Talk:Alternative cancer treatments

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Ernst quotation[edit]

Edzard Ernst is quoted as saying,

"... any alternative cancer cure is bogus by definition. There will never be an alternative cancer cure. Why? Because if something looked halfway promising, then mainstream oncology would scrutinize it, and if there is anything to it, it would become mainstream almost automatically and very quickly. All curative "alternative cancer cures" are based on false claims, are bogus, and, I would say, even criminal."

Ernst is factually wrong: escharotic pastes are "alternative" (this century; they were state of the art for medieval medicine), and they do actually permanently cure some skin cancers. They're not rejected because of a failure to cure cancer; they're rejected because they cure only about 10% of skin cancers, and modern medicine can cure about 98% of them. A cure for 10% of patients is still a cure.

Some are accepted in some societies but not in others. I believe I've seen editors mention at least one anti-cancer drugs with some alleged efficacy in Russia and one based on mushrooms in Japan, and both of those are unaccepted, "alternative" drugs in the rest of the world.

Finally, Ernst is blissfully ignoring the problems of time (what's alternative and effective today might be mainstream a generation from now, which is not "very quickly"), regulation (nothing is adopted "automatically"), and randomness (science can't assess a treatment that hasn't come to the attention of someone with the skills and resources to assess it). And in between the time whenever any such treatment is being used and when it is accepted, it's (a) still alternative and (b) still effective.

What Ernst ought to have said, if he had wanted to be precise, is that in a perfect world, all life-improving and life-prolonging cancer treatments that are more effective than what we already have would ultimately become mainstream. That doesn't mean that absolutely every treatment currently labeled "alternative" is completely worthless. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:56, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

I get this deja vu feeling when I read this. Have you written this objection before? It sounds very familiar. The key is in your last words--"currently labeled"--which implies that some treatments may indeed be proven to be useful and will ultimately be accepted. That's his point, so the two of you actually agree and this is a very minor quibble. Otherwise a discussion about whether what he's saying is precisely true in all details, or what he "ought to have said", is OR. We quote him and attribute the statement. He's basically right, it's expert opinion, and a RS, so we include it. -- Brangifer (talk) 04:03, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
The Brangifer opening comment is hearsay. We can not include Ernst's opinions on any subject, only the science he has performed. Unfortunately, the paragraph in its entirety does not meet any scientific standard: its a sweeping philosophical statement about AM. He is no more a philosophical expert than you and I. The burden lies on editors to justify the relevance and appropriateness to the article. Filingpro (talk) 08:50, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't believe that including this quotation improves the article. I don't believe that it's WP:DUE to include it; I don't believe that it's WP:BALANCEd to include a soundbite from a divisive figure without providing the more common mainstream POV (which is that things considered alt med are unlikely to be "very quickly" embraced by the mainstream even if they do work); I don't believe that it's appropriate to promote one definition of "alternative medicine" over another (the "things that don't work" definition as opposed to the far more prominent and far more widely accepted "things that aren't mainstream" definition used in scholarly sources rather than in science by press release claims); I don't believe that it improves readers' knowledge of the subject; I don't believe it helps readers to leave them to guess what "very quickly" means; I don't believe that it is desirable to omit the fact that conversion from mainstream to alternative status is a two-way street; I don't believe that it says anything that we don't or can't say better (and specifically more precisely) ourselves. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:50, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
General concurrence with issues raised by WhatamIdoing. "very quickly", "almost automatically", "halfway promising" and "basically right" don't meet wiki standard for scientific statements.Filingpro (talk) 08:56, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, at least we now know what you "don't believe". You do realize that we can't "say better (and specifically more precisely) ourselves" without sources? That's OR and editorializing. If something's missing, you could add properly referenced content, but, OTOH, we don't need to reproduce all the nuances contained in the whole alternative medicine article. He is speaking specifically about the topic of this article, and it's a significant expert POV shared by others in the mainstream. -- Brangifer (talk) 23:57, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
The problem is not with OR (original research) by WhatamIdoing. The problem raised by WhatamIdoing is the relevance and appropriateness of the Ernst quote to the article, which I don't see how the rebuttal adequately addresses.Filingpro (talk) 09:40, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, we need reliable sources. We do not, however, need direct quotations to convey this sort of information.
Some of what's in this quotation is already present and already sourced, so it's unnecessary: Ernst says, "All curative 'alternative cancer cures' are...I would say, even criminal", and we've used words like "fraud", "con artist", and "criminal" throughout the article for years.
I don't see any advantage to this soundbite, unless the real goal is to prove that Wikipedia editors have such a strong pro-mainstream POV that they can't even write with the impartial tone that NPOV requires. Speaking of NPOV, we had a discussion earlier this year at WT:NPOV about the problems with some types of quotations and the advantages of summarizing the content in short, impartial words. User:PBS or User:Dezastru might be able to give some perspective on it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:53, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
PS: Here's another, quite mainstream POV on medicine adopting proven new ideas "very quickly":

"If you look at history of medicine, it’s interesting how long it takes for evidence to get into the thick skulls of doctors. So when Pasteur proved the germ theory of disease it took about thirty years for the medical profession around the world to accept the germ theory of disease. Amazingly. It took twenty-odd years for doctors to accept that aspirin reduced the risk of dying of coronary heart disease after you’ve had a heart attack. It was well proven, it took twenty-odd years for doctors to accept that. It takes a’s a conservative profession. It takes a long time to convince them of new ideas, and this [that H. pylori causes ulcers] was no different, because it was so radically outside of what they were expecting."

Radical indeed. Barry Marshall and Robin Warren’s work proved not only that Helicobacter pylori was the true cause of ulcers, but of stomach cancer, as well. In 2005 – more than 20 years after Marshall swallowed that batch of bacteria – they were awarded the Nobel Prize."[1]

WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:01, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with User:WhatamIdoing - the quote is not very helpful and uses dubious vague language in "bogus by definition" (that doesn't deconstruct very well). Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason? Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason (Sir John Harington (writer)) works as a joke, but would not as a serious observation. Wiki CRUK John (talk) 10:06, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

I have been alerted to this conversation by WhatamIdoing mentioning me in this conversation. I think it would help to link to the archived conversation which WhatamIdoing mentioned above: Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view/Archive 47#Proposal: revision of section on Impartial Tone.

The problem to which WhatamIdoing has alluded with the quote "If you look at history of medicine..." is that the Ernst quote is packed with inaccurate statements to present a specific point of view. I will detail some of those after an explanation of how I "know" this. As it happens this issue has been debated by the chattering classes in London over the last couple of months on that favourite platform of theirs: BBC Radio 4. This has been over two specific issues. One is advise given by the National Health Service over the use of certain drugs and methods, and the other is over experimental treatments for Ebola. From these discussions it has become evident that the current standard, orthodox, medical double blind trials are not always possible. This happens for thee reasons.

