The Dr. Oz Show
Air date: December 16, 2011
Suzanne Somers: The Revolutionary Surgery to Rebuild Her Breasts
- Suzanne Somers road to surviving breast cancer and ground breaking breast reconstruction
- Sinus infection warning signs and new and old remedies
- Home remedies for common infections
- Home cooking for immune support
Suzanne Somers tells her story of triumph over breast cancer and her international journey to find a unconventional treatment to rebuild her breast with her own stem cells and body fat.
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Suzanne Somers - author of 20 books, 11 of which have been New York Times bestsellers, actress, comedian, fitness video guru, singer and lecturer – visits The Dr. Oz Show to show and tell about her ground breaking breast replacement surgery and to share her story of rejecting her doctor's recommendations and beating cancer.
[Suzanne Somers latest books are Sexy Forever: How to Fight Fat After Forty and The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible both due out 12/27/11. Her well received book Knockout: Interviews with Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer – And How to Prevent Getting It In The First Place opened many conversations about how to treat cancer.]
In 2000, at age 50 Ms. Somers had a mammogram that showed no areas of concern. After the mammogram, her doctor asked if she would like to have a breast ultrasound with a new machine just installed in the office. She agreed and the ultrasound found a 2.4cm tumor on her chest wall that hadn't been seen on previous mammograms. At the time, breast cancer wasn't as survivable and she felt faced with her own mortality. Ms. Somers shared that at first she felt heavy with the knowledge of having cancer. Two days later, she told her husband she could handle it and decided to go to war with cancer and chose a lumpectomy.
Instead of the standard cancer care, Ms. Somers chose to inject Iscador®, mistletoe extract. [Click here to read more about Iscador® from Weleda, the manufacturer. According to the website, Iscador® can be utilized in as part of an integrative cancer therapy.] Dr. Mitchell Gaynor has contributed an article on Mistletoe extract that appears on DoctorOz.com.
In addition to mistletoe extract, she continued her bioidentical hormone therapy, again going against what her doctor recommended. Her doctor said she would have to give up bioidentical hormone therapy saying she would die if kept them. Through her own research, she felt that if she kept her hormones balanced then she could get through the cancer.
She agreed to go through radiation treatment but rejected chemotherapy. The doctors told her that radiation would be “a walk in the park”. She says she could write a book about what they don't tell you about cancer treatment and radiation. During the therapy, she was terribly ill, vomiting and lethargic. To her, it wasn't a walk in the park, it was extremely hard.
Going into lumpectomy surgery, Ms. Somers thought that only a small amount of her breast would be removed, about the size of a quarter was what she pictured. Waking up after surgery, she looked down to see that 2/3 of her breast had been removed in order to get to and remove the cancer.
Ms. Somers had made a career of being a sex symbol and her breasts were a large part of it. For nearly a decade she wore a prosthetic breast and continued her career. With the prosthetic, she says she would feel sexy and wonderful and then at the end of the day would get undressed and laugh about her body. She and her husband would joke that she had a breast for every mood. She laughed that there is a song about coconuts that fit her body, “I've got a bunch of coconuts, big one, small one!”
Each month she went through radiation therapy, her already small breast continued to shrink until there was nothing left. She says her little breast was no longer cute. Ms. Somers began looking into options to reconstruct her breast. Research led her to stem-cell breast reconstruction. Using her own stem-cells and her own body fat to rebuild her breasts, doctors rebuilt her breast under a clinical trial here in the U.S.
Is she being revolutionary or being dangerous and reckless with her health?
Ms. Somers says her research didn't see success with chemotherapy. She says that she values her heath more than anything, after her husband and family, and she didn't want to give up what she worked for her body, her life. She wanted to live.
These treatment decisions weren't made lightly. Ms. Somers has gone from playing beautiful-dumb-blond on Three's Company to a New York Times bestselling author and, as she describes, has become crazy smart on all things health. She did her research and talked to doctors about cancer therapy. Sh used her celebrity to get the best and the brightest in the medical field, specifically cancer therapy. She feels she was informed and now, 11 years later, she says she has quality of life and is healthy.
