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Chances are you pay attention to new treatment developments. I was aimlessly scrolling through a social media app when I happened on a dramatic interview. Everything was staged to look legit. The interviewer looked like a TV reporter, the background scene looked like a doctor’s office, and the set up question “doctor, let me talk about cancer a little bit” got my attention. The camera changes views to the doctor as the reporter says, “what are some of the things you’ve seen in terms of your patients?” Then we see the doctor. He looks like a doctor, well dressed with a confident assuring voice. He changes the subject saying “a better thing to talk about“ and his name and titles flash and disappear on the screen: Peter Glidden, BS, ND (note not MD). He cited an unnamed study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 1994, a 12-year program that looked at adults who had developed cancer, further clarifying adult cancer as “the main type of cancer we get here in the United States.” He described the study as a “meta analysis of people all around the world for 12 years who were treated with chemo…and the result?” “Ninety-seven percent of the time chemotherapy does not work.” Dramatically and shaking his head for emphasis, he repeats the same statement, then he asks “so why is it still used?” “Money”, he answers. “Chemotherapeutic drugs are the only classification of drugs that the prescribing doctor gets a direct cut of…the only reason chemotherapy is used is because doctors make money from it…period…it doesn’t work…97-percent of the time.” Continuing, he says: “We have lost the war on cancer in the United States…why…when you try to bring a reductionistic phenomena like drugs and surgery to bear on a holistic phenomena, you will completely miss the boat each and every time.” Further he emphatically states, “if every girl in this country took 200-micrograms of Selenium, in one generation, we’d eliminate breast cancer by 82%; now why aren’t we doing that?” So, let’s take a deep dive into Peter Glidden’s claims and supporting data. First, consider his probability predictions: 97-percent of the time chemo doesn’t work and 200-micrograms of Selenium eliminates breast cancer by 82% in one generation. These predictions sound authentic, like there was a test to determine outcomes. But, no scientist, doctor, or engineer would ever describe a statistically based probability outcome using just a naked percentage. There is always uncertainty and professionals bound uncertainty with a confidence level. An engineer might say that concrete will achieve a 6,000 psi end strength but will disclose the testing sample size, mean, standard deviation and confidence level that justify the end strength statement. Test results never exactly replicate. The end strength will vary between some acceptable range. But Glidden’s claim is precisely 97-percent. It is unsupported. Moreover, it is debunked in the literature. Here is a good on-line summary about the unsupported claim . But, to even make a 97-percent statement, one would need to know, with certainty, the cause of death of each of the thousands of people who had chemotherapy. Were autopsies performed? Might some have died of natural causes, traffic accidents or other illnesses? A statistically significant record of “meta data of people all around the world treated for 12 years” does not exist. Do they have data in the Fiji Islands, Kenya, Somalia, Bangladesh or North Korea? How about his 200-microgram Selenium cure for breast cancer? He says it would eliminate breast cancer by 82% in one generation. I’m not even sure I know what eliminate by 82-percent means. Think about how imprecise this claim is. How long is one generation? How did you determine it was 82%? How sure are you it is 82%? I could drive a main battle tank through the gates of this claim’s imprecision! Now to his claim that cancer is not a reductionistic phenomena, suggesting that drugs or surgery misses the boat “each and every time.” I’m one of those “each and every time” and my survival from drugs and surgery proves him wrong. Does naturopathic treatment actually cure cancer? I don’t know but neither does Gladden. Here is some interesting reading about Naturopathic Doctors. Peter Glidden’s video extolling a simple nutritional supplement as a cancer cure is compelling. He is dramatic, confident and to a diagnosed lung cancer patient facing an arduous regime of chemotherapy, persuasive. Why bother with the chemotherapy if I can take Selenium and cure my cancer? If you are reading this, you or someone you care about has lung cancer. Time is of the essence. You have but three choices: do nothing, conventional medicine, and holistic medicine or some derivative of the same. Do nothing is the least expensive alternative. You pay nothing and might live. Miracles happen. Conventional medicine and holistic medicine will cost your money. How do I make the choice? I put my money on science-based conventional medicine treatment because treatment outcomes are repeatable. Mark Twain said it best: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Gladden is trying really hard to convince us he’s 97-percent sure chemo doesn’t work. It just ain’t so. Stay the course.
“Terminal stage IV lung cancer patient miraculously cured by cannabis oil.” “Frankincense oil kills cancer cells while boosting immune system.” “The real reason pharma companies hate medical marijuana is because it works.” If you are a lung cancer survivor, you’ve read these pronouncements. Hopefully, you don’t believe them. The purveyors of miracle cures are so persuasive that some people avoid conventional treatment and rely instead on the unconventional. I remember my frantic web search for treatments after diagnosis. I explored conventional methods and learned about lots of downside and little upside. Reading the benefits of aromatherapy, guaranteed to cure my lung cancer by simply breathing a fragrant substance, was so appealing. Then as others learned of my diagnosis, I was bombarded by emails suggesting holistic medicine, Breuss diet, and magnetic therapy, to name a few. All that need be done to cure my lung cancer was move a powerful magnet over my chest for 30 minutes a day! Of course, one needed to spend thousands of dollars to purchase the special magnet but it was a money-back guaranteed cure. There are miracles. These are medically documented instances where cancer stopped growing and spreading without treatment. But those touting magnets, cannabis oil, or a multitude of other treatments, methods, or substances (check Wikipedia’s list of unproven and disproven cancer treatments) are selling miracles. A miracle, in case you are wondering, is an event that defies explanation. No one knows why, including the seller of miracle cures. When stricken by lung cancer, time is of the essence. We are often diagnosed at late stage and effective treatment must be prompt. Consuming time to undergo Miracle Mineral Supplement or Orthomolecular Medicine at great expense eats into this now precious time. Here are three tests one can apply to sniff out a phony cure: (i) drugs and procedures not FDA approved; (ii) drugs and treatments not covered by insurance, and (iii) the patient needs to pay large amounts of cash in advance of receiving treatments. Oh, and check out Quackwatch. Our world is plagued by conspiracy as in: “big pharma has a cure but is withholding it from the market to boost profits.” Sure! Think about it. A publicly traded corporation has a cure for cancer and is not selling it—that would never happen. Recall how quickly we learned of Cuba’s cancer vaccine, and Governor Cuomo’s ex-officio trip to Cuba before restoration of diplomatic relations to negotiate putting the vaccine under accelerated FDA testing. A sure-thing cancer cure would be front page news on every paper around the world! Oncology is a medical discipline founded on science and grounded by rigorous studies that are openly published and reviewed by doctors and scientists around the world. New treatment and diagnostic methods are well vetted to ensure both safety and effectiveness. An oncologist dedicates his or her life to treating people with cancer. When a board-certified oncologist tells me about a miracle lung cancer cure, I’ll believe it. Till then, it walks like a duck. Stay the course.