Go to a Cancer Quack, It's Your Life

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spread his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws.
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Despite the warnings of the American Cancer Society and others about the cancer quack, people pour an inestimable number of dollars into the pockets of professional and amateur con men. There is not much that you can do if somebody is willing to first buy the Brooklyn Bridge, and then jump off of it.

If, after you have gone to a reliable medical center and been told that you have incurable cancer, you then decide to take advantage of herb tea, massages, chicken soup, Q-rays, Krebiozen, and a wide variety of other worthless treatments, that's fine. But before you do this, make sure (1) that you have cancer, and (2) that there isn't a real cure or effective treatment for the type of cancer that you have. Most cancers are curable by surgery, and a few others by chemotherapy or radiation. Even some incurable types can be reduced in size for periods of time.

Not all quacks are blatantly dishonest. Some really believe that their treatments work. There are also scientists or physicians who suddenly decide that they have found secret of eternal life and wish to share it with mankind.

Before you go to someone who promises a cure for cancer, consider what kind of human being would experiment on people without really knowing what he is doing. What would you think if someone was lying with a broken leg, and a man who knew nothing about first aid pushed a doctor aside, saying, "Let me do it; I have the answer?" There are many maniacs who feel that they have the answer to disease, old age, and so on. Their personal histories are often characteristic; a life of frustrations, unrealized ambitions, and a need --a crying need-- for recognition. One cancer quack, who is fairly famous in Europe, was a member of the Nazi party for four years. He jumped from one thing to another, and finally ended up founding his own cancer hospital in which his own cancer treatment is used on patients, with little demonstrable effect other than fattening the purse of the man who founded the clinic.

There is always some "scientific" theory behind the treatment that every quack uses, and the controlled studies needed to prove it are always somewhere in the future, "when the money becomes available." Other doctors are always "attacking their work" and "demanding the impossible." There are always testimonials from "cured" patients, and from some "authority." A person who puts himself in the hands of one of these psychopaths doesn't know whether the man will do nothing or help him to die sooner.

Every great scientist and every discovery was subject to intensive criticism by the establishment. This is, of course, true. Louis Pasteur was called a quack, as were others. It is true that new discoveries are usually treated with skepticism by science. This is as it should be, since most of these so-called discoveries will turn out to be of no value whatever. The discoveries that are valid will eventually be recognized; if not to day, then within the next twenty years.

As you have no doubt gathered, I am not particularly fond of the way in which either the medical or scientific establishment operates. It is important, however, to point out that the major opposition to The Establishment does not come from outside the professions, but from within them. The problems are so complex that it takes a lifetime of experience to be able to provide intelligent opposition. The people working toward reform are themselves physicians and scientists. This is the way that it has to be. Individuals who set up their operation outside the purview of the medical or scientific establishment are invariably quacks. The mavericks who make the discoveries are themselves a part of the medical or scientific establishment. They are constantly fighting its orthodoxy, but are nevertheless part of the family. The quack, on the other hand, generally sets up his own establishment somewhere on the outside, where he is free of criticism and free to do whatever he wants to do, to anyone who will let him do it.

It is also worth remembering that the scientist or physician who finds an effective treatment for any kind of cancer profits immensely by it. He is rewarded in prestige, and ultimately financially. If his treatment is effective, he may receive the ultimate in scientific rewards. The rewards will not come until his treatment has been rigorously tested. The sooner it is tested, the sooner the rewards will be his. If he thinks that he has something, he will stop at nothing to get those critical tests performed.

Great discoveries are published somewhere in the scientific literature. They are not only subject to criticism, but are subject to critical testing; There are no excuses made; the tests are performed, and if the scientist who made the discovery turns out to be right, he is acclaimed. If he is wrong, his work is buried. In legitimate science, there is never any profit in delaying a critical test of his discoveries. In the case of the cancer quack, if the discoveries are untested, he stands to profit indefinitely from the gullibility of the people who come for his treatment. If someone is treating people without these critical tests, watch out. He is either a madman, a con man, or a fool.

There are scientists and physicians in cancer centers all over the world who are eager to test any promising lead. There are no secret cancer clinics anywhere that have anything to offer that is not aiready available at most cancer centers. There are no secret cures that work, there is no fountain of youth, and there is no philosopher stone that will turn lead into gold. Yes, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus.

The harm that the cancer quack does is indirect, in that he keeps people from receiving competent diagnosis and treatment which might cure whatever they have while it's still curable.
Maybe I'm being too harsh on the cancer quack; he exists by grace of the stupidity of the people who go to see him. It takes two to play any game, and if a person wants to commit suicide, why blame the one who hands him the gun? It is strange that people who will have their car serviced by the best mechanic that money can buy, will take their bodies to someone who knows and understands nothing.

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