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The Internet Can Be A Scary Place

Written by Wellness Club on July 9, 2009 – 1:13 pm -

By Nurse Mark

 

HealthBeat News readers are a smart and computer-savvy lot – after all, they find us on-line and they are not the least shy about searching online for whatever information they seek. There is a massive amount of information available – just for fun, this morning I entered the word ‘cancer’ in a popular search engine and got 190,000,000 results! Let’s face it – no matter how important a subject is to you, that much information is overwhelming and is bound to leave most people desperately confused rather than usefully educated.

Chat boards, forums, and discussion groups are another aspect of the internet that can be both good and bad – they can be a wonderful source of support and encouragement; just knowing that there are others out there facing the same challenges, and being able to chat and share tips and experiences can be very gratifying.

Unfortunately, many of the participants of these chat boards and forums are "regular folk" like everyone else, and much of the "helpful information" tends to be of the "since I had my heart attack two years ago, I eat steel-cut oatmeal every morning for breakfast and drink a cup of cider vinegar every day. My doctor says I’m doing great. That has probably saved my life and I’ll never stop it!" variety – anecdotal at best.

At worst there are the quacks and hucksters who also haunt these places, looking for the unwary and the desperate to prey upon. Selling everything from "enhanced water" (over which they have meditated to give it "energy"), to coral calcium, to any number of fruit and berry and grass juices, or dubious and even potentially harmful concoctions of supposedly "all-natural" ingredients their glossy and compelling advertisements and unsupported testimonials, often accompanied by ad copy that claims that the product is being "suppressed by the government!" confuse and confound many people and separate them from time, attention and money that could be better used for the pursuit of more proven treatments.

We’ve had several emails recently that point out just how confusing a place cyberspace can be:

One was from Gail, whose conventional doctors gave a diagnosis of cancer and told her she had "six months to live" a number of years ago and who is now not only very much alive but is thriving under Dr. Myatt’s care. Gail wrote with a question about a much-hyped but unproven "cure" for her cancer. Here is Dr. Myatt’s reply to her:

Hi Gail:

The single most important control cancer treatment is a ketogenic diet. Please read the attached abstract "Dietary Ketosis In The Treatment of Solid Tissue Malignancy" from an upcoming medical presentation of mine concerning cancer.

[Nurse Mark Note: Please follow the link above or this link to read this important abstract.]

Carctol is a combination of aryuvedic herbs ( Hemidesmus indicus, Tribulus terrestris, Piper cubeba, Ammani vesicatoria, Lepidium sativum, Blepharis edulis, Smilax china and Rheum emodi). It has never been tested in any controlled trial, not even in animals. There are only some anecdotal stories about it’s use.

Because it has never been studied, we don’t know IF it works or how it works. Many claim that it works by alkalinizing the body. Since cancer cells produce lactic acid, this sounds reasonable to a layman. However, the substrate or "fuel" for cancer cell’s production of acid is glucose — sugar. A ketogenic diet stops lactic acid production by removing the fuel that allows for this acidity. Of course, the production of lactic acid is only one of the many mechanisms whereby cancer wreaks havoc in the body.

Because I not only practice but also teach in the field of cancer medicine, I’m pretty "hip" on  anti-cancer substances, both conventional and natural. I focus on those that have a high degree of proof behind them. I and my research team are constantly reviewing the literature from all angles. There aren’t any scientific references on this herbal formula, only "testimonials." There are so many substances that are PROVEN to help cancer that I really don’t mess around with the ones that aren’t proven.

Also, there is no "one magic bullet" for cancer. Instead, there needs to be a complete strategy to thwart the disease at a number of different places: angiogenesis, apoptosis, immune system recognition, anti-inflammation, decreasing radical oxygen species production, etc. (you’ll see the list of objectives in the paper). This means a complement of substances, each one doing one of the many "jobs" of a complete anti-cancer strategy, are best employed. When people are taking a number of disconnected "miracle substances," they rarely get results because there is no concerted plan. It would be like having a pile of materials — wood, windows, doors, roofing material and nails — and starting to build a house without a house plan. All you wind up with is a jumbled mess.  I once tried building a garden shed this way so I know whereof I speak. It’s a mess (we call it the Taj Mahal because it felt like such a major construction).

Don’t build a house without a house plan and don’t treat cancer without a concerted protocol the addresses all the factors of cancer.

It sounds like you would benefit from an updated review of your nutritional, supplement and other parts of your protocol so we can make sure you are doing the best that can be done (not just a "patchwork quilt," which I find many patients eventually drift toward). I will be leaving the end of next week on a 3-week speaking/ patient tour but I would be sure to work you in before then if you agree that it would be in your best interest.

In Health,
Dr. Myatt

Then there is Katrina, who found us recently in her search for relief from what sounds like arthritic pain, requesting more information about glucosamine sulfate and wanting to know if we provide a "chat board" or blog where our customers (and presumably patients) can chat with each other.

I’ll answer some of Katrina’s health questions in another article, since the answers may be of benefit to our other readers – but for now, here is the answer to the Chat Board question:

No.

Here’s why: When we look at some of the other medical condition forums and chat boards, we have seen that the "signal-to-noise ratio" is skewed very heavily to the "noise" side. There are plenty of well-meaning (and some, as described above, not so well-meaning)  folks and huge amounts of conflicting, erroneous, and even dangerous "advice" being shared around. Because Dr. Myatt’s and my policy for our website and HealthBeat news articles is that they be scrupulously researched and strictly correct, we would spend all our time sorting out misinformation and setting straight well-meant but wrong or even dangerous suggestions.

Anyone who wants to see just how far off-base some of these discussion forums can get should check out websites like Dr. Mercola’s Optimal Wellness Center and Mike Adams "The Health Ranger’s" NaturalHealth – just two of many websites that allow a free-for-all comments feature. Some of these websites require registration, many don’t, but almost none of them are truly moderated by medically knowledgeable people. They are fun, but everything there must be taken with a healthy dose of caution.

So, there you have it – since the potential for misinformation is so great on chat boards and forums, we will not be a party to them. Instead, we do take and answer questions from our readers – and you can be sure that the information that you are reading in those answers really is "The Straight Goods!"

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