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Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:03 AM

Who here remembers the leatrile controversy?

It was the miracle cure for cancer. Pushed by snake oil salespersons, demanded by the sheep - despite it being proven by science to be useless.

I see a lot of similarities to the ivermectin craze we are now experiencing.

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Reply Who here remembers the leatrile controversy? (Original post)
Retired Engineer Bob Sep 2021 OP
Mariana Sep 2021 #1
musette_sf Sep 2021 #2
Siwsan Sep 2021 #3
SCantiGOP Sep 2021 #6
Siwsan Sep 2021 #9
Ocelot II Sep 2021 #4
Retired Engineer Bob Sep 2021 #5
FakeNoose Sep 2021 #15
treestar Sep 2021 #7
Voltaire2 Sep 2021 #8
Retired Engineer Bob Sep 2021 #11
SCantiGOP Sep 2021 #12
Eugene Sep 2021 #10
sop Sep 2021 #13
DFW Sep 2021 #14
LeftInTX Sep 2021 #16
roamer65 Sep 2021 #17
tblue37 Sep 2021 #18
Maru Kitteh Sep 2021 #19
Delphinus Sep 2021 #20

Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:05 AM

1. I remember when some people thought it would cure AIDS.

Rich people with AIDS were traveling out of the country to get it.

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:06 AM

2. and new Spray-On Laetril

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:15 AM

3. That's one of the things Steve McQueen was using, when he died

He went down to Mexico and was treated by William Kelly, who was an orthodontist, by licensure.

McQueen actually died of a heart attack, but his body was wracked with tumors from Mesothelioma.

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Response to Siwsan (Reply #3)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:26 AM

6. Laetrile was the first quack medicine I remember

Steve McQueen has been given weeks to live, and had to go to Mexico to get access to Laetrile.
I remember a phone conversation with him on one of the nightly network news shows. His voice was very weak, but he said it was working and he was feeling much better. I think he died about two days later.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #6)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:32 AM

9. From what I read, the surgery to remove the tumors is what triggered the heart attack

They warned him that would probably happen so he went back to Mexico for the surgery.

The sad thing is, his cancer was likely the result of the work he did while in the Navy.

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:16 AM

4. Yes, I think it was made from peach and apricot pits.

It was derived from a chemical in those pits, amygdalin, that was said to target cancer cells. Unfortunately, in large doses it also caused cyanide poisoning, apart from not curing cancer.

Paul Krugman nails the fondness of right-wingers for snake-oil, here: https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2021/09/07/Paul-Krugman-The-snake-oil-theory-of-the-modern-right/stories/202109070009

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Response to Ocelot II (Reply #4)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:26 AM

5. Paul Krugman makes a good point n/t

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Response to Ocelot II (Reply #4)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 01:26 PM

15. Wow this is good

This Paul Krugman column deserves an OP on its own.
Thanks for posting!

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:27 AM

7. Yes.

In the 80s, wasn't it? Made more sense that people might fall for that 40 years ago than that people wouldn't get a vaccine today.

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:28 AM

8. in fairness, at that time there was very little choice

many now-treatable cancers were just death sentences. Chemo was an abomination, surgery was hopeless in most cases, and radiation was worse than chemo. So yeah, people flocked to mexico for laetrile.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #8)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:36 AM

11. You have a good point

With COVID there is an effective vaccine available. Iím sure having the Internet and Facebook available to push the BS is having an effect.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #8)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:37 AM

12. His diagnosis was hopeless

In that case there is no downside to taking anything, even if it is ineffective and possibly harmful.
Skipping a proven vaccine and taking a quack remedy meant for farm animals is a whole different thing.

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:35 AM

10. Supporters tried everything, including trying to classify it as a vitamin (B17).

Debunked in the 1970s, but the quack websites are still going.

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 11:47 AM

13. At least the laetrile thing was understandable; desperate, dying people can be susceptible to such

snake oil cures when all else fails. The ivermectin thing is completely irrational. If scientists discovered a nearly 100% effective vaccine for cancer, these imbeciles would probably reject it, and still use crap "cures" like laetrile, or ivermectin.

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 01:02 PM

14. I remember it

Something along the lines of essence of apricot pits, or something like that.

It was given as a phony last resort to people with all kinds of ailments, even lung cancer (see: Steve McQueen).

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 01:31 PM

16. Yes and a friend of mine decided to eat apple seeds because of it

Friend was smart as heck and we're eating apples and she says, "Apple seeds are good for you, they have leatrile"
I was left speechless

Her thought process left me speechless, but I didn't want to argue with her because I knew eating a few apple seeds would not hurt her and I figured eventually the facts would catch up with her...

But I was speechless..

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Response to LeftInTX (Reply #16)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 01:37 PM

17. Yikes. Eat enough apple seeds and you will get cyanide poisoning.

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 01:44 PM

18. Steve McQueen actually went to Mexico to access it.

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Response to Retired Engineer Bob (Original post)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 02:14 PM

19. Less than 10 years ago I had a patient demand, then beg for Leatrile

She had walked out of her cancer consultation while the cancer was still localized, imminently treatable and not immediately life-threatening. Told her doctor she was going to treat it with "diet," juices and homeopathy.

She went back to managing her tourist bar and cafe. Made post after post on Facebook about how she felt better than she ever had in her whole life, following whatever kind of diet and taking her grass and flower pills and drinking expensive juice and god-knows-what concoctions. I remember she even did an interview with some publication of some sort preening on about how she wasn't necessarily against conventional medical treatment but that she "trusted her body," thought that cancer treatment was "too commercialized" and doctors obviously didn't know everything or there wouldn't be any such thing as dying from cancer.

Fast forward a little less than a year later and I'm handing her a small cup of lukewarm water with a straw, explaining to her how her NG tube will be inserted through one of her nostrils down to her stomach. I tell her I will be a gentle as possible, and that once we get the tube in she'll have a great measure of relief and won't be laying in a bed of vomitus anymore. I explain how the water will help passage of the tube, and she must follow my direction to avoid injury. Then she starts to cry. Which swells her nasal passages, of course.

She was being followed by palliative care at that point because she would not accept hospice. Having wanted nothing to do with the medical "establishment" while her cancer could have been stopped, she alternately threatened, pleaded, and tried strategies ranging from pity to rage to comically transparent manipulation to try and get her doctors to do something! to save her.

Of course, the cancer was literally everywhere by then. She would not be saved. If we couldn't save her why the hell couldn't she have her Leatrile, she demanded. I was in the room when the doc told her "Look, there are still some quack clinics in other countries that will give that to you. They're very happy to take whatever is left of your money but once they are done with you, they're done. If you think you can survive the journey there and that's what you want to do, I won't stand in your way, but I think you're likely to die in excruciating pain under sub-standard public care thousands of miles from your friends and family. The decision is yours."


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Response to Maru Kitteh (Reply #19)

Tue Sep 7, 2021, 03:27 PM

20. Oh,

this is a sad story. Thank you for sharing it.

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