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I sure hope so. Cancer has destroyed too many lives.

If it turns out to be so, the people carrying out these experiments should be household names. What an achievement it would be.

Amazing. I hope this works out well enough.

"Could this be the beginnng of the end for cancer?"

No, because they are still applying the infectious disease model to fighting cancer, which I think could be the reason so little progress has been made. According to alternative medicine, uncontrolled cancer cells are a result, not the cause, of many of the diseases we call cancer. A healthy person's immune system destroys or controls the cancer cells that occur all the time.

Most diagnoses of early cancer were probably not cancer at all, because they would not have progressed if untreated. Those cases are counted as cures, even though no one knows if the treatment did any good at all. I think most of the time it did nothing, or was even harmful.

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are very harmful to the body and the immune system, and no one really has much of an idea if they have any benefits in most types of cancer.

My theory of cancer (and I am not an MD, just someone who is familiar will alternative science) is that it may have something to do with the "soul," or some non-physical aspect of the body. I believe that one function of certain of these non-physical bodies is to maintain the normal form and function of a healthy physical body.

If the "soul" (and I don't mean it is the one soul, just using the word for convenience, to mean some super-physical aspect of the body) is responsible for maintaining the correct form and function of the body, then a malfunction of the soul could result in serious disruptions of the physical body. Such as out of control cancer cells.

Mainstream medicine is strongly opposed to anything resembling vitalism, and will not even consider subtle energies research. And of course they "know" there are no super-physical bodies.

So we will have to continue to accept the fact that most cancer has no cure, as they look for ever more effective ways of killing cancer cells.

Some of my ideas are based on Sheldrake's biological theories. Some are based on Robert O. Becker's ideas. And alternative science in general.

"We want to be part of moving toward a time when cancers can be managed as a chronic disease rather than being regarded as a death sentence,"

Yes, that would certainly be a gold mine for the cancer industry.

As someone who has seen family members who have had their lives extended/improved and completely eradicated of cancer through traditional therapies like Chemo - ( as have many hundreds of thousands of others) the above comment is super silly. ( and easily falsified by anyone paying attention to facts rather than conspiracy theory fantasy)

I think everyone can agree that chemo is not a great option for the patient - but if your mom was living 10 years after the fact as a result, you might re-think the subtle energy strategy for last minute, life saving surgery.

Best to combat cancer by going the 'alternative' route with a metaphysician AND the purely physical route with the chemotherapy.

Some months back scientists had found another potential cancer cure with some kind of inhibitor protein which shut off the cancers from replicating. Any word on that?

"As someone who has seen family members who have had their lives extended/improved and completely eradicated of cancer through traditional therapies like Chemo "

This is very hard to explain but -- you have no idea if that's true! If they were diagnosed with early cancer, that had not spread, it's very likely they didn't have cancer at all! If they were diagnosed with a more advanced stage of cancer, it is very unlikely that chemo or radiation would extend their lives by much!

This is a statistical illusion, involving lead-time bias and over-diagnosis. The sad result is Americans have faith in the cancer industry, which has made very little progress in a half century of trying.

The "half-empty" take on this cancer-treatment miracle follows: Breakthroughs of this nature against disease were ten times more common in the first half of the 20th century. The pace has slowed considerably, despite vastly increased research funding. In ordinary technology, the same fall-off in breakthroughs can be observed--as a recent Business Week article argued, the past decade has been one in which expected-breakthroughs in many fields failed to materialize. This is one big reason I think the long-term trend in stocks is no longer up.

@realpc - you just sort of set up your diagnosis paramaters in a win/win scenario to support your assertion. Either way - you win..:-)

I've got a bushel of practicing physicians in my family (including the cancer survivors mentioned above) and many have interest in subtle energies, alternative wellness and otherwise.

