My Malignant Melanoma

Seanty's experiences with Metastatic Malignant Melanoma. Part of Email us direct at

Thursday, 14 July 2011


Cancer Boards, Complementary Claims and Quackery

There are many cancer message boards on the internet, the better ones ban the promotion of "alternative medicine", and are very careful about claims made for complementary medicine - you might think for example that reiki was just a harmless footrub, until you hear its practitioners claim that they can cure cancer-even over the 'phone.

A big problem with even the most tightly regulated boards is that the moderators do not wish to destroy  hope, even to some extent false hope.

A second problem is the preponderance of middle-class, middle-aged women on such boards. They'd like the rules of the board to be those of the coffee-morning- it's more important to be seen to be nice than to be right, and it's not what you say, but how you say it. Some forums, (which I avoid or quickly get banned from) agree to these rules- such boards become virtually male-free zones in quite short order.

But being seen to be nice is not actually being nice. It's not nice to allow people to think that they can avoid conventional treatment as the quack has their back. It's not nice to allow people to claim that quack diets boost the immune system when they don't, or that you need to pretend to be happy about having cancer or you'll die sooner. 

The nice thing to do is warn people who have been taken in by quacks and are now themselves attempting to promote quackery one warning and them stamp on their arguments every time they make them until they stop.

The nice thing to do with those who practice or promote quackery for a living is split them, salt them and nail them to a fence.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Immune System Boosters

I've been having a low-level row about "Cancer Diets" with a quacktard over on CRUK's cancer chat who has been taken in by the usual dodgy internet sites (particularly "cancertutor" in his case, and just for variety, incorporating quack diets for autism)

As is often the case with reasonably well-moderated sites, he is trying to restrict his claims to that thin-end-of-the-wedge classic: "I'm not saying X (insert name of quack cure here) cures cancer, I'm saying it boosts the immune system".  

So I point out CRUK's advice on this issue, here "You need a balanced diet, with plenty of calories, to keep your immune system working well. This can help you fight off infections, as well as helping your body fight the cancer". I explain that there are no diets or supplements which boost the immune system, and that if there were, we'd all be prescribed them, because boosting the immune system is actually a potential cure for cancer.

There is in fact an immune system booster being trialled as a melanoma cure, Allovectin- 7. It's looking pretty good. So is Allovectin made of carrots? Noni Juice? Soursop? 'fraid not, Its a gene therapy which puts markers on the surface of MM cells so that the immune system can see them.


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