  1. The model for such testing usually involves private drug companies investing in R&D in the hope of making a profit. If a drug or method is generic and can not be patented then private investment for a trial will not be available. The possibility of funding from public sources is a hit and miss. Currently due to government cutbacks in Britain, such money is next to impossible to obtain.
  2. So given (1) it is possible that treatments based on generic methods and medicines may not be backed up by a full clinical trials until some time after their adoption. (Once adopted by a health authority, an interim statistical analysis can then be used to see if there is an indication that the treatment helps to lead to remission, and provide evidence that a full clinical trial should be funded; or that if no significant statistical evidence is found, for the health authority to discontinue the usage). A good example of this method in practice was the British adoption in the early 90s of laying babies on their backs to reduce cot deaths. This recommendation was initiated without the results of a clinical double blind trial.
  3. The second reason is that the test population available may be too small to run a standard double blind trial -- understandably no one in their right mind would infect a test population with Ebola to test a new drug, so until the recent outbreak there was no one on whom to test new drugs. In the case of rare cancers -- like Ebola until recently -- there may not be a big enough population at any one time to run a double blind trial that would produce statistically meaningful results.

The article currently says "In many cases, there is good scientific evidence that the alleged treatments do not work." If this is true then it is not an alternative medicine but quackery. But a better sentence would be "Some/many/most(?) alleged alternative treatments have failed to stand up to rigorous scientific testing, while for other alternative treatments there is no verifiable scientific evidence that the treatments work."

So looking at the sentences in the quote:

  1. "any alternative cancer cure is bogus by definition" -- This is giving a specific and narrow definition that excludes all alternative cancer cures that are not "bogus". It is also questionable under the terminology usually used for mainstream cancer treatments which are often not said to "cure" a cancer but to put a cancer into "remission". What is more accurate to say is an alternative cancer cure "is one for which there is no verifiable scientific evidence that the alleged treatment works."
  2. "There will never be an alternative cancer cure." -- This is just rhetoric to reinforce the last sentence: of course under Ernst's definition of "alternative cancer cure is bogus" there will never be a cancer cure.
  3. "Because if something looked halfway promising, then mainstream oncology would scrutinize it, and if there is anything to it, it would become mainstream almost automatically and very quickly" -- As I have shown above, in addition to WhatamIdoing's quote, there are systemic reasons why this may not be true.
  4. The last sentence is true because it is a tautology, because it defines the target of the sentence by defining it as a set of purported cures that are bogus, which by definition excludes cures that work even if they have not been subject to successful clinical trials.

Also the quote fits the rhetorical rule of three which is a popular method of putting over a point of view (often used to great effect by Sir Winston Churchill).

What I have mentioned here are all reasons not to use this quote (not even as a source), but instead to do as WhatamIdoing suggests and construct the points (Ernst fails to make in a clear and precise way), using non-tautological sentences. What are the reasons for using this quote? -- PBS (talk) 11:50, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

(other comments above)Filingpro (talk) 09:40, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
The Ernst paragraph is a non-scientific, inflammatory, and sweeping philosophical argument that attempts to place all alternative medicine in a pejorative class. Only Ernst's scientific findings that debunk alternative medicine should be included. Ernst is not a qualified expert to make the philosophical argument that all medicine that is not approved by the government or statistically evidence-based is necessarily bogus or criminal. This is not in the domain of medical expertise but a philosophical domain. (Meanwhile, the correctness of the Ernst philosophical claim is dubious at best, as illustrated above by PBS argumentation, which appears to be philosophically superior to the Ernst comment).Filingpro (talk) 09:40, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

I suggest the quote be removed and it is not the burden of editors to replace the quote with a substitution. I suggest waiting two weeks to hear any justification for its inclusion.Filingpro (talk) 09:40, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

User:BullRangifer, it's been weeks since this was discussed. You originally added the quotation, you've reverted to restore it several times now. So far, four different editors have opposed it on the talk page, and you appear to be the only person who supports its inclusion. I think that we have a consensus to remove it here. Do you read this discussion and come to a different conclusion? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:41, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Ah ha! I had forgotten that I added it originally. You have then deleted it twice, and I restored it twice, all over the span of about four months. I haven't seen any policy based reasons for removing it, just a bunch of "I don't like it" type complaints. It's a strong and very true statement by a recognized medical expert on the subject, and encapsulates what other experts also say.
That it's opposed above by pushers of alternative medical POV is no surprise, but whitewashing and removal of properly sourced opposing POV without good policy based reasons is not allowed here. We're trying to build an encyclopedia, not tear it down, and whenever we find relevant content from RS, we use it. Maybe it could be framed better, or otherwise improved, but rather than leave it out, we seek to somehow include it. -- Brangifer (talk) 16:14, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Who exactly are you insulting as being "pushers of alternative medical POV"? Wiki CRUK John, who has added more mainstream information on cancer than you? Filingpro, who mostly writes about voting? PBS, whom I pinged as being an expert specifically in the what the NPOV policy says about quotations from people involved in contentious subjects? (That, by the way, would be one of the "policy based reason for removing it" mentioned above.) Or me? (If the latter, then you might want to take a look at my contributions.) Those are the four editors who have commented here. I see nary an altmed POV pusher in the group. I've got to assume that you just didn't read the discussion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:32, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
@Brangifer you say "It's a strong and very true statement" but you have not addressed one of the points I raised that shows that it is not and simply stating that it is does not make it so. Putting your comments about the statement aside, you write "That it's opposed above by pushers of alternative medical POV is no surprise", to whom are you referring? Your also write "but whitewashing and removal of properly sourced opposing POV without good policy based reasons is not allowed here". Quite the contrary, for it to remain in the article you will need so show that there is a consensus to keep it. I too think the quote ought to be deleted for the reasons given. I have nothing against it being summarised in more appropriate language along with those other expert sources you write "encapsulates what other experts also say". So apart from yourself who else do you think supports inclusion of this quote? -- PBS (talk) 17:25, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Whoever added the Ernst quote, can you quantify and confirm that never in history nor in the future has or will any treatment considered alternative become mainstream (please provide reference both to the past and future research). His very quote states that if there's evidence that an alternative works it would be embraced by the mainstream but this means that at some point it must be alternative and therefore alternative treatment can be found to be effective and he contradicts himself in his own quote. I also notice that just one person wants this quote and it's the person that added it who is ignoring the arguments against it.

NOTE: I have no interest in medicine, alternative or otherwise, but I do have interest in valid information and the quote at the top of this page, given that it contradicts itself and is clearly meant to be condescending in tone (science is not emotional, it is not opinion, it is observation) does not satisfy this, it is merely the condescending opinion of one doctor. This quote does not add to the information in this article and the article would be far more credible (and wikipedia itself) if removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:30, 1 February 2015‎

What moron decided with a broad stroke that ALL these treatments are ineffective?[edit]

Revert to good[edit]

That's what I just did, but rollbacked, and couldn't put an edit summary into the article, so here I am. -Roxy the dog™ (resonate) 13:19, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

I also resist the POV pushing of people who are myopic who are obviously too intellectually lazy to actually do the research and pull up studies off of Pubmed, who are actually too lazy to do the studies on their own under the microscope and actually help advance medicine and instead their only contributions to the world are to try to silence people who actually are doing the research. So next time you want to claim I'm a biased charlatan why don't you look in the mirror? I think people like you have mental problems.

