Shame on Suzanne Somers

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Snuckles
Shame on Suzanne Somers

Quote:
Suzanne Somers has touted all sorts of medical nonsense in the past, but the consequences of her quackery have never been fatal. However with her new book, Knockout, Interviews with Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer, she has ventured into life-and-death territory.

Somers quite ludicrously claims that conventional cancer treatments are a sham propped up by indoctrinated medical workers and big pharma. In the introduction to her book Dr. Julian Whitaker declares conventional medicine's approach to cancer treatment to be a "deadly fraud." In an interview with me this week in Toronto, the former Three's Company actress insisted that the pharmaceutical industry makes $200-billion a year off cancer and will do anything to protect its franchise right down to crushing the few iconoclasts who hold the real keys to curing the disease.

My encounter with Somers was an intense affair. She's not used to being questioned on her sweeping statements and deliberate distortions. Interviewers seem either intimidated by her celebrity status or they demonstrate a distressing deference to the notion of fairness by nodding at the nonsense that spills from her mouth. I watched in amazement earlier this week as a Canadian TV interviewer -- herself a breast cancer survivor -- failed to challenge Somers on her provably false arguments.

Read it [url=http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/10/29/....

ennir

Not entirely true, her book includes doctors who use chemotherapy and I heard her say she has not written it off.

Snert Snert's picture

What a scathing indictment of North American society that not only do we revere celebrities when they entertain us, we also take our medical advice from them. 

Like, if your (corrupt western) doctor says that water is safe to drink, but Hannah Montana says that fluoride causes cerebral palsy, who ya gonna believe?  Your doctor, a boring little nobody?  Or a TV star?

Infosaturated

The problem is the grain of truth. Pharmaceutical companies do routinely change drugs slightly to get a new patent. Unless a treatment is likely to be expensive research is less likely to be done.  Corruption is so wide-spread in politics, medicine, law, sports, you name the field, that people turn to those they think they know, like Oprah. They look to people they see as rich and powerful but also nice. 

How is it any different from people here taking one another's "advice" without looking at evidence?

Sineed

Infosaturated wrote:

The problem is the grain of truth. Pharmaceutical companies do routinely change drugs slightly to get a new patent. 

Yup; we call those, the "me-too" drugs.  On a medical site where I also play, we'll discuss new drugs and whether they really represent an advance or if they're just another "me-too," that drug company trying to cash in on another's lucrative product.

Snert Snert's picture

I think it's an incredibly weak link between pharmaceutical companies fiddling with the formula for Aspirin, and people actually taking potentially harmful medical advice from sitcom stars. 

 

Quote:
How is it any different from people here taking one another's "advice" without looking at evidence?

 

I'd agree that it's really no different, but I also haven't, as yet, seen any babbler suggesting to another babbler that Insulin is a just a Big Pharma scam, and that they should try treating their child's diabetes with chicory or some similar BS.

Trevormkidd

I have not and will not read the book.  I took a look at those who she was promoting.  Hadn't heard of the first guy.  Stopped reading after seeing the second doc: Nicholas Gonzalez

 

He is in the cancer "cures"section and his Gonzalez protocol has been found to have worse patient outcomes than no treatment at all. I guess the cancer is considered cured when the patient is dead.

 

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/09/the_gonzalez_protocol_worse_th...

 

 

Salsa

Cheers Trevormkidd, for that excellent post you made over on the H1N1 thread. Between yours and Unionist's those two posts make up and excellent summary about what us alt-med ( sCAM ) skeptics are up against.

For your reading enjoyment

Here's some more Orac on Sommers

Tigana Tigana's picture

Sorry you don't like it here, Trevor.

 

http://www.bluelikeyou.com/2008/06/10/smog-the-forgotten-child-of-the-mc...

 

Wayward Son says:

June 11, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Due to my annoyance of being associated with truthers and JFK conspiracy nuts I will mention that searching Joanne’s blog, her previous blog, RT’s and Far n Wide’s should turn up plenty of posts over the years where I attack the lunacy of those conspiracies.

