Cancer Research UK Censors Wikipediathoughts & comment — 10 Apr 2011
NEW SCIENTIST has a small piece this weeks which declares that Cancer Research UK, the largest cancer charity in the world, "has unleashed a legion of experts on Wikipedia, where … they will seek out and edit spurious entries on cancer." Here is a scan of the piece in question:
What concerns me about this new strategy is that Cancer Research UK appears to be orchestrating some kind of online censorship because its own treatment agendas and philosophies must, by definition, skew this process of seeking out and editing "spurious entries on cancer." After all, if you are almost exclusively pursuing conventional treatments of and agendas for cancer, as Cancer Research UK is, then anything outside that narrow area is much more likely to be labelled "spurious" and therefore removed.
From Cancer Research UK's point of view, it would probably say that it pursues the most effective treatments, but then all those with agendas tend to mistake their own agendas for truth.
In actuality, Cancer Research UK almost exclusively supports conventional cancer treatments, focusing almost entirely on chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, biological therapies and hormone therapy. Some lip-service is paid to a few complementary cancer treatments on their website, but the funding for alternative and complementary cancer treatment approaches is dismally small in comparison to that given to conventional treatments. Cancer Research UK's justification for focusing almost entirely on conventional treatments is given on its website:
All conventional cancer treatments have been tested thoroughly in clinical trials to prove that they work for specific types of cancer. The aim of treatment is to kill or remove, and hopefully cure, the cancer. Or to control the cancer for as long as possible if it is not curable.
From their perspective, it is only conventional cancer treatments that have been tested properly in clinical trials and work for "specific" types of cancer. Whereas, in actuality conventional cancer treatments have a dismal success record, with the cure rate (5-years in remission) for chemotherapy, for example, down at just a few percent. But the way that Cancer Research UK carry on in their promotions, you would think that they have helped to win the war on cancer. This is just their PR machine taking advantage of the fact that conventional medicine charities can make all sorts of cure claims that alternative cancer charities would never be allowed to make.
What makes all this most concerning is the size of Cancer Research UK, which really does allow it to "unleash a legion of experts" onto the current Wikipedia entries.
Cancer Research UK is a VERY big business. It may have charity status, but there is a lot of money sloshing around in there — more than a third of a billion pounds every year (half a billion dollars) — making it the largest independent cancer research organisation. You often see representatives canvasing for money on the high streets of towns and cities in the UK, and Cancer Research advertisements hail the great leaps that have been made in winning the war against cancer. (If only this were true!)
As Dr. Mercola comments on one of his recent (30 Mar 2011) articles on Mercola.com:
One would think that applying all that modern science has to offer over the last 40 years would have brought us far closer to eradicating cancer. Just compare it to other technology areas. Our cell phones now are more powerful computers than the largest supercomputers of the time.
>But instead, cancer rates have increased during that span of time, and now surpass heart disease as the number one killer of Americans between the ages of 45 to 74. The odds are now very high that you or someone you know has cancer, is dying or has already died from it.
So the conventional treatment that Cancer Research UK is so focused on because they state that it is "proved" in actuality is pretty useless. The truth is that Cancer Research UK is basically an independent charity arm of the pharmaceutical industry in the UK, being funded in a large part by that industry and reflecting the aims and outlook of that industry.
My advice is that if you want to give money to a cancer charity, try something more integrative like Yes to Life or Cancer Active to donate your money to, and not the big-boys' Cancer Research UK which unfortunately pursues an ultimately losing strategy.
But back to Cancer Research UK's censorship of Wikipedia: today the battle line between different ideologies is drawn on the internet as big business realizes that it has to control that media — that allowing the internet to develop organically is just not good for business. Rather, it has become important to control information, and to whitewash encyclopedia entries in order to suffocate criticism and alternative (less-profitable) points of view.
Many of the large multinationals probably now have teams of full time internet trawlers promoting a false positive image online and trying to censor out any criticisms, both valid and invalid (especially the valid ones!).