The Instigator
Stupidape
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
MagicAintReal
Con (against)
Winning
2 Points

Chemotherapy is less effective than a placebo

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
MagicAintReal
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/30/2015 Category: Health
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 572 times Debate No: 81804
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

Stupidape

Pro

I Pro will argue that chemotherapy is less effective than a placebo.

Con will argue that chemotherapy is more effective than a placebo.
MagicAintReal

Con

Thanks for the debate Pro, I accept.
This resolution could be more specific, so I shall specify.

Chemotherapy is more effective than a placebo for the treatment of cancer.

I will provide definitions from Google definitions:

Chemotherapy - the treatment of disease by the use of chemical substances, especially the treatment of cancer by cytotoxic and other drugs
https://www.google.com...

Effective - successful in producing a desired or intended result.
https://www.google.com...

Placebo - a harmless pill, medicine, or procedure prescribed more for the psychological benefit to the patient than for any physiological effect.
https://www.google.com...

Treatment - medical care given to a patient for an illness or injury.
https://www.google.com...

Cancer - the disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body.
https://www.google.com...

I await my opponents arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
Stupidape

Pro

"Placebo - a harmless pill, medicine, or procedure prescribed more for the psychological benefit to the patient than for any physiological effect." Google

I agree to all definitions supplied by Con. Note placebos have a physiological effect, and it is implied in the above definition. Specifically "prescribed more for the psychological benefit to the patient than for any physiological effect." Google

From the film Healing Cancer from Inside out 2nd edition. A placebo is generally accepted to have around 30% effectiveness. Therefore, if chemothearpy has a success rate greater than 30% it is more effective than a placebo. If chemotherapy is less effective than 30% it is less effective than a placebo.

As seen in these scholarly peer reviewed sources chemotherapy has dismal effectiveness far below that of a placebo.

"RESULTS:

The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.
CONCLUSION:

As the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required." Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2004 Dec;16(8):549-60.The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies.
Morgan G1, Ward R, Barton M.

2.3 and 2.1% are far less than 30%. A placebo is more effective than cytotoxic chemothearpy.

" The percent overall survival at 1, 2, 5, and 10 years for the early treatment group was 88%, 73%, 44%, and 18%. For the deferred therapy group the percent overall survival was 86%, 71%, 37%, and 12%." Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1):CD003506. Early versus deferred androgen suppression in the treatment of advanced prostatic cancer. Nair B1, Wilt T, MacDonald R, Rutks I.

The smallest difference being 2% and the largest difference being 6% all far below the effectiveness of a placebo.

My opponent may attempt to argue that mainstream medicine has been using chemotherapy for years. If it really was so ineffective why would we continue to use chemotherapy as a treatment? The answer, tradition and the funding effect.

All tradition means is this is the way we always done it. Often tradition when examined from the angle, why did we do this in the first place, is arbitrary? Tradition is often arbitrary.

As for the funding effect. Watch Dr. Greger's video on the funding effect. In essence the results end up being bias in favor of those funding the study.

"Industrial support of biomedical research may bias scientific conclusions, as demonstrated by recent analyses of pharmaceutical studies."
Relationship between Funding Source and Conclusion among Nutrition-Related Scientific Articles
Lenard I Lesser, Cara B Ebbeling, Merrill Goozner, David Wypij, David S LudwigPLOS Published: January 9, 2007 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0040005

"Evidence in the scientific literature of the funding effect--the close correlation between the results of a study desired by a study's funder and the reported results of that study--suggests that the financial interest of a study's sponsors should be taken into account when considering the study's findings. Similarly, the interpretation of data by scientists with financial conflicts should be seen in this light. Manufacturing uncertainty is antithetical to the public health principle that decisions be made using the best evidence currently available." Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Sep;1076:149-62.
Manufactured uncertainty: protecting public health in the age of contested science and product defense.
Michaels D1.

Finally, doctors are the third leading cause of death. Doctors are fallible just like everyone else.

https://www.youtube.com...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
http://nutritionfacts.org...
http://journals.plos.org...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
http://nutritionfacts.org...
MagicAintReal

Con

Despite the resolution only requiring me to show that chemotherapy is equally effective as a placebo, I will agree to debate that chemotherapy is more effective than a placebo.

