And here you were thinking it was pancreatic cancer…
What’s the harm?
What’s the harm if someone believes in “alternative medicine”? That’s the question whined by idiots who think there’s nothing wrong with the multi-billion dollar industry selling powdered rhino horn, magnetic bracelets, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, and faith healing.
We all know the hundreds of reasons why it’s bullshit. But hundreds of millions of people still don’t, and not only do they help elect other scientifically-illiterate people into positions of authority that decide policy on things like healthcare (ain’t democracy great?), occasionally their BS kills cool people.
So how do you respond when one of them asks “what’s the harm”?
Well instead of going with your first impulse–replying with a brisk “fuck you“, try this:
Grab their iPhone, say the name “Steve Jobs”, and drop it like a mic.
In most cases, pancreatic cancer is a death sentence: virtually all forms of the disease are incurable. But the Apple co-founder had a form called an “islet cell neuroendocrine tumor”, which is significantly less aggressive and has a fairly high recovery rate, assuming you seek actual medical treatment.
And that’s exactly what Steve Jobs didn’t do.
“Jobs’s faith in alternative medicine likely cost him his life…. He had the only kind of pancreatic cancer that is treatable and curable…. He essentially committed suicide.” -Dr. Barrie R. Cassileth, chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s integrative medicine department
Instead of seeking out actual physicians for actual medicine, Jobs sought remedies including:
According to his biographer, Walter Isaacson, Jobs was “fascinated” by Eastern mysticism and alternative medicine. He also recounted how Jobs, when asked about his long delay in getting surgery, explained, ‘I didn’t want my body to be opened…I didn’t want to be violated in that way”. Steve Jobs would eventually opt for a desperate, last-minute surgical ‘violation’, but by then it was too late.
In the wake of his death, many medical professionals and media outlets tip-toed around the fact Jobs’ infatuation with nonsense caused his death. But one of the people who danced a little less delicately on those silicon eggshells was Harvard oncology researcher, Dr. Ramzi Amri. He wrote a piece in response to a question on Quora that–without explicitly stating how idiotic Jobs’ decision was–provided an overwhelming amount of evidence to allow the reader to come to that conclusion. He summed it up with this:
Mr. Jobs always was a free thinker, a strong believer in spirituality, a vegetarian and a known skeptic of conventional medicine. He chose to reject conventional medicine altogether for a while. He’s not alone in that. We come across many people like this and we all know someone in our midst that uses homeopathy or has this known fear of anything “chemical” (to those I always say that everything is chemical, if you think dihydrogen oxide sounds scary you should stop drinking water). Individual freedom of thought and choice is a cornerstone of our modern society and the medical world makes no exception.
It’s always an ethical puzzle if a patient chooses alternative treatment that we know from fact will not work. Yet, as long as the person is mentally sane, we cannot force them to choose a working treatment, even if it means their death. Sadly, even for one of the greatest personalities of the last 100 years, there will be no exception, and badly treated cancer is just as deadly for him as for anyone else…
That last line, whether intended or not, is a swift kick right up the stupidity; a grammatical, evidence-based middle finger.
So maybe you shouldn’t smash that idiot’s iPhone when they ask “What’s the harm?”. After all, some poor (literally) Chinese laborer made the conscious choice to make that phone instead of jumping out the factory window. But feel free to link said idiot to this article. And while you’re at it, strongly consider that “fuck you”, because the world would be a better place with a healthy, rational Steve Jobs still in it.
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