The random thoughts of a sceptical activist.
I’m not sure how I came across it, but it was probably on Twitter.
A conference on alternative cancer treatments is being held in Totnes in Devon this coming Saturday, organised by Dr Stephen Hopwood (cached) of the Totnes Cancer Health Centre (TCHC).
Because of its content, I immediately complained to Consumer Direct (the central point for Trading Standards complaints) on 2 March who passed it on to Devon Trading Standards (TS).
As a last hope for cancer sufferers, his name regularly appears in the media with many a fund-raising appeal launched to enable sufferers to travel to the US to visit his clinic and be treated by the great man himself.
Even a cursory search of the Internet will find many grateful customers of Dr Stanislaw R Burzynski telling how he single-handedly saved their lives, when the NHS or other cancer experts had failed or who could do no more.
If it was your last hope — or the last chance for your child — then who could blame you for wanting to give it a try?
After an uncritical article in The Observer about the heartbreaking tale of a young girl diagnosed with a brain tumour and whose parents were desperate to raise the necessary money to take their daughter to see Dr Burnzynski for treatment, Andy Lewis — quite understandably — felt compelled to write about it: The False Hope of the Burzynski Clinic.
It was not long before Andy received a threatening email from someone claiming to represent the clinic. The tactics this representative used to try to silence Andy and to force him to take his blog post down can be gauged by the title of Andy’s subsequent post: The Burzynski Clinic Threatens My Family. Despicable.
Because there are so many unanswered questions about his treatment, the spotlight of skeptical thinking has been shining brightly on the controversial promoter of his own proprietary, ‘pioneering’ cancer treatments, but the intensity has been turned up all the way to eleven in the aftermath of these and other recent threats.
There has been an avalanche of blog posts in the last few days and it is to be hoped that the name of Burzynski will be appearing high up in search rankings alongside some more skeptical comment that the clinic might be used to or want. The blogger Josephine Jones is trying to keep the list of posts up to date: Stanislaw, Streisand and Spartacus.
Even Cancer Research UK felt they had to speak up: Hope or false hope?