When Little Knowledge is a Fatal Thing

Blogathon 2007: Help Sponsor Today!For the past couple of weeks, Yvonne and I have been taking about cancer. Given her conditions she endures, she’s no stranger to the hospital. However, given that a friend of hers has recently been diagnosed with cancer, she decided to try and learn as much about it as possible. That’s the part where I come in.

Putting the lessons in cancer and cell biology aside, she passed me a email yesterday about some forwarded email passing off as useful information for cancer patients. Needless to say that email ticked me off and I’ll show you some of the reasons why:

4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors.

10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.

11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply.

13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body’s killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.

16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.

And the list of lies and half-truths goes on and on.

Basically what the email was trying to tell people was that surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, the only effective treatments so far against metastatic cancer (cancer that has already begun to spread throughout the body) are dangerous and that to effectively treat such cancers we should all eat good food and live a good life. If only the world was that much of a fairy tale. What sick, sad, misinformed person came up with this list. You know what the worst thing about this email is?

It claims to be an update from John Hopkins Hospital in the states.

I doubt an institution as important and prestigious as John Hopkins would recommend pseudo-scientific remedies such as this. I seriously doubt the validity of such a list, especially when at the bottom is says:

Any information in this e-mail that relates to the official business of Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Berhad and its subsidiaries (“the Group”) is subject to written contract and/or such other relevant documents whether by way of fax, post, courier or otherwise.

It’s hard pressed to take things seriously when the originator of the email was sent in from a beer brewing company.

Now since it’ll be a waste not to put to use whatever I learnt as a medical scientist, that’s why in the long 24 hours of Blogathon, I’ll be personally writing up the things you should know and understand about cancer. What is cancer? How does it arise? How is it diagnosed? How is it treated? Things I think every one should know so that they won’t have to fear it if ever they face it. You don’t even have to worry about the complex terms because I’m going to do my best to put it in layman’s terms.

Cancer is not something to be taken lightly. It is a tough disease to bear and it’s just as tough to watch the ones we care for suffer through it as well. Yet, hope and salvation isn’t just armed with blind faith, it’s armed with the knowledge of what can and can’t be done. It’s armed with the knowledge of what should and should not be done. Willpower and strength can see you such trials, but at the end of the road, it is the ability of what we know that feeds us the confidence that gets things done.

So beginning on the 28th of July at 0600 PST, I hope to arm you with that knowledge and with hope a better understanding of the very thing that has affected at least one of us in our lives. Maybe one day, you’ll even thank me for it.

This year on the 28th of July at 0600 PST, Footsteps in the Mirror will be blogging to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research which is a non-profit organisation that helps fund cancer research throughout the world. If you’re willing to help, you can sign up on the Blogathon website and pledge your amount right here. Help make a difference, no matter how small it may be.

For more on the Blogathon 2007 series, you can read them below:

11 thoughts on “When Little Knowledge is a Fatal Thing

  1. Very informative, Kami. Thanks for bringing this to your readers’ attention–you are doing a very good thing. 🙂

  2. Ahh.. It’s good to have a scope laid out, now I know I WANT TO read you during the Blogathon — seriously, I hope I have time to read you DURING the Blogathon, but I definitely will read you AFTER it 🙂

  3. Estarla: I’d bring more of it to the attention of the people if I knew there they were. Things like this should be stopped. They do more hard than good.

    Pelf: Haha, I don’t blame you if you don’t read during the Blogathon. Trust me. You and I are going to be swamped. 🙂

    Palmdoc: People who pass on misinformation rarely verify what they see. People are lazy and easily satisfied that way. As long as it’s the easy way out. It works for them.

  4. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and that is especially true in this case.
    Probably thanks to a similar-type email, a lady I know with cancer ignored advice of her doctors & friends, and instead embarked on a diet of fruit juice ALONE, to starve her cancer cells. Even when she grew weaker & thinner, she still thought that her “diet” was working, and that the cancer cells were also getting “weaker”. She died, after a lot of unnecessary pain, caused by all that hokum.

    Good on you for drawing attention to this, and good luck with the blogging & the pledges!

  5. My condolences to her family. It’s things like this that cause people to fear the very things that can help them. This ignorance has gone far enough. We all got to do something.

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