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“MIRACULOUS” CURES: WHAT DO THEY TELL US?

Forums General Melanoma Community “MIRACULOUS” CURES: WHAT DO THEY TELL US?

  • Post
    boot2aboot
    Participant

       

       

      "MIRACULOUS" CURES: WHAT DO THEY TELL US?

      Home page: http://www.acampbell.org.uk

      A problem for rationalists?

      From time to time we read reports of people who have recovered from serious or normally fatal illnesses thanks to what appears to be miraculous intervention. Sometimes this is ascribed to healing, sometimes to prayer, but there is always the implication that something paranormal has occurred, which is often attributed to divine origin. A recent example reported in the British Medical Journalwill serve as an example of the kind of thing I have in mind (Westcott R, 2002).

      Dr Westcott is a GP who describes himself as an atheist doctor and wants to know how he should respond to what happened to one of his patients. This was Jim, a non-religious man suffering from asbestosis which he had acquired as a result of his work as a submarine engineer. Then he was diagnosed with a mesothelioma of the chest wall.

      This is a well-known complication of asbestosis, and is a malignant tumour which is regarded as invariably fatal. Radiotherapy had little effect and Jim was becoming weaker. His wife decided that they should go for a Mediterranean holiday, and they picked the Greek island of Kefallinia. While there they visited a monastery. An old nun singled Jim out and and asked him what his illness was. She took him to a priest, who performed some kind of prayer or ritual involving some holy relics. Immediately after this Jim felt stronger, and his recovery continued. The tumour is now no longer apparent and Jim appears to be in remission, though Dr Westcott is still concerned that he may relapse later.

      Skeptics who are confronted with cases of this kind generally take refuge in two kinds of objection: either the original diagnosis was wrong or the cure was due to the conventional treatment the patient had received previously. Neither of these seems likely to apply in the present case, nor in a number of others. So does this mean that we must accept that divine intervention, or at least paranormal healing, is a reality? Do miracles really occur? Cases like that reported by Dr Westcott certainly provide food for thought, but before accepting them as proof positive of the miraculous, I think we need to look a little more closely at what they actually tell us.

      I find it interesting that the majority of claims for miraculous cures concern recovery from cancer. These are certainly highly impressive and dramatic and to many people seem to provide incontrovertible evidence for a miracle. But how often does cancer remit spontaneously outwith a religious context?

      Do spontaneous cancer cures occur?

      I carried out a search via Medline for reports of spontaneous remissions of cancer (that is, remissions occurring without treatment or with inadequate treatment). This produced some twenty-odd papers on the subject; there are doubtless many more to be found. Among the cancers reported to have remitted spontaneously are:

      1. adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma (Takezako et al., 2000)
      2. adult T-cell leukaemia (Murakawa M et al., 1990)
      3. oesophageal leiomyosarcoma (Takemura et al., 1999)
      4. lung cancer following myxoedematous coma (Hercbergs, 1999)
      5. hepatocellular carcinoma (2 cases; Magalotti et al., 1998)
      6. non-small-cell lung cancer (Kappauf et al., 1997)
      7. lung metastases from primary uterine cancer (Mastall H, 1997)
      8. liver cancer (Van Halteren HK et al., 1997)
      9. pleural and intrapulmonary metastases from renal carcinoma (Lokich J, 1997)
      10. squamous cell lung cancer (Schmidt W., 1995)
      11. bladder cancer (Hellstrom PA et al., 1992)
      12. intrahepatic, peritoneal and splenic metastases after hepatectomy for hepatocellular carcinoma (Terasaki et al., 2000)
      13. disappearance of lung metastases from hepatocellular carcinoma (Toyoda et al., 1999)
      14. large-cell and polymorphic lung cancer with extensive metastatic disease (Kappauf H. et al., 1997)
      15. metastatic malignant melanoma (Hurwitz PJ. 1991); several similar cases cited in the literature

      As this undoubtedly incomplete list indicates, spontaneous remission of cancer, though very rare, does occur and is well authenticated outside a religious context. This will probably come as a surprise to many people, including some doctors. How do such events come about?