In fact I have even spent much time at what is likely the nuttiest pro-conspiracy site in the country debunking conspiracy theories like here:

http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=13&t=002950

where I wrote (under my name: trevormkidd) 17 or 18 lengthy posts showing how the bullet was not magic, the witnesses that CTers promote are frauds etc, etc. I care about evidence and so far I have found none to support the claims of CTers – whether they are truthers, JFK conspiracy theorists, or climate change deniers.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Wait, is Suzanne Somers still a celebrity? And I just sold all my Step by Step bobble-head dolls.

Trevormkidd

Tigana wrote:
Sorry you don't like it here, Trevor.

Good catch tigana.  Of course, it might be more useful to posters if you spent half as much looking to see if the baloney you spew about medical treatments is complete baloney.  And, yes at the time when this board had several 9/11 truther threads going at the same time I did consider babble to be the nuttiest pro-conspiracy site in the country.  I didn't hide that view from this board either.

Tigana Tigana's picture

http://www.bluelikeyou.com/2008/06/10/smog-the-forgotten-child-of-the-mcguinty-government/
Joanne says:
June 11, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Greg, if you decide to walk away from the debate, that doesn’t mean anyone ‘won’ or ‘lost’.

Wayward can wear ya down. Just sayin’.

 

Ay-yup. 


jas

I'm trying to figure out what the *&^%$ business is it of any of ours what medical choices somebody, whether they are a celebrity or not, makes about their own health. This thread is trolling.

I notice, too, the article referenced (with a non-working link) refers to Somers as "Bimbo, MD". This is generally the tone we are getting from the amateur science hacks in these threads.

Trevormkidd

Tigana wrote:
Ay-yup.

Good to see you supporting the extreme-right climate change deniers.  Not really a surprise.  Or on topic.

Trevormkidd

jas wrote:
I notice, too, the article referenced (with a non-working link)

Link has worked for me both times I tried.

Sineed

Suzanne Somers "rejected" chemotherapy??  If she had a stage I node-negative, estrogen receptor positive breast CA, she may not have needed chemo.  The 5 year survival rate for a stage I tumour is 98%.

A friend is a local herbalist.  One of her recurring problems are the women who come and see her saying they've been diagnosed with breast cancer and they've been advised re surgery/chemo/radiation, but they don't want to do anything "unnatural."  So my friend advises them to go and follow their dr's advice.  But some of these women go away unhappy, and she never sees them again, and she wonders if they sought out a less ethical alternative medical practitioner who told them not what they needed to hear, but what they wanted to hear. 

Trevormkidd

Sineed wrote:
Suzanne Somers "rejected" chemotherapy??  If she had a stage I node-negative, estrogen receptor positive breast CA, she may not have needed chemo.  The 5 year survival rate for a stage I tumour is 98%.

As far as I know Somers consulted three MDs about chemo after her surgery and radiation.  One told it was unnecessary for the reason you state.  One told her that he would still advise her to have chemo to lower her risk even lower than it already was, and the other was on the fence.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Sineed wrote:

Suzanne Somers "rejected" chemotherapy??  If she had a stage I node-negative, estrogen receptor positive breast CA, she may not have needed chemo.  The 5 year survival rate for a stage I tumour is 98%.

A friend is a local herbalist.  One of her recurring problems are the women who come and see her saying they've been diagnosed with breast cancer and they've been advised re surgery/chemo/radiation, but they don't want to do anything "unnatural."  So my friend advises them to go and follow their dr's advice.  But some of these women go away unhappy, and she never sees them again, and she wonders if they sought out a less ethical alternative medical practitioner who told them not what they needed to hear, but what they wanted to hear. 

