The following is taken from a message on alt.support.cancer, but equally applies to any open forum. (Email groups like Sarcoma are not open, as such, and do not have these problems. I have only positive things to say about them)
People with cancer, or family members of people with cancer, come to this NG [alt.support.cancer] looking for help and information. They are worried, upset, and often frightened.
There are many people who post replies to these people. Most of these people are concerned and trying to help. Some of them are oncologists, or researchers, and some of them have had cancer, or supported a loved one with cancer. It generally isn’t difficult to spot these people.
Unfortunately, there are also some people who post replies here who are not helpful. Some of these people are so stupid that they can’t see the harm or pain they may cause. Some of them can see the harm, but don’t care anyway. Some actually enjoy inflicting harm. Some are probably suffering from psychiatric illness.
[... list of specific people clipped... ]
The Ruses Most of the above posters believe in the general alt conspiracy theory ie “All that physicians want to do is cut (surgery), poison (chemotherapy) and burn (radiotherapy), and they only want to do this because they are only interested in making money out of people, and are really directed in their activities by the pharma companies.” Use of the term “pharma” is virtually pathognomonic of this mind set. Many of them also believe that there are “natural” products available which will “boost the immune system” and cure cancers without any side-effects. The only reason that these products don’t work (ever) is that a) the patient’s immune system has been too damaged by the cut, poison and burn merchants or b) the patient isn’t following the “natural” method well enough, or c) cancer is really a sign of the patient’s inner guilt about something.
The Truth Cancer is common. About 1 in 3 people in the Western world will get cancer at some point in their life. Most cancers occur in people over 50. Cancers are a group of diseases, like infections. There is no single cause, and all cancers behave differently. Some cancers (like non-melanoma skin cancer) are very curable, with over 95% of cancers cured. Some cancers (like glioblastoma) are not curable, though with good treatment, quantity and quality of life may be improved. Overall, about 50% of patients with cancer will be cured by the cut, poison and burn merchants, and many of the other 50% will have significant improvements in either survival time or quality of life with judicious treatment. Of the cancers which are cured, about 50% are cured by surgery, about 45% by radiotherapy, and about 5% by chemotherapy. Most people, even some of the loonies, realise that there are some things which can be achieved, and some which cannot. Where the loonies part company with the rest of us is not knowing which is which.