Chemotherapy is more effective than a placebo, because:
1. cytostatics (chemo's chemicals) have an explainable mechanism, impeding cell division, to indicate that cytotoxic is directly causing the treatment's success.

2. no study has shown 30% effectiveness of placebos treating cancer.
Pro's film is highly biased, lacks any real credibility, and never cites a legitimate source for the 30% number; it claims that for some cancers, chemo is less than 30% effective which is the high end of the general, not specifically cancer, placebo effect, which has really only been demonstrated for pain treatment, not cancer treatment.

3. several peer reviewed studies published by the National Library of Medicine have shown chemotherapy's treatment success as high as 60% rejecting this resolution even using Pro's arbitrary 30% number.

4. if a placebo were reliably 30% successful at treating cancer, it would no longer be a placebo, because it would be prescribed for a physiological effect, counter to its definition, and we could determine its mechanism of action and use it as an actual treatment.

Explanations:

1. Cancer spreads because cancerous cells are able to rapidly cell divide and proliferate. Cytostatics like cytoxic stop cell division by targeting DNA and proteins needed by the cancerous cell, thus cancer cell growth stops/is reduced, and this leads to cancer cell death.
"inhibition of protein synthesis is a key mode of action, and the compound functions by a cytostatic mechanism"
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

2. In a study on prostate cancer, they gave some patients nilutamide, an antiandrogen, and they gave some patients a placebo.
They found "objective regressions were higher in the nilutamide group (41%) than in the placebo group (24%)...bone pain, prostatic acid phosphatase, prostate specific antigen, alkaline phosphatase and bone scan isotope uptake."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

Pro's film claims 30% effectiveness of placebo, but it never says that this number is for cancer...instead it's well known that this 30% is from only pain studies, and is on the higher end of those.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

Go ahead, watch Pro's "film" at the link below and go to about 1:25 in...there they mention this 30% number without credibility.
http://chemowillkillyou.ning.com...

Notice the site is called "Chemo Will Kill You," so the bias is obvious.

3.
A. In a study of the effectiveness of chemotherapy on bladder carcinomas:
"The overall 5-year cancer-specific survival rate was 65.6%."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

B. In a study of cervical cancer patients who received chemotherapy:
"Overall 5-year and 10-year disease-free actual survival rates were 82.0% and 79.4%, respectively."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

C. In a study of adults with rhabdomyosarcoma who received chemotherapy:
"Five-year survival rates for patients with tumors less than 5 cm were 60%."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

D. In a study of osteosarcoma patients who received chemotherapy:
"Continuous disease-free survival [was] 58%."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

E. In a study where patients had lymphoma and received chemotherapy:
"Complete remission...[and] partial remission..[were] a total...rate of 64%."
http://jco.ascopubs.org...

4. Logically, if a placebo were significantly reliable, it would cease to be a placebo, and become an actual curative agent, with data, that could indicate its mechanism of action. If placebos could treat cancer as effectively as chemotherapy, we could save tons of money on health care costs, so its demonstration should be ever available...it is not.

Placebos aren't effective, because placebos have no effect; it is this characteristic that makles it a placebo.

I reject the resolution that chemotherapy is less effective than a placebo.
Debate Round No. 2
Stupidape

Pro

An interesting tactic to ignore the entire 2nd half of my round 2 argument. My argument about the funding effect and doctors being the 3rd leading cause of death. This is important because it shows bias in scienfic studies. Also shows that doctors are fallible.

"2. no study has shown 30% effectiveness of placebos treating cancer.
Pro's film is highly biased, lacks any real credibility, and never cites a legitimate source for the 30% number; it claims that for some cancers, chemo is less than 30% effective which is the high end of the general, not specifically cancer, placebo effect, which has really only been demonstrated for pain treatment, not cancer treatment." Con

Perhaps showing a placebo affecting a condition other than pain or cancer would help. "The latter came with a device projecting elaborate visual effects of the heart as well as heavy sedation, and was so convincing that patients couldn't tell whether they got the real or imitation treatment.