Sineed that's one of the reasons I chose not to practice as a 'herbalist' beyond doing some things for myself or family if they ask.  I found that way to many people want some sort of miracle natural cure for acute  disease and would actually get angry by that sort of advice.  That's just not what it can offer in my opinion.  I also found that what seems to be similar to 'take a pill and you'll get better' really quick mentality that pervades a lot of mainstream medicine also is found in those that seek some sorts of alternative cures.  It sickens me that some take so much advantage of that whether  mainstream or alternative.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

ElizaQ wrote:

It sickens me that some take so much advantage of that whether  mainstream or alternative.

Well said. And it sickens me that so many otherwise intelligent people are so willing to allow themselves to be taken advantage of.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

jas wrote:

I'm trying to figure out what the *&^%$ business is it of any of ours what medical choices somebody, whether they are a celebrity or not, makes about their own health. This thread is trolling.

There's an enormous difference between making choices about one's own health and writing a book extolling these choices and promoting yourself as an "expert" in addition to the promotion of treatments that are worse than not treating a potentially fatal disease at all - see trevor's link re: Gonzalez.

This isn't just about Suzanne Somers making a personal choice.  If somebody else was reporting on it, one might be able to characterize it that way, but she's publishing a book that will influence people to make some very poor decisions and it will cost them dear while she laughs all the way to the bank.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
I'm trying to figure out what the *&^%$ business is it of any of ours what medical choices somebody, whether they are a celebrity or not, makes about their own health. This thread is trolling.

 

Next people will be fretting over Margaret Wente's personal opinions about things. What the *&^%$ business is it of ours? She has a right to an opinion, doesn't she? And Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh and a whole lot of other people whose lives we should all just BUTT OUT OF, yes?

ennir

I watched Somers on The Hour recently and she described being ill, going to the hospital and being misdiagnosed with cancer, apparently she had some kind of fungal thing which read on the scans as tumors, she was told by the doctors that she would have to start chemotherapy immediately.  I think she said there were six doctors telling her this, I have to wonder how many people have been told they must have chemotherapy and they don't have cancer, wonder of wonders, chemotherapy works!  LOL

Actually not so well for some, I have had two friends die very rapidly once they began chemotherapy, one was told he had pancreatifc cancer and only weeks to live, they began chemotherapy but then said he actually didn't have  pancreatic cancer and they weren't sure what it was but they still recommended chemotherapy the other one they continued to run various tests and scans on in addition to the chemotherapy and he failed drasticly after a brain scan.



Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Can we take Somers at face value?  Doesn't she make a better profit if her story is more dramatic?  Given the focus on who profits from "western" medicine being taken in some of the health threads, I think we should consider the profit motive here as well.  Interesting take on Somers' version of events:

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/10/suzanne_somers_fishy_whole_bod...

 

Snert Snert's picture

I had a friend who went to the hospital complaining of a severe headache and they ordered a CAT scan, a PET scan, an MRI, and a biopsy, then they told him he had contracted Spina Bifida and the only cure was a pill from Glaxo that was made from acorns and willow bark and cost $5000 per pill, and when he said he thought he just had a headache, they called the entire staff in to point at him and laugh and tell him they weren't going to listen to his concerns because they all had to go to Las Vegas for four weeks for a conference, compliments of Glaxo, and when he tried to leave the hospital a security guard roughed him up and said he'd better not tell anyone what happened.  The security guard's nametag said G. Laxo.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

jas wrote:

I'm trying to figure out what the *&^%$ business is it of any of ours what medical choices somebody, whether they are a celebrity or not, makes about their own health.

Maybe you should ask Somers why the *&^%$ she wrote the book.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Snert wrote:

I had a friend who went to the hospital complaining of a severe headache and they ordered a CAT scan, a PET scan, an MRI, and a biopsy, then they told him he had contracted Spina Bifida and the only cure was a pill from Glaxo that was made from acorns and willow bark and cost $5000 per pill, and when he said he thought he just had a headache, they called the entire staff in to point at him and laugh and tell him they weren't going to listen to his concerns because they all had to go to Las Vegas for four weeks for a conference, compliments of Glaxo, and when he tried to leave the hospital a security guard roughed him up and said he'd better not tell anyone what happened.  The security guard's nametag said G. Laxo.

