I’m not sure if people with bizarre beliefs sometimes go out of their way to make an exhibition of themselves, or if they just don’t care. Here we see Dr Michael Dixon OBE, resting his hand on an invisible hat worn by another man.
Ah – I see I have misunderstood, now that I know the context. This comes from the charity CANCERactive, whose mission is to
provide all people, regardless of age, colour, sex, race, creed or financial status, absolutely all the information available on cancer, its causes and possible treatments, so that they can make more informed personal choices and thus increase their odds of beating the disease.
All the information? Wow, that’s ambitious. So somehow this charity has collected together the entire output of the worldwide medical literature on cancer? I’m impressed. But wait, there’s more. In addition to all this scientific stuff, there’s a wealth of information of a somewhat unscientific nature. Indeed there is a decided emphasis on the unproven, which apparently makes this
The most trusted source of information on holistic therapies and prevention in the UK.
How that statement can be verified seems obscure, but the more I look at this site the more I realise that evidence is the last thing the charity will consider. I will leave you to roam through the gibberish to be found here, but I will start you off at the page called Complementary Therapies for People with Cancer. Here you will find the usual evidence-free claims about how these therapies work, but I really want to draw your attention to the impressive list of references. I don’t have time to analyse the whole lot, but in the section on homeopathy there is the statement:
There has been some research into homeopathy that does show benefits in certain conditions including chemotherapy induced stomatitis, radiodermatitis, and general adverse events from radiotherapy.
Six references are given for this claim. Let’s look at the first one, which is from my good friend Edzard Ernst and colleagues. You will find the abstract on PubMed. Did they find that homeopathy shows any supportive evidence? Well this is what they said:
Our analysis of published literature on homeopathy found insufficient evidence to support clinical efficacy of homeopathic therapy in cancer care.
The most trusted source of information on holistic therapies and prevention in the UK? Do me a favour please – if you trust this stuff you could well die sooner. They pick out references to make their case look stronger and then reverse what the authors have said. Yes, I know these are defamatory statements but there is even more extreme material on the site. The thoroughly discredited Vega testing receives fulsome praise, and this article even endorses the notorious Dr Hulda Clark who fled from the USA to escape a charge of practising medicine without a licence.
There is not much new about all this you may well observe, and I agree that the web is replete with dangerous and misleading material on cancer. But what astonishes me particularly about CANCERactive is the support it receives from people who should know better – its patrons. OK, there is the usual dog and pony show of celebrities, and we don’t expect them to know anything, but what are highly respected oncologists doing here? Does Professor Karol Sikora support the Gerson Diet? Does Professor Trevor Powles OBE endorse Vega testing? Do they know how their names are being used to lend support to quackery?
Thus I am brought back to how this piece got started. Dr Michael Dixon OBE chairs the NHS Alliance, and you will find his profile here. He is close to the Prince of Wales, so don’t be surprised if another gong comes his way one day. Presumably striking silly poses in public is one of the qualifications. Maybe I should run a caption competition for this delightful picture – what do you think?