Under the guise of proposing a Right to Try bill in the Nevada legislature, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore has publicized her apparently serious belief that cancer is caused by a fungus and can be cured by flushing...saltwater [and] sodium carbonate [sic] through the body.
She likely meant sodium bicarbonate in the form of baking soda. Well, now that we ve clarified that: she is a Republican representing Las Vegas in the statehouse, and she has no medical or scientific credentials. Her approach to the right to try has to do with allowing terminally ill patients easier access to alternative treatments not such a far-out concept, in general, although not one we here at ACSH endorse.
But she has taken her concern for desperately ill patients a step or two further, by her assertion...well, let s let her speak for herself, thanks to the Washington Post:
"If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus, and we can put a pic line into your body and we're flushing with, say, salt water, sodium carbonate, through that line and flushing out the fungus. These are some procedures that are not FDA-approved in America that are very inexpensive, cost-effective."
True enough: such treatments are not FDA-approved nor do they make the slightest bit of sense medically or scientifically. Also true, this treatment is inexpensive (except for inserting a pic line, which is an indwelling central venous catheter for delivering regular doses of real cancer chemotherapy, or antibiotics for chronic infection). But it is most certainly not cost-effective, given that the cost of a successful treatment is incalculably high since there will be no such successes.
The Post story adds some perspective here, although in fact this makes the whole sordid story even worse: a-Ms. Fiore runs some sort of health care business in Nevada; b-she has been in trouble with the tax authorities, yet serves as Chairwoman of the Taxation Committee; c-she expresses her goal of making Nevada in addition to being the gambling and legalized prostitution capital the medical capital of the world too.
Our advice: cancer victims of whatever stage would be well-advised to give Ms. Fiore and her theories a very wide berth and stick with the evidence-based medical treatments, or none at all if such treatments are unlikely to extend life compared to their adverse effects. And the voters and colleagues of Ms. Fiore should take a long hard look at her qualifications to help write law in Nevada.
ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross added this: There are of course some valid reasons why a cancer patient and his or her family would seek alternative treatments, when all hope via approved therapies is gone. And there are mechanisms for accelerated FDA approvals for novel cancer drugs which short-circuit the lengthy clinical trial process. Ms. Fiore s hypocritical and bizarre theories should not be confused with those approaches.
ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom, no fan of idiocy, says, This nonsense about pH and cancer has been flying around the Internet for quite awhile. It s right up there with the US orchestrating 9/11, AIDS being created to wipe out Africa, and Kim Kardashian joining Mensa. OK. I made that last one up.
He adds, All the proof I need of how bad this is, is the fact that it s not on the Dr. Oz Show. But, seriously not only was she elected, but she seems to have the power to write laws. To say that she is gambling with people s health is not only a terrible pun, but an understatement as well.