FOX News Announces Cuban Cure for Cancer

“Cancer Vaccine Coming to the US?”cuba

So reads the caption on the a TV news spot aired by Fox News Affiliate in Phoenix  on March 2 2016.  

“It’s a medical breakthrough that could literally save millions of lives, and it could be coming to the        United States in a few years” says Banner MD Anderson Dr. Santosh Rao “”Most of the studies have shown that it does something, and that it extends life. The question will always come up, is it better than some of the new therapies that we have that also help the immune system function better. 

The drug is Cimavax, currently used to treat lung cancer. 

Kevin Lomangino, Ed. of  HealthNewsReview  wonders outloud this week just how FOX, and more importantly. MD Anderson  to hype such over-promising, and under-evidenced “medicine”.  MD Anderson  “was also very excited about the story and didn’t hesitate to promote the coverage on social media. The center’s Facebook post uncritically repeats the hype that’s at the core of the Fox story and adds that the vaccine is “potentially groundbreaking.”

I’m just not that surprised.  Certainly not of FOX reportorial ethics.

BUT let’s remember MD Anderson is ALL ABOUT THE HYPE


md anderson


The MD Anderson 2015 Cancer advertising campaign was a take-no-prisoners, in-your-face declaration that cancer is on the run and they’re hell bent to make cancer history.” The Ads reprise a similar Cancer Research UK “Cancer, we’re Coming to Get You” UK campaign (2013) and UK Race for Life (2015) Ad.

The power of the Ads is the performance.

The menacing gaze of a woman,

            “Cancer, did you really think we’d do nothing.”

The language of warfare,

        “Did you think you’d take our mothers, our loves, the left hand for the right. Well hell hath no fury like a woman in pink. And we’ll not lie down, not without a fight.”  

The taunt of the confident,  

                    “I laugh at your stupid face”

The zeal of religion met by the stronger-than-blood zeal of buddies in the trenches.  

                     “You mess with her [child], you mess with all of us.”

For the Anderson claims and for the FOX NEWS bluster – do patients know to ask for the evidence? And is the evidence transparent and understandable?

Until such a time maybe we need to encourage people to ASSUME THEY NEED A WARNING LABEL.

2 replies
  1. Jackie V
    Jackie V says:

    Jordan, I like your interpretation of the post. I agree that it is worthwhile for the US to investigate further into the efficacy of Climavax, and not just discredit it because of the over-zealous approach taken by the MD Anderson Cancer Center. The way in which this TV spot could be interpreted by viewers could go one of two ways. For viewers with low health literacy, they may not question the evidence and just blindly believe that Climavax will “save us all from cancer.” On the other hand, as I previously mentioned, health professionals may automatically discredit the information because of the reputation of the MD Anderson Cancer Center. I think that with any drug making claims, there needs to be much studying of its efficacy and careful presentation of the findings to the public so as not to cause hysteria among the public. This could mean too much optimism OR too much pessimism, depending on the situation. It is an interesting case study. I do hope that Climavax, or other drugs, do show efficacy so that cancer can be treated with less side effects.

  2. Jordan Cuby
    Jordan Cuby says:

    This article posting is very ambiguous to me. It seems like that people are paying closer to the attention to the that MD Anderson had an overzealous attempt at finding a cure for cancer, instead of using this platform to really investigate the validity of the claim that there might really be a cure for cancer. Its awful how the media frames messages only to boost ratings. The fact of the matter is that people are dying each and every day from cancer, and any advancement that could reduce the morbidity and mortality rates of this disease is worth further investigation. As a rising health professional, it bothers me that people refuse to see the trees for the forest. By saying that, I mean this…Climavax may actually be the cure that the United states has been waiting on. Rather than discredit MD Anderson because of over-shooting their goal of medical advances recent past, this new drug may actually be worthwhile to study. I do believe that the practice of medicine will forever be an evolving field of endeavor. Some things work and others dont, and this fact should be communicated to the masses. I also believe that this is a teaching moment to increase the health literacy of people who are living with cancer. Some methods of treatment may not be conducive to every case of cancer, but it is never a failure to implore measures that have proven to be efficacious and use them to strengthen methods that did not work. Climavax and MD Anderson should be given this benefit of the doubt, instead of the media instilling doubt into the minds of those who may hear this message.

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