I will occasionally get a comment on my social media or in my email asking why I feel the need to call people out by name in my posts.
The commenter always asks me why I can’t just give correct nutrition information without identifying and shaming the people who spread misinformation.
It’s a good question, and Chris Beat Cancer is the perfect example of why I do what I do, the way I do it.
Many of these people – Chris, the Medical Medium, Mark Hyman, and various influencers – have thousands, and sometimes millions, of followers. If they’re promoting quackery, they deserve to be made an example of.
Telling people that celery juice can cure their autism or to imply that they can cure their incurable disease with diet, is disgusting.
Cancer can not be ‘beaten’ or cured with diet. That is a scientific fact.
It’s an unfortunate fact that people equate number of followers with credibility, and calling scammers out by name helps educate their followers that in fact, they aren’t credible.
It makes me extremely angry when I see people, often desperate ones, get taken advantage of. That’s something I can’t and will not tolerate.
I don’t care what people do in their own homes. But when someone with a large following promotes misinformed and potentially deadly information, I’m going to say something.
Look, I know as much as anyone that cancer is a devastating diagnosis. But what’s also devastating is that misinformation is killing people, when they otherwise may have lived.
Instead, they get sucked in to believing that conventional medical treatments are more toxic than the cancer that’s growing inside them. That there’s a ‘secret’ to curing cancer that the medical establishment doesn’t want us to know, and that secret is found in your kitchen and within your own immune system.
That diet, supplements, cleansing, and affirmations can not only cure them of their disease, but leave them healthier and more energetic than before.
All of that, of course, is bullsh*t.
But that’s where we’re at here. Which brings us to this review of Chris Beat Cancer.
Who is Chris Beat Cancer?
Chris is Chris Wark, who was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer at age 26. He underwent surgery to remove the cancer, but opted to forgo chemotherapy in favor of changing his diet.
Chris says he’s not a doctor and doesn’t give medical advice, which leaves me wondering what exactly he’s doing when someone pays him around $175 for a 2-hour private session to learn about his ‘method.’
Like a lot of alternative health ‘heroes,’ Chris has a rags-to-riches health story that uses emotion to stir false hope and sell a product:
He’s ‘just a regular guy.’
He was diagnosed with stage three cancer.
He got surgery to resect the cancer, but then refused chemo even though he knew this decision could kill him.
He ‘beat the odds’ and is now healthy and vibrant.
He has ‘spent years learning’ from holistic practitioners, researchers, and other people.
He can now help YOU beat YOUR cancer with his Cancer Coaching Program.
I literally see this sort of sales pitch every day. This predictable, cliched marketing ploy would be funny, if it wasn’t so sad that people are actually falling for it. He states very clearly that he doesn’t try to convince people to decline chemo, but this is mere semantics. He is doing just that by very fact that he repeatedly calls chemo ‘toxic’ and speaks out against it in favor of a plant-based diet.
Chris’s brand is built on the usual anti-pharma anti-conventional medicine conspiracy theories that create distrust and suspicion around these entities:
Nutrition and natural therapies will NEVER be used instead of pharmaceutical drugs. For one simple reason: They cannot be patented and are not profitable. Wake up ! There are over 1,000 drug company lobbyists in Washington DC alone. It’s a conspiracy of greed with continued concerted effort to maintain control over a trillion dollar medical industry.
Hm. Where have I heard that ‘wake up!’ battle cry before?
I’m sure there will be commenters on this post, telling me that I’m discouraging sick people from doing natural cures and healing themselves. To those people I say, how about all of the sick people who are dying because they’re being told that they should drink juice instead of getting chemo?
Natural health proponents don’t like to talk about those people, but research tells us that they’re 250% more likely to die of cancer if they choose alternative treatments over chemo.
Who’s doing who the disservice here?
I am in no way saying that complementary therapies shouldn’t be considered. But note my use of the word complementary, which means ‘alongside conventional treatment.’ Not instead of.
Everyone has to make their own treatment decisions. But doing so under the burden of misinformation and misplaced fear is not the way it should be done.
Chris may very well believe that he cured his cancer with diet, but that’s probably not what actually happened.
In this fantastic story he wrote on the site Science Based Medicine, surgical oncologist David Gorski – aka an actual cancer expert – outlines what exactly is wrong with Chris’s assertion that diet cured him.
Namely, that Chris’s cancer was removed via surgery, so he didn’t solely use diet to ‘cure’ himself. By declining chemo, Chris reduced his odds of living, but didn’t erase them altogether.
Interestingly, in the FAQ section of his site, Chris takes aim at Gorski, naming him as a critic and offering a conspiracy-laden dumpster fire of an attack.
He starts out by calling Gorski an ‘atheist surgical oncologist.’ The fact that Wark would use lack of religious belief to try and discredit someone is really strange and ignorant.
He then goes on to hypothesize Gorski’s thought process in choosing to call Wark out: “Maybe if I attack alternative therapies no one will notice that my colleagues and I are making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year not curing cancer… “
People like Chris can’t build a brand without currying distrust and suspicion around others, in particular highlighting their supposed greed and how they’re trying to swindle the general population.