But approaching cancer as a "soul" issue rather than a physical manifestation of real disease that must be excised from the physical body, is foolish....and leads to dead patients in the real world. ( not the theoretical fun one we play in here)

There is not a living doctor, practicing (with a licence..:-) right now in this country, that would use THAT model exclusively ( yes...as a complimentary modality for sure) to treat any cancer patient - and if they were to - the first ones to WINCE would be the serious scientists who believe in "soul work" or subtle energies/chi/etc..:-)

Don't forget about the little kids who suffer and die because their parents don't believe in chemo - or real treatments that would most likely let them live normal lives, with bright and healthy futures...simply because they adopt some variation of the belief you stated above.

" the past decade has been one in which expected-breakthroughs in many fields failed to materialize."

You have the wrong explanation, in my opinion. People who follow the Materialist philosophy assumed there would be certain kinds of breakthroughs, based on that philosophy. But the philosophy is wrong.

There has been tremendous technological progress in the past decade, as there is in every decade.

But progress in understanding many diseases, including cancer, is stalled because of the materialist bias of current mainstream science and medicine.

There has been very little progress in treating fatal diseases such as cancer or AIDs, or the chronic disabling diseases, or mental illness. Schizophrenia is an utter mystery to materialist science, since it involves something like possession or shamanic abilities.

Our civilization's strength is technology, but success in technology does not imply that materialism is a valid philosophy. Technology has no necessary connection with materialism, and neither does science. Materialism is the philosophy that says that nature is not intelligent and the universe is not alive.

Materialist scientists have been predicting certain breakthroughs for decades, in cancer research, mental illness, and in understanding how the brain works. None of this research moves forward, it's just an illusion.

Computer science and technology advances, but artificial intelligence does not. Computers, while extremely useful and at the center of our society's progress, are no closer to human intelligence now than when they were first invented.

Materialist philosophy predicted there would be truly intelligent computers long before now. There are none, and there never will be. Because real intelligence cannot be mechanized.

The above are just examples. Materialism is wrong. Science and technology have no necessary connections with the philosophy of materialism.

I was NOT recommending any alternative therapy for cancer. I do NOT think there is a cure for cancer. I was merely saying that the mainstream treatment success is mostly an illusion. It would be a good idea for Americans to see that.

"Don't forget about the little kids who suffer and die because their parents don't believe in chemo - or real treatments that would most likely let them live normal lives, with bright and healthy futures"

How do you know? Where is the data? Almost every child with cancer gets the mainstream treatments, so where is the comparison? And there may be mainstream cures for some types of childhood cancer, but the situation is much worse for adult cancer. Where is the data showing success rates for adult cancer? There is no way to compare treatment vs. non-treatment, because hardly anyone wants to take a chance on no treatment. Understandably.

So everyone assumes chemo for cancer is effective, and saves or prolongs lives. So cancer research keeps going in the same general direction, since everyone, including the researchers, is convinced they are on the right track!

But the truth is, no one really knows.

Survival rates for many forms of cancer have improved considerably in recent years. If cancer treatment had no effect, one would expect those rates to be unchanged.

A 1997 article: "In the 1940's only one patient in four survived on the average. By the 1960's, that figure was up to one in three, and now has reached 50% survival."

http://snipurl.com/l6gzy

A 2005 news story:

"The long-term survival of women with breast cancer has soared in the last decade, with almost two-thirds of newly diagnosed women now expected to live at least 20 years.

"Survival is improving so rapidly - by 20 per cent in the last decade - that many breast cancer patients can now look forward to a normal life span, figures show.

"In the early 1990s less than half of newly-diagnosed women (44 per cent) could expect to live 20 years, specialists said. The improvement, to 64 per cent today, is one of the greatest for any of the major cancers."

http://snipurl.com/l6h6r

I know I know I know!! But you have to look more carefully at the statistics! Even mainstream researchers admit that part of the increased survival time results from earlier diagnosis -- if cancer is diagnosed earlier (and it is, because of better diagnostic technology), the survival time automatically increases!

And another factor -- acknowledged by the mainstream -- is over diagnosis. As I said before, and as is generally known to cancer researchers, most cancer cells would never progress to cause disease or death.

