The Cancer Act 1939 and similar legislation around the world gives orthodox cancer treatment an undeserved monopoly, ensuring that ineffective but profitable treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy can never be challenged by more effective alternative treatments.
THE TOTNES CANCER HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE (TCHCC) took place on Saturday 24th March 2012 at Eden Rise retreat ten minutes drive from the little town of Totnes in sleepy Devonshire, England. It might not have happened at all because it was almost cancelled by the local Trading Standards, which had been egged on by local MP Dr. Sarah Woolaston and the usual mob of campaigning UK skeptics who argued that the conference was promoting cancer treatments and therefore contravened the Cancer Act 1939 which gives the medical establishment a monopoly on cancer treatment and the promotion of cancer treatment. As a consequence, the conference was no longer able to go ahead at its planned venue — Totnes Civic Hall — a venue which had been booked and promoted months in advance.
Both the local and national mainstream media assumed that, with the venue location stopped, the conference was cancelled, and this they reported without checking their facts with the conference organiser, Dr. Stephen Hopwood. True to form, the mainstream media billed the cancellation as a victory for public safety over “irresponsible” cancer treatment claims, highlighting the view of one of the billed speakers — oncologist Tullio Simoncini — that baking soda can be used as a cancer treatment. Because Dr. Simoncini has been struck off the medical register for his views, he provided perfect justification to cancel the conference: baking soda curing cancer… how irresponsible! Of course this was only a pretext to cancel the conference because the Trading Standards did not change their position when Hopwood responded by dropping Simoncini as a speaker.
However, Trading Standards, Sarah Woolaston, the rabble of UK skeptics and the mainstream media underestimated the resolve of the conference organisers and those planning to attend — free speech would not be thwarted — and the skeptics glee at the announced cancellation was short-lived as the event was switched, last minute, to a private venue on a donation basis. This placed it more firmly under the protection of free speech legislation, and the conference ended up being a success with a remarkable turnout considering the blanket media reports that it was cancelled.
The conference organiser, Dr. Stephen Hopwood, is a wholistic medical doctor with 20 years of healthcare experience. He currently runs the Arcturus Clinic (www.arcturusclinic.co.uk) and the Totnes Cancer Help Centre (www.totnescancerhealthcentre.com). Hopwood set up the conference to “discuss potential underlying causes of cancer, offer thoughts on how best to protect yourself and as the day unfolds provide a clear map of how to cultivate your health and immunity.” This was to be a discussion day for those interested in complementary and alternative approaches to cancer survival, “based on the idea that if our body’s immune and endocrine systems are correctly functioning, well supported and balanced physiologically then cancer is less likely to arise and that our body’s own immune system may itself hold the key to prevention.” (www.arcturusclinic.co.uk/?page_id=4834)
This perspective of cancer treatment is actually quasi-respectable, and forms the basis of treatments of a surprising number of orthodox-focused medical doctors and researchers. But this respectability makes no difference to those opposing the conference, and they continued to cite a piece of UK legislation called the Cancer Act 1939 as the reason that this conference should not go ahead, a legal Act, they claim, was put in place to protect the public.
The Cancer Act 1939, which you can read at www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo6/2-3/13, was actually passed into British Law in 1939 to effectively give a monopoly to the emerging radiotherapy industry which believed at the time that the cure for cancer was the radioactive element radium. As radium was hugely expensive to procure and to administer, the Act ensured that the government loan to the National Radium Trust (an independent non-governmental trust) would be secured by eliminating competing cancer treatments — it was the means of securing this business arrangement.
In the original Cancer Act 1939, in Section 3 (since repealed), the condition of the loan to the National Radium Trust was that “no money shall be lent under this section after the expiration of ten years from the commencement of this Act.” So it appears that this legislation was primarily to secure start-up capital the radiotherapy industry, which at that time was nationalized, although the loan did have provision for repayment: “Any sums received by the Minister by way of repayment of a loan under this section or by way of interest thereon shall be paid into the Exchequer.” This was therefore a piece of legislation principally defining a business arrangement, rather than one for public protection — the advertising restrictions are clearly secondary to the loan arrangement.
And anyway, heart disease is just as dangerous as cancer but we do not have a Heart Disease Act because other legislation is perfectly adequate in protecting the public from bogus heart disease remedies and practitioners. Cancer was singled out because of the expense of radium and the need to set up a monopoly to deal with money loaned for that expense.
You also have to remember that back in 1939, cancer was not as common as it is today with only 1 in 30 to 1 in 40 people getting the disease as opposed to today’s rate of between 1 in 2 and 1 in 3. So health practitioners did not have the massive customer base that they have today, making the protection of what was considered at the time to be a promising but expensive treatment commercially essential.
The National Radium Trust was abolished soon after the Second World War with the introduction of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948, and most sections of the original Cancer Act 1939 have replaced by the Medicines Act 1968 (www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/67/contents). Today, the main part of the Act that remains is Section 4, which prohibits the “advertising” of cancer treatments:
An advertisement here is defined as “any notice, circular, label, wrapper or other document, and any announcement made orally or by any means of producing or transmitting sounds.” Cancer treatments, however, can be advertised by local authorities, hospitals and anyone acting with the approval of the Minister of Health (which generally translates as oncologists, research doctors and large cancer research charities):
The Act does however allow cancer treatments to be advertised to registered doctors, registered nurses, registered pharmacists and students training in these professions. This allows the medical establishment to maintain its indoctrination on its conventional cancer treatments.
