Jessica Ainscough is Going to Die

January 28th, 2012
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Jessica Ainscough is a model and fashion writer turned “wellness warrior.” She’s an Australian media personality who, in 2008, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that is slow growing but extremely prone to spreading and which doctors recommended be treated by amputating an arm, where the tumor was located. It’s understandable that someone would want to avoid such radical and disfiguring surgery, but for this type of cancer, such extreme measures provide the best long term prognosis. Ainscough elected to have intensive local chemotherapy instead, which eventually did eliminate all detectable cancer. Sadly, it recurred about a year later, as this type of cancer often does. At that point, her doctors advised her that amputation was the best option for treatment.

The story might have ended there and been the sad tale of a young lady who lost an arm to cancer. However, due to her poor choices, the story is much much sadder. Ms. Ainscough decided to decline further treatment. She instead opted for an organic diet, coffee enemas and various detoxification rituals. She believes she is “healing” her cancer and that this is an example of her taking responsibility and doing the right thing.

Ms. Ainscough looks pretty good and, according to her, she feels pretty good. That’s actually not too surprising. The cancer has invaded her soft tissues and is growing and spreading, but, at least from the sound of it, it has not become debilitating just yet. The sad thing is Ms. Ainscough seems to be very confident she is getting better because she lacks the most basic understanding of what the condition is and how it needs to be treated. It’s certainly true that surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are damaging, but that’s because they have to be. Cancer cannot be “healed.” It must be killed. Cancerous cells are damaged cells of ones own body, which grow out of control, due to a breakdown in the function of the mechanisms that control cellular growth. Cancer is a problem inherent to animal cell biology, it can happen in anyone, for any number of reasons, but usually with no single attributable cause, and when it does, the only way it can be cured is by destroying the cancerous cells.

Ms. Ainscough’s complete lack of even the most basic understanding of how cancer is treated is apparent in some of her statements, such as this one:

Drugs do not cure cancer. They just don’t. Every now and then, chemotherapy and radiation treatments may put a patient into “remission”, but this is not truly healing. This is certainly not a cure. Why? Because cancer is so much more than the tumour it shows up as. The tumours are merely the symptoms. And when you just target the symptom without dealing with the root cause, the disease is going to keep showing up. You can chase the disease around your body with surgery and radiation, and you can douse it with toxic chemicals, but this is not an effective long-term solution. This is why you here so often of people whose “cancer came back”. They didn’t do the work to truly reverse their disease. Cancer is nothing more than your body telling you that something has got to give. It is the result of a breakdown in your body’s defenses after it has endured years of abuse in the form of a toxic diet, toxic mind and toxic environment.

No. That’s not it at all. The tumors are the problem. The tumors are composed of the cancerous cells that are the root of the problem and the reason it often comes back is that it’s so damn hard to get every one of those cells, especially when they start spreading to different areas of the body. While cancer can be the result of carcinogenic chemicals, it can also be caused by heredity or by the random degradation of genetic material that happens as a result of cellular respiration.

Let me be blunt about the sad truth here. Jess Ainscough is going to die. I don’t mean in fifty years either. The cancer she has now is going to kill her. It’s too late for her to have a good prognosis, and if she continues without treatment, then the already poor odds are going to get worse. She may feel okay for the time being, but she will die. Her only hope is spontaneous remission, which in this kind of cancer is all but unheard of.

I should note that I am not a doctor and I do not have access to Ms. Ainscough’s complete medical information. However, what I do know is that she claims to have been diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma. If this is indeed true (and if it’s a lie then she’s downright evil), and if she is not receiving treatment by surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, then the cancer can be expected to be fatal. This has been confirmed by experts I have consulted before writing this. As one put it “Not treating epithelioid sarcoma is suicidal.”

The thing that really bothers me, however, is that she is working very hard to put out the message that her non-treatment is working and is the best course of action. She’s been embraced by the media and this idiocy could easily kill others who buy into it.

Via Dolly:

“I’m healing myself from cancer naturally”

In 2008, when I was 22 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called epithelioid sarcoma in my left hand and arm.

I was living in Sydney at the time and working as the online editor for DOLLY magazine. I was living an ideal life for someone in their early twenties – burning the candle at both ends, paying no attention to how my actions could affect my health, but having a whole lot of fun while I was at it.

Everything was going exactly according to my life plan. Or so I thought.

On the 24th of April, 2008 I went to see my hand surgeon to have a cast removed, following an operation I had to biopsy some lumps that had been popping up all over my left hand and arm.

After taking the cast off, my doctor told me the news that would change my life in too many ways to predict. He said that I had cancer, and that the type of cancer I have is so rare that not many doctors know how to treat it.

Epithelioid sarcoma doesn’t respond to chemotherapy or radiation, and my only chance of prolonging my survival would be to have my arm amputated at the shoulder. But essentially, my condition was incurable.

None of this made any sense to me. I felt so healthy, and I looked healthy. I could not understand how my life had come down to a decision about whether to have my whole, fully functioning arm chopped off.

After so much anguish and being given no other options, I signed the papers and arranged to have the amputation. However, Baby Jesus, Buddha, Elvis – or whoever is up there – must have been looking out for me, because two days before I was due to have the operation, my medical team came to me with an alternative option.

They wanted to tie a tourniquet around my armpit so that an extremely high dose of chemotherapy drugs could be pumped through my arm. I spent eight days in hospital having the treatment, then a week at home recovering.

Following scans showed I was clear of cancer, but in 2009 – not even a year after going into remission – the cancer was back.

This time I was told that my only real chance of prolonging my survival would be to have my arm amputated at the shoulder, but that this would just be biding me time. My case was regarded as terminal.

Deciding this was not good enough, I took matters into my own hands. I refused their offers and began searching for natural, alternative cancer treatments.

The way I saw it I had two choices. I could let them chase the disease around my body until there was nothing left of me to cut, zap or poison; or I could take responsibility for my illness and bring my body to optimum health so that it can heal itself. For me it was an easy decision.

I began looking at the different ways I may have contributed to the manifestation of my disease and then stopped doing them.

I swapped a lifestyle of late nights, cocktails and Lean Cuisines for carrot juice, coffee enemas and meditation and became an active participant in my treatment.

This research led me to Gerson Therapy which ensures you have a perfectly balanced diet for optimum health, assisting your body to flush out nasties whilst feeding it with all the goodness it needs to flourish.

Epithelioid sarcoma is a relatively rare type of cancer of the soft tissues. It usually occurs in the extremities and is most common in young adults. The tumors are slow growing, but have an extremely high rate of recurrence. Whenever possible they are best treated by surgical removal. As with most cancers, the earlier the tumor is removed, the better and the lesser the chances of recurrence, but even when the entire tumor can be removed, it frequently recurs. Up to 77% of patients will have the cancer reoccur after it has been removed.

Amputation would seem to be an extreme step to take, but in the case of Epitheloid Sarcoma, it is often the recommended treatment that offers the greatest probability of long term survival. The cancer is prone to metastasis early in its development, which is what makes it so difficult to treat and necessitates radical surgery as the best means of avoiding recurrence. The cancer is most prone to “local metastasis” which is why operations to remove only the tumor are frequently unsuccessful. Operations to remove larger areas of tissue or amputate the entire limb have a much higher success rate. It’s hard to gauge the exact success rate because it depends very heavily on how early the cancer is caught and to what degree it has spread. If the entire region of the cancer is removed, metastasis is only 30%. Therefore, while amputation of a cancerous limb does not guarantee that the cancer is cured, but it offers the best chance for doing so. Even despite the disfigurement and lack of function, it is generally advised that such radical surgery be the primary means of treatment.

The condition becomes extremely difficult to successfully treat once it has begun to spread to more distant areas of the body. It does not respond well to chemotherapy some chemotherapy drugs do appear to have effect on large tumors, but the data is inconclusive due to lack of peer reviewed studies evaluating long term survival. Radiation, though helpful for local occurrences, is of limited value once the cancer begins to spread to multiple areas of the body. In some cases, aggressive radiation therapy does stack up favorably to amputation and therefore may allow for retention of a limb while still providing a similar success rates. Surgical removal of the tumor combined with radiation therapy in the area of the tumor is another option which offers relatively good success with the ability to retain the limb.

The fact that this type of cancer is not common makes it difficult to get good statistical data on the success rates of different treatment regimes. With aggressive treatment by surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, the overall success rate is, sadly, only lackluster. About 42-55% of patients treated will survive ten years or more, which is generally considered the benchmark for being “cured.” Ms. Ainscough, however, would have had better than average odds of survival, given her demographic. Women tend to have better survival rates than men, and younger patients tend to have better survival rates than older ones. In more favorable cases, the rate of successful treatment can be as high 80%.

