Here is the email I sent to all TDs and Senators asking for their support to defeat proposed new legislation targeting advertisements of certain cancer treatments.
I believe the Bill (which passed the second stage in Dáil Eireann in April) is a deliberate attempt to close down all sources of information about “alternative” cancer treatments and those who offer them to patients.
There are other worrying aspects to the Bill that are not dealt with in my email because I didn’t want to risk losing people’s interest by writing a long email. These can be dealt with later on in the debate if necessary.
Iwould very much welcome your feedback.
Re: Treatment of Cancer (Advertisements) Bill 2018.
Dear Oireachtas member, I appeal to you in the strongest possible terms to oppose the Treatment of Cancer (Advertisements) Bill 2018 at every stage of its passage through the Oireachtas. The sponsor of the Bill, Deputy Kate O’Connell – a pharmacist – claims the aim of the Bill is to protect vulnerable cancer patients from advertisers peddling ineffective treatments.
However, I believe the Bill is aimed at suppressing legitimate criticism of the dangerous cancer drugs and treatments that are used routinely in our hospitals, rather than a genuine attempt to protect the public from false advertising.
While I agree that the law should protect vulnerable cancer patients from false advertising, it is obvious that this Bill goes far beyond that. As the owner of a not-for-profit website that provides cancer information in Ireland, I find its proposal to severely penalise anybody who provides “any advice in connection with the treatment of cancer” particularly disturbing.
While my website doesn’t provide medical advice to cancer patients, it does provide general advice to patients – for example, it encourages patients to question the safety and efficacy of any treatments proposed by their medical team. It also advises patients about a whole range of strategies and treatments that neither oncologists nor the Irish Cancer Society informs them about.
If this Bill is passed into law, I believe I will be forced to take my website offline, depriving patients and their families of valuable information.
But the Bill is much more dangerous than that. It is a direct assault on the democratic right of journalists and others to challenge the vested interests of the medical-industrial complex. In fact, if the legislation proposed in this Bill had been in force in the UK in the 1960s it would have been a crime for the Sunday Times to have challenged the drug company assertion that Thalidomide “can be given with complete safety to pregnant women without adverse effect on mother and child”. This Bill would prevent Thalidomide victims and others from publicly questioning the efficacy of the drug. Cui bono?
Speaking in the Dáil, the sponsor of the Bill said: “This short Bill is about being able to prosecute people who are making large sums of money by peddling treatments or cures that, at best, have no proven effect whatsoever and, at worst, increase suffering, cause even greater pain and often hasten death”. Ironically, this perfectly describes pharmaceutical companies and the dangerous cancer drugs they peddle. For example, The Lancet medical journal published a 2016 study carried out by Public Health England and Cancer Research UK that looked at more than 29,112 patients with breast cancer and 15,545 patients with lung cancer who underwent chemotherapy in 2014. Of those treated, 1,974 died within 30 days. Why doesn’t the Bill target the pharmaceutical companies that peddle these “treatments” in order to protect cancer patients?
Furthermore, no evidence was produced by Deputy O’Connell to support the claims that patients in Ireland are being targeted by false advertisements. Speaking in the Dáil, she praised the Primetime show broadcast last year showing the plight of terminally ill cancer patients going to foreign clinics for treatment. However, the programme did not show gullible victims lured overseas by targeted advertisements. Rather, it showed people fighting for their lives who researched treatment centres outside Ireland and subsequently made contact with them – it wasn’t the other way round.
Finally, patients wouldn’t be looking outside Ireland for other kinds of treatment if they could access them at home. So, rather than penalising those of us who provide educational information about such treatments, legislators should be focusing on removing outdated laws that deny patients access to their treatments of choice in the first place.
It’s time for a public dabate on decriminalising medicinal cannabis use.
Medicinal cannabis is scientifically proven to be effective in the treatment of cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, and a number of other illnesses. For far too long, patients have been denied access to this amazing gift of Mother Nature.
This is causing unnecessary suffering among hundreds of thousands of patients who are being let down by the system.
Under current law, patients who use medicinal cannabis are classified as criminals. Medicinal cannabis use needs to be decriminalised.
But, it is now obvious that only sustained public pressure will make that happen.
Within the last two years, two opportunities to give all patients unrestricted access to medicinal cannabis were deliberately sabotaged.
