Why do more and more people die from cancer although the pharmaceutical industry makes billions with cancer pharmaceutics? Why is the mortality rate the lowest where there is the smallest number of doctors? Why do we still agree to a health system that bleeds us financially but cannot cure our diseases? The businesslike view of the author shows conditions and developments that put together the picture of a terrible grotesqueness.
There are many reasons why our medical maintenance is going increasingly bad and not better despite a not ignorable progress. On the one hand, physicians have bad working conditions. In everyday life, they are forced to cope with a tangled mass of bureaucracy instead of being able to peacefully taking care of their patients. The pharmaceutical industry, the ‘Fachgesellschaften’ of Physicians and the health insurance companies have grown powerful, they decide what may be done and what not. They set guidelines, not only doctrines and standards, but also treatment norms. If a physician does not keep to the guidelines and paradigms, he’ll be defamed or even punished. This is added up by claims or threats of claims. This not only threatens the free profession of a doctor, but also the freedom of therapy. What is prescribed and what may be prescribed, is no longer decided by the physicians. Thus, well-tried drugs, which have been in use for years, especially natural drugs, have disappeared by the health reform. Public and private health insurance companies are becoming more and more restrictive, especially in the use of natural medicine. They argue that the use is unproven and phase IV studies are missing. The patient already has to pay a lot out of his own pocket if he wants a more mild but effective treatment. Who can afford this is lucky and can live, who cannot is unlucky and will die earlier. The feared two-class-medicine is here.
Medicine in Crisis
Science isn’t independent any more as well. The pharmaceutical industry steers it at the universities. There is no plurality of opinion any more. Opinions are being dictated in guidelines and in consensus, similar to the situation of the church in the middle ages, when everything was dogmatized and deviators were accused of heresy and beheaded or burned. But if in those days there hadn’t been critical heads and people who risked their lives, we would still today have to believe that the earth is a disk and the sun circles around it. Exactly for that reason the medicine is in a deep crisis. How deep, this can be seen in cancer medicine.
Cancer on the Rise
Meanwhile, cancer is the No. 2 of the most frequent causes of death. Every year, 10 million people in the western hemisphere die from cancer. 1.4 million in the USA, ca. 300000 in Germany. The tendency is rising, by the way more with men than with women. Meanwhile even the Americans realize that they have lost the battle against cancer. Despite intense efforts and millions of support for science, the risk of acquiring cancer has increased by 13 percent between 1975 and 1989. In the same period of time the cancer death rates increased by 7 per cent, while the 5-year survival rate did almost not change. It raised by 2 per cent.
Breast cancer may serve as a brilliant example. In the mean time, it has become the leading death cause for women between age 35 and 54. Back in 1972 a woman’s probability to acquire breast cancer was still 1:14. Today it is 1:8. During the past two decades more American women have died from breast cancer than American soldiers in both World Wars, the Korean, the Vietnam and the Iraq War together. In Germany, the risk for breast cancer has increased by 250 per cent since 1950.
Prostate cancer, too, is diagnosed 40 percent more often than 10 years ago. So, for what are we spending all that money for if it does not result in a decrease of cancer rates and an augmented healing rate?
The Health Mafia
There is a series of books pointing to the grievance of our health system. Some of them were already published years ago, i.e.: ‘The Health Mafia’ by Marita Vollborn and Vlad Georgescu. But the set of problems were known much earlier. Already in 1983 Peter Sichrovsky wrote his book ’Bitter Pills’, followed by ‘disease on prescription- the practice of panel doctors in 1984. ‘Healing forbidden, killing allowed- organized crime in health system’ by Kurt G. Blüchel, delivered a pitiless portrait of the German medical business. ‘Battalions of scalpel virtuosos and chemo artists,’ Blüchel writes, ‘operate millions of sick only for profit and career.’ I as the medical director of an oncological hospital can only approve much of what is written here. Nothing changed so far. Still the newspapers report of unnecessary operations and exorbitantly expensive drugs.