It’s hard to tell what Ms. Ainscough’s prognosis would be, but it appears it would have been pretty good, based on her age, gender and general health. With aggressive treatment, she had a very good shot at beating the cancer, even if it may have cost her an arm. Regardless of her ultimate outcome, treatment could certainly offer Ms. Ainscough a longer life, even if it were not ultimately successful. In all likelihood, the aggressive chemotherapy she had early on has given her at least a year or more extra to live.

Unfortunately, it’s now probably too late. I asked a doctor about what would be recommended now, and he said it might be amputation, if the cancer is completely or at least mostly in one arm, but if it’s spread further, amputating the arm would not provide much benefit. If the cancer has moved beyond her arm, which it probably has, then there’s very little hope of a successful outcome. Once the cancer has reached widespread distribution, the likelihood of long term survival is small, although it is not impossible. Even if treatment could still result in a favorable outcome, it appears that Ms. Ainscough is not open to the possibility of reconsidering mainstream medicine.

The progress of this type of cancer is usually slow. Since it primarily affects soft tissues, it may be grow and spread for quite some time before presenting serious symptoms or life threatening complications. Soft tumors develop around the body, mainly in the deep subcutaneous tissues. They are slow growing and may or may not result in noticeable tenderness or discomfort. It can, in some cases, result in surface ulcers. The slow but aggressive cancer will eventually begin to impair normal functions as it invades lymph nodes and structures like the abdominal wall.

It can take some time for this form of cancer to become debilitating and even longer for it to kill. The most common way that this cancer kills is by infesting the lungs. It may take some time, but eventually the cancer will begin to impair lung function. Palative care may include supplimental oxygen, which can allow patients to live a bit longer, even as their lung function declines. Ultimately, this is the manner in which epithelioid sarcoma kills.

I really do not take any delight in saying this, but based on all the research I have done and the opinion of doctors in the field, if Jess Ainscough really does have epithelioid sarcoma and is not having it treated then she will almost certainly die in the near future. She may continue in relative comfort and appear healthy for the time being, but the cancer is only going to get worse. She will begin to suffer progressively worse symptoms and will die, although it may take anywhere from a few months to a few years for it to happen. She has missed the opportunity to have a reasonably good prognosis. If she were to start treatment now, her likelihood of living a full life would be low, but if she continues to forgo treatment, it will be even worse.

I really find it extremely sad. Ms. Ainscough is a twenty six year old lady who may be naive and has been very quick to embrace alternative medicine as a cure for a disease she seems to have no understanding of, but being naive hardly is grounds for a death sentence. Sadly it does not look like she is going to make it to thirty.

Now this is really going to sound terribly cold, but considering she is going to die and there’s not much to be done about that, part of me hopes it happens soon, because has long as she is alive (which isn’t going to be a whole lot longer, no matter how you look at it), she’s spreading this deadly misinformation. Maybe once she dies, her tragic case will make others wake up and realize they need to get their condition treated.

The ones who really should have to answer for this disgrace is not so much Ms. Ainscough, who is as much a victim as anything else. This poor woman is dying and does not even know it, because charlatans exploited her ignorance and lack of blind trust. Media outlets have given her a platform to spread it even further. In the end, she’ll be the dead one and they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

Unless she’s lying about having this condition, in which case she’s just plain evil.

Finally, in a highly unusual step, I wrote to Ms. Ainscough:

Dear Miss Aincough,

I am writing you because I have read your posts and articles about your battle with cancer and the actions you have taken to try to treat your condition. I am sure that you firmly believe that you are getting better and that you are doing the right thing to improve your health. You may even feel better and perfectly healthy at the moment. However, you have been had. You are taking advice from people who have no idea what they are talking about. If you continue to do so, it will likely kill you.

I am not a doctor, but I know when a doctor should be consulted and being diagnosed with cancer is most certainly a time when you need a doctor. Having read your accounts, I can understand why you feel they are not giving you the answers or advice you are looking for. The modern healthcare system often bounces patients between white coat-clad professionals who do extremely cold and clinical assessments and seem to take little interest in personal wellness. This is a symptom of doctors needing to treat many people and being forced to work within constraints. It’s a heavily regulated and impersonal system. That does not, however, mean they don’t know what they are talking about.

The doctors who treat cancer understand it very well. They have spent years studying it on a biochemical level, a microscopic level and on a whole-body level. They know how it works, how it progresses and how different chemicals interact with the cancer cells. Becoming a doctor is not easy and you’ll generally find doctors to be very smart people.

Despite what you might have heard, doctors are not in it just for money. Sure, a career in medicine pays pretty well, but it’s not as simple as that. Medical school is long, hard and expensive. Doctors have to spend years in low paying residency before they ever get the chance to make good money, and even then the salaries doctors get are good, but they’re not usually enough to become extremely rich – usually just upper middle class. They have to worry about things like malpractice and may be forced to be on call at odd hours. If a person only wants money, they’ll go into finance or become a lawyer. Doctors, on the other hand, may make good pay, but they are also motivated by the desire to help and the challenge of things.

I don’t think anyone is going to deny that cancer is a tough thing to treat. It’s not as simple as nutrition, and if it was, we would not be spending billions a year working on improving treatment. Cancer is a problem inherent to animal cells. Sometimes they break down and start to divide out of control. When this happens, there’s usually no attributable cause. It’s not your body reacting to something, but just a random error that causes the body to attack itself. This is why it’s so hard to treat and why the treatment can be so difficult.

I realize that losing an arm is something that anyone would want to avoid. Being young and healthy and suddenly hearing you’ve got to have your arm amputated to avoid dying from cancer must be a huge shock. However, I assure you that no competition medical professional would ever recommend such a thing unless they thought it was absolutely necessary and even then, they don’t take it lightly.

The reason you have heard things that you do not want to hear from doctors is that they are required by the ethics of their profession to be truthful. When they said you had to have an arm removed and that it would not guarantee that it would successfully stop the cancer, they were telling you the cold hard truth. When they say the disease could kill you and they can’t be sure they’ll be able to stop you, they are telling you the truth. It’s not the reality you want or they want, but it’s just the way things are. Those who tell you to drink juice and have coffee enemas can tell you much more positive and desirable things. They can tell you that you are being cured and will live a long healthy life with both arms and no cancer. They can tell you this because they lie.

One thing that is universal with cancer treatment is that it always is always more effective when started early. You have already waited some time and therefore, your odds of success are now lower than they had been. They are not zero and if you start treatment now, you have a fighting chance of beating the disease. If you want until tomorrow, they will be worse. The longer you wait, the worse the odds get.

I really do not expect you to listen to this, because I’m sure you have heard this all before, but I still felt ethically obligated to at least try.

Please consider seeking real medical treatment or you will almost certainly die. If you get treatment now, you might have a chance.

Regards,
Steve Packard

UPDATE:  SHE DIED ON FEBRUARY 26, 2015.

It took about 3 years from the time this was published and seven years since the first diagnosis.  That is roughly the time that one would have expected.   She was 30 years old.  Her loss is very sad.


This entry was posted on Saturday, January 28th, 2012 at 11:18 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Quackery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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290 Responses to “Jessica Ainscough is Going to Die”

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  1. 1
    DV82XL Says:

    Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens

    I am going to guess that with her good looks, and the obvious poise that comes from being a model, Jessica Ainscough has up to this point, led a charmed life. No doubt she has encountered very little resistance to getting what she wanted, and has come to believe that the rules that apply to everyone else, don’t apply to her. While it is very sad to see a beautiful young person cut down in their prime, she has no business using her position as a bully-pulpit for this sort of nonsense, and in my opinion, should be left to pay the price, very publicly, for her stupidity.

    Call me cruel and cynical if you wish, but I doubt if anyone would give a damn if she wasn’t a blond, blue-eyed babe.


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  2. 2
    Russ Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Call me cruel and cynical if you wish, but I doubt if anyone would give a damn if she wasn’t a blond, blue-eyed babe.

    Maybe, but that might just mean that people should care more about those who are not young and beautiful.

    I don’t think she’s evil or immoral. She is only stupid. She is using her position as a bully pulpit because she is a moron. She knows no better.

    I know some stupid people. Nice, good, well meaning people, but stupid. I don’t think they deserve to die for it. Is it a capital offense to be stupid?