Firstly, the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016 aimed at legailising medical cannabis was killed by the JointOireachtas Health Committee.
Secondly, when asked by the Minister for Health to provide expert scientific advice in relation to the merits of medicinal cannabis, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) rejected any notion of making medicinal cannabis available to the vast majority of patients that need it.
It advised that only synthetic (pharmaceutical) cannabis products be made available to select patients with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and intractable nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Even then, each patient will need a ministerial licence to be able to access the products. This comes nowhere near what is required; namely, unrestricted access to full extract cannabis for all patients.
In reality, both the politicians and the HPRA put political and pharmaceutical industry interests ahead of the rights and wellbeing of patients. Let’s take a closer look at how both bodies failed patients.
Hypocritical politicians and medicinal cannabis:
the kettle calling the pot black!
Oireachtas members – especially those on the Joint Health Commmittee – who opposed the introduction of medicinal cannabis say one reason they did so was because of a desire to protect the public. But how do they reconsile keeping medicinal cannabis, which is a proven treatment for chronic pain and a number of serious illnesses including cancer, illegal, while:
Approximately 6,000 deaths annually are attributable to smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke. (Report: The State of Tobacco Control in Ireland 2018). Yet, tobacco isnot illegal?
Over 1,000 deaths per year are directly attributable to alcohol (around 500 of these from alcohol related cancers). (Health Research Board). Yet, alcohol is not illegal?
161 deaths were among the 3,264 reported cases of new adverse reactions associated with the use of prescription medications in Ireland in 2016. Yet, prescription medications are not illegal.?
This is gross hypocracy.
It would be wrong, in a free country, to deprive adults of their right to consume alcohol or tobacco, even though they pose health risks. Isn’t it equally wrong to deprive them of their right to consume a medicine that is relatively risk free and improves health?
Aren’t legislators supposed to enact (and support) laws that benefit the population as a whole? Why then, are large numbers of citizens who use medicinal cannabis treated as criminals under the law?
I believe our Bill has been completely sabotaged. I was rather shocked by the shambolic nature of the pre-legislative scrutiny. I believe it was politically motivated in some ways. It was rigged… I believe the Committee on Health looked for every excuse to stymie progress of our Bill. It is as simple as that. Gino Kenny TD
“It is legal to kill a man to save your own life. It is illegal to use a plant to do the same.” Author unknown
Health Products Regulatory Authority:
whose interests does it really serve?
The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) 2017 report Cannabis for Medical Use– A ScientificReview effectively gave the two fingers to vast numbers of patients by denying them access to medicinal cannabis. In particular:
* The 40,000 people who are diagnosed with cancer every year; many of whom would benefit from the addition of medical cannabis in their treatment. There is a substantial body of scientific evidence, along with countless patient testimonies supporting the benefits of cannabis in treating cancer.
* The 800,000 people who suffer from chronic pain, of whom 40% do not get relief from existing authorised pain killers.
Unreliable and biased. In a response published in thejournal.ie Gino Kenny TD( sponsor of the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016 and Dr Peadar O’Grady said: “the HPRA guidance is unreliable and biased because it did not use any expert advisors with practical experience of cannabis for medicinal use and because the reasons given by the HPRA for restricting access are not applied consistently to other drugs, and do not take into account the serious risk of death and dependency caused by the existing authorised drugs such as opioids and benzodiazepines.”
We shouldn’t be surprised. According to Richard Boyd Barrett TD, the HPRA is 77% funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The recommendations in its report clearly show whose interests it serves.
Health Products Regulatory Authority
recommendations in relation to cancer.
1. Cancer treatment
The HPRA says “There is currently no evidence for a benefit in the treatment of cancer, despite anecdotal reports to the contrary”. This claim is absolutely bizarre. It is blown out of the water by both the number of scientific studies and the numerous testimonies of real people showing the benefits of cannabis.
Scientific studies There are hundreds of studies showing that cannabinoids are effective against many cancers, as well as reducing the side-effects of conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.
Even the US National Cancer Institute says: + Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis invasion and metastasis. + Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death.
Anecdotal evidence There are thousands of patient testimonials to the life-saving benefits of cannabis oil. These include Landon Riddle who was diagnosed with leukemia and given mere days to live by doctors when he was just 3 years old. He is now a healthy 7 year-old thanks to cannabis oil treatment. Full story
7-year-old Mykayla Comstock was diagnosed with intermediate risk T-Cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the summer of 2012.
