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BLOG: February 2020

Do alternative cancer treatments work?

Just the other day, I stumbled upon a recent article on the site of American Cancer Society (ACS), telling the "truth about alternative medical treatments" in treating cancer. The reason for it was a survey that came up with the "alarming" figure of 40% Americans believing that cancer can be cured with alternative treatments alone.

And that, of course, is not good for the business.

Everyone should know that there is "no evidence that these treatments are effective". Moreover, those are, more or less, pretty much "quackery", the more they claim, the more so (let's not forget what happened with laetrile, and other natural anti-cancer substances).

That's why the ACS had to act, and straighten this mass delusion out, so that people would know who to come to for cancer treatment.

Accidentally, there is not a single reference supporting the "no evidence" label. Zero. Nada. C'mon, don't you trust ACS? Well, what Parenti said for democracy, applies to medical care as well: it is not about trust, it's about distrust, accountability, transparency; I don't want to trust you, I want to see what's going on,

whose interests you really represent, my friend!

And, you bet, good part of those 40% do know what's going on.

Quite recently, a judge deciding about Kylee Dixon's treatment, accepted state prosecution's claim that there is no scientific evidence that cannabinoids and nutritional therapy are effective against cancer, which is simply not true (of course, the real question is: who is giving such therapy; with children especially, there should be a qualified person involved - which doesn't mean someone qualified for the official therapies alone).

But alternative cancer treatments are not about self-styled treatments that a person can undergo, although there is more than enough success stories here to support that even that approach can be effective. They are primarily about non-orthodox treatments practiced by licensed medical professionals. And there are more than a few of them. 

Burton Goldberg's alternative medicine guide to cancer lists 23 physicians with different, generally non-invasive anti-cancer protocols. They all claim good success rate, comparable to the conventional therapies, or better. It doesn't include Dr. Burzynski's antineoplastons therapy, and certainly some others, but what nearly all of them have in common is individual approach to cancer patient. Sure, that does make treatment more expensive, but unlike the orthodox "one shoe fits all" approach, which is maximizing profit, the individual approach

maximizes effectiveness.

Let's take a closer look at only one of those alternative approaches, introduced by Dr. Ernesto Contreras at his clinic in Tijuana, Mexico (after he passed away in 2003. the clinic is headed by his son, Dr. Francisco Contreras). It uses several different therapies, all within the governing cancer treatment protocol called C-ACT (Contreras Alternative Cancer Treatment), whose idea is to attack cancer from all angles: not only the tumor itself, but everything in and around patient that helps it grow.

The clinic claims that due to this approach they achieved

three times better success rate over the U.S. national average.

It practices alternative and complementary (they call it "integrative") treatments, part of which can be chemotherapy (IRT-Q Protocol; note that their chemotherapy includes significant enhancements, making tumor more vulnerable and patient more protected from damaging side effects). After s/he is informed about all options, it is patient's decision which treatment, if any, will be applied. Free country Mexico...

Without going into too many details, let's look at one specific comparison of the clinic's treatment effectiveness vs. U.S. official figures. It is for their IRT-C protocol (Integrative Regulatory Therapy), which includes infusions of high-dose intravenous vitamin C (in addition to it, every complete protocol is said to include several other therapies, plus optimized diet, exercise, emotional and spiritual support).

This is how the figures compare, according to the clinic (source: Townsend Letter). It is for stage IV cancers, 53 breast, 22 lung, and 23 colorectal cancer patients. The U.S. figures used for comparison are those from the National Cancer Institute (SEER Survival Monography 2007).

Type of Cancer

Oasis IRT-C

conventional U.S.

% survival

1-year

2-year

3-year

4-year

1-year

2-year

3-year

4-year

Breast

85

74

64

50

65

44

32

25

Breast (clinic was the 1st treatment option)

94

82

71

56

65

44

32

25

Lung

82

50

27

23

20

6

3

2

Colorectal

72

48

26

17

43

22

13

10

  According to these numbers, the alternative treatments come ahead, hands down. More so considering that they are non-invasive (protocol that includes chemo has somewhat higher overall survival rates - it also includes ovarian cancer - but not significantly).

Now, one could say it is still not a scientific evidence but, guess what: it is pretty much the kind of evidence that the official, conventional medicine can offer. All the science put into creating cancer treatments boils down to the survival rates, as the ultimate measure of the effectiveness.

Sure, we don't have no reason to trust the clinic's figures any more than those from the U.S. official side - but no reason to trust them less either.

So, let's settle for a reasonable conclusion, which is that alternative cancer therapies do work. The conventional medicine's claim of its exclusivity is obviously just a self-serving mantra of someone with a direct conflict of interest, that also happened to have the upper hand.

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