Please, look at the statistics more carefully. Then if you find that I am wrong, please let me know. I consider this to be very important.

""Survival is improving so rapidly - by 20 per cent in the last decade - that many breast cancer patients can now look forward to a normal life span, figures show."

Yeah, of course! Most so-called breast cancer patients don't actually have cancer. Cancer cells showed up on a mammogram and the women received the cancer diagnosis. But without the diagnostic technology, chances are she never would have known about those cancer cells! Chances are she never would have gotten sick from cancer! Her body would have destroyed or contained them, which is what happens all the time in normal healthy people.

So it looks like cancer rates are sky-rocketing -- but don't worry! We have the cure. But we don't!

Check out lead-time bias and over diagnosis. This is well-known to cancer researchers, but they don't necessarily see the implications. And the public doesn't know, doesn't want to know! And remember that treatment / no treatment comparisons cannot be made! For ethical reasons, of course. So no one knows how effective the treatments might be! Sometimes they might even shorten life!

The comparison can be made in animal research though. But I don't have access to medical journals, so I don't know how to find out if animals that get cancer naturally and are treated with chemo and radiation do better than without treatment. And by doing better, I don't mean surviving a little bit longer. I mean, do the current mainstream treatments actually cure cancer, ever?

I would really like to know.

Roger Knights wrote, "The pace has slowed considerably, despite vastly increased research funding. In ordinary technology, the same fall-off in breakthroughs can be observed--as a recent Business Week article argued, the past decade has been one in which expected-breakthroughs in many fields failed to materialize."

I read that Business Week story. It was interesting, but I thought the writer stacked the deck by picking areas where conventional wisdom had predicted breakthroughs. The conventional wisdom is usually wrong, and true breakthroughs are usually unexpected.

In the past decade there have been many innovations. Cell phones have morphed into handheld computers/video players/cameras/e-reading devices. Voice recognition technology has greatly improved. Hybrid cars have started to catch on. Solar panels have become an order of magnitude more efficient. Movies are using new 3D technology, which is said to be much better than the older kind (I haven't been to a movie in years, so I can't judge). High-speed Internet has gone mainstream. YouTube has revolutionized amateur moviemaking; Kindle is revolutionizing the publishing business; FaceBook and MySpace have revolutionized social networking. People are getting married through online dating services like eHarmony. TV has gone digital. GPS navigation systems are standard equipment in some cars. Film is almost obsolete, replaced by digital photography. Internet telephony is increasingly popular. Voicephones are available. Prosthetic appliances for amputees have become remarkably sophisticated and often allow amputees to live normal lives. Stem cell treatments are showing real value. Etc., etc.

It's easy to look at what hasn't happened - no colonization of space, no flying cars, no robot butlers (though we do have robot vacuum cleaners). But I think Business Week got it wrong. The real story is the continuing progress of science and technology, mostly in areas that were not predicted.

Where is my hover car? They promised me by now we'd have hover cars? I want one!

I know it is a serious and hopeful post but just as a joke, doesn't this sound like the movie "I am Legend"?

Human testing will tell us further what to expect with this new treatment, till then let's expect a lot and be optimistic.

MO wrote: "Movies are using new 3D technology, which is said to be much better than the older kind (I haven't been to a movie in years, so I can't judge)."

In contrast, I haven't been to the movies in days, but yes, the 3D is not that funky off color red and blue. You still have to wear 3D glasses, but they are gray polarized lenses, and the movie is in full glorious color, but in 3D.

James Cameron's AVATAR, due for release this Christmas, is supposed to have broken new ground with the technology.

MO. Lol. MP. I meant to say "MP wrote." Will you answer to MO, Michael?

"Materialist philosophy predicted there would be truly intelligent computers long before now. There are none, and there never will be. Because real intelligence cannot be mechanized."

Never is a long time, realpc. If intelligence is organisation, then a soul could inhabit any suitably organised matter.

"Never is a long time, realpc. If intelligence is organisation, then a soul could inhabit any suitably organised matter."

