Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#21  Postby Shrunk » Jun 02, 2012 6:36 pm

byofrcs wrote:The study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in December 2004 called “The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies” attributed quite low percentage of survival to the chemotherapy.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15630849

On the other hand it is utterly unlikely that whatever the ACMA Cancer Treatment is will have any effect at all. Without any links to clinical trials and without a clue as to what is in the stuff I think we can safely call the ACMA Cancer Treatments fraudulent.


A good discussion of that study, and how it has been misunderstood and misrepresented by the alt-health industry:

http://anaximperator.wordpress.com/2009 ... motherapy/

That article linked in the OP is an example:

With a meager success rate of 2.3%, selling chemotherapy as a medical treatment (instead of a scam), is one of the greatest fraudulent acts ever committed.


Of course, the study does not say that chemotherapy has a "success rate of 2.3%":

The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies.
Morgan G, Ward R, Barton M.

Abstract
AIMS:
The debate on the funding and availability of cytotoxic drugs raises questions about the contribution of curative or adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to survival in adult cancer patients.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:
We undertook a literature search for randomised clinical trials reporting a 5-year survival benefit attributable solely to cytotoxic chemotherapy in adult malignancies. The total number of newly diagnosed cancer patients for 22 major adult malignancies was determined from cancer registry data in Australia and from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results data in the USA for 1998. For each malignancy, the absolute number to benefit was the product of (a) the total number of persons with that malignancy; (b) the proportion or subgroup(s) of that malignancy showing a benefit; and (c) the percentage increase in 5-year survival due solely to cytotoxic chemotherapy. The overall contribution was the sum total of the absolute numbers showing a 5-year survival benefit expressed as a percentage of the total number for the 22 malignancies.

RESULTS:
The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.

CONCLUSION:
As the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. 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.
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#22  Postby epepke » Jun 02, 2012 6:46 pm

Rachel Bronwyn wrote:Every cancer is different as is every chemotherapy regimen so blanket statements just don't apply to the discussion of chemotherapy cost/benefit analysis.

We've all seen someone suffer through chemo and die. It's not a valid argument against.


Nor, however, does it make a good argument for the contrary. That is, just because an argument is not a good argument against does not make arguments for any better. This should be a "that's obvious," but I see a lot of bald statements, such as the idea that it is in general a choice between 6 months of crap and 5 years of great life. It may not be. Where is the evidence?

I do not get the impression here, from the literature, or from people I've known with cancer that chemotherapy really is a calculated risk, targeted to understanding of specific cancers where it is known to be particularly effective. Rather, it seems like a stock treatment that generally seems to get applied.

There are some disturbing factors in cancer reporting and research. Lots of professionals seem to think that early detection is important for effective treatment. It certainly seems plausible that catching something quickly should require less severe intervention which is more likely to work. Is this true, however? There's a confounding purely numerical problem, though. Cancer survival rates are counters and reported for statistics by the amount of time after detection. So, if someone gets a cancer detected two years earlier, that person will be reported to have lived two years longer with the cancer, completely regardless of the effectiveness of the actual treatment. I've seen two meta-studies on this. One concluded that all of the supposed more life with cancer was because of this, and the other concluded that most of it was.

When there are costs to treatment, then a rational approach would involve weighing and judging based on information. Nobody seems to have information that is of very high quality (other than surgeons, who generally do seem to know approximately what they are doing).
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#23  Postby Shrunk » Jun 02, 2012 6:51 pm

epepke wrote: There are some disturbing factors in cancer reporting and research. Lots of professionals seem to think that early detection is important for effective treatment. It certainly seems plausible that catching something quickly should require less severe intervention which is more likely to work. Is this true, however? There's a confounding purely numerical problem, though. Cancer survival rates are counters and reported for statistics by the amount of time after detection. So, if someone gets a cancer detected two years earlier, that person will be reported to have lived two years longer with the cancer, completely regardless of the effectiveness of the actual treatment. I've seen two meta-studies on this. One concluded that all of the supposed more life with cancer was because of this, and the other concluded that most of it was.


That's correct, but of no relevance to the issue of survival times with chemo vs. no treatment in people who have already been diagnosed with cancer. Right?
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#24  Postby Rachel Bronwyn » Jun 02, 2012 7:02 pm

All cancer is cellular.
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#25  Postby quisquose » Jun 02, 2012 7:04 pm

Without chemo I would now be dead.

Hodgkin's Lymphoma diagnosed when I was 30.

Without chemo my daughter would never have been born.

Without chemo my daughter would now be dead.

Wilms Tumour diagnosed when she was 7.
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#26  Postby Regina » Jun 02, 2012 7:11 pm

I could add a number of people to your list.
:cheers: Here's to you and your daughter!
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#27  Postby katja z » Jun 02, 2012 7:13 pm

Regina wrote:
:cheers: Here's to you and your daughter!


