Cancer Research UK

As I mentioned in my previous post on cancer & homeopathy, I had some correspondence with Cancer Research UK. I had asked them if they had paid for any research into the homeopathic treatment of cancer (there is afterall voluminous anecdotal evidence stretching back 200 years!).  They replied commenting that as there was no evidence that homeopathy works they couldn’t pay for research. My second email provided examples of quality homeopathic research with statistically significant results. Unfortunately they replied a few days ago with a generic ‘we’re very busy, bugger off’ letter.

At least I have tried to build bridges. Their reply just stregthens my conspiracy theory that most charities exist for themselves… it is in Cancer Reasearch UK’s interest to feed the media a story of slowly increasing incremental improvements in cancer treatments (whatever the reality is) over the next five decades, rather than sponsor research into radical treatments that in my opinion would dramatically improve mortality rates.

Alan

3 Responses to Cancer Research UK

  1. kevin morris January 6, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    When I first wrote my book, It’s only a Disease, in which I highlight my experiences fighting cancer by alternative means, I wrote:

    ‘I have a piece of advice for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund: change your name! For it is in that name that the clue exists as to how successful orthodox medicine has been in its fight against cancer. The Imperial Cancer Research Fund was set up in the nineteen thirties, before imperialism became a dirty word, when Britain had an Empire on which the sun never set. It was an era before penicillin, before the National Health Service, when cancer was a growing problem, but nowhere near the epidemic proportions of today. In spite of all the billions of pounds poured into cancer research, the incidence of cancer is increasing at an alarming rate and where does that leave over sixty years of research on cancer? The answer, of course, is the same place as it has been for the past sixty years: that we expect major breakthroughs to occur somewhere in the middle distance. Each generation of cancer scientists looks forward just a few years with tantalising promises of exciting new treatments that don’t quite live up to expectations.
    It gives me no satisfaction to say this. I can assure you that when you get cancer, and are sentenced to death by medical orthodoxy, you start with a fairly strong stake in promised scientific developments. The reports you hear about radical new treatments which are usually followed up by the words “in a few years”, tend to hang heavy on the heart. But the desperate hope sucks you in. Perhaps the next breakthrough really will be a breakthrough. If there’s no hope for me, perhaps my death will be justified if I can help the research programme now. And for every death from cancer, there are those left behind, grateful for the medical care which their husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters received and hopeful that their fundraising for the imminent breakthrough means their loved ones didn’t die in vain. We try to make sense of our loved one’s suffering at the hands of this vicious, unyielding disease and we wish to ensure that nobody else suffers like they suffered, like we go on suffering. Then there are the relatives in the families stricken with cancer, wondering if they are going to be next, for cancer creates a terror like no other.
    So we see this unsung army of the cancer industry in charity shops throughout the country, in pub fun events, in supermarkets and on the streets, collecting for cancer research, leukaemia research, for MacMillan Nurses, for hospices for the dying. I feel guilty as I creep past, but I never put anything in the box for the cancer researchers.’

    Of course, that is exactly what they did. They merged with the Cancer Research Fund, but apart from that very little has changed. I understand they concentrate increasingly on prevention seemingly because their ‘research’ has yielded so little inconcrete terms. I still feel embarrassed for them

  2. homeopathyuk January 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    Hi Kevin,
    I couldn’t agree more. It is a ‘no-brainer’ to sponsor a ‘good cause’, but anything that is described as a ‘no brainer’ immediately sets my alarm bells ringing.

    The ‘charity industry’ seems to have turned into a self-serving monster.

    I find it incredible they have been going down the same road for so long & are still saying – just a few billion more, just a few decades more & we’ll have sussed it. And they call us delusional!

    Alan

  3. kevin morris January 6, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    Dear Alan,

    When I was fighting my illness, I came across a book by Dr Dick Richards, called The Topic of Cancer- Why the Killing has to Stop, published in 1982 by Robert Maxwell’s ill fated Pergamon Press. Richards’ was an insider’s view. He painted a picture of the education of young doctors and how they are taught not to expect a great deal from available cancer treatments. Most people with cancer die and that is the way things are. Medical staff learn to do the best they can within the limits of what treatments are available to them.

    I had been reading Ralph Moss’ The Cancer Industry’ with its picture of medical careers destroyed for many of those who dared rock the boat by coming up with promising treatments, and so Richards’ compassionate portrayal of his colleagues came as something of a shock. I think his analysis is correct though: They are trained to soldier on with the limited tools they have at their disposal and learn not to expect very much by way of positive outcomes.

    Richards wasn’t quite as kind to the industry that has grown around cancer though:

    ‘With a disease that currently kills perhaps six million human beings per year, there is an immense economic complex assembled around it. Combining those who work in research, treatment, administration, and all the associated supportive facilities, it is suggested that more people live off the proceeds than die from it. Thus, it is not possible to ignore a big business lobby in the corridors of power. There is no reason to assume that political and financial persuasions could not be active in this sphere as they have been in others.’

    What was true in 1982 must be several orders of magnitude more true now. We both know that there are viable alternatives, but your reponse from Cancer Research demonstrates how unresponsive to the possibility of change they are. The supertanker is set on its course and they’re damned if their going to alter it for the likes of therapies that have a proven track record.

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