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?