And The Pseudo-Medical Vultures Circled…

Patrick Swayze, courtesy of

Last Monday, actor Patrick Swayze lost a long fight with pancreatic cancer and passed away. Having been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer in late January 2008, Swayze died on September 14th.

The news was met with a sadness from his fans, mostly girls I’ll needlessly add, but certain sections of the pseudomedical community have taken his death with an altogether different message. In an item posted to by editor Mike Adams, the self-proclaimed Health Ranger, Swayze’s death is in fact a chilling warning as to the dangers of Chemotherapy.

Quoting the article:

“Having put his faith in conventional chemotherapy, he largely dismissed ideas that nutrition, superfoods or “alternative medicine” might save him, instead betting his life on the chemotherapy approach which seeks to poison the body into a state of remission instead of nourishing it into a state of health.”

The article then goes on to put is death into the context of other celebrity deaths of late:

“He will be deeply missed, and in his death, he joins many other celebrities who have been recently killed by pharmaceuticals or chemotherapy.”

Killed by pharmaceuticals or chemotherapy. Killed. So, who are these other celebrity victims of western medecine?

“Peter Jennings died following chemotherapy for lung cancer”

No, he died of lung cancer, he was not killed by his lung cancer treatment.

Heath Ledger died following an accidental overdose of prescription medications

Well, yes, he overdosed. He took too much of these safe medications, exceeding the safe dosage. Had Heath drowned, would Mike Adams blame it water? Had he hung himself with a leather belt, would Mike Adams, Health Ranger, blame cows? Sorry for the macabre analogy, but I can’t help it – Mike Adams, Power Ranger clearly doesn’t understand logic or reason.

“Michael Jackson was killed by a doctor-administered injection of lethal painkillers”

No, he was killed by a lethal dosage of painkillers, not a dosage of  lethal painkillers. For whatever reason, Michael was given too much, and it killed him. Had he died from a stab wound, would Mike Adams be decrying steel?

“Famed newscaster Tim Russert most likely died from the fatal side effects of cholesterol medications”

This is news to a lot of people, I guess, including his coroner – who wrote in his report:

“…His history of coronary artery disease led to a myocardial infarction (heart attack) with the immediate cause being an occlusive coronary thrombus in the left anterior descending artery resulting from a ruptured cholesterol plaque.”

Still, far be it for Mike Adams, Glasgow Ranger, to let that detail spoil his story-telling.

“Former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow died after receiving chemotherapy for colon cancer”

Again, he died from colon cancer, he was not killed by his cancer treatment. There’s a diference.

“Bernie Mac was most likely killed by pharmaceutical side effects”

Only Mike Adams thinks this is the mostly likely cause –  everyone else is content to believe the physicians who asserted that he died of pneumonia caused by his Sarcoidosis. Still, Mike goes on:

“The list of celebrities killed by western medicine is seemingly endless. And now, sadly, Patrick Swayze joins that ever-growing list of famous, endearing people who paid the ultimate price for their misplaced faith in slash-and-burn medicine and “conventional” chemotherapy treatments.”

So he’s straw-manning modern medicine as ‘slash-and-burn’, and throwing rabbit-ears-quote-marks around “conventional” to somehow shadily imply that modern medicine and chemotherapy is not radical or effective. Well done, Mike Adams, with your amazing wordplay you completely negate the need to back up anything you say with proof. No, wait a minute – that’s bullshit, you still need to prove it.

How about the list of people who didn’t die of cancer, because western conventional medicines saved them? Far too numerous to list, and that’s even accepting the ridiculous assertion that anyone who isn’t saved by chemotherapy is therefore killed by it. Although, at least Mike Adams has a retort to that:

“Had Patrick Swayze’s pancreatic cancer gone away, doctors would have hailed chemotherapy as the genius treatment that saved Swayze’s life. But chemotherapy has never healed anyone of cancer. Not once in the history of medicine.”

Again, at best Mike Adams is indulging in semantics and wordplay – sure, nobody is ‘healed’ of cancer, because cancer doesn’t get ‘healed’ as such, it gets put into a state of remission. If you’re lucky, like an increasing number of patients are each year, as medical practice and techniques get even more effective than they currently are (which is amazingly effective, most of the time), your cancer goes into long-term remission, and doesn’t reoccur. Tell that to the Lone Ranger, though.

So, how would Mike Adams, Park Ranger, have saved Patrick Swayze? Unsurprisingly, he has his own health advice for cancer patients to take on board. Even more unsurprisingly, it’s sheer unadulterated bollocks:

“Could Patrick Swayze have saved his own life with natural medicine? Absolutely. Without question. Even late-stage pancreatic cancer can be reversed (yes, reversed) with full-on naturopathic treatments involving Chinese herbal medicine, deep body detoxification that includes sweat saunas and colon cleansing, radical changes in diet from “dead” foods to “live” foods, a healthy dose of vitamin D and the daily consumption of raw anti-cancer living juices made from fresh, organic produce like cabbage, broccoli and garlic.”

Forget chemotherapy, here’s a sunday roast and an enema, that’ll cure what ails you. Mike Adams here is guilty of some dangerous, mendacious levels of ignorance and complete disrespect – not just for Patrick Swayze (who was barely passed away when this quack was spouting his bullshit), but also disrespect for medicine, doctors, and above all cancer sufferers. Fortunately, the level of evil, twisted crap he’s peddling is so patently, blatantly, evilly bullshit that it will most likely have no more ill effect than to turn the stomach of anyone who comes across it, and will persuade almost nobody to his cause. At least, that’s what we have to hope.

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  1. #1 by Andy on September 25, 2009 - 10:56

    This guy is a good example of the type of extremist pseudomed idiot that is caused by the vacuum of critical thinking in our society. The fact he can operate with impunity and without being villified by the public astounds me.

    Of course, free speech is everything but shouldn’t there be an “airplane” type queue of people with various heavy imlements waiting to smack the guy for even trying to kill people.

    I wish this was a lot less common than it really is. This article perfectly demonstrates the legitimate role of scientific Skepticism in our society, or in this case USA society.

    Even without Marsh’s debunk above, the bare facts of what he stands for say everything there is to know.

    Who will cure society of the cancer that is people like him and their unrestrained, maverick blunderbuss pseudomed?

  2. #2 by James Thomas on April 26, 2010 - 09:03

    Patrick Swayze is one of the most talented actors in Hollywood, he would surely be missed by a lot of his fan.

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