    How long do you think she has, btw?


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  3. 3
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Russ said:

    Maybe, but that might just mean that people should care more about those who are not young and beautiful.

    I don’t think she’s evil or immoral. She is only stupid. She is using her position as a bully pulpit because she is a moron. She knows no better.

    I know some stupid people. Nice, good, well meaning people, but stupid.

    I don’t think they deserve to die for it.

    Is it a capital offense to be stupid?

    It’s not about fairness. Life is unfair. That is rule one. Bad things happen to good people etc.

    There is no judge and jury here. There is only nature and nature is a bitch.

    Sometimes stupid people do well because of dumb luck. There are no shortage of people who are idiots and don’t know their ass from their elbow but because they were lucky enough to be healthy and good looking and never be faced with a hard decision, they do well.

            Russ said:

    How long do you think she has, btw?

    That is just impossible to say. Not even a competition doctor will be able to tell you without a full medical history and exam of her. We only know the basics and therefore can’t say how long she might have with any certainty at all.

    The best that can be done is compare her to the statistics for this condition. Based on that it can be determined that she might have a while. This cancer is slow moving. It is aggressive in how it spreads, but the tumors develop slowly.

    My understanding, from what I have been told, is that it’s a matter of time before it invades a life critical structure, which is usually the lungs. There’s no way of knowing how long that will be. It might already have invaded the lungs. If it has, then it only matters how long before it grows to the point of restricting breathing.

    Like I said, there’s no way to know this based on the scant information. It could be months. It could be years, but it won’t be decades. Untreated, that’s how this cancer will progress. She might well feel relatively okay until very close to the end.

    A prognosis that can actually give her expected time would require a full physical exam and evaluation. She has said she has not had one in more than a year, so the information is not there.


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  4. 4
    Bob Applebaum Says:

    One shouldn’t confuse intelligence with delusion. Intelligent people can be delusional. Steve Jobs took the pseudo-medicine path for some time while dealing with his pancreatic cancer. If he is “stupid” than we all are.

    On another blog, DV82XL offered a delusion that the health physics community is holding the billion dollar nuclear industry (a major employer with billions of dollars at their disposal) hostage with inappropriate radiation regulations. Note that the regulations are usually derived from studies done by epidemiologists and biologists, not health physicists. This is on a par with anti-medicine delusions about doctors in it for the money. Radiation is a weak carcinogen.

    Ainscough is correct to the extent that there are environmental factors that can increase our risk of cancer and these should be avoided. One should do that before being diagnosed with cancer, not wait until one has it.

    In that spirit, here’s a good PSA on melanoma, which is somewhat relevant:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4jgUcxMezM


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  5. 5
    DV82XL Says:

    @Applebaum

    If you think I am going to rise to the bait and let you hijack this thread to your own ends, you are sorely mistaken. That topic can be discussed elsewhere, on a thread where it is germane, and still open.

    Anyway, you might find less sympathy for your position here than you seem to expect.


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  6. 6
    Anon Says:

    Yes I believe http://depletedcranium.com/new-data-on-low-dose-radiation/ would be an appropriate place to have a discussion of the LNT delusion, not here.

            DV82XL said:

    she has no business using her position as a bully-pulpit for this sort of nonsense, and in my opinion, should be left to pay the price, very publicly, for her stupidity.

    The media will probably barely notice when she does die.

            DV82XL said:

    Call me cruel and cynical if you wish, but I doubt if anyone would give a damn if she wasn’t a blond, blue-eyed babe.

    Steve Jobs wasn’t a blond, blue-eyed babe and people did seem to give a damn about him.

    But I’ll still mostly agree (and she was apparently working at a magazine so likely already had media contacts).


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  7. 7
    Bob Applebaum Says:

            DV82XL said:

    @Applebaum

    If you think I am going to rise to the bait and let you hijack this thread to your own ends, you are sorely mistaken. That topic can be discussed elsewhere, on a thread where it is germane, and still open.

    Anyway, you might find less sympathy for your position here than you seem to expect.

    I’m not hijacking the thread. I’m pointing out that intelligent people (and I include you) can fall victim to delusions. You referred to a “priesthood” regarding health physicists. That is delusion-speak. The anti-medical folks use the same sort of language in regards to doctors. Hang out with climate change deniers, evolutionary biology deniers, etc. and you get the same rhetoric.

    There are underlying factors (fears, agendas, etc.) that have led Ainscough to dump science in regards to her ailment. That doesn’t make her stupid. Steve Jobs wasn’t stupid, but he had his underlying factors for dumping science. The head of the NIH believes in zombies, but he’s not stupid.

    P.S. I’m not expecting sympathy. But logical consistency would be refreshing.


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  8. 8
    DV82XL Says:

    You are grossly misstating my position in this matter, (which doesn’t surprise me) by selectively misquoting what I wrote elsewhere out of context.

    One can also make the point that clinging to a thoroughly discredited idea in the face of mounting scientific evidence that it is in error, and defending it by continually referring to one document, has all of the signs of delusional behavior as well, of the sort found mostly in religious fundamentalists.

    By the way: “Stupid is as stupid does.” Jobs acted stupidly and Ainscough is acting stupidly. Otherwise intelligent people have been known to do that, but their intelligence does not forgive this type of behavior; quite the opposite. And when they are in the public eye, their actions are even more reprehensible, as others might follow.


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  9. 9
    Bob Applebaum Says:

            DV82XL said:

    You are grossly misstating my position in this matter, (which doesn’t surprise me) by selectively misquoting what I wrote elsewhere out of context.

    One can also make the point that clinging to a thoroughly discredited idea in the face of mounting scientific evidence that it is in error, and defending it by continually referring to one document, has all of the signs of delusional behavior as well, of the sort found mostly in religious fundamentalists.

    By the way: “Stupid is as stupid does.” Jobs acted stupidly and Ainscough is acting stupidly. Otherwise intelligent people have been known to do that, but their intelligence does not forgive this type of behavior; quite the opposite. And when they are in the public eye, their actions are even more reprehensible, as others might follow.

    That comment was comment 10 within the link found in comment 6 above. You said:

    “For those that don’t know. ‘No Threshold’ Bob is a turf-guarding defender of LNT as it is the only justification for the radiation protection priesthood that he belongs to. You see without the bogyman of LNT, industrial radiation safety could be handled by any competent industrial hygienist/safety officer as part of their regular duties. Only by keeping radiation as a scary special item, can the whole profession of radiation specialists be justified.”

    That is delusion-speak.


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  10. 10
    BMS Says:

            Bob Applebaum said:

    I’m not hijacking the thread.

    I call BS on that. You’re not only trying to hijack this thread and steer it to your one favorite topic, but you’re even dragging fights from “another blog” into this forum.

    If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about “sympathy.” I’d worry about being run out on a rail.

    If all you have to bring to this blog is petty, personal grudges and childish complaints about “deniers,” then I suggest that you go elsewhere. So far, your contributions are unimpressive and unwelcome.


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  11. 11
    DV82XL Says:

            Bob Applebaum said:

    That is delusion-speak.

    No, that is a description of someone who is guarding his turf. I saw this sort of behavior before when deregulation started in aviation. The same sort of clinging to outdated standards, the same claims that everyone else was in error by agreeing to seeing them relaxed, everything you are doing, the whole nine yards. They were wrong then and you are wrong now, the difference being is that they couldn’t motivate the public to support them with scare stories. Apparently cheap tickets were seen as a good trade-off for a perfect system.

    This has yet to happen with nuclear because electrical energy is still relativity inexpensive, but this will change and you and what you represent will be swept into the dustbin of history. The only one clinging to a delusion here is you.


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  12. 12
    DV82XL Says:

            BMS said:

    If all you have to bring to this blog is petty, personal grudges and childish complaints about “deniers,” then I suggest that you go elsewhere. So far, your contributions are unimpressive and unwelcome.

    Agreed. I will not respond to this person again here.


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  13. 13
    Anon Says:

            DV82XL said:

    No, that is a description of someone who is guarding his turf. I saw this sort of behavior before when deregulation started in aviation. The same sort of clinging to outdated standards, the same claims that everyone else was in error by agreeing to seeing them relaxed, everything you are doing, the whole nine yards. They were wrong then and you are wrong now, the difference being is that they couldn’t motivate the public to support them with scare stories. Apparently cheap tickets were seen as a good trade-off for a perfect system.

    I know it’s off-topic but just out of interest how much did safety regulations actually get relaxed there anyway? I know about ETOPS but how much else changed from a safety point of view?

