Talk:Alternative cancer treatments

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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)

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) I feel as though a distinction should be made between something that is ineffective and something that doesn't have enough research to support whether it is in/effective. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:45, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

If I may extend your point, it may be very difficult to prove anything truly ineffective. Considering that almost all substances are toxic to cells at a given high concentration, the distinction could then perhaps be made by testing the substance in vitro in varying concentrations with cancerous and normal tissue. The goal of the test could then be to test if the substance exhibits more toxicity to cancer cells than it does to normal cells. If the answer is yes, per a minimally acceptable and pre-established ratio, then it is potentially effective, otherwise it is ineffective. Different cancer cells may however need to be tested because agents often target particular cancers and not others. The point I'm trying to make is that in the absence of such evidence, no claim of ineffectiveness can be made. This is my own opinion and is independent of the article. --IO Device (talk) 21:06, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

Restructure this talk page[edit]

This talk page is poorly written and make it difficult to keep up on what is happening in the main article. I sure can't tell what posts are about what and considering that the article covers controversial and difficult to cite information, I suggest that we better organize the talk page to make it easier to read. ThoHug (talk) 18:50, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

Um, no. New threads go at the bottom and each thread has to have a heading, that's all the structure that's required. Modifying or rearranging other people's posts is not allowed (typically). Old or no longer relevant threads can be archived. — Jeraphine Gryphon (talk) 19:11, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
The response above is correct. Nevertheless, if you have any specific feedback for how a Talk page should be organized, it won't hurt to share. Note that clustering Talk page sections by ideology may not be appropriate or even necessary. --IO Device (talk) 19:27, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

The problem with this article[edit]

This article tries very hard to give the impression that certain alternative approaches for which insufficient evidence exists are ineffective. In doing so, it often uses various unscientific references, while ignoring the scientific references, both primary and secondary, in support of said approaches. As a case in point, there is of course evidence, albeit experimental and possibly insufficient, for cannabis and particular mushrooms as a treatment for certain cancers. This musn't then be taken to mean that cannabis or mushrooms are ineffective. By systematically and biasedly ignoring such evidence, this article does a tremendous disservice to painting an accurate picture of the agents in question. Ignorance of evidence is not evidence for absence. --IO Device (talk) 18:30, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

For individual treatments the article is just in WP:SYNC with the main articles on those topics to which it links. If those change, this article will follow ... Alexbrn (talk) 18:32, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
So, you are stipulating that the article, especially the subsection on medicinal marijuana, cannot stipulate that it might help cancer because the article about Medical cannabis for cancer does not support this? The citation that is being used in this article states otherwise. If the articles need to match then the citations need to match as well. The current citation does not accept nor deny that cannabis can help in cancer illnesses. ThoHug (talk) 13:27, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it's accurate to summarize the cited CRUK article as saying that cannabis "might help cancer". And yes, the material here should agree with the material at medical cannabis. Alexbrn (talk) 13:33, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
Then I might suggest that we use the reference in the medical cannabis article to better clear this up. The currently used citation is fuzzy at best. ThoHug (talk) 21:00, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV)[edit]

Newcastle Disease Virus for cancer treatment has been studied since the 1950s. It is not crackpot; it is science based but I think it is yet to be found to be effective in cancer treatment (just research). Should that be included here or not? AdderUser (talk) 03:25, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Probably not suitable for listing here, but nearly all the cancer material in the NDV article is poorly-sourced/undue and needs to be deleted IMO. Alexbrn (talk) 04:44, 29 June 2015 (UTC)