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Saturday, January 19, 2013

In Cancer Quackery News

Stanislaw Burzynski threatens one of his own patients over website

 Anti-cancer-quackery blogger Robert Blaskiewicz has a blog post up that details how Houston-based "alternative cancer treatment" practitioner Stanislaw Burzynski (photo at left) whom many reasoned minds in the oncology field would describe as a quack, has crossed a new line in his ongoing awfulness.
The latest: Burzynski's rep threatened one of his own patients, Wayne Merritt who had advanced pancreatic cancer, after Wayne (right) and his wife Lisa published a website detailing how they'd been duped.
That site, burzynskiscam.com, is still up, despite the nastygram threatening "to file a legal lawsuit" for its purportedly "defamatory" contents.
Threatening bloggers is nothing new for Burzynski, but threatening cancer patients is, as far as I can tell.
Blaskiewicz adds,

The Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients is looking to put an actual dent into Burzynski's wallet while shaming him publicly for what he's done by raising money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. We're trying to raise $30,000, the cost of starting his bogus trials according to a patient who was dead just days after starting his treatment. We're donating all of it in his name on his birthday, Jan 23rd. That same day, we're issuing a challenge to the Clinic to MATCH THE TOTAL that skeptics raise. That's the big thing. Regardless of whether or not he participates (and I suspect that it's hard to shame the shameless), we plan to say that it's probably the greatest contribution to cancer research ever made in his name. :) The fundraiser is here. For bloggers who want to help drive his google search results into the toilet (by putting reliable info in its place), a guide can be found at thehoustoncancerquack.com. Feel free to use the birthday ducky graphic I have there. :)
Below, two excerpts from the nastygrams sent by Burzynski's rep to Wayne Merritt’s wife. They're pretty wacky. And it takes a special kind of asshole to bully a cancer patient and his wife in this manner.
And Dr. Harriet Hall, aka "The SkepDoc," sent around this email backgrounder to Skeptics and pro-science types. It's a good place to start, if you're not familiar yet with Burzynski.
I'll paste it here, below:

Stanislaw Burzynski is a doctor who has lured patients to his Houston clinic with two promises: to try to cure their incurable cancers with his antineoplaston treatments, and to enroll them in a clinical trial. Patients in clinical trials are usually reimbursed for all expenses and paid for participating. Instead, Burzynski makes them pay for everything, typically $30,000. And, he is only claiming to do clinical trials because the FDA has investigated him and has prohibited him from treating patients outside of trials. So he pretends to be doing clinical trials, but he never publishes any results. Instead of a research protocol with IRB oversight and informed consent, he offers "individualized" experimental treatments to patients without any randomization or controls. He produces his own drugs and charges more than they would cost elsewhere. He claims to have many miraculous successes, but a website is accumulating the case histories of his far more numerous failures. Read some of the stories here and weep. Just one example: He told a patient his cancer had shrunk by 84% on the latest MRI, so the patient assumed he was improving and wrote a check for another course of treatment. Then the neurosurgeon who had originally operated on him got a hold of the MRI and saw that the tumor was actually unchanged; the Burzynski Clinic had misinterpreted the healing of the hole where part of the tumor had been removed. Over a hundred of these cases have been collected and are gradually going up on the website to counter the testimonials on the misleading Burzynski Patient Group website. [The most recent entry demonstrates that threats have been issued against cancer patients.]
A website entitled "The Houston Cancer Quack" has been established to carry out a fund raising drive. The plan is to raise $30,000, the typical cost of treatment for a Burzynski patient, and to notify Burzynski on his birthday as a sort of birthday present. The money will go to support legitimate cancer research at the St. Jude Children's Hospital, and Burzynski will be challenged to match the donation. He can afford it. He lives in a $6 million, 14,495 square foot mansion.
He continues to offer unethical treatments to these desperate patients, who are being financially ruined in the pursuit of false hope and have been robbed of the opportunity for conventional palliative care and precious time with their families.
For more information see the article Dr. Gorski wrote on the "Science-Based Medicine" website today.
Also see the numerous articles he has written on the Respectful Insolence website.
What Burzynski is doing is evil. The FDA tried to stop him and failed. The Texas Medical Board tried to stop him, but lost on a technicality. We are hoping this fund raising drive will bring his misdeeds to the attention of the public. We hope the media will pick it up and spread the word to a wide audience.
This is a win/win proposition: You can support cancer research for children and simultaneously embarrass a doctor who is getting rich preying on vulnerable cancer patients. I can't think of a worthier cause. Please, PLEASE go to this webpage.
Click on the donate button. It's secure and simple to make a donation with your credit card online.
Skeptics, Unite! Here's a chance for skeptics to really make a difference.

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