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A TGB READER STORY: The Elusive Monster

"Miracle" Cancer Cures

It's bad enough when you are diagnosed with cancer. Later, when they tell you it's untreatable, you think you've heard the worst. But you would be wrong.

What you didn't know before is that on the sidelines waiting for just the right moment to move in are the ghouls and charlatans.

The first email, sent via the “contact” link on this blog, arrived a few weeks ago. It wasn't from a name I recognized, not someone who comments or had privately emailed me before.

There is a treatment, the writer said, at a private clinic in California that cures cancer with supervised fasting over several months of residence at their luxurious spa.

Uh-huh.

Since then, four or five more cancer cures have arrived via the blog email from people who are strangers to me. One of them provided a link to a professional-looking website (anyone can pay to have that done.) featuring a movie-star handsome man that uses protons they say results “in strong cure rates.”

Another uses cancer immunotherapy to achieve long-term remission for years, “and even decades.” The latest hot cancer "cure" is cannabis that, it is claimed, shrunk a teenager's cancer cells after chemo had failed.

And so on.

In April 2017, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration sent out letters to 14 companies telling them “to stop making the bogus claims or face possible seizures of their products and criminal prosecution.” From the Washington Post:

”The letters covered more than five dozen unapproved products that the companies said could prevent, treat or cure cancer, the FDA said. The items included pills, ointments, oils, drops, teas and diagnostic devices.”

That list doesn't begin to cover the types of quack treatments from swindlers preying on people at the worst moments of their lives. Wikipedia has a huge long list of a hundred or more unproven and disproven cancer cures.

Several websites publish a simple list of frequently used phrases that should alert anyone to phony cures:

Treats all forms of cancer
Miraculously kills cancer cells and tumors
Shrinks malignant tumors
Selectively kills cancer cells
More effective than chemotherapy
Attacks cancer cells, leaving healthy cells intact
Cures cancer

Another phrase charlatans commonly use – alternative – is particularly insidious because there is a real place for alternative treatment to complement legitimate cancer medications. The Mayo Clinic has a handy chart about that:

MayoChart

Let me be clear about “miracle” cures: if anything cured cancer, WE WOULD ALL KNOW ABOUT IT. It would not be a secret. Someone would already be rich and getting richer from it.

Cancer patients are desperate, hoping against hope that the diagnosis is wrong, that a different treatment will magically work, that someone has the secret ingredient to give them more days, months, years of life. These are not foreign concepts to me recently.

But make no mistake, the people who sell useless, sometimes dangerous, unproved treatments are evil, depraved and cruel. What they do is a form of faith healing (at least one uses real snake venom) tricked out as medicine and they make me hope there is a hell.



Comments

I apologize to you, and all other hosts of cancerous cells, for the cruelty of too many supposedly human beings. Unconscionable! Not that "they" stick around to actually read your postings; but, you took 'em down a peg, thank you.

I am reminded of a photo I saw of an emaciated Steve McQueen being carried from a private jet after undergoing some sort of "Miracle Cure" on some offshore location. He , too, declined traditional medicine. The results speak for themselves.

Slippery, slimy imposters climbing on the backs of the hopeful and vulnerable for the money in it.
Freaking mutherfvkers, all of them. I hope they live in their own-made hell now.

How they're allowed to operate is beyond me. There needs to be a GoFundMe that puts them out of business or finds the illegalities that would disallow the small print when a patient signs on.

I'm sorry and outraged that you and others are being preyed on like this, Ronni.

I am so sorry that you are being subjected to all these predatory practices. Why is it that, so often when people are at their most vulnerable, that greed and flimflammery come out of the woodwork to take advantage of their fragility? It does not inspire faith in human nature, and it is shameful that people are willing to pedal things more likely designed to deplete people's resources when they are most needed for other things, than to truly "heal" them. UGH!

You're right. There should be a special place in hell for people who sell quackery. Got the same sort of "miracle cures" presented to me after my husband's massive stroke.

In addition to the snake oil sales are the well meaning idiots. I am tired of hearing "have you tried...?", "if you would just...", or "keep a positive mental attitude.. " No one should be subjected to promotion of quack remedies by
greedy sales people. Good for you and your resistance.