            DV82XL said:

    This has yet to happen with nuclear because electrical energy is still relativity inexpensive, but this will change and you and what you represent will be swept into the dustbin of history. The only one clinging to a delusion here is you.

    Of course even if LNT were true we’d still have very good arguments for relaxing the safety standards in the nuclear industry.


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  14. 14
    Lucario Says:

    I think what Mr. Applebaum was trying to say in his original post was that otherwise-intelligent people can make stupid decisions. Heck, everybody does stupid things once in awhile. I think his using the word “delusional” was a little too strong for what he was describing.


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  15. 15
    Bob Applebaum Says:

    In this post Ainscough is anti-science on cancer treatment.

    One commenter (more???) on this post is anti-science on an aspect of cancer prevention.

    Steve realizes the dangers of pseudo-treatments and was compelled to write a letter. I would approach the issue with equal fervor. Great letter!

    I realize the dangers associated with the pseudo-science associated with cancer prevention too and I’ve written about it elsewhere. I only mentioned it in passing above, because of the irony of DV82XL criticizing Ainscough, and someone else referring to her as stupid. I also mentioned Jobs’ cancer and melanoma as asides, but these were not percieved as “hijacks” because they didn’t strike an ideological nerve.

    But I do understand about “running someone out on a rail”…that’s how those promoting science have been treated since at least Galileo.


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  16. 16
    Bob Applebaum Says:

            Lucario said:

    I think what Mr. Applebaum was trying to say in his original post was that otherwise-intelligent people can make stupid decisions. Heck, everybody does stupid things once in awhile. I think his using the word “delusional” was a little too strong for what he was describing.

    No…everyone is delusional on certain topics and everyone does make stupid decisions at different times.

    Without parsing to a hair’s width….a delusion is usually the result of bias or emotional commitment to something. In the case of Ainscough it may be the emotional fear of disfigurement (amputation, hair falling out, etc.). The delusion causes her to do things which we perceive as being stupid because we don’t suffer the delusion on that topic.


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  17. 17
    Anon Says:

            Bob Applebaum said:

    One commenter (more???) on this post is anti-science on an aspect of cancer prevention.

    That person may very well be you.

            Bob Applebaum said:

    I also mentioned Jobs’ cancer and melanoma as asides, but these were not percieved as “hijacks” because they didn’t strike an ideological nerve.

    Or because they were actually somewhat relevant to this topic.

            Bob Applebaum said:

    But I do understand about “running someone out on a rail”…that’s how those promoting science have been treated since at least Galileo.

    Ah yes, standard retort of a crank (for every Galileo there are thousands of Gene Rays).


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  18. 18
    DV82XL Says:

            Anon said:

    I know it’s off-topic but just out of interest how much did safety regulations actually get relaxed there anyway? I know about ETOPS but how much else changed from a safety point of view?.

    It is off-topic. Write me at dv82xl@gmail.com and we can discuss this privately.


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  19. 19
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Bob Applebaum said:

    One shouldn’t confuse intelligence with delusion. Intelligent people can be delusional. Steve Jobs took the pseudo-medicine path for some time while dealing with his pancreatic cancer. If he is “stupid” than we all are.

    Point taken. I’ve made stupid decisions too. Granted, not *this* stupid. Steve Jobs also made a stupid decision, although he certainly did not stand by it for as long.

    But the point is valid: you do not have to be a complete idiot in all respects to be deluded into making a stupid, even deadly decision.

            Bob Applebaum said:

    On another blog, DV82XL offered a delusion that the health physics community is holding the billion dollar nuclear industry (a major employer with billions of dollars at their disposal) hostage with inappropriate radiation regulations. Note that the regulations are usually derived from studies done by epidemiologists and biologists, not health physicists. This is on a par with anti-medicine delusions about doctors in it for the money.

    Radiation is a weak carcinogen.

    Ainscough is correct to the extent that there are environmental factors that can increase our risk of cancer and these should be avoided. One should do that before being diagnosed with cancer, not wait until one has it.

    In that spirit, here’s a good PSA on melanoma, which is somewhat relevant:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4jgUcxMezM

    For future reference: while the conversation may evolve a bit, blatant attempts to move it toward other topics that are totally unrelated or to insight arguments with other commenter shall hence forth be regarded as spam.

    LNT and the carcinogenic effects of radiation is a topic that is entirely valid for debate and it should be debated. It’s an area where, admittedly, not all scientific bodies see eye to eye. I understand that spirited debates can inflame passions and that can sometimes end up with name calling. I’ll cut some slack there, but please keep it in the appropriate thread.


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  20. 20
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Anon said:

    I know it’s off-topic but just out of interest how much did safety regulations actually get relaxed there anyway? I know about ETOPS but how much else changed from a safety point of view?

    Well, actually it has to do with gaining experience and establishing the reliability of turbine engines and evaluating the risk associated…..

    Wait

    What the hell…

    How did we just get from a woman in Australia giving herself coffee enemas for cancer to the regulations on the distances between diversion airfields for twin engine jets?

    Yeah, I’m thinking that’s a little off topic.


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  21. 21
    DV82XL Says:

    To try and bring these divergent ideas back to the general thrust of the leading topic we should consider the fact that there are those that will ignore evidence that is contrary to their own particular world view, even if in doing so they will damage themselves or their actions will have broad reaching impacts for others. This holds true regardless if the individual is convinced that alternatives exist where there is no proof that there are, and it holds equally as true for those that cling to old concepts in the face of new facts or new realities.

    Ultimately these people are wrong because reality always bats last. It is this that is at the root of their delusion: somehow this rule won’t apply to them. The list of these nit-wits is endless, and is basically the source for the material that Steve draws on for these pages. The real trouble comes when these same idiots demand that the rest of us follow them in to the pit that they have dug, and unfortunately, examples abound where they have been successful to one degree or another.


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  22. 22
    drbuzz0 Says:

            DV82XL said:

    To try and bring these divergent ideas back to the general thrust of the leading topic we should consider the fact that there are those that will ignore evidence that is contrary to their own particular world view, even if in doing so they will damage themselves or their actions will have broad reaching impacts for others. This holds true regardless if the individual is convinced that alternatives exist where there is no proof that there are, and it holds equally as true for those that cling to old concepts in the face of new facts or new realities.

    Ultimately these people are wrong because reality always bats last. It is this that is at the root of their delusion: somehow this rule won’t apply to them. The list of these nit-wits is endless, and is basically the source for the material that Steve draws on for these pages. The real trouble comes when these same idiots demand that the rest of us follow them in to the pit that they have dug, and unfortunately, examples abound where they have been successful to one degree or another.

    It is not always so cut and dry, of course and that’s the problem.

    I remember a while ago a commenter had mentioned that a quack had taken advantage of his family when his mother was dying of cancer. He admitted he should have known better, but being overwhelmed with that anxiety was suckered into something he should have known better than because it seemed to offer some hope.

    This certainly happens. My other fear is that there are those who might be sitting on the fence, perhaps not very knowledgeable and this kind of thing could push them in one direction rather than the other. A big thing these people will say is not to listen to doctors or skeptics, which means once they reel them in, they can make them avoid the good sense and information that could save their life.

    Otherwise reasonably intelligent people can and have been suckered into things like cults when they are bombarded with information and sales pitches at a time of great personal anxiety or loss.

    I’d imagine a person who has just been diagnosed with cancer is likely to be in an extremely rough state of mind. Different people will react differently, of course, and all will have their own coping mechanisms. Some might well cling to the first good news they hear.

    This can come down to a kind of psychological warfare and some quacks are just damn good at it.

    I can’t help but remember the tougher times in my life, when I have really been going through a lot of stress and been confused about where things were going. At times I’ve had difficulty staying with it because I was not getting nearly enough sleep. At these times, I might have fallen for a scam artist who targeted the right words. Hence, I try not to be overly judgmental.

    I think that in the case of someone like Jessica Ainscough, it’s really incumbent on friends and family to talk some damn sense into her. It might have a lot to do with being a model, in the end. Perhaps those she surrounds herself with treat her with kid gloves because of it. Sometimes real friendship is being willing to tell someone they need to get some sense, even if doing so might cause some friction between yourself and them.


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  23. 23
    DV82XL Says:

    Of course there are the vulnerable, and indeed there are those that see them as prey, but there are also those who should know better and obstreperously push these ideas to the public giving them a sheen of respectability which the charlatans leverage to such in the weak. This is why the actions of any public figure in matters of this sort are so reprehensible. They usually have a lot of support available to them, unlike those facing something like cancer alone. Thus they can be held to a higher standard.

