Irish Cancer Society advice poses huge risk to patients.
By Tommy Roche
August 6, 2018
In 2015, I raised some of the issues highlighted in this article with the Irish Cancer Society. Nothing was done to address them. On July 15th. this year, I informed the Society of my intention to publish this article and I offered to review any part that could be proven wrong. I didn’t even receive a response.
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
If you received a cancer diagnosis recently and you think the Irish Cancer Society will provide you with all the best available information and advice to aid your recovery, you need to think again. Seriously.
The Society’s claim that it’s the leading provider of all information relating to cancer treatment in Ireland is a barefaced lie. It provides information about conventional treatment only, even though there are two other types of safer, effective cancer treatment: Integrative and Alternative.
Conventional treatment (chemo etc.) is bad medicine because it is highly dangerous and does not increase survival for most patients. But, it’s the bread and butter of mainstream oncologists. And these are the people who either write or approve the information published by the Irish Cancer Society. In fact, two mainstream oncologists sit on the Society’s board of directors. There isn’t a single representative from either the Integrative or Alternative cancer treatment community.
In a pathetic attempt to justify this shameful position, the Society publishes lies about Alternative treatments to discourage patients from using them and it provides no information whatsoever about Integrative treatments. It deceives patients into believing that conventional treatment is the best and only treatment that works when, in fact, research shows it does not improve survival for most patients.
Clearly, this is very bad advice. It poses a huge risk to patients and contributes to the cancer death toll. Furthermore, the Society:
This situation needs to change – now.
Evidence suggests we can achieve a significant reduction in the cancer death rate with an effective program of prevention, better diagnostics, proper dissemination of information and an open-minded approach to treatment.
Meanwhile, the Irish Cancer Society, along with all those responsible for providing cancer care, should be held accountable for all deaths resulting from either bad medicine or bad advice.
Cancer patients, beware!
Over the years 2016-2018 the average number of new cases of cancer was just over 41,000 per year, according to the National Cancer Registry. This is made up of 10,815 non-melanoma skin cancers which pose little or no risk to life. The remaining 30,000 will have life-threatening cancers.
On becoming a patient within our Health Service, every one of them will have been advised that Conventional cancer treatment consisting mainly of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation offer the best and only hope of survival.
The Irish Cancer Society offers the same advice – not because it is correct, but because it comes from the same source. These 30,000 patients won’t, therefore, have been told about the failure of these standard treatments to prolong survival in most patients. They won’t have been warned about the true level of harm and deaths that are directly caused by these treatments. And they won’t have been given any information about the other potentially life-saving treatment options open to them. As a result, most will have followed the advice and opted for this “one-size-fits-all” treatment.
Almost half of them will be dead within five years.
Research proves that many patients do not die from the cancer itself, but as a direct result of the toxic treatments they receive. The Irish Cancer Society bears some responsibility for these deaths because of the bad advice and misleading information it publishes.
Standard treatment is killing patients
Take treatment side-effects, for example; 2016 research carried out for MacMillan Cancer Support looked at 28,364 patients with breast cancer and 15,045 patients with lung cancer who underwent chemotherapy. A total of 1,974 died within 30 days only of starting treatment.
Now, instead of alerting cancer patients to findings such as the above, the Irish Cancer Society downplays the dangers of treatment side-effects. The Society’s website says: “All of these effects are normal so try not to worry.” This is the sort of irresponsible rubbish the Society publishes across a whole range of issues that influence patient’s treatment choices and, ultimately, their chances of recovery.
Standard treatment is not improving survival for most patients
Contrary to what we are told by the Irish Cancer Society, numerous studies show that conventional treatments do not extend survival for most cancer patients. All too often, they result in seemingly full recoveries followed by relapse.
Of those that manage to survive beyond five years, research shows that only a small number will live both long-term and in good health. The rest will develop other serious health conditions such as heart, kidney or liver disease, get another type of cancer, or their cancer will spread or come back.
Despite this damning evidence, conventional treatments are the only ones offered to patients and endorsed by the Irish Cancer Society. This is despite the fact that a number of safer, more effective treatments are available.
There are, in fact, two other types of cancer treatment:
- Integrative: Mind and body practices, natural products, and lifestyle modifications from different traditions used alongside conventional cancer treatments.
- Alternative: Treatments used in place of conventional treatment (e.g. Cannabis Oil to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy).
Why aren’t Integrative or Alternative treatments offered by oncologists, and why isn’t the Irish Cancer Society demanding that patients have access to them as part of standard care?
Alternative treatments include natural and other non-conventional treatments such as Cannabis Oil and RIGVIR.
RIGVIR is an Oncolytic Virotherapy whose effectiveness has been proven in many clinical studies. One study published in 2015 in the medical journal Melanoma Research revealed that melanoma patients treated with virotherapy were 4 to 6 times more likely to survive (without side effects) than those who did not receive virotherapy.
Here’s detailed information about
12 alternative treatment options.
Integrative treatments utilize mind and body practices, natural products, and lifestyle modifications from different traditions alongside conventional cancer treatments. It can significantly increase patient survival. For example, this study evaluated the effects of integrative treatment on advanced metastatic breast cancer patients at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment.
Five‐year survival was 27% for the Center versus 17% for comparison patients. Despite a higher proportion of younger and relapsed patients, survival of metastatic breast cancer patients at the Center was approximately double that of comparison populations and possibly even higher…
Lack of proper information is killing patients
Incredibly, neither Alternative nor Integrative treatment are available in mainstream hospitals and the oncology community is unlikely to embrace them anytime soon. We know this because the information about these treatments has been out there for decades, but it is being ignored.