Just one week after beginning cannabis oil therapy, scans of Mykayla’s bone marrow and blood showed no signs of leukemia. She was in remission! Mykayla is now a healthy 13-year-old. Mykayla’s website
How can so much anecdotal evidence be dismissed out of hand?
A cautionary tale.
Cash Hyde was first diagnosed with cancer at 20 months. Along with chemotherapy and radiation – as well as brain surgery when he was 2 years old – cannabis was a key component of his cancer treatment: the medical marijuana helped him sleep and helped him eat.
Cancer-free, Cash began to get sick again and was found to have a stage IV growth. This time, the tumor progressed really fast, but a change in Montana State law led to the family being without a source of medical marijuana for 73 days.
He had beaten cancer twice, but its third appearance was too much. He died in his father’s arms at the family home in Missoula, Mont.
He was 4 years old.
The Family Says Medical Marijuana Extended His Life
The hope is that Cash’s suffering and passing will highlight the medical benefits of marijuana, and the absurdity of creating barriers to its access, a family friend said. After all, the plant brought relief to a young child whose only memories were of being terminally ill – what, exactly, is the harm?
2. Chronic Pain In its report, the HPRA says “The HPRA considers that current evidence does not support the use of cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain.
Chronic pain is an important issue for cancer patients. There is a lot of evidence to support the use of cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain.
The evidence is strongest for the efficacy of medicinal cannabis in the area of pain according to Professor Mike Barnes consultant neurologist, professor of neurological rehabilitation and author of the authoritative report on medicinal cannabis for the UK Parliament, and Professor David Finn, who has spent 16 years researching the area of medicinal cannabis.
Last year, a large review from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine assessed more than 10,000 scientific studies on the medical benefits and adverse effects of marijuana.
One area that the report looked closely at was the use of medical marijuana to treat chronic pain. The review concluded: There is substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.
The HPRA report also says “ The HPRA does not consider that there is an unmet medical need as a large number of authorised medicines, and other treatments are available to treat the many factors involved in chronic pain.”
However, Professor David Finn, President of the Irish Pain Society said ” There are many other analgesic drugs for and non-pharmacological approaches to the treatment of pain, but we cannot ignore the fact that one in five people in Europe suffer from chronic pain. In Ireland, the figure is approximately the same…This is the case despite the availability of other treatments. The largest study ever carried out on this matter in Europe involved 46,000 patients. The study: Survey of chronic pain in Europe: Prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment, by H. Breivik et al, showed that 40% of chronic pain patients said that their pain was inadequately managed by current treatments. This illustrates that there is a massive unmet clinical need here. Existing drugs are working well for some patients but they are not working well for all. That may be because of lack of efficacy or unacceptably high levels of side effects.”
3. Anti-emetic medicine The HPRA approved access to cannabis products (but not full extract cannabis) for patients who have “Intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, despite the use of standard anti-emetic regimes whilst under expert medical supervision”
Why not allow natural full extract cannabis?
This study, published in Current Oncology in 2016 states: For the cancer patient, cannabis has a number of potential benefits, especially in the management of symptoms. Cannabis is useful in combatting anorexia, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, and depression. Cannabis might be less potent than other available antiemetics, but for some patients, it is the only agent that works, and it is the only antiemetic that also increases appetite.
Cannabis proven safer than prescription medications During 2016, the HPRA received a total of 3,264 reports of new adverse reaction associated with the use of medicines (that have HPRA approval). Of these, 161 patients were reported to have died while on treatment. Ironically, the highest number (45) involved cancer drugs.
The HPRA says that in many of these cases, significant underlying illness, disease progression and other factors contributed to the deaths.
The HPRA ignores the fact that there is no evidence that the side effects of medicinal cannabis are anywhere as serious as the effects of drugs that are toxic, that kill people and that are already authorised and sold in chemists countrywide. Professors Mike Barnes and David Finn say the side effects of medicinal cannabis products – and they acknowledge there were some – were moderate.