What makes me so angry is how quick all of you people are to dismiss or delete anybody's comments that are backed by other peer reviewed research. Its like you guys who are deleting this have some sort of an agenda to push, and you claim to be unbaised? In several of my edits I showed several articles from the National Institute of Health that showed several plants you call ineffective actually do contain anticancer agents. Another fact is that you myopic people try to claim in your hitpiece article you've written that parasites can't cause cancer, and in one of my edits I showed research that came from SMITHSONIAN that showed parasites like trematodes can cause cancer, yet again, you dismiss it. This stuff is in modern biology books people. Are you kidding me? Are you so far behind in your biology studies that you don't keep up with what is going on in science? Are you serious?

I honestly don't know what you people's problem is, but I think the true "quacks" are the people who want to continue using the term "ineffectual treatments." Because truth be told, they can't say if its ineffectual or not, and the continued use of the word "ineffectual" is in clear violation of wikipedia's rules. I don't give a damn what Jimmy Wales says, you you can't be biased and use weasel terms on things. There are certain things that you guys just aren't keeping up with in biology and it truly infuriates me that you call recent studies "charlatan" especially when it can be repeated.

Don't make me hold your hand to do the research. Look it up on your own and find multiple sources. Then if you can prove its ineffectual, then fine. But you can't broad stroke paint something as ineffectual, especially if you have no tangible evidence. That just isn't science. If something is shown to be effective and can be repeated but is not accepted by the majority it doesn't mean that it is wrong, it doesn't mean that it is "quackery." It means that you should look at everything with open eyes and an open mind, and look at the evidence for or against something rather than go based upon an assumption.

If you naysayers go based on your assumptions, then we're all doomed because you're going based off of your old college books from 20 years ago. Progress is the result of innovation. Just like you guys deleting all the citations I put that showed these herbs contain agents that kill cancer cells, with multiple sources and multiple citations. It doesn't make any sense for you to deny people the honest truth, unless of course you seek to benefit monetarily from withholding progress. At which point I'd say you're all corrupt and should all be held in contempt of humanity.

This shouldn't be about bias or POV, this should be about backing up research with citations and sources. If someone can do that, then why do you people constantly get into these edit wars, going and crying like a bunch of babies to admins who you have wrapped around your finger to ban people that you don't like who disagree with your opinion. Aren't you all a little childish for doing stuff like that? If that's the case, why even have wikipedia as a publicly editable open source medium? Why not make it all closed source and proprietary so you can go into censorship wars and ban people who call you all out on your bullshit?

You're all biased, and you're calling the kettle black, you're all charlatans for cramming convention down people's throats but not offering anything in the ways of innovation, and in fact when people do innovate, you are all quick to call them quacks. You all make me sick to my stomach. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4EA:14D0:2DF1:D6F7:C1BC:BB83 (talkcontribs)

This is precisely the major reason I am interested in the project. -Roxy the dog™ (resonate) 23:13, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
See this is a perfect example of censorship. When someone such as myself can provide links and sources that show this article is biased and that there is, in fact, research that shows some of the items listed here may actually have some benefit at killing or inhibiting cancer in vivo or in vitro, you want to get delete-happy and "protect the article" and lock everything up. It goes to show how closed minded you all are, and how myopic you all are. You all are quick to mock and call someone a quack who is trying to innovate and research in the field of cancer and oncology, even though I can back up my statements with multiple sources and research, of which you all delete and ban me. Good going, good showing how "scientific" you all are. If this is the "reason why this project interests you" then why the hell do you silence people who are saying that the fact that you broadly proclaim potential treatment options as ineffectual without backing up your claims aside from a quote from ACS or Cancer Research UK... I have backed my claims up with sources from National Institute of Health and Human Services, Pubmed and Pubchem, yet you guys want to silence me and call me a quack.

I'm sick of people calling innovators in science "quacks." For example, making it seem as if Johanna Budwig is a lunatic, or for trying to tell people they are lunatics for saying perhaps changing dietary habits can help to fight cancer. Why do you people do that? Especially when there is tons and tons and tons and tons and tons of research that show the food that we eat can effect our health, especially aggressiveness of cancer.

I'm not saying the alternative stuff is always a cure, but in some cases it truly can help. Honestly cancer is a tough disease and even conventional treatments are sometimes unable to solve the problems. So alternative routes should always be kept open because if we stay stuck in convention for the rest of our lives we will never, ever, ever innovate and we will never create newer drugs that can better target the cancers. Open mindedness and a willing to investigate is much better than closed minded idiocy. At least if someone is going to have the balls to say something is ineffective, prove it without a shadow of a doubt. For example, certain herbs and plants contain anticancer agents. Administration of several of these chemicals in vitro, under the microscope show the ability to kill cancer cells and induce apoptosis. Some studies actually go so far as to examine the specific chemical pathways, the proteins it effects, the cell receptors and the possible gene or even metabolic pathways it may inhibit. So why do so many of you want to fight and say "herbs are ineffective?" Haven't most of the medicine we have came from herbs, plants and mushrooms? Saying it is "ineffective" is wrong and downright deceptive to people. It is absolutely wrong to capitalize on people and to keep them in the dark, deliberately keeping them ignorant of how their bodies work. If that's the case, then hell why don't we shut down all of wikipedia that deals in any education at all of biology, lock it, and keep anybody from ever editing it again?

Thanks mods and editors you're really super geniuses I hope you know that. Especially for trying to cram your will on other people and forcing your POV.

Again - this hitpiece article is brought to you by ACS and Cancer Research UK.

If any of you out there ever want to learn about biology or biochemistry, and somehow find ways of fighting cancer, beware! You'll be labeled a quack the instant you make a discovery!

Thanks mods and editors you're awesome, how much is ACS and CRUK paying you off? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4EA:14D0:2DF1:D6F7:C1BC:BB83 (talkcontribs) 15:13, 31 January 2015‎


I have semiprotected the article for one month and blocked the most-recently-used IP address used to edit the article. Recurring edit warring combined with personal attacks are no way to edit Wikipedia. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 22:55, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

See this is a perfect example of censorship. When someone such as myself can provide links and sources that show this article is biased and that there is, in fact, research that shows some of the items listed here may actually have some benefit at killing or inhibiting cancer in vivo or in vitro, you want to get delete-happy and "protect the article" and lock everything up. It goes to show how closed minded you all are, and how myopic you all are. You all are quick to mock and call someone a quack who is trying to innovate and research in the field of cancer and oncology, even though I can back up my statements with multiple sources and research, of which you all delete and ban me. Good going, good showing how "scientific" you all are. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4EA:14D0:2DF1:D6F7:C1BC:BB83 (talkcontribs) 14:57, 31 January 2015‎

This has got to be the most unscientific, one-sided, biased article on all of Wikipedia.[edit]

This has got to be the most unscientific, one-sided, biased article on all of Wikipedia. Not only does it not back up many of its claims of ineffectiveness, mods and Wikipedia ninjas with agendas to push delete your comments and your sources if they don't agree with it