Ok well, no one knows. My point is that their philosophy is wrong, so ideas that are based on that philosophy don't work. But materialism has become very popular in mainstream science, for now anyway.

We just have no idea and at this point no way of knowing if a soul could inhabit a machine. I don't think it could. I think a soul needs DNA and DNA is MUCH too complex for humans to EVER create.

I think we ought to face the fact that we are not gods and we can't ever know everything.

We can know a lot of things, just not everything, and not certain kinds of things. But it seems to be human nature these days to feel like we have no limits.

The explosion of technology in the 20th century is probably responsible for this feeling, that human intelligence can understand anything and accomplish anything. It can't. It really really can't.

If human intelligence had no limits, then there would be no higher levels above us. But there are infinitely higher levels above us.

realpc-
You are correct that at least some of the improved stats re: cancer survival come from early diagnoses. It is also true that some of the improved stats come from curing 'skin cancer' which didn't used to be called cancer.
It is also true that there have been improvements in cancer treatment and there are people alive today because of those advances (my brother being one).
To say it is one or the other is a false dilemma.

Regarding this new technique-
Over the last decades there have been a number of "now we've got it moments" that didn't pan out. However these moments can inspire the researchers to continue (my cousin being one such person).
Let's hope this is a big deal, and let's be sure that it will act to inspire the person who does make the eventual breakthrough (if this isn't it)

Yippee

"It is also true that there have been improvements in cancer treatment and there are people alive today because of those advances (my brother being one)."

How can you be sure he survived because of the treatment? If it was early childhood cancer and now he is an adult, then it is possible he was saved by chemotherapy. Otherwise, I really don't know.

And the "advances" are mostly just more of the same lethal chemicals. Or else diagnosis, which has really improved (causing those statistical illusions I mentioned).

@realpc - you just don't seem to get that just about EVERY comment you've made on this and other strings on here is based on much more tenuous speculation than the sensible statements just about everyone else has made about REAL facts that they have observed - i.e. - traditional healing modalities have their place, and have helped hundreds of thousands of people live disease free lives as a result, that technology has EMPIRICALLY extended the lives of people suffering from diseases that 100 years ago would have killed them, and all sorts of other statements of the obvious that most rational folks would agree are pretty true?

So far - you have stated with apparent certitude that cancer is a "soul" issue or problem of that sort - mental health issues like scizophrenia ( spelling, sorry..:-) are the result of channeling and possession rather than a brain or chemistry related issue - and that there *ARE* many levels of life and existence above this one, etc - (amongst other assertions you state as fact which most intelligent people would treat with less certainty - and many others, abject amusement)

How can you be so sure of your own sort of theories - yet - everyone else's sort of empirical experiences are flawed because you ain't quite sure? You are not a doctor - you aren't a cancer survivor - what experience or credibility do you have that would make your arguments even worth considering?

(no disrespect - just curious - in light of lots of first person gratitudes for the advancements of medicine and it's contribution to the lives of many of us reading this and scratching our heads)

From my point of view, it's an error to start with the premise "materialism is wrong" and proceed to the conclusion "materialism cannot solve any problems."

I think materialism is ultimately wrong, in that it provides a very incomplete and therefore misleading picture of reality.

Nevertheless, within appropriate limits, materialism (as a methodology) can be extremely productive.

If you want to build a bridge or launch a rocket, materialism will work just fine. If you want to address spiritual truths, moral values, consciousness, the meaning and purpose of life, etc., then materialism is largely ineffectual.

The living body occupies sort of a halfway point between these extremes. It's more than just a machine, but it certainly has mechanistic aspects. Materialism can be very useful in addressing the body's mechanistic problems. I doubt that alternative therapies have advanced to the point where they are anywhere near as effective, at least in most cases.

"If you want to build a bridge or launch a rocket, materialism will work just fine. "

No, that is NOT materialism. No one even knows what is meant by "materialism." Materialists are people who believe there cannot be any such thing as life energy, and there cannot be any forces or substances not already known to science.