So the Cancer Act 1939 basically affords a monopoly on the medical establishment (which includes government), but as medical establishments around the world tend to be funded and controlled by Big Pharma (which also, as we will see, manipulates government), then that monopoly on cancer treatment and cancer treatment information dissemination is effectively Big Pharma’s monopoly. As we shall see later on, this is not in the interest of cancer patients, because if we are banned from even discussing alternative cancer treatments then patients’ choices are limited almost exclusively to conventional cancer treatments, treatments that we shall see have a dismal success rate.
What is most concerning about the Cancer Act 1939, however, is that it violates Freedom of Speech legislation. This is what makes it so controversial and why so many are now calling for its complete repeal — it is no longer serves the purpose for which it was set up (to kick-start expensive new radium treatments) and it has been superceded by newer legislation like the Medicines Act 1968, legislation which is perfectly adequate for protecting the public against medical scammers and charlatans. Unfortunately, monopolies are not easily given up, especially a monopoly as lucrative as that involving cancer treatment, and so Big Pharma makes sure, through its influence on the medical establishment and government, that full repeal of the Cancer Act 1939 never happens.
With this monopoly in place, the Cancer Act 1939 allowed radiotherapy to flourish, so that today “about half of all cancer patients receive some type of radiation therapy sometime during the course of their treatment.” [The National Cancer Institute – www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/radiation. Cancer Research UK estimate that 40% of UK cancer patients receive radiotherapy.] And yet, despite its widespread use, it is very difficult to find the actual success rates of radiotherapy for various types of cancer. As cancer consultant and researcher Dr. Ralph Moss (http://cancerdecisions.com) said in a 2008 newsletter: “Many forms of radiation treatment… have simply been ‘grandfathered in,’ – i.e., accepted by default largely on the basis of having been around for a long time.” He goes on to say:
Of course, oncologists themselves are most likely to have an idea of radiotherapy’s effectiveness as a cancer treatment, but they are certainly keeping quiet about it. For example, a Harvard study published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that “90% of oncologists would never take radiation for lung cancer. 84% would never take chemotherapy for colon cancer,” both standard treatments offered by the medical establishment to those particular cancer-type sufferers. Why would oncologists be recommending treatments to their patients that they would avoid themselves? What is causing this duplicity?
Ralph Moss, the researcher mentioned earlier, remembers the reluctance of a brain cancer specialist, who visited him, to take radiation should he ever develop a brain tumour himself:
So the Cancer Act 1939 , which was put in place to nurture a fledgling radiotherapy industry, is actually protecting an industry that those administering its treatment — the medical establishment — have serious doubts about behind closed doors, obviously concerned about their careers if they publicly stand by their opinions.
But of course, these days, orthodox cancer treatment is more than just radiotherapy. Today we also have chemotherapy as the other main orthodox cancer treatment. But this therapy, one that involves intravenously administering highly toxic substances in the hope of poisoning the cancer before poisoning the patient, also has an extremely low overall success rate. For example, a 2004 study by three Australian oncologists, published in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Oncology (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15630849), concluded that:
This is consistent with Ralph Moss’ (http://cancerdecisions.com) meta-studies (studies of studies) on the success rate of chemotherapy. In his ground-breaking book Questioning Chemotherapy (and his subsequent books, which are all extensively documented), Moss provides evidence that chemotherapy is ineffective for most forms of cancer, with a 2% to 4% overall success rate. He also reports the exceptions where this treatment has been shown to be useful, exceptions which include Hodgkin’s disease, lymphocytic leukemia and nonseminomatous testicular cancer, as well as a few extremely rare forms of cancer which include retinoblastoma, choriocarcinoma and Wilm’s tumour. Chemotherapy can also be helpful with State 3 ovarian cancer and small-call lung cancer. But with the vast majority of cancers (96% to 98%), it basically useless, subjecting patients to unnecessary suffering and biological (including immune system) damage.
Part of the problem is that the medical establishment take a very short-term view regarding treatment success. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines a particular chemotherapy treatment as “effective” if it reduces a humour by 50% or more in just 28 days. But this definition falsely implies that there is some correlation between fast tumour reduction and overall survival (which is generally set at a 5-year period). However, If the research is anything to go by, this assumption is false as there is little to no correlation for most cancers. Just because chemotherapy can quickly shrink tumours does NOT make it an effective cancer treatment (except in cases where immediate survival is the only concern). As chemotherapy, like radiotherapy, destroys much of the immune system in the process of destroying cancer cells, it is not only a notoriously torturous treatment but it leaves patients it does not help (almost all of them) in a worse situation than before because, once the immune system is destroyed, the body becomes unresponsive to alternative treatments, many of which rely upon stimulating its innate immune response. As a consequence, orthodox cancer treatment is not only largely useless for most cancer sufferers, causing a great suffering, but it takes patients on an all-or-nothing roller-coaster ride with often lottery odds of survival.
So chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the two cornerstones of modern orthodox cancer treatment, are not effective treatments to the vast majority of cancer patients, and yet these “treatments” are given protected monopoly status by most developed countries around the world, effectively sentencing 96% – 98% of cancer sufferers to hugely destructive and painful treatments which are not to their benefit. In the UK, it is the Cancer Act 1939 that ensures alternatives to chemotherapy and radiotherapy do not see the light of day.
Of course, if chemotherapy and radiotherapy, ineffective as they are, really are the best options for cancer patients, then a case can be made for this sort of monopoly legislation. But with success rates of these treatments being little better than doing nothing for most cancers, the bar has been set so incredibly low for cancer treatment success that you would think that this might encourage an openness by governments and the medical authorities to explore every other possible avenue for cancer treatment in an effort to raise the dismal odds of current cancer survival. But in reality, governments and the medical authorities are still not only closed to alternative cancer treatments, but they take every step to stamp alternatives out without examining them, criminalizing well-meaning scientists and doctors who are trying to raise that bar for cancer survival rates.
