Talk:Hoxsey Therapy

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Editorial Concerns[edit]

This article needs to seperate the difference between discussion of the Hoxsey Therapy/Method and the life of John Hoxsey (which could/should be its own biographical article). ju66l3r 17:48, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, the Hoxsey family history surrounding the method is multigenerational, since it was invented by John, but made famous under Harry, who had the noteworthy battles with the AMA and FDA. I tried to focus only on the parts of his biography that had bearing on the therapy and its associated clinics.--Rosicrucian 23:40, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
After performing the merge (and thus getting closer to the info/text), I guess just the items to the end of the History section (he got cancer, used modern medicine for a cure, died) were the only parts I thought could be seen as less important to the Hoxsey Therapy..except he did try his method and it failed him which is pertinent. I'm less concerned with splitting off that info into a John Hoxsey article now than I was before. Of course, if anyone were to feel ambitious enough to want to create the Hoxsey biographical article, it'd be a reasonable (i.e. notable) addition to the wikipedia. ju66l3r 18:50, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Merge Discussion[edit]

I couldn't find this article when I was looking for "Hoxsey method", so I created a new one... then found this one. Should they be combined?Kyouran 21:11, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm in the process of doing that now. ju66l3r 22:34, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I've completed the merge. Please read through the article to be sure that I haven't duplicated or garbled any information in the merge process. ju66l3r 23:05, 11 August 2006 (UTC)


Heh. More or less the same thought process I went through when I made the article, Kyouran. Was getting a little lonely editing it by myself. Hopefully we can work together to make a stronger article.--Rosicrucian 23:30, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. The merge looks good, I think it hits on all the major points well. I'm curious to see how the case with this kid in Virginia works out. Kyouran 17:27, 12 August 2006 (UTC)


A lot of this article is taken verbatim from the American Cancer Society article linked at the bottom. Specifically the History and Side Effects sections. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Okay. Thank you for the info. I didn't write the text (only merged 2 articles). I'll take a look at the possible copyvio and rewrite those sections. Anyone else is welcome to also do this as I'm a bit bogged down at work this second. ju66l3r 20:46, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Reworked the side-effects section to avoid copyvio. Going to look at the history section next.--Rosicrucian 22:29, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Just got home and read through the rewrite. Nice work. Thanks for taking care of it. ju66l3r 23:02, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Lead paragraph[edit]

Umm... it really should be mentioned in the lead that the Hoxsey Therapy is considered entirely ineffective by the scientific and medical communities. I'm open to discussing the phrasing, but it should be in there. This is generally in line with how most unproven therapies are handled. Also, WP:LEAD says we should include "Criticism - include criticism if there has been significant, notable criticism." And there has. MastCell 01:19, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

I apologize. After looking at the policy page you point out, I agree that notable criticism belongs in the lead section. Someone might like to add other information to the lead section to balance it. At the moment I don't see anything obviously suitable. --Coppertwig 16:40, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
No problem... like I said, I'm not set on the current phrasing and I'd be open to other suggestions. I agree that the lead in general could certainly stand to be expanded. MastCell 17:49, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

A Neutral Point of View[edit]

Articles such as this one are inevitably controversial. Where research cannot definitively prove the efficacy of a treatment, it is open to a range of good faith interpretations from support to opposition. There's also the challenge of precise editing to avoid weasel words, without oversimplification or including unsupported claims.

An example - the statements "Hoxsey Therapy is a cure for cancer" and "Hoxsey Therapy has no value at all" are currently unverifiable. By contrast, "Hoxsey Therapy is promoted as a cure for cancer" is entirely accurate and does not prejudge the therapy either way.

If all this sounds like statements of the blindingly obvious, here's the point:

  • I believe a recent series of anon IP edits have taken the article away from a neutral point of view towards outright support for Hoxsey Therapy. This includes deleting sourced material which casts doubt on its effectiveness, changing the opening sentence to "HT is a cure for cancer", and so on.
  • I have (again) reverted the article to what seems to be the last neutral version.
  • I have outlined the above to explain the reasoning for what I have done.
  • In the interests of consensus, I welcome a discussion with the anon editor (or anyone else) about changes to the page to improve its neutrality. However any changes must be sourced and due regard must be given to conflicting evidence, and I don't believe these standards have been met in the recent anon edits.

Comments, suggestions welcome. Euryalus 09:32, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

You have done correctly by my account. None of the IP edits appear to approach neutrality and some seem downright antagonistic. I'm sorry I haven't been on wikipedia lately to help out, because this is a page on my watchlist since I put in a good amount of effort to clean it up the first time. The semi-protection should force the discussion with this anonymous editor and if it doesn't then it's clear that their intentions were not to the benefit of the article anyways and future edits should probably be considered intentionally disruptive. ju66l3r 02:26, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Ausubel Research Book Reference[edit]

Kenny Ausubel wrote an in depth book about Hoxsey, his life and his formula entitled When Healing Becomes a Crime. This book provides a fair account of what Hoxsey underwent and is somewhat sympathetic. However, Ausubel does an excellent job at remaining fairly neutral on the subject and as a documentarian is well suited to cover the subject. There is also a video on the same subject that should be referenced. It may be valuable to include references to both materials in this article but because I have a personal bias toward the Hoxsey formula I have disqualified myself from adding materials.

The role that the Nurse Mildred Nelson played in the administration and promotion of the formula is essential to this subject. She had first hand knowledge of its use and provides numerous accounts of how it has worked. To be sure Hoxsey was a showman but just because he played the role or "snake oil salesman" doesn't mean that the formula helped no one. He was understandably distrustful of the JAMA relationship with the FDA and the background of the people that worked to undermine Hoxsey's efforts should be brought to light as well. Again, I clearly have a bias about this but to make the article comprehensive it is essential to include the impact of the lawsuits that Hoxsey filed and the incredibly shaping of the current structure of the FDA and its questionable relationship with JAMA.

