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alternative medicine, Bad GOOP Advice, complementary and alternative medicine, medical mythbusters, woo

GOOP gives horrific and harmful advice about thyroid cancer. From a ghost.

This is no Halloween joke. The post is by Anthony William the self-described and strangely medically confident “medical medium.” William claims he was born with a the ability to commune with a high level spirit that (or is it who?) can diagnose medical conditions. 

William is a GOOP regular. When GOOP and Paltrow attacked me back in July I had to laugh because somehow I, with my medical degree and four board certifications and desire for science, was the enemy of women and Mr. Medical Medium, ghost whisperer,  was a wellness empowering source of inspiration helping women smash the medical patriarchy.

Apparently GOOP has such trust in the Medical Medium that the post begins with a  disclaimer:

…it’s clear that current science does not support all his theories, but (again) many people find them incredibly insightful—and they’re certainly thought-provoking. (As always, we’d love to hear from you whether you have supporting or contradicting info and feelings—feedback at goop dot com.)

 OK goop dot com, buckle up because I’ve got some fucking feedback.

This post on thyroid cancer is full of garbage. The ideas are ludicrous and the post amounts to a medical word salad. It is an obscenity to use a large international platform, like GOOP’s, to promote brazenly false ideas about cancer to scare women (and men) into buying a book.   

Before we get into what the Medical Medium has to say about thyroid cancer  let’s start with his inner knowledge about cancer. Apparently, cancer is ALL A MODERN INVENTION. Did you know that? No one ever had the cancer before the TOXINS and the McCHEMICALS. However, the Medical Medium is prepared for your, “Say what?” He wants you to know that what you may have heard from doctors and forensic archaeologists and the National Cancer Society is all wrong. The American Cancer Society says the following:

Our oldest description of cancer (although the word cancer was not used) was discovered in Egypt and dates back to about 3000 BC. It’s called the Edwin Smith Papyrus and is a copy of part of an ancient Egyptian textbook on trauma surgery. It describes 8 cases of tumors or ulcers of the breast that were removed by cauterization with a tool called the fire drill. The writing says about the disease, “There is no treatment.”

“Nay,” cries the Medical Medium. Spirit told him (it’s just Spirit by the way, like Cher) that his grandmother had cancer because cancer is, and I quote:

“a combination of a virus, EBV, plus a variety of toxins in the form of heavy metals, DDT and other pesticides, solvents, plastics, and petroleum. The words were foreign to me at that young age, though I could tell they were serious.”

Really. “Spirit” specifically said the words DDT, EBV, solvents, plastics, and petroleum. To a four-year-old. And he remembered them well enough to write about it in a book that is conveniently now for pre-order.

According to the Medical Medium “malignant cancer is a comparatively recent development” brought about by the industrial revolution combined with Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). And what of thyroid cancer? Well, Spirit told Medical Medium that thyroid cancer = toxins + virus. No really, he uses that equation. Genetics? Well, like all good conspiracy theorists that is a bait and switch from “the man.”

Now imagine if the industries responsible for the production of all the various toxins that feed EBV were exposed. Billions alone would need to go into researching EBV and its mutations. It would be catastrophic—class-action lawsuits would follow, dozens of multi-trillion-dollar funds would need to be established, and industries would pay the price for over one hundred and fifty years of cancer.

So I asked a thyroid cancer expert about this. Dr. Lawrence Shirley MD is a cancer surgeon who specializes in thyroid cancer and I reached him by e-mail and he said…

First, there is no known link between the Epstein-Barr virus and thyroid cancer of any type. The two most common known risk factors for thyroid cancer are high-dose radiation and family history of thyroid cancer. Although there is increasing evidence that exposure to other environmental factors. including flame retardant chemicals, could be risk factors for development of thyroid cancer, this is specific research as opposed to the vague mention of “toxins” that Mr. William proposes. 

Dr. Shirley’s views are supported by the American Thyroid Association, who also report the causes of thyroid cancer as high-dose radiation exposure such as nuclear fallout, high-dose therapeutic radiation used before the 1960s for conditions like acne, or radiation used to treat cancer like Hodgkin’s disease, and of course genetics.  

The Medical Medium’s ideas about EBV are so bizarre they are genuinely hard to read. He thinks that EBV was at one point a “good, loyal virus” and the industrial revolution turned it into a toxic avenger or something. You can read it for yourself, but I have the most usual part here:

When EBV was first morphing like this, it wasn’t yet cancerous. Benign tumors could form from the dead human tissue killed off by EBV’s poisonous remanufactured byproduct; for the most part, that was it. (Malignant EBV tumors were still extremely rare. Those that did form were a result of the very first mutated strain of EBV that came into contact with early, experimental chemical compounds.) What this time period really did was set the stage for certain strains of EBV to go cancerous eventually, when they encountered the right fuel.

