I have heard that Ms. Tinkham has died of her cancer as of 3:30 pm PST. I am deeply saddened by this, more so because this death was, in all probability, preventable.
I enjoy blogging, I really do. However, sometimes it’s a struggle to find the inspirado to write. Since I started this for serious back in March, I’ve posted at least one new story every morning at 6 am (Vancouver time). Mondays I have reached deep into my psyche and pulled out a completely organic essay (what I’ve taken to privately referring to as my “think pieces”), and Fridays I have scoured the interwebs to find you a pithy or humorous video to entertain you.
I have yet to miss an update (I came perilously close this past Friday, but I still got it out).
I love blogging, but on those days when I just don’t feel like writing, I am spurred on by the thought that somewhere out there in the world, there is someone (maybe even a few someones) who read these things and get something from them. Maybe it’s just mindless entertainment as part of your morning routine, maybe it means something more than that; regardless, the thought of you going “where the fuck is today’s article?” is what chains my ass to the desk and gets my fingers a-typin’.
I say all this because the time has come for me to ask a favour from you. Over at Respectful Insolence, Orac has put out this plea:
I’m still perturbed that a cancer quack was able to convince a woman who had everything to live for that he could cure her of her breast cancer without surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. I’m still perturbed at this particular cancer quack’s attitude, where he tried to claim that he didn’t know the woman who is dying, Kim Tinkham, and imply that her cancer recurred because didn’t follow his regimen carefully enough, that she had stopped living the quack’s “alkaline diet.” I thought of my mother-in-law, who died in 2009 of metastatic breast cancer, and watching her decline.
And then I thought of Oprah Winfrey and her role in what ultimately happened to Kim Tinkham.
Oprah needs to know what can happen when people choose quackery and woo instead of effective science-based medicine.
Because I know how hard Orac works to get his lengthy and in-depth analyses of science-based medicine and medical skepticism out there, I was happy to contribute my voice to what I hope is a chorus of people saying the same thing: people who give bad advice about medicine have to live with the consequences of their words. This Kim Tinkham woman was told that cancer was an “acid” that was caused by feelings of resentment – a steamier pile of bullshit there has never been. Based on this faulty premise, the exposure and publicity that she got on the Oprah show, and Oprah’s whole-hearted endorsement of nonsense like The Secret, Ms. Tinkham eschewed conventional treatment and attempted to “alkalize” her body to get rid of cancer.
To be sure, with a stage III cancer she had roughly 50% odds of succumbing to the disease even with conventional treatment. However, that is a full 50% better chance than if she just slowly lets the cancer kill her. If we found some other treatment that improved your odds of surviving cancer by 50%, we’d be trumpeting it from the skies. Ms. Tinkham, with encouragement from Oprah, decided to opt instead for witch-doctor treatment from a quack who thinks that cancer is made up of acid. I have, with my own two eyes, seen a cancerous tumour – it looks nothing at all like acid. Furthermore, I have seen positive, happy, well-balanced people die of cancer – to suggest that it’s their own fault for having too much “resentment” is a disgusting insult to anyone who has seen a loved one die of cancer.
And so I am asking you, my dear readers, for whom I work so hard to provide regular (and hopefully interesting) content 5 days a week, to do me this favour: please write in to the Oprah show and tell them that it’s not okay to encourage vulnerable sick people to slowly commit suicide under the “care” of people who would exploit them first, then blame them later when their voodoo “cures” don’t work.
Please also feel free to copy and paste your submission to Oprah in the comments section.
Like this article? Write in to the Oprah Show then, dammit!
P.S. WordPress helpfully tracks the number of clicks the links that I post yield, so if you read this and don’t write the show, I’ll know.