In terms of its adverse effects, it is worth starting with the major benefit of cannabis. Unusually for a medicine, there is no fatal toxic dose. It has never killed anyone. That is true of very few medications, particularly alternative medications for one of the biggest areas of use of cannabis medicinally, which is for pain. Opioids, benzodiazepines and valium-type drugs are commonly used and these are major causes of death. Cannabis does not cause death, which is the first important aspect to understand about it. Dr. Peadar O’Grady
In the US, where cannabis is allowed for medicinal use, the sale and use of opiate painkillers reduces as does the number of people who die from overdoses every year. That amounts to tens of thousands of people. If those figures are extrapolated for Ireland – we have asked the HSE for accurate figures but it does not seem to have them – we reckon hundreds die of opiate overdoses annually, many of whom are at the top end of the dose trying to relieve their pain, in particular. Unfortunately, as they increase the dose to try to get more pain relief, they exceed the toxic level and they die. Nobody has ever died from cannabis use. One of the answers as to who would benefit is people who are near the maximum of their pain medication and who are thinking of increasing it, thereby putting themselves at risk of overdosing. Hundreds of people probably die that way every year and, therefore, making an alternative available to reduce the toxic dose will save lives. Professor David Finn
The HPRA ignores the views of doctors and patients
About 60% of GPs, the people who do not regulate and do not sell medicine but who actually prescribe it and are medical professionals, favour the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use. A 2018 study published in the Irish Journal of Medical Science showed that 88.54% of patients also agree that cannabis should be legalised for chronic pain medicinal purposes and that they view it as a reasonable pain management option.
Meanwhile…at least 17 countries permit the medicinal use of cannabis, while others plan to do so, soon. Here are a few:
Uruguay In December 2013, Uruguay made history when it became the first country to legalise cannabis
UK Doctors will be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis by the autumn of 2018 according to the British Home Office.
Canada Cannabis will be legal as of October 17, 2018. The Cannabis Act creates a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis across Canada. The Act aims to accomplish 3 goals:
keep cannabis out of the hands of youth
keep profits out of the hands of criminals
protect public health and safety by allowing adults access to safe, legal cannabis
Argentina On March 29 2017, the Argentine senate approved the use of Cannabidiol for medical reasons.
The Australian government legalised growing cannabis for medical and scientific reasons on 24 February 2016. Medical cannabis can now be prescribed in all Australian states.
Denmark As of January 1, 2018, GPs in Denmark have been able to prescribe medical cannabis to certain patients as part of a four-year trial.
Netherlands The country decriminalised cannabis in 1953, and has famously allowed the sale of the plant for recreational uses in so-called “coffee shops” since 1976.
Norway In 2016, the country legalised cannabis for medical uses.
Portugal Portugal’s parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill in 2018 to legalize marijuana-based medicines
USA Marijuana is legal for medical purposes in 30 states
Thailand Thailand’s Governmental Pharmaceuticall Organisation (GPO) has begun researching how to develop medicines from marijuana in acknowledgement of evidence that the outlawed substance has health-enhancing properties, according to a September, 2018 report in The Nation (Thailand). It is also seeking to initiate a legal amendment that would permit cannabis for medicinal use, possibly by May next year.
It’s the responsibility of legislators to enact laws that benefit society as a whole.It’s time they did just that for the hundreds of thousands of people who need medicinal cannabis to treat illness or relieve pain. Patients are suffering enough without being treated like criminals. It’s time to decriminalise medicinal cannabis use.
Irish Cancer Society advice poses huge risk to patients.
By Tommy Roche
Cancer Ireland 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.” Buddha
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 conventionaltreatmentonly, 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.
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).
Irish Cancer Society website:
Since 1963 the Irish Cancer Society has grown into the national charity for cancer care, the leading provider of all information relating to cancer prevention, detection, treatment and support.
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:
Irish Cancer Society website:
Alternative therapies are not scientifically proven. Some alternative therapies may even harm your health.
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 aboutearlier 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.
Good News 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.
Please note. 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.
CANCER sufferers will be given greater access to a pioneering treatment as a leading centre looks to expand in Ireland.
Proton beam therapy, which uses positively-charged particles to destroy cancerous cells, is not currently available in the country.
But specialists from the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic say they hope to “bridge the gap” in cancer care by setting up a new network of proton therapy pioneers.
Medical director Dr Jiri Kubes says specialists will be looking to share their experiences of proton therapy with local professionals and make access to the technology smoother.
At the moment, cancer patients looking to explore their proton therapy options face travelling to Europe or the US.
