December 29th 2016, 14:26
In the last six weeks, I’ve met with leaders of ketogenic dietary approaches for cancer in Melbourne and London who were targets of personal and professional attacks, I’ve met families in California who plan to leave the state because they don’t want their kids vaccinated, yet still want to send them to school, and I’ve met doctors in Australia and the US under threat of having their licences revoked because they exempted children at high risk of adverse vaccine reactions.
Yes, cancer treatments and vaccination are still the two most controversial areas between mainstream and so-called alternative medicine—which is strange, as mainstream medicine has not had unparalleled success in treating cancer or protecting people from the diseases targeted by vaccination. And while the available data are neither convincing nor reliable, with remarkably few pharma-independent attempts to pool these data and publish findings in peer-reviewed journals, the status quo is maintained.
One study by oncologists in Sydney found that, after analyzing all the available studies from 1998 to 2004 in Australia and the US, adjuvant chemotherapy used with other treatments (mostly radiotherapy and surgery) increased 5-year cancer survival by just 2.3 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively.1
The truth is, the status quo is based mostly on money. Cancer and vaccines represent businesses big enough to be important to governments and economies. Global spending on cancer treatments is nudging $200 billion. The global vaccine market is smaller at $60 billion, but don’t forget how quickly jabs are delivered. In terms of returns on investment, they’re a giant cash cow.
UK-based Australian filmmaker Tom Meadmore is keen to bring the dilemma faced by cancer patients to the big screen with a feature film he’s making—Cancer Conflict (cancerconflictmovie.com). But like all films that upset the apple cart, Tom is having to raise money the hard way, although I’m hopeful that online crowdfunding will deliver what he needs to finish the film.
Still, it’s just not right in my view that people like Tom, who have important messages to deliver, are pushed so far out on a limb.
The same goes for filmmakers and vaccines. Remember the shenanigans surrounding Andrew Wakefield’s film Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe last May? Robert De Niro was leaned on heavily to ban the film from the Tribeca Film Festival, but remained true to his own convictions. Having a child with autism means he knows that something is very wrong with the mainstream and government views on the issue.
‘The System’ seems to be working worldwide to maintain a status quo in its financial interests. Those who dare to offer alternative views, especially if they can reach the masses, are shut down, attacked personally and/or discredited professionally.
Others have either had their licences revoked or are defending them in kangaroo courts—enough to scare the vast majority of up-and-coming doctors into sticking closely to the rules of their ultra-conservative practice boards.
Aside from such individual challenges, it’s evident that the challenges of managing our health by natural means are becoming more and more similar across the planet, despite our diverse cultures and political systems. Australia raised the ante by allowing vigilantes (or shrills?) to issue death threats to at least two internationally recognized anti-vax experts who, not surprisingly, cancelled speaking tours—such is the effect of terrorism.
Age-old traditional systems of medicine are equally under threat. Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have managed to persist on the margins of healthcare because, after being subjected to Western-style scientific scrutiny, they didn’t come out too badly through the limited lens of ‘evidence-based medicine’. In fact, these 4,000-plus-year-old systems of medicine turned out to have more evidence than adjuvant-based chemotherapy—which still somehow keeps its key position in oncology.
But the less-researched traditional systems face a much rockier future with no effective protests from their defenders, including our colleagues at the Traditional & Natural Health Alliance (TNHA) in South Africa, where a new Act—the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Bill—is about to undergo parliamentary scrutiny. In essence, the proposed bill won’t protect indigenous interests, but is instead state-sanctioned ethnopiracy, transferring the intellectual property rights of thousands of plants used for thousands of years for health purposes by southern Africa’s indigenous peoples to biotech and pharmaceutical companies. It’s been dubbed ‘medical apartheid’ for good reason.
Globalization has happened, the war on cancer has been lost, vaccines are of limited effectiveness, and government–industry cover-ups of their side-effects have been exposed and are beyond reprieve.
Now it’s just us—the people—who can help us return to the original status quo, where human populations and the natural environments they evolved in and depend on are in balance. Let’s not sell the next generation short.
Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol), 2004; 16: 549–60