Chapter 4: Remission, Cure Rates
and Other Deceptions
This is the longest chapter in this book, and it is the most important. Do not rush through it.
First, I am going to ask three questions. Write down your answers to these questions on a piece of paper before reading any further:
1) When you hear that someone has "gone into remission," what goes through your mind?
Write your answers on a piece of paper, then read this chapter, then see how accurate your answers were.
A newly diagnosed cancer patient has several options to deal with their cancer:
Treatment Options For Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patient
Note that in the last three items, which deal with alternative treatments, there are over 100 different alternative treatments, thus there are really over 100 options available to a newly diagnosed cancer patient.
The key question to be dealt with is this: how do we determine which treatment plan is "best?" I think a normal person would judge the effectiveness of a treatment plan (or lack of effectiveness) on the basis of three criteria:
Treatment Decision Criteria
For example, suppose Treatment A and Treatment B have identical "length of life since diagnosis" figures, but Treatment A patients have extreme suffering during treatment and patients of Treatment B have very little pain and suffering. I suspect that everyone would judge Treatment B as being the better or preferred of the two treatment plans.
These three treatment decision criteria can lead to some subjective evaluations. For example, suppose the patients on Treatment Plan C have a "length of life since diagnosis" of 12 months, and the patients on Treatment Plan D have a "length of life since diagnosis" of 11 months, but have far, far less pain, suffering and sickness during treatment. Which treatment plan is best? The answer is subjective, but I think most people would favor Treatment Plan D.
In short, we can intuitively define a treatment plan as "best" if it is the most desirable treatment plan, given the data of the three treatment decision criteria statistics. In other words, the plan picked by the most number of people who have accurate treatment decision criteria information about the treatment options would be judged the "best" plan.
For example, suppose a person had a list of all possible treatment options (even the 100 alternative treatments) and for each treatment option they had accurate data for all three treatment decision criteria (e.g. quantity, quality and immune system) for their type of newly diagnosed cancer at the stage in which they are in at the time of diagnosis. The person could look at the chart and within a few minutes pick their treatment protocol. It would be easy to decide which option to choose.
But therein lies the problem, what is the accurate data for the above treatment options for the three treatment decision criteria, for a specific type of cancer diagnosed at a specific stage? None of this data is available. You might be interested to know "why" this data is not available. That is what this chapter is about.
The Theory of Orthodox Medicine
Orthodox medicine is generally based on a three-pronged attack. To understand this attack, let us consider a person who has newly diagnosed colon cancer, which has metastasized to other parts of their body.
The medical doctors would first consider the density of cancer cells in various parts of the person's body. Most likely, the density of the cancer cells in the colon area would be higher than in any other part of the body.
The first rule of orthodox medicine is to cut out the parts of the body that have the densest level of cancer cells. This is called surgery. Thus, surgeons would cut out the sections of the body that have a dense level of cancer cells.
The second rule of orthodox medicine is to use chemotherapy to treat the less dense areas of cancer cells.
The third rule of orthodox medicine is to use radiation (i.e. radiotherapy) to complete the treatment plan. This might be to kill even more cancer cells and put the patient into remission.
Before going any further, I should talk about alternative treatments for cancer. First, alternative treatments for cancer rarely, and I mean rarely, ever depend on surgery.
For example, there were only three situations where Dr. Binzel, an M.D. laetrile doctor (which is one type of alternative treatment), advised surgery for his laetrile patients:
Doctor Binzel also said: "If the tumor is remote, not causing any problems, and the patient agrees, I leave the tumor alone." It is important to understand the reasons for his statements. A tumor is a symptom of cancer, and generally does not threaten the life of a patient. It is the spreading of the cancer that causes life-threatening situations. Neither surgery, chemotherapy nor radiation stop the spreading of cancer. Only the immune system can stop the spreading of cancer.
It is interesting to note that none of his three reasons for surgery had anything to do with treating the cancer. All of the reasons were physical or mental, and had nothing to do with killing cancer cells.