How can this be? Surely governments and the medical establishment have the people’s interests at heart? After all, it is the people who elect and pay for their governments to look after their interests, including their health interests, and in those countries with national health services, it is the people who pay for the cancer treatments. So how can any system that is in service to the people be maintaining treatment monopolies that are not in the interest of the people?
There are two responses to these questions, and they separate people into those who want to maintain the fairy tale of benign government and a fatherly healthcare system, and those who look a little deeper and realize that governments do not necessarily act in the interest of the people they represent, and that the medical establishment has loyalties stronger than those to its patients.
If you are in the former group and you believe the fairy tale that your government and your medical establishment are looking out for your interest, then you should probably stop reading here. This article is not for fantasists. If you have an emotional investment in benign patriarchal leaders, then you will have strong resistance to entertaining the possibility that our leaders do not act in the collective interest, and you will probably try to dismiss the statistics outlined above, clinging on to the belief that chemotherapy and radiotherapy are effective cancer treatments, and that their universal use should not be questioned. After all, caring leaders would not allow the suffering of those that they lead, and medical researchers and doctors are 100% objective and would never offer treatments they knew to be ineffective or that they would not take themselves or recommend to their families. So the facts above MUST be false. (Dream on!)
Unfortunately, although blind loyalty to a benign patriarchal vision is a valid emotional response, it is one that can and does lead to mass suffering and slaughter because it is based on entirely false assumptions. (Sometimes fantasies are worth more to many people than life itself because they determine the philosophical foundation of the world that we live in. Take away the fantasy of benign government, for example, and a large portion of society would lose the will to live.) The truth is that our leaders (including medical leaders and doctors) act in ways that are not in our collective interest, and the dismal statistics above indicated that something is very wrong with any health system that gives a monopoly to treatments with such dismal success rates, and even protects that monopoly with the full weight of criminal law.
So why would a government or a health service act in ways that are not in the interest of the people? The short answer is money (and the power that comes with money).
Money skews the whole democratic process, it always has and it always will. If you have money, serious amounts of money, then you can hire lobbyists and buy access to politicians, which allows you to have a disproportionate influence on government and the legislative process, an influence many orders of magnitude greater than that associated with mere voting rights. Money also allows you to influence the media, through advertising and ownership, and this allows you to control general public opinion. After all, people can only vote in their own interests if they know what is really going on and where their interests actually lie. As the mass media has become the eyes and ears for the vast majority of people, those who control the media control how people will vote.
Who has the greatest wealth in the world today? Multi-national big business, which is why legislation is generally so favourable to the interests of big business, which further increases the wealth of big business and further consolidates its power. Today we have a runaway situation whereby the whole modern democratic systems is in service primarily to industry and not the voters, and this situation is rapidly worsening.
Orthodox cancer treatment is HUGE business, estimated to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars each year. In fact, cancer treatment is becoming so expensive that even developed nations are struggling to afford it, as was recently pointed out in The Lancet (www.thelancet.com/commission/delivering-affordable-cancer-care-in-high-income-countries). As approximately 12 million people globally receive a cancer diagnosis, and as this is likely to increase to 22 million by 2030 (which according to the report is due to rising cancer rates in an aging global population and better diagnosis methods), the future outlook for the cancer treatment monopoly is extremely rosy, and orthodox cancer treatment is now one of the fastest growing industries. Indeed, the pharmaceutical industry, which controls most of modern cancer care, is now a trillion dollar global industry and one with some of the highest profit margins.
Businesses, like individuals, naturally protect their interests, doing everything they can to increase their profits and discourage competing industries. When you have billions of dollars behind you to fight your corner, you tend to win your fights, which is how, for example, new healthcare legislation that favours only the pharmaceutical giants at the expense of the public general health is sweeping across developed nations, pushing out natural and alternative therapies with a barrage of red-tape and biased healthcare legislation that favour mass medication. How is this achieved? By the ability of those with money to influence politicians, both through political donations and by hiring an army of full-time lobbyists to influence politicians.
In Brussels, for example, there are 15,000 lobbyists hired by corporations and other organisations specifically to represent their special interests to MEPs in an attempt to influence their decisions and skew the democratic process in their favour. (www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmeuleg/361-xv/8070202.htm) How is this in the interest of democracy and the people? It is not. In democracies, special interest groups should not be allowed to influence politicians, period. But they currently are allowed to skew the democratic process, which is why the world is becoming increasingly corporatised. We all know it; we all see it in our local communities; and today an increasing number of people are waking up to this fact and questioning this destructive process. But as long as money is able to buy influence and political access, this undemocratic process will continue unabated.
There is also the massive problem of “revolving door” employment between politicians and big business. Politicians usually have a limited shelf-life, and when their political careers end, they usually end up on the boards of big corporations, basically hiring out their political connections to the highest bidder. So when in office, politicians are naturally extremely accommodating to big business because they know that they will be their future employers; big business is the gravy train they will eventually be catching. And this relationship also works the other way too: heads of business often find themselves in powerful positions of government where they can influence policy. As a consequence of this “revolving door” relationship between politicians and big business, government tends to strongly favour the interests of corporations over those of the electorate. This is further compounded by the influence of political party donations (bribes) and special interest lobbyists mentioned earlier, all of which unduly influence government and the legislative process.
