It seems a few of us have been mistaken. We
all thought that Lance Armstrong winning seven Tour de France races was
sporting history. Now it seems some doctors in America thinks Lance’s recovery
might be even more significant for medical reasons.
Armstrong’s astonishing recovery has raised
questions over whether body heat may have a vital role to play in beating
cancer, especially for testicular cancer, which is what Lance suffered before
it spread to his abdomen, lungs and brain. Yet he overcame the illness.

Three specialists from Johns Hopkins
University are excited about their unproven heat
theory, as reported on Sports Illustrated‘s website today.

The testicles are usually a few degrees
cooler than the rest of the body, to enhance sperm development, so their theory
goes that cancer which forms in that region struggles once it strikes warmer
areas. Writing in the Journal
of the American Medical Association
, the researchers said this “Lance Armstrong
effect” might help discover whether other cancers are also affected by varied

What the researchers,
Donald Coffey, Robert Getzenberg and Dr. Theodore DeWeese, don’t seem to have
done is actually link Armstrong himself to the theory, at least in the article
we read, beyond trading on his name. Maybe we’re supposed to assume that it
gets hot in the saddle and the cancer didn’t like it?

It’s worth noting that
other specialists have raised their eyebrows, saying there is absolutely no
research or proof behind the theory, so it is pure speculation. Even
Armstrong’s own doctor, Dr. Craig Nichols, said: “There is no direct or even
indirect evidence even remotely supporting this hypothesis.”

Still, at least the
researchers get a moment of Tour de France fame and they have more funding to
investigate their ideas.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey