Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, December 2, 2006

What Mainstream Media Doesn't Tell You: Medical Treatment And The Business Of Disease

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Pete Boardman is a cancer patient. He has first hand experience with our system of disease treatment, having been diagnosed with cancer and gone through the routine of surgery and chemotherapy. He believes that the treatment routine of our "modern" medicine may be oriented towards profit rather than helping people and asks: "where are the alternatives?"

Photo credit: fotomark

Well, I cannot really disagree.

Peter's thoughtful message was posted as a comment to an article on Robin Good's Communication Agents Initiative site.

Thanks to Robin Good, who sponsors this site as part of the Communication Agents initiative, for bringing this to my attention. It really does give us a very personal take on our medical system, which most people see through rose tinted glasses, if they look at all. Only the urgency of an impending personal tragedy seems to bring out our capacity to analyze and consider the system as such.

Here is what Pete wrote:

Disease treatment: big scam?



Hire a research assistant or a consultant to observe, record, follow, tabulate, correlate, and generally document any and all resistance to and interference with the process of bringing applicable results of your research to fruition as products for the safe, effective and inexpensive treatment of cancer (particularly colorectal cancer), diabetes, heart disease, and many other diseases .



My perspective on the development of cancer treatments is the narrow one of a patient with colorectal cancer and a victim of chemical therapies. My background includes being a voracious reader of Scientific American. I am familiar with the scientific approach and I find your work to be the most promising of all that I have seen with respect to cancer research and the eventual development of safe and effective treatments for the various presentations of the disease.



Unfortunately, cancer does not reside within the purview of public health. Rather, cancer resides in the realm of disease treatment. The treatments for cancer have a long history and fairly rigid protocol. Around the treatment of cancer (and many other diseases) has developed an economic system that is extremely efficient and self-regulating and internally motivating or driving. Here is how it works from the perspective of the patient.

I have been diagnosed with a disease that is commonly known to be fatal in five years or less for about 50% of those diagnosed with the disease. Immediately I undergo surgery to remove the mass that has begun to occlude my lower intestines. Following surgery, I get an infection of the surgical wound, requiring more surgery to incise and debride the wound. That leaves a large and permanently disfiguring scare in place of my naval.

Before the wound is completely healed, I start on a regimen of chemical therapy, including 5FU, a chemical that has been used, my oncologist tells me, for about 35 years. (So much for the 50 year old "war on cancer".) The treatment, which, I am assured, will slow or eliminate the growth of the cancer cells, concomitantly debilitates me.

For three months I continue to work, sharing my condition with all of my co-employees and supervisors. Fortunately, my employer, a public transit company, provides a comprehensive medical insurance that will cover most of my medical expenses. The cost of the medical insurance is very high, compared to the wages I make, but clearly my illness and the cost of treatments justify such high costs. My colleagues see my predicament and are subsequently thankful for the benefits afforded by the employer. Spouses and friends, acquaintances, and even strangers aspire to have such medical insurance coverage.

The insurance companies make money on the amount of money they turn over. The more the better for insurance company employees, executives, and stock holders.

The medical providers earn a comfortable living, enjoy excellent benefits, are assured of job security, and can feel good about providing life saving or life prolonging treatment for their fellow human beings.

The pharmaceutical companies, who actually bear the least risk in the whole system, claim to bear the most. It takes many years and millions of dollars to do the research and testing and to verify the safety and efficacy of the products they make, they claim. True but not risky. What the pharmacies risk is loss of business and profit to safe, effective, and inexpensive treatments for diseases for which they provide extremely expensive, marginally effective, and dangerous drugs.

This system provides a huge population of debilitated, terminally ill, and very profitable patients to further drive the treatment cycle and economy. The drug companies charge more and make more profit for their stock holders. The insurance companies raise their rates and make more profits for their share holders. The medical providers have a growing number of patients to serve with ineffective and often deleterious treatments. The patients, getting the best treatments available, are grateful for the insurance coverage, and working people remain eager to get medical insurance benefits even at high costs.

