Share |

PrintPrintable version



Oncologists Conceal Toxicity Issues and Bias

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
GreenMedInfo
January 27th 2013
By: Dr. Mark Sircus


201301281522.jpg

Oncologists Conceal Toxicity Issues & Bias

Conventional cancer treatments aren't working for women with breast cancer. Women are falling into a cancer industry machine only to be spit out at the other end, permanently damaged and still with no reasonable assurance of long-term survival. Lord Maurice Saatchi is calling for the law relating to cancer treatment to be changed in England. He describes the current law as a "barrier to progress in curing cancer" and says doctors are deterred from trying new forms of treatment in case they are sued.

He said on public television, "The current treatments for women are medieval, degrading and ineffective. Women think of the worst part of treatment as hair loss but this is the good news. The less good news is the effect of the drugs—nausea, vomiting, fatigue—but this is still the good news. The really bad news is that the effects of the drugs on the immune system of women allow fatal infections to enter the body. Women are then as likely to die from the infection as from the cancer."

There are laws that make it impossible for oncologists to go outside the established norms in treating cancer of any kind. In fact, punishment is severe and could mean lawsuits as well as the permanent loss of a job and/or license. Any deviation by doctors from what is standard procedure is likely to lead to being found guilty for medical negligence. This has led to the brutal treatment of women at the hands of predominantly male-oriented oncologists and radiologists.

When Lord Saatchi remarked about medieval methods he was not choosing his words lightly. In those days torturers used to routinely target the breasts of women, often ripping them right off their chests. Surgeons at least use a knife and anesthetics but some women have their breasts removed for preventive reasons, so desperate are they to avoid breast cancer and the brutal treatments waiting for them.[1]

Dishonest Oncology

201301281530.jpg

Orthodox oncology is not honest with itself so it is very difficult to believe or put faith in what oncologists say about breast cancer (or any cancer for that matter) because the results of drug trials to justify their treatments are regularly spun to conceal bias and make the drugs seem more effective or less toxic than they really are.

According to a study, "Bias in reporting of end points of efficacy and toxicity in randomized, clinical trials for women with breast cancer," published in January 2013 in Annals of Oncology, researchers from the University of Toronto found that in 164 randomized Phase III clinical trials that a third were reported positively despite not meeting the primary objective, by emphasizing other, less important outcomes. "These reports were biased and used spin in attempts to conceal that bias," the authors wrote. Some studies even changed the primary objective halfway through, possibly because early results suggested the trial would otherwise fail.[2]

The researchers also found evidence of bias in the reporting of toxic side effects of drugs used in two-thirds of the trials. In these cases, high toxicity findings were omitted from the abstracts and conclusions, and instead buried in the "small print" of the article. Medical scientists have been caught painting an overly rosy picture of their drugs for their own ends, which means for the end dictated by the companies that pay their bills.

In short, much of oncology is based on research fraud. In a study published in Nature in March 2012, researchers tried to replicate the results of 53 basic preclinical cancer studies. Of those 53 studies, only six were replicable. In his new book, Bad Pharma, Dr. Goldacre sounds a warning bell on the fact that drug manufacturers are the ones who fund trials of their own products. One of the most widely recognized and true tests of scientific proof is when these studies showing positive results can be and are replicated by independent researchers—not researchers chosen or paid by the drug manufacturer providing the original finding.

"Drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analyzed using techniques that are flawed by design, in such a way that they exaggerate the benefits of treatments," writes Goldacre in his book. "When trials throw up results that companies don't like, they are perfectly entitled to hide them from doctors and patients, so we only ever see a distorted picture of any drug's true effects."

This is a systematic flaw in the core of medicine. - Dr. Ben Goldacre

Erick Turner did a survey, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, of all the antidepressant trials filed with the United States Food and Drug Administration. There were 38 studies that produced positive results and 36 that produced negative results. Of the positive-result group, 37 of the studies were published. Of the negative-results group, only three were published.

Killing Yourself Slowly with Chemo & Radiation

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy aimed at killing cancer cells create cancer stem cells, meaning oncologists are causing cancer. Even Fox News reported on this saying that this might help explain why late-stage cancers are often resistant to both radiation therapy and chemotherapy. We know that cancer stem cells give rise to new tumors. These stem cells are ultimately responsible for the recurrence of cancers and the dangerous spread of a cancer throughout the body.

"Radiotherapy has been a standard treatment for cancer for so long, so we were quite surprised that it could induce stemness," said study researcher Dr. Chiang Li, of Harvard Medical School in Boston.