Science and materialism are NOT the same thing. Technology is NOT based on materialist philosophy. Far from it.

These are all misconceptions.

" mental health issues like scizophrenia ( spelling, sorry..:-) are the result of channeling and possession rather than a brain or chemistry related issue "

I never said anything like that. Any mental disease is related to brain chemistry.

I can see that I wrote my comments too fast and was not careful to explain my point of view. My opinions on this subject are not mainstream, but that doesn't mean I am advocating any particular ideology. I am talking about alternative, holistic science and philosophy, which is entirely compatible with modern science and technology, and also with generic mysticism.

My main point was that it is mostly a MYTH that cancer medicine has been improving. Maybe it has, maybe it hasn't, but the fact is that no one really knows, not even the experts. There is a lot of BS surrounding the question.

And people would rather not think that cancer research has been spinning its wheels for so long. Who can we trust, if we can't trust the medical researchers.

Ok, if you're so sure I'm wrong why not look into yourselves. If you find real convincing data, then I would like to see it.

And besides, I never said I was sure. I have been trying to find out the truth about this for a long time, and so far it definitely seems to me that progress in cancer research is largely a cultural myth. People need to feel safe, and to believe there are experts who know what they're doing.

I knew about lead-time bias and over diagnosis many years ago, and recently read some articles about it by mainstream medical researchers. But the public seems unaware.

This is one article about the lack of progress in cancer research: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/health/policy/24cancer.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all It doesn't say exactly what I was trying to explain, but at least you can see I am not the only person saying the great progress is mostly illusion or myth.

When I mentioned the "soul" in the context of cancer I expected everyone here would be into New Science and Sheldrake and all that. I thought my meaning would be so obvious I didn't need to explain much. However, that turned out not to be the case.

By "soul" I meant something involving information, rather than the chemicals and energies our medical science is familiar with. I am talking about what is sometimes called "subtle energies," or neo-vitalism.

Anyway, I see I was not understood or believed at all. Maybe the NY Times article will help convince you I am not the only person saying this kind of thing.

I also saw that no one defines "materialism" the way I do. You equate materialist philosophy with modern science and technology, and you credit materialism with all the great advances.

I think materialism and science are two completely different things, and I see no reason to think technological progress has depended on materialism in any way.

"I think materialism and science are two completely different things, and I see no reason to think technological progress has depended on materialism in any way."

Science, as I understand it, requires what's known as methodological naturalism (or methodological materialism). That is, science requires a search for natural (as opposed to supernatural) answers.

For instance, at one time it was thought that diseases were caused by demons, or by the will of God. But science could not be satisfied with an answer like that. It kept looking until a nonsupernatural explanation (microorganisms) was found.

The whole scientific enterprise, at least since the Enlightenment, depends on naturalism or materialism for its method. It simply cannot accept the answer "God did it," because this answer is ruled out by the scientific method.

This does not mean that science is or must be materialistic in its ontology. There is no contradiction between saying that a certain method works very well, and also saying that this method is only a method and not a full and final description of reality.

In short, I would disagree that science and materialism are "two completely different things." They are connected by way of methodology.

My dispute with materialists is that methodology is not metaphysics. The undoubted success of science and technology, which is attributable to the success of materialism (non-supernaturalism) as a method, says nothing about the ultimate nature of reality, which is a metaphysical question.

"science requires a search for natural (as opposed to supernatural) answers."

The words "natural" and "supernatural" are the problem. It's obvious that everything must be part of nature, if by nature we mean the ultimate universe. On the other hand, it seems likely that there are higher orders of reality than our familiar world. We could refer to those higher orders as "super natural" or "super physical," but that would not mean they are separate from or outside of nature. It's a problem of terminology.

"For instance, at one time it was thought that diseases were caused by demons, or by the will of God. But science could not be satisfied with an answer like that. It kept looking until a nonsupernatural explanation (microorganisms) was found."

