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cancer cure

Secret cancer cure — is Big Pharma hiding it from all of us?

One of the more annoying comments from the pseudoscience crowd is that there is a secret cancer cure and Big Pharma is hiding it in a vault somewhere because they make more money from “treating” cancer than curing it. Now anyone who understands anything about cancer and understands how greedy Big Pharma is would know this is the dumbest conspiracy theory since the claim that NASA faked the moon landing.

I love answering questions on Quora because I thoroughly enjoy taking down people who think you can boost your immune system against COVID-19 or that there is a homeopathic potion that will do something. But the question I probably answer every single day is whether Big Pharma is hiding the secret cancer cure, the one cure to cure them all, from all of humanity.

To save me time in the future, I decided to put it all down in one article for the world to read. The simple answer to the question is no. No, there is no secret cancer cure. And no, Big Pharma isn’t hiding it, because if there were such a cure, the one company that had it could essentially ask for Fort Knox to deliver all the gold to Big Pharma headquarters. It would be the mother of all blockbuster drugs.

So let’s take a look at cancer and the secret cancer cure myth. Get a big bowl of popcorn, because this is going to be a long one.

Read More »Secret cancer cure — is Big Pharma hiding it from all of us?
HPV vaccine cervical cancer

HPV vaccine has decreased cervical cancer rates in England by 90%

There is more good news about the HPV vaccine – since being introduced in the UK in 2008, the cervical cancer rate has dropped by 90% according to a recently published peer-reviewed article. Cervical cancer, which kills over 300,000 women a year across the world, is close to being eliminated in countries that recommend the HPV vaccine for women and men.

The HPV vaccine used to be the most hated by anti-vaccine zealots, being surpassed by the COVID-19 vaccine these days, but it is remarkably safe and effective. There are so few ways to prevent cancer, and yet this is one of the best tools that we have in cancer prevention.

Let’s take a look at this new paper, just so we can pile onto the narrative about the overwhelming effectiveness of this vaccine.

Read More »HPV vaccine has decreased cervical cancer rates in England by 90%
acute disseminated encephalomyelitis

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis is not linked to the HPV vaccine

A recent case report about a death of a 15-year-old boy from a form of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) after receiving the quadrivalent HPV vaccine has been widely shared by anti-vaccine groups. Of course, I wanted to look into any potential link between ADEM and the HPV vaccine.

Before I start looking at the evidence, I must point out that case reports have little meaning in the hierarchy of vaccine research. To be honest, case reports, even if they’re published in high-quality journals, barely rise above anecdotes as evidence. Why? They are nothing more than a report without being able to establish causality. But most importantly, they represent an n=1 research population, which tells us little. And it doesn’t show correlation, let alone causation.

We’ve also discussed ADEM before – the tragic story of Christopher Bunch whose mother blamed the HPV vaccine for causing his ADEM.

Setting that aside, is there any evidence that shows any link (or lack of a link) between acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and the HPV vaccine? Let’s take a look at this evidence.

Read More »Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis is not linked to the HPV vaccine
Japan Banned Gardasil

Did Japan ban Gardasil? No, but the anti-vaccine crowd loves the trope

One of the most popular zombie memes and tropes of the anti-vaccine movement is that Japan banned Gardasil, the HPV vaccine. And like most of those zombie memes and tropes, the facts are a lot different than the anti-vaccine claims. Shocking, I know.

Although I don’t quite understand the reasoning, the anti-vaccine world absolutely hates Gardasil, possibly more than any other vaccine other than COVID-19 vaccines (of course). These zealots maintain that the HPV vaccines cause all kinds of harm to teens and young adults. Yet, there are literally mountains of data derived from numerous huge epidemiological studies that the Gardasil cancer-preventing vaccine is one of the safest vaccines on the market.

So if you really want to prevent cancer, one of the best ways available to you is getting the HPV vaccine. The idea is so simple, yet is clouded by the myths about HPV vaccines – one of the most popular, of course, is that Japan banned Gardasil. Let’s examine this fable with a critical and skeptical eye.

Spoiler alert – Japan did no such thing.

Read More »Did Japan ban Gardasil? No, but the anti-vaccine crowd loves the trope
Gardasil researcher diane harper

Gardasil researcher Diane Harper is pro-HPV vaccine – shocking, right?