When the results were in, the placebo worked as well as the real thing. " Jeff Levine WedMd. [1]

"Laser Heart Treatment Benefit May Be Placebo" Levine

"Six months after the study, both the treatment and placebo groups showed the same amount of improvement in their ability to exercise" Levine

As you can see a placebo is effective in an unrelated disease, heart disease.

"Pro's film is highly biased" Con

Bare assertion, you must elaborate. If you read about the funding effect you will see some scientific studies are bias.

"lacks any real credibility, and never cites a legitimate source for the 30% number;" Con

Did you see the long list of sources? Around time index 1:30. Here's the link to the site with the sources for the film. I seriously doubt you took the time to look at even 1/4 of those sources.

http://ravediet.com...

Con then lists a bunch of peer reviewed sources. I wonder who funded those studies? This question is important because of the funding effect.

"Industrial support of biomedical research may bias scientific conclusions, as demonstrated by recent analyses of pharmaceutical studies."
Relationship between Funding Source and Conclusion among Nutrition-Related Scientific Articles
Lenard I Lesser, Cara B Ebbeling, Merrill Goozner, David Wypij, David S LudwigPLOS Published: January 9, 2007 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0040005

"4. Logically, if a placebo were significantly reliable, it would cease to be a placebo, and become an actual curative agent, with data, that could indicate its mechanism of action. If placebos could treat cancer as effectively as chemotherapy, we could save tons of money on health care costs, so its demonstration should be ever available...it is not.

Placebos aren't effective, because placebos have no effect; it is this characteristic that makles it a placebo.

I reject the resolution that chemotherapy is less effective than a placebo." Con

I've demonstrated earlier in this round that placebos are effective for heart disease.

"If placebos could treat cancer as effectively as chemotherapy, we could save tons of money on health care costs" Con

Now you have gotten to the root of the problem. 1 Timothy 6:10 "For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
" [4]

Ask me what costs more money? A sugar pill or chemotherapy? Hmmm, a sugar pill is about $1 max. Now how much does chemotherapy cost?

"Why Chemotherapy That Costs $70,000 in the U.S. Costs $2,500 in India" theatlantic.com [5]

"The cost of eight weeks of chemotherapy can range from $100 to $30,000." Ritwik Ghosh [6]

Hmmm, $1 versus $70,000. Maybe if you bought a whole lot of sugar pills it would be $100. Still $100 versus $70,000. No contest. I wonder how much cancer costs are world wide? "The total economic impact of premature death and disability from cancer
worldwide was $895 billion in 2008. "cancer.org [7]

$895 billion dollars. That's a lot of dough. That's the problem. All this money is jading people's judgement.

How about alternative treatments? Like walking, sunshine, fresh air, meditation, and healthy diets? How much do they cost? The first four are free. Healthy diets might cost up to an additional $10 a day or so.

What about preventive care, after all "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Ben Franklin [8]

What are the risk factors for cancer? [9] Let's see Obesity, diet, Alcohol, and Tobacco all seem manageable. Why not focus on these first? These all seem very cheap to prevent. A lot cheaper than chemotherapy.

Also of note the WHO "World Health Organization Report Links Bacon, Hot Dogs, Other Processed Meats To Cancer" Mary Beth Quirk [10]

"USDA Recalls More Than 167,000 Pounds of Ground Beef for E. Coli Concerns Kimberly Holland" [11]

Clearly diet matters.

http://www.webmd.com...
http://ravediet.com...
http://journals.plos.org...
http://biblehub.com...
http://www.theatlantic.com...
http://www.livestrong.com...
http://www.cancer.org...
http://www.ushistory.org...
http://www.cancer.gov...
http://consumerist.com...
http://simmerandboil.cookinglight.com...
MagicAintReal

Con

I regarded Pro's funding argument as irrelevant, because we're arguing chemotherapy's effectiveness, not its studies' funding bias.

I also assumed that since Pro cited the NCBI for their 2% chemotherapy's effectiveness statistic, that Pro considers NCBI's publications unbiased by funding.
However, hypocritically, in the 2nd round, Pro condemns my sources, the same sources Pro used, saying " I wonder who funded those studies? This question is important because of the funding effect."

Pro, why don't you tell us who funded these studies? You cited the same source to bolster your argument, without mentioning any "funding bias."