The facts are the facts, several of the "herbal," "Ayurvedic" and even 'Native American" plants and fungi are being strongly investigated for anticancerous properties. For example, Native Americans medicine men have used Yew tree bark for hundreds upon hundreds of years before taxanes were ever isolated. Yet I know it is dangerous to take taxanes without knowing what a person is doing because as a mitotic inhibitor it can literally kill somebody if they don't know what they are doing. But the fact remains that modern medicine came from herbalism, Native American and even Ayurvedic medicines may hold many keys to novel chemotherapies, so you can't say something is ineffectual if it is shown to be effective. This is what makes me so angry is how blatantly you all are pushing an agenda to make money. I'm not advertising anything and I expect nothing for saying these things. All I ask is for people who read this article, who happen to stumble across the talk page to actually do their research and not buy into the bullshit that people try to cram down your throat because sometimes things can be effective, and until we experiment and try things out sometimes we won't know if they are or if they aren't. I'm not saying to skip out on taking conventional medicine, because that could prove to be fatal. But sometimes complementing conventional medicines may actually prove to be synergistic. To deny scientific facts is unscientific guys. Come on. While I can admit some of the treatments are laughable, such as Zoetron or Orgone? What the hell are those things? See, I understand the scientific community lambasting unscientific things such as that. But herbalism, holistic medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, Native American shamanistic medicine are all under investigation for what works and what doesn't. So to claim *EVERYTHING* within a broad spectrum as ineffective is misleading and quite frankly, misanthropic to all of humanity.

An example of how backwards many scientists are, and how the lot of you in the fields of medicine and biology constantly contradict yourself: (this is a quote from the AMA regarding the macrobiotic diet, on one hand saying it's unhealthy, on the other, saying it is healthy)

"In 1971, the AMA Council on Foods and Nutrition said that followers of the macrobiotic diet, particularly the strictest, stood in "great danger" of malnutrition.[24] On the other hand, in 1987, the AMA stated in their Family Medical Guide: "In general, the macrobiotic diet is a healthful way of eating."[25]"

This is an example of how sometimes even the experts don't really know what they're talking about.

So again, to call something ineffectual would mean you would have to know for certain. If you haven't done the research on it, if you don't know which cell protein receptors are effected, if you don't know what metabolic pathways are effected, if you have no clue about the inhibition of certain intracellular protein pathways to effect the expression of certain genes, then what room do you have to speak at all as a professional by limiting the scope of research and information which is available to people in this, and why on earth, why on this planet earth would you want to make people feel like an imbecile for trying to seek beyond what is currently the limit of medical understanding? Shouldn't you applaud people for wanting to expand scientific knowledge instead of calling them fringe or pseudoscientists, especially if their research can be repeated by you under accepted scientific lab conditions? Don't be so quick to label everything; most medicine comes from the metabolic process of plants and fungi. For example, aspirin comes from willow tree bark, it is shown to have some inhibitory effects against cancer, do you want to take aspirin away form people and say its ineffective? Someone above mentioned Louis Pasteur having a hard time being accepted for a while by the scientific norm for his views on vaccination. If some of the knuckleheads from today's time who limit scientific advancement were to go back to his time, back when vaccination/inoculation was still considered a form of homeopathy (because that is technically what it is.) The naysayers from today's time would have told Louis Pasteur he was an idiot for infecting people with cowpox to prevent smallpox and we wouldn't know of passive immunity, I'm almost certain of it. Well the same applies for all of our biological research, namely research into plant and fungi chemistry, you can't say something is "ineffective" when certain chemicals within that plant are shown to inhibit certain things. For example, quercetin in broccoli and capers (among other vegetables) is shown to be a weak inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin, thus having inhibitory effects upon serine/threonine protein kinases which in turn effect cell proliferation and induce apoptosis. But the UK wants to put people in JAIL for calling something a SUPERFOOD?! Anyway you with-holders of information out there should realize that if it weren't for people innovating science we'd all be dying from rabies, smallpox, cancer, the flu, the bubonic plague. If it weren't for the quacks you hate on so much who stumble across things we'd be in horrible shape. So stop stomping on people's toes for trying to advance discovery. I mean I could absolutely understand if there were absolutely no merit in any of it, for example, what was listed above about "Orgones" or "Zoetrons" or whatever nonsense pseudoscience that is. But with chemicals from plants? No, you can't say that is ineffective because that is where most of our medicine comes from. Where would we be in this world if we didn't have such things as aspirin and salicylates which comes from willow trees? Where would we be if it weren't for the discovery of quinine from tree bark? Wasn't quinine among the first chemotherapeutic agents to be developed? So this whole fallacy of trying to make people feel ignorant for seeking medicine from nature is absurd and downright disgusting, because it it weren't for our discoveries using plants and fungi from the world around us, medicine would be NULL and MEANINGLESS. There wouldn't be such thing as medicine without these things. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4EA:14D0:2DF1:D6F7:C1BC:BB83 (talkcontribs)

This opinionizing is unproductive. Quite apart from anything else the list in this article is merely an index in WP:SYNC with the main article topics that are linked to. If they change, then this article will simply track that. As for plants, we have an article Plant sources of anti-cancer agents; but that's not herbalism. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 16:23, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes I believe "opinionizing" is unproductive; this is why I think the Edzard Ernst biased opinionizing should be removed from the article, unless of course he and the people involved with this article can provide comprehensive citations of the treatments that are proven without a doubt to be ineffective. I'm for the scientific method, not one sided opinion. If something can be proven, and can be repeated, then great, it works. If something cannot be proven, and cannot be repeated over the course of several studies, fine. But this grandstanding and proclaiming to the world as if you or Edzard Ernst or Cancer Research UK or American Cancer Society are the be-all, know-alls of everything dealing with this disease as well as metabolic disorder is fallacious (yes, cancer is a metabolic disorder as well as it has been proven cancer metabolizes more rapidly than normal somatic cells.) What gets me is how you guys are calling what I'm asking for "opinionizing" - when really all I'm asking for is for citations regarding studies, for all angles to be investigated (as we should do in science) and verified to work or else disprove it, instead of instantly dismiss and instantly think your opinion is equal to disproving something, or proving it as ineffective. An opinion by Cancer Research UK or American Cancer Society without cited research isn't quite the same as a peer reviewed article out of a UNIVERSITY or out of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. If there is ever an agenda to push it is people who are overly zealous in their skepticism, to the point that they dismiss studies without fully investigating them, which to me is ignorant and downright stupid. Again, this isn't just my opinion, my opinion is shared with many people. If you're going to list things that are ineffective, put citations to studies, not citations to opinions. Also you people who are the supreme kings of this article who think you rule over everything in the universe as a supreme overlord in biology or whatever, perhaps you should actually look into some of the citations I provided that show some of the chemicals in herbs have been shown to fight cancer in multiple studies, instead of deleting my stuff why don't you make use of it since you supreme overlord rulers know how to make such supreme A+ articles, perhaps you can use the information of several studies that showed that herbal chemicals can in fact kill cancer cells in the laboratory, and perhaps can in vivo as well, rather than pissing and shitting all over people's parades and destroying their chances of hope for a little more time? Why do you people do this to people? Its misery. They've got some gall to call us "quacks."