Toxic Cure without Use
Chemotherapy as one of the standard therapies for cancer, has acquired a bad reputation. Already in 1997 Dr. Ralph W. Moss released his book ‘Questionable Chemotherapy – decision guidance for cancer treatment’ He explains, how the chemotherapy has developed in a field of singular interests and with which kinds of tumour it can really show good results. Only in 2004, such a well renowned magazine as the German ‘Spiegel’ picks up the theme and names the chemotherapy a ‘toxic cure without use’. But still patients are being advised – sometimes repeated – chemotherapies, although, as in the case of breast cancer, they are of no use in the majority of the cases. Thus, despite ostensibly improved chemotherapies, the breast cancer death rate hasn’t changed since 1920!
Missed Therapy Aim
With breast cancer, if the patient had not received chemotherapy, the survival rate after 10 years is 40 per cent. Had she undergone a chemotherapy, the survival rate is at 47 per cent. That means: seven out of 100 women benefit from an adjuvant standard therapy. For the other 93 women it is not indicated and causes unnecessary costs. But: All 100 patients suffer from considerable side effects. Should one really expose 100 women to a toxic cure in order to help seven? Ninety-three wouldn’t have had a fall back anyway. Although today we can test which women might benefit and which not. Those tests are not popular. Why? Because it could reduce the turnover of pharmaceutical companies.
Prostate cancer is a similar case. In a study from 2002, 700 prostate cancer patients were randomized into two groups. The first group had not been treated but only monitored (Wait and Watch). The second group had been radically prostatectomized – with all the side effects such as impotence, incontinence and so forth. The result: After seven years, there was no difference in survival in both groups. Sixty-two men died from prostate cancer in the placebo group. Fifty-three of the operated men died, but more often from other diseases. The question now is: Should one operate 340 men for nothing in order to prevent 7 from dying, not from prostate cancer but from something else? I believe, the right answer is easy for everyone.
Medicine and View of the World
In the title of his book, Lothar Hirneisen, CEO of the association ‘Menschen gegen Krebs e.V.’ (People against Cancer) puts it like this: ‘Chemotherapy heals cancer and the earth is a disk.’ Thus, he puts today’s medicine on a level with the medieval view of the world. Equally, in those days it was believed what was allowed to be believed. Heretics were burned. In today’s medicine, there too, is a common doctrine. Who doesn’t follow, is called a dubious quack and will be outlawed. Thus a democratic dispute with the abundance of therapies, therapy concepts and opinions has become impossible.
Medicine as a Threat for Health
Where there are many doctors, there are many deaths. In places with a lower density of physicians there is the lowest death rate. This has been statistically proven. In several countries with physician strikes a decrement of mortality could be noted during the strike phase that increased again after the physicians resumed their labour. It is also known, that medications can make sick and dependant. In 2003 the scandal about the common hormone compensation therapies was huge. What was supposed to help women with menopause grievances, caused cancer. In a period of 10 years presumably 127.000 women acquired cancer, because they received synthetic hormone medications. Consider that the menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life and not a disease that ought to be treated. Already three years earlier the US media had extensively reported that hormone therapies rarely are of use but implicate great dangers (WHI-study Women’s Health Initiative). There is a good reason that the Germans didn’t react accordingly quickly. Medical Science is often sponsored by the pharmaindustry. No wonder that their results accord the interests of their buyers.
But also diagnostic methods can make sick. Here, Germans are the best: They have the highest dosage of x-rays worldwide. In 2005, with these threats on health by conventional medicine in mind, author Vernon Coleman published his guidebook ‘How to Stop YourDoctor Killing You’. ‘The probability of dying from the side effects of the medication your doctor prescribes for you, is five times higher than loosing your life in a traffic accident’ he writes.
