Yesterday I received some e-mails.
The first was from a lady whose mother is suffering from cancer. During her mother’s illness, this lady searched the internet for information on cancer and decided it would be a good idea to collect everything she found in one place. So she started a blog.
She says on her blog: “I wanted to have a place where all the information I was researching on the internet could be stored in one convenient location (…). In addition, I wanted to make sure that all the information was positive, so having our own blog made that easy.”
The result of this endeavor is a blog crammed with alternative cancer therapies, presented without any criticism or word of warning. Practically every quackery you can think of is there: Tullio Simoncini, Lothar Hirneise, Laetrile, Essiac tea, Budwig, Gerson, juicing, Mistletoe, Papaya leaves, Chinese medicine, the Law of Attraction and of course the good old zapper and all kinds of other contraptions. And there’s much, much more. The blogroll has links to Cancer Tutor, World without Cancer, Self Help Cancer, to name a few. Oh, lest I forget, there is also one tiny little post on conventional medicine, followed by a rant against chemotherapy.
Nowhere does she make an attempt to check on any of the claims these alternative practitioners make – I take it because that’s not considered “positive.”
There is however the familiar lame disclaimer, in which it says that the blog owner cannot be held responsible in any way for anything they choose to post on their blog:
If you do use the information contained on this web site without the approval of a health professional, you are prescribing for yourself, which is your constitutional right, but the author(s) and webmaster assume no responsibility.
I posted a comment on the article about Tullio Simoncini’s baking soda therapy, which by the way contains the standard nonsense about the need to “maintain” our body’s pH in order to stay healthy at all. The lady wanted more information before letting my comment through moderation and an email correspondence ensued in which she stated that we just each had our own “beliefs” on how to cure cancer. (She also said she personally knew a number of people who were cured of cancer through alternative therapy alone. Boy, would I like to have jli examine their medical files!)
I don’t agree with the idea that curing cancer is no more than a matter of belief or personal preference. I also think there is no need for belief when there are facts that can be discovered. Research can start with belief – the belief that a certain thing may or may not be the case – but this belief has to be justified, it has to hold true – it has to be proven in some way. Otherwise it remains: no more than belief. A person can just about believe anything, but believing something doesn’t make it true.
I wasn’t very nice to this lady. I told her I was upset at reading her blog. I told her I thought she has a responsibility toward cancer patients to provide them with reliable information and that I was shocked by the fact that apparently she was either too ignorant or too lazy to find out if all these claims were true. Her reply, in which she stated that it’s all just a matter of opinion, depressed me immensely. Odd as it may sound, what depressed me most is that I think this lady does indeed mean well, is probably sincere and convinced she is doing cancer patients a load of good.
The second e-mail was from someone who is all in favour of health freedom; he told me that cancer patients should have the right to choose any treatment they want and that nobody has the right to deny them this. After all, what have they got to loose? Then he said I was just a mainstream troll, my blog was ridiculous and I had better write about all the mainstream doctors killing cancer patients with their chemotherapy, contrary to alternative healers, who, being the epitome of goodness, never hurt a soul. After all, how could they, using only faith healing and non-toxic therapies?
And then I read this – which made me think that maybe there is hope after all…