Thursday, April 22, 2010

Don't Sell Me "Hype" and Spell It "Hope"

I guess you could say I'm a skeptic. It seems to be my natural propensity to look at things carefully. I want to know the "why", the "wherefore", the "how come".

And so when I read about "cancer cures" on the internet I'm a bit skeptical.

I've read about the Budwig diet, anti-oxidants, the use of special Essiac tea. The internet is full of claims for cures.

In addition there are books, books, books by cancer survivors (some of whom have since succumbed). Some of those books are written by Hollywood glams who claim to be an expert on cancer and surviving same. I seldom go to Hollywood for words of wisdom about those books are already deleted from my "to read" list.

It annoys me no end that advocates of so-called natural cures have never submitted their "cure" to clinical trials. Or, if they claim to have done so, the number of participants is a handful. Maybe twenty people. Anyone who has done statistical studies knows that you have to have a large enough number of participants so that one aberrant result does not mess up the that you can duplicate the test and find the same results in a second population.

It annoys me no end that these advocates receive income from their espousal of the "cure". Book sales. Vitamin sales.

It annoys me to read their multiple testimonials from people who survived cancer. They survived for awhile. I don't know how long they lived after writing their fine testimonial. I don't really know if they lived any longer than if they had never used the supplements/cures/remedies.

It annoys me that they never give you statistics...such as..."we have had 50,000 people follow our methods and 49,999 have survived cancer a full five years beyond the life span of the 50,000 who were treated only by chemo." I never see the numbers.

No...they sell "hype". Only they spell it "hope".

The hype spreads like wild fire. And here is how it spreads. Someone on chemo also takes a supplement. They feel well. So instead of attributing that to being one of the fortunate ones helped by the chemo, they swear that it is the tea or the cottage cheese or the flax oil or name it.

You see, I would be saying the same if I had been adding one of these regimens to my chemo. For you see, I "feel" exceptionally well. I'm in my 60s and I feel "well" in spite of doing chemo on a weekly basis. I feel good physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. And if I had been using one of these protocols along with the chemo, I would be giving all the credit to the "remedy". It would be a false conclusion for I am (currently) doing well WITHOUT the supplements.

On the other hand...if you have investigated carefully and have run this past your oncologist first, go for it. If Essiac tea is your thing, great! If eating cottage cheese and flax oil gives you a feeling of hope, go for it. Hope is not a bad thing. Just try to read beyond the hype.



Jana said...

You nailed it, I have my own share of illness surrounded by hype. I used to totally get caught up in it all. I am praying for you! Always do when I see your name and thinking of all the cancer survivors I am connected to. I love that you share about it, my dad doesnt so I dont know what he goes through.

Scott said...

Whitestone, looks like a good principal of discernment in this article "selling hype and calling it hope." Reminds me of a conversation I listened in on as a young teen of a man selling my parents something called Basic H. He extolled the virtues of Basic H as unlimited. You can use it to moisten cakes, wash dishes and one time one of his customers revived a dried up water hole by sprinkling basic H over the dry caked ground of the old water hole. The conversation taught me a lot. "Something that does everything probably does nothing."

Andrea said...

We must look at things from a balanced approach. I have a background in nursing, but I also use supplements, eat organically, etc. It is best to be wise about our health. In doing so we will implement things that help us to maintain or achieve a better quality of health. At the same time, do NOT discount medicine. There are times when our bodies can not fight off the infection or disease on it's on.

Great post.

Blessings, andrea

Kelly said...

Yep....hype masquerading as hope. I can remember my mother chasing after "cures" thirty-something years ago.

Caroline said...

I believe we should never give up hope. I also believe there are lots of piles of nothing covered with hype.

Glenda said...

Great advice from someone who's qualified to give it!

Linda said...

Without Christ and hope we would have nothing! I feel badly for the people who put their hope in the hype!

Anonymous said...

Right on! A well-meaning friend loaned us a copy of a book by a Hollywood Glam. We could not get past the first chapter as the tone and bullsh*t made us angry.
God has given us our technology, doctors and medicine and will use them to bless us. Why should we ever doubt Him?

supplies overflowing! said...

Just stopping by to say hello.
I am thinking about you.

I can't stand the amount of mail that comes in to my mother's house advertising "the cure that doctors won't tell you about". She gets swayed by some ads, buys the product, and then upon reading the ingredients, we discover that they sometimes contain ingredients that would do her harm if she used the product, because of some of her ailments. It drives me crazy.
Totally frustrating.
On the other hand...if there is hope...
Take care.

Sarah said...

That was a wonderful post
thank you.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Excellent post! It is so true that the products that sell by hype are often not tested and often ineffectual.

Hope is definitely part of the battle. I hope and pray for the best for you as you fight your cancer! God bless!

Quilt Inspiration said...

We found your blog while looking at your beautiful shirt quilt on We are inspired by your quilt, your blog, and your views on "Hype" vs "Hope". Thank you for this inspiring post.