One person that could be contacted that is still living is a licensed naturopathic doctor that lives in Oregon named Steve Austin. He visited the Hoxsey Clinic in Mexico and spent time speaking with Mildred Nelson. His reputation is beyond question and his scientific bona fides are well established. Having his comments added to the article could make it even more valuable. Ausubel briefly references Dr. Austin but I have had a couple of long discussions with him about his visit to Mexico and he has an objective take on the Hoxsey approach.--Prole Writer (talk) 02:33, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

While Dr Austin might certainly have an interesting perspective, our focus here needs to be on what has been published by reliable sources on the topic. This isn't really the venue to do our own investigative work; Wikipedia does not publish original work, new findings, or novel interpretations of material. MastCell Talk 07:21, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I've formatting the external link to Kenny Ausubel's book to match our external link guidelines. I'm still not clear that this is a notable enough reference to include - it seems to have a low sales rank on Amazon, is published by a small specialty publishing house, and most importantly I cannot find evidence that this book has been reviewed by any reasonably notable sources. The alt-med webosphere is predictably sympathetic, while Quackwatch equally predictably dislikes the book, but without any mainstream reviews it's unclear that this is an encyclopedic link. I'll leave it for now and await comment. The IMDB link is not appropriate and has been removed. MastCell Talk 20:00, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm not understanding what Amazon sales rank has to do with probability of interest to readers. This seems to be the only book on the subject, and contains thousands of useful endnotes that will be of interest to anyone wanting to research the topic of this article further.
The documentary film also seems to be the only on the subject and contains numerous interviews with people familiar with the subject of the article, including government officials, and those who have used the therapy. The external link guidelines describes as appropriate links to "meaningful, relevant content...such as...interviews." Clearly a reference to a documentary on the subject of this article meets that criterion. Further, as this is "a link to a page that is the subject of the article" it does not fall within the range of "Links normally to be avoided." Is it the fact that the page is on IMDB that makes it inappropriate? I believe the video is on google video as well. The link could be to that page instead. Jweiner (talk) 08:54, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
The sales rank is one indication, albeit a highly imperfect one, of the popularity, reach, and prominence of the book. I don't mean it to be a red herring, though - a better indicator of prominence and weight is whether the book has been reviewed by mainstream media or acacdemic outlets. Anyhow, I'm at a bit of disadvantage having not actually read the book, hence the reliance on major reviews (or their lack) and so forth. I'll check it out of the library. MastCell Talk 20:48, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm still lost. I've reviewed the external link guidelines page and I see no reference to "popularity, reach, prominence" or "weight" as standards for including "external links that are not citations of article sources." The standards I see mentioned are "further research that is accurate and on-topic," and "useful, tasteful, informative, factual." The Ausubel book and film meet all these criteria. Further, the page lists 15 categories of external links that normally should be avoided. Neither the book nor the film fall into any of those categories. Are you perhaps conflating the standards for including external references with those for source citations?
Also, I'm still not clear whether your statement that the IMDB reference is inappropriate is an objection to a link to that particular website, or to any mention of the film whatsoever. Jweiner (talk) 10:39, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
Update: A quick online search reveals that the Ausubel film has in fact been reviewed by numerous mainstream newspapers: The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, New York Newsday, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, Seattle Times, Christian Science Monitor, and probably others. According to the interview with the director on the DVD, after its theatrical release the film was sold to HBO, where it garnered "the highest viewer response of any documentary they had ever shown." I'm still very interested in what your grounds for removing the reference to it from this article are. Jweiner (talk) 03:06, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
If it's been reviewed by those outlets, then I don't have a problem with it. I suppose I do wonder how useful an IMDB link is to a reader, but noting the existence of the documentary seems reasonable in light of the fact that it's achieved a reasonable degree of prominence. MastCell Talk 05:21, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Benedict F. Fitzgerald, Jr[edit]

