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Can Bacteria Cause Cancer?

Alternative Medicine Confronts Big Science

David Hess

Publication Year: 1997

Growing numbers of cancer patients are exploring diet, food supplements, herbs, and nontoxic immunotherapies like bacterial vaccines as a means of therapy. Yet most cancer research organizations refuse to even evaluate these alternatives. Can Bacteria Cause Cancer? argues convincingly that unless this neglected world of alternative therapies is properly scrutinized, the medical Vietnam of the twentieth century may well affect one in two people by the twenty-first century.

David J. Hess investigates one of the great medical mysteries of the twentieth century—the relationship between bacteria and chronic disease. Recently scientists have overturned long-held beliefs by demonstrating that bacterial infections cause many ulcers; they are now reconsidering the role of bacterial infections in other chronic diseases, such as arthritis. Is it possible, Hess asks, that bacteria can contribute to the many other known causes of cancer?

To answer this intriguing question, Hess takes us into the world of alternative cancer researchers. Maintaining that their work has been actively suppressed rather than simply dismissed, he examines their claims-—that bacterial vaccines have led to some dramatic cases of long-term cancer remission—and the scientific potential of their theories. Economic interests and cultural values, he demonstrates, have influenced the rush toward radiation and chemotherapy and the current cul-de-sac of toxic treatments.

More than a medical mystery story, Can Bacteria Cause Cancer? is a dramatic case study of the failure of the war on cancer.

Published by: NYU Press


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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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p. v


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p. vii

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-6

The carcinogen is the germ of our time. Most of the world s population lives in a sea of carcinogens: cigarette smoke, pollution, pesticides, asbestos, radiation, radon, excess sunlight, food additives, hazardous waste, poor nutrition, hormones...

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2. Germ Warfare: The Case for Bacteria as Carcinogen

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pp. 7-48

If anyone were to claim today that there is a causal relationship between bacteria and cancer, most cancer researchers would quickly dismiss the idea. Such skepticism is the product of a history in which some researchers claimed that bacteria...

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3. Culture and Power in Cancer Research

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pp. 49-104

What is a good explanation of the pattern of suppression that occurred for those scientists and clinicians w h o advocated the microbial approach to cancer? Within alternative medical circles today the standard explanation is that the emerging...

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4. But Is It Good Science?

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pp. 105-155

So what about the "science"? Is it credible? Let us begin the question of evaluation with a clear definition of what is being evaluated. Although I have classified this research tradition as falling under the general theory that bacteria...

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5. Policy Cures: Forging a New Cancer Agenda

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pp. 156-173

Whatever the status of cancer as a disease, it also represents a pressing political problem. In the United States the National Cancer Institute alone spends about two billion dollars per year on cancer research, and the overall annual cost of cancer to the U.S. economy...

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6. Appendix: The New Science Studies

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pp. 174-187

In the past it has been common for social scientists to adopt a neutral stance toward competing claims in scientific controversies. The social scientist s role was to examine the social dynamics of controversies in a way that scrupulously...


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pp. 189-200


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pp. 201-229


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pp. 231-233

About the Author

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p. 234

E-ISBN-13: 9780814744833
E-ISBN-10: 0814744834
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814735619
Print-ISBN-10: 0814735614

Page Count: 242
Publication Year: 1997

OCLC Number: 45844003
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Can Bacteria Cause Cancer?

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • Carcinogenesis.
  • Cocarcinogenesis.
  • Bacterial diseases.
  • Cancer -- Alternative treatment.
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