Wow. And they say anecdotal evidence isn't proof! What the hell do they know?

 

Bubbles

And I thought the whole time you were talking about Elke Sommer.Embarassed

Tigana Tigana's picture

Bubbles wrote:

And I thought the whole time you were talking about Elke Sommer.Embarassed

Hehehe!

 

Note to Trevor: Nowhere have I said that I was a climate change denier. 

Your modesty at not noticing that my posts upthread were about you is commendable. Wink

contrarianna

The fact that Susanne Somers is held up as a representative critic of the medical-pharmaceutical establishment does a disservice to very legitimate critcism and scrutany. She is a boon to those who want to create the false distinction of  "evidence-based medicine"  versus "quackery and conspiracy theory" See a previous discussion here:
http://www.rabble.ca/babble/media/newsweek-slam-oprah-pushing-quackery

The answer to what to think of "evidence based medicine" is similar to Ghandi's answer when asked what he thought of Western Civilization. "It would be a good idea".

The way in which the pharaceutical industry skews evidence, co-opts and indoctorates generations of physicians, fabricates favorable literature and manufactures consensus in both peer reviewed and popular media is not  conspiracy theory it is a widespread practice.

The most notable recent example is is the legal case Wyeth lost over Prempro, a lawsuit which released documents showing the long known widespread practice of medical journal ghostwriting exposed thanks to the NYT and PloS

Quote:

The US documents show that Wyeth, one of the biggest companies involved, employed a medical writing agency with the purpose of getting favourable studies about its HRT drug Prempro into prestigious medical journals.

The agency dreamed up ideas for papers about the benefits of the drugs and then wrote an outline and even a first draft before offering it to a doctor who might agree to have his name attached as the author. Although the doctor would see drafts and revisions, critics say that control of the content and message were in the agency's hands. The memos and emails show that many busy academics signed their approval to the finished paper.

Many of the documents are records of planning meetings, where agency staff list articles that will be written, suggesting possible authors and targeting journals. Concern about ghostwriting caused the UK-based open-access journal PloS Medicine, part of the Public Library of Science, to intervene in a court case brought by women who claim they were harmed by the HRT drug. PloS Medicine, with the New York Times, argued that the public should know what was going on. A US judge agreed to place the documents in the public domain.

Ginny Barbour, editor in chief of PloS Medicine, said she was taken aback by the systematic approach of the agency. "I found these documents quite shocking," she said. "They lay out in a very methodical and detailed way how publication was planned."Other documents released through US court action show that GlaxoSmithKline employed a ghostwriting programme named Caspper in which doctors could take credit for medical journal articles written by the company's consultants.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/sep/18/doctors-ghost-writing-phar...

 

Quote:
  “What is the purpose of publications?…[The] purpose of data is to support, directly or indirectly, the marketing of our product.” [1]

There are many reports of medical journal articles being researched and written by or on behalf of pharmaceutical companies, and then published under the name of academics who had played little role earlier in the research and writing process [2–14]. In extreme cases, drug companies pay for trials by contract research organizations (CROs), analyze the data in-house, have professionals write manuscripts, ask academics to serve as authors of those manuscripts, and pay communication companies to shepherd them through publication in the best journals. The resulting articles affect the conclusions found in the medical literature, and are used in promoting drugs to doctors.
.....
Such incidents have provoked many commentaries about ghost writing in the medical press. This article enlarges the focus from ghost writing to the more general ghost management of medical research and publishing: when pharmaceutical companies and their agents control or shape multiple steps in the research, analysis, writing, and publication of articles. Such articles are “ghostly” because signs of their actual production are largely invisible—academic authors whose names appear at the tops of ghost-managed articles give corporate research a veneer of independence and credibility. They are “managed” because those companies shape the eventual message conveyed by the article or by a suite of articles. As discussed below, a substantial percentage of medical journal articles (in addition to meeting presentations and other forms of publication, which are not the focus here) are ghost managed, allowing the pharmaceutical industry considerable influence on medical research, and making that research a vehicle for marketing.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1989751/

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

contrarianna wrote:

The fact that Susanne Somers is held up as a representative critic of the medical-pharmaceutical establishment does a disservice to very legitimate critcism and scrutany.