I've temporarily removed the section on the testimony of Benedict F. Fitzgerald, Jr. In order to assess how to work this in and to assess its context, we need something more than a link to the Congressional Record, which is a primary source. The only mention I can find of this report is in the alt-med Webosphere, where admittedly it's something of a recurrent meme, but I'm unable to turn up any reliable secondary sources that discuss it. An excerpt from the Congressional Record is very difficult to use in isolation - what was the context of Fitzgerald's report? How was it received? Did any action result? Was it one person's opinion or was there additional testimony? How was it relevant to the struggle between the AMA and Hoxsey? We need a reliable secondary source to answer those questions. I have not read Ausubel's book - does he mention it? Are there other reliable secondary sources that mention Fitzgerald's testimony? MastCell Talk 19:26, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Fitzgerald's report is a secondary source. The records of the court cases on which he is reporting are the primary sources. I have personally read the published opinions of the cases Fitzgerald refers to, and as far as I can tell (Fitzgerald certainly had access to more complete records of the trials and appeals than I have) his summary of the record is accurate. As well it is a "reliable" source by any measure of the word. I don't think there is any question that Fitzgerald was who he claims and that he wrote what is published in the Congressional record. The content of the quote is not his opinion, but rather the opinion of the fact-finders in the discussed court case who heard first-hand the testimony presented on the question of the effectiveness of Hoxsey's treatment, which is after all the topic of this section of this article.
May I caution against being distracted by the personal differences between Hoxsey and the AMA in this section. The passage referring to the Journal Editor's professional history should perhaps be excluded from this quote as it is not quite on point. I left it in there with the idea of perhaps later excluding it; as you can see from the ellipses I already edited out some of the passage and I didn't want to remove too much of it before people had a chance to read it.
As far as Ausubel's book goes, I have already returned the copy I was reading to my library, but I do remember there is a reference to a contemporary newspaper report on Fitzgerald's report and apparently to his professional credentials. I personally do not have the time or resources at the moment to track down that article, but if you're interested the citation is in there. However, as I've said, I don't see that it really matters, since, as I've said, there's no real issue as to the reliability of the quoted passage. Jweiner (talk) 11:54, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
For Wikipedia's purposes, a record of Congressional testimony is generally considered a primary source (see WP:PSTS). I'm actually interested enough to read Ausubel's book once I get to the library; if there's coverage in there, then we can cite it, but I'm not comfortable citing at length from a (Wikipedia-defined) primary source without any information about context, due weight, etc. MastCell Talk 22:06, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
What you've written here, and what the No Original Research page you rely on says are so inconsistent I can only wonder if you have actually read that page.
First, the No Original Research page does not say that the Congressional Record is a primary source.
Second, the No Original Research page defines "secondary sources" as "accounts at least one step removed from an event." The quoted passage from the Fitzgerald Report refers to the opinion of the jury, and the testimony of "leading pathologists, radiologists, physicians, surgeons, and scores of witnesses" as well as of the Editor of the AMA Journal. Fitzgerald did not directly hear any of this testimony himself. Since Fitzgerald (unlike the trial judge) did not hear directly from those giving testimony, he was "at least one step removed from [the] event." Thus by the definition given on the No Original Research page, this report is a secondary source.
Third, the No Original Research page explicitly says that "transcripts of...trials" are primary sources, and that, "[s]econdary sources may draw on primary create a general overview." Clearly the Fitzgerald Report draws on trial transcripts to create a general overview, therefore by this second definition provided in the No Original Research page, the Fitzgerald report is a secondary source.
Fourth, even if for some reason you are still somehow convinced this report, one step removed from the trial transcripts, is a primary source, you will please note the No Original Research page says that "Primary sources that have been published by a reliable source may be used in Wikipedia...with care." The Congressional Record is clearly a reliable source. Thus, even if this report were a primary source--which is is not--that fact alone would not justify prohibiting its use. More particularly, the No Original Research page says that "anyone...who reads the primary source should be able to verify that the Wikipedia passage agrees with the primary source." In this case, the "Wikipedia passage" is a verbatim quote from the Fitzgerald Report. There can be no greater degree of "agreement" than an exact quote. If you doubt that I have accurately quoted the Report, then I invite you to visit your local government documents depository to confirm the textual agreement for yourself. Furthermore the No Original Research page says that "To the extent that part of an article relies on a primary source, it should...only make descriptive claims...[and] make no analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims about the information found in the primary source." The only claims I made about the quoted passage are (1) that it came out "some years after the trials" and (2) what the name and professional title of the author are. Clearly these are descriptive claims and are neither "analytic," "synthetic," "interpretive," "explanatory," nor "evaluative." Thus even by the Wikipedia standards required of primary sources, this passage is appropriate to this article.
Finally, you express concern about "context, due weight, etc." Regarding context, I don't know what standard you are referring to. but the context is given: the quote is from the report of a Special Counsel to a Senate Committee. With regard to undue weight, the guidelines say that "the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each" (my emphasis). The operative phrase here is "in proportion." If you believe that including this quoted passage from the Report would give the view represented by the quote too much or too detailed of a description as compared with an alternate view that you prefer, the solution is to provide a more detailed description of your preferred view (with reference to published reliable sources), not to remove the reference to the significant view with which you disagree. As far as "etc" goes, I don't know what you mean by that.
In summary, (1) by the published Wikipedia definitions, the quoted Report is a secondary, not a primary source, (2) my use in including it was careful enough to meet the requirements for primary sources, and (3) if you have a problem with the proportion of descriptions of different significant views, you should add what is missing, not delete what you disagree with.
Now that I have provided you with as much of a response to your objections as any reasonable person could demand, would you care to undo your "temporary" removal of the edit I took the time to make, or shall I? Jweiner (talk) 16:43, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
I have, in fact, read WP:NOR. It describes examples of primary sources as including "...historical documents such as diaries, census results, video or transcripts of surveillance, public hearings, trials, or interviews..." (emphasis mine). A transcript of public hearings on the topic of the Hoxsey Therapy is a primary source. That said, primary sources can of course be used as you note above. But since this particular primary source presents one side of a controversial issue, the question is how much weight to assign it in a proportionate and contextual presentation of the subject. The passage as written provides quite a bit of weight to this primary source. I'm asking for a secondary source - that is, books, newspaper coverage, journal articles, etc - which describe FitzGerald's testimony in some sort of context. Was is rebutted? Was it accepted? Was it acted on? Was it read in a Friday afternoon session to an empty session and subsequently ignored outside the alternative-medicine webosphere? I don't know the answers to these questions, and without them I don't know how much weight this particular source should carry or how to accurately present it. I am of course not the last word on this (or any) subject; if you find this request for context and due weight irrational, then the next step would be to request a third opinion or outside comment on the subject to move toward consensus. MastCell Talk 04:43, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
The Fitzgerald Report is a report. It is not "testimony" as you incorrectly characterize it. Senator Charles W. Toby, Chairman of the Senate Interstate Commerce Committee assigned its Special Counsel to draft the Report. Special Counsel Fitzgerald reviewed the primary source documents referred to and wrote the Report. By the time Fitzgerald was finished, Senator Toby was no longer the Chairman of the Committee. Fitzgerald then submitted the report to the Committee, care of Senator John W. Bricker. Fitzgerald never appeared in person before the Senate. Fitzgerald never testified in any hearing. The Report was accepted and was not rebutted. Some time later, Senator William Langer acted on the Report by obtaining a copy of it and inserting it into the Congressional Record.
The Report is not a diary.
The Report is not census results.
The Report is not a transcript of surveillance.
The Report is not a transcript of a public hearing.
The Report is not a transcript of a trial.
The Report is not a transcript of an interview.
The undeniable fact that this Report is a secondary and not a primary source could not be any clearer. If you persist in so mischaracterizing it, I shall be compelled to question your willingness to accurately comprehend the English language, in particular the meanings of the words "transcript" and "hearing." Jweiner (talk) 11:01, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Jweiner, your post above is coming remarkably close to a personal attack. The discussion is an interesting one but needs to stay focused on the content not contributors. Not that big a deal, just a polite reminder. Euryalus (talk) 10:53, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
I notice you've since edited it - thank you. Euryalus (talk) 16:50, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Material taken from the Congressional Record coincides most closely with the definition and examples of primary sources given by WP:PSTS. Also, if this report is a notable and meaningful source or event, why is there zero coverage of it in reliable, independent secondary sources? I've been looking and literally finding nothing on this report beyond a handful of alt-med discussion forums and unreliable websites. I'm not sure how we can proportionately and accurately represent it without some sort of reliable secondary-source coverage to give it context. In your edit, it sounds like the FDA and AMA shut down Hoxsey's clinics as making unsupported claims, but then a Congressional report proved otherwise. That is not an accurate impression. I will continue looking for sources. MastCell Talk 19:23, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Dispute Whether the Fitzgerald Report is a Primary or Secondary Source[edit]

Two editors of this article are in disagreement as to whether a particular source document is a "primary source" or a "secondary source" within the meanings given on the No Original Research page.


In the 1940s and early 1950s, Mr. Hoxsey, whose cancer treatment is the subject of this article, was a party to a number of lawsuits in which the effectiveness of his treatment was an issue necessary to outcome of the lawsuits. At the trials a number of witnesses testified. The witnesses included medical experts, the then editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, and some of Hoxsey's patients. The cases were tried to juries, which heard all the witnesses testify and rendered their verdicts. The judges trying the cases also heard all the witnesses testify, took the jury verdicts, and issued judgments along with written decisions. These written decisions were published in the relevant court reporters and can today be found in law libraries and in online legal databases.