Why is the same source that I provided subject to "funding bias," but Pro's is not?

Let me save you the search and tell you that the NCBI is, in general, "funded independently by Congress and centrally administered by the Office of the Director;" your tax dollars are funding these studies and their peer-reviewed publications.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

If Pro is going to turn this debate into "you can't trust peer reviewed studies published by the National Library of Medicine, because they're corrupted by funding bias" then:
1. Pro shouldn't be able to use the NLM's publications to support his argument, which he already has done.
2. Any study with funding could be subjected to this idea, thus we can't trust any funded studies to demonstrate chemotherapy's or placebo's effect on treating cancer; we can't use evidence from studies that are funded.

I reject the idea that "you can't trust peer reviewed studies, because they're corrupted by funding bias," and I argue that because most of NCBI's publications are funded independently by congress, there exists less "Industrial support of biomedical research [that] may bias scientific conclusions."

So, one needs to consider all of my peer-reviewed, highly credible, studies published by the NCBI as strong evidence that chemotherapy is way more effective than a placebo for the treatment of cancer.

Then, Pro angers me with his dishonesty:
"I've demonstrated earlier in this round that placebos are effective for heart disease."

My response:
Here's a quote directly from Pro's source:
"The treatment, transmyocardial laser revascularization (TMR), burns a series of holes, or channels, in the heart in an effort to relieve the severe chest pains."

The real treatment is not effective for treating the disease, angina; it's used to RELIEVE CHEST PAIN from the disease.
So, the study actually says that "when the results were in, the placebo worked as well as the real thing" at relieving chest pain.
I've cited before that the placebo has been shown to work in pain studies...this study is no different.
Pro was dishonest, because the placebo did not show a reduction of the disease, rather the pain associated with it.

Pro says:
"Perhaps showing a placebo affecting a condition other than pain or cancer would help."

My response:
Showing that a placebo affects a condition other than cancer is as irrelevant as quoting the bible in a debate about chemotherapy's effectiveness on cancer.
Even if a placebo were to show effectiveness in treating heart disease, not just pain from it, it would not amount to a hill of beans in demonstrating a placebo's effect on cancer treatment.

Pro cites the bible to explain the problem with money for studies:
"Now you have gotten to the root of the problem. 1 Timothy 6:10 'For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.'"

My response:
Speaking of bias...Why should anyone consider the bible to be authoritative on matters of modern medical issues, or matters morality with respects to funding bias?
I'm pretty sure the bible is cool with slavery, and irrelevant to this debate!

Pro asked about his film mentioning 30% effectiveness of placebo on cancer treatment:
"Did you see the long list of sources?"

My response:
Yeah, I did. So Pro, could you provide a link to the source from this "long list" that demonstrates the 30% number. The film did not specify which source belonged to which claim, so we are left in the dark on this.

About the claim "Pro's film is highly biased" Pro says:
"Bare assertion, you must elaborate. If you read about the funding effect you will see some scientific studies are bias."

My response:
Let me elaborate...when a website is called Chemo_Will_Kill_You.com and doesn't provide sources that prove the namesake of said website, we call this biased. Watching the film, you don't see any mention of my studies on cancer, rather, cherry picked information whose source is ambiguous and unexplained.
Making conclusions from such is what we call a bias, because it assumes a detriment where none has been provided, and where one has been affirmed in the very website's namesake.

Pro why should we consider "Chemo Will Kill You.ning.com" to be credible or unbiased?

Pro posits:
"Ask me what costs more money? A sugar pill or chemotherapy?"

My response:
Pro, does cost matter if you're dead?
With a sugar pill, you are more likely to die from cancer than if you receive chemotherapy, so the differences in the cost of the two is outweighed by the effectiveness of prolonging the lives of cancer patients; if healthy living costs more than dying, I choose the former.

Pro, please remove your dishonesty from this debate and directly contend my peer-reviewed studies on chemotherapy and its effectiveness. My studies show that your 30% number has been obliterated, and this should convince you that chemotherapy is in fact more effective in treating cancer than placebos.

Pro, if you wanted to argue about the funding corruption of medical studies, then that should have been in the resolution.