Ah yes, and now we're so very smart we "know" that diseases can't be caused by non-physical entities. But exactly how do we "know" that? Because we found that microorganisms can be the cause of disease. And of course everything has one and only one cause, and life is all very simple.

We are so programmed by our society. We go to college and constantly hear about how stupid and ignorant people used to be, and how smart and enlightened we all are now. Demons and spirits -- hah, what idiots!

Well there are modern scientists and physicians who aren't so scornful about all of the ancient ideas. Maybe there was some truth in some of them. Maybe a person can be sick because of microorganisms and also because of non-physical entities.

We just do not know, have not investigated much, and we are as ignorant, in our own ways, as any ancient or primitive society.

Science and materialism have become closely associated only in recent decades.

[In short, I would disagree that science and materialism are "two completely different things." They are connected by way of methodology.]

Not at all, not in any way. I cannot see the connection. The things studied by physicists since the 20th century are certainly not all "material." How could anyone say that theorizing about higher order dimensions, for example, is a "materialist" concern?

Mainstream biology still refuses to look at the possibility of higher order organizing structures, as described by Sheldrake. It might be very worthwhile if they ever let go of their materialist bias and start looking.

The connection between materialist philosophy and contemporary science and technology is entirely a myth, spun by the materialist/atheist movement.

Here's a new story on a cancer cure that might get a dead priest canonized:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/bal-to.fa.saint28jun28,0,473746.story

Realpc, you may be right. It depends on how you view those "higher order dimensions." If you view them as extensions of the natural, physical world, then they would fall under the purview of science. This is the approach taken by James Beichler in his book "To Die For," where he argues that consciousness is a fifth-dimensional physical construct that interfaces with our four-dimensional material world.

In this view, spirits and demons and even God - if they exist - are part of the natural world and are ultimately physical, being extensions of physical reality into other, "higher," but still physical dimensions.

The other way of looking at it is dualistic. This approach holds that consciousness is something fundamentally different from matter, and nonphysical, and that spirits, demons, and God - if they exist - are not part of the natural, physical world, but rather part of an altogether different sort of reality.

Briefly, the first view says spirits are different in degree from ordinary four-dimensional physical things, while the second view says spirits are different in kind.

I'm inclined to the second view myself, while I suspect that more scientifically minded folks like Beichler and Rupert Sheldrake are probably inclined to the first view.

Regarding chemotherapy, the evidence in favor of it as an effective cure of cancer is not good.

According to a paper published in 2006 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology entitled "The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies" (which includes a meta-analysis of the findings on chemoteraphy effectiveness), the authors wrote:

"The introduction of cytotoxic chemotherapy for solid tumors and the establishment of the sub-specialty of medical oncology have been accepted as an advance in cancer management. However, despite the early claims of chemotherapy as the panacea for curing all cancers, the impact of cytotoxic chemotherapy is limited to small subgroups of patients and mostly occurs in the less common malignancies"

The study concluded that overall, chemotherapy contributes just over 2 percent to improved survival in cancer patients.

The authors also found that the contribution of chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was 2.3 percent in Australia, and 2.1 percent in the USA. They emphasize that, for reasons explained in detail in the study, these figures "should be regarded as the upper limit of effectiveness"

(The 5-year survival, since the diagnosis, is important because it's an important criterion of clinical healing of cancer; if you survives the 5-year interval, you are included in the statistics of the successes of chemotherapy... even if you die of the same cancer one year later. It enables to inflate the "success" of chemotherapy)

The full paper is available here:

http://www.free-news.org/MorganTheControfCytotoxic.pdf

Note that it's not an argument for alternative nor "spiritual" medicine; it's scientific evidence against chemotherapy effectiveness to cure cancer.

Being a meta-analysis, it reveals the real statistical effects of chemoteraphy for curing cancer.

The authors also discuss how the many people (in including physicians) comes to believe in the effectiveness of chemotherapy when the best scientific evidence shows it is not.