Some years after the trials, the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee of the US Senate, by request of its Chairman Senator Charles W. Toby, directed its Special Counsel, a lawyer named Fitzgerald, to supervise a study of organizations conducting cancer research and to submit to the Committee a report (hereinafter referred to as "The Report"). Among those organizations included in the Report was Hoxsey's Cancer Clinic. In drafting the report, Fitzgerald studied the court records of the above-mentioned trials, which presumably included the published decisions written by the judges, as well as transcripts of the witnesses' testimony. In his Report, Fitzgerald summarized these cases, in particular describing the positions of the different parties, the qualifications of the witnesses, the jury verdicts, and the outcomes of the cases, both at trial and on appeal.

Fitzgerald was not at the trials himself. He did not himself hear any of the witnesses testify. All his information came from the written court records. By the time he had finished his Report, Senator Toby was no longer the Chairman of the Committee. Fitzgerald sent his Report to Senator John W. Bricker and the members of the Committee. Fitzgerald did not testify in any hearings on the questions decided in the court trials. Some time after Fitzgerald submitted his report, Senator William Langer obtained a copy of the Report from the son of the then-deceased Senator Toby, and with permission of the Vice President of the United States, had the report inserted into the Congressional Record. The Report was published in the Appendix to the Congressional Record by the US Government Printing Office, and is today available in law libraries.

The Question[edit]

The question in need of resolution by a third opinion is whether the Report's description of the court trials is a "primary source" or a "secondary source" within the meanings provided on the Wikipedia No Original Research page.


The Wikipedia No Original Research page both defines and gives examples of the terms "primary source" and 'secondary source."

Primary Sources[edit]

The Wikipedia No Original Research page provides these definitions of "primary source":[edit]
  • "Primary sources are sources very close to the origin of a particular topic."
  • A primary source "provid[es] an inside view of a particular event."
  • "Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period."
  • "Primary sources were either created during the time period being studied, or were created at a later date by a participant in the events being studied...and they reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer."
Given examples of primary sources are:[edit]
  • an eyewitness account of a traffic accident
  • archeological artifacts
  • photographs
  • historical documents such as
    • diaries
    • census results
  • video or transcripts of
    • surveillance
    • public hearings,
    • trials
    • interviews
  • tabulated results of surveys or questionnaires
  • written or recorded notes of
    • laboratory and field research
    • experiments
    • observations
  • published experimental results by the person(s) actually involved in the research
  • original philosophical works
  • religious scripture
  • administrative documents
  • artistic and fictional works such
    • poems
    • scripts
    • screenplays
    • novels
    • motion pictures
    • videos
    • television programs

Secondary Sources[edit]

The Wikipedia No Original Research page provides these definitions of "secondary source":[edit]
  • A secondary source is "a work that interprets or analyzes an historical event or phenomenon."
  • A secondary source "is generally at least one step removed from the event."
  • "[A] secondary source analyzes and interprets primary sources, is a second-hand account of an historical event or interprets creative work. "
  • "[A] secondary source analyzes and interprets research results or analyzes and interprets scientific discoveries."
  • "Secondary sources are works of synthesis and interpretation based upon primary sources and the work of other authors."
The Wikipedia No Original Research page gives no examples of secondary sources.[edit]


Reasons why the Fitzgerald Report is a Primary Source[edit]

Awaiting editor's position.

Reasons why the Fitzgerald Report is a Secondary Source[edit]

The Report is a secondary source because it is one step removed from the trials it describes. The Report is based on trial transcripts which are themselves primary sources. The Report is a secondary source because the author was not present at the trials, but wrote the Report years after the trials. The Report describes the opinions of the medical experts who testified at the trials and the jury verdicts and published court opinions, but the Report itself was not authored by any of those experts, juries, or courts. The Report does not fall into any of the example categories of primary sources.

Source that Hoxsey was a Vaudevillian[edit]

Does someone have a source for the claim that Hoxsey was a vaudevillian, which appears in the first paragraph of the "History" section of the article? Neither of the two sources cited at the end of that paragraph contain that information, and I have not been able to find any source to verify that claim. Jweiner (talk) 20:54, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't see anything in our sources to the effect that he was a vaudevillian. The Cantor article describes Hoxsey as leaving school after 8th grade and working in the coal mines in Taylorville, IL as well as selling insurance before he began marketing his treatment. I've updated the article accordingly. MastCell Talk 21:23, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
While I believe I was the one who originally added the claim, I cannot locate my original source on the matter. I suspect it may have been some confusion on my part due to Hoxsey's association with Baker, who was a vaudevillian before becoming a radio personality.--RosicrucianTalk 00:15, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
Probably. I've seen some sources which indicate that Baker in particular, and in association with Hoxsey, promoted their treatments at fairs which included vaudeville performances, but that's about the extent of it. MastCell Talk 00:06, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Missing info[edit]

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) has one mention in this article, under Side-effects - "Pokeweed has caused deaths in children." It is not listed with herbs and minerals under Treatment, nor do any of its other common or regional names appear elsewhere. (talk) 23:49, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

The American Cancer Society article referenced mentions Pokeweed (and was one of my main sources when initially writing the article and the accompanying side-effects section). It seems that since that revision a different source has been used to revamp the ingredients under "Treatment".--RosicrucianTalk 00:31, 20 April 2008 (UTC)


OK, this should probably come to the talk page. General Disarray (talk · contribs) has now twice removed this material. I can't quite understand the edit summary, but apparently they feel it is not in the cited source. Here is the relevant paragraph from the cited source:

The Food and Drug Administration, in preparing defense against Hoxsey's litigation, investigated 400 cases of patients claimed by Hoxsey to have been cured of cancer. After review, these patients could be placed in one of three categories: 1) never had pathologic diagnosis of cancer; 2) had cancer, treated appropriately elsewhere, but were afraid of recurrence; or 3) had cancer unresponsive to currently available therapy. No case of a verifiable cure was found. PMID 1585205

Rather than once again removing verifiable information, perhaps General Disarray could explain his/her objection to the citation of this material in this article? MastCell Talk 23:19, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