For all intents and purposes, this system looks like it has a bottomless barrel of money to drive it. But the system is not bottomless. There are those who fall out of the system. They do not get medical insurance with their employment. They cannot afford individual medical insurance. They end up without medical insurance and when they are diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, AIDS and many other diseases, they just go home and die in a year or too. People do not like bad news that may reflect on their participation in the problem. As a result, the victims of disease and the absence of treatment are not often discussed and usually not even thought about.



The system of disease treatment (note that I do not call it medical care) is transparent. At every juncture it is controlled, regulated, has oversight, and is subject to legal and political scrutiny. Because of this, it cannot be considered a scheme, even though in many respects it functions like a scheme. The transparency is like the transparency of the air in which we live or the water in which aquatic creatures live. We notice aberrations in the quality or substance of the atmosphere, such as water vapor and weather, pollution, smog, global heating and ozone depletion, but we rarely consider the atmosphere in and of itself.

Similarly, we rarely consider the disease treatment system as a whole. We are concerned about medical competence, high insurance prices, and dangerous drugs. Like CO2 in the atmosphere, we rarely observe that a normal substance in the environment may have gotten beyond its acceptable range. Similarly, it is rare that anyone looks for aberrations in the medical treatment system. Profit is not considered.



Here is an overview of the problem from my perspective as a patient and sufferer of cancer treatment. It is hard to believe that in thirty, forty or fifty years of a war on cancer, the basic treatment regimen has remained much the same, continues to be marginally effective and is debilitating the patients who receive it.

When I am sufficiently debilitated, the treatments will be stopped and the cancer, if it has survived will now face a reduced and over taxed immune system and a thin and plentiful blood supply, so the cancer can grow with amplified vigor. Treatments will then be renewed, debilitation will increase and the whole cycle will be repeated until the treatments become worse than the disease and I die of one or the other.

In many ways it seems that this is just the way it is. But little hints get dropped here and there. On the radio the other day I heard that AIDS patients were told that the pharmacy deserved the exclusionary high prices for drugs developed by federally funded academic research, but produced and marketed by the drug company. Is this indicative of the subtle but persistent way of doing business in the pharmaceutical industry? It begins to seem so.

It turns out that the National Institute of Health is having another look at mega-doses of vitamin C, by intravenous injection, studied thirty years ago or so, by Linus Pauling, for its curative properties against cancer. What, I wonder, other safe and effective treatments have been dismissed as quackery, derided as wishful, decried as foreign and ineffective, criticized as incomplete, incompetent, and unrealistic? This would be remarkable if true. But it would also be devastating to the whole medical treatment system.

This is the problem that no-one has wanted to consider. I am asking you to just make it a part of your research. Please consider my suggestion at the beginning of this essay seriously. Doing so can protect your work, your results, your data, your assays and so on. It could also bring immense relief to the millions of people who suffer from treatments that do not cure, that cost dearly, and often leave many to die, untreated, at home.

Originally published on July 29, 2006 as "Disease Treatment - A Cancer Patient's Perspective" by Sepp Hasslberger (together with Pete Boardman) on Health Supreme.

About the authors


Sepp Hasslberger is an independent publisher who is part of the Robin Good's Communication Agents Initiative. His interests rotate mostly around health, free energy and alternative economy. Visit his blog to know more about him and read his articles.

Pete Boardman is a reader of the Communication Agents Initiative blog and is also affected by cancer. He posted a message on the above mentioned blog, which has been faithfully reported in this article.

Photo credits: alfiofer, Juan Jose Gutierrez Barrow, Levent Ince, Jason Stitt, Ljupco Smokovski.

Sepp Hasslberger and Pete Boardman -
Reference: Health Supreme [ Read more ]
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posted by on Saturday, December 2 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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