November 2, 2009, - 3:39 pm

Shut Up, Dr. Suzanne Somers & the Mainstream Media Who Glorify This Celeb Quack

By Debbie Schlussel

One thing I’m really sick of is proud high school graduate celebrities with zero medical experience doling out health and medical advice.  But I’m even more disgusted by the mainstream media who glorify them and give them a forum for their bunk. And that’s not to mention the greedy book publishers who irresponsibly kill trees to spread this hysteria.


Dr. Chrissy, America’s New National Oncologist

It’s not just bimbo “Dr.” Jenny McCarthy–our nation’s new expert on vaccines and autism.  It’s not just aging bim “Dr.” Suzanne Somers–the peroxided national oncologist who once played “Chrissy” on “Three’s Company.”  It’s Oprah and everyone else who give them a forum for their quackery.  (HOprah gave both McCarthy and Somers several shows on which to promote their medical advice.

Now, it’s Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press reporter, who wrote a long, gushing article about Suzanne Somers, MD.  First, Somers pimped America on her celeb junk science of bioidentical hormones.  Now, it’s advice on cancer.  It’s absurd.  And frankly, if she were delving into giving advice in any other area–say law–the authorities would go after her for practicing without a license. How does she get away with practicing medicine without one?

Somers’ new age advice is baloney.  She recently had to apologize for commenting that chemo–not pancreatic cancer–killed actor Patrick Swayze.  But her apology was insincere, as she continues her rants against chemotherapy and gets AP to cover them as “news.” Her latest book, “Knockout,” has the subtitle “How to Prevent Getting It [Cancer] In the First Place.” Like she knows. No-one knows for sure how to prevent most cancers. But, hey, some morons will buy this witch doctor bimbo’s book, and she’ll cash in . . . again. Sadly, as I write this, American morons have made this book #90 in the rankings.

She’s back with a new book. This one’s on an even more emotional topic: cancer treatment. Specifically, she argues against what she sees as the often pointless use of chemotherapy.

Somers, who has rejected chemo herself, seems to relish the fight. . . .

The American Cancer Society is concerned.

“I am very afraid that people are going to listen to her message and follow what she says and be harmed by it,” says Dr. Otis Brawley, the organization’s chief medical officer. “We use current treatments because they’ve been proven to prolong life. They’ve gone through a logical, scientific method of evaluation. I don’t know if Suzanne Somers even knows there is a logical, scientific method.”

More broadly, Brawley is concerned that in the United States, celebrities or sports stars feel they can use their fame to dispense medical advice. “There’s a tendency to oversimplify medical messages,” he says. “Well, oversimplification can kill.” . . .

Barron Lerner, a doctor who has looked at celebrity illnesses through history . . . recalls how some desperately ill cancer patients took their cues from Steve McQueen, the rugged actor who turned to unorthodox cancer treatment in 1980. When conventional medicine failed to halt his mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining, McQueen traveled to Mexico, where he was treated with everything from coffee enemas to laetrile, the now debunked remedy involving apricot pits.

“It’s difficult to quantify his influence, but there was a lot of traffic to Mexico of end-stage cancer patients after his death,” says Lerner, author of “When Illness Goes Public.”

While he had pancreatic cancer, chemotherapy lengthened my father’s life and shrunk his tumors. But Dr. Chrissy of Three’s Company Medical Institute knows better:

“We all know that chemotherapy does nothing for pancreatic cancer.”

In fact, Somers does view chemotherapy as effective for some cancers, but not for the most common, including lung and breast cancer.

WHAT THE HELL?! Why the heck is anyone reporting on what Suzanne Somers vews as “effective” cancer treatment? Is she an oncologist? No. Does she have any medical expertise or training? No. Does she even have an RN degree? No.

But, heck, I’m sure she’s played a nurse on TV. So, let’s shut up now, and let her prep for surgery.