WAY beyond vile!

I think this is terrible; they take advantage of people who are desperate (or who are thought to be) and should be disallowed somehow.

People who have tinnitus are also subjected to all kinds of info about how to cure it; most, if not all, of which are hoaxes perpetrated by charlatans.

I am so sorry you are being subjected to this.

I worked for 33 years in the natural food co-op movement. We were exposed constantly to claims of miracle cures, and theories about how the medical “establishment” is suppressing known cures because it won’t profit from curing cancer, etc.

Then there is the flood of bad advice from well-meaning people. We learned to treat this the way we trained staff members to handle challenging members of the public: smile and nod.


I have no words. I’m incensed! It truly is evil. I’m so sorry.

Crap!

I once heard a story on the radio about this creep who had read the obits & then broken into and robbed a family's house while they were at the funeral. (It caught my interest because it was the neighborhood I grew up in.) They named the creep and it was my childhood friend. It's scary and infuriating that there are so many jerks out there rushing to capitalize on others' pain and misfortune.

The chart from the Mayo Clinic is excellent. It makes the point that there are useful non-medical strategies to help a cancer patient, or anyone with a terminal diagnosis, cope with her situation. To the extent that anxiety, stress, pain, sleep deprivation, and other kinds of distress can throw the whole body out of kilter, and maybe damage whatever might be left of the body's natural defenses, dealing with these issues in any way that works can possibly even do a little bit to extend life. The basic takeaway from that chart is, it's fine to use all available avenues to make yourself as comfortable as you can.

It's a far cry from that to those phony "miracle cures." I am so sorry you are having to deal with the ghouls. In a way, you're suffering their attempted depredations on our account. 'This End Up' will be helpful to so many of us as we, each in our turn, come to our own final days. Thank you again for generously sharing your experiences and feelings even at this worst of times -- and console yourself that evil people also have to die.

I don't know about you, but me, I'd far rather finish alone with the life experiences and memories I have stored up inside my head, than the writhing mass of snakes and ugliness that must be inside theirs.

I'm so sorry you've become a target of these unconscionable predators and they are everywhere, not just in "miracle cures." Always trying to get into our pockets rooting around for spare change, selling health, "happiness" or the Big Win, etc.

Karma may square off things with these lowlifes.

XO
WWW

My late husband's oncologist went NUTS over these "miracle cures" because they cost her patients. People who could have been saved went to these alternative treatments; they bought into the idea of evil chemo and how it wasn't really needed. Our SIL sent us information about magic elixirs to cure cancer (without chemo) when my husband was diagnosed, and many people suggested trying x or y instead of those harsh treatments. I basically said, "When YOU get cancer, you can gamble on these wackadoodle things, but we're going with what our highly educated and experienced oncologist recommends."

Yes, for some, nothing is sacred or private. I am so sorry that you are having to see these
obscenities. Many years ago, I returned from my sister's funeral to a phone call from someone offering a "sure cure." Crazy making. Is there any way to have these miserable messages screened out?

What a ghoulish bunch of snake oil salesmen. Selling hope in a bottle, so to speak. By now someone should be enforcing laws against them.

For the record, the proton thing is legit, a refinement of radiation treatment for certain cancers, and immunotherapy is the latest development for some types of cancer.

However, legitimate medical practitioners don't do "cold calls" via email, phone, or doorbell. They are far too busy providing the best possible proven treatments to their patients, as I'm sure yours are, Ronni. Have faith in them and try to ignore the ghouls and profiteers. There's a special place waiting for them ...

Like everyone here, I am outraged at the cold and callous actions of these ghouls. I second everyone's comments, especially Sylvia's wonderful post.

Depravity right next to selling children for sex! I just can't fathom people like that. I'm so sorry you should have to deal with this kind of nastiness in the last part of your life.

Disgusting! How do these evildoers find out who to target? Surely medical facilities aren't selling patients' names! Well, maybe we can't be so sure 'bout that in tRumpistan.