Corporations can also get special treatment, if they are large enough, by threatening to locate or relocate their factories/offices to other states or other countries, which makes government and local government very keen to give them strong incentives, including tax breaks and other special corporate treatment, to keep them employing local people (and possibly giving a hefty backhand). This further adds to the runaway situation we have now in which large corporations are calling all the shots because they basically own the place.
The rapidly increasing power and influence of big business is morphing society to make big business even bigger and therefore more influential. In fact, it would be fair to say that governments now act primarily in the interests of big business, not the people who elect them. And this is why there is now so much public disgust with politicians, who quietly drop their campaign promises as soon as they are elected. (A recent poll in the UK showed that the combined popularity of the main party leaders, including the prime minister, were the lowest they had ever been since polling began.)
Money, however, not only skews the political and legislative processes, it also skews the scientific process. Only those outside the scientific research world believe in the fairy story of scientific objectivity and the foolproof nature of the peer-review process. In reality, research is subject to the influence of its sponsor, and it is very easy to bury studies that do not support the objective of the sponsor. (Do enough studies, select the best of them, and you can usually come up with “positive clinical evidence” for even the most useless treatment).
For example, a 2012 report in the scientific journal Nature (www.nature.com/nature/journal/v483/n7391/full/483531a.html) by Glenn Begley (former head of cancer research at Amgen) and Lee Ellis (surgical oncologist at MD Anderson), describes how 100 Amgen scientists [Amgen is a multinational biopharmaceutical company] could only replicate 6 of the results of 53 widely cited landmark cancer research papers. This means that 47 (89%) of these important research papers, papers which influence how cancer is treated, may well be based on spurious research — they are bad science. And to make matters worse, some of the authors of research questioned by the Amgen scientists insisted on a confidentiality agreement preventing the investigating Amgen scientists from publicly disclosing data at odds with the original findings. So these key cancer medical researchers not only know the spurious nature of their research, but they are quite prepared to cover it up, something which is against public interest because it ultimately costs lives — possibly a huge number. (Under any other name, this is mass murder, but under the conventional cancer treatment banner, this is business as usual.)
Sharon Begley of Reuters also reported in her article (www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/28/us-science-cancer-idUSBRE82R12P20120328) “In cancer science, many ‘discoveries’ don’t hold up,” it is not just Amgen scientists who are aware of this massive problem:
The National Academy of Sciences held a panel to discuss these problems, and the fact that “the number of scientific papers that had to be retracted increased more than tenfold over the last decade [while] the number of journal articles published rose only 44 percent.” Panelist, Ferric Fang of the University of Washington, stated:
So just because research is “peer-reviewed” is no guarantee that it is objective or accurate. (http://jrsm.rsmjournals.com/content/99/4/178.long) Indeed, some prefer to call these journals “peer-controlled” rather than “peer-reviewed” because the peers who are acting as gatekeepers for the journals often have a financial interest in supporting the status quo — their own careers and status are on the line. Just try submitting scientific research on alternative treatments and you soon come up against a brick wall.
The British Medical Journal itself, in its Clinical Evidence journal, reported in 2007 that only 13% of orthodox treatments were in the beneficial category. 23% of treatments were “likely to be beneficial”; 8% were a “trade-off between benefits and harms”, 6% were “unlikely to be beneficial”; 4% were “likely to be ineffective or harmful”; and a full 46% were of “unknown effectiveness”. And these statistics are from a leading mainstream medical journal, and so are likely to be more conservative estimates (from an independent perspective the scientific ineffectiveness of conventional medicine is likely to be worse). This means that doctors haven’t a clue as to the effectiveness of half of the treatments they are giving, and most of the remaining portion are questionable.
The bigger picture that was not covered in Sharon Begley’s Reuters article above is that the massive pharmaceutical industry is the one that is actually funding most of the research. So rather than just being part of the solution in identifying the high levels of bad science, as the Amgen scientists were doing, they are the ones that are funding most of this bad science with their research grants and donations to universities. When big business and science meet, you can be sure that objectivity and ethics are compromised because of the levels of money involved.
Scientists and doctors, Gary Null, Caroyln Dean, Martin Feldman, Deborah Rasio and Dorothy Smith, produced a detailed report entitled “Death by Medicine” in 2006. The authors uncovered the fact that nearly 800,000 people in the United States alone are killed by conventional medicine every year, making it the leading cause of death and injury in the US. You can read the full article here: www.lef.org/magazine/mag2006/aug2006_report_death_01.htm
So going back to cancer treatment, we see an insanely profitable conventional cancer treatment industry not only ineffective for the vast majority of cancer sufferers and based mostly on spurious science, but one that has also been granted a monopoly by our governments to prevent other treatments (which may or may not be more effective) from even being discussed (like blocking the alternative cancer conference in the Totnes public hall). This situation cannot be, by any stretch of the imagination, in the public interest.
The problem with most of the alternative cancer treatments is that they include more natural approaches such as special diets, natural food supplements, herbs, holistic treatments, nutrients and other lifestyle changes, treatments that are not profitable for big business because they cannot be patented and owned. Therefore, giving big business the monopoly on cancer treatment ensures that only treatments that fit its big business model are even considered for cancer sufferers, and these are almost entirely profitable drug and radiation treatments that can be intellectually owned and therefore effectively marketed.
