Wednesday, October 21, 2009
An industry of ignorance...
That's what I was doing last night when I heard something disturbing. A woman was speaking on a talk show. She spoke about her diagnosis of cancer, rampant throughout her body. She spoke about her doctor's advice for treatment. And she spoke about her refusal of the chemotherapy that had been recommended.
Then, she added to the details of her story. Her doctors told her that she would die without their treatments. Her children and husband began to fall apart.
And then the conclusion. She went for some more tests and there was no cancer. The doctors were wrong. Declining treatment was right.
And then, the pitch. Her experience led her to investigate the medical industry and find treatments She told the interviewer that doctors don't use the miracle treatments she's discovered because they don't want to go through the effort. Did I mention she's a celebrity and carries the credibility of that status?
I don't know if she's found miracles or not but I do think she may be part of a growing industry. It's an industry based on the rejection of scientific evidence and clinical trials in favor of intuition.
We see people like her on TV with their infomercials every day. They play to people's understandable need for hope. It is cynical and it is dangerous.
A decade ago, the godmother to both my children was fighting her second battle with cancer. She was well educated medically, serving as a VP of Nursing and Chief Operating Officer at various hospitals. She was also looking for hope. She found a doctor in Nevada who was working with "alternative therapies". She was looking at other alternatives in Mexico just before her friends and family arranged her final emergency flight home.
I write about this on a PHA blog because our community is not immune to these issues. I'm grateful that we work with doctors who work from proven evidence. Recently they have provided us with a statement and fact sheet on stem cell therapy. They are both well worth reading.