Indeed it does. Which makes me wonder why so many babblers who have criticisms of the medical-pharmaceutical establishment rush to defend her against legitimate criticism.

It is to your credit that you seek to distance yourself from her.

Unionist

Snert wrote:

I had a friend who went to the hospital complaining of a severe headache and they ordered a CAT scan, a PET scan, an MRI, and a biopsy, then they told him he had contracted Spina Bifida and the only cure was a pill from Glaxo that was made from acorns and willow bark and cost $5000 per pill, and when he said he thought he just had a headache, they called the entire staff in to point at him and laugh and tell him they weren't going to listen to his concerns because they all had to go to Las Vegas for four weeks for a conference, compliments of Glaxo, and when he tried to leave the hospital a security guard roughed him up and said he'd better not tell anyone what happened.  The security guard's nametag said G. Laxo.

Snert, I must admit - you've got the gift.

 

Tigana Tigana's picture

I had to laugh at Bubbles' comment on "Elke Somers" as starting a thread of this kind is like jiggling a red herring. 

 

Marcia Angell, not Suzanne Somers, is a critic I would cite.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcia_Angell

"Currently Americans spend a staggering $200 billion each year on prescription drugs. As Dr. Angell powerfully demonstrates, claims that high drug prices are necessary to fund research and development are unfounded: The truth is that drug companies funnel the bulk of their resources into the marketing of products of dubious benefit. Meanwhile, as profits soar, the companies brazenly use their wealth and power to push their agenda through Congress, the FDA, and academic medical centers.

Zeroing in on hugely successful drugs like AZT (the first drug to treat HIV/AIDS), Taxol (the best-selling cancer drug in history), and the blockbuster allergy drug Claritin, Dr. Angell demonstrates exactly how new products are brought to market. Drug companies, she shows, routinely rely on publicly funded institutions for their basic research; they rig clinical trials to make their products look better than they are; and they use their legions of lawyers to stretch out government-granted exclusive marketing rights for years. They also flood the market with copycat drugs that cost a lot more than the drugs they mimic but are no more effective.

The American pharmaceutical industry needs to be saved, mainly from itself, and Dr. Angell proposes a program of vital reforms, which includes restoring impartiality to clinical research and severing the ties between drug companies and medical education. Written with fierce passion and substantiated with in-depth research, The Truth About the Drug Companies is a searing indictment of an industry that has spun out of control."

http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780375508462

Salsa

Likewise, Alan Cassels

Excellent, progress is being made here.

Tigana Tigana's picture

Salsa wrote:

Likewise, Alan Cassels

Excellent, progress is being made here.

Thank you, Salsa! I see this excellent resource leads to the CBC

http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/features/pre-diseased/index.html

and to the wonderful Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/news/2009/03/pressrelease2168/

Cassels' downloads are available here

http://alancassels.com/pages/public/downloads.cfm

Fidel

ennir wrote:

Not entirely true, her book includes doctors who use chemotherapy and I heard her say she has not written it off.

And isn't it also true that writers, investigative news journalists and the like sometimes go so far as to pay a book editor to check facts and figures, source quotes etc before publishing so as to avoid misrepresenting what professional people actually say? Or is Susanne Somers part of a diabolical plot to misinform and mislead unsuspecting people everywhere? 

 

Tommy_Paine

No, I don't say "Shame on Susanne Sommers".

 

I say shame on the people who give her a podium.

 

 

Michelle

Tigana, I'm not interested in seeing things babblers have posted on other forums.  If you have a problem with something a babbler said elsewhere, take it up with them there.  Don't drag it here. 

Trevor, I understand that you think Tigana and others here are wrong about what they're posting.  You seem to be in good company.   That doesn't mean it's okay to attack them the way you did in the other thread.  You can refute what they're writing without attacking them personally.  So cut it out.

Others, particularly those who are calling for Tigana to be banned: what?  Seriously?  No.  I understand that conspiracy theorists can be annoying to those who think they're bunk.  But I think babble's strong enough, and has enough of a critical mass of people who don't think cancer can be cured with crystals or magnets or whatever, to withstand a dissenter or two.  Feel free to debunk at will - without personally attacking people.

Thanks!

Fidel

Ya, lots of diabolical plots have turned out to be true years after they were considered just conspiracy theories. Let's not burn anyone at the stake today.

martin dufresne

Chalk up one more woman-hateful thread title in the Babble Hall of Shame.

Fidel

Has anyone listened to Suzanne Somers speak on talk shows? She surely isn't Chrissy, her character in the 70's-80's Three's Company sitcom, that's for sure.

G. Muffin

Snert wrote:
I had a friend who went to the hospital complaining of a severe headache and they ordered a CAT scan, a PET scan, an MRI, and a biopsy, then they told him he had contracted Spina Bifida and the only cure was a pill from Glaxo that was made from acorns and willow bark and cost $5000 per pill, and when he said he thought he just had a headache, they called the entire staff in to point at him and laugh and tell him they weren't going to listen to his concerns because they all had to go to Las Vegas for four weeks for a conference, compliments of Glaxo, and when he tried to leave the hospital a security guard roughed him up and said he'd better not tell anyone what happened.  The security guard's nametag said G. Laxo.

Well done, Snert.  That was truly wonderful.  I wish I could borrow you for another forum I frequent. 

saganisking

Woman hating ??  are you for real ?  I'm pretty sure if it was Jim Carrey the comments would be exactly the same.   The mind boggles at the issues in someone's head to come out with a statement like that.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

martin dufresne wrote:

Chalk up one more woman-hateful thread title in the Babble Hall of Shame.

Oh, give it a rest, martin.  The thread title's negative not because Somers is a woman but because what she's published is reality-hateful.  Her sex is completely irrelevent.

martin dufresne

I'll believe that when I see an equivalent number of hateful titles taking on the Tom Cruises, John Travoltas, Robert Blys, Timothy Learys and other star spokesmen of new-agey movements.

 "reality-hateful"???

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Can't call her position reality-friendly, that's for sure...

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Martin, you're becoming an embarrassing caricature.

Ghislaine

Yes, martin. Those saying Somers should be ashamed are doing so only because they are misogynist and hate women. It has nothing to do with her public encouragement of people who could die with cancer to turn down chemotherapy. Thank you for exposing us. 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

From my perspective, martin, my expectation that the lady take some lumps for her actions is a whole lot more progressive than your SNAGgy chivalry. 

Sineed

Know what's hateful towards women?

Encouraging them to refuse potentially curative treatment for breast cancer.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

M. Spector wrote:

Martin, you're becoming an embarrassing caricature.

Only becoming?  And here's me thinking he jumped the shark ages ago...

Unionist

martin dufresne wrote:

I'll believe that when I see an equivalent number of hateful titles taking on the Tom Cruises, John Travoltas, Robert Blys, Timothy Learys and other star spokesmen of new-agey movements.

Don't you recall this thread I opened about a white male celebrity who told Africans not to wear condoms?

[url=Holy">http://www.rabble.ca/babble/international-news-and-politics/holy-father-... Father says condom use will increase HIV/AIDS problem[/url]

Whether male or female, public figures who advocate courses of action which will lead to death should be exposed and condemned for what they are. I think the Pope is far more dangerous - a génocidaire, really - than Somers could ever be, but you didn't say we were "Catholic-bashing" in that thread, did you?

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