Naturopath claims anecdotes are evidence his cancer treatment works

A quack says he has saved lives. Guess what, dude, lots of people say that and are DEAD wrong.

Physician suspended over cancer treatment defends his practice.

A Bothell naturopathic physician suspended over an experimental cancer treatment spoke out for the first time Friday, defending his practice and alternative medicine.

The state suspended Dr. John Catanzaro indefinitely. It was not his patients who complained, the doctor says, but another health institution not familiar with his naturopathic medicine.

Outside his Health & Wellness Institute of Integrative Medicine and Cancer Treatment, a sign reads, “There’s a new hope for cancer treatment.”

Catanzaro says his alternative medicine was saving lives.

He made each shot he gave a patient included the patient’s own DNA. Although experimental, he says, the personalized treatment significantly boosted his patient’s immune system.

“The success rate of the therapy is greater than 35% in moving them into a cancer-free space,” Catanzaro said.

The doctor has already appealed his suspension and has a hearing set for August.

Perhaps the health institution understands stuff about medicine that naturopaths do not. Naturopathy is not a very effective treatment system.

Naturopathy and science « Science-Based Medicine.

These are not controlled trials. The mechanism has not been tested or defined. This is not the way medicine is done, by your claims. Publish and share with the world. This instead is the epitome of quackery. The problem is not that he deceived people because that does not seem to be the case. But that experimental treatments can’t be tried haphazardly on anyone who consents and then a claim made that they are working. Desperate people are desperate. I suppose they paid him for treatment? This is misleading to the public in general.

  7 comments for “Naturopath claims anecdotes are evidence his cancer treatment works

  1. May 4, 2014 at 8:51 PM

    Ben Goldacre made an excellent case against these kinds of claims by highlighting how easily people misunderstand cause and effect, in his book Bad Science.

    Not only do these people only count the positive results, but they misrepresent the incidental causes for remission. Illness go away, we heal, it’s what our bodies do. So there’s always going to be false positives in holistic medicine.

  2. Cathy
    May 4, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    “over 35%” doesn’t seem like a huge success rate either.

  3. May 5, 2014 at 2:17 AM

    greater than 35% in moving them into a cancer-free space

    Hmm… very ambiguous statement, that. He doesn’t say that anyone was cured, but that they moved towards being cured. What does that even mean? I guess the real statistic is a 0% success rate?

  4. Peter Robinson
    May 5, 2014 at 4:01 AM

    Not sure he is claiming a +35% success rate anyway. What the hell does this mean:

    “The success rate of the therapy is greater than 35% in moving them into a cancer-free space,” Catanzaro said.

    This touches on serious concerns about proposed new legislation in the U.K. which Andy Lewis has highlighted at his Quackometer blog. First that the legislation may open up the market to this type of fraud, and second that it may harm real research by taking people out of real research programs.

    For the story on that see here:

    http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2014/04/the-saatchi-bill-a-quacks-charter.html

    http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2014/05/how-the-saatchi-bill-will-harm-medical-innovation.html

  5. May 5, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    Holistic medicine my arse. My doctor does holistic medicine: he spotted an odd result in a blood test, did another test, sent me to a specialist for further investigation, confirmed I have coeliac disease, referred me to a dietician for help getting a gluten free diet and to a rediographer for a DEXA scan which found osteoporosis, as is often the case in undiagnosed coeliac.

    What is not holistic here?

    If I’d gone to a naturopath they /might/ have hit on the idea of excluding gluten, as it’s a current fad diagnosis, but they would have had zero idea about the actual coeliac and would never have spotted the osteoporosis, so they would not have given me the calcium and vitamin D I am getting now. Oh, and they probably would not have spotted the anaemia that started the whole thing either.

    They would have holistically guessed a whole load of cobblers and I’d be no better off.

  6. May 5, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    Poor choice of words, I suppose. Holistic is almost synonymous with homeopathic and naturopathic, though none of these words mean the same thing.

  7. May 6, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    I’m ready to simply remove “holistic” from the dictionary (along with “allopath,” “all-natural” “superfood” and a few others): I don’t believe the word has any scientific or academic standing and is simply a marketing term.

    Typo alert (in the original story): “He made each shot he gave a patient included the patient’s own DNA.”

    BS alert: “I am not saying I am not in favor of chemotherapy. What I am saying is let us integrate the landscape. Let’s try to tailor the therapy so that the person has the best chance to recover,” Catanzaro said.

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