In Knockout, Suzanne Somers interviews a number of doctors who have very specific ideas on cancer treatment and prevention – namely, that radiation, chemotherapy, and mammography do not work, and can actually cause more harm than good. They then proceed to offer their own alternatives, usually from their own field of medicine, which they claim are much better solutions for preventing and treating cancer. Somers then goes on to detail her own experiences working with doctors in the face of a misdiagnosis of cancer, and how that led her to seek alternative treatments and preventative measures. Upon reading this book, I met the contents with some skepticism; the book appears to be quite sensationalist and extremely critical of the basic principles of “western medicine.” Science-based medicine is anathema to them, and they prefer to invest in more traditionalist medicines and homeopathic remedies, focusing on preventing cancer so that you don’t have to go through what, to them, are unnecessary and ineffective radiation-based medical practices.
While there are some interesting ideas present in terms of changing your overall lifestyle in order to lower the risk of getting cancer, the book borders on using scare tactics in order to vilify the very idea of chemotherapy, painting it as this complete monster that will only end up completely destroying your immune system and leave you feeling terrible. I feel like this book was made to cater to a certain audience, one that does not necessarily trust doctors, and which has found a celebrity with which to invest their trust in instead. There are some basic tenets of medicine and living healthy in this book that are of some use, but I believe that the negative press it is attempting to give practical medical procedures that are viable options is harmful to many people who may need them in the future, and that they may overestimate the potential dangers of these natural-sounding, homeopathic remedies whose effects are not extensively documented or tested.
In the book, Somers interviews a number of doctors and medical professionals, including Ralph Moss, Ph.D., a medical writer; Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, a cancer researcher; Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, who is a very well-known proponent of alternative cancer therapies; Dr. James Forsythe, a homeopathic physician; Dr. Julie Taguchi, an oncologist; Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon; Burton Goldberg, an alternative medicine expert; David Schmidt, founder of LifeWave patches; Dr. Jonathan Wright, a physician and founder of the Tahoma Clinic; Dr. Steven Sinatra, an alternative medicine guru; Dr. Michael Galitzer, medical director for the American Health Institute; and Cristiana Paul, MS, who is a health and nutrition expert.
The professionals interviewed in this book all share a very similar mistrust, if not disdain, for the very concept of radiation and chemotherapy, as well as mammography. Somers herself talks about her terrible experiences with radiation, and how she turned down chemotherapy as an option. Gonzalez describes it as ‘expensive,’ ‘grotesque,’ and ‘worrisome,’ and links chemotherapy to causing myeloma. Forsythe also links it to renal failure, neuropathy, and cardiomyopathies, calling it ‘unholy.’ Taguchi says that it is ineffective, and Blaylock shares this opinion, going on to calling it ‘horrible’ and saying that it causes plenty of complications in the bowels and bladder. What’s more, Blaylock mentions his opinion that basic sciences are “nonsense”.
Goldberg mentions chemotherapy’s ability to damage organs, and Schmidt, while opposed to it, simply states his own personal feelings that he would not want to take it. According to Dr. Wright, chemotherapy causes acid reflux, and Galitzer talks about the dangers of all the dead cells in the bloodstream that follows cancer therapies that involve radiation, though he still advises it, provided you take sufficient steps to build up your own strength before and during the process.
In short, this collection of doctors claims that, despite the fact that it is the normal way by which people will combat cancer in the modern world, they feel it is far too dangerous to risk, especially when there are, in their opinion, far more adequate treatments that come from homeopathic medicine and alternative treatments. The amount of radiation they feel comes from chemotherapy is actively harmful to a human being, and will often create bigger problems than they were meant to solve. While it may eliminate the cancer, it can then proceed to ravage your body, leaving you weak and open to many other illnesses that will take advantage of your diminished immune system. Mammography in particular takes a huge hit in the book, as several doctors, particularly Blaylock, denounce the process as harmful to the breast, from both the perspective of the radiation emitted from it, as well as the pressure the plates of the machine place on the breast, which can squeeze tumors to a level where they are more likely to metastasize.
All of the varying specialists detailed in this book have their own specific ideas on how to prevent cancer, but they mostly fall along the same lines – chemotherapy and radiation is bad, so we must try alternative medicines in lieu of using that method. Dr. Burzynski, for example, talks about the dangers of peptides in the bodies of cancer patients, and suggests using antineoplastin therapy to replace the peptides with antineoplastins, which may kill the cancer cells, but leave the healthy cells intact, rather than go through chemotherapy. He is also a big proponent of green tea, turmeric and other such supplements as a way to revitalize ‘silent genes,’ genes which have become inactive over time, and can help prevent cancer.