      Mechanisms of cure

      A number of papers discuss possible mechanisms by which spontaneous remission of cancer might occur. The most popular suggestion is some form of immunological reaction, though this is still unproven (Lokich J, 1997; Heim ME, Kobele C, 1995). There seems to be a connection between fever and remission of cancer (Murakawa M et al., 1990); fever in childhood or adulthood may protect against the later onset of cancer and spontaneous remissions are often preceded by feverish infections (Kleef R et al., 2001). The case of remission following myxoedema coma (Hercbergs A, 1999) suggests that hypothyroidism may trigger apoptosis (cell death) in tumours. Yet another idea is that DNA methylation, which is involved in cell differentiation, may play a part (Sugimura T, Ushijama T, 2000). And there is a long-standing impression that psychological states influence the functioning of the immune system.

      In summary, then, while the mechanisms of spontaneous remission are by no means fully understood, there are plausible suggestions to explain the phenomenon.

      Conclusion: limits to the miraculous?

      What emerges from the cases I have cited is that if we divide diseases into those that may, no matter how rarely, recover spontaneously and those that do not, we must place cancer in the "may recover" category. This means that cancer cures, no matter how gratifying to patients who experience them and to their relatives, are not necessarily miraculous. They lie within the boundaries of the natural world.

      What, then, would count as a genuine miracle, an event that could not be accommodated within the realm of the natural? It is of course difficult to set limits on what can occur naturally, but I think an example of something which, if it happened, would certainly have to be taken as miraculous would be regrowth of an amputated finger or limb.

      If this seems a lot to ask, how about something seemingly simpler? An optic nerve damaged by glaucoma never recovers its function in the ordinary course of events; sight lost through glaucoma is lost for good. If sight were restored in a reliably diagnosed glaucomatous eye, that would certainly count as a miracle in my opinion. To my knowledge, however, no such case has been reported. These are just two examples out of many; what we need for a "genuine" miracle is recovery from some accident or illness in which no spontaneous cure has ever been shown to occur. But cancer doesn't fit the bill.

      I therefore think that, although there are well-attested instances of spontaneous recovery from cancer within a religious or paranormal context, this is not convincing evidence for divine intervention. The fact that a patient recovers after having been prayed for does not prove that the prayer was responsible for the recovery.

      Alternative explanations

      1. It could be coincidence. We do not know how many patients suffering from cancer are prayed for but the proportion is probably considerable. We do not normally hear about those for whom the prayers are not answered. If very many patients are prayed for, it is possible that among these there will by chance be some who recover spontaneously but who would have done so even if they had not been prayed for.

         

      2. If as seems likely the immune system is involved in spontaneous remissions of cancer, the known influence of the nervous system on the immune system could explain why the patient's beliefs and emotional state might on occasion bring about a remission. The fact that a patient had no conscious expectation of cure (as in the case reported by Dr Westcott) does not negate a possible influence of this kind.

         

      3. A believer in miracles could argue that even apparently spontaneous remissions are really miraculous. Perhaps God works his miracles through "normal" physiological pathways rather than by suspending the ordinary laws of physiology, and perhaps he refrains from curing glaucoma and regenerating amputated limbs in order to keep us guessing, or because he does not want to force our belief. This is logically possible but unverifiable and so can be neglected in a scientific context.