As the decades passed and we entered the second half of the 1800’s, the virus grew even stronger. Then came more industrial chemical creations, this time the experimental fungicides, herbicides, and pre-penicillin antibiotics of the late 1800’s that took EBV to a new level, forcing the virus to mutate so that it was no longer beneficial to our bodies. 

This idea that strains of EBV mutated by the industrial revolution and penicillin turning it from a loyal scavenging virus to a zombie cancer virus reads like bad plot for a middle school play. It is true that some viruses can induce mutations that lead to cancer, the human papilloma virus is perhaps the most infamous, but viruses do not cause all cancers, not by a long shot. EBV is associated with Burkitt’s lymphoma and there is current research looking at the role of EBV as a co factor for cervical cancer with HPV. EBV may be associated with a few cancers, but it certainly doesn’t cause thyroid cancer.  

Dr. Shirley was equally troubled by the Medical Medium’s grossly incorrect information about thyroid cancer and genetics. The Medical Medium claims genetics is not part of cancer, but “That’s what we’re supposed to think, because it keeps us from investigating outside sources.”

Dr. Shirley replied that the role of genetics in thyroid (and other) cancers is well-established through exhaustive research. He added frustration that as a clinician he often struggles to convince patients and families to undergo genetic testing. Some of these genetic tests, for example with thyroid cancer and MEN2 testing, can be lifesaving. According to Dr. Shirley, “patients as young as toddlers can develop thyroid cancer without prompt testing and treatment.”

The Medical Medium Has The Answer for Toxic EBV – In his Book

That is of course the conclusion of the article. According to the Medical Medium the only answer is to lower your “viral load” and eliminate “toxins” from your body. This you can do if  you read his book. Dr. Shirley says attempts to try to lower EBV viral load (whatever that means) will not prevent thyroid cancer. I agree, but I am only a  gynecologist hence why I called for back up.  

This is a disgrace. There is nothing more to say. It is a fact-deficient fear mongering hit job on genetics that at the very least will cause people to waste money on a book that cannot prevent thyroid cancer but at worse could dissuade women and men from getting what could be life-saving genetic testing. This is the kind of goopshit that makes it harder for doctors to care for patients and can actually kill people. 

So here’s my feedback for you Gwyneth Paltrow and your gal pals at GOOP dot com, I want to know how you live with yourselves promoting the falsehood that cancer is a modern invention, that genetics is not part of cancer, and that once helpful but now rogue EBV and unknown “toxins” cause thyroid cancer all for page clicks and to help a guy who communes with Spirit to sell a book? 

 

medicalmedium

 

Discussion

26 thoughts on “GOOP gives horrific and harmful advice about thyroid cancer. From a ghost.

  1. You go Dr. G. – I always get a chuckle from your take downs of Paltrow and Co. – then again it’s pretty easy, considering. You rock!

    Posted by Scott | October 31, 2017, 2:17 pm
  2. I will admit a little surprise that you don’t mention how he uses the words “pre-penicillin antibiotics of the late 1800’s” you mention the use of penicillin. But since there weren’t any antibiotics before the 1920s I’d love to know which ones he thought mutated EBV then (I realize it’s a minor point in a load of BS he wrote).

    Posted by Shadow | October 31, 2017, 2:22 pm
  3. This would be funnier if so many people weren’t taking the ridiculous advice of quacks seriously

    Posted by brokensea | October 31, 2017, 2:32 pm
  4. I have in my possession, somewhere, some statistics on the (higher) incidence of autoimmune diseases in humans who were fed formula instead of human milk; thyroid diseases… and some thyroid cancers… were right up there in the forefront of immune disorders. There’s something about using a “formula” instead of giving a baby the food that will help its immune system operate properly, that can help propitiate an inappropriate autoimmune response. This article on the study is pretty old…might be from the ’90s but I do have it somewhere. Do you think the “Spirit” knows anything about that?

    Posted by Jacqueline Levine | October 31, 2017, 2:40 pm
    • They say, on sites like Skeptical OB, that most studies suggesting breastmilk’s superiority* over formula are quite weak. There is nothing wrong with formula so long as you use sensible precautions like use clean water and toss after its been sitting out for a while. For that matter, a bf’ing mother needs to drink clean water and toss pumped milk that’s been sitting out for a while. The immunity is weak and temporary.