The Global Cancer Crisis
Cancer is the most expensive disease at all. It charges the health insurance companies 25 billion Euros per year. 5 per cent of all sick people have cancer but produce 12 per cent of the costs. There is no end coming as both patients and physicians, due to guidelines, are often forced to the expensive track with chemotherapy. Then, their side effects must be treated with – again – expensive drugs, such as antiemetics, GCSF and so on. This is even done with conceivably unfavourable prognosis. Despite all hopes and claims today’s cancer therapy shows no better long-term results than the therapies from 30 years ago. Where does that come from? For me, the answer isn’t difficult: Because the conventional cancer medicine managed to take out the principal of healing from medicine and substituted it by a symptomatic treatment. The visible, tangible tumour is not the disease, but symptom and product of a deeper lying disease. Therefore, the removal of a tumour is not a causal, but a symptomatic therapy. The milieu, in which cancer could emerge, is rarely or not at all considered. The cancer disease is being treated according to scheme F: Cut, over radiate, toxificate. Of course, besides operation, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy with synthetic products and pain therapy there is also a little bit of psychology. But the singular individual, his physical and psycho-social situation is rarely listened and responded to. Man as an entity in his singularity is not answered to. Coming back to our example with breast cancer, almost all of today’s women all over the world are treated the same when they develop a mamma carcinoma. There’s a fixed standard: operate, radiate, treat with chemo. A computer could suggest this therapy if it were fed with the according tumour formula and a trained nurse could exercise it. The applied cytostatics may suppress the growth of the tumour, but in the same time affect the healthy tissue. The patient’s immune system which showed significant weaknesses even before the affection with cancer is still being weakened, furthermore other organs such as bone marrow, liver, kidneys and the nervous system. The organism has to cope with an enormous load of toxins, what it cannot always manage.
Complementary Cancer Therapy
In contrary, the complementary cancer therapy has different aims, which are to strengthen a patient’s health, his metabolism, hormone and immune system in a way that the underlying disease gets better under control. To achieve this, his hormones are regulated by bioidentical hormones, his immune system is supported, the patient is being detoxified and his organ functions are being improved. Simultaneously, his life style and his psychological attitude are considered and if necessary corrected, or help is being offered accordingly. The focus of the complementary cancer medicine is on the progression of the single patient, his or her individual problems and his characteristics. It is a holistic oriented individual therapy. Several approaches are included dependant on the patient’s situation: Homeopathy, Sports therapy, Galvano therapy, Hyperthermia, orthomolecular medicine, naturopathic treatment, dietetic treatment, immuno therapy, bioidentical hormones, psychology and traditional Chinese medicine. All these therapies work with nature and not against. They have little side effects but support the patient in gradually regaining his active life and acquiring a fighting spirit towards cancer. Some of these therapies do not have a direct but an indirect effect. At a first glance, each for itself may look worthless andineffective to ignorant physicians. But as pieces of a mosaic, thoroughly and individually applied, together they make a masterpiece. In complementary medicine, medicine becomes art again, and not, as in conventional medicine, a standardized technique, that treats symptoms, but not the human being.
We encourage our patients to concentrate on themselves and to lead an active life (sports, clubs, etc). We give them tools, they can actively use. They are actively being integrated in their own healing process. Body, mind an soul are required. We know that the brain, the hormones and the immune system, although so different, work together closely. They constantly exchange information using the same tracks. This does not only explain occasional psychical disorders along with physical diseases and vice versa, but also why visualisation techniques are so effective. Only the re-establishment of a homeostasis on these three levels allows an enduring recovery and overcoming of the disease.
The Solution: A New Medicine
What we need to solve all the problems mentioned above is a new medicine that re- improves the position of the physician. Only when his freedom and independence are guaranteed, he can individually decide for each patient. In the same time we should grant self- determination to the patients. We should give them back their health and not take it away.
If we don’t manage a turn, we need not be surprised if today’s medicine continues to decline. Then we are going to loose the good reputation that the German medicine once had world wide.
We need a strong governing body that represents an ‘integrative medicine’ and acts in all important committees. This governing body must intensively and equally boost the rights of both patients and physicians.
Translated from: raum&zeit, 148/2007 by Wieland Schreiber.