Susan Somers is a Moron!!!

A bit harsh compared to my usual tone…

But hey…

If you are going to spew humbug like this…you deserve every bit of it…

Below is an article that features some recent comments from Suzanne Somers regarding the death of Patrick Swayze (who recently died as a result of complications from pancreatic cancer)

http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/holistic_hoo_ha_vARabuMuZS5Cz1ja2EiEcO

I know what you are thinking…

Great!  Another “celebrity” speaking out about science/medicine!  Forget listening to the men and women who spend years (and in some cases decades) becoming a healthcare professional, I am going to take my advice from a former sitcom actress and proprietor of one of the most useless pieces of fitness equipment know to humanity (see: thigh master)!

But enough with the ad hominem attack…

Where to start with this one…

The 1st question that comes to mind is…

Does Ms Somers even know what cancer is?  Does she have an appreciation for the different types of management strategies for different cancers?  Based on the comments quoted in this article, in my personal opinion she must not.  Her comments demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of cancer.  For the sake of context I will include a brief explanation here:

Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells which proliferate in an uncontrolled manner.  Additionally, cells that are cancerous can metastasize (fancy medical speak for spread).  Cancer is not a single disease but instead is a type of disease processes that has tens of hundreds of different sub types.  Additionally, different cancers are treated and managed extremely differently.  In other words, there is not one specific treatment that works for all cancers.  The specific cancer treatment depends largely on where the cancer is located (or what type of cells are effected) and the progression (or stage) of the cancer. 

Regarding her comment: “they took a beautiful man” and” put poison in body”.

1st off they did not “put poison in his body”.  Given the type of cancer, Mr Swayze would have received chemo therapy.  Chemo therapy is not poison.  Yes, it is extremely hard on the body (because chemo affects “regular” cells as well as cancer cells as currently, we do not have treatment modalities specific enough to target just cancer cells).  Ms. Somers’ description of chemo therapy as “poison” demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the science behind the treatment of pancreatic cancer, thus giving her statements little if any credibility.

Then we have this gem of a statement: “Why couldn’t they have built him up nutritionally and gotten rid of the toxins”

Part of me thinks…

With the ignorance displayed in this comment…why do I even bother addressing it!?  But I digress…

Nutrition is an essential component of the treatment of cancer.  In fact nutrition is an essential component of health…PERIOD!  However, generally speaking, nutrition in isolation is not an effective treatment modality, and it is certainly not an effective treatment for pancreatic cancer.  Why you ask…as per the description given above, cancer is the abnormal growth of previously normal cells.  Nutrition (as a treatment modality) is incapable of having any sort of effect on the cell that can slow, stop or reverse the cancer process.  Put simply, nutrition (in isolation) is not an effect cancer treatment modality.    

…And then we have the mythical toxins!  “The toxin card” is an often played by propagators of humbug, such as that being put forth by Ms. Somers.  It serves as a safe non specific claim that sounds impressive to the lay person, but really does not hold any water.  What toxin is she referring to?  Could she be a little more specific?  It should be noted that some “toxins” are harmful at any dose, where as other are non toxic at certain doses, but toxic at others.  It seems rather irresponsible of Ms. Somers to claim that some sort of toxin caused Mr. Swayze’s death but does not identify which toxin she is referring to.  Furthermore, there are a variety of non toxic agents that can cause cancer.  For instance, the sun!  I wonder what, if any, treatment Ms. Somers has for the sun!?     

Yes, there are “toxins” that can cause cancer.   In healthcare these agents are referred to as teratogens, meaning that exposure to these agents can lead to abnormal cell division, which can progress to cancer.  However, there are also many “toxins” that do not cause cancer.  Identification of non specific “toxins” as the cause of Mr. Swayze’s death does nothing to contribute to the understanding of situation.  Just because something is a toxin does not mean that it causes cancer, and just because a substance causes cancer does not mean that it is a toxin. 

Furthermore, identification of a substance as a teratogen does not fix any damage already done.  This is one of the many difficulties in treating cancer.  Cancer treatment is extremely complex.  Unfortunately, treatment is not as easy as changing a person’s diet and “flushing the toxins out of the system”, thus reversing the damage done by cancer.  Again, Ms. Somers comments demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the pathophysiology behind cancer, further reinforcing that this is in no position to give medical advice.    

In conclusion, in light of the above information, Ms Somers should stick to what she knows best, making bad sitcoms and selling useless exercise equipment.

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