I believe it's likely that such a source exists and states precisely the quote above, but the link provided states no such thing. A link directly to the page which states this would be appropriate, but as it stands the reference provided points to this page and only states:
"So-called unorthodox methods of cancer treatment are readily available to patients and families. They are frequently claimed to be "harmless" or "nontoxic" or "painless" alternatives to more standard treatment regimens. The Congress of the United States has estimated that $2 billion is spent annually on cancer quackery. Many physicians will be asked by their patients for opinions on such alternative treatment regimens, and the purpose of this review is to provide the practitioner with the basic information necessary to discuss these topics with their patients."
I haven't read the article stated as the source, but was led to believe the link provided linked to the article reference. I take it that's not the case? It would appear that none of the articles which point to the PUBMED archives are contained there; i.e. notes 2,4,6,&7 all point to articles on PUBMED which don't support the statments they're referencing which is frankly quite confusing. Are those the actual articles? The link for note 4 points to a blank page. Can this be remedied?
BTW, these exact same statements about the "400 patients" are repeated again in the "Effectiveness" section. If actually accurate, is it necessary to note the same point twice in teh article? I resolve to remove one of the two. Which shall it be? DisarrayGeneral 04:45, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
The link is to an abstract of the article through PubMed/MEDLINE. The full text of many (most) medical journals is often not freely available. In this case, the full text of the article contains the quote in question. Unfortunately, many reliable sources are not freely available on the Internet, but they remain reliable sources. The PubMed links do not point to "blank pages", but to the article abstracts (summaries) where these are available. As with any reliable source which is not freely available, verification depends largely on obtaining the source from a library or asking someone with access to the source to verify it for you.
I see that you've extensively used Kenny Ausubel's book as a reference to support the treatment's effectiveness. While Ausubel's book is probably a notable source, he is a journalist who wrote a fairly polemical book about the treatment. Our policy on undue weight suggests, to my reading at least, that his opinion as expressed in a book from a small publisher should not really be given equal weight to the views of the Food and Drug Administration, National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and other demonstrably expert, reliable groups.
It is original research to suggest that Frederick Mohs used a paste "identical to Hoxsey's", unless Mohs himself stated that in the source in question. He did not, to my knowledge. Several of Mohs' articles from the 1940's and 1950's on "chemosurgery" are freely available. He describes the paste used, generally, as including dichloroacetate and zinc chloride. The composition of his paste does not appear to be "identical" to Hoxsey's, though of course Hoxsey never actually revealed the makeup of his paste except perhaps under oath in the libel trial. I think Ausubel made this claim in his book; if so, it should be cited to Ausubel's book and it should be made clear exactly who is making this claim. It should not be cited as if Mohs himself indicated he was using a "red paste identical to Hoxsey's" - that's misleading.
You cite a 1994 article from the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine in support of the Hoxsey Therapy's effectiveness. I cannot locate this article; it does not appear on Pubmed, for instance. Highlighting this result from an obscure fringe journal as a counterpoint to the findings of numerous large, respected medical bodies violates WP:WEIGHT.
I've asked for additional output at the fringe theories noticeboard and the Medicine WikiProject to help resolve these issues. MastCell Talk 18:37, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I have to wonder if you've given my edits more than a cursory glance? For one the removal of my contributions to the intro raise questions about your good faith here. From the same source already provided I expanded the point about the effectiveness found in animals,yet you've excised this?
You've basically excised all my contributions with sweeping WP:OR and WP:UNDUE accusations, yet you've also removed WP:V contributions; I've provided the results of the prospective study provide by the University of Texas, and yet it's been removed? Are they also too insignificant in contrast to the AMA to note their published findings? I didn't challenge the AMA's content, but have provided balance where it was sorely lacking from bona fide sources. WP:UNDUE is not a policy, it's a guideline which despite how some feel wasn't established to eradicate all minority opinions from Wiki. The AMA does not own a franchise on this information where verifiable reliable sources contradict their claims.
Note 4 points to a blank page; this was not a figment of my imagination.DisarrayGeneral 19:16, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
What prospective study are you talking about? You replaced an excellent, PubMed-indexed journal article with a webarchived link to an iffy-looking webpage - that's not an improvement in referencing. The UT did conduct a retrospective review of the Hoxsey Therapy - I've added that material here.

I would like to ask you to carefully review what I'm saying instead of reacting defensively. Your comments betray significant confusion about both Wikipedia policy and real-world considerations (i.e. not every journal article is freely available on the Internet). Briefly: WP:UNDUE is a policy (part of WP:NPOV), not a guideline. If you're unclear on this, read it again. Note 4 does not point to a blank page; it is the PubMed reference for a journal article published in 1979. If you, personally, do not have access to this journal article, then that does not magically make it a poor source. Citing the PubMed reference is standard practice on Wikipedia, as a glance at any other medical article or the manual of style will confirm.

I think there's a more basic misunderstanding of "balance". WP:NPOV does not mean that we present equal amounts of "praise" and "criticism". It means that we accurately reflect what experts in a field have to say about a topic. In the case of the Hoxsey Therapy, experts in the field are virtually unanimous in condemning it as ineffective. An article which dilutes that unanimity in the interest of "balance" is not neutral.

I realize the AMA is a convenient boogeyman in many spheres of alternative medicine, but I would ask you to move past that a bit and read the article. It's hardly the AMA's word here. The National Cancer Institue and Food and Drug Administration have looked at this treatment. So has the American Cancer Society and two of the most prominent cancer centers in the world, both of which have departments quite sympathetic to alternative medicine in general. All have reached the same conclusion. Yes, Kenny Ausubel wrote a polemic about Hoxsey, and we can certainly note that, but not out of context.

As to the remainder of my points, you've not addressed them at all in your revert. Does the Mohs reference contain any indication that he used "the same paste as Hoxsey"? If not, you are actively mispresenting it, and I'm asking you, again, to be more careful with your sourcing and less cavalier with this site's policies. MastCell Talk 19:47, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm afraid the talkpage for WP:NPOV regarding the discussions about undue weight will show that it's not as set in stone as you're attempting to portray it here, and that even though the NPOV is a pillar and policy, undue weight is mutable for circumstances and is open to some interpretation. I don't believe I've attempted to give equal consideration to these new contributions or set them as equal to the views of the broader whole. Neither have I in anyway eluded to the AMA as a "boogeyman", so I'll thank you not to make such presumptions.

I apologize for my misunderstanding of the abstracts that those links in the notes point to. I thought those were the articles themselves. Thank you for explaining further. I would like for you to indulge me by clicking on the PMID link for note 5 (not 4); you'll see that it does take you to a blank page.

