|Blood irradiation is popular at CAM clnics.|
TIJUANA CANCER CLINICS
The American Cancer Society once characterized treatments given at Tijuana cancer clinics as “antiquated.” But is the efficacy of a treatment decided by age alone? Digitalis (from foxglove) for congestive heart failure was discovered in the eighteenth century but twenty-first century patients are still prescribed its derivative, digoxin, for various heart related symptoms.
ARE THE MEXICAN CLINIC DIRECTORS “QUACKS”?
It is sometimes said that Mexican clinics specialize in giving treatments that the doctors themselves know are ineffective. This would be one definition of quackery. In the course of a long career, I have occasionally observed this phenomenon. One occasionally finds sociopaths looking for a safe haven in the world of medicine, including “alternative” medicine. But, by and large, this is an unfair characterization of the Mexican clinic directors, and sometimes reeks of national chauvinism. Almost all Mexican clinics are striving for excellence in their own way, and for therapeutic as well as economic success.
This stands to reason. To knowingly promulgate worthless treatments would be self-defeating and illogical. Some of these clinics have been around since the 1960s or 1970s. Every patient who comes to a Tijuana clinic has to be persuaded to make a costly and difficult trip, often against the wishes of family members or their own physicians. Clinics mainly attract new patients through word-of-mouth recommendations. A clinic’s performance is judged by patients’ perception of the medical results, but also by the kindness and focus of doctors and staff. Clinic doctors thus have a strong incentive to utilize treatments that they and their patients at least believe to be most effective.
I would suggest that the Mexican doctors’ ability to connect to patients on a human level, and to exhibit sympathetic warmth for people struggling for their lives, makes for their continued success in attracting US patients. Unbeknownst to American critics, a few clinics are also approaching or surpassing the standards of American hospitals and seeking Joint Commission Accreditation.
Overall, they are an asset that should be sympathetically encouraged to improve, rather than an enemy to be vilified, attacked and destroyed.
(Rickenbacher P. [Drug treatment for chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.]. Ther Umsch. 2011;68:71-79; www.fda.gov; Edelson RL. Cutaneous T cell lymphoma: the helping hand of dendritic cells. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 2001;941:1-11; Atta, Maria, Nikolaos Papanicolaou, and Panagiotis Tsirigotis. “The Role of Extracorporeal Photopheresis in the Treatment of Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphomas.” Transfusion and Apheresis Science: Official Journal of the World Apheresis Association: Official Journal of the European Society for Haemapheresis 46, no. 2 (April 2012): 195–202. doi:10.1016/j.transci.2011.10.016; www.jointcommission.org)