      References

      • Ada GL. Host factors important in immune surveillance against tumours. IARC Scientific Publications. (39):223-39, 1982.
      • Booth G. A "spontaneous" recovery from cancer. Journal d'Urologie et de Nephrologie. 78(7):723-6, 1972 Jul-Aug.
      • Heim ME. Kobele C. Spontaneous remission in cancer. Onkologie. Vol 18(5) (pp 388-392), 1995.
      • Heim M, Schwarz R. Spontaneous remission of cancer: Epidemiological and psychosozial aspects. Zeitschrift Fuer Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie. Vol 46(1) (pp 57-70), 2000.
      • Hellstrom PA. Malinen L. Malinen H. Spontaneous remission of bladder neoplasm. European Journal of Surgical Oncology. Vol 18(5) (pp 521-523), 1992.
      • Herbert V. Unproven (questionable) dietary and nutritional methods in cancer prevention and treatment. Cancer. Vol 58(8 SUPPL.) (pp 1930-1941), 1986.
      • Hercbergs A. Spontaneous remission of cancer – A thyroid hormone dependent phenomenon?. Anticancer Research. Vol 19(6 A) (pp 4839-4844), 1999.
      • Hercbergs A. Leith JT. Spontaneous remission of metastatic lung cancer following myxedema coma. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Vol 85(16) (pp 1342-1343), 1993.
      • Hurwitz PJ. Spontaneous regression of metastatic melanoma. Annals of Plastic Surgery. Vol 26(4) (pp 403-406), 1991.
      • Kappauf HW. Unexpected benign course and spontaneous recovery in malignant disease. Onkologie. Vol 14(SUPPL. 1) (pp 32-35), 1991.
      • Kappauf H et al. Complete spontaneous remission in a patient with metastatic non-small- cell lung cancer. Case report, review of literature, and discussion of possible biological pathways involved. Annals of Oncology. Vol 8(10) (pp 1031-1039), 1997.
      • Kleef R et al 1. Fever, cancer incidence and spontaneous remission. Neuroimmunomodulation. Vol 9(2) (pp 55-64), 2001.
      • Lokich J. Spontaneous regression of metastatic renal cancer: Case report and literature review. American Journal of Clinical Oncology-Cancer Clinical Trials. Vol 20(4) (pp 416-418), 1997.
      • Magalotti D. Gueli C. Zoli M. Transient spontaneous regression of hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepato-Gastroenterology. Vol 45(24) (pp 2369-2371), 1998.
      • Mastall H. Spontaneous remission of lung metastases of a primary uterus carcinoma during immune therapy. Zeitschrift fur Onkologie. Vol 29(3) (pp 87-88), 1997.
      • Merkin L. The aetiology of cancer: clues from spontaneous recovery. Medical Hypotheses. 4(2):136-40, 1978 Mar-Apr.
      • Murakawa M et al. Spontaneous remission from acute exacerbation of chronic adult T-cell leukemia. Blut. Vol 61(6) (pp 346-349), 1990.
      • Niakan B. A hypothesis on the biochemistry of spontaneous remissions of cancer: Coupling of oxidative phosphorylation and the remission of cancer. Cancer Biotherapy & Radiopharmaceuticals. Vol 14(4) (pp 297-298), 1999.
      • Schartz R, Heim M. Psychosocial considerations about spontaneous remission of cancer. Onkologie. Vol 23(5) (pp 432-435), 2000.
      • Schmidt W. Spontaneous remission of a cancer of the right lung, following left side pneumonectomy because of squamous cell lung cancer, four years ago. Atemwegs- und Lungenkrankheiten. Vol 21(10) (pp 536-538), 1995.
      • Sugimura T. Ushijima T. Genetic and epigenetic alterations in carcinogenesis. Mutation Research-Reviews in Mutation Research. Vol 462(2-3) (pp 235-246), 2000.
      • Takemura et al. Case of spontaneous regression of metastatic lesions of leiomyosarcoma of the esophagus. Diseases of the Esophagus. Vol 12(4) (pp 317-320), 1999.
      • Takezako Y et al. Spontaneous remission in acute type adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma. Leukemia & Lymphoma. Vol 39(1-2) (pp 217-222), 2000. Abstract
      • Toyoda H. et al. Hepatocellular carcinoma with spontaneous regression of multiple lung metastases. Pathology International. Vol 49(10) (pp 893-897), 1999.
      • Van Halteren HK et al. Spontaneous regression of hepatocellular carcinoma. Journal of Hepatology. Vol 27(1) (pp 211-215), 1997.
      • Westcott R. Can miracles happen? BMJ 2002;325:553.
    Viewing 6 reply threads
    • Replies
        KT
        Participant

          OK.. so basically, you're a self-obsessed physician who is skeptical of God's role in medicine, does that sum it up pretty well? Did you really expect to prove the existence of divinity in a little essay of "scientific context'?  OK, fine, let's go with it anyway, miracles are "unverifiable" (your words, not mine). 