:this: :cheers:
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#28  Postby WayOfTheDodo » Jun 02, 2012 7:54 pm

I'm sorry, but... "American Chinese Medicine Association"?!
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#29  Postby StrangeLoop » Jun 02, 2012 10:42 pm

Regina wrote:
Rachel Bronwyn wrote:Oh, goodness no! The amount of research going into the production of non-toxic chemo is enormous because it's so glaringly obvious that, even when this therapy works, it causes irreperable harm. We don't want that!

The notion your body can just heal from cancer is what's absolutely fucking ridiculous. Once you've got detectable tumours it's because your body has failed to destroy malignant cells and they are dividing. The likelihood of even a tiny breast tumour clearing on it's own is very poor.

Nope, surprisingly, it's not. At least not with breast cancer. But of course, that's NO argument against chemotherapy.

Frequency of spontaneous regression in cancer

It has long been assumed that spontaneous regressions, let alone cures, from cancer are rare phenomena, and that some forms of cancer are more prone to unexpected courses (melanoma, neuroblastoma, lymphoma) than others (carcinoma). Frequency was estimated to be about 1 in 100,000 cancers;[2] however, in reality this ratio might be largely under- or over-estimated. For one, not all cases of spontaneous regression can be apprehended, either because the case was not well documented or the physician was not willing or literate enough to publish, or simply because the patient did not show up in a clinic any more. On the other hand, for the past 100 years almost all cancer patients have been treated in one way or the other, such that the influence of treatment cannot always be excluded.

At least for small tumors the frequency of spontaneous regression most likely was drastically underrated. In a carefully designed study on mammography it was found that 22% of all breast cancer cases underwent spontaneous regression.[3]

Source: Wikipedia


About mammography : there is a huge controversy, there is 10% of false positive, which is an unacceptable rate, moreover mammography can CAUSE cancer (it exposes to radiation). The Cochrane analysis of screening indicates that it is "not clear whether screening does more good than harm". Maybe that among those 22% of regressive breast cancer, many weren't real ones.
The debate over mammography is really frightening, I think. Stat geeks are mad at physicians, who don't understand the proba and false positive rates correctly.

Edit : source : http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD001877/ ... ammography
The review estimated that screening leads to a reduction in breast cancer mortality of 15% and to 30% overdiagnosis and overtreatment. This means that for every 2000 women invited for screening throughout 10 years, one will have her life prolonged. In addition, 10 healthy women, who would not have been diagnosed if there had not been screening, will be diagnosed as breast cancer patients and will be treated unnecessarily. Furthermore, more than 200 women will experience important psychological distress for many months because of false positive findings.
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#30  Postby AlohaChris » Jun 03, 2012 8:11 pm

Chemo & radiation involve poisioning & burning the patient with the hope that the cancer dies before they do. Any decision made by the patient involves weight the risk/benefit and quality vs. quantity of life that might be achieved by any treatment.

A 5-10% chance of survival for another year or two might be very meaningful to a 50-year-old who wants to see his son graduate from college, his daughter marry or his first grandchild. It might not be meaningful/worth it to an 80-year-old who's in pain every day.
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#31  Postby Shrunk » Jun 03, 2012 8:25 pm

AlohaChris wrote:Chemo & radiation involve poisioning & burning the patient with the hope that the cancer dies before they do. Any decision made by the patient involves weight the risk/benefit and quality vs. quantity of life that might be achieved by any treatment.

A 5-10% chance of survival for another year or two might be very meaningful to a 50-year-old who wants to see his son graduate from college, his daughter marry or his first grandchild. It might not be meaningful/worth it to an 80-year-old who's in pain every day.


True. It may also mean one at least has a much greater chance of joining the long tail of the right-skewed survival curve that Stephen Jay Gould describes in that article I linked earlier, where one lives long enough to die of another disease altogether. In Gould's case, that meant he lived an additional 20 years after being diagnosed with an illness that had a median survival time of eight months.
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#32  Postby AlohaChris » Jun 03, 2012 8:50 pm

Do you think his physician made the correct decision to disuade him from investigating the literature?
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#33  Postby Macdoc » Jun 03, 2012 9:23 pm

SD
I would like to see hard data for the 10% chance of living for 5 years. I dont believe it.


you haven't a clue what you are talking about. Taking a specific insistance and then generalizing.

I'm 3 years cancer free after chemo which yes was weakening but that's how it works if you actually understood the process.

It depends on the type of cancer as to how high the survival rate is - some recently are almost 100% - childhood leukemia for instead and certain lymphomas as mine was as long as they are caught early and the full cycle is complete.

