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Researching Cancer on the World Wide Web

by Mike Howell(more info)

listed in cancer, originally published in issue 33 - October 1998

The Man Who Questions Chemotherapy

Dr. Moss' work documents the ineffectiveness of chemotherapy on most forms of cancer. However, he is fair in pointing out that there are the following exceptions: Acute Iymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, and non- seminomatous testicular cancer. Also, a few very rare forms of cancer, including choriocarcinoma, Wilm's tumor, and retinoblastoma. But all of these account for only 2% to 4% of all cancers occurring in the United States. This leaves some 96% to 98% of other cancers, in which chemotherapy doesn't eliminate the disease. The vast majority of cancers, such as breast, colon, and lung cancer are barely touched by chemotherapy.

However, there is another category where chemotherapy has a relatively minor effect--The most "successful" of these is in Stage 3 ovarian cancer, where chemo therapy appears to extend life by perhaps eighteen months, and small-cell lung cancer in which chemotherapy might offer six more months.

Effective cancer treatment is a matter of definition. The FDA defines an "effective" drug as one which achieves a 50% or more reduction in tumor size for 28 days. In the vast majority of cases there is absolutely no correlation between shrinking tumors for 28 days and the cure of the cancer or extension of life.

When the cancer patient hears the doctor say "effective," he or she thinks, and logically so, that "effective" means it cures cancer. But all it means is temporary tumor shrinkage.

Chemotherapy usually doesn't cure cancer or extend life, and it really does not improve the quality of the life either. Doctors frequently make this claim though. There are thousands of studies that were reviewed by Dr. Moss as part of the research for his book--and there is not one single good study documenting this claim.

What patients consider "good quality of life" seems to differ from what the doctors consider. To most it is just common sense that a drug that makes you throw up, and lose your hair, and wrecks your immune system is not improving your quality of life. Chemo- therapy can give you life-threatening mouth sores. People can slough the entire lining of the intestines! One longer-term effect is particularly tragic: people who've had chemotherapy no longer respond to nutritional or immunologically-based approaches to their cancers. And since chemotherapy doesn't cure 96% to 98% of all cancers anyway...People who take chemotherapy have sadly lost their chance of finding another sort of cure.

It's especially telling that in a number of surveys most chemotherapists have said they would not take chemotherapy themselves or recommend it for their families. Chemotherapy drugs are the most toxic substances ever put deliberately into the human body. They are known poisons, they are designed poisons.

Extract from The Man Who Questions Chemotherapy:
Dr Ralph Moss. Full text available at www.mercola.com/newpage73.htm

If you have access to a computer and the WWW then you have the ability to find a seemingly endless number of web sites that offer advice and information about all forms of cancer. For old hands on the web this article is probably redundant although there are always new places to seek out which you may have missed.

With the introduction of digital television this autumn (!) we are told that the internet will explode in the number of users, even though it's growing at a phenomenal rate without digital TV.

The trick is to sort out the dross, the advertorial and the vast number of sites that offer very little in information but consume a lot of your time.

It's also worth deciding the route that you want to follow: whether you want pure medical information or whether you want to find complementary routes. The medical route is quite easy; just go to one or two of the large medical sites and you'll find all the medical information you could possible want.

Alternative or Complementary sites are different and really good information will take more effort to find.

If you don't already have a selection of sites to search, the obvious place to start would be with the main search engines: Yahoo!, AltaVista, Infoseek, HotBot, Lycos, WebCrawler. Or go to a meta searcher like Debriefing www.debriefing.com and it will search the other search engines for you. A very interesting search engine is Humansearch http://www.humansearch.com or Ask Jeeves at www.askjeeves.com where you type in a question in real English and they will send you a list of web sites that could be appropriate for your question. It may take up to 24 hours before they reply but they do come up with some places you might not have found yourself.

For pure medical information you need to look at the large web sites. Some of these sites do have complementary health information although you may not find it all that useful. The web site from Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Centre for Complementary and Alternative medicine at Columbia University's CPMCNet http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/dept/rosenthal/ has many on-line databases plus links, articles and much more.

The US National Cancer Institute is a useful resourse for all kinds of information, including everyting from types of cancers, treatments and clinical trials, to information on how to obtain research grants! Their cancer information service is also an excellent resource, and well worth a visit..

CancerBACUP www.cancerbacup.org.uk/ offers a free search to Medline, Drug information searches, Cancer Literature searches, Cancer organisation database, website links, on-line journals and other information.

If I wanted to search the web and learn about cancer, my starting point would be Jonathan Chamberlain's site located at www.fightingcancer.com. Jonathan's wife was diagnosed with cancer and he determined to find out all that he could about this disease. After her death he wrote a book called Fighting Cancer: a survival guide; we extracted a few paragraphs in issue 28. His book is now available from Positive Health (see page 56).

In a letter to me, Jonathan wrote, "Many people, of course, don't wish to think about cancer, and just want their doctors to deal with it. For them the BACUP website is more than adequate. But for those who wish to have a better understanding of cancer and how to approach it, something more is needed. That is why I have set up a website providing an alternative orientation to cancer. Come and visit my site. Here you can read extracts from a number of books written for cancer patients, review books you may wish to read, find links to information on both orthodox and complementary, read advice and share experiences.

"And if they have something to say to cancer patients: a book to recommend, a reading that has affected you, an experience that might help another – then I invite you to use the site to reach out to others who might benefit. Cancer is a wake up call – not a shout to get in line. And for those who wake up it is an adventure."

Dr Ralph Moss (see above The Man Who Questions Chemotherapy), considered by some to be the most knowledgeable writer in the world on alternative therapies for cancer, writes the Cancer Chronicles, a newsletter reporting on new cancer treatments and therapies. This is available at no charge at www.ralphmoss.com. Dr Moss has written several books, among them The Cancer Industry that detailed the financial and political corruption within the cancer establishment. Another book (1992) is called Cancer Therapy: The Independent Consumer's Guide to Non-Toxic Treatment (Equinox Press, New York 1992 ISBN 1-881025-06-3).

We published a review of Larry Clapp's book Prostate Health in 90 Days in issue 30 and failed to mention his web site at www.prostate90.com. Larry cured himself of prostate cancer and his site is a good source of information with links to other sites etc.

Also on the prostate trail you could go to www.capcure.org. This is the site of CaP CURE set up by Michael Milken (of junk bond fame, himself diagnosed with prostate cancer) and claiming to be the largest funder of prostate cancer in the world. You can check out the latest research, read articles on prostate cancer, diet etc and follow links to other prostate cancer sites.

Talking of links, if you do find a site that talks the kind of language you want to hear, the chances are they will have valuable links to other sites that are worth following. Links are the key to finding your way around the web.

Another fascinating place to visit is Deja News at www.dejanews.com. Type in 'cancer' and it comes up with 28,071 items to view. Type in 'breast cancer' and it gives you 2,285 items.

If you are not familiar with news groups then you're in for a treat. If someone asks a question they may or may not receive an answer, but assuming they do you can follow these question and answers through a 'thread'. You can also join in this on-line discussion or you can join a newsgroup devoted to a particular subject.

The World Wide Web may not give you the answers to your questions about cancer but you can reach an overload of useful and useless information very quickly and easily. This article is merely a starting point and has barely touched the surface of what is available.

If you know of really worthwhile sites to visit (not those commercially set up to sell a product, please) then I'd be happy if you let me know their url. Send it to mike@positivehealth.com.

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About Mike Howell

Co-founder of Positive Health magazine.

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