Developments in cancer treatments

It’s amazing that in spite of all those “breakthroughs”, great improvements and fantastic developments the cancer industry still doesn’t manage to cure more than about 2% of the cancer patients. They need a variety of tricks to manipulate the statistics in such a way that it looks a lot better. The latest fantastic discovery is a device that will reduce the amount of chemo drugs needed for certain types of cancers. Well, it’s nice that those patients will suffer less horrible side effects. And it’s good that less of those extremely toxic drugs will make it into the sewer (and from there into the water supply). But to call this “stunning results” is quite a stretch.6491156-3x2-340x227

First of all it seems that this device will only be useful with certain cancers. So that won’t help all those other cancer patients. And though it’s nice that lower doses of drugs can be used, it doesn’t mean that the drugs are any more effective. The best result that can be achieved this way is that the tumour will shrink a bit further, so that it takes longer before it grows back. That might make a few months difference for the patient. And a few months nowadays is obviously reason to celebrate. But using less of an extremely toxic substance is hardly good medical practice.

A “huge advance” because you get a better “response”. It’s probably true that you get a better response, but all oncologists know that that means absolutely nothing. Chemo drugs are extremely toxic, so it’s normal that tumours get smaller when exposed to this. The problem is that the rest of the body also gets attacked. With a lower dose that will be a little less, but it still doesn’t mean that it helps removing the tumour. For at some point the treatment with drugs needs to be stopped, for else the patient dies. 6491154-3x2-340x227And that is always before the tumour has disappeared. So what happens as soon as the poison is taken away? The tumour will do what it’s made for: grow. That is why cancer almost always comes back after a chemo treatment. And on top of that the stuff is highly carcinogenic, so it will cause new cancers as well. That way oncologists secure return business.

The best that can be expected from this new device is that cancer patients will get a little bit less sick, live a little bit longer and won’t get new cancers as quickly. That is some improvement, but hardly something to be happy with. Especially as there are hundreds of highly effective cancer treatments available. These treatments are low-tech, non-toxic and if combined they have a close to 100% cure rate. It’s remarkable that you never read happy, glowing stories about those treatments in the news. The reason for that is that those treatments are almost all very cheap and you can’t make gazillions of dollars profit with them. And then it’s cancer-lambert_2469736bnot worth one line in the news.

At least the device also has other applications. It can be used to make bio-diesel. Whether that’s a good thing or not is not something for this blog, but at least that’s relatively harmless. Chemo kills and every patients who gets injected with this poison is one too many. Some day the current cancer treatments will get a place in the book of medical disasters. And for me that day can’t come quickly enough.

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