Dr Kubes said: “The general public is becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of proton therapy, and we are seeing a growing number of patients from Ireland enquiring about what proton therapy can do for them.
“Most of the enquiries are from patients with prostate cancer who are looking for treatments which preserve bowel and sexual functions.”
Traditional treatment options for prostate cancer – the most common male cancer in Irish men – can often lead to erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.
Unlike traditional radiotherapy using X-rays, proton therapy can pin-point the precise area to target, preserving healthy tissue surrounding the tumour while reducing toxicities and minimising harmful side-effects.
Dr Kubes added: “In the last four years, since the centre opened, we have achieved excellent results and are excited to be able to share our knowledge so that patients in Ireland can directly benefit and proton therapy will become more readily accessible.”
John O’Kelly, 68, from Limerick, was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago after experiencing a sudden and frequent need to visit the bathroom.
John was advised to ‘watch and wait’ to see how his cancer progressed.
But frustrated with advice and determined to carry on living life to the full, John travelled to the Proton Therapy Center for treatment.
John said: “I wasn’t happy. I just thought ‘This isn’t me’, I’m not used to sitting and doing nothing.
“I thought it was only going to go one way, and by then I might have no option but to have fairly aggressive treatments, which I did not want to do.
“I had already read about how surgery could leave you with incontinence.”
John was treated with five hyper fractions over a two-week period, going in for treatment every other day.
He said: “They were reassuring and very professional and put me at ease from the word go.”
John says he’s now cancer-free and has no regrets about seeking healthcare elsewhere.
What if chemotherapy actually helped to spread cancer? Many within the medical and research communities are becoming emboldened to speak out against outdated and failed healing modalities still in use today.
UK Headlines were made in 2015 when a study in the British Journal of Cancer was published claiming 1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men will develop cancer at some point in their lives. Two years later on June 20, 2017, a report titled Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017 released by the Canadian Cancer Society stated for males, the lifetime cancer risk is 49% and for females it is 45%.
Another study showing the dangers and ineffectiveness of chemotherapy has just been published and it has gone viral. The study titled Neoadjuvant chemotherapy induces breast cancer metastasis through a TMEM-mediated mechanism was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine describing how chemotherapy could allow cancer to spread, and trigger more aggressive tumors. By studying the process of intravasation, or entry of cells into the vasculature, the study’s authors discovered that chemotherapy, in addition to targeting tumor cells, can also increase intravasation. The authors found that chemotherapy increased groups of cells known as tumor microenvironment of metastasis (TMEM) which collectively usher tumor cells into the body’s vasculature. The study discovered that several types of chemotherapy can increase the amounts of TMEM complexes and circulating tumor cells in the bloodstream. Why is this important? The chances of survival dramatically decrease once cancer begins to metastasize through the bloodstream and effect other organs and systems.
Is the recent study the only one painting chemotherapy as a dangerous treatment option? In 2016 a groundbreaking study was commissioned by Public Health England and published in the journal Lancet Oncology. The study represented the first time that national data has been gathered together and analyzed for 30-day mortality after chemotherapy. It found that a larger proportion of patients are actually dying after chemotherapy than in the clinical trials carried out by the drug companies. The death rate in the clinical trials of drug treatments for lung cancer was 0.8%, but in the present study the reality shows it is actually 3%.
What happens when the extended survival rate of chemotherapy as a cancer treatment is studied beyond 30 days? An Australian study published in the journal Clinical Oncology found the contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the US. In fact, the study concluded by stating:
“To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required.”
By now, many are beginning to understand that one of the problems with chemotherapy is that it doesn’t address the underlying cause(s) of cancer. Chemotherapy originated from an idea and consciousness that was far from idealistic. The whole generation of chemotherapeutic drugs that are being used today, and there are over one hundred of them, developed from poisonous nerve gas created for warfare. As reported in 2012 by Green Med Info, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the developed world, and yet much of the medical and research communities are still in the dark ages when it comes to treating and understanding it. However, in the age of information, great strides are being made by doctors and researchers who are going against the grain of the failed convention ‘wisdom’ in cancer treatment. In addition, individuals are beginning to take responsibility by educating themselves. GreenMedInfo has been at the forefront with the world’s most widely referenced, evidence-based natural medical resource database containing over 30,000 abstracts and articles.
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