           

          Is a forum for cancer patients and caregivers really a good place to announce that you cannot verify any of God's medical miracles? Therefore, miracles must not exist. Hmm. You did a half-hearted Medline search and now consider yourself the authority on spontaneous remissions… What is your point exactly? And why here on the melanoma website?  Are you going to start a prayer police in our hospitals?

          You design a website and proclaim yourself a "writer", but your writing is some of the most unenlightened BS I've read in a while.  It's a shallow and desperate attempt to reconcile your heart and soul because you cannot find God. 

          Have you seriously not figured out that your immune system is intertwined with your emotions and your hormones and every other little thing that happens, physical and mental.  Do you really think you are sharing some kind of ground-breaking theory? Your article says nothing at all, except that you found nothing.  You hypothesized and went to see if there was any divinity in healing cancer, and you could not find it. 

          Based on what I've read, I don't think you looked hard enough.  If you know God, then you need no proof of miracles(although there is plenty), and you know that death is not the enemy. Furthermore, you cannot test or understand God, in a scientific context or any other.

           

          By the way, I'm a scientist and a skeptic about most aspects of life; we probably have more in common that you would like to believe.

          – "Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." -1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (NIV)
           

          KT
          Participant

            OK.. so basically, you're a self-obsessed physician who is skeptical of God's role in medicine, does that sum it up pretty well? Did you really expect to prove the existence of divinity in a little essay of "scientific context'?  OK, fine, let's go with it anyway, miracles are "unverifiable" (your words, not mine). 

             

            Is a forum for cancer patients and caregivers really a good place to announce that you cannot verify any of God's medical miracles? Therefore, miracles must not exist. Hmm. You did a half-hearted Medline search and now consider yourself the authority on spontaneous remissions… What is your point exactly? And why here on the melanoma website?  Are you going to start a prayer police in our hospitals?

            You design a website and proclaim yourself a "writer", but your writing is some of the most unenlightened BS I've read in a while.  It's a shallow and desperate attempt to reconcile your heart and soul because you cannot find God. 

            Have you seriously not figured out that your immune system is intertwined with your emotions and your hormones and every other little thing that happens, physical and mental.  Do you really think you are sharing some kind of ground-breaking theory? Your article says nothing at all, except that you found nothing.  You hypothesized and went to see if there was any divinity in healing cancer, and you could not find it. 

            Based on what I've read, I don't think you looked hard enough.  If you know God, then you need no proof of miracles(although there is plenty), and you know that death is not the enemy. Furthermore, you cannot test or understand God, in a scientific context or any other.

             

            By the way, I'm a scientist and a skeptic about most aspects of life; we probably have more in common that you would like to believe.

            – "Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." -1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (NIV)
             

            KT
            Participant

              OK.. so basically, you're a self-obsessed physician who is skeptical of God's role in medicine, does that sum it up pretty well? Did you really expect to prove the existence of divinity in a little essay of "scientific context'?  OK, fine, let's go with it anyway, miracles are "unverifiable" (your words, not mine). 

               

              Is a forum for cancer patients and caregivers really a good place to announce that you cannot verify any of God's medical miracles? Therefore, miracles must not exist. Hmm. You did a half-hearted Medline search and now consider yourself the authority on spontaneous remissions… What is your point exactly? And why here on the melanoma website?  Are you going to start a prayer police in our hospitals?

              You design a website and proclaim yourself a "writer", but your writing is some of the most unenlightened BS I've read in a while.  It's a shallow and desperate attempt to reconcile your heart and soul because you cannot find God. 

