I need to pick my battles. It was with complete sincerity that I wrote the post that appeared yesterday. I hope the message was clear. Live and let live. Embrace differences. Acceptance. EXCEPT....
I didn't count on another Suzanne Somers thing and there is a caveat (for now, just one and hopefully, it will remain, just one... I don't like the unforeseeable stuff). As an advocate who takes this role quite seriously, I can't sit on the sidelines while people use their celebrity to peddle things that move into the medical arena.
In December of 2011, I wrote a blog that I titled Medical Advice From A Celebrity May Be Bad For Your Health. The celeb in question was Suzanne Somers and She's BAAACK. She wrote a book for the perimenopausal crowd.
She was a guest on the Katie Couric show and to be fair to Katie, she did mention that Suzanne's gig has created quite a controversy. Katie would be completely accurate in that assessment. I depart from my fairness when Suzanne was on the stage touting her great sex life which she credits to a loving, long term relationship, (no disagreement there), along with the slathering of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, HGH etc (yes there are more...) along with some 40 supplements in the morning and another 20 in the evening. And, there was no one with ANY medical credentials on the stage to balance the conversation.
Suzanne thinks there's a "new way to age" and it shouldn't be the way our grandparents aged, "all pilled up." She also notes, "Perimenopause is the most dangerous phase for a woman." She goes on to say that perimenopause is the time she developed her own breast cancer. Subliminal messaging? Perhaps. Then she went into a full pitch about bioidentical hormones. Were this a medical conference, a financial disclosure would have been made. Suzanne Somers is not only selling a book, she's proudly affiliated with the company that facilitates the distribution of the bioidenticals.
In the world of medicine according to Suzanne, they are plant based, therefore, they are not synthetic, they are not drugs, they are exactly what our bodies would be doing on their own if we were at the RIGHT AGE for our bodies to be doing this, they are natural because they are being produced from things found in nature.
This is where I wish I could insert a sound. You know the sound? That BUZZ... you are wrong.... ding ding... go away.
Dr. Donnica Moore, was seated in the audience to offer some medical information. Real medical information. She explained that menopause is not a disease but a phase of life. She complimented Suzanne's appearance and with a nod to When Harry Met Sally, said it would be hard for any woman to look at Suzanne, at 66 years old, and not want to say "I'll have what she's having." However, she stood her ground. Healthy diet and exercise are key. Sleep is exceptionally important (thank you, Dr. Attai for being the bed police). Having great sex is the icing on the cake. (As an aside, Dr. Moore did make it a point to clarify that Suzanne's husband is also taking testosterone.)
Dr. Moore was being nice. I'm pretty sure she would have liked to have jumped out of her seat, grab a microphone and speak to the audience from the same vantage point at Suzanne Somers. Instead, she gracefully stated that blanket recommendations for all women are not made based upon what works for one woman. She touched on hormone replacement therapy. NOTE to all. The biggest decline in breast cancer was seen when HRT was identified as a contributing factor to the development of breast cancer and the practice of just prescribing it across the board was stopped. Don't believe me. Check with Dr. Love on that.
I think Katie did a bit of a disservice to open up that conversation in such an unbalanced fashion. She has a huge audience. Katie is a staunch supporter of **All Cancer Research**. She delivered the keynote at the Annual American Association for Cancer Research meeting. She is a Co-Founder of Stand Up 2 Cancer. For heaven's sake, she had a colonoscopy on national television. Donnica Moore should have been seated on the stage. Suzanne Somers did not deserve the last word in the conversation. That may not be how it actually happened on television but that's the way the clip appears on Katie's website.
"Who wouldn't want to be like me.... I've got a rockin' libido.... blah blah blah"
I think Ms. Somers should go back to selling The Thigh Master and leave her medical opinions in the green room.
To Clarify: I LIKE Suzanne Somers. She's an entertainer. And, in my most humble opinion, there's nothing more dangerous than a celebrity with a tremendous following, delivering a message they have no business delivering. Talk to me about your great marriage, the fabulous sex, being on television. Let me admire your appearance at age 66, with an understanding that MONEY does help. Hell, tell me you are taking all kinds of stuff.... just do NOT position yourself as an expert. People are hanging on to your words, quite possibly putting themselves in danger of developing the very cancer your carefully positioned words seem to imply this regimen might afford protection against. Katie, I LOVE you. I sat in the audience at the AACR meeting. You are brilliant. I'd love to see a do over or a proper segment with medical doctors on both sides having the discussion.
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