Obviously, however, if a person has a small benign skin cancer, there is nothing wrong with cutting it off. This, in spite of the fact there is a superb alternative treatment for skin cancer called Amazon Tonic III(see my section on treatments).
Because alternative treatments rarely use surgery, this means alternative treatments work on the dense areas of cancer cells equally well as the less dense areas of cancer cells. This is because alternative treatments selectively kill cancer cells (directly or indirectly), and thus work equally well wether the cancer cells are dense or less dense.
Getting back to orthodox medicine, you might ask yourself this question: "if chemotherapy is as good as people say it is, then why is surgery necessary?" In other words: "if chemotherapy is so good why isn't chemotherapy, instead of surgery, used on the very dense sections of cancer cells?"
To compare the two treatment types, if someone said chemotherapy was better than alternative treatments, then it would be logical that orthodox medicine would not demand surgery and alternative treatments would demand surgery. But just the opposite is true, chemotherapy demands surgery and alternative medicine has no interest or need for surgery. Something is wrong with this picture. But I am getting ahead of myself. We need to talk about definitions.
Remission, Response, Markers, etc.
I just mentioned that none of the above data is available. Then what exactly do doctors measure? They measure things like "response," meaning is there improvement in some criteria, such as a reduction in the size of a tumor. They measure such things as "remission," meaning the absence of symptoms. They measure such things as "tumor markers," which are a variety of measurement techniques to evaluate the cancer. And so on.
Before going any further, it is necessary to introduce a metaphor.
Suppose there are 10 automobile manufacturers: Companies B1, B2, B3, B4 and B5 (the "B companies"), and also Companies G1, G2, G3, G4 and G5 (the "G" companies). Suppose the B companies make cars that start to break down after 50,000 miles, just after the warranty runs out (the "B" stands for Bad). Suppose that after 100,000 miles virtually all of the cars manufactured by the B companies have needed a new engine, a new transmission, and a new air conditioner, just to name three things their cars routinely need. In fact, these companies buy cheap parts and charge outrageous prices for their poorly built cars. They also use 80 year old metal technology to insure their customers have to buy new cars every 3 or 4 years.
Suppose also that the G companies make cars that last an average of 300,000 miles without any major repairs (the "G" stands for "Good"). They buy quality parts for their cars, build them extremely well, use the newest metal technologies, etc. in building their cars.
Suppose also the B companies are the much older, much larger and much richer companies. By virtue of their age and size, their advertising money is many times greater than the advertising money of the G companies. Since the media are always loyal to their advertisers, the media always does what the B companies want them to do and always say what the B companies want them to say. It's not that the B companies "tell" them what to say, that is not necessary. What happens is that if the media says something that makes the B companies angry, the B companies will withdraw their advertising money and give that money to a competing media company that follows the rules. Everyone knows the rules.
Suppose we define the "life" of a car to be the number of miles the original engine lasts. For the B companies the average "life" of their cars would be less than 100,000 miles. For the G companies the average "life" of their cars would be greater than 300,000 miles.
Suppose we refuse to allow air conditioners to be replaced when they break and define the "quality of life" of a car to be the number of miles the original air conditioner lasts. Again, for the B companies the average "quality of life" of their cars would be much less than the "quality of life" for the cars of the G companies.
Suppose we define the "strength of movement" of a car to be the number of miles the original transmission lasts. Again, for the B companies the average "strength of movement" of their cars would be much less than the "strength of movement" for the cars of the G companies.
If we built a chart comparing the cars of the B companies to the cars of the G companies, with these three statistics accurately reflected, no one in their right mind would buy a car built by a B company.
But remember that the B companies have the most money and the most clout with the media. So what can they do to get customers? They can do a lot of things that distract potential customers from the important statistics. But the most important thing they will do is suppress these statistics. Their goal is to divert people's attention from the statistics (which are suppressed) and get them to think of other things.
For example, in their advertisements they can talk about the "style" of their cars, the "popularity" of their cars or how "powerful" their engines are. They can advertise their cars using pretty women who look lonely, giving the impression that someone who buys one of their cars will be seduced by every pretty woman in town. They can talk about the options available on the car. They can do a lot of things to avoid talking about the three important statistics I just defined. They can sell a lot of cars by distracting their potential customers from the data (i.e. from the truth). It could be called "selling by deception."