Obviously we if discussions are to be productive they should focus on content and it's reliability, verifiability, etc., and not on what is or isn't "true". Despite the broader medical communities alleged "unanimous" opinion about this treatment, considerations have been given to it among the alternative medicine community, and likewise warrants mentioning. Regarding my contributions:

  1. The statement I provided for in the intro came straight off of the Overview section of the reference that was already being used.
  2. Duke's statements regarding the anticancer properties of the herbs are from as credible source as exists.
  3. This "iffy-looking webpage" is the University of Texas' summary of Hoxsey; the clinic's own website reflects the same costs whereas the "excellent PUBMED" article contradicts them with inflated numbers. But whichever.
  4. This prospective study warrants inclusion as its the only study that has published any numbers. They're not exactly favorable, and it's the only known study that involves humans. Moreover it's from a reliable source, so why excise it?
  5. The "400 patients" are mentioned in two places in this article: in History and Effectivness. I believe its redundant in Effectiveness. DisarrayGeneral 22:09, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, at least we've moved from "WP:WEIGHT isn't policy" to "WP:WEIGHT isn't set in stone". I'd agree that its implementation is open to discussion.

When you characterize note 5 as a "blank page", it in fact indicates the article title, authors, and publication details, but the abstract and content are not freely available.

As to the specifics:

  1. I think we should limit the quote to discussing the treatment's effectiveness, which after all is in line with the meaning of the ACS article. If you want to preserve the ACS opinion about some herbs having in vitro effects, then to accurately reflect the source it should probably be phrased along the lines of: The American Cancer Society found that while a few of the herbs in the Hoxsey formula have some anticancer activity in animals, "there is no scientific evidence that the Hoxsey herbal treatment is effective in treating cancer, and there have been no clinical trials of the treatment."
  2. Duke is one person whose credentials are entirely unclear. What is his position at the Dept of Agriculture? Does he have some experience in screening or testing biologically active plant substances? Why is his opinion relevant? Citing him, without addressing any of these questions, to "rebut" the ACS, FDA, NCI, etc etc is sort of the definition of undue weight.
  3. If the UT webpage is a great source, why is it on Why not reference the curent page? Why an archived copy? Is there an updated, active page somewhere?
  4. I've already explained my concerns with including a study from a fringe journal with no evidence of medical or scientific impact. That particular study was criticized pretty harshly in the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center review of Hoxsey Therapy, citing "...the obvious flaws of this study - the majority of patients lost to follow-up, lack of access to detailed medical records, and reliance upon patients for disease stage information." ([1]). I'm not comfortable presenting this as a reliable source, particularly not devoid of the above context.
  5. The "400 patients" should be in "Effectiveness", since it directly addresses that issue. A much briefer note could be made in the history section; its relevance there is that the FDA's review was made possible in part by Hoxsey's testimony under oath in the libel trial, and the FDA's findings of lack of efficacy in those 400 patients were a basis for the decision to ban the therapy.
I'm not going to make these changes at present, because there's too much edit-warring going on. I believe you have already broken the three-revert rule; though I'm not going to press it at this point as a courtesy, I'd ask you to stop reverting. These kind of disputes are resolved through discussion between us, or through inviting outside input. I've done the latter, and discussion between us is going to work better if we don't revert back and forth while we talk. MastCell Talk 22:28, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Just as a random comment, if the drug (per the FD&C Act since it intends to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent a disease) was banned in 1960, it was banned for safety concerns and not because it was ineffective. Effectiveness was not required until the 1962 Kefauver Harris Amendment. SDY (talk) 01:04, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Hi, I noticed this dispute through MastCell's post at WP:FTN. I have to agree that in comparison to the AMA, FDA, National Cancer Institute, etc., the New Age Journal, a book published by a press that currently features the Secrets of Antigravity Propulsion, and the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine are not good sources. I would prefer not to include material sourced to such publications at all, but if it is included, it should be contextualized with mainstream criticism such as the piece from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center MastCell quoted above. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:12, 28 August 2008 (UTC)


Having had my attention directed here by MastCell's post to the Fringe Theories noticeboard, I've looked over the article and this talk page, and would like to express a few opinions. First: the Fitzgerald report is absolutely a reputable source. A random piece of testimony to Congress is not a good source in general, but a report prepared at the behest of a Congressional committee by a staffer is as reputable as it gets. Second: I don't have great faith in the Guzley article. I've never heard of that journal (I'm a biologist but not an M.D.), and I note that he has a very limited publication record. I can't look at his paper from home, but I can probably download it when I'm next in the lab -- I want to see what evidence he cites for his statements. Third: most of the changes that General Disarray has made are not good, but they are certainly not vandalism, and it seems to me that there is room for discussion. Also I think one of his changes at least is a positive contribution, namely using the overview of the ACS article instead of a sentence extracted from the body -- I think it would be good to cite the entire overview, though, including, "It is not known if there are harmful effects of the combination of the herbs taken together. The paste made for external application can severely burn, disfigure and scar the skin." Looie496 (talk) 02:21, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

There are two things cited to that paper now, both of which are cited elsewhere in the article by different sources, so it may be reasonable to take it out, but given that there's independent confirmation (FDA on one fact, ACS on the other), I don't see a need. SDY (talk) 03:07, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I would find it helpful if we could get a third-party opinion on MastCells characterization of the alleged undue weight created by my contributions. Duke's one statement about the anitcancer properties of the herbs has been deemed WP:UNDUE; by these standards it appears that nothing challenging the AMA's published statements, whether they're verifiable in reliable sources or not, can be included here. I have provided verifiable reliable sources for EVERY contribution I've made, and EVERY one of them has been challenged based on undue weight, or by questioning the value of the sources themselves. This would appear to be the crux of the challenge we're facing here. DisarrayGeneral 04:14, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
If I'm understanding the situation correctly, Duke's statement appeared in an article by Ken Ausubel, published in the New Age Journal. This does not strike me as the kind of source we should be using for an article about a medical treatment, when we have statements by several different medical and scientific bodies. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:18, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Given that the New Age Journal also publishes things like "21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card" I have substantial doubts that they're a reliable source for medical information. SDY (talk) 05:29, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Also the statement is intrinsically unlikely: herbs are rarely subjected to rigorous tests, because tests cost money and herbs are never money-makers since they can't be patented; also the mix contains a bunch of herbs. Looie496 (talk) 06:11, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, there's also the issue that most herbs vary massively based on biological considerations like growing conditions. The possible variation in active ingredients means that "ten ounces of foo" could be too little for a therapeutic dose, just right, or a massive overdose. There's also a lot of money out there for cancer research because there's money to be made in treating patients (i.e. how Hoxsey himself got rich), so the economic argument is limited. SDY (talk) 14:45, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Looie, if you believe that "herbs are never money-makers", I'd suggest you look at the balance sheets of any large herbal-supplement company. The herbal market in the US was around $4.8 billion in 2007. The best-selling brands of ephedra, for instance, generated hundreds of millions of dollars in yearly sales and rivaled the larger prescription drugs (well, until ephedra was banned for safety reasons). Tests don't get done because there's absolutely no regulatory requirement that safety and efficacy be demonstrated for herbs, not because the money isn't there. MastCell Talk 18:08, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