Dr. Gonzalez, one of the biggest names in the book for his controversial views, advises the use of a strict diet, an enzyme-heavy supplement regimen, and using coffee enemas, liver flushes and the like to detoxify your body in order to strengthen your nervous and immune systems, and claims that people have been cured of pancreatic cancer using this method. Moving on, Dr. Forsythe advocates a great deal of homeopathic remedies, including pawpaw, poly-MVA, salicinium, and drinking plenty of alkaline water; at the very least, Forsythe recommends low doses of chemo, but along with insulin, stating that the cancer cells will get jumped by the chemo when it goes for the insulin. After that, Dr. Taguchi talks about taking fish oil each day, in addition to other supplements, in order to prevent cancer. According to Dr. Blaylock, you cannot use conventional treatments for cancer once you have it, as it will do absolutely nothing, and mammograms are actually harmful to a patient, giving her radiation in sufficient quantities that it will actually increase her chances of getting cancer; he says that MRIs are a preferable alternative for cancer screening. His notions of preventing and treating cancer fall towards making sure your body is nourished with Vitamin D3 and folic acids, eliminating the presence of omega-6 fats, and using a combination of Flavinoid and vitamins to use as actual cancer therapy.
Burton Goldberg then moves on to the merits of dedentric cell therapy, which involves taking a blood sample, strengthening the dendritic cells within it, and making a vaccine from that, returning it to the patient. Also, he discusses wobenzym and hydrazine sulfate, both enzymes and chemicals that will remove any shielding the cell has and starving it of lactic acid, respectively. David Schmidt advises a patch containing glutathione, which will improve the immune system and detoxify the body. Following that, Dr. Jonathan Wright explains that oxygen actually has the ability to destroy cancer cells. His big emphasis is on bioidentical hormone therapies, including DHEA and Panzem, which have to be applied topically in order to function properly and inhibit the enzyme G6PD. He also recommends supplements of zinc and fatty acids.
Dr. Steven Sinatra is a big proponent of ‘earthing’ and ‘grounding,’ concepts that involve getting in touch with ‘earth energy’ and centering yourself with the environment around you, which is a rather dubious method of cancer prevention. In a more practical sense, he advises supplements of magnesium and fish oil, among others, to keep up proper nutrition. Next, Dr. Michael Galitzer recommends thinning the blood in order to give cells proper oxygen, which would starve the anaerobic cancer cells. This is the primary tenet of his cancer treatment philosophy. Finally, health writer Cristiana Paul discusses the importance of measuring the levels of folic acids in your body, as having higher levels will encourage cancer growth. Red blood cell levels are a good way to perform folic acid measurement. Also, folinic acid and methotrexate has the positive effect of enhancing chemotherapy’s effectiveness and cutting down on the side effects.
Upon thoroughly examining this book, there are a few things I might do to change my lifestyle in order to live healthier. I will probably make a more concerted effort to eat more vegetables, exercise portion control, take in less sugar and fat, and have a better overall diet. Also, I might start exercising on a more regular basis, allowing my body to become stronger and more resistant to illness. Supplements are even a viable option for me, at least basic nutrients that I need, and which are lacking in my current diet. Some of the points that they make in the book, including the need for prevention and the greater care we need to take of our bodies, are very valid, and I will be keeping those in mind.
However, what I do not subscribe to is the total ignorance of conventional cancer treatments in lieu of risky alternatives that do not have as much documented proof of their effectiveness. According to my reading, it seems as if these doctors (and Somers herself) look upon the lack of publicity about these medications as a point of pride, as though these medicines are better because of their niche quality, and because few others have heard of them. It is my opinion, though, that exoticism does not necessarily equate to effectiveness, and I would rather rely on the information that has been given to me by the majority of the medical community. Their evidence is not helped by the controversial nature of many of these professionals, including Somers as well; the American Cancer Society is strongly opposed to their recommendations, and Dr. Gonzalez has come under particular scrutiny himself for questionable medical practices, including his Gonzalez Regimen which was stated to be even worse for cancer patients than conventional methods.
With that in mind, I will take the more reasonable recommendations taken, such as taking better care of my body in a general sense, without going too overboard and investing in expensive supplements and regimens to further lower my chances. In the event that I were to contract cancer, I will rely on the advice of my physicians, happily following their recommendations, even if that means chemotherapy.