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34 Responses

There are side effects from chemo. Its a hard decision to make. If I was terminally ill, I’d rather spend what time I had left with my loved ones and family than spend months in a hospital bed missing out on life. If one isn’t terminally ill, then of course it makes a good deal of sense to pursue chemotherapy to beat the cancer and add years to one’s life.

And we don’t need Suzanne Sommers to tell us the right choice.

NormanF on November 2, 2009 at 4:32 pm

She reminds me of the late night infomercial huckster Kevin Trudeau. She will insist that what she is saying is gospel. People like Mt. HOprah will just nod yes and the idiots will sop it up.

CaliforniaScreaming on November 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Well if it was just her I would agree with you, Debbie, but it isn’t. Dr. Hoffman of WOR radio has had her on and mentioned two doctors that are using alternative idea’s that have saved people’s lives and the FDA has gone after them but they have REAL PATIENTS who’se live have been changed. Dr. Hoffman of WOR radio is no quack.

Furthermore, a book known as the Political Incorrect Guide to Science, had a whole chapter on cancer which suprised me. Nixon passed a bill that started a gov’t program for cancer which I would agree has likely STOPPED GROWTH in this area. From what I have seen it seems Chemo doesn’t work all the time either. I know people dying in middle age of cancer.

Furthermore, it seems woman who are in science seem to work for the gov’t in cancer research from going to single events.
The Gov’t cancer research does not want competition and this is bad. We don’t have this is other area’s and Nixon creating this organizations has caused problems from what I can see.

The FDA is not suppose to go after vitamin’s but they are. They are suppose to make sure synthetic drugs are safe. But they sadly as has been reported are just there to protect drug companies.

I do listen to this show Dr. HOffman on WOR from podcasts and he is in no way a quack and the whole cancer issue is very troubling.

adam on November 2, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Debbie, the American cancer society is a government organization. Of course they would be concerned of alternative methods that may help. There were two doctors who she mentioned Dr. Gonzalez and a Dr. in Texas whose name I can’t pronounce and the FDA did go after one of them but he would bring patients to the court about the cancers that were cured.

adam on November 2, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    The American Cancer Society is not a government organization.
    In fact, we are the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion.

    Linda on November 3, 2009 at 12:22 pm

The actual subtitle is “Interviews with Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer and How to Prevent Getting It in the First Place.” Somers is a cancer survivor who is interviewing doctors. It doesn’t bother me that she is putting an alternate point of view out there. Traditional Western medicine can’t help everyone. The ones who bother me are faith healers like Benny Hinn.

KS on November 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm

People like Somers who think that they have something to say should be free to say it. Caveat emptor!, the same when it comes to ALL purchasing. If she is a survivor, she has a story to share from, involving her own experience.

My experiences in dealing with Oncologists and doctors in this field tell me that their methods and treatments are very expensive, but often are totally ineffective. I am aware of some kinds of cancer are being effectively treated today–children’s leukemia for example is being “cured” at a high 85% plus rate of success. Yet with some kinds of cancer, there are cases where alternate treatments have proven more effective–I would do my own research to find the best record of successful outcomes, faced with such a diagnosis.

BB on November 2, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Chemo is very effective. I know people who went for “alternative treatment” and now are in real danger of dying!

    JulieJ on November 5, 2009 at 4:06 pm

To blindly accept that the current mainstream treatments are safe and effective is misguided. The established cancer industry is big business and I welcome dissenting opinions from other doctors.

Allen on November 2, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Dear Debbie,

Before you’re relegated to the “Michael Savage Corner of Reactionary Commentary”, maybe you should talk to a patient of an alternative doctor who has Stage 3B Colon Cancer and who is seeing cancer levels diminish, albeit slowly, over time…and who still has his health.

Contrast that to people using chemo therapy who’ve had had their kidneys blown out (Natalie cole), or their liver’s blown out (a “common” side effect), which allows a more virulent and faster moving cancer to kill them after it supposedly has gone into “remission”. Or “better” yet, they’re alive, but they’ve had irrepairable nerve and organ damage done to them, OR it triggers all kinds of other ailments that would not have arisen, had it not been for chemo.

As Dr. Gonzalez said on the Larry King Live interview with Ms. Somers two Fridays ago, and I’m paraphrasing, “In metastatic cancers like Colon, Liver and Pancreatic, chemotherapy does not help.”


KyleNYC on November 2, 2009 at 9:37 pm

She may or may not have a book worthy of the pulp…but Priscilla Barnes was way hotter back in the day.

Richard on November 2, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Debbie, I expected to see mention of “The Doctors” show in the article. Dr Phil’s (and, by extension, Oprah’s)syndicated Quackery quartet who willingly shill for whichever guests Phil/Oprah sends them. McCarthy was on their show, and Somers probably has been (did you catch that?)-I don’t watch the show anymore.

Douglas Q on November 3, 2009 at 12:49 am

Very interesting take, Ms. Schlussel, for an attorney who deals with facts. In Discovery, witness statements are taken, and through the process of examining those statements decisions are made whether or not further action is justified. Let’s examine the facts put forth by physicians in these interviews, rather than declare Ms. Somers an unfit spokesperson.

Suzanne Somers has a First Amendment right to publish her opinions. It’s my understanding it’s only illegal if she takes money for either diagnosis or treatment for a person under her ‘care’ or entices someone into such a relationship. But in this instance the majority of the book you cite is not opinion but interviews with physicians, doctors and health practitioners who are demonstrating there appears to be more than one way to skin a cat. Hamlet Act I Scene V – There Are More Things In Heaven And Earth Horatio Than Are Dreamt Of In Your Philosophy.

Medicine as it is practiced by mainstream doctors and hospitals is one way to go. But if that way is unacceptable to any of us, it appears to offend you that we choose not to take that road. I regularly take the herb echinacea if I feel something like a cold coming on, and take Oscillococcinum. Like a magic bullet for me, but if I gave it to my mother it would have no effect. She insists on shots and prescriptions. It’s a free nation, still.

A short story – all true, absolutely 100% factual. More than one source. It involves healing a completely shattered leg in mere minutes. To illustrate a point.

My sensei in tai chi, pau qua and tsing-yi was a karate champion by age 18. He moved to Hong Kong and Japan in order to find a way into China to study with real masters of internal martial arts. (the internal arts are quite different than the external arts)

While trying to arrange to get into China, he would every day practice his karate in a park near his hostel. Three elderly Chinese gentlemen straight out of central casting took an interest in him and would come and watch him most days. One day one of these gentlemen offered to spar with Kumar and when Frantzis got cocky with him, this master poked him emotionally in order to goad him into sparring. Kumar, unaware he was being emotionally goaded, swung his powerful horse kick at the old man’s thigh and … had his own leg shattered like glass from ankle to hip. He said it was like connecting with the sharp edge of a bank building. And his leg turned into boiled spaghetti.

The old man had “sunk his root” (a specific form of internal practice) so he and the energy of the earth were one, and in effect, Kumar had connected with an immovable force.

When he came to, having blacked out from the pain, these elderly gentlemen were lightly going over his leg with their hands. Reiki is a mild form of what they were doing. In less than an hour Kumar was able to stand and limp with them to their place where they continued hands on healing for a day or so. Within the week Frantzis’ leg was completely healed from a bone break so severe his leg was like a limp wet rag.

This is to illustrate that there is more than one way to heal. There are many many ways to heal. That Somers is interviewing and investigating practitioners who are on the trail of alternatives to pharmaceuticals and scalpels is not cause for contempt. The messenger may not be appealing but let’s examine the facts rather than focus on the celebrity.

The Rancher on November 3, 2009 at 12:57 am

The Rancher

That is a neat story about your sensei. I have my doubts, though that those are really the facts–but I won’t say that it couldn’t be true. Seems they could do a lot of healing if it was, but why don’t they? We could all benefit and learn then, eh? Post some link, or some support if there is more to this that you can share. The first half of your post, I agree with 100%.

BB on November 3, 2009 at 11:15 am

Nothing like arguing with success! Debbie, the woman had stage 3 or 4 cancer and looks fabulous at 63 unlike that pathetic creature you eulogized several months ago by the name of Farrah Fawcett. Farrah did what the doctors told her and died. Suzanne defied them and is living and blooming. You know, because I’ve said it here and privately that both my parents were doctors. Mom died of cancer back in the bad old days of primitive chemo but she was a big proponent of PREVENTION rather than cure. It’s not true we don’t know what causes and what prevents cancer. We can’t ethically experiment on humans but we can’t practice medicine via statistics either. IN the old days, doctors used to ask their patients where it hurt and they LISTENED to the answers. Doctors need to start listening again and stop ordering tests for things they can’t fix anyway.
Who said Cholesterol over a certain number is bad? That is one thing we really don’t know the mechanics of. All the test does is measure ratio of globules of fat floating around the blood stream. It tells us nothing of how many are sticking to our arterial walls which is the critical factor. It does not correlate. Some of us probably have a protein or something in our bodies that prevents that stickiness. Those studies have been suppressed because it’s less profitable to suggest using olive oil or fish oil than it is to sell a pill jacked up to about 1,000% profit.

I can agree with The Rancehr in general but I have to question Reiki specifically not because it doesn’t work, to the contrary it works very well.Several non-Eastern religious authorities, including Rabbis, are not sure it’s source is something that should be messed with, however. it’s worth looking at from all points of view.

MK: You need to go back and read what I wrote against Farrah Fawcett. Clearly, your memory is failing you. Neither of us knows a thing about Suzanne Somers true medical records or cancer stage, only what this quack tells us. Are you going on her bioidentical hormone program? DS

MK750 on November 3, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Are you implying she’s lying? Is that how it is? That’s a “low rent, ghetto tactic” Debbie and you know it.

    Bring it back up here and stop with the cheapshots. You’re about to lose a boatload of credibility…and fans.

    KyleNYC on November 3, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Farah did an alternative treatment in Germany. I suspect that had she done conventional treatment in America, she would still be alive. And I will say the same thing about Dominick Dunne. Sorry – I really do believe that chemo can perform miracles.

    JulieJ on November 4, 2009 at 3:38 pm

How do you know that she is incorrect? I’ve found that medical doctors don’t get it right a lot of the times. Most of the times they don’t even attempt to understand anything but the latest drug and surgery cure. Its like they haven’t noticed that bodies run on nutrients, and drugs are foreign to the body.

Wake up medical field.

RickyO on November 3, 2009 at 4:31 pm

You do have reason to be suspicious of both her facts and her motivation. However, as others have said, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I have gotten more help from alternative medicine in many areas than traditional medicine.
I am 53 and on bioidentical progesterone. It has been a lifesaver for someone like me who has had major perimenopausal problems. I read books from multiple sources before making the decision to try it. Mainstream doctors are starting to accept and prescribe it, at least in my area.
I think it’s OK to consider Somer’s material, but make it one of many sources you check out, and check out her “facts” for yourself.

Texmom on November 4, 2009 at 10:05 am

You people that are defending Suzanne Somers make me laugh. There is a saying that a sucker is born everyday.

Do a little research on this whore that thinks she is a doctor. It was not long ago she was pushing sticking a hoover up your ass to cleanse the colon on the home shopping channel for a fee.

BTW-I think she renamed the procedure calling colonics sounds super high tech.

Before that she was hawking exercise equipment and after that her super duper make up and then there was the vitamins.

There is a word that describes her, snake oil salesman.

ScottyDog on November 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm

From my own experiences with a non-cancer medical issue…I went to the doctor for EIGHT YEARS trying to fix a feminine issue, they could do nothing for me. I went to acupuncture and was fixed in TWO MONTHS. This was about 4 years ago and I haven’t had a problem since. So I am not about to discount alternative medicine, but I don’t blindly believe in all of it either. Same with regular doctors. There is a middle ground, and room for the best of both, IMHO.

However, if I got cancer, I would not get chemo or even really try to fight it much because we all die, and I am not scared to die. I would not want my last months here on Earth to be miserable. Besides, I saw chemo kill my stepfather. He did not have cancer, he had MS and they gave him chemo as an experimental treatment (which they had no business doing since he was already weak and sick), and it weakened his immune system and he died. So I do not trust chemo, nor would I ever have it, but I respect other people’s choices WRT their medical treatments, as I hope they would respect mine.

As for Jenny McCarthy, I LOATHE that woman. She was a has-been nobody until she had her son, then she jumped on the autism awareness bandwagon to make herself relevant again. She uses her son to promote herself and get her name in the news, which I find absolutely despicable. I think the lowest circle of Hell is reserved for those like her, who exploit their children for their own gain. She makes me ill. Suzanne Somers? I have no opinion on her because I don’t really care to listen to anything she has to say.

Ali-gater on November 4, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Debbie, that was a cheap shot about my memory. Play fair. Maybe eulogize was too strong a word but didn’t you say you loved her hair and her look when you were a teen?
No I’m not on any hormones, mine are quite adequate for my husband and me, thank you. As a doctor once said to me “what, you want to keep having periods?” Um, no. At 63 I prefer a few wrinkles. I coped with the other thing for over 40 years. That’s more than enough in one lifetime.

I do need to clarify something, however. Mom’s insights about prevention came when it was too late for her. She really regretted not taking better care of herself.

MK750 on November 4, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I had cancer and chemotherapy and it worked! I don’t like it when people knock chemo. Yes, there are side effects but they are manageable. I had ovarian cancer 8 years ago.

JulieJ on November 4, 2009 at 3:33 pm

JulieJ, That you are alive 8 years after Ovarian is a testimony to the efficacy of chemo in some cancers. You’ve survived one of the worst ones in terms of morbidity. G-d bless you. I think what is wrong here is the either/or approach. In non-cancerous situations certainly try alternatives. I had a similar experience to Ali-gater’s. I was told I had MS for almost 9 years. Well, “probable” MS. I even needed a wheelchair from time to time and could do nothing. Do you know that it was a simple dental problem and had the American dentists been willing to address the issues in affordable parts, I would not have suffered all that time? All I needed was to have some dead roots removed from a tooth that the crown broke off. We can’t explain the mechanics of it but I am symptom free. This is not a remission. This is the real deal. When I came to Israel, although the dentists prioritized some other work, they had no problem removing those roots and agreeing to work on a prosthetic later.
Ali, that is a horrible story about your step-father. I was all set to take the MS drugs myself then the nurse who came to train me to give the shot told me “you may have some trouble breathing after you’ve been taking it a while!” Uh, Hello! I have mild allergic asthma and sensitivities to almost ALL drugs. When I heard that I said forget it. You would not believe the hard-sell the drug company (which was funding my prescriptions) gave me. They kept calling me to let ‘just try it” and with every objection they lied and said that what was in their own literature wasn’t there about side effects. I had to threaten a restraining order to get them to stop calling.

WE have bene sold a bunch of lies by Big Pharma that we NEED meds. Listen to politicians. They always talk about “Seniors not having money, having to choose between food an their medication” I am a senior and I don’t take meds regularly.
I agree with Ali again. We’re all going to die and I would rather have a heart attack or stroke and go quickly “too soon”, because my cholesterol may be “too high” than live long enough to be uncomfortable, incoherent and grieving my family. I pray that neither will happen but that’s my preference if it comes down to that.

MK750 on November 4, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    I took part in a clinical trial dealing with the efficacy of three drugs rather than two to treat ovarian cancer. I have no regrets about it. Don’t sell chemo short.

    JulieJ on November 5, 2009 at 4:12 pm

I have seen the negative effects of chemo, and I believe in many non-western treatments for disease. But, I agree – let’s get the facts DIRECTLY from doctors and researchers. NOT Suzanne Thighmaster Sommers. I remember a quote from her on some tv show “At this point, I am practically a doctor” she laughed. Great, so Suzanne, operate on your own relatives first – I want to see how it turns out. 😮

And the ONLY reason she came out with her cancer story (which if you investigate – the facts and type of cancer she had is very vague…) was that one of the tabloids had photos of her leaving a plastic surgery center in Beverly Hills that specialized in liposuction – just weeks before she was to promote one of her diet and exercise books! CAUGHT!! She then went on Larry King’s show all teary-eyed and said that she had lipo because she felt all lumpy and had water weight after having radiology for breast cancer… (have you ever heard this before? And would a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon remove fat from someone that was a cancer patient and likely to lose weight?)

It was almost her best acting performance next to two seasons of “She’s the Sheriff”

sharen paul on November 4, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Debbie, your’re the one that should “Shut Up!” Your ignorance is insuffurable. Read “Dr. Mary’s Monkey,” and educate yourself about the corruption in mainstream medicine–especially cancer treatments. If you can’t read well or have no patience for it (like most Americans) then at least go on and read the customer reviews of what the book is about. I’d advise others reading this post do the same.

Debra Trojan on December 6, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I think Suzanne Somers is all about the money and exploiting the fact that she had cancer, simply to make a buck.

anonymous on August 28, 2010 at 11:29 am

First I would like to compeletly agree with Debra Trojan above. Second, it’s obvious that you, Debbie, have never actually read one of Suzanne’s books. I agree that no one in their right mind would take advice from “Chrissy”. HOWEVER, if you take the time to actually read Suzanne’s books…the information does not come from her. It comes from very successful doctors…now these are not your normal doctors taking outrageous incentives from Big Pharma…these are doctors treating and CURING real people without destroying their bodies in the process. I’m just saying…read the book(s), and then you can provide an accurate review. You either agree with the idea that it’s time to look beyond to alternative ways of tackling disease, or you feel safer with convential medicine due to a lifetime of drug company brainwashing. It has nothing to do with Suzanne Somers other than she gives the doctors a conduit…they are much more concerned with helping people than lining their pockets. She interviews them…the facts come from DOCTORS in her books, the facts don’t come from Suzanne. But, judging from your post, you’re not too keen on facts anyhow.

Emily K on September 15, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Suzanne Somers’ own stupidity will eventually kill her. First off, the majority of doctors she has interviewed are not oncologists or endocrinologists and some had their medical licenses suspended. Secondly, Suzanne brought on two of her own conditions, maybe three….

1. Her bioidentical estrogen caused her to develop uterine hyperplasia, prompting a hysterectomy. She attributed this to an incorrect dosage and to not following the “Wiley Protocol”.

2. Her cortisol supplementation, which she calls “part of the menopausal experience” lowered her immune system to the point where she developed a life-threatening systemic fungal infection commonly known as “California Fever”

3 (maybe). She developed breast cancer while taking bioidentical hormones, which she refused to stop after the diagnosis because she insisted that breast cancer is not fueled by estrogen.

It will be a matter of time before something else happens, whether it’s liver failure due to the 60+ supplements she ingests daily along with all the other growth hormone and Lithium shots she gives herself or something else.

Jonathan on October 8, 2010 at 9:22 am

After having 2 craniotomies 5 years apart (the second one turned to be a grade 4 Glioblastoma and they gave me 6-9 months at that time…back in 07!) I’m alive today after 2+ years of “chemotherapy!” It sux but, WTF is the alternative- that new-age hippie medicine that Somers is selling?

Moreover, if Oprah Winfrey was stricken with brain cancer, do you believe she’d seek “alternative” medicine? She would want the latest state-of-the art conventional treatment available including “chemotherapy.”

DS did a public service. Suzanne Somers shouldn’t delve into areas she’s clueless about.

Patrick on November 3, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I’ll send this article to him.
Fairly certain he will have a great read. Thanks for sharing!

cancer prevention on July 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

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