Skeptic News: The oncologist and the complementary medicine

From: The Star Press

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital set up 100 chairs for a lecture on complementary medicine for patients with cancer on the night of Sept. 18.

The hospital underestimated public interest in the free, one-hour talk, and had to add a dozen chairs.

“We still use a lot of conventional medicine — chemotherapy and radiation — but we acknowledge … that patients are out there researching complementary modes of therapy that are natural and less toxic,” the presenter, physician Michael Williamson Jr., said afterward. “Instead of ignoring that it’s there, I try to help people navigate through it …We’re acknowledging that people really do want to be treated as a whole person.”

Though his talk was aimed at cancer patients, Williamson told the audience, “Frankly, this stuff is available over the counter. We want to educate cancer patients and their families but also the public. Anybody can go to a health food store and try these supplements and essential oils.”

His lecture promoted vitamin B12 tablets dissolved under the tongue, Korean ginseng, the essential amino acid L-lysine, whey protein, probiotic foods like yogurt with live microorganisms, wasabi (also known as Japanese horseradish), broccoli, cell salt pills dissolved under the tongue, essential oils and applying pressure to the feet.

Though some of his colleagues believe complementary therapies are “hocus pocus, I have seen the healing with my own eyes,” Williamson told the audience.

An oncologist, he maintains such therapies have anti-tumor properties as well as the ability to calm the brain, promote healing, resist stress, fight herpes family viruses, treat sore breasts, reduce hot flashes and migraine headaches, increase oxygen and the secretion of hormones, enhance your love life and produce other benefits.

Worryingly the doctors talk seems to have given attendees a false sense of the efficacy of many of these “remedies” and “treatments” as well as putting them off actual evidence based medicines. One audience member was quoted upon leaving the talk as saying:

“A lot of this stuff that is not approved by the AMA (American Medical Association) is better than the stuff that is approved,”

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