My onco does not expect me to be in for this type of cancer again tho I have a marginally higher risk of other types.

Here's the reality - 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will face some type of cancer in their life time and chemo is a huge and effective weapon against many.

I worked all through mine and was back to full health after about a year.

Go tell these people chemo is hogwash and you'll be run out on a rail - tarred and feathered.

http://www.cancerforums.net/forums/16-L ... homa-Forum

you can read my diary here as well

Age 63 DHL Stage 2/3 • CHOP+R x 6 >2/26/09 Complete 6/9 2009
Diary here http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=12003
Officially in remission July 9th 2009 3 rounds of Intrathecal July 29th
Radiation as a prophylactic measure. 1st Radiation Sept 9 completed Oct 1. 2009
Cancer free June 2012 and enjoying life - http://www.gtamotorcycle.com/vbforum/sh ... ond-season


Cancer covers a huge range of different conditions and some respond exceptionally well and others very little. - it all depends on the particular cancer and to some degree on the patient.

While it's a shame about your friend - spreading disinformation is not helping anyone.
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#34  Postby Calilasseia » Jun 03, 2012 9:35 pm

With respect to the matter of chemotherapy being "toxic", well of course it's fucking toxic. Because its job is to kill cells. The problem being that cancer cells are harder to target than, say, bacteria, because, wait for it, cancer cells started life as normal cells in our bodies. Which means that finding ways of differentiating them from the surrounding normal cells requires considerable ingenuity on the part of researchers.

in short, if you don't want a cancer to kill you, you have to kill the cancer. Leave aside for one moment the fact that chemotherapy is merely one approach to this,. and let's concentrate upon chemotherapy. The compounds in question have to kill the cancer cells, which means that they have to be toxic to do the job. The trick, as Spearthrower noted above, is to devise compounds that kill the cancer cells before they have a chance to kill you. Of course, the other, healthy cells in your body aren't going to like the presence of those compounds one little bit either, because, as I've noted above, those compounds have to kill cells that were derived from some of those healthy cells in the past, and which share a large part of the same biochemistry. Killing bacteria without killing your cells is elementary by comparison, because bacteria have sufficient differences in biochemistry to allow them to be targeted without adversely affecting your body cells - human body cells aren't poisoned by betalactam antibiotics, for example, because they don't have a cell wall synthesis process of the sort that bacteria possess, which those betalactam antibiotics attack. Finding chemical means of attacking cancer cells, whilst leaving healthy body cells relatively untouched, requires far greater ingenuity, because in many instances, the biochemical processes separating cancer cells from healthy cells aren't critical to the survival of the cancer cells. Finding biochemical processes in cancer cells that are critical to the survival thereof, yet which differentiate them from healthy cells, and allow selective targeting of those cancer cells, is an active area of research, one that, for example, GenesForLife here on this board is engaged in, which is why there's a hell of a lot of research now being devoted to genetic analysis of cancer cells, precisely for the purpose of finding such processes and taking advantage of them from a therapeutic standpoint. Once armed with these basic facts, you don't need to be an Einstein-level genius to work out that our current chemotherapy approaches are something of a blunt instrument, because they were devised before much of this new knowledge came on stream. To suggest that we abandon all research in this field, just because the problem is a hard one, and moreover traduce the reputations of those who contributed in good faith to the relevant research, is not only absurd, but dishonest, but then honesty has never been a conspicuous characteristic of woo pedlars seeking to sell snake oil to the gullible and the desperate.

Instead of peddling the usual sad little conspiracy theories and fabricated "statistics" from agenda-ridden sources, the way forward is to support research that will result in better medicines in the future, and you won't get those from mysticism-riddled moon pies or sleazy con men bereft of a proper science education.
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#35  Postby Shrunk » Jun 03, 2012 11:57 pm

AlohaChris wrote:Do you think his physician made the correct decision to disuade him from investigating the literature?


Probably not.
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#36  Postby AlohaChris » Jun 04, 2012 12:15 am

Shrunk wrote:
AlohaChris wrote:Do you think his physician made the correct decision to disuade him from investigating the literature?


Probably not.


I didn't think that was kosher myself. It seemed a bit paternalistic.
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#37  Postby Shrunk » Jun 04, 2012 12:33 pm

AlohaChris wrote:I didn't think that was kosher myself. It seemed a bit paternalistic.


Or, in this particular case, maternalistic. Especially in this particular case, when the patient happens to be one of the world's great scientists. It's a bit more difficult to know how to respond when you know most patients, when doing their "research," will come across lies like the article in the OP and may not be able to determine that they are lies. But simply telling them not to do any research at all is not a solution.
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#38  Postby Macdoc » Jun 04, 2012 3:40 pm

Rituximab which is the R in CHOP-R is one of the major weapons in my type of lymphoma targets B-Cells which my chemo was designed to kill.

