The Internet Is An Awesome Tool

I’m gonna say that again but in all caps this time… shouting from the rooftops!  THE INTERNET IS AN AWESOME TOOL!  I hope that echoes around the web for a bit. 🙂  For some reason, I keep reading blog posts and seeing comments on Facebook that the Internet is dangerous and should be feared. I honestly don’t get that. The Internet is nothing more than a bunch of computers linked to share information, both true and false, with the user. That’s right, both true and false, just like life. 🙂 So why are there so many “be careful the web is dangerous” thoughts going around? I have a few ideas. Stick with me a bit.

Fear And Loathing

No, we’re not going to Las Vegas. Everybody calm down. 😀 If I’ve learned one thing as a technology professional, it’s that fear and loathing permeates the web. There’s a popular term that I like when referring to this situation. The term is “Disruptor”. It’s a term that is being used to explain how new technologies and ideas are disrupting the accepted paradigms. 🙂  A good example of a “disruptor” is the web itself. There was a time in history when every household had the Encyclopedia Britannica. That day is gone and now the Encyclopedia Britannica is on the Internet. That’s a good example of how the web disrupted accepted ways of thinking and doing things. That “disruption” brings about “fear and loathing” among those who wish to preserve the currently accepted standards. When the “old guard” fights change. They fear it and hate it and, in many cases, try to destroy it.

Alternative Facts And Fake News

Everybody is talking about alternative facts and fake news lately and we all know what it is. It’s a lie disguised as truth to deceive us…for various reasons.  I hate that. Oh, and I hate click bait too. You know, stuff like “This woman’s friends didn’t know what was inside her until…” you click and find out… she gave birth to a baby… or “99 year old woman’s secret to losing weight” you click and find out the answer is to eat less. 😀 I could write these for a living and never get bored. 😀 As we all know, the fake stuff can get pretty nasty AND deceptive so we need to be careful and smart when investigating things like fighting NetCancer (neuroendocrine cancer) and carcinoid cancer. Here’s the thing… there is misleading information on all sides of every topic. Why? Because that is how life is. It was that way before the Internet and it will be that way when something replaces the Internet. That is life. Let’s look at a few of the ideas that are causing problems for the “truth seekers” among us.

The Mind Is A Big Problem

Everyone likes to say that we should be open minded and that being closed minded is the problem BUT I think both can be a problem when taken to an extreme. You see, I’m not open minded about what to put in the tank of my car. When David thought he would fill it with water…well, I stopped him. 🙂  In that case, it’s good to be closed minded. I only put gasoline in my gas tank because that’s how my car was designed to operate. On the other hand, if somebody shows me something feasible like a cancer fighting food… well, I eat more of it while I look into it. No, I don’t just jump in and throw out my chemo. 🙂

Now let’s really think about this. We can all be prone to extreme thinking. If you think chemo, radiation or surgery is the only way to deal with your cancer you might be a little closed minded. If you think oncologists are just selling you chemo to line their pockets then you might want to rethink that. Both are ideas are ones that have been taken to an extreme. To find the truth we need to find balance.  Let’s put our preconceived ideas behind us and embrace ALL truth no matter where it originates.

So Many “Straw Men” And So Little Time

So, in our quest for the truth about fighting cancer we’ve all seen the “Drink 3 tubs of butter every day and watch your tumors melt away!” articles. Now, for those advocating the traditional way of thinking there couldn’t be a better type of article to prove their point. It’s called a “straw man” argument. Wikipedia explains this idea really well.

The so-called typical “attacking a straw man” argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent’s proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition (i.e., “stand up a straw man”) and then to refute or defeat that false argument (“knock down a straw man”) instead of the original proposition Read More

The idea is that somebody will put up something that is blatantly false and then easily knock it down and proudly proclaim that the alternative idea has been “debunked”. Here’s an example, from Don’t Believe The Hype – 10 Cancer Myths Debunked.  The author says that it is a myth that cancer is a man made, modern disease. Here’s a quote.

The simple fact is that more people are living long enough to develop cancer because of our success in tackling infectious diseases and other historical causes of death such as malnutrition. It’s perfectly normal for DNA damage in our cells to build up as we age, and such damage can lead to cancer developing.

