Comment: Well...

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Well...

I didn't watch any of the movie. I researched Burzynski and others when my brother was dying of cancer. I made up my mind, for my own reasons, not to pursue what Burzynski is doing.

When I was active in the cancer discussions online, I was a vocal critic of the FDA. I knew of cases in which the FDA was keeping effective - or at least promising - therapies from reaching the market. The FDA is responsible for many thousands of needless deaths.

Personally, if a person wants to pursue alternative therapies, be it antineoplastons, essiac tea, coffee enemas, homeopathy, reiki, or whatever, that's fine with me. If there has to be any regulation, and I don't think there should be, Charles Murray's proposal is probably the most sensible. He suggests that new drugs have to pass only Phase I, which is to certify safety, before being marketed. After that, it's between the patient and doctor to decide what to try. Caveat emptor.

Nearly every oncologist I have ever met has been compassionate and wanted the best for his or her patients. It's a tough field of medicine to work in. I suspect some become callous or burned out. But I've met some docs with huge hearts, including some who use holistic approaches. So, I don't buy the conspiratorial idea that "conventional doctors" are trying to suppress alternative therapies. What they are trying to do is to find therapies that have evidence that they work.

Now, if you want to learn about a brilliant, compassionate, and humane physician who bucked the conventional wisdom because he knew was right, learn about Judah Folkman and angiogenesis:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/cancer-warrior.html

http://amzn.com/0375502440

I could go on at length about endostatin, angiostatin, and 2ME2. But the difference between Dr. Folkman and some others who claim to have effective treatment is that Folkman produced evidence in the form of well-designed, controlled scientific studies that showed that antiangiogenic compounds shrank tumors. In addition, Folkman's research spawned more research and further investigation and a body of supporting literature. And now we see the antiangiogenic compound Avastin being used to treat not only colorectal cancer but also age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness that is also a result of angiogenesis.

When I was researching cancer treatments, I ran into too many alternative treatments for which there were anecdotes, but little or no research, particularly replicating other studies. That's a dead end as far as I'm concerned.

So, if you get cancer, and I hope you never do, you can pursue whatever treatments you think best. We own our own bodies, so it's our own business what we do with them. If I get cancer, and I hope I never do, I will pursue treatments for which there is credible evidence of efficacy. There's too much on the line otherwise. That's my business and my decision.

Please, if you really want to learn about promising cancer treatments, check out Folkman's story. He was a real hero and it's a crime that he didn't receive the Nobel prize in medicine. Countless thousands are alive, thanks to him, or more to come as research into angiogenesis continues.