That is essentially what the medical community has done with orthodox medicine nomenclature. The most popular phrase heard in orthodox medicine is "remission." Orthodox treatments "put people in remission." That sounds really good. It sounds like everyone should get cancer so they can go into remission. However, as I will show, the word "remission" can be equated to the pretty woman in the advertisement. It is a nice sounding word, and it attracts millions of customers, but it distracts these "customers" from the statistics that are important.
What Does "Remission" Really Mean?
First of all, the National Cancer Institute defines "remission" as:
What exactly does this definition mean relative to the three "treatment decision criteria" mentioned above. You, the citizen, are supposed to assume that "remission" means a person is cured of their cancer. But that is not what the definition states. It states there is an absence of "signs and symptoms." So is there a correlation between the absence of "signs and symptoms" and the three treatment decision criteria above?
Generally, the determination of remission is based on a reduction in the size of the tumor or in the change of some tumor marker. These things may indicate the number of cancer cells in the body, but they are very, very crude estimates of the number of cancer cells in the body. These numbers also do not measure the pain and suffering of the patient (i.e. the quality of life) or the status of the immune system, which is very, very important if all of the cancer cells have not been killed.
Make no mistake about it, chemotherapy and radiation shrink the size of tumors. They also kill cancer cells, lots of them. But in the process of doing these things there are potentially dozens of side effects, such as: death, destruction of a major organ, intense pain, extreme sickness, etc. and the death of many, many normal cells. Chemotherapy does not discriminate between normal cells and cancerous cells, and since there are more normal cells than cancer cells, chemotherapy kills far more normal cells than cancerous cells.
So it is logical to think that the concept of "remission" tells us quantitatively what the "length of life since diagnosis" is? Let us break down the "length of life since diagnosis" into its pieces using the concept of remission:
If we had all of these statistics, we could calculate the "length of life since diagnosis" for cancer patients using orthodox treatments. In fact, I would love to see all of the above statistics for orthodox medicine patients. But of course these statistics are not available. There is simply a lot of hoopla that people "go into remission."
Is it possible that the whole concept of "remission" is designed to hide simple statistics that would tell us how effective or ineffective chemotherapy and other orthodox treatments are? In other words, it is so very simple to calculate the "length of life since diagnosis" for orthodox medicine patients, why isn't it just calculated? Why is something so simple made into something so complicated?
It would be an easy thing to calculate the "length of life since diagnosis" for people who refuse treatment. Doctors say it would be unethical to ask people to not take orthodox treatments, but there are plenty of people who refuse treatment, so why not calculate how long they live since diagnosis? Then this number could be compared to a very simple "length of life since diagnosis" for cancer patients who go through orthodox treatments (of course the patients in each group would have to be grouped by sex, age at diagnosis, type of cancer and stage of cancer at diagnosis).
If we had the "length of life since diagnosis" for patients who took orthodox treatments, and compared this number to a similar group of patients who had refused treatments, we could quickly tell whether orthodox treatments were any good. But none of this data is kept, it must be dug out.
Prof Jones. (1956 Transactions of the N.Y. Academy of Medical Sciences, vol 6. There is a fifty page article by Hardin Jones of National Cancer Institute of Bethesda, Maryland. He surveyed global cancer of all types and compared the untreated and the treated, to conclude that the untreated outlives the treated, both in terms of quality and in terms of quantity.")
see also: http://www.sickofdoctors.addr.com/articles/medicalignorance.htm
If the real data would lead to the conclusion that people who go on orthodox treatments live significantly longer than people who refuse treatments, or refuse treatments and take an alternative treatment, you can rest assured the orthodox medicical community would keep these statistics. But they don't keep those statistics, which leads a logical person to conclude they have something to hide.