Part of the chemo cycle drugs are also to reduce the patients reactions to the poisons introduced - early chemo often resulted in patients abandoning the process as the side effects were ( and for some still are ) devastating.

In my case the goal was to kill as much of the the B-cells which are a major part of the immune system.
A gene switched off and the B-cells accumulated - hence the swollen nodes your doctor looks for in a checkup.
Without treatment my prognosis was death.

Now I have a lower risk as I go in for 6 months checks by an oncologist.

If you think something is amiss go get checked as time is of the essence in many cancers and oddly the more aggressive forms are often the easier to treat but need to be caught.

A side effect of my chemo was putting my mild rheumatoid arthritis in remission which is a known effect of Rituximab.

Called my doc after the first treatment and said - am I supposed to feel BETTER??? - he laughed and explained.

Cancer is not a death sentence, cancer is treatable and as we all will most likely face it as we live longer the more you know the the better prepared.....

The RATIONAL approach is to recognize this reality and toss the alternative treatments in the garbage where they belong.

There is validity in anti-cancer diets etc and some cancers are lifestyle ( skin and lung ) for instance but being vigilant and getting into treatment is vital.

I wandered into a walkin clinic with a concern. Doc ( just a random on duty ) didn't like it - blood and ultra sound the same day, specialist in 2 days, operation in 7 days, results a few days after that and into chemo.

Cancer free a few months later ( 6 weeks between chemo ).

Biggest cost....parking.

This is the way it should work - simply do not wait if you have something that doesn't look or feel right. My little bump was the very tip of a baby finger in size.....but it could easily have killed me.

The shame is that some like breast cancer and ovarian have poor outcomes tho the if caught early both can be successfully treated.

Supporting cancer research and resisting the spread of the kind of nonsense the OP cited are things we can all do.
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#39  Postby mrjonno » Jun 15, 2012 2:39 pm

Cancer treatment in general is still relatively primitive, hack/irradiate/poison but its the best we have. One day we will have a full understanding of how it works and we will cure it with a magic bullet pill that will be personalised to your DNA, will target the individual cells and have no side affects.

Until then I'm quite happy for a team of medical specialists (its always a team, cancer is never treated by just one doctor) combined with my input to try and determine the best course of action is
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Re: Most Cancer Patients Die of Chemotherapy

#40  Postby epepke » Jun 16, 2012 5:13 am

Shrunk wrote:
epepke wrote: There are some disturbing factors in cancer reporting and research. Lots of professionals seem to think that early detection is important for effective treatment. It certainly seems plausible that catching something quickly should require less severe intervention which is more likely to work. Is this true, however? There's a confounding purely numerical problem, though. Cancer survival rates are counters and reported for statistics by the amount of time after detection. So, if someone gets a cancer detected two years earlier, that person will be reported to have lived two years longer with the cancer, completely regardless of the effectiveness of the actual treatment. I've seen two meta-studies on this. One concluded that all of the supposed more life with cancer was because of this, and the other concluded that most of it was.


That's correct, but of no relevance to the issue of survival times with chemo vs. no treatment in people who have already been diagnosed with cancer. Right?


It would be of no relevance, if and only if there were some clear studies that very carefully controlled for this effect. They would, rather obviously, be valid independently from this effect.

I don't know if there are such studies. If there are, then I think that decisions based on them would be perfectly valid. I don't know, however, that this is the case.

What I think I know is that most decisions made about chemotherapy aren't so careful. I think that a culture of casual chemotherapy and radiotherapy has evolved on the basis of not being particularly careful

You may think I'm being anal or picky, but I think this is fairly important.

ETA: Note that I do not know this for certain. However, bald assertions that cancers, or cancers of certain kinds can be treated with chemotherapy if caught early enough, strike me as a bit vapid. I don't know what evidence, if any, there are.

This is quite similar to some of the hassles I have with e.g. Mr. Samsa that I have. A lot, seems to me, to be applied willy-nilly as best practice according to a goodness by definition. The evidence presented seems to consist of cases where there is some limited evidence of something working in some cases. There often turns out to be very little evidence that is distinguishable from confirmation bias.

Practitioners, moreover, are assumed to do the right things. When I point out cases where practitioners do wrong things, I am told that they are incompetent with the belief that they therefore do not count. But they do count, because they are doing things that harm people. They are part of the social game, and they seem to justify their decisions (or they are justified for them) in ways largely indistinguishable from the ways people justify the good things.

I did science for many years, and I know how damnably hard it is to get your stuff right. By the time it gets to clinical practice, though, this difficulty seems to get filtered out.
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