Why do more and more people die from cancer although the pharmaceutical industry makes billions with cancer pharmaceutics? How can the mortality rate be the lowest where there is the lowest number of doctors? And 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.
Reasons for Worsening Medical Care
There are many reasons why our medical care is going increasingly bad and not better despite a not ignorable progress in research and knowledge. On the one hand, physicians have poor working conditions. In everyday life, they are forced to cope with a tangled mass of bureaucracy instead of being able to peacefully take care of their patients. The pharmaceutical industry, expert associations of Physicians and 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 will be defamed or even punished. It 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 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 with the health reform. Public and private health insurance companies are becoming more and more restrictive, especially regarding natural medicine. They argue that its use is unproven and phase IV studies are missing.
The patient already has to pay a lot out of the own pocket if he wants a milder but nevertheless effective treatment. Who can afford this is lucky and can live, who cannot is unlucky and will die earlier. We have arrived in the long-feared two-class medicine.
Medicine in Crisis
Science is not 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 had not 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 this reason the medicine is in a deep crisis. How deep the crisis is in fact, can be seen in cancer medicine.
Cancer on the Rise
At the moment, 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, approx. 300.000 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 Dollars as 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 rose by only 2 per cent.
Breast cancer may serve as a brilliant example. In the meantime, it has become the leading cause of death 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, what are we spending all this money for if it does not result in a decrease of cancer rates and in augmented healing rates?
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 already known much earlier.
Already in 1983 Peter Sichrovsky wrote his book ’Bittere Pillen’ (“Bitter Pills”), followed by ‘Krankheit auf Rezept : Die Praktiken der Praxisärzte’ (“Disease on Prescription- the Practice of Panel Doctors”) in 1984. ‘Heilung verboten, Töten erlaubt: Die organisierte Kriminalität im Geseundheitswesen‘ (“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 has 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 ‘Fragwürdige Chemotherapie: Entscheidungshilfen für die Krebstherapie‘ (“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 tumor it can really show good results.
Just in 2004, a the German renowned magazine ‘Spiegel’ picks up the theme and names the chemotherapy a ‘toxic cure without use’. But still patients are being advised to undergo – sometimes repeatedly – 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. Has she undergone chemotherapy, the survival rate is 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 would not have had a recurrence 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‘). In contrast, the second group had been radically prostatectomized – with all the side effects relating thereto, 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 we operate 340 men for nothing in order to prevent 7 from dying, not from prostate cancer but from something else? I believe everyone knows the answer.
Modern Medicine, Medieval World View
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, too, there is a common doctrine. Who does not 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 the death rate is the lowest. This has been statistically proven. In several countries with physician strikes a reduction in mortality could be noted during the strike phase that increased again after the physicians resumed their labor. It is also known that medications can make sick and dependent.
In 2003 there was a huge scandal about common hormone compensation therapies. What was supposed to help women with menopause grievances in fact caused cancer. Over 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 reported extensively that hormone therapies rarely are of use but implicate great dangers (WHI study: Women’s Health Initiative). There is a reason that the Germans did not react quickly: Medical Science is often sponsored by the pharmaceutical ndustry. Not surprisingly, their results accord the interests of the sponsors.
But also diagnostic methods can make sick. Here, Germans are the best: They have the highest dosage of x-rays worldwide. In 2005, with the health threats by conventional medicine in mind, author Vernon Coleman published his guidebook ‘How to Stop Your Doctor Killing You’. ‘The probability of dying from the side effects of the medication your doctor prescribes you, is five times higher than losing your life in a traffic accident’, he writes.
The Global Cancer Crisis
Cancer is the most expensive disease of all. It charges the health insurance companies 25 billion EUR per year. 5 per cent of all sick people have cancer, but they 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, side effects must be treated with – again – expensive drugs, such as antiemetics, GCSF and so on. This is even done with conceivably unfavorable prognosis.
Despite all hopes and claims today’s cancer therapy shows no better long-term results than therapies from 30 years ago. Why is that? For me, the answer is not difficult: because the conventional cancer medicine managed to take out the principal of healing from medicine and substituted it by a symptomatic treatment.
In fact, the visible, tangible tumor does not constitute the disease itself, but is a symptom and product of a deeper lying disease. Therefore, the removal of the tumor 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 the book: cut, irradiate, 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.
Cancer Treatment: Fixed standards with Serious Consequences
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 is a fixed standard: operate, radiate, and treat with chemo. A computer could suggest this therapy if it were fed with the according tumor formula and a trained nurse could exercise it.
The applied cytostatics may suppress the growth of the tumor, but at the same time they affect the healthy tissue. The patient’s immune system which showed significant weaknesses even before the affection with cancer is being weakened consistently by this, on top of other organs such as bone marrow, liver, kidneys and the nervous system.
The organism has to cope with an enormous load of toxins. It cannot always manage.
Complementary Cancer Therapy
Contrary to that, complementary cancer therapy has different aims: strengthening the patient’s health, his metabolism, hormone and immune system in a way that we can control the underlying disease better. To achieve this, his hormones are regulated by bioidentical hormones, his immune system is supported, the patient is detoxified and his organ functions are improved. Simultaneously, the life style and psychological attitude are considered and, if necessary, corrected, or help is being offered accordingly.
The focus of complementary cancer medicine is the progression of the single patient, his or her individual problems and characteristics. It is a holistic oriented individual therapy. Several approaches are included dependent 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 the cancer. Some of the therapies do not have a direct but an indirect effect. At a first glance, each for itself may look worthless and ineffective. But like 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 whole human being.
Encouraging the Patients to be an Active Part of the Therapy
We encourage our patients to concentrate on themselves and to lead an active life (sports, clubs, etc.). We give them the tools they can use. They are actively integrated in their own healing process. Body, mind and soul are required.
We know that the brain, the hormones and the immune system, although different systems, 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 visualization techniques prove to be 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 puts the physician in a better position again. Only if his freedom and independence are guaranteed, he can make the best decision for each of his patient.
At the same time we should grant self-determination to the patients. We have to restore their health and not take it away from them!
If we don’t manage to take a turn, we should not be surprised if today’s medicine continues to decline. Then we are going to lose the good reputation that the German medicine once had worldwide.
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