I know Edzard likes to shit all over this kind of research but I'd rather be the type that researches it than type that sits around in the corner bullying the people trying to find something that helps. I don't make money researching this I do it for free. I have no agenda other than to try to help people and give information. I know you guys want to say all of this is ineffective, but there is so much research showing that it actually *IS effective.*

There are so many new studies now that are peer reviewed, multiple studies at that, which have proven there are strongly anticancerous chemicals within broccoli and other vegetables. Yet Europe bans the use of the word superfood, the UK bans this, and wants to put people in jail for saying vegetables can help fight cancer. How crazy is that? We live in a really crazy world and this isn't an opinion piece this is facts backed with multiple sources. Some of these studies coming out are from the 90's up, some are as recent as the early 00's, some are as recent as a year ago. So to go calling people quacks for suggesting people eat broccoli when they have cancer is just evil. To say all of these things are ineffectual is being dishonest with current knowledge and research. It may not be a cure-all, fix-all, but if it has properties that can bring about remission, or at the very least slow the growth down and provide palliative relief (perhaps a little more time) and some inflammatory relief, then I'd say evidence is pointing towards it being an effective treatment, and that perhaps eating more vegetables would be a good thing, and that perhaps some of those diets mentioned may be perhaps be beneficial to some people. This by no means in any way should be interpreted for people to neglect conventional therapies. However, as a compliment to what is known to work, common sense synergism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4EA:14D0:2DF1:D6F7:C1BC:BB83 (talkcontribs) 19:57, 31 January 2015‎

What people watches over this article?[edit]

It would be interesting to know, what are the people that watches over this article, making sure the alternative treatments are discredited? Do they somehow profit from the current medical establishment and have personal interests in keeping people in the belief that alternative treatments don't work? —Kri (talk) 21:46, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