Chemotherapy is undoubtedly more effective at treating cancer than a placebo, because legit studies demonstrate such.

I maintain my rejection of this particular resolution.
Debate Round No. 3
Stupidape

Pro

"in the heart in an effort to relieve the severe chest pains associated with angina. " [1].

I did miss that the treatment was designed to relieve pain. That doesn't' make me dishonest. Yes, I told a falsehood, but that doesn't make me a liar nor dishonest.

Yet, this doesn't mean I'm wrong in other instances. For example "For instance, in one study, people were given a placebo and told it was a stimulant. After taking the pill, their pulse rate sped up, their blood pressure increased, and their reaction speeds improved. When people were given the same pill and told it was to help them get to sleep, they experienced the opposite effects."[2].

"by the anesthesiologist Henry K. Beecher (1904-1976). Beecher concluded that, across the 26 studies he analyzed, an average of 32% of patients responded to placebo. "[3]

In this case 32% of patients responded to a placebo.

"But studies since then have shown placebos working for certain conditions -- pain, depression, some heart ailments, gastric ulcers and other stomach complaints -- in closer to 50 or 60 percent of subjects, sometimes more. Indeed, it's not unheard of for placebo effects to exceed those attributed to the active drug. " [4]

Rebuttal of Con's arguments:

"I regarded Pro's funding argument as irrelevant, because we're arguing chemotherapy's effectiveness, not its studies' funding bias." Con

The funding effect is relevant because we are debating the effectiveness of chemotherapy versus placebo. We are basing our claims of the effectiveness of chemo versus a placebo on these studies. If the studies that we receive this information are bias then then we must take the bias into account.

"Pro, why don't you tell us who funded these studies? You cited the same source to bolster your argument, without mentioning any "funding bias." Con

Alas, I've tried, but I found it incredibly difficult to figure who funds which study.

"I also assumed that since Pro cited the NCBI for their 2% chemotherapy's effectiveness statistic, that Pro considers NCBI's publications unbiased by funding.
However, hypocritically, in the 2nd round, Pro condemns my sources, the same sources Pro used, saying " I wonder who funded those studies? This question is important because of the funding effect." Con

A good question, which I've already answered. Where is the money? Or follow the money. Is there more money and thus more room for corruption in free treatments like sunshine, fresh air, exercise, and meditation? Or in the expensive chemotherapy. You cannot underestimate the power of money to influence people's perception and judgement.

I backed up this claim with the bible quote about money being the root of all kinds of evil.

Here's some science to back up the claim. "The rich are more likely to:

a) Cut off other drivers.
b) Be disinterested in the welfare of others.
c) Cheat on a test to get ahead.
d) Give more to charities.
e) All of the above." [5]

""The rich are more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people," Piff told New York magazine. "It makes them more likely to exhibit characteristic that we would stereotypically associate, with, say, a******."" [5]

"Confirmed: rich people are mean, clueless" [6]

"Speaking of bias...Why should anyone consider the bible to be authoritative on matters of modern medical issues, or matters morality with respects to funding bias?
I'm pretty sure the bible is cool with slavery, and irrelevant to this debate!" Con

"Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.""[7]

I don't see reference to man being given dominion over other man. Only man over beasts. I'm pretty sure it wasn't cool for the Egyptians to enslave the Hebrews. Last I remember Moses freed the Hebrews.

"when a website is called Chemo_Will_Kill_You.com and doesn't provide sources" Con

I never brought up Chemo_Will_You.com. How is this relevant to the discussion?

I think I've proven that a placebo is at least as effective at 30%. I wonder if those high numbers Con quoted for chemotherapy were absolute or relative numbers? Let me explain lets say a chemo drug increasing odds from 1% to 1.5%. The absolute increase would be .5%. Now the relative increase would be 50%. That's a huge difference.

"The article starts with a study that concluded that eating one serving of red meat per day increased your risk of death by 20%, while the author says that it is an increase of 0.2% increase in risk. The 20% is a relative risk while the 0.2% is the absolute risk. We may consider changing behavior with a 20% risk while we may not change for a 0.2% risk change."[7].