How Chemotherapy Can Be "Justified"
First of all, chemotherapy cannot be "neutral." If it does not increase the life of the patients significantly (compared to those who refuse treatment), then orthodox treatments are not only worthless, they do an enormous amount of damage. Orthodox treatments destroy the immune system, destroy vital organs, cause immense pain and sickness, can damage DNA, etc.
Let me say this another way. Everyone has cancer cells. The body's immune system routinely kills cancer cells and stops the spreading of cancer. Thus, cancer patients obviously have a weakened immune system to begin with. Chemotherapy further weakens the immune system, making the body even less resistant to cancer. Thus, even though chemotherapy kills cancer cells, it also weakens the immune system, kills normal cells, etc. Thus, chemotherapy does both good and bad. But does it do more good or more bad?
Now listen to this carefully: the only way to justify using chemotherapy and radiation is if these techniques significantly extend the life of the patient compared to no treatment at all and compared to those who go the alternative route. Because of the damage that orthodox treatments do, there is no other way to justify the use of orthodox medicine. But it appears that it does not extend life except in rare cases. So why does the medical community use surgery, chemotherapy and radiation?
One of the problems with the concept of "remission" is that the medical community conveniently forgets to tell you how many patients "relapse," meaning come out of remission ("relapse" is frequently called "regression"). Read this quote carefully:
In other words, virtually all ovarian cancer patients go into remission, but 90% of them also come out of remission, in what is called "relapse," and die within 5 to 10 years. Then why even bother to talk about "remission" if 90% of the patients also relapse? To make chemotherapy sound good, that's why.
More importantly, it "justifies" the medical community to use more and more chemotherapy, and stronger and stronger doses of chemotherapy. But if 90% relapse, what proof is there that "remission" has a significant effect on life expectancy? If dosages get stronger and stronger, then there is more and more damage to the immune system, which makes a person even more vulnerable to cancer, either the original kind or another kind. Many women who have ovarian cancer had breast cancer (and thus chemotherapy) earlier in their lives.
What Most People Die Of
Most people who "die of cancer" really die as a result of the treatment of the cancer by orthodox methods before they would have died of the cancer itself. In other words: the treatment kills them before the cancer kills them.
Most cancer patients die of malnutrition (cancer cells steal nutrients from normal cells thus cancer patients need a stronger than normal immune system) or opportunistic infections caused by a weakened immune system.
Chemotherapy also destroys the immune system in several different ways (including the damage done to the gastrointestinal tract causing less immune building nutrients to be absorbed, among other ways), making people much more susceptible to infections. Of course orthodox medicine, always wanting to treat symptoms in the most profitable way, are trying to solve the malnutrition and immunity issues rather than fixing the chemotherapy issues.
Because chemotherapy is so toxic, a person might ask: "can chemotherapy kill the all of the cancer cells before it kills the patient?"
But let us get back to our main question: "does the concept of 'remission' equate to the concept of 'length of life since diagnosis?'" Most people assume there is a direct correlation, however, the damage done by chemotherapy and radiation, and the severe shortening of life due to the complications of these two treatments, cause severe doubt as to the equivalence of 'remission' and 'length of life since diagnosis.'
My point is to say that the measurement statistics of orthodox medicine (i.e. response, remission and markers) have no bearing on life expectancy because they do not compare the benefits of chemotherapy (killing of cancer cells and reduction of tumor size) versus the damage done by chemotherapy (e.g. destruction of immune system, destruction of vital organs, etc.). Nor does the reduction in tumor size have anything to do with life expectancy (I will talk more about this later).
The last part of that statement requires more explanation:
So let us summarize this discussion:
With regards to "length of life since diagnosis," the concepts of "remission" and "reduction" are ineffective at evaluating the quantitative "length of life since diagnosis" because they fail to calculate an accurate number of cancer cells still in the body (at the time the cancer is determined to be in "remission"), and they fail to take into account the severely weakened immune system that can no longer routinely deal with cancer cells (a normal immune system routinely kills cancer cells, but not a weakened immune system). Thus, there is a significant probablity the same cancer will return or another cancer will arise.
In other words: there is no proven correlation between being in "remission" and increasing the "length of life since diagnosis!" Perhaps more importantly, there is no evidence that chemotherapy and radiation significantly increase the life of patients (compared to those who refuse treatment or go with alternative treatments), which would be necessary to justify their use.
With regards to "quality of life since diagnosis," there is no question that chemotherapy and radiation fail miserably in this area. Chemotherapy and radiation both decrease a person's quality of life to such a degree that many cancer patients in treatment quit their treatment program. They would rather be dead than have to go through such misery.
With regards to "strength of the immune system during and after treatments," chemotherapy and radiation treatments fail miserably in this criteria also. In fact it is the destruction of the immune system that causes many patients to die during treatment.
In short, the concepts of "remission" and "reduction" fail to relate to meaningful statistics with regards to "length of life since diagnosis." Chemotherapy and radiation fail the other two criteria in spite of a patient going into remission.
We thus conclude with extreme vigor that the concept of "remission" and "reduction" are not valuable measures by which to judge the effectiveness of orthodox treatments for cancer. In a future chapter I will use verified statistics to compare orthodox medicine with alternative medicine.
Let us talk about what are called "cure rates" or "survival rates." Orthodox medicine generally says that if a person lives for five years after diagnosis, they are "cured" of cancer, even if they die in the sixth year. In other words, if there is more than 5 years between diagnosis and death, they were "cured" of cancer. This is how they determine their "survival rates."
A person might wonder why the medical community would use such a concept, knowing that the concept of "length of life since diagnosis" is so simple, so intuitive and so logical. And so useful.
Let us return to our automobile metaphor.
How can the B companies hide the fact that they intentionally make really crappy cars? They can use statistics. Suppose they decide to do a study to find out how many of their cars have their engine replaced within the first 30,000 miles. The number will be quite low, almost as low as the same statistic calculated for G company cars. This statistic will make it appear that the B companies make cars as good as the G companies. They didn't lie, they used statistics. G company cars are far superior to the B company cars, but you would never know that by looking at that one statistic. That is the whole purpose of using such a statistic!
The G company car makers, on the other hand, would want to see the percentage of cars made by the B companies that still have their original engine after 150,000 miles. That would be a very low percentage for the B companies, and a very high percentage for the G companies. This statistic would make it very clear which company made, by far, the best cars. But the B companies control the airwaves and the media would never allow its "journalists" to report that statistic.
This is exactly how the cancer industry hides the very poor results of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Their definition of "cure rate" is based on the percentage of cancer patients who live 5 years, between diagnoses and death, not 10 years and not 15 years. How does the 5 year number tell us what percentage of cancer patients eventually die of cancer? It doesn't. The orthodox medical community has done exactly what the B companies above have done, lied with statistics.
John Diamond, M.D.
Getting the Cure Rate Up
Using this definition, what kinds of things would cause "cure rates" to go up? Instead of lengthening the time a person lives after diagnoses, how about diagnosing the cancer earlier? By diagnosing cancer earlier, there is a longer period of time between diagnosis and death, thus increasing the percentage of people who live more than 5 years between diagnosis and death.
Before a person is diagnosed with cancer, it is quite common for the person to have had cancer for 5 or 10 years before it is diagnosed. Thus, if cancer is diagnosed at an earlier and earlier state, there will be a higher and higher percentage of people who live for 5 years between diagnoses and death. By simply diagnosing the disease earlier, "cure rates" go up, even if chemotherapy doesn't improve life expectancy at all!
This is undoubtedly the reason the American Cancer Society (an orthodox "charity") has been pushing women to get mammograms every year, in spite of the fact that mammograms can cause cancer because they are X-Rays. Thus, the American Cancer Society has had a positive affect on "cure rates" without having done anything about life expectancy. They have also had an affect on the percentage of people who get cancer, that number has also gone up.
Another trick orthodox medicine uses is to ignore counting people who die because of the damage done by chemotherapy and radiation. For example, someone who dies of pneumonia, as a result of their immune system being destroyed by chemotherapy, is generally not counted as a "cancer" death. Likewise, someone whose liver is destroyed by chemotherapy, and dies of liver "disease," is also not counted as a "cancer" death.
Some cancers are extremely slow growing. Thus, "cure rates" for these types of cancer look very good, but not because the people are cured, but because the cancer is slow growing.
Since many people who are on chemotherapy die of malnutrition and opportunistic infections, many doctors tell their cancer patients to take nutritional supplements. This can lead to the person living longer (because they do not die as quickly from malnutrition or opportunistic infections), but it makes chemotherapy look better! In other words, "cure rates" go up because of the nutritional supplements, but the effects of chemotherapy may have been unchanged!
Some patients secretly take alternative treatments to treat their cancer without telling their doctors (during or after orthodox treatments). This makes orthodox medicine survival rates look good, but not because of chemotherapy or radiation.
Another trick is to change the standards for what kind of people are part of the statistics. In other words, if they start including people with less severe cancers (which obviously have a higher "cure rate"), they can get their "cure rate" numbers up.
Dr J. Bailer, New England Journal of Medicine (Dr Bailer’s answer to questions put by Neal Barnard MD of the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine and published in PCRM Update, Sept/Oct 1990)
By using these tricks they can make it appear that cancer research is progressing slowly, when in fact cancer research has made very little overall improvements in life expectancy or quality of life in the past 80 years.
A Valid Definition of Cure Rate
So how should "cure rates" be defined? Here is my definition:
Definition of Cure Rate: "a person is cured of their cancer by treatment if they do not die of cancer, and if they do not die of something caused directly or indirectly by their cancer, and if they do not die from the side-effects of the treatment, and if they do not die indirectly from the side-effects of their treatment. All treatment statistics using life expectancy require that the treatment be compared to no treatment at all under the same detection criteria."
Using such a statistic would expose just how useless chemotherapy and radiation are. But you will never see this definition used with chemotherapy and radiation because orthodox medicine likes to hide behind bogus statistics, just like the B companies above.
It would be very logical for cancer researchers to use a valid definition of "cure rate," like the one I just mentioned, and do a double-blind study between patients who took the complete orthodox treatment plan and a second group who refused all treatments (Note: This would technically not be a double-blind study, but it would yield valuable data.) The results of such a study would never be widely publicized, because orthodox medicine would look very bad.
In the history of medicine, cancer surgery will go down as one of the most damaging treatments ever perpetuated on an innocent general public. While it is true that if a person's cancer has not metastasized, surgery can kill all of the cancer cells, there are several problems with mindlessly using cancer surgery.
First, by the time cancer is diagnosed, unless it is benign, it has probably already spread outside of its original area and thus cancer surgery does not kill all of the cancer cells.
Let me give a simple metaphor. Suppose you have thousands of flies on your 10 acre farm. Suppose that most of them are around the horse corral where there is lots of horse manure. Suppose one day you take all of the horse manure (which contains many maggots) and put it in plastic bags (i.e. surgery) and ship it to a landfill. Will this cure your fly problem? Not at all. Since all of the flies have not been killed, it will not take long for the remaining flies to breed and replace all of the flies and maggots killed by the plastic bags.
Second, if the cancer has not spread, the patient has so long to live in most cases, that the cancer can easily be treated by any number of noninvasive alternative methods. Virtually all of the top 100 alternative treatments are extremely effective if the patient has over a year to live. Thus, even if the cancer is contained, surgery can be a poor choice.
Third, surgery severs numerous blood arteries, thus blocking them forever. This means the circulatory system is forever damaged with numerous blocked arteries and other arteries have had their blood supply cut off.
Fourth, in a similar manner, surgery does the same thing to the lymph system. The lymph system is a critical part of the immune system, as is the circulatory system, and arbitrarily blocking numerous lymph vessels permanently is not a good thing for the immune system.
Considering all of the permanent damage done by surgery, it is extremely rare when surgery is a cancer patient's best option.
... Now go back to your three answers at the beginning of this chapter. How did you do?
Copyright (c) 2003 R. Webster Kehr, all rights reserved