My Malignant Melanoma

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Friday, 14 August 2009



Yesterday's attempt to promote turmeric as a cure for cancer on the What Now board using a mass of inconclusive, weak, and badly designed studies has been deleted by the admins, but the woman responsible is all over the internet with it today.

There were a lot of studies in the pile, but science doesn't weigh the evidence for each side in a scale, but ranks it in terms of its strength.

So what does the evidence really tell us about turmeric?

1. That the strongest of the weak evidence available for anti-cancer effects is not for turmeric itself, but for a purified component, curcurmin.

2. That the strongest of the weak evidence for anti-cancer effects is in cell culture, rather than in complete living organisms.

3.That curcurmin is hardly absorbed from food at all in humans.

4. That is is not possible to attain the levels of curcurmin in the human body which show possible anti-cancer effects in cell culture without taking at least 110g of curcurmin daily.

5. That is is presently just as as likely that curcurmin promotes some cancers as suppresses others.

Here's how Cancer Research UK weigh the evidence to date.

They DO NOT recommend using turmeric supplements. Note the warning at the end that internet turmeric supplements are contaminated
with nimusulide, an unlicensed medicine which can cause liver damage. Despite this, the What Now poster promoted a document which contains links to places to buy these supplements on the internet.

The ultimate source of the misleading "evidence" was apparently Christian Wilde, (a songwriter with no scientific or medical qualifications whatever) who has made himself a long-time promoter of alternative medicine, especially turmeric.

She is now hard at work promoting him, his books and his half-baked ideas on every cancer forum she takes part in because he "validated" (read flattered) her and her "proactive" approach in which she labours under the delusion that she and her husband are making medical history.

Of course in the American medical system, you can have any treatment you want if you have the money, then convince yourself that the quack treatments did the job rather than the proven ones, as this unfortunate woman has done. The medics involved will also avoid contradicting you on these issues as they are your employees, and are commercially interested in you having as much medical treatment as possible.

She consequently really thinks that an unqualified member of the general public armed only with a directory of quack sites knows more about cancer than people who have spent their entire lives studying it.

Suggesting differently is bad because that would be "invalidating her", or "making her wrong" which means that you aren't very nice, and can safely be ignored. Thus at a stroke she is utterly inured against any form of reasoned argument.

If she could just keep her nonsense to herself it would be no-one's problem but her unfortunate husband's, but she consistently chooses to try and persuade others that these various quack cures for cancer are a good idea. More generally she tries to persuade them that a patient or carer's reading partial and misleading summaries of the research and the falsehoods on internet quack sites might allow them to make a helpful input to the treatment of cancer.

In fact such activity just leads to confusion, and in some cases to promoting to other cancer patients supplements which could cause liver damage, whilst having no proven benefit, as in this case.

Doctors may not know everything, but you'd have to be unbelievably arrogant or stupid to think they don't know more than the general public, however many quack sites they have read.

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