I contend that Pro is using absolute numbers and Con is using relative numbers. That's why from the same source and the same treatment vastly different numbers are being reported. Thank you for your time.

http://www.webmd.com...
http://www.webmd.com...
http://www.medicinenet.com...
http://www.nytimes.com...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
http://www.examiner.com...
http://biblehub.com...
https://www.smartersolutions.com...
MagicAintReal

Con

Pro starts off referring to his source that he referenced to prove that placebos are effective for treating heart disease:
"I did miss that the treatment was designed to relieve pain...yes, I told a falsehood."

My response:
Pro used this falsehood to demonstrate an already irrelevant point that placebos treat heart disease, and the falsehood wasn't even in the source.

Pro why should we trust your extractions or interpretations of your sources, when you've admitted to telling a falsehood from the very source you provided?

I'll buy that Pro missed the most crucial part of the source he provided by accident, but I caution Pro to be more careful in the future.

Pro maintains:
"this doesn't mean I'm wrong...for instance, in one study, people were given a placebo and told it was a stimulant...their pulse rate sped up...when people were given the same pill and told it was to help them get to sleep, they experienced the opposite effects."

My response:
This shows that placebos are more effective at treating cancer than chemotherapy?
This actually shows that people's responses to being told something, not placebos, can raise and lower their heart rate.

Have you ever been told something troublesome, and you immediately begin to worry?
This increases your heart rate and blood pressure.
Have you ever been told that something you've been worried about has been taken care of?
This decreases your heart rate and relaxes you.
This study isn't indicative of a placebo's effectiveness, rather an authority's influence on our emotional responses.

In any case this is irrelevant to a placebo's effectiveness at treating cancer.

Pro continues:
"studies since then have shown placebos working for certain conditions"

My response:
Ok, well if none of the conditions include cancer, then this is yet another irrelevant citation.

Pro tries to justify the bible quote about money being the root of all kinds of evil:
"Here's some science to back up the claim...'The rich are more likely to...give more to charities.'"

My response:
Oh, how evil!
Even if Pro shows the bad things that rich people are more likely to do, it doesn't indicate funding corruption in scientific studies published by the NCBI, which is funded by congress; it also does not provide a reason for why we should consider the bible authoritative on matters of morality, including financial avarice.

Though irrelevant to this debate, Pro mentions about the bible:
"I don't see reference to man being given dominion over other man."

My response:
Exodus 21:20 + Exodus 21:21:
"Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property."

Treating humans as your property is immoral, and so is not being punished for beating someone almost to death, so long as they recover in 2 days.

Pro, why should we consider the bible authoritative on matters of morality if the bible encourages and substantiates rules for owning people as property (dominion over man) and allows for the near-death abuse of humans to go unpunished?

The bible is irrelevant to this debate, but that had to be corrected.

Then Pro ponders:
"I wonder if those high numbers Con quoted for chemotherapy were absolute or relative numbers?"

My response:
Well, I know Pro has had some issues with telling falsehoods from sources, so I'll help out.
My studies from the 2nd round:

A. Chemotherapy + bladder carcinomas:
"The overall 5-year cancer-specific survival rate was 65.6%."
This means that 171 of the 260 patients were still alive after 5 years, or not dead from bladder cancer.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

B. Chemotherapy + cervical cancer:
"Overall 5-year and 10-year disease-free actual survival rates were 82.0% and 79.4%, respectively."
This means that 64 of the 78 patients survived for 5 years, and 62 of 78 survived for 10 years.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

C. Chemotherapy + rhabdomyosarcoma:
"Five-year survival rates for patients with tumors less than 5 cm were 60%."
This means that 9 of the 15 patients with tumors less than 5cm survived for 5 years.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

D. Chemotherapy + osteosarcoma:
"Continuous disease-free survival [was] 58%."
This means that 23 of 40 patients survived for 5 years.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

E. Chemotherapy + lymphoma:
"Complete remission...[and] partial remission..[were] a total...rate of 64%"
This means that 40 of 63 patients had complete or partial remission.
http://jco.ascopubs.org...

These are all absolute to me...these are percentages, they are proportional to the number of patients in the studies...I don't really understand the need to label my data as relative or absolute, but I hope I have shed some light on these studies.