He even says at some point that dinosaurs had cancer. I’ve never seen proof of that but I’ll assume it’s true for now. You see, phrasing the question like that is one way to build a “straw man” argument and it’s not really the real question being asked by so many people.  The real question is not “is cancer is as old as the dinosaurs” or if it is literally “man made” but is, instead, “Why cancer is spreading so prolifically in our modern age?” Let’s take a more honest look at the idea of age and cancer in our modern society.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the expression, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Unfortunately, this is an example, where the researchers decided not to show you the whole forest, but instead focus your attention on the prettiest trees. When you look at the bigger picture, it’s nowhere near as pretty.

Cancer Rates

Source:  US Mortality Data, 1930-2006, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009.

Taking a longer term, whole forest perspective, we can now see that mortality rates for cancer have actually increased geometrically over the last 75 years, with only the smallest of dips in the last 15. In fact, cancer rates have climbed between 800 and 1700% during this timeframe, depending on whose statistics you use. This is a number that far transcends any increase that might be accounted for by population increase, the aging of the population, or even better detection. Read More at the Baseline of Health Foundation 

Here’s an article on Web MD.

Cancer deaths are projected to more than double worldwide over the next two decades, largely from a dramatic increase in cancer incidence in low- and middle-income countries driven by tobacco use and increasingly Westernized lifestyles. Read More

This data comes from a report issued by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and explores the global burden of cancer. The World Health Association (WHO) is saying similar things as well. So, unless we are going to see a similar boom in lifespans then I really don’t see the correlation of age to cancer risk and mortality. Finally, he quotes a post that states that 36% of cancers are diagnosed in people 75 years of age or older. Which leaves….64% diagnosed at 74 years of age or younger….you do the math.

Now let’s look at lifestyle. First, let me refer you to my post that “debunked” the idea that biological bad luck was the main factor in getting cancer. The article was another attempt at “debunking” lifestyle choices as the cause of many cancers. You can read my post here.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has something significant to say about lifestyle and cancer as well.

At least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable. Prevention offers the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer. Read More

and the Mayo Clinic has something to say as well.

In many cases, what is known about cancer prevention is still evolving. However, it’s well accepted that your chances of developing cancer are affected by the lifestyle choices you make. Read More

Addressing age again, how exactly do we explain the breast cancer clusters on Long Island and the increase in childhood cancers? These are just two examples of why age is not the main factor in understanding the explosive rise in cancer rates in our modern age. We are exposed to more toxins and more opportunities to consume unhealthy foods and beverages.

Our government didn’t ban BPA in plastic baby bottles for lack of cause. It’s an endocrine disruptor. Take a look here for more. Endocrine disruptors are suspected to cause cancer because they mimic Estrogen in the human body which can lead to cancer. I wrote a post all about this and you can read it here.

This is a perfect example of a “straw man” argument. It’s a bait and switch. The real argument is not if cancer is “man made” but, “why in the is modern age, is cancer so prolific”. Man made is not to be taken literally but as an allegory of causation. In other words, is our modern epidemic of cancer “man made”.

We need to be careful when reading articles like this because, in my opinion, they are dishonest. Is every word dishonest? No, but why work so hard to find truth? There seems to be something motivating this person to be less than honest in this article. Why? Who knows? Maybe fear and loathing but it’s a good example of misinformation.

Should we fear it? Should we ban the article? I think this would be a bad choice but we should thoroughly discuss and debate it and learn the truth about each issue to the best of our ability. I would also say that I would be reluctant to spend my time reading this and other articles by the same person since this article seems to be full of similar straw men. Now, to be balanced, there are many articles from “alternative” health sites that I consider just as full of logical fallacies as this one. Many of them are on Natural News. Here’s the problem. Google just de-listed about 14,000 pages of their articles on alternative health. That’s a huge mistake. That’s just like fearing the Internet.

If you’re interested, here’s a list of similar logical fallacies from Quizlet and here’s a more technical list from Wikipedia. See if you can find more in this same article. Hint…it’s about “super food”. 🙂 Here’s my post on cancer fighting foods to get you started. Oh, I should note, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. This author does make some good points but, just read with both eyes wide open. 🙂

I Owe My Life To God, The Internet And An Open Mind

So, what’s the take away? Is there a miracle cure in some root buried in the amazon? Maybe, but I haven’t found it or heard about it yet. Still, if I see an article that says they’ve found a cure for my cancer from eating boiled lemons, or something else just as unlikely, I’m gonna take a look because I have an open mind and I KNOW that God works in mysterious ways and life is strange. Strange things happen all of the time, right?! Still, I’m not gonna chuck my chemo and give it a swing. I believe in “moderation in all things” and I try not to make sudden moves when it comes to my cancer fight. I investigated everything before I went with my oncologists suggestions. I drove him nuts. I probably should get him a gift for putting up with me. 🙂  So, let me tell you my abbreviated story. 🙂 You can read the whole thing here if you would like..and the updated version here.