One young woman, Michelle Ruiz, diagnosed with breast cancer lamented, "I went through what my doctor called the Olympics of cancer treatment—a lumpectomy, chemo, radiation, hormone therapy, and freezing my eggs just in case all that poison left me reproductively crippled. After losing my mother a few years earlier, I was angry at the universe. I'd always been soft and romantic, a total relationship person. I wanted a ring. I wanted to have babies. Who was going to marry me now? When you get diagnosed, you lose all control of your body. I couldn't smoke anymore. I changed my diet. Your body is constantly being looked at, examined, picked at and positioned in scan machines. You're objectified for that period of time because it's really just survival mode and so you basically are at the doctor's mercy. I felt like a test monkey pretty much. I just had to, in order to get through it, disconnect emotionally from my body."

When women do survive such treatments they then face an increased risk of heart disease—so much so that at least some doctors are debating if it's time to abandon a chemotherapy mainstay. Drugs called anthracyclines are a staple of breast cancer chemo despite the well-known risk: They weaken women's hearts. "In the process of curing their breast cancer, we've exposed them to some pretty nasty things. And it's not just one nasty thing, it's a sequence of nasty things," explains Dr. Pamela Douglas, a Duke University cardiologist.

"There's no long-term benefit from using radiation to treat breast cancers because even though the cancer may not recur at the site of the radiation, the overall chances of survival stay the same or are slightly worse. And yet despite the fact that radiation helps so few women—and eventually kills many of those whom it helped in the short term—it remains the standard of care in medicine for women who have breast cancer," writes Dr. John R. Lee, MD in his book "What Your Doctor May NOT Tell You About Breast Cancer."

Don't Regret the Choice of Treatment You Make

From Reuters Health:

More than one in five women with early-stage breast cancer said they were given too much responsibility for treatment-related decisions—and those patients were more likely to end up regretting the choices they made, according to a U.S. study.[3] The findings, which appeared in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, don't mean that women should not be fully informed about their treatment options, researchers said, but rather that doctors may need to find new strategies to communicate with patients, especially the less educated.

"Some women may feel overwhelmed or burdened by treatment choices, particularly if they are not also given the tools to understand and weigh the benefits and harms of these choices," wrote research leader Jennifer Livaudais and colleagues. Her team from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York surveyed 368 women who had just had surgery for early-stage breast cancer at one of eight New York City hospitals, and again six months later. The majority said they typically had trouble understanding medical information and less than one-third knew the possible benefits of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, Livaudais and her colleagues found.

This book is about love in medicine but specifically it's about providing a loving cancer treatment for women's breasts as well as for other cancers involving sexual organs for men.

Oncologists are doing a poor job of informing American women with early-stage breast cancer about the disease or their options in terms of surgery. In a study published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, researchers found that, "Breast cancer survivors had fairly major gaps in their knowledge about their surgical options, including about the implications for recurrence and survival," said study lead author Dr. Clara Lee, an associate professor of surgery and director of surgical research at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.

Among the 440 patients who responded to the survey, less than half (about 46%) knew that local recurrence risk is higher after breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) than after mastectomy, and only about 56% of women knew that survival rates are equivalent for both options.

Many women did not recall being asked for their preference. The fact that less than half (48.6%) of the patients recalled being asked their preference was particularly concerning to Dr. (Clara) Lee. "It would be one thing if we were talking about decisions for which there is clearly a superior treatment, such as treatment for an inflamed gallbladder. In this case, it's reasonable and actually better for the surgeon to make a recommendation. But here we're talking about a decision where there is no medically right answer, and it really depends on the patient's preference. In that situation, it makes sense to ask the patient what she prefers."

Resources

[1] Study Explores Why Double Mastectomy Rate Is on the Rise; National Cancer Institute; Research Highlights Dec. 2012;

http://www.cancer.gov/ncicancerbulletin/121112/page3#c

[2] Bias in reporting of end points of efficacy and toxicity in randomized, clinical trials for women with breast cancer; F. E. Vera-Badillo, et al; Ann Oncol (2013) doi: 10.1093/annonc/mds636 First published online: January 9, 2013;

http://annonc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/01/04/annonc.mds636.full

[3] Breast Cancer Treatment Decision-Making: Are We Asking Too Much of Patients? Jennifer C. Livaudais PhD et al; Journal of General Internal Medicine; November 2012;

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11606-012-2274-3



  • Currently 4/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Rating: 4/5 (3 votes cast)




0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Oncologists Conceal Toxicity Issues and Bias.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.laleva.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1725

Leave a comment

Receive updates

Subscribe to get updates of this site by email:

Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Other sites of ours