    We cannot do anything about individual stupidity and those that make stupid choices under duress. What we can do is work to have those that practice quackery exposed, and those that enable it by using their position to support it censured, or at the very least, ridiculed.


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  24. 24
    Josh Says:

    Coffee enemas are real? I thought they were a Futurama joke.


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  25. 25
    I'mnotreallyhere Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Call me cruel and cynical if you wish, but I doubt if anyone would give a damn if she wasn’t a blond, blue-eyed babe.

    Crucial word you missed out (but implied) in there : young.

    Setting aside the blinkered, “alternative”* medicine stuff, yet again cancer headlines are being made about someone young with a horrible, terminal disease; which is what leads to the completely false impression that age is not the major incidence factor in almost every single type of cancer.

    I know that you know this DV8, it was just a point I wanted to make. It’s the stuff of journalistic joy. Young, “healthy” person brought down by cancer, what a tragedy, let’s all feel bad for this person struck down at her peak. Or something.

    Of course, bring that reluctance to accept conventional medical treatment back in and, well, what can you say. I can understand the original decision for intense localised chemo, I think I’d have done that to avoid losing an arm. Especially if I were a model / journalist. But beyond there it’s a case of being led down a path to ruin and I can understand that, even if I think it’s as daft as thinking age has no bearing on cancer incidence.

    But people make their own choices about “quality” of life versus life expectancy all the time. I ski, without wearing a helmet, and I’m fully aware that statistically it cuts my life expectancy. Flying back and forth. Drinking coffee probably doesn’t help. I don’t eat like a monk either. I drink. I don’t smoke but I know people who do. I try to enter into these activities knowing the stakes and acknowledging the risks even if I basically ignore them. I’m sure I don’t know all the science however.

    Rightly or wrongly, she’s made her choices. On the plus side, she’s enjoying this time in good physical health, not exhausted by chemotherapy side-effects. That’s ultimately the most persuasive argument of the “alternative”* medicine crowd, that these toxins are doing you harm and making you feel bad and if you feel bad then it must be just plain bad for you.

    No pain no gain, fools.

    * Synonymous with “not”.


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  26. 26
    DV82XL Says:

            I’mnotreallyhere said:

    Rightly or wrongly, she’s made her choices. On the plus side, she’s enjoying this time in good physical health, not exhausted by chemotherapy side-effects. That’s ultimately the most persuasive argument of the “alternative”* medicine crowd, that these toxins are doing you harm and making you feel bad and if you feel bad then it must be just plain bad for you.

    Anyone who takes the high road an says;”I am not going to trade quality for quantity, I’ll live what is left of my life to the fullest and take my chances” regardless if it is applies to sports or a fight with cancer, has my respect.

    On the other hand those that think that somehow the rules don’t apply to them, and worse, hold themselves up as exemplars to others, again regardless of the domain, are a different story. In particular this cannot remain unanswered if the person is (for whatever reason) high profile, as in this case. They simple have to be exposed without mercy.

    I do feel sorry for this young woman, but I also feel more concern for those that remain unnoticed that may follow her lead.


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  27. 27
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Josh said:

    Coffee enemas are real? I thought they were a Futurama joke.

    No they are real, and if you read her blog, you’ll see she is very big on them and has them multiple times per day. Some of the alternative health gurus think they’re the best thing around.

    Here is a VERY old post on the issue: http://depletedcranium.com/now-a-coffee-blend-for-those-who-dont-drink-it/

            I’mnotreallyhere said:

    Crucial word you missed out (but implied) in there : young.

    Setting aside the blinkered, “alternative”* medicine stuff, yet again cancer headlines are being made about someone young with a horrible, terminal disease; which is what leads to the completely false impression that age is not the major incidence factor in almost every single type of cancer.

    Age is always a factor with cancer. In this relatively rare type of cancer, it often does strike the young (relatively speaking) but on the other hand, cancer in general is more common as one gets older.

    But it’s never absolute. It’s always just a probability issue. The probability of getting cancer is never zero. Even being very young, the chance is there. It’s small, but it’s there.

    I have to keep coming back to the fact that so many seem to not understand, which is that cancer is usually a roll of the dice. The odds get worse with certain factors including age, overall health decline, smoking, tanning and certain other environmental factors. They never go down to zero, no matter how good a job you do of taking care of yourself.

            I’mnotreallyhere said:

    Of course, bring that reluctance to accept conventional medical treatment back in and, well, what can you say. I can understand the original decision for intense localised chemo, I think I’d have done that to avoid losing an arm. Especially if I were a model / journalist. But beyond there it’s a case of being led down a path to ruin and I can understand that, even if I think it’s as daft as thinking age has no bearing on cancer incidence.

    Oh, I can understand entirely that losing an arm would be something you’d want to avoid and I fully respect her decision to get local chemotherapy. I can see how, to start off with, that was a justifiable decision, at least before she went loony and left all conventional treatment.

    I try to put myself in the same situation and think what I would do. I really don’t know, but I am sure I’d have a huge aversion to losing my arm.

    Mind you, no competent doctor would ever suggest such a thing if they did not have good reason to think it was the best medical decision, in terms of survival and long term prognosis and that this was a big enough advantage to justify the huge sacrifice.

    I can’t say what she might be have been a candidate for otherwise. There are “limb salvage” procedures, which attempt to provide the best treatment possible without full amputation. In that case, lets say her arm were riddled with tumors but they really wanted to try to save it. They might do some intensive surgery to remove as much of the tumor and surrounding area as possible and then do intensive radiation and chemotherapy. The result would be a heavily disfigured arm. This would be followed by several reconstructive surgeries, which might include taking muscle from other parts of the body to try to rebuild as much profile and function as possible to the arm.

    None of these options are pretty. It’s a very unpleasant thing. However, they are the best we have in the arsenal against cancer.

    I try not to forget that there’s about a one in three chance that, at some point in my life, I’ll be diagnosed with cancer and faced with the decision of how to treat it. You might be too. It’s not uncommon.

            I’mnotreallyhere said:

    But people make their own choices about “quality” of life versus life expectancy all the time. I ski, without wearing a helmet, and I’m fully aware that statistically it cuts my life expectancy. Flying back and forth. Drinking coffee probably doesn’t help. I don’t eat like a monk either. I drink. I don’t smoke but I know people who do. I try to enter into these activities knowing the stakes and acknowledging the risks even if I basically ignore them. I’m sure I don’t know all the science however.

    I can accept that people will make choices that I might think are the wrong ones for them, but it’s their right and I respect that. The key is whether the choice is based on valid information and assessment.

    If you smoke and understand that doing so increases your risk of cancer, I can accept that. If you smoke because you believe it won’t cause cancer and that it’s all a government conspiracy to demonize tobacco, I find that much less respectable.

    There exists a valid debate in the medical community about whether cancer treatment may be too aggressive in some cases. With terminal cancer, there’s always a question about the point at which the focus needs to shift from treatment to palliative and hospice care.

    There are times when a patient may decide that based on the side effects of the treatment, the prognosis and the time they are expected to live, they would rather forgo treatment that would extend life a little bit at the price of reduced quality of life. If they understand the decision, I can’t find fault with this.

    I can think of a good example being Warren Zevon. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2002. By the time of diagnosis it was very far progressed (he later admitted he should have seen a doctor earlier). There was basically no hope of a cure at that point. It was regarded as terminal and the difference between treating and not treating it was not huge. Intensive chemotherapy would have been expected to extend his life by very little – maybe a few months at the most. It would have also lead to a lot of side effects and incapacitated him.

    Zevon’s decision was not to treat the cancer. He accepted that it was terminal and simply said he’d rather live a few months in relative comfort than live a year in less comfort and dealing with more side effects. His priorities included recording some final material before he died, and this was possible without chemo, but chemotherapy would have likely knocked him out too badly to do any studio sessions.

    I can respect that decision. He knew what he was getting into. He took the road that offered a shorter, but more pleasant life.

    The reason I can’t respect Jessica Ainscough’s decision is she insists it’s not what it is. If she simply said “I value my youth more than extent of life and I’d rather die at thirty with both arms than at 80 with one.” Well, much as I think that would be an insane decision, I’d have to respect it, because it’s her life and her arm.

    That’s not what she is doing. She believes she is effectively treating her cancer with organic fruit juice and coffee enemas. She believes she will cure it. She thinks she is getting healthier. She is wrong.


