• 23 MAY 17
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    Off topic: Cancer treatment hype gives false hope to many patients

    From USA TODAY via Iris Atzmon

    April 27, 2017

    Excerpt

    After Michael Uvanni’s older brother, James, was diagnosed with a deadly form of skin cancer, it seemed as if everyone told the family what they wanted to hear: Have hope. You can beat this, and we are here to help.

    The brothers met with doctors at a half-dozen of the country’s best hospitals, all with impressive credentials that inspired confidence.

    Michael Uvanni was in awe when he visited the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, one of the world’s most respected cancer hospitals. It was like seeing the Grand Canyon, said Uvanni, 66, of Rome, N.Y. “You never get used to the size and scope.”

    Even the MD Anderson logo on buses and buildings — with “Cancer” crossed out in red, above the words “Making cancer history” — made the family’s battle seem winnable.

    “I thought they were going to save him,” said Uvanni, an interior designer.

    Patients and families are bombarded with the news that the country is winning the war against cancer. The news media hypes research results to attract readers. Drug companies promise “a chance to live longer” to boost sales. Hospitals woo paying customers with ads that appeal to patients’ fears and hopes.

    “I’m starting to hear more and more that we are better than I think we really are,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society. “We’re starting to believe our own bullshit.”

    The consequences are real — and they can be deadly. Patients and their families have bought into treatments that either don’t work, cost a fortune or cause life-threatening side effects.

    “We have a lot of patients who spend their families into bankruptcy getting a hyped therapy that (many) know is worthless,” Brawley said. Some choose a medicine that “has a lot of hype around it and unfortunately lose their chance for a cure.” SNIP

    Read the full article, with many links here

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