Pro, the studies are clear, chemotherapy is way more effective on cancer than the 30% placebo number which has only been shown for pain reduction in other conditions that aren't cancer.

If Pro is going to rely on the "financially corrupt" argument to disqualify my statistics, then Pro has to demonstrate how my sources in particular are corrupted.

So, Pro needs to show that the NCBI, the NLM, and the NIH allow for corrupt studies in the interest of financial support.
I reject this, and the resolution.
Debate Round No. 4
Stupidape

Pro

Con

"The overall 5-year cancer-specific survival rate was 65.6%." Con

Since when does a survival rate become a cure rate? The survival rate of 65.6% needs to be compared to a non-treated group.

Now look at my source.

"As the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required." [1]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

5-year survival is over 60%. Lets round to 60%. With treatment that's only a 5.6% increase in survival. Regardless of how effective a placebo is, that's low. Chemotherapy pumps people full of toxins. That's why they lose their hair.

"Cancer cells tend to grow fast, and chemo drugs kill fast-growing cells. But because these drugs travel throughout the body, they can affect normal, healthy cells that are fast-growing, too. Damage to healthy cells causes side effects. Side effects are not always as bad as you might expect, but many people worry about this part of cancer treatment." [2]

"Some types of chemo cause long-term side effects, like heart or nerve damage or fertility problems. Still, many people have no long-term problems from chemo. Ask your doctor about the long-term risks of the chemo drugs you"re getting." [2].

"Some people have allergic reactions to chemo. This can cause hives (or skin welts), itching, or trouble breathing." [3].

"A chemotherapy drug that is supposed to help save cancer patients' lives, instead resulted in life-threatening and sometimes fatal allergic reactions. A new study identified 287 hypersensitivity reactions and 109 deaths in patients who received Cremophor-based paclitaxel, a solvent-administered chemotherapy." [4].

Considering the side effects and possibility of an allergic reaction no treatment may be preferable.

As for a placebo and cancer "Placebos are rarely used in cancer treatment clinical trials." and "Placebos are another way to help prevent bias in research. You always will be told if the study uses a placebo." [5].

Just the fact that placebo aren't used shows that bias is more of a factor. A good study would have three groups, placebo, untreated, and chemotherapy. I'm not finding any of those.

Lets take another look at those studies ""The overall 5-year cancer-specific survival rate was 65.6%."

""Overall 5-year and 10-year disease-free actual survival rates were 82.0% and 79.4%, respectively."
""Five-year survival rates for patients with tumors less than 5 cm were 60%." "

""Continuous disease-free survival [was] 58%." "

"Complete remission...[and] partial remission..[were] a total...rate of 64%."

Again, if the survival rate is 60% with no treatment, the difference between 60% is these studies are. 5.6%, 22% and 19.4%, 0%, -2%, and 4%. None of these studies show a 90%+ rate of survival. If a placebo adds 30%, for a total of 90%, you can see how ineffective these procedures are. Some actually lowering the survival rate.

That's the problem with your studies. They are just straight out survival rates with no comparison. An experiment without a control group.

Let's phrase this another way. Let's say the survival rate is 60% with no treatment. You produce a drug that with treatment the patients survive 40% of the time. You just lowered the survival rate by 20%. Yet, you can claim 40% survival rate! Sounds good, until you compare to the untreated.

Thanks for the debate. Thanks for sticking out all five rounds.

http://www.cancer.org...
http://www.cancer.org...
http://www.sciencedaily.com...
http://www.cancer.gov...
MagicAintReal

Con

Pro equivocates:
"Since when does a survival rate become a cure rate?"

My response:
Since when does a cure rate become relevant in this debate?
The resolution is about effectiveness at treating cancer.

From the definitions of this debate:
"effectiveness - successful in producing a desired/intended result"

The intended result of chemotherapy is to reduce tumor size and prolong human life, and this result can be successfully produced without a "cure."

Pro complains:
"Just the fact that placebo aren't used shows that bias is more of a factor. A good study would have three groups, placebo, untreated, and chemotherapy. I'm not finding any of those."