      Also, you’re misusing quotation marks there.

      *for term babies with access to clean water

      Posted by demodocus | November 1, 2017, 10:50 am
  5. This is sad. It’s sadder that there’s no accountability for dispensing this bile. I live in Portland, Oregon and I regularly receive a heavy dose of this type of scientific “knowledge” from the anti-science left, particularly my neighbor. She’s a naturopath, suffering from toxoplasmosis. I hope the feral cats eat her.

    Posted by David T | October 31, 2017, 3:00 pm
  6. Who coins the phrase Medical Medium and awards that title? I guess I could call myself that too and float a few wild tales if I felt like being a loser bumhole. Maybe I will even get lucky enough to have a real doctor take precious time away from her family and patients in order to refute my statements lol.

    Posted by Jaci | October 31, 2017, 3:18 pm
  7. experimental fungicides, herbicides, and pre-penicillin antibiotics of the late 1800’s

    I’ve never heard of ‘experimental pre-penicillin antibiotics of the late 1800s’. The sulpha drugs were introduced in the 1930s; mercury preparations had been around for centuries; and salvarsan, Ehrlich’s 606, was available from around 1910 — and that is an arsenic compound. But a ‘pre-penicillin’ antibiotic?

    Posted by korhomme | October 31, 2017, 3:22 pm
  8. PREACH!!! Jen Gunter you rock! As a physician and woman and cancer survivor, I applaud you!!

    Posted by Heidi Waldorf | October 31, 2017, 3:45 pm
  9. The one grain of truth in the whole business is idea that cancer is largely a disease of the modern world. The thing is, though, he’s right for all the wrong reasons.

    Yes, a lot more people are dying of cancer in these modern times than used to back in the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s (or even the early 1900s). But the reason people are dying of cancer is because they aren’t dying of anything else beforehand.

    People aren’t dying in large numbers as children of measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, polio, pneumonia (a nice opportunistic infection which tended to knock off people whose immune systems were already weakened), tuberculosis, tetanus, syphilis (caught from parents), gonorrhoea (ditto), influenza, and so on. People aren’t being actually poisoned by the food they eat (because we now have laws against doing things like using plaster of Paris to whiten bread), the water they drink (we treat the water – notice how many cases there aren’t in most industrialised cities of things like typhoid, typhus and other such water-borne diseases), the cosmetics they use to cover up the ravages of disease (face powder doesn’t contain white lead any more), or the houses they live in (arsenic in the wallpaper, lead pipes in the plumbing, asbestos in the walls, need I continue?). We also aren’t being killed on the job anywhere near as often as we used to be either. Instead, we’re living to a healthy old age – these days, if you’re part of a population which isn’t expected to reach the biblical “threescore and ten” (70) in an industrialised country, you’re probably Indigenous.

    So yeah. More people are being diagnosed with cancers these days than in previous eras, because they’ve lived long enough for the cancer to develop, and they’ve possibly been exposed to a catalysing agent which stimulated a particular epigenetic factor. But more people are surviving cancer, too (particularly outside the USA, in countries where it’s understood that healthcare is a human right, rather than a privilege of wealth), because we’re figuring out how to treat them as well. The majority of cancers these days fall into the category of “eminently treatable” (to use the words of a haematologist my mother once worked with) – it’s quite possible to get diagnosed with cancer, have your cancer treated, and go on to reach your threescore and ten, and possibly further.

    But the main reason you’re getting diagnosed with cancer, first and foremost, will be because you didn’t die of something else first.

    Posted by megpie71 | October 31, 2017, 4:12 pm
  10. You quote this guy saying “toxins that feed EBV”. Does this mean he thinks that viruses go around eating various chemicals, some of which are toxic? Does this guy even know what a virus is? I don’t think these goopsters actually believe the crap they write. How can they?
    You, on the other hand, totally rock. Keep up the good work.

    Posted by Myles Macleod | October 31, 2017, 6:35 pm
  11. What a load of horse shit GOOP promotes. It’s a terrible thing to print this kind of article which misleads and misdirects people. I don’t know what I wish on Gwyneth Paltrow but it’s not good.

    Posted by amulbunny | October 31, 2017, 7:06 pm
  12. Oh my dog! Is Alex Jones communing with spirits too?!

    Posted by Erin | October 31, 2017, 8:42 pm
  13. Part of Anthony William`s Disclaimer
    Anthony William, Inc. dba Anthony William, Medical Medium (“Anthony William, Medical Medium”) is not a licensed medical doctor, chiropractor, osteopathic physician, naturopathic doctor, nutritionist, pharmacist, psychologist, psychotherapist, or other formally licensed healthcare professional, practitioner or provider of any kind. Anthony William, Medical Medium does not render medical, psychological, or other professional advice or treatment, nor does it provide or prescribe any medical diagnosis, treatment, medication, or remedy.

    Posted by Jim | November 1, 2017, 4:07 am
  14. Good studies show how different the very gut of the bf’d newborn is from the formul-fed ones, and the studies showing little difference are poor ones…there’s no doubt that bm is a living tissue that subtly changes as the baby grows and that no formula can match the suitability of human milk proteins for the newborn gut. There are fine studies showing that there is cell death at the permeable newborn gut when exposed to formula…and by 9 mos a formula fed baby has ingested about 30k more calories than a bf’d baby, makes sense since about 30% of the calories in formula are used just to digest it. The studies showing formula fed babies are as healthy andnot to mention the positive effects on maternal health that nursing confers, are not well done in many ways…population size, etc, and who funded them? The US is the greatest purchaser of formula in the world… Cow’smilk is not as good for human babies as human milk. It’s folly to claim otherwise, and this is not the forum to prove that to you. I hope that you will help and support mothers to nurse.

    Posted by Jacqueline Levine | November 1, 2017, 12:52 pm
    • Would you prefer fed babies or breastfed babies? For some mothers like myself, those are mutually exclusive. Either my child could have formula or she could breastfeed and starve. It shouldn’t have been a hard choice, but attitudes like yours make mothers who must formula feed feel so much shame and depression.

      Posted by Jennifer D. | November 2, 2017, 7:57 pm
      • I do not shame mommas who feed babies! I work with and support new mothers however they feed, or whatever their support needs are. There is no real continuum of care post partum in this country especially for first time mothers. This is not about women who cannot or will not, for whatever personal reason, nurse. This is about the actual components of bm and how they behave in the newborn gut and the way formula does. The facts are not in dispute. Breast feeding is an emotionally charged issue, and if you were not able to feed your babe from your breast, of course you must feed an acceptable substitute. It’s not a questions of what I “prefer”. I was talking about evidence for autoimmune diseases…and if being breastfed helps the brand new virgin immune system to develop in a healthy manner , that has nothing to do with shaming women for how they feed their babies. I am happy that you tried to nurse your babe. I have spent the last 18 years educating and supporting birthing women and all new mothers who come my way at Planned Parenthood and privately .Mothers who can’t breastfeed entirely or partially may be sad or upset, but that’s nothing to do with my “attitude” or my post. Artificial milk has its drawbacks but is life -giving. I think most people understand that.

        Posted by Jacqueline Levine | November 3, 2017, 1:16 pm
  15. When I first started to read your blog, I thought that GOOP was just a fluke. Now I believe they are truly frightening. What is the bias called when you are good at one thing, you think you good at all things? I would imagine Gwyneth Paltrow has little to no idea what is being promoted on the site, and that too is sad. Celebrities who can memorize lines and spit them back out and we think they are “Godlike”. Ugh.

    Posted by Donna Perlee | November 1, 2017, 1:29 pm
  16. Dr. Gunter and readers, sorry for the OT, but family keeps sending me this saying “defend this.” I can’t find anything but anti-choice propaganda about it. Can you help?

    https://www.liveaction.org/news/caught-tape-late-term-abortion-facility-offers-abort-37-week-baby-17000/

    Posted by Another Matt | November 1, 2017, 1:56 pm
  17. And Jennifer, what a cutie she is! I just looked at your picture!

    Posted by Jacqueline Levine | November 3, 2017, 1:17 pm
  18. Dr. Gunter, I am so grateful for your work here, which I can now share with someone very close to me who needs it as antidote to AW’s thyroid book. I just hope she hasn’t been brainwashed beyond hearing you. Yours is the best authoritative debunking of AW I’ve found so far, and I love your style. Thank you. For other readers, I suggest another AW-opposition article I found that seems respectable: The Medical Medium’s Thyroid Pseudoscience by Scott Gavura at ScienceBasedMedicine.org.

    Posted by The Balsamean | March 26, 2018, 1:48 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Links 11/5/17 | Mike the Mad Biologist - November 5, 2017

  2. Pingback: Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP admit the jokes on you if you followed their advice | Dr. Jen Gunter - June 16, 2018

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