Lots of alternative medicine ‘celebrities’ love to accuse mainstream medicine and pharma of having their hand in our pockets, while pretending that alternative providers do what they do because they ‘care’ so hard for us.
Except, they’re also making money off of people. I’m sure Chris makes quite a bundle from his racket. He has three books and a bustling Amazon page where he sells anti-cancer supplements, kitchen tools, and books like, ‘Stop Feeding Your Cancer,’ the ultimate in victim-blaming garbage by a ‘visionary doctor.’
Maybe he thinks he’s helping people. Maybe he doesn’t have bad intentions. But being ignorant of facts doesn’t mean you are innocent in causing harm. There’s so much Chris doesn’t get – and doesn’t seem to be interested in educating himself – about the basics of cancer, and it’s painfully apparent on his site and socials.
Besides pushing lame conspiracy theories about Big Pharma (he also promotes sketchy Covid-19 sites and theories as well, which is not a shock), another common theme in Chris Beat Cancer’s content is the inability of the scientific community to cure cancer despite all of the research that has been done on it.
Chris apparently knows the secret to curing cancer, but nobody else does. This is a huge red flag.
Spoiler: when someone claims to know facts that scientists won’t tell us or have somehow ‘missed’ after all of these years, there’s a 99.9% chance that this person is a lying narcissist.
He claims that there are ‘thousands of published peer-reviewed scientific studies demonstrating the powerful anti-cancer compounds that abound in plant foods, and the many epidemiological studies demonstrating that diet and lifestyle choices have a dramatic impact on cancer rates in large populations of people.’
Although Chris is correct that there is a connection between diet and cancer risk, this seems to be where his understanding of this concept ends.
Just because a food has ‘anti cancer compounds,’ doesn’t mean that this translates into that food having anti-cancer properties in the human body. This is a very simple fact.
And while diet and lifestyle seem to impact cancer risk, cancer often occurs for no apparent reason at all.
Telling cancer patients that they can ‘cure’ their cancer with food, also implies that they caused their cancer with diet. Or, that if people don’t ‘believe’ enough in the power of faith and food to cure their disease, that their inability to heal is THEIR FAULT.
All of that is wrong and repugnant.
This quote is right off of Chris’s site:
As much as the scientific community claims to understand about cancer and the human body, they still really don’t understand it at all. If they did, they could cure every cancer every time. Science-based medicine is deception.
We would ‘cure every cancer every time?’
Wait, does Chris’s method ‘cure cancer every time?’
I’m weak on the facts of cancer biology, so I asked an actual cancer biologist, Dr. Joe Zundell, what he thought about Chris’s comment. He told me this:
“No one wants to cure cancer more than I and my fellow cancer biologists. Cancer, like any disease, is incredibly complex and varies between cancer type and stage at which the cancer is detected. When people like Chris Wark make the claim that we do this for money and that we should’ve cured cancer by now, they ignore the intrinsic complexity that comes with all biological processes. Instead of trying to learn more about the disease they dig into their fears associated with cancer and it severely limits their ability to understand the disease.”
To support his theories, Chris turns to anecdotes and rogue quack physicians who align with his beliefs. If you believe in conspiracy theories, you might believe that the conventional medical community is ‘shutting him out,’ which is what Chris wants you to believe:
There are many courageous MDs…who have left the brutal and barbaric “cut poison burn” cancer treatment and are getting phenomenal results. Dr Nicholas Gonzalez, Dr. James Forsythe, Dr. Leigh Erin Conneally, and Dr. Rashid Buttar, just to name a few.
A simple Google search on any of these doctors reveals a mess of malpractice lawsuits, anti-covid conspiracy theories, and pseudoscience that one would expect with this level of quackery.
None of these doctors are reputable, but neither is Chris. And neither are anecdotes, which are easily faked but all over Chris’s content. People’s stories about how Chris’s diet ‘healed their cancer’ are probably not giving us all of the information we need to fully understand their situations. But for people who are desperate for a cure, what Chris is selling – literally and figuratively – is compelling.
Yes, chemo has side effects. It has to have a level of toxicity that’s effective at killing cancer so that cancer doesn’t kill you. And that’s not to say that chemo is always recommended for cancer treatment, because increasingly, it’s not.
Conventional medicine is actually pulling back on its use of chemo in certain cancers, following the breakthrough research in genetic testing and new targeted medications that have changed how we treat people with the disease. Science changes, and so do treatments.
Chris Beat Cancer review, in short:
There is no cancer conspiracy. People who work in cancer research and medicine die of cancer. They have loved ones dying of cancer. And since Chris loves to talk about research, I’ll leave this here: although no treatment works for everyone, decades of research shows that treating cancer with conventional methods – whether medications, chemo, or radiation – is resoundingly more effective than treating it with juice and plants. (here) (here) (here).
As I said before, choosing a cancer treatment is very personal. But make sure you have all of the information from the right sources before you make that decision…and beware of quacks.