Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Doctor's cancer advice best ignored

As a long time smoker, and with a relatively young (28) family member recently diagnosed with cancer (Hodgkin's lymphoma), I have taken particular interest in the inquest into the 2005 cancer death of Penelope Dingle, wife of self-proclaimed "environmental toxicologist" Dr Peter Dingle. Mrs Dingle refused traditional medical intervention, relying instead on homeopathic treatment.

Dr Dingle's role, if any, in his wife's treatment choice is unclear but his antipathy to conventional medicine is clear to see in his latest Newsletter:

Perhaps the most dreaded of all diseases is cancer. It will kill around 1/3 of Australians. Unfortunately with our one dimensional health model we have continued to focus on the treatment rather than the prevention and as a result more people die. While cancer is largely untreatable, despite the miracle cures you hear about in the media, it is largely preventable. There is no miracle cure for cancer nor will there ever be. The rates of cancer and death from cancer continue to increase despite the billions of dollars injected into treating the illness. Only a few minor cancers are treated effectively with modern techniques yet we still keep doing it. One cancer however, is showing significant reductions in its occurrence and all future predictions show it reducing even further, lung cancer. The occurrence and the rates of deaths from lung cancer are on the decline, no because of treatment but because of education and prevention.

Despite the claims by specialists that say we don’t know why we are getting so many cancers it is obvious that it relates to our diet, environment, attitude and our lifestyle and there is abundant information to show that changing these parameters can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer.

Such outlandish claims from a self-promoting, non-medical academic are both misleading and irresponsible. In fact, the causes of cancer are well known and understood:

The major avoidable causes of cancer are: 1) smoking, which accounts for 27% of cancer deaths in Canada and 80-90% of lung cancer deaths; 2) dietary imbalances, which account for about another third, e.g., lack of sufficient amounts of dietary fruits and vegetables. 3) chronic infections, mostly in developing countries; and 4) hormonal factors, which are influenced primarily by lifestyle. This list may surprise readers who have come to think that synthetic chemicals like pesticide residues and water pollutants are major causes.

The person most surprised by the list above is likely Dr Dingle, who places great emphasis on synthetic chemicals as a cause of cancer.

Dr Dingle is incorrect in stating that both the "rates of cancer and death from cancer continue to increase" and "only a few minor cancers are treated effectively" when cancer rates are essentially static and many cancer suffererss are living longer than ever due to effect treatments regimes. Thus my 28-year-old family member, while he may not be cured of Hodgkin's, will likely live a near normal life thanks to early, massive medical intervention.

Having experienced his wife's apparently excruciating, essentially untreated demise, one would expect Dr Dingle to keep his head down and his dubious advice to himself. His anti-medical delusions seem to prevent him doing so.

Update: At his blog non-expert Dr Dingle provides advice on everything from Multiple Sclerosis to ADHD.

Update II: Dr Dingle is multi-skilled:

Renowned author, juggler, media personality and Murdoch University academic, Dr Peter Dingle PhD, explores the question of how the (mal)nutrition of our children sets the stage for childhood behavioural disorders including autism and ADHD, and how a healthy diet in childhood can provide a good alternative to Ritalin and amphetamine medications. Dr Dingle (http://drdingle.com) is one of the many fine presenters at the Mindd International Forum on Children 2009, a conference and expo for health professionals, educators and parents, to be held at the Australian Jockey Club, Randwick, Sydney Australia from 15-18 May 2009.

There's no ignoring a juggling "environmental toxicologist".

Update III: A Podcast of utter nonsense from Dr Dingle (click My Dog Eats Better than Your Kids).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your article isn't very convincing. Peter Dingle's statement lifted out of his newsletter isn;t that outrageous and your following piece on the causes of cancer agrees with him on nutrition and diet at least. I would think the spiritual leader of her faith, the self realisation fellowship, that believes in the power of the mind over the body, should be put under the microscope.

7:34 AM  

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