It was just a question. I'm not saying you have a personal interest, but that is how it feels when your edit is reverted within a minute after it was made on an article like this. I'm sorry if I offended you. What on Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines was it you thought my edit violated? —Kri (talk) 22:27, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, in fact it is discussing page improvements. Because it discusses a potential bias of this article, and Wikipedia's policy is that all articles should be neutral. —Kri (talk) 23:05, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Kri, WP:NPOV refers to editors as representatives of Wikipedia. They must remain neutral in their editing. They and Wikipedia don't take sides, but do document the sides. We follow the sources and must reproduce the POV and spirit of the source. Scientific sources are skeptical of alternative medicine (AM), and the very definition of AM means it will always remain in a Catch-22 situation, because as soon as it's proven effective, it ceases to be AM and becomes simply "medicine".
If Wikipedia has a bias, and it does, it is toward reliable sources, and those sources favorable to AM are usually of poor quality and often unreliable. (We still use them to document the existence of their claims.) They can't even begin to compete with peer reviewed research. We also follow WP:MEDRS, which is a higher standard than for other sources. That means we generally steer away from single pieces of research and favor reviews of multiple sources of research. While one can always cherry pick individual research projects to justify almost any type of ridiculous claim, reviews of AM come back negative.
BTW, lots of editors of all persuasions have this article on their watchlists. In this context, your question is irrelevant and a borderline violation of our WP:AGF policy. Sources, not editors, determine what is good content. If the article were about a person, organization, or product, the identity of an editor might be relevant because of a possible WP:COI, but one should also avoid WP:OUTING, which can get you blocked. -- Brangifer (talk) 23:22, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Without specific examples and high quality sources accompanied by concise and thought out rationale there is nothing in this thread about improving the article. "discusses a potential bias of this article" is vague and meaningless without such examples, has no value or weight without sources and makes no contribution without rationale. Talk pages of articles are for discussing the content of the article, not the editors. I am afraid that the editor Kri has entered discussion immediately after a series of unsigned, unproductive and innapropriate posts resulting in an abrupt hatting of this discussion which as explained is not on topic or useful. A good deal of information about editors who participate in working on articles with medical content can be found at WikiProject Medicine linked at the top of this page. A good reading of the core policies WP:NPOV, WP:OR and WP:V with an eye for comprehension, meaning and detail is highly suggested, also of importance for articles with biomedical information is the guideline WP:MEDRS. Examples explaining content objected to and proposed content supported by rationale based on policy and backed up by MEDRS quality sources is what would be considered talking about page improvements. Questioning the identity and motives of editors without citing examples and reasons such a question might be valid is not only failing to improve the encyclopedia but violating policy. In short, bring the high quality sources, propose content, support and defend the proposed content with policy. - - MrBill3 (talk) 08:06, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Okay, first I want to apologize again if I offended anyone; I didn't mean to do that. It's just that it is incredibly frustrating when edits you make that attempts to make people think critically instead of swallowing mainstream research with hook, line and sinker, constantly gets reverted. Our society needs more critical thinking, especially since even some research (which we are supposed to trust) is commercialized and don't always show the truth. Researchers are after all also human beings and can be manipulated or corrupted, and since large corporations control much in this world, including research, a certain degree of skepticism against mainstream science is necessary, even though I feel that this is seldom the case on Wikipedia. I have seen this type of reverting so many times here that it has made me wonder why it is so common. Anyway, now you may understand my concern and point of view. However, I do think the editor who undid my edit had good intentions; I'm sorry if I acted immaturely and if I acted mistrustfully and jumped to conclusions. I guess this reversal might have been the straw hat broke the camel's back. And I certainly didn't mean to out anyone; it really didn't cross my mind that it could be perceived that way or that it even was an issue, and I'm sorry if it was perceived that I did.
That said, as a comparison to saying that AM is ineffective, let's consider saying that god doesn't exist. Even though it may very much seem that way, it is unscientific to claim that it is as it lacks evidence, and writing it here on Wikipedia would upset a whole lot of people. It is the same thing with writing that AM is ineffective; it hasn't been proven and it upsets a lot of people who believe that it works, and I think that this is the reason why there are so many rants here on this talk page. They might seem unproductive and inappropriate, but by saying that, you also show that you fail to understand their point of view. One quite apparent conclusion from all of those posts is that people do get upset because of the current formulation (I also got a bit upset, to be honest, because I believe that it's simply not true), which begs the question if the article should be formulated in some other way to make it less provocative. —Kri (talk) 23:57, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It's a basic tenet of Wikipedia that it does swallow the best validated research with hook, line a sinker. Foolish speculation and beliefs about health, and particularly about the most serious serious health topics like cancer treatment, do not belong here: start a blog, or contribute such things to Wiki4Cam,[2] or something. Here content must be backed with WP:MEDRS-compliant sources and fringe views must be clearly identified as such. Wikipedia is a reflection of mainstream accepted knowledge and to improve this article proposed edits must be aligned with that fundamental reality. I'm only seeing the personal views of an editor. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 07:35, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Kri, I have no doubt that you mean well, and that editing here, with all the confusing policies and guidelines, can be difficult and confusing. I'll just respond to some things in your last comment:
  • "that god doesn't exist. Even though it may very much seem that way, it is unscientific to claim that it is as it lacks evidence, and writing it here on Wikipedia would upset a whole lot of people. It is the same thing with writing that AM is ineffective; it hasn't been proven and it upsets a lot of people..."
First, we don't care if it upsets anyone. That's not our concern. This is an encyclopedia, and it can only document the sum total of human knowledge by being uncensored. It documents what reliable sources say, regardless of whether it offends anyone. We have pornography here, explicit images and language, and we have images of Muhammad. All these things offend people.
Second, your statement violates the rules of logic. One cannot generally prove a negative. It is the one claiming that God exists, or that alternative medicine is effective, who has the burden of proof to provide scientific evidence.
  • Regarding God, claims for God's existence are generally not falsifiable, and are thus not considered a scientific area of discussion. It's a belief system.
  • Regarding alternative medicine, it makes many claims which are falsifiable, provides no good evidence of efficacy, and often is provably ineffective or dangerous. It is also defined by its Catch-22 nature: If it is proven effective, it is no longer classified as "alternative medicine", but just "medicine".
Evidence-based methods are effective, and effective methods should be evidence-based. If a method appears to be effective, then it should be possible to prove it. If the research has not been done yet, it should be. We must remember that "Absence of proof is not the same as the absence of fact; it simply demonstrates the lack of adequate research." - Robert Sydenham. "Lack of evidence in the literature is not evidence of lack of effectiveness." Until that research is done, claims of effectiveness are uncertain, unusual claims of effectiveness doubly so, and consequently the marketing of products and practicing of methods based on such uncertain, unusual, and undocumented claims may be unethical, possibly dangerous, and often illegal. Read this.
Brangifer (talk) 21:55, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
"the very definition of AM means it will always remain in a Catch-22 situation, because as soon as it's proven effective, it ceases to be AM and becomes simply "medicine"."
This is basically wrong. There's a minority of people who like this definition, but it's not the mainstream definition. Categorization of "alternative" or "conventional" is mostly about acceptance, not proof. There are mainstream treatments that are proven worthless (the famous study on arthroscopic knee surgery, anyone?) and a few alternative treatments that are proven to work. For example, a person with non-invasive skin cancer could slice it off with a kitchen knife, which is "proven to work", but that's not the mainstream medical approach in developed countries, so it's "alternative".
Also, it's not true in the sense that the facts diverge from the statement as posted: Things that are proven effective don't become mainstream "as soon as" proof is on the table. It took mainstream medicine most of a generation to accept things like the lipid theory of heart disease. That's not "as soon as" proof was on the table; that was "decades after" proof was available. It would be far more accurate instead to say that mainstream medicine usually accepts treatments years after their efficacy is proven. WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:27, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
(I wrote a response to this, parts of which are relevant here, but it was long and I thought it might derail the conversation, so I've taken it to WAID's talk page here.) Sunrise (talk) 09:28, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
@Sunrise: You made some very valid points in that response. I would add a couple more: (1) It is untrue (and unfair) to say that mainstream medicine accepted the lipid theory of heart disease "decades after" proof was available. It took decades to run the studies (e.g. Framingham) that provided unequivocal proof; once that proof was available, there was rapid general acceptance. (2) Generally accepted medical "truisms" are proven wrong all the time. On my first day of med school, the Dean told us, "Half of what we will teach you over the next four years will turn out to be wrong. Unfortunately, we don't know which half." That is why mainstream physicians are so cautious about jumping on every new treatment bandwagon; we have been burned so many times by "proven treatments" that turn out to be worthless that we prefer to wait for data to accumulate -- and even that doesn't always seal the deal. For example, there is growing evidence of serious holes in the lipid theory of heart disease. (References on request.) DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 17:24, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Your anatomy instructors probably disagreed with that claim, since almost everything they covered is true. Face-wink.svg Perhaps immunology and neurology, being far more complex, took more than their fair share to make up for the anatomists.
The American Heart Association issued a guideline in 1957 that called for a lower fat and lower cholesterol diet. The Framingham Heart Study (which oddly isn't mentioned in the lipid hypothesis article) provided what you call its "unequivocal proof" that cholesterol is associated with heart disease in the 1960s. In the 1970s, sources like PMID 580546 were still saying that it didn't matter that much. In the 1980s, cholesterol was only one of multiple factors, and the focus was on sodium and blood pressure. What made the difference for the lipid hypothesis was Merck's marketing of the Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study, which was published in 1994. That's basically three decades from your "unequivocal proof" to widespread acceptance. (And now we're going back to the 1970s POV. I'm wondering if we're going to find out that cholesterol needs to be controlled for weight gain: 250 mg/dL during a period of rapid weight loss doesn't say the same thing to me as 250 mg/dL during a period of midlife weight gain.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:30, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure what your definition of "general acceptance" is, but the lipid hypothesis was conventional wisdom in the medical community when I was in medical school (1973-77). It became popular with the general public later due to statin manufacturers' ad campaigns. And now that the statin people have convinced everyone, it turns out that there are big problems with the lipid hypothesis. I realize this is not the place for this discussion -- but suffice to say that only about half the people who have heart attacks have elevated cholesterol levels; and that's only one major flaw. Ten years from now we may very well be shaking our heads that the lipid theory gained as much traction as it did. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 11:33, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
And when review articles in reliable sources reflect such "head shaking" WP will reflect that. An encyclopedia is not cutting edge, it reflects the prevailing mainstream scientific consensus as reported in the highest quality sources. That is the nature of an encyclopedia and is the established policy of WP. It is an encyclopedia not an advocacy platform nor the place for the presentation of the latest stepping stones to scientific medical advances. There are plenty of other places for that. - - MrBill3 (talk) 14:54, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
Well, I can cite entire BOOKS of solid, scientific, reliable sourcing for the evidence against the lipid hypothesis, if that's what you need. For starters: Lipitor, Thief of Memory: Statin Drugs and the Misguided War on Cholesterol by Duane Graveline, MD; The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease by Uffe Ravnskov, MD; The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz; The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It by Malcolm Kendrick, MD. Many more on request. Perhaps we should start "reflecting". DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 19:33, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Fundamentally, the difficulty that Wikipedia has with such books – typically written for a popular audience, and not subjected to independent, rigorous peer review – is that they're a dime a dozen. For every 'contrarian' book that turns out to be 'right' (or even partly right), there are piles of such books that are utter rubbish, and whose ideas will never be 'redeemed'. It's almost trivially easy to support any harebrained hypothesis – and spin it into a miracle diet or cure for cancer book – through sufficiently devoted (and unscrupulous) cherry-picking of the scientific literature. Authors' credentials don't guarantee quality—I mean, Dr. Oz has an MD, just like a real doctor. Linus Pauling has a Nobel Prize, but he's still just plain wrong about Vitamin C megadosing. Wikipedia can't and shouldn't give a platform to every 'outsider' who has a drum to bang, even though that means that sometimes we'll find out the accepted, peer-reviewed, core scientific literature isn't right. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 00:35, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
There are plenty of peer-reviewed scientific papers too, and I'll be happy to cite a few dozen if desired. I listed popular-audience books as examples because they are what the lay public sees, not the scientific literature; and the discussion pertained to "reflecting" the information available to our readers who, for the most part, are not physicians. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 17:47, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Budwig / reliable sources[edit] All it takes is reading down further into the article. Cancer Research UK says "it isn't proven" but then contradicts themselves by saying "chemicals within flax seeds have been shown to fight cancer" (I'm paraphrasing here) How on earth can they claim something is "ineffective" but then turn around and have research that shows it CAN be effective? How does that make sense? You can't call something ineffective if it is shown to work. What kind of sense does that make? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:08, 4 February 2015 (UTC) But Johanna Budwig is a lunatic right? I mean I thought that flax seeds were ineffective right? She should receive a posthumous Nobel Prize for her research and an apology from everyone who ever ridiculed her or called her a quack. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:20, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