It's based on some statistical tricks (see the paper for a brif discussion of it)

Interesting, Jime. Of course there are other studies. Here's one (using meta-analysis) that showed chemo is effective in fighting advanced ovarian cancer:

http://snipurl.com/l8756

"Without effective treatment, women with advanced ovarian cancer can expect to survive about 2.5 years; with the most effective current treatments as identified in this meta-analysis, median survival is doubled to about 5.5 years."

Considering that advanced ovarian cancer is very difficult to treat (because the cancer has spread outside the ovaries), this success rate seems pretty good.

"Briefly, the first view says spirits are different in degree from ordinary four-dimensional physical things, while the second view says spirits are different in kind.

I'm inclined to the second view myself, while I suspect that more scientifically minded folks like Beichler and Rupert Sheldrake are probably inclined to the first view."


No, I do not at all agree that these are two different ways of looking at the question. I don't see any difference between those two views, since we do not really have scientific knowledge about the higher order dimensions. Saying they are part of nature or outside of nature is just playing with words.

David Bohm's theory, that the lower orders unfold from the higher orders, makes as much sense to me as anything.

And I very much doubt Sheldrake would agree with the first view. I strongly suspect he would just admit he doesn't know. Sometimes "I don't know" is the best answer we have at the time.

"Note that it's not an argument for alternative nor "spiritual" medicine; it's scientific evidence against chemotherapy effectiveness to cure cancer."

Exactly my point.

"It's based on some statistical tricks"

Exactly my point.

"Without effective treatment, women with advanced ovarian cancer can expect to survive about 2.5 years; with the most effective current treatments as identified in this meta-analysis, median survival is doubled to about 5.5 years."

I would be skeptical about that meta-analysis. For example, how they define "without effective treatment" is important. Researchers often compare one drug or combination of drugs with another, and the "winner" might simply be less toxic and lethal than the "loser."

The survival times for women with no treatment is really not known, because in the past diagnosis generally occurred later so survival times had to be generally shorter (lead time bias).

Most people, maybe even the researchers themselves, don't notice all the statistical and methodological tricks used to show progress in treating cancer.

“Compared with the early days, when neither platinum nor taxanes were available and chemotherapy was clearly no better than supportive care for [extending survival]…median survival can now be more than doubled using currently available regimens,”

WOW!! The new wonder chemo drugs can MORE THAN DOUBLE survival time for ovarian cancer patients. Are we as impressed as we ought to be with the magnificent cancer industry?

Well slow down a second. The meta-analysis showed a median survival time increase from 2.5 years to 5.5 years. True, more than doubled, but in reality 3 VERY SICK years are added to patients' lives. Side effects from chemo are added to the cancer symptoms.

Furthermore, the increase is for one drug or drug combination over another. There is no comparison in this meta-analysis, that I could see, for treatment vs. no treatment. So, as I said before, the "most effective" drug might actually be the least destructive drug.

And furthermore again, the survival figure of 2.5 years comes from a time diagnosis occurred later. It's true the article says ovarian cancer is not usually diagnosed early, so maybe lead-time bias is not a big factor in this case.

But maybe it is diagnosed a couple of years earlier now days than in the past, and maybe lead-time bias has influenced these results.

Please notice the triumphant way the results are framed -- 5.5 years is MORE THAN DOUBLE 2.5. Even if it's true, even if the 3 year increase results from something BOOD about the "more effective" drugs, rather than from something BAD about the "less effective" drugs, increasing survival by 3 years, while not curing the disease or improving health, and while decreasing subjective well-being with toxic drug side effects, DOES NOT SOUND SO WONDERFUL to me.

There is an awful lot of marketing PR coming out of the cancer industry, and the medical industry. Sure, everyone wants to believe, but I think having faith in these industries actually prevents progress.

If you believe they are making progress, then you are willing to support them financially with taxes and charity. You are likely to encourage their continuing down their dead end path, rather than demanding a change of course.

This BusinessWeek article? http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_24/b4135000953288.htm

"But fixing and improving the human body turned out to be far more complicated than expected."