These discussions are not to decide amongst ourselves what is and isn't true, or "likely", etc: "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth". Duke's statement is one of a half dozen contributions I've provided, all of which provide reference. When called out on the fact that they're verifiable statements the argument shifted to undue weight and questionable sources. I've not suggested this article shouldn't contain material from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, or the ACS; what dictates that they're the final authority on this matter and that opinions that contradict them should be suppressed? A PHD botanist from the USDA's opinion is unwarranted in an article about herbal treatments? I'd like to return to my original question about whether his one statement provides undue weight, for the way I read it the case is thoroughly been addressed regarding the med establishments position; I contend theirs is not the only one worthy of noting. DisarrayGeneral 07:02, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Duke is reputable (although 79 years old now), and there is plenty of information about him. Try a Google search for "Jim Duke ethnobotanist", or look at [2]. The problem is that the statement you're quoting doesn't come from something Duke wrote, it's only something that Ausubel said that Duke told him. The issue is Ausubel's reliability, not Duke's. Looie496 (talk) 07:44, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Or see James A. Duke, for that matter. Looie496 (talk) 07:52, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks - I turned up a lot of James Dukes, so I appreciate you addressing my question about this particular one's notability. I am not suggesting that all non-mainstream views be "suppressed"; however, I am asking for quality sources. I'm asking that we proportionately represent the opinions of experts in the field, which are easily demonstrated. And I'm asking that we accurately reflect our sources - I have in mind the Mohs citations here. MastCell Talk 18:13, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Despite being a civil servant and a field botanist, James A. Duke is author of six items indexed in PubMed:

  1. Kirakosyan A et al. Isoflavone levels in five soy...PMID 16390177
  2. Pettit GR et al. Isolation and structure of gu...PMID 15217278
  3. Lal A et al. Upregulation of isoflavonoids...PMID 12816625
  4. Duke JA. Maytenus: A Folk Medicine....PMID 17838441
  5. Duke JA. Letters to the Editor....PMID 17778151
  6. Duke JA et al. Vietnam Refoliation....PMID 17839044

If there is still doubt re notability and authority, search Science Citation Index. --Una Smith (talk) 02:50, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Interesting. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that I have ≥6 PubMed-indexed articles to my credit (we'll throw in letters to the editor, apparently). And let's say I make a comment in my field of expertise to a journalist, who reproduces it in the New Age Journal. Would that comment be a notable addition to a Wikipedia article on a subject when numerous large, reputable medical bodies have already commented? Actually, that's neither here nor there.

I appreciate the information on James Duke. I've learned something. I'm still not sure of the best way to work in an individual opinion, even from a qualified individual, when it is reported in a low-profile, fringe, borderline-reliable source. Most of the large bodies that have reviewed the data have concluded that some of the Hoxsey herbs have in vitro antitumor activity. Duke's statement, at least as reported by Ausubel in the New Age Journal, is that they "all" do. That seems a bit odd. MastCell Talk 03:19, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Reliable primary source, unreliable secondary source. If we had it "from the horse's mouth" it'd be great, but through the filter of a dubious magazine it's not useful. If we could find the J. Duke comment in another source it'd be great, but I have reservations about the interpreter. SDY (talk) 03:26, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

The statement Ausebel made in his article for New Age Journal were derived from the information contained in his book When Healing Becomes a Crime(Healing Arts Press, 2000). It's disingenuous to suggest we require the only information worthy of note be that which is published in a medical journal. Ausebel's book being labelled "polemic" here is an attempt to dismiss all of it's content, even the like of James Dukes commentary. The commentary provided by Dr. Duke for Ausubel's "polemic" are entirely germane, relevant, and by all account verifiable from a published source. They have every right to be noted. DisarrayGeneral 07:55, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

If there's a more reliable source, let's use it, but just because it's published means little about the reliability of its content. Medical journal is not required, but we definitely want a reputable source of some sort. There are enough reputable sources that talk about herbals in particular and CAM in general that there are relevant experts to consult. Dr. Duke is a good example, but how can we even verify that Ausubel's reporting of what he said is not a gross overstatement or twisting of the facts given the apparent tone of his book? "Healing Arts Press" does not appear to be a reliable publisher, given the comments above on what else they publish. SDY (talk) 17:19, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
From what I can see about the Healing Arts Press from their website and catalog, I would argue that Ausubel's book fails WP:RS. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:30, 30 August 2008 (UTC)


The word "tumor" in the lead is very important. Historically, a tumor was a swelling. A swelling might or might not be a neoplasm. A neoplasm might or might not be a cancer. --Una Smith (talk) 07:42, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Few people other than Celsus would be disturbed by "tumor" being used according to the most common definition in current English usage. Historically, referring to something as "artificial and awful" was a great compliment, not to mention the changes to that three letter word that starts with G. It is neither misleading nor inaccurate in this context. SDY (talk) 16:31, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Hm, I see I didn't get my point across. Sorry. I'll try again. The problem is the first paragraph of the History section, which includes Hoxsey himself traced the treatment to his great-grandfather, who observed a horse with a tumor on its leg cure itself by grazing upon wild plants growing in the meadow. Do you see the logical faults here? Rewrite the above as The horse had a swelling. The horse ate plants. The swelling went away. Ergo, eating the same plants cures cancer. --Una Smith (talk) 02:42, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
In that particular case, it appears that Hoxsey made that exact confusion, but the therapy doesn't claim to reduce swelling. SDY (talk) 02:49, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

OTA report[edit]

I have a couple of concerns with this edit. I still have reservations about quoting Duke, though I agree an "Herbalgram" from the American Botanical Council is a better source than Ausubel's article in the New Age Times. I guess I'm wondering how his personal opinion, expert though he may be, should be weighted with the multiple expert bodies that have reached differing conclusions.

