The inevitable result of using alt med treatments for cancer

We have a sad but inevitable update to a story from November 2012 regarding alternative treatments. Once again, they fail. No surprise.

Jessi FitzRandolph dies from breast cancer at 36 after trying alternative therapies : Wsj.

She had stopped chemotherapy and radiation for alternative treatments outside the U.S.

As I noted in the original piece “Alternative does not mean “good but ignored by science”, it means they have no basis to work and have never been show to be effective.” Here is more evidence to that effect.

She tried a slew of alternatives: hyperbaric oxygen therapy, ozone treatments, high-dose vitamin C, laetrile, an electro-stimulus device called a Rife machine, magnetic paddles and cannabis oil.

Jeff and Ruthie FitzRandolph said the treatments, aimed at promoting a healthy immune system, were considered less toxic than traditional approaches. They believe the treatments helped Jessi live longer than expected.

Believe whatever, but the medical community disagrees. That is a LOT of time, money and effort wasted on useless stuff. Conventional treatment is not pleasant but it could have given her more life in the long run.

Tip: Whatstheharm.net (Tim Farley)

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  11 comments for “The inevitable result of using alt med treatments for cancer

  1. JC
    March 25, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    I am of the belief that one should do everything possible when faced with a condition such as cancer. I am not a fan of woo medicine. However, if I was diagnosed with cancer I would try every form of conventional medicine I was able to obtain AND I would not leave woo medicine off the list. If the traditional medical approaches did not do the deed, then I would be all too happy to bath in rose water infused with cannabis leaves warmed over a fire being stoked by invisible goblins and gremlins.
    agent j

    • March 25, 2014 at 7:23 PM

      Again, wasting a lot of time and money. The problem with this story is that she eschewed treatment we KNOW can work in exchange for something we pretty well know doesn’t.

      • JC
        March 26, 2014 at 8:42 AM

        You are correct. I failed to preamble the main points. I shall endeavour to stay the course in future, ma’am:)
        agent j

  2. John Nowak
    March 26, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    If the woo is affordable (time included), harmless and doesn’t keep you from real therapy, got to it, if only because it might make you feel you’re doing something useful, even though you aren’t. If a friend says she’ll pray for me to get better it would be dickish in the extreme to argue against her.

    I don’t know Jessi, but I wish she had used her freedom to choose more wisely.

  3. Chemical
    March 26, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    I’ve actually heard of cannabis oil being used to help cancer patients before, by actual doctors with MDs.

    In states where marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes, sometimes it’s prescribed to deal with the side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea and weight loss. It’s also a highly effective painkiller. In this story, it was being used improperly. Instead of mitigating side effects it was being touted as a cure. Still saddens me to see that something that could have improved the quality of the cancer patient’s life being used in an improper manner.

  4. Jeff FitzRandolph
    April 22, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    Please wake up people. Jessi’s highly respected Oncology doctors pronounced her case hopeless in the summer of 2011. A highly respected local oncologist told us there was nothing more conventional medicine could do for Jessi and suggested we move her to hospice and make her comfortable for the couple of months she might live. That was 2.5 years ago. Instead we took her home, started a healthy, practical alternative regimen of treatments and brought her back to enjoy another 2 years of relatively quality lifestyle. And yes, medical cannabis was a major contributor to her lengthy survival and quality. If you’d like to learn more so you don’t continue to make uneducated comments about “woo” medicine, contact us, Ruthie and I would love to share “the real story” with your readers.

    • April 23, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      Anyone who tells me to “wake up” is automatically sent to moderation because it’s obnoxious. This is a science-based blog and what you have given us is an anecdote. Some people spontaneously recover from cancer. Did you know that?

      When this case is studied by a medical professional and you can cite something other than your personal interpretation, then get back to me.

      By the way, Jeff, your threats of going to facebook are of zero consequence. Start your own blog, I don’t care. I understand you want to share your good news but that is NOT the purpose of this site.

      • Rachel
        April 24, 2014 at 5:09 PM

        Are you a scientist?

        • April 24, 2014 at 5:41 PM

          Yes. I have a degree in Geosciences and a masters in education- science and the public. I also have studied these topics for about 20 years. What I rely on is trained medical professionals to make the call on treatments that are science-based. That’s what works.

  5. Rebecca
    April 24, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    In the spirit of being upfront, I am close with the FitzRandolph family and have counted Jessi among my closest friends for over 25 years. Watching her suffer through stage IV breast cancer was difficult and seeing her face the recommendation of withdrawing treatment from multiple oncologists was heartbreaking. She did not give up on chemotherapy, radiation, and medication. They were failing to make a difference in the progress of her disease and she made the decision to try alternative treatments. Did they contribute to lengthening her life? I cannot know for sure. What I do know is exploring and trying alternative treatments gave the FitzRandolph family, and all of us who loved her, hope that “something” would click and give her additional time – additional time for Western medicine to catch up with the progressing disease or new treatments to be discovered.

    Jessi tried everything possible, because Western medicine left her with no new hope. In the face of death, many people make the same decision. There is scientific research to suggest that the healing occurs when the mind is in a positive place. Her mental health certainly benefited from the hope that alternative treatments provided.

  6. April 24, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    I’m going to close comments on this because too many people are having an emotional reaction to this. Alternative treatments like this are NOT tested and NOT efficacious. If they were, they would not be alternative.

    You can chose what you want but this blog is to provide sound, evidence-based information. Your stories are not that. I’m sorry for your loss, cancer is awful and we all have felt loss from it, but this blog is not for people who need to defend their positions, it’s for those who want science-based conclusions.

    I understand desperation but I want the people who may be in this situation in the future NOT to waste precious time and money on false hope.

Comments are closed.