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:
Burzynski claims to cure cancer with extracts from human urine. There shouldn’t really be any need to say more, but here goes.
Burzynski is actually an MD (though his claim to a PhD is apparently dubious); however he had no specialty training in cancer and had no preclinical or clinical cancer research experience when he announced his ‘cure for cancer’ 35 years ago.
His ”antineoplastons” -the substances he has isolated from human urine which he claims cure cancer – have never been shown to have any effect on cancer; attempts to replicate his claimed results by the National Cancer Institute, the Japanese National Cancer Institute and Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals failed.
Be wary of unsubstantiated testimonials about miracle cancer cures. You have no way of knowing whether the person ever had cancer in the first place, much less has been cured. And you have no way of knowing whether, if genuine, they are still alive. This is from Orac’s Respectful Insolence blog:
”…Dr. Burzynski first gained fame for his antineoplastons back in 1988, when Sally Jesse Raphael featured four “miracle” patients of Burzynski, who, according to her, had had incurable cancer and failed conventional therapies but were then cancer-free, thanks to Dr. Burzynski.
Unfortunately, four years later in 1992, Inside Edition followed up these four patients: ‘In 1992, “Inside Edition” reported that two of the four patients had died and a third was having a recurrence of her cancer. (The fourth patient had bladder cancer, which has a good prognosis.) The widow of one of Raphael’s guests stated that her husband and five others from the same city had sought treatment after learning about Burzynski from a television broadcast — and that all had died of their disease. In 1995, a federal grand jury indicted Burzynski for mail fraud and marketing an unapproved drug. The indictment charged that he had billed insurance companies using procedure codes for chemotherapy, even though his treatment was not chemotherapy. He was tried in 1997 but not convicted.’
***EDIT*** Oh looky! A total of 8 answers, all from people who joined YA on the same day specifically to answer this question! Suspicious? You decide!
As the addition to the answer suggests, there was something fishy about some of the other answers. On the same day eight posters who had all signed up on the same day posted answers praising Burzynski and his treatment. One of these posters called herself “Mary Jo Siegel” – the name also held by the founder of this patient group.
That entry on yahoo answers has been referenced in several places on the internet. And both the aspects of MAS behavior as well as the sudden simultaneous appearance of eight Burzynski proponents have been in focus.
The other day lo_mcg received a notice from the administrators at Yahoo-answers that her answer had been reported and deleted. Being chosen as the best answer, this means that the question, all other answers and the debate in the comments section were deleted too. No reasons were given, but this can happen if one or more “reliable” users report it as abuse. How reliability is determined is not known.
This is the appeal that lo_mcg filed:
I haven’t been told the reason given for this answer’s deletion. It answered the question ‘Is Dr Stanislaw Burzynski legitimate?’, and is strictly factual. The number of ‘thumbs ups’ my answer has received indicates that a lot of members of the Y!A community found it helpful.
I am concerned that in deleting this answer (and, since it was Best Answer, the whole question and all subsequent debate on the issue) Yahoo!Answers has allowed itself to become a victim of Dr Burzynski’s clinic’s campaign to silence all criticism by any means possible.
The ‘Comments’section following the question is largely taken up by a user called MAS insulting, berating and threatening me and all those who dared speak against Burzynski and his unproven claim to be able to cure cancer. The account ‘MAS’ set up for this purpose was shortly afterward deleted by Y!A after I submitted a series of threatening and insulting emails he had sent me.
MAS was later revealed by many other reputable websites as Marc Stephens, who was employed by the Burzynski Clinic to silence opposition – a job he undertook with zeal by posing as a lawyer, and making sinister threats to bloggers who criticised Burzynski’s practices, including threats to one blogger’s newly-born child and the attempted intimidation of a 17 year old blogger which included a Google Earth picture of his home. The Burzynski Clinic has acknowledged that he was employed by them to oppose and silence criticism.
The Burzynski Clinic subsequently relieved Stephens of his duties, though he is still connected to the clinic. However, the clinic has vowed to continue their attempts to silence criticism.
By deleting a valid and factual answer on the subject, Y! A is allowing someone to misuse its reporting system in pursuit of this intimidation campaign, and becoming the campaign’s latest victim.
I am therefore appealing against the deletion of my answer, and requesting its reinstatement.
The appeal was denied.
In all fairness, the addition is a violation of the “community Guidelines/Terms of service. One cannot help speculating what Yahoo is afraid of. We feel it is unacceptable that the Burzynski proponents should have the power to silence people, which is why we have chosen to bring lo_mcg’s answer as well as the appeal of its deletion out in public view.