Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Dangers in Alternative Medicine

Do you believe in science? Do you believe in modern medicine? Or do you believe in magical potions, concocted by medicine men and shamans? If you are really, really ill, should you try the nostrums offered by alternative medicine or should you put your life in the hands of modern medical practitioners?

It’s a real world dilemma for many people, especially for people who suffer from cancer. Do they believe in the medical science produced by Western civilization or do they believe in pagan idols? If the latter, they will be wagering their lives on the proposition that Western civilization should return to nature, to the natural world, and especially to the world of multiple cults to pagan idols.

When it comes to cancer, many Westerners have chosen not to undergo the pain and suffering that comes from surgery and from chemotherapy and radiation treatments. They have put their faith in alternative medicine, because these are more natural, less painful, and more in harmony with the natural order. You recall that Western science, technology and industry have defied the natural order… and thus, that we should do everything in our power to return to nature.

This is similar to the notion that environmental activists are saving the pristine natural beauty of nature from human defilement. When it comes to cancer treatment, the issue is: what kind of treatment should you choose? One that derives from Western science or one that involves magical potions? Or should you choose both?

Fortunately, scientists have studied the question. Their conclusion: if a patient chooses to forego Western medical treatments in favor of alternative medicine, he is more likely to die sooner.

Maggie Fox has the story at NBC News (via Instapundit):

Cancer patients who choose alternative medicine over standard, proven cancer treatments are more likely to die, researchers reported Thursday.

Complementary medicine did no apparent harm if people used it alongside conventional surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, the researchers found. But when people opted out of proven treatments to choose herbs, homeopathy or other alternative treatments, they were twice as likely to die of their cancer.

Doctors and the Food and Drug Administration have warned for years that unproven treatments may lure patients away from legitimate therapy that can save their lives. But it’s one thing to say that a treatment has not been shown to help, and it’s another to show for sure that it doesn’t.

“It’s shocking, the lack of comparative data that’s out there,” said Dr. James Yu of the Yale Cancer Center.

To be clear, in many cases supplementing medical treatment with herbs and the like does not do any harm. It might even produce some psychological benefits. And yet, in some cases,  unfortunately, the chemistry of the alternative medicines prevents the chemo from working effectively. 

You might find it ironic, but female patients who are younger and wealthier and better educated are more likely to reject modern medicine in favor of pagan panaceas. The reason might have to do with the fact that they probably attended great universities where they learned about the evils of Western civilization and the virtue of the noble savage:

Those who chose alternatives such as herbs, homeopathy, naturopathy or Chinese medicine were also more likely to refuse at least some standard cancer treatment, Yu’s team reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Oncology.

Seven percent of those who chose complementary treatments refused surgery, for instance, they found — compared with just 0.1 percent of patients who just went with standard treatment. More than a third declined chemotherapy or hormone therapy, and half refused radiation therapy.

Those who chose alternatives tended to be younger women with more education and more money, the researchers found.


whitney said...

Same women that don't vaccinate their kids. It's not just ignorance it's arrogance

Leo G said...

Steve Jobs

Anonymous said...

Jobs eventuallly got a liver transplant in Memphis. I'd like to read more about his antivax stance if you have a link. A cursory goog didn't turn anything up.

TechieDude said...

I had a bout with Cancer five years ago. Before treatment, one of my nieces was extolling the value of alternative medicine. Specifically, meditating and 'willing' the problem away.

It was funny stuff. Traditional therapy (chemo and radiation) had like an 85-90% success rate. (Which with me was 100%).

I told her that while I was doing that, cancer would spread and if it didn't work, I'd be well and truly screwed.

Ares Olympus said...

In my family things were reversed by gender. My mom had a brain tumor and went for radiation treatment and lasted 6 months, while my "new age" dad tried to convince her to try alternatives including faith healing. Faith healing sounds harmless enough unless the "healer" is a snakeoil salesman who charges by the minute.

I hold appreciation to the holistic goals. I've liked the narrative that cancer is always with us, and the body is continually resisting it, but certain imbalances in our body or lifestyle reduce our ability to fight off cancer. Of course once you have a malignant cancer, then it does look like poisoning or chopping up parts of your body to save it might be your best bet if you want to live. And has anyone reversed skin cancer like basal cell carcinoma by meditation or prayer or plant extracts? Inquiring minds want to know. Why not just cut off the skin and be sure?

The good thing about modern scientific medicine is when they charge for their services, at least your getting something "real" for your money. But still there's a less heroic side of older medicine that says doctors don't heal, but help a body heal itself, and that probably is more about intuitive wisdom than objective knowledge. But I admit a fear of BS makes me a poor candidate of the placebo effect.

sestamibi said...

"Those who chose alternatives tended to be younger women with more education and more money, the researchers found."

What is more ominous is that they intend to make those "alternatives" mandatory for everyone else too. Another contribution of 21st Century feminism.

trigger warning said...

Surely the "talking cure" belongs in the junk medicine curio cabinet.

jabrwok said...

The phrase you're looking for is "evolution in action".

Sam L. said...

Young college-educated women...taught badly,learned badly. I blame college profs.

Walt said...

It depends. Not to tout alternatives, but I've known too many people who went the "gold standard" route, spent a lost last year in various forms of side effect agony from the treatment which merely prolonged a no less terrible death by a couple of suffering months. Sometimes it's better to just do nothing or believe you're doing something by taking a basically harmless placebo.

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