Just suppose, hypothetically if you want, that special diets, natural food supplements, herbs, holistic treatments, nutrients and/or other lifestyle changes do in fact present a more successful way to treat cancer than current conventional methods. If this were the case, the public would be kept almost entirely in the dark about it because those with the monopoly on cancer treatment would never examine these approaches. And not only that, but they would actively discourage media reporting of these approaches as they would be seen as damaging to existing profits. We have to remember that just because pharmaceuticals are dealing with life and death situations does not imply that the healthcare industry is more ethical than other industries in the way they chase profits. Business is business, and when the conventional cancer care industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, you can be absolutely sure that current ineffective treatments will be aggressively and often underhandedly defended using effectively unlimited resources. (To see just how Big Pharma deals with competing healthcare systems, read investigative journalist Martin Walker’s excellent exposé called Dirty Medicine in which he thoroughly documents the underhanded assault on natural health care — www.slingshotpublications.com/dmhandbook.html.)
With the massive influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the mainstream media (through ownership, advertising and PR etc.), it is actually a remarkable testimony to the persistence and efficacy of alternative cancer treatments that so many people seek out these alternative treatments and that positive articles still manage to get published in the mainstream media. After all, if a trillion-dollar industry is unable to stamp out the competition, then that competition is certainly worth investigating!
It is important to state at this point that alternative cancer treatments are not necessarily more effective than conventional ones. There is certainly evidence that some might well be, but with practically all research money going to conventional treatment, the necessary studies are just not being done on the same scale. After all, to study any less-profitable treatments requires Government grants, because industry (which supports most clinical research) is not going to be interested if the treatment does not fit its profit-making model. But as Government is so closely allied to the pharmaceutical companies, grants for research into alternative cancer treatments are notoriously hard to procure. (And the large cancer research charities focus their funding almost entirely on conventional cancer treatment, which is why they should not be supported.)
Of course there are token studies undertaken on some aspects of these non-profitable cancer treatment approaches such as lifestyle changes, but the results of those studies, no matter how successful, don’t seem make it into mainstream cancer care. In fact, there is as much as a 50-year gap between the findings of new research and the implementation of those findings by medical doctors. For example, a multitude of studies over the past few decades have shown a strong link between cancer and poor diets, so you would assume that oncologists would make it standard policy to advise cancer patients to avoid junk food and eat healthy diets. But this does not generally happen, despite the research. Indeed, when Kevin Wright, who now runs the charity Kids Integrated Cancer Treatment (www.kict.info), took his son to the leading children’s cancer hospital in the UK, for example, he was given a leaflet advising parents on how to feed their sick children. Wright brought the leaflet with him to the Totnes Cancer Healthcare Conference mentioned above and it unambiguously recommends an appalling high sugar, high junk food diet. And that is exactly what the nurses at that hospital were getting for the children in their care. (Fast-food outlets like McDonalds and Burger King are now prevalent in conventional hospitals because those that control the hospitals are unfortunately in healthcare La La Land sponsored by big business. It is not about health, it is about money, and junk food not only makes money, but it will get you more clients for your hospital.)
So the conventional cancer treatment industry maintains the status quo, pushing treatments that it can profit from and discouraging treatments it cannot profit from, irrespective of treatment effectiveness. The word “discouraging” is perhaps a little tame for some of their thuggish behaviour in stamping out the competition. We might feel outrage at the lengths that the medical industry will go to maintain its monopolies and eliminate the competition, but this behaviour is business as usual for all sectors of big business. This is the way that corporations operate. (For more information on corporations, how they operate and how they damage society, watch the following film-documentary that was released a few years back: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4924385683686207744)
The other major reason for big business rejecting alternative cancer treatments is that they tend to be multi-faceted. Most people who take alternative and complementary treatments usually take a number of them, rather than taking just one in isolation. And often (but not always), alternative treatments are individually tailored to each person, especially with holistic alternative treatments where the person rather than the disease is the focus of treatment. With this approach, it is difficult to turn most alternative treatments into easily-packaged commodities, or indeed into treatments that can be reductively studied scientifically, where the causative factors have to be somewhat limited. After all, if there are too many variables in a study, even the best statistical methods will fail to quantify the relative effectiveness of each component of the treatment — identifying which ones are useful and which ones are not. (This is a problem due to the complexity of both alternative treatment methods and the body: see In Defense of Alternative Medicine – www.energygrid.com/health/2012/01ap-alternativemedicine.html) With 15% to 50% of cancer patients using alternative and complementary treatments (the stats are about 33% in Europe www.europeancancerleagues.eu), even conventional cancer treatment reviews are questionable due to the number of variables involved with such wide scale complementary practices.
This is not, however, a dismissal of conventional medicine; it certainly has its place. Modern conventional medicine is second-to-none with regard to dealing with medical emergencies. If you get run over by a car, your best bet on recovery is your local emergency hospital, not your local homeopathic clinic. Conventional emergency care is called acute medicine, and is tailored for injuries, infections, organ failure etc., in fact any situation that requires urgent and rapid intervention, often to save patients’ lives.
But what plagues society today are often complex chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, respiratory diseases, mental health disorders and the like, which are responsible for 63% of all deaths, and a far larger percentage of treatment cost as treatments tend to be more expensive and longer-term (you are usually in hospital far longer if you have cancer than if you have an infection or an injury). Indeed, The World Economic Forum has estimated that the the global cost of treating the five top chronic diseases — cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and mental health disorders — could top $47 trillion by 2030.
