Can Bacteria Cause Cancer?: Alternative Medicine Confronts Big Science

Overview

Growing numbers of cancer patients are exploring diet, food supplements, herbs, and nontoxic immunotherapies like bacterial vaccines as a means of therapy. Yet most cancer research organizations refuse to even evaluate these alternatives. Can Bacteria Cause Cancer? argues convincingly that unless this neglected world of alternative therapies is properly scrutinized, the medical Vietnam of the twentieth century may well affect one in two people by the twenty-first century.

David ...

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Can Bacteria Cause Cancer?: Alternative Medicine Confronts Big Science

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Overview

Growing numbers of cancer patients are exploring diet, food supplements, herbs, and nontoxic immunotherapies like bacterial vaccines as a means of therapy. Yet most cancer research organizations refuse to even evaluate these alternatives. Can Bacteria Cause Cancer? argues convincingly that unless this neglected world of alternative therapies is properly scrutinized, the medical Vietnam of the twentieth century may well affect one in two people by the twenty-first century.

David J. Hess investigates one of the great medical mysteries of the twentieth century—the relationship between bacteria and chronic disease. Recently scientists have overturned long-held beliefs by demonstrating that bacterial infections cause many ulcers; they are now reconsidering the role of bacterial infections in other chronic diseases, such as arthritis. Is it possible, Hess asks, that bacteria can contribute to the many other known causes of cancer?

To answer this intriguing question, Hess takes us into the world of alternative cancer researchers. Maintaining that their work has been actively suppressed rather than simply dismissed, he examines their claims-—that bacterial vaccines have led to some dramatic cases of long-term cancer remission—and the scientific potential of their theories. Economic interests and cultural values, he demonstrates, have influenced the rush toward radiation and chemotherapy and the current cul-de-sac of toxic treatments.

More than a medical mystery story, Can Bacteria Cause Cancer? is a dramatic case study of the failure of the war on cancer.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
With the many issues surrounding the causes and treatment of cancer, determining which cancer research theories are worthy of additional time and funding has become necessary. Hess (anthropology, Rensselaer Polytechnic) suggests a process for evaluating alternative research ideas, such as the theory that bacteria may play a role in tumor genesis and growth. The author explores the history of the bacterial etiology theory, reviews its scientific accuracy, and analyzes the impact of politics and society on the theory. Since much of the current funding goes to mainstream research, Hess has provided this case study to illustrate a method for determining credibility of alternative cancer theories. Once credibility has been established, funding can be distributed more equitably, he notes. Hess concludes with an interesting proposal on policy and budgetary reforms for cancer research. Recommended for academic and specialized health-science collections.Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814735626
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 242
  • Product dimensions: 5.95 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

DAVID J. HESS is Professor of Anthropology in the Science and Technology Studies Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His books include Science Studies: An Advanced Introduction (also available from NYU Press), Science in the New Age and Science and Technology in a Multicultural World.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
2 Germ Warfare: The Case for Bacteria as Carcinogen 7
3 Culture and Power in Cancer Research 49
4 But Is It Good Science? 105
5 Policy Cures: Forging a New Cancer Agenda 156
6 Appendix: The New Science Studies 174
Notes 189
Bibliography 201
Index 231
About the Author 234
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