Don't know if you're 'up for it, or if you even think it's do-able, Ronni. But combining today's thoughts from Jill Lynch and Elizabeth Rogers leads me to the conclusion that: whenever someone with a cancer diagnosis 'goes public', that their readers/friends should somehow be told, up front, that "you" are willing to trust your fate to oncologists and 'conventional' treatments. And that "you'll" be furious to be contacted by those who offer 'miracle' cures. I'll guess, Ronni, that one of your readers has a friend - who has a friend - who gave your email address to a charlatan. I'm sorry that this garbage has rubbed salt into your grievous wound.

I’m so sorry about the barrage of questionable treatments people have sent you. However, I agree with the comment that proton beam therapy is legitimate. It’s offered by the Mayo Clinic and other sites throughout the country and the world. It may not be appropriate for your situation, but it’s not experimental and it’s not quackery. My husband was treated in 2002 and lived 16 years, until age 91.

Thank you, Ronni, for the clear and easily read list of what I like to call "Complimentary" ways of feeling better from the Mayo Clinic. They aren't harmful and most cost only our own attention and desire to improve our situation. Maybe only a placebo effect...but I'll take it!

I worked with a wise older Doctor as a student nurse (Gads-60+ years ago) who told me in one of these "healers" discussions.... "There have been enough pieces of the True Cross sold in Italy to build another Ark". Never forgot it. I was not Catholic but found one version of 'healing' in the main entrance of that hospital that I really liked. :-)

There was a lovely life sized statue of, I assume, Mary holding a baby boy less than a year old in her arms. He appeared to be fresh from a bath and cuddled on a towel. Someone had broken off his wee peenie at an earlier time and some other benevolent soul had put it back in its rightful place with a fresh new (hopefully sterile) Band-Aid. It made me smile each time I passed by, even on long night shifts. It stayed with that repair the entire 3 years I was there.

I never argue with success! I think keeping our sense of humor even in grim times is good medicine too.

A younger techie friend has told me about data mining. Name a subject etc. Companies, legit or otherwise can collect data on just about anything, including what we consider private. I had asked him, how,why, when I turned xyz age, did I start to get all kinds of crap in emails and snail (regular)mail about hearing aids, burial expenses etc etc. when I had never inquired anywhere. Much of who we are is ("gettable")...sorry Ronni, you know hog wash when you see or hear it.

Another bad side to the quackery cures is that makes it even harder for our hard working researcher-oncologists to help us find good reliable information! (Go Knight Cancer Institute!)

I am sorry that you are being subjected to this. IT makes me sick to think that there are people who do this. This makes me hope that Karma does come around to them.
I feel that you are very brave to be sharing your story with us. I wish you peace.

I find the worst are the well-meaning "friends" who push the miracle cures.

Your column is such a service to us, Ronni. The odds are some of us will be diagnosed with cancer sometime in our future and we have your wise words to rely on when the predators come creeping. Thank you thank you.


Ronni, I am disgusted to know you are getting bombarded by phony baloney "cures."

Losers.

You would never fall for that crap.

Hugs,

Your Montreal Fan


I had renal failure almost 20 years ago, renal failure again now and had MDS cancer recently, which is in remission right now (unheard of). My daughters have ME and EDS. I can't tell you how many times we have been told about something that would cure us from well meaning friends and also those selling cures. It is so disheartening to the person receiving this "help" as it makes us feel like they think we are not doing anything to help ourselves and that we are missing out on a big cure when we don't take their advice. We have learned to thank friends for their effort to help and ignore what they wanted us to do and to simply say no thanks to those friends selling cures.
The companies saying they have cures when they don't really is a whole different story and makes me so mad that they try to profit off others hopes for something to be able to help them.

Not to mention the “legal” thieves in big pharma. The cost of cancer drugs is outrageous. More pigs to the trough. When your down one more kick for good measure.

Never cure cancer because it keeps the economy vital. You can spend money and spend money on every kind of treatment to no avail. I wanted my precious husband to try them all but he refused and relied on his doctors only. I wasn't very confident on them either. Bless you Ronnie. Just know your loved ones wish to fix you desperately.

I am so deeply sorry you were in their crosshairs, those slimebuckets.

The Mayo chart does not mention cannabis, which did a lot for persons very close to me for all the symptoms except fatigue. (Where I live it is now legal so what is the deal?)

Not saying cannabis products would be good for you, just wondering why Mayo is so conservative.

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