By: Joey Clavette
Last night we had a presentation by Professor Denis Rancourt. He started off the talk reminiscing over the room our event was held in. Marion 150 had been the classroom for the Science course on activism that Denis had helped start back in 2006. Malalai Joya, who was a Member of Parliament in Afghanistan at the time, had been a speaker at the only lecture of the SCI1101 course. The course was short lived and cancelled after only one lecture.
But tonight was not about Denis’ past, it was about cancer and the medical industry. Broken into three parts, context, research and treatment, he discussed all of his findings after reviewing “over one hundred” medical articles concerning cancer, communicating with hosts of researchers, and synthesizing his findings with his own scientific knowledge.
It may come as a surprise that the third leading cause of death in the United States is medical error, with estimates of 200 000 to 400 000 deaths per year. That’s about 1 in 1000 people. Denis points this out while mentioning that this number is only accounting for medical mistakes: some as insane as removing the wrong breast, kidney, or even lung. It does not account for deaths caused by accepted medical practices which result in death, for instance, psychiatric drugs which cause more harm than good, as one researcher found.
Why would proper prescriptions result in death? Because most published findings in medicine are wrong due to biases, powerful paradigms, and the drive to find positive results to further one’s career. With this we come to the topic of cancer. Denis argues that the medical paradigm surrounding cancer is wrong, specifically on the point that cancerous tumors “spread”, which was an idea that gained common acceptance in the 1930s. He argues against amputating patients unless the tumour is physically making life difficult, for example if it’s on your brain and crushing it.
Over the years, Professor Rancourt has been assimilating a common idea in medicine that, in fact, stress causes illness, including hierarchical stress, which he tackles in his book ‘Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight against Racism‘. Rancourt proposed an inverted U (pictured here) to describe the phenomenon. The horizontal axis represents stress (S) and the vertical axis is a positive outcome (O). Low and high stress are likely to result in illness, whereas there is a median and plateau of health which is the high point of the U in the diagram.
Denis went into various other subtleties of the phenomenon but we will leave it here as a brief overview of his talk. Denis plans to release a paper of his own on his findings and so we will share that here when he finally releases it.
EDIT: Here is Denis’ paper on the subject.