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  28. 28
    Laura Says:

    I believe I know what this young woman’s issue is and I feel very, very sorry for her.

    She is in extreme denial about the severity of her condition, but in the most truthful part of her brain, she knows very well that she is killing herself.

    She has simply decided she would rather be dead than disfigured. This young woman has built her life on her physical perfection and it is a major part of her identity, most likely.

    It is very tragic.


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  29. 29
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Laura said:

    I believe I know what this young woman’s issue is and I feel very, very sorry for her.

    She is in extreme denial about the severity of her condition, but in the most truthful part of her brain, she knows very well that she is killing herself.

    She has simply decided she would rather be dead than disfigured. This young woman has built her life on her physical perfection and it is a major part of her identity, most likely.

    It is very tragic.

    I guess. Although, you can still be very beautiful with one arm. She could have tried to make some kind of positive impact with it. Being a one-armed model is probably not going to have mass appeal, but she could try to do something with it – being some kind of a spokesperson for amputees or starting some kind of campaign to make it more acceptable for handicapped persons to be considered beautiful.

    You sometimes have to play the hand you’re dealt (no pun intended).

    The one I can think of is Heather Mills, (former wife of Paul Mccartney) who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident. She started in with campaigns for recycling prosthetic limbs for the poor and to ban landmines (many legs have been lost to these).

    I’d say that for one, nobody should ever define their self worth entirely by physical beauty, because you’re always only one disfiguring accident away from losing it.

    If she lost the arm to cancer, she would have to really re-assess her career, I’m sure. It’d be a hard adjustment. But the alternative is worse. Death is hardly a good alternative. Especially considering what is probably going to happen. From what I’ve read, the normal progression of this form of cancer is that it does not become fatal until it invades the lungs. At that point tumors will slowly begin to block the lungs from properly functioning. The lungs can’t inflate properly, circulation is compromised and fluid starts to build up. Breathing slowly becomes more and more difficult, The final stages are not pretty.


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  30. 30
    Bryan Says:

    Ok, now here’s a question: Lets say you get to talk to her toward the end, when she is forced to admit she was wrong because her body is shutting down and she is going to die and that’s undeniable. What would you say? Would you resist the urge to gloat?


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  31. 31
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Bryan said:

    Ok, now here’s a question:

    Lets say you get to talk to her toward the end, when she is forced to admit she was wrong because her body is shutting down and she is going to die and that’s undeniable. What would you say?

    Would you resist the urge to gloat?

    I would have no urge to gloat. As I’ve said, despite the idiocy of her decision, it’s regrettable that she is going to likely die from it.

    What I *might* do is suggest that she start taking back some of her idiotic statements, since by that point it would be undeniable even to her that she had been wrong.

    I’ve been accused of taking advantage of the deaths of those who turned to alternative medicine to promote conventional medicine. However, every time someone dies from lack of treatment, I see an opertunity to stop it from happening to more.


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  32. 32
    Matte Says:

    This may seem a bit insensitive, but it would seem natural selection is not completely side stepped by the human species yet…


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  33. 33
    Calli Arcale Says:

            Russ said:

    Maybe, but that might just mean that people should care more about those who are not young and beautiful.

    I don’t think she’s evil or immoral. She is only stupid. She is using her position as a bully pulpit because she is a moron. She knows no better.

    I know some stupid people. Nice, good, well meaning people, but stupid.

    I don’t think they deserve to die for it.

    Is it a capital offense to be stupid?

    How long do you think she has, btw?

    No, it’s not a capital offense to be stupid, but I don’t think she’s stupid.

    This is a crucially important thing that bears repeating:

    People who turn to alt-med when told they have an extremely dangerous disease which will claim their lives unless some drastic measure isn’t taken are generally not stupid. In fact, studies have shown that intelligent, well-educated people are the most likely to use alt med.

    Why is this important? Because, as they say, “there but for the grace of God go I.” We can make ourselves feel comfortable and safe by labeling these people “stupid”, because if this is something only stupid people do, then, well, I will be safe, because surely I’m not stupid! And if we think that, then we are wrong. Errors of judgement happen to everyone, and the intelligent tend to be much better equipped to justify them to themselves. At that point, it’s very hard to back out of it, because you’ve built up such a wall of justification which will need to be dismantled. Any one of us could fall into this trap. We need to recognize that we have the same weaknesses and intellectual vulnerabilities as this young lady, and we too could make a tragic mistake because we’re understandably terrified at the prospect of losing an arm, or even for much simpler reasons. We’re not better than her because we’re smarter. We’re not better than her at all. But hopefully, if we keep our skeptical hats on and don’t let our pride get the better of us, we’ll stay safer.


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  34. 34
    DV82XL Says:

    While it is not often that I disagree with you Calli, this is one of those times. There is a sharp difference between ignorance and stupidity: ignorance is not knowing, stupidity is knowing and ignoring what you know. Intelligent, well-educated people know better, and when they reject fact and reason they are, by definition, being stupid.

    The folks in India that go to homeopaths, do so out of ignorance. The crime is that the government there doesn’t take steps to tell them its quackery. A well-educated Westerners that go to homeopaths are stupid, because they are not ignorant, and we can assume, being educated, they are not idiots.

    And if at any time, on any matter, you cannot face the fact you were wrong and change course it can be a capital offense; the sentence is carried out by nature – there is no appeal.


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  35. 35
    Peebs Says:

    When she does die it won’t be the coffee enemas that killed her it’ll be the chemo which had already poisoned her.

    According to the usual alt med suspects.

    That’s my prediction and if I’m correct I’m off to claim Randi’s Million.


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  36. 36
    Matte Says:

            Calli Arcale said:

    No, it’s not a capital offense to be stupid, but I don’t think she’s stupid.

    This is a crucially important thing that bears repeating:

    People who turn to alt-med when told they have an extremely dangerous disease which will claim their lives unless some drastic measure isn’t taken are generally not stupid. In fact, studies have shown that intelligent, well-educated people are the most likely to use alt med.

    Why is this important? *Snipp!*

    Though you may be right Calli, your argument falls on the fact that we are dealing with a blond, blue eyed model of female persuasion. I happen to know quite a few blond & good looking women and most of them have PhD’s (I usually don’t get to work with them, for good reason) or are some of the best engineers I am lucky enough to work with…non of them would ever consider standing in front of a camera for money however. That is something for the less endowed in the brain department with very few exceptions.

    My previous comment stands firm…


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  37. 37
    Laur Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    I guess. Although, you can still be very beautiful with one arm.

    She could have tried to make some kind of positive impact with it.

    Being a one-armed model is probably not going to have mass appeal, but she could try to do something with it – being some kind of a spokesperson for amputees or starting some kind of campaign to make it more acceptable for handicapped persons to be considered beautiful.

    You sometimes have to play the hand you’re dealt (no pun intended).

    The one I can think of is Heather Mills, (former wife of Paul Mccartney) who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident. She started in with campaigns for recycling prosthetic limbs for the poor and to ban landmines (many legs have been lost to these).

    I’d say that for one, nobody should ever define their self worth entirely by physical beauty, because you’re always only one disfiguring accident away from losing it.

    If she lost the arm to cancer, she would have to really re-assess her career, I’m sure.

    It’d be a hard adjustment. But the alternative is worse.

    Death is hardly a good alternative. Especially considering what is probably going to happen.

    From what I’ve read, the normal progression of this form of cancer is that it does not become fatal until it invades the lungs.

    At that point tumors will slowly begin to block the lungs from properly functioning. The lungs can’t inflate properly, circulation is compromised and fluid starts to build up.

    Breathing slowly becomes more and more difficult, The final stages are not pretty.

    Dear Matte

    I believe you are correct on every point. There is no good reason for this fine young woman to throw her life away as she is doing and it is really heartbreaking to watch her do exactly that.

    But, you must remember that some folks do not have the inner strength and resilience that Heather McCarthy has, and I can only hope that this young woman finds a spiritual counselor who can help her realize her own worth and that it is not diminished by the loss of her arm.

    However, I won’t be judgmental if she somehow can’t find the strength.

    It is just a horrible tragedy I hate witnessing.


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  38. 38
    Gwyndolyn O'Shaughnessy Says:

    The only difference between snake oil a hundred years ago and snake oil now is that we have health-care choices. The saddest thing in this case is that she’s abusing her position as a media insider to push her point of view.