These complex chronic diseases require a different approach to that of acute conditions. With acute medical issues, the focus has to be on the symptoms of the problem because it is those symptoms that are putting the patient’s life in danger. Infections and injury are obvious examples where the focus is on dealing with the symptoms, and the primary concern is the patient’s immediate stabilization, not how he or she was injured or caught the infection. With chronic diseases, on the other hand, long-term factors such as lifestyle and psychological issues come into play. Usually, if left unchecked with no lifestyle changes made, chronic diseases eventually reach a critical phase — vascular disease can lead to a heart attack and cancer can stop our organs working — and when this happens the situation demands acute conventional medicine, which might well include emergency surgery. This is conventional medicine at its best. But if your heart disease is not at an emergency stage (yet), then your best bet might be to focus on completely modifying your diet, controlling your psychological stress levels and taking gentle exercise. These are not, however, profitable to conventional medicine, and so Big Pharma has instead developed a slew of powerful and profitable drugs such as statins, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, warfarin, and beta-blockers, that patients are often put on for the rest of their lives, drugs that can have some very serious long-term side-effects. In this way, the symptom-focused medical model is used to “treat” a chronic disease, a recipe for quick symptomatic fixes at the expense of long-term health. Statins, for example, are drugs with dangerous side-effects that are routinely prescribed preventively for those with high cholesterol, and yet even The Lancet has suggested that they are almost useless for women and older men. (See www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-432395/Statins-truth.html and the book Food is Better Medicine than Drugs by Holford and Burne.)
The same considerations regarding acute medical mindset being used on chronic disease applies to cancer as well. For instance, if a tumour is pressing against a vital organ, it may need to be surgically removed (if indeed it can be safely removed) as quickly as possible. After this, a course of chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy to try to kill any remaining cancer cells and possible secondary cancer sites, and possibly hormone therapy. (If a tumour is inoperable then it is usually just blasted with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy — with the oncologist just hoping for the best.) This is an acute medical approach to cancer. The cause of the disease is not a consideration, and the treatment is entirely symptom-focused and aggressive. (Follow-up chemotherapy and radiotherapy, outside of the immediate emergency situation, is however questionable, because damage to the immune system can have deleterious long-term consequences.)
But what if the cancer is not immediately life-threatening and treatment is less immediately urgent? The conventional treatment is pretty much the same acute care response — a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy (and sometimes hormone therapy). But these treatments, all of which can rapidly reduce the size of a tumour (or number of cancer cells in the case of non-tumour cancer), cause a great deal of injury to the body, to such an extent that they usually irreparably damage the immune system causing fatal relapses. (The small number of cancer cells that survive the poisoning and burning of chemotherapy and radiotherapy tend to be the more hardy and virulent ones, so that when/if the cancer recurs, it is significantly more likely to kill the patient.) This short-term view might be considered an acceptable risk if the cancer is immediately life-threatening, but if it is not, then short-term gains in rapid reduction in the number of cancer cells might not actually have any long-term benefit. Indeed, the severity of the treatment usually means that not only is little is actually gained in the longer-term, but it comes at the price of terrible suffering in the short-term. (The question that always needs to be asked is whether the little gained is worth the suffering.)
On the other hand, alternative approaches to cancer treatment tend to be slower and less aggressive, taking a longer term view of patient survival and not focusing exclusively on goals like the rapidity of tumour shrinkage. Disease-causes are investigated in relation to formulating treatments with view to long-term success rather than short-term symptomatic reduction. Deeper questions are asked such as “Why has the cancer rate increased so enormously over the last century?” to try to understand what the main causes might be, which can lead to preventative measures. This is a more systemic approach that brings together integrated treatments (which may sometimes include elements of conventional cancer treatment) to give the best chance of long-term survival. These approaches might involve changing the diet, removing toxins from the body (which both cause cancer and interfere with the body’s defense mechanisms), taking additional high-nutrient and anti-cancer food supplements, and undertaking various other alternative therapies. (After all, diet changes and a massive toxin increase are hallmarks of modern living recent and so could well be causative factors in the alarming cancer-rate increases.) Usually, no single component of most alternative cancer treatments can be classified or identified as the “active component” — all elements working synergistically together — and this creates a nightmare, mentioned above, of trying to squeeze multi-faceted treatments through cookie-cutter research analysis that requires simpler cause-and-effect mechanisms (procedures and active components that can be more easily isolated to determine their specific roles and effects).
This slower approach does not fit well with the conventional medical model which wants quick results using patentable and therefore profitable treatment programs and drugs. This is why the FDA defines how effective a cancer treatment is by how quickly it can reduce a tumour. In the words of US congressman Ron Paul, at a recent press conference, “the FDA and the drug companies are in bed together.” He went on to ask, “What does the FDA do when it comes to alternative or natural products? The FDA and the drug industry keep them off the market.” (http://youtu.be/fCWN1mNGQ4Q) This is due to the usual revolving door hiring policies between the FDA and the drug companies, policies that ensure that the FDA is working almost exclusively in the interests of Big Pharma, which is why the organisation is working so hard at the moment to outlaw alternative medicine and natural foods. (Check out www.naturalnews.com for updates on the latest FDA assaults on American liberty, assaults that are becoming the hallmark of health regulatory bodies throughout Europe and other countries around the world, including the World Health Organisation itself — see www.rense.com/general88/megawho.htm.)
So today we have a system of medicine that is second to none for acute conditions, but misses the mark completely for most complex chronic conditions such as cancer. But because cancer treatment has become a mammoth cash cow for big business, ineffective but insanely profitable treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy enjoy a wholly undeserved monopoly status. We have allowed the profits of private corporations to control how chronic life-and-death diseases are treated. And like any industry given a monopoly, it will not only use its considerable influence to make sure that the monopoly stays in place, but the system itself will naturally tune to profit maximization (as there is no competition) rather than effectiveness. So the dismal success rate of conventional cancer treatments creates little to no incentive to challenge those treatments when they are protected by a monopoly. This is entirely understandable from a big business perspective where profit is the focus, but it is a tragedy from a human perspective.