              Have you seriously not figured out that your immune system is intertwined with your emotions and your hormones and every other little thing that happens, physical and mental.  Do you really think you are sharing some kind of ground-breaking theory? Your article says nothing at all, except that you found nothing.  You hypothesized and went to see if there was any divinity in healing cancer, and you could not find it. 

              Based on what I've read, I don't think you looked hard enough.  If you know God, then you need no proof of miracles(although there is plenty), and you know that death is not the enemy. Furthermore, you cannot test or understand God, in a scientific context or any other.

               

              By the way, I'm a scientist and a skeptic about most aspects of life; we probably have more in common that you would like to believe.

              – "Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." -1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (NIV)
               

                KT
                Participant

                  One more thing, when it comes to "remission" (which doesn't even truly apply to melanoma cancers, but anyway…):
                  We all – cancer patients and healthy people without cancer – have cancer cells that grow from time to time and are destroyed by our immune system.  It is normal and natural and happens every day to all of us.  Are those remissions?  It's all about your body's ability to fight.  Some cancers take more toll than others, some people are stronger than others.  Some prayers are meant to be answered, and others are not.
                   

                  KT
                  Participant

                    One more thing, when it comes to "remission" (which doesn't even truly apply to melanoma cancers, but anyway…):
                    We all – cancer patients and healthy people without cancer – have cancer cells that grow from time to time and are destroyed by our immune system.  It is normal and natural and happens every day to all of us.  Are those remissions?  It's all about your body's ability to fight.  Some cancers take more toll than others, some people are stronger than others.  Some prayers are meant to be answered, and others are not.
                     

                    KT
                    Participant

                      One more thing, when it comes to "remission" (which doesn't even truly apply to melanoma cancers, but anyway…):
                      We all – cancer patients and healthy people without cancer – have cancer cells that grow from time to time and are destroyed by our immune system.  It is normal and natural and happens every day to all of us.  Are those remissions?  It's all about your body's ability to fight.  Some cancers take more toll than others, some people are stronger than others.  Some prayers are meant to be answered, and others are not.
                       

                      benp
                      Participant
                        Why the violent reaction to this post? It is a very worth while and interesting addition to most people’s knowledge of the disease. Thank you to the original poster.

                        A reaction such as this suggests that you may be having trouble reconciling the outcomes of this horrible disease with your belief system, and are externalizing this conflict. Please do not shoot down those with good intentions attempting to add productively to this site if it does not accord with your chosen method of looking at the world.

                        KT
                        Participant
                          Not violent. You missed my point. Personal beliefs and opinions aside, the original post was not well substantiated or written. I disagree with the the writer’s conclision, as well as the attempt to “prove” it. Nothing violent there, not at all!
                          KT
                          Participant
                            *conclusion. excuse me
                            KT
                            Participant
                              *conclusion. excuse me
                              KT
                              Participant
                                *conclusion. excuse me
                                KT
                                Participant
                                  *conclusion. excuse me
                                  KT
                                  Participant
                                    *conclusion. excuse me
                                    KT
                                    Participant
                                      *conclusion. excuse me
                                      KT
                                      Participant
                                        Not violent. You missed my point. Personal beliefs and opinions aside, the original post was not well substantiated or written. I disagree with the the writer’s conclision, as well as the attempt to “prove” it. Nothing violent there, not at all!
                                        KT
                                        Participant
                                          Not violent. You missed my point. Personal beliefs and opinions aside, the original post was not well substantiated or written. I disagree with the the writer’s conclision, as well as the attempt to “prove” it. Nothing violent there, not at all!
                                          benp
                                          Participant
                                            Why the violent reaction to this post? It is a very worth while and interesting addition to most people’s knowledge of the disease. Thank you to the original poster.

                                            A reaction such as this suggests that you may be having trouble reconciling the outcomes of this horrible disease with your belief system, and are externalizing this conflict. Please do not shoot down those with good intentions attempting to add productively to this site if it does not accord with your chosen method of looking at the world.

