A strong sales argument would be that conventional science proves it to be effective – and precisely this claim has been made for a homeopathic remedy called Psorinum. Read more of this post

If a cancer treatment works in a mouse it works in a human right?? — Well, not necessarily

Researchers are constantly on lookout for new substances that are more effective and safer as cancer treatments than what is already available. In an ideal world it would be possible to know which substances would have effect on cancers and at the same time be safe. But the world isn’t perfect. So the researchers have to use some kind of experimental model to select substances that might be useful to patients. And they publish the results of these experiments.

Read more of this post

The Burzynski Proponents Are Still Actively Silencing Critics

In a previous post we revealed how the head of the Burzynski patient group’s PR-department (Marc Stephens also known as MAS) tried to bully lo_mcg into retracting her answer to this question:

Is Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski legitimate?

This is what lo_mcg answered:

Read more of this post

Happy New Year!

Is Marc Stephens Really A Representative Of Burzynski?

A few days ago jli blogged about a movie that claims to prove the efficacy of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s “antineoplastons” as a cancer cure.

After writing a post on Dr Stanislaw Burzynski, Andy Lewis of the Quackometer received legal threats from someone by the name of Marc Stephens, who claims to represent Burzynski.

This is not the first time this person threatens bloggers in this way. Peter Bowditch of Ratbags.com is another recent example.

The style of his emails does sound a bit lawyerish, but then again – not really.

Read more of this post

Burzynski The Movie: Does It Prove The Efficacy of Antineoplastons Against Cancer?

Stanislaw Burzynski treats cancer patients at a private clinic using what he terms “antineoplastons”: mixtures of peptides, amino acids, and other simple organic substances that are said to promote the body’s natural defenses against cancer. He has published his own studies, but nobody has been able to reproduce the clinical results he claims to have achieved. Recently a movie was released that allegedly shows irrefutable proof that his therapy works as a cure for cancer and that the rest of the medical establishment is conspiring against him.

In this post we will not concern ourselves with conspiracy talk: all we are interested in is to review the evidence presented in the movie (click here).

Read more of this post

Health Ranger Mike Adams And The Death of Steve Jobs

As was to be expected, it didn’t take Mike Adams long to inform the world of the cause of Steve Job’s death. It was of course, as it always is, conventional cancer treatments – chemotherapy and radiation in particular – and not cancer, for in Mike Adams’s world-of-miracles-that-never-happen, there is no such thing as dying from cancer.

Read more of this post

No Blogging For The Time Being…

Due to personal circumstances I won’t be posting on this blog for the time being.

I thank you all for your input and wish you all the very best & hope to see you again soon.

Love,
Beatis

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