This means that the whole edifice of modern cancer care is rotten at the core because policy is controlled by big business. This problem of profits coming before people is a universal one across all industries, not just the healthcare sector. For example, you only have to look at the banking system and how corrupt it has become, and how it operates against the interest of society as a whole, to see a classic case of money calling the shots at the expense of everything else. The corruption of the banking system was exposed after the recent financial collapse and bailout fiasco, so that today most people would agree with you if you called the banking industry corrupt, whereas a decade ago, most would dismiss the accusation as conspiracy theory because… well banks and bankers were considered just too respectable!
There are now similar problems with the food industry, where corporate control is ensuring that our food becomes what is most profitable to big business rather than what is most healthy to the individual. As a consequence, profitable foods such as those that are highly processed, high-sugar, high-fat, high-salt, addictive, and genetically modified are being forced onto the population, creating a disease time-bomb which ironically creates more profits for the “healthcare” industry! (It is no coincidence that health insurance companies often have massive stakes in the fast food industry – www.naturalnews.com/028602_health_insurance_fast_food.html.)
Genetic modification of food is particularly concerning because no adequate long-term safety studies are being done, and many of the studies that show the dangers of genetically modified food have been buried, their authors vilified and retired from their research careers. Genetic modification allows corporations to own food sources, including the seeds produced from crops, and only someone extremely naive would think that this was in the interests of the collective. You often hear the argument that genetically modified crops will solve world hunger, but the reality is actually very different. (See www.responsibletechnology.org)
So big business control of any sector of modern civilisation creates problems for the majority of people by its very nature as a profit-focused system. Some make the point that corporations have to service their customers well for them to be successful, but while this applies to smaller and medium sized corporations, it does NOT apply to massive multi-national businesses, especially those like the cancer treatment industry that enjoy a monopoly. These behemoths have too much power and control to be led by consumer interests. Instead, they manipulate people into consuming what is most profitable to them, and they do this through monopolies and other protective legislation, as well as their control over the media and, in the case of healthcare and food production, the entire medical establishment. Most people do not realize that multi-national corporations are not just scaled up versions of smaller corporations, they are an entirely different species, one that is exempt from many of the checks and balances — and taxes — that automatically apply to smaller corporations.
If big business is the root cause of ineffective modern cancer treatment, what can we actually do about it? How do we break this monopoly?
Fortunately, we have not reached a stage (yet) when medical treatment is forced on adults, and so long as we the people have a choice as to how we want our cancer treated, we have the option to avoid Big Pharma solutions if those solutions are not actually in our long-term interest. How would we know? By looking for independent sources of information, and by getting involved with organisations that are fighting for your right to a choice of effective healthcare. Here are some of the things you can do for yourself and anyone you know with cancer to find the most effective way forward:
It can take real courage not to just blindly follow your doctor’s advice. If you refuse chemotherapy in the UK, for example, you can forfeit your right to be seen by an NHS doctor. This is understandably a frightening prospect for most people, and few have the courage to take an alternative path until they have completely failed the conventional route, by which time their chances of success with alternative treatments is low. This is one of the worrying dilemmas faced by cancer patients who are interested in alternative and complementary approaches. Challenging those in authority is very difficult for most people, who have been conditioned by society since birth not to rock the boat. But there is also no better motivation to rock the boat when your life is on the line.
We must all educate ourselves on the different cancer treatments available using independent information outlets which big business has no influence on, and pass that information on to anyone we know suffering from cancer. We have to expose the cancer racket being perpetrated by big business in the name of health, and get the Cancer Act 1939 , and similar protective legislation around the world, repealed because these monopolies are causing untold suffering. This 73-year-old law serves no positive purpose apart from filling Big Pharma’s coffers, allow it to gain even more control over government and society.
Where will this end? As big business gets its tentacles into every aspect of modern life, when it owns and controls everything, we will be living in the Big Brother nightmare that Orwell wrote about in 1984. Some say that nightmare is here already. Had this statement been made a decade or two ago, it would be dismissed as conspiracy theory. But people worldwide are waking up to the the fact that even in so called “free” and “democratic” societies, those in authority are not acting for the collective interest. At best they merely have their noses in the trough, at worst, they are also scheming to centralize power, ridding ordinary people of their freedoms of choice, including healthcare choices, in all but the most superficial aspects of their lives. People have become commodities, pawns in a system that enslaves them — invariably in the name of “safety” and “their own good”. Big Brother knows best and will protect you… so long as you obey him!
The internet is the last bastion of free speech in a corporatised world, which is why governments (especially the US government) and the corporations that control them, are pushing so hard for online censorship and control. As long as there is free speech, we are never going to be completely in the control of big business. But dark clouds are appearing on the horizon as new censorship laws (such as SOPA, PIPA and the like) are being introduced, in the name of public safety and intellectual property protection. Recently in America, for example, the Board of Dietetics / Nutrition in North Caroline have threatened a nutritional blogger with jail for advocating a health diet on his website claiming that he is guilty of the crime of “practicing nutrition without a license.” (For more info, visit: www.naturalnews.com/035691_dieticians_free_speech_nutrition_advice.html) This means that we may get to the stage whereby only those who are licensed (indoctrinated) can disseminate information — in other words, only doctrine will be allowed to be freely expressed. When this happens, we will not be so far off from Orwell’s thought-crimes, and the enslavement of the human race will be complete.