                                            benp
                                            Participant
                                              Why the violent reaction to this post? It is a very worth while and interesting addition to most people’s knowledge of the disease. Thank you to the original poster.

                                              A reaction such as this suggests that you may be having trouble reconciling the outcomes of this horrible disease with your belief system, and are externalizing this conflict. Please do not shoot down those with good intentions attempting to add productively to this site if it does not accord with your chosen method of looking at the world.

                                            Cynthia C
                                            Participant

                                              I don't need to know the how and the why, I just know the what is. Anyone here color blind? You know those pictures where they hide green numbers in a brown picture? If you're color blind you can't see the numbers. Does that mean they don't exist? Do miracles exist? You can't conjour one up and you shouldn't count on one but my vote is yes. As for Anonymous #1, I think you need to take up bass guitar and get yourself some karma.

                                              Cynthia C, mountainsoffaith.com

                                              Cynthia C
                                              Participant

                                                I don't need to know the how and the why, I just know the what is. Anyone here color blind? You know those pictures where they hide green numbers in a brown picture? If you're color blind you can't see the numbers. Does that mean they don't exist? Do miracles exist? You can't conjour one up and you shouldn't count on one but my vote is yes. As for Anonymous #1, I think you need to take up bass guitar and get yourself some karma.

                                                Cynthia C, mountainsoffaith.com

                                                Cynthia C
                                                Participant

                                                  I don't need to know the how and the why, I just know the what is. Anyone here color blind? You know those pictures where they hide green numbers in a brown picture? If you're color blind you can't see the numbers. Does that mean they don't exist? Do miracles exist? You can't conjour one up and you shouldn't count on one but my vote is yes. As for Anonymous #1, I think you need to take up bass guitar and get yourself some karma.

                                                  Cynthia C, mountainsoffaith.com

                                                    JerryfromFauq
                                                    Participant

                                                      Cynthia, I too know what is.  I also know that I is.  In spite of being told after a car accident that some thought I was killed in, I did regain the ability to walk (don't run much.)  Was told 30 days to major breathing problems before proceeding to a near term death from stage IV cancer in 2007.  Then they wanted to remove my (stage IV) organs after being killed by a horse. (I thought that was a stupid request for the medics to have made of my family when I came to, a month later.)  The report when I was transferred (unconscious) from the neurological ICU to the long term acute care facility (Just got the report this November) noted that I was not expected to regain brain functions nor be able to live a useful nor productive life again.  I don't know what Anonymous considers as a miracle nor what they believe to be the cause of these and other events that have occurred in my life.  I do know that miracles occur and that they cannot all be as readily explained as anon would like.  There is so much that man does not know about what happens in this world/existence (or the next).

                                                      JerryfromFauq
                                                      Participant

                                                        Cynthia, I too know what is.  I also know that I is.  In spite of being told after a car accident that some thought I was killed in, I did regain the ability to walk (don't run much.)  Was told 30 days to major breathing problems before proceeding to a near term death from stage IV cancer in 2007.  Then they wanted to remove my (stage IV) organs after being killed by a horse. (I thought that was a stupid request for the medics to have made of my family when I came to, a month later.)  The report when I was transferred (unconscious) from the neurological ICU to the long term acute care facility (Just got the report this November) noted that I was not expected to regain brain functions nor be able to live a useful nor productive life again.  I don't know what Anonymous considers as a miracle nor what they believe to be the cause of these and other events that have occurred in my life.  I do know that miracles occur and that they cannot all be as readily explained as anon would like.  There is so much that man does not know about what happens in this world/existence (or the next).

                                                        JerryfromFauq
                                                        Participant

                                                          Cynthia, I too know what is.  I also know that I is.  In spite of being told after a car accident that some thought I was killed in, I did regain the ability to walk (don't run much.)  Was told 30 days to major breathing problems before proceeding to a near term death from stage IV cancer in 2007.  Then they wanted to remove my (stage IV) organs after being killed by a horse. (I thought that was a stupid request for the medics to have made of my family when I came to, a month later.)  The report when I was transferred (unconscious) from the neurological ICU to the long term acute care facility (Just got the report this November) noted that I was not expected to regain brain functions nor be able to live a useful nor productive life again.  I don't know what Anonymous considers as a miracle nor what they believe to be the cause of these and other events that have occurred in my life.  I do know that miracles occur and that they cannot all be as readily explained as anon would like.  There is so much that man does not know about what happens in this world/existence (or the next).