Worse still, the Irish Cancer Society is silent on the issue. It doesn’t publish any information whatsoever about Integrative treatment on its website and the information it publishes about Alternative treatment is grossly misleading and inaccurate.
Primum non nocere (First, do no harm).
Some of the 9,000 cancer deaths in Ireland this year are inevitable, but many are the result of either bad medicine or bad advice. Therefore, the Irish Cancer Society, along with the HSE and the oncology community, should be held accountable for deaths caused by the following:
- The use or endorsement of treatments known to be ineffective for a particular type or stage of cancer.
- The use or endorsement of highly toxic treatments that are known to have killed many other patients.
- Failure to adequately warn patients about the true level of suffering and deaths that are directly caused by conventional treatments.
- Failure to inform patients about alternative or integrative treatment options that can extend their lives appreciably – even in the case of advanced cancer.
Patients should receive treatment of their choice.
I am not advocating for the use of any particular treatment. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another. Also, the choice of treatment is a matter for each patient to decide for her/himself. What I am advocating for is the right of every patient to be fully informed about all their options and to be offered the treatment of their choice.
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”
George Bernard Shaw
Taking a closer look at the Irish Cancer Society.
The Irish Cancer Society portrays itself as the trusted go-to organisation for cancer patients in Ireland. It boasts a full-time staff of almost 160 and an annual income of €23m (2016).
This is untrue. The Society is certainly not the leading provider of all information relating to either detection or treatment. Not only does it fail to provide detailed information about vital aspects of cancer detection and treatment, it actually publishes false information about life-saving alternative treatments in an effort to discredit them and discourage their use. Here’s an example:
This is rich – coming from the organisation that endorses toxic treatments responsible for countless deaths.
The Society is little more than a rubber stamp for the cancer industry in Ireland.
The Society exclusively endorses and promotes the conventional (chemo, radiation, surgery) approach to cancer treatment. All of the medical information published by the Society is either written or approved by mainstream oncologists. In fact, two oncologists sit on the Society’s Board of Directors. All alternative views on the best approach to cancer screening, diagnostics and treatment are either discredited or withheld from the public. This further belies the Society’s claim that it is “the leading provider of all information relating to cancer…”
False claims about earlier diagnosis and advances in treatment.
The Society claims that survival rates are improving all the time due to earlier diagnosis and advances in treatment. The impression is given that there are now huge numbers of “survivors” out there because of these treatments. As I’ll show, these claims are greatly exaggerated. Nonetheless, they are used by the Society to encourage hundreds of thousands of people to raise yet more money, for yet more research into yet more toxic drug treatments. So-called “breakthroughs” are routinely announced in advance of major fundraisers, but rarely result in any real benefits to patients.
All those involved should be ashamed that they allow this situation to go on unchallenged. Cancer patients deserve better – they deserve to live. It’s time the HSE, the oncology community, and the Irish Cancer Society were held accountable for their negligence towards patients.
What’s the Solution?
First and foremost, oncologists need to offer treatments based entirely on their ability to prolong patient survival time (not whether they can shrink tumors or were featured in a clinical trial). In this regard, some integrative and alternative treatments offer real hope to patients and should be offered to patients.
The Irish Cancer Society, meanwhile, needs to stop misleading the public. It needs to transform itself into an independent organisation that provides life-saving research, information and advocacy services to cancer patients.
For starters, the Society needs to:
- Divorce itself from the oncology community, pharmaceutical industry and other vested interests.
- Provide complete and accurate information to the public on all aspects of cancer screening, diagnostics, treatment and recovery.
- Provide detailed information (including the pros and cons) about all cancer treatments, without endorsing any particular one.
- Demand that the HSE provide patients with integrative or alternative treatments of their choice as part of standard care.
- Stop funding research into treatments or interventions that can result in serious harm or death in cancer patients.
- Encourage and fund research into existing and new natural or alternative treatments that prolong life.
- Stop promoting dangerous Mammography screening for breast cancer.
- Stop promoting fundraising event that are sponsored by companies whose products actually cause cancer.
- Significantly increase spending on Cancer Prevention.
Despite vast sums of money spent on research over the past fifty years, there is very little improvement in the death rate from cancer. It’s time alternative and integrative treatments were given a chance. Alternative treatments that have already proven efficacious and those backed by a lot of anecdotal evidence should be researched first and validated where applicable.
Evidence suggests we can achieve a significant reduction in the cancer death rate with an effective program of cancer prevention, better detection methods and a progressive approach to treatment. This will only happen when everyone accepts that the current approach is deeply flawed and needs to change in numerous ways.
My hope is that this article will contribute to that change.
Here’s a detailed look at just some of the ways the Irish Cancer Society is misleading the public and endangering lives.
1. I am not a medical professional and I do not presume to offer medical advice to anyone.
2. I’m not advocating for the use of any one treatment protocol over another – that’s a personal choice each cancer patient must make for her/himself. What I am advocating for is the right of every patient to be fully informed about all their options and to be offered the treatment of their choice.
3. The alternative treatments referred to in this article consist of natural and other therapies that have been shown to extend the lives of even late stage cancer patients.
4. I raised some of the issues featured in this article with the Irish Cancer Society three years ago. However, the Society has failed to address any of them. I believe this is because the Society is dominated by the mainstream oncology community, which itself is heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry and other self-interests worldwide.