On a slightly different note, what is most disappointing when we campaign for healthcare outside of the big business monopoly is that we invariably end up having to defend ourselves on two fronts: first against big business and its lackeys (government officials, medical doctors, and local trading standard officials) who obediently execute its agendas, and secondly against a motley crew of skeptics — solo or group vigilantes who vigorously defend anything that challenges the monopoly of big business, especially in the areas of healthcare and food manufacture. Some of them act independently to big business, taking upon themselves the responsibility to outlaw anything remotely alternative — alternatives which are always labelled as “bad science”, and those that promote them, as “quacks”, “charlatans” and “scammers”. Others are on the big business payroll, either directly or indirectly, and defend their masters because their living depends upon it.
Skeptics focused on alternative and complementary healthcare actually believe or are paid to believe in the fantasy that big business, with its unlimited financial resources, is unable and/or unwilling to skew science, politics and legislation in pursuit of its corporate agendas. They believe that the influence of money can be held in check by proper government procedures and scientific vetting. In their minds, objectivity can be protected from manipulation, and so the healthcare promoted by big business, which masquerades as scientific (despite the fact that only 15% of conventional medicine is based on science at all), is the only legitimate healthcare, with every other system of healthcare being, by definition, a scam or superstition.
You hear the most ridiculous and unscientific beliefs, beliefs that form the Skeptics’ Creed because they have no scientific backing. Here are a few of the beliefs you can find online on some of the prominent skeptics’ websites:
The list of nonsense goes on and on, despite the fact that these beliefs contradict most independent scientific research. Skeptics take every opportunity to promote their creed as objective science, a creed that offers them a worldview in which they are safely cocooned by Big Brother, where the government and big businesses patriarchies protect, heal and nurture them. It is a comforting illusion, but one that unfortunately masks a terrible reality. But denial is easier to cope with, and the tight ideological strait-jacket of mental bondage is a small price to pay for perceived security. Actually, many skeptics seem to get a positive kick out of denigrating anything and everything outside their tightly controlled worldviews. And their justification is usually public safety. However, if public safety really was the motivating factor, these individuals and organisations would be focusing their attention on Big Pharma which is killing hundreds of thousands of people annually, and maiming countless others. This is the real scam going on.
It is indeed a comforting thought for most people that their doctors are looking out for their best interests, promoting the safest and most effective treatment programs and pharmaceutical drugs. But it is unfortunately (and perhaps shockingly for many) not true. Even the kindest of doctors with the very best intentions have been indoctrinated into a system of medicine cultured to enrich the pharmaceutical industry. We have to awaken to the hijacking of every aspect of our lives by big business, and realize that we are collectively being exploited by the few for the profits of the few. The conventional cancer treatment protection racket is only a small part of a far larger agenda that is rapidly moving modern society towards a Big Brother scenario. Already in Europe, for example, people are waking up to the fact that their governments have sold them out to a non-democratically elected central power base in Brussels, a treason that was masqueraded as economic cooperation before it was realized that it involved the dissolution of basic sovereignty and self-determination.
In today’s uncertain world, we collectively seem so eager to give up our freedom for security, falling for the propaganda that only by forfeiting freedoms can we deal with the perceived dangers ahead. Before he became President of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower gave a speech in 1949 in which he stated:
Freedom is not a luxury to be enjoyed when the world is safer, but is as basic as oxygen to human existence. If we give up our freedom for security, then we dehumanize ourselves. Fear is a potent weapon when it comes to controlling a population and getting it to give up its human rights, rights that get in the way of corporate and political agendas.
Those freedoms can and must include the freedom to determine our own healthcare, including cancer care, and to discuss these topics openly in public venues. If we allow outdated legislation like the Cancer Act 1939 in the UK (and similar legislation in other parts of the world) to interfere with these freedoms, to interfere with Freedom of Speech, then we lose our very humanity, becoming slaves to a system that wants to dictate every aspect of our lives, from how we are treated when we are sick, to the foods we eat — all in the name of profit.
So defending the right to discuss alternative and complementary cancer treatments at Hopwood’s Totnes cancer conference was not just an issue about healthcare, but more importantly was an act of standing up to the control of big business — the same control that allowed draconian legislation like the Cancer Act 1939 to be passed in the first place, legislation that protects treatments that even most oncologists privately reject.
I hope that none of you reading this article will ever get cancer, but if you do, I hope that you have access to ALL the information you need to responsibly make an informed choice that is entirely in your own interest, rather than have a third party with questionable interests make that choice for you. After all, making informed choices in every aspect of our lives, especially health, is a central part of our basic humanity.
Thanks for getting through this one. It is a very long and rambling article I know, but I did want to emphasise the symbiotic relationship between conventional healthcare (in this case cancer care) and the operations of big business. You cannot understand them independently of each other as they are basically one and the same. This is not conspiracy theory, but just what naturally happens as big business takes over the different facets of society. The truth is that democracy and big business are on a collision course, a fact that people all over the world are now waking up to. As long as big business is allowed to influence politicians and the medical establishment with its legal bribes, then this situation of protected ineffective and expensive healthcare will continue unabated, as will the sacrifice of ordinary people to fill the corporate coffers.
Update 20 Oct 2012
Much of the problem with conventional cancer treatments and the blocking of alternative and complementary cancer treatments stem from the misuse of mathematics. It is invalid in disease states to compare the results of large-groups of people using randomized double-blind trials, the so called “gold standard” of medical research. This irrational approach, which is called Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) is mathematically invalid because it assumes a “one-size-fits-all” approach to a problem where each person is actually unique in their expression of different disease states. Research on populations cannot be mindlessly applied to individuals. If you are interested in looking further into the irrationality of EBM, check out the book Tarnished Gold: The Sickness of Evidence-based Medicine by Steve Hickey PhD and Hilary Roberts PhD.