I found out that I had carcinoid cancer in 2013 but it had already spread throughout my body. Yes, I was stage 4 from the beginning. The cancer was in my G.I. tract, my liver, my lymph nodes, my bones….and so on. I was working in North Carolina in the tech field so, you can imagine what my first move was. Yes, I fired up my computer and looked into that dangerous Internet! 😀

I found some postings and groups and headed to a cancer treatment center. To make a long story short, I ended up going to quite a few doctors, in a number of states, looking for one doctor that either cared or knew what they were talking about. It took quite awhile!

In all of that time I partook in various treatments in various places from various cancer centers. I researched every single treatment, and asked tons of questions. While I was undergoing various treatments, I the pursued an alternative treatment of changing my diet to reflect what I understood to be cancer fighting foods. No, I did NOT stop chemo. In fact, that is one reason that I did not try the Gerson Therapy. They require you to be “clean from all chemo chemicals”. At least they did when I was looking at it. That was too scary for me. While I was on chemo, I never stopped trying to do alternative things as well. I called Phoenix Tears to discuss medical cannabis. It wasn’t the right choice for me. I also tried B17. It did not work for me but it worked for a friend of mine.

Eventually, chemo stopped working and my doctor suggested he might be running out of options. In this time, my cancer went from being slow growing to an intermediate type that grows quickly but not as fast as a carcinoma. Lisa and I prayed. Almost immediately, the “doors” to have PRRT opened up for me and I had PRRT in Texas. You can read about that here. Guess how I found it? The web. I researched using the web and found a clinic that administered this treatment.

All of this is a perfect example of simply using common sense, seeking experts, reading white papers and medical journals / articles, joining support groups on Facebook, speaking to my local oncologist and yes…searching the Internet. No, not by itself…not in a vacuum. It is a tool and a wonderful tool at that!!! It is not to be used alone, after all, who builds a house with only a hammer? It is part of our arsenal. It is part of our tool kit. Part of the whole picture. Only part but an important part. Don’t fear the Internet, don’t worry about misleading information! You are smart and you have resources available to you!

Stay strong, be smart and keep fighting,
Ed – To find out how to use my images on your blog for free – Click Here
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8 Comments

  1. Hi Ed – found your blog this AM! I think you are spot on about the internet! I am on the same journey you are – primary found in small intestine and lymphs in March of 2013 – Mets to liver in Dec. 2013 . Started sando at that point – growth in Dec. 2014 – Specialist wanted to chemo – read about and decided no – went to another specialist – they said wait and maybe PRRT. Had been stable for 2 years – but just had more growth – so PRRT it is – Feel like God opened the door – had switched specialist to Dr. Liu last year – he just started Lu177 PRRT study -so cost is elimenated except for travel!! Your outlook on life is similar to mine – this is a disease I have been diagnoised with – not who I am. I am 55 with a 13 year old boy who I intend to see married (a long time from now – LOL) with his own children!! Thus I seek out all the info I can find! Would be interested in your PRRT experience if you would like to share? Did not see a blog on that? Thanks for all your info – have a terrific day!!
    Crystal

    • Huh, we are the same! I’m 52 with a 9 year old boy. Funny. Planning to go to Dr. Liu as well. We have the same goals too! – LOL – You know about the oncolytic virus in Uppsalla Sweden, right? 🙂 It might be our next move! 🙂

      • Yes – Dr. Liu is excited about it – Hope you can get to him soon – really like him. Have seen Dr. Woltering in NOLA, Dr. O in Iowa and a year ago went to Dr. Liu in Denver. They are all great people – each with a little different bent on how to deal with this stuff. Have learned from all of them – but I think Dr. Liu is where I am going to be for awhile – too many things have fallen into place for me there (and I don’t believe in coincidence.) Start PRRT on March 31 – almost exactly 4 years from when they did surgery and found the primary – anxious to see the results!

    • Thanks, Lilly – it comes and goes … if you know what I mean… and forget talking. For some reason, I have a really hard time putting together sentences now. I’m fighting that one. I can always tell when I talk nonsense because Lisa just looks at me funny. 🙂 She doesn’t want to hurt my feelings…but I keep telling her to tell me so I can exercise my brain. 😀

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