More importantly, the summary of the OTA report leaves something to be desired (incidentally, the relevant text is available here at Quackwatch). Specifically, the edit seems to have carefully combed the OTA report for everything favorable to Hoxsey, while leaving out any caveats from the report.

  • "The OTA, at the request of Congress, was the first Federal agency to review the Hoxsey Therapy." This is just wrong. As we've discussed ad nauseum and as noted in the article, the FDA and NCI both evaluated Hoxsey's treatment long before the OTA. Both the FDA and NCI are federal agencies. (In fact, one might consider them more appropriate evaluators of the efficacy of a medical treatment than the Office of Technology Assessment).
  • The description of Patricia Spain Ward is WP:PEACOCKing
  • "[emphasis added]"? Why did you, the editor, add emphasis to a portion of a quote?
  • You quote the OTA report on the virtues of pokeweed. Interestingly, you left out the OTA's note on its toxicities: "Pokeroot, a reported component of the liquid tonic, contains toxic mitogenic substances (agents that induce cell division and proliferation), and has been linked with poisoning, including some fatal episodes, in children and adults."
  • Many less-than-favorable aspects of the OTA report are omitted from the summary, including that The Bio-Medical Center claims an 80% "cure rate", and blames the supposed 20% failures on the patient's "bad attitude".
  • There is some interesting material on Hoxsey vs. the NCI - the NCI found Hoxsey's records completely unusable, while Hoxsey felt that it was the NCI's responsibility to do the legwork to verify his treatment's effectiveness, and ascribed the failure to do so to a conspiracy.

I'll propose some changes to the article. MastCell Talk 19:03, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

I appreciate the careful consideration given to my contributions; I think the changes you made give a relatively fair treatment to them. I assume you're requesting my input here?

  1. You asked about "The OTA, at the request of Congress, was the first Federal agency to review the Hoxsey Therapy.", and said "this is just plain wrong"? It's word for word straight from the report, so unless you can provide a published statement to prove it's "just plain wrong" your WP:OR is trumped by it's WP:V.
  2. My understanding of the "differing conclusions" from the "expert bodies" is that what they're offering for conclusions fall into different categories. The commentary from Duke's article provides reference for the understanding that botanists have reached regarding the individual herbs in the formula. The FDA and NCI's conclusions about the treatment itself offers no perspective on the value of the herbs themselves.
  3. I never added any emphasis of my own to any quotes; at least not intentionally. What are you referring to?
  4. I never intended on shifting the balance of this article away from the overriding theme that it's quack medicine. I didn't "omit" anything from the OTA report that hasn't already been provided in the article. What I supplied is germane and on-topic, and as the case against Hoxsey has been sufficiently made, adding to that would seem redundant. DisarrayGeneral 22:56, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
I can't find "first Federal agency to review the Hoxsey Therapy" in the OTA report; I scanned the Hoxsey section and tried Ctrl-F as well. Am I missing something? Can you provide a link or some direction to where this was taken "word for word"?

The NCI actually did test and review the value of the herbs themsevles; the OTA report specifically notes: "OTA obtained results of testing for antitumor activity of the constituent Hoxsey herbs used in the internal tonic from NCI's Natural Products Branch." The results of the NCI's testing are given in the OTA report (see the link I provided). In any case, I'm OK with Duke being cited as he is currently if you are.

Part of the material you added in this edit quotes Patricia Spain Ward and states "[emphasis added]". (If you pull up the diff and use Ctrl-F, you'll see it). I don't understand who added the emphasis - did you add it, or did you cut-and-paste the report from another website which added its own emphasis?

I think the general concern I had was that the OTA report was being mined for favorable information to "counterbalance" the negative evaluations by other bodies. Instead of looking to accentuate the positive, I think we should just represent what the report has to say, positive or negative. What I took away, anyway, was that the OTA was high on the in vitro antitumor effects of many of the herbs, but noted the lack of animal or clinical testing. MastCell Talk 23:19, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Lead adjustment and reasonable parent article alternative cancer treatments[edit]

In this edit, MastCell removed the link to alternative cancer treatments from the lead (now it is nowhere in the article). Why? It's an article which is likely to attract interest from the people who are reading this and it's a reasonable article to use in the lead. II | (t - c) 06:56, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't have anything against the parent article. I can't remember exactly why I removed the link, but using forensic techniques to reconstruct my reasoning, I think it was probably just that the wording was redundant ("alternative medical therapy" in the first sentence, "alternative cancer treatment" in the second). I'd be fine with re-linking the article on alternative cancer therapies in the lead - ideally we can just tweak the wording so it reads well. MastCell Talk 19:29, 6 December 2010 (UTC)


For what it's worth, I just want to cast my vote that deleting factual information from Wikipedia pertaining to Harry Hoxsey and his herbal cancer treatment is an abuse of censorship which would diminish resources available for those seeking to understand the truth behind a demonized man. Suffering cancer patients deserve to have information made available to them so that they can decide for themselves how they feel about the validity of issues involved based on factual relevant information. Even if the determinations drawn from such information are controversial, this does not legitimize the exclusion of facts. Readers should be allowed to draw their own conclusions. --sloth_monkey 19:09, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

I don't think we serve cancer patients - or anyone, for that matter - by presenting them with misleading information under the guise of avoiding "censorship". Removing or editing misleading material is not "censorship" - it's a fundamental part of creating a serious, respectable reference work. In terms of specifics, what "factual relevant information" do you think should be restored to the article? MastCell Talk 20:14, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

¶ I am astonished, almost beyond words, to find that the Hoxsey "treatment" - a form of quackery which had some traction more than 60 years ago when there was virtually no effective cure for cancer - still has its supporters. Sussmanbern (talk) 14:04, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Do I have the wrong information?[edit]

I am given to understand that Hoxsey sued Morris Fishbein (editor of the JAMA who accused Hoxsey of quackery) and won. During the course of this suit Fishbein was compelled to admit that the Hoxsey treatment worked on skin cancer. There seem to be photocopies of newspapers that back this information up. Are these newspapers photoshopped? Did Hoxsey not win this suit? Why would this major event not be included in the Wikipedia page? (talk) 21:11, 9 July 2016 (UTC)