The "chemicals within" many things (especially when refined and concentrated) show anti-cancer effects in petri dishes; that does not mean the original things themselves when eaten have any such effect in people. It's a common fallacy that they do. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 18:40, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
Its also common fallacy to say they don't. Instead of saying it is "ineffective" one should be more cautious about the dangers of certain herbs containing both anticancer chemicals (usually in a higher ratio) and cancer causing chemicals (usually in a lower ratio), for example phenylpropenes. It doesn't mean it is "ineffective" necessarily. It just means if people are going to use things like basil or cinnamon for example in herbal medicine that they should be very cautious with it and research the positives and the negatives of everything they use and try to understand the pros and cons of everything they use.
Also yes I know things can change chemically due to digestion, but unless the chemicals are investigated in a digestive environment we cannot say for certain if it is effective or not. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:08, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
Indeed we can't. But we can accurately reflect what experts sources say so as to produce encyclopedic content, for Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that reflects accepted knowledge. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 19:24, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
Except that even the 'accepted knowledge' uses weasel words, and now begrudgingly must admit that lab experiments show that chemicals derived from certain sources can in fact fight these cancers, and rather than providing information to people on how to properly extract these chemicals for their own personal use, they are telling people that they are quacks for suggesting the herbal method. If they truly wanted to progress biology and medicine, doesn't common sense tell us all that they would provide us methods of chemical isolation without charging us 75,000 dollars or more for their treatments? Rather than making people feel hopeless and stupid, it should be their duties to educate fully and provide open source information towards people with cancer. "Experts" my ass. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4EA:14D0:70BB:C7AE:E7AA:AB0C (talk) 22:01, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
This is pointless. Please make concrete suggestions for article improvement specifying the RS to be used. This is not a forum. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 22:06, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
My concrete suggestions is to stop calling something "ineffective" if certain chemicals from certain plants are proven to be effective cancer fighters. That is pretty concrete. Call that which is ineffective as ineffective, fine. But herbs and plants aren't necessarily ineffective. "Ineffective" implies no benefit at all whatsoever. When that simply is not always the case and certain studies can actually show benefit. My complaint is that you can't broad stroke assume every herb, plant or fungi is an ineffective treatment simply because you want to monopolize chemical extraction methods. Period. (Although I do understand fears of scams and being ripped off, - sometimes the only way to be certain something is real is to get educated, read, and do your homework. But that isn't to say sometimes herbs can't have positive effects in helping to sometimes heal - people's best bet is to grow their own to be assured of purity.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4EA:14D0:70BB:C7AE:E7AA:AB0C (talk) 22:16, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
If you grow your own herbs then you're not purifying anything at all. Unless you have technical training, plus an ultracentrifuge and a few other pieces of really expensive scientific equipment in your home. :-)
But in any case, you still need to specify which sources you want to use (complying with WP:MEDRS) and for what content. Sunrise (talk) 05:14, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

"If you grow your own herbs then you're not purifying anything at all"...What a stupid reply that is off topic to the discussion about the contradicting of efficacy of the mentioned substances. This whole wiki article is dumb. It starts from the “science” of unproven/ineffective cancer cures when most on the list have the backing science indicating anti-cancer benefits both in vivo and vitro then, people try to point it out with links to published research journals, only to have their links removed. Many of the substances were actually never scientifically disproven, only refused to enter or complete the reality making processes to be declared scientific fact. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:51, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

"Orthomolecular medicine (or Megavitamin therapy) – the use of high doses of vitamins, claimed by proponents to help cure cancer. The view of the medical community is that there is no evidence that these therapies are effective for treating any disease.[153]" This is an out-right lie! I'd post countless links to scientific peer reviewed research journals going back nearly 80 years for Vitamin C iv but they'd only be deleted. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:56, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

Logically inconsistent[edit]

If something is known to be cytotoxic to cancer cells, it is logically inconsistent to say that it is entirely ineffective as a cancer treatment. After all, the selective cytotoxicity is exactly what constitutes a cancer treatment. The fact that a particular approach has not been adequately studied for this application (in varying strengths and forms of administration) does not in itself prove it ineffective. Take for example fasting, cannabis chemicals, some mushrooms, soursop chemicals, and quercetin - these are all shown in research to be selectively cytotoxic. As such, it is grossly inappropriate to outright label their use as ineffective or as pseudoscience. --IO Device (talk) 07:08, 28 March 2015 (UTC) Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 07:23, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
I listed those examples because they're of course selectively cytotoxic toward cancer cells. And I did use this s word in my original post. Regarding the matter of in vitro vs in vivo, that's foremost a matter of successful drug delivery, and for this I had also included "forms of administration" in my post. --IO Device (talk) 15:37, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Actually, the fact that an approach is being touted as effective despite a lack of adequate study is a pretty robust indicator of pseudoscience and quackery. And waving off the matter of in vitro versus in vivo as merely a question of "drug delivery" as if it were some kind of trivial and always-solvable (or even more-than-occasionally-solvable) problem suggests a certain...lack of awareness...of the practical realities of drug development. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 02:01, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
Just because there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate an agent as effective in therapy does not in itself make it ineffective, particularly given the existence of evidence from in vitro and/or animal studies. Even many chemotherapy drugs are not entirely effective; often they don't work or stop working in vivo. In practice there is a gray area between effective and ineffective; labeling something ineffective does absolutely no justice at all to the selectively cytotoxic substance in question. While I indeed may be ignoring practical realities of drug delivery in favor of less-publicized experimental approaches, it is unclear if concerns about drug delivery even apply to the agents I named. Lastly, ten years ago, agents such as curcumin and milk thistle might have been labeled as pseudoscience and quackery by some here; today perhaps they are not. Does this teach nothing? In my view, sensitivity and specificity in cytotoxicity are the only true indicators. --IO Device (talk) 03:31, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
Hello I would like to know why TenofAllTrades is so absolutely hateful and biased, but too blind to see it? "Pseudoscience?"