                                                          boot2aboot
                                                          Participant

                                                            i like the bottom line…miracles happen despite trying to quantify

                                                            boot2aboot
                                                            Participant

                                                              i like the bottom line…miracles happen despite trying to quantify

                                                              boot2aboot
                                                              Participant

                                                                i like the bottom line…miracles happen despite trying to quantify

                                                              SteveDB
                                                              Participant

                                                                Interesting article Andrew. 

                                                                I too am a stage 4 metastatic melanoma survivor. 

                                                                One of those rare ones who's been told by their doctors they are a miracle. 

                                                                I.e., I am not the one who did the initial claim of miracle, and they just agreed. 

                                                                9 doctors. 

                                                                Oncologists, Internists, Radiation Oncologists, Thoracic surgeons, and others, all with a thriving practice, in a metropolitan city. Including nurses. All have decades of experience, on top of their schooling, and board certifications. THEY are the ones who keep telling me— Steve, You are a miracle. We have no idea why you're alive. 

                                                                The thing that strikes me as curious here is that unless, and until you can observe the transition of cellular, and molecular matter changing from one of cancer growth to cancer decay, the best you have is exactly what other doctors have.

                                                                Your article refers to a GP…. a general practitioner. While getting through medical school alone is a feat for a giant in my book, he's still not an oncologist. 

                                                                This article appears to be a secondhand justification of an attitude that I see all too often in people who have no first hand experience in watching their own patients go through it.

                                                                So, here's my thought.

                                                                Get a hold of a few Quantum Physicists, and Chemists. Either design/create/build a dynamic electron tele/microscope which can actually observe cellular and molecular matter do the turn around on growth to death or decay. 

                                                                Then engage a handful of radiation oncologists, and maybe even oncologists. 

                                                                I'm a physicist by education, and have lived with, instead of dying of, my cancer since 1987. So, while I am not a medical doctor, I've spent a good amount of time talking with mine, to better understand the dynamics of cancer. 

                                                                I've learned— the natural direction of cancer is to grow, unfettered, until something prevents it from growing any further. Typically, this means the death of the cancer's host– human beings. 

                                                                I.e., there's a limit to how far cancer can grow. It's common knowledge, and an entire industry has grown up around this knowledge. Aka, the chemotherapy industry. Entire companies are in the business of finding a poison which will kill the cancer, while not harming the patient. There are numerous medical radiation machines that exist for that same purpose— kill the cancer without harming the patient. Older technology resulted in severe burns on the patient's skin. Now, there are devices which can focus a beam of radiation to the cancer itself, and not go beyond a millimeter or two beyond the outer edges of the tumors. 

                                                                While I know for a fact that you won't see God's hands in there reversing the actions of cellular and molecular growth, you may be blessed enough to actually observe the opposite effect of what cancer naturally does. 

                                                                Until then, save us the ignimony of knowing your contempt for hope, and life. 

                                                                We've already been fighting against our own. We already know we're headed towards death, at as fast a rate as the cancer will drag us kicking and screaming. We're not demanding to be allowed to live the last few days, weeks, months or years in blissful ignorance. We're demanding that you either shut up, or become someone who's actually doing something useful. And this article of yours is not. 

                                                                While this post of mine is 8 years after the fact— just one more straw in your already broken camel's back— it serves to remind those who are still alive— science has no idea, and at best, they seek to give us hope, or at worst, like this guy's article, they strip hope. 

                                                                whatever my doctors consider a miracle to be, I'll take it. As I know there's only one who is capable of giving miracles, I'll stick with Him. 

                                                                Jesus Lives to intercede for all who will believe him!

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