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CancerBusters.Com (Thanks to the Internet Archive for keeping a copy)

This site, an advertisement for the Burzynski Research Institute, almost made me vomit. Imagine using the tragedy of a 5-year-old boy's cancer to promote fraudulent cancer cures. People often ask me why I spend the time I do on The Millenium Project, and this site gives a partial answer. Some of the people who sell quack cures have no morals and will use anything and anybody who comes along to promote their cause.

Here's my prediction. When Thomas Navarro dies of cancer (which he is almost certain to do if not given treatment), the lying frauds with the "alternative cures" will stop talking about him and find another victim to use for publicity. If his parents raise enough money to send him to some scamster in Mexico he will still die, but his parents will be asked to pay the outstanding bills. The quacks will not admit that they don't have a cure but will claim that they would have cured him if only they had got to him in time. In fact, it is better for the frauds if he dies after receiving their treatment, because not only will they have been paid but they will have a martyr to use in future publicity campaigns. All it will cost the Navarro family is their house and their son. All it will cost Thomas is his life.

The Cancerbusters site won the Anus Maximus Award for the year 2000. The award was announced in the following words:

The top award this year goes to the acolytes of Dr Stanislaw Burzynski who have created an advertising site at using a five-year-old boy named Thomas Navarro. Thomas is dying of cancer and this site exploits that tragedy to try and get the law changed so that quacks can have the untrammelled right to deceive desperate, sick people by promising them magic cures for cancer, AIDS and other diseases for which no cure is yet available. While this site is specifically a Burzynski promotion, his competitors support the site and mention it because if the campaign is successful it will dramatically increase the size of the market for quackery and therefore their opportunities to make money.

(Another Burzynski advertising site,, came a close second for this award but missed out because it had no outright request to send money.)

More sadness (8/12/2001)
George Harrison was not the only famous person to die of cancer lately. On 19 November Thomas Navarro finally succumbed to medulloblastoma. Thomas was a five-year-old boy whose illness had been ruthlessly exploited in an advertising campaign for a fraudulent cancer curer. While this campaign was principally on behalf of one quack, many other cancer quacks were prepared to get on the bandwagon and use Thomas to try to get the law changed to allow them untrammelled access to the lives and savings of desperate people. After all, while they may all pretend to be offering different, competing cures (see below), they are really all in the same business. If they can get the law changed and remove restrictions on claiming cures then the whole market expands and everyone wins. Except people with cancer, of course, but since when have the problems of the victims worried any bunch of lying criminals? To show their compassion for Thomas, at the time this is being written (17 days after Thomas died) the people running the advertising web site have not yet updated it to tell the world of his death. They are still asking for money, though. And almost certainly looking for a replacement sick child to use in the next campaign.

… and some just fade away (12/1/2002)
The site that won the Anus Maximus Award in 2000 no longer exists. It was an advertising site for a cancer quack and featured a young boy dying of medulloblastoma, complete with tear-jerking appeals for money. The real objective of the site was to have the law changed so quacks could get at people with cancer (and their money). Thomas Navarro died on 19 November, 2001. For six weeks this site stayed there still asking for money, but now it is gone. Thomas is of no further use to the promoters, so the web site has been abandoned without even posting a memorial page. Why pay for hosting when the star of the campaign has gone? Expect a new dying child to start appearing on TV chat shows (and at Rep Dan Burton's disgusting committee hearings) real soon now.

Here is something I wrote to a Usenet newsgroup about this. The discussion that followed said a lot about the way supporters of "alternative medicine" apply double standards.

Thomas Navarro died on 19 November, 2001. For six weeks after that, the advertising site exploiting his tragedy was still asking for money and saying how alive he was. Now the site has gone completely – there is nothing at at all. The people who were using him to advertise a quack cancer cure have no further need for him now and haven't even bothered to put up a memorial notice.

Position Vacant

Wanted – small child with terminal cancer to use in an advertising campaign. Must be cute and look sick. Hillbilly parents an advantage. (I'm sorry but we cannot accept applications from fictional children at this stage as there is not enough time to rehearse an actor before Rep Burton's next circus.)


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