    On the other hand … some reasons that so many choose snake oil is that there are no evidence-based alternatives, the alternatives are unpalatable, or the alternatives are too expensive. One dose of chemotherapy can cost over $10,000 US. Many patients tolerate 10 cycles, some tolerate 20. Other cancer treatments cost $100,000 per dose; ten cycles of that and you’re talking big bucks.

    I’ll leave “spiraling health-care costs” out and, I suppose, be glad that Lance Armstrong chose to treat his (curable) cancer. Eventually.


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  39. 39
    Matte Says:

            Laur said:

    Dear Matte

    I believe you are correct on every point. There is no good reason for this fine young woman to throw her life away as she is doing and it is really heartbreaking to watch her do exactly that.

    But, you must remember that some folks do not have the inner strength and resilience that Heather McCarthy has, and I can only hope that this young woman finds a spiritual counselor who can help her realize her own worth and that it is not diminished by the loss of her arm.

    However, I won’t be judgmental if she somehow can’t find the strength.

    It is just a horrible tragedy I hate witnessing.

    Ok, I see your point all the way to the last row…where you go totally off script. This woman dying is not the tragedy here. The tragedy is the fact that she is persuading a lot of people in the same circumstances to forgo life saving treatment because she chooses death rather than disfigurement.

    Well, good riddance I say. The sooner she goes, perhaps more people will see the error of her choices and get proper treatment in time.


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  40. 40
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Matte said:

    Though you may be right Calli, your argument falls on the fact that we are dealing with a blond, blue eyed model of female persuasion. I happen to know quite a few blond & good looking women and most of them have PhD’s (I usually don’t get to work with them, for good reason) or are some of the best engineers I am lucky enough to work with…non of them would ever consider standing in front of a camera for money however. That is something for the less endowed in the brain department with very few exceptions.

    Having a PhD does not make one immune from bull****. There is much truth to what Calli says. There’s a difference between being an idiot in some circumstances and being an idiot in general. I’ve been stupid with a few decisions. There are very smart people who fall for complete myths and things they should know better than.

    It’s actually an important and interesting area to consider the psycological and sociological factors. There are a lot of things that can cause this. We’re all human and we all have various emotional weaknesses, desires and coping mechanisms and our own internal bias can get the better of us. I’d say one of the first rules of being a good skeptic is never trust your own perception or beleifs 100% and realize that delusion is not confined to the mentally ill.

    A few examples that come to mind:

    Linus Pauling – Absolutely brilliant quantum chemist and nobel prize winner. Pauling really revolutionized how we understand proteins and how biochemistry works. He later came to believe vitamin C was some kind of magic elixer of life. Apparently this was based on the single observation that amoung primates, most get far more than humans. He took copious amounts of the stuff. All scientific evidence is that such huge amounts are just excreted. He never waivered in his faith on this.

    Nicola Tesla – Invented the induction motor, which was truely a stroke of brilliance. He invented three phase power, designed transformers and actually build the first working radio transmission systems. He had an amazing tallent for creating all manner of lighting systems and other electrical devices in short periods of time and supperior to those of competitors. His genius when it comes to power conversion is undeniable. He was also very very nutty. This became even more a factor in late life. In addition to being badly OCD, he firmly believed he was in communication with marsians and that he could energize the atmosphere to create some kind of super weapon, despite all experiments in this regard failing.

    Rustum Roy – I don’t know that I’d call him brilliant, but he was accomplished in terms of education. He had doctorates. He was a fully accreditted professor. He had a few good acomplishments as a material scientist. He was also a big proponent of homeopathy and thought religion should guide science.

    Sir Issac Newton – He invented calculus, and amazingly seems to have basically just thought it up entirely on his own. He created our modern system of physics. He also seems to have had some very strange religuous beleifs, which occupied much of his time when he was not revolutionizing physics. He tried to decode the bible, which he was a literalist of. He dabbled in alchemistry and believed the chemical reactions he saw were devine magic.

    Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff from the Stanford Research Institute – Brilliant physists, having been involved in the development of the laser and in early research into the relativistic effects of gravity, respectively. They later were fooled (badly) by Uri Geller. Geller used relatively amateure magic tricks to convince them he had magical abilities to alter metal and other materials. They became involved in research into ESP and psychic phenemona. All of this turned out to be easily replicated with simple trickery.

    This is actually a common tale. Research scientists in the areas of physics often become far too confident in their belief that they are such great scientific professionals that they could never be fooled by simple slight of hand illusion and thus refuse to get help or consultation from those who actually understand this (illusionists, preceptional psycologists, those experienced with trickery) and therefore fall hook line and sinker for that kind of crap.


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  41. 41
    mez Says:

    I just randomly stumbled onto this page and I have to say WOW! I haven’t even bothered to read all the comments because I didn’t want to waste so much of my time immersed in negativity and maybe a bit of jealousy? that a person would even dare to take their health into their own hands and then tell people about it. What is it that really worries you about what Jess is doing?
    I have been a regular reader of her blog and though i don’t agree with everything she says and writes about, I do believe that she is doing a remarkable thing by taking control of her own health and healing. A decision to reject conventional medicine to pursue alternative treatments and therapies is not one that would be taken lightly by anybody. I am sure that a lot of reading, research and consultation would have occurred before she undertook her course of action.
    I am also not speaking out of ignorance or stupidity. I have an honours degree in medical science and have worked in the pharmaceutical industry for most of my professional life and most recently in clinical research. I see how ‘effective’ conventional medicines can be. I know that there are some great drugs and medical treatments for diseases out there but they are not the only answer. Most oncology drugs simply prolong a persons life, not rid them of cancer and this is because they are only targeting the symptom of an underlying problem. Having seen this time and time again I could only be led to wonder what the root cause of the tumour forming in the first place is. The only answer to this is that the environmental conditions of the body’s cells are not optimal. All you have to do to understand this is look at cell cultures in the laboratory. Healthy cells only flourish and thrive when the environmental conditions are perfect. I could go on and on about this but I prefer to spend time with my kids. If you want to know more, and especially if you are intelligent and open-minded as you likely claim to be, read a little more about the field of epigenetics.
    By the way, in the corporate/manufacturing world when something goes wrong, you are expected to do a root-cause analysis. Why this kind of thinking is not applied to the health world is beyond me!
    I have been blessed not to ever have been diagnosed with a serious illness but if that did ever happen to me or one of my family, I would be looking at ALL the options available to me, not just those recommended by my doctor. For now, I will be helping my family and myself be as healthy as we can be by eating as much fresh, clean, unprocessed food as possible. Don’t think even you could argue with the logic of that. Peace to you all! M


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  42. 42
    DV82XL Says:

            mez said:

    I just randomly stumbled onto this page and I have to say WOW! I haven’t even bothered to read all the comments because I didn’t want to waste so much of my time immersed in negativity and maybe a bit of jealousy?bla…bla..bla

    Maybe you didn’t get the point here: Jessica Ainscough is going to DIE. Her life is going to end because she has chosen to reject an option that has a better chance to save her life, with one that will not. I hardly think anyone is jealous of that, and I am at a loss to see how you could think that any of us are.

    Clearly, by what you have written, you mark yourself as another ignoramus that thinks that their imagination and desire of how they wish the universe to work is superior to a real understanding of science. The only positive thing I can see coming out of this sort of attitude is that like Ms. Ainscough, you will perish from your stupidity before you can pass on your idiot genes to another generation.


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  43. 43
    Anon Says:

            mez said:

    that a person would even dare to take their health into their own hands and then tell people about it. What is it that really worries you about what Jess is doing?

    That other people will copy her and die just as she will.

    It’s one thing for her to decide she doesn’t want to go through treatment and it’s perfectly OK for her to say so publicly but it’s another thing when she encourages others to do that with the delusion that they might live without it.

            mez said:

    I have been a regular reader of her blog and though i don’t agree with everything she says and writes about, I do believe that she is doing a remarkable thing by taking control of her own health and healing.

    She’ll die, doesn’t seem so remarkable to me.

            mez said:

    A decision to reject conventional medicine to pursue alternative treatments and therapies is not one that would be taken lightly by anybody. I am sure that a lot of reading, research and consultation would have occurred before she undertook her course of action.

    Or a quack with a good bedside manner.

            mez said:

    I am also not speaking out of ignorance or stupidity. I have an honours degree in medical science and have worked in the pharmaceutical industry for most of my professional life and most recently in clinical research.

    Translation: “I don’t really know anything but I’d like to seem like I do”.

            mez said:

    I see how ‘effective’ conventional medicines can be.

