Cancer wars on Dateline Follow up from Clay, Gonzalez, Bryzynski  Lobbyist, former NIH Office of Alternative Medicine staffer and sometimes Integrator contributor Beth Clay sends a note that Dateline NBC recently ran a controversial segment with Suzanne Somers on her

Cancer wars on Dateline: Follow-up from Clay, Gonzalez, Bryzynski  

Lobbyist, former NIH Office of Alternative Medicine staffer and sometimes Integrator contributor Beth Clay sends a note that Dateline NBC recently ran a controversial segment with Suzanne Somers on her book on alternative cancer treatments. Sommers book is KnockOut: Interviews with Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer. Key subjects of the book and Dateline segment were alternative cancer doctors Nicholas Gonzalez, MD and Stanislaw Bryzynski, MD. Barrie Cassileth, PhD, who leads the integrative cancer program at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Andrew Weil, MD, founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine were each quoted as quite skeptical about the value of the treatments of Bryzynski and Gonzalez.

Following the show, Somers posted lengthy responses to the show from Gonzalez, from Bryzynski and from Clay. While Bryzynski felt the overall interviews with the alternative cancer doctors were “not too bad,” he and Gonzalez and Clay particularly laid into the appropriateness of Cassileth and Weil as experts. The Integrator previously covered some aspects of this long-running dispute in this Round-up.

Comment: Commenting on the therapeutic substance of this battle is well beyond my skill set. However, I do have some background in journalism. This includes working knowledge of how one focuses a story, chooses to include and decides to leave out. This has left me as something of a radical in questioning the journalistic “objectivity” of any participant in this sport. The multiple biases produced through genes, home, culture and environment layer so densely over the imagined balance point to the point of utter obscurity.

The Dateline story and these posts are especially interesting because they focus not only on the macro-cancer wars between mainstream and alternative treatments. We also see here a rather ugly micro-battle between individuals associated with “alternative” and others with “integrative” approaches. My (biased) read: Gonzalez and Bryzynski aren’t getting a fair shake.

Comment on the comment: A working postulate: Battles and bias are most feverish when a) parties are defensive; and b) there is a good deal of cash at stake. Cancer fits both categories. Big money. Big challenges. Everyone talks about how much the other makes, and focuses on the worst of the other’s results. Thus the vehemence.


Read other sections of the April 2011 John Weeks Round-up: