Reality Smacks Down Cancer Cure Conspiracy Theories
Not too long ago, Quinton Underwood, one of our readers, brought us a version of what has become a rampant meme on the Internet. In response to an article about the scams run by the Health Sciences Institute, he announced to us that, “cancer can be cured, not just in remission but cured and Doctors and the AMA knows this. The only reason cancer is not cured is the doctors do not make the enormous amount of money in curing as they do treating the patient to death. Most doctors will not treat to cure because of fear of the AMA and losing their license, while all the time knowing the treatment is killing the patient and not the cancer.”
When asked if he could provide any evidence to support these astonishing claims, Underwood slinked away, refusing to answer, looking for a more gullible audience.
Underwood isn’t the only one spreading the idea that oncologists are in possession of a secret cure for cancer, which they hide from the world because they have calculated that they wouldn’t make as much money with this cure as they do giving people radiation and chemotherapy. Oncologists, this meme supposes, really like making money by giving their patients treatments with infamously difficult side effects.
One of the worst versions of this meme comes from David Avocado Wolfe, an infamous alternative medicine huckster who makes money by selling fake home remedies such as deer antler extract and NUTRiBULLET at unnecessarily high prices. “Mom, why isn’t there a cure for cancer? Because, Jimmy, there is far more money to be made treating a disease for a lifetime rather than curing it in a day.”
The thing about pseudoscientific conspiracy theories is that they’re easily disproven. All it would take to disprove the pernicious conspiracy theory of a secret cure to cancer hidden by an international cabal of evil oncologists is one example of oncologists coming out with a cancer treatment that makes previous treatments irrelevant.
That’s just what happened this week, as a matter of fact. Researchers have released the details of a study in which 27 out of 29 patients with advanced blood cancer went into remission after receiving a new kind of T-cell therapy. That’s a remarkable achievement, because without this therapy, the patients had just a few months to live. They had failed all other attempts at treatment.
Of course, there are limitations to this treatment. It’s only been tested in certain kinds of blood cancers, and the two patients in the preliminary trials who did not go into remission died – possibly as a result of the re-engineering of their T-cells.
T-cell immunotherapy won’t cure all cancers, but it will help many very sick people for whom there is now no hope. The truth is that life is more complicated than a conspiracy theory a mother tells to her son about evil medical insiders holding back cures in order to make easy money. The truth is that medical science has been already been successful in providing a significant extension to the human life span – something that no alternative medicine scheme can validly claim.
Life is complex, and that means that diseases are complex too. Cancer isn’t just one disease. It’s caused by random genetic mutations, and that means that cancer is a little bit different in each person who has it.
Children want easy answers from authority figures who can explain everything and perform miracles to make all the scary parts of life go away. People who have grown up should know that life doesn’t actually work that way… and then get to the slow and difficult work of solving life’s problems as best we can.