Scientist turns to alternative therapies for cancer
"Bastion of science Sir Paul Callaghan is resorting to an experimental intravenous vitamin C treatment and Chinese medicine to fight his terminal cancer.
On his return to Wellington last week, the physicist and New Zealander of the Year headed to a Newtown complementary medicine clinic to receive a high-dose vitamin C infusion.
The treatment is part of what he calls his "unusual experiment". He was diagnosed with aggressive bowel cancer in 2008, which has since spread widely.
In June, his oncologist advised him to take a break from chemotherapy to establish the full extent of the cancer's spread. Callaghan is using the time to trial "unproven but interesting" therapies, including a remedy from Singapore's Ngee Ann Traditional Chinese Medical Centre, intravenous vitamin C and "Uncle CC's famous vegetable juice".
"Let me be clear. I do not deviate one step from my trust in evidence-based medicine," Sir Paul said in his blog. However, if there was a potentially effective but unproven drug, "Why would I not try it?" he reasoned. "Am I mad? Probably."
Not mad, just being human. It's the "what's the harm" argument, and ends up with that person looking for anything that might help and very obviously using confirmation bias to tell themselves it might be working even when there is little to nothing to indicate it. It's the people lining up to give false hope and fleece cancer patients of their money and quality of life that is the problem.
It's also a problem that this is in the media. It ends up promoting it, but when the person dies the articles that tout that the person is using an alternative treatment are never updated to say this, nor do the reports mention the failure of the treatment meaning that there is never a correction to the story. Kurt Filiga is one example, and I suspect the clinic that "treated" him is the same complementary medicine clinic vaguely mentioned in the story. I also suspect that the result will be the same.