PZ Myers has a post on cancer and the quacks and filthy liars who try to take advantage of the disease.
Barbara Ehrenreich had breast cancer, and ugly and frightening as that disease is, she found something else that was almost as horrible: the ‘positive thinking’ approach to health care. People are stigmatized if they fail to regard their illness as anything other than an uplifting, positive life experience, an opportunity to examine their lives and identify what is most important to them…and also, most disturbingly, if they fail to appreciate that the attitude that they bring to the problem will determine whether they live or die. It’s the Oprah-zation of medicine.
I can’t help but think of the Andreas Moritz’s and naturopaths of the world who are genuinely dangerous to the well-being of people struggling with cancer and other diseases. Some of these people are sincere, I can grant that. But sincerity does not equate to qualified. It does not equate to safe. And in the case of someone specifically like Moritz, it’s pure charlatanry. That adds a loathsome level to the situation, but the effect is precisely the same as a naturopath or janitor or Deepak Chopra ‘treating’ the disease.
Besides, it takes effort to maintain the upbeat demeanor expected by others – effort that can no longer be justified as a contribution to long-term survival. Consider the woman who wrote to Deepak Chopra that her breast cancer had spread to the bones and lungs: “Even though I follow the treatments, have come a long way in unburdening myself of toxic feelings, have forgiven everyone, changed my lifestyle to include meditation, prayer, proper diet, exercise, and supplements, the cancer keeps coming back. Am I missing a lesson here that it keeps reoccurring? I am positive I am going to beat it, yet it does get harder with each diagnosis to keep a positive attitude.”
Chopra’s response: “As far as I can tell, you are doing all the right things to recover. You just have to continue doing them until the cancer is gone for good. I know it is discouraging to make great progress only to have it come back again, but sometimes cancer is simply very pernicious and requires the utmost diligence and persistence to eventually overcome it.”
It’s disgusting. The man is preying on vulnerable people and he knows it. There isn’t an honest bone in his body. To make matters worse, he isn’t doing a damn thing to help the cancer-ridden bones (and lungs and livers and breasts and…) of anyone. Anywhere. Ever.
I thoroughly despise these sugar-coating, money-grubbing scumbags.