My response:
Placebos aren't used in most cancer studies, because most doctors believe "that when proven therapy exists, the use of a placebo-controlled trial lacks both scientific and clinical merit...[and] violate[s] the therapeutic obligation of physicians to offer optimal medical care;" this obligation is called therapeutic beneficence.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

Cancer studies aren't like pain studies where if someone doesn't get the actual treatment, then they may ache for a few more days.
Instead, with cancer studies, if people don't receive treatment, their lives are shortened at the hands of people with the obligation to offer optimal medical care who also had access to known treatments and knowingly withheld them.

Given malpractice suits, it seems obvious why doctors would not want to be dragged into such.

But to calm the placebo fanatics...
Breast cancer leads to low white blood cell (neutrophil granulocytes) counts and induces high fevers.
They call this condition of low white blood cell count "febrile neutropenia" (FN).

From a study that was a "placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial:"
Patients who had breast cancer were given Chemotherapy (pegfilgrastim) and Placebo.

After the study, here's who had low white blood cell FN (absolute numbers of course):

Chemotherapy:
2 of the 173 had FN, which is 1.2 %.

Placebo:
119 of the 173 had FN, which is 68.8 %.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

68.8% of the time, not receiving chemo lead to dangerously low levels of white blood cells, the very things our own bodies would use to fight off illness without treatment.

Chemo is a more effective treatment of breast cancer than a placebo is, because low white blood cell counts (FN) neither lead to the reduction of cancer cells, nor the prolonging of life; chemotherapy leads to significantly more white blood cells than does placebo.

Pro tried to attack my studies by saying that there exists a funding bias, so I asked Pro who was funding all of this bias and Pro replied:
"Alas, I've tried, but I found it incredibly difficult to figure who funds which study."

My response:
If Pro cannot demonstrate who funds these studies then how does Pro know there's a funding bias?
Since Pro never demonstrated that my specific studies had funding bias, then we must assume that they do not.

Pro mentions side effects with chemo, and these side effects are admittedly pretty bad; chemo's mechanism of stopping cell division in all cells, leads to healthy cell death as well.

However, this debate is about the effectiveness at treating cancer, not adverse side effects.
There are antibiotics that some people can have an allergic reaction to and die from, but antibiotics kill many fatal bacteria, so antibiotic effectiveness should be untainted by the adverse reactions of people with particular allergies; think of the millions who would be dead without antibiotics.

Chemotherapy is proven effective for reducing cancer cells, increasing certain white blood cell counts (placebo study), and prolonging life a significant percentage of the time.

I reject the resolution because:
1. No placebo has been shown to illicit an 82% survival rate, chemo has.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

2. Though there are not many cancer placebo studies, the ones provided still show placebo effectiveness is lower than chemo effectiveness.

3. Pro never provided any names or investors that funded my studies showing chemo's effectiveness, so we're left with no reason to believe that my particular studies have funding bias.

4. Placebos are inert, and chemotherapy has a mechanism behind its action; impeding cell division in cancerous cells.

5. Pro's data on 60% survival rate in Australia without treatment is not demonstrated in Pro's source, rather, overall cancer survival rates in Australia are 60% which includes, cancer patients who had surgery or received chemo.

I reject the resolution, because chemo is more effective at treating cancer than placebo.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Berend 1 year ago
Berend
Pro defeats himself by stating the word "placebo". A placebo is a harmless pill that does nothing. That is why they are placebo's. Chemo has actually saved lives.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by famousdebater 1 year ago
famousdebater
StupidapeMagicAintRealTied
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: I do not feel like I can vote on the arguments points on this debate without any bias so I will vote based on the sources provided. Con successfully pointed out the bias in pro's sources whilst all pro did was criticize con's in return and then use the same sources as con in the following round. Con's sources showed that they respected both sides of the argument. An example of one of Pro's bias sources is: Chemo will kill you. This clearly does not respect both sides of the argument in the debate. Furthermore, a lot of Pro's sources were irrelevant to the debate resolution and impacted in no way. An example of this is when the bible hub source was used. This clearly has no impact upon the resolution since a) this isn't a religious debate and b) con is an atheist so this is especially irrelevant. If both sides agreed that the bible would affect the debate in some way then this would be permissible however this was not the case and this did not help anything to impact on the resolution