Well yeah. Materialists believe the universe is nonliving and mindless, so of course our conscious intelligence is capable of understanding our bodies! Well, maybe not -- not according to non-materialism anyway.

And the disappointments we are seeing now may be partly the result of scientific and medical research having put too much faith in the philosophy of materialism.

Decoding DNA was expected to be not such a big deal. After all, it is merely the result of fortunate accidents occurring over millions of years. No intelligence is behind the DNA code, according to materialists.

Well what if materialism is wrong? What if DNA, and all the rest of nature, is the result of infinite intelligence? What if those IDiotic ID researchers were right?

Materialism has always resulted in over-confidence ending in disappointment. Materialism DOES NOT EQUAL science or technology.

Scientific research and technological innovation that does not bet on materialism being correct can succeed. But if you bet on materialism then your project will fail.

That's what happened, in my opinion anyway.

And maybe you have guessed that I am not a materialist, and I believe the Intelligent Design researchers are to some extent correct.

Realpc, reading your comments I'm reminded of Colin Wilson's quip about Martin Gardner: "I wish I could be as sure of anything as Martin Gardner is of everything."

Anonym - yes, that's the BW article. Shorter URL:

http://snipurl.com/lamdl

Michael Prescott,

I don't mind not being sure of anything. What I do mind is the false certainty I see currently in mainstream science and medicine, and also in politics. I guess it has always been that way -- every society has its trusted authorities and experts. Even the authorities and experts believe in their own certainty.

I don't have unquestioning respect for authorities and experts. I want to see the logic and evidence for their claims. I would like to see good evidence that cancer research has made progress -- but I won't see it, because it hasn't. Yet everyone believes.

I also have problems with the anti-ID movement (even though I don't belong to the ID movement), and atheism/materialism in general. But that in NO WAY implies I am a believer in some other dogmatic ideology.

Sorry for the snark, realpc. But when you write things like this:

"increasing survival by 3 years, while not curing the disease or improving health, and while decreasing subjective well-being with toxic drug side effects, DOES NOT SOUND SO WONDERFUL to me"

... you have to expect a little snark.

After all, an extra three years of life might seem pretty important to the cancer patient and his/her loved ones. It might allow the patient to attend the college graduation of a cherished child ... finally take that long-postponed trip to Europe ... finish writing the Great American Novel ... or just smell a few more honeysuckle plants.

I've known people who underwent chemo, and for them, it was not the nightmare they expected. Side effects were mild and transitory. Some minor stomach upset for the first day after each treatment, and temporary hair loss. That's it.

A decade ago, the side effects were much worse, but great strides have been made since then.

Ok Michael, I realize there are people who want to hang on to life no matter what, and they do think 3 more years (and as I explained, we don't even know if that's true, and it probably isn't) is a great victory for the cancer industry. I don't happen to feel that way. I value life, but not to that crazed extent. I want to feel reasonably healthy while alive, if possible.

But of course to each his/her own. It's just too bad that my tax money is going into that black hole, for something I do not value at all. I value medical research, but sometimes you have to know when to change direction.

And the cancer industry is not going to change direction because the statistical illusions have convinced it that real progress is being made.

I really think you should reconsider and examine the evidence more carefully. This madness could bankrupt our society (if it isn't already bankrupt, that is).

"I value life, but not to that crazed extent. I want to feel reasonably healthy while alive, if possible."

As I pointed out, today's chemo treatments often have much less serious side effects than they used to. It is possible to feel "reasonably healthy" while undergoing chemo. I've seen it for myself in people I know. The person comes home from chemo feeling unwell, spends the next day resting, and then is up and about his normal routine for the rest of the month. I'm not saying everyone responds this well, but many people do.

"I really think you should reconsider and examine the evidence more carefully."

I think you should talk to some cancer patients and their families, rather than dealing solely with statistics and abstractions.

I also think some gratitude is in order toward the researchers who've devoted their careers to fighting this disease.

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