Anti-vaxxers love their false authorities, so they invoke Gardasil researcher Diane Harper, MD as the authority of choice with regard to HPV vaccines. Obukhanych is truly a false authority, but Dr. Harper is much more complicated. She actually is an authority for HPV vaccines, but not in the way that the anti-vaccine world would like you to believe.

Because vaccine deniers lack any scientific evidence supporting their unfounded beliefs about vaccines, they tend to rely upon unscientific information like anecdotes, logical fallacies, misinterpretation of data, or false authorities to support their case about the lack of safety of vaccines.

The so-called “lead Gardasil researcher,” Diane Harper, a former “consultant” to Merck and GSK, had some responsibilities in the clinical trials for their HPV vaccines. But the claims about whether Dr. Harper supports or dislikes those vaccines are substantially more complicated than what the anti-vaccine zealots would like to claim about her.

Amusingly, every few months the social media haunts of the anti-vaccine crowd explode with claims that Dr. Diane Harper, lead Gardasil researcher, hates HPV vaccines.

Let’s take a look at the story and see what we find.

Read More »Gardasil researcher Diane Harper is pro-HPV vaccine – shocking, right?
primary ovarian insufficiency HPV

Study finds no link between HPV vaccine and primary ovarian insufficiency

One of the numerous tropes about the HPV vaccine was that it causes primary ovarian insufficiency, also known as premature ovarian failure, which happens when a woman’s ovaries stop working normally before she is 40.

Of course, there has been little affirmative evidence of primary ovarian insufficiency being related to the HPV vaccine, aside from anecdotes, but that never stops anti-vaxxers from pushing that false narrative.

Now, we have another large epidemiological study that shows, once again, that there is no link between the HPV vaccine and primary ovarian insufficiency. And, of course, the ancient feathered dinosaur is here to review that article so that you can debunk these claims whenever they show up.

Read More »Study finds no link between HPV vaccine and primary ovarian insufficiency

The tragic story of Christopher Bunch – HPV vaccine is not the cause

This article about the tragic story of Christopher Bunch was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy, and the law.

Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination. Additionally, Reiss is also a member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable disease.

On 14 August 2018, fourteen-year-old Christopher Bunch died from acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), leaving his loving, devoted family reeling. The family blamed his death on the HPV vaccine that Christopher received, and they were quickly surrounded and courted by anti-vaccine activists.

My heart goes out to Christopher’s family. I followed the case since he was in the hospital, hoping and praying with them for a good outcome, and I feel their heartbreak. I was also deeply impressed by their initial reaction, which was to create a positive legacy for Christopher, making him visible and famous.

I would rather not write about this, which is why this post is so long after the fact. But Christopher’s death is since being used to try and scare people away from HPV vaccines or vaccines generally, putting others at risk of cancer and death. With very little basis: the timing and the epidemiological evidence do not support a link between Christopher’s death and HPV vaccines. Christopher Bunch deserves a better legacy than that.

Read More »The tragic story of Christopher Bunch – HPV vaccine is not the cause
vaccine safety

Vaccine safety – a huge systematic review says they don’t cause autism

Not that most of us need to be convinced, but there’s another huge systematic review that examined vaccine safety. Unsurprisingly, it shows that there are no major safety signals post-vaccination, plus no vaccine is linked to autism.

It’s ironic that this study is a high-quality systematic review and meta-analysis, the top of the hierarchy of biomedical research, while anti-vaxxers rely upon retracted articles published in predatory journals.

So, I want to do a quick review of this new article so that we can continue to support the settled science of vaccine safety.

Read More »Vaccine safety – a huge systematic review says they don’t cause autism
cancer vaccine

Why can’t we get a cancer vaccine as fast as one for COVID-19?

I keep reading memes and other nonsense that if scientists are so smart why can’t we have a cancer vaccine as fast as we did for COVID-19? It’s not a serious question, it’s actually pejorative – it’s meant to imply that we’ve been looking for years for a cancer vaccine without success, yet we were able to get a COVID-19 vaccine within a few months, so obviously it was rushed.

Fortunately for us on the side of science, this is one of the silliest and most desperate myths being pushed by our favorite anti-vaxxers.

Busting cancer myths is one of my favorite activities – my non-statistical analysis of medical pseudoscience puts cancer slightly above vaccines on the stupidity of the tropes. Combining vaccine nonsense with cancer is right up my bailiwick. Let’s have some tearing apart this trope.

Read More »Why can’t we get a cancer vaccine as fast as one for COVID-19?