Dr. Len Saputo
There are more than enough cancer patients in need of treatment, but there aren’t anywhere near enough treatments that get the job done! Medical doctors and CAM practitioners should be working together to pool resources and bring as many options for treatment as possible to the table as consideration for treatment. It is the moral and scientific responsibility of every health care practitioner who treats cancer to have, or have access to, broad knowledge of all treatments that treat cancer before rushing to any specific treatment, especially if the treatment has potentially serious side effects. This is just simple commonsense. So why, then, doesn’t this happen in the real world? Why do patients feel forced to create their own cancer treatment programs that merges mainstream and CAM treatments and then withhold this information from their practitioners?
Can we let arrogance take precedence over wisdom when choosing a patient’s treatment program, especially when life is at stake? Is it necessary to only accept peer reviewed literature from major medical journals when it comes to recommending treatment. On the other hand, is there any possible value to using time tested treatments that have not been studied from the perspective of western medical research?
Should treatment options be limited by the particular health care discipline the practitioner is trained, whether mainstream or CAM? We must demand that our practitioner state things accurately. If there is no further realistic treatment in the opinion of the treating practitioner, it should be stated that the practitioner is unaware of further treatment benefits, but it might still be a good idea to continue searching for additional treatments. All too commonly, oncologists make the arrogant assumption that because there are no additional medical treatments that there is nothing more that should be sought after. How would they know when they are not trained in CAM therapies? It is presumptive and inhuman for any health care practitioner to tell a patient to go home and get his or her affairs in order because no further treatment is possible and death is on the horizon?
There is a huge ongoing turf war between mainstream and CAM practitioners when it comes to treating cancer. What is keeping these well-meaning health care practitioners from coming together and synergizing new treatment strategies? Is it about money or just simple arrogance? Mainstream doctors are taught that research is the basis for using certain drugs and that without it there is no science and therefore no basis for additional treatment approaches.
However, there are two flaws in this thinking. First, what is published in mainstream medical journals is hardly good science. This has been studied numerous times and is it now firmly established that most of the studies published that are funded by Big Pharma are seriously flawed because of conflicts of interest. Secondly, just because there are no studies on a treatment does not mean it doesn’t work. It simply means that we have no studies showing that it either works or does not work. If the treatment being considered is non-toxic, cheap, available, and possibly helpful to treat cancer, why not consider using it, especially as a last resort? The minimum possible benefit will be the placebo effect. We must remember that the major effect of most drugs is the placebo effect!
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Another important aspect that explains why oncologists focus on chemotherapy is that it is highly beneficial to them financially. Big Pharma allows oncologists to sell their cancer drugs directly to patients. This accounts on the average for 33% of oncologists’ annual income. Do these conflicts of interest of between Big Pharma and oncologists cause you to raise your eyebrows? There is data showing that oncologists tend to prescribe higher priced new drugs that are still on patent than older drugs that will bring them less income. Wow!
Making matters even worse, there is a Public Health law in the State of California making it a felony for MDs to treat cancer with any modality other than chemo, radiation or surgery? Do Big Pharma’s tentacles stretch farther than you thought?
Thank God that California Citizens for Health Freedom headed by Frank Cuny has devoted its interest to repealing this outrageous law and protect forward-thinking MDs and NDs from these harsh legal consequences for using CAM approaches for treatment of cancer. You can go to www.citizenshealth.org if you want to help with this legislation. For more information about what you can do to allow your doctor to treat cancer integratively click on this URL:
It is time that “we the people” wake up to how the cancer treatment industry works and take action by passing legislation that makes it legal for MDs, NDs, and other cancer treating disciplines to use both mainstream and CAM therapies. Bringing more options to the table and removing conflicts of interest interfering with integrative cancer treatments is essential if we’re going begin developing new integrative strategies.
About the author:
Len Saputo, MD is board certified in internal medicine and is in private practice focused on integrative, holistic, person-centered care at the Health Medicine Center in Walnut Creek, CA. Dr. Saputo is the founder of the Health Medicine Forum and the author, with Byron Belitsos, of the Nautilus Gold Award winning book, “A Return to Healing: Radical Health Care Reform and the Future of Medicine“. He and his wife, Vicki, have hosted KEST radio’s “Prescriptions for Health” show that airs daily for more than a decade.
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