Okay let me ask you oh king of this article how many citations do you need? What kind of biological pathways must be shown to be effected before you stop being silly? Let me ask you something TenofAllTrades, are you a biologist at all? Because I am. And I'm getting really fed up with the way you handle this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4EA:14D0:1C36:C144:617E:C1FE (talk) 13:59, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Can we politely ask you to do us three favors?
  • Be nice. Ad hominems only serve to make other editors stop reading. You have to remember that articles are written by a large number of people, some better than others at being neutral. Don't assume that everyone disagrees with you. When you get combative and start monologuing, people tune you out, or ignore you; or worse, conclude you have some POV agenda that you are trying to force on the rest of us. You will find that you get a lot more done around here by being patient, and building a consensus. It only takes a day or two, typically. This isn't a full time job for any of us, after all. It sounds like you have some good ideas; now try politely presenting them in a more pithy way, and you will probably find others who agree with you. (If you don't, that's a clear signal that you might simply be wrong.) Most people WANT an article to be 100% accurate; very few have their own agenda. Make it easier for the rest of us to agree with you by being a little nicer and a little less aggressive.
  • Sign your posts. Anonymous ad hominems only serve make other editors stop reading that much sooner.
  • You ask, "How many citations do you need?" Let's start with one. Just one. You have repeatedly asserted that we are ignoring scientific evidence; so let's see that evidence -- not anecdata, but peer reviewed, scientific studies supporting your contentions. That's what we need here, not angry manifestos. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 16:40, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Okay how about we start with something simple such as Rosemary? Or perhaps you could scroll up and look at the citations above ? Or do a simple search on NIH PUBMED for "anticancer _______" (insert herb to search) To say herbs are completely ineffective is fallacious and actually quite ignorant. I saw one study that showed combining Rosemary terpenes along with standard therapy as a complement actually increased effectiveness and reduced mortality. "Ineffective?" This is the term that is making me angry; and the people who keep reverting it to "ineffective" are simply doing it to push buttons and to try to insult me and my intelligence. Sometimes I wish I could slap the teeth out of these keyboard ninjas mouths. I know they think they know everything, but the honest truth is they don't. This isn't an ad hominem attack, this is the simple truth, for them to call something "ineffective" means they know for 100% fact that something does not work at ALL. If something is cytotoxic to cancer cells (IN VIVO STUDIES MIND YOU) then HOW THE HELL do you people get on YOUR HIGH HORSE and call it "INEFFECTIVE?" Curcumin is proven to be effective in this study (but in this article I'm sure it's still called "ineffective." If people are freely giving this information out for the benefit of others and there is no profiteering, then why are you condemning people for it as if they are charlatans?? In many of these cases it is shown combining complementary herbal medicine with conventional therapy improves effectiveness. I understand that you guys want millions of in-vivo clinical trials. Some of these haven't entered clinical phase yet because they haven't received adequate funding, but in many instances the results for herbs that exhibited antitumoral effects were repeatable by others. For example, Rosemary extracts have been shown by multiple sources to have cancer fighting capabilities. The same goes for cannabinoids, oregano, curcumin, blackberry and its leaves, hibiscus, milk thistle, karela, and the list goes on and on. If results are repeatable by others, and it has the ability to strongly slow down progression of a cancer, I wouldn't call that "ineffective." Let me define "ineffective" so you guys know and understand its meaning, okay? Because you guys keep using that term and I honestly don't think you understand what it means.


having no effect. 2. incompetent or inefficient. A better way to phrase this without sounding like a complete tool is "more research needs to be done." or "Many of these are currently under investigation." Not simply "OH IT DOESN'T WORK EVEN THOUGH I HAVE NO PROOF OF MY CLAIM THAT IT DOESN'T WORK" At least I can back my claims up, can the people who keep reverting this stupid term back their claim up other than spouting out drivel by CRUK ? Repeating what CRUK says doesn't make someone an expert on the topic. Especially when half the time they have to back-peddle on their claims of ineffectiveness. Yes, yes, yes. I understand that surgical resection, modern targeted chemotherapy, gene therapies such as gene silencing with double-stranded RNA, RNAi, siRNA, etc. are way better in most cases than just plain old herbs. But like I said, in many of these studies, when some of these herbs are used in combination with chemotherapies it can increase the effectiveness of the treatment. Quite the opposite of the claims of this article of being "ineffective." One study I saw looked at gemcitabine and rosemary, with a control of gemcitabine alone, rosemary extract alone, and both together. I will try to find the study again when I have time, but rosemary improved effectiveness. Here is one of the studies, although this one isn't the specific one I was speaking about rosemary with gemcitabine, I will post more when I have the time because I have school soon. But I'm sure you can find it yourself if you just take the time and look it up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4EA:14D0:1C36:C144:617E:C1FE (talk) 16:16, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Please familiarize yourself with our guideline on reliable sourcing for medical content. Specifically, primary, in vitro studies such as the ones you suggest above are not reliable for medical content on Wikipedia. Yobol (talk) 16:24, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
But some studies about herbal effectiveness were actually done in vivo...? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4EA:14D0:1C36:C144:617E:C1FE (talk) 16:28, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Per WP:MEDRS, " Primary sources should generally not be used for medical content." This includes in vivo content as well. It certainly should not be used to "debunk" what secondary sources say. Yobol (talk) 22:50, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
I just find it somewhat humorous that places like Cancer Research UK make the bold claim that certain things are ineffective (such as flax) but then when you read further down they say that certain studies show that flax can help fight digestive cancers. I just don't understand how a secondary source is allowed to make such bold claims but then incrementally back-peddle on their own statements, and then on top of it all the most negative aspect of their claim is what is taken as 'gospel truth' rather than this article fully reflecting the full scope of the research. I know you guys don't like primary sources. But these secondary sources need to step up their game and start actually doing some better randomized studies to verify or falsify claims rather than just boldly making a claim without actually taking the time to verify or falsify it. You can't say something doesn't work without checking it first. That's like walking up to a car and saying it won't crank without even turning the key. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4EA:14D0:1C36:C144:617E:C1FE (talk) 01:32, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Also let us not forget that most medicine before the dawn of recombinant genetics and targeted gene therapy came from plant sources, and many of our chemotherapies would not have been possible if it weren't for studies in plant and fungi based medicine. There was a time when people thought paclitaxel was pseudoscientific. Now it is widely accepted as one of the most useful chemotherapeutic agents in cancer, and now we are so advanced in biosciences that we can synthesize it with bacteria. If it weren't for the yews though we wouldn't even know about paclitaxel. My whole point is that it is silly to make bold claims without being able to verify it. One of the most disheartening things about this though is when *several* primary sources (from several different people) can repeat results and secondary sources still will not acknowledge it as scientific. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4EA:14D0:1C36:C144:617E:C1FE (talk) 01:52, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Splitting out the list[edit]

The list is a large chunk of text, more than big enough to stand alone, and there is a difference between alternative and ineffective - at least in theory, refuted mainstream therapies could be included in the list of ineffective treatments, though arguably being refuted means that any continuing use is alternative, per Minchin's Law. Guy (Help!) 21:56, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

I feel like I came in in the middle of a conversation. Splitting out which list? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 00:58, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
I suppose Guy means the big list in the middle of the article. This started life as a stand-alone article but during peer review it was suggested it should be merged here -- an idea which, during subsequent discussion, seemed to attract strong support. I can see arguments both ways ... but as it is the list still has the feel of an "article within an article". Alexbrn (talk) 04:23, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

Ineffective treatments[edit]

Previous edits indicate that this section is a redirect target. That should be considered when working with this content. Anyway, there appear to be two extreme views, reverting each other completely. I see no proper discussion or agreed consensus despite edit summaries to that effect. Obviously the text sucks from both angles. It would seem that element by element consensus building is needed, with analysis of the merits of the present (and potentially additional) sources. I chose personally not to take further part in that process. FeatherPluma (talk) 14:50, 28 April 2015 (UTC)