    So do I, for I have seen what they do to life expectancy (i.e. raise it).

            mez said:

    I know that there are some great drugs and medical treatments for diseases out there but they are not the only answer.

    They are the only answer which actually works, so-called ‘alternative’ medicine consists of placebos and poisons which only cure a patient when it is their own immune system that does it or they didn’t really have the disease in the first place.

            mez said:

    Most oncology drugs simply prolong a persons life, not rid them of cancer and this is because they are only targeting the symptom of an underlying problem.

    You clearly don’t know what chemotherapy is, that very much is targeted at the underlying problem (as is radiation therapy and surgery to remove tumours).

            mez said:

    Having seen this time and time again I could only be led to wonder what the root cause of the tumour forming in the first place is. The only answer to this is that the environmental conditions of the body’s cells are not optimal.

    Nope. We still aren’t sure what causes all tumours but your idea that just eating the right foods will stop you from dying of it is wrong.

            mez said:

    All you have to do to understand this is look at cell cultures in the laboratory. Healthy cells only flourish and thrive when the environmental conditions are perfect.

    Ha!

            mez said:

    I could go on and on about this but I prefer to spend time with my kids.

    Have you vaccinated them properly?

            mez said:

    If you want to know more, and especially if you are intelligent and open-minded as you likely claim to be, read a little more about the field of epigenetics.

    Doesn’t help your case (epigenetics is interesting science though).

            mez said:

    By the way, in the corporate/manufacturing world when something goes wrong, you are expected to do a root-cause analysis. Why this kind of thinking is not applied to the health world is beyond me!

    So next time you’re sick you want to be dissected?

            mez said:

    I have been blessed not to ever have been diagnosed with a serious illness but if that did ever happen to me or one of my family, I would be looking at ALL the options available to me, not just those recommended by my doctor.

    So you’d be looking at options which don’t work (and in many cases have been proven not to work) as well as the ones that do?

            mez said:

    For now, I will be helping my family and myself be as healthy as we can be by eating as much fresh, clean, unprocessed food as possible. Don’t think even you could argue with the logic of that. Peace to you all! M

    If that means you buy ‘organic’ then your probability of food poisoning is higher.

            DV82XL said:

    Clearly, by what you have written, you mark yourself as another ignoramus that thinks that their imagination and desire of how they wish the universe to work is superior to a real understanding of science. The only positive thing I can see coming out of this sort of attitude is that like Ms. Ainscough, you will perish from your stupidity before you can pass on your idiot genes to another generation.

    Unfortunately they do manage to pass on their genes.


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  44. 44
    DV82XL Says:

            Anon said:

    Unfortunately they do manage to pass on their genes.

    Natural selection is a slow process, nevertheless over time people with these attitudes will remove themselves from the gene-pool. The unfortunate part is that it won’t happen in our lifetime.


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  45. 45
    Anon Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Natural selection is a slow process, nevertheless over time people with these attitudes will remove themselves from the gene-pool. The unfortunate part is that it won’t happen in our lifetime.

    I wouldn’t even be sure it is genetic (though there may be some genetic predisposition involved but even then upbringing is probably more important).


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  46. 46
    Mez Says:

    well, it looks like cyber bullying is well and truly alive on this website. Be assured Anon and DV82XL that all your assumptions about me are completely incorrect. I have no wish to argue with people who attack me for having a worldview that is incorrect because it is different to theirs. Regardless of the dissection, I still wish you all love, peace and light in your lives :)


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  47. 47
    Anon Says:

            Mez said:

    well, it looks like cyber bullying is well and truly alive on this website.

    So you don’t actually have an argument then?

    Look, we weren’t the ones to seek you out, and we have better things to do than follow you around the internet. If your arguments can’t stand up to scrutiny then that isn’t our problem and your demands that we treat you like a child won’t be heeded.

            Mez said:

    Be assured Anon and DV82XL that all your assumptions about me are completely incorrect.

    So that assuming that you were alive was wrong? <sarcasm>Oh I’m so sorry for getting that wrong</sarcasm>.

            Mez said:

    I have no wish to argue with people who attack me for having a worldview that is incorrect because it is different to theirs.

    Your world-view isn’t incorrect because it is different to ours, it is incorrect because it contradicts reality.

    Reality always wins, no matter how hard you try to deny it, the only difference is in how much damage you manage to do while trying to deny it.


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  48. 48
    DV82XL Says:

            Mez said:

    well, it looks like cyber bullying is well and truly alive on this website.

    Making statements like: “I have an honours degree in medical science,” (what ever that is) and following it by statements like: “Most oncology drugs simply prolong a persons life, not rid them of cancer and this is because they are only targeting the symptom of an underlying problem.” and “Healthy cells only flourish and thrive when the environmental conditions are perfect.” marks you as a shameless fraud.

    What is worse, you think us too stupid to see through your lies. If you show this little respect for us, why would we extend any to you?


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  49. 49
    Anon Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Making statements like: “I have an honours degree in medical science,” (what ever that is)

    There is such a thing as a medical science degree but it does appear that Mez if it has one likely got it either from a degree mill or by cheating (as no one who could actually get one on their own merits would believe such things as chemotherapy treating only symptoms).


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  50. 50
    drbuzz0 Says:

            mez said:

    I just randomly stumbled onto this page and I have to say WOW! I haven’t even bothered to read all the comments because I didn’t want to waste so much of my time immersed in negativity and maybe a bit of jealousy? that a person would even dare to take their health into their own hands and then tell people about it. What is it that really worries you about what Jess is doing?

    She’s not taking “her health into her own hands” in any kind of responsible way. She thinks she is helping herself, but she’s not. She’s avoiding treatment for a disease that is deadly without treatment. She will die. It’s probably too late for her. I don’t want her to die. I feel bad that she made such a stupid decision. But what really worries me is that she could convince others to and they will also die, needlessly.

            mez said:

    I have been a regular reader of her blog and though i don’t agree with everything she says and writes about, I do believe that she is doing a remarkable thing by taking control of her own health and healing.

    She’s not healing herself. She’s drinking a lot of juice and putting coffee in her backside while the cancer continues to grow.

            mez said:

    A decision to reject conventional medicine to pursue alternative treatments and therapies is not one that would be taken lightly by anybody. I am sure that a lot of reading, research and consultation would have occurred before she undertook her course of action.

    Perhaps, but she consulted with the wrong people and she’s making a bad decision. That’s not simply an opinion, that’s based on the evidence from studies by well respected organizations. I suppose if she said “I know I’m going to die but I don’t want to lose my arm, then I guess I’d have to say that’s her decision, but in this case her decision is based on facts that are wrong. She says her treatment is making her better. She is wrong.

            mez said:

    I am also not speaking out of ignorance or stupidity. I have an honours degree in medical science and have worked in the pharmaceutical industry for most of my professional life and most recently in clinical research. I see how ‘effective’ conventional medicines can be. I know that there are some great drugs and medical treatments for diseases out there but they are not the only answer. Most oncology drugs simply prolong a persons life, not rid them of cancer and this is because they are only targeting the symptom of an underlying problem. Having seen this time and time again I could only be led to wonder what the root cause of the tumour forming in the first place is. The only answer to this is that the environmental conditions of the body’s cells are not optimal. All you have to do to understand this is look at cell cultures in the laboratory. Healthy cells only flourish and thrive when the environmental conditions are perfect. I could go on and on about this but I prefer to spend time with my kids. If you want to know more, and especially if you are intelligent and open-minded as you likely claim to be, read a little more about the field of epigenetics.

    Right there, you have shown you don’t understand cancer. Ask any cancer doctor. It usually does not have an attributable external cause and the tumors and growths are not a symptom, but are part of the underlying problem. Cancer is caused by a breakdown in the mechanism that regulates cell reproduction.

            mez said:

    By the way, in the corporate/manufacturing world when something goes wrong, you are expected to do a root-cause analysis. Why this kind of thinking is not applied to the health world is beyond me!

            mez said:

    I have been blessed not to ever have been diagnosed with a serious illness but if that did ever happen to me or one of my family, I would be looking at ALL the options available to me, not just those recommended by my doctor.

    As would I. And I’d get a second opinion from another doctor and maybe a third from yet another doctor. If it were a serious condition and I thought that there might be other options my doctor was not well versed in, I might seek out some specialists or even go to research institutions that had some cutting edge treatments. But I would only go to actual legitimate medical establishments and real doctors. Sure I might travel to the Mayo Clinic or Sloan Kettering or something, but I’m not going to go to some witchdoctor’s garage to find the organic juices he cooked up to make me well, because that will never work.


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