« Angel came down… | Main | Skeptics' Circle »

April 15, 2005


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

At the risk of plugging myself too blatantly, I addressed this very issue in great detail four months ago in one of the first big posts I made when I started my blog. I even mentioned Suzanne Somers.

Let me expand on what you said briefly. What people don't understand is that surgery alone can "cure" most early stage breast cancers. Radiation, hormonal therapy, and chemotherapy can all decrease the chances that the cancer will recur (which is why they are given), but it is surgery that "cures" the cancer. In fact, for early stage cancers, the additional benefit of chemotherapy can be surprisingly small on an absolute scale. (When a patient with an 90% chance of cure with surgery alone has an improvement in her chances of 40% with chemotherapy, that only works out to a 4% improvement in absolute numbers.) That is why randomized clinical trials with large numbers of patients are necessary to detect true treatment effects, particularly in early stage cancers.

If Suzanne Somers underwent surgery to treat her cancer, it was almost certainly the surgery, not the Iscador, that was responsible for her "cure." Unfortunately, patients who undergo surgery and then eschew radiation and chemotherapy for some "alternative" treatment often attribute their survival to the "alternative" treatment, not good old-fashioned surgery. They become testimonials. You don't hear from those who make the same choice but recur. They die.

I dunno. I guess I have to get my mind out of the same gutter.

Oops! I was trying to post in the pareidolia thread!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Search site