For 8 years, Ms. Somers says she injected Iscador®, took radiation therapy, continued bioidentical hormones and eat as though her life depended on it. She grows her own food, she buys organic and if she can't get organic, when traveling for example, she increases her antioxidant supplements to scavenge free radicals.
Dr. Oz asked why did she choose stem-cell breast reconstruction instead of using a synthetic implant?
Ms. Somers explained that there are many options for breast replacement but she felt stem-cell reconstruction was the best choice for her. In hindsight, she says that it is so nice to look down and see two breasts again.
The procedure is ground breaking. Fat was removed from a place of her choice, she chose to take it from her belly but could have taken it from her back or thighs. Ms. Somers broke down the procedure in a simplistic explanation. The removed fat is placed into a centrifuge where it is whipped to look like mousse with three layers, the top is fat, middle is blood, and the bottom is stem-cells.
These stem-cells are taken out and the strongest stem-cells are removed and then mixed again with the extracted and condensed fat and whipped again in the centrifuge. This stem-cell and fat mixture is injected into the breast with a turkey-baster looking implement.
Dr. Oz showed an animation of what the stem-cells and fat look like withing the breast tissue. Normally, just injecting fat into the body, the fat would lay around but with the stem-cells present the fat cells remain plump. Blood vessels are stimulated to grow into the injected fat and the body rebuilds the breast tissue. The fat cells do not die off but are nurtured and given structure by the stem-cells. The end result is a breast reconstructed from the woman's own tissue, it acts just like normal breast tissue and like a normal breast.
Dr. Oz showed actual film footage of the fat and stem cell concoction being injected into Ms. Somers during her procedure. Ms. Somers exclaimed, look, I'm topless on The Dr. Oz Show! In honesty, she feels this is a great advancement for women. [Ms. Somers has taken on the role of champion of this procedure and has shared her experience, including footage of her procedure, on her website SexyForever.com.]
Joel Aronowitz, MD, Chief, Division of Plastic Surgery at University Stem Cell Center, says stem-cell breast reconstruction is a clear alternative. He says there is no scarring and it's your own tissue, no implant. Implants can have a high failure rate when combined with radiation therapy.
Ms. Somers says there is currently a five year waiting list for stem-cell breast reconstruction but in the future she sees it as being immediately available. The key is to keep the breast and nipple tissue intact even in cases of mastectomy.
Dr. Oz also encouraged women facing mastectomy to make it clear that they want their breast and nipple tissue to be saved during the operation, to keep open the opportunity of stem-cell breast reconstruction surgery.
On the con side of the debate on this new procedure is Peter Rubin, MD, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a program of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He explains that stem-cells are beneficial to healing but can also grow cancer cells if any are left behind. The big question he feels still remains with this procedure is when is the best time after a cancer-free designation to take on procedure? He has concerns over increased risks of cancer going forward after this procedure if there is still cancer in the body.
Dr. Aronowitz explained that the procedure works best with less breast tissue remaining and clarified that fat cells do not grow into cancer.
Ms. Somers believes this procedure is wonderful for all women and encourages people to know how your body works and to understand that to fuel the body requires good nutrition. She also encourages people to understand which questions to ask medical providers so you can be in charge of your health because no one cares more about your body then you.
Dr. Oz asked Dr. Rubin that if a relative of yours wanted to try this procedure, what would you say?
Dr. Rubin said he has guarded optimism about the stem-cell breast reconstruction surgery and would want his relatives to only do it under an approved clinical trial.
Ms. Somers said she went after this procedure with veracity and says she did the surgery legally so she could be able to say she did it right and in compliance with FDA regulations. She feels this is a beginning. Where will stem cells lead? One of the things where this may take us is to help our soldiers. She says we should be able to bank their stem cells before going to war so, if needed, we could regrow limbs and body parts. The future is unbelievable.
Dr. Oz asked Dr. Rubin what are the possible opportunities for using this technique?
Dr. Rubin says that this procedure can used to reconstruct across the entire body. There are current studies using stem-cell therapies on wounded personnel with facial injuries to regrowing tissue.
Dr. Oz asked how can people get this treatment?
Several places are available. Dr. Aronowitz and the Breast Preservation Foundation are working to encourage women to become educated about their options and with skin-sparing mastectomy procedures. Dr. Aronowitz and Dr. Rubin encourage women interested in the procedure to do it under trial so that we can all learn from it and further the study and to protect patients from backroom doctors.
Sinus Support and Remedy For Infections
There are eight nasal sinus cavities in the facial structure from above the eye browns to down through the cheek bones.
The warning signs of sinusitis:
- Pressure that lasts longer than four weeks
- Fever higher than 100.5 degrees
- Pain and swelling around the eyes and forehead
Dr. Oz explained that there are little hairs in the sinus cavity, call cilia where mucus can buildup during an infection. Ideally, when a sinus infection takes hold, we take antibiotics to drain out the mucus. Sometimes scar tissue develops within the sinus cavity not allowing the sinus to drain the accumulated mucus. A new procedure has been developed, called Sinus Angioplasty, where a doctors inserts a balloon into the sinuses and inflate it to release and remove mucus. There is no cutting, it's a non-invasive, in-patient treatment.
On stage, Dr. Moshe Ephrat, MD, ENT Allergy Associates, conducted the treatment on an audience member suffering from chronic sinusitis. Dr. Ephrat conducted a nasal endoscopy to look inside her nose, she was numbed a little prior but said it didn't bother her.
Dr. Oz recommended horseradish as a natural remedy to open the sinuses and can act as a natural antibiotic. He recommends to smell and eat the horseradish early on when you feel sinus pressure building into a possible sinus infection.
Fast Fixes to Fight Infections
Dr. Oz shares natural cures for the first line for non dangerous infections.
Sore throats are often caused by viruses. The audience member invited on the stage says that when a sore throat strikes her she gargles with salt water which Dr. Oz agreed is a good remedy.
Dr. Oz also recommended sage tea mixed with table salt and gargle three times per day.
[I've also heard doctors recommend sucking on chewable papaya enzymes to support throat health.]
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
Dr. Oz explained that a burning sensation during urination could mean you already have an infection. He recommends taking bromelain [an enzyme from pineapple] in the form of a pineapple smoothie taking the fruit from a pineapple and simply taking it for a spin in the blender. Dr. Oz says that pineapples have natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. [Bromelain is also available in chewable tablet and pill form however, I've not heard it being recommended for UTI's.]
[When talking about UTI's, many natural practitioners recommend to stay away from sugar. Drinking a cup of pineapple juice may have many beneficial properties but those may be slightly counter acted by the sugar. Typically pure cranberry juice, no sugar, is recommended for urinary tract health as the cranberry can create an environment where bacteria does not like to live. The herbs usnea and uva ursi are also commonly recommended for urinary tract health.]
Middle Ear Infection
Dr. Oz explained that a fever and tugging on the ear can be a signal that fluid has built up on the ear drum and an infection may have set in.
Dr. Oz says his wife uses garlic oil when their kids have an ear infection. Warm the oil, not hot just warm, and insert 1 or 2 drops into the ear. Lay on a pillow and hold a cotton ball to the ear for 15 minutes and repeat 1 to 2 hours. Garlic oil has antibacterial properties and is soothing to the ear.
Cooking For Immunity
Chef Ming Tsai, star of Simply Ming, shared his recipe for lemongrass-ginger Braised Chicken to enhance immunities with on The Dr. Oz Show.
Make this soup once a week for immune supporting meals the entire week. Lemongrass is an antioxiant relieves fever, muscle cramps, upset stomachs and headaches. Chef Ming shared that putting lemongrass on the skin can keeps mosquitoes away. Ginger is another antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory effects and can relives constipation. Turmeric contains Vitamin C and is a potent preventative for Alzheimer's disease. Chilies support the circulatory system. Daikon, a member of the radish family, contains phosphorus and supports healthy blood pressure levels.
From DoctorOz.com: “Ginger ale is an old standby to help an upset stomach. Ginger has anti-inflammatory agents that settle nausea and help constipation. Rather than go with the store-bought kind, try making it at home with this tasty recipe.”
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