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The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data.'


JimmyToowong

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Most of us want to have treatment shown to be effective.
Most of the postings on this site are based on data - objective measurements of what the treatment did.

Some people hear stories (anecdotes) about how one person or another got well on a treatment.
Wise people follow up these anecdotes by seeing what the data says - is there any real evidence for it?

The thing about all cancers, and prostate cancer in particular, is that some men last for many years, with or without treatment, and a few actually see their symptoms recede. If one of these few happened to have some quirky habit, like eating lots of a particular food, or taking some alternative drug, he may think this caused his good luck.

And if you hear his anecdote, you may be tempted to use the same treatment.

If his quirky habit is something benign - like eating lots of asparagus - and you add it to your own evidence-based treatment - fine!
What have you got to lose! Nothing!

But if the teller of this anecdote influences you to stop the evidence-based treatment to try an unproven treatment - that's different!
What have you got to lose! Your life!

I think that this problem has become much worse with the Internet. A number of these rare events can be gathered together in a website, and then they do not seem so rare. You may be tempted to think that several anecdotes gathered together are good evidence that it works generally.

So remember - the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'.

This page was found on the Advanced Prostate Cancer Community for Australian men at http://advancedprost...lia.ipbhost.com.

The link is hard to remember.
An easier way to find it is to go to JimJimJimJim.com and click on Prostate.
That's the word Jim four times, no spaces, followed by .com.

If you need other help - to perhaps find someone to